24 July 2008

Little Big Whoop

The following is from my new primary blog at Giant Bomb:

So everyone loves LittleBigPlanet apparently. Seriously, the game's not out yet and everyone seems to love it. Everywhere I look, it's heralded as the second coming. And I can't see why. Okay, it lets you make your own levels. It's not that big a deal. I see people rave about every little thing. People call me weird for not being interested. I'm sorry folks, it's just not that interesting an idea. I'd never play it long enough to make anything I really liked with the editor, so I'm not interested.

It bugs me that in an era when everyone complains about the hype of games like Halo 3, Grand Theft Auto IV and Metal Gear Solid 4 (Games which were awesome, get over it folks), all those same people don't have a bad thing to say about LittleBigPlanet. I get it, you're interested. Doesn't mean the idea is particularly amazing or that the game's that original. Doesn't mean I have to like it too.

So add me to the minority not in the least bit interested in LittleBigPlanet.

Now Black Rock's Pure? There's a game I can get behind. Mindless off-road fun? Hell to the yes. 16-Player online races? Oh yeah.

Yes, I think Pure's going to be better than LittleBigPlanet. And for me, it will be. I might be alone in that. Does that mean you need to come here and tell me how wrong I am and list all the features of LittleBigPlanet which have still not made me think it's god (Yes, I ave heard about them)? No, it doesn't.

I'm immue to Little Big Planet's power. Even if I have to be the lone critic, I will be.

Jens Out

21 July 2008

Kaboom!

And just like that, The Bomb blew. Giant Bomb (dot) com has finally opened the doors to the final site, and it's absolutely fantastic. The site's got a few creaks owing to the huge load we're putting on it, but it's standing up better than I expected. Things are getting done.

The site looks attractive and it's laid out very well. The whole thing also has a very social atmosphere to it, it's friendly and communal - the content, largely collaborative. The forums are just getting started and already we're getting on very well.

The site's video player is also very good, attractive and simple, keeps out of the way. Very nice.

We may have just knocked the servers over there...Whoops.

Oh, there it goes. Back now.

Anyway, staying up for the site proved to be worth it. I guarantee if I'd gone to bed, I'd have slept past the launch and wouldn't have gotten to see the site until the afternoon. That would have been unacceptable.

I'm making a bunch of friends in the Live Stream chatroom. This is going to be fun.

Well, the site's now getting over the earlier crashes where it would completely fail to resolve as the load on the servers decreases - a lot of the users in America for example are heading to bed so the server's aren't taking such a huge hit.

There are lingering issues, with quite a few bugs and glitches yet to be sorted, but there don't seem to be any show stoppers. So far, it's a relatively smooth launch.

Can't wait for the next Bombcast.

Bomb Watch Starts Here

Giant Bomb's Jeff Gerstmann today e-mailed anyone who had sent an e-mail to one of the Giant Bomb addresses (Notable the Beta Signup Address). It formalises the site's launch as being imminent, a fact already made abundently clear by the blog having been replaced with a teasing image and a "Landing shortly" message.

The most important part of the message reads:
This e-mail is being sent to let you know that we're getting very close to the beta launch of giantbomb.com -- if you want to be extra-certain that you secure your username of choice, you should start taking occasional looks at the site to see if it's up yet. You will not receive a second e-mail from us, as we're solely focused on the site itself.

So what will you be able to do on Giant Bomb?

Explore a database that already contains...
Entries for over 72,000 releases.
Pages for nearly 90,000 people involved in the creation of video games.
Almost 600 character pages!
Something like 580 pages for gaming franchises!
Dude, I don't know, how about I just write "and much, much more" here and we move on?
Don't forget, you'll be able to edit and add to all of these things!

And of course, we'll have message boards. Tens of thousands of message boards! Way too many message boards! Everything from the PlayStation 3 to hamburgers will have a message board associated with it. In fact, every single page in the database, including consoles, franchises, games, objects, characters, people, and concepts will all have a friendly message board right at the bottom. But don't worry about getting lost or missing out on a conversation. Messages from all boards are easily found in our forum index.
This extract of course excludes the instructions, but they're fairly obvious anyway.

So now, we begin the Bomb Watch. I have arranged for my browser (Firefox 3, Mac OS X 10.5.4, a rock slid and generally excellent browser and platform) set up to reload Giant Bomb (dot) com at set intervals, so excited am I to get into the site.

Unfortunately, I'm also way too excited. I'm afraid to sleep in case I miss it. I mean, even tonight, I really don't want to risk it, even though I'm almost 100% the site won't launch until something like 6PM BST on Monday the 21st of July (At the earliest).

And so, for as long as I'm awake, I'm going to be updating round the clock. I'll Tweet status updates at regular intervals and come the launch, I'll tweet my progress registering, then writeup impressions of the site her on All Your Time.

