As I sat in my girlfriend’s sitting room yesterday afternoon, her younger brother was messing with an old video camera, trying to get recent footage of a wedding up. Her younger brother is 14 and for the life of him could not connect the camera to the tv or even get it to play.

He proceeded by giving up and blaming the camera and arguing that the wedding should have just been recorded on his phone and simply connect it to the computer. It was these words the got me thinking, we use our smartphones for just about everything, long gone are the days of home videos being made on a video camera. But that isn’t it, what else has the smartphone killed? I came up with a list of 10 things that will soon be things the youth will learn about in history books.

10 – The humble MP3 player, although music was accessible on phones before the smartphone, it wasn’t used to store the thousands of songs we can on smartphones today, Apple’s iPhone got the clock ticking on the amount of time the MP3 player has left, obviously the iPod touch is making some serious dough for Apple, but they are becoming more and more like a iPhone every day, just look at the iPod’s latest feature the Face time camera.

9 – This one will have you thinking for a while and you might not actually believe it until you go to use it next, it is the calculator, while once again phones have always had calculators the smartphone’s larger screens and bigger interface makes using your phone a lot easier than routing around your house for a calculator.

8 – Directory Enquires/Phonebook is next on my list, only last night did I look for the number of my local Chinese on my iPhone rather than ringing up 11811 or searching through the phone book, let’s face it, it is a lot easier to google it.

7 – Handheld consoles, this one I’m not so sure about, I don’t believe the smartphone will totally wipe out the handheld market, the DS and the PSP are still selling extremely well, but I’m sure the smartphones will put a rather big hole in their profits. You only have to look at the success of Angry Birds or recently Candy Crush to realise the smartphones capabilities in creating successful games. Of course though console makers are stepping up their efforts, the smartphone guys are right there with them. Do you crave a new Nintendo 3DS for glasses-free 3D gaming? Well, 3D smartphones like the LG Thrill and HTC EVO 3D promise a similar thrill.

6 – Next is the voice recorders, nobody uses a Dictaphone anymore, I studied media in college an had access to some very expensive recording equipment which I had avalible to me free of charge and anytime I wanted it, but it was just a lot easier to use my iPhone as a recording device, and the voice memos have really taken off.

5 – let me ask you, when was the last time you wore a watch? Then when was the last time you wore a watch to tell the time and not for a fashion statement? For me its an extremely long time, I think my last watch was a pokemon watch I bought when I was 10. Watches are obsolete and people just whip out their phones in order to tell the time.

4 – From the last one it brings me to my next point, the alarm clock. Again, it’s pretty simple, why would you have a separate alarm clock when you have your phone right beside you which you can chose what every wake up tune you would like.

3 – GPS systems, who needs to spend a fortune on a TomTom sat nav when you have one for free built into your phone, or buying a version of TomTom on your phone, come to think of it they are the reason for the demise.

2 – Maps, again like the GPS, who needs one? When was the last time you bought a road map? Why would you need to buy one when you have you phone in your pocket. I think out of all on my list the road map is something that will never come back into fashion and will never be used again.

1 – Finally, I think everyone with agree with me on this one, but the thing the smartphone has replaced most is the humble camera. Phone cameras are now just as good as the latest camera you buy in the shops, it is the weapon of choice for a young person on a night out, photos can be taken and immediately upload to the internet.

That is my list, but have you any other suggestions to what or what will be made redundant by the smartphone?????

Not often does a developer come up with one game that hits a homerun so to speak, never mind hitting two, but how about three. The creators Naughty Dog are credited for the Crash and Unchartered, which both hit home runs, but their new title “The Last of Us” hit a home run, out of the park and landed on some unfortunate guy’s heads. It’s just that good!!

 

Now I haven’t actually played this game, obviously I am not some large gaming publication with access to the latest games, however I have trawled the internet, watching videos and reading reviews to compile a bit size summary of what this game and what everyone is raving about.

Perfection is the first thing the comes to my head and every single review I read, from IGN to PlayStation Official, gave them a 10 out of 10. Actually when I think about it they all did, The Last of Us has received top marks from of 30 different publications, so dare I say it? Is this the greatest PlayStation 3 game of all time?

It’s the year 2033, society is in ruin, the world has become a wasteland, and a major Fungus has wiped out the majority of the human race. You must survive by any means possible.

