Sunday, December 18, 2011

Get a Portal 2 PotatOS Science Kit Just in Time for the Holidays

Looking to impress your video game-loving teacher this holiday season? Bored playing with plain potatoes? Looking to piss off the folks in your Jewish household who are slaving over a pan of fried potato pancakes? Big fan of Portal 2? Well then, today is your lucky day! The Portal 2 PotatOS Science Kit comes with everything you need to recreate GlaDOS's unfortunate transition into an underground vegetable (minus the actual potato, of course) including 17 audio clips from the game! So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and follow the source link below and score one of these bad boys for yourself!

Source ThinkGeek

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Supaboy Portable Pocket SNES Console Brings Back That Classic Nintendo Nostalgia

When I was a kid, the first console I ever owned was a Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It was an ugly grey and purple box with rectangular cartridges, Super Mario World, Mario Paint and Starfox. It is also my favorite gaming console of all time. Although finding a device to PLAY SNES games is quite easy, finding one that is PORTABLE is not. For years, gamers have been modding and building new ways to play SNES games, but now there is finally an affordable, realistic option.

Meet the Hyperkin "Supaboy"- a portable, pocket sized SNES console that allows you not only to play your old favorite SNES games, but to plug in two more controls so your friends can join in on the fun! Among other cool things, the console features an intricate cartridge "locking" feature that makes playing games and keeping them in the console a hell of a lot easier (don't you hate when people try and pull your games out?). It also features a headphone jack, for those long car trips and airplane sit-downs. Oh, and it's compatible with all the original SNES hardware! Controllers such as the Mario Paint mouse and the SNES Super Scope work without any conceivable hassle. The Supaboy can be yours today at Amazon for only $79.99- a small expense for a load of fun.

Source Amazon

Friday, November 25, 2011

Minecraft 1.0- “Full Version” Review

Minecraft- if you haven’t heard about it, then that’s a shame. I’m here to fix that. Minecraft is an open-world sandbox game for PC/Mac/Linux released by Mojang. You start in a world made of pixelly blocks- the dirt, the mountains, the beaches, the snow, even the trees are made of blocks. Every block in the game is harvestable in some way, and can be used to craft tools, new materials, and things like beds and doors.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Official Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary Review

We've come a long way since 2001 in the FPS category, as well as in the sense of gaming technology. Most of this advancement however, is due to the amazing product that was Microsoft's original Xbox and it's mega-blockbuster hit, Halo Combat Evolved. The original Halo game was no ordinary first person shooter- it was sleek, imaginative, extremely fun, had a kick ass story and was essentially the delivery of PC-grade technology to the console. Needless to say, it was an advancement beyond amazing.

So the question arrises- what could have been done, or more appropriately, what HAS been done to improve on this decade-old title that makes it BETTER than what we've seen in the past? Why should you buy it? Is it really worth the forty dollar asking price? Read past the break to find out- given that you're awesome of course.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Happy Tenth Birthday, Xbox!

Ten years ago, Microsoft created a legendary competing console to rival Nintendo, Sony and Sega back in 2001. It was called Xbox. It shipped with a few cool games, but the most popular and probably the only memorable from the bunch was Halo Combat Evolved. From then on, Microsoft had been responsible for launching two amazing brands- Xbox and Halo. And the rest, as they say, was history. Here's to the next ten years!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Editorial: Can Apple Conquer TV?

Max Bleich is the Editor-in-Chief of thetechtile, who monthly publishes to the website a long-form editorial on the world in consumer electronics. From Apple to Google to Sony and Samsung, just about every topic in the tech world has or will be hit at some point. This month, Max will be commenting on the Apple TV, and it's underlying ambition to rule the living room. 

Perhaps one of the loftiest news stories that we've seen explode over the 'net in the last few days has been CBS's public revealing of their denial of an opportunity to work with Apple, who would have brought CBS content to Apple's TV platform. For anybody who isn't aware, the current Apple TV is a $99 device that currently serves as a do-everything streaming box. It connects iTunes content with YouTube, Netflix, user photo slideshows and news. However, despite the low price point, the device still remains nothing more than a "hobby"- which the late Steve Jobs has considered it to be from the beginning. However, the surfacing of the situation with CBS has brought to light Jobs's desire to dominate the TV market somehow, revealing that this was likely his last big project at Apple before his death.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Angry Birds Reaches 500m Downloads

Perhaps one of the only games that has been available on just about every platform known to man, Rovio's Angry Birds has surprisingly experienced an unprecedented 500,000,000 downloads. No, not five hundred thousand. Five hundred million. That's a lot of dead pigs and a lot of pissed off birds.

Source Rovio

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Game Review: Red Steel 2

Every two weeks, Review Editor Zach Davis contributes his gaming review column. This week instead of the typical classic game review, he’ll be sharing with us a more recent title, Red Steel 2. 

You’ve probably never heard of it, or of its prequel. The original was a launch title for the Wii, marketed with “realistic” graphics and first-class FPS gameplay on the Wii, while also throwing in the gimmick of swordfighting. The motion controls, through which basically the entire game and combat system was based, were “clunky” and the graphics were not as revolutionary as claimed. Thus, it fell away without so much as a glance. Red Steel 2, however, takes the premise of the original: using a blend of motion-controlled shooting and swordfighting, and brings it to a new setting, graphical style, and control scheme (using WiiMotion+) that breathe new life into it.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Editorial: A Post Steve Jobs World

This last week the technology industry and the world itself suffered a major loss with the death of Steve Jobs. Although we've all been preparing for this for years (heck, rumors of his death were spread in 2008), seeing it come to fruition was truly haunting and increasingly difficult to comprehend.

Steve Jobs was undeniably the only reason Apple didn't die back in 1996. He came in, killed the clones, the cluttered product lines as well as the bad investments Apple had made since his departure. Apple is a company that thrives on innovation, and that is what sets it apart from the crowd. Apple is so important in the industry, as it has set the precedents upon which competitors look at to imitate and throw onto the market under their own brand.

Apple began the computing industry and has revolutionized it four times- all of which have been directed by it's founder and father, Steve Jobs. He was the visionary- the man that conceived and breathed life into the products that have undoubtedly changed the very foundation upon which this industry exists. We'd be nowhere without Steve. So this begs the question- where do we go from here? Where does Apple go from here? What will happen to the innovation in the industry?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Musings on Steve Jobs

Although Review Editor Zach Davis isn't due for another video game review until next week, he has offered his own reflection on the death of Steve Jobs and Apple. You can check out the rest of Zach's stuff here.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock today, you probably already know that Steve Jobs, founder and, for much of his life, CEO of Apple, passed away today at the horribly sad age of 56. You also probably know the nitty-gritty better than I do, but I don’t care about that anyway: I want to talk about this man’s legacy.

Steve Jobs, 1955-2011

Steve Jobs, a catalyst of the personal computing industry, who has left an immeasurable dent on the hull of modern human society, has died today at the age of 56. Throughout his lifetime, Steve has made a plethora of contributions to the world in the form of consumer and professional products that have become an unmatched industry standard. The void that Steve has left in the world is great, as well as his child, Apple Inc., as a ship without it's captain.

Steven Paul Jobs, as he was named, was born into the world to a parent that was in college and wished not to deal with him. He was to be adopted by a wealthy family, until they decided last minute that they really wanted a girl. Steve would then be adopted by a middle class family in Mountain View. Their names were Paul and Clara Jobs.

Steve wasn't really into education, and had dropped out of Reed College in 1972 after deciding that it wasn't really for him. What looked to be the end of a bright future, was actually the opposite. Steve returned to California and met up with a friend, Steve Wozniak in 1974 where the pair would participate in the Homebrew Computer Club. There, the two Steve's sold a product that allowed for free long distance calls utilizing a whistle found in Captain Crunch boxes as a prize. It was called the Blue Box.

What started out as a hobby soon brewed into passion. Jobs turned Woz's creations into products, selling them all across California. Eventually, Woz invented a personal computer that could be useful for the average man. He and Jobs built about 50 of them and sold them under the name Apple I.

The Apple I was only the beginning, as the two worked hard on a newer product built inside of a plastic casing. This went by an equally creative name of the Apple II. And this is where the company known as Apple Computer flourished. In what seemed to be only days, the two Steve's had hit it big. The Apple II was everywhere and used by everyone. The personal computer revolution had begun.