And yes, I fully intend to contribute as much as I can to anything Disney-Related (Exception: Chronicles of Narnia, we'll get to that little mistake someday).

Speaking of, how awesome does Pure look? For some reason, I'm all-the-way pumped for that game. Maybe cos it's a Disney-made insane off-road racer. We all know I love Disney and Excite Truck, Pure combines them. Naturally, I'll be nabbing the 360 version.

Anywho, where was I? Oh yes, The Bomb. I gotta tell ya, I really need this site. As it stands, the only gaming community I frequent is all but dead in the sections I read. I mean, I visit 1Up and GameSpot, but not their communities (Forums). 1Up's folks were very hostile (Generally, they were some kind souls) to those of us displaced from GameSpot (The site as a whole, not just the forums) after The 29th. GameSpot's forums I just found insular and not very fun.

Wow, I really want to make a movie about Gerstmann-gate...It's a great story for the screen. I saw a YouTube video which recast a JFK (One of my all-time favourie movies) trailer as a traler for JFG, a ficticious movie about Gerstmann-gate (Using JFK footage and dialogue for illustrative purposes), and it was very cool. I definitely think Jeff's story would be good for the screen.

Perhaps a book first, that's howit typically works...Oh well. If it's not been done by the time I can do it, I will. If anyone else is planning to do it and wants help (Writing, directing, any creative stuff really) drop me a line, I have some ideas how it could work.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Onward to The Bomb!

Jens Has Blown

19 July 2008

Special Advanced Preview

Here it is folks, the first publicly available Multiplayer Magazine material. This is Beta 0.2 of the Cover Layout, and I'm making it avilable for public viewing as of today for the sake of feedback, just drop me a line at jensonb (at) me (dot) com or jensonb (at) mac (dot) com.

Click Here

Meanwhile, I'm finalising internal notes on the Review Layout and you can possibly hope to see that soon too.

I'm also prepared to reveal that the Multiplayer Magazine website is going to be powered by Joomla and, to support our focus on community, we will be integrating a Kickapps Social Network, comprising message boards, blogs, photo sharing, video sharing and more. many of these features are also very helpful for our needs (Sharing content).

Lastly, I'm ready to reveal the format for the (As yet) untitled video show I'm going to be putting into production. The show will primarily involve me goign through the week's gaming news - lampooning both it and the coverage. Think of it as The Daily Show, but with gaming coverage. It will also play host to viewer submissions, ala Multiplayer Magazine.

Jens Out

Electronic Three

Well I have to say this year was much better than last year, but the world is still poorer for not having the ability to watch 26 hours of Rich Gallup. Seriously, that guy could be the host of a show about paint drying and I'd watch.

Luckily, Giant Bomb, the world's best video games website supplied the required dosage of crazy fun E3 coverage. The podcasts and videos they posted essentially made Giant Bomb a lot like being with friends at E3, which is of course The Bomb's style - we're all friends here.

Despite some attempts from IGN to steal my "Live Coverage" viewership, in the end I opted to stick with GameSpot. Eckberg, KVO, Rabara, Thorson, RyMac and soem of the others put on a pretty good show, but someone please do something about Kristin Riley. That girl is insufferable.

1Up receives a commendation for their topnotch text-based coverage. I was using their news page as essentially a wire service whilst watching the show at the 'Spot. That said, I preferred their older news frontpage, from before they used a Blog to power it. Ah well, you can't have everything.

As to the actual content...Seems like the publishers want E3 to die. The Platform holders each had some fairly interesting stuff (New Dashboard, several interesting games from SCE and Nitnendo are finally putting out a microphone), but neither they nor the third parties really showed a "wow, holy shit, that looks awesome" title. It's all singles and doubles, where are the home runs?

Highlights for me are Pure, MAG, DC Universe Online, Portal: Still Alive, Animal Crossing: City Folk (w/ Wii Speak), Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, GTA: Chinatown Wars, Guitar Hero: World Tour, Far Cry 2, Left 4 Dead and Geometry Wars: Retro Revolved 2. There are probably others, but whatever.

Konami, what the hell? Silent Hill and Castlevania? Singles and doubles, kids. Where's the home runs? For you, home run means: Metal GEAR!!!

So anyway, this looks like the last E3. All signs point to an untimely demise. For one thing, the banner saying "See you next year"? Missing. For another, I've already pointed out a lack of tentpole announcements. E3 as it stands is unimportant, small and is less and less unique all the time.

I for one loved the good old days of too little sleep, people runnign around a massive and spectacular show floor shwoing off awesome games. Yeah, maybe it was a bit hectic and hard to cover, but it's only for three days kids, you can do it.

You could also restore E3 to its former glory and still make it easier to cover, lemme tell you how:

Keep it invite-only, but make it big again. You could allow some more elaborate displays, make it more engaging, but still restrict attendees - you wouldn't need to limit them as much though. You could get senior retail people back for example, a sector conspicuous by absence this year.

