DigitalOutbox Episode 21

DigitalOutbox Episode 21
In this episode the team discuss Windows 7 and new Apple hardware. Game on.

Playback
Listen via iTunes
Listen via M4A
Listen via MP3

Shownotes
1:20 – Google Audio
– announcement next Wednesday 28th
– downloads? streaming? subscription? – unknown
– partnered with iLike, LaLa
– iLike = social music discovery service, available on Facebook, helps people share music recommendations, playlists
-LaLa = music streamed from browser (US only service)
– service to be integrated into Google Search
– US only (initially?)
3:11 – Twitter real time search deals
– Bing integration
– http://www.bing.com/twitter/
– Microsoft’s new integration with Twitter is essentially integrating Twitter search within Bing. It updates in real-time. Here’s the kicker though: you can search tweets by not only recency, but by relevancy.
– Microsoft is using information such as the number of retweets, captions, the quality of tweets, and keywords in order to sort tweets by relevancy.
– Bing will display the “hottest” (trending) topics on Twitter in the form of a tag cloud
– Google announcement – http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/10/rt-google-tweets-and-updates-and-search.html
– Google also announced Social Search
– Coming in labs soon
– The bottom of search results will soon have social networking information from your friends, like their Flickr photos or their status updates. It’s a blended search integration, similar to seeing news or image results.
– These are pulled from social networks connected to your Google Profile. The more that are connected, the more social information that will appear in search results.
– They have also improved searching for images using social networks. Images become more relevant using social networking data.
– Bing also announce Facebook data in search results coming soon
6:02 – Flickr introduces people tagging
– Allows you to tag people in photo’s
– people can be flickr members or non members
– lot’s of control around who can tag, whether you can be tagged etc.
– profile page updated to support this feature
7:48 – Windows 7
– breaks Amazon pre-order volume record
– more sales in first 8 hours of pre-order availability than total Vista was able to do
– The launch of Windows 7 has superseded everyone’s expectations, storming ahead of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as the biggest grossing pre-order product of all-time at Amazon.co.uk, and demand is still going strong.
– Launch – http://gizmodo.com/5387614/live-from-the-windows-7-launch
– Amazon multi-touch Kindle app for Windows 7—full color photos, pinch zooming to enlarge text, looks awesome. Could be a much-needed killer app for Windows 7 tablets. Maybe. Sign up here – http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=kcp_pc_mkt_lnd?docId=1000426311
– Streaming to 16 different screens from one Windows 7 PC using Play-To feature is actually kind of impressive.
– Noteworthy Features
– Taskbar – more intuitive, can pin to taskbar, reorder app’s you have open, no more quicklaunch (quick launch still in – but hidden away.)
– Aero – hover over taskbar icon and window appears with content – aero peek, drag window to top – maximise – drag left or right to snap to half the screen – aero snap, throw cursor to bottom right – show desktop – just like expose
– Well done to MS on the interface – makes windows much better to use, focus on tasks, easier to use – a great upgrade to the interface which is welcome and puts it on a par with mac – needs an expose rip-off and it would be better than mac interface for usability
– libraries – virtual grouping of files and folders, folder can be on any computer or drive on home network – very powerful
– media sharing – stream to other computers on home network (or external network if credentials applied both ends)
– better search (5 seconds to index new files)
– quicker is debatable looking at many of the reviews – boot time’s on par with vista or worse
– ie8, media player, control panel aren’t really that good and haven’t changed much – probably use alternative browser and media player
– feels like a service pack with a new theme and a new app controlling desktop
– UAC can be customised. Default setting down one step on Vista (only asks for confirmation when app wants to make a change to computer, not when you make changes). Possible to step it down a couple more steps, firstly doesn’t dim (i.e. lock out) the computer awaiting confirmation and final step turns it off, not recommended by MS.
– Microsoft store
– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9Hk0ZCqRxg&feature=player_embedded
– It’s an Apple store…selling windows
– Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
– New Mac ads
– http://www.apple.com/getamac/ads/#
– Broken Promises is actually pretty funny
– It’s boring, arrogant, twatty and flies in the face of tech buzz, therefore sounds out of touch. It was funny 3 years ago when MacOS was a huge step above – it is no longer funny or true… – Chris
26:59 – New Apple hardware
– Clearly waited until resident fanboi Shak was well enough to return to Digitaloutbox before releasing New Hardware.
– New Hardware – shak
– Mac Mini
– http://store.apple.com/uk/browse/home/shop_mac/family/mac_mini
– Speed bump
– Double the RAM
– £499, 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB memory, 160GB hard drive
– £649, 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB memory, 320GB hard drive
– £799, 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB memory, Dual 500GB hard drives, Snow Leopard Server
– Macbook
– http://store.apple.com/uk/browse/home/shop_mac/family/macbook?mco=MTA4MTY5NzU
– 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB DDR3 memory, 250GB hard drive
– 7 hour battery (built in)
– 13inch LED screen
– Glass multitouch
– £799
– iMac
– http://store.apple.com/uk/browse/home/shop_mac/family/imac?mco=MTA4MTU3NzI
– Bigger screens, true HD 16*9 ratio’s, backlit LED
– Can also act as a screen for other devices – consoles, blu-ray players etc. A first for the iMac
– SD card slot below superdrive
– First quad core option for an iMac
– Magic mouse
– Speed bump, higher disks, higher ram, lower price, new remote
– £949, 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 21.5″ 1920 x 1080 resolution, 4GB, 500GB
– £1,199, 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 21.5″ 1920 x 1080 resolution, 4GB, 1TB
– £1,349, 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo , 27″ 2560 x 1440 resolution, 4GB, 1TB
– £1,599, 2.66GHz Intel Core i5, 27″ 2560 x 1440 resolution, 4GB, 1TB

