Miscellaneous Rambling Blog:

The Witcher Enhanced Edition Review (PC)

The Witcher has been one of the best role playing games released for the PC over the past few years, but it was marred with technical bugs, long load times and terrible voice overs and acting. With the release of The Witcher Enhanced Edition most of these issues have been fixed or tweaked. Also included are new missions, a making of DVD, audio soundtrack and much more. If you missed out on the original enhanced edition offers a great opportunity to pick up one of the best computer RPGs The overall storyline and game play from The Witcher has not changed in the The Witcher Enhanced Edition so rather than focusing on these areas, I'll just be reviewing what has changed and what is new with the new release. In my review of the original release of The Witcher, two of my biggest gripes were the long load times and the head-shaking voice overs and acting. Character animations didn't match with the dialogue and the translation of the story/dialogue from Polish to English left puzzled looks on my face when trying to decipher what a character was really trying to say. The Witcher Enhanced Edition does a good job addressing both of these issues; Load times have been signaficalty imporved and more than 5,000 lines of dialogue have been re-written and re-recorded. There are still some timing issues with character animations and while the dialogue is much improved there are still times when certain lines just don't seem to fit in.

From the weight of the box alone you can tell that The Witcher Enhanced Edition is packed with goodies other than just the game. Included on the bonus DVD are two new missions which add about five hours worth of game play, and an adventure toolkit that allows you to create your own missions and quests. While the two new missions offer some fresh non-linear content they are quire short. In the "The Price of Neutrality" mission Geralt returns to the Witcher stronghold of Kaer Morhen and must decide whether to defend a young woman or remain neutral. In the second "Side Effects" Geralt travels to the near by town of Vyzim and must collect money from various tasks to help get a friend out of trouble.
The Adventure Toolkit/Editor allows players to create their own quests or epic adventures and share them online. The ability to share user created content has the potential to offer a near limitless supply of new and unique adventures in the fantasy world of
The Witcher. In addition to the bonus DVD, the enhanced edition also includes the original The Witcher short, a map of The Witcher's world, a "Making Of" DVD, and two audio CDs with the game's soundtrack and music inspired by the game. While these items don't make or break the game they are worth mention.

Bottom Line
The Witcher Enhanced Edition offers a fun and story rich computer role playing game experience and earns high marks by fixing many of the annoyances from the orignal, adding new content and including an adventure editor. If you own the orinial you're in luck as well, all of the Enhanced Edition content is available for free by downloading The Witcher Enhanced Edition Patch.
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posted by admin @ 11:54, , links to this post

Lowepro Flipside 300 Backpack Full Review

With its SlingShot line of SLR bags from a few years back, Lowepro showed the camera world a different approach to quickly getting at your gear while carrying it on your back. The side-entry shoulder bags allowed photographers to "quick draw" their equipment without taking the bag off the shoulder. Taking this different way of thinking from single-shoulder bags to traditional, two-strap backpacks, Lowepro's newest offerings – the Flipside series – move the access point to the back of the bag – the part that rests against your back when wearing the backpack.

While the look and feel are decidedly unconventional, some time with the Flipside suggests that there's a lot to be said for this unique approach to the traditional photo backpack.

Design and Construction
Lowepro's Flipside bags come in two sizes, with the larger 300 that we used for this review recommended for larger semi-pro and pro-sized DSLRs with battery grips. In both cases, the Flipside has a slightly tall, narrow profile, but given its capacity even the 300 is surprisingly compact, measuring less than 18 inches tall.

I find the look of the Flipside's zipperless front appealing. Stylistically, the bag more closely resembles a daypack or small outdoor pack than a photo bag, adding to the security benefits for those hauling around equipment with four- and five-digit total price tags. While the effect is confusing at first (prompting more than one, "How do I get into this thing?!"), Lowepro's claimed benefits – including added security for your gear (as the bag access is covered when it's on your back), no need to set the part of the bag that rests against your clothes on the ground to get at your equipment, and a unique on-body access method that gives a nice platform from which to work – begin to make sense pretty quickly In terms of build quality, most everything is up to typical Lowepro standards, with thick fabrics, quality stitching, and generally well-chosen materials. Zippers all feel rugged and heavily mounted, though the accessory pocket zippers on our test unit wanted to bind with some frequency. In terms of padding, there's plenty of it in all the appropriate places; with a camera and several lenses loaded in, everything feels secured with little movement.