Apple fought tooth and nail against competitor IBM, each one trying to one-up the other in a constant struggle to be the best. In 1983, Jobs decided that he needed a CEO to take over the bigger picture while he focused on innovation. He hired John Sculley, then CEO of Pepsi, with the famous line "Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?"

In 1984, Apple revealed it's biggest attack on the computer industry in the form of the Macintosh. Finally, there was a computer that was easy to use- with a graphical user interface manipulated by means of a cursor on the screen using a device called "the mouse". From then on, everybody and his brother had rushed out to competer. And only a few months later, in a conspiring move, Bill Gates of Microsoft had released Windows- based upon information he had stolen from Apple.

In 1985 Steve Jobs was fired from the company he started in a power struggle between himself and CEO John Sculley. He moved on the found computer company NeXT and entertainment company Pixar. From there, Steve had already began to bring himself up from rock bottom. One step backward, two steps forward.

Steve lasted the next decade on these two companies- with Pixar working with Disney to produce the first successful computer-generated film, Toy Story in 1995. NeXT, although not as successful as Steve would have hoped would prove to be a key element of Steve's future.

The 1990s were tough for Apple. The direction of it's leaders was twisted, the products lacked innovation and the competition was better. To save itself from existence, Steve Jobs was hired back as Interim CEO of Apple. From there, he cleaned out the comparative mess left behind by previous figureheads of the company as he emptied Apple's board of directors and replaced them with the competent men and women that have brought Apple to be the amazing company it is today.

In 1998, Apple unveiled it's first renascence since the Macintosh. The iMac, as it was named, was a product aimed at internet access, more advanced processing and ease of use. For the third time in his life, Steve had released a blockbuster hit- changing the industry from boring beige boxes to beautiful, advanced workhorses for everybody.

As 2001 rolled out, Steve Jobs unleashed upon the world the iPod- the device that brought 1000 songs into your pocket and brought back the music industry from the grave. Never before had such been possible or even plausible. And for a reasonable price, he had once again delivered a revolutionary device.

Flash forward to 2004. Steve Jobs has met his first meeting with the hands of death. He was promptly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and left with a very short amount of time to live- as the disease is usually considered to be a death sentence. Yet, somehow, by sheer luck, Steve had a rare form of the disease which was removed by surgery. What was thought to be his last bout with death, had become his first.

In 2007, Apple changed the world a fourth time with the iPhone- which combined the power of the internet, the convenience of the phone and the entertaining value of the iPod into one solid device. It also proposed to the world a new technology in the form of the flawless touchscreen. Instantly, Apple had thrown the industry into a giant mess in trying to compete. Google launched Android. Palm launched webOS. Microsoft struck back with Windows Phone 7.

In 2008, Steve took another leave of absence to focus on his health. Only a few months later, Bloomberg posted a mis-guided 2500 word obituary to Steve Jobs. Later it would be revealed that Steve had undergone a risky liver transplant that saved his life. He returned thinner and appeared sicker than he had been before.

Somehow, in less than three years, Steve and Apple had done it again with a new take on the computer called the iPad. It took the innovation of the iPhone and projected it onto a larger screen- startling developers into pushing out apps that have, like the product, changed the world.

This year, less than two months ago, Steve Jobs stepped down from his title of CEO and passed it onto then COO Tim Cook. He remained on the board of directors as chairman- overseeing the big picture while Tim focused on day-to-day.

And today, October 5th Steve Jobs died after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Although Steve was taken from the world before his time, he had accomplished more than anybody could have done in multiple lifetimes. He has shaken the very foundation upon which this world sits and changed it for the better. Innovation upon innovation he had continued to change the way we live our lives. Everybody has been affected by Steve in some way- and we owe him so much for the contributions he has made to this world.

As we look forward to the future, its very difficult to come to closure knowing that Steve Jobs is no longer with us. Undoubtedly, Steve was a fantastic human being; a role model for us all. He was a strong leader and an effective thinker who focused all of his power into making the world a better place, and for that he will be truly missed.

Innovator and Ex-CEO Steve Jobs Dies at 56

Tonight, after a long-lasting battle with pancreatic cancer, Steven Paul Jobs of Apple Inc has died.

Apple has released the following statement:
We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today.

Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve.

His greatest love was for his wife, Laurene, and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts.

The world will never be the same.

No, You Really Shouldn't Buy The iPhone 3GS

When Apple unveiled it's iPhone 4S and replaced it's budget handset with the previous iPhone 4 we thought that they'd finally kick that old horse known as the 3GS. It's from 2009. It was solid product back then. But it's 2011- the times have changed.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Classic Game Review: Metroid Prime

Every two weeks, Review Editor Zach Davis contributes his column "Classic Game Reviews". This week he'll be sharing with us one of his favorite classic video games, Metroid Prime. 

You step out of your ship onto an alien planet- a world of danger, mystery, and discovery. You are Samus Aran, bounty hunter, on a mission to save the ancient world of Tallon IV from the forces of the evil Space Pirates and their infection Phazon- a radioactive, mutagenic substance that infected the planet after an asteroid impact.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Editorial: The Tablet Landscape, Looking Forward

Today Amazon made a bold move indeed. What we had previously thought to be a $250 tablet device inexplicably became fifty dollars cheaper- at $199. There's just something about the price that is so alluring and all-too-close to impulse buy price. And for what it is, two hundred bucks (minus that last dollar of course) gets you a lot more than anything else (assuming there is another tablet for this price) on the market today. In fact, I can't think of a tablet thats both under four hundred dollars with high-end specs. But that's because there really isn't. And that in itself is what makes the Kindle Fire so incredible. And that in itself will be the reason that no competitor will be able to even dent the market Amazon has just broke up.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Facebook Timeline: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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On Thursday, Facebook CEO and professional profile stalker Mark Zuckerberg passionately and emotionally announced the future of the world's largest social network. Facebook has been blessed with a plethora of features that will forever change the way it is used, enjoyed and the way in which we interact with people online.

We've already gone over the details of the immediate features of Facebook as a service. However, we barely scratched the surface of Facebook's personal ties with the user. This is most evident in the platform's new rendition on your "profile".

However, it's barely a profile anymore. It's reached beyond that of a personal display of information. Instead, users will be able to experience a scrolling "timeline" (hence the name) of their existence on Facebook.

Friends, family, posts, likes, pages, subscriptions, photos, videos and everything you've ever done. It's there, and it's hard to believe Facebook actually took track of the thousands of statuses users have put up all these years.

However, the interface still feels like a beta. It's glitchy, sometimes it doesn't even appear and the design itself is questionable. But that doesn't mean anything for the final release. Remember, it's an early developer beta.

Also, we seriously cannot stand the blocky layout of posts, photos, videos and what not. It's inconsistant and very irritating.

The software should be released to the public in a few months or so, but we still have yet to see the chances that Facebook will bring to this beta software. Other than the fixable quirks, we really like the idea of it and it's potential as a radical change to social networking as a whole.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Editorial: HP Without Apotheker

For less than a year Leo Apotheker had joined HP. In less than a year, he successfully destroyed it's vital pieces. And in less than a year, he cancelled the results of a $1.2 Billion acquisition that had so much potential- all because he lacked the testicular will power to rival with the competition.

Reading this title we can look at the former HP CEO's effects in two ways- the positive or the negative. Unfortunately though, it's almost impossible to find such a positive. He came in and left behind him in his departure a comparative disaster upon which it will take years to fix. The result of his actions has left both himself and the company he ran in a laughing stock all across Silicon Valley. It's easy to look at what he did while he was in power- but it's incredibly difficult to imagine the future of the company now that he has finally left it behind him.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Editorial: AppleCare Really Does Come in Handy

2 Years ago, I put down $1400 on a MacBook and some software. The white polycarbonate machine was both durable and less expensive than the pro- and honestly, in 2009 nobody really needed a duel core processor with a clock speed above 2 GHz anyway. At the time it came with 1 GB of DDR2 RAM, which I hastily upgraded to 2 GB of DDR2. The hard drive was also only held the capacity of about 120 GB (about 95 without OS X or other software), so I also upgraded it- to $160. I only bought a simple nylon carrying case so that I could effortlessly transport it place to place without worry.

The final purchase I made was on AppleCare Protection Plan, which costed $250. At first, I was extremely hesitant to do so- $250 for extended telephone support and only support for manufacturer defects? Hell no! But after about a week of extra thought, I gave into it and bought it. The machine ran very well, at speeds unlike my previous iBook G4 and with the future-proof assurance of an Intel and nVidia chipset. Everything was perfect for the first year. But then, as the second year arrived, a ton of issues had arisen.

