Trapit for iPad is a unique news discovery app

Author: ally keer  //  Category: Apple, iPhone

I have found several news apps I really like over the last couple of years, like Zite, Flipboard and Pulse News. Still, there’s always room for something new, and Trapit is different and useful. Trapit for iPad was born out of an artificial intelligence project completed by DARPA and SRI, and has some of the same DNA as Siri.

You sign up for a free subscription, and start selecting some topics you are interested in. By having an account you can also sign in from a web browser. Unlike Zite, subjects are completely open. You can type anything and get hits from the more than 100,00 sources that are currently available.

Even better, like Zite, the app learns from your selections and fine tunes your topics over time. There are also a great many pre-selected subjects, like the White House race, daytime TV or the British open. You can also share your discoveries to Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. Email sharing is also supported.

So how does it work? Frankly, I didn’t find the setup particularly intuitive, and I was surprised to find absolutely no detailed help built into the app. The app is not impossible to set up, but I just found it a bit clunky. Topics are in alphabetical order. I’d prefer to arrange them myself. With all the articles available, Trapit has a nice feature that shows brand new items on the right side of the screen so you don’t miss them.

Results were good, both in the pre-selected subjects, and some really obscure topics I created. The search algorithm seems quite sophisticated, and if there are mistakes you can find tune them, and eliminate topics that you no longer want to search for. Mailing articles was flawless. I think the biggest advantage of this app is the freedom of topic selection, and the ability to learn as you seed more and more topics. I wouldn’t replace any of the news discovery apps I have now, but I certainly think Trapit is worth a look, especially for free.

Gallery: Trapit for iPad

Trapit for iPad is a unique news discovery app originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Thu, 19 Jul 2012 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Is This What PlayStation 4 Looks Like?

Author: Arthur Ricky  //  Category: Apple, Games and Players, NDS, PS3, Sony

PS4 takes one step closer to reality.

The first images of what could be the PlayStation 4 has emerged, as found in the latest issue of Play magazine.

Play commissioned artist Ross Board to design the image based on Sony’s product line and history, technology trends and the likely architecture of the PlayStation 4 itself.

Play believes the PlayStation 4 will have a Blu-Ray drive, in spite of the recent Gaikai deal. The outlet also believes Sony’s next console will feature an internal power source, four USB 3.0 ports, PowerXCell and will continue to use DualShock as its primary input device.

“The next generation will arguably the last that uses physical media,” the magazine writes. “Downloads and streaming means publishers don’t have to worry about second-hand sales, while the continued success of services shows digital is the way forward. Problem? UK’s broadband infrastructure is poor.”

The latest issue of Play is available now from newsagents, iTunes, Imagine Shop and

Modern Warfare 3: MW2 Map Terminal Availabe For Free On Xbox Live

Author: ally keer  //  Category: Games and Players, PS3, Xbox

‘No Russian’ multiplayer map returns to Modern Warfare courtesy of Infinity Ward.

Modern Warfare 3 players can now get the first, free classic map for the game, with Modern Warfare 2 airport map Terminal now available on Xbox Live.

Hit the link to download the 65MB map for free.

It’s not the only classic map set to return to new CoD titles – tight Black Ops map NukeTown is a pre-order bonus for Treyarch’s future-set sequel.

Expect Terminal on PC and PS3 in a month.

Daily iPhone App: Over: text+ photos lets you annotate your photos with ease

Author: Arthur Ricky  //  Category: Apple, iPhone

If you’re looking for an easy way to add text to your photos, then you should check out Over: text+ photos. The lightweight photo editor only does text overlays, but it does so with style and ease.

Over uses a dial as its menu, which is a nice change from the traditional button-driven interface. It includes 19 fonts, and you can buy more via an in-app purchase. Besides changing the font type, you can also adjust the size and alignment of the text. If you want to change the text, just tap on it. The text box will re-open and let you make changes.

The only drawback I found is the text color, which is limited to shades of grey, white and black. These colors are compatible with most photos, but this limitation might be disappointing for users who like to add a splash of color to their text. This is an easy feature that hopefully will appear in a future version of the app.

Once you’ve tweaked the text to your liking, you can share the annotated image via Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, or email. You can also save it to your camera roll. Interested iOS owners can download the Over: text+ photos app from the iOS App Store for US$1.99.