The only design oversight of significance to the Flipside's target market – nature photographers, urban shooters, photojournalists – is the apparent absence of either seam sealing on the zippers or an included rain cover. The bag does claim to be weather-resistant, but how well it would hold water at bay in a downpour is unknown.

Cargo Space and Capacity

Internally, the Flipside is laid out much like many other front-loading DSLR backpacks, with velcro-in-place dividers that all for nearly infinite variation in segment size. A zipper accessory pocket is moveable/removable as well. The supplied dividers are sufficiently thick, providing plenty of padding between delicate gear. Likewise, the velcro connections are extremely secure, allowing even heavy, metal-cased lenses to be stacked without causing the compartments to sag excessively. Even in its larger size, the Flipside's narrow profile means that there are only two "full width" divider rows, in addition to another half-width segment. While this half-sized segment is too narrow for holding lenses, it's the perfect size for a backup point-and-shoot, bounce-head flash units, or small accessories. A pocket on the flip-down back pad works for holding flat accessories (memory card wallets, certain light modifiers, documents). A separate zippered pocket on the side of the bag has memory card pockets with enough space for several CF or SD cards, two pen holders, and space for filters or batteries. An attached mesh net prevents the contents of the side pocket from tumbling out when unzipped.

In terms of front-to-back dimensions, the Flipside 300 is deep enough to easily contain bodies with battery grips attached. Our test unit had more than enough space for a standard, four-lens "walk around" kit; if you use a fairly sparse setup otherwise, the Flipside 300 is large enough to contain a wide-aperture telephoto prime as well as most moderate- to long-range zooms. Slower "consumer grade" 75-300mm telephotos like the one pictured above fit with ease. Moreover, with plenty of space for larger lenses, even professional shooters willing to haul a fairly Spartan kit should be able to fit it all into the largest Flipside.
Conclusions

On balance, while the idea seems specialized in its unconventional approach, the Flipside proves itself as a comfortable, functional bag that works with the way many of us actually shoot. If you've ever watched a great shot unfold while fumbling to extract your camera from a conventional backpack, the Flipside's quick-shift appeal probably makes some sense to you. And while it's neither comfortable enough for all-day use as a belt pack nor particularly fashionable as one, having the option to use the bag in this position isn't a bad thing.
Lens addicts or true pro-body users will likely find the Flipside's accommodations cramped. It may not replace a larger full-kit bag, but the Flipside is comfortable enough for nature photographers needing to pack in equipment to a location and flexible enough for urban photographers needing a low-profile work bag. With all this in its favor and a $75 street price, the well-made Flipside 300 seems like a smart investment.
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posted by admin @ 23:50, , links to this post

Wii Music Full Review

Wii Sports, with its simple, but fun (and in the case of bowling, surprisingly deep) control mechanics, has proven a runaway sensation for Nintendo. I still pick up the compilation now and again, especially when I've got some friends over, and bowl a few rounds or even hit some virtual tennis balls back and forth. And I have supported the developer's innovative exercise program, Wii Fit, since it was first unveiled; it is another piece of software that I continue to use -- it has, in fact, become part of my weekly workout regiment. On the other hand, I've remained outwardly skeptical of Wii Music since its unveiling because, for all of Nintendo's demoes of the title, I've never really been convinced that there is an interesting or fun mechanic to playing the wide assortment of instruments housed within. And disappointingly, my extended time with the finished product has not wiped away that skepticism. If anything, it's only confirmed my suspicions, specifically that Nintendo's first step into the music / rhythm genre is actually a misstep, one resulting in a product so unsophisticated that it practically plays itself.

Before we even get to the gameplay breakdown, though, take a second and think about what you might value in a game dedicated to music. I imagine a robust roster of popular classic and contemporary songs tops the list for obvious reasons. What about an assurance that the songs included will be presented in the highest audio quality possible. I mean, people went nuts when they found out that the musical tracks in the Wii version of Guitar Hero were outputted in mono and for good reason: we expect a certain caliber of presentation from today's software. Unfortunately, with Wii Music Nintendo has demonstrated that it doesn't care to satisfy expectations. Not only are most of the 50-plus tracks lifted from the public domain -- such timeless hits as Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, O Christmas Tree, My Grandfather's Clock and Bridal Chorus -- but they are also rendered in archaic, amateur MIDI. I've heard some good MIDI renditions in my day and let me tell you, you won't find any of them in Wii Music. It is a good thing that Beethoven is long dead because he would not ever wish to hear the game's lifeless version of Ode to Joy.

