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4
May
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Joystiq Weekly: transferring destiny, final fantasies and light-children


Welcome to the Joystiq Weekly wrap-up where we present some of the best stories and biggest gaming news from our sister-publication.

But there’s simply no soul in Child of Light, no emotional attachment to keep you pressing on into the darkness. There isn’t even a good addictive hook … It’s all lovely and pleasant and well-crafted – and hollow. If you play Child of Light, you will almost assuredly enjoy your time with it, and then put it away and never think about it ever again.

As the Beastie Boys so eloquently put it, that’s it, that’s all, that’s all there is! Check back next Sunday for another recap, or, you know, head over to Joystiq and catch each story as it breaks.

[Image credit: John Flinchbaugh/Flickr]

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Source: Joystiq

4
May
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Etihad’s A380 ‘Residence’ has a lounge, double bed and an en-suite shower


We’ve seen full-length beds, 32-inch TVs and even dedicated chefs on board the latest Airbus and Boeing planes, but Etihad’s setting the bar far, far higher by offering an entire section of its brand-new A380 to passengers with the cash to spare. “The Residence,” as the airline’s calling its uber-lux three-room suite, includes 125 square feet of space spread between a living room, dining area, bedroom and private bathroom (yes, of course it has a shower). You can have the suite all to yourself, or you can share the double bed with a companion. As for the tech on board, there’s a 32-inch TV in the living room, a 27-inch screen near the bed, HDMI inputs (hello PS4 at 30,000 feet), power outlets, USB ports and a top-of-the-line Panasonic entertainment system. Etihad’s not talking pricing at this point, but the A380 is expected to fly between Abu Dhabi and London, New York and Sydney beginning in 2015, giving you plenty of time to save up.

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Source: Etihad Airways

4
May
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Inhabitat’s Week in Green: spasers, battery-powered airplanes and phones printed on clothes


Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week’s most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us — it’s the Week in Green.

Technology is getting small — this week, Inhabitat took a look at LIX, the world’s smallest 3D-printing pen, which is powered by a USB port. Meanwhile, a team of British neuroscientists strapped the world’s tiniest pair of 3D glasses onto a praying mantis, and then exposed the bug to a series of weird 3D videos. The study aims to learn more about 3D vision. Cellphones could soon be shrinking, too. Researchers at Monash University have developed the world’s first spaser, which is basically a laser on the nanoscale. The development could lead to phones so small that they can be printed on clothes. And the musician Imogen Heap has created an interactive glove that turns gestures into music.

Solar power continues to expand in the American West, as the world’s largest fully operational solar plant just opened in Arizona. And with summer fast approaching, we showcased a natural swimming pool in Spain that uses plants to filter the water. Here’s one spot you won’t be able to visit this summer though: Officials have closed access to a large sand dune near Lake Michigan known as Mount Baldy after mysterious human-swallowing holes began opening up in the dune.

Tesla continues to blanket the country in charging stations for its electric cars — and recently, the company cut the ribbon on its 100th supercharger. Now that electric cars are becoming more mainstream, could electric planes follow suit? The world’s first battery-powered airplane, the E-Fan, just successfully completed its first flight in France. And an intriguing contender will join the pack at the famous Isle of Man TT Zero race next month: Saroléa’s retro-chic SP7 carbon fiber electric motorcycle will go head to head with some of the world’s fastest motorcycles.

The question of how ancient Egyptians transported the enormous stones used to build the pyramids has long been a mystery, but scientists at the University of Amsterdam think they’ve figured it out. The researchers found that mixing sand with just the right amount of moisture can double the material’s stiffness, enabling workers to pull the 2.5-ton stones across the desert. In a modern engineering feat, the world’s largest movable steel structure is being installed over a nuclear reactor at Chernobyl. Once it’s in place, the structure is expected to last about 100 years. In other architecture news, a Japanese company has created a new floating tsunami shelter, which is roughly the size of a large SUV. The Budapest-based architecture firm IVANKA has designed a remarkable building that collects rain and filters it through a special bio-concrete system to turn it into the highest-quality drinking water. And in Vietnam, Vo Trong Nghia Architects recently cut the ribbon on a green-roofed kindergarten that produces enough food for its 500 children.

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4
May
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Engadget Rewind 2008: BlackBerry Storm


Smartphone makers were still reeling from the arrival of Apple’s touchscreen-only iPhone when 2008 rolled around. Research in Motion (RIM), a mobile manufacturer best known for its BlackBerry line and QWERTY keyboard prowess, was at the top of its game and primed to jump into this emerging form factor. That year, it launched the BlackBerry Storm smartphone — a direct rival to Apple’s handset. As RIM’s premier effort in touchscreen smartphones, it offered an interesting spin on the interface with what it called SurePress. This was a touchscreen you could depress or click; an innovation RIM hoped would bridge the gap between the company’s current physical keyboard-accustomed clientele and the next generation of smartphone buyers. The Storm was RIM’s attempt to solve the “problems associated with typing on traditional touchscreens” and leverage its longtime experience with clickable keys. While the phone had a sleek and solid build, a vibrant 3.25-inch display and was backed by Verizon’s network, that SurePress technology ended up doing more harm than good.