Here's hoping that E3 does stay, even if it is a shadow of its former glory.

Jens Out

18 July 2008

Player 2: Press Start

I've just finalised Beta 0.1 of the Multiplayer Magazine reviews format, using Resistance 2 (Though I had to use the original Resistance's boxart) as an example. It took some time because with this one I was making some of the overarching internal content formating decisions, which I had to be sure on.

Synchro LET has increased significance and it looks awesome, it has officially been adopted as the Multiplayer font and it pervades throughout the magazine wherever appropriate, creating strong brand recognition and looking sweet.

Futura has been demoted to the cover font and Short Content font internally, body text is being displayed in Helvetica, with 15 being the standard size.

In GizzedUp I made use of compartmentalising and right angles to divide content. Multiplayer is making use of rounded corners, and shapes only have visible outlines if they are important. Typically, a shpe is just a block of colour. Notably, image captions extend slightly below the image (Seamlessly) and feature rounded corners on the bottom.

Soon, I'll be showing off the current Beta of the cover (Version 0.2 at the moment, I might be showing 0.3 if I make any chnages) and revealign the Review Guidelines, which will explain how we're gonna score games and also reveal what we're doing instead of "Area Scores" or "Medals and Demerits"/"Good Points and Bad Points".

Jens Out

Pinging you

Hey guys, sorry I missed the blogging my impressions of the conferences. I was going to move it all to Tuesday, but I had to wait to watch the Sony and Nintendo ones and I didn't get to do so until I got up earlier.

I'll be posting instead about my impressions of all E3 on Friday. I'll get to it either between the two F1 Practice Sessions or after the second one. As a tiny preview: there's nothing I'm absolutely pumped to hell for...Like, at all. Certainly nothing new. Not that there's nothing new I want, just nothing has me as excited as some of last year's stuff.

My MobileMe code came and I'm now a full subscriber, so that's pretty cool. It's a nice service, I like being able to get at my stuff on my Mac, in a browser or on my iPod. Speaking of my Mac, I had a few software problems, but I managed to fix them just by trashing some files. Very happy, in Windows I'd probably have had to reinstall the OS.

Speaking of Windows, the box is gone. My only computer is the Mac mini, my favourite of all the computers I've owned, followed closely by the Eee of course. With it's 750GB external Hard Drive, iTunes and EyeTV (Which is fantastic by the way) it's also a fantastic Media Centre, an entertainment powerhouse.

But without my PC, my consoles are gonna be my focus in terms of gaming. Yes folks, that's right, another player has abandoned the PC Platform. And I'll tell you why: it doesn't work. Games are increasingly supposed to be a pervasive expereince, PC just fails to deliver that.

So, to ensue I have access to games not available on the Wii, I'm getting a 360, as you know. Torturously, I'm relatively certain I have to wait until I get my GCSE results and to make that worse...I got given a copy of Unreal Tournament 3. Which I really want to play.

It's agonising, seriously.

I saw Hancock the other day, and as I expected, that film kicked ass. I loved it, Hancock is officially my second favourite super hero behind Spider-Man now, it's that good. Only thing is, it's crying out for a game.

Someone needs to get on that.

Jens Out

12 July 2008

Happy Days People

That Prom? Kicked ass. But then, if you follow me on Twitter or MySpace, then you probably knew I thought that. It's re-energised me in the best way. Between the best night of my life and the love of my life, I'm happier than I've ever been. And I've changed a bit, for the better.

Mainly, I'm much more a social animal now. Which means my already growing preoccupation with social media has ballooned. I'm going to start blogging and Tweeting about life in general a bit more, but don't worry, I'm still a geek so technology won't be disappearing from the Blog.

On that note, I have updated my iPod touch to 2.0 and put a load of Apps on it. I'm bowled over, it's absolutely fantastic. I can't recommend Twittelator enough by the way, excellent mobile Twitter client - and on iPhone it saves you the cost of a text. Can't be bad, eh?

That I suppose is another example of the social media thing. I also happen to have MySpace Mobile and iFob on there. Of course you know what MySpace is. iFob is a vaguely similar location-based social network allowing peple to interact because they're near. This includes messaging and photo-viewing and shizz.

All very neat. I'm also quite fond of Apple's "Remote" which allows me to control iTunes (Or an Apple TV) from he iPod touch from anywhere in the house using the iPod touch iPod App style. This App is also able to switch between different iTunes copies, so with it you can live the total home thatre control dream today.

I ordered my copy of MobileMe...Well, my activation key I mean. Speaking of which, I've already started to use the Me.com web apps and they're excellent. Very pretty, very high-quality. You cna now hit me up at jensonb (at) mac (dot) com or jensonb (at) me (dot) com.