Nintendo has tried just a little to include a handful of songs in the mix not designed entirely for the eight-and-under or sixty-and-over crowd. Company fans will undoubtedly be delighted to try their hand at playing versions of the Legend of Zelda theme, F-Zero's Mute City theme, and more, including tunes from Super Mario Bros. There are also some more contemporary tracks, from Material Girl to Wake me Up Before You Go-Go and Daydream Believer. The lineup isn't offensively bad, but if you want to play a lot of Nintendo songs, you're out of luck for they are discouragingly scarce and if you'd rather jam to a roster of today's hits, keep dreaming because you aren't likely to find anything created this millennium. I find the roster of music and all of its shortcomings to be a fundamental problem because I frankly have little interest in playing bad, MIDI versions of songs typically heard in elevators. That is not what I want from a game that revolves around music. Obviously, a MIDI soundtrack has its advantages, namely spontaneity -- the option for players to quickly add or remove instruments from a piece. It's really too bad it couldn't have sounded a little better.

Moving past the music and into the mechanics that make up the game, Wii Music is a difficult title to judge because it's hard to know exactly who the title is made for. On the one hand, you don't really compose music so much as you cue the next note, a fact that transforms what might've been a very creative process into something that feels intentionally dumbed down. If you waggle the Wii remote to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, you will play the song one way or the other regardless of your timing. Sure, it'll sound better if your pace is right and you stay with the rhythm, but even if you go into a seizure on the floor, you'll bang out the chords all the same. To its credit, the game allows you the freedom to pepper songs with your own style -- you can add notes, hold notes, and alter pitch with some items, a truth enhanced by the fact that there is a robust list of instruments to choose from, some 60 total. But when all is said and done, you're not so much creating as you are modifying songs, so if you're accustomed to really taking the reigns of your videogames, I think you will be left wanting more from Wii Music's setup.
Then there is the point that your waggles don't always seem to mean much. In the music maestro, a mini-game in which you take on the role of a symphonic conductor, you must wave the Wii remote around in order to effect changes in the pace and rhythm of songs. If you go slowly, the symphony will follow suit and if you move quickly, so will the musicians, beating out the song. Except, if you really experiment, you'll play the song incorrectly and lose points, so there's no benefit to doing anything but waving the Wii remote about wildly. In fact, when I legitimately tried to conduct the virtual symphony, I scored less points than when I simply waggled rapidly. So much potential, wasted.

There are four different techniques to playing the 60 instruments in Wii Music, some more satisfying and entertaining than others. To play a guitar, you will hold the nunchuk outward like a fret and strum with the Wii remote. Of course, you won't have all the frets of a real guitar at your disposal and you will quickly notice that most of your inputs are simply pushing the notes of a pre-selected song forward, anyway. Meanwhile, if you're playing the flute, you will hold the Wii remote upside down and to your mouth and play using the 1 and 2 buttons. Couldn't be simpler, but I prefer this style because your inputs register with greater accuracy and speed than they do with waggles, another common issue with instruments tied to gestures. And for an instrument like the piano, you will simply bang forward with the nunchuk and Wii remote, although admittedly you can also change up your performances by again holding a combination of buttons and pushing up or down on the analog stick. Everything works just well enough, but none of it, with the exception of flutes and horns, feels very intuitive. On top of that, I think seasoned gamers will be turned off by the entire process for it does push the limits of the gesture gimmick, often with unrewarding results.
Closing Comments
I wouldn't qualify Wii Music as an abysmal failure. The truth is, I like some of the concepts powering the game. The ability to dynamically alter music using a variety of instruments. The fact that you can layer together different songs and really create your own style. And the integration of Mii avatars, not to mention WiiConnect24 support, definitely add further polish to the fun and simple presentation. I think for all of the above reasons, kids may really latch onto Nintendo's latest effort (although I feel a little sorry for parents who must endure the cacophony of noises coming from their child's bedroom).

