Thursday, September 30, 2010

A boy is reunited with his game

A couple weeks back I moved some things around and misplaced my Halo CE edition for Mac. I was furious because that is one of my favorite games. In addition, buying a new one was out of the option because the price has recently risen due to the fact that they no longer sell the game. I turned my room inside out looking for this game. I kept hearing the question "where was the last place you had it", and I kept answering "In my room". Just yesterday it dawned on me that there was one place I had not checked, and that was inside my night stand. Frantically, I opened it up, it being a small white box, and rummaged through everything. Low and behold my CD was there. I was so excited that I proceeded to install it on my Hackintosh and play online for an hour. It just goes to show that nothing is really lost, online misplaced. Just like Spartans, they are never dead, just missing in battle. Have you ever lost something you really liked and then found it? Leave a comment below telling your story!


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Panguin Like Sandvich!

So recently I was asked by a friend if it was possible to run TF2 on Linux. This of course spiked my interest because I like TF2, and I have linux to play around with. So I started my research, and low and behold it is possible to do so. The trick is to use Wine. You can download it from this website and then follow the installation instructions. Once that is installed, you are ready to install Steam. Go to SteamPowered and download Steam like you normally would, and when asked how to open it select Wine. Wine will ask you if you want to create a :C drive with a Programs folder, say yes. Then click next and install Steam. Once installed, open up Steam and log in, then proceed to install TF2 within Steam as you normally would. Now is where it gets a little tricky. You will want to follow the instructions listed below so that you can run TF2 without a problem.
Detailed Configuration for Team Fortress 2

This section is Optional how ever it may greatly improve the stability and frame rate you achieve with TF2.

Make sure sound is configured and working (test in winecfg).
Add "-dxlevel 81" to the TF2's launch options. This option is needed for the first run! If not removed it will reset all TF2's video settings to DX81 defaults.
Add "-nointro" option to skip valve video. Some users report this helps to avoid initial crash.
Run TF2 within a Virtual Desktop if you want consistent alt-tabbing. This is done via winecfg -> Graphics -> "Emulate a Virtual Desktop". This size should be the same as your screen resolution.
If you are using a multi-screen setup and a Virtual Desktop you may need to enable the "Allow DirectX apps to stop the mouse leaving their window" if the mouse is escaping in your Wine version.
Virtual Desktops can be defined on a per-application basis.
Information was obtained from this website.

The only tricky part about the instruction that I had trouble with was finding the TF2 launch options. They can be found by right clicking on TF2 and clicking "Properties". Then in the new window select "Launch Options" then type the code above, but without the quotes. Once you have it running you can play TF2. I get about 50-90 FPS (frames per second). Leave a comment below stating how many FPS you get with this!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hyper Dock

Windows may have some shiny effects that Mac doesn't have, but of course that wouldn't last long. HyperDock is here to fix that. Hyper dock takes Window 7's application preview and implements it in Mac OS X. HyperDock brings window preview to Mac, along with iTunes dock control and other small tricks. You can even assign hot keys for quick switching. Although this is a beta version, it still works very well. Take a shot, leave a comment about what you think!

*Credit goes to Lifehacker for bringing my attention to this.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Take a Trip Through Time

A nifty site that was brought to my attention by Lifehacker is YTTM, a.k.a Youtube Time Machine. YTTM is a simple website that allows you to watch old videos. It is very simple to use, you can filter what you wish to watch, then select a date from the time line. YTTM will then load the page with a random video that fits your criteria for that time period. You can watch old commercials, TV clips, news clips, game commercials, sports etc. It is a really great website to play around with if you have some spare time on your hands. Check it out, leave a comment on what you think!


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Use Your Mic!

