Saturday, December 22, 2012

$69 Kindle Lightning Review

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The $69 Kindle is something of a phenomenon in the tech world. For average price of a full tank of gas you can purchase a full-fledged Ereader with built-in WiFi and the greatest content selection in the world. And because of that, I wanna tell y'all really quickly just how amazing the on-the-cheap Ereader is... just in case you're looking to spend some money on yourself or your loved ones this holiday season last minute.

Who's it for?

The reader. The person who is always flying around page by page on his laptop reading articles, sitting down and enjoying the daily paper, enjoying a magazine about something naughty, or simply curling up with a good book. The Kindle is for that person and more. Everyone who reads more than ten books a year or reads the newspaper frequently or loves magazines and blogs should definitely consider one of these bad boys for the holidays.

How do I use it?

The Kindle is awesome because the online store is only two short clicks away, and searching for a book takes seconds. And if you're on your laptop or phone, you can have content wirelessly delivered to your Kindle in seconds flat. It's super fast, worry free, and totally worth it. In daily use, the most you really have to do is turn it on, select your reading, and navigate with the simple page turning buttons. One. Two. Three. Nothing to it.

What do you think?

It's my favorite electronic as of late. It's fast, responsive, light, and easy to use. I love it more than my phone or laptop. Then again, I read a lot more than the average bear, so it makes sense that would love it. But I sincerely think everyone who loves to read can love it to. Sixty nine bucks isn't always something to shake a stick at, but for the love of saving money, it is certainly a better value than a tablet for textphiles. Pick it up at any Best Buy, Staples, Walmart, or even just the Amazon store. Trust me, it's worth it.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Right to Bear Arms or Freedom? Pick One.

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I usually use this site to write about technology, but this week is so different for me. I don't know about my readers, but I have spent this entire week reflecting upon the terrible tragedies that transpired at Sandy Hook Elementary. All week I have bounced back and forth between anger and sheer grief. My heart goes out to the victims and their families from this terrible day.

The word “gun” is short, but it is loaded.
To Americans, guns represent danger, safety, fear, destruction, death, freedom and so much more. We live in a culture dominated by guns. The United States is the biggest producer and consumer of guns in the entire world. We are also the country responsible for the largest count of shootings and gun murders.

Just this past week, 28 lives were taken by guns. 20 of which were innocent children being protected by 7 equally innocent teachers who wanted nothing more than to keep their children safe. But they couldn’t protect them, and neither could harsh gun laws... because there aren't any. 20 beautiful, young, innocent children were stripped from this Earth in the blink of an eye because a disturbed individual was allowed access to guns.

According to “The Coalition Against Gun Violence,” the number of homicides in the United States resulting from gun violence from 2000-2008 is 86,112. And that number is only including firearms. If you count other weapons, such as knives, explosives, poison, fire and others, the total number is 129, 741 deaths. That number is taken from the United States Census released in 2011.

Despite the statistics, Americans continue to resist gun regulations, referring to the US Constitution. The second amendment states “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Note that this phrase does not provide that all citizens have the right to own, carry, and use firearms. Instead, it permits for citizens to have the right to bear arms in a “well regulated Militia” if needed to overthrow a corrupt government.

Unless you’re a time traveler from the 1800s or poorly informed, you should understand just how outdated this amendment to the Constitution is. A group of citizens should no longer have the power to fire back at the U.S. government, which has one of the most powerful militaries in the world.

This begs the question: what exactly is the purpose of keeping the second amendment in its current form? What need have we for citizens to assemble and have the right to own potentially deadly means? That answer is simple: we don’t. It is clear that too many people have died in this country, victims of other people’s right to bear firearms.

But understand, I’m not proposing an all-out ban of firearms as much as I am advocating stricter regulations. A recent article in the Seattle Times found that attempts abroad to intensify the strictness of gun laws significantly reduced the number of homicides in each respective country- both firearm and non-firearm related homicides.

Interestingly enough, we aren’t the only country to own a lot of guns. Just look at our neighbor to the north, good old Canada, and you’ll find plenty of gun-loving maple syrup making men much like those in the states. However, it seems that Canadians don’t suffer the same massive tragedies that we Americans do. Yet they have access to and own such a similar number of weapons? How can this be? Well, it’s simple. They’re not as fearful as we are.

The 2002 blockbuster documentary “Bowling for Columbine” found just the same thing. Americans, from the time that the first man stepped off the first boat into Jamestown, to the American Revolution, the Civil War, Vietnam, and everything in between, Americans have always taken extreme measures to protect themselves and ensure that the world around them has been tweaked to their delight. But hey, that’s just human nature, right?

Wrong. That’s American nature. American tradition. American values. This is how we have carried ourselves as a people and as a nation for centuries. Americans don’t think, they act. And they always have. From thoughtlessly annihilating the Native Americans in what we deny but know to be genocide, to the colonial-age Salem Witch Trials, and the McCarthy Hearings in the 1950s, Americans are fearful little creatures willing to take out any possible threat to their own selfish existence.

And honestly, do any of us really want to live in a world where teachers need to be armed? Or how about where every school requires metal detector screening to get in and out? What if we just put metal detectors everywhere? Just imagine how expensive and tedious everything would become? Realistically, this is how things are turning out to be. It’s only a logical next step to protect schools the way we protect airports. After that, every public facility would naturally follow suit. Tell me, just where is the concept of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness found in that situation? You’re right, intelligent reader, it isn’t anywhere to be found.

So how about this; let’s stop letting crazy people get access to guns, okay? Let’s require aspiring gun owners pay for psychological exams and wait a grace period until they are permitted to receive their desired firearms. Also, let’s just get rid of consumer access to assault weapons altogether. Remember, they’re called “assault” rifles for a reason... and I’m pretty sure it’s not to hunt deer.

Think! We can do this! We can better society by making it safer! Americans shouldn’t have to live in constant fear, even if they have for centuries since their existence. It’s still possible to relinquish our reputation as the country that we once were and still have the ability to be. We mustn't allow another innocent group of children to die in vain because we couldn’t let go of our pistols and rifles. Because if we don’t, and we allow these terrible tragedies to continue, I fear there is little hope left for a free America.

Friday, December 14, 2012

PSA: A Message About the Events in Connecticut

To address today's tragedy with more than just an acknowledgement of it's occurrence, I'd like to lay out my two cents on arms control in the United States. And the reason I specify the US is because this issue is rampant predominantly in the US. The United States and it's citizens not only purchase the largest number of guns on the planet, but we are also responsible for the largest number of gun-related deaths in a first-world country. And for what? Assurance that the grappling fear that we are constantly in danger of harm from the people who are supposed to be our neighbors? I don't think so. Americans are historically fearful of the world, be it the Native Americans, the Africans, the Soviets or any group of people who didn't come from a mostly-white European country. But isn't this "incredible" country the all-accepting, no-neglecting melting pot of everyone?

Whatever the case, you can't change the nature of the beast, but you can restrict him. If we don't ban guns outright, we should at least increase background check requirements beyond what they are now. Oh, and limit ammunition allowances too. And in case any of you hunters were wondering, I'm pretty sure you won't be needing that semi-automatic machine gun to shoot down a buck. I'm pretty sure of it.

And to all those who died on that tragic day, may whatever entity they believe in protect them and find justice for them. Time to wake up America... don't allow another group of victims to die in vain.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Netflix on Ubuntu Lightning Review


Most of you already know that Netflix has landed for Ubuntu users. Not officially, but the emulated version is good enough to use daily for your televisionphile desires in Linux. So here goes, the Ubuntu Netflix Lightning Review. Enjoy.

Who's it For? 

Ubuntu users. All Ubuntu users with a capable machines (2+GHz Processor, at least 2 GB of RAM) can and SHOULD take advantage of this app. It's not only tolerable in terms of lag (there's barely any), but it's easy to set up.

How do I use it?

It's very easy to install and set up. How easy you ask? As easy as entering in a small amount of commands. Just follow the list below for success. And trust me, you WILL be successful.

In a new Terminal window enter:

  • sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ehoover/compholio

  • sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install netflix-desktop


To launch the application open the Unity Dash and search for ‘netflix’. 