You are put into the role of a survivor of the apocalypse, Joel, who will do anything to survive, he takes on various different jobs, to acquire food, clothing and other supplies in order to prolong his survival, this is how he justifies his actions, and it is a kill or be killed world. Survival of the fittest.

You are accompanied by a young teenage girl, the reasons why I could explain, but considering I felt I ruined my experience by knowing what happened I think I’ll leave it out of this. Basically you have to bring young Ellie across the baron waste land of what use to be the United States of America.

Although you don’t actually control Ellie she is still a main character, she is the reason the story develops in such a majestic way, at first both Joel and Ellie have a sort of unease towards one another, she does not find his actions necessary, but as time goes on they form a sort of dysfunctional father – daughter relationship. The game is not about what happened, it focuses on the two of them on their quest, however Ellie was born in the post – apocalyptic world and has many questions about the past and a world she does not know.

While this all sounds lovely and the beautifully designed landscape, amazing voice acting and out of this world story, the game does have its dark sides. While fighting of members of anti Govt forces, Govt forces or even a resistance group is bad enough, it is nothing compared to the horrors of “The Infected” even watching trailers gives me the shivers, they are extremely hard to kill and often enough you wish that you didn’t have to. The game does have a stealth killing feature and when it comes to dealing with these things you are glad it does.

This game is visually stunning, but is also audibly stunning and the use of sound to help you on your quest is just a pleasure. Obviously I haven’t played the game so I can’t give it a score myself, but going by the reviews of other publications and IGN calling it a masterpiece, I will be queuing outside my local game stop door tomorrow morning, hopefully.

Video  —  Posted: June 13, 2013 in Action, PS3
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From Dust

Posted: June 12, 2013 in Gaming Consoles, MAC, PC, PS3, XBox

So I am back, it has been a busy few weeks or however long it’s been, but I am once again here to fill you in with the very best gaming and technology news.

So my last blog was the mind blowing BioShock but since then my PlayStation experience has been rather poor, I mean I’ve played the odd game of Fifa and a few rounds of Blops 2 but I haven’t seen anything worthwhile spending my money on and being a very poor student I have to watch  every penny I have.

But all was not lost. While tricking around on my PlayStation I found a game which I had downloaded at least a year ago but never played, it was “From Dust”. It was a game released on the PlayStation store back in 2011, it was met with a reasonable response, receiving modest reviews when it first came out and sold over half a million copies in its first 6 months. But I think this game is like a mature cheddar, it’s just get better with age.

So what is it? Well it is a god like strategy game, you are the “Breath” you, as the game develops, are able to control the matter around you (Earth, Water, Lava) in order to protect a nomadic tribe that worship you as their god. This all happens in real time and can be rather tricky t times, Lava turns in to solid rock, water erodes the landscape and the earth can shift without warning.

There are two game modes to sink your teeth into, the story mode and challenge mode. As you might have guessed the story mode is a story about the nomadic tribe you are protecting, you must help them over 13 missions discover the truth about the powers of the breath and what happened to the ancient ancestors. In each level you must construct villages, these villages grant you powers to further help you on your quest, such as jellified water or put out fire, once each level has villages created and protected you then move on to the next story via a secret gateway.

The challenge mode as you might expect offers the same bases as the story mode but more challenging and you are given tasks with very little time to conduct them in.

Throughout the game you earn little collectables, which are accessed from the main menu, once unlocked you can discover the true meanings behind tribes, territory and the powers you can earn.

Considering the game is two years old I think the graphics are rather impressive, the deep blue of the main menu, the powerful red of the flowing Lava, obviously it isn’t anything compared to Final Fantasy but what would you expect for €9.99.

There are a few things I would complain about, at the beginning of each level, the tribes men rise from a hole in the ground and all climb out using the exact same sequence of moves, the controls can sometimes get on your nerves, especially when you are trying to stop a massive flow of water cascading on top of your village, but as I said before these are only minor details.

Overall I would give this easily a 9/10, for sheer pleasure of the gameplay and hours I spent perfecting the perfect paradise.

Do check it out and let me know what you think.

“Are you afraid of god?”

“No, But I am afraid of you”

fffff

That is the opening line to BioShock and immediately you find yourself in a boat, much like in the original and your make your way towards a lighthouse, now really you have no reason to like Booker, he is not very interesting, however when you make your “ascension” to Columbia, the beautiful city in the sky, there is something about the game, I can’t quite figure it out but once I started I didn’t stop for a good 4 hours and even then I wanted to keep going until the credits rolled. The game had me hooked, I knew I was in for something special.