This is more of an opinion on gaming than it is a request. Please, Xbox Players, use your microphone. I don't care what your excuse is, it comes with your Xbox. If you are playing a team game, use your microphone. You are in no way helping the team by yelling at the TV and complaining why someone didn't listen to you. If you want to play team games, then use your mic. If you don't want to use your mic, then go play some game that doesn't require team efforts. When you don't use your mic, all you do is aggravate your teammates. Communication is the key to winning, so do the rest of the community a favor and use your mic. To anyone who says "but my mic broke" go on ebay and buy a new one, or go to Gamestop and get one. They are only $15. Please and thank you as always. Feel free to leave a comment about this topic.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Think Before Locking

Passwords. They are used in EVERYTHING nowadays, and there just seems to be too many of them. The sheer amount compels most people to make one password, and use it everywhere. DON'T, I repeat, DON'T do this. It is the least secure thing you could do. Here are some things you can do instead that will enhance your security.
1. Expire One of the things you can do, depending on the service, is set your password to expire every couple of weeks/days. This will make sure it is always changing, making it hard for anyone after your password to get it.
2. Randomness Keep your password as random as possible, make sure it makes absolutely no sense at all. Although it is harder to remember, it is safe in the long run.
3. Length Try your best to max out the number of characters when making a password. The longer the password, the better it is.
4. Secretive Don't tell anyone your password, don't hint about what it is or how you thought about it.
5. Not Personal Make sure it does not reflect you, or anything relating to you. No family, birthday dates, favorite song/band/music/genre/tv show/etc. Anyone who knows you well enough could probably guess your password.
6. Numbers Use numbers in between letters, before, after, anywhere possible.
Follow these tips and you will almost always have a safe password.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Keep Yourself Dated

There are many ways to keep track of the things you do everyday, from making sticky notes, to using different calendars etc. However, I have found it easiest to consolidate all of my calendars into one. I use iCal synced with my Google Calendar. The reason being because iCal gives me more options when scheduling an event then Google Calendar does. In addition, there are many more ways that iCal can notify you when compared to just Google Calendar. To set this up, open up iCal. Next, click on "iCal" in the top left menubar, then click "Preferences". In the new window that appeared, click on "Accounts". Finally, click on the "+" symbol in the bottom left, select Google from the drop down menu, and then fill in necessary areas with your credentials. Once finished, click "Create" and your account will now be synced. Any changes made within iCal will be reflected on your Google Calendar and vice-versa. This is a great way to consolidate your calendar dates into one, easy to use area.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Simple Setup

Those of you who just purchased a PC, or installed Linux, you probably want to have all your default programs back. Programs like Chrome, Skype, or VLC, but you don't want to go through the hassle of downloading and clicking "Next" for all of those installations. Well, here is a simple solution. Ninite PC and Ninite Linux are a simple way to get everything you need. All you do is simply go through and check which applications you would like to have. Then click "Download" and you will download a package that has all the applications in one simple installation. Once you are done, you can delete the installer, or keep it for a later date. This is a great site, and I recommend it to you if you are setting up a new computer. And even if you're not, it is a simple way to install multiple applications at once.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Simple Ways to Save

Everyone uses electronics now a days. Thus, your electric bill can go up from the amount of electricity being consumed. From your computer, to your lights, even your TV, all these things can run up your bill. All of these things, and many others, raise your bill. You don't want to pay a huge sum though, so how do you save? It is actually very simple. If you are not using something, like the lights in your room, then turn them off when you leave the room. All they do is generate heat and suck up energy, and if you are not using them then there is no reason they should be on. If you are not home all day, shut your computer off, don't leave it in sleep/hibernate. It is still using energy to save where you were when you stopped using it. Just doing something small like this can save a lot in the long run. So go ahead, give it a try!


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Halo Reach: Review

As requested, the following is my review of Halo Reach. After having the game for almost a week now, and playing almost non stop, I can say that this is an amazing game. Let's break it down, shall we?