Daily iPhone App: Over: text+ photos lets you annotate your photos with ease originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Tue, 17 Jul 2012 21:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Battlefield 4 Confirmed, Beta Coming in Autumn 2013

Author: ally keer  //  Category: Games and Players

Battlefield 4 is happening EA has confirmed, and beta access will be granted with a purchase of Medal of Honor: Warfighter.

Battlefield 4 is in development at DICE, EA has confirmed.

The game will be powered by Frostbite 2 and a beta will tak place in Autumn 2013 – it will be accessible if you pre-order Medal of Honor: Warfighter Limited Edition ahead of launch.

The reveal leaked on Origin earlier this week. More details on Battlefield 4 will be released at a later date, EA said.

“Though Battlefield and Medal of Honor Warfighter each offer players a completely unique experience, they are united by their underlying technology base – Frostbite. These are two of the hottest shooters, coming together to deliver a one-two punch of action, intensity and shooter entertainment,” said EA labels president Frank Gibeau.

We guess that means Battlefield 4 will launch next year too, although it seems unlikely to hit next-gen.

Siri’s novelty is wearing off … for some

Author: ally keer  //  Category: Apple, iPhone

New York Times technology writer Nick Bilton may be breaking up with Siri, per his post on the NYT Bits blog.

Bilton’s on-again, off-again love affair with Apple’s intelligent assistant seems to be familiar territory for some other iPhone 4S users. He notes that “Many people I have spoken to have switched Siri off and reverted to the iPhone’s voice dictation service, which is more reliable because it doesn’t use Siri’s artificial intelligence software.”

According to Bilton, Gene Munster — our favorite securities analyst from Piper Jaffray — ran a series of 1,600 voice tests with Siri. It could hear requests fairly well, understanding 89 percent of requests made in a quiet room and 83 percent of those made on a noisy city street. But Siri’s understanding isn’t that great; Munster said that it could only accurately answer a question 68 percent of the time in a quiet room or 62 percent of the time on the street.

Munster gave Siri a “D” and says that the beta service needs to sharply improve. Bilton has spurned Siri for another sexy voice, that of Google Voice Search on Android phones. He may not realize he can already use that same technology via the free Google Search app on his iPhone 4S.

The public seems to still have a fondness for Siri. A survey by John Barrett of Parks Associates cited in Bilton’s article showing that 55 percent of respondents gave Siri a high rating, 21 percent said it was “satisfactory,” and only 10 percent completely dissatisfied with it.

For me, I’ve found that the more I use Siri, the better my success with her. Maybe Siri likes me just because I used her as the lead character in a book, but I still find her enchanting, helpful, and sometimes mysterious. Don’t worry about that breakup with Nick Bilton, Siri; you’ll always have me, even if my love is a bit one-sided…

Siri’s novelty is wearing off … for some originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 16 Jul 2012 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Metal Gear Solid 5: Comic Con Reveal Rumours ‘Fake’ – Konami

Author: Arthur Ricky  //  Category: Games and Players, NDS

Did Hideo Kojima show Metal Gear Solid 5 behind closed doors at Comic Con? The evidence is mounting that he did.

Metal Gear Solid 5 could well have been revealed behind closed doors at Comic Con over  the weekend according to mounting speculation and a number of images alleged to have leaked from the reveal.

“Just got pulled into a back room at Comic Con by @HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN and showed some crazy new secret stuff. Wow,” Epic’s Cliff Bleszinski tweeted on Saturday, leading to speculation that Kojima was showing the next-gen Fox Engine at the event.

Turns out the presentation could have included MGS5 as well.

‘Metal Gear Solid 5: Open Ground Reconnaissance Endeavour’ (O.G.R.E. see?) is featured on fuzzy slides posted over on GAF, featuring lines such as ‘A Paradise Is Born Of The Bloodstained Earth’, while dialogue seems to read: “The moment we were cast out of heaven we became monsters,” and “Would she have wanted this? That doesn’t matter now.”

All sounds like it ties into MGS lore to us – check out our gallery for more.

Meanwhile, although Konami UK declined to comment to NowGamer on the rumours, the UK twitter account seemed to encourage the speculation before adding that the rumours are ‘fake’.

