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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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.

Minecraft Xbox 360: Patches, Features & DLC – Everything You Need To Know

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

Minecraft Xbox 360 news as it happens, all in our regularly updated round-up. Bookmark this page to stay informed.


We’ll be updating this page with new Minecraft Xbox 360 screens, patch notes, rumours and trailers as they happen, so bookmark this page and keep checking back for updates.

Last Updated 11/07/12


10/07/12 Minecraft Xbox 360: 4J Talks Updates, Texture Packs, Custom Skins

4J Studios has continued to discuss its plans for Minecraft Xbox 360, with hopes for new features and content currently pinned on the future 1.8.2 update.

4J said it is “looking at texture packs”, will add the ability for guest players to be blocked from affecting your world, “will be adding new content” and may even introduce custom, player-designed skins “much later on”, despite there being issues doing that on the console “that get lawyers all excited”.

Check out the full quotes and details here.


04/07/12 Minecraft Xbox 360 Patch 1.7.3 Adds New Skins DLC – First Images


On this day, 4J Studios revealed a batch of images for Minecraft 1.7.3’s new character skins. 

The Minecraft Xbox 360 Skin Pack 1 will add 40 new skins to the mix, and hans’t got a release date yet.

Some of the skins available in the pack include:


  • Creeper Man
  • ‘Splosion Man
  • Trials Man
  • Covenant Grunt
  • King
You can check out the skin pack DLC images in full here.




03/07/12 Minecraft Xbox 360 Patch 1.7.3 Release Date ‘Within 10 Days’

On this day, 4J Studios announced it had submitted Minecraft Xbox 360 patch 1.7.3 to Microsoft for approval, along with some additional patch notes:



  • Added pistons.
  • Fixed clay generation.
  • Flint and Steel or redstone is now required to trigger TNT
  • Fences can be stacked.
  • Added Shears.
  • Redstone wire now will connect to a repeater
  • Shears can be used to pick up leaf blocks.
  • Shears can be used to shear sheep without hurting them
  • Sheep no longer drop wool from being punched, only from being killed when they are unsheared.
  • New textures for Cobblestone and Brick blocks.
  • Silverfish skin was added (for Beta 1.8).




27/06/12 Minecraft Xbox 360 Edition To Have Trial Skin Packs, Maybe Server Rental


Minecraft Xbox 360 could offer players dedicated servers via similar rental system to that introduced in Battlefield 3.

Developer 4J Studios tweeted that discussions for dedicated servers “so far are around a rental” – a similar solution to Minecraft on PC.

Meanwhile the upcoming Skin DLC packs will feature ‘trial’ versions with some skin unlocked, according to the studio.



21/06/12 Minecraft Xbox 360: Open Servers, Skin Packs Detailed, Update 1.8.2 In The Works


Minecraft Xbox 360 Edition will support paid-for skin pack DLC when the 1.7.3 update launches in July, developer 4J Studios confirmed.

Skin packs will likely cost players MS points, 4J confirmed on Twitter and will contain “40+ skins per pack”, as well as some free skins per pack.

Although the 1.7.3 patch has yet to launch, 4J also confirmed it is already working on the next Minecraft Xbox 360 update – which will most closely resemble the PC beta version 1.8.2 – the Adventure Update.

Meanwhile, 4J also said that the adding open servers to the game was “in discussion”.



18/06/12 Minecraft Xbox 360 Edition 1.7.3 Update Coming In July With Skins DLC

Minecraft Xbox 360 Edition will be updated to version 1.7.3 in early July, as confirmed by 4J Studios. The developer also announced that the update would launch alongside a new skins DLC pack.

4J Studios also confirmed it would update the game to 1.7.3 then aim to jump to Beta 1.8.3 then bring Minecraft up to par with version 1.2.3 of the final code.


13/06/12 Minecraft Xbox 360: Update Expected In July, Adds Autosave, Multiple Fixes

Minecraft Xbox 360 developer 4J Studios revealed some the contents of its first patch on this day, including auto-save features and more. Here are some of the revealed patch notes here:

New additions:



  • Added an autosave, and the ability to turn autosave off, or set it from 15 minutes up to 2 hours in 15 minute steps.
  • Split the sensitivity controls into an in-game sensitivity and an in-menu sensitivity.
  • Added an Interface Opacity slider in the settings for plasma screen users.
  • Added a gamertag display in splitscreen, and the ability to enable/disable it in the settings.
  • Added an option in the settings menu to enable/disable in-game hints.
  • Added an option in the settings menu to enable/disable tooltips.
  • Added a co-ordinate display to the in-game map.
  • Added new sections in the How To Play on Multiplayer, Sharing Screenshots, and What’s New.
  • Added a warning message when attempting to place lava near the spawn area.