That said, I think most adults will quickly recognize that Wii Music is little more than a noise maker tied to a series of gestures and grow bored of the experience in a matter of hours, if not minutes. The controls aren't particularly intuitive , but gimmicky, and the selection of music is fundamentally flawed with both dated public domain songs rendered in equally dated MIDI. That Guitar Hero World Tour's complementary modes -- namely Mii Freestyle and advanced studio -- completely obliterate the entire Wii Music package is proof just how much Nintendo's game either doesn't do or doesn't do well.
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posted by admin @ 15:55, , links to this post

Hasbro Playskool Busy Ball Popper Toys Review

4.0 out of 5 stars Won't Teach Much, but it is a Lot of Fun, December 29, 2003By D. R. Jeanclerc "Reader, Listener & Obsessive... (Brunswick, OH USA) Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars Educational:2.0 out of 5 stars
The Busy Ball Popper is something of a rarity in today's toy market - it's unapologetic fun that makes very little attempt to teach anything at all. As long as you understand what you're getting, then it's great.


Our son gets a kick out of watching the balls loop through the machine and into the air; he gets an even bigger kick when the balls bounce wrong and rebound throughout the room. It's a mini-workout chasing after them, but it's worth it to see him enjoy it so.
I agree with other reviews that the unit could be easily tipped over, but the last time I checked, the easy solution to this problem is to supervise your child. Trust me - you'll have as much fun as he/she does watching the Ball Popper at work. But again, this isn't suitable for any pull-up or lean-on activity.

The fan motor that propels the balls is about as loud as a hair dryer on a low setting. However, the music snippets make up for the white noise as they're better than most toys. The balls themselves are very lightweight in order to allow them to travel; as a result, they are likely too fragile for play beyond the Ball Popper.

Again, the Busy Ball Popper is a lot of fun and does what it's intended to do very well. It's not educational (get something LeapFrog) and it's not a pull-up toy and it's not trying to be either. If you go in understanding what you're getting, you won't be disappointed.

More Hasbro toys Visit Hasbro Online Store

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posted by admin @ 11:53, , links to this post

Apple iPod touch 32 GB 2nd Generation Review

The iPod touch has always been an amazing iPod. And with its groundbreaking technologies--including a Multi-Touch screen, the accelerometer, and 3D graphics--and access to hundreds of games, iPod touch puts an amazing gaming experience in the palm of your hand. It comes in 8 GB, 16 GB, and 32 GB models with new volume controls and a built-in speaker. Play hours of music. Create a Genius Playlist of songs that go great together. Watch a movie. Surf the web. View rich HTML email. Find your location and get directions with Google Maps. Browse YouTube videos. And shop the App Store for games and applications.



Features

More iPod touch 2nd Generation visit Apple iPod Store

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posted by admin @ 11:46, , links to this post

Call of duty World at War short review

For those of you that have lived under a rock for the past 50 years, WWII is still going strong... in the form of Activision's latest sequel, Call of Duty World at War. Its in this game that players get to return to WWII, but this time its the Pacific Theater of war and we get to visit the usual German stomping grounds but we also get to visit Japan.Slated for a November 11th release date here in the United States and worldwide on November 14th, gamers around the world are currently chomping at the bit for a taste of the multiplayer beta which is now live. Building on the Call of Duty 4®: Modern Warfare engine, Call of Duty: World at War thrusts players into the ruthless and gritty chaos of combat like never before, and challenges them to band together to survive the most harrowing and climactic battles of WWII that led to the demise of the Axis powers on the European and South Pacific fronts. The title re-defines WWII games by offering an uncensored experience with unique enemies and combat
variety, including Kamikaze fighters, ambush attacks, Banzai charges and cunning cover tactics, as well as explosive on-screen action through all new cooperative gameplay.