Campaign: Reach's campaign is one of the best I have ever played. It does a great job of bringing the series together. After four Halo games, Reach finally gives you the full view of what happened on the planet Reach. Bungie tries to make the story more personal by showing the faces of the characters, however I didn't really feel a huge connection to them. Although it was a valid attempt, I think they fell short of making a connection. On the other hand, there is the enemy AI. The enemy AI is more vicious then ever. Bungie did a phenomenal job of making the campaign challenging. Not to mention the fact that as you add more friends to the campaign, the more difficult it becomes. There were some down sides though, such as checkpoints. Checkpoints can sometimes be far apart, and can be given at bad times. In addition, the friendly AI is really unintelligent, and at most times are not helpful in any way. They can't drive vehicles because they will cause you to die, and they can't be a vehicle gunner because they hardly ever shoot. If anything, the friendly AI is just there for effect and motivational support, they don't do much else other then die. The campaign tries to convey the feeling that you are a part of something big, but up until the very end of the game I really did feel that way. The campaign is a great mix of storytelling and a test of player's skill.

Multiplayer: Once again, Halo brings back one of the best multiplayer experiences. Searching for games is simple, and joining friends is just as easy. The experience is very fluid, and seems to never stop. Once your game is finished, you are awarded credits, ways of buying items to customize your character, and then you are moved straight into another game. There are three types of matchmaking options: Social, Cooperative, and The Arena. Social is for people who are just playing to have fun. Cooperative is misleading by name because it is not really team battle. Instead, it is just Firefight playlists, Firefight being a game type that pins you and some friends against endless waves of enemies. Finally, there is Arena, also known as "Ranked" as you are given a seasonal rank for your hard work. The higher your rank, the better you are. Although I have only played the first two of the matchmaking options, it is easy to see that Bungie did their best to serve everyone's needs. However, there is two down sides to multiplayer, the first being the ban system. Bungie has instated a temporary ban system for quitters to penalize them for leaving the game, however this system has been banning people who lost connection, had a power outage, etc. The second is the betrayal system. It is meant to keep people from ruining the game, while it is actually ruining the game for people. Accidentally killing your team mate can happen at times, and usually it will give the team mate an option to boot the player or forgive them. In most cases they are booting the players, ruining the game for that person. Although multiplayer is an awesome experience, it is ruined slightly by some broken game mechanics. Knowing Bungie, they will address these issues in the near future.

Graphics: The graphics in Reach are very nice when compared to Halo 3 and Halo 3 ODST. However, compared to other games now a days, these graphics are not as good as they can be. Don't get me wrong, these graphics are a huge improvement over previous games, but in my opinion they could be better compared to today's standards. Reach does a good job of handling the graphics for the most part, though at times you will experience frame rate issues when playing Campaign. It is a bit of a shame because when your in the moment, the last thing you want is your game to lag. Overall, the graphics are nice, but as stated before they could be better.

Music: I tip my hat to Marty O'Donnell, he has really outdone himself this time. The music in Reach is amazing, and you can tell that Marty put his heart into this one (not to say that he hasn't done so before). Reach's music is probably the best in the industry right now, the music fits perfectly every time it is played. The music really helps convey the feeling of the moment, which the story itself fell short of conveying.

Overall: Don't let the little things about Reach stop you from buying this game. On top of everything mentioned here is the outstanding amount of customization available. For example, Forge World goes beyond the limits of what you would expect in a map editor. In addition, the armory makes every player unique beyond how they act and sound. When you are done reading this review, you should go buy this game now if you don't already have it. I don't like to use numbers when rating a game, as I feel they don't give you the right idea of how great, or horrid, a game can be. I review with my words, and that in my opinion is enough to convey my thoughts on this game. Halo Reach is amazing and you should have this game on your shelf.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Find All Your Apps and Music...Instantly