I also have it set up on my iPod and I must say it was a wonderfully simple process.

E3 is this coming week, I'll be blogging my impressions of the major press briefings (Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony) so look for that Monday and Tuesday.

I think that's all for now. If I think of anything else, I'll post again

Jens Out

09 July 2008

Talking Smack

Hey Sony, looks like we're gonna get another preview of PlayStation Home at E3. I eman, I don't care, do whatever you want, it's of little interest to me, but aren't you even slightly embarassed that you annonced this thing in early '07 for an October that year release and this is it's second E3, 2008 and current info suggests that you'll only get the Beta out this year, maybe?

Dude, whatever.

And how about you Microsoft? Doesn't it make you feel a little embarrassed that your console ships without Wi-Fi? Toasters have Wi-Fi these days. In order to get the 360 to have Wi-Fi, you want me to spend £55 on a dongle. These things cost like £20 for PCs. Are you freaking kidding me? There's a way to get my Mac to share its internet connection with the 360. It's convuluted, but you bet your ass I'm trying that before buying your POS peripheral for £55 - apparently it's not even a very good dongle.

This is especially weak because your USP is Xbox LIVE, industry standard online gaming service.

And Nintendo...For God's sake...Make your online system fun. All we want is oemthing akin to Xbox LIVE. Doesn't need to be as feature-rich. Just give us account names, not numbers. Let me accept adds, rather than adding back. Give us voice chat and make Animal Crossing an MMO.

You could add all this in a Wii Channel. Call it the Nintendo Player Connect Channel, something, anything. Just fix the gaming side of the Wii internet.

Talking smack is therapeutic.

Jens Out

08 July 2008

It is done then

Well, I've now finalised my plans regarding the iPhone 3G and my exam completion gift. I still intend to buy an iPhone 3G, but I only intend to do so when it becomes available on Pay/Go. And so I shall, funded by my wages from Tesco and my EMA. Contract was really not an option. I hate to wait, but O2 have forced my hand on this issue.

In the iPhone 3G's stead, my exam completion gift is to be the Halo 3 Edition Xbox 360. The effing awesome green one. This is the one I've wanted pretty much since Peter Moore raised it with one hand.

Additionally, in exchange for taking possession of my PC, my parents have bought me a 750GB USB Hard Drive and an Elgato eyeTV for DTT (TV Tuner). Two things I was going to buy myself which I now don't have to. Between those and the Xbox, my PC is redundant apart from Blu-Ray playing anyway. And I can always use the PS3 downstairs for that.

Which means my disposable income for this coming paycheck is £195...Less £59 for MobileMe and I've got £135 to spend.

And you know what? I've run out of major buys. All the big things I decided I wanted are gone (iPhone 3G excepted). So I'll buy iWork and probably try and nab MGS:TTS (Because I'm a Metal Gear freak and I simply must have a Metal Gear game I can play in my room - remember, our PS2s don't work. Long story).

But basically, from now on I'm on impulse and/or small buys until I start saving for the iPhone 3G. There's a chance that instead of iWork and MGS I'll buy a w580i this month, or do that next month if I buy the software this month, but other than that, it's uncharted territory.

I'll have to start buying my "back of the mind" wants. What I might do at some point is buy a DS Lite. That said, I'm half expecting The Reginator to reveal a new DS at E3 next week. I might buy that instead.

It's a Golden Age as far as I'm concrned.

Jens Out

PS: Oh god, I should ask the guy in the Shopping Centre about the signed Jenson Button stuff...I'll start small, with the cap or the (I don't think signed, but rare) Jenson Button F3 car...Then ask about the price of the signed 2000 Williams.

-Evil Grin-

07 July 2008

Plans

Okay, so O2 have totally effed me over here. But, I still want the iPhone and I still intend to go with Pay/Go. For that reason, I will buy one this winter by saving up for a couple of months (All it will take, my monthly income will be increasing to start at £275 come Autumn).

In the meantime, I'm going to have my parents buy me a cheaper new phone on the Tesco Mobile network. Probably the cheaper Sony Ericsson slider in white. Additionally, I'll have them buy the hard drive I have my eye on, the 750GB one. Anything left over I'll spend on a game or something, perhaps making use of my GameStation Gift Voucher (I'm praying for Twin Snakes).

That leaves me to buy my new TV Tuner and MobileMe. All told, that still leaves me with £95 after I take into account LOVEFiLM. If I don't end up with Twin Snakes, I might use some fo that for that, otherwise there's some miscellaneous stuff I've yet to buy like iWork and iTunes films.

Next month is probably my Xbox 360 in that scenario. It's gonna take over the PC's place in the VGA Switcher. But its physical location? I have no idea.

There's a chance I'll buy a DS Lite with that £95. I'm not sure, I'm just thinking about it. In that case, the 360 will be a month later and next month will be iWork and stuff.

