July 8, 2011
Forgive me Father for I have sinned. It’s been too long since my last confession… over a year in fact, but there’s something that I just have to get off my chest. Last summer, I committed a truly heinous act: I reviewed a security product from Norton and I enjoyed it. “Nonsense!” you cry, but I simply speak the truth.
Going against every negative feeling I used to hold about Norton products, I approached Norton 360 4.0 with a clean slate. Past crimes of sending my computer plummeting into crashes were forgiven, and I found myself looking at a product that not only seemed to be full of great features, but also light on my system resources. It was unobtrusive, efficient, and yes, I liked it.Continue reading »
July 7, 2011
You know for certain that a platform has made it when there’s security software available on its Market. Mobile malware is big bucks these days, with the potential to steal private messages and access voicemail – just ask Mr Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks, they’ll tell you I’m right – and so security software is bound to become more and more popular on our phones.
It’s no surprise, then, that BitDefender has decided to race ahead of the competition and release a beta version of their mobile security application, which allows you to scan your phone for malware and actively protect it against web threats.Continue reading »
July 6, 2011
So here’s the latest offering from previously impressive audio manufacturer Edifier, who gave us the Luna Encore and USB Soundbar earlier in the year, which struck a perfectly strung chord and had me waxing lyrical on all manner of aspects. Audio quality was consistently great across the range, as was value for money and design, so there’s a lot to live up to for these speakers designed for your PC.Continue reading »
July 3, 2011
As much as we’d like to maintain a paperless lifestyle, it’s still pretty difficult to get by purely in the digital realm. Whether we’re being sent bills in the mail or given handouts at a conference, paper still surrounds us every day of our lives. If you do wish to maintain a paperless lifestyle, you could always scan in those documents and save them as images, but that becomes messy fairly quickly, and you can’t annotate an image either. So, what’s the answer? Optical character recognition. More commonly known as ‘OCR’, this technique is exactly what Nuance uses in its OmniPage software, which allows you to scan in your documents and have them converted to editable, digital files.Continue reading »
July 2, 2011
This time last year, we took a look at PC Tools’ Internet Security application for Windows, and I was fairly impressed by its performance when scanning your machine for malware. The dated XP style user interface, however, left a lot to be desired. One year on, we’re here again to look at the 2011 version, so have the UI issues been ironed out or is it the same old program? Let’s take a closer look.Continue reading »
June 28, 2011
Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D is a remake of the original game which was released on the N64 in 1998. Many consider the N64 version to be one of the best games of all time. This game was the first in the Zelda series to be a 3D polygon world and it was also the first game that introduced the left trigger targeting system, which has since been used by everything from third person actions games to role playing games.
So What’s Different?
One of the major differences is the actual graphics themselves. The Nintendo 3DS version isn’t just a simple port of the N64, but more of a repainting. The game’s visuals have been completely revamped by Japanese developer Grezzo, but the game has kept the same gameplay engine. Grezzo’s intention was to try and make the game look like the original concept art rather than to make it look like Zelda Twilight Princess.Continue reading »
June 27, 2011
The Electronic Entertainment Expo (otherwise known as E3) is a strange and fantastical beast of a convention. Large companies forgo their everyday suits and shareholder meetings to install fully-fledged stylised buildings within Los Angeles convention centre’s great halls, complete with multiple floors, ventilation, windows, backrooms and theatres.
These strange architectures are then rammed with PR trying to sell games they understand little of, developers nervous and agitated at the prospect of doing hundreds of almost identical interviews and ‘booth babes’ clueless as to what’s going on at all. And thus a literal gaming city is erected for the sole purpose of hype; most of it we see, some of it, such as the all together more business-like buyer meetings and VIP rooms, we don’t.
This year’s E3 closed its doors to 46800 attendees, with what I imagine were very varied opinions, even more so than most previous years like E3 2010. Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, the console companies, are usually the hot topics at E3, yet despite the Wii U’s reveal and an explosion of details concerning the PS Vita, the third party developers seem to have been the show’s natural focus, whether the big three liked it or not. Whether this speaks to the quality of the games or the hardware developers’ shortcomings is for you to decide.Continue reading »
June 25, 2011
With the introduction of Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors and a Thunderbolt port for high-speed data transfers, the latest refresh of the Apple iMac ensures that all the latest technology is inside one of the world’s most popular all-in-one computers.