– Has Ian ordered one yet?
– Price is amazing for what you get – http://www.marco.org/222434049
– Magic Mouse
– http://store.apple.com/uk/product/MB829?mco=Nzc1MjM2OQ
– £55
– It loses the scroll ball found on the Mighty Mouse, but adds support for scrolling gestures. This mouse is also wireless, using Bluetooth, and has a four month battery life.
– no buttons at all and sports a “seamless multi-touch surface.” which roughly translates to “awkward in the extreme”.
– Remain unconvinced of it’s usefulness compared to my logitech revolution
– New remote (fugly?), airport extreme and time capsule now 802.11n, not draft n, 50% better performance, 25% better range
46:43 – Psystar
– sells Rebel EFI software on website allowing intel based PC’s to run OS X – Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad, i7 or Xeon Nehalem
– 8MB download – $89.99 but currently listed with $40 discount
– requires 38 steps for installation
– Free to try with limited hardware functionality and 2 hours run-time
49:26 – Piracy and the App Store
– %age of pirated scores submitted in first week 80-90%
– Now most pirates will tell you that they just like to try before they buy. If it’s a good game, then they’ll buy it. Well, from this data we can conclude that 0% of pirates think the game is worth buying
– Apple not doing much
54:03 – Apple Slate?
– Off the record comment:
– If you look at the transcript of his chat, or the 8:20 mark in the video, you’ll see him refer to delivery of journalism to mobile platforms, and then he mentions the “impending Apple slate.
– Now on video
55:32 – Motorola Droid
– Android 2.0, same processor as iPhone, physical keyboard
– Advert takes it to Apple – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPYM-XTqcec
– First proper competition to iPhone?
1:00:43 – Twitter, Facebook and Last.fm on the 360
– Preview program – dash update then download individual packages
– Work like separate app’s n the 360
– Last.fm – nice, visuals alongside music – scrobbles tracks, can’t play in background
– Twitter – simple interface, can tweet, see trends, see recent tweets from friends, can’t click on links or view pics
– facebook – clunky at first but it’s ok – nice way of browsing friends pictures
– Add’s functionality but not wow

Picks
Shakeel
Superhero Squad
– Free online comic creator
– create a quick 3 panel comic strip or a multi-page comic book
– use predefined assets to create your design: backgrounds, characters, objects, sound f/x, speech bubbles
– good fun

Ian
Amazon on the iPhone
– allowing users to shop using their phone
– Among the features of the application, which is free from the Apple Store, is the ‘Amazon Remembers’ service. Users can take a photo of an item using the iPhone and email it to Amazon. The retailer will try and find an item like the one in the photo and email a list of suggestions to the user.
– Customers can also access more than one million Amazon.co.uk products using the phone. They are also able to access wishlists, payment details and use One Click ordering for products.

Chris
Broadband Speed Checker
– Broadband speed checker that places your result plus provider on map and lets you look around. Are you getting a good service in your area?

DigitalOutbox Episode 20

DigitalOutbox Episode 20
In this episode the team discuss Windows 7, people power on Twitter, Apple bugs and some great picks.

