Coming to Xbox Live Marketplace: discounts on Serious Sam HD, Duke Nukem, Blacklight: Tango and more

/* Posted February 5th, 2011 at 2:18am [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under Video Games    */

 

Major Nelson has sent word on the upcoming contents that will be available on the Xbox Live Marketplace in the coming days.

xboxlive-marketplace

 

It includes a handful of retro shooters at bargain prices, from the classic Duke Nukem Manhattan Project to Serious Sam HD, new Xbox Live avatars, game add-ons that features Mass Effect 2 Alternate Appearance Pack 2, new Xbox Live Arcade titles and nice selection of Games on Demand.

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How to Pitch Webinars

/* Posted February 5th, 2011 at 2:17am [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under SharePoint    */

Ever wondered how to position different parts of the Microsoft Business Intelligence stack?

We have a range of different tools that can be applied in a range of different situations for a range of different purposes. In this webcast series, I will be describing how to position and sell the various key elements of the Microsoft BI stack, including a pitch that can be redelivered. Each webcast in this series stands alone or can be viewed as part of the bigger picture discussion.

How to Pitch: Excel Services – Thursday 10th February – 4-5pm GMT

How to Pitch: PerformancePoint Services – Thursday 10th March – 4-5pm GMT

How to Pitch: PowerPivot – Thursday 7th April – 4-5pm GMT

How to Pitch: SQL Server Reporting Services – Thursday 5th May – 4-5pm GMT

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Be a mobile DJ and play that level again: iPhone apps of the week

/* Posted February 4th, 2011 at 8:18pm [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under Web    */

iPhone(Credit:
CNET)

As we draw closer to the release of the
iPad 2, the Apple rumor sites are heating up, with the usual speculation and research into hidden clues about what the new device will be like. Rumors about faster processor speed and front- and rear-facing cameras have been out there for a while, but an article over at AppleInsider breaks down what types of the iPad 2 Apple is banking on selling most.

The first iPad came in Wi-Fi-only and 3G/Wi-Fi varieties. But with the introduction of iOS devices to Verizon, Apple has needed to make some adjustments to the hardware to make sure it works on all carriers.

According to the article, Apple is expected to offer three variations of the iPad 2: a Wi-Fi only version, a GSM/UMTS version for ATT, and a CDMA/EV-DO version for Verizon.

AppleInsider reports that Apple is producing more of the 3G-enabled models than the others and concludes that the company thinks most people will opt for the 3G version over just Wi-Fi.

It’s tough to say what Apple is really planning, but if you were going to buy an iPad 2 at launch, which variation would you buy? Let me know in the comments.

This week’s apps include an app that lets you bring two turntables anywhere and a platform game that’s so difficult you can’t stop playing.

Tap DJ

Just messing around with two turntables is fun, but you can actually create and record your own mixes.

(Credit:
Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

Tap DJ ($1.99) puts two turntables on your
iPhone touch screen, letting you create mixes, scratch, and sample wherever you are. A quick tutorial shows you all the main features when you get started so it’s easy to get music up and running and start mixing. Tap DJ uses the music from your iPhone’s library and adds a few premade samples you can use to get started.

Tap DJ attempts to give you a real DJ experience, and it does a pretty good job. As with a real DJ rig, you can raise or lower the volume for each turntable, adjust the speed to match up beats on your mixes, and use the cross-fader to fade the volume between turntables. One advantage is that you have the ability to see the waveform for your audio so it’s easy to pick out precise parts of the song.

Beyond the main onscreen controls, you also have a pop-up drawerlike interface element that lets you adjust an equalizer for each turntable, set Cue Points so you can start a track at a precise spot or create loops, and adjust effects you can add to your mixes. The app offers three effects to play around with: echo, reverb, and a “Gyro” effect. With Gyro activated you can touch and hold your finger on a button and move your iPhone 4 to “scratch” using the device’s gyroscope technology.

Once you’ve put together a song or mix you want to keep, Tap DJ lets you record your mix, share it with friends, or even add a vocal recording to give it the full radio-DJ effect. Overall, if you have any interest in mixing your music or like the idea of carrying two turntables wherever you go, you should definitely get Tap DJ.

League of Evil

What kind of classic arcade game would it be without moving platforms over a bed of spikes?