The first thing I noticed and I am sure you will too, are the visuals. The floating masterpiece in the sky is just amazing, although both were set in completely different setting, you almost feel like you have started Bio 1 and just want to see more, although less confined…

Now unlike “Rapture”, you are not coming across a world that has already had its revolution. Columbia’s revolution is still simmering and Booker (you) visits just in time to see things fall out of the sky, literally.

Once again the graphics are no Final Fantasy, but the quality of a game doesn’t have to be locked to its graphics engine and visuals can shine through regardless.

Columbia is a living, breathing city and the music and sound of the world really draw you into the experience. I never experienced any moments in which I felt that the music or sound design for the game was out of touch. I found myself embraced by the music and sound effects and these helped to greatly lock in my emotional connection to the characters and the world.

Now the next thing might scare you a bit, I did for me, but this game is a companion game and if you look at other games of the same type they are often a disaster, which are faulted with the AI in the way or you end up protecting them.

Well fear no more, Infinite changes all of that and even goes as far as the AI even protects you. Your companion protects you, she throws you items, health and even sometimes money, she doesn’t annoy you by getting in your way sometimes she even goes and does her own thing and brings back allies to help you fight and you can even use her for a little bit of cover, what more could you want from a girl?

BioShock Infinite does not have the eerie vibe that the original BioShock pushed for most of the game, though near the end had a few scenarios that gave me some chills and one particular time that got a jump out of me. The Handymen attempt to take the place of the Big Daddies as the really tough enemies, but as they do not play an important role in the story offering that looming feeling of dread, and don’t show up that often, they fail to make a significant impression other than being a tough enemy to fight.

While Bioshock Infinite is riding on the coattails of the wonderful BioShock, it never feels like a rehashed version of an old success. Bioshock Infinite can comfortably stand alone on its city in the sky. There are no iconic sub-characters/enemies such as the Big Daddies or Little Sisters, but the game takes a much sharper focus on the main characters’ personalities, development and emotional ties, rather than using a silent character and having the story be in the world and environment. This plays out extremely well and gives us one of the best game finales this generation, if not of all time. People will be talking about this one for a long time to come.

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BioShock Infinite is a game that has received a lot of hype. I have to admit I went into the game to try and find a flaw, I wanted to find the error, some mistake that would make me put down the controller, but I couldn’t, the errors are so minor you don’t notice them, to be truthfully honest BioShock Infinite is as perfect of a game I have ever seen, not one that should be missed!!

Charge at the Heart

Posted: April 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

A wire free life, OK I know I go on about it all the time, if look at my previous blog posts like the MYO band and the magic watch you will see my fascination with it, but really, it is the future.

So what am I on about today then? Well, this technology has actually been out for a while, Nokia being the frontrunners in the introducing the technology, but to be fair Nokia hasn’t really got the biggest market so it was about time that somebody else took it upon themselves to create a universal wireless charger.

Let me introduce you to the heart…

 

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Created by PowerKiss, a company founded in 2008 in Helsinki, Finland. It aims to make charging easy, simple, convenient and of course universal. at the moment the company provides wireless charging for mobiles and mps players, but it soon hopes to provide charging for laptop and other electrical devices. So let’s take a quick look at the genius technology behind the Heart…

The technology

Now according to their site PowerKiss functions on induction charging and allows us to put the power source inside a bit of furniture, like a table at McDonalds, thus allowing you to charge your handsets without any wires connected to your device.

The source of this power or the transmitter is called “PowerKiss Heart” and when integrated with the furniture, it turns it into a wireless charging platform. When you turn on the Heart, it creates a specific electromagnetic field. Oh it is advised that you don’t connect it to a metal surface, it might go bang so to speak.

The PowerKiss have to be plugged into a power outlet in order to be powered; the max power consumed by the transmitter while charging a device is 12W. When the Heart is activated and in standby mode, it consumes 240mW.

How to use the technology

In order to charge your device via a PowerKiss Hotspot, you will need a receiver – the so-called PowerKiss Ring. Attach it to your handset and place the ring on the place where the special marker indicates a PowerKiss Hotspot and the wireless charging will start automatically – yes, it is that easy. oh and you get to choose different colours…

 Where and How much?