Minecraft 1.8 "Adventure Update" Review

Minecraft; arguably the best sandbox game ever imagined, puts you in a world of blocks to mine, dig, build with, and craft into awesome creations. But, being only in its beta stages, veterans have a hard time finding interest in the somewhat monotonous survival mode, limited motivation for exploration, and a list of blocks to build with that can become old easily.

These are hardly problems with the latest update, Minecraft 1.8- The “Adventure Update,” which came out Wednesday Sept. 14th (or earlier if you found access to the pre-release). Completely revolutionizing the gameplay and giving ample room for future innovation, Minecraft 1.8 almost has too many new things to talk about… but what else am I here for?

Starting with the basics, there’s an overhaul to the world generation system. When making a new world you have the option of survival mode- original gameplay with a new “hunger bar” and an experience system- or creative mode, which grants you flight, invincibility, inventory editing, and the ability to break any block. You also have the option to generate structures like villages and dungeons (or not to do so)- but more on those later.

Upon entering the world, you’ll find a new terrain generation system that promotes larger biomes (no more tiny snow regions or underwhelmingly small deserts) and gives all new features like rivers, ravines, mountain ranges, swamps, and much more dynamic landscapes. Hidden among these “natural” features are those structures I was talking about. Villages, which will be filled with NPCs in the next update, are currently just a collection of predesigned wells, forts, houses and farms, and showcase a few new blocks, not the least of which are brick stairs, stone bricks and stone brick stairs, window panes, and jail bars. If you’re lucky you’ll find one of the two new dungeon types, the stronghold and the abandoned mine. Strongholds, which are pretty rare at this point at only a few per world, are underground complexes of stone brick, jail cells, and miscellaneous mob (monster) spawners. Abandoned mines are giant cave systems full of spider webs, wood, and minecart tracks, and pack many of the new creatures of the minecraft night.

Speaking of which, you’ll find the new smaller cave spiders who can poison you, the new skeleton model that looks more natural, and my personal favorite: endermen. These creepy black creatures are neutral until you attack them or look at them, then they rush at you, teleport around you, and then go in for the kill with their high damage output (as much as 3.5 hearts a hit!). They will follow you until one of you dies if you look at them, so watch out for their creepy yellow eyes. Also new is the flashy creeper (suicide bomber monster) explosion graphic. Combat is made more fun with the inclusion of blocking (still not completely implemented yet, but will be next update), dashing, powerful knockback hits, critical hits, and a more realistic bow mechanic. It’s also much more rewarding, with the (currently functionless, with for the next update) experience bar and new drops- not the least of which is food, now necessary to keep your hunger bar full.

This only scratches the surface of the changes made and those yet to come. Among those I didn’t get into are new lighting, new animations, and interface innovations. To old minecraft fanatics, it’s a great refresher to the game and puts new life into it, and to newcomers it gives all the more reason to buy minecraft now, before the full (and more expensive) version comes out in November.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Microsoft's Xbox Live is Coming to Windows, Here's a Neat Preview

It's hard not being a little jealous of Microsoft's gaming service being available on Windows Phone 7 and the Xbox exclusively. Cry no longer, Live fans! Your day has arrived. Microsoft will be rolling out Xbox Live to Windows 8 with it's final release... but you want to see it now, don't you? We thought so. Click the link below to get a full YouTube experience of the Microsoft demo, which frankly, is just plain awesome.

Via YouTube

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Opinion: Apple's iPod Line is a Total Mess

Almost ten years ago, Apple dipped into the music industry and changed it forever with the revolutionary iPod. Ever since, when we have all thought of tiny mp3 or music players- we've thought of iPods. And rightfully so; they produce the industry standard for portable media players (PMPs) and make the best products in the world. They earned their success. But the market is changing- smartphones and tablets are eating up media player market share. At the same time, the relevance of the products are slowly fading into oblivion- but we all still need that product that has excellent battery life, small size, a robust and unbeatable design, large storage sizes and ruggedness. That's the iPod line as it was once upon a time. But as I've said before, things have changed. The products are not as revolutionary and awesome as they were in the past. Something needs to change soon- or Apple will loose the beautiful gem that is the iPod product line.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A whole new world: the Pokemon Black and White review

We all grew up playing Pokemon. Everyone has his or her own favorite version, from the original Red and Blue (which, incidentally weren’t even the first ones released- there were earlier versions in Japan) to the more recent Emerald version from 2005 in the 3rd generation of games. Being the incredible nerds Wes Darvin (another thetechtile editor) and I am, we decided to buy the new generation of games to occupy us during the downtime of a school trip. We walked onto the 8-hour plane ride carrying our respective copies of Pokemon White, which we both chose over the alternate Black version, and plunged back into the familiar yet brand new world of Pokemon.

Pokemon Black and White are the first titles in the 5th generation of Pokemon games, and encompass the brand new Unova region. According to the games, the region is far from any of the previous games’ regions, and therefore you can’t find any preexisting Pokemon from the first 4 generations until you beat the Elite 4, the final challenge that carries throughout the series. Pretty much, if you had any favorite Pokemon… too bad, you won’t be able to get them until the game is over.

Despite the lack of classic Pokemon, (though several Pikachu and Charizard references were worked into the game) Pokemon Black and White are good fun for any fan of the games- admit it, you love them. It follows pretty much the exact same gameplay as the first 5 generations, but with a new setting and 156 new ‘Mons to catch, fight, train, and trade with friends- more than the first generation brought to the table.

As annoying as it is not being able to get Charizard, Scyther, or whatever other Pokemon was your favorite back in the old days, the new Pokemon fill both the roles of old favorites and some really inventive new ones. In fact, the lack of old Pokemon makes the game more accessible to newcomers; it offers the same experience as the original games but with the refined mechanics that have been built over 5 generations of slight improvements; the stats are balanced and moves behave like they were originally intended (ex. Fire punch is a physical move rather than a special one, as in the first 3 generations).

If you’re worried about the decision between the two, the only differences are some Pokemon being available in one but not the other (ex. A Pokemon that resembles a gigantic cell is in White, and Black has a goth Pokemon in its place) and Black has Black City in it, where White has the aptly named White forest in its place.

If you have nostalgia for the older Pokemon games, you will probably have fun reliving the same experience in a more polished form. If you never really got into the series, Nintendo’s given you your chance. While nothing revolutionary to video games- or even to the Pokemon series- they’re good time-killing fun and solid additions to a series that really didn’t need to change anything.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Google Chrome OS Review: Almost There, Ultrabook of the Future?

When I reviewed the Cr-48 and Google's Chrome OS back in December of 2010, I was disappointed. It was a fantastic idea with endless potential. Google, the company that made Android and Docs, had finally come up with an operating system and a computing platform to compete with the big boys. And when Google made the OS cloud-based and an exclusive web browser, expectations on software and hardware reliance and price, at least for myself, sky rocketed.

Fastforward to now. The computing landscape, as it constantly does, has shifted again. Sure, tablets are popular- but Apple's introduced this new thing called an ultrabook. Long battery life, speed, efficiency and reliance on the internet are just some of it's features. Unfortunately, so is a high price. To acquire what is effectively a netbook with beefy-notebook specs will run you just a few cents short of a thousand dollars.

Google's solution found in Chrome OS is far cheaper. The similar but not as powerful specs cost anywhere from $350 to $450 dollars. And guess what, it's still cheaper than an iPad or a MacBook Pro. But for the price, what exactly do you get? Can Chrome OS fulfill my needs as a user? How costly is it to maintain or replace one of these devices? Is it worth it?

The hardware used for this review is the Cr-48 and the Samsung Series 5. The software is the latest and greatest build of Chrome OS. And obviously, all applications are always up to date. Other courses of testing, such as for durability are not needed- it's an electronic device, and therefore fragile.

I think one thing that's always stood out for me as a Chrome OS user, was the downright simplicity. We're talking simpler than Apple. The product itself also incorporates a clean cut design without all of those little visual quirks that use up so much space and RAM. Essentially, it's got the beauty and simplicity of a mobile operating system and takes many cues from both iOS and Google's own Android. This downright simplicity is also visible in the product hardware. Luckily, both Acer and Samsung have taken the obvious cues from the Cr-48, and incorporated the same level of hardware simplicity.

