Event

iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c and iOS 7 what did we get

On Tuesday of this week, Sept. 10th, Apple held their event. We speculated on what we would get and talked about the other questions that still remained to be answered. Well now we have our answers. The iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c and iOS 7 were shown off so what did we get? Well we’re going to cover some of the details and also talk about some of the questions that are now created about where do they go form here. The video of the keynote is now available on the Apple site, go watch it.

So to go through what we got to see at the keynote, there was the

iPhone 5c (Android Free)

The iPhone everyone thought was going to be cheap turned out to be “less expensive” instead. No one should have been surprised since Apple doesn’t do cheap and yet they were. When netbooks proliferated the computer landscape Apple did the MacBook Air. It was far from cheap but “less expensive” than a MacBook Pro. The iPhone 5c is the same. It is far from cheap but at $99 for a 16GB model on a 2 Year contract(US) it’s cheap enough that it becomes a throwaway phone. It’s something parents can buy their teen as an emergency phone. It’s a phone people less interested with the latest and greatest technology as well as people coming from a feature phone can buy without sticker shock.

So the iPhone 5c comes in five colors, white, pink, yellow, blue and green. Yes pink, not red or fuchsia they proudly proclaimed it pink on stage.

5c

The phone internals are the same as what is in last years model, the iPhone 5, with the exception of a slightly bigger battery and a slightly better FaceTime camera. This is impressive because I own an iPhone 5 and it is one hell of a smartphone. The wallpaper that comes on the iPhone 5c will match the color of the phone plus with iOS 7’s transparencies the OS will play even more on the color aspect. The pricing on contract is 16GB at $99, 32GB at $199 and $549 off contract. The pre-orders for the iPhone 5c will be available tonight and the phones will go on sale next Friday Sept. 20th.

iPhone 5s (Forward Thinking)

The iPhone 5s is the flagship model and brought a lot of things that were already rumored but became reality. The iPhone 5s comes in three colors, Silver, Gold and Space Grey. The silver and gold models have a white face and white accents while the space grey is the only model with a black face and black accents.

i5s

So they have added one more color, the gold but for me it sucks because I don’t like the white face. I wonder why they didn’t have the gold with both a white and black face? Perhpas this is just my personal color bias but I would have loved a black and gold model. It’s a trivial thing I will just get the Sky Grey model but I’m just a little sad at the lost oppurtunity :_(

Starting down bottom you will notice that the home button no longer has the little rounded rectangle on it. It also now has a stainless stell ring around it with the introduction of the Touch ID fingerprint scanner. The Touch ID will be used to unlock the device as well as authenticate a user for app store purchases. It can be trained to know up to 5 different finger prints and has 360 degree readability. The all new A7 chip inside is a 64 bit processor, the first in mobile and although it may not make sense on the iPhone it’s forward thinking for other iOS devices and future iPhone models. The new iOS 7 operating system (OS) is also 64 bit taking users along for the 64 bit transition of iOS devices. Now 64 bit typically means the ability to address more memory but it also means instead of doing things faster it does more things at the same speed. So you still end up accomplishing more but in a different way. Just imagine two people trying to eat as many hot dogs as they can. One guy takes normal sized bites but eats as fast as possible. While the other guy eats at the same speed but he takes bites twice as big. Even though he’s eating at the same speed as the first guy the bigger bites means he’ll finish faster. The ability to address more memory might not make sense now but in the iPads or in future generations of the iPhone and iPads that ability to address more than 3GB or RAM will make sense.

Continuing with the upgrades inside was the introduction of a new chip the M7. The new chip measures motion by taking readins from the accelorometer, gyroscope and compass. A task that would have be done by the A7, so that frees up some computing cycles on the A7 chip itself. The M7 chip allows for a new breed of apps while adding to the existing functions of the phone. The chip knows if you’re driving, running, walking, or sleeping. So for example if you switch from driving to walking the Maps app will switch from driving directions to walking directions automatically.

