Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

Commodore 64 system sells out on day 1

Friday, April 8th, 2011

(LA Times) – The new Commodore 64 computer, first released in 1982, appears the same on the outside, but is much different beneath the surface.

It’s still taupe and it’s still basically a big keyboard with a full working computer sitting beneath it, mouse and monitor aren’t included.

But while it has its retro looks intact, it’s also quite new, with modern features even some of today’s computers (Apple, we’re looking at you) haven’t caught up to, such as HDMI outputs to connect to a HDTV and the option of a combination Blu-Ray and DVD player.

“It looks just like the original Commodore 64, with even the old-style keyboard,” said Barry Altman, chief executive of Commodore USA, LLC, the company making the new all-in-one PCs. “In fact, that keyboard was the biggest accomplishment of all, so far. The keys look like a piece of clay that you pushed a marble into, so it fits your fingertip.”

The price for the new Commodore 64 basic model is even the same as it was for a similar base unit in 1982, $595.

Of course, with larger hard drives and that high-definition video Blu-Ray player, a new 64 can cost as much as $895. A $250 model will get a wanting consumer what amounts to just a Commodore 64 shell for those who want to add their own motherboard, DVD player and other innards.

The new Commodore 64 went on sale on the company’s website for the first time Tuesday and sold out within about 24 hours, though Altman isn’t saying just how many have been produced to date.

“We expected our audience to be the nostalgia crowd and that’s true, a lot of people buying them owned an original Commodore 64 back in the ’80s, like me,” he said. “But we’re also finding that there are young kids who are geek geniuses who have iPhones and iPads and things like that and they’re looking at this thing and they’re into it. They’ve actually been a big part of our customer base so far too. It’s been a surprise.”

A second run is selling now, but won’t ship until about May or June, he said.

“We’re having a hard-time keeping our online store up, because the servers are getting overloaded from the amount of traffic,” Altman said. “That’s been a bit of a surprise, too.”

A surprise that he said reinforces his idea to bring back the Commodore brand, which is a passion project for the man who spent 25 years working in the satellite telecommunications industry, which is where he first ran into the small keyboard-box computers.

“Almost 30 years ago, we were filing our paperwork and even payroll manually, we couldn’t afford the expensive IBM machines at the time,” Altman said. “And someone showed us a Commodore and it worked incredibly well to do what we needed to do and we used it for about five or six years and then we upgraded like everyone else, but I’ve always had a love in my heart for that product.”

Just over a year ago, Altman formed Commodore USA LLC and licensed the rights to the Commodore trademark in September precisely to bring back the old box he had a passion for.

The new Commodore 64 maintains the spirit of the old computers, he said.

“It’s a good basic computer for work, for email, for multimedia use, for even basic gaming,” Altman said. “It’s more like a Mac Mini than a little netbook.”

The new machines feature a dual-core Intel Atom 1.8GHz processor, a Nvidia Ion2 graphics chipset, and as much as 4GB of RAM and 1TB of memory. The units run on Ubuntu, an open-source operating system, but are also capable of running Microsoft’s latest OS, Windows 7.

[Full Article at LA Times]

PS3 hacker ‘Geohot’ makes a run for it

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Geohot makes a break for it!

(Ubergizmo) – Famed iPhone hacker turned PlayStation 3 hacker George Hotz a.k.a Geohot, has reportedly fled to South America from his New Jersey home in an attempt to escape Sony in their ongoing court battle over hacking the video game console.

According to VGHQ, Hotz has not been complying with Sony’s requests to hand over hardware related to his PS3 hacking. Devices such as his computer hard drives were supposed to be forked over to Sony for inspection untouched, with all potential hacking tools in tact. In Sony’s defense, it wanted to search for any names and contacts of any co-hackers that worked with Hotz to break the system’s security and allow unsigned code to run on the machine.

Since then, Sony has apparently learned that Hotz had deleted “integral components” from his hard drives and that the hacker lied to the Court about not having a PlayStation Network account.

[Full article at Ubergizmo.com]

Steve Jobs Announces iPad 2, Pricing and Specs

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Say hello to Steve's Little Friend, the Apple iPad 2

There had been some doubt as to whether or not Steve Jobs would be at the Apple Press Conference today after taking a leave of absence for medical reasons. There was, however, absolutely no doubt at all as to what would be announced at the event regardless of whether Steve was there or not.

The iPad 2.

Speculation on Jobs’ absence was put very quickly to rest as he came on stage… and confirmation was given on the new tablet. As the crowd rose in a standing ovation, Jobs said, “We’ve been working on this product for a while and I didn’t want to miss today”.