In terms of offline support, it' still incredibly lacking- making this thing a useless brick when there's no Wi-Fi around. The built-in 3G really helps to make things easier, and the prices make it sensible. It's not often you'll be stranded without Wi-Fi these days. For myself, I've been able to use my own mobile hotspot functionality on my Droid- but that simply isn't an option for the majority of users out there. Thankfully however, Google has recently unveiled to the world the offline version of Gmail, Docs and Calendar- which makes life on the Chromebook a HELL of a lot simpler.

For a moment, let's talk Google's most flaunted capability of the product- and that's speed. When we first tested the OS on the Cr-48, it was usable. There were just too many quirks with the OS to call it snappy or speedy. Now, thanks to the inclusion of a duel-core Intel Atom, the product is super speedy and helps to load web pages faster- which is really our main focus with this device. Performance on the Cr-48, surprisingly, has improved very well. Finally, the device feels the way it should of back in December. It really proves the true power of software updates.

There's one thing we found while using this product however- and that's usability in the real world. Although we had some doubts back in December, times have changed. Google's powerful web application platform, along with the web apps today, make this a very pleasant to use device. But if I haven't said it before, it has to be said. This simply isn't a product for power users. You'll find yourself craving more power and speed, and for some of the time, you'll wish you had a PC or a Mac to turn to. For myself, it only finds itself useful for working on this website hassle-free. And, lately- it's proved to be a very nice Netflix device.

Thanks to the solid state storage, everything is fast and battery life is able to be kept to high standards. I mean, this thing lasts longer than any Mac or PC we've ever seen- but that's likely due to it's blatant lack of processer-intensive application requirements. Don't expect to work on Photoshop, AutoCad or any graphics intensive program here. Even in Citrix, we found a few problems that we simply couldn't stand.

But where does this stand as an ultrabook? The idea of an ultrabook is great battery life, a decent processor to get through the day, thinness and a light form factor to carry anywhere. Everything minus the processor fits in here. It's just too damn slow on the Cr-48, and decent on the Samsung notebook. In fact, we've found that most netbooks with the same specs or lower outperform these. But then again, they fill their purpose and they do it well. We've yet to find a similar product.

We really don't understand why Google decided not to blend the OS with Android. There's just such a large app market, and so much more potential in that than there is in a blatant web browser. Because of this, we're going to recommend that you carefully choose this product. It serves its purpose well, but it's probably not what everybody is looking for.



Great Battery Life

Beautiful Form Factor

Snappy Operating System


Not much developer enthusiasm

No Android integration

Processor leaves something to be desired

Arrived too late in the marketplace

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Confirmed: Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary Will Have 3D Support

What with hurricanes, new CEOs, cheap tablets and legal problems cluttering the technology worlds, it's sometimes nice to instead speak of the awesomeness that is the Halo CE remake. Sure, Sony has had 3D (and the 360 has supported 3D HDTVs) for a long time, so it's odd that Microsoft hasn't stepped up to the plate with a competing product/platform. But, alas, the 3D fix will be here, and with it coming to Halo- you can expect those covenant shots to feel as real as they were meant to be.

Source: Joystiq

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Happy 20th Birthday Linux


Although many people are unaware, besides Mac OS X and Windows 7, there is an existing alternative that's both free and highly customizable. One such version is known as Ubuntu, another is Fedora. These countless operating systems are collectively known as Linux- created by a man named Linus twenty years ago. So, in this post we here at The Techtile would like to commemorate his little penguin shaped baby. Here's to the next twenty years.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Editorial: Apple Without Steve Jobs

If you haven't heard the news yet, it's time you did. Steve Jobs stepped down from his position of CEO, and instead opted for a lesser title of Chairman of the Board. He didn't die, and as far as we all know, he doesn't have cancer. But he's older, weaker and thinner. He isn't as fast as he used to be, and the CEO job just isn't working out anymore. Not only that, but the company needs stability and assurance for when that day comes when unfortunately, Steve will no longer be around. As much as we like to deny it, the world only gets one Steve Jobs. And unfortunately, if his condition (whatever it may be) is any indiction- he's a spent force.

The job of CEO is a stressful one, for any company. Then imagine being CEO of Apple. How exhausting must that be? You'd need to be cold, calculating, innovating and capable of dealing with loads of stress and pressure. Sure, Apple's been doing amazingly well lately. Hell, they just re-invented the tablet computer, and they launched the smartphone business full steam ahead. Apple's products are selling like hotcakes- even though the prices really aren't as affordable as the competition. After what is approaching only a year and a half, Apple's iPad is still the number one tablet "PC" on the market. And honestly, the competition is trying too hard to mimic the product. But that discussion is for another time and place. Again, Apple is doing amazingly well- better than any technology company on the planet, and for a brief moment, even better than Exxon Mobil.

Some may argue that Steve Job's is the only innovator behind Apple and if his presence were to cease, the company would dive down like an angry flock of vultures. But honestly, this isn't even close to true. Sure, Tim Cook isn't Steve Jobs, and he's not really the innovation type as far as we know. That's what Johnny Ive is for and Phil Schiller and all the other creative people down at Apple HQ. Still, the world and the company will never be the same when Steve does pass away, which hopefully is many years from now.

The way in which Apple looks and operates years from now is not too soon to change. They will always be that creative, evangelistic, powerful and innovative company we have come to know and love. That's just the way that Apple is. Sure, Steve's departure in 1986 didn't fare well for the company. But they were in a totally different situation. The executive's keeping the company alive wasted money in useless and troublesome products that appealed to neither the consumer nor the businessman. There were too many products, a problem that's all about control.

The products didn't compete either, and they lost the fun and excitement Steve brought to the table before. As a direct result of that, the company slipped under and by 1996, there were talks of bankruptcy. And then, miraculously, Steve Job's jumped into the picture and waved his magical wand of smart business man power and turned the company around completely.

The useless products were dropped, and the company focused only on four computer lines- consumer laptops and desktops and professional laptops and desktops. Then Apple changed the world with the iPod. It doesn't matter what MP3 player you are using today, it was influenced by the iPod. Then Apple changed the wheel again with the iPhone in 2007. How can you imagine a world without your smartphone? In the heat 0f fame and power, Apple did it again with the iPad, which took the world by storm and is currently killing the entire PC industry. Meanwhile, all the other companies are kicking themselves wondering why they never thought of that. And in the future, Apple will continue to launch major changes to products, or invent products like they've done on every opportunity. With Tim Cook, Johnny Ive, Phil Schiller, Peter Oppenheimer and Scott Forestal turning the wheel and executing major strategic decisions, Apple will fare well.

Steve Jobs is a control freak, a perfectionist and a product-making genius. His brain is one of a quickly calculating, innovative and powerful breed. He really is like no other man. He's arrogant, and that arrogance really just helps to make for a better boss who really, in the end, knows better than everybody else. That's an issue Apple is going to have to get used to. The idea of losing Steve, although extremely difficult to imagine, will happen one day. It's a sad, empty feeling. Things will simply never be the same.

We can't understand or begin to imagine a world without the genius that is Steve Jobs. And frankly, neither can Apple.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Meet Tim Cook, Apple's new CEO

See that man next to Steven Paul Jobs, former CEO and future Chair of the board of Apple? That's Tim Cook, and he's Steve's replacement. But just who the hell is this Tim Cook anyway? Maybe you'd like to know the man who will be overseeing (not like he did that previously as COO or anything...) the creation of your future favorite iPhones, or iPads or whatever new iDevice the company has to show off five to ten years from now. Maybe it's tomorrow. Whatever or whenever such occurs, this will be the guy making the big decisions. So maybe, just maybe you'd like to learn something about him? Well then, scroll on down!

Tim Cook has a long history of success with Apple. In 1998, he was hand picked by Steve Jobs to take on the roll of Chief Operating Officer. It's not-so-well-known that Steve sat next to a recruiter while he carefully interviewed many, many men who also qualified for the job. Yet, by some magical twist in the universe, Tim got the job. From there, Tim went on to completely turn the company around. He eliminated Apple's American factories, outsourced overseas, and specifically made sure that manufacturers were all in close proximity with suppliers, as to both cut down cost and increase efficiency. Fast forward 12 years or so, and hey, something must of worked. Tim Cook isn't the new face he's been presumed to be, in fact, he's played the role of CEO several times during the duration of all of Steve's medical leaves, including the current one.

