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 FOXNews.com. 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 Roku.com, Amazon.com, 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 Roku.com.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

"What Console Again?": The Multi-platform Console Distaster



It's a popular question when considering the purchase of a video game console; "which one should I get?" Unfortunately, this issue isn't made any easier by the overwhelming amount of systems available on the market today and the multiple versions that go along with it. The funny part is, or perhaps the irony in all of this, is the cold hard fact that there are really only four big companies competing for the top spot: Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony and Apple. Although we like to try and deny it, Apple's mobile platform, iOS has spun off to become the most popular gaming platform with the most popular online gaming service. Likewise, Microsoft and Sony both have very popular online services, Xbox Live and the Playstation Network. Nintendo, on the other hand, doesn't yet have a main multiplayer social gaming service beyond online stores and wi-fi connection in-game. Yet somehow, each company either can't make up it's mind on hardware. The software story is fine, and all of it makes some sort of sense. But beyond the digital spectrum, the real one is a clusterfuck of products each with varying capabilities, prices and purposes. If this was a buying experience from Dell or Apple, it would make sense, but it's not and it doesn't.

Sony

Is the very example of a disastrous clusterfuck of problems with no solutions. Sony currently has two main products that control their product line, one which is portable and one which isn't. In terms of home consoles, the main product is the PS3, but for some stupid reason, the PS2 is still kicking, regardless of the fact that it's ten years old. It's time to shoot the dog and put her down, Sony. Enough is enough. We don't need the platform anymore. The PS3 on the other hand, is just fine and not an issue at all. Then we look at the mobile products. Sony currently sells two PSP's; the 3000, which still has the UMD drive and is arguably the largest portable console on the market and the PSPgo- a digital distribution based product based around true portability. But thats not all folks. Sony will be releasing yet another, super amazing handheld called the Playstation Vita or PSVita for short. However, they plan to continue to support and sell the PSP, confusing developers and holding back gamers from making decisions just because the PSP is worlds cheaper ($129 vs. $249) and looks pretty much the same. How can anybody make the right choice when there are two three totally different but connected product available? It's very hard to do.

Nintendo

Nintendo is one of the few companies that seemed to get it, but now they're about to screw things up again. Nintendo has two main "lines" of products in the mobile and home categories as well. But unfortunately, they have even more consoles in there. First, there's the DS line, which contains the original DS (retired), the DS Lite, the DSi and the 3DS. Currently, the DS Lite, DSi and 3DS are sold and will continue to ALL be sold for a very long time. If that isn't bad, the home consoles are about to get worse. Nintendo currently has the Wii and will be replacing it with a totally new Wii U, which is a super departure from it's predecessor. That makes five available products for users to go after, which can really get quite confusing for the end users. Unfortunately, it's not likely to improve either.

Microsoft

Microsoft is even better than Apple in terms of keeping out the clutter. The main and single Xbox product is the 360 which only has one update available which has successfully replaced the original and kept the idiots of the world from buying the older one- making decisions far easier. As of now, there don't look to be any updates in the future, as the product has the power of the fastest PCs available today, and then some. In fact, the platform may converge with Windows to become one united software platform- extending the life and use of the platform for users everywhere.

So, what console should you choose? I don't really know, but there are plenty of choices on the market today...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Game Of The Week: Pac-Man 2 The New Adventures



Pac-Man 2 The New Adventures is a different kind of game than what Pac-Fans are used to. It's not a maze game or a platformer. In fact, you don't even control Pac-Man. The player controls an outsider that attempts to point Pac in the right direction in order to solve puzzles, complete missions and stop the evil ghosts. As far as graphics go, this is a game made to look essentially like a cute cartoon aimed at kids, and it really holds that feel throughout the majority of the game. What makes the game so interesting however, is being able to interact with everything, not just Pac-Man. Using a slingshot you point Pac-Man the right way while also highlighting crucial checkpoints and objects to help the game proceed. All in all, it's massively entertaining. The game takes at least six hours to complete in one sitting, and can be played endlessly if you wish to seek out other, hidden objects and features. Whats really cool is, if you feel really nostalgic, you can even play the original game and Ms. Pac-Man at certain locations throughout the game. Pac-Man 2 was originally released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and the Sega Genesis. Considering the significant age and lack of support for these consoles, this game would typically be very, very difficult to obtain used. However, through the use of other, unorthodox methods, the game is rather easy to obtain. But in all honesty, this isn't likely a game that publishers would sue you for "stealing" via roms or torrents. It's a fantastic title, if you enjoy long-form action/puzzle titles.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Ultimate Streamlined Experience: Microsoft's Platform Unification Plan



