PowerPage Podcast Episode 137

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Date: Thursday, June 17th, 2010, 20:52
Category: Podcast

PowerPage Podcast LogoEpisode 137 of the PowerPage Podcast is now available. You can either download it from the iTunes Store or directly (40.9 MB, MP3).

Panel: Jason O’Grady, Rob Parker and Tom Hesser

Topics: This week we discuss the AT&T’s iPhone 4 pre-order meltdown, Mac mini unibody refresh, Mac OS 10.6.4, we dip into the PowerPage mailbag and play “What’s on your Mac.”

Here’s what’s on our Macs this week:

Jason

  • Pulse News Reader ($3.99, iTunes) – Killer, visual RSS reader for iPad featured by Steve Jobs at WWDC.

Rob

  • Camera+ for iPhone ($2.99, iTunes) – Enhance your images, add effects, crop and share.

Tom

  • Reeder for iPad ($4.99, iTunes) – Google Reader/RSS client – awesome iPaddy interface like pinch to view articles (like Photos).

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Subscribe to the PowerPage Podcast in iTunes or add the Podcast RSS feed to your RSS client. Our theme music is generously provided by The Tragically Hip their new release “We Are The Same” is available on iTunes. Don’t forget to join the PowerPage Facebook group.

E3 2010: Portal 2 demoed, details surface

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Date: Thursday, June 17th, 2010, 19:51
Category: News

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The long-awaited Portal 2 was demoed at this year’s E3 and the included gameplay footage aside, the following facts were garnered during the presentation:

– The new title is wrapped around story, gameplay (fans wanted to be surprised again) and music (the Jonathan Coulton track “Still Alive” took off and became a calling card with fans were demanding music have practically a starring role in the title).

– A lot of time has passed within the story between Portal 1 and 2 and the GLaDOS test computer is putting the labs back together, as it only knows how to have a relationship through testing, which was the premise of the original title).

– Throughout the demo, there’s an amazing combination of imagery with the charred/destroyed labs repairing themselves. A mix of wreckage, clean room/tech lab and jungle footage environments mix together to create a surreal but effective new world to play in.

– New character: A small personality sphere named Wheatley (complete with a British accent) surfaces as a guide/counterpart within the game. This character has been trapped in the Aperture labs for a long time and looks to escape along with you.

– The GLaDOS computer returns, embodying an enraged, insane and passive/aggressive cleverness in its interactions with your character.

– Throughout the demonstration, the game retains its dark but irreverent sense of humor.

– Certain environments are now destructible, which adds a new dimension to the gameplay.

– Repulsion Gel: Pour it on a surface and you can sort of use it as a trampoline (blue).

– Propulsion Gel: Allows for a “fling” effect. (orange)

– The developers commented that they’re looking to work off the same skill set as Portal 1 without forcing the players to relearn too many basics.

– Portal 2 itself is that much bigger and more involved than the original (no final level count has been released).

– Portal 2 can be worked through via a two-player co-op mode, this mode offering a different set of levels.

– The title will ship next year on Mac OS X, Windows, PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360.

Part 1:



Part 2:



Part 3:



Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

E3 2010: Gameloft demos assorted iPhone/iPad titles en route to market

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Date: Thursday, June 17th, 2010, 16:19
Category: iPad, iPhone, News

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Over at E3, mobile publisher Gameloft introduced a slew of iPhone and iPad titles over the course of the week.

Per Macworld, Gameloft will release the following titles to the iPhone and iPad:

Hero of Sparta 2:
In the coming months, Gameloft will release Hero of Sparta 2, the sequel to the adventure title in which the player must follow avenge his homeland after finding everything he knows has been destroyed. Although no firm release date has been set, the title has been confirmed for both the iPhone and iPad.

Splinter Cell: Conviction for iPad:
The first Splinter Cell game for the iPad, Splinter Cell: Conviction places you in the middle of a plot where stealth means everything. A final release date has yet to be confirmed, though the game seems to be a better fit on the larger iPad than the iPhone.