Just for you, we’ve managed to get hold of a 21.5” model which sports a 2.8GHz Core i7 processor, 8GB of DDR3 RAM and an AMD Radeon HD 6770M graphics. In addition to this, there is a FaceTime HD camera hiding out at the top of the screen ready to provide you with high-definition video calling in a heartbeat. Excited yet? Good, let’s check it out!Continue reading »
June 20, 2011
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play – casually known as the PlayStation Phone – may be one of the most anticipated mobile devices of the past few years; rumours of such a device had been circling the internet for months before its eventual unveiling at the early stages of this year. The concept is quite simple really: take what is arguably the most successful gaming platform of all time and merge it with your everyday smartphone to give people a great gaming experience on the go. After all, if any company knows what it takes to make a successful games console it’s Sony, right?
With physical, slide-out controls and a dedicated PlayStation application alongside the Android market, the Xperia Play certainly has a lot of promise for those wanting to take their games with them, but does it live up to all the hype? Let’s take a closer look and find out for ourselves!Continue reading »
June 11, 2011
Once again E3 attendees lined up as we did in previous days and once again lines gave way to pandemonium as the doors opened up for the final day of E3. I myself took the time to make sure I’d seen every thing I wanted to, and of course, to take in the generally insane atmosphere.
Metal Gear Solid Peacewalker HD
Though there’s virtually nothing new here in terms of game content, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see how these classic games held up on they’re newfound platforms.
Peacewalker HD, part of the Metal Gear Solid collection coming to the PS3 later this year is an exciting prospect for me, as I decided against playing its PSP iteration due to my disgust of the single analogue control system.Continue reading »
June 9, 2011
As soon as I awoke this Wednesday to an uncharacteristically cloudy LA day, I had but one priority: to get my hands on the still very oddly named Wii U, as well as the portable powerhouse that is the Playstation Vita. So that’s exactly what I did once the show floor opened to a now very purposeful, hot and busy press.
As you might imagine, there are quite a few people looking to test out the new console, some important, such as company VPs and industry-hopping celebrities, and some not so. This meant a long wait and short play with the device, but I feel I was able to get a good impression, given the lack of software (and any games at all). The controller itself is around the size of an A5 piece of paper and is cast in the signature shiny white plastic of Nintendo.
The screen does feel unnaturally large for the device it is, but it is sharp and clear, despite not quite being able to put out 1080p. The bottom feels fine, with a ridge that houses the triggers and accommodates your fingers relatively comfortably, but the top is where the problems unfortunately arise.Continue reading »
June 8, 2011
Nintendo Press Conference
Nintendo kicked off the day with a conference that left many people confounded. I’m still not sure what to make of it myself, but nonetheless, we’ll try to make sense of the festivities. Project Café is dead, long live Wii U. The naming conventions continue to defy logic and suggest that this iteration isn’t in fact, a whole new console – which it actually is.
The Wii U features a 6.2-inch touch screen controller, as rumoured, complete with mic, camera and gyro sensor. It will be able to run 1080p, is backwards compatible (nudge, nudge Sony) and will allow for multiscreen play with the TV.Continue reading »
June 7, 2011
Well E3 is well and truly here, and on the day before the show floor opens up to a hungry press, two of the console companies along with EA and Ubisoft held press conferences to demonstrate their latest and (hopefully) greatest, and of course, to brag about games/consoles sold.
Microsoft Press Conference
First up, bright and early at 9:30 was Microsoft’s presser and their emphasis was as clear as day: lots of Xbox Kinect, much like last year. Aside from a few demos of intriguing, moan and groan filled Tomb Raider, from Crystal Dynamics, an utterly predictable dose of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, a demo of Gears of War 3 with Cliffy B and the ever enthusiastic Ice T and a few somewhat inevitable Halo announcements, the bulk of the show was given over to Kinect.
Core titles such as Mass Effect 3 were shown to utilise voice commands of the Kinect, to select dialogue and instruct your squad, along with Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, which demo’ed an insanely detailed weapon customisation system.Continue reading »
June 3, 2011
Gameloft is a company best known for its mobile titles, developed for iOS and Android smartphones, but since the introduction of the Mac App Store in the new year, the firm has widened its horizons to include development for the Mac.