Touch-typing on a screen that required a tactile click for each letter put a damper on the fluidity and speed of the messaging experience — a con echoed in many reviews. Not only that, but also the software, BlackBerry OS 4.7, wasn’t built from the ground up for touch-style navigation, making the experience far from intuitive. It was just a hopped-up version of the previous operating system that had powered QWERTY- and trackball-based devices like the Bold. It did have some impressive media capabilities, though, offering unparalleled Microsoft Office functionality on a smartphone for RIM’s enterprise customers.

Out-of-the-box, however, the Storm failed to include a way for Mac users to sync their audio and data, a glaring omission that would have otherwise helped lure back potential iPhone converts. RIM was forced to hurriedly address this, as well as other issues, with software updates to the phone and even pushed out an improved model a year later called the Storm 2.

RIM, as they say, was “once bitten, twice shy,” and it wasn’t until 2013 that it once again ventured to release an iPhone-like competitor with the touchscreen Z10. The company even used that device’s launch event to rebrand as BlackBerry. While the Z10 had an OS that was custom-tailored to the touch experience, the effort ultimately failed to ignite a comeback. And the results of that misstep have been haunting the company ever since.


Did you own a BlackBerry Storm? Add it to your Engadget profile as a device you had (or still have) and join the discussion to reminisce or share photos of your device with other like-minded gadget fans.

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4
May
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IRL: Trading in the MacBook Pro for Dell’s Precision M3800 workstation


Welcome to IRL, an ongoing feature where we talk about the gadgets, apps and toys we’re using in real life and take a second look at products that already got the formal review treatment.

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I know what you’re thinking: isn’t Dell’s Precision M3800 workstation for graphics pros or architects? Yes, but just look at it: it’s gorgeous in aluminum and carbon fiber, weighs a mere 4.15 pounds, has a fourth-gen Intel Core i7 chip with 16GB of RAM, NVIDIA Quadro K1100M pro graphics and — get this — a 3,200 x 1,800 touchscreen. The frosting on the gateau, as it were, is the price: it runs $2,554 with a 512GB SSD. If you were eyeing a Retina display MacBook Pro or another high-end 15-incher with discrete graphics, that’d be pretty tempting, right? Maybe yes and maybe not — let’s take a closer look.

For a machine with such a high level of performance, the M3800 is unbelievably light, and the carbon fiber bottom blocks heat that could singe your lap. That’s in contrast to the MacBook Pro, which can get uncomfortably hot on the bottom. The lid is aluminum, and after two weeks of fairly hard use showed zero sign of wear and tear. (Incidentally, the design of the M3800 is very similar to Dell’s consumer-oriented XPS 15, though it weighs about a third of a pound less.)

On to the screen: it’s everything a pro could want, with a bright panel, good contrast, a wide color gamut and that 3,200 x 1,800 pixel count, all tied to a muscular 2GB Quadro K1100M/Intel 4600 HD graphics setup. However, there’s a huge caveat here that isn’t even Dell’s fault: Windows 8 doesn’t scale certain apps properly on super-high-res screens, and some important ones like Photoshop and Premiere Pro CC actually scale terribly. As a result, you can barely read the teeny toolbars and command screens, let alone click on them. Some workarounds are available, but until companies like Adobe get around to supporting higher-res screens, this scaling issue effectively nullifies the M3800′s resolution advantage.

The chiclet keyboard, meanwhile, feels great, and worked well for typing this article. Unfortunately, I have to scold Dell for its middling trackpad. Regular pointing, clicking and multi-touch is hit-and-miss; I had to spread my fingers apart to get two-finger scrolling to work properly, for instance. You might say “then use a mouse, moron,” but the MacBook Pro’s trackpad is excellent, for one, and doesn’t force you to lug around an unneeded accessory.

Something the MBP won’t have any time soon, however, is a touchscreen. Using it on the M3800 with a program like Adobe Photoshop or Premiere Pro (after tweaking the scaling) is very intuitive, particularly when zooming photos or scrolling video. All the touch functions work flawlessly most of the time, but there’s another “gotcha.” This one has to do with Windows 8 again, as touch functions in certain apps lag or don’t work at all, particularly on dialog boxes. Using it with Chrome, for instance, was nearly pointless thanks to the delay.