Ultimate Spiderman: Total Mayhem:
Set in the comic book style of the hero’s roots, Ultimate Spiderman: Total Mayhem has you control Spiderman as he battles criminals and super villains while web swinging throughout the world of New York.

Expect to see this title within the App Store before too long and this proved promising.

Prince of Persia: Warrior Within
In addition to providing applications in the stealth and brawler genres, Gameloft is producing some new titles in the platformer genre as well. Prince of Persia: Warrior Within was originally released on consoles in 2004 but is getting its own iPad version in July of this year.

Like the console version, expect to wall jump, backflip, dispose of several demonic guards, and then maybe slide down a banner for good measure. The current build looks on par with the 2004 release, which was still impressive and the title itself played pretty smoothly.

Let’s Golf 2:
Let’s Golf 2 will hit the iPhone this July and features eight characters with their own powers as well as over 108 holes of golf. Users will be able to travel to six exotic locations including Aztec ruins, African jungles, and Greenland.

Other new features Gameloft will add to Let’s Golf 2 include new leaderboards and ways to challenge your friends, a new career mode, and new achievements to unlock.



E3 2010: From the floor

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Date: Thursday, June 17th, 2010, 12:56
Category: Pictures

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On the final day of E3, we present some of the sights and sounds of the biggest video game expo in the United States.

And yes, there is at least one booth model…


Perhaps the most widely photographed statues of the event, this just made people think "Cool!!!"



If you have to have your brains removed from your head and eaten, there are worse ways to go...



The Killzone 3 armor in full effect.



Players test out Killzone 3 in the Sony booth.



This is a bit pricier than what you're driving now.



This dropped a few jaws and raised some eyebrows.



For the Naruto fans out there...



A Big Daddy from the BioShock series.



It's available for the Mac, it runs well and this could be good.



This trailer, plus the Stormtroopers, slowed down traffic between the south and west halls...



An attendee tests out a demo of the new Twisted Metal game for the Playstation 3.



Free burgers at the Bulletstorm truck: always a good thing!



Burgerstorm!!!



The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword area of the Nintendo booth.



The line to see the new Nintendo 3DS.



Kirby's EpicYarn in the Nintendo booth.



The coveted Nintendo 3DS prototype...



Also available in ruby red (along with other colors)



The mighty Capcom booth!



The new Mortal Kombat in all its glory...



Players test Fable III at the Microsoft booth.



Rock Band 3: At E3, you'll never find a shortage of people to play with...



The line to see Halo: Reach and Gears of War 3.



And finally, the best Tron light cycle you'll ever see.


E3 2010: Nintendo 3DS impressions

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Date: Thursday, June 17th, 2010, 10:25
Category: News

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By Joshua Simmons

Nintendo knows it has a hit on its hands when the line to just try the 3DS curls around half the expo in just minutes after opening the doors at 10 AM. The security did their best to quell the stampede of gamers to the Nintendo booth as shouts of “No running!” went largely ignored. However, despite the large crowd and after waiting in line for only an hour, I was finally able to get my hands on Nintendo’s new baby and try a few demos.

To start with Nintendo has provided a 3D effect slider on the device that allows the user to adjust the intensity of the feature, or completely turn it off. But even when turned off, the screen has a beautiful resolution and is worthy of the upgrade alone. So, after adjusting and trying various degrees of the 3D effect, I settled into a comfortable area of about 3/4 of the slider turned up. I also noticed that you really have to be looking at the device in it’s sweet spot, right in the center, to fully enjoy the 3D; looking at it even slightly to the right or left causes a slight double vision issue. Other noticeable additions to the 3DS include the addition of an analog stick, two front facing cameras for taking 3D photos, and the ability to play 3D movies. Finally the system itself was slightly smaller then the DSi, with smoother curves and a gloss finish instead of matte.