What do you think?

It's awesome. I have been waiting for this for the longest time. One of the only things that ever held me back from using Ubuntu fully was the lack of Netflix. Everything else I can do within the operating system... and I can do it very well!

Sorry for the lack of posts lately! I've been incredibly busy, but I'll try and finish my latest, Ubuntu-related editorial for post this weekend. Hope this helps! If you have any questions or issues with installation, don't hesitate to contact me here in the comments for assistance. This is an invariably valuable tool that everyone should have access to. That wasn't a joke.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Halo 4 Reviewed: Yeah, It's Awesome



I have been a hardcore Halo fan since I was a little boy (I haven't been alive very long). It was probably the first shooter I have ever seen running so well on a console, whereas most shooters have always been reserved for PC. In fact, it was almost scary to imagine that the now dated Half Life was released only a few years earlier in 1998. But that's not important. What is important is that the Halo series is no longer in the hands of Bungie. Now, the franchise is completely controlled by Microsoft's 343 Industries, a company that exists to power the Halo brand. And Halo 4 is supposedly only the first in a new trilogy of Halo games following the Master Chief from where we left off on the Forward Unto Dawn way back in Halo 3.

--READ ON TO FIND OUT MORE ON WHY HALO 4 IS SOOOOOO AWESOME!--

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Platform UI Unification, Or Variety? Which Works?



Within the last few weeks, three of the biggest players in the software industry released products to fill the gaps in their respective platform offerings. Apple released it's iPad mini to go along with the iPod touch/iPhone, iPad 2, and Retina iPad. Microsoft released Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, and subsequently updated the XBOX UI. And Google. Ohhhhh Google. The land of the droids released the final two pieces to their platform puzzle, the Nexus 4 and Nexus 10, joining the Nexus 7 to complete the full Google-approved Android device offering.

Each company has it's own unique platform. As interesting as this is, perhaps more intriguing is the approach that each company takes to each user interface on each respective device. Apple's UI seems to be similar across the board, but differences are hiding around every corner, and the gap between phone/PMP and tablet is very wide. Microsoft is trying very hard to pull their design together and unify it as much as possible. In fact, one would be hard pressed to find many interface differences between Phone 8 and 8. Google, on the other hand, pointed out by their naming scheme, has decided to embrace each device as a step on the stairs of Android. Each device offers Android in very similar flavors, but for different purposes tailored to form factors spanning three sizes.

This arouses the question- which works? Is it better to unify everything, have each user interface be distinguishable by form factor, or keep the similarities in front, and the differences relatively hidden? Read on to find out.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Why the iPad mini Will Sell Well, Even at $330



Apple probably surprised the entire tech industry last week when they introduced the iPad mini, but not because of it's size, shape, function, design, or software. It was because of the price. For weeks Apple fanatics have been planning for a sub-300 dollar tablet to arrive on the market, with rumors that it would retail for either $199 or $249- a sweet spot for 7 inch hand-held tablets. Yet somehow, Apple decided to promote the iPad for a steep price of $329. I made fun of this with a rather insignificant comparison between the cost of the iPad and the cost of, among other things, a lot of McDoubles. Apple's iPad mini may retail for $329, but that doesn't mean it won't sell just as well, or even better than it's competitors. Read on to find out why.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Instead of an iPad mini, You Can Buy the Following for Less Than $330

The iPad mini is no small investment. The entry level device costs $329 and comes loaded with a paltry 16 GB of storage. Sure, it's absolutely gorgeous. But 330 bucks certainly isn't pocket change. Because of this, I set out to find other things that you can buy for the same price OR lower that may be more worth it than a marginally smaller iPad. Read on for the full scoop, and don't forget to check back here on Sunday for the latest editorial!

Monday, October 22, 2012

The iPad Mini Comes Tomorrow, Here's What You Need to Know



Well kids, the moment has come. The rumors are all in. Much has been confirmed, and there's certainly no remaining doubt that the iPad Mini is only among the products that will be unveiled tomorrow afternoon. Below are the times for those of you who will be digging on the internet (or our twitter page) for the updates as they roll out.
07:00AM - Hawaii
09:00AM - Alaska
10:00AM - Pacific
11:00AM - Mountain
12:00PM - Central
01:00PM - Eastern
03:00PM - São Paulo
06:00PM - London
07:00PM - Paris
09:00PM - Moscow
02:00AM - Tokyo (October 24th)
04:00AM - Sydney (October 24th)

Check @thetechtile for a link after the conference, and look forward to an editorial come this Sunday.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Written Statement of Return

Big surprise: I was gone for a month. I know, I know, you were angry. Maybe even a little sad to see me go. But then, I decided to drop from an honors to a regular class, I stopped doing certain extracurricular, and now... I have a lot of time on my hands!

Does this mean I am back? Yes. It does. It totally does. The technology world gets more interesting every day. And I can't wait to report with my own two cents on the next big story. Whether it's the iPad mini (it's inevitable guys) or an upcoming Nexus 4, I'm pumped to publish a review or editorial on it.

Get ready 2013, you don't know whats coming!

Apple, What Happened?


Every year around summer or autumn, Apple is known for introducing a revolutionary update to an existing product, something that exceeds all expectations and includes features we didn’t know we wanted until Apple told us we did. This past month, Apple introduced its long-awaited iPhone 5 and a completely refreshed line of iPods. While the devices are definitely an upgrade, there are no true surprises to be had with these new products. Not only that, but the design of the iPhone 5 has been known for months now. What happened to all the secrecy, the surprises, and the drastic advances that we’ve been brought up to expect with the introduction of a new Apple product?


It’s true that the iPhone 5 is unlike any phone on the market. It’s thin, light, fast, and sleek. The iPhone 5, which sold over five million units in it’s first week, has received unanimous critical acclaim as the “best smartphone available today.” The iPhone 5, which is more or less a minor incremental upgrade from the iPhone 4S, features a larger display, a new charging/sync interface, improved processor speed, a thinner design, double the random access memory, and a new aluminum backing to make it both more attractive and more durable.


But despite these features, it’s boring. I expected more than a simple redesign of the iPhone 4. That’s not to say the iPhone 5 is a bad product- it’s probably the best smartphone on the market. But it’s not revolutionary. There are no new features that completely change our lives. There is no magical device that inserts into your eyelid. There’s just a thinner incremental upgrade that has been overhyped by the world’s largest consumer company on the planet.


The refreshed line of iPods was also a big disappointment. I remember a time when the iPod was everything. If you didn’t have an iPod, you were a total loser. However, with the latest iPod upgrade, Apple sidestepped the opportunity to revolutionize the “smartwatch” market by opting into a new clipless design for the iPod nano. The previous nano presented a shift from the ultimate pocket-sized ultra light personal media player to the tiny musical companion for all things music and nothing but. It became well known by users and accessory manufacturers for it’s use as a “smartwatch.” However, this time, Apple did not update the nano to resemble the previous model, instead opting for a classic media player mirroring that of an iPod touch. Apple did not make the attempt to innovate. They simply updated a line of media players with more features that people wanted.


As Tim Cook said last year, Apple once again, has taken a step back in revolution, and instead focused on resolution. (The word Cook actually used was “resolutionary,” with the unveiling of the new iPad.) Quite frankly, I find it to be the best way to describe Apple’s current situation. They’re focusing on upgrading everything to be slightly better, but not too different from the predecessor. This is not a bad thing, but it is scary that the company that brought us the Macintosh, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad, is unable to bring us a new product that makes the last one look like a thing from the stone age. In that regard, I would like to know- what happened, Apple?


***


Oh, and a side note...


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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

iPhone 5 Reveal Date Confirmed: September 12th



 

 Follow our Twitter @thetechtile next Tuesday for all the latest updates, and stay tuned for more over the week.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Valve Is Getting Into The Computer Hardware Business

Valve put up a position on their site today requesting applications for a "industrial designer" be sent in for review and the potential of hire. Okay, I know what you're thinking right now. Why, Valve? Why? Well, the company had this to say:

Valve is traditionally a software company. Open platforms like the PC and Mac are important to us, as they enable us and our partners to have a robust and direct relationship with customers. We’re frustrated by the lack of innovation in the computer hardware space though, so we’re jumping in. Even basic input, the keyboard and mouse, haven’t really changed in any meaningful way over the years. There’s a real void in the marketplace, and opportunities to create compelling user experiences are being overlooked.