Hands OnI was given the opportunity to play the beta a few weeks ago with press and community journalists and was impressed with the way that Treyarch has handled the pressure and the Call of Duty 4 engine. Given the fact that Treyarch has had two years to develop and work on the game shows the minute you press start on the controller. We played a multitude of multiplayer gametypes ranging from Free-For-All and Team Deathmatch to the new War and Capture the Flag. Yes, CTF is back in World at War. We also had a chance to check out the single player campaign as well as the co-op campaign and even a co-op competitive campaign for points and bragging rights. Earlier in the day while nursing a severe and unnecessary hangover, I watched the developers play the Nintendo Wii version. This is where I got kinda confused. The Wii single player looked great, for a Wii. The graphics were definitely upgraded and seemed to using the Wii's hardware to the fullest. Then they let people start playing the co-op campaign and my headache got worse. Because of the limitations that the Wii's hardware presents the co-op campaign is seen through one players eyes and the second player shares the view. Kind of like a 2 headed monster with one big helmet. And to make matters worse if as the second player you want to pick up a med pack or dropped weapon, you have to tell the first player to stand over the item while you press A. Yes, they went there. As Skittles from TalkingAboutGames.com said, it's like Super Mario Galaxy except with WWII guns. At least you can dust off the Wii Zapper and play with it!GametypesCOD WaW comes packed with so many gametypes, the replay factor is through the roof. Aside from the usual Single Player campaign, you also have co-op campaign (local & online), a competitive co-op (local & online) mode that lets you and up to 3 others play for points and puffed out chests, multiplayer (I'll get into these in a minute), Deathcards (still being kept under wraps by Activision and Treyarch) and a Top Secret, co-op confirmed based multiplayer experience that is being kept from us until the last possible moment.
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posted by admin @ 14:03, , links to this post

Tamron Autofocus 28-200mm f/3.8-5.6 XR Aspherical Review

Tamron offers the world's smallest, most lightweight 28-200mm high-magnification zoom lens. With a minimum focal distance over the entire zoom area of 49cm, and a maximum magnification of 1: 4 (at 200mm), this remarkable lens achieves high-magnification zoom performance with the compact size of a standard zoom lens. Through XR (Extra Refractive Index) glass and efficient use of aspherical lenses, Tamron has achieved a 25% reduction in size and a 27% reduction in weight over the previous model (model 371D), along with a decrease in filter diameter by two-steps ?72mm- ?62mm without compromising the superior image quality characteristic of Tamron 28-200 lense

The new 28-200 Super Zoom lens from Tamron. Developed because we believe a 28-200 zoom should be compact and lightweight enough to carry anywhere. Versatility that lets you capture all of your holiday and everyday snapshots. High image quality to give you the optical results that make your photographs colorful and sharp. So fun that you’ll want to take your camera with you all of the time.
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posted by admin @ 14:42, , links to this post

Tamron AF 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DiII LD Review

The AF18-250mm F/3.5-6.3 Di-II LD Aspherical (IF) Macro is the ultimate high power zoom boasting the world's greatest zoom ratio of 13.9X, a milestone that Tamron, the pioneer of high power zoom lenses, has achieved by commanding its technologies to further expand the capabilities of high power zoom lenses.To prevent the lens from becoming bulky, the design concept of the AF18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 XI Di-II LD Aspherical (IF) Macro (Model A14), a popular lens among the world's digital SLR users since it is the ideal high power zoom lens, was the basis for this new lens that features an expanded focal length to 250mm at its tele-end. With the new AF18-250mm zoom lens that provides enhanced image quality, Tamron has achieved an astounding 13.9X zoom power, the world's greatest in the class of zoom lenses; yet the increase in size is confined to a mere 0.2mm more in its maximum diameter and just 0.6mm in overall length, in a lens that offers a 388mm ultra telephoto focal length (diagonal angle of view of 6? 23') when converted to the 35mm film format.

For Full detail and review of this model please click AF18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 XI Di-II LD Aspherical (IF) Macro

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posted by admin @ 14:27, , links to this post

