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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Hawken: Adhesive’s Cool Mech-Shooter Is Free, Has Release Date

Author: Arthur Ricky  //  Category: Games and Players

Hawken set to launch as free-to-play PC shooter.

Hawken, the visually-stunning, Unreal Engine-powered shooter from indie studio Adhesive Games, will launch as a free-to-pay title in December.

Adhesive confirmed that its Meteor Entertainment division will publish Hawken as an F2P title after we broke the news last month.

Hawken had initially been touted as a digital console title for PSN, XBLA or Steam.

Adhesive co-founder Chris Lalli told NowGamer last year: “We aren’t sure which platform Hawken will be released on and we’d like to keep those options open.”

Khang Le, co-founder and chief executive of Adhesive told VB: “There hasn’t been a good robot game in a while and nothing that looks like what we’re trying to do, which is more like Call of Duty multiplayer.”

Older PCs will also support Hawken, according to Le, with the session-based gameplay supported by micro-transactions.

Hawken is due to launch on 12 December 2012 (or 12/12/12) – register for the closed beta here.

Check out Hawken’s stunning visuals in action for more.


Apple supplier data suggests great holiday sales

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

With just under two weeks to go until Apple announces financial results on January 24, analysts are lining up their refined estimates for just how well the company may have done for the holiday quarter. UBS analyst Maynard Um, in a research note to his clients quoted on GigaOM, believes that supplier data is pointing the way to Apple’s best-ever quarter.

Um bases his assumption on the preliminary first quarter revenues for Multi-Fineline Electronix (MFLX), a manufacturer of flexible printed circuit boards for products including the iPhone and iPad. MFLX also says that it saw an increase in shipments from its largest key customer, which Um believes to be Apple.

Those results follow others that indicate that Apple’s first quarter (October – December) may be incredibly good. Verizon noted “better than expected iPhone shipments” last week, AT&T touted strength in iPhone sales last month and Cirrus Logic (which makes analog chips for iPad and iPod) reported better results this week. In addition, Dialog Semi, Catcher (makes the metal casings for Macs), TPK (maker of iPad 2 touch panels), and Hon Hai (assembles iPhones and iPads) all reported strong December results.

As usual, TUAW is liveblogging the Apple results call on the afternoon of January 24, so be sure to join us to hear the news.

Apple supplier data suggests great holiday sales originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Thu, 12 Jan 2012 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Google Currents is latest Newspad reader-feeder app

Author: ally keer  //  Category: Apple, iPhone

We had an explosion of news apps this week. Zite added an iPhone version of its app, so did Flipboard. Now Google has joined the party with Google Currents, a free app that creates a magazine for you based on sites that you like, as well as content from particular bloggers and commentators. The app is universal for iOS devices.

When you open Currents for the first time you’re taken to a setup page. You can select from ‘Publisher editions’, which include sources like Forbes, Popular Science, Fast Company and many more. Those magazines may include video, animations, maps and social streams.

Then Currents provides what it calls ‘trending editions’, using Google algorithms to find the top stories in categories like sports, science and entertainment.

You can also incorporate blogs or feeds, and Google provides a helpful list, or you can select your own favorites. Currents can be used to read your content offline, and if you have more than one iOS device it will sync the content between them. You can also add anything from your Google Reader subscriptions

There is a handy search function, which many of the competing news apps don’t have, and of course stories can be emailed, saved to Instapaper, or forwarded to Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. The layout is easy on the eyes, and the various controls are obvious with buttons for home, back, forward and share.

There are some negatives. In multiple sessions with the app I found it rather slow using an iPad on a WiFi network. Yes, there is a lot of background downloading and processing, but competing apps like Zite, Flipboard and Pulse News are much faster. I don’t see any indication that the app learns from my selections, which is the real attraction of Zite.

In Currents, I pick my sources, and I explore them. It does’t have the wonderful news discovery aspect of Zite, and that will keep my use of Currents to a minimum. This is, of course, a first stab at an iOS magazine app from Google, and it will doubtless get better. That said, much of the competition is better now, but if you’re looking for a news app, give it a trial to see if it meets your needs.

Gallery: Currents news magazine from Google

Google Currents is latest Newspad reader-feeder app originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Sat, 10 Dec 2011 21:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Microsoft Could Do More To Stop Xbox Live Fraud – Ex-Hacker

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

Poacher-turned-gamekeeper comments on XBL claims.

Microsoft should have better measures in place to prevent Xbox Live users’ accounts being compromised according to former hacker, and current developer/security expert Cal Leeming.

Microsoft has recently reiterated that the Xbox Live network has not been hacked – in spite of consumer claims to the contrary – and has blamed the reported issues on phishing scams.

Leeming, who works with businesses to improve their online security, thinks the latest claims that Xbox Live has been hacked could be down to one of two things.

“From the users perspective, some of them have been de-frauded and are 100 per cent positive they have not entered their details into a phishing site,” explained Leeming. “But people tend to have a habit of re-using their login credentials, so it could be that there was a huge breach of email/passwords list (we’ve seen lots of these leaked out over the last few months) from a completely different place, and that scammers are basically going through and seeing which ones are valid on the Xbox login portal.”

While not a breach of Xbox Live, it could be a widespread issue for users.