So, what does this mean for us? Well, it means although there are not any specific plans for devices as of yet, but considering the crazy software the company has pushed out in the past twenty years, one can only imagine how awesome it would be. 

Breaking Bad 2012 Finale Asks New Questions, Answers a Lot More


In case you haven't figured out, this is my blog. Not a fancy shmancy news source. So I'm going to post things about tech, and, frankly, everything else I like. So sit back, relax, and enjoy a recap of last night's super insane final 2012 Episode of the AMC hit series, Breaking Bad. IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IT YET, PLEASE PLEASE GO OUT AND WATCH IT NOW. SERIOUSLY.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Apple v. Samsung Verdict: Jury Awards Apple $1.05 Billion in Damages



 

After weeks spent presenting their respective cases, pages upon pages of mind-numbing examples of intellectual property theft, the episodic mental regression of a judge, and the wildest press coverage ever for a technology story, the verdict is in. The jury of the Apple v. Samsung case has determined that Samsung, based on various patent infringements shown in multiple examples from multiple smartphone models, owes Apple a rounded sum of $1.05 Billion, with the real number being $1,049,343,540- a hefty price to pay for selling products that "look" and "act" like Apple's ubiquitous iPhone.

The decision was determined based on a document given to each juror, which presented painfullyspecific examples and questions based on testimony given from both sides. At the end, the seven man and three woman jury decided that the following devices infringed upon Apple's iPhone: The Captivate, Continuum, Charge, Epic 4G, Exhibit 4G, Fascinate, Galaxy Prevail, Galaxy S 4G, Galaxy S II (on multiple carriers), Galaxy Tab, Galaxy Tab 10.1, Gem, Indulge, Infuse 4G, Intercept 4G, Mesmerize, Nexus S 4G, Replenish, Transform, and the Vibrant. Sounds like a lot of devices? That's because it is.

Apple has scheduled a hearing with the court for the date of September 20th to file for permanent injunctions against Samsung products that are found to be in violation of said patents, with the potential for some of them being blocked from US import. Due to the rather obscure and intimate nature of this story, we will be updating it throughout the next month, as we get closer to the inevitable first big product pull on behalf of Apple.

Source: The Verge

Saturday, August 18, 2012

OnLive Update: Sold Off Due to Layoffs, Service Will Remain



OnLive, the barely three year old service we reported on way back in 2010, will now cease to exist. The company has been bought out amid layouts by what reports claim to be a single owner. You're probably wondering- what the hell caused all of this to happen? Well, the company, quite simply, was unable to afford the expensive servers that existed to support a measly 1800 users. Below is the official statement from the company itself.
We can now confirm that the assets of OnLive, Inc. have been acquired into a newly-formed company and is backed by substantial funding, and which will continue to operate the OnLive Game and Desktop services, as well as support all of OnLive's apps and devices, as well as game, productivity and enterprise partnerships. The new company is hiring a large percentage of OnLive, Inc.'s staff across all departments and plans to continue to hire substantially more people, including additional OnLive employees. All previously announced products and services, including those in the works, will continue and there is no expected interruption of any OnLive services.

We apologize that we were unable to comment on this transaction until it completed, and were limited to reporting on news related to OnLive's businesses. Now that the transaction is complete, we are able to make this statement.

And there you have it, folks. OnLive is gone- at least, the company that once kept it running is. As for the service, the patents and technologies, and other important miscellaneous assets, those are yet to be determined, especially considering the possibility of a lawsuit against Sony's newly acquired Gaikai, who may or may not have stolen service technologies from OnLive. Due to the shock and seriousness of this story, it will remain developing for a while now. Expect more on this in the coming days and weeks.

Sources: Joystiq, Engadget

Friday, August 17, 2012

RUMOR: OnLive Closing Down, All Employees To Be Laid Off


Well, this is awkward...

The latest rumor in the tech world spawning from The Verge's Polygon gaming extension, is that the three year old stream-based gaming outlet OnLive, will be closing down as of today. According to Polygon acquired emails forwarded from the company themseleves as well as the word of Brian Fargo, the announcement will go out today at some time.

"I wanted to send a note that by the end of the day today, OnLive as an entity will no longer exist. Unfortunately, my job and everyone else's was included. A new company will be formed and the management of the company will be in contact with you about the current initiatives in place, including the titles that will remain on the service."

One can't help but wonder if this is related to the recent announcement of Ouya, as well as the poor sales of the product and the service. However, as of now, this story is definitely still developing... stay tuned for more later on.

Source The Verge (Polygon)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The iPhone 5: What To Expect


 So, in case you've been living under a rock without a Wi-Fi connection or Ethernet port, you'd know that Apple's iPhone 5 is absolutely, positively imminent. But just how soon will it be arriving? Well, if the news clues are correct (see what I did there?), then the iPhone 5/new iPhone is less than a month away from being announced and introduced in a room full of investors and developers. So, what exactly should the world be expecting with the new iPhone?

A bigger screen. Screen sizes today are all up from four inches. In fact, the only screen smaller than that is on budget devices, and, you guessed it- the iPhone 4s. Judging by the slurries of rumors, the new iPhone will include a 4 inch (or larger) display with that good ol' Retina technology that makes Apple so famous.

Unibody design, like every other Apple product right now. Let's be honest here, when it comes to product design, the iPhone has always been somewhat of a lone star device- very rarely following the same design patterns of Apple's simultaneous product offerings. However, if rumors and pictures prove true, the new iPhone will come with a beautiful metallic backing and rim, with only the areas around the camera and the radio (top and bottom) featuring glass. So yes, this will be better for you kids who can't prevent yourselves from dropping your phone. On the street. In New York. Without a case. Because you're cheap.

Smaller Charging Port/Dock Connector. This one has been long awaited and long predicted- the dreaded demise of the clunky, decade old charging port and dock connector that first wielded it's ugly head with the original iPod back in 2001. But for some odd reason, Apple still refuses to get with the times and adopt a USB port like the rest of the world. Can't they just make our lives easier? Nope.

iOS 6. Okay, not gonna lie- this one was sort of obvious. But hey, iOS 6, like every new iOS update, is a big fucking deal. Maps has been gutted, re-done and repackaged, and completely designed from the ground up by Apple, casting away their dependence on Google for good. Siri will be coming with some minor improvements (but who besides the helpless and the people in commercials ACTUALLY use Siri?). Also, like Apple did with Twitter back in 2011 with iOS 5, the latest and greatest will come sporting Facebook integration, which makes it so much easier to share stuff it's ridiculous. But you know, having social media integration takes a long time... and it's not like Android AND webOS have had it for years... Not. At. All.

Bigger, Better, Flashier Everything. Come on kids... it's Apple! Every new rendition of the iPhone (or anything else) is always better. Even when you think they've just about done it all, they do it better the next time. And hey, nobody's complaining! Expect a faster phone with a quad core CPU, more RAM, and better camera's.

So... there you have it. That is the iPhone 5 in a nutshell (unless all the rumors are totally and completely wrong, which means you can blame everybody else but us). It should be a faster, smarter, and better phone than the iPhone 4s ever was... and, as has been mentioned, that's not too surprising. Stay tuned for more updates as they roll out over the next few weeks! There's bound to be more news soon!

eReader Price Updates: Nook Color, Tablet Prices Slashed, Kindle Keyboard Discontinued, and More

In the heat of Google releasing the highly successful Nexus 7 tablet, as well as the abundance of iPad mini/8 inch iPad rumors, it would be strange for neither Amazon nor Barnes & Noble to react. And that's just what they did.

The Nook Color and Nook Tablet will now cost $149 and $179 respectively. Following these price drops, the higher capacity 16GB Nook Tablet will now only be $199. Although the previously $199 8GB Nook Tablet been seen as a logical competitor to Amazon's $199 Kindle Fire, it would be foolish not to opt for the higher end model now available for the same price.