How to spot fake Gibson Les Pauls

Gibson guitars are synonymous with quality, beauty and are desired by collectors and musicians the world over. The Les Paul, in particular, has aided in the creation of the modern music scene that we know today. However, this makes them expensive in their own right. They are constructed with the finest tone woods and are still very much hand crafted.Spotting FakesAs the Gibson Les Paul is a highly valued guitar, many people will try to make fakes that will sell for far more than they are worth. Here are a few ways to help see these fakes. These knockoffs will not get past the experienced players, but they will be able to trap those who are not familiar with guitars. These instruments normally cost from two thousand to three thousand. So if they are offered for a few hundred then they are likely to be fakes. If any seller is based out of China or another Asian country, then be careful. None of Gibson’s instruments are made in these places. All Gibson guitars are made in the United States of America. In general, be wary of second-hand online marketplaces like eBay where pirated goods could circulate. If you wish to purchase a Gibson Les Paul online, buy it from a respectable store such as Zzsounds. Be aware of the common body shapes used by Gibson, and check those that you are looking to buy. Most of the fakes have a Gibson logo that is of a thicker font than the real Gibson logo and is aligned almost horizontally at the top of the headstock. The real Gibson logo is a thinner font and is angled with the G started near the post of the D string tuner. The real key is to look at the truss rod cover.

Real Gibsons have a bell shaped truss rod cover with TWO screws, whereask fakes typically have THREE screws. Also, the copies of Les Paul Standards often say "Gibson" right on the truss rod cover, NO Les Pauls say Gibson on the truss rod cover, some Epiphone Les Pauls do but those aren't made in the USA and say Epiphone at the top of the headstock not Gibson.The fakes will normally be imprinted with genuine appearing serial numbers. However, they will normally not line up with the production years of the real Gibson guitars. On the custom shop Historic and VOS Les Paul guitars, the logo is silk-screened where the fakes use decals.All well made real Les Paul guitars will come with original Gibson cases. These cases are as well made as the guitar itself many times. If there is not a case included in the sale, or if the seller offers to use a case other than the original Gibson case, then that could be a warning sign.Maybe the easiest way to check is to ask the seller. Many will tell you that they are made in China. As stated already, not a single Gibson is made in China. All those that claim to be from there are fakes. A Gibson Les Paul is an expensive buy and as such should be treated carefully. As it is a large investment to get such a fine instrument, be sure to go to a seller with a good reputation, preferably an online retailer with a solid history of selling real Gibson guitars.

Gibson Store

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posted by admin @ 16:03, , links to this post

Apple iPod Touch 2nd Generation full Review

9 September 2008 - The iPod touch has had its first refresh, so will the new 2nd generation model persuade those who haven't yet been assimilated into the Apple mantra? We managed to get a brief play with the new model at the "Let's Rock" event in London. The quick and easy option would be to copy and paste the review of the first iPod touch here and be done with it. On the surface, and at a glance, the new iPod touch looks the same as the old iPod touch. The software interface, although updated to version 2.1, is virtually the same and it still sports that easy to use 3.5-inch touchscreen display. However, flip it over and you'll soon see that the new model has lost some weight, and it's not even January. Thinner than before, Apple has once again managed to cram plenty into the slim device. Like the new iPhone, the MP3 player is curved on the back, although this time, it's metal rather than plastic. The new 32GB model doesn't feel that bulky, without looking at the specs it actually feels the same as the current 16GB model, and finally Apple has got the iPod touch to a size where it will hold a decent amount of music. Get past the new skinny look that any catwalk model is sure to be jealous off and Apple has also managed to cram in a speaker to boot so you can share the love. How much love though, is debatable. Admittedly we were at a loud press event, however I believe that the move to add a speaker is not to share the love on a music front - even Steve Jobs admitted it's not for audiophiles - but so gamers can enjoy sound effects with games. Pitching itself heavily as a games console (the advert is games, games, games) the new iPod touch finds itself as a wannabe games console up against the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP rather than just "yet another music player" and the speaker reflects that. That said, volume can now be changed via a hard dual-switch (up and down) on the outside, a la iPhone. Beyond the hardware and the iPod touch gets a slightly enhanced interface, moving to version 2.1. The software adds Apple's new Genius playlist application (as found in iTunes 8.0) that scans your music collection and then creates playlists based on songs that sound like the song you've chosen. Users are able to do this on the fly based on the songs in the library and it's clever and simple to use. Elsewhere and the device adds the Nike + iPod software as standard, with the ability to turn off the software and therefore transmitter at a slide of a switch from the settings menu.