Playback
Listen via iTunes
Listen via M4A
Listen via MP3

Shownotes
1:20 – Windows 7 Review
– The conclusion? First all of all, you’ll get much better battery life running OS X on Mac laptops than running Windows.
– Secondly, performance-wise, Windows 7 is probably a better choice if you are a gamer (there are more games developed for Windows, anyway), even on Mac hardware.
– Third, if you can get by with just software designed by Apple and if money is not a big issue, you will be happy with a Mac. Examples of these software choices are iTunes, iLife, QuickTime, Safari, iChat, and so on (and you probably won’t need much more than those for daily entertainment and communication needs).
– Finally, if money is not an issue–and it definitely is for most of us–you should get a Mac anyway. It’s the only platform, for now, that can run both Windows and OS X.
5:03 – Family Guy to Promote Windows 7
– Full half-hour show of Family Guy related content with Seth MacFarlane and crew. No ads – other than the huge one of the show itself!
– Is this really a match? Can it work? It will be watched for sure but who’s going to gain? Family Guy probably isn’t.
6:33 – Sidekick Data Found
– Last week we reported about the cloud computing loss of data.
– Statement released by t-mobile/MS warning users not to turn off/hard reset their device otherwise all data would be lost.
– Appears that the data has now been recovered and they are more confident that nobody should lose out.
– Vulnerability of cloud data – out of our control. Hopefully will focus cloud services to ensure redundancy as well as consumers to their responsibility.
8:12 – Guardian Gagged
– Guardian gagged from reporting parliamentary proceedings
– Twitter, blogs go wild
– Most of the info is online anyway
– Trafigura employed legal firm Carter-Ruck, known for it’s media gagging expertese to enforce the ban which stopped the Guardian speaking about this : “To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of legislation to protect (a) whistleblowers and (b) press freedom following the injunctions obtained in the High Court by (i) Barclays and Freshfields solicitors on 19 March 2009 on the publication of internal Barclays reports documenting alleged tax avoidance schemes and (ii) Trafigura and Carter-Ruck solicitors on 11 September 2009 on the publication of the Minton report on the alleged dumping of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast, commissioned by Trafigura.”
– Parliament order book lists the question – http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmordbk2/91014o01.htm – blogs started to piece the story together, spreading the news on twitter
– http://order-order.com/2009/10/12/guardian-gagged-from-reporting-parliament/
– Later, gag is lifted – http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/oct/13/guardian-gagged-parliamentary-question – The existence of a previously secret injunction against the media by oil traders Trafigura can now be revealed.
– Wikileaks has the report – http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Minton_report:_Trafigura_Toxic_dumping_along_the_Ivory_Coast_broke_EU_regulations,_14_Sep_2006
– Does this highlight the futility of media gag’s?
– To many people can publish, too much information distributed, too easy to spread word quickly and effectively on twitter
12:09 – Jan Moir and Daily Mail
– Links death to unnatural causes and links gay marriage and death
– Spouts shite basically
– Twitter outrage, quite rightly so
– Response from Charlie Brooker
– http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/oct/16/stephen-gately-jan-moir
– Daily Mail – orchestrated internet campaign
– PCC (Press Complaints Commission) under severe load – http://www.pcc.org.uk/
– Right wingers bemoan the lack of free speech
– So why did Jonathon Ross and Russell Brand get targeted by the Mail over Sachs comments and where was the freedom of speech there?
– Power of the mob, power of free speech on twitter, mass spread of information
– telegraph’s 50 things killed by the internet – 2) Fear that you are the only person unmoved by a celebrity’s death
– Digital pulse, soapbox for todays generation
– No where to hide for journalists and large corperations when power of the public can be harnessed in this way
– http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/oct/16/jan-moir-stephen-gately-response
15:40 – Sir Tim Berners-Lee apologises to your fingers
– Sir Tim, inventor of the WWW was asked if there was one thing he would change about the net if he had his time again. He said the “//” after the “http:” are completely unnecessary!
– Bastard!
16:55 – Spotify moving ever closer to iTunes
– You can now buy DRM-free 320Kbs MP3’s direct from within the Spotify app.
– It’s like iTunes with full song/album preview against everything. If you want a track to keep, no problem. If you want to remove adverts and listen on the move, no problem.
18:24 – Sky Songs
– Launches Oct 19th, Can’t buy tracks, subscribe per month
– For £6.49 a month, users can download one “£6.49 album” or ten individual songs and stream as much music as they want for one month.
– For £7.99, users can download a “£7.99” album or 15 songs and have the same access to streamed music.
– All four major music labels on board
– PC only at the moment?
20:01 – 4OD Moves to Youtube
– Channel 4 has come to a deal with YouTube to hold all Channel 4’s back catalogue and stream in High Quality.
– Google and Channel 4 will split the revenue generated from ads on the Channel 4 content.
– 3 year deal, with all content expected available by early 2010.
– Channel 4 have the option to opt out of iPhone streaming but no decision has been made yet.
22:35 – Google Making Money
– $1.6bn profit off a total $6bn revenue for 3rd quater of year. 7% up on 2008.
24:41 – Snow Leopard Deletes All Your data
– Difficult to reproduce but seems linked to upgrade from Leopard and use of the Guest account.
– What happens, according to numerous reports, is that after logging in and out of a Guest account (which, upon logout, wipes out any data stored within the Guest account’s home folder), and then logging in to a regular account, people are finding that their regular account has been wiped too.
– Looks to occur only if you had guest account enabled prior to Snowy upgrade
– Apple, which is notorious for not commenting on these things, made the unusual step of acknowledging the problem to CNET.
– This is serious. It should never happen. Even Vista doesn’t do that!
– To prevent, if the Guest Account was enabled before you upgraded to Snow Leopard, pop in to your System Preferences and disable it. Close System Preferences and restart your computer. When you next log in, you can choose whether or not you want to re-enable the Guest Account. Doing so after following these steps ought to be safe, since the Guest Account will be recreated with all-new Snow Leopard settings which, it’s assumed, won’t delete all your valuable personal data. Note – community fix and not an official Apple policy. You could also just disable guest accounts if you never use them.
27:57 – Time Capsule Memorial Web Site
– Average lifetime of Time Capsule – 17months, 4 days – 212 people registered
– They get hot and capacitors look to be frying
– Not good for a device that’s to be used for backing up your data too
– Apple not acknowledging issue – surprise surprise
31:05 – Jailbreak for 3.1.2
– For Mac and Windows
– Let’s you install Cydia, etc
– Anyone tried it?
– iPhone 3GS now shipping with new bootrom, resistant to current jailbreaking techniques
33:45 – Layar for iPhone
– Augmented reality
– Lot’s of layars
– Works well and is free – 3GS only
40:10 – Radio App from Apple
– Tipped rumour that the FM chip in iPhone/iPod touch will be used for a new Radio app to be developed by Apple.
– Possible “Buy this song” functionality against currently playing track. Perhaps working in background just like iPod app.
43:58 – Dyson Bladeless fan
– uber-cool, uber-efficient but uber-expensive -£199 from Argos.
47:00 – Sky on the 360
– Channels
– G.O.L.D, Sky Real Lives, Sky Arts 1, Sky Movies 1 & 2, Sky Sports 1, 2, 3 and Xtra, Sky Sports News, British Eurosport, ESPN
ESPN Classic, Sky News, National Geographic, National Geographic Wild, History, Eden, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Disney Channel
– Oct 27th
– SD only
– Even if you are not a Sky digital customer, you can now subscribe to Sky Player TV from £15/€18 a month for the Entertainment Pack. This includes the live broadcast of over 20 channels including National Geographic, ESPN Classic, G.O.L.D. and Disney Channel. You are also entitled to the free content available from these channels. You can also choose to upgrade this package to include Sky’s premium channels Sky Movies and Sky Sports, making a total of 21 live channels for your delectation. If you subscribe to Sky Multiroom account then you can watch all the live channels in your pack on your Xbox 360, at no extra cost! Sky Multiroom or Sky Broadband Unlimited customers can also watch Live TV on their Xbox 360’s at no extra charge. All other Sky TV customers can subscribe to watch Live TV on Sky Player for £9.75/€14.75 a month.

