DigitalOutbox Episode 22

DigitalOutbox Episode 22
In this episode the team discuss Droid, Google Navigator, Shakeel gets struck off and not much Apple news.

Playback
Listen via iTunes
Listen via M4A
Listen via MP3

Shownotes
1:51 – Internet Turns 40
– Who could have predicted just how engrained it would become
5:26 – Google Maps Navigation
– Connected to net
– Free
– Search in plain english and by voice and search along route
– Traffic flow – shows traffic, easy to find alternative route
– Satellite and street view – great
– Android 2.0 at the moment. Great USP for Android phones – killer app. Google are ‘working with’ Apple in bringing it to iPhone
– UI looks great – if only the other Google app’s had same care and attention (harsh – web based gmail is great)
– Garmin and TomTom shares down 16 ans 20%!
– What happens if you’ve no signal?
– Reviews say it’s not bad but has major UI and usability issues.
13:06 – Droid and Android 2
– Droid
– Nov 6th, $199 (after $100 rebate)
– 3.7inch screen at 480×854 pixels
– Removable 16GB SD memory
– Removable battery
– 5MP camera
– Physical and virtual keyboard
22:46 – Twitter Lists
– Rolled out to all users
– Allows users to create lists of twitter users
– Lists are public by default (but can be made private) and the lists you’ve created are linked from your profile. Other Twitter users can then subscribe to your lists. This means lists have the potential to be an important new discovery mechanism for great tweets and accounts.
– Sounds trivial – replaces follow friday
– Allows groupings of users
– Some great lists out there – http://twitter.com/DigitalOutbox/podcasters
25:40 – Three Strikes Then Disconnect
– cost of monitoring to be spread between ISPs and Rights owners
– ISP’s preparing legal challenge saying proposals are “wrong in principle, and won’t work in practice”
– Lord Mandelson seems more and more clueless whenever he opens his mouth on this issue.
– From 2011 but bill heard in late November
30:59 – Spotify Drop Prices
– Now only £6.99 for the first 6 months – offer ends soon
– CTO has left the building, announced he’d was taking “a better offer” on twitter
– Competition stronger than ever, with a price war going on.
– Noticed that some tracks are now listed as “Premium members only”… hadn’t seen that before but time limited to certain artists and releases – Chris
– Some albums and tracks were released early to premium owners for a couple of months now….I think…maybe – ian
34:38 – Google Powermeter
– Partnered with first:utility, small energy supplier
– See power usage on the web, in igoogle
– Free service
– Also partnered with http://www.alertme.com/
– £69 for device and £3 monthly subscription
36:07 – Microsoft Watches Family Guy
– What a surprise, after seeing a recording of the half hour show, MS have pulled out saying that “the content was not a fit with the Windows brand”
– Apparently jokes about deaf people, the Holocaust and incest – normal Family Guy content then!!
– Chickens
37:27 – VMWare Fusion 3
– Excellent Windows 7 support
– Improved speed of XP too
40:50 – iTunes 9.0.2
– Apple TV 3 support
– Kills Palm pre sync
43:15 – Apple Patents
– iShoe
– head mounted mp3 player
46:43 – iPhone on Orange Nov 10th
– Day after O2 exclusivity finishes (Nov 9th, 2 years from original sale of iPhone)
– Prices….still no news
48:07 – Sky on the 360
– October 27th it’s launched…
– October 27th it’s removed…
51:57 – DSi XL
– New DS, exactly the same functionality, just bigger
– Q1 2010 in Europe – strange time to announce a new product next year
– Interested?
54:24 – Demon’s Soul
– bit of a sleeper hit, gaining a large following world-wide purely through word of mouth and high review scores
– ultra hard
– out in US now, published by Atlus.
– no UK availability, but it’s region free so you can import it from a site such as Video Games Plus for around £41 + P+P
– http://www.videogamesplus.ca/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=demon+souls

Picks
Shakeel
RedLaser
– surprisingly accurate, even with the crap iPhone 3G camera
– searches for items on Amazon and Google
– for me so far, more fun than of real use
– but … if i was out and saw something I wanted to buy, then it could come handy

Ian
Listorious
– The directory of awesome lists on twitter
– View lists by type/tag
– Great way of finding useful content
– Can add your list to listorious

Henry
Mockups
– demo version online allows you to create mockups of web apps, iphone apps etc
– export to PNG or XML, import from XML if you’re collaborating with someone.