And as tech news always goes, when one domino falls the other proceed- especially in the case of the Kindle line of tablets and eReaders. The beloved Kindle Keyboard (or it's previous name, the Kindle 3) has been discontinued completely, survived by it's younger brothers, the $79 Kindle and the $99+ Kindle Touch. However, the $99 Wi-Fi only Kindle Touch is currently facing a 3-5 shipping delay. And the 3G model? Currently unavailable for purchase.

So what does all of this mean? Well, if you're as speculative as the rest of us, and if you know anything about the tech world and the rumor world, you'd know that both companies are planning to unleash newly breeded hounds of computing fierceness sometime in the next few weeks, with a new Kindle line expected very shortly.

As always, stay tuned for more upcoming updates very soon.

Sources: Amazon Store, B&N Store

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Why 7 Inch Tablets Are SO MUCH BETTER Than 10 Inch Ones



Believe it or not, the modern tablet as we know it today has only been around for two and a half years. Because of this, it's hard to imagine the tablet market already making a major change- yet it has, and it has been since the moment Steve Jobs walked onto a stage at Apple HQ and whipped out the next big application canvas, the iPad. For only five hundred bucks, it did everything a netbook could, and looked damn good at the same time. Considering speculated prices up from a grand, this was a good deal at the time. Back in Holiday Season 2011, Amazon rolled out the Kindle Fire, the first Android-based device to make a cut into Apple's Camelot iPad industry. But after a few months, despite great sales, the device fell behind. Sure, it was cheap, but it wasn't as fast and capable as the iPad. And then, less than two months ago, Google's Chris Yerga presented the company's answer to the iPad and the changing tablet landscape... and the Nexus 7 did it all for only two hundred bucks. No, it's not the iPad. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

OS X Mountain Lion: The First 60 Minutes

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This morning at around 8:30am OSX 10.8 (Mountain Lion) was released to the public. At that time I was up, with a cup of coffee in my hand watching the installation progress bar like a hawk. This was the first major update for my new MacBook Pro and thankfully it went as smooth as it could be. About a hour later, the installation was complete. I entered my login credentials and proceeded to get my first hands-on glimpse of the new big cat. The first thing I did was change some preferences. I didn't like the idea of having the "Users and Groups" drop-down in my menubar, mainly due to the fact that it felt cluttered, but also because I wouldn't use it (this is MY MacBook). Next, I changed my previous wallpaper to the default one. After fixing my preferences I decided to check out the new apps and features. Starting off with notification center, I really liked the 2 finger 'swipe' gesture used to access the notifications. I also appreciate the new alerts and banners. Alerts allow for the notifications to stay in the upper right corner until the user closes them. The badges disappear on their own. However, the best part about Alerts and Banners is that they are completely customizable for each individual app. If I want a banner for the Calendar in place of an alert, I can do that. The next feature I tried out was Dictation, and I have to say that Dictation is amazing... and I'm not too sure why I'm not using it to write this article. Dictation works in any text box, and to activate it, you just tap the function key twice. Not only is it accurate, but it's fast and adjusts to your voice characteristics. Now let's talk about notes and reminders. Notes and Reminders explains it's self just in it's name. Notes holds some cool features such as drag and drop images and of course, iCloud syncing. iCloud syncing allows you to type a note on your Mac or iOS device while syncing that note between your devices. It's nearly instant and very useful. Reminders, like notes uses iCloud. So far I am really enjoying Mountain Lion and after I spend more time using it I will return for a complete review.

Vance Gulley has made multiple appearances over the last year on TheTechTile and is returning as a regular review writer and expert on Mac OS X, iOS, and Apple in general. Vance is an Apple user first and foremost, despite his many Android phones.

OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion is Available Now



Check the Mac App Store kids- the latest version of OS X (formerly Mac OS X, I still can't get over that...) is available now for a measly $19.99. Which is, last time I checked, ten bucks less than Lion costed a year ago. Which means you really can't go wrong here. The new update features, among other things, the port of Notification Center from iOS to OS X, complete with all the usual trimmings, AirPlay to stream all of your content to your television, Messages, which hopes to replace the Mac OS default iChat, speech to text dictation, and the greatly appreciated PowerNap- allowing users to update their machines overnight without faults. To download the new OS there is only one tried and true method, the Mac App Store. Check it out in the link below.

Source Mac App Store

Sunday, July 22, 2012

iPad Killer or Kindle Fire Killer? The Nexus 7 Review


Review Background

Ever since I can remember I've been hunting for an inexpensive way to carry out my typical computational needs and desires. Five or so years ago, I thought that was only possible through older machines. So I bought an old iBook Clamshell. It worked... but it wasn't fast, it didn't support some modern software, and the battery life sucked (even after I bought a new one!). Because of this, the next device I purchased was a snow iBook. Same problem. Next! I bought a Netbook. Finally I realized that I wasn't going to get away with buy all these sub-200 dollar devices and having them work very well, so I buckled down and bought a MacBook. It lasted me more than three years before the hardware just wasn't good enough anymore, and the trackpad broke. Now, I have my Dell Vostro 3450- the best laptop I have ever owned. I ran Windows 7 on it for about a month or two before I decided that Ubuntu would work best on it.

But I have never been satisfied with a laptop and a smartphone. I still craved that middle-of-the-line device. The one that lets me do everything BOTH devices can do, and be smaller and cheaper. When the first iPad was announced and eventually released, I waited in line for one, figured out that it wasn't yet for me (I had planned to rid of my MacBook for it) and sold it to my sister. She loves it, it does everything she needs it to do, and she's happy with her purchase. I then realized that the tablet computer wasn't meant to replace anything at all. In fact, it's meant to be yet another device to carry around. And I still wanted one.

The market was still reletively shitty. Tablets went from $350 to $900 with no wiggle room. The tablet you bought, gave you the specs you paid for. And why shouldn't it? The lower end tablets running ancient versions of Google's Android OS were highly lacking in any real functionality beyond that of a basic browsing device and email device- and even then they struggled. So, Amazon released the Kindle Fire. I ALMOST bought the Kindle Fire. That is, until I tried one out. It was the slowest tablet I had ever used. There was a good deal of snapping back, lag, and annoyance. So I decided to wait for the rumored Tegra 3 devices to be released, the ones that were said to be faster AND cheaper too. Because hey, I've been waiting for this thing for a LONG ASS time.

It came. It finally came. And I'm positive of that. The Nexus 7 is THE budget speed demon I and so many others had been patiently awaiting for so many years. But is it more like an iPad or a Kindle Fire? Why should YOU buy one? Read on to find out.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Shocker: Valve Announces Steam for Ubuntu



We've all been hearing the rumors for YEARS now (even longer than we have heard rumors about Steam for OS X, actually), and now it is coming true. Valve's must-have PC gaming platform Steam is landing in Ubuntu soon. Why Ubuntu and not other distros? Well, beyond the obvious, Valve considers it to be more sensible for a development time frame, and come on, let's get real here... Ubuntu is THE Linux distro to be using. Sure, there are tens of hundreds of other options, but all pale in comparison to Ubuntu. Valve also plans to port Left 4 Dead 2 over to the platform, because every Ubuntu user deserves to shoot the shit out of the living dead, right? The company plans to publicly release updates, and source code to the community, and hopes to have the project on it's feet within the next year. And let me tell you, everybody in the Linux community is already fired up and excited for what's to come.

P.S. Valve: PLEASE PORT OVER THE HALF LIFE SERIES. PLEASE.

Source Valve Linux Blog

Friday, July 13, 2012

UPDATED: The Nexus 7 Is Shipping NOW To Preordering Geniuses



If you preordered a Nexus 7, you are a very lucky man and/or woman. It's a fantastic investment. Seriously. It's possibly the best way you can possibly spend 200 bucks, and hey, the reviewers of The Verge, Engadget, Gizmodo, Ars Technica, AllThingsD, and so many more agree. And in about a week, our review will be completed. So hold on tight... or buy this thing. Please. Don't make yourself wait any longer. It's available now from Google's Play Store, GameStop, Ebuy, and many other stores in the country. What are you waiting for moron? Go buy one of these beauties! Oh, and below is the tweet to prove it.