Specifications of the device were no surprise to the tech writers in the audience… the new dual-core A5 processor, iOS 4.3 at launch, front and rear facing cameras, Facetime support, and a design that is “dramatically thinner and lighter”.

Improvements on the original iPad were made all around. The new iPad battery clocks in with a ten hour life in standard use and a reported month long standby. The new processor will make the iPad 2 twice as fast as its predecessor with graphics that are up to nine times faster.

Pricing was announced for the new tablet as well. The base model is 16GB and will cost $499, the 32GB will run $599, and the 64GB model will set you back $699. In addition, if you want to have 3G capability (no word on 4G at this time), there will be an additional $130 added to the price tag at purchase.

Models will be available for both the AT&T and Verizon networks.

As for the launch date, we should see the devices available at Apple Stores, retailers, AT&T, Verizon, and the Apple online store beginning March 11th.

Gritskrieg – End of Line

How I Pick Apps And Portable Games

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Sometimes a screenshot doesn't do an app justice... other times, it doesn't tell the full story.

Between my iPod Touch and my Epic, I have pretty much every cool app and/or game I could care to have.

That isn’t to say I won’t be downloading more. I’ve been pretty fortunate on my choices of apps and I have yet to purchase one that isn’t something I use on a semi-regular basis. I’d like to say that it’s because I’m awesome (which I am) but in this case, I’ve actually had a little help.

I’m not the type to be taken in by a pretty screenshot or to make impulse purchases online. I typically go in armed with some form of information before I make a purchase. If you’ve had a few digital lemons in your purchase history, let me give you a few hints on how to avoid them in the future.

Your first source of information for app or game purchases for your portable device is most likely your friends and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, you have to consider the friend you’re talking to before making a purchase. Are they the type who like more flash in their apps than substance? Do they have 20 different soundboards that they use to torment you on long trips? If their taste is different from yours in another entertainment media (like TV or movies), you might want to think twice before taking their advice on an app they say is a “must download”.

The second place you might find advice on apps would be tech or gaming sites (*ahem* Like this one) which again isn’t a bad thing. Many of the sites I visit have entire articles dedicated to specific apps or might only mention something in passing in an article about a device. Again, you have to consider the source. Is the site you’re reading geared towards casual gamers and you consider yourself a hardcore gamer? Are you reading about a game on a site that typically reviews hardware? Have you ever purchased a game or app based on the advice of the site and had it be a flop for you? Make sure the opinions you’re reading match up with yours more often than not before acting on it.

Many people quote the reviews of the apps as the deciding point. But when I ask, they never go past the initial three or four reviews and typically don’t even read the reviews, instead choosing to rely on how many stars an app has been awarded by reviewers. This is what I like to refer to as a mistake…

There are, unfortunately, app creators who are not above using false accounts to promote and recommend their own apps. This can come in the form of using the accounts to push a sub-par review off of the front page or last three reviews in order to make their product look better. If you want the skinny on a particular app, take the time to fully read a few randomly chosen reviews from *all* of the reviews, not just the first three or four.

Lite and beta versions can often be downloaded to try out before you decide to purchase...

Keep in mind that a large majority of the apps out there have a “lite” version, something you can download before you decide to purchase and see if you like it or not. It’s worth the few extra minutes to try on a pair of shoes before you just go and buy them, right? Same principle applies here.

Finally, I recommend a quick search on the company or persons that produce the app you’re looking at. If there’s any potential foul play or if the company has a track record of producing crappy, buggy apps, you’re going to find out pretty quick just by typing in their name in the search bar.

Remember, it might only be a buck here or a buck there but it adds up… and crap is crap no matter how pretty the bow on the package it’s presented in.

Gritskrieg – End of Line

iPhone 4 Officially Confirmed on Verizon network

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

A late Christmas present for Verizon customers

For those of you who have been patiently waiting for the iPhone to make the leap to another carrier before purchasing, now’s you chance. Verizon has officially unveiled the iPhone 4 on its network.

This won’t come as any surprise to those who have been following Verizon’s recent actions; buying up any domains having to do with the words “iPhone” and “Verizon”, the cryptic messages that a big announcement would be made today, or even the fact that the iPad had already made the move to the company’s network. The interesting fact is that the device will be shipped overnight to those who order online when the device goes on sale next month.

This means that there is a stockpile of the devices. It means that Verizon and Apple have been able to ship and store iPhones for the Verizon network without anyone getting a hold of one and having pictures of it plastered all over the internet. While the rumors were flying, they somehow managed to keep them out of the public eye and while today’s announcement may be no surprise, the fact that they have been able to keep the devices out of the hands of eager journalists and bloggers *is* a surprise.