The cameras on the iPhone 5s got some upgrades too ofcourse. It now has a dual LED flash which is able to combine depending on the lighting of the scene being photographed to create better colors and skintones. The back camera now has a larger sensor, larger pixels and a larger aperture which all combine to let in more light for better pictures. This combines with the camera app in iOS 7 for new features like. Burst mode which snaps multiple shots at 10 images a second, great for action shots. Slow motion video, the camera shoots video at 120 frames per second allowing the user to play back the video at 1/4 of the speed for interesting effects. The front camera also has larger pixels along with better backside illumination. Better backside illumination allows more light to the sensor resulting in better pictures and video for great FaceTime calls and world renowned “selfies”.

The iPhone 5s will be sold at the same prices previous models of iPhones have sold at. On a 2 year contract (US) 16GB at $199, 32GB at $299 and 64GB at $399 while off contract the 16GB iPhone 5s starts at $649 (US). There will be no pre-order available for the iPhone 5s and they will go on sale next Friday Sept. 20th. You can get them at your local Apple store or by going to a carrier store. Although carrier stores usually don’t get as much stock on launch day as the Apple store.

iOS 7

The new OS has undergone some drastic changes to the look and feel while still doing most things the same way it always has. The new OS will be released to everyone next Wednesday Sept. 18th. It will support iPhone 4 and newer, iPad 2 and newer and iPad Mini. Beyond the new look and colors there are many refinements as well as new features that enable a user to get things done faster and easier. The notification center is now available from the lock screen to enable glancable information. There is a new Control Center that gives the user quick access to some of the typical phone controls like Wifi, Airplane mode, Bluetooth, etc. The Control Center is also available from the lock screen. Some users will not like the new colors and look of the interface and icons. Some will not like system changes like swiping down from anywhere on the home screen to open Finder instead of swiping the home screen right. You can’t please everyone but I have a feeling that this iOS will please almost everyone and that is Apple’s aim with it.

iOS 7

iWork (Free)

The next big announcement was that iWork for mobile which they listed as consisting of Keynote, Pages, Numbers, iMovie and iPhoto was going free. It will be going free for new iOS devices and as I have been told devices running iOS 7. This is awesome news for me since I already own two of the five software and would love to have the others. It will be a great bundle and should be yet another plus for users looking at upgrading their iOS device. It will also be a great addition to users upgrading to iOS 7. When users install iOS 7 there should be a prompt like there is now for downloading iBooks and the Podcasts app. It will now also include the five apps listed above.

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Questions

Naming
Now that this has all been revealed there are a few questions that come out of these new introductions. With the release of the iPhone 5c the iPhone 5 model is gone. So going forward what is Apple going to name their iPhones? Next year will be the iPhone 6 and most likely the iPhone 6c with the iPhone 5s internals. However if there is an iPhone 6s there would be an iPhone 7c. Apple can call these devices whatever they want and it will sell but having the c model with a higher number than the flagship iPhone just does not seem feasible to me. They could also just kep the iPhone 6c name for release with both the iPhone 6 and 6s by upgrading the internals inside based on the previous year’s model. However even though the device is different having the same name just doesn’t seem sexy enough in my opinion. What I think is that they will drop the “s” model and just stick with full number releases from now on with the “c” model alongside. So there will be an iPhone 6 and 6c, 7 and 7c, 8 and 8c, etc. There would also be the possibility of them dropping the number altogether and having just the iPhone and iPhone c like they did with the iPad. However that also has it’s own advertising downsides.

Screen
Now that the iPhone 5s is out the rumors of the iPhone 6 are already starting to swirl. The biggest thing is that Apple will release an iPhone with a bigger screen. We are one year away so there is plenty of time for this rumor to pick up steam. I’m still not sure how I would feel about a bigger screen and it would depend how big of a screen. I love the screen size right now and the ease of using the phone with one hand. However if there was a 5″ iPhone I would definitely buy it. Any bigger than 5″ and for me personally that is too big. I would have to pass on that model and that will be the question Apple will contemplate if they are thinking of doing a bigger screen iPhone. Users all have different sized hands along with different opinions on what size is comfortable and what size is too big. As with Apple’s devices they make decisions based on what benefits the majority of their users. So if they do go to a bigger sized screen I’m sure it will be at a size that will please existing users and entice some users. But it wont please everyone so we’ll see if it happens at all.