  • Fix for the leaderboard crash when toggling between filters/leaderboards.
  • Fix for server disconnect message appearing when offline or in leaderboards.
  • Fix for issue where posting a screenshot to Facebook caused a back out to the main menu.
  • Fix for clay generation.
  • Fix for ‘Awaiting Approval’ showing all the time on some signs.
  • Various crafting menu fixes.
  • Fix for being able to stand on sugarcane.
  • Fix for intermittent crash on saving.
  • Fix for duplication bug with the furnace.
  • Fix for not being able to place water near the spawn area.
  • Fix for intermittent problem on entering the Nether putting the player above the Nether world.
  • Fix for frame-rate drop around the edge of the world.
  • Fix for intermittent problem where some achievements were not being awarded.
  • Fix for graphical issue with stairs.
  • Fix for issue with enemies spawning inside a house when they shouldn’t.
  • Fix for Zombie Pigmen not being counted for leaderboard scores.



25/05/12 Minecraft Xbox 360 Played More Online Than Black Ops

This was the news on this day, following Xbox Live figures published by Microsoft. More people played Minecraft Xbox 360 than Call of Duty: Black Ops. That’s a big deal indeed.

Check out the full story here.


24/05/12 Minecraft Xbox 360: Update To Include ‘As Many PC Features As Possible’, says 4J Studios

4J Studios explained that it was trying to implement as many Minecraft PC features as it could into the first Minecraft Xbox 360 update. Here’s the studio’s quote:


“We are working with Daniel Kaplan at Mojang to define what is going in to the Xbox version”, 4J’s Paddy Burns explained, “But the aim is to include as many of the PC features that make sense on the Xbox as possible. The game isn’t Minecraft on the Xbox, it is Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition, so it isn’t really a direct port of the PC game.”

See the full story here.


23/05/12 Minecraft Xbox 360: Microsoft Refunding For SDTV Split-Screen Issues

Minecraft Xbox 360 owners running the game on standard definition TVs quickly found themselves unable to play the split screen version of the game. Microsoft quickly released a statement on the issue, and refunded anyone affected.

The statement read:


“We updated our pre-sale notification to inform customers that an HD screen is required for the split-screen multiplayer feature on Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition,” the publisher said in a statement.

“If a player does not have an HD screen and purchased this game prior to the notification update, they are eligible for a full refund through customer support.”


Check out the full story here.


16/05/12 Minecraft Xbox 360 Edition Update Coming ‘This Summer’

Mojang tweeted that an update for Minecraft Xbox 360 would be coming in the summer. Here’s the quote:

“A lot of people are asking about the next Minecraft Xbox update. All I can say is it’s planned to be released “this summer”

Check out the full story here.


15/05/12 Minecraft Xbox 360 Sells Over A Million Copies In Launch Week, Says Microsoft

Just a week after launching on Xbox Live Arcade, Microsoft revealed that Minecraft had sold over a million downloads. 

Check out the ull Minecraft Xbox 360 sales statement here.


11/05/12 Minecraft Xbox 360: How To Survive Your First 5 Days

NowGamer’s Adam Barnes and Dave Cook play through five days in Minecraft, and teach newcomers how to survive, create necessary tools and how to fend off the evil Creepers in a series of ace video guides.

Check out our guide – Minecraft Xbox 360: How to survive your first five days – here.


10/05/12 Minecraft Xbox 360 Became Profitable After An Hour On Sale, Says Notch

The day after Minecraft Xbox 360 launched, Mojang founder Notch revealed that the game made back its budget in just over an hour.

Check out the insane sales figures and Notch’s response here.


09/05/12 Minecraft Xbox 360 Gets Rave Reviews, Notch Hints At Positive Sales

Following Minecraft Xbox 360’s release, we collated all of the major reviews and scores out there online into one handy article. Notch also spoke out about the game’s superb success and hinted that the game was hitting stunning sales figures. 

Check out our Minecraft Xbox 360 review round up, and Notch’s quote here.


09/05/12 Minecraft Xbox 360 – The official NowGamer review!