As for the demos, I was able to get hands on time with the device for about 20 minutes before being shuffled out for the next group. The first demo I got to play was a retro Star Fox level, remade in 3D. As I flew over the landscape, I was astounded by the sense of depth the 3D effect was creating as Fox’s ship seemed to hover out of the screen flying towards the mountains in the background. As I shot down enemy ships, the explosions would seem to burst in the space before me off the screen; it is something you just have to see for yourself. I am hoping this was more than just a tech demo, and we’ll be seeing a Star Fox 3D release in time for the launch.

Next I was treated to another playable demo, this time a brand new Pilotwings title made just for the 3DS. There were two modes available to try, stunt plane flying and jet pack flying. Both modes, similarly to Star Fox, really demonstrated the 3D feature with the the subjects popping out in the space before my eyes as I guided them over a city existing in varying depths of perception. Lastly, I was able to see a couple of trailers for future 3D titles such as Kid Icarus, Resident Evil, and Metal Gear Solid 3; all looking fantastic in 3D. Nintendo has really accomplished something unreal here, and I highly recommend everyone at least try it for yourselves the first chance you get.

Rumor: Verizon/CDMA-compatible iPhone in production

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Date: Thursday, June 17th, 2010, 06:20
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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Maybe it’s a “Braveheart” thing; you can’t kill a legend. Or at least a rumor.

Per DigiTimes, Apple is allegedly manufacturing a CDMA iPhone compatible with the Verizon network, the report alleging that the handset will begin shipping to Apple in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes reported Thursday that Pegatron Technology has received orders from Apple for a CDMA iPhone 4, according to industry sources. Those orders are expected to help the company grow its revenues in 2011.

“Pegatron will also start shipping a CDMA version of the iPhone 4 to Apple in the fourth quarter and is currently using its plants in Shanghai, China to produce the products, the sources noted,” the report said. “The company is also working on gaining orders for MacBooks and iPads from Apple.”

Pegatron manufactures products in a number of markets, including notebook and desktop computers, TV set top boxes, cable modems, game consoles, LCD TVs, digital music players, handsets, tablet PCs and e-book readers.

The latest DigiTimes rumor stated that Apple was working on two new phones: the iPhone 4, to be launched next week, and a new Verizon-compatible CDMA phone that the newspaper said would go into mass production in September. The report also stated that Pegatron Technology would handle the manufacturing of the CDMA iPhone.

In May, DigiTimes reported that Pegatron had won the contract from Apple to produce a CDMA iPhone. Previous iPhones were built by Foxconn, which also assembles Apple’s Mac mini, iPods and the iPad, and is the company’s main supplier.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

2010 Mac mini teardown report posted, interesting discoveries found

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Date: Thursday, June 17th, 2010, 06:13
Category: Mac mini, News

Apple’s slim new 2010 Mac mini received the royal treatment/acceptance into the tech world recently via a complete teardown by tech firm iFixit shows.

A teardown report by iFixit shows how Apple fit the slim system’s power supply inside the unibody aluminum case and reveals a variety of new innovations.

Rather than needing an external power supply, the new unit ships with simply an AC power cable (similar to Apple TV and Time Capsule), and Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter. The new model also includes a built in HDMI port for delivering audio and digital video to an HDTV display over one cable.

The new Mac Mini includes an SD Card slot just like recent MacBook Pros, and includes four USB 2.0 ports, along with the standard Gigabit Ethernet and a FireWire 800 port. After taking a new unit apart, iFixit discovered the following new changes:

– The Mac mini’s unibody top enclosure is machined from a single block of aluminum, with a twist off rubber base that exposes RAM components for easy access. “Removing the RAM is very simple this time around, requiring only the simple prying of two clips.” The bottom cover also provides a radio window in the metal case for WiFi and Bluetooth.

“There are two blind holes in the case of the Mini that are meant for the ends of Apple’s custom U-shaped logic board removal tool. We just used two Torx screwdrivers. We call them the ‘Mac mini logic board removal tool.'”