64 bit
The A7 chip and iOS 7 are both now 64 bit. The upcoming iPads will have the new chip so does the 64bit come into play on those devices which would make much more use of more than 3GB of RAM? Or is this a future play for 7 or 8th generation iPhones/iPads that will eventually use RAM capacities north of 3GBs?

Well one thing is for sure it was an interesting event with some great devices launched. So are you getting a new iPhone 5s or 5c?

Pictures: The Verge, Apple

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iWatch Bnnr

The iWatch myth or reality

The iWatch myth or reality? I’m not sure we’ll have the answer to this question until it is soon to be released. Is Apple dropping subtle little hints at it’s coming debut. Apple is a really secretive company and they are also a company known to use mis-direction very well. So even the latest tease of the mythical iWatch in their newly released iPhone commercial does nothing to answer the question.

I’m just as split on the possibility of the iWatch even being something Apple would put out anytime soon. When the rumors first started to surface I was excited and it almost seemed to make sense but the more I thought about it the less viable it seemed. Apple doesn’t do bleeding edge technologies and what I mean by that is they wait until the new technology is proven and perfected. People have pointed at the fact that they waited to put 3G in the iPhone and again Apple wasn’t the first to have LTE in their devices. Wearable technology is nowhere right now so would they venture into the waters to produce the iWatch? Then considering what an iWatch would need to sell for to make it a hit with consumers and what it would be sold for to make it a profitable device I’m almost sure those two price points do not even come close. The final reason is what benefit would the iWatch bring much like their reluctance to include NFC in the iPhone because there is really no problem that it solves.

All the things that a person could name that the iWatch could do can all be done by an already existing mobile device so what would be the pull of the iWatch. When I think about it the only thing I can come up with is that the iWatch would offload some of the things an iPhone or iPad would do. The more inconsequential things but offloading those things would save the devices some battery life and right now that is the holy grail of mobile devices. I’m just not sure how many people are going to be lining up to buy a $250 iWatch that can only do a fraction of the things their exsisting smartphone or tablet device does already. Well anyway enough of me jabbering on and on about it.

As I was saying Apple put up a new iPhone ad on their Youtube channel “Music Every Day”. In the ad they show different people enjoying music thorughout their day on the iPhone. As 9to5Mac was quick to point out at about the 30 second mark there is a person enjoying their music while drumming out a beat. On their wrist is a watch that curiously looks less like a normal watch and more like you would expect an iWatch to look. At the same time the image is ofcourse not even close enough to being distinguishable so really it could go either way. “I see what you did their Apple” nice one, I guess for now we will not know whether it will ever become a reality. But it sure is a lot of fun to speculate.

Sources: 9to5Mac and Youtube

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iOS 7 Concepts

Now with under a month until WWDC the reveal of iOS 7 is nearing. T3kd already put up a post about what we want to see in iOS 7. With all the rumors of Sir Jony Ive stripping out Skeumorphic elements to give a very different look to the User Interface (UI). Many iOS 7 concepts are being released based on the perceived “Flatter” design. It is a pretty exciting time since some of the well known sources in the industry have heard that the UI looks so different polarizing filters are being used to prevent others from seeing the differences. It is also rumored that people working on the new OS X operating system (OS) have been pulled off to help finish up iOS 7 in time for the reveal.

