Author: Oli Jones
Activision are charging UK gamers £24 more than US gamers for Modern Warfare 2
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 will be priced at £54.99 when it is released in November – cue rage.
Activision are blaming rising production costs and the falling strength of the pound for the sudden and seemingly disproportional hike.
Depsite the game retailing in the US for a mere $59.99, only £36 in sterling! Explain that Activision!
And with Activision now regularly breaking the £50 barrier with it’s games (DJ Hero), it won’t be long before others follow suit.
Console games have been meandering toward the £50 mark for a while and ultimately it will be the consumer who sets the price. If, come November 10th, gamers band together, hold strong and don’t buy Modern Warfare 2 at this ridiculous price – Activision will be forced to bring the price down. And it will set a precedent, developers will know the £50 is too much, and it is too much.
Will that happen? Will-it-heck-as-like.
Ashes Cricket 2009 released
The Ashes are well underway, and after James Anderson and Monty Panesar’s ninth wicket heroics in Cardiff who wouldn’t want to swing-the-willow, smash a late cut for four, or dart one in off the seam?
Well, soon you will! Ashes Cricket 2009 will be released across the console platforms on August 7th.
You’ll be able to play Test matches, One Day Internationals and 20/20 games on the five official Ashes grounds.
The console editions will feature online multiplayer.
And, gloriously, the Wii edition with have you flailing cover drives and hooks in your bedroom.
Brian Lara cricket was a decent cricket game. Decent. World Cup Cricket on the SNES has still to be bettered – hopefully Ashes 2009 will be the one to do it.
Microsoft pulls discount pricing and confirms no Euro Vista upgrade option
Microsoft has pulled its Windows 7 discount pricing after apparently overwhelming demand lead to its online store crashing and has continued its EC hissy-fit confirming that their will be no Vista to 7 upgrade option.
Microsoft claim that they sold more copies of Windows 7 in the first eight hours than it did in 17 weeks in 2006 with a simliar offer for Windows Vista.
The blogosphere is already awash with rumours that actually, Microsoft were going to do it all along, to the fan the flames of hype around 7. Hype which hasn’t been seen for a Microsoft OS since Windows 98.
And after pulling IE 8 from the Euro version of 7 following their EC anticompetitive fine, Microsoft have also said that there will be no Vista upgrade option in Europe.
Although Windows 7 will be released in Europe for the price of an upgrade package in the rest of world.
Microsoft’s Leila Martine said: “What we are saying is ‘we don’t care as a consumer if you had Windows Vista or not because we can’t tell that and we don’t want to penalise you for our decision to take IE8 out of the Wndows 7 E version and to not give an upgrade option.”
You can still download the release candidate which will work until late next, and which I have partitioned onto my macbook HD. Aren’t I cool?
I’m not cool.
A letter to Obama will ask him to abandon McKinnon extradition
A letter to Barack Obama signed by MPs and Peers will call on the President not to extradite British hacker Gary McKinnon who faces up to 60 years in a maximum security prison if found guilty.
The 43-year-old UFO obessive who suffers from Asperges syndrome, a mild form of Austism, carried out the ‘largest military hack of all time’ in 2002 – hacking into the computer systems of NASA, The US Army, Department of Defence and US Air Force.
McKinnon, who was looking for proof of UFOs, was originally indicted in 2002 and in 2006 the UK agreed to extradite him for trial. Subsequent appeals to the House of Lords and European Court of Human Rights have failed.
Mr McKinnon’s local MP, David Burrowes, said: “We need to take it further and call upon Barack Obama himself to take action as the pleas have fallen on deaf ears so far.”
The letter from The National Autistic Society calls for Obama to allow McKinnon to face trial in the UK on the grounds that extradition might lead to a deterioration in his health.
Legal experts have said that if McKinnon were to face trial, it should be in the UK regardless, as any crimes he committed were committed in British territory.
The case highlights the unbalanced Bush era US – UK extradition treaty which was designed to facilitate the fast extradition of Islamic fundamentalist, not eccentric Scottish systems administrators.
Teletext axed in 2010
Teletext will cease to be in 2010.