What should we believe? Are you hankering for MGS5? Let us know!

Electronic Arts Celebrated In This Month’s Retro Gamer Magazine

Author: ally keer  //  Category: Apple, Games and Players, NDS, Xbox

Retro Gamer takes a lot at videogames most recognisable developer and publisher, EA, as it celebrates 30 years in the industry.

Electronic Arts is now 30 years old, so we spoke to founder Trip Hawkins and several of his key staff about the company’s origins.

We also take a look at some of gaming’s most controversial games, including Carmageddon, Grand Theft Auto, Doom and Mortal Kombat, speak to the creators of the legendary Dungeon Master, and discover the truth of Rare’s Mire Mare.

Other highlights include the best clones of classic arcade games on Xbox Live Arcade, the making of hit arcade game Tempest, and an examination of why the Atari ST was so much more than the poor man’s Amiga.

Trip Hawkins speaks to Retro Gamer, and you can read the full article in issue 105, on sale 19 July, priced £4.99. Get your copy from all good newsagents, the Imagineshop, Zinio or iTunes.

Going to the London Olympics? Here are the transport apps you’ll need

Author: Arthur Ricky  //  Category: Apple, NDS, iPhone

The London 2012 Olympics officially start in just under two weeks. From July 27th until August 12th millions of combined spectators, journalists, and the world’s fittest athletes will descend upon the greatest city on the planet. During that time Transport for London estimates that there will be an extra four million visitors to the city. To put that in perspective, that’s adding over 50% to the capital’s normal population of 7.5 million. In addition, TFL estimates that up to one million extra people per day will be using London’s transport systems. What does that mean? Chaos, basically (and a huge pain for the people who live here).

But if you’re going to be one of the four million visitors there is some hope. You can stock up on London’s best transport apps that will help you navigate the city. Since I moved to London in 2007 I’ve tried virtually every London transportation app. In the list that follows, I’ve narrowed down the single best app from each category: tube, bus, car, bicycle, and boat.

Tube: Tube Map Pro

Going to the London Olympics Here are the transport apps you'll needHands down, Tube Map Pro by mxData Ltd is the best tube app out there. The app uses officially licensed maps from Transport for London that allows users to easily see an overview of the entire transport network and find out how to quickly get from one point to another. Besides maps and route planning, the app uses GPS to show you the closest station to you, features live departure boards, and lets you track the balance of your Oyster card (the Tube’s ticketing system) right in the app.

If you’re visiting London, Tube Map Pro is the single best app purchase you can make. Tube Map Pro is discounted to US$0.99 in honor of the games. The app is universal, so it works on both the iPhone and iPad. mxData also has a free, ad-supported version of the app called Tube Map.

Bus: London Bus Checker

Going to the London Olympics Here are the transport apps you'll needAfter the Tube, the mode of transport most visitors will be taking is the bus. London’s bus network is excellent, and many times it’s faster that the tube (when you take walking to stations into account). The best London bus app I’ve found is London Bus Checker by FatAttitude. The single best thing about this app is it lets you see, in real-time, when the next bus you need to catch is coming. If, for instance, your bus stop is around the corner you can check the app to see if the #55 is two minutes away and you need to run to make it, or if it’s 10 minutes away and you can mosey on over at your own pace.

Among the many other features, the app also offers stop alerts so you know when you’re approaching your stop and lets you see full route maps for London’s entire bus network. London Bus Checker is $2.99. It’s also a universal app, so it works on both the iPhone and iPad.

Car: Park-Up – London Parking

Going to the London Olympics Here are the transport apps you'll needLet me just say this right now: if you are planning to drive in the city during the London Olympics, you are crazy. Period. You’ll spend more time sitting in traffic then you will seeing all the sights London has to offer. That being said, I’m sure there will be some people who will still think that driving is the way to go. In that case, iOS’s Maps app is the best route planner for your transportation needs. However, just because Maps can get you there, it doesn’t mean you’ll actually find a place to park. That’s where Park-Up’s London Parking comes in.

The app tracks over 10,000 places to park in central London, from single street parking bays to entire car parks and parking garages. What’s really nice about the app is that you can view what kind of parking space it is before you get there. Tapping on any parking location will show you the hours and costs, and, if available, the number of spaces, height restrictions, and security arrangements. Park-Up London Parking is $4.99. It’s also a universal app, so it works on both the iPhone and iPad.