I have read, talked to and heard people who are talking about how much the iOS interface needs a change. But in the current mobile space with competitors bringing out new features where does a new interface rank? Me personally, I would rather Apple make changes and introduce features that make iOS easier and more intuitive to use. Things like the rumored Flickr and Vimeo system integration but also things like being able to intuitively add attachments to emails in the mail app and attachments opening automatically without the need of a share sheet. If things like that are being sacrificed to throw a new look and feel on the UI then I can do without the UI update in favor of newer, better features. If both are being done at the same time then hey I say bring it on. I also think a lot of people need to be prepared for the reveal of iOS 7 and I don’t know if the iOS 7 concepts are helping. The concepts are great ideas but they have no concept behind them of how much work would be required to implement these new “revolutionary” ideas. Also the time it would take along with the difficulty, in order to make these ideas a reality. Would you be accepting if Apple didn’t announce a new iOS version at WWDC, but instead promised to release a new and revolutionary iOS 7 next year? Most people would answer no, and even the people who answer yes secretly know they would grumble and complain if it happened. So we all want our iOS 7 concept cake and to eat it too.

So if you are expecting iOS 7 to look flat like the Windows Phone interface you will be disappointed. If you are expecting Android type widgets you will be disappointed. If you are expecting most of what is in the iOS 7 concept videos etc. you will be disappointed. This is the problem I see that these iOS 7 Concepts make because people want or expect things that just aren’t possible at this time to include in iOS 7. Which then leads to an underwhelming at the actual reveal of iOS 7 when it’s compared to these flashy concept videos and renderings. These are the concepts I’ve seen jso far, I’m sure there are tons more out there. Gizmodo Australia did a post about eight iOS 7 Flat UI Mockups, iDownloadBlog posted about a new flat iOS 7 UI concept and Forbes talked about whether or not Sir Jony Ive will let a flat iOS 7 fall flat.

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Videos

The renderings and videos take a lot of talent, god knows I probably couldn’t come close to putting together one of these much less to make it look so polished. However and this is just personal opinion, the flat design that these concepts have just taken to the next level look too playlike to me. The iPhone and most other iOS devices as well as the operating system (OS) is about a polished aeshtethic. Apart from that it shows no balance, just because rumors say Ive is working on a “flatter” interface doesn’t mean the entire UI is going flat. Apple certainly isn’t going to ditch the rounded rectangle on app icons just like that. So enjoy the renderings and the videos and thoughts of what would be nice to have. But while you watch it keep in mind what I have said

“If you are expecting iOS 7 to look flat like the Windows Phone interface you will be disappointed. If you are expecting Android type widgets you will be disappointed. If you are expecting most of what is in the iOS 7 concept videos etc. you will be disappointed.”

Sources: 9to5 Mac.com, Gizmodo, iDownloadBlog, Forbes.com and Youtube

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Mobile battery life could be getting better

There have been countless posts about the new importance battery life plays as a deciding factor in mobile electronics. Most smartphones today do pretty much the same basics, equivalent of the point A to point B reference commonly used. So one of the biggest differentiator has become battery life, after all what good are all the features if you can’t use them? Well it seems that some new breakthroughs mean mobile battery life could be getting better eventually.

There are some things that are being held back by the constraints of battery life.Take for example Siri, the digital personal assistant on Apple’s iOS devices. Currently the assistant has to be activated with a key press because having the device listen for audio ques would cause horrible battery life. This is just one example of a feature that could be made exponentially better if battery life was removed from the eqaution as a concern. Well then the new advancements that have been made at the University of Illinois could have a very big impact in that area. The article “Small in size, big on power” explains how the microbatteries offer phenominal power in their small size. The article explains that,

The most powerful batteries on the planet are only a few millimeters in size, yet they pack such a punch that a driver could use a cellphone powered by these batteries to jump-start a dead car battery – and then recharge the phone in the blink of an eye.

Now that is some serious juice and could unlock a world of potential in mobile computing. Potential in both features and also the size of devices. I’m all for a time when running low on battery power is not a concern the same day devices are charged.

Now if you pair that with the work of a California teen who has come up with a way to recharge a dead phone in just 20 seconds flat the future of mobile technology looks even brighter. Just this past long weekend here in Canada as we celebrated Victoria Day my iPhone was brought to it’s knees. Before I powered it off at 10% battery life. I was at a trailer enjoying the sunshine and barbeque food with family and friends. I was doing some internet browsing, on a few social networks and all of it through LTE so my battery was understandable getting low. As a result I’ve started looking for external battery packs that I can use to extend the charge of my mobile devices. With a two week holiday coming up later this year I’m anticipating a greater need for the device. Well imagine if all it took to recharge my battery was 20 seconds, 5 minutes would make me jump for joy so at under half a minute that is just unbelievable.

