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To Buy or Not to Buy? – 27-Inch iMac with 5K Display Turns Heads at Apple Launch PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lorenzo Tanos   
Saturday, 18 October 2014 19:54

his week’s Apple media event saw the debut of the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3, and if you felt those devices proved to be merely evolutionary, you’d probably consider the 27-inch iMac with 5K display to be revolutionary. But would you want to actually spend some money on such a machine? We all know 4K display tech, and how it’s now a common specification for HDTVs, but Apple’s new 27-inch iMac for the 2015 model year was one of the more underrated new product launches at Thursday’s media event. This is an all-in-one desktop that comes with an unprecedented display resolution of 5120 x 2880. And while that equates to “only” 218 pixels per inch, that’s more than what can be said about 4K HDTVs which have displays of 40 inches or larger, but display resolutions of “only” 3840 x 2160.

apple-imac-5k

But here’s where the conundrum lies for buyers – 4K content is hard to come about as it is, so why would you want to splurge on a 27-inch iMac with 5K display resolution? If you’re the type of consumer who’s all hung up about having dibs on products with the highest-end specs and nothing more, then by all means, we’d suggest you go for this 2015 model year PC. But if you’re someone who’s more into unique features than bleeding-edge fundamentals, you probably would be better off passing. That said, we see the new 27-inch iMac as a great machine for design professionals, but not as much so for other work-oriented users, even less so for more casual users.

Those who want to buy the entry-level 27-inch iMac with 5K display will have to pay $2,500, and that base trim includes a 3.5 GHz Intel Core i5 quad-core processor, 8 GB RAM, and a 1 TB Fusion Drive.  That’s not too bad, but keep in mind that the top-of-the-line trim costs about $4,500, and comes with a 4 GHz Intel Core i7 chipset, and a whopping 32 GB RAM and a 3 TB Fusion Drive – the humongous storage space is great for high-powered executives who need a sophisticated productivity machine and the RAM more than enough for your average PC gamer, but a lot of it seems superfluous to most PC users.

 
Twitter adds Tweets to timelines PDF Print E-mail
Written by Press Association   
Saturday, 18 October 2014 19:45

Social network Twitter has confirmed the roll out of a new "experiment" that will see content from people you don't follow appear on your timeline for the first time.

twitter-adds-tweets

The new feature was first tested in the summer, with some Twitter users reporting tweets appearing on their timeline from accounts they didn't follow, causing an angry reaction online.

A post has now appeared on the site's official blog that confirms this feature has now been fully introduced, with Twitter's Trevor O'Brien explaining: "Choosing who to follow is a great first step - in many cases, the best Tweets come from people you already know, or know of.

"But there are times when you might miss out on Tweets we think you'd enjoy. To help you keep up with what's happening, we've been testing ways to include these Tweets in your timeline - ones we think you'll find interesting or entertaining."

Mr O'Brien confirmed that this was no longer an experiment, but a standard feature of the social site, with Twitter's help centre information on timelines having also been suitably updated.

"When we identify a Tweet, an account to follow, or other content that's popular or relevant, we may add it to your timeline. This means you will sometimes see Tweets from accounts you don't follow," it now reads.

"We select each Tweet using a variety of signals, including how popular it is and how people in your network are interacting with it. Our goal is to make your home timeline even more relevant and interesting."

Twitter is looking to close the gap on social networking rival Facebook in terms of users and how active they are, with Facebook currently drawing on over a billion monthly active users globally, while Twitter sits around the 270 million mark.

However, this latest update hasn't received the warmest of welcomes, with Twitter users taking to their timelines to show their disapproval, many replying to the post from Twitter's own account announcing the update.

@AngrierFish said: "Here's an idea. Don't", while @MadeByTime added: "I see it and it's terrible."

Facebook has a similar feature that suggests new content to users, and some noted that Twitter shouldn't be trying to emulate their rival.

One user commented: "Don't be like Facebook", while @HPExpertNorwich said "please don't the 'promoted by' tweets are annoying enough."

Twitter maintains however that change is good, with Mr O'Brien adding: "Some timeline experiments never make it to 100% of users. The ones that do aim to make the experience more interesting and relevant. As the timeline evolves, we will continue to show you Tweets you care about when they matter most."

 
Apple Pay hits U.S. stores Monday PDF Print E-mail
Written by Matt Hamblen   
Saturday, 18 October 2014 18:29

Apple Pay launches on Monday in the U.S., giving buyers new technology to make in-store and online payments possible with NFC-ready iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones by simply using Touch ID.

apple pay
Apple Pay's online payment capability from within apps will be expanded to the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 when both become available next week. The in-store payment capability will also work with the Apple Watch when it ships next year.
 

Apple announced the mobile payment launch in a streamed online presentation Thursday, listing 35 retail brands where a user can make in-store payments by year's end. Stores include Whole Foods, Macy's, McDonald's, Duane Reed, Texaco and others. Apple Pay is reachable from within the Passport app in Apple devices and is enabled by iOS 8.1, a free software update to iOS 8 that will be released Monday.

In addition to those stores, Apple listed 23 store brands accepting online payments with Apple Pay, including Staples and Starbucks, which today relies upon QR reader technology, not NFC, for in-store payments to buy coffee.

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Mozilla releases Firefox UE3 demo PDF Print E-mail
Written by T3   
Saturday, 04 May 2013 17:56

Firefox Logo 624

Mozilla has released a demo of Epic Citadel for its recently announced Unreal Engine 3 Firefox port.