Phones, tablets, PCs, cameras, media players, gaming consoles... as of 2011, and for the last few years, we Americans have purchased so many products that we've used to improve or entertain ourselves. Devices used to be simple... until the whole "internet" thing popped up and before we knew it, everything had a web browser. Then it became even more complex, with the social networking boom that kept us even more attached to our devices. So the question is, how do we keep all these devices connected and unified with each other? Unfortunately, this process is really complex. Lets say I have a file on my PC I want to transport to my mobile device, like a song. First I have to sync the song to the mobile device, then if I want to put it on my tablet I have to sync it to that too and then to my phone and eventually I'll need to backup my computer. Or what if it's a document? Lets face it, keeping all this stuff together and on track is just driving us crazy.

Microsoft knows this, Apple knows this and so does Canonical. Because of this, everybody is scrambling around to come up with a final, feasible solution thats the best. iCloud from Apple looks amazing and makes a lot of sense. But the facts say that most people use PCs, and in the real world, PCs are used EVERYWHERE. Sure, Macs are more popular, but PC is still numero uno. PC users are probably wondering how this whole "cloud thing" is gonna effect them and what they can use to take advantage of it.

Microsoft recently provided a small sneak peak of whats to come, and there's really only one way to simplify it. It's the same experience, on every device. Granted, it's different in terms of size and some content, but for the most part, it's that same concrete experience we've been seeing on Windows Phone 7 for the last year or so. Windows as we know it today will really be a thing of the past, replaced with a totally new and vastly improved "touch-first" interface. As a result, the OS works on Tablets and PCs, finally splitting the line between both devices in terms of software. With Windows 8, Microsoft also hopes to run the OS on older, current and past hardware, in order to expand the scope of usability. The only requirement will likely be somewhere around the specs we are currently seeing on tablets, or maybe even less.

MS also hopes to better connect Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8 with Xbox 360, merging the platforms completely at the end Xbox's lifespan somewhere around 2015 or 2016. Windows 8 obviously takes some cues from both Xbox's dashboard and Windows Phone 7, bringing together the best of both worlds. By streamlining this experience into a unified design not only incorporates a new factor around ease of use, but also allows users to better connect with and enjoy their content instead of having to relearn over and over again how to use certain platforms. Apple has so far done a fantastic job doing the same thing, so it's good to see Microsoft following suit.

Overall, it'll be nice to see these changes come into play as time goes on and as technology pushes forward to newer and more advanced horizons. There's a secret we professional tech users keep close to our hearts- we hate having to constantly fiddle with the OS when we could get work done. Same goes for regular users and newcomers. Everybody would rather be able to jump in and get things done as fast as possible. That's really what computers have always been for, and now would be a good time for them to get back to their old ways.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Games to Play Before You Die: Portal



Possibly one of the greatest games of all time and one of the most popular is Portal by Valve. The game involves the player jumping into the skin as a female lab rat running around through Aperture Laboratories solving puzzles using a gun that shoots out inter-dimensional holes into walls. The story is simple and pretty clean cut, with only a single player mode available for play. This will run you somewhere from four to five hours, or even shorter for puzzle/FPS masters. Both the graphical elements and atmospheric ones are as good as gaming gets for 2007. As for sound, the music about as awesome as a non-Halo game could be. And, like all Valve titles, the voices are real and amazing. The taunting echoes of the game's antagonist, GLaDOS are some of the most memorable moments of all time in gaming and really make the title shine. If you wish to pick up this game or simply download it online, it'll cost you an immense ten dollars- about the price of a double chicken Chipotle burrito and a small soft beverage. The title is available on just about everything under the sun; Macintosh, Windows, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. If you wish to live a long and fullfilling life, do yourself a favor and give this game a try.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bigger, Badder, More Refined: The Mac OS X Lion Review



Apple's flagship operating system, Mac OS X, has been around for a decade, with major releases rolling out once every two to three years- unlike it's competitor, Microsoft Windows. Interestingly enough, with each new software update comes not just visual and usability improvements, but also performance and noticeable OS speed changes that always seem to benefit the end user. With the seventh major revision to Mac OS X, a lot is expected from an OS that dares to call itself a lion. But, as it turns out, this name is the best way to define Apple's robust computing platform. Let us begin!