As this Yahoo piece explains Eesha Khare used her impressive knowledge of chemistry to solve the issue of a “dead battery” in mobile devices. She invented an energy storage device that can charge a cell phone in 20-30 seconds! The “supercapacitor” stores lots of energy in a tiny space and can hold it for a long time. It also lasts for 10,000 recharge cycles, compared to the usual 1,000 for current rechargeable batteries. The invention was part of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair that took place in Phoenix, AZ a week ago. Eesha Khare for her supercapacitor got the Young Scientist Award along with $50,000. The prize however is very small compared to what this could mean for the world of mobile. So with brilliant people making these kind of advancements the future of mobile looks even brighter. It must be powered by a microbattery.

Sources: Illinois News Bureau, NBC.com and Yahoo

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Bnnr

Why Google Glass is a perfect play by Google

Google Glass is the best thing Google has done for many reasons. It is much more important than their Android OS and no one even knows it yet. Why google glass is a perfect play by Google begins with the fact that they have first mover advantage. But it goes far beyond that, it spiders into everything Google and that is why it can become their most important venture, if it is done right!

Google Glass like iTunes has first mover advantage. There are no competitors in the market yet and what that does is allow Google to develop their 1.0 product and perfect it long before anyone gets a clue and joins the party. It is a huge advantage for them because when the device does become more popular and competitors appear Google will already have a huge head start. I compared it to iTunes because iTunes existed long before the iPhone, iPad, App store, etc. ever came about. It was just yet another media player. This afforded Apple the time to work on it, implement and get things working while having it work on Macs and Windows. Then when the mp3 craze hit and iPods became a craze it became the gateway to media and a way to control the device. The iPhone, iPad and app store then just increased the place iTunes plays in the complete package.

Now think about how Google Glass will tie into all of Google’s enterprises. It will allow the person wearing it to use Google’s search engine whenever they have a question or quandary. Google will have images from all over the world with Exif data. Images that can be incorporated into Google Maps for up to the minute data of locations. Apps developed for Goggle Glass will tie into the Android ecosystem enticing developers to push the platform further. The glasses will enable users to use all of Google’s services without effort. It will have the same effect as buying apps or music for 99 cents in iTunes. The low price makes the purchase an afterthought and that is what makes it so easy to shop. In the same way the ease of use of Google Glass will make the use of Google services an afterthought.

There will be some hurdles though, the first of which will be society. The possibilities of being recorded at anytime will call privacy into question and that is a very big hurdle. There might be indicators of when the glasses are taking a picture, recording video and/or audio. However hackers will quickly and easily be able to remove those indicators I’m sure. Then as with anything else there is always as much use of it for less than moral things as there will be for the use intended. Use of the device by voyeurs, spies and not to mention the criminal element will demand systems in place to counteract those possibilities if possible.

Yet another hurdle will be the need for people to talk to their devices. Whether asking questions, searching for things or dictating an email. There are already digital assistants that respond to voice, Siri and Google Now are just a few. Yet like the first bluetooth headsets most people still feel uncomfortable using them in very public places. The stigma of talking to yourself still exists along with the fact that private and personal things would need to be said instead of written. Things that people may not want to be public knowledge but perhaps like privacy, which is in a very different place now than it was years ago due to social networks and other online services. The whole attitude about talking to our devices might change and maybe Google Glass is the thing to push that shift. If that happens we might just end up knowing a lot more about each other more than we care to know in some cases.