Jens Out

So, you ever hear of these dicks called O2?

By now you've likely heard the news. iPhone 3G is not out on Pay/Go until the indistinct "Later in the year". Naturally, I'm massively pissed off. For anyone wondering what happened to the 96 Hour coverage, that is. The news I was most interested in came real early and it was bad.

I'm forced to conclude O2 doesn't like customers, or money. Odd tactic, for a business.

The following is an e-mail I sent to O2 regarding this fiasco:

From the iPhone 3G page of your Help site, under Pay & Go:
"Pay & Go will be available later this year."

It's taken you since WWDC back in mid June to finally come out and say those of us who cannot have or do not want iPhones on contracts are being left out in the cold? I'm hugely let down. I've been looking forward to the iPhone 3G launch since the phone was announced, even more since it was confirmed Pay/Go would be an option.

But for weeks, I hear nothing. Then I start to hear from friends and people online that miscellaneous sources are saying no Pay/Go on launch day, some even saying not until the Christmas season. Shortly after, I receive an e-mail from O2...Telling me they're going to send an e-mail. Which I knew. Because I told them to.

And so then we come to today. As has become my custom, I head over to O2's site for news and check my mail. There in my inbox are details of how to buy an iPhone 3G on Contract. Which irks me because I registered my interest on the Pay/Go page and for a reason. Ad on O2's site? After weeks of stringing us along, O2 ordained to reveal Pay/Go customers are being left out in the cold until , well, I still don't know. You've managed to continue to disappoint without even removing the uncertainty.

How difficult would it have been to put some clear information informing us that the iPhone 3G would not be available on Pay/Go until later, or even that the Pay/Go option may have ended up being delayed? You clearly knew it might have been, which is why you have and continue to keep the details from us. It's extremely misleading, and there's a case to be made for it being fraudulent advertising, especially if you used it to gauge consumer interest (Which, to be honest, it was used for).

But then I do know why we're being treated so unfairly.

O2 wants to force me into a Contract. Well I don't appreciate that one bit. I can't have a Contract, it has to be Pay/Go. Even if I could, I wouldn't want it. One of the biggest barriers to iPhone adoption last time around was the lack of Pay/Go. It's clear to me now that either:

A) O2 are somehow unaware of this, leading me to wonder if they listen to their customers at all, and only found out by allowing people to register their interest. I should point out again that the manner in which this was done is in the grey regions of legality.
or
B) The Pay/Go option was pre-announced with the specific intention of announcing it's indistinct delay at a later date and therefore moving some potential Pay/Go-ers to Contracts, specifically early adopters

I feel extremely let down by O2 now. O2, you have some serious sucking up to do to avoid missing out on my sale. Ever heard of the iPod touch? It's waiting in an Apple Store near me, just waiting to eat your lunch.
This is totally unacceptable. I need a new phone. I have my heart set on that phone. I don't want to wait until freaking Christmas - this is supposed to be funded in part by my parents as a treat for the end of exams. Bit bloody late come Christmas.

No, the Christmas season is not an official timeframe, just one CS Reps kept throwing out which now seems likely.

Jens is Pissed

Announcing the 96 Hour iPhone 3G Net-Based Campout

Starting at 8:02 this morning, I will be comprehensively combing the internet for every morsel of information about the iPhone 3G I can find. Everything will be aggregated here and on my Twitter feed.

So primarily, I'm donating my body to the world as a crawler for UK iPhone 3G news for the next 4 days. My main aim is to whittle through all the goddamned BS and try and find something out about the Pay/Go iPhone 3G.

I might even record some video roundups, using Screenflow to capture the internet and myself simultaneously.

So, what will be powering this crazy coverage you ask? The Mac mini will be my primary station and the one from which I follow most of the news and the one I'll be using to post about it, both here and on Twitter. Also lending a hand will be my Eee PC, serving up yet more news and allowing me to continue the quest away from the desk.

My camcorder will be recording me for the video roundups of course, my iPod touch will be handling (Some) of the entertainment I'll need to keep myself from slashing my wrists and, should the iPhone 3G actually be available on Pay/Go this Friday, my RAZR's last job will be Twittering the line at the Carphone Warehouse I'm buying from. Or, from the Cambridge Apple Retail Store (I'll explain in the morning).

That's 96 hours of iPhone coverage. Suck it Laporte :P

In all seriousness though, Leo rocks. I'm looking forward to and may well I may well join Leo's coverage of the worldwide launch if he wants me. For that, I'll take my Eee and use store Wi-Fi.

Wow, I'm gonna have to go sleep soon.

Jens Out

Welcome to Swift Kick in the Nuts

O2 is one of those companies I really want to like. They're like Sega in the Dreamcast days. Wow, this is awesome, I'm gonna use the online aspect...Not working, I'll try again...Again...Again...Baby, why you gotta make me hit you?