Boat: KPMG Thames Clippers

Going to the London Olympics Here are the transport apps you'll needA great way to get from one side of London to the other is by boat. The Thames is full of clipper ships that ferry people up and down the river. Many times, if you have to travel a long distance, this is actually the best way to go. Using KPMG Thames Clippers by Seligman Ventures, users can enter their start and destination piers and view the official timetables from Thames Clippers. Do note, however, that these time tables are not updated in real time.

KPMG Thames Clippers is a free app for iPhone.

Bicycle: Barclays Bikes

Going to the London Olympics Here are the transport apps you'll needCompared to cities in the US, London is extremely bike friendly (though it does have some catching up to do with its European neighbors). Chances are you won’t be bringing your bicycle to London, but that shouldn’t stop you from cycling around the city (which is probably the best, fastest, and funnest way to not only get around the capital, but to see it as well). Barclays Bank has a cycle hire program with the city. The program installed thousands of bicycles at spots around the capital that anyone can use. The first half-hour is free, and after that charges are relatively cheap.

If you are going to be hiring Barclays cycles, you’ll want to download the official Barclays Bikes app. The app shows you where the closest cycling docking terminal is, lets you calculate the cost of how much a bike hire will be (based on the time you plan to have it), and lets you plan your cycling route based on places, postcodes, or address. And the best thing about the app is it not only shows you how close the nearest cycling docking station is, but it also shows you how many bicycles are available at that station.

Barclays Bikes is a free app for iPhone.

Everything: Citymapper – London Transport

Going to the London Olympics Here are the transport apps you'll needAll of the above apps are excellent for their chosen mode of transportation. But what if you want to get from one place to another and choose your mode of transportation based on time or cost? That’s where Citymapper – London Transport by Citymapper Inc. comes in.

The developers call the app a “Super Router” and boy, are they right! Just enter your start and end locations and Citymapper shows you a list of all your transport options including walking, cycling, bus, tube, rail, and cab. For each option, they also show you how much the journey will cost (or for cycling and walking, calories burned) and also how long the trip will take.

Citymapper does note that the app is still in beta, but in my tests it works quite well. Citymapper – London Transport is a free app for iPhone.

Check out screenshots from each app below and drop me a line in the comments if there’s a London transport app you love that I didn’t list.

Gallery: The top London transport apps for the 2012 Olympics

Tube Map ProLondon Bus CheckerPark-Up - London parkingBarclays BikesKPMG Thames Clippers

Going to the London Olympics? Here are the transport apps you’ll need originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Sat, 14 Jul 2012 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Borderlands 2: ‘A Quick Playthrough Takes Around 60 Hours ‘ – Pitchford

Author: ally keer  //  Category: Games and Players, NDS

Borderlands 2 will take you around 60 hours to complete if you’re quick about it, according to Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford. More details here.

Borderlands 2 is rather massive, and it took the guys at strategy guide creators Brady Games over 58 hours to complete during a quick playthrough – Possibly the slowest ‘quick’ playthrough ever documented.

Speaking with NowGamer, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford explained why it took the team so long to finish Borderlands 2:

“In the first Borderlands, a typical average playthrough would see people finishing the game at between level 30 and 35, and it would take them between 20 to 25 hours, according to our metrics.”

“But when the guys who are doing the Borderland 2 strategy guide for Brady Games came to visit us, they planned to spend a week to play the game and get everything they needed out of it to write the guide.”

“Their approach was that they were going to start by taking a character and just playing through the game really fast, and then they would play the other characters, do second playthroughs, find hidden stuff and do all of the challenges.”

“That very first, quick playthrough took them 58 hours, so they had to extend the time here to more than double, and come back a second time just to see everything.” 

“Part of why that happened is, when we were playing the first Borderlands, for most of us it became a hobby, just as it did for a lot of our fans. So we really took the idea that Borderlands 2 needed to be a hobby as well.”

As a result, Borderlands 2 has become twice the size in terms of scope and content, and features a new Badass Rank System that doesn’t have a level cap. You can technically level up your Badass Rank over 10,000 times, which is both awesome and nuts.

Check out more from Borderlands 2 and Randy Pitchford in our full interview in a few days.