The game was ported to Javascript using the new browser-based engine.

Significantly, it was the first game to make use of the engine on the iPhone after it was ported to support iOS devices in 2009.

The game will run in any browser, including rivals Chome, Safari, and Internet Explorer. However, to get the best performance out of it, it is recommended to run it using the latest nightly build of Firefox.

According to Epic, the performance "rivals native" with "stunning" visuals.

Mozilla is looking for more developers to take part in its Emscripten project.

If you want to see how the game runs, your can click here. However, there's no action in the game; it's currently just a scenic tour.

 
Is Google Getting Serious About Gaming? Noah Falstein Hired As Chief Game Designer PDF Print E-mail
Written by Steve O'Hear   
Saturday, 04 May 2013 17:52

Well, what do we have here? Somewhat under the radar, Google has hired the computer games veteran Noah Falstein to the position of Chief Game Designer. Yes, that’s right, the search giant, not normally known for its games development, appears to have a major gaming project in circulation, at least something that requires someone as experienced as Falstein at its helm. What that might be we can only speculate. A Google Glass-related augmented-reality game seems a possibility, though there could be something even more serious going on, given Falstein’s areas of interest.

For those who aren’t familiar with his work, according to his bio Falstein’s been in the computer games industry since 1980, spanning companies such as LucasArts, 3DO, and Dreamworks Interactive, and is the designer behind a number of hit titles. He most recently ran his own consultancy, The Inspiracy, which offered companies help on game design, development and business, as well as being a regular on the lecture and speaking circuit. Ever influential, so perhaps not so surprising that he’s wound up at Google.

On his LinkedIn profile, his new title is “Chief Game Designer” at Google, joining sometime in April 2013. No further details are provided. Intriguingly, however, an earlier cached version has the position down as “Chief Game Designer at Android Play Studio.”

That, of course, points to something Android-related, even if — as one industry insider noted when I asked around — Google’s mobile OS seems to be doing just fine games-wise without the need for a dedicated Android Chief Game Designer within the company.

Were Google to be working on a new game (or games) led by Falstein, it wouldn’t be an entirely new avenue. It already has the mysterious Niantic Labs, maker of Ingress, a real-time augmented reality MMO for Android, so perhaps there’s a connection there. Or maybe a similar concept but for Google Glass.

Finally, if we zoom out further and think a bit more laterally, a major interest of Falstein is the field of “Serious Games,” which he defines as “Using Games, Game Technology, or Game Industry Techniques for a purpose other than pure entertainment.” The list of Serious Games projects Falstein has been involved in spans anything from using game techniques to improve health and education, to financial projections. In other words, weighty stuff.

Or, dare I say, very Google.

Last Updated on Saturday, 04 May 2013 17:52
 
Apple's New Berlin Store Not Short Of Eager Fans! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeevan Vasagar   
Saturday, 04 May 2013 15:26

As thousands of fans queued around the block, with the most diehard sleeping on the pavement for a chance to be the first inside its new store in Berlin, Apple appeared to have lost none of its retail magic at its latest opening yesterday.

apple berlin store

“I was here at 9pm last night,” said Jan Teuner, 46, a civil servant. “It was cold and the ground was hard. But I wanted to be first because I love Apple and the products are perfect.”

Opening in a listed building which formerly housed a cinema, the new store is Apple’s biggest outlet in Germany, where it has 10 other shops. The façade of the building on Kurfuerstendamm, Berlin’s main shopping street, is styled like a Greek temple. Inside, iPhones, iPads and MacBooks were on display on tables made of German oak.

The crowd queuing outside was youthful, largely male, and united in its adoration.

“Apple’s prices may be high but they are worth it,” said Adrian Post, 22, a hospital worker who had travelled in from nearby Potsdam. “I’ve just come to look. I’m not going to buy anything today, but I’d like one of those very flat laptops.”

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Windows 8.1 will bring back the Start button PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sebastian Anthony   
Saturday, 04 May 2013 15:17

Microsoft will resurrect the Start button in Windows 8.1 (Blue), which is due to be released later this year. This follows last week’s news that Windows 8.1 will let you to skip the Start screen after logging in, allowing you to boot straight to the Desktop.windows-8-start8-start-menu

This news comes from The Verge, which cites the usual “sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans.” Don’t get too excited, though: As it stands, the resurrected Start button will still open the new, tile-based Metro Start screen. For now, there doesn’t seem to be any plans to bring back the old Start menu — for that, you’ll still need to install a third-party Start button/menu app. Who knows, though — if Microsoft has finally decided to back down on its severe Start-screen-über-alles stance to appease Desktop users, then it would make sense for the Start menu to also make a glorious return. We also don’t know if the Start button will be visible by default in Windows 8.1, or enabled via an option that’s hidden deep within the Control Panel.

If Microsoft had opted to kill the Start button or introduce the brand-new Start screen with Windows 8, that would’ve been bad enough. That Microsoft decided to do both at the same time, both alienating the old users and disorienting the new, will remain one of the tech world’s greatest mysteries. There was definitely an argument for removing the Start menu — it wasn’t being used much, and the new Start screen replicates most of its features — but in combination with the other changes it made Windows 8′s learning curve dauntingly steep, leading us to call Windows 8′s interface a train wreck. As the head of Microsoft, Julie Larson-Green, said: it may take up to six weeks until users feel truly comfortable with Windows 8′s interface changes.

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