With O2, it goes like this:

Ooh, iPhone 3G...It gleams like the eyes of God...Ooh, a classy white one...I hope O2 put this on Pay/Go so I can get it....Ooh, they did, yay O2! Love you! Now to await the details. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Wai...Ooh, e-mail from O2! Oh...All this tells me is that they'lls end me another e-mail and that's the important one. What the fuck is this? It's like a week until launch, where is the Pay/Go info!?

And it goes on. The "leaked" pricing I posted about earlier is probably right, and I'm just about happy with those numbers. Unfortunately, we now believe the Pay/Go iPhone 3G will not launch this coming Friday. Which blows, I want my damn iPhone.

What's worse is that we believe that to be the case. We have no damned idea. O2 refuses to keep their story straight.

And so, the hate is building. It'll probably pass once I'm rocking my 6 months of free data, but I rally am annoyed. I was lookign forward to lining up for the launch of a new product, I've been waiting for years to be able to do it.

And it looks like they're taking that oppurtunity away from me.

Fail O2, just a freaking fail.

Jens Out

PS: My DV-FireWire cable came, my camcorder is now functional as a webcam.

26 June 2008

iPhone Europe: O2 accidentally shows its Pay/Go Hand

Well, the cat would seem to be out of the bag. Multiple sites are reporting that O2 posted handset prices, rates and offer details for the iPhone 3G on the Pay/Go tariff to their site, apparently late last night.

The details have since been withdrawn from the site, but are still available to us through various rumour sites and blogs which caught them.

So, how much is the handset gonna set us back? 8GB will be priced at £299.99 and 16GB at £359.99 (MacWorld UK erroneously states £400,
however even their cited source disagrees). These represent modest £30.99 price hikes on the elder models.

However, O2 has seen fit to sweeten the deal. Primarily through those "top up £X each month and receive" offers, but more importantly by bundling 6 months of unlimited (3G) data. Naturally, a fair use policy is in place and the offer only applies to phones activated before...December 31st. Some time away at least.

After the bundled data period is over, unlimited data can be added for £10 a month, a neatly non-committed solution, much better than the £30 tariff.

Incidentally, the 6 Months of data is therefore worth £60. I would have been buying it each month anyway, so I like to think of it as a £300 phone (16GB model) with unlimited data at £10 a month, £60 of which is paid upfront.

At these prices, with these deals, I'm definitely going to go ahead and get a 16GB iPhone 3G with a white back. I pretty much have to now. My touch is nearing the limits because I've bought three movies, and I plan to buy at least 2, maybe 3 more.

So, all in all, I'm pretty happy.

Jens Out

We now return you to your regularly scheduled Jens

I got some great news about 10 hours ago. Giant Bomb is opening up signups for the Beta version of the site. All we have to do is send an e-mail to beta (at) giantbomb (dot) com with Sign Me Up in the subjet line.

They'll be sending us registration info, including the link to access the beta, within a couple of weeks. That means I'll probably be getting my first play with the site before my Prom.

All very exciting, cos Giant Bomb has already become my favourite games site even though it's just a blog at the moment. Imagine how much I'll like it once full functionality is enabled. Win, much?

So, what else have I got to tell you? Well, we've got Metal Gear Solid 4 and we're part-way through Act 2. I have to say, given all this hype about a warzone, I was apprehensive. I love Metal Gear and I was definitely interested in seeing the story conclude, but I was one person who adored the existing gameplay. Particularly in its MGS3 guise.

Luckily, there's plenty of good old-fashioned Metal Gear gameplay in there. Some of it's wrapped in new clothing, but it's there. That being said, some of the controls are distinctly weird to me as a Metal Gear vet. I know they're more like other action games, but that's sort of the problem. Metal Gear is very different from most action games.

Damn how I wish I could play Metal Gear Solid 3...It's a long story (Which I've told before) but I really can't play it as it stands. Sucks, cos it's one of my favourite ever games. I would love for them to re-release it on Wii, or make a Raiden game on Wii using its engine.

Yeah, I like Raiden. In fact, I liked Raiden all along, way before it was cool to (Dude's a fucking Cyborg Ninja now so everyone freaking loves him all of a sudden). In his MGS4 guise, he's now my wallpaper.

Oh, before we move on...Sunny, Olga's daughter...She's adorable! That is like the sweetest kid ever.

I've bought 3 movies from iTunes. I find it to be a painless and very efficient process. I got Zoolander (Love that film), Dodgeball (That one too, in fact it's a contender for best film ever) and I Am Legend (Which I ahd't seen before. It's fucking great).

Right now, I'm killing time. My brother's friends are here and he's hanging out with them in the living room. Where the PS3 is. So not only am I unable to watch him continue the story, I can't myself play any MGS4 for myself.

Oh well, Demi Lovato's on the radio, so that's cool.