If Google is able to market the glasses properly and get over the hurdles it has great possibilities. Schools would be a great place to have Google Glass for each student. It could eventually enable students not to take notes but instead to listen to the teacher/professor during class. The glasses’ OCR would pick up the written material on the blackboard and transfer it to a document while the student listened to the lesson. Then talk about an easy way to catch up on missed classes students could just borrow the video from a friend and share the electronic notes. The possibilities are just endless, malls could have their layout in a code that would be scanned by shoppers. Then when you need to find a store it’s as simple as looking it up or asking the glasses for directions. Shopping in a store and need to know the price of an item just scan the tag. These things for the most part are available now in more rudimentary ways. The best part for Google is the company will become the purveyor of all data!

This is why Google Glass is a perfect play by Google. But it will all depend on how it is handled so Google better hope they don’t drop the ball on it’s development and roll out. How we react to Google Glass depends on the user experience, how it is advertised and how accessible it is to customers aka price. So I guess we will just have to wait and see how it plays out in time.

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GFiber

Google Fiber everywhere

You have inevitably hear about Google Fiber by now. It has launched in Kansas City, will be expanding to Austin Texas and was announced to be heading to Provo Utah.  Google Fiber is using Google installed fiber optics to bring internet and TV service at Google says 100 times faster. The hope is that Google would eventually step into the ring as an Internet Service Provider(ISP) and bring Google Fiber nationwide. However many posts have been written about the enormous cost it would take and also the roadblocks and hurdles Google would face to take on such an endeavour. However there is a way that there could be Google Fiber everywhere.

Well at least here in North America. The problem is just one word “Greed” but you’ll understand more about that when we get into it. It will take many billions of dollars to bring Google Fiber to all the cities in North America. A huge cost even for Google but if you think about what fiber and that 100 times faster internet means there is a way that it might happen. The recent talks of the new video game consoles Sony’s Playstation 4 and Microsoft’s XBox 720 or whatever it will be called brought up a very interesting idea. The idea that games would be streamed to the consoles making a fast and stable internet connection a must. Then if you think about the topic of streaming music like Matt Weber imagines again Google Fiber would make it a more attainable goal.

Google might not have enough money on their own to tackle this project but if they roped in Microsoft, Sony and some of the other big companies who stand to gain from Google Fiber. Then it could very well become a reality and along with it crazy internet speeds that would enable gaming consoles to stream games like butter. The North American market is huge for video games and since the casual market and mobile devices have gained in popularity gaming consoles are not what they once were. So they stand to gain in a very big way from having Google Fiber in as many places as possible. However like I said the problem is going to be greed. When you have so many big companies in one venture it will undoubtedly lead to them arguing over who gets a cut of what. Parties will threaten to go to the existing ISPs who will be shaking at the thought of Google Fiber. That would be the huge monkey wrench that smashes the possibility of innovation and advancement and that’s too bad.

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PS4 share button was pitched using Microsoft software

The PS4 has gained a lot of respect in the gaming circles ever since it was announced. The developers simply can’t stop praising the wonderful gaming console. That is because the PS4 has been designed by keeping the development ease in mind. The PS4 follows an architecture which is much closer to the one which PC has and hence has made every developer on this planet instantly familiar with the PS4 hardware.

Remember in the start of the current console cycle, the games were not too amazing? And by the end they are absolutely stunning? Well that is because the developers have become intimately familiar with the architecture of the consoles. By knowing what the console is actually capable of is one thing, being able to milk the resources to the fullest is another and it takes a lot of time. The point is PS4 is a more developer friendly console and it is quite evident because the PS4 share button was suggested by a first party developer.

PS4-Controller-Design-Concept

“I think it was [creative director] Nathan Gary in Santa Monica studios who suggested it,” said Sony’s President of Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida in an interview with Edge Magazine. “So Nathan put together a PowerPoint and pitched in this Share button idea, and we all went, that’s a brilliant idea! So it was a pretty quick decision after he suggested it and I’m sure he’s pretty proud of his contribution.”

So the share button the latest Dualshock 4 controller was pitched using software made by Microsoft, a company which is the archrival of Sony in the gaming console business. Well to be honest, we all use Microsoft products. I love what Microsoft office has to offer, hell this article would have a ton of mistakes if it weren’t for the magic of Microsoft Word.  So in a way Microsoft is responsible of enabling Sony to implement their ideas in a more professional manner. The irony while not so strong in this case, is still present nevertheless.