Performance, on the other hand, is impeccable. Rendering a one-minute file in Premiere Pro CC to H.264 at full HD (from a Quicktime ProRes source) took fewer than 30 seconds at medium quality, handily besting most other laptops I’ve used. All told, the one area where performance trails is battery life. In our video rundown test, the M3800 Precision lasted 3.5 hours at best, less than half of what the MBP and many PCs are capable of. I’d partly chalk that up to the power-hungry QHD+ screen, not to mention the smallish 61Wh battery. There’s a larger 91Wh option that would effectively boost that figure by 50 percent, but even then, the battery life would still lag behind the MacBook Pro’s.

In sum, no other Windows laptop can match the M3800′s combination of power and weight, except for maybe its cousin, the XPS 15. Other candidates include Lenovo’s Thinkpad W540, the Gigabyte U35F and maybe a gaming rig like the MSI GE40. (Note that MSI’s GS60 Ghost, which came out after this review was finished, also looks promising.) However, they all suffer from either inferior graphics, lesser screen quality or too much bulk. That leaves the Retina Display MBP as its only real competition in the lightweight/powerful/high-res arena. And unfortunately, the M3800 falls down in key areas — namely battery life, trackpad reliability and high-res app support. Then again, the MBP makes do with slightly lower resolution and no touchscreen. Also, the 15-inch MBP’s discrete graphics package includes NVIDIA GeForce 750M/Intel IRIS GPUs, compared to the workstation-caliber Quadro Pro graphics on the M3800 Precision — though benchmarks suggest the 750M actually works better.

If you need a powerful, light Windows laptop with discrete graphics, I’d heartily recommend the Precision M3800 over other PCs. However, with the MacBook Pro in the mix, I’d personally choose that instead. Despite some excellent qualities, it’s the details that count the most.

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4
May
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LG G3 press render leaks in white and black; shows LG’s new flagship, stylus and All [UPDATE]



LG G3 press renderTalk about LG‘s next rumoured flagship, the LG G3, has intensified greatly in the past week, which has been added to by the announcement by LG that there will be an event held in various global cities on May 27th to announce some kind of “G” device. While it’s possible LG may be announcing its Android Wear powered LG G Watch, odds are the Korean manufacturer will in fact be announcing its next flagship device and in a leak of some supposed LG G3 press render material, we get our best look at the device yet.

LG G3 press renderWhile these renders appear to corroborate with previous leaks that the device will indeed retain the rear volume buttons of the LG G2, probably the most notable thing in these press renders is the object embedded in the top of the device. Unless we’re mistaken, that looks awfully like a stylus. This is particularly interesting as LG has neglected to even put a stylus on its 5.9-inch LG G Pro 2, however LG may be trying something new with this device. All we can say is that if that really is a stylus, we’re fascinated to see how they’ve integrated it into the LG G3. UPDATE: We’ve also been informed this could be an TV antenna of the South Korea version of the device.


What do you think about the LG G3 having a stylus? Does this change your mind at all about the device? Let us know what your thoughts are in the comments below.

Source: Twitter (1), (2) via TalkAndroid


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4
May
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Weekends with Engadget: Apple vs. Samsung round two, the new Engadget and more!


Welcome to Weekends with Engadget, a quick peek back at the top headlines from the past seven days — all handpicked by the editors here at the site. For even more action, subscribe to our Flipboard magazine!

The new Engadget: it’s all about you… except when it’s about us

Like technology, Engadget is evolving. Our new Editor-in-Chief Michael Gorman and Executive Editor Christopher Trout tell you about how we plan to be your guide for this connected life.

Nokia X review: what happens when Nokia makes an Android phone?

With the acquisition by Microsoft now complete, it is a weird time for Nokia to be releasing an Android phone. Yet, here we are. Meet the Nokia X, a $120 device aimed at developing markets, from a manufacturer that, for a long time, devoted itself to Windows Phone.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is this year’s entry, starring Kevin Spacey

The first trailer for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is out. And interestingly enough, the House of Cards actor Kevin Spacey appears to be cast as a (surprise, surprise) powerful, politically driven antihero.

This is what Amazon’s phone looks like

What do we know about Amazon’s upcoming smartphone? Well, according to BGR, it’s got 2GB of RAM, six cameras and looks like the picture seen above. Everything else about it remains a mystery.

Apple vs. Samsung trial round two: Samsung infringed three patents, owes Apple $119.6 million

The latest chapter in Apple and Samsung’s global legal war has come to a close. Though there’s still one outstanding damages issue left to decide, the jury delivered a verdict that has Samsung owing Apple almost $120 million. However, that’s not necessarily bad news for the Korean company.

Xbox Entertainment Studios has at least 12 projects in production, committed to half

We don’t know a ton about Xbox Entertainment Studio’s future plans, but we’ve learned a bit more about its push into original programming. According to XES president Nancy Tellem, the studio has 12 projects in the works and Microsoft is “committed” to at least six of them.