EDIT: Our unit it on it's way! Which also means a review is imminent!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

OUYA Hopes to Target Big Name Players in the Console Market



There have long been rumors and mentions of cheap Android-based consoles invading the market now for years, more recently however in the past two months, with the pushing of nVidia's Tegra 3 chipset. A friend of mine sent this kickstarter to me, and I took a look, and sure enough there is something really interesting going on in the world of gaming right now. And, you guessed it, it's an Android-based console! The device comes with a quad-core Tegra 3 CPU, 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of storage, an HDMI port, a USB 2.0 port (to cut down on the price), WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth LE 4.0, Android 4.0, and a wireless controller. That's a lot of power for a 100 dollar box that plays Android games. But the hope is that developers will all jump on this- from EA, to Activision, to Atari, and Bungie- as well as indie developers too. (We're speculating here, but hey...) Who are they hoping to compete with? Oh, you know, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nintendo... nobody too important in the console industry... /sarcasm... Check out the link below to see more, including a video.

Thanks, Micah!

Source OUYA's Kickstarter Page

EDIT: Ouya raised 2.6 Million dollars yesterday. And so far, they have raised 3.2 Million. Holy. Crap. Looks like this is going to be a big thing afterall.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Best Buy Killing Off 2400 More Jobs


After a significant fourth quarter loss, it's no surprise that Best Buy has been downsizing.

However, it IS surprising that they have been downsizing so much. The company announced Friday their plan to axe over 2400 jobs as part of their turnaround plan. Such includes the removal of dozens of Best Buy stores around the country and around the globe, as well as the implementation of more local Best Buy Express setups worldwide. In an interview conducted by Market Watch, from which this story is sourced from, Best Buy declined to give out the total number of jobs they cut over the course of this year. However, one could speculate that such a number is rather significant in size. Best Buy also plans to reduce it's outside consulting services, as well as seek out better negotiations with vendors, as a plan to reduce costs for the big box vendor. Despite decisions to cut cost however, the company plans to remodel many of it's stores in order to better connect services and products. The plan is to reduce square footage in stores, which will eventually help to also cut costs. This plan is also related to Best Buy's perpetual goal of becoming more user friendly- mirroring that of an Apple store setup. The company's stocks fell 0.7% on Friday, which contributes to the overall 33% drop in the past year.

Let's hope that they get it right this time.

Source Market Watch

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth of July!



We here at The Techtile would like to wish all of you a very happy 4th of July. It's America's birthday once again! So sit down, chow on some hamburgers and hotdogs! Hell, grill a steak and some barbecued ribs to go along! Drink a beer, read The Techtile, rest and relax with some friends! You've earned it! We'll be back tomorrow with new posts and more fun! So stay tuned!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Google Boosted Economy By $500 Billion


Shocker! Google has boosted the American economy by $500 billion. But what's really strange? Most of Google's revenue comes from their ventures with AdSense. That means American consumers are so curious about advertisement that Google can not only make a large profit but a large impact on the US economy. Also, that excludes Internet-only sales. So what else is there to say besides the fact that the internet as we know it has made a huge footprint in the ground that is the American business. Not that this is anything new to anybody... unless you've been living under the late Andy Rooney's rock for the past decade.

Source Google's OFFICIAL Blog (ooooohhhh) 

Windows 8 Pro Upgrade Plans Revealed



As Microsoft has with their last few OS upgrades, they will be offering discounted software upgrades to get users up and running Windows 8 no matter what system they're on. Windows XP, Vista, and 7 users will be able to upgrade to 8 Pro $39.99 if purchased online, and a sort of ridiculous $69.99 in stores. Which leaves us wondering, why would the price be doubled for a hard copy? Whatever the reason, it looks like Microsoft is really getting serious about rolling Windows 8, and we're curious to see how they do it in the coming months. As always, drop a comment below, and stay tuned for more!

Source Windows Team Blog

Nexus 7 Review Coming In August


Obviously, many of you have had the oportunity to read about Google's new Nexus 7 tablet. Despite reviews being out for several days now, The Techtile plans to release a review sometime in next few weeks... so STAY TUNED, and sorry we couldn't get it up sooner. This is due to our lack of appearance at Google I/O, and the obvious amount of time it will take for the product to ship from Google. However, as of this time we DO recommend the product, after having a bit of personal time with it last week.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Google I/O Recap: Jelly Bean, Nexus 7, & Nexus Q



Today has been an awesome day for Google (and let's be honest, it's been a horrible day for Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft... and Android tablet makers too). From Google's Android Jelly Bean, to the explosive announcement of Nexus 7, and the genius that is the Nexus Q... it's never been a better day to be in Google's ecosystem. So, we're going to briefly cover everything that has just been announced at I/O... Check it out below.



Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

Cupcake. Donut. Eclair. Froyo. Gingerbread. Honeycomb. Ice Cream Sandwich. Jelly Bean. Five years ago Google announced and released it's first Android device, the HTC One, running Android 1.0 Cupcake. And now, Google has just announced it's first Android tablet, Nexus 7, running Jelly Bean. But what exactly does Jelly Bean have to offer?

Jelly Bean has a bunch of cool new features including a new super fast interface (to make up for four years of shitty interfaces), a cleaner home screen, a totally new camera app, new notifications system, an updated search engine that makes Siri look pretty bad, Google Now (the Siri equivalent for Android), smart app updating (no more long download times!), and a release of mid-July. But really, when is it coming out for everybody? Mid-July! For once Google is getting things right with their release patterns.



Nexus 7 Tablet 

7 inch backlit IPS display. 1280x800 resolution. 1.2MP front facing camera. 8-10 hours of battery usage. Quad-core Tegra 3 processor. 1 GB of RAM. 8 or 16 GB of storage. Accelerometer. Gyroscope. NFC. GPS. Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. You name it, the Nexus 7 can do it. And it can do it well. And without lag. The Nexus 7 is a direct competitor to the Kindle Fire, but it has the graphics and CPU power to compete with Apple's iPad and then some.

The Nexus 7 is "made for Google Play" and with the 600,000+ apps available in the Google Play store, the hundreds of movies, thousands of books, and millions of songs available- there's a lot to do with the device. For web browsing, the Nexus 7 is the first Android product to come preloaded with Google Chrome as well as the entire collection of Google Play applications such as Music, Movies, and Books. The Nexus 7 is available for pre-order today and starts at $199 for the 8 GB model, and $249 for the 16 GB model.



Nexus Q Media Player

We all carry our media library on us now. Especially with Google Play. And a lot of people just LOVE to share their music, movies, and other media with friends and family. Unfortunately, it's been quite difficult to do this cheaply and swiftly. But now with the Nexus Q Media Player, doing such is quite simple.

The device allows you to sync up movies, music, television shows, YouTube, and much more. But even better? It allows EVERYONE to chime in, because that's how it should be. It also allows you to have multiple devices throughout to house to throw your media to, so Nexus Q isn't just stationed in one area, but many. And again, it's based around Google Play, so your entertainment is one one, convenient place always.

Google Makes an Oopsie, Reveals Nexus 7 On Google Play



Haha! Google's silly PR reps accidentally spilled the beans onto their Google Play website header, revealing the first official shots of the Nexus 7 tablet that was rumored for launch today. It looks as if the device is running a defunct version of Ice Cream Sandwich for phones, but it's likely to be running Jelly Bean. Also, as indicated by the image, Google is likely planning to use this device to sell more stuff from their Play store, evidenced by the apps in the dock and the location of the image. Like the Kindle Fire, this thing is likely to be a good entertainment device... and not much of a productivity device (although I'm SURE it can be if there is a release of aftermarket keyboard docks and what not). Hopefully this can help some of you hold on for another twenty minutes... stay tuned for more!

