TechingInn

A tech-user's guide to technology. Simplifying what can otherwise seem over-complicated!

Microsoft does a 360 on the Xbox One

One of the highlights of E3 was Microsoft’s seemingly unwavering stance on DRM (Digital Rights Management) when it came to playing titles on their next-get console. Essentially, what Microsoft would be doing was limiting users rights (licensing) to playing games on the console. Namely, the Xbox One would require user’s to ‘check-in’ every 24 hours or so.

To me, this was utter nonsense – and Sony took every opportunity to ride on what has now become one of Microsoft’s biggest E3 blunders!(See below and hear crowd’s response)

So, what’s new? Well, judging from the recent turn of events and just days after Microsoft decided they would play hard-ball and not back-down, they have now decided to perform a complete u-turn on the DRM / sign-in / always-on / you cannot borrow or buy used games foolishness.

Microsoft recently released this statement:

An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games – After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. There is no 24 hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360.

Microsoft also took the opportunity to shed light on the game-sharing issue which caused uproar amongst gamers. Once again, Sony was at hand to capitalize on the situation (grossing over 12million views):

Microsoft’s response:

Trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today– There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360.

Oh Microsoft!

Advertisements

Top Next-Gen Games – E3 2013

LET THE GAMES BEGIN!

 

As much as I’d wanted to count myself amongst the E3 crowd, I was unfortunately saddled with watching the press conferences in the comfort of my living room. Nevertheless, the press conference(s) (those I was able to stay up for ) was, for lack of a better word, mindblowing! – yep, I said it!

Below is a countdown of my E3 highlights (in no particular order):

1. Ryse (Xbox One exclusive)

Ryse Xbox One

Having watched the game demo a few times over, its clear that this game represents a true benchmark in what next-gen stands for – glorious detail! Microsoft have definitely got a winner in their hands with this one (considering the all the pieces comes together well) as this is only the start of next gen (well, officially November / December). That aside, it’s good to see developers harnessing the power of new hardware even before getting content into the hands of gamers! – Go Microsoft!

PS I’m a huge, huge fan of Spartacus, so you can probably imagine how hard it was for me not to make reference to it. I’m hoping you’ll be able to play as the barbarians, or, I guess that’ll just defeat the whole premise of the game?! *shrugs*

2. Watchdogs (Xbox One, Playstation 4)

Since seeing this game debuted at the Ubisoft conference, I knew for sure that this would be a ‘day-one’ purchase for me – preferably on a next-gen console, but irrespective, I’d settle for a PS3 version if I have to!
What’s there not to love about this game? – (from what I’ve heard and seen) the storyline is so refreshing and relevant, the gameplay is Über slick, and the graphics are pretty darn awesome too! – I’d say this is probably my most anticipated titles, but I guess I’m contradicting myself as with my earlier disclaimer, this list in “no particular order”. Could this possibly be a contender to Rockstar’s open-world / sandbox throne?

3. The Division (Xbox One, Playstation 4)

This is actually a surprise entry for me. As much as I love shooters (both first and third person – swaying more to the latter), I’d convinced myself that they’d plateaued in what they could offer and bring to the table. Once again, Ubisoft have indeed waved their magic wand and come up with something creative. Watching the gameplay demo, I was in fact, pleasantly surprised – which is rare for me. This is one I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for.

4. Titan Fall (Xbox One exclusive)

Titan Fall seems pretty epic! There’s so much to love about this game. For one, the changing dynamics with the introduction of mechs (or aptly named ‘Titans’) is a huge deal for modern day shooters. They’ve almost added a Transformers element to what could otherwise have become ‘another shooter’. Other welcomed additions to the game are the jetpacks strapped to each player, the free-running abilities and potential for sheer fun if this is executed right! Admittedly, this is one game that has me torn between the Xbox One and the PS4 (d**n you Sony!)