Getting your results instantly seems to be a new trend. Following in the ways of google, each of these websites provide instant results as you type. Although they are not as fast as Google Instant, they provide a quick and simple way to search for Apps and Music in the iTunes store. Upon loading the page, you will see a search box. Type the name of the App/Music you wish to find, and then let it load the results. Once you have the result you want, click on it and it will load the result in iTunes. I don't use either of these links very often, I tend to just search for what I am looking for in iTunes. However, these links may be useful to you, so don't be afraid to use them.
Search Apps

Search Music


Wednesday, September 15, 2010


For those of you running Windows, it can be very annoying to have to stop what you are doing to go and deal with your music. Although not all of us are graced by keyboards with media player buttons, you can still master control over your music. If you are using iTunes as your media player of choice, this small tweak can make a huge difference in over all music control. This tweak will put a small iTunes taskbar player in place that you can use. First, open up iTunes and click on the "Edit" menu, then click on "Preferences". Next, navigate to the "Advanced" tab and uncheck the box labeled "Minimize iTunes windows to system tray". Next, go down to the taskbar and right click on it, go to "Toolbars", and then click iTunes. Congrats, your done! Now when ever you minimize your iTunes application, the media player controller will show up in your taskbar. Although limited, it does provided enough options for most users. This is a great alternative to using RainMeter since it does not take up as much RAM, and it is still using one program instead of two. This is a nifty little tweak, and I hope it serves you well.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Series Reaches Its End

After ten years, one of the most well known video game series has come to an end. The Halo series, which started back in 2000, has gathered many followers and has grown immensely in popularity. Halo Reach marks the end to the saga that revolutionized first person shooters, and the game industry as a whole. Making a full circle, Halo Reach ends the series by starting off before it actually begins. Reach is a prequel to Halo: Combat Evolved, making an easy transition to anyone wishing to start the series now. Reach provides players with an unprecedented amount of customizability, allowing it to live on past the time when Bungie, the creators of the Halo series, will be producing for it. Eventually, it will be the players who produce for Reach's multiplayer, and Bungie will only be selecting the maps to put into the playlists. In addition to an amazing amount of customization, there is also three different ways to play online. You can play with your friends in campaign with up to four players. Then there is the online, which the Halo series is known for. And finally, there is Firefight, a fan favorite from Halo 3:ODST which has been revamped for Reach's standards. Each of these modes allows you to earn credits, which in turn can be used to unlock armor pieces to customize the player's look. As you can see, there is no wrong way to go about playing Reach. I don't want to mention anything about the campaign, as I don't wish to ruin anything for you, but I can say it won't disappoint Halo fans. Bungie has done a fantastic job with the franchise, and although they won't be making Halo anymore, their future games are sure to be good! If you would like me to write a review of this game, please leave a comment saying so. I am off to kick some Covenant butt!


Monday, September 13, 2010

Get Your Results In An Instant!

As many of you have probably heard by now, Google has announced a new way to use their search engine. It is known as "Google Instant", and it allows you to search without having to hit the "Enter" key. As you search the results are loaded right on the page you are viewing, as well as suggestions Google gives you on what you may be searching for. You can also use the arrow keys to look at the suggestions along with the possible search results, which will load below. Pressing the right arrow key when a suggestion is highlighted will trigger "I am feeling lucky". Doing this just loads the first result on the page. According to Google, this new feature saves a whole 2 seconds of search time, which doesn't sound like a lot. However, on a per person basis it is quite a bit. You can use Google Instant by going to, or if the other one does not work. If you don't like Google Instant, you can simply turn it off in you Gmail Preferences, which can be accessed at the top right of the search page. For more information, check out Google Instant Overview and FAQ. Happy searching!


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Localized, External, or Online?