The software, which we were unable to try at the event due to a lack of gym kit, gives you access to the Nike software found on previous Apple iPod offerings. You can set music to run to, while the addition of a sensor (sold separately) that you attach to your shoe gives you running data so you can quantify the distance travelled, calories burnt and training performance and such like. The interface looks good and easy to use (heavy on the red), although the big question will be whether or not you've got space to carry this on your run. The iPod touch might have gone through a weight loss programme, but it's still big and you've still got to find somewhere to put it. Beyond the Nike + iPod technology, the in-built speaker and a slightly tweaked interface, Apple is promising a 36 hour battery life from one charge. Wow. With the "Let's Rock" event only lasting a couple of hours we will have to take this as true at the moment, although a spokesperson for the company at the event would only confirm this was playing music. Start turning on the built-in Wi-Fi and speakers and we would expect you to drain the battery quicker than pulling the plug on a full bath

First Impressions
Apple has done here what it does best and created a device that is better than the last one, but no giant leap forward. The addition of the speaker will appeal to gamers looking to hear the sound effects without wearing headphones and the new thinner model will be ideal for those looking to tuck away a bigger memory device in their pocket, avoiding those "are you pleased to see me" comments. Users already iPod touch'ed shouldn't worry though. The software update for version 2.0 users is free (i.e., you get the Genius playlists) and the speaker, while appealing, isn't the be all and end all. That said if you are new to the iPod scene or looking for an upgrade, on the surface this will merely make the current offering a better one.
More iPod Touch visit iPod Touch Online Store
Source: (http://www.pocket-lint.co.uk/reviews/review.phtml/3444/REVIEW-3444-6b9865d054c159c483f761d66e0bf0cf.jpg#image)

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posted by admin @ 22:03, , links to this post

LEGO Indiana Jones Temple Escape Review

The biggest set of the Indiana Jones theme so far, this is a playset of the initial scenes of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Set in a lost tomb, Indy has to go through traps and obstacles to get to his goal, a golden idol. The playset reproduces most of the things Indy faces as he enters and escapes; from a deep pit where Indy uses his whip to swing across to the rolling boulder that seals the tomb as Indy scrambles out!
There are four minifigures in this
set: Indy, Belloq, Jock, and Satipo. This is a good selection, as all of these were part of the scene in the movie. Jock has a fishing pole and a snake, just like the movie. It’s nice to have Belloq in a set too, as he was Indy’s main competitor/nemesis in Raiders.

There is also a custom piece for the idol, which is a faithful reproduction of the movie prop. With the model of the tomb (which can be described as a set of traps on a path) there is also a model of a biplane for Jock. One cool detail can be found on the biplane stickers – the call letters to the plane are OB-CPO (which were on the real plane), a tip of the hat to the Star Wars films.

The traps are pretty neat, but the best two traps are the idol trap, where removing the idol causes its altar wall to fall over, and the boulder, where a release sends a wall down and the boulder rolling away!

Building was pretty easy — the set is somewhat modular – separate parts of the tomb are built then added to make one large model. The setup of how each part is built is interesting, as it seems to go in increasing difficulty from the front of the tomb to the altar.

In terms of
playsets, this is the best Indy set out of the group – this has the feel of an Indy movie with the tomb, and it’s a complete environment, which lends itself to many play possibilities. For collectors, this will have a lot of appeal because of the idol and of Belloq.

More Lego sets visit Online Lego Store (http://astore.amazon.com/buy.cheap.lego-20)

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posted by admin @ 10:05, , links to this post

LEGO Mindstorms NXT Review

Lego Mindstorms's NXT Model 8527 Robot kit is a great toy for the young and old at heart. The learning curve is a little high, so I wouldn't recommend giving it to anyone under the age of ten, but past that point I think anyone could benefit from it. You can choose to build robots using the 577 pieces from pre-existing templates (including but not limited to a standing, walking robot, a scorpion, a cuckoo clock, and a soundbot) or make your own robot then program it accordingly! It doesn't take long to build a robot, fifteen to twenty minutes if you are constructing a templated one. This includes the time it takes to program it - speaking of which, you can use Windows XP or Vista or Mac OS X 10.3.9 or higher to program it with!  The biggest single issue with the entire unit is the small memory size. With flash memory being dirt cheap, the tiny portion of memory you get to mess around with is very troubling. This limits the total number of steps you can program in, so if you want to add in a certain routine you may not be able to just because of the limited space. Other then that, the only other issue I have is the noise and of course the expense. The noise is a little annoying, but not too bad – the $250 price tag, however, is! This thing just shouldn’t cost this much for what you get.