Picks
Ian
TVCatchup
– Watch 11 channels live on the iphone
– Works well over 3G
– Happy, happy days
– Free

Chris
SpaceSniffer
– A visual representation of space taken up on a disk. Files and folders all represented by blocks on the screen relative to their filesize. Folder blocks contain their constituent files as smaller blocks.
– Hypnotic to watch a scan taking place. Slick ability to zoon in on areas.
– And is very useful in idenfying where you lose all those Gb’s on your once empty HardDrive.
– Going to be useful for clean install of Windows 7.

Henry
Caffeine
– tiny Mac OS X program that sits on the menu bar and stops your mac going to sleep

DigitalOutbox Episode 18

DigitalOutbox Episode 18
In this episode the team discuss why we’ve grown to 3 1/2 people.

Playback
Listen via iTunes
Listen via M4A
Listen via MP3

Shownotes
1:25 – Google Wave
– Biggest news of the week – trending topic on twitter for a couple of days
– EBay auction for an invite going for £20-£60! Madness!
– IM on steroids or really the future for communicating online?
3:17 – ICANN and UK Broadband
– The US Government has relaxed its hands on control of the internet
– Specifically giving ICANN – the body responsible for regulating the internet – autonomy and opening it up to global comment.
– The move recognises the global nature of the Internet and eases worries about impartiality in the EU and other regions.
6:53 – Internet Overtakes TV advertising Money
– The UK has become the first major economy where advertisers spend more on internet advertising than on television advertising, with a record £1.75bn online spend in the first six months of the year.
– 4.6% year-on-year increase
– The internet now accounts for 23.5% of all advertising money spent in the UK, while TV ad spend accounts for 21.9% of marketing budgets.
– TV advertising fell about 17% year on year in the first half, to about £1.6bn
9:05 – Freeview Retune
– The freeview retune has meant that more people can now receive channel 5 – but many have lost ITV 3 and 4…
– 20,000 or so older boxes expected to break completely.
– Retune needed to enable Freeview HD.
– Advice is for people to try and re-tune again to see if the channels come back.
14:34 – Microsoft Security Essentials
– guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software
– Free as long as you’ve bought Windows
– XP, Vista, Windows 7
17:35 – Bing Bust?
– Search market share slipped in September in USA and Globally – now 3.3%
– Google – Gained 2% to 80% of US market, 90.5% of global market
– Competition is good – look at the products and innovations from Google in the last 1-2 months
– Better search options in Google
– http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/10/01/google-adds-new-options-to-make-search-more-timely-less-spammy-and-more-personal/
– http://mashable.com/2009/10/01/google-search-options/
– IE 7 & 8 are only there thanks to Firefox! Need competitors to Google.
21:21 – Spotify allows downloads
– Download playlists for offline listening
– Will they be DRM’d?
– Is this really needed?
25:01 – Apple buys PlaceBase
– Is this as protection against Google?
– Will future iPhone OS replace Google maps?
– Whats about the app’s that have been developed using Google Map’s through API’s?
26:58 – iPhone coming to Orange and Vodafone
– No tariff, price or dates yet
– Orange say they will be cheaper than O2, not sure if that’s handset or monthly tariff though
– Orange, which has had 65,000 reservations for the handset in just a couple of days, claims wider, faster 3G coverage than O2, with 93% of the population, compared with O2’s 80%.
– http://www.vodafone.com/start/media_relations/news/group_press_releases/2009/iphone_uk_ire.html
– http://shop.vodafone.co.uk/shop/mobile-phone/iphone-3gs
– Vodafone say early 2010 for them to start selling 3G and 3GS
– Virgin Media want iPhone too
30:44 – New iMac’s and Mini’s?
– New iMac’s and Mini’s all but confirmed?
– Further orders of iMacs and low cost Mini will go unhonoured
– Plus, new touch based mighty mouse???????
– http://www.engadget.com/2009/10/02/new-apple-bluetooth-keyboard-arrives-at-the-fcc-new-mouse-rumor/
– New keyboard and mouse
– Adverts released early point to new hardware
– http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/09/10/03/apple_ads_hint_at_thinner_imacs_lighter_macbooks_cheaper_mac_minis.html
– John Gruber bets on new keyboard/mouse showing alongside blu-ray imacs.
– http://daringfireball.net/linked/2009/10/02/engadget-keyboards-mice
37:48 – Tablet and TV Rumours
– Will be announced on or before Jan 19th, released May-Jun 2010
– Currently a 10.7inch screen – 2 models, one with 3g, one without
– Display around 720p
– still has to receive final approval from Steve Jobs, something the source claims only has about an 80 percent chance of right now.
– Apple in discussions with print publications … oo-er – shak
– http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/09/09/30/apple_contacted_print_publications_about_tablet_report.html
– possible new use/reason for the Tablet
– apple reaching out to print publications about releasing content on iTunes
– Tablet been through several iterations and project reset by SJ while Apple decided how people would use the tablet – as we’ve discussed many times
– eventual goal – possibly hybrid content drawing from audio, video, interactive graphics – the next gen of print content??
– Apple TV Update – Rumour Alert!! – shak
– According to Boy Genius Report’s tipster thinks an updated Apple TV could be in development accompanied by a touch screen remote control.
– same tipster who correctly reported on iPhone homescreen organisation and social networking components in iTunes 9
– http://www.boygeniusreport.com/2009/09/29/apple-working-on-a-touchscreen-remote-for-upcoming-apple-tv/
45:50 – iPhone Appstore – 2 billion downloads
– 9 months to hit 1 billion – number of downloads accelerating
– Just over a year to deliver 1.5 billion, 76 days for the next 1/2 billion
– Issue now is discovery and breaking your app in the store – difficult
– http://www.apple.com/iphone/apps-for-everything/
47:19 – Dropbox for iPhone
– Gives access to your Dropbox account
– Fast, can browse folders, open files, images, music, video
– Can fav files to access them offline
– Can share a file from the app – generate an e-mail to send to friends
– Take photo’s and video’s and store in dropbox
48:00 – PCalc Profanity Filter
– No more boobbies
– From TLA Systems and James Thomson, Glasgow based iphone developer
– believe it when you see it