The PowerKiss app on your smartphone is the main source of information about where you can find a PowerKiss hotspot. There is none in Ireland at the minute, but McDonalds Europe is planning to have them in all of their stores in the next three years, so fingers crossed. The list of manufacturers whose devices are supported by the technology include: Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Sony, LG, BlackBerry, Apple, HTC and a lot more.

You can buy the PowerKiss products directly through the company on their website. The Ring is the standard accessory and comes in two variants – supporting micro USB or the charging port of the Apple devices and its price is 19.90 euro. The Heart PRO Integrated comes with EU, UK or US plug. It is fully integrated and has to be installed by a professional and can be got for 235 euro.

JMK

Cell – ebration!!!

Posted: April 11, 2013 in Blast from the Past
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jame

This week, 3rd of April to be precise, forty years ago, the first mobile telephone conversation took place.I was actually rather shocked about this and as I write this article I am looking at the quality piece of kit I now own. Well its smashed to pieces, but my life would be lost without it. To me the mobile phone only seems like a late 80′s sort of invention, but hey I don’t know everything. So I did some further research into the matter.

In 1973, the often called “Father” of the mobile phone, Martin Cooper, placed a call from his 9 inch, 2.5 pounds, 1 line LED text display, motorola DynaTAC device, which cost a mega 4000 dollars and it didn’t even have a camera…

The first mobile phone conversation took place on the streets of New York City where he phoned his rival at Bell Labs and reportedly said “I’m ringing you just to see if my call sounds good at your end.” I’d say that was said in a rather cheeky manner, even though it didn’t last very long, with only a 20  minute battery and a crazy 6 hours charging time..

I ask myself, did Mr Cooper, who has changed the lives of everyone (with no exception) , expect this revolutionary invention to take off and forever change how we communicate.

I then found this really cool infographic thing. The folks at Column Five have partnered with Mashable to research and design, a timeline of pivotal moments in cellphone history.

 But please do tell me, Do you remember your first Mobile? What was it? Where do you think mobile technology is heading? Share your memories and insight in the comments below.

James Knight

If there is one thing I enjoy most about writing gaming blogs, it is the fact that I get to play games as part of  my college work. I believe a job in IGN is what I’d like, even if my journalistic skills are not the best. However, I enjoy writing them and even more so when I get to write about my favourites.

I am a student, which means I am poor, but I tried to resist the temptation of purchasing this for as long as I could, but I soon gave in.

LC

Tomb Raider first appeared to us in 1996, as a busty heroine with deadly skills, but times changed and other games, “Unchartered” stole Lara Croft’s thunder a bit. That so called final installment of the “trilogy” wasn’t anything really to shout about. Its slow game-play, uninteresting story and puzzles annoyed rather than challenged you, and didn’t do the franchise any credit.

So now for a bit of good news, it appears that publishers Square Enix, who took over from Eidos Interactive in 2010, have given creators Crystal Dynamics a good kick up the backside, to create a game that is worthy to be called Tomb Raider.

So what exactly is different? Well for a start, Lara herself has most notably changed with her cup size. Previous TR games over-exaggerated her cup size and made what Lara actually did, seem impossible with her top heavy load, so to disappoint many male viewers they now look realistically rendered. I have to say all the characters in the game look similarly real and the same goes for the amazing environment that they are portrayed in. We also say goodbye to Keeley Hawes as the voice of Lara and welcome in Camilla Luddington who gives Lara a younger, more innocent tone.

What else? The game is still very linear, you can go and explore any hidden mysteries, but in the end there is only one way you can go. The game is starting to move with the times and the platform type of game we were used to has evolved to an action adventure type more in common with the Unchartered series. Of course, the puzzle solving is still one of the most important aspects of the game, but unlike previous installments, they are not frustratingly difficult.

The game has an amazing story which takes us back to Lara’s youth and you learn about how she became that deadly heroine we came to love. The ship she is traveling on sinks and Lara finds herself on an island full of basically religious nuts who want to kill her and the rest of the crew. She is an innocent girl at the beginning, scared and not sure what to do. However, it does take a while for you to get your first piece of action and ultimately her first kill but when it does finally come you are not disappointed. You see that our innocent Lara has to grow up and become the killing machine we know she is. What adds to the story is the fantastic animations that catch you almost off guard during the game. You become lost as she is holding on for dear life and you forget that you need to be button bashing in order to survive.

The game holds an 18’s certificate, due to the gruesome fights and times where you can almost feel her pain, which again is a change from previous installments.