User Interface



Apple is perhaps one of the best companies when it comes to delivering a solid, speedy UI that appeals to both consumer and professional users. On the consumer end of the spectrum, simplicity is a key factor that dictates how fast simple tasks are accomplished. The same goes for experienced users who wish not to toggle with an OS to make it work, but to jump in and jump out without a moment to lose. Lion manages to accomplish both of these tasks, presenting the user with a refined experience tailored for ease of use. It seems that every aspect of the interface has been modified to some extent. Window Buttons, for example, have shrunk with the green "go" button given a new fullscreen functionality. Windows still have that attractive grey gradient, but it seems that it has become a bit lighter- something most users won't care to notice at all. At the top right hand corner of most windows, is yet another full screen button that allows most apps to jump into the new fullscreen mode and make use of the added space. Remember when Aqua was released? Yeah... that's pretty much faded away. The gooey scroll bars have been replaced with iOS-esqe solid grey ones that fade away when not in use... for most apps. Loading bars, buttons and checkboxes have been slightly modified to help slowly do away with the old, aging Aqua interface OS X grew up with. It was cool then, but its slowly losing its appeal a decade later. Surprisingly, these new features don't feel too cumbersome, and the interface remains very snappy and buttery with very little OS lag issues (But sometimes, when over-multitasking, it's happened to me). One thing that is deathly apparent in Lion, is Apple's love for textures. Whether it's the bumpy, plastic surface in Dashboard, the worn leather in iCal or the grey cloth at the login window, there are textures everywhere. Usually, incorporating these features are great in touch-based interfaces. But the problem is, OS X isn't a touch OS. You use a trackpad or a mouse. Whats the good of these textures if I can't touch them?

Launchpad, Mission Control and Widgets



Although widgets have been a part of the OS X family since the 10.4 Tiger release, Expose and many of the aspects of the Finder have been replaced by two newer apps; Launchpad and Mission Control. Launchpad is basically the Mac version of iOS's SpringBoard application- displaying applications in a touch-centric grid-like interface. But honestly, this makes no freaking sense if OS X isn't even touch compatible. Seriously, who thought of this? Not only that, but Launchpad is an application. No, it's not part of the UI. It's an application. This means you need to open it yourself to use it, which its totally senseless when I can simply dash into my Applications folder I keep in my dock, find the app and open it. Another thing I could do, which sometimes is faster, is search for the app and launch it in seconds with Spotlight. So, besides looking pretty, Launchpad contains no real useable aspects to it.



Mission Control however, is a very different story. Imagine Expose merging with Spaces. Yep, thats basically what this is. With the touch of the former expose key (F3 on most Macs) or opening it from your dock, you're immediately launched into a slick interface displaying open applications and the windows that accompany it as well as the current state of your desktop and the dashboard. In the real world, Mission Control has been very useful to me. Typically, I run anywhere from four to six applications as once, and more always seem to be running in the background. I'm a full-blooded multitasking machine. Whether I'm screwing around in Photoshop, blasting Bob Dylan over iTunes, browsing the web over Chrome, writing up a document in TextEdit, checking my email or even playing a game everything is very, very snappy as I jump into Mission Control and switch into other apps. Not only that, but I usually run VMware Fusion with Windows XP in the background, using the apps whenever I need them. All of this with only 2 GB of RAM and a 2 GHz Core 2 Duo. That's simply amazing. As far as widgets go, they're all the same, besides the new isolated panel they will now be living on, which honestly, makes a lot of the clutter go away from the interface.