Jens Out

25 June 2008

Latter Day Lies and Other Cults

As you may know, I am not religious. For me, something has to be demostrable and also feasible for me to believe it absolute fact. Religion is conjecture and assumption as far as I'm concerned, but for the most part it doesn't bother me. People can belive what they want to believe as long as they don't force it down my or anyone else's throat.

That said, I am damning towards those who try and treat religious concepts as sciences, not just because they are not, but also because it's offensive to anyone with a religion for which that concept is not true.

In theory, religion is fine. However, my disapproval of it is massive. One reason for this is the creation of intolerance. As if people don't find enough reasons to hate and murder eachother. Religion creates another despite members of many religions claiming to be against hatred and violence.

But mainly, it's as simple as religion being an expression of a very dangerous to operate your life and mind. Absolute, unquestioning faith. Absolute, unquestioning faith can and will put you in danger, it can and will put others in danger and frankly humans are better than it. We are capable of incredibly complex thought. Religion convinces us we are a lesser version of something else whilst simultaneously making us so by inhibiting our natural inquisition.

But for the most part, those who follow religion have found a balance. Many freely accept the flaws in their religions and even seek to replace the parts which are bad. These people are to be commended.

Problems really start with people who are followers through and through. This is never less true than with cults. Which leads me to my point.

Let this post stand as absolute declaration of the following:

I am at war with any and all religious cults. You are a cancer on society and I will not stand for it.

Of particular note are the two cults which I have the most against. First up, "The Church of" Scientology. I don't think I have to tell you how utterly - and insanely - dangerous this organisation is.

We know this because the scum who run it see fit to defend themselves against the slightest criticism with legal action. No religion should be doing that. Religion should stand on its own feet, total bullshit naturally fails and so it should be.

But it's worse than that. This is an organisation claiming to be a spiritual lead for people to follow. And yet, it requires its members to pay for its various texts and the insane practices it encourages them to partake in.

How many religions do you know of which restrict access to their texts? What kind of religion tells you you're not allowed to find out what it's about until you pay them? No kind. Cults do that.

It's another reason we know they're liars. What are they afraid of if it's not the revealtion of the absolute and utter bullshit they push on people?

Well, here is that bullshit:



And with that out of the way, we shall move onto my second major target, Mormons.

Yes, the Church of Latter Day Saints, or Latter Day Lies as I usually prefer to call it, is also a pile of complete and utter bullshit, Like Scientology, its presence on this earth is an abomination and it must be stopped. Fortunately, for somewhat different reasons.

My problem with The Church of Latter Day Saints stems from its inception. The story rings false in every possible way. Some guy just happens to discover texts of huge significance near his home which he never allows anyone else to see. When someone tries to force proof of the existence of the texts, he provides a flimsy excuse and gets away with it.

Blind faith. Dangerous.

As if that wasn't bad enough, the actual Latter Day Lies are completely insane. The third coming of Jesus...To America? What for? The native Americans were "cursed" to have red skin? What manner of sorcery is this? Native Americans share anscestry with the people of Asia and the Arctic. That is why they're not white like the people of Europe.

This all probably seems slightly random and out of place, but it really bothers me. These cults cause real harm to people and all the while they spread lies and encourage blind faith. I know I keep repeating it, but I can't emphasise it enough:

Blind faith is a danger to the individual, people the individual loves and who love them and anyone who ever has to rely on that individual.

Cults must be stopped.

Jens Out.

20 June 2008

Guitar Hero: World Tour

This time, I can't not get Guitar Hero. The fourth home console installment follows Rock Band into the whole band emulation category, alongside other newcomers Ultimate Band (From Disney Interactive, a potential buy for me) and a Konami game which souns so bad I've forgotten the name.

But World Tour sets itself apart with an awesome drum set featuring cymbals and some other neat as you like innovations. The guitar too has new and cool features like a touch sensitive strip for those unique riffs.

Vocals have been added too, but since there's not much room for innovation there, the scope of awesomeness is limited to it being there. I fully intend to make use of it though.

Also being added is music creation and this is way awesome. Now a band simulation game can actually let you make music. This is bigger than you may give i credit for. Whilst in this initial version I imagine even in-depth creation will be limited compared to making music the old-fashioned way, it opens the door to a future where making rock music is much simpler.

I'm all for that, I love disruptive media. I mean, heck, I'm harnessing the disruptive media that is the internet to create a crowd-sourced magazine.

I telly what, I can see someone, maybe even me, playing guitar and singing at the same time. Even drumming and singing. This is possible in the current Rock Band, but I don't see it happening much. All you need is a mic stand.

I can't wait to form a band with friends, but I also see some solo fun, both singing and playing both distinct instruments (Guitar and drums. There are bass an rhythm variants of the guitar, but they work largely the same) to be had.