Many people now are starting to keep their information stored online, and others tend to keep theirs on their computer. Some even keep their items on an external drive. Then the question arises, is it better to store your documents online,externally, or on your hard drive? All have their pros and cons. For example, storing your information online is great, you can access it from any computer (with internet) and it doesn't take up space your drive. On the other hand, storing online can also be a security risk. If, for what ever reason, the server you store your information on is compromised, you could lose important data. Yet, if you store on your hard drive, it takes up space, slows down your computer, and cannot be accessed from other computers. However, you don't have to worry about security as much compared to storing online. And then there is storing on an external device, such as a USB stick,ESATA (external SATA drive), or USB Hard Drive. In the event that your hard drive is compromised, or fails, you have all your data on an external device. Plus, depending on the type of external device, you can take your files where ever you go. However if you lose your external drive, or something goes wrong you lose the data. All have their pros and cons, and for this reason I suggest utilizing all three, so there is always some back up. Leave a comment listing which one you like to use!


Friday, September 10, 2010

All Fragged Up

Is your computer running slower than it should be? If you are constantly downloading and deleting things, you will most likely notice a significant decrease in speed. The reason for this is because of how Windows deals with file management. Say you have 3 files, x,y,z, and you delete one of them and then download a new file. That new file will take the space of the deleted file, so your files would be arrange on the disk as x,a,z. This makes it harder for the disk to read the files since they are out of order. This is known as fragmentation, easy way to remember that is because you have fragments of information every where. What needs to be done is a defragmentation. This can take a LONG time, so I suggest you give yourself a WEEKEND to do it just in case. Defragmenting takes all that messy, out of order, discombobulated information, and tidies it up. This in turn allows your hard drive to find the information faster, and makes everything run much smoother. To defrag your computer, first click on the start menu-->right click on "Computer"-->Right click on the disk you want to check-->Properties--> Tools. This will bring up a window with three options, the middle one being defrag. Click on it and it will open another window. This will show you all the disks that can be cleaned up, which most likely will be only one unless you have multiple hard drives with Windows installed. First, you will need to select the disk you want to defrag, then click "Analyze". This will scan your disk and see what percentage of it is fragmented. Once that is done, make sure you have everything closed on your computer, don't have other programs open. Don't download anything or install anything either. Once you are ready, click defragment. Your computer will then start cleaning up the disk. Leave your computer on and let it do its thing. Check in on it every hour or so to wake it from sleep and make sure everything is running fine. When I did this on my computer, my disk was 8% fragmented, and it took me about 4 hours to defragment that. So if you have more then that, depending on your hardware, it may take a while for you to finish. However, once done the speed your will gain will have made it all worth doing. Please, feel free to leave a comment if this helped you or not.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Organization is Key

We have all had that moment when it is just impossible to find the right file. You search for it, look through lists of hundreds of documents, even trying to guess where you may have put it. Usually your search will end up finding that file, but it will be after a good amount of looking. Here is a good way you can save yourself sometime. First you will want to go to your "Documents" folder, or whereever it is that you keep your files. Next You will want to create new folders for different topics, such as "Work" or "School". From there, start sorting all your documents in the necessary folders. Once complete go into each one of those folders and make more folders, this time being more specific. Using the year is a good way to go. Then sort all the files into the proper folders. By now you are pretty much organized, but if you want you can top it off. Make a folder for each document that you have and put only that document in it. Now, not only can you easily navigate through your files easily, you can use built in search to find it too. No need to guess anymore! Feel free to leave a comment below with your suggestion on how to keep your documents sorted!


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My Desktop is Spotless!

Ever wonder why your computer takes a very long time to load your profile when you log in? One of the biggest reasons is because there are items on your desktop. An item, what ever it may be, has to be registered every time the computer loads your profile. The more items, the more things that must be registered. What most people don't realize is that you want your desktop to be empty. Nothing needs to be there. Not even those useful shortcuts to applications, those can be placed in more convenient places anyway. It is easy to solve this clutter problem, you just have to take the time to clean it up. Set aside some time for yourself on the weekend, and use that time to go through your files on your desktop. Move documents to the necessary folder they should be in (some where in your "Documents" folder would be best). Delete any installers, zip files, old documents, and any shortcuts as you don't use them anymore. Make sure once you are done, to empty your trash bin so the files don't sit around some where else. From then on make a habit of not putting anything on your desktop. If you wish, leave a comment showing how spotless your desktop is!