5. inFAMOUS: Second Son

I’ve followed this franchise since the release of Infamous back in 2009. I was enthralled by the creative nature of the original title and have since added Infamous 2 to my PS3 collection. Now, with the soon-to-be-released third instalment (which I was hoping would be a launch title), I couldn’t possibly attempt to repress my excitement!

Nothing much to say here; we’ve got a new protagonist (Delsin Rowe) possessing some slew of wickedly-cool superpowers it’s our duty to maximise his destructive capacity whilst taking back the city. I have no clue what just happened there, but it sounded very believable so I’ll be sticking to it.

The game looks absolutely gorgeous and sucker-punch have pulled out all the stops on this one. The physic engine looks neat, the [partially] destructible environment and enemy AI all look really impressive.

Notable mention:

The Crew


E3 disappointments:

1. Fifa 14

To be honest, as much as I love the Fifa series and have been a devout follower since I can remember, Fifa 14 looks like more of the same. A periodic improvement on the previous iteration. Emotions aside, I for one (and I know I’m not alone on this one), was disappointed that EA didn’t even have the decency to show any gameplay – really?! – Enough with the teasing already.

So there you have it.

iPhone to Android to iPhone and potentially back to Android again!

So, having switched from iPhone to Android and now back to the iPhone again, I’m really contemplating on whether or not I’ve made the right decision. I mean, both the iPhone and *insert any flagship android device here* definitely have their merits. #justsaying 

You see, for me, it wasn’t just about getting a phone persé, but rather what I’d be deciding to invest my time, money and effort in for the duration of my contract and of course and essentially what device would be my companion in spite of newer, faster, trendier model releases during the two years contract. I needed to know that I was making the right choice and not seemingly ‘going with the flow’. 
Having used my rooted S4 for close to two years and loving it, I was set on just upgrading to a newer android hardware. I’d been introduced to a world of little or no restrictions, invisible walls and endless possibilities. To me, it was a no-brainer. Apart from the inherent issues that comes with rooting a device (unstable builds, crashing etc) I was pretty much satisfied with the Android package in its entirety. I had my sights set on three devices; the One Plus (which, at the time seemed all too elusive – thus me wanting it even more) , Samsung Note 4 or Google’s Nexus 6 – all of which I think are fine choices. 
The One plus is a device that has received all-round praise for being able to marry flagship style specs with an affordable price point. Their only downfall was their convoluted invite system.
I’ve watched countless reviews on the Note 4 and taken note (no pun intended) of its resounding thumbs up – this is said to be a great phone – my only issue was having to revisit TouchWiz – Oh TouchWiz! This was the reason I rooted my S4 in the first place. It wouldn’t make sense to get a phone like the Note 4 and seemingly destroy it by not fully utilising all its best qualities which are sadly engrained in TouchWiz. #Conundrum. I hear Samsungs has toned down Touchwiz in their latest offerings (S6 & S6 Edge) #Whoop!
Lastly onto the Nexus 6, the creme de LA creme (in my opinion). 
As someone that’s dreamt of pure, unadulterated android, it was just the phone for me. I’d deliberated and decided, this was the one. I’ve heard it’s oversized and can be a little clumsy, but these were all things that I was willing to put aside. Only issue was that my mobile provided didn’t offer the device at the point of upgrading and I wasn’t willing to part with £550 a month after Christmas. That said, I started looking into other options…
Now, it’s crazy how things panned out. Long story short, a friend who works for a mobile provider mentioned he could get any contract with a hefty discount – sign me up! At the point, my options were now limited to essentially the heavyweights of Samsung’s Note 4 and Apple’s iPhone 6 (or 6+). #ohTheRivalries 
Now, before you crucify me for even considering iOS, I was familiar with the operating system and quiet frankly had no issues adopting it – I had a Mac, iPad and at this time, Apple’s (exciting) continuity feature was beginning to gain momentum. Here’s my reasoning:
  1. Did I mention the hefty discount? – yeah, that;
  2. Admittedly, Apple products tend to retain their value for much longer and thus resell for a better price;
  3. The lack of customisation (#GodBlessAndroid) would be mitigated by great quality apps.
  4. I’d ultimately still have my S4 so and I could potentially buy the One Plus, so I’d wouldn’t be missing too much, right!?
Albeit, some of the above reasons were true, here are my top reasons for and against switching from Android to iOS.

