Game Review: Pro Zombie Soccer

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Date: Tuesday, July 27th, 2010, 09:03
Category: App Store, Game, iPad, iPhone, News, Software

Pro Zombie Soccer is a game for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad (still a Pixel-doubled version, not native) distributed by Chillingo and developed by Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team. I’ve never been caught up in the Zombie craze, although I did enjoy Zombieland and Shawn of the Dead, so I was not really excited about this game at first, but a friend assured me that it was a lot of fun and he was right.

Some of the things that made this such a fun game was the artwork and the storyline. While not complicated, the story added enough depth to propel you from scene to scene. The artwork has a punk attitude, similar to what is associated with Gorillaz, and is pretty lively and colorful.

In the game, you are playing the role of Jax, a young, talented soccer player who freezes up while trying out for the big team. While moping about town, the zombie outbreak occurs and Jax is bitten by a zombie who happens to be the star player of the soccer team. Jax soon finds out that his zombie infection has given him super-soccer powers which he decides to use to take down the zombie apocalypse….while he still can.

The controls are simple. You thumb aims the direction that Jax kicks the soccer ball and lifting your thumb fires it off. You have a regular kick, and a super-charged kick at your disposal, but eventually you acquire other “zombie powers” which you can choose from during certain parts of the game. Doing a “head-shot” to a zombie (beheading them) is worth extra points as is several head-shots in a row. Some zombies can only be killed with the super-charged kick, which takes more time to “charge up”. Eventually you run into zombies that can only be killed in a certain way, like ricocheting off a wall, as well as avoiding obstacles like fleeing scientists which, when hit, will end the game. If you finish the game too quickly in Normal mode, you can play through again in Hardcore mode which won’t be so easy. The game’s music is pretty good and in the Extras you’ll find the Music Player which allows you to play back the game’s soundtrack, a total of 16 tracks.

The sound effects and gameplay are great, and everything looks awesome on the iPhone 4′s screen. As of this writing, the game was iOS 4 compatible, but did not take advantage of background app switching. Leaving the game means starting again from the main menu, although it should remember your progress. I didn’t try it on the iPad, but it is compatible with iOS 3.0 and up. I look forward to an HD version, but I hope it’s an Universal app.

The game uses the Crystal gaming network, which I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a fan of, but not because it is a bad system.

I highly recommend this game. It’s fun and relatively easy to play, and the stages make it easy to play a few minutes at a time, or kill 20 minutes or so. Pro Zombie Soccer is a pretty good deal at $2.99.

Apple announces updated Mac Pro line to arrive in August

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Date: Tuesday, July 27th, 2010, 06:36
Category: Mac Pro, News

It’s been a long time coming, but it could be awesome when it hits next month.

Per AppleInsider, Apple’s update to Apple’s Mac Pro desktop was announced Tuesday, with the new tower sporting up to 12 processing cores with Intel Xeon processors, making it up to 50% faster than its predecessor. The hardware arrives in August.

The new Mac Pro desktops feature quad-core and 6-core Intel Xeon processors, all-new ATI graphics and the option for up to four 512GB solid state drives (SSD). The processors run at speeds up to 3.33GHz and use a single die design so they can share up to 12MB L3 cache, improving efficiency while increasing processing speeds.

The systems include an integrated memory controller for faster memory bandwidth and reduced memory latency; Turbo Boost to dynamically boost processor speeds up to 3.6 GHz; and Hyper-Threading to create up to 24 virtual cores. The Mac Pro now comes with the ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics processor with 1GB of memory and customers can configure-to-order the faster ATI Radeon HD 5870 with 1GB of memory.

Mac Pro customers also have the option to order a 512GB SSD and can potentially install up to four SSD drives in the system’s internal drive bays.

The Mac Pro also now features two Mini DisplayPorts and one dual-link DVI port. The additional Mini DisplayPort output allows customers to connect two LED Cinema Displays without an additional graphics card or adapter and the dual-link DVI port supports legacy DVI-based displays up to a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels.

Pricing & Availability:
The new Mac Pro will be available in August through the Apple Store, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers.

The new quad-core Mac Pro, with a suggested retail price of US$2,499 (US), includes:
- One 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon W3530 processor with 8MB of fully-shared L3 cache;
- 3GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM memory, expandable up to 16GB;
- ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB of GDDR5 memory;
- Two Mini DisplayPorts and one DVI (dual-link) port (adapters sold separately);
- 1TB Serial ATA 3Gb/s hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
- 18x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+/-R DL/DVD+/-RW/CD-RW);
- Four PCI Express 2.0 slots;
- Five USB 2.0 ports and four FireWire 800 ports;
- AirPort Extreme® 802.11n;
- Bluetooth 2.1+EDR; and
- Apple Keyboard with numerical keypad and Magic Mouse.