We reviewed Minecaft on Xbox 360 in full, giving it a great score and revealing tons of new information of 4J Studio’s superb port. 

You can read our full Minecraft Xbox 360 review right here.


07/04/12 Minecraft Xbox Gets New Screens Ahead of Release

Minecraft Xbox 360 got another huge batch of new screens, courtesy of 4J Studios and Mojang. The new images show off Creepers, dungeons, snow environments, giant lakes and much more.

Check out this batch of Minecraft Xbox 360 images here.


06/04/12 Minecraft: Mojang ‘Keen For Xbox 360 Exclusive Content’

Minecraft Xbox 360 developer 4J Studios revealed that Mojang was keen for the game to grow in a different direction to the PC version.

Find out what that means in our article here.


05/04/12 Minecraft Xbox 360: Rebuilding Notch’s Masterpiece For Consoles – Interview

NowGamer spoke with Minecraft Xbox 360 developer 4J Studios about the responsiblity of porting such an epic game to Microsoft’s hardware, and disucces at length how the game would grow through future patches.

It’s a big interview rammed full of interesting facts, and you can read it all here.


04/04/12 Minecraft Xbox 360 gets its debut trailer, and tons of new information

4J Studios and Mojang released the debut trailer for Minecraft Xbox 360, showing off four player split screen mode, button prompts and much more. Watch the full trailer here.


22/03/12 Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition Gets May Release Date, High Price

As part of Microsoft’s ‘Arcade Next’ season, Minecraft was dated for Xbox Live release on 9 May, at a lofty 1600 MS Points, or £13 to talk in real money terms.

See the announcement here.


05/03/12 Minecraft Xbox 360: Castles, Dungeons, Enemies – Screens

Minecraft Xbox 360 got its first batch of gameplay screens, courtesy of Scottish developer 4J Studios. The initial shots show off a recreation of Edinburgh Castle, which is found in Scotland’s captial. Animals, plantlife and dungeons were also shown. 

Check out the big batch of screenshots here.


13/06/11 Minecraft Xbox 360 Kinect is optional, Notch confirms

Notch confirmed that while Minecraft Xbox 360 supports Kinect play, it is entirely optional. This was good news to anyone who isn’t a fan of the Kinect hardware.


06/06/11 Minecraft Xbox 360 is confirmed, along with Kinect support

The Minecraft Xbox 360 saga began as Microsoft announced that Minecraft would be making its way to Xbox Live Arcade, during its pre-E3 2011 conference. Check out the announcement here.

LinkedIn leaks password hashes, iOS app is scraping your meeting notes (Update)

Author: Arthur Ricky  //  Category: Apple, iPhone

It’s not a good day for the social network for professionals. Recently, someone posted about 6.5 million password hashes on a Russian hacker forum; it looks like many or most of those came from LinkedIn. Hashes themselves are not enough to grant a bad guy access to your LinkedIn account, but if your password is found in any dictionary or list of common passwords, it’s going to be cracked. Go ahead and change your LinkedIn password now — then we’ll get to the other LinkedIn news.

Last April, LinkedIn finally got around to rolling out an iPad app. Truthfully, the iPad app leaves a lot to be desired. It’s not nearly as good as LinkedIn’s iPhone app. However, both apps share a new feature that lets them sync with iOS calendars, thus allowing users to view upcoming events inside the LinkedIn app itself. The only problem appears to be, as the New York Times reports, that LinkedIn is collecting a user’s meeting notes and sending them back to LinkedIn’s servers.

Uh, oh.

Why this is a big deal — and why every LinkedIn user should be furious about this — is because it’s a major breach of privacy, it’s against Apple’s privacy guidelines, and nowhere is it stated in the app that enabling calendar sync will send any event notes back to LinkedIn servers.

As the New York Times points out, many people include confidential notes in a calendar event. For instance, a CEO might have a calendar event for a meeting in which, in addition to the time and place, he also might have written down the corporate call-in number along with its passcode and the company’s confidential financial highlights in the notes. Also, LinkedIn’s calendar sync doesn’t just upload your business calendars to LinkedIn’s serves, it uploads your personal ones as well. So if you have a calendar event for a private medical appointment and make a note on the event saying, “Ask doctor about the lump I found,” that’s on LinkedIn’s servers, too.