– The new Mac mini’s power supply provides “a minuscule 7 Amps at 12V. Compare that to the 25.8 Amps at 12V cranked out by the 27 inch iMac, and you can understand how they fit the power supply inside the Mini.”
“The fan doesn’t have too much work to do, since the new Mac Mini is the most energy-efficient desktop, running on less than 10 watts at idle! In keeping with its space saving design, the fins directing air toward the vent hole are slanted to allow for better fan placement.”

– The fan cools the CPU and CPU via a wraparound heat sink tube that wicks heat toward the fins and blows it out the wide slot on the back panel.

iFixit notes that the Mac mini’s 3/8 inch woofer dome “won’t be popping ear drums anytime soon” and may be a bit underpowered for some audiophiles.

iPad hacker faces multiple drug charges, spotty past following FBI arrest

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Date: Thursday, June 17th, 2010, 05:16
Category: iPad, News

Some hackers just have no luck.

Per CNET, one of the hackers in the group that snatched more than 100,000 iPad owner email addresses from AT&T’s servers was arrested Tuesday on felony drug charges after the FBI searched his Arkansas, US home.

Andrew “Escher” Auernheimer was arrested by Fayetteville, Ark., police and was booked into the Washington County Detention Center Tuesday afternoon, where he is being held on bonds totaling US$3,160.

Auernheimer, 24, faces four felony charges of possession of a controlled substance and one misdemeanor drug charge. During the raid, police reportedly found drugs that included cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, and Schedule 2 and 3 pharmaceuticals when they searched his home.

Auernheimer, who also goes by the hacker nickname “weev,” is one of 10 members of Goatse Security, a hacking group that used an automated script to collect 114,000 iPad email addresses from AT&T through a public feature of the carrier’s Web site.

Goatse revealed its e-mail harvesting after AT&T closed the hole, then defended its actions as “responsible disclosure” (the term given to security revelations made public only after a vendor has patched a bug). In a letter to customers apologizing for the email address disclosure, however, AT&T said the group “maliciously exploited” its Web site and promised it would “prosecute violators to the fullest extent of the law.”

In recent interview, Auernheimer argued that Goatse’s attack was “ethical” and denied that they did anything illegal . “We love America and did this in the public interest,” Auernheimer said at the time.

Wednesday, the Fayetteville Police Department declined to comment on the charges against Auernheimer, instead referring all questions to the FBI.

Special Agent Bryan Travers of the FBI’s Newark, N.J., division confirmed that the agency had served a search warrant at Auernheimer’s home, but declined to answer any other questions, including whether agents removed computers from Auernheimer’s residence. “This remains an open investigation,” Travers said in an email.

The FBI launched an investigation into the Goatse attack last week, saying then that it was trying to determine if the group broke any laws.

Auernheimer is no stranger to drugs, according to Brian Krebs, a former reporter for the Washington Post and now the author of the Krebs on Security blog. In 2006, said Krebs, Auernheimer started a talk at a security conference by telling the audience that he was tripping on acid.

He has also regularly posted anti-Semitic statements on his LiveJournal blog, where he has claimed that the FCC is “Jewish-run” and that Jews “have long made a sham of the nobel [sic] prize.”

Auernheimer was arrested last March, according to a report by Fayetteville television station KHBS-TV , which noted that city police said he had given them a false name when they responded to a parking complaint.

A court hearing is scheduled for Friday morning in Washington County Circuit Court.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

E3 2010: OnLive launch titles, June 17th release date revealed (updated 2x)

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Date: Thursday, June 17th, 2010, 03:18
Category: News

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You’re going to like this.

Even though it sounded like a bit of a pipe dream when it was described last year, the OnLive gaming service will launch on June 17th and allow Macs to play bestselling console titles such as Arkham Asylum or Assassin’s Creed II. Per Macworld, OnLive uses a cloud computing technology to process games and allow any Intel-based Mac to function as a high-end gaming machine.