For more Lego ( http://astore.amazon.com/buy.cheap.lego-20)

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posted by admin @ 15:02, , links to this post

LEGO Indiana Jones Temple of the Crystal Skull Review

One of the largest sets released so far, the Temple of The Crystal Skull is a flashback to the older Adventurers series that had mini themes for the Amazon and Egypt. The suggested retail price of $79.99 might seem a bit steep for some parents but if you have a child that is into the Indiana Jones films or is a die hard Lego fanatic they will have hours and hours of fun with this set. One of the core principals of Lego is the ability to build almost anything from nothing more than a handful of bricks and bits. This was a most welcome addition to our collection and something that I know will be used for years to come.

here are so many incredible things in the set but it all starts out with the large detailed base plate. This is what almost everything gets anchored to and provides stability for the temple. Base plates like this are few and far between; not only is it the non-typical green but it has stenciled rocks and a clay color to it. Any time things are stenciled you are getting more detail and that can add to how a child uses it, the replay value and the number of ways that it can be used. While these pieces are a little more delicate than others, with a little bit of care they will last for years. Once you unpack the set you should read through the instructions so you are aware of the various perks of the set.

Product Description:

What is the secret of the Temple of the Crystal Skull? Indiana Jones and Mutt want to find out, but first they'll have to get past Irina Spalko, and then survive the temple's collapsing stairs, firing spears, hostile warriors, and many other tricks and traps. Includes Indiana Jones, Mutt Williams, Irina Spalko, Russian Guard, two Ugh Warriors and three Akator Skeleton minifigures, plus top-secret features straight from the movie's action-packed climax. 929 pieces.

ONLINE LEGO STORE FOR MORE LEGO SETS

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posted by admin @ 14:46, , links to this post

Canon EOS 50D Digital SLR Preview

Canon's new EOS 50D bridges the gap between the novice and the seasoned pro with a perfect combination of high-speed and quality. It features an APS-C sized 15.1-megapixel CMOS sensor, DIGIC 4 Image Processor for fine detail and superior color reproduction, and improved ISO capabilities up to 12800 for uncompromised shooting even in the dimmest situations. It features a refined 3.0" Clear View LCD monitor, Live View Function with optional Remote Live View Shooting, Face Detection Live mode, and a number of new automatic Image Correction settings. White Balance - Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten Light, White Fluorescent Light, Flash, Custom, and Color Temperature setting Updated EOS Integrated Cleaning System with a fluorine coating for better resistance to dust 9 cross-type high-precision sensors for accurate target subject acquisition and diagonal center cross-type AF point with f/2.8 and faster lenses EX-series Speedlites Compatible Flash Shutter Speeds - 1/8000 to 30 seconds ISO Speed - Automatically set, ISO 100-6400 (in 1/3-stop or 1-stop increments), Basic Zone modes ISO 100-3200 set automatically, Extension settable (with C.Fn.I-3-1) ISO 12800, and High Tone Priority settable ISO 200-1600 HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) output for displaying full high-resolution images on a High Definition TV Next generation DIGIC 4 Image Processor for faster processing - Maximum Bursts JPEG (Large/Fine) approximately 60 (Up to 90 with UDMA), RAW up to 16, and RAW + JPEG up to 11 Dimensions - Width 5.7 x Height 4.2 x Depth 2.9 (145.5x107.8x73.5mm) Weight - 25.7 ounces (730 grams) body
Canon’s new EOS 50D bridges the gap between the novice and the seasoned pro with a perfect combination of high-speed and quality. It features an APS-C sized 15.1-megapixel CMOS sensor for tremendous images, new DIGIC 4 Image Processor for fine detail and superior color reproduction, and improved ISO capabilities up to 12800 for uncompromised shooting even in the dimmest situations. It features a refined 3.0-inch Clear View LCD (920,000 dots) monitor, supercharged Live View Function with Face Detection Live mode, plus a number of new automatic Image Correction settings and HDMI output for viewing images on an HDTV. Pick up the EOS 50D and you’ll experience true digital inspiration!
Canon Online Store

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posted by admin @ 14:14, , links to this post


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