Source: TechRadar

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Modder

Modder Creates System that Plays Games from 18 Consoles

When you learn how to be a modder, you learn very quickly that all things are possible. Modding a game allows you to break down the structures that the developers have provided for players, and it allows you to create your own structure. Whether you’re modding games or consoles, there are many possibilities at your fingertips if you can find out how to make them happen. One modder recently showed off his combo console that can play games from 18 different systems.

John “Bacteria” Grayson was tired of having so many consoles sitting around his house. He wasn’t a big fan of emulators, saying that it doesn’t bring all the nostalgia from playing the game on the original console. With this problem, he decided to start Project Unity. His goal was to create one giant console out of his other systems that he had. His console would only require one power supply and one video output, and just one controller as well.

As far as projects go, Grayson proves that he’s as good of a modder as anyone. He proved his dedication, putting 3,500 hours into building the console. He estimates that the cost of parts and the consoles that he used would cost roughly £700.

The list of consoles that his new modded console can play is impressive. This list includes Atari 7800, Colecovision, Dreamcast, GameCube (with GBA Player), Amstrad GX4000, Intellivision, Mega Drive, Nintendo 64, NeoGeo, NES, PSone, PS2, Sega Master System, Saturn, Super Nintendo and Turbo Grafx. That is a huge list of consoles, especially when adding in the GameBoy games.

As far as mods go, Grayson’s Project Unity is an impressive feat that any modder could look up to. He documented the experience well, and even created a YouTube video to showcase his work.

After watching Grayson’s work for that 17 minute video, I’m a little bit jealous of his skills and dedication. I had never seen anything quite as intense as this before as far as console mods go.

If you had the knowledge, would you be willing to put aside the time needed to put together a modded console such as this? What are the most impressive mods that you have ever seen? Let us know by leaving a comment!

Source: Eurogamer

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Internet effectively ruined my monthly LAN party

I love gaming but I’m not really into the whole online gaming business. Sure I try out multiplayer but only for reviewing purposes. I used to hold a monthly LAN party for my friends and cousins, a bunch of guys who would get together and have good old fashioned multiplayer fun. This was a tradition, one whole Saturday night, pizzas, coke and a lot of trash talking. It started back when I was in high school and decided that I don’t want any more friends. And since then, I have the same group of friends who love playing video games.

Back then around 2006 (I’m not that old) not all of us had good internet connections. And the only way we would get some multiplayer action was either go to the local gaming zone or haul our PCs at one place. As we were cheapskates, we chose the inexpensive way. The LAN party was the most amazing night of the month, mostly because we could actually hit each other and do victory dances. Tension used to run rampant in high stakes matches, the matches which determined which team will pay for the next pizza.

LAN party

But as internet became faster and cheaper, many of my friends decided that carrying their PCs to my place was getting cumbersome and old. And many of us started earning so it wasn’t about saving money either. So one by one everyone decided that the monthly LAN party was too much of a hassle to pull off. That was the end of my monthly LAN party. We played online a couple of times but it was absolutely no match for the fun of a LAN party. One can’t do the victory chicken dance alone in a room, which is just wrong. There was no pressure of performing great and there was no time limit. People on the internet are 90% or the times jerks, and playing online just doesn’t capture the thrill of a LAN party.

Maybe it was people growing up or maybe it was the ease which internet provided, but it ruined a perfectly great LAN party tradition. Now some of my closest friends visit for the rare XBOX LAN gaming session, but XBOX isn’t the same as the PC. Quake, Counter Strike, Medal of Honor and COD2 are best played with a mouse in your hand and so does Command and Conquer. These days I play Borderlands 2 split screen with my best friend and this is as close to a “LAN party” I go. It’s true what they say; once you get old(er) there are no fun times.

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Cheap Apps Bnnr

Don’t be a cheapskate when buying apps

The race to the bottom in app pricing has been talked about a lot. People will always pay the least they have to whenever they can but just keep in mind “A cheap app isn’t always good and a good app isn’t always cheap”. But as consumers, customers we get so much more for the price we pay when we buy an app. So please don’t be a cheapskate when buying apps.