Speed, Stability and Bugs

As mentioned earlier, OS X seems to feel speedier and speedier with every update, and Lion definitely doesn't fall short of expectations. Every little action in the OS is buttery smooth and fast acting, with little-to-no delay time (at least, that I can notice). Opening apps is fast, navigating around the desktop is fast, multitasking enough to burn a hole from the computer is fast. Everything is speedy. As far as stability goes, OS X is the grand standard in protection. Built on the rock-solid UNIX foundation, silly viruses and malware don't even touch the surface of Apple's fierce cat, let alone come near it. If you're in the market for a secure, virus free platform, Mac OS X is always a safe bet.

WHERE IS ROSETTA?



Yes, it happened. Apple removed PowerPC support through Rosetta from OS X. For most people this isn't a big deal at all. For me, this mean Halo Demo support is dead as well as my other favorite old PPC apps. But seriously, how hard would it have been for them to simply port the platform over to 10.7? Would it really have been difficult enough that it would be scrapped altogether? Well, its like this, Apple is moving forward. They officially cut off PPC support with the previous release, Snow Leopard, and now they're cutting off PPC application support with Lion. However, as I've said, most people won't notice as the apps used by most are either going to come from the app store, or the shelves of a store where PowerPC software is nowhere to be seen.

Mac OS X or iOS?

One of the new features of iOS 5 (coming this fall, likely September) is PC-Free. iPads, iPod touches and iPhones will officially be "real" computers, independent of Mac or PCs. Updates will arrive over the air (OTA) and syncing will also be cordless. So honestly, if I really wanted to, I could buy an iOS device like an iPad 2 and never have to worry about updates or anything that would require a Mac or PC. Its not like this isn't a plausible choice either. A lot of people who buy iPads, iPhones or iPod touches don't own computers, and wish to use the devices as such. But honestly, OS X is still a solid platform with tons of support and functionality that make it not only worth using, but rewarding with the speed and stability of a super computer. In the end though, its all about what you need the device for. If you happen to be a college student in need of something to take notes with and use to write up term papers, then a MacBook would for sure be the way to go. However, if you like to travel and be able to just browse the web, check your email and consume media, then the iPad 2 or even the iPod touch is right for you. If you want a go anywhere device for communications, web browsing, email, documents and everything under the sun that fits in your pocket, then the iPhone is the go-to device. If you really like games, then get both an OS X and an iOS device.

Wrap Up

If I had to describe Mac OS X Lion in a single sentence, it would go something like this. An amazing operating system and software platform with a robust interface designed for the rumble and tumble of everyday computing. Lion really could have been Apple's Windows Vista, but it isn't. It's speedy, secure, beautiful and simple. For both consumers and professionals, Mac OS X Lion is an excellent operating system and a wise choice for users to upgrade to. In the package you get many new, fantastic features and hey, FaceTime for free!

This review was done with the aid of two Apple computers. A White 2009 MacBook with 2 GB of RAM and a 2 GHz Core 2 Duo and a Mac Mini with 2 GB of RAM and a 1.8 GHz Core Duo. Both machines ran extremely well under the operating system- even under significant multitasking and usage.

Mac OS X 10.7 Lion gets five out of five stars.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy Independence Day!



To my American readers (I assume the majority), I would like to wish you a very safe and happy independence day. Don't go blowing off any important body parts or yourself, because that would really suck. Do not forget the reason we celebrate this holiday. On this day we commemorate the struggles and victories of the men who helped shape this country into what it is today- a vast wasteland of media and stupidity. But in all seriousness, this is the only free land, and we should embrace and celebrate our freedoms with the launch of fireworks, the consumption of red meat and of course, the joy of technology. Where is there an iPhone app for simulated fireworks again?

Switching From PC to Mac: Steam



If you're a Steam user worried about compatibility with your PC games, fear not- you will be able to play your games on both platforms. At least, most of them. The bulk of the games like Half-Life 2 and the Orange Box and most mainstream games will transfer. But other games, such as CoD: Black Ops or the majority of CoD games will not work. Neither will the original Half-Life or the first few Doom/Quake games (use DOSBox or Boxer for DOS games). As far as I am concerned though, most gamers will be satisfied with the Mac version of Steam and will find the transition to be easy. All you need to do is sign in to your account, go to your library and redownload the games. Just make sure you have a decent internet connections, because the files are pretty hefty.