Source The Verge

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Google I/O Is Tomorrow @9:30AM PT



Here we are again a year later. Google I/O! And what a sweet I/O it shall be. Google is set to announce Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (sorry kids, it's probably only an incremental update, nothing big enough to require a 5.0), the Nexus Tablet running said beans of gelatin, Google Maps for iOS (because you know, Apple changed the default maps to their own system), a new Google TV update, and more. Then there's the major speculation. Maybe a demo of Google Glass? Or how about an Android competitor to Apple's AirPlay? An answer to Apple's Siri? Or how about a major unexpected reveal to knock us off our feet? I mean, come on... it is Google I/O after all... Check the area below this post to see the times for YOUR location. The keynote is going to be streamed via the website provided below as well... which means everything should be covered for you out of country people or just the folks who couldn't make it.

06:30AM - Hawaii
08:30AM - Alaska
09:30AM - Pacific
10:30AM - Mountain
11:30AM - Central
12:30PM - Eastern
01:30PM - São Paulo
05:30PM - London
06:30PM - Paris
08:30PM - Moscow
01:30AM - Tokyo (June 28th)
02:30AM - Sydney (June 28th)


Source Google's I/O Site

Rumor: The Next Gen Kindle Fire Is On It's Way


According to our friends at CNET, Amazon is prepping a new Kindle successor for a July 31st unveiling. For those of you willing to wait just a LITTLE bit for the device to be unveiled, this could be good news for you. The Kindle Fire 2 (???) is expected to come packed with a higher resolution 1280x800 display or higher to match the impending Google Nexus tablet that should be rolling out tomorrow morning. Also, a price point of $199 could give the new jelly bean some good competition... given that it has better hardware... if not, you can forget picking up a Fire 2 over the Nexus tablet. Whatever happens... as always, stay tuned for more.

Source CNET

Monday, June 25, 2012

Is This Google's Nexus Tablet?



Google I/O isn't until Wednesday morning- but it looks as though the first peak at their Nexus 7 tablet has been unveiled. A trusted source through Gizmodo Australia holds confirmation that this is indeed the Nexus 7. What does this mean? Well, Google and Asus are partnering up to put out a 7 inch competitor to the Kindle Fire, Amazon's biggest hit since the original Kindle a few years ago. The device is said to have a 1.3 GHz Tegra 3 Processor, 1 GB of RAM, and an astonishing 12-core GeForce GPU. It will come in two models- an 8 GB for $199 and a 16 GB for $249. But- we'll see what's real and what's not in only two days. Stay tuned.

Source Gizmodo

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Microsoft Surface Tablet: An Overview



A few years ago with the release of Windows Vista also came a product by Microsoft by the name of "Surface." Surface was a large tablet-top based tablet computer. It was quite expensive, retailing for thousands of dollars, and it was only utilized by hotels and companies that wanted something to show off in their lobby. Fast forward to 2012. Tablets have taken the world by storm- with the iPad at the helm of market domination. But that was three years ago. More than three years ago. Yet, Microsoft hasn't come up with a worthy competitor to take down their fruit-based competitor.

That is, until now. The Microsoft Surface tablet is Microsoft's decided consumer and business competitor to Apple's highly successful iPad. And, surprisingly, it looks as if Microsoft will be the first company to challenge Apple. As expected, the device is powered by the soon-to-be-released Windows 8 Pro. This means that it won't be just a tablet- it's a fully baked computer.

Actually, it's a laptop. The device comes with a cover that secretly doubles as a keyboard and mouse- transforming a product that would normally be considered a tablet into a full fledged computer. However, it's worth mentioning that the keyboard will not necessarily be better than what we have today on laptops and desktops, but hey- it's better than the whole on-screen shtick isn't it?

Yes kids, Microsoft has outdone Apple. For the second time. I never thought I'd say this, but Microsoft is currently the most innovative technology company right now. Sure, Apple's iPad and iPhone are both incredible products, not to mention the new line of Mac laptops and desktops... but at the end of the day, Microsoft is the only company changing everything for the better.

For those curious code monkeys out there- yes, both devices (oh yeah, by the way, there's a consumer device with Windows 8 RT and business oriented one with Windows 8 Pro) include shiny new multicore processors, both ARM and Intel units, a USB 3.0 port, 3.5 millimeter headphone jack, microSD card slot, mini HDMI port, and a magnetic port for the keyboard/trackpad cover. All crammed into a device with a 10.6 inch display.

As of now, the pricing for both devices is unknown- however, Microsoft has hinted that the consumer level machine will retail somewhere around the price of the current ARM tablets (anywhere from $200-$700), and the business level machine will retail at a larger price (possibly $1000, but who would ever pay that for a tablet?). More details are due soon, and it looks as though both Apple and Microsoft have had an excellent month. Let's just hope the same for Google, because in the end, that's great for everyone.

Monday, June 11, 2012

OS X Mountain Lion Coming This July



Since most people pretty much know everything about OS X Lion (since, well, not much has really changed since it was first previewed) , we're going to do just that. Give it a quick brief preview outlining what you NEED to know about it. Like iOS, OS X Mountain Lion comes with over 200 new features (either Apple just really likes that number, or they get really lucky when designing new software). These features include the following:

iCloud... But (Possibly) Better...

iCloud is one of the first things an OS X user will see during the setup process, and whether this is good or bad- it's happening kids. Despite Apple saying that iCloud has improved, it will take the Gold Master Beta to determine the validity of that rather powerless statement.

Messages. On iOS and now on OS X.

Apple decided to bring it's messenger app over to OS X. And like the name suggests, it's a messenger app. Luckily, the new software integrates the iOS version, meaning that everything will (hopefully) be more streamlined and will finally bring the world closer to an AIM-less state. Yay.

Notification Center. Like iOS, but SO MUCH Better

Let's be honest, Notification Center in iOS SUCKS ASS. It's one of the worst features of the OS. It's slow, annoying, buggy as hell, not apparent to the end user, and difficult to access. Luckily, such is quite the opposite for OS X's version. It's fast. It's apparent. It's not too obvious, but it's not difficult to find and use. And, wait a minute, it works! Need I go on?

I'm Gonna Take a Power Nap. Brb. 

Sorry, that was super cheesy... but it shows what Apple is trying to say. OS X Mountain Lion has a cool new feature that allows users to update their sleeping computers, despite being asleep. Which means, of course, that OS X users will no longer require the chore of having to update things around the OS and, you know, waste so much valuable time on keeping everything fresh.

Dicatation. No, not Diction. Learn to read, Idiot. 

Okay, out of all the new features, this is the one that I'm most excited about. Anywhere (and I mean ANYWHERE) where you can type, you can now talk. Which again allows you to retire your exhausted finger from doing too much work. I mean, carpal tunnel is really becoming a problem now a days with having to type every hour or so.

Sharing is caring.

In most OS X Apps (more specifically Safari) much in the same style as iOS, you can now share webpages, comments, tweets, twits- anything you can think of- with your personal world of technology engulfed idiots. Oh, and it's easy too.

Other Shtuff.

OS X Mountain Lion has, like iOS 6, over 200 brand new features that make it better (or worse, depending on how you look at it) than OS X Lion and the competition. Like iOS 6, OS X Mountain Lion will be embracing tight Facebook and Twitter integration, allowing users to share whatever is on their minds whenever they please. Airplay Mirroring will also be available on the new OS, which is undoubtedly going to be very ideal for education customers. Everybody's favorite Game Center will also be making a splash in OS X for the first time, finally standing as something to compete with Microsoft and Xbox 360 integration in the upcoming Windows 8 and the current Windows Phone 7. The last feature I'd like to mention (I'm callin' the shots now, buster) is Gatekeeper. What is it? Like all Apple Apps, it works in the way it sounds. The new app serves as a fortress to protect from unwanted applications, and allows users to choose what they want to download or see over the web or the App Store. Why is this significant? Quite obviously, this will be the first time that Apple places the police badge into the hands of the users. And I'll be quite frank- it's pretty fucking cool.