Picks
Shakeel
Droplitz
– iPhone game
– Addictive, £0.59

Ian
Canabalt
– iPhone game – £1.79
– Based on flash game of same name
– Simple, stylish with great music – perfect

Chris
Xtranormal
– Make movies just by typing in a script. Virtual actors / scenes.
– Seen some great funny vids already.
– Save / share / upload to youtube.

Halo 3:ODST

Halo 3:ODST is my most obvious DigitalOutbox pick so far. I loved the original Halo and played countless hours of split screen multiplayer. Halo 2 was a massive step forward due to the multiplayer – simply the best available at the time. Halo 3 took it one step further with improved graphics and the variety of map’s and gameplay that it had to offer. One thing that’s consistent with all those games – I’ve yet to complete the campaign (also called single player) mode in any of them. The campaign’s are good but I put the blame on one thing – The Flood. Quite possibly the worst aspect of the Halo universe is the flood and thankfully they are part of campaign only. Anytime I see The Flood I just yawn – so boring. Anyway, Halo 3:ODST.

odst

This release is probably Halo’s most controversial so far. ODST started off as an extension pack and over the last year has grown into a full campaign story, and a full priced game at the same time. Alongside the campaign you get a new Firefight multiplayer mode (think horde mode from Gears of War 2) and on a second disk every multiplayer map for Halo 3 plus three new multiplayer map’s. I say full price but I paid just over £30 for ODST which is less than most other releases. However, was it good value?

The campaign mode in ODST is rather different than the usual Halo fare. No master chief, instead you play the role of a rookie ODST (Orbital Drop Shock Trooper). The game is set a few hours after you have dropped on to New Mombassa and is set around the same timeline as Halo 2. What’s unique is that the missions (8 in total) are accessed as flashbacks as you roam the streets of New Mombassa. The gameplay in Mombassa is also quite different – almost stealth like. You can avoid combat if you like and in some cases you probably need to. Your trooper is not like master chief and some of the enemies are very tough for your character. No dual wielding or running for your smaller and weaker trooper and watch out for heights – no more jumping from tall buildings in ODST! There’s also no vehicles in New Mombassa – better get used to walking. However the missions you access are more standard Halo – lot’s of enemies to fight, warthogs missions a plenty and some amazing set piece moments.

odst_carnage

The best way to play campaign is definitely in co-op. Up to four players can play campaign this way and it is far more enjoyable. As for the story itself – usual pap that isn’t worth bothering about in my opinion although something to note is the story makes no account for co-op gamers. it’s told as if one rookie is playing the game, not four which can be jarring. The graphic style in ODST is also quite different. Using the Halo 3 engine, the New Mombassa parts are set at night and in a very neon lit environment that are very atmospheric. This is enhanced when you enable night vision (only in ODST, not Halo 3 multiplayer) which draws a nice red outline around enemies. One thing to note – compared to other games the Halo 3 engine is starting to show it’s age. Compare it to Modern Warfare 2 and it looks quite dated in some ways. Back to the value question – we’ve played through almost all of ODST and it’s take 6-8 hours. We’ve not got stuck apart from a very repetitive last level. And yes, thats without the flood!