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 16

DigitalOutbox Episode 16
In this episode the team discuss Eid Mubarak and some tech news too.

Playback
Listen via iTunes
Listen via M4A
Listen via MP3

Shownotes
1:57 – EBay Sued
– Follow up to the previous story – Joltid, the licence holders for technology underlying Skype – are filing suite to eBay. They say the 100,000 or so downloads of Skype made every day are seeing the suite grow by $75m per day for continued breaches of licence.
– Story details updated that eBay sourced unauthorised copies of the Joltid source code, made unauthorised amends and made the code available to third persons.
– eBay respond via spokesman John Pluhowski: “Their allegations and claims are without merit and are founded on fundamental legal and factual errors,”
5:41 – PAF Leaks Online
– Postcode Address File (PAF) leaks online. 241mb, 1,841,177 postcodes – no names and addresses in each file
– Useful – should this data not be free?
– Data will quickly go out of date – 4000 new entries, 2000 removals per month
8:07 – BBC Watchdog reports on faulty PS3’s
– Watchdog report suggests a manufacturing defect in the 1st gen 60gb PS3’s after being contacted by 155 viewers with faulty consoles, and from the opinion of 3 commercial repair technicians.
– faulty units displayed a high number of “voids” – faults in the solder
– sets up repair team ‘PRAT’ outside Sony London offices, offering free repairs for PS3’s that Sony charges for (but it seems PRAT’s repairs are not free!!)
– Gamesindustry.biz claims the repair stunt falls flat http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/watchdogs-ps3-repairs-stunt-falls-flat-interview
– “11 users getting their consoles repaired for free. During the show tonight, it admitted four of those consoles repaired by “experts” were no longer working”
– “report claimed the PlayStation 3 costs “£400” and with repair will total “£528” according to show presenter Anne Robinson, who also said “thousands upon thousands” had broken”
– ” x-ray of the PlayStation 3 showing “trapped gas”, although no explanation of this was offered.”
– Sony claims the ‘YLOD’ is non-specific indicator of a fault and doesn’t necessarily mean the console has died.
– nothing but a publicity stunt
– Watchdog criticised for wasting tax-payers money on producing an inaccurate and biased report http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/sony/6206575/BBC-Watchdog-criticised-over-PS3-story.html
– the number of faulty consoles with yellow light, reported to Sony complaints, represent less than 1/2% of 2.5m PS3’s sold. Hardly conclusive of an inherent fault
– compare that to 360’s confirmed failure rate 54.2%
– claims of bias as Iain Lee, one of the ‘reporters’, is an XBox fan.
– TheSixthAxis games site sends an open complaints letter to BBC http://www.thesixthaxis.com/2009/09/18/an-open-letter-to-bbc-complaints/comment-page-3/
– “You then skimmed over a six-page letter from SCEUK, summarising their lengthy (and apparently warranted) misgivings about the way you were handling the issue, in a few smirking sentences.”
– “you failed to mention that your “free” fix wasn’t actually free”
– “here was no indication of why the problem occurred, no discussion of which models it was being reported for and no information regarding possible preventative measures. ”
17:18 – BBC Protecting HD Content
– BBC have approached Ofcom to request the ability for them to encrypt TV listings for their HD content.
– Request made in response to content providers fears for illegal pirating of content.
– BBC aren’t allowed to encrypt their actual broadcast but by encrypting the channel listings and only permitting licences for trusted hardware manufacturers they are effectively render the station useless to users with non-trusted hardware.
– Usual arguments about the fact that this will not be effectual at all in stopping someone looking to pirate but will massively effect the everyday user and low end/cheap hardware manufacturers using open source operating systems for their products.
20:48 – Pay for News
– Wall Street Journal to charge weekly fee for web and mobile access
– $1 – applies to iPhone and Blackberry app’s
22:30 – Microsoft Application Store
– There was concern over a “kill switch” that had been implemented to allow MS to pull apps off of users devices. This has since been clarified by MS to only relate in cases where software causes harm or “unforeseen effects” and refunds will be issued in such cases. Most cases where the app is removed from the store for whatever reason will not remove the app from the users device.