Let’s face it, when it comes to Apple, the more it tries to keep a secret, the more it seems everyone is willing to bend a few laws to get a hold of a rumored device. It’s much more likely that in this instance, the new devices were manufactured and shipped while being packaged as AT&T devices, even though initial pictures of the device show a slightly different design. Is that a slight change to the location of the antenna assembly in order to avoid the infamous “deathgrip” that plagued early versions of AT&T’s iPhone 4?

The other surprising thing about this iPhone launch on the Verizon network? No LTE capability. The device will run strictly on the network’s 3G speeds. This may be the only disappointment to those who have been following the Verizon/Apple team up rumors. This would, however, open the door for the device to be launched on other CDMA networks but the lack of a definitive 4G capability means a lack of forward thinking. Unless of course, the iPhone 5 will be launched in June (as new version have been every year since the release of the iPhone) *with* LTE capability. That would be a nice kick in the junk to anyone who ran in and grabbed an iPhone 4 on Verizon at launch…

Of course now the Verizon commercials mocking the iPhone 4 for the lack of ability in regards to making video calls without being on WiFi is definitely going to be put to the test. Will they be able to continue to make such claims when their network sees the crush of the iPhone? Only time will tell.

Gritskrieg – End of Line

Why we want (and need) the new Windows Phones to succeed

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

One of LG's initial offerings to the WP7 launch

I’m willing to bet that most our visitors out there own either an iPhone or one of the various Android phones on the market.  I’m also willing to bet that you’re already a fan of one or the other and wouldn’t consider changing to the other end of the spectrum.  But those of you who have swapped between the devices might notice a trend.

When the iPhone launched, I think we can all agree it considerably upped the ante in the smartphone market.  The same thing happened when the first few iterations of the Android mobile phones launched.  The trend some of you might be seeing is that there’s been a leveling out of the innovations that were coming out so fast and furious in the beginning from Apple and Google.  After all, in the consumer market, it’s quickly becoming only the two of them duking it out and if you’ve ever had the opportunity to mess around on the iPhone and then immediately after had access to an Android phone, I think you’ll agree that the race to innovate has quickly become one of who can do existing features better.

They are, of course, the major players in the market.  Some would argue that Nokia’s Symbian stands a chance (and the numbers might support the argument) but with the market share Apple and Google have managed to grab up in such a very short amount of time, the trend appears to indicate otherwise.  They’ve made their points, lines have been drawn in the sand, and each has their staunch supporters.  Lately, however, the experience of the two operating systems have began to take on similarities.  That isn’t to say that each isn’t still moving in their own direction but that each tends to see something the other can do and decides to add the functionality without making too many changes.  A case of “monkey see, monkey do”, if you will.

It’s my firm hope, and belief, that with the launch of the Microsoft Windows Phones that we may be looking at a much needed change.

Many would argue that Microsoft missed their chance in the smart phone market but looking at the offerings that will be available on November 8th and the functionality they provide, it may be too early to count them out just yet.  Incorporating aspects of the Xbox Live experience, a music service that is getting a lot more attention and respect, and a solid hardware platform, Microsoft might not only be getting a second shot at the much coveted business in the smart phone market but offering new opportunities for users who are feeling as if they’ve “been there, done that”.

I, for one, am willing to forgive and forget the fiasco that was the Kin and see what Microsoft has up its sleeve when the phones begin to hit the market in November.  I just hope they don’t pull the same marketing “oops” as they did with their last ill-fated offering.

Gritskrieg – End of Line

Microsoft wants to bury the iPhone this month

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Just a hunch, but I'm sure iPhone has more HP's.

(Reuters) – Last month, a few hundred Microsoft Corp employees acted out their fantasy with a mock funeral for Apple Inc’s iPhone at its Redmond, Washington campus.

The bizarre gathering, which morphed into a spirited Michael Jackson “Thriller” dance routine, marked the completion of its Windows Phone 7 software, and showed how badly Microsoft wants to resurrect itself in the viciously competitive phone market.

The new software, which will be publicly unveiled on October 11 and expected on handsets in stores by November, is Microsoft’s last chance, some analysts say, to catch up with Apple and Google Inc’s Android smartphones, after squandering its strong market position in only a few years.

A group of smartphone manufacturers including Samsung and HTC Corp are expected to roll out Microsoft-based phones for the holiday season.

Whether they will be good enough to render the iPhone obsolete is the question.

“The product can’t be an also-ran that just does everything that is already out in the marketplace,” said Bryan Keane, an analyst for Alpine Mutual Funds, which holds Microsoft shares. “Right now, it isn’t apparent that Windows 7 is better than anything that’s out there, except that it might have a better tie-in to the actual Windows platform.”