The other brand new addition is Firefight mode. If you’ve played the Horde mode in Gears of War 2 then you’ve played Firefight. Select from a choice of 10 maps and fight wave after wave of Halo bad guys. They increase in volume and difficulty after each wave. Again you can play this mode with up to three other friends. I think it’s this mode more than any other so far in Halo that emphasises team work. There are 5 waves to each set and each set shares a number of lives between all players. So one good player won’t get your team through the game if a couple of others keep dying. You need to work together, use weapons wisely and share out the limited health. Another great feature is that if your down to one guy and he manages to survive and get your team through to the next set, all team mates get back into the game and he gets a hero award. It’s a great, tense addition and one we’ve loved playing over the last week, especially listening to Chris singing about being a hero.

Firefight

Firefight’s biggest problems are a lack of pause function and an inability to invite people in mid game. It’s also a friends only game. No random multiplayer support which is a bit annoying if you’ve only got one or two friends online playing ODST. Sticking to the value theme – I love this mode. A game can last anything from a few minutes to a couple of hours and it’s action packed. Also, every game has felt different so far and the map design has been excellent. That leaves us with disk 2 and Halo 3 multiplayer.

Whether this is good value or not is down to how much you played Halo 3. If you’ve bought all the maps so far then your only getting three new maps. If you didn’t play Halo 3, or didn’t pay for any of the new maps then there are 12 new maps for your enjoyment. In total there are 23 multiplayer maps across the various playlists and custom games that you know and love from Halo 3 multiplayer. For me it was three new maps so not brilliant, but then I still play Halo 3 every week so new maps are good and getting a larger community onto the newer map’s should see some better playlist variety.

[flash url=”http://www.digitaloutbox.com/movies/halo3_multi.swf” w=”500″ h=”282″]

First map I tried was Longshore. Quite large, and has multiple entry and exit points for flag and bomb planting. The movie above was from my first game. We were defending and the blues attacked perfectly. They activated a bridge to drop right on to the bomb plant spot while invisible ‘shotgun guy’ took out out gunner. Round over. Awesome. Really enjoyed this new map. I think it will become a favourite over time. Next new map was Citadel which is a pretty small map with not much cover. At first I was getting picked off with ease as I didn’t expect it to be so open or to be shot from a distance. Expect lot’s of 4vs4 capture the flag on this map. Two or three games already in this mode and it was very enjoyable as the game ebbed and flowed. Well, it was more enjoyable as I started to capture some flags.

citadel

Onto the third new map, Heretic. I say new – it’s really the classic Midship from Halo 2. I’ve lost count of the number of games I’ve played on this map. It’s superb for bomb and flag games and a welcome addition to Halo 3. In fact, I’d love a few more map’s from Halo 2 to make the move into 3 but I doubt we’ll see anymore now.

heretic

So that’s it, Halo 3:ODST. Oh, almost forgot. You also get exclusive access to the multiplayer demo of Halo Reach, out next year. If you like FPS and haven’t picked up some of the multiplayer map’s then this is a no brainer. If you like Halo and already have the map’s then it’s still a worthwhile purchase. If your not into multiplayer gaming then I’d stay away from ODST. Our co-op games have been good with Firefight standing out as a really good addition. Just remember that Firefight needs friends willing to play as you can’t invite randoms into those games. On that note, it’s back online for me.

DigitalOutbox Episode 17

DigitalOutbox Episode 17
In this episode the team discuss Microsoft Courier, Pay for your broadband and music, Google innovates and PS3 news from the Tokyo Game Show.