LinkedIn spokesperson Julie Inouye told the New York Times the company’s “calendar sync feature is a clear ‘opt-in’ experience…We use information from the meeting data to match LinkedIn profile information about who you’re meeting with so you have more information about that person.” She also noted that user’s iOS calendars only sync when the LinkedIn app is open and that users could opt out of the calendar feature at any point.

There are two problems with this answer: One, it doesn’t explain why users weren’t notified their private notes were being uploaded to LinkedIn’s servers, and two, it doesn’t address whether a user’s calendars and notes are deleted from the servers when a user who has opted in opts out, or if the already-uploaded events and their notes remain on LinkedIn’s servers forever.

Until LinkedIn rectifies this (or Apple steps up to the plate and pulls the app until it’s rectified) there’s little a user can do if they’ve already opted in to LinkedIn’s calendar sync. However, those who have opted in can still opt out, and thus at least prevent future entries from being uploaded to LinkedIn’s servers, by doing the following:

On the iPhone

  1. Open the LinkedIn iOS app on your iPhone.
  2. Select your profile (the “You” badge).
  3. Tap the cog wheel icon in the top-right corner.
  4. Tap “Add Calendar.”
  5. On the next screen, switch “Add Your Calendar” to OFF.

On the iPad

  1. Open the LinkedIn iOS app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap the cog wheel icon in the top-left corner.
  3. Switch “Show Calendar” to OFF.

Update: LinkedIn has issued a statement regarding the mobile calendar feature, saying:

“We Don’t:

  • We do not store any calendar information on our servers.
  • We do not share or use your calendar data for purposes other than matching it with relevant LinkedIn profiles.
  • We do not under any circumstances access your calendar data unless you have explicitly opted in to sync your calendar

We Will Improve:

  • We will no longer send data from the meeting notes section of your calendar event.
  • There will be a new ‘learn more’ link to provide more information about how your calendar data is being used.”

LinkedIn leaks password hashes, iOS app is scraping your meeting notes (Update) originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Wed, 06 Jun 2012 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Rumor Roundup, Episode 6: iWant to believe

Author: ally keer  //  Category: Apple, Microsoft, NDS, iPhone

Unlike the week before, this past week hasn’t seen an epic B.S.-storm of rumors. A few of the ones that came out got huge piles of attention, however, not the least because rumors of a 16:9 screen iPhone sound so delicious to so many that we all want to believe… even though we’ve all been “burned” on this one once before.

But before we can get to those slightly plausible rumors, we have to get the utterly ridiculous ones out of the way first.

New Apple TV Will Feature Seamless Siri Integration (Insideris)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Apple’s HDTV will have a feature where you can control playback and other functions using Siri on your i*BZZT*

B.S. detector reading: 8/10. We’ve been hearing this one since Siri debuted, yet the latest Apple TV shows zero integration with the “intelligent” voice assistant. In fact, it’s been seven months since Siri went public, and aside from a very modest expansion of language support, the software hasn’t seemed to improve much. It’s still restricted to a single device, the iPhone 4S, and it still doesn’t handle driving directions or local business searches in most countries.

Then, there’s this week’s gossip that Siri has been a disappointment to Apple so far, and Steve Jobs would have “lost his mind” if the voice-activated software was launched during his tenure. I have no problem with Siri personally; it does everything I ask it. I just wish I were able to ask it more things. But I’m not holding my breath for Siri integration with a product that has about as much evidence in its favor as Sasquatch.

Apple’s Coming Plan To Take Over The TV Business (Forrester Research)

Forrester Research, famous for predicting Apple’s unparalleled ascendancy and imminent doom in the same week, now predicts the Apple HDTV will be a non-TV TV. In other words, picture hanging a 32-inch iPad on your wall. Think about how “easy” it is to get media from various sources on an iPad. Then picture that replacing your current TV. Now picture that someone got paid to say that with a straight face.

B.S. detector reading: 10/10. What Forrester has proposed is effectively no different from the existing Apple TV, except it comes with a 32-inch screen and a much higher price tag. It sounds like the kind of product Apple would have been ecstatic to launch in 1996, back when the company had no idea how to make products that actually earned it money. The Apple of 2012 knows better.

Bigger than an iPhone, yet smaller than an iPad: the next Apple TV? (GigaOM)

GigaOM reaches the Singularity of stupid Apple rumors by combining the Apple HDTV and iPad mini into one epically mythical, misguided product. The iPad mini will be the TV that goes wherever you go! And it’ll provide zero advantages over any of Apple’s existing products!