But what about Tim as a person? Obviously, his business accomplishments are interesting, but I want to know more about the real Tim. Well, from many sources, Tim can be described as "[c]alm, quiet- and deadly". He's carefully calculating, able to make quick decisions under pressure- he's essentially the ideal business man. And that's what Tim is- a business man. He's known for waking up at four in the morning to fire out emails and check to see whats going on. At five he's exercising- something he does daily. And before the majority of us are awake, he's gotten a days work done. He's a man of commitment. Ready whenever to take on the many chores and decisions of a big shot CEO- something Steve Jobs has unfortunately grown tired doing.

Dedication is a great trait for anybody- and you'll see, Apple won't fall off the Earth, or lose the substantial power it has gained. This isn't the end for Apple; rather, it's a new beginning. For a brief while, the company was the most valuable in the world. During it's last quarter, Apple produced fantastic results- without new products, the craziness of the holidays or back to school sales. Meanwhile, companies such as Dell and HP have been struggling immensely. They will always be premium, and always be successful. Thanks to Tim Cook's service in the past, the company has grown to the top, and in the future, it will only rise higher. It's the end of an era for Steve, but the beginning for Apple. For a company that's been through corporate hell and back, the future looks to be very bright and protected. This isn't the same situation they were in back in 1986. This isn't your typical CEO either. But you'll see. The future for the world as well as Apple are in the hands of a single, powerful man. And finally, Apple will be able to move on without Steve, but this time with his legacy and the security they needed before.

Steve Jobs Officially Resigns as CEO of Apple, Tim Cook COO is Named as Successor

We all knew this day would arrive sooner or later. And honestly, we all know it's for the better. Steve Jobs has reigned as CEO of Apple. However, he isn't leaving guys! He'll remain on the staff as chairman of the board. The company itself has released the statement "Steve's extraordinary vision and leadership saved Apple and guided it to its position as the world's most innovative and valuable technology company." Furthermore, this is a very big decision, that frankly, was a long time coming. There were rumors of this move five years ago, and three years ago, and now- it just feels right. Read Steve's resignation letter below!
I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple's brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Editorial: Where HP Went Wrong, Right, and How to Fix Things

On April 28, 2010, HP announced it would acquire Palm for $1.2 Billion. At this time, HP was doing great, but Palm was failing fast- their products were aging, and the new hardware and software wasn't selling very well. At the same time though, the software had a lot of potential, being the only true user interface competitor to Apple's iPhone. As the year marched on, the Palm brand died and was replaced by HP. On July 1, 2011, HP launched the first and the last webOS tablet. Then on August 18- a mere fifty days after the release of the HP TouchPad, the large, successful company announced that they were done with webOS, they were done with the Pre and they were done with the TouchPad. The product itself didn't even have the time to grow or evolve. To add insult to injury, the company also revealed it's plan to duck out of the hardware business and jump into software.

What they got right.

The Touchpad, although rather bulky when compared to the competition, was the only product that actually staged itself as a reasonable competitor to Apple's iPad. It had the speedy, simple interface that's look and feel almost mirrored iOS. Yet, Palm's use of gestures was so innovative that it proved to the perfect rival to Apple's solution and helped make the interface feel more natural. Another worthy thing to mention was the multitasking- it was real and the only solution that just... felt right. Apple uses background multitasking, and it barely takes advantage of the memory under the hood. Google's Android solution just became a RAM hog, and RIM really didn't have it together.

The Pre was a fantastic phone. It was small enough to be cradled in the palm of your hand, it was light enough to shove or slip into any pocket. The interface, as mentioned before, was simple, clean and beautiful. For myself, I found it to be more visually stunning than iOS. But hey, it's just my opinion. The Pre also happens to be one of most attractive designs I've ever seen in a piece of hardware. Sure, it's not up to iPhone standards, but then again, it's target market doesn't really care about appearances.

Where they went wrong.

The Veer was horrible. That being said, the thing is freaking adorable. But in all seriousness (can you believe we're being serious today?) the Veer was lacking in more places than not. The largest flaw, which has been flaunted as the product's greatest feature, is it's tiny chasis. Unfortunately, most people who use a touchscreen phone, expect a display with a size of 3.5 inches or greater. The Veer, although following in the same screen size as it's older brother, the Pixi, is far too small to use and feels too much like a toy. To add to it's cheapness, webOS performance feels too sluggish and it annoys the hell out of me. Sure, it's faster than the original Pre, but this half-baked sequel to the rather snappy Pixi just feels rushed and over thought. Because of this, the unit didn't sell well. That just leads to the next issue...

Why didn't HP just release the Pre3 at the same time as the Veer? The Pre3 is perhaps the best looking and most sensible continuation of the Pre line- an upgraded chasis, a better keyboard, webOS 2.0, a 1.4 GHz processor... the list goes on and on. This is what the Pre2 should have been, but wasn't. Instead of focusing on the Pre3, which would have been the savior to the webOS product family, it focused on it's iPad competitor- the TouchPad.

The biggest problem with the TouchPad is, HP focused so hard on beating the first iPad instead of it's successor. The hardware feels the same- with the same thickness of the iPad and dimensions. To add to that, it shipped with a glitchy version of webOS, when they easily could have waited and shipped a fresher version that fixed everything. The use of plastics just makes the device feel cheap, and the display leaves a rather stale taste in our mouths. It's the iPad 1, in a world of iPad 2 copycats. Because of that, it was ignored. But then, HP decided to liquidate their stock at ultra-cheap prices. They brought it down by a hundred dollars and then three hundred dollars... until the product cost only $99. It sold out like wildfire. And apparently, the company is now processing more just so that they can satisfy the newfound desire for the product.

What HP should do to fix things.

Kill the Veer and focus on the Pre3. The Veer has no place on the market, and therefore is just cluttering the selection of webOS devices. The Pre3 is the potential savior of the platform, and so far has a lot more potential than the Veer or the TouchPad ever did.

Upgrade the TouchPad in terms of both hardware and software. Don't try and mirror the iPad 2. You should be able to say that your product not only competes with the iPad, but blows it out of the water. Get developers excited and ready to build the best applications they can, and make it easier for them to code. Focusing on just one development platform makes things a lot easier.

License webOS to other companies, and give the users more choice. Don't focus on exclusivity like Apple does. You're trying to hard to be Apple, instead of focusing on building the best products in the industry.

Support your early adopters; the people who bought the Pre, Pre Plus, Pixi, Pixi Plus and the Pre2. Those are the users who have stuck by you to the very bitter end, and like you for webOS and it's features. If you don't support them, you'll lose them to Apple or Google. Giving users 50 dollars off of the TouchPad, instead of providing software updates or new phones, is not the way to conduct business. When users purchase a device, they expect support for 3-4 years.

Just one more thing...

Selling off or even spinning off your powerful PC business is a huge mistake. Your users will never forgive you, your products will ultimately be garbage, and innovation will be non existant. Pump innovation through both business and consumer sectors. Give people what they crave for in a product. Make it sexy, make it affordable, make it easy for anybody to operate. That's why Apple's been kicking your ass these last few years. Take a stand, because if you don't, somebody else will.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Game Console Price Cuts: PS3, Wii, PSP

With a whole new line of mobile and home consoles coming in 2012, along with many of them already here, it's easy to see why prices would be cut down to give users a reason to buy last year's products (although in reality, all of these consoles are five years old or more). The PS3 will be receiving worldwide price cuts- $249, ¥24,980 and €249 for the 160 GB slim model. The 320 GB model will also be receiving a generous price reduction- to $299. The PSP will also be marked down to €99 and will be a Europe exclusive. The product is also receiving a makeover- a new matte finish to match the PS3 and a thinner body. To cut costs, Sony decided to axe the WiFi- but with all the issues it's had over the years, we don't see this as too big of a loss. Those desiring the ability to download games, will be able to do so through Sony's media go software on Windows and Mac OS X. As if this all wasn't cool enough, Nintendo also announced a price reduction for the Nintendo Wii- however, it looks as though it will be exclusive to Europe as well. The marked down Wii will also be blessed with a face lift- a new slimmer profile that's designed to sit horizontally- which should rid of issues that occurred when the current device would fall over. Check out the source links below for more details, and don't forget to write!

Source: Nintendo, This is my next (PS3), This is my next (PSP E-1000)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ocarina of Time: The Best Game of All Time?

As a self proclaimed Zelda fan, it feels wrong not to review this game as my first. As a Nintendo follower, as somebody who has played The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, even as a gamer in general, I think that what is critically acclaimed as the “best game of all time” should be my initial review.