The new 8-core Mac Pro, with a suggested retail price of US$3,499 (US), includes:
- Two 2.4 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5620 processors with 12MB of fully-shared L3 cache per processor;
- 6GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM memory, expandable up to 32GB;
- ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1GB of GDDR5 memory;
- Two Mini DisplayPorts and one DVI (dual-link) port (adapters sold separately);
- 1TB Serial ATA 3Gb/s hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
- 18x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+/-R DL/DVD+/-RW/CD-RW);
- Four PCI Express 2.0 slots;
- Five USB 2.0 ports and four FireWire 800 ports;
- AirPort Extreme 802.11n;
- Bluetooth 2.1+EDR; and
- Apple Keyboard with numerical keypad and Magic Mouse.

Configure-to-order options include:
- One 3.2 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon W3565 processor for the quad-core Mac Pro;
- One 3.33 GHz 6-core Intel Xeon W3680 processor for the quad-core Mac Pro;
- Two 2.66 GHz 6-core Intel Xeon X5650 processors (12-cores) for the 8-core Mac Pro;
- Two 2.93 GHz 6-core Intel Xeon X5670 processors (12-cores) for the 8-core Mac Pro;
- Two ATI Radeon HD 5770 cards with 1GB of GDDR5 memory;
- One ATI Radeon HD 5870 card with 1GB of GDDR5 memory;
- Up to 16GB of DDR3 ECC SDRAM memory for the quad-core Mac Pro;
- Up to 32GB of DDR3 ECC SDRAM memory for the 8-core Mac Pro;
- Up to four 512GB solid state drives (SSD); or
- Up to four 1TB or 2TB Serial ATA hard drives running at 7200 rpm;
Mac Pro RAID card;
- Dual-channel or quad-channel 4Gb Fibre Channel card; and
- Up to two 18x SuperDrives with double-layer support.

Accessories include: Magic Trackpad, Apple Battery Charger, wired Apple Mouse, wireless Apple Keyboard, Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter, Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter (for 30-inch DVI display), Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter, the AppleCare Protection Plan; and pre-installed copies of Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server; iWork, Logic Express 9, Final Cut Express 4 and Aperture 3.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases updated iMac models, includes Core i3, i5, i7 processors, ATI graphics cards

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Date: Tuesday, July 27th, 2010, 06:32
Category: iMac, News

newimac.jpg

After weeks of anticipation, Apple on Tuesday refreshed its iMac line, bringing Intel’s Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 processors, along with ATI Radeon graphics to the new machines.

Per AppleInsider, the new models begin at US$1,199 and boast dual-core processor speeds up to 3.6 GHz, quad-core speeds up to 2.93 GHz and discrete graphics including the ATI Radeon HD 5750.

Dual-core Intel Core i3 and Core i5, and quad-core Core i5 and Core i7 bring the best performance yet to the iMac line, Apple said. The processors feature an integrated memory controller to access the system memory directly, allowing the new iMac to take full advantage of its faster 1333 MHz memory.

A new feature, the updated iMac displays feature IPS technology to deliver images across a wide 178 degree viewing angle.

The SD card slot on the iMac now supports the SDXC format to handle the latest high-capacity storage cards. Customers of the 27″ iMac have the option to order a 256GB solid state drive (SSD) as a primary or secondary drive. The iMac SSD supports up to 215 MB/s data transfer rates for faster startup and application launch times.

The new iMac line is shipping now and available through the Apple Store, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers.

The new 21.5″ 3.06 GHz Intel Core i3 iMac, for a suggested retail price of US$1,199 (US), includes:
- 21.5″ 1920 x 1080 LED-backlit display;
- 3.06 GHz Intel Core i3 processor with 4MB shared L3 cache;
- 4GB 1333 MHz DDR3 SDRAM expandable to 16GB;
- ATI Radeon HD 4670 discrete graphics with 256MB GDDR3 SDRAM;
- 500GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
- Slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
- Mini DisplayPort for audio and video output (adapters sold separately);
- AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking & Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
- iSight video camera;
- Gigabit Ethernet;
- Four USB 2.0 ports;
- One SDXC SD card slot;
- One FireWire 800 port;
- Built-in stereo speakers and microphone; and
- Wireless Apple Keyboard, Magic Mouse.
- Configure-to-order options include up to 8GB of RAM.