B.S. detector reading: 10/10. Bad enough that GigaOM has divided by zero as far as Apple rumors go, the site has also conveniently neglected close to 65 years of TV viewing habits. Even if our 9.7-inch iPads now offer nearly double the resolution of the best HDTV out there, I’d be willing to bet 99.9 percent of you still watch most of your TV on a much bigger screen that’s much farther away.

Even assuming the iPad mini existed, it’d have to be just as multifunctional as the iPad Grande it’s supposed to complement. Otherwise, why would anyone buy it?

Microsoft set to release Office for iOS and Android tablets in November (BGR)

A “reliable source” tells BGR Microsoft Office is heading to iOS devices in six months. No really, this time for sure, guys.

B.S. detector reading: 6/10. I fully expect Office to debut on at least the iPad, eventually. But “reliable source” and BGR go together about as well as pickles and caramel. The site’s BREAKING EXCLUSIVE RUMORS have been so consistently wrong (remember the “Sprint-only iPhone 5?”) that virtually anything the site says has to be taken with enough salt to induce cardiac arrest.

Facebook Tries, Tries Again on a Smartphone (New York Times)

Facebook, world famous for this week’s terrible IPO and one of the buggiest household-name iOS apps in existence, is supposedly working on its own smartphone. Again. Just like in 2011, and 2010, both of which were indisputably the Year of the Facebook Phone (that never launched).

B.S. detector reading: 7/10. A software company building its very own smartphone wouldn’t be a new development. Google did it with the Nexus lineup… sort of. And the Microsoft-Nokia pairing is almost certain to see some Windows 8 devices coming out sometime between now and 2099.

But here’s the problem: most of the people accessing Facebook from a smartphone already have an iPhone. Facebook’s going to have to make a phone that’s more compelling than the most successful smartphone in the world, and I’m not convinced that a company with no hardware sales experience is going to manage well in that regard.

Plus, if the phone’s OS is anything like Facebook itself, the user interface is going to change so often (and almost never for the better) that people are never going to get used to how the damned phone works.

Apple May Make A Splash…With The Mac (Wall Street Journal)

A bunch of analysts agree that Apple’s getting ready to launch new Macs with Retina displays.

B.S. detector reading: 5/10. Here’s the problem: I want to believe that new Macs with Retina Displays are on the way. But because a bunch of clueless “analysts” predicted them, it kind of feels like the products vanished from existence the second the WSJ’s story went live.

These analysts don’t have any more information than the rest of us. They’re going off the same information we have, which is the usual slurry of rumors and made-up nonsense. Since that’s all they’ve got to go on, take their predictions as seriously as they deserve to be taken.

3-year-old iPhone 3GS primed for revival (BGR)

Some analyst claims the iPhone 3GS is going to be reduced in price and offered as a prepaid handset. As evidence, he says- hahaha, no, he didn’t offer any evidence whatsoever.

B.S. detector reading: 6/10. Apple has shown no intention of entering the prepaid market in spite of years worth of analysis claiming otherwise. About the closest the company has come to addressing the prepaid market is offering its handsets contract-free at an unsubsidised price.

The iPhone 3GS may seem like an ideal prepaid iPhone, but the question is whether Apple wants to “water down” the iPhone brand by offering such a super-cheap alternative. And given that the iPhone 3GS shares almost no components with later iPhones and iPod touches, at some point it’s simply going to be more trouble to continue building the device than it’s worth.

Likely next-generation iPhone with 3.999-inch display, 1136 x 640 resolution in testing (updated: more decimals) (9to5 Mac)

9to5 Mac makes a bold claim with initially plausible sounding numbers backing it up: the next iPhone will have a 16:9 ratio, 4-inch display at a resolution of 1136 x 640. The site throws in some official-sounding codenames and some typically cloak-and-dagger tales of phones being carried around Apple’s campuses in fake cases to disguise them.

B.S. detector reading: 5/10. Even if 9to5 Mac’s story sounds mostly plausible, there’s a small problem: none of it is new. Not one iota. Not the Photoshopped mockups, not the calculated pixel resolution, not the 16:9 screen. We’ve been hearing the same thing since at least February of 2011.

An iPhone with a 16:9 screen, running apps designed for the current 3:2 screen, would run those apps “letterboxed” like a widescreen movie on a standard TV, with 88 blank pixels on either side. Some apps, including TUAW’s own app, could in theory be easily updated for that resolution. Other types of apps, particularly games, are going to take a lot more work to port to yet another resolution.

