Real Racing

I’ve shied away from other racing games on the iPhone as I always felt the lack of physical controls plus the screen size and potential performance issues would mar the experience. However the video’s and reviews for Real Racing were good so I made the purchase and I’m glad I did – it’s an excellent game.

You have a number of control methods – use either touch or accelerometer to steer, auto acceleration or touch to accelerate and there’s braking assist too. Thankfully they are disabled. I prefer to use the accelerometer to steer with touch to accelerate and break. You can also change the sensitivity to suit which is a nice addition.

Graphically the game is very polished with up to six cars displayed on screen. Viewed from in car or out the game keeps up a good speed, although in car looks a lot better. There’s quite a bit of track detail too with speed penalties for going off track and trying to cut corners. There are a number of different game modes – a career mode with a total of 57 events, time trials with online scoreboards, local wi-fi multiplayer (hopefully an update with peer to peer multiplayer will drop soon) and online leagues. Very impressive for a game on the iPhone that costs £5.99.

What makes it special though are the controls. They are excellent and really make the game. It’s also pretty challenging although the AI is not the best and very much on rails the whole time which can lead to some off putting moments. It still feels quite arcadey to drive but your not going to get Forza-esque physics in an iPhone game…yet. With 12 tracks and many online challenges Real Racing offers great value for money too. One more thing….you can upload laps to YouTube.

DigitalOutbox Special Edition – iPhone 3GS

DigitalOutbox Episode 3
In this episode the team discuss the iPhone 3.0 release and also discuss the iPhone 3GS.

Playback
Listen via iTunes
Listen via M4A
Listen via MP3

Shownotes
– iPhone OS 3.0
– Features?
– MMS
– Cut, Copy, Paste
– Spotlight
– Voice record
– Push Notifications
– peer to Peer for gaming
– Landscape keyboards
– Testing – forward, multiple recipients
– Tethering
– In app purchases
– Shake to shuffle
– Youtube – account support
– Note syncing
– Find my iphone
– Media scrubbing: 30 secs repeat
– Speed
– Safari much improved
– Speed
– Autofill (need to enable)

– Verdict?

– iPhone 3G S
– Early thoughts
– Performance
– Camera
– Video
– Compass and Maps
– Voice Control
– Mains adpater

– O2
– Better sales than 3G – more stock surely – http://dnc.o2.co.uk/home/2009/06/iphone-3g-s-o2-launch.html

Picks
– Paper Toss
– Real Racing

VidZone

VidZone-LadyGaGa

VidZone is a free music video application that you can download from the PlayStation Store and install to your PlayStation3. Once installed, it will appear under your music menu. The application lets you stream, apparently, thousands of music videos, for free, over your internet.

Unlike Sony’s previous efforts of bringing new features to the PlayStation3, such as Home and Photo Gallery, I was actually pleasantly surprised to find their latest offering to be rather good. The application’s interface looks quite nice with a typical Sony feel and polish, and it all loads up pretty quick too. On the home screen you’re presented with a large menu at the top of the screen, listing popular categories to choose your music from, such as: latest chart hits, dance chart etc. The currently playing list of songs appears on the right and you can create unlimited number of playlists.
Once you select a song to play, it starts playing pretty quickly and the quality of picture and sound is extremely good for a streamed feed. The video is played in a window, with an option to go full-screen. This isn’t actually full-screen, just a bit bigger than standard view. The choice of music available was surprisingly large and I enjoyed watching a few old faves and some new finds.

VidZone-FBS

The only issues I found were to do with the interface implementation, the controls not being very intuitive and feeling kind of clunky. I hope Sony fix this with an update soon.
Overall I give VidZone a big thumbs-up and recommend that all PS3 owners to at least give it a go, you may be pleasantly surprised by it. Hopefully it’s the start of many a decent new features for the PS3, it certainly needs them.

OpenDNS

One site that I always recommend to friends and family is OpenDNS. With a few simple changes to your router or computer you can move from using your ISP’s DNS server to the service provided by OpenDNS which I’ve found to be fast and reliable, certainly more so than the ISP’s I’ve used recently. So what is DNS and what does OpenDNS do?