Ocarina of Time, commonly known as OoT in the Zelda community, was released as an N64 game in 1998, and has been re-released in the Collector’s Edition set, as a pre-order gift with The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (another great game), and on the Wii Virtual Console. It also recently came out on the Nintendo 3DS. In other words, if you haven’t played it, there are numerous ways to find it.

If you couldn’t tell, I like this game a lot. With a game so old, fans are usually looking through nostalgia glasses when such a game is praised, but seeing as I had never touched Zelda until a few years ago and only played this game for the first time last summer, I hope I can be taken as unbiased.

Ocarina of Time is the age-old tale of a boy’s coming of age. You play as Link, one of the Kokiri; forest spirits who take the form of children who never grow up and wear green clothes and hats, and who each have a guardian fairy (writing this, I now realize they bear a great semblance to Peter Pan).  Link, however, never had a fairy. Link gets woken up by Navi, a fairy who tells you to go to the Great Deku Tree, the “father” of the Kokiri. The game leads you through a typical RPG village tutorial, and you go to the Deku Tree, a massive oak with an 80’s-style afro of leaves and a gigantic moustache. He asks you to clear the curse inside of him, and you are introduced to the first dungeon of the game. After saving him, he asks you to go to the Castle Town and speak to Princess Zelda; she needs your help. Before you leave, though, he announces the curse has already taken its toll; the safety bubble that is Kokiri Forest is broken with his dying request for Navi to accompany you on your journey (Navi refuses to leave you alone for the rest of the game).

And so you are released from the “rail” of RPGs and dropped into the expansive Hyrule field. Much of it is blocked off now, but it truly gives you a feel of the scope of the game. Ocarina of Time is an epic game.

You can explore and find sidequests, but eventually must confront Zelda who shows you that the evil Ganondorf is trying to take over the kingdom of Hyrule. He was the one who poisoned the Deku tree, and has been causing mischief across the land. Zelda asks you to find a series of gems that, in conjunction with a tune played with the mystical Ocarina of Time (ocarinas are a type of potato-shaped flute-like instrument), can open the door to the Sacred Realm, where the power of the Goddesses (known as the Triforce) lies. Essentially, it’s a race of good versus evil to unlock this power.

And so you begin the bulk of your epic journey across the expansive world, helping the races of Hyrule by conquering dungeons. Through solving one problem of theirs or another, you collect their spiritual stones.

In this task the game reveals its most impressive feature, the dungeon design. Aside from being fun and relatively intuitive in design, they have this sense of spatial organization that is rarely seen in video games; a great importance is placed on which room is above which other room, or where a path begins and ends in relation to the dungeon. The dungeons give a feel of an elaborate puzzle where each room, door, or button is a piece to fit into place.

Ocarina of Time also perfected the backtracking system introduced in its predecessor, A Link to the Past. In each dungeon one finds locked doors and impassable obstacles, the former of which are gradually opened up as keys are found, and the latter of which can only be bypassed with a certain item found within the temple. Ranging from a simple slingshot to magical bows, massive hammers and gloves that let you lift mountains, these items literally open up new opportunities for you, in a way any fan of the Metroid series would recognize.

Ocarina is the epitome of epic games. The world is at stake in the war of a lone boy against the power of an evil army. You must explore massive temples and defeat colossal bosses. You’re fighting against armies of monsters for the power of the Gods (goddesses, rather, but that’s not the point).

So, if you’ve never played Ocarina of Time, pick it up and give it a try. If you played it a long time ago, give it another go whether your nostalgia is good or bad. Between encapsulating puzzles and dungeons, sharp combat, gripping story, and charming retro graphics (unless you’re playing on the 3DS; they gave it a complete visual overhaul with the 3DS’s powerful graphics capabilities), there’s little to dislike about The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Minecraft: Pocket Addition Now Available on Android Market

After months of waiting (well, about two months since E3) it's finally available. Addicts rejoice, your fix is here. Minecraft: Pocket Edition- which is essentially a scaled down version of the hit still-in-beta video game is now downloadable off of the Android Market. There is really only one thing we have to say about this; buy it. It's worth all of your six dollars and ninety two cents. Check the source link for download, and we'll keep our eyes peeled for it's iOS equivalent.

Source: Android Market

Saturday, August 13, 2011

City of Cupertino Releases Detailed Apple Spaceship Pictures

We really wish we could live in this thing, it's so beautiful. The city of Cupertino, who will be approving Apple's new building plans for their new spaceship-like campus that'll be completed in 2015 has released some new pictures of the super structure. The new building, which is replacing an old Hewlett Packard parking lot, will be able to house over 20,000 people and takes up a small part of the 150 acres of land the company has acquired, and will feature a beautiful surrounding of trees and landscape that will actually increase plant life in the area. Since the mayor himself has gone on record as saying that there was no way they would possibly reject the plans- with consideration that Apple is the largest taxpayer in the city- production and final approval should probably be coming up soon, and we're likely to see construction sometime in 2013. In retrospect, this new building is comparable to the Pentagon, and is actually able to properly contain the same number of walking meat people- which brings us to ponder whether or not Apple plans to begin world domination with this new mothership of a building. Don't hesitate to check out some more beautiful renders of the building at the source link, and don't forget to chip in your two cents in the comments below!

Source: 9to5Mac

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Official Bastion Review

On July 20, 2011, Bastion was released on the XBox Live Arcade by SuperGiant Games as part of the Summer of Arcade promotion. Selling for 1200 Microsoft Points, or $15, this game, nay, work of art is worth every penny.

At first glance, Bastion seems to be a fairly standard action-RPG; the main character, “the Kid,” wakes up one morning to find his entire world destroyed by “the calamity,” an ambiguous apocalyptic event. He rushes to a safe-haven, the Bastion, and meets the only other survivor, “the Stranger,” an old man who instructs him to help repair the Bastion. To do so, the Kid must travel to different parts of the world to slash through enemies and collect pieces of “the Core” that will eventually allow the Bastion to fix everything that went wrong.

Bastion manages to put an interesting twist on most classic RPG elements by allowing the player to change their chosen upgrades at any point throughout the game. For instance, when the Kid levels up, instead of spending points in a class system, he unlocks one more open spot in the Distillery where the player selects drinks that act as passive power ups for the Kid. These drinks can be changed at a Distillery at any point in the game, which makes it easy to change play-style depending on either necessity or the player’s mood.

Similarly, all upgrades to the 11 different weapons can be modified at any time through the Forge. Each weapon has a unique feel of its own, but by making use of the different upgrades, the player can entirely change the way a weapon handles. For instance, when the Kid first finds the Army Carbine, it is extremely powerful and slow to aim. However, by upgrading its speed, it becomes a relatively quick long-range weapon with high firepower. Or, by upgrading critical hit chance and maximum damage, the gun maintains its low fire rate but becomes massively more powerful. Bastion gives the player the power to experiment with the two, or to land somewhere in the middle, at all times throughout the game.

Control in Bastion is tight and accurate, all of the weapons are fun to use, the enemies are varied and challenging, and there are many, many levels and challenges throughout the game. However, these qualities only make for a fun game, not a work of art. Bastion qualifies as a work of art because it moves beyond the typical confines of a video game. The most important detail of Bastion’s gameplay is the storytelling. See, throughout the game, the Stranger narrates everything that happens as it happens. At first this concept sounds irritating, but the narrator’s smooth voice is endearing and his narration is interesting to listen to. If anything, the narrator acts as a companion for the player rather than as an irritating sound effect. The narrator makes Bastion feel alive and vibrant; it makes the player feel like they are bringing a story to life as they play. Like a good book, this game is best enjoyed alone where every last detail can be soaked in and the imagination can run wild.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Editorial: The Death of Borders Doesn't Spell the Death of Books

I hear it everyday, all the time and everywhere. They defend it so strongly, and refuse to listen to the truth and the data points and instead rely on their own standards. I'm talking about people who read, and actually, people who don't. I read very often. In fact, I constantly immerse myself in books, I read news everyday and I use those things to manage this blog. I am not a book hater, I am not illiterate, and I don't think the book industry will ever die. Sure, we've all seen a complete disappearance and loss of book stores in our neighborhoods. And it's not likely to stop anytime soon. Reading is a pastime, a hobby, a dedication and a purpose. We read because we want to learn, we want to live, we want to love and enjoy life through the eyes of others. We want to relate to other people and enjoy their stories- fiction or non. We read because we are human. And books, just like television, radio, gaming, music and even the internet is a form of media... and a popular one at that. Books can never die. But that doesn't mean they can't change.