Where the bottom line is concerned, the service gets a cut of every game downloaded, but also has secured funding through partnerships. The most pivotal of those is AT&T, which has teamed up to become an official partner of OnLive’s Founding Member Program. The program (available to qualified users for a limited time), includes a one-year free membership to the OnLive Game Service. Registration has begun at www.onlive.com/att today at 3:00 pm Eastern and ends on July 15. Members of the program can also sign up for an additional year for US$5 per month.

OnLive is currently offering a free trial in which users can download a 1MB client and can try out all the demos for free. You can “rent” a game for a small fee to try it out, or purchase the game directly from the service. The games range from casual to hardcore, and prices range from US$5 to US$59 for full purchases.

Launch titles will include Ubisoft titles Assassin’s Creed II, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Conviction, and Price of Persia: The Forgotten Sands. From Square-Enix, Batman: Arkham Asylum, and Just Cause 2. From Electronic Arts, Dragon Age: Origins. Finally, from Take Two Interactive Entertainment, Borderlands. That’s quite a lineup of games that are not only hugely popular, but fairly recent.

While the potential to play high-end games on any Intel Mac is enticing, there are also lots of less-graphically intensive, casual games as well. Perlman cited Mad Balls, Defense Grid, Brain Challenge, and World of Goo as casual games that will appear on the service for download.

Additional games coming down the pipeline with unannounced release dates include: Sega’s Aliens vs. Predator and Alpha Protocol; Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Driver San Francisco, and Shaun White Skateboarding; THQ’s Darksiders, Homefront, and Red Faction: Armageddon; Square-Enix’s Deus Ex 3, Kain and Lynch 2: Dog Days; Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s F.E.A.R. 3 and LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4; and finally, 2K Sports MLB 2k10. The vast majority of these games have either come out in the last year or will be coming out in the next— and nearly all of them have never before appeared on the Mac.

Perlman is emphatic that his service will work on the Mac. “Every Intel Mac runs OnLive. We’ve tried them all,” he admits. That includes Mac minis, MacBooks, iMacs, and Mac Pros. Unfortunately, PowerPC Macs will not be supported by the service.


What You've Been Waiting For...


The only problem his team has encountered, Perlman concedes, is that the original release MacBook Air has a tendency to overheat but “you’ll encounter those same problems running a Flash video.”

The OnLive service will be launching for the Mac and Windows PC platforms on June 17 and after that you can “expect all games going forward to be Mac and PC.” Simultaneously launches on the service should be music to all Mac gamers’ ears.

For those who can’t wait that long, there’s a chance to sign up for the beta on the OnLive website. Oh, and for those who enjoy using game controllers, like the XBox 360 controller, you can with OnLive’s service. “They’re normally not compatible,” Perlman explains, “But we bridge the gap.”

Perlman claims that OnLive has had successful demos with the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. One demo included the high-end sci-fi first person shooter Borderlands running on the iPad. “It works beautifully,” said Perlman.

Update:
Dropping by the OnLive booth, I was able to learn the following tidbits as well:

– The booth itself featured OnLive running well on current generation MacBook notebooks that had been closed but attached to power, Ethernet cables and USB controller peripherals. Titles like Red Faction: Guerilla ran without any latency.

– The company is doing a staggered launch and bringing more and more players online. Representatives said that the service had been in beta for months with thousands of users online and no significant delays were expected.

– OnLive is currently recommending a five megabit per second Internet connection. A utility available on the company’s web site allows this to be tested. In cases where the connection is too slow, users might want to look into a better connection through their Internet service provider.

– The company is currently running three data centers throughout the country via the Bay area (west coast), Dallas (midwest region) and Washington, D.C. Representatives said they’d like their data centers to be within 1,000 miles of their users.

– The client requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

– Players can purchase a Full Playpass to buy a game and then have unlimited use for the game, the game itself staying on OnLive’s cloud service and not downloading directly to the hard drive.

– Users can look in on other players’ games to observe gameplay, tactics, etc.