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Drop Your Files in a Box

Why carry a USB stick, when all of your files can be stored online in a secure account and be accessed from any computer? There is no need to carry small USB sticks anymore, thanks to an awesome website call Dropbox. Dropbox is a free site that allows you store what ever you would like in an account online. The account gives you 2GB of storage for free. Of course there are pay per year accounts if you wish to upgrade, but honestly I don't think you will need to. Plus, you gain space for inviting friends to Dropbox, and can increase your space amount to a maximum of 8GB. You are also notified of any changes made to your account if you download the Dropbox application. So, what are you waiting for? Sign up for DropBox now!


Monday, September 6, 2010

I see him! I see him! No wait....

We have all been there, playing your favorite game, online with friends. You are doing really well, and then you think you see the guy, but it turns out not to be him. And then you get mad and your friends laugh at you for playing on a cruddy screen. That is no fun. So how do you fix this? You decide to go get a new screen. Before you go, here are thing you should know about buying screens. First and foremost, you will want a decent size screen. Decent can be defined in many different ways, but I define it as anything between 20"- 25". Anything less then that is for casual gamers, and anything more then that is a TV. Most chances are you are not playing casually, nor are you playing your computer games on your TV. Next thing you want to look for is the maximum number of pixels. HD is the standard now, so anything below HD is unacceptable. You want anything that does 1080p HD. When you game, you want everything to be crystal clear, it can make a difference if you can't see something. Next is the choice between what type of cable your monitor will be using. HDMI or DVI. At this point in time, the is no visual difference between the cables. Both are capable of putting out fantastic picture. Unless your monitor has built in speakers, there is no real need for HDMI. However, I don't recommend getting a monitor with build in speakers. Built in speakers are usually poor quality. Finally, the maker of your monitor is very important. Some brands are better then others when it comes to quality and overall customer satisfaction. Samsung, LG, Acer, Asus, and Hanns-G are all great brands. I personally own a Samsung Rose, and I must say it is very nice. Use some of these tips when buying a screen, it will help you in the long run.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Which Mail is Most Important?

Gmail has once again rolled out a new feature. The new feature being Priority Mail. This add-on is supposed to allow the user to easily sort through mail, so you can get to the more important messages first. When you first start using Priority Mail, it will scan your Gmail account, and guess which pieces of mail are important and which are not. It will then ask you if the way it has sorted the mail is correct. You can then make some quick changes, or leave it the way it is. Once, you're ready, click continue. Gmail will then set up your priority inbox. Within priority inbox you will see two new buttons. A "+" button and a "-" button. You can use these buttons to increase the importance of a piece/pieces of mail or decrease the importance. Important pieces of mail will be marked with a gold tab so that you know to read that first. You can use either the priority inbox or the the normal inbox, both will show your priority mail. If you don't like priority inbox, simply go to your settings and click the tab labeled "Priority Inbox" and then at the bottom click "Don't Show". Save your settings and you won't have to use it. I have found it very useful in my inbox and I recommend it to anyone who is thinking about using it.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Gmail or Skype?

With the new addition of a calling method in Gmail, Skype now has a competitor. Skype has been around long time and have really cemented their roots. Gmail is new and people aren't really sure where this feature will lead to. The thing is, they both do almost the exact same thing, with subtle differences of course. The biggest being that Gmail runs in your browser, where as Skype runs in an applications. They both require an internet connection, and allow free calling in the US and Canada. They can also make free calls to the same program (Gmail to Gmail and Skype to Skype). In addition, they both have fees for calling outside the US, although the fees are not so high. However, one thing Skype does have over Gmail is the ability to show people your screen while you are talking with them. On the other hand, Gmail has the ability to transfer calls from the browser to your phone for free if you have Google Voice setup for it. Both are great options for calling people, leave a comment on which one you prefer and why. I personally use Skype more because it is an application and I don't have to navigate to a website.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Jailbreaking Your "i"Device?