Playback
Listen via iTunes
Listen via M4A
Listen via MP3

Shownotes
0:49 – Digital Britain – time to pay!
– 50p tax on landlines to go ahead
– Presented in bill before christmas
– Is this the right thing to do?
5:17 – Music At War
– Two camps emerging. Those that think that everything possible should be done to eliminate illegal file sharing. Although I can’t find details of what they are suggesting.
– Another camp saying that what’s the point in trying to stop file-sharing – nothing will work anyway.
– And now the two camps are at war.
– Come up with a sensible solution. Fight clever. Work with new technology and the new music listener – don’t fight a losing battle to protect old infrastructure.
– Lily Allen and artists come to some agreement on piracy stance
– http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/09/lily_unites_musicians_against.html
– http://www.featuredartistscoalition.com/showscreen.php?site_id=161&screentype=folder&screenid=2990&newsaction=showitem&newsid=2588&dc=6&sn=News
– We the undersigned wish to express our support for Lily Allen in her campaign to alert music lovers to the threat that illegal downloading presents to our industry and to condemn the vitriol that has been directed at her in recent days.
– Our meeting also voted overwhelmingly to support a three-strike sanction on those who persistently download illegal files, sanctions to consist of a warning letter, a stronger warning letter and a final sanction of the restriction of the infringer’s bandwidth to a level which would render file-sharing of media files impractical while leaving basic email and web access functional.
11:18 – Charge for iPlayer?
– Lorraine Heggessey, chief executive of TV production company Talkback Thames.
– Industry want to charge micro-payments for catch up services but BBC scuppering this.
– BBC have no plans to charge. Licence fee covers this content.
13:31 – Google Chrome Frame
– Plugin for IE 6(and 7 & 8) that replaces rendering engine in IE6 with Chrome
– Will this force Microsoft to be more aggressive on moving from IE6?
– http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10360850-56.html?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=Webware
– “With Internet Explorer 8, we made significant advancements and updates to make the browser safer for our customers,” Microsoft said. “Given the security issues with plug-ins in general and Google Chrome in particular, Google Chrome Frame running as a plug-in has doubled the attach area for malware and malicious scripts. This is not a risk we would recommend our friends and families take.”
– So, time to remove Silverlight?
18:10 – Google SideWiki
– Commenting for the web?
– Needs google toolbar
– Not original, been tried before and failed but will it be successful due to Google’s brand and market share?
– Yet another comment source – fragmentation of the conversation although there is an api
22:42 – Push GMail
– Google sync now support gmail
– Setup exchange account on iPhone to get push calendar, contacts and gmail
– Google working around Apple’s limitations and choices
– Only 1 exchange account available on iPhone
25:26 – Picasa 3.5
– Face recognition, similar to picasa albums online
– Share albums based on name
– Better geotagging and uploading/sharing options
26:15 – Bing increases market share
– From 8.9 to 9.3% in US market.
– OK it’s only a small increase but considering everyone said it was impossible to even steal a small share away from Google was impossible.
– May mean that Bing is a default choice for some users now.
27:21 – Apple Acknowledges battery concerns
– Users can log battery issues with Apple
– Also can install Battery Life Logging and report issues back to Apple
– http://www.theiphoneblog.com/2009/09/20/apple-seeking-info-iphone-31-users-reporting-poor-battery-life/
30:01 – USB IF Sides with Apple
– Palm issues dismissed
– Your letter also states that:
“Palm will shortly issue an update of its WebOS operating system that uses Apple’s Vendor ID number for the sole purpose of restoring the Palm media sync functionality.”
I attach for your information the USB-IF’s adopted and published policy regarding Vendor Identification Numbers (VIDs). Under the Policy, Palm may only use the single Vendor ID issued to Palm for Palm’s usage. Usage of any other company’s Vendor ID is specifically precluded. Palm’s expressed intent to use Apple’s VID appears to violate the attached policy.
Please clarify Palm’s intent and respond to this potential violation within seven days.
– GET OUT!
34:48 – iTunes Update
– Resolves issues browsing the iTunes Store.
– Addresses a performance issue where iTunes may become unresponsive.
– Fixes a problem where iTunes may unexpectedly quit.
– Fixes a problem syncing Podcasts in playlists to iPod or iPhone.
– Fixes a problem sorting albums with multiple discs.
– Addresses an issue with the Zoom button not switching to Mini Player.
– Improves application syncing for iPod touch and iPhone.
– Genius is now automatically updated to show Genius Mixes.
41:37 – Tiny Blu Ray PC
– Like a Mac mini – but with BluRay (kind of what we were talking about last week) £650 or £450 without the BluRay.
– Comes with media centre remote.
– Don’t know what kind of storage it has but media centre seems pretty good at streaming.
42:22 – Microsoft Courier
– A booklet, not a tablet
– Late prototype
– Touch and stylus driven,camera,7inch screens
49:24 – Sony at Tokyo Game Show
– Sony Motion Controller
– Japan release March
– Spring 2010 for rest of the world
– 4-5 million units worldwide
– Old games will be adpated to support it
– 250GB PS3 Slim
– Oct 1st
– On Amazon for £285 – bundles on the way
– PS3 Firmware issues – ian
– Tam mentioned this…
– http://www.engadgethd.com/2009/09/25/ps3-3-0-3-01-firmware-update-making-blu-ray-drive-unusable/
– Issues with 3.0 and 3.0.1 for people
– Been perfect for me
– God of War 1 & 2 bundle to include E3 demo of God of War 3
– PS3 Rumour Leaks
– wants to sell all PS2 titles on PSN – PS2 emulator ??
– special “Japanese Import” section for titles only released in Japan – ie Yakuza 3
– leaked document mentions possibility of Dreamcast titles appearing on PSN

Picks
Shakeel
Snippet
– sits on menu bar
– nice and clean interface
– pop-up menus and mini-windows, very little clutter
– easily search for your snippets of code, copy then paste into new projects.
– search by tags
– no need to hunt through previous/old projects
– easily create new snippets from any text
– select type of code, add tags
– primarily designed for programming but just as useful for storing other regularly used information
– for blocks of text, can copy a small selection instead of the whole lot, all from a mini pop-up window
– when code or text is copied, focus automatically returned to the last used app

Ian
Halo 3 ODST
– Co-op
– Firefight
– Multiplayer maps
– Good Value

Chris
MS Windows 7 Parties
– Ooooooo Mmmmmm Ggggggg

DigitalOutbox Episode 12

DigitalOutbox Episode 12
In this episode the team discuss this weeks tech news.