OS X Mountain Lion will be available on all Intel Core 2 Duo Macs and up starting this July for a reasonable price of only twenty bucks. And as you know, for any operating system to be that inexpensive is quite significant, especially against companies like Microsoft that charge hundreds of dollars for just upgrades. Anyway, look out for OS X Lion very soon.

iOS 6 is (Almost) Here, Sports Over 200 New Features



One of the most important announcements today (well let's get real, there were only three) was Apple's reveal of their next gen mobile OS, iOS 6. As the title suggests, and as the trend continues, the new operating system will feature over 200 new features. Because everybody loves new features, right? And unsurprisingly, although the OS looks very much the same, it also looks very different. This is obviously because of those 200 brand spanking new features that make new Apple products so delectable. Here are three of the most important new features that the new software will come preloaded with:

Siri Here, Siri There, Siri Everywhere!

Yes, Apple will be unloading it's new Siri technology onto the iPad (finally). But wait- there's more! It also comes with support for sports (stats, player info, game updates, etc), restaurant ratings sorted by rating (which it should have done from the beginning), and the ability to make reservations straight from the software itself. Also, Siri can now launch Apps, which will likely make life a lot easier for a lot of people. And as expected, you can do a lot more than just that with the new (and hopefully better functioning) Siri.

Three Dimensional Maps (No Google Required) 

Apple has killed off their last Google-required entity, Google Maps with iOS 6 and put out their own version. And to be completely honest, it's stunning. No, really. The new Maps app is finally three dimensional, and gives a lot of life, depth, and reality to the simple desire/need of finding out where to go and how to get there. And since all images are vector images, it's assured that zooming in on things won't cause the world to look like a steaming blurry pile of crap.

Did you Bring your Passbook?

We all forget important stuff. It's natural, and it's human. But, like anything else, we've found a way to make us more reliable on technology for remembering things for us instead! Apple has included a new App in iOS 6 called "Passbook"- and yes, it is exactly what it sounds like. Tickets, cards, boarding passes, coupons. It's all there, black and white, clear as crystal. And the device manages it all for you (neat, huh?)

Other Stuff...

Along with these three big new features, and over 200 other ones, Apple has finally stepped up to the plate and integrated Facebook access into the OS, making it even easier to post your bumfuck drunk statuses, and like your ex girlfriend's pictures to piss off her new deadbeat boyfriend. Per request, FaceTime will be making a cellular jump, now available over the network, so that you can have those intimate and beautiful conversations with your wife, kids, parents, and cats without the need of a nearby WiFi network (does that mean I can now FaceTime and drive?). It's also worth mentioning that Apple has added syncable Safari information via iCloud, meaning that anything and everything (even your web history... where's Safari incognito mode?) is going to be available on all your devices. Well, if you want them to, that is.

iOS 6 launches this fall, and the developer beta is available today, so if you're a curious little twat who had your rich daddy buy you a developer account just so you can try out unreleased software, today is your day.

Apple Announces New MacBook Pro Family


Even though Apple has pushed a lot of focus into their mobile devices like the iPhone, iPad, and iPod, we've always known that Apple still loved making the best notebooks on the planet. I mean, who else does the entire industry copy besides Apple? That's right- nobody.

And, as expected, Apple hit yet another home run today with a refreshed line of MacBook Pro notebook machines. And they come in three flavors- a 13 inch model and a 15 inch model (yes, say goodbye to the obnoxiously large 17 inch device) with the same outward appearance of the current products, but with fiery new internals that definitely make them stand out in the crowd when compared to similar products on the market, as well as their predacessors. However, what Apple really had to show off today was the new 15 inch MacBook Pro. And interestingly enough, Apple is labeling the new MacBook as a "next generation" product- inferring perhaps that all MacBooks will be like this someday?

The new 15 inch model comes with a beautiful retina display. And yes, just like the iPad and the iPhone, it is almost impossible to distinguish pixels from each other. Along with the popping new display is a slimmer chassis- 25% thinner to be exact. Like the MacBook Air (which was also mildly refreshed today), the new 15 inch Pro features solid state storage as standard, a long battery life, and as a result of cutting the fat off, a far lighter body. How light? It's only 4 and a half pounds of laptop.

And although you have to be thinking to yourself- holy shit that can't possibly be affordable!- It can. And it is. The new 15 inch pro costs only $2199. And if you aren't a moron and you don't have some ideal that everything Apple is extremely expensive, think again. For what this thing has, at this time, for this price... the new "next gen" MacBook is very cheap.

All new devices are available today, and if you purchase from everybody's favorite Apple Online Store, shipping is, as usual, free. So what the hell are you waiting for? You know you want a new MacBook, and you KNOW you've been waiting for this moment to get one! So go ahead now! Buy this thing! Because trust me, it doesn't (yet) get better than this.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

WWDC is Tomorrow @10AM PT



Ready for a new Mac lineup? How about OS X Mountain Lion? iOS 6 more your thing? Whatever it is, Apple will be having this year's World Wide Developer Conference tomorrow, with the first keynote kicking off at 10 in the morning. Although we're expecting Tim Cook to be presenting the keynote (obviously in place of the late Steve Jobs), it has been rumored that everybody's favorite Apple-clad lad Phil Schiller will be presenting the bulk of the keynote. Which excites us greatly. The keynote begins tomorrow at 10AM Pacific time. For everyone else, the times are as follows:

07:00AM - Hawaii
09:00AM - Alaska
10:00AM - Pacific
11:00AM - Mountain
12:00PM - Central
01:00PM - Eastern
02:00PM - São Paulo
06:00PM - London
07:00PM - Paris
09:00PM - Moscow
02:00AM - Tokyo (June 12th)
03:00AM - Sydney (June 12th)


And yes, we WILL be liveblogging this, so stay tuned for more tomorrow morning.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Microsoft SmartGlass Gets Real at E3



The rumors have been spurring around the magical tech wheel for months. And now, it is real! Microsoft unveiled today at E3 their new SmartGlass technology for Xbox, Windows 8, and mobile devices. What exactly is smartglass? Well, it’s a technology that allows an Xbox or Windows 8 device to be controlled by phones, tablets, and other mobile devices- all via a new app from the company. In other words, Nintendo should just give up the Wii U and hang their head in shame, as Microsoft has revealed the future of device integration, as it should have been from the start. Users of iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 7 will be able to download the app to their device and control their computer and Xbox with it. And it will all happen seamlessly. And at the same time, your mobile device becomes the center for excess data not on the big screen- which will really help cut down the clutter and at the same time become more of a convenience for the end user. Oh, and it’s free. Everybody likes free stuff, right?

Check out more here!!!

Halo 4 is Lookin' Good So Far



Almost eleven years ago, the very first Halo title hit the shelves, Halo Combat Evolved. Two years ago, the last game made by its original developer Bungie was released, Halo Reach. And this fall, the fourth installment to the main series of games is coming. It’s big, it’s bad, and it’s unlike any Halo game ever made before. Which truly begs the question- why now? Why on an aging console that is planned to be replaced in two or three years? Well, although there is no answer for this besides the green answer, Microsoft is fully planned to release this baby in November, following suit with every Halo game ever made. The title involves everybody’s favorite hero, the Master Chief, his artificial intelligence babe, Cortana, and the evil Covenant forces. But this time, there’s a new threat, a new evil. And hey, it actually relates to the original plot of the story!

Check out the new trailers and gameplay videos from E3 right here!

Tim Cook at D10: A Recap



A few nights ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook made an appearance at D10- the conference held yearly by AllThingsD, one of the top technology websites and the tech team for The Wall Street Journal. Here, Cook answered a lot of what Apple fans have been wondering, especially the billion dollar question: what are things like without Steve Jobs? Cook felt that Apple needed to “move on” and “continue with the journey”- creating new products despite the lack of their creator, Steve. Cook, who is a master in operations, made a hint at Apple’s desire to bring more manufacturing to the US- just like it used to be with the company back in the 90s. Cook also revealed the company will be “doubling down” on secrecy- no longer revealing information as loosely as they have in the past months since Steve’s death. Although nothing came from Apple directly, Cook says that there was an issue with manufacturers that basically don’t know how to keep their mouths in check with classified information. From the interview however, one could see that Cook has finally started to come out and talk to tech folks about Apple, which Steve Jobs did very rarely, and when he did, it was pretty much only at the D conferences throughout the last ten years.