Something that has been all around the news lately is the talk of jailbreaking, especially when it pertains to Apple's "i"devices such as the iPod Touch, iPad, or iPhone. Should you jailbreak? The bottom line, it is really up to you. However, jailbreaking does give you a wide assortment of apps that would not be given to you through the app store. I won't go into discussion on how to jailbreak here, you can find how to do that in other places such as iPodTouchFans. I have a 1G (1st generation) iPod Touch and I have jailbroken mine. One of the major reasons being multi-tasking. Since iOS 4 is not coming to my iPod, I used jailbreaking to give me the ability to do things that would not normally be possible. Plus, you can theme your "i"device to make it aesthetically pleasing. Even folders, found in the iOS, have been on jailbroken devices for almost two years now. Jailbreaking is one of those things that can be easy to use, but hard to master. Over time, you will learn more about it if you decide to jailbreak. If not, enjoy your "i"device.

Post a picture of your jailbroken screen if you have one!


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Shiny New Things From the Fruit

Yesterday Apple held it's annual music event in San Francisco, and as expected they have unleashed a slew of new products. They refresh their entire iPod line, except for the iPod classic. They also announced iTunes 10 with a new social networking feature called Ping. Without further wait, lets jump right into the nitty gritty.

iOS The next version of the iOS has been announced, and with it a Game Center. Put simply, Game Center is like Apple's Xbox Live or PSN. You will be able to play games, unlock achievement, and have your friends see. You can also challenge your friends real time over WiFi. It will also allow you to do TV Rentals, just like iTunes 10 (more below).

iPod Touch The iPod Touch has been given a make over. It now has the Retina Display that was given to the iPhone 4 earlier this year. It also incorporates the A4 chip that the iPhone 4 has, that is a big plus for people who game on their iPod Touch. Next, it was given a front facing and back facing camera, with the ability to do face time and record 720p HD videos. Face time will allow you to call people on other iPod Touches and also iPhone 4 users. The front camera has quality that is lower than the iPhone 4's, if you want the better one you have to buy an iPhone 4. However, with this release of the iPod Touch, they have dropped the 16GB version, which is a bit of a down side. This iPod Touch will also be running the latest version of iOS. It also has a built in microphone and built in speakers. The battery can last a full 40 hours if the only thing you do is audio, 7 hours if you do a lot of video. A 3 axis gyro has also been implemented, which is good for gaming. It is of course thinner and lighter then it's previous incarnations. A starting price tag of 230$ and up if you want more space.

iPod Nano For a while now the iPod Nano didn't really have a place, it was just trailing behind doing different odd things like radio and taking video. Well all that has changed. The click wheel is gone and it now has been given a full multitouch display. The camera has also been done away with, replaced by a clip that allows you to clip the iPod to your shirt, jeans, jacket etc. There is an 8GB and 16GB model, starting price is 149$. The FM Radio tuner has stayed, so nothing much has change there. It can give you up to 24 hours of music playback on a full charge. the size is of course smaller then it's last incarnation and it is much lighter. Whether people will take a liking to this is yet to be seen.

iPod Shuffle The shuffle didn't really get an upgrade as it did a downgrade. The old version of the shuffle, the one with no buttons, did not go over so well with consumers. As a result the buttons are back along with the small square shape. It has kept the voice over feature, as well as the ability to do Genius. You can have multiple playlist also. Although the shuffle doesn't offer as much as other iPods out there, the 50$ price tag and simplicity of it is good for people who just want to listen to music and don't care that much about anything else.