DNS requests are made every day from your home connection. E-mails, web surfing, online gaming etc all make use of DNS. DNS turns real addresses (http://www.apple.com) into an IP address for the physical computer you want to connect to. It makes it easier to surf and also means an address can stay fixed while the computer changes in the background (to a different IP address). Usually you make use of your own ISP’s DNS server which in general works OK but from time to time can have issues. Speed, lack of redundancy and update issues are ones I’ve seen over the years.

OpenDNS provides a free DNS service that promises to resolve addresses quickly and also a few unique services that I certainly don’t get from my current ISP. Firstly there are anti-phishing features in place so that you will be warned and the phishing site intercepted should you be lead to one. There’s also spelling correction where OpenDNS will look at the URL you’ve typed and if it detects a typo it will redirect you to the correct site. Finally if you look up a site that cannot be resolved OpenDNS will display a page with alternatives.

ghhoogleopendns

What’s great about OpenDNS is that it’s simple to set-up and has helpful configuration page’s for a wide range of routers and computers. These take you through each step of logging in to the router, making the changes required and then checking that OpenDNS is set-up for your internet connection. There’s also other features like shortcut’s which you can take advantage off. Enter a shortcut name and the page that should be looked up if typed. For example, type blog to visit your blog without typing in the address, news to visit BBC News – the possibilities are endless. The nice thing about shortcuts is they apply across all your network so aren’t set up on a per machine basis.

The OpenNDS website also provides some stats about the number of requests, top domains and gives you the ability to block domains if you want finer control of the content that can be accessed on your network.

Although better performance can’t be guaranteed and in some cases will be very small I’ve always made a point of checking every few months to make sure that OpenDNS is a better option than my current ISP. With both O2 and Virgin Media, swapping to OpenDNS made quite a difference and in the case of my neighbours just over a week ago the difference to their OneTel connection was remarkable. Give it a try – nothing to lose and possibly a nice speed bump with enhanced security to gain.

DigitalOutbox Episode 2

DigitalOutbox Episode 2
In this episode the team discuss Digital Britain, Virgin Media, Windows 7, Project Natal and Steve Jobs all without mentioning the iPhone. Almost.

Playback
Listen via iTunes
Listen via M4A
Listen via MP3

Shownotes
– Mobile Phone Privacy – New UK directory of mobile phone users – http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/06/09/mobile_phone_directory/
– http://www.118800.co.uk/
– http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/telecoms/article6459097.ece
– You can become ex-directory by texting the letter ‘E’ to 118800 from the mobile phone that you want to be made ex-directory. Standard network charges apply. Or you can call us on 118 800 or 0800 138 6263 from the phone you want to be made ex-directory. But remember that 0800 calls will be charged by your mobile phone company. The first time 118 800 contacts you please note that you will be sent an SMS reminding you about how to become ex-directory. Please allow 4 weeks for your details to be made ex-directory

– E3 Round-up
– Sony
– PSP Go
– Motion Controller – very accurate, imagine God of War with two of those in your hands
– God of War 3, Uncharted 2, Heavy Rain, Agent (Rockstar exclusive), The Last Guardian, Assassins Creed 2, Mod Nation Racers (LBP for racing?), Final Fantasy 14, Gran Turismo 5 – still no release date!
– Nintendo
– Mario Galaxy 2
– Vitality add-on for Wii
– Metroid from Team Ninja
– Very tired compared to Sony and Microsoft