I would love it if the iPhone’s screen switched to 16:9 — that was by far my favorite of the mockups I did in February of last year — but I won’t be at all surprised if the next iPhone has exactly the same screen. But then again…

New Part Leaks Include Taller iPod Touch Front Panel, ‘iPhone 5′ Cameras

Yet another parts leak, but at least this one is more interesting than a Home button or headphone cable. MacRumors got its hands on images of an iPod touch front faceplate that seemingly matches the 16:9 aspect ratio rumored elsewhere.

B.S. detector reading: 5/10. It’d be one thing if MacRumors actually handled these parts, but all it has to go on is images from a parts supplier — images that are relatively easy to fake. That said, past parts leaks to MacRumors have panned out before, and I’m willing to give them a few bonus points just for relying on someone other than DigiTimes for a change.

As WWDC gets closer, we’re sure to hear yet more rumors surrounding the upgrades to the Mac lineup. Depending on how slow of a news week we have ahead, we’ll probably hear more about the iPad mini and Apple HDTV, too. More’s the pity.

Rumor Roundup, Episode 6: iWant to believe originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Mon, 28 May 2012 08:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Crytek: ‘Monkeys Finishing Timesplitters 4′

Author: ally keer  //  Category: Games and Players

Timesplitters rights-holder Crytek gets in the spirit of the franchise with humourous update on Timesplitters 4 development.

Timesplitters 4 has made headlines this week, with various former Free Radical developers recounting their time on the MIA shooter sequel.

Now Crytek has sent NowGamer a brilliant statement on the current state of Timesplitters 4’s development – which could have come straight from of the game itself.

Check it out below, but beware, it contains excessive nods to primates:

“For Timesplitters 4, with ever spiralling development costs, massive teams and endless crunch we decided on a more radical development strategy. In short, the experiment was to implement the infinite monkey theorem. With cloning being a far too expensive option, we spent all of the development budget on buying monkeys on the black market.

“Those seven monkeys are now sat in a room with typewriters and lots of mirrors, and we fully expect Timesplitters 4 to be finished soon. Rumours are that they haven’t written any code but just tease the press from time to time. Those damn monkeys. PS: anyone got any bananas?”

We’re particularly impressed with Crytek’s tongue-in-cheek approach on this one – not only does it suit the Timesplitters IP, but the company is based in Germany, too – not too well known for it’s sense of humour.

Do you want to see TimeSplitters 4? Or just loads of monkeys in Crysis 3? Let us know what you make of the statement below!

Oh. Crytek has apparently ‘actually’ confirmed that Timesplitters 4 is not in development.

Developers chime in on six months of using iCloud in apps

Author: ally keer  //  Category: Apple, iPhone

It’s been six months since Apple released iOS 5 and launched iCloud. During this time, iCloud has grown to over 85 million users and developers are integrating the cloud service into a variety of apps. To find out what developers think about Apple’s push into the cloud, you should read this recent article from MacStories’s Federico Viticci, who talked to several developers about their experiences programming for iCloud.

Viticci says iCloud is “promising in the long-term benefits it aims to achieve,” but the “adoption of iCloud sync and storage features has turned out to be a bit trickier, and possibly less intuitive than Apple’s own implementation due to the early nature of the platform.” Hopefully, these early wrinkles will be smoothed out and iCloud will continue to deliver on its promise to make data syncing between devices automatic, effortless, and seamless.

Developers chime in on six months of using iCloud in apps originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 13 Apr 2012 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Kickstarter ‘The Last Hope’ After Pitching Wasteland 2 For 10 Years – Fargo

Author: Arthur Ricky  //  Category: Games and Players

Brian Fargo, inXile boss, has told NowGamer why he turned to Kickstarter for Wasteland 2.

Wasteland, Interplay’s post-apocalyptic 1988 pre-cursor to Fallout will finally get a sequel thanks to crowd-funding site Kickstarter after inXile floated the project earlier this month, busting through a $900,000 target in less than two days.

But if the demand is so clearly there, why not go to a publisher?

“I decided to go down this route for Wasteland 2 because it was the last and only hope of getting the sequel made that I wanted to do,” inXile boss Brian Fargo told NowGamer.

“I was not wary when I did pitch the game as I thought it seemed like such an obvious thing to do. But I soon found out that there was no interest from any publisher I spoke of. I pitched the game on and off for almost 10 years and got nowhere. I had pretty much given up until I saw what Kickstarter was capable of.”