Books have been the same way for so many years for a big reason- it just works. Books are amazing because they quickly and easily manage to disappear and allow the reader to experience and enjoy the world as created by the author. There really hasn't been a sensible replacement for books until now. Actually, there has been only one major change in how we read texts. Before books were made of paper (thus being made of trees) they were made of silk spun from silkworms- making literacy a rarity. However, once the medium shifted to paper, text became dirt cheap to own, easier to read and collect, and nicer to transport. Thus, the book hasn't changed since. But, after all these years, who's to dictate that change is so bad?

Books are also hard to mange when the collection becomes large, causing owners to go out an spend money on expensive book shelves and other means of storage to feed their obsessive reading and collecting habits. In the end, this not only costs more of your hard earned money, but also space in your home. Not to mention that books use up paper and cost money and energy to make. In contrast, ebooks are just simple files that are easy to edit, import, export and share- as they're very small in size. In the end, you pay more for standalone paper books than you do for ebooks. The Amazon Kindle costs only $114 for the ad-supported model, which only displays ads on the homescreen and as a screensaver- never getting in your way during your reading. It also supports PDFs and documents, allowing you to read your important files on the go with the click of a button. If you want internet access everywhere, it only costs $139 for the ad-supported model. Or, if you hate the barely apparent ads, it'll run you $139 for the Wi-Fi only kindle and $189 for the 3G model. But really, the ads are barely there and only help you out and give you deals on the Amazon store, so they're more of an advantage than a disadvantage.

People always worry about ebook readers and their readability in the strong sunlight. Thankfully, all good ebook readers make exclusive use of a technology called eink- which is just as clear and clean as paper. Not only that, but the device is thin and light for easy prolonged reading and transportation in bags, purses or backpacks with ease. In fact, most ereaders are the size, if not smaller and lighter than most paperbacks. You really won't have a problem transporting this thing where ever you need to go.

So, is the book dying? Not at all. The book is simply changing form and becoming something better and easier to use and own. In reality, the idea of a book is to become a convenience and not an experience. It's simply a vessel to allow the words of the author to thrive. If we can make it easy, why not do so? What's so great about carrying around large, clunky books and having the magical ability to physically turn a page? Do people use it as a workout or is it some strange nostalgic feeling that makes people feel better about reading? Whatever it is, it's time you stop making up excuses and at least take a little time to look at the ebook. You shan't be disappointed.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Playstation Vita Missing From Holiday Launch in UK, US

Ugh. Even after passing FCC inspection, a UK leak and a promise from Sony themselves, it's now becoming possible that the Vita will miss holiday launch in both the US and the UK- instead seeing life in Japan. But we really wonder why Sony would pass up the change on all that beautiful money they would be able to pocket? Don't they need the green anyhow? Also, according to the source, there will be no price cuts to follow the recent mark downs of the Nintendo 3DS- which means they must really be betting on some dedication from gaming fans. Hopefully though, if we all wish hard enough, Hanukah Charlie and Santa will come through bearing beautiful Sony treats in their sacks instead of lumps of coal.

Source: Bloomberg

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Most Interesting Video on the Internet, Now Featuring Unicorns

It's not everyday you're fortunate enough to see an image this hilarious, now is it? We here at The TechTile, have come across a very interesting little video that we simply couldn't help but share with you, our dear readers. The video itself, in interesting taste, features an intoxicated bipedal unicorn singing into a hairbrush with a full beer in his hands. What is this uni-man-corn singing you ask? I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That) by the classic musician/performer, Meatloaf. This wonderful little flick is created by a mysterious group titled "Action Pals", a New York-based comedy group. The video is also only accessible by entering your email address into a lone slot, hereby allowing you to proceed to watch said video. This isn't spam, unicorn porn or anything truly inappropriate. It's hilarious, intriguing and amazing. Because of these obviously true facts (we are a news site after all), it is suggested that you take a little bit of time out of your busy day to enjoy this great, nameless video.

Source: Action Pals

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Nintendo 3DS Price Drop, $250 to $169, Free Games for Early Adopters

Nintendo finally pulled their competitive heads into the play field with a HUGE price drop on the Nintendo 3DS- from $250 to $169. That's eighty bucks off, give or take- leaving that gap as room for you to splurge yourself on awesome 3D titles as well as the offering from the classic 3DS shop- with tons of old hits and remakes, with some of them even in 3D! Now, if you accidently went out and shelled out the whole two hundred and fifty bones for one of these when they were fresh on the market, Nintendo is giving you a choice of downloading 20 eShop games from their wide selection. So perhaps instead of going for a DS Lite or a DSi, shelling out an extra seventy bucks or so gets you the latest and the greatest in Nintendo handheld technology, as well as a great system to play your favorite DS games on and an extra Netflix device! The possibilities are truly endless. What are you waiting for? Pick yours up today! Buy one, heck, buy two! That's an order, soldier.

Source: Nintendo

Via: This is my next

Monday, July 25, 2011

Editorial: Microsoft's Marketing Backfire

No matter what the field, be it technology, foodservice, media, or even economic strategy, there are two kinds of companies that grow quickly and frequently overtake each other: the pioneers and those who learn from the ruinous mistakes of those pioneers.

First there was Microsoft, a seemingly omnipotent company with infinite potential and a bright, scintillating future. They essentially bridged the gap between the complex operations needed to use a computer and the less-than-complex technical skill of what we will here call the "average Joe". It seemed they could do no wrong, financially or as far as their legions of satisfied customers went.

Microsoft had invented a brilliant marketing strategy in which they approached companies like GM, ConAgra, and several banks, handing out free licenses of a half-baked version of their operating system which promised to solve what were then enormous logistical problems easily remedied by computers. A year later they would release the fully-functional, relatively feature-rich big brother of the freebie software and in a few short months they reaped their reward - a profit upwards of six hundred million dollars. In parallel, they'd loosed this new product, the now-archaic DOS, on the free consumer market and chunked on another eighteen or nineteen million just for kicks.

As if that weren't enough, before they'd even approached the large corporations they contacted a few software-development firms and gently proffered them a set of tools to write programs for a platform that hadn't hit the market yet - free of charge, of course. The confused but happy firms started pumping out enormous amounts of DOS software and, when the platform was introduced, made millions as well, only to find Microsoft knocking on their doors holding collection tins to remind them who'd thrown them the great idea in the first place. Not only did this make DOS a convenient platform upon its release, it basically forced people to use it do to the lack of good software available for other systems.

Microsoft's range of software products is all-encompassing and easy to use, the most prominent of which are Windows, which rose as a phoenix does from the ashes of DOS loaded with a shockingly simple user interface and several new streamlining features, and Microsoft Office, their more-than-globally-recognized suite of word-processing, presentation and spreadsheet programs. The attraction and success of the company is quite obvious when looked at by cross-section - so where did they go so badly wrong?

The answer is not simple. First of all, Microsoft has not completely lost its shining reputation as the most versatile tech giant on Earth, but the way everyone seeems to think of it in comparison with a few others like it has changed drastically. The reasons for that stem from Microsoft's habit of splitting their products into several versions and limiting the lower-priced ones. This is an extension of the marketing tactic they used to cause people to buy their software applied on a smaller scale - within their own product line. For any remotely computer-savvy consumer this is a blatant and disgruntling nudge to spend more money if you're already going Microsoft. But dissatisfaction in a customer is not enough to make them turn elsewhere. There must be a true drag of unpleasantness along with the wafting scent of a greener pasture to draw their attention away from where they've been comfortable since 1986.

The rest is for the reader to decide. Microsoft's ability to monopolize its users is most certainly losing its grip, and only time will tell what the reaction is going to be long-term.

By Or Bairey-Sehayek

Sunday, July 24, 2011

"This is Hogwash"- WSJ's Accusations, Bad Timing on Apple CEO Successor

Due to an inconsistency of interesting tech news lately, I figured it was about time I threw this article out there, since it not only pertains to the media/corporate vibe right now, but also to our industry as a whole. The Wall Street Journal is a fantastic publication with some of the best news and market data inside than in any other publication. They play things by the book, publish the real story, and crank out the best in rumors and company chit-chat. But lately, it seems, WSJ has not only made strange accusations, but released content that really doesn't speak to their character anymore.