(Credit:
Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

League of Evil (99 cents) is like an iOS remake of the popular and recent console and desktop game Super Meat Boy. For those who haven’t played Super Meat Boy, it’s a platform game that has become well-known (dare I say, “legendary”) for being extremely difficult. League of Evil is probably not quite as hard as the game it emulates, but you’ll find the same rage-inducing effect when you’ve restarted some of the later levels for the 20th time.

Like other platform games, League of Evil gives you directional controls for movement on the lower left part of the screen and buttons for jump and attack on the lower right. Your goals are to complete a level in the shortest amount of time possible, find and retrieve a hidden briefcase, and take out the scientist at the end of the level. The first several levels are not too bad, but once you get into the second tier of levels (54 levels total across three tiers), your old-school arcade skills will definitely be put to the test.

League of Evil is not for those who are new to platform games; even the most skilled gamers will be challenged by this title. But if you like the challenge of getting your run through a level exactly right and are willing to try the same level again and again for that feeling of finally succeeding, I highly recommend this game.

What’s your favorite iPhone app? Are there any pro DJs reading who can comment on Tap DJ? Is League of Evil too difficult to be called a game and should instead be called work? Let me know in the comments!

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Manage Google Storage With Free CloudBerry Explorer

/* Posted February 4th, 2011 at 8:18pm [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under News    */

Google Storage is one of the newest and most promising entrants into the cloud storage market. Its integration with other Google services such as Google App Engine makes it a viable threat to the current leader, Amazon S3. The service is currently in closed beta, but if you’re lucky enough to snag an invite, you’ll probably want a more advanced manager than Google’s bare-bones Web app, which supports little more than bucket creating and file uploading. For accessing advanced features of Google Storage such as setting HTTP headers or access control levels (ACLs), Google offers the command line utility GSUtil. But unless you’re a console guru, a graphical manager such as CloudBerry Explorer for Google Storage is highly preferable.

CloudBerry Explorer allows you to modify HTTP headers, unlike Google’s simple Web-based manager. In function and appearance, CloudBerry Explorer for Google Storage is almost identical to its counterpart for S3. The program looks like a standard FTP program, allowing file transfers between a local hard drive and Google Storage, or even from one Google Storage source to another. CloudBerry Explorer supports tabs, making it easy to manage multiple folders at once. Folder syncing is another key feature, automating the often tedious process of keeping files up-to-date. CloudBerry Explorer handily allows modifiable default values for HTTP headers and ACLs, so you won’t have to tweak the settings of every file uploaded. But if you do need to change the settings of individual or groups of files, they’re just a right-click away. In general, CloudBerry Explorer is very full-featured, supporting all of Google Storage’s capabilities, along with nice touches such as in-depth logging.

Fast, intuitive, and reliable, CloudBerry Explorer is an impressive piece of freeware. The $40 Pro version supports compression and chunking for speeding up large file transfers, and customizable encryption for security. But most developers will not rely on these features, and the free version is quite sufficient for effective management of Google Storage.

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Control, play torrents via uTorrent on Android

/* Posted February 4th, 2011 at 8:18pm [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under Web    */

uTorrent Remote for Android

(Credit:
BitTorrent, Inc.)

Bandwidth caps are only part of the reason that torrenting has yet to hit mobile devices in a big way, but that hasn’t stopped them from trickling into the portable world. Today BitTorrent, Inc. announced remote control app uTorrent Remote that lets you manage your desktop’s torrents from your Android device, and stream completed audio and video torrents back to your device. Originally mentioned last month at CES, uTorrent Remote will only work with the next generation version of uTorrent, currently available only as a rough alpha.

The Android app adds basic torrent remote controls to your phone. You can check the status of a download or upload, and add, start, pause, or remove torrents, including torrents from RSS feeds. The big feature that makes this app a must is that it allows you to transfer, save, and play back any completed file from your PC to your Android device. In other words, there goes your data cap.

To use it, after installing uTorrent 3.0 alpha you must go to the Web section of the uTorrent preferences and choose a username and password, then enter those in to the uTorrent Remote app. The app comes with buttons for viewing all your torrents, and then filtering by active downloads, currently seeding, and completed torrents. You can customize labels for your torrents, and add RSS feeds–an excellent way to stay on top of podcasts, for example.