But don’t panic, BBC’s Ceefax is set to continue for as long as the analogue signal is broadcasting.
Closed caption information relay was initially designed by the BBC and Post Office in the early 70s as a way to subtitle shows. And it worked very well.
The BBC soon rolled it out to the full Ceefax service, that continues to this day. And still operates faster than digital text, which is still woefully slow.
Telext was originally due to close it’s pixelated doors in 2012 to coincide with the digital switchover, and although it has 12 million users a week, it has been operating at a loss for three years as people turned to the web for their instant news, celebrity gossip and football scores (the three pillars of any successful information platform).
But it won’t be the end of the Teletext brand, which will continue through its successful travel websites.
Google Docs to get redesign
Google docs, the world’s most successful online word processor, is to get a redesign, or revamp, or rejig. Well it’ll be one, other, or most probably, an almalgm of these.
The ‘pre-announcement’ announcement on the Google Docs Blog (which isn’t very interesting), comes hot on the heels of Microsoft unveiling its plans for Office 2010. Plans that include a new web-based component, designed to directly take on docs.
Google’s counterpunch comes in the form of a promise that their redesign will make sharing more intuitive. The practical upshot of which is that users might notice some malfunctioning modules over the next couple of days.
Do you think that Office 2010 will claw back the market share they’ve lost to Docs? I’m writing this article, about Docs, on Docs, which is frankly, not as weird as it sounds. Will you be moving back to Office? Answers in the comments chums.
WIN! WIN WIN!: A pair of £129 TwistJax in-ear headphones
To celebrate the end of our Headphones Week we’re giving you, loyal Tech Digest reader, the opportunity to get your hands on the best pair of headphones we’ve tested this week.
One, and only one, set of Atomic Floyd TwistJax in-ear banging headphones.
Ready? Right here you go:
What song is played before every Newcastle United game? Name the song and artist.
If you need a clue, you’ll find it here, in Dan’s review of the fabulous TwistJax.
Email your answers here and be quick because it closes on the 19th June, remember to include your name and address so we can send them out to you if you win.
Terms and Conditions
1. The prize is 30 x 4GB Kingston Multi-Kits (one prize per person)
2. Only open to UK residents, over 18 years old.
3. One entry per person.
4. Promoter reserves right to disqualify any entrant deemed to breach T&Cs.
5. Prize subject to availability and at the discretion of Promoter.
6. Promoter reserves right to cancel/amend prize draw at any time without prior notice, or substitute prize with that of equal/greater value.
7. Prize non transferable.
8. No cash/credit alternative will be offered.
9. Taxes, insurances, travel and other expenses unless stated by the Promoter, are winner’s sole responsibility.
10. By entering the winner agrees to take part in event publicity upon request, including use of name, address, image and audio/audio visual recordings.
11. If you don’t wish to be added to the Tech Digest mailout please write DON’T SUBSCRIBE in the subject header.
The Smartbooks are coming! Quick, the Smartbooks are coming
We called it: Smartbooks. Smartbooks are going to be massiver than massive. And the proof is in the concept pudding.
These interesting, if not perfectly polished, concept drawings, highlight the way in which the Smartbook will evolve to fill the gap between Smartphones and Netbooks/Notebooks, and might eventually grow to replace both.
The drawings produced in partnership with the Savannah College of Art and Design also show the way in which modular production will allow a degree of customization production, catered to each user’s preferences, not easily possible with current production methods.
If I’m brutally honest, I think some of these drawings, are well, pretty A-level-Design-Technology, but it’s not so much the designs but the concepts behind them which I find exciting.
Sentences like this: “Smartbooks are cloud-computing-centric and characterised by all-day battery life, instant-on functionality and persistent connectivity.”
I’ve images of small utilitarian fixed-state HDs operating specifically designed OSs with everything kept in the cloud and streamed seamlessly via uber quick all-covering 4th or 5th generation mobile networks. GBs and GBs of media at my disposal anywhere in the world, on OLED touchscreens with slide-out QWERTYs and intergrated high-lumen pico projectors. Ooh, wow sorry, got a tad giddy. But it is exciting right?