The new 21.5″ 3.2 GHz Intel Core i3 iMac, for a suggested retail price of US$1,499 (US), includes:
- 21.5″ 1920 x 1080 LED-backlit display;
- 3.20 GHz Intel Core i3 processor with 4MB shared L3 cache;
- 4GB 1333 MHz DDR3 SDRAM expandable to 16GB;
- ATI Radeon HD 5670 discrete graphics with 512MB GDDR3;
- 1TB Serial ATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
- Slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
- Mini DisplayPort for audio and video output (adapters sold separately);
- AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking & Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
- iSight video camera;
- Gigabit Ethernet;
- Four USB 2.0 ports;
- One FireWire 800 port;
- One SDXC SD card slot;
- Built-in stereo speakers and microphone; and
- Wireless Apple Keyboard, Magic Mouse.
- Configure-to-order options include a faster 3.6 GHz Core i5 processor, 2TB hard drive and up to 8GB of RAM.

The new 27″ 3.2 GHz Intel Core i3 iMac, for a suggested retail price of US$1,699 (US), includes:
- 27″ 2560 x 1440 LED-backlit display;
- 3.20 GHz Intel Core i3 processor with 4MB shared L3 cache;
- 4GB 1333 MHz DDR3 SDRAM expandable to 16GB;
- ATI Radeon HD 5670 discrete graphics with 512MB GDDR3;
- 1TB Serial ATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
- Slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
- Mini DisplayPort for audio and video input and output (adapters sold separately);
- AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking & Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
- iSight video camera;
- Gigabit Ethernet;
- Four USB 2.0 ports;
- One FireWire 800 port;
- One SDXC SD card slot;
- Built-in stereo speakers and microphone; and
- Wireless Apple Keyboard, Magic Mouse.

Configure-to-order options include a 3.6 GHz Core i5 processor, 2TB hard drive, 256GB solid state drive (SSD) and up to 16GB of RAM.

The new 27″ 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5 iMac, for a suggested retail price of $1,999 (US), includes:
- 27″ 2560 x 1440 LED-backlit display;
- 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5 processor with 8MB shared L3 cache;
- 4GB 1333 MHz DDR3 SDRAM expandable to 16GB;
- ATI Radeon HD 5750 discrete graphics with 1GB GDDR5;
- 1TB Serial ATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
- Slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
- Mini DisplayPort for audio and video input and output (adapters sold separately);
- AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking & Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
- iSight video camera;
- Gigabit Ethernet;
- Four USB 2.0 ports;
- One FireWire 800 port;
- One SDXC SD card slot;
- Built-in stereo speakers and microphone; and
- Wireless Apple Keyboard, Magic Mouse.

Configure-to-order options include a 2.93 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 processor, a 2TB hard drive, 256GB solid state drive (SSD) and up to 16GB of RAM.

Additional accessories include: Magic Trackpad, Apple Battery Charger, wired Apple Mouse, wired Apple Keyboard, wired Apple Keyboard with numeric keypad, Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter, Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter (for 30-inch DVI display), Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter, Apple Remote, the AppleCare Protection Plan; and pre-installed copies of iWork, Logic Express 9, Final Cut Express 4 and Aperture 3.

If you happen to snag one and have any comments about it, please let us know.

Apple accepts Library of Congress decision on jailbreaking, still warns of possible warranty violations

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Date: Tuesday, July 27th, 2010, 05:17
Category: iPhone, Legal, News, Software

After years of debate and posturing from both sides, the verdict is in. Per Electronista, the library of Congress has legally sanctioned jailbreaking iOS-based applications under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, thereby allowing non-Apple-approved applications to be run on devices such as the iPhone. While Apple didn’t contest the legality itself, the company stated that jailbreaking would still break the warranty by going beyond what Apple can support. It also stressed that it saw the experience as hurting the experience for some by taking away the speed and reliability they may have expected.

“Apple’s goal has always been to insure that our customers have a great experience with their iPhone,” commented an Apple spokeswoman. “And we know that jailbreaking can severely degrade the experience.”

The representative wouldn’t directly confront the question of whether Apple would try to sue anyone who would sell jailbreaking tools, but she emphasized Apple’s history and that it hadn’t done so before.

Monday’s Library ruling doesn’t require that Apple or other companies must allow third-party apps in their code but also prevents these firms from legally challenging any jailbreak developed for the purposes of running an app or for unlocking access to other customers. It’s unclear whether the new exemptions would allow commercial development of jailbreaking apps; such software would be designed for a profit, but it it would still be used for individual purposes in most cases.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.