Tap on a torrent and you’re provided with a detailed list of torrenting information, including status, download and upload speed, size of the files, and the amount downloaded. Controls at the bottom are for canceling the torrent, pausing it, and viewing the files. Tapping the folder icon takes you to a list of the files in the torrent, and you can select on the fly which ones to copy to your phone. Once you’ve copied it to your phone, a process that depends heavily on signal strength and the size of the file, the icon changes to a playback arrow.

uTorrent Remote QR Code

Note that just because you can transfer the file to your phone doesn’t mean that your phone has the ability to play it back, and uTorrent doesn’t include a file conversion tool.

As a side note, uTorrent’s parent company, BitTorrent, has also been promoting its free content site Vodo as a place where people can get legally distributed torrents. All this combined with hardware partners for later in the year indicates a strong push from BitTorrent to convert the torrent from a tool of theft in the eyes of many to an expedient way to get content.

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How to Recover Permanently Deleted Mails in Microsoft Outlook

/* Posted February 4th, 2011 at 8:18pm [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under Gadgets    */

With the intention to keep the mailbox tidy and minimum size as possible, we tend to delete the emails which we think no longer needed. However, we may sometimes end up in a situation where the deletion is being regretted and wanted to recover the deleted mails desperately. Besides that, the emails in the mailbox could also be removed automatically after a certain time period due to the emails retention policy configured by the email server administrator.

Recovering the emails deleted using Delete button or the Delete key is no-brainer. But is it still possible to recover the emails which were permanently deleted using “Shift+Delete” or emptied from the Deleted items folder? Well, here’s the recovery steps if the mailbox in Microsoft Outlook is hosted in Microsoft Exchange Server:

  • For Microsoft Outlook 2010
  1. Select the folder which previously stored the deleted email e.g. Inbox, Deleted Items.
  2. Click at Recover Deleted Items button from the Folder tab.
  3. A separate window with the list of recoverable emails appears.
  4. Highlight the emails to be recovered and hit the envelope button to restore the email.

  • For Microsoft Outlook 2007
  1. Select the folder which previously stored the deleted email e.g. Inbox, Deleted Items.
  2. Select “Recover Deleted Items” from the Tools menu.
  3. The email recovery window appears with the list of recoverable emails.
  4. Select the email to be recovered and click the envelope icon button to resurrect the emails.

  • For  Microsoft Outlook 2003
  1. The recovery feature is not enabled by default in Microsoft Outlook 2003 and manual registry tweak is needed to activate the function. Start Registry Editor by running regedit from the Start menu.
  2. Navigate to the registry path: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftExchangeClientOptions
  3. Click Add value from the Edit menu and add the create the following registry value (DumpsterAlwaysOn):

  4. Restart Outlook and find the new option – Recover Deleted Items under the Tools menu.

This entry was posted on Sunday, January 30th, 2011 at 3:01 am and is filed under Tips Tricks. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4 for Mac

/* Posted February 4th, 2011 at 8:18pm [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under News    */

Just when my unnatural infatuation with all things Harry Potter started to die down, Feral Interactive had to go and release an even more interactive way of experiencing life through the eyes of The Boy Who Lived. This kid-focused action game transports players right to the heart of the story about a young orphaned boy who learns he’s actually a wizard. One of the first big titles to hit the Mac App Store, Feral Interactive delivers a terrific port of a fun game.

Players lead LEGO-ized Harry (along with his friends, pets, and enemies) through his first four years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The game is broken up into levels that resemble memorable chapters from the book series, and at the end of each year, of course, is Harry’s life or death facedown with Lord Voldemort. At first, you must complete each level in Story Mode, which requires you to follow a ghost who leads you through the school grounds to different levels. After, you can go back through the level in Free Play Mode, which permits you to unlock new areas and find hidden rewards.