The franchise has changed with this new release, without doubt. I think it has changed for the better, but the question is, do you?

JMK

Okay there are two things in this life I love, thats my apple products and XCOM enemy unknown, I wont let the missus hear me say that, but anyway they are my two favourite things. So when 2K games announced that XCOM is coming to the iPhone/ipad , well let’s just say it was a great day for the parish.

For people who don’t know what XCOM is, you are not my friend if you don’t. Well its a turn based stratigie game were you have to protect the world from the impending threat of an alien invasion, you must create a team of highly experienced troops from around the world and defend the planet, obviously there is a lot more it than just this but you get the idea.

Yesterday it was announced that the game with provide gamers with the FULL XCOM experience!! I know its cool right. I know many games have made the switch to the iOS platform but not to great effect, we saw last year Civilisation Revolution make the transition to iOS with not much succes , so the fact this is to provide the full experience it is pretty impressive.

xcom

I took a look at a little video I found, I found, apart from little graphical losses, the game was the same, it was amazing.  According to 2K, the creators, the hard work isn’t the power of the hardware you need but the file size that is needed. The PC version eats around 20GB of space on the hard drive, which obviously isn’t possible on a tablet let alone a phone. So even though the video looks impressive there just has to be some loss of quality somewhere.

But for the moment I am not going to worry about that, now 2K hasn’t announced how much the port should cost, I will expect it will cost around the 8.99 euro mark, but it will be well worth it.

Troops attack!!!

James Knight

SimCity Disaster

Posted: March 12, 2013 in MAC, PC
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sc

“I’m happy to report that the core problem with getting in and having a great SimCity experience is almost behind us.”

The Best words I have heard in a long time. I am of course referring to the problems Maxis has been experiencing with its new SimCity game.

So what exactly was the problem, basically in stupid English the servers crashed and caused too many people logged on at once, which is more than they expected. I say stupid, they say “Dumb” actual words from Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw. I think a reason for this was because of the not so successful previous game SimCity Societies and the fact it was only line play. Kind of makes me hope that Elder Scrolls online doesn’t crash either, that would be horrible :O
Okay so what now? Well a blog release on their website yesterday told us that..

“players have been able to connect to their cities in the game for nearly 8 million hours of gameplay time and we’ve reduced game crashes by 92% from day one. A combination of optimizing our server architecture and response times, deploying these enhancements on both a series of new and the original servers and issuing a few critical client updates has achieved getting virtually everyone into the game and, once in, having a great time building cities and sharing regions.”

She noted that she had hoped that all would be sorted on the  night of the 9th but that they need a few more days to have everything all  sorted, I feel sorry for them, maybe because I am a huge fan of the series, but also their apology was so heart felt and made me want to give her a big hug, Sad I know.

Another thing that made me go awwwh, was there apology included a free game, I know right.

“and to get us back in your good graces, we’re going to offer you a free PC download game from the EA portfolio.  On March 18, SimCity players who have activated their game will receive an email telling them how to redeem their free game.”

So I am still in love with Maxis the question is are you? and is this little blip going to stop from buying it? let me know, actually if you have anything bad to say just don’t bother, I can moderate the comments.

JMK

P4

I realise that I am coming in a bit late writing about the Playstaion 4, but to be honest, I was waiting for more information to come out and a least a picture. but no, Song are keeping it as a surprise or more than likely, as we have seen in reports recently, many people in Sony don’t even know what it looks like.

This then begs the question as why they launched the console without a picture or even a proper release date. My thought on this matter takes us back to November 5th 2005 and the release of the Xbox 360 or as I like to think of it, A smack in the spuds for Sony. Microsoft caught Sony by surprise and took nearly a full year for Sony to respond with the Playstaion 3. This really did hurt Sony and although it made a good comeback, a year was a long time to be behind, so back to 2013 and Sony were not going to let that happen again. there launch actually caught everyone, especially Microsoft, we were all expecting the launch in and around the time of E3 ,which is when the Xbox are going to announce, but Sony pushed it forward without pictures or prices to give them the head start.

Good idea or not?? Well I personally think it didn’t do anything wrong, yes there were no pictures, price or release date, but we were given 2 hours of new games, new social aspect of the console and what we can expect. So why people are complaining is beyond me.

So far Sony has given Microsoft a lot to think about but with E3 getting ever closer it will be interesting to see what Sony give us this coming summer.

JMK