– Revenue shared 70% / 30% in favour of the developer. Any carrier costs will be taken off MS share.
– $99 for first 5 submissions – then $99 for each subsequent submission
– Apps replacing core functionality – including mapping and navigation – will be rejected
– However, any apps rejected are still supported by the platform – just not via the app store.
– Video of free app on Zune – 30 sec video add everytime you start chess – http://vimeo.com/6612641
– 12 hours to convert an iPhone app to the Zune HD – impressive – http://mashable.com/2009/09/19/iphone-zune-hd-port/
26:27 – Office Online
– MS response to Google Docs.
– CNET UK got a taste. Brief summary being:
– Excel and Powerpoint both functioning. Both good online representations of the full PC apps. But slower thatn Google Docs because of that.
– Word Online not yet available for anything other than viewing word docs. View looks fine. Apparently, when editing is released it won’t add collaborative simultaneous editing on release, although it is on the roadmap.
– Sharing is currently achieved in a arse about tit way and needs addressing ASAP – based on folder shares rather than doc shares.
– Won’t work on Google Chrome – although will work on IE, Firefox and Safari. MS say that’s about “prioritising” ready for 2010 release.
– Summary – should be good for individual users looking for feature rich apps but slower than Google Docs and doesn’t have the simultaneous collaboration in Word. Sharing is terrible and needs to be addressed.
28:51 – Google
– Google Data Liberation
– http://www.dataliberation.org/home
– How to get your data into and out of Google tools
– Important consideration for cloud computing
– Google FastFlip
– Labs app – read the news by flipping quickly between sites
– Quick, works on iPhone and Android too
– Shares advertising revenue between Google and partner sites
– Can’t click on the links on each page. Nice for tablet???
– Google Chrome 3
– Faster, omnibox improvement, HTML support, themes
– Still no mac version (by year end)
– Currently 3% market share, in the next year 5%, within 2 years 10%
– Google Voice
– Google claim that it was rejected by Apple (Phil Schiller)
– http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/09/fcc-releases-confidential-details-of-google-voice-app-rejection.ars?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss
– This is going to get messy
– Someone is lying – who?
– Rumour – Google has screenshot of app rejection.
33:48 – Apple TV Price Drops
– Apple TV Price Drops – shakeel
– $229 in US for 160GB, no more 40gb
– £219 in the UK for 160gb – was £263 in UK for 160GB, £195 for 40gb
– iMac and MacBook refreshes due within weeks http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/09/09/16/apple_predicted_to_release_new_imacs_macbooks_in_weeks.html
40:17 – OS 3.1 Issues
– The latest iPhone OS (3.1) now blocks the teathering option on any unlocked handset.
– This affects officially unlocked handsets legitimately being used on alternate carriers, as well as unofficially unlocked and jail-broken.
– Apple Customer Support = “Nothing we can do to help”.
– other issues post 3.1 update
– random shut downs (yes, I’ve been a victim of this)
– occasional screen freezes
– poor(er) battery life
48:51 – Copyright in games gets sneeky
– Code inserted into Batman: Arkham Asylum removes essential controls from the game if you are running a pirate copy.
– Caught out a person on Eidos forum who posted about a bug in the game only to be told he had a bug in his moral code!

Picks
Shakeel
Create your own iPhone/Touch dock
– French designer Julien Madérou, has designed a template which can be downloaded and printed to a card.
– Then cut and fold into shape of a sturdy dock – cool!

Ian
Runkeeper
– Great for tracking your runs, cycles, walks etc on the iphone
– Great website
– 100% reliable for me
– Can edit routes, export to Google Earth
– Leave auto tweets and facebook updates on comleted runs/walks
– RunKeeper Free is ad-supported and RunKeeper Pro is ad-free. RunKeeper Pro also has audio cues (hear your stats via your headphones), and we recently added training workouts as well (hear intervals via your headphones).
– @runkeeper

Chris
Jing
– create screencasts on Mac / PC for free
– http://www.jingproject.com/
– Capture windows, screen areas or whole desktops.
– Capture microphone as well for commentary.
– Save as SWF – either host on screencast.com or save locally (Mp4, youtube possible in Pro version)
– Limited to 5 mins.
– Take a look at the Google Chrome overview to see the outcome!

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