The game is visually reminiscent of the Warner Brothers film adaptation of the book series: grand, ornate, and haunting. While the 3D images are solid visually, there are some major pathfinding and camera issues that plague the maze-like school. This never happened in moments of battle, where it was imperative that I had great vision, but all the same, it’s never impressive to have the feeling you’re wandering blind through a spot in a game. Still, the developers did a fine job of creating a world that pays homage to the scenery that Potter fans love, yet manages to include a quirky LEGO playfulness as well. For instance, in the midst of a level inside the gothic-inspired halls of the school, the background is filled with silly portraits that come to life and confused students trying desperately to master new spells. This juxtaposition makes for a game that’s not only charming, but also uniquely LEGO.

The game also succeeds in integrating the character’s magical abilities creatively. Of course Harry and the gang are going to use their wands to fight off monsters in the Forbidden Forest, but one of my favorite aspects of LEGO Harry Potter was the use of magic in ordinary circumstances. Clearly, you expect to use your wand to zap bad guys. But the game also features more creative uses of magic (like levitating large blocks into position to be used as a staircase, for example). This game nails the delicate balance between using magic in practical circumstances and performing outrageous spells. That is, you’ll spend just as much time performing simple spells that help you to navigate through the halls of Hogwarts as you will brewing elaborate potions that will assist in your Lord Voldemort battles. This is advantageous in that you never really have time to get tired of the mundane activities or overwhelmed by the trickier maneuvers.

While swapping between characters and zipping around on broomsticks is all great fun, the fact remains that Hogwarts is a school, and you’ll have to spend a decent amount of time in LEGO Harry Potter inside of a classroom, cultivating your wizardry talents. During classes, professors will teach a spell, charm, or potion, and you’ll have to complete a task to prove you’ve mastered it. For instance, when players find themselves in the dungeons during Snape’s lecture on Strength Potions, you’ll have to collect all the ingredients from around the room, bring them to a bubbling cauldron, and take a sip. After demonstrating that it works by pulling a heavy chain, you’ll have unlocked that potion to be used later on in the game. All spells that are unlocked are stored in a menu in the upper right corner of the screen where players can easily switch through them.

Another way the developers managed to keep the (rather long) game fresh and interesting is by granting players access to nearly every character from the book series. In addition to unlocking dozens of characters, you’re also free to create your own LEGO witch or wizard. As for the preexisting characters, it’s handy to switch between them while playing because they all have unique skills. Harry, for instance, is best at riding a broom, while there are certain points in the game that can’t be completed without Hagrid’s strength. Typically, (though it depends on the level) you can control two players at a time, and a third trails along close behind so that you can switch to use his or her powers quickly when needed.

While it’s nice to be able to switch between characters, sometimes it feels a little crowded to have Ron or Hermione trailing around behind Harry. Though it seems small, the crowded party slowed me down immensely while playing through some of the more challenging platforming sections. Since you can’t control these spare characters, they often get in the way when you’re trying to jump, and a few times, Ron was on the receiving end of a nasty spell meant for snakes and spiders. Other than the visual effect of Harry, Ron, and Hermione running around Hogwarts together, I can’t see a reason to have the static characters constantly tagging along.

The Mac and iOS versions of LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4 are quite similar overall. Identical cutscenes and scenery make appearances in both of the games, but the Mac version is much faster paced. On the iPhone and iPad, you perform spells by tracing their unique shape on the screen. This takes you out of the action a bit, which is why I prefer the Mac game, where you flip through a menu of spells, select one quickly, and fire it in the desired direction.

LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4 is entertaining to look at, has hours of gameplay that somehow still feels fresh, and its just plain fun–especially for younger players who already in love with the cast of characters. Additionally, I found that the game ran well on my 2.4GHz iMac Intel Core 2 Duo with quick load times and no glitches to speak of. The game is so dense with characters, spells, and magical objects that I found myself uncovering new aspects of each segment nearly every time I revisited. LEGO Harry Potter really captures author J.K. Rowling’s sense of exploring a new, magical world where the limitations of living among the Muggles can be left behind.

Buying Advice

Again, I love the sense of humor LEGO brings to its series of games. From Ginny tormenting Tom Riddle to Harry mooning Ron while wearing the invisibility coat, the game brings a certain playfulness to the Harry Potter brand. Despite some minor camera and pathfinding issues, LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4 is a blast to play, particularly for those who are already familiar with the franchise.

Stephanie Kent is an editorial intern for Macworld.]