Double Fine proved Kickstarter’s potential when its adventure game project generated a development budget almost $3 million more than its $400,000 target last month.

So will inXile look to Kickstarter again?

“My next step right now is to just work on Wasteland 2 and make it right. Never have I had more pressure to deliver than ever before so focus will be critical here. There are a couple of huge advantages to the production of this game in being fan funded is that I don’t have to create vertical slices and prototypes every 60 days to prove we are on track,” Fargo told us.

“Secondly I don’t have to spend a third of my time prepping for the next game and pitching it to publishers to ensure the team has a job afterwards. The best games in the industry come from developers who have the power to get the distractions and the people with bad ideas to stay out of the conversation. Fan feedback will no doubt be frustrating at times but I would not have it any other way.”

Look out for our full interview with Brian Fargo later this week.

Finding the ‘Magic hour’ with your iPhone for the best photos

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

Photographers call it the golden hour or the magic hour. It’s that time when the sun is near the horizon, or just below, and the character of the natural/available light changes. The light quality is best when the sun is 6-7 degrees above the horizon, and the effect ends when the sun is 6-7 degrees below the horizon. It’s not always a fixed time, because it depends on the season and the distance you are from the equator.

Photographers and cinematographers often seek out the golden hour; it can add a striking tone to your photographs.

Now, the iPhone comes to the rescue. I’ve recently been using 2 apps that calculate the golden hour based on your location. One of the apps is pretty simple. The other actually shows you where the sun will be as it races toward the horizon, with a live camera view so you will know when it will be in just the position you want.

First off, let’s take a look at Sun Scout. At US $9.99, it’s not inexpensive, but it also does the most. Sun Scout uses the compass and motion sensors in the phone to superimpose the predicted position of the sun over a live view. I find I’m using it all the time so I know exactly where the sun will be to prepare a landscape shoot. The positions I got from the app for the sun were accurate, but you want to make sure to be clear of large amounts of metal or the iPhone’s compass can get confused. I noticed that problem when I was standing too close to my car.

The other worthwhile app is Magic Hour. This free app is a bit simpler, but very useful. It tells you when magic hour is for your location, how long until it begins, and it can even send you a notification that it’s about to start. You won’t get sun positions, but you will learn the best time to take your pictures. Using the app is simple enough, and I found the calculations to be accurate.

Of course you may not be taking the pictures on your iPhone, but perhaps on your DSLR or pocket camera. No matter what you use, when you make an effort to take your pictures when the lighting is at its best, you’ll be amply rewarded with images you want to keep for their sheer beauty. It’s a great time to shoot landscapes, but it’s also nice for taking pictures of people too.

I’ve included some screen shots from both programs in the gallery below.

Gallery: apps for finding Magic Hour

Sun Scout showing you the sun positionAnother Sun Scout screenMagic Hour calculationsMagic Hour screen for setting alerts

Finding the ‘Magic hour’ with your iPhone for the best photos originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Sun, 25 Mar 2012 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Apple wins ad standards conflict over Siri in the UK

Author: ally keer  //  Category: Apple, iPhone

When the iPhone 4S and Siri first arrived in the UK last October, carrier Vodafone created a website ad that promoted the features of Apple’s intelligent assistant. The ad touted (among other things) that Siri “can even use information from your iPhone — such as your location, contacts and contact relationships — to provide intelligent, personal assistance.” Some Siri location features only work in the U.S. at this time, so a Vodafone customer complained to the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about the ad.

Vodafone passed the ball to Apple, saying that the company had given the offending text to their ad team. The ASA ruled in favor of Apple and Vodafone on Wednesday, saying that the advertisement was not misleading.

The ad did not specifically state that Siri had maps-based functionality in the UK, but did show location-based weather reports — something that Siri can do in the UK. As a result, the ASA felt that the ad was accurate.

The ASA also noted that some consumers may have had knowledge of what Siri can do in the U.S., and that they may have “read into the ad that Siri users in the UK would benefit from similar maps-based functionality.” The ASA felt that the average UK consumer would not know about that capability, and since the ad didn’t “explicitly or implicitly” make such claims, it was not misleading.

The moral of the story? Before you file a formal complaint about a tech advertisement being misleading, be sure to check the features for your own country.

via Electronista

Apple wins ad standards conflict over Siri in the UK originally appeared on TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 02 Mar 2012 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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