For:
  1. Albeit this is becoming less of a reason, Apple, in my opinion, have a more stellar app offering in terms of implementation and overall smoothness of experience. I mean, as much as I love android, there was little consistency in app performance or presentation. I’m not sure if this is preferential treatment from developers, but (on more apps than others) there is a clear disparity – maybe it’s just easier to build iOS or maybe its the fact that there are so many Android OEMs; either way, the general responsiveness is noted
  2. Kudos to Apple for trying to at least keep up with Android in creating larger devices and offering third party widgets and keyboards. There’s definitely still some way to go, but at least they’ve made a start.
  3. TouchID – it works pretty much all the time – haven’t had one issue with it. Being able to pay for apps etc is icing in the cake.
  4. The Camera although it’s difficult pitching a 8mp lens against Samsung’s 13MP cameras, it does produce some more than decent pictures.
  5. Build quality. There’s no denying that Apple devices are well crafted pieces of hardware, and the iPhone 6+ is definitely no exception. I find it has the right amount of weight and depth – doesn’t feel flimsy at all.
Against:
There are just some of my observations / gripes I’ve had during my transition period.
  1. Customisation: this is a biggie. I mean, apart from changing your wallpaper, I’m really looking for other options.
  2. Sharing: so, I could practically share any media to almost any app conceivable on my Android phone (slight exaggeration, but you get my drift). I could stream to Bubbleupnp or Web video cast as I pleased, or straight from Instagram to WhatsApp. The iPhone, in its “we know best” philosophy only works within the parameters set and we’ll play nice philosophy just doesn’t offer the same sharing options.
  3. Battery Saver Mode: this is rather self explanatory, but it was a life Saver – particularly when I couldn’t charge my phone but needed the last bit of juice to get me to my destination.
  4. iTunes: The need to transfer everything through iTunes is really jarring – although there’s now a third-party solution: pushbullet. I guess those that know will probably point to the fact that I could just as easily jailbreak my iPhone, and I’d simply respond by saying “I’m aware”.
  5. Proper Google integration: This is me over reaching, I know, but I absolutely tlovedthe usefulness of Google now, Google cards and it’s intuitive nature.
  6. ‘Use once’ / ‘Use Always’ – this was actually one of my biggest gripes when I first got into android, but now, I think its an ingenious addition to the operating system. The ability to decide what app I want to execute an action is…great!
In summation, this needn’t be a iOS vs Android debate (which it indelibly becomes), but rather, this is a system I prefer for my  lifestyle, needs and curiosity.
Should Apple choose to relax their customization  options, I may be back arguing for iOS. In the  meantime, I’ll stick with my MBP and iPad.

Has technology taken it’s toll?

http://blazepress.com/2015/05/27-powerful-images-that-sum-up-how-smartphones-are-ruining-our-lives/

TV is Dead, Long Live TV!

cinematically insane

seinfeld-jerry“That people will only watch television like this in the future is so obvious,” Jerry Seinfeld said this week at the Hulu upfront event for advertisers in New York City.

Seinfeld was talking about streaming of course, and his message was clear: subscription VOD services like Hulu will render live, linear channels obsolete, much like TV did to network radio in the 1950s. Like Jack Benny and Burns and Allen who moved from radio to TV more than half a century ago, today’s shows will transition from broadcast and cable origination to on-demand, and the viewers will follow.

Seinfeld can be forgiven for hyperbole, considering that he was likely giddy over the bags of money Hulu is dropping on his doorstep in return for exclusive streaming of all 180 episodes of his 1989-98 NBC sitcom. But I think he’s wrong.

There’s no doubt that the paradigm is shifting, in a way that fundamentally benefits the viewer…

View original post 521 more words

Playstation 4: initial verdict

Almost two years later and the initial verdict stands true – mostly.