Playback
Listen via iTunes
Listen via M4A
Listen via MP3

Shownotes
1:06 – UK Stance on Illegal File Sharing
– ISP’s angry at Government stance that repeat offenders could be cut off from net
– Seems that accusations alone could be enough to cut off someone’s connection.
– Proportional punishment? You can be a hacker, spamer, fraudster or other criminal and still have access to the internet. Seems if you share a Myley Cyrus track over the internet – someone whom clearly adds immense value to the creative landscape of modern culture…. Mmm – you can have, what is in effect, an essential service cut off.
– Where is the balance of proof? What about people who share an IP? What about parents who have no idea that their child is sharing files?
– Mandelson ordered an amendment to the digital Britain report – an unelected member of parliament throwing his weight around. Proposals are:
– Blocking access to download sites
– Reducing broadband speeds
– Temporarily suspending the individual’s Internet account as a last resort
– Most downloaded TV (4% is uk) – http://www.broadbandtvnews.com/2009/08/28/heroes-tops-file-sharing-list/
– Top 10 Worldwide TV Torrents
– Heroes; 54,562,012 (2.18 million UK)
– Lost; 51,151,396 (2 million UK)
– 24; 34,119,093 (1.4 million UK)
– Who would police this? Can evidence and proof be 100% guaranteed?
6:44 – Pirate Bay Takedown
– The court ordered the site’s major bandwidth supplier, Black Internet, to disconnect TPB from the Internet or face penalties of 500,000 kroner ($70,600). The ISP complied, saying that it had no choice but to uphold the law.
– Shares in GGF suspended
– GGF chairman resigned
– Owed money to taxman
– Goodbye, it was fun whilst it lasted. Next.
– Alternative pirate bays already appearing… plus it’s not as if this was the only site out there anyway. Closing one site will not remedy the problem.
8:12 – Nokia Ovi and Netbook
– Ovi
– Appstore for Nokia
– http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/nokias_ovi_to_compete_with_iphone_app_store.php
– Applications for all 75 of it’s handsets – challenging
– Booklet 3G
– http://mashable.com/2009/08/24/nokia-laptop-booklet-3g/
– Their first pc – Netbook – wifi, 3g, bluetooth, sim card slot
– 10.1 inch screen
– 12 hours battery life – wow (if true)
– Windows 7
– Looks quite nice!
– Fingers crossed for a sensibly priced, sensibly specified data bundle
12:30 – Bing and Wolfram
– Microsoft has apparently struck a licensing deal with Wolfram Alpha to include some of Wolfram’s search results within Bing.
– No comments yet from either MS or Wolfram.
– MS really do appear to be chasing the search market hard… with Yahoo taking the large majority of ad revenue you’ve got to question why? Longer term I expect they want to cash in on the Google billions that they collect through paid for advertising once the Yahoo agreement is over
14:14 – Microsoft Suck At Photoshop
– Polish version of photo has black head removed replaced with a white head but keeping the black hands
– What were they thinking?
– But this probably happens a lot
16:16 – Microsoft STILL amending prices for Windows 7
– From 1st Sept, no longer upgrade price for full version.
– There are now separate prices for upgrade and full
– Have now confirmed the family pack for install on 3 machines
– Doesn’t affect those already pre-ordered
– SORT IT OUT!
19:19 – Facebook Changing Privacy Policy
– Facebook has agreed to change its privacy policy in response to recommendations made by courts in Canada.
– Existing policy is in violation of Canadian law – specifically its holding onto users data for an indeterminate length of time
– Amends will be put in place that allow users to not only suspend their accounts but offer an easy option to delete their account and permanently delete data.
– However, Facebook has said this could take 12 months to implement… REALLY… 12 MONTHS!!! Facebook must really respect users privacy and the Canadian courts for it to be so high up their development schedules to only allow it to be rolled out in 12 months.
– Facebook 3.0 released on the appstore
– very nice update
– much more refined interface, easy to use and logical
– create your own iPhone-like pages
25:14 – Apple News
– Apple Care about your apps…
– http://crave.cnet.co.uk/software/0,39029471,49303437,00.htm
– Apple’s App Approval Team spend, on average, 6 mins per app to make a decision to approve/reject if Apple’s figures are to be believed.
– This process is carried out by 2 people, therefore a total of 12 mins per app.
– Victim of their own success? Stretching their staff a little thin?
– Yelp
– First augmented reality app
– Hidden option – shake three times and a dialogue appears offerring to enable ‘monacle’
– Once enabled, see reviews as you spin around iPhone – 3GS only
– Awesome 🙂
– Spotify
– annual subscription increased to £119.88
– adds social networking – share your music on Twitter, Facebook, Delicious
-iPhone app approved
– should be available to download soon
– will be interesting to see how it performs over 3G and wifi
– App is free but you need to be premium member to use the app to stream. (£10 month)
39:24 – Xbox Price Drop…and increase!
– XBox price cuts anounced
– Arcade = £159.99; Elite = £199.99
– No HDMI cable in Elite box.
– Possibly new Xbox Super Elite in October. 250GB HDD, includes 2 wireless controllers + Forza 3?… going to be an expensive bundle.

Picks
Shakeel
Your camera and the Law

Ian
TripIt
– Itinery planner
– E-mail travel e-mails to plans@tripit.com
– So far all my travel plans have imported well – if there is a mistake then you edit
– Free tripit iphone app to view all travel details, booking numbers and contact phone numbers – no paper required
– Stats on how much you’ve travelled and where each year – geeky but nice
– Social too – friends can see your travel plans, where your staying etc
– share plans via iCal feed, rss, linked in, blog etc
– Other app’s can import data automatically

Chris
Let the “Internet” decide what music you should listen to!
– Dynamically generated Spotify playlist generated by wearehanted.com by trawling as many social networks, blogs etc as possible to see what music people are talking about most at any time.
– List of about 99 tracks.
– Like this for the mashup aspect as well as the fact that the tracks I’ve heard through it have been good – and different from the char