Zeemote – SHINY VIDEO REVIEW
Zeemote, sounds German yes? “Pass me zee mote”. But it’s not. The Zeemote is Bluetooth anologue controller for all your mobile gaming needs, neato!
The Zeemote is a lovely feeling little device, its ergonomics are actually rather impressive. It sits rather brilliantly in your hand and offers you two trigger style buttons with the joystick and a power but on top for your thumb to do with as it pleases. The rubberized texture also gives you the purchase you need for some hardcore, extended mobile gaming.
Connecting it to your phone via Bluetooth is easy as wink, as long as your phone supports it, after you’re paired launch a game an you’ll get a prompt asking you if you’d like to use the Zeemote, and you’re away.
The in-game experience itself isn’t too shabby, the Zeemote actually works perfectly, you feel like you’ve got far greater control than you ever had prodding at the two, four, six and eight buttons. The Zeemote really comes into its own with flying games where you’ve got the analogue’s full range of movement at your thumb’s disposal. And due to its cunning design it works for leftys and rightys equally.
The Zeemote ships with Sony Ericsson’s latest Walkman phone free on T-Mobile. So if you’re desperate for a control for your on-phone gaming, it’s there waiting.
The sad fact is, the Zeemote works really well, it feels nice, and is genuinely a pretty decent product, but it’s about six years too late. Does anyone really play mobile games anymore? And if you do it’s certainly not with the zeal which you did when they were new.
The Zeemote is only supported on a limited number of phones and not the iPhone for which, with it’s legions of Flick Fishing and Field Runner addicts, it might have been a reasonable success, but tethered to the Sony Ericsson it provides a rather limited gaming experience. The Zeemote will end up at the bottom of your sock drawer, and what’s worse, when you find it a year later, you won’t even remember what it’s for.
HEADPHONE WEEK: Sennheiser MM 60s
Sennheiser’s new MM 60 may look suspiciously like it’s PX 100s, but they’re not, well they are, but they’ve been re-tweaked, honed, prodded and poked until they sound amazing – with the iPhone 3G that is. Because these on-ear marvels have been specifically designed for optimum performance with the iPhone.
Name – MM 60s
Type – on-ear semi-closed headphones
How much – £75.99
How much should they cost – No more than £50
Should you buy them – They’re good – better if you have an iPhone
The Long Version
The MM 60s, much like they’re identical cousin the PX 100s, bring the bass. They’re the bassiest on-ears I’ve ever had the pleasure to put on my head. That being said, you can lose some of the higher notes and all that bass can on-occaision muddy the vocal. But generally this isn’t an issue and the MM 60s sound pretty sweet, and oddly do sound a teency weency bit better on my iPhone 3G than my iPod classic.
Sennheiser have in the past been accused of making some pretty shoddy mid-price products, espcially some of their in-ear range. The MM 60s certainly aren’t flimsy, but they’re by no means as sturdy as other similarly priced headphones. They’re a bit like watching Peter Crouch play football, you know his legs aren’t just going to break, but you can’t help thinking its a mircale they don’t.
The headband is easy to adjust and feels pretty comfortable as do the phones. Sennheriser have also included an iPhone compatiable mic which is a bit low down on the line so unless your head is the size of a small asteroid you’re going to have to hold it up to your mouth, which pretty much makes it pointless. Because you’re holding your hands free mic with your hands, so…nevermind.
The MM 60s phones do fold though, rather brilliantly, into an ultra portable package.
The MM 60s come in a box which leaves you in no doubt who they’re aimed at: “Giving the iPhone the sound it deserves.”
The MM 60s also come with a nifty little case which the folded Sennheisers slip nicely into.
The MM 60s do sound great in quiet environments, in the office or in bed or on the loo, they’re as good as a really high-end set of cans. But out and about even a moderate background noise can ruin the experience.
And they’re pretty expensive for what are essentially an only vaguely tweaked pair of £35 headphones. Personally I find the sound quality of Tuesday’s V-Jays superior and they’re £15 cheaper.
If you really like Sennheiser’s products these might suit you, but if you prefer substance then go for the V-Jays.