By the admission of Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, the company “missed a generation” with Windows Mobile, its last phone operating system, which floundered while the iPhone and Android roared past with sumptuous touch screens and a host of new applications.

Microsoft is now fourth in the fast-growing U.S. market for smartphone operating systems with a share of less than 12 percent, according to research firm comScore, behind BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion Ltd, Apple and Google.

Gamers lend support to widow of heroic developer

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Brian Wood & wife Erin

(Yahoo.com) – Brian Wood spent his life thrilling millions of faceless gamers, but his last moment was spent saving the lives of those he loved most.

Wood, a 33 year-old lead designer at popular game developer Relic Entertainment, was on his way back to his Washington home when his wagon was struck by an oncoming Chevy Blazer being driven by a 21 year-old woman believed to be driving under the influence. With his pregnant wife Erin in the passenger seat, Wood swerved his car to put himself directly in the path of the oncoming SUV — a decision that ultimately cost him his life, but protected his wife and unborn child from harm. Two other passengers riding in the backseat of the Blazer were also killed.

“All the policeman say that if we had hit the car head-on all of us would be dead,” Erin Wood told The Province. “At the very last second (Brian) braked really hard and turned right so that he would be put in the path of the SUV and not me and the baby, and that is the only thing that saved us both.”

“He was always sacrificing himself for me and the baby,” she added.

But while Wood’s impossibly brave act left a permanent void in the life of Erin Wood, the same people who Brian strived to please with his work have returned the favor with a striking show of support for his bereaved widow.

A memorial trust was set up within days of the accident. Countless game developers, journalists and fans posted links on Twitter and Facebook, leading to literally thousands of supportive comments, messages and financial donations, prompting Wood to send an open letter to the gaming community to popular game blog Kotaku.

“Brian always told me about how close-knit and wonderful the video game community was, but I had no idea until this tragedy just how special a group it really is,” she writes. “From all the articles and comments, to the emails and donations, I am simply stunned and so touched by the love, kindness, and generosity shown to me and my family.”

At the time of his death, Brian Wood was working on Company of Heroes Online, a free-to-play version of Relic’s award-winning strategy game. It’s currently in open beta-test.

To help Erin, please visit the Brian Wood Memorial Trust .

Netflix app lands on iPhone today

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

(CNNMoney.com) – Netflix unveiled its long-awaited app for the iPhone on Thursday, sending the company’s shares almost 2% higher.

The free app lets Netflix members stream TV episodes and movies to their Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) iPhone or iPod Touch for no additional cost.

“Apple has changed the game for mobile devices,” Reed Hastings, Netflix co-founder and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

The shows can be streamed over both Wi-Fi and 3G networks, and they are organized based on members’ personal preferences, genres, new arrivals and individual instant queues.

Netflix (NFLX) shares were up 1.7% to $126.33 in afternoon trade on Thursday. The stock has been on steady upward streak this year, crossing $100 for the first time in April after the company reported a blowout first quarter.

“Netflix Android” was a trending Google search on Thursday, and Twitter users were also grumbling about when the app would be available for their Android phones.

But Netflix is already available beyond the standard television. Video game consoles such as the Nintendo Wii let users stream to their TVs, and an iPad app has been around since April.

[Read Full Article Here]

iPhone jailbreak now legal.

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Legal Jailbreak - it even sounds bad.

(Yahoo) – Owners of iPhones and other smartphones are one step closer towards taking complete control of their gadgets, thanks to a new government ruling Monday on the practice of “jailbreaking.”

This weekend has seen a flurry of activity about digital rights, but the biggest news dropped Monday morning, when the FCC announced that it had made the controversial practice of “jailbreaking” your iPhone — or any other cell phone — legal.

Jailbreaking — the practice of unlocking a phone (and particularly an iPhone) so it can be used on another network and/or run other applications than those approved by Apple — has technically been illegal for years. Most jailbroken phones are used on the U.S. T-Mobile network or on overseas carriers, or are used to run applications that Apple refuses to sell, such as Safari ad-blocking apps, alternate keyboard layouts, or programs that change the interface to the iPhone’s SMS system and the way its icons are laid out.

While technically illegal, no one has been sued or prosecuted for the practice. (Apple does seriously frown on the practice, and jailbreaking your phone will still void your warranty.) It’s estimated that more than a million iPhone owners have jailbroken their handsets.

Apple fought hard against the legalization, arguing that jailbreaking was a form of copyright violation. The FCC disagreed, saying that jailbreaking merely enhanced the inter-operability of the phone, and was thus legitimate under fair-use rules










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