I wrote a post sometime last year about just this topic and since it’s now gone that means I get to try to bring some attention to the issue again. Over at Macworld Lex Friedman (@lexfri) wrote a great post “A $5 app isn’t expensive” it’s a great read, check it out, there are many great points. I’m also going to talk about the same topic and will speak on some of the same points but with my own opinions and point of view. To start off with let’s look at what we get when we buy an app. If I buy an app I’m not only able to run it on my iPhone. I can run it on my iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad or iPad Mini, if I owned all of those devices. I don’t need to pay again or pay a licensing fee for each device I just pay for the app once and I can enjoy it on a multitude of devices. The updates to apps so far have also been free. I still have apps I bought when I owned an iPhone 3G. Whenever there are updates to increase the functionality, enjoyment, etc. I get it without having to pay a cent.

Coffee, Beer and Smokes

Now I’m not saying buying coffee at Starbucks, a 24 pack of Bud or a pack of cigarettes is less worthwhile than an app. Every person can spend their hard earned money on whatever they want. My point is if a person just takes a minute to add up how much buying a Latte, 24 pack or cigarettes costs for a month or a year and then compare it to the cost of buying a few good apps at 2.99, 5.99, 10.99. It would be eye-opening what the difference in cost is and yet the apps will be entertaining, useful and relevant much longer than any of the consumables will last. Now I know there are people who might buy bargain price coffee or not drink or smoke at all. However that is not the point, most people have things that we spend money on, hobbies, interests things that we enjoy. Apps provide the same things enjoyment, productivity, creativity, entertainment. So why do we value them so cheaply when compared to other things?

Developers need to make a living too

I know the executives from Apple always stand on stage and show the image of a check for the Billions of dollars that has been paid out to developers. The amount seems enormous and paints a picture that every developer is rolling on easy street. Now while I’m sure many developers have been successful at making a living take a look at the number of apps that are in the app store. If every developer was raking in thousands of dollars the money paid out would be much larger. It’s a hard process to create these apps that help us to do things, create things, keep in touch, or just relax. Just like you and I these developers have families, mortgages and bills to pay. I feel like this is something that is partially Apple’s fault because by bringing big companies up on stage at their keynotes they have made developers out to be these big companies able to produce blockbuster titles. People don’t get to see the little guys who are trying to make it on their ideas and talent. So what happens when consumers shy away from the pricier apps? The standard of quality of the apps goes down because if only the cheap apps sell then developers will just make apps cheaply. Apps will get abandoned or never be updated because the developer will just move on to some other endeavor that will feed their family. Perhaps one day we will even start having to pay for updates, it might seem impossible now but never say never!

Race to the bottom

When I compare Apple’s app store to the Jailbreak app store “Cydia” it’s funny because it is not as I would expect. In Cydia there hasn’t been a race to the bottom with most apps costing 0.99 cents. There are many themes, tweaks and apps that are free whether supported through ads or they were just made out of the developers love of providing features or a theme. However many of the functional tweaks, apps or full system wide themes, tweaks like Gridlock 2, Infinidock, Zephyr and apps like BiteSMS, will cost 3.99 all the way up to 10.99 and people will pay. Perhaps because there aren’t a multitude of apps that do much of the same thing but cost less. Perhaps because the developers set the price and you either pay or move on. I’m not sure why but that is what I would love to see in the Apple app store. I’d love to see apps that cost what they are worth, for the gorgeous interface, brilliant features and the usefulness it provides to the customer. I’d love to see more developers making more polished apps because customers are willing to pay for them when they are put in the app store.

So the next time anyone is browsing the app store or a friend or family member has suggested an app. Try not to let yourself react in shock at the sticker price of the app and immediately close the app store. I’m sure many of us can afford that $2, $5 or $10 so just consider if what the app will enable you to do is worth the price tag. Don’t be a cheapskate when buying apps!

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