All that remains for me to do is choose a platform, Wii or Xbox 360. I'm inclined to say likely the latter, but I'll base my decision on what my friends decide - gotta make sure we can play together online.

Jens Out

19 June 2008

Record Breaking

Before we get to the main stuff, I have to regretfully cancel the Mac mini video unboxing.

Unfortunately, my camera recorded the video in a weird format which I'm having trouble locating support for. Because the video is so short (And I've listened to the audio, fairly quiet because of the sub-par mic on the camera I think), I've been forced to conclude it's not worth hunting the entire internet to find support.

On the upside, I'm refining my vision for a web show and my research has led me to a couple of pieces of software which I believe will be very handy.

On a related note, I'm getting close to deciding on a camcorder to replace my DV one (Which will be installed as a webcam/permanent video camera for The 1K Studio (The tongue in cheek name for my bedroom which will be the studio for the web show). I'll use it primarily to record the web show.

Speaking of which, I need to buy a DV to FireWire 400 cable.

As to the records, I've broken my own this month. June 2008 is already, by some margin, the biggest month in All Your Time posting ever, buoyed by the lack of school and relatively high numbers of things to talk about. I'm very pleased.

Another record I contributed to was the Firefox 3 Download Day record. Yes, Mozilla's kickass browser did beat the previous record for downloads in 24 hours. And I helped by downloading it twice, once for Windows and once for OS X.

I'm getting ever closer to not needing the PC. I may have mentioned this before, but Maplin are selling a 750GB (Triple the PC's capacity) for £90 and since moving my iTunes library to the Mac, I haven't turned the PC on. I likely won't do so again until Sunday to record the F1 race.

I've already decided that with that HDD, I'll probably move my TV recording to the Mac mini using Elgato eyeTV Diversity (For Record and Watch, Record Two and Picture in Picture). After that, my PC's only purpose will be watching Blu-Rays, and I can do that on the PS3 if need be.

I'll have to talk to the parents. Might be that they take it off me straight or reimburse me for the upgrades I've given it (If they intend to use them)...The latter would afford me greater scope in my coming purchases.

I'm going to buy an iTunes Movie, maybe two, on Saturday. There are four I want, but two are still at New Release prices and I'll probably wait. Also this weekend, probably Sunday though, I'll be nabbing the URL and hosting for Multiplayer.

Hmm...I should probably write myself a shopping list for the next couple of months so I know what kind of funds I'll need...

Jens Out

Oh now that is cool

I mentioned that I loved how I could use the Apple Remote to put the Mac mini to sleep. Well, I just woke it up with it too. It's great, the last remote I used with a computer could turn off, but not on.

And it's simple too, I just point it at the mini and press Play. Not even hold it, just press it. You hold it to put it to sleep, because obviously you want more of a safeguard from accidental presses for that.

And so I pressed play and within seconds, there's my desktop. Fastest time from pressing an activation button to seeing the desktop I've ever experienced.

This computer, this OS, this remote...All wicked awesome.

Jens Out

Edit: And another thing, I'll tell you why Spaces is awesome. Spaces means iTunes, Firefox, Pages and Adium can all be running, sitting in their own 1680 by 1050 work areas, making as much use of that space as needed and I can hop between them by location, a click of an icon in the dock shoots me off to that app's space.

To some extent it's kind of similar to minimising and restoring applications. But it's better, the apps are still there and still as you left them. You can hop between them seamlessly and/or focus entirely on one when you need to.

Leopard is the best OS I have ver used. And I've used a damn lot.

Multiplayer Status Report 1

Well folks, this is the first in a series of Blog posts leading up to the launch of Multiplayer. The idea is to keep you up to date on how work is progressing, what's getting done, things I'm thinking about and so on.

Over the past half hour, I mocked up the Beta 0.1 cover of Multiplayer Magazine (Issue 1) in Pages '08. Worked like a charm I might add. Overall, I'm very pleased with how it looks, especially given how quickly I threw it together.

As part of this, I spent some time deliberating the Multiplayer fonts. GizzedUp used Arial, Verdana and variants thereof. I myself became infatuated with Bitstream Vera Sans at some point. But none of these wound up being used except Verdana - and that is for a tiny piece of text which isn't meant to be the same as the Multiplayer stuff.

As it stands, I've picked out a modern and fairly rare font for the majority of text (Including the word "Magazine"). As for the all-important "Multiplayer" part of the name, I settled on a placeholder font which looks very unique. And as it stands, I'm wondering if it should just be the final one as well, it looks great - especially contrasted with the "Magazine" font.

You know, Multiplayer Magazine Alpha 0.01 (Code Name: Let's Play) featured Halo on the cover, promising a (Fabricated) story about the future of the series. What adorns the cover of this updated effort?

Gears of War 2

18 June 2008

Mac mini and Converse Pictures

Here's the pictures, as promised.





Conquer Time