iTunes 10 Next, there is iTunes. The music application that ties all of Apple's music products together. First and foremost is the update is Ping, the social networking client Apple has created. Ping allows you to post status updates of what you do on iTunes, from listening to songs to watching videos. It also allows you to post videos, pictures, or text of what you are doing in real life. You can allow anyone to follow you, or you can have a private account and make people request to follow you. Ping is a lot like Twitter when you compare the two. Ping can also go with you on your iPod Touch or iPhone 4 since it is built right into the iTunes mobile application. Second biggest thing is AirPlay, formally known as AirTunes, allows you to now stream your music to third party receivers. Previously you could only stream to your Airport Express (unless you had other software). They have also improved syncing for iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPads. This allows you easily organize your device(s). Finally, TV Show rentals have dropped in price from 3$ to 99¢.

Apple TV Wow! Where to start on this one!? There have been so many added features. The biggest feature being the size reduction. It is 80% SMALLER then the previous version. Apple has done away with the hard drive inside and has turned the Apple TV into a stream only product. You can stream from your iTunes on your computer, and in the future you will be able to stream from your iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone as long as they are running iOS 4 firmware. In addition to all of that, it plays 720p HD video. The reason it is not 1080p is because of bandwidth issues. It also does Netflix, all of you that subscribe can use this feature, YouTube, Flickr, and MobileMe. All these ways allow you to stream videos to your Apple TV. It has wireless built in and also an ethernet card for those who prefer a hard wire. You will also be able to rent movies the day they come out for 3.99 and watch them in HD. However, you can no longer purchase movies on your Apple TV since it has no way of storing them. Another small feature is the ability to control your Apple TV with your iPod Touch or iPhone. Plus, it is only 99$!

iPad Last but not least is the iPad. Nothing was done to it physically, but it was announced that the iPad will join the iOS 4 line up later this year. It will receive the update in November. The update will include the ability to print email, webpage notes and more. You will also be able to use AirPlay to stream to your Apple TV, as mentioned above, as well as multitask and create folders.

Overall Apple really did a good job of lining up new items for this holiday season. I am personally looking to update my first generation iPod Touch to the newer one. The camera is what really makes me want it because I always forget my camera. I am not a fan of the iPod Shuffle or the Nano, and as I said earlier I don't know how well the Nano will go over with consumers. I can see many people getting an Apple TV, the new upgrade and price makes it a great piece of equipment to have in your TV cabinet. Next on the line of updates for Apple is one of their computers, that will probably happen in the next couple of months.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Gotta Catch 'em All.... on your iDevice!

Recently, a friend of mine approached me and asked how could he play Pokemon Emerald on his jailbroken iPhone. I told him that he needed to download the application "GPSphone" from Cydia. So he tried it and found that he needed ROMs. I can't tell you where to get Roms, but I can tell you to google it. Anyway, he wanted Roms so he googled for it and found a Cydia repo that hosted roms. It took him a while to download them, but when he launched it the app crashed. This happened every time that he launched the games. He contacted me again and asked me what was wrong. So I started searching. What I found was really interesting. Anyone who used the applications "Blackra1n" to jailbreak would have a kernel that was patched correctly, while if you used Pwnage Tool you would have an incorrectly patched kernel, hence the reason the app was crashing. I told him to run "BlackRa1n" on his iPhone to fix the kernel, and it worked for him. He can now play all the pokemon games he wants. When I tried it on my iPod however, I found that "Blackra1n" only works up to version 3.1.2, not 3.1.3. So I downgraded and rejailbroke. I downloaded GPSphone, but unlike my friend, I used SSH (Secure Shell) to manually add the games to my iPod. I used an application name "Cyberduck" for Mac, there is also WinSCP if you use windows. Once I logged into my iPod I navigated to /private/var/mobile/ROMS/GBA and dropped my games in there. I started it up and now I can play my GBA games when ever I want. This can also be done on the iOS devices, but how it is done I am not sure because I don't own an iOS device. If you would like an article on how to do it on an iOS device, email me or send me a tweet and I will get right on it!