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Philips Xenium X713 Mobile Phone Specs

/* Posted February 4th, 2011 at 8:18pm [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under Gadgets    */

Philips Electronics has officially announced its new high-performance Philips Xenium X713 dual SIM phone, which is equipped with Dual-SIM technology, as well as works in GSM 900/1800/1900 MHz, offering users quick access to GPS features by simply tapping on button, WAP 2.0/XHTML browser, and stereo FM radio.



In addition, Philips Xenium X713 also comes with 3.2-inch resistive touchscreen display, 3.2-megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash, and including a powerful 1530 mAh Li-Ion battery that providing up to 12 hours.

Features of Philips Xenium X713 dual SIM phone:

  • 3.2-inch resistive touchscreen display with resolution of 240 x 400 pixels (WQVGA)
  • Supports connectivity GPRS, EDGE, and miniUSB v2.0
  • 3.2-megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash and 2048×1536 pixels resolution
  • FM Radio
  • Internal memory 47MB and microSD card slot with up to 32GB expansion capability
  • Multiple Music Player
  • Video Recording Player
  • Bluetooth with 2.1 + EDR
  • JAVA MIDP 2.0
  • WAP 2.0/xHTML Browser
  • SMS, MMS, Email
  • Quick access to GPS feature with one-touch button
  • 3.5 mm headphone jack
  • GyPsii for fun social networking on the go
  • Intuitive touch-sensitive track pad for breezy navigation

The new Philips Xenium X713 mobile phone measures 54.8 x 113.3 x 14.5 mm and weighs only 126.5 g is expected to be available in first quarter 2011 but no words on its price yet.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 1st, 2011 at 10:42 am and is filed under Mobile Phone. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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How to Jailbreak Your iPad Using Greenpois0n (Mac) [4.2.1]

/* Posted February 4th, 2011 at 8:18pm [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under iPhone    */

These are instructions on how to jailbreak your iPad using Greenpois0n for Mac. Greenpois0n supports iOS 4.1 and iOS 4.2.1.

Step One
Open your web browser of choice and navigate to http://www.greenpois0n.com. Click the Mac link at the bottom of the screen.

Step Two
When prompted save the download to your desktop

Step Three
Double click the downloaded greenpois0n-osx_rc5.zip file to extract the archive then double click greenpois0n from the desktop to launch the application

Step Four
Connect your iPad to the computer, power it off, quit iTunes, then click the large Jailbreak button

Step Five
You will now be instructed on how to place your iPad into DFU mode. You can get help with this here.

You will be asked to press and hold the sleep button for 3 seconds.

Continue holding sleep; press and hold home for 10 seconds.

Release sleep button; continue holding home for 15 seconds.

Step Six
Once your iPad is successfully in DFU mode the jailbreak will begin.

Step Seven
Click the Complete button once the software application has completed.

You’ll notice some verbose mode text scrolling on your device.

Step Eight
After the iPad restarts you’ll have a new Loader application on your Springboard. Press to launch it.

Step Nine
Press to select Cydia then press the large Install Cydia button that appears.

Step Ten
Once Cydia has installed successfully you can remove Loader from your device. Press the Options button then press the Remove Loader.app button.

Step Eleven
Reboot your iPad then run Cydia. Let it do all the necessary updates.

***A big thanks goes everyone who made this jailbreak possible.

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Japanese Publisher Wipes North Korea References From Homefront

/* Posted February 4th, 2011 at 8:17pm [Comments: none]    */
/* Filed under Video Games    */

First-person sci-fi shooter Homefront posits what might happen if North Korea invaded the United States. But the Japanese version tells a slightly different tale.

THQ will publish Homefront, created by New York City developer Kaos Studios, in the U.S. on March 16. In Japan, it will be published on April 14 by Spike, a company that specializes in publishing Western games like Dragon Age II and Metro 2033.

Spike says that it will remove all mentions of North Korea from the game, according to its official website (Japanese, via Andriasang). The country attacking America will instead be referred to as “A Certain Country to the North,” run by the “Northern Leader.”

(Chris says: So… Canada?)

Spike is instituting these changes in order to comply with guidelines about references to actual persons and real places from the Computer Entertainment Rating Organization, the Japanese equivalent of the American ESRB.

Spike says that it will not change any other aspects of the shooter.

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