– Palm Pre
– great reviews, appstore lacking – http://www.engadget.com/2009/06/03/palm-pre-review/
– Some real world issues – http://sanford.blogspot.com/
– No on screen keyboard – want to type in horizontal you need to rotate – clumsy
– Touchstone – slow charging, also gets hot in use
– Based on reviews, a great alternative to iPhone
– Windows 7 – Oct 22
– WWDC
– New Macbook Pro 15″
– Built in battery like 17″
– Typical user – 5 years of use – 1000 charges before degradation
– SD card slot instead of expresscard
– You can get up to 3.06 GHz Dual Core 6MB Level 2 Cache, Up to 8GB of memory, 500GB hard drive. Or 256GB SSD
– Starts at $1699 (2.53 ghz) – $300 less than current starting price
– $2000 to get 9600M GT
– 13″ Macbook and 17″ Pro updated also
– 13″ gets integrated battery and SD slot as well
– New screen also
– FW 800
– $1199, now called Macbook Pro
– OS X
– Attacking Windows 7 – fundamentally it’s just another version of Vista
– Rewritten 90% of Leopard – bug tastic
– Gain 6GB of disk space by installing SL
– Expose built into dock – answer peek features of windows 7
– Safari 4 released today
– Focussing on performance improvements in SL
– Quicktime – major improvements, back end and UI, frameless – looks gorgeous
– All major system apps in SL – 64 bit
– Grand Central Station – better thread management with multiple cores, Open CL – basically faster and more powerful O/S
– Exchange support in SL built into Mail, iCal, Address Book
– Out in September for $29. Wow. Family pack – $49. People will still pirate! Developer preview out today
– iPhone
– 50,00 app’s in the app store, SDK download > million times, more than 40 million iPhones and iPod touches
– OS 3.0
– Major update – 100 new features
– Cut/Copy/Paste
– Landscape keyboard in all key apps
– MSS app
– 29 carriers out of 79 countries will support MMS on launch of 3.0 – O2 logo at the keynote – how much?
– Spotlight search across all app’s, including mail on server, launch apps from spotlight
– iTunes – rent and purchase movies from the phone + tv shows, audiobooks, music videos
– Better parental control
– Tethering with mac or pc, usb or bluetooth, 22 carries in 42 countries, not at&t
– Faster javascript, better media streaming
– Autofill – remember username and passwords for websites (turn on keylock)
– HTML 5.0 support
– Find my iPhone, MobileMe customers only, lose phone, log into browser, tells you where it is, from browser send a message or sound to phone whether it’s in silent or not so if in the home it will sound out until you find it, if it is lost/stolen you can send a remote wipe, find later – plug in and restore from backup
– 1000 new API’s, App Purchase – make financial transactions from within the app, mag subscriptions, same money cut as app’s
– Peer to Peer for games
– Accessories now supported via dock connection
– Push notification
– App’s demo’d – Gameloft – Asphalt 5, Airstrip – Airstrip CC – remote monitoring of patients, Scrollmotion – books and magazines bought from the app, Tom Tom – with optional hardware attachment enhancing GPS – handsfree calling – powers phone – summer, ngmoco – Stardefense – featurepacks – launch today with update for 3.0 around time of 3.0 release, pasco – remote sensor monitoring, zipcar – zipcars available in your area – embedded maps, line6 + planet waves – connect iphone to guitar amp and add effects and control amp
– OS 3.0 – Free, $9.95 for touch, out on June 17th
-iPhone 3GS
– Same form factor
– 2-3 times faster (app loads and web pages)
– Open GL ES 2.0 support, HSDPA (7.2Mbps)
– 3 megapixel auto focus camera
– auto exposure, auto light balance
– tap to focus
– auto macro
– captures video
– 30fps, audio, auto focus
– Videos shown alongside pictures, can edit videos on the phone
– share videos – e-mail, MMS, MobileMe, Youtube
– Voice dialing
– Voice Control
– Digital compass
– Voiceover
– Nike+ support
– Improved battery
– $199, $299 for 32gb
– black and white
– iPhone 3G 8gb – $99
– Out Jun 19th

Picks
– Wired magazine
– Macbites

Episode 1 Feedback

Just a quick post to say thanks for the comments, tweets and e-mails on our first podcast. Lot’s of great feedback and useful advice which we’ll try and incorporate on our next episode which should with a bit of luck will be out over the weekend. One thing we didn’t expect was this:

digitaloutbox-week-1-2

Caught this snap on Sunday (I think) so I’m not sure if we were higher than this at some point. Call us stat whores – we were delighted! Easily pleased even though we’ve no idea how iTunes calculates it’s charts. Hopefully we won’t become obsessive over this though as I fear a fall in the near future if we do.

One thing we will be trying to do is make the podcast a bit shorter, more punchy. One snag – new iPhone this week. Someone gag me now.