One of the Mac titles released by Gameloft is Modern Combat Domination: a Counter-Strike-esque first person multiplayer shooter that allows you to play online in a multitude of modes and increase your level as you become more proficient at the game. Originally released for the Playstation 3 via PSN, Modern Combat comes with a low price tag to attract even the most casual of gamers, but is this a case of getting what you pay for, or can Gameloft’s latest title match up to the big games in the App Store? Let’s check it out!Continue reading »
June 1, 2011
L.A. Noire. The game that promised so much, the hype almost became unbearable, and the wait even more so. Having pre-ordered the game a couple of months back, May 20th just couldn’t come fast enough for me and as I scampered home on that bright spring afternoon, carefully peeled away Amazon’s stress-free packaging, and with bated breath waited for the seemingly eternal installation. There was only one question on my mind: How good will it be, being the good guy?
This is new territory for Rockstar, with previous esteemed titles such as GTA and Red Dead Redemption providing hour upon hour of sometimes hilarious criminal escapades and proving so popular, it’s certainly a bold step to adopt the same system with a complete role reversal. The problem is for me, that whilst street shoot-outs, car/horse-jackings and driving motorcycles from the top of the empire state building is unquestionably entertaining in the aforementioned titles, sprinting through the streets of LA armed with not a lot more than a pencil and a little black book isn’t quite so enthralling.
But, what we’ve got with L.A. Noire is quite the mixed bag.Continue reading »
May 30, 2011
Yet another first-person shooter (FPS) game hits our shelves. It seems to be that the majority of big titles released these days are FPS, with none of them really standing alone with something slightly different to make it stand out from the rest. But does Brink break that mould and bring us something new?
Most FPS games allow you to be pretty much a solo player, running around and doing your own thing, killing anyone that stands in your way. There’s been plenty of times when I’ve single handedly won a Deathmatch on Call of Duty doubling my entire teams score (I’ve also been on the other side) as you can work individually. This isn’t the case with Brink however, as it’s vital that you work as a team to achieve your goal, otherwise you’ll find it rather tricky to achieve any objectives.Continue reading »
May 26, 2011
With so many sensitive files being stored on our hard drives, keeping our data protected should be the first priority on our computers. Despite this, most users rarely have any kind of encryption between potential thieves and their files. Any sensitive data can be easily accessed if a computer is lost or stolen, but what can users do to solve this problem?
Knox for Mac is made by AgileBits, the same company that created 1Password, and it allows you to create various ‘vaults’, which are password protected and encrypted, allowing you to drop in any file that you want to securely store. The concept is fairly simple, but how does it stack up in real life use?Continue reading »
May 25, 2011
As a girl geek I get excited about impressive tech, but even more excited when I come across a gadget that is as slick-looking as its specs. That’s what happened when I came across the Innergie mCube Slim Super Compact Universal Adapter.
As you can see, the mCube’s body is an Apple-like white with pleasing rounded corners, and small enough to slip into a pocket or slot in a laptop bag. It’s reminiscent of My Passport portable hard drives; extremely light and is quite frankly a great little gadget.Continue reading »
May 17, 2011
Back in July of last year Steelseries announced two headsets specifically designed for Xbox 360 gaming: the Spectrum 5xb and 4xb, and over the last couple of weeks we’ve had our hands on the former of these to see how well it matches up not only to the pretty good pedigree that Steelseries have created for themselves but also against the competition.
The SteelSeries Spectrum 5xB Gaming Headset is their first (or more correctly, the better of their first two) headsets specifically designed for gaming on the Xbox 360 which means that not only do they come with the usual headset paraphernalia but also a neat little box that allows you to adjust the audio from your Xbox to ‘optimise your gaming experience’.Continue reading »
May 14, 2011
Sidefolders for Mac OS X is a simple utility that’s available from the Mac App Store – it positions a drawer-style pane on your desktop, in which you can store links to any files and/or folders you currently have on your Mac. The premise of the app is extremely good, offering quick access to those hard to reach places that you have to dive into fairly regularly.
You can decide whether you want Sidefolders docked on either the left or right of the desktop, which may depend on your preference regarding the OS X dock. Down the inner tab of the pane, you have a few controls. ‘+’ and ‘-’ are pretty self explanatory, in that they allow you to add or remove directories to your Sidefolders pane, and underneath that there’s a typical settings icon. Clicking it opens a simple context menu, which allows you to quickly hide or show the default directories, switch the position of the pane to the other side of the screen, check out what Sidefolders is about, or quit the app. You can also set it to open on startup, which is helpful as ever.Continue reading »