“We see a lot of this on one of our clients, and we’ve actually developed investigation tools to find possibly leaked accounts, and issue a password reset – something which Microsoft (and many other companies) don’t actively do,” Adds Leeming. “In which case, it’s MS’s fault for not providing good enough account security (maybe they should go down the WoW route and issue people with hardware token ids).”

Alternatively, Leeming alleges that Microsoft could be downplaying any Xbox Live breach bto avoid losing “millions in fees/reimbursements” and “a roasting by Visa/Mastercard and their merchant” as well as negative publicity.

“MS (like many other companies) aren’t doing enough to prevent this behaviour, nor are they doing enough to help themselves and their customers once the news hits the media,” Leeming concludes.

NowGamer has been contacted by numerous gamers whose Xbox Live accounts have been compromised – Microsoft today reiterated it’s statement from yesterday that Xbox Live has not been hacked.

As a precaution, we suggest changing your XBL account password via

We’ve contacted Microsoft for further comment. The platform holder currently advises customers that it is:
- Working closely with affected members who have been in touch with us to investigate and/or resolve any unauthorized changes to their accounts resulting from phishing scams;

- Warning people against opening unsolicited e-mails which may contain spyware and other malware that can access personal information contained on their computer without their knowledge or permission;

- Reminding all customers that they should be very careful to keep all personal information secure whenever online and never supply e-mail addresses, passwords or credit card information to strangers.
Microsoft remains vigilant at all times regarding the security of Xbox LIVE customers. As always, Xbox LIVE customers who have any queries or concerns should contact Xbox LIVE Customer Service on 0800 587 1102 or visit”

Piracy to Blame for I Am Alive Not Coming to PC

Author: ally keer  //  Category: Apple, PS3, Xbox

I Am Alive was, once upon a time, headed to PC in addition to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Following a switch from one developer to another and a long stretch of silence about the game’s status, it’s now headed to 360 and PS3 — but not PC — as a downloadable title. The lack of a PC version is thanks in large part to piracy according to the game’s creative director, Stanislas Mettra.

“We’ve heard loud and clear that PC gamers are bitching about there being no version for them,” Mettra told IncGamers. “But are these people just making noise just because there’s no version or because it’s a game they actually want to play? Would they buy it if we made it?”

Steam Autumn Sale Offers to Keep You Home on Black Friday

Author: Arthur Ricky  //  Category: Games and Players

Steam autumn sale

Videogame fans have plenty of sales to try taking advantage of come Friday (or even Thursday in some cases). We’ve already compiled a list of highlights from this year’s Black Friday videogame deals, a select number of which you’ll be able to take advantage of from home. PC game fans can avoid the lines and general misery altogether so long as they don’t mind shopping on Steam; Valve has just kicked off a conveniently-timed autumn sale that can save you some money and, just as importantly for some, spare you from even having to think about going to the store later this week.

The sale runs from today, November 23, through November 27. There are a great number of titles on sale in addition to a selection of games that are available at a discount for 24 hours at a time. Once that 24 hours is up another round of games will be made available.

Japan Review Check: Mario Kart 7, Sonic Generations

Author: ally keer  //  Category: Games and Music, Nintendo

A quick look at the highlights among the games coming out in Japan this coming week, courtesy the review pages of Famitsu magazine:

- Mario Kart 7 (10/9/9/9, 37 points): The point winner in this week’s issue was a pretty predictable one. “The game’s made so you’re always able to stage a comeback, making it approachable and enjoyable for anyone,” Famitsu wrote. “Competing for time is also exciting, and there’s more than enough room for hardcore play here. The Community feature makes netplay a lot more accessible than before, and finding opponents via Street Pass is also impressive. It’s really exciting to think how the community’s going to unfold.”

Four Million Gamers Using Call of Duty Elite, One Million Paying to Do So

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

Call of Duty Elite

Call of Duty Elite is an interesting subject as it’s the first service of its kind. Whether it succeeds or fails — and there have been predictions it’ll do both — is, unfortunately, no indication of whether a comparable service would follow suit as no game has the sort of user base that Call of Duty does. Regardless, while the service is still not at 100 percent, it managed amass four million registrations after only six days, one quarter of which are paying for premium memberships.

That’s a full one million people who shelled out extra to gain access to Elite’s premium perks which include access to all downloadable map packs, Elite TV access, extra storage space for replay videos, daily tournaments where real-life prizes can be won, and more. It comes at a cost of $49.99 per year, although the $100 Hardened Edition of Modern Warfare 3 included a year’s worth of access for free.

From Computer Nerd to Dragon Quest Programmer: The Koichi Nakamura Story

Author: Arthur Ricky  //  Category: Apple, Nintendo

47-year-old Koichi Nakamura is one of those guys who joined the Japanese game industry early on and never quite left it. His company Chunsoft (which will formally merge with Spike next year) has held an influential role in the business for years — it programmed all of the Dragon Quest games until the sixth; it created the “sound novel” adventure genre, and it also pioneered the randomly-generated dungeon RPG genre on consoles with titles like Shiren the Wanderer. Way back in the day, however, it was just Koichi Nakamura. And Koichi Nakamura was an abashed computer nerd.

“I was living out in the rural areas of Shikoku western Japan back in high school,” he told Famitsu magazine for their retro-gaming column. “I didn’t have anyplace to sell my games, so getting them published in magazines was the best I could do. It was over an hour by train to the nearest computer store, and that was the only one in the entire prefecture.”