Having purchased a PS4 myself, I can honestly say I feel I’ve made the best choice – I rarely look over the fence to Xbone gamers.

As much as I appreciate having the higher definition port of a game, I’m still waiting for the PS4 to get into its stride (i sometimes secretly wish I was a PC gamer – that’s besides the point).

So far, this generation has been plagued with rehashes of good games from the previous generation but nothing that really announces Next Gen superiority – Driveclub is pretty, GTA V is prettier, but nothing really says ‘Hi, I’m next gen’.

Cheers to upcoming, proper next gen games. witcher 3 springs to mind…

TechingInn

View original post

IFTTT (IfThisThenThat)

TechingInn

Image

Thanks to the guys over at TechnoBuffalo for introducing me to this new, quite frankly, amazing piece of software. I won’t go into it to much as I think it’s best you experience this for yourself. But what I will say is, you definitely, definitely, must try it out.

What is it?

A brief synopsis (if I may): So, you’ve got a bunch of apps and you go in and out of each one to perform your tasks and you either leave it running in the background or you close the app – done! – wrong!

What IFTTT does is unify everything through the creation of rules.

The best way I can describe it is to liken it to Microsoft outlook (yawn – but yes, I do use it on a daily basis). As you may well be aware, on outlook, you can create rules, for example, if a message…

View original post 179 more words

IFTTT (IfThisThenThat)

Image

Thanks to the guys over at TechnoBuffalo for introducing me to this new, quite frankly, amazing piece of software. I won’t go into it to much as I think it’s best you experience this for yourself. But what I will say is, you definitely, definitely, must try it out.

What is it?

A brief synopsis (if I may): So, you’ve got a bunch of apps and you go in and out of each one to perform your tasks and you either leave it running in the background or you close the app – done! – wrong!

What IFTTT does is unify everything through the creation of rules.

The best way I can describe it is to liken it to Microsoft outlook (yawn – but yes, I do use it on a daily basis). As you may well be aware, on outlook, you can create rules, for example, if a message is received from person x, move it straight into the thrash.

Well, that’s what this clever piece of tech does; it allows you to create rules for your apps. For example, (If) I post an image on ‘Instagram’, (Then) move a copy of it into dropbox (That). Okay, enough talking, just watch the video below and be…blown away!

Verdict

I’ve only started using it, but so far, I can say I’m loving it (as you probably gathered from my enthusiasm). It’s a really good tool to help you manage all the different apps you use on a daily basis and it does work. if I could think of a particular caveat, the only foreseeable one is the leg work needed to get this all going. What I will say is once you’ve created your ‘recipes’, it’s smooth sailing. Also, this has been quickly resolved by the ability to use preset recipes. Lastly, all this goodness is all packed into a handy iOS app. I’m sure in due season, we’ll see an Android, maybe Windows8 (or Blackberry 10) app. #Goodtimes

TechnoBuffalo review the Blackberry Q10

TechnoBuffalo reveiw the Blackberry Q10

Felt this was a very well-rounded review hence our sharing it.

Thinking of buying the Z10 instead? – check out our review here

Stop Paying for Texting with These Free Messaging Apps

Tech

Do you pay for text messaging? If you have a smartphone, you don’t have to. There are plenty of mobile messaging app alternatives that you can try at no cost. They work with different types of phones, your computer, and even communicate with your friends’ regular phones. Plus they work over Wi-Fi — great if you’re traveling internationally.

Mobile messaging vs text messages

So what’s the difference between mobile messages and text messages? Text messaging is an app that your carrier loads on the smartphones and feature phones they sell you. Mobile messaging is an app you download on to your smartphone, but is not available on feature phones. Both types of messaging let you send text and photos.

Text messaging is billed as text messaging or may be part of a bundle of voice, text and data. And if you’re paying per message, photos cost more than plain text…

View original post 517 more words

rich-tech-companies-infographic

Oh boy!