In case anyone isn't already aware, Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been on health leave for a while, focusing on himself for once instead of his company. This isn't Steve's first medical leave though, in fact, his last one led to a liver transplant and revealed Jobs' struggle with gaining weight. Succession planning is normal and is done all the time within large or even small companies. For Apple, replacing Steve is close to impossible. Not only did he launch the company, but was totally destroyed the minute he left it in 1986, almost plunging to company into bankruptcy in 1996 until he returned to save the day. Steve is a valuable asset to both the company and it's customers. The very face of Apple is Steve, the only man we can ever imagine delivering new iPhones or iPads with his quick wit and flawless presentations. It seems that without the dedication, passion and love Steve has for Apple, it would fail to survive. However, as time moves on and nature takes its course, so must company heads. It's only a matter of time before Steve fades away, but we're a long ways off before Apple does. In fact, Apple is about to become the world's largest corporation in terms of capitalization, with only a mere $60 Billion dollar gap between them and Exxon Mobil. Similarly, Apple is actually the top smartphone company in the world, beating out Research-In-Motion, Google, Microsoft and HP. Obviously, Apple isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

So, what exactly did WSJ say about the succession? Well, they claim that the Apple board of directors have been secretly planning Steve Jobs' successor without his holy blessing. In fact, according to WSJ, they've talked management succession at every board meeting for the past twelve years, with the discussion recently becoming more frequent. Not only that, but they also make claims that Apple is considering at least one corporate leader of a "high-profile technology company"- which is odd for a successor to be brought in instead of internally. But wait, it gets even more interesting! As it turns out, Apple declined to comment on the issue. However, Steve Jobs himself fired up a reply to the publication claiming that all of these accusations are "hogwash". Here we have an intriguing juxtaposition that really baffles us and many other news sites; why would Apple and their "active" CEO have different responses to the same issue? Does this perhaps make WSJ's accusations accurate? Or is this a simple matter of Steve taking care of things so the company doesn't need to? Whatever it is, it's still quite odd for us.

One thing that really interests us, was the timing of this stories' release- right before Apple's quarterly earnings calls. In fact, you could hear the dismay in the voices of acting-CEO/COO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer. But in all honesty, this story really shouldn't distract from the fact that Apple had an awesome record-breaking quarter and are doing as well as ever with new refreshed Macs, a new Mac OS X and even more awesome stuff not too far away from reality.

EDIT: Thanks to a nice user in the comments named "Ur Mom" who noticed that we accidentally forgot to add a link to said WSJ article... If you may please go ahead and check the source.

Source: WSJ

Friday, July 22, 2011

Games to Play Before You Die: Halo Combat Evolved

If you didn't see this one coming... well, shame on you. Perhaps one of the best and most influential first person shooters of the 00's is Halo: Combat Evolved. As the title suggests, HCE was very different from "competing" titles. It only allowed the player to carry two weapons at a time. You had a shield, but it wasn't super protective like in Quake, and the storyline was simply fantastic, something comparable to the awesome work of the Half-Life series. Halo was also one of the first titles to be released with the launch of the original Xbox- the console that in retrospect, changed the entire gaming industry. This wasn't your typical "console shooter"- it was fast, graphically intense, beautiful, responsive and simply amazing. Perhaps if it weren't for Halo, the true power of the Xbox wouldn't have been realized, and it wouldn't have boomed into such a huge market, getting ever so close from eradicating the FPS genre from PC exclusivity. Halo is set in a future world, where humans are at war with a union of alien races known as the covenant. You play as the last of a powerful race of surgically-enhanced super soldiers known as spartans. You are John-117, the Master Chief. The outcome of the war is reliant on your ability to seize the covenant from controlling a super weapon in the form of the ring, with many other super cool surprises along the way. Let's just be clear mom and dad, this is a violent game. Sure, you're not supposed to kill people, but rather, monstrous aliens. Still, there is graphic violence and adult situations, so keep the exposure of this game around kids to the bare minimum. If you would like to Pick up a copy of Halo: Combat Evolved, it's available for Windows, OS X (good luck finding it though), Xbox and off of the Xbox Live Arcade for only ten bucks. In fact, in only about two months, Microsoft will be re-releasing the game under a totally new graphics engine and with a super awesome online multiplayer. Overall, this game is worth the ten bucks and then some, and will keep even an experienced FPS gamer about ten hours to complete and the novice a few hours more.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

One Million Downloads Later...

Oh, you didn't catch the hype? Apple's OS X (no longer "Mac" OS X) has passed the million download mark... in the first day. Unfortunately, we here at The TechTile, are unable to upgrade to OS X Lion until we find a way around doing an upgrade instead of a clean install over our Lion GM. Interestingly enough, this data makes OS X Lion the fastest selling Apple operating system ever.

EDIT: Actually, according to both Apple and the App Store, the GM is the final version of Lion.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Roku Launches New Media Players, Angry Birds on Your TV

In case the cheap classic Netflix box wasn't enough for you, there's an upgrade that might be. The new Roku 2 HD, XD, and XS are official at the following prices: $60 USD for the HD, $80 USD for the XD and $100 USD for the XS. If you decide to shell out the full one hundo for the player, you receive a game controller as well as a copy of Angry Birds. Apparently, Roku is ready to support casual gaming on their platform much in the same way that the iPhone did back in 2008. If this isn't enough for you, compare it to the one hundred dollar Apple TV that doesn't include a game controller and the best selling video game of all time. A new commercial for the product line shows hints at more popular games to come, so perhaps theres more to this little box than meets the eye. Press release below.
New Roku 2 Players Sling Angry Birds to the TV

Best-Selling Streaming Players Now More Powerful for Casual Games

Saratoga, Calif. – July 20, 2011 – Setting a new standard in streaming entertainment, Roku today introduced Roku 2, a new family of streaming players. Available in three models – the Roku 2 HD, Roku 2 XD and Roku 2 XS – this new line brings popular casual games including Angry Birds to the TV alongside Roku's large and growing selection of entertainment. Roku 2 players also feature a sleek new design that's more energy-efficient than before, using less than two watts of power.

"Roku is the best-selling streaming player on the market because of its simplicity, breadth of content and value. Now we're setting the bar even higher with Roku 2 – a more powerful platform with new features including casual gaming," said Roku Founder and CEO Anthony Wood. "We've worked closely with Rovio to bring the first full version of Angry Birds to the TV – and best of all, we're including it for free with the top-of-the-line XS model."

New channels launching with Roku 2 include Angry Birds (full version), Facebook, EPIX, Major League Soccer, AOL HD, and Additional games will be available shortly after launch including Angry Birds Rio and Angry Birds Seasons. The Roku 2 platform offers nearly 300 channels of streaming entertainment including movies and TV shows from Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video and Crackle; live and on-demand sports from NBA Game Time, NHL GameCenter Live and Ultimate Fighting Championship; music from Pandora, MOG, Rdio and TuneIn Radio; photos and videos from Flickr and Vimeo; plus news and entertainment from around the world.

A Streaming Player for Everyone

All three Roku 2 models feature built-in wireless, Bluetooth for connecting a game remote and a MicroSD slot to support additional game storage. The Roku 2 HD player supports up to 720p HD video while the Roku 2 XD player supports up to 1080p HD video. Roku 2 also adds several significant enhancements to its acclaimed Netflix experience, including support for English subtitles, Dolby Digital Plus and up to 1080p HD video quality (on the XD and XS models). The Roku 2 XS player provides the ultimate casual gaming experience on the TV. Now, Angry Birds fans who love to launch birds at jeering green pigs can enjoy the full version of the game for the first time on the TV, free of charge. The Roku 2 XS includes the new Roku Game Remote with motion control which has been optimized for bird-slinging action on the big screen. The Roku 2 XS also features an Ethernet port for a wired Internet connection and a USB port for playing music, videos, and photos off of any USB

Pricing and Availability

The Roku 2 HD, the Roku 2 XD and the Roku 2 XS are expected to be available by the end of July for suggested retail prices of $59.99, $79.99 and $99.99 respectively. Retailers include,, Best Buy, Fry's Electronics and RadioShack.

Since all Roku 2 players support casual games, customers will be able to purchase the game remote with motion control for use with the Roku 2 HD and Roku 2 XD players. The Roku Game Remote will be available in the coming weeks as part of a bundle that includes a 2GB MicroSD card for a suggested retail price of $29.99 at