The true story of the worst video game in history

Back in the 1980′s, Atari created (and buried) ET, widely considered to be the worst video game in history. Howard Scott Warshaw is that game’s creator, and our own Timothy Seppala spoke with him about the experience doing so.

Researchers think water helped ancient Egyptians build the pyramids

Well, it looks like aliens might not have built the pyramids after all. According to researchers at the University of Amsterdam, a sledge and some wet sand were the winning combination that allowed workers to pull stone for miles across the desert.

Hulu will bring free TV shows to your phone, and it’s trying to reach your cable box

This week, Hulu announced that it’s bringing a selection of add-supported shows to mobile users for free streaming, regardless of whether or not they have a Plus account. Hulu’s also bringing some new interactive ads that’ll let you order pizza from inside the app, so you don’t have to leave the latest episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

Popular login services have a security hole, but Facebook and Microsoft can’t fix it

Wang Jing, a researcher from Singapore, claims to have discovered a potentially serious security hole involving OAuth and OpenID login services used by the likes of Facebook, Microsoft, Google and others. Jing alerted those companies of the issue, but it appears impossible for any of them to singlehandledly squash the bug.

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4
May
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The HTC One Mini 2, aka HTC One M8 Mini, gets a leaked press render, confirms single rear Camera



HTC One Mini 2Despite multiple leaks over the last few months that have alluded to its existence, we’ve always known that HTC was going to follow up their new flagship, the HTC One M8, with a ‘mini’ version; these mini versions tend to be smaller, less powerful versions of the flagship device with the only significant similarity being their appearance. Rumours have intensified over the last few days about the appearance of the device which has culminated in the above press render which appears to show the HTC One M8 mini or, as it’s apparently going to be officially known as, the HTC One mini 2.

As you will notice, the device only has a single rear camera, unlike the One M8 which has the dual rear cameras; this is most likely a cost saving measure. You will also notice that HTC has retained the on-screen menu buttons (and that lovely little black bar at the bottom) and it looks like the device will also benefit from Sense 6.0. Rumoured hardware specifications for the device include a quad-core Snapdragon 400, 1GB RAM, 16GB storage, a 4.5-inch 1280×720 resolution display and Android 4.4; if those specs look familar, that would be because they are almost exactly the same as the specs for the 6-month-old Motorola Moto G. For HTC’s sake, I hope it’s priced similarly to the Moto G.


Would you be interested in a HTC One mini 2 if it turns out as the rumours say? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Source: Phone Arena via Phones Review


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4
May
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Gradience Icon Pack Review: where gradients and bright colours Meet



Gradience Icon Pack ReviewMost of the icon packs that we’ve had a look at lately have opted to go with some kind of filter to try and soften otherwise strongly saturated colours which can sometimes look a little overpowering on a mobile device. Well, the Gradience icon pack thinks that’s a silly idea and is marrying those saturated colours with a gradient in this latest icon pack from GFXDevs. You may recognize the name GFXDevs as they have produced quite a few icon packs in their time; you can check out the rest of GFXDevs’ work on the Google Play Store here. Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the icon pack running on a device:

As you can see, the saturated colour scheme in the Gradience icon pack actually works quite well with the included wallpapers. The Gradience icon pack was launched with 700+ icons and has had many more icons added to it over time as well as 15 wallpapers currently. As I mentioned in the video, Mohammed Musaddiq is the man you want to be following on Google+ for any details about upcoming updates to this icon pack and future projects so make sure you visit his page on Google+ here. The icon pack is of course $1.50 USD so if you’re interested in picking it up, it’s available now on the Google Play Store (links are below).

What do you think of the Gradience Icon Pack? Let us know if you pick it up and what you think about it.


Icon: Gradience Icon Pack

Play Store Link

Price: $1.50


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4
May
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50 Cent’s Star Wars-themed headphones launch on the light side of the 4th


That great disturbance you just felt? It’s likely the bass from SMS Audio’s Star Wars-themed headphones. We heard they were coming back in Vegas. In fact, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson joined us in person to tell us as much. Today, excuse us if we don’t play along by saying the date, they’ll be with you. Or rather, in stores, so you can buy ‘em. You won’t need 10,000 credits, but you will need to pay the 200 US dollars asking price upfront. No need to sell your landspeeder, either. However, you will need to pick your allegiances carefully, as there are Boba Fett, Stormtrooper, Empire and Rebel Alliance editions to choose from. The headphones themselves are emblazoned with logos on the earcups that match your chosen Star Wars representative/s, and on the Boba Fett one’s at least, have a smart-looking matte finish, and soft leather-coated memory foam on the ears (complete with that “new trainer” smell). Inside the box are some Star Wars related goodies, and the box is drenched in intergalactic artwork. We’re still disappointed there’s no Leia design, but for the next edition, there’s new hope.

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Source: SMS by 50

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