Watch it for yourself, here.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Hey Kids, It's Speculation Time!



See that image above? That's a magical place of wonder known to us normal people as San Jose. But to the tech industry, that there is Silicon Valley. The land of microchips, software, fruit-powered laptops, and crazy people who's names rhyme with Koogle. We're currently approaching June. Which means one thing- the World Wide Developers Conference that Apple holds every year. And it's the first one without Steve Jobs.

But cheer up, young lads! This is a time of excitement! Apple has yet to upgrade the current iPhone 4s and iPod lines. And MacBooks. And iMacs. And- wait. If you haven't noticed this yet, something odd has been going on with Apple. They haven't pushed any major updates onto their products in almost a year now. Well, to be more precise, since the death of Steve Jobs. So yes, Steve does have something to do with this. Or at least, maybe he does.

It's been a long time since I've speculated. Or talked about what is going on with Apple. First off, for those of you unaware, I love Apple. I will never rid of my beloved Apple products. Even if they break. Or die. Or become outdated. I love Steve Jobs. When he died, a little part of me did as well. I idolize(d) him. I always will. So, I'm not hating on Apple at all here. But like a mother of a teenage child, I am a little concerned. I mean, what the hell happened Apple? Where did you go off to? Just because Steve is gone, doesn't mean the momentum has to go with it! Sure, your products are selling like hotcakes. But they're outdated. Steve would never let that happen.

Yet, it most certainly has. The last update to an Apple product that can be considered "major" was the introduction of the iPad 2. Last time I checked, that was more than a year ago. A year ago. See, whenever you think Apple has made the latest and greatest thing, they one-up it with something even better. That's just how Apple is. And because they've done it time and time again without failure, we come to expect it. Because hey- why shouldn't we?

Remember, whatever Apple does, so do the other guys. Notice how there hasn't really been any other new or revolutionary updates to existing Android and PC products? Hmmm... I wonder what's going on... But I really don't. The trends have always been the same, and they will likely continue to be the same. Unfortunately, the lack of momentum from Apple has a domino effect on the entire industry, and everyone has been feeling the pain. Notice how I haven't really posted much new stuff lately? There really isn't anything that interesting to talk about right now.

So, what is to come from Apple? Well, the company is (from all sources out there) looking to be finishing up what is destined to be an iPhone 5, working on a new iPad that can either be smaller or more featured or both, finishing up designs on a new MacBook Pro that brings the power of the current line with the sleekness of the Air, and some new iPods.

And... I'm going to leave it at that. Apple, get your momentum back- for all of us! Everybody else, pick up the slack, get some originality! I know none of these companies will be reading this, but hey, I speak for the good of the techies. And we want some new toys dammit. Some cool toys. Like those Google Glasses. Those would be nice.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bloomberg: New iPhone Coming With Bigger Screen, Closely Developed With Steve Jobs



No, the concept image above isn't real. However, it could be. Apple is said by Bloomberg and Wall Street Journal to be finalizing a new iPhone design with a larger display, possibly for release during this year's WWDC 2012 conference. The new iPhone is also said to have been developed by the late Steve Jobs before his passing. Remember, it was said that Steve Jobs' work is supposed to last with Apple for at least twenty years in the future.

The current iPhone has a 3.5 inch display- which is subpar in comparison to the many 4+ inch Android devices on the market as of now. Also, it's worthy to mention that Apple's iPhone 4s is not that big of an upgrade from the iPhone 4- which really makes one expect an iPhone 5 this summer. Although we can't prejudge anything, it will be interesting to see how Apple delivers a new iPhone to the smartphone market. It always is.

Source Bloomberg 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The US Department of Justice Says You Can Record Angry Cops



Have you ever been subject to police brutality? Although it probably wasn't Apartheid-related, the fact of the matter is, this sort of thing happens everywhere. It's always been an issue in my country tis of thee, the land of lady liberty, the free, the brave, and police brutality. We live in an angry world. And although officers often try to silence your concerns by preventing your recording of their procedures, they aren't allowed to do so. In fact, according to the magical powers of the first amendment, we as American citizens have a civil right to record the activity of our policemen- despite what you may have otherwise heard.

If you'd like to read more, and check out some interesting videos of such brutality, as well as the unneeded behaviors of the police force in the United States and around the world, check out the article linked below.

Source The Verge

Dear Dell, Your Customer Service Sucks



I don't tend to bitch about companies I don't like (because I really don't hate any company, except for DHL delivery). However, I'm going to make an exception today for a special piece of crap I feel that I need to address. Dell. Yes, Dell. I love their hardware- they make fantastic products. Products good enough that I would buy one INSTEAD of another MacBook (yes folks, this is true). Because they support open source. Because Ubuntu runs without extra drivers. Because the price was right. But something isn't right. And in case you're blind, illiterate, or just plain stupid, you probably know what I'm getting at by the title. Yes, Dell's customer service. But I have good reasons for my anger and hatred toward the service. Let me tell you all a story, and then spend a few extra paragraphs complaining. Because hey, I know you all love reading it.

So, in case any of you are unaware (and I hope this doesn't make my credibility shot, since I am an award winning writer), I'm a high school student. One thing people don't understand about high school, is that it mirrors that of an uncontrollable zoo of crazy kids, smart kids, pot heads, and overly popular morons. So much so, that setting down a backpack with a laptop in it (protected by a case, mind you) is a bad idea. See, one of my fellow students (who's name will be left anonymous) decided that having a bag on the chair adjacent to his seat was an annoyance. So what does he do? He throws it on the ground, unaware that a barely two month old laptop is snug between notebooks and binders. And, it breaks. The aluminum and plastic device cracks, bends, and becomes useless. And I become enraged. He's paying for the damages (bless his soul), and it all looks as simple as calling Dell and having them ship out a box to have it repaired.

Wrong. So wrong. Instead, Dell figured it would be better to keep me on the phone, transferring me department to department for a straight week. And when that wasn't enough, they decided to have me pay just to ship the damned thing out. How much you ask? Oh, just 200 bucks. But this wasn't the end. It successfully took them another week to realize that I had paid, and send the box out. And a day after the box had reached their offices, they put the thing on billable hold. Three days later, the money gets pushed through so that they can replace the following. A motherboard, a keyboard, a trackpad, AND the casing.

But this hasn't been enough for Dell. They kept it on billable hold despite money going in, they notified me three times a day, through phone and then another  three times (no joke) through email. Instead of wasting their time letting me know that they are going to take it off billable hold, maybe they should just do it. Instead of wasting my time telling me they're working on it, maybe they should just get it done. Isn't it enough that they're getting 480 dollars out of me to do it (I paid less for the laptop)?

So, what exactly have I learned from this experience? Well, a couple of things. One, don't trust your stuff when it's not literally in your hands. Two, never bring a laptop to school that is considerably fragile (although this goes for a lot of things). And three, avoid Dell costumer service if at all possible. Because honestly, having a Mac, and dealing with AppleCare, was great. I hated having a product that was essentially defective, but Apple took care of me and got things done as fast as they could. They made it as inexpensive as possible, and they did it all with a smile. Considering everybody is always trying to copy Apple's products, you wonder why nobody has attempted to copy the customer support experience. It's really about time. You know, before I have to write another 700+ word article complaining about a company's costumer service.

Thanks for listening to my rant. If you made it this far, you are a saint. If you scrolled to the bottom, hey, at least you wanted to see if there was some kind of happy ending. Sorry to disappoint you, but there isn't. Only Dell is happy, because they made some money off of my misfortune.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

TheTechTile 15.0


Yeah, I'm sure you get the joke above. If you've been reading this site for enough time, you'd know that the format changes ALL THE TIME. Why is that? Because here, we like to experiment. And unfortunately, there aren't many good designs for a tech website. Well, until now. Now we found it. The New TechTile. The future of short and long form tech journalism. The best weekly geeky site on the net. And now, it looks amazing!

But seriously, myself and the rest of the website's design staff would like to apologize for the new look being a new thing all the time, everyday. It sucks, I know. But now, we have something we REALLY like. That looks REALLY good. That we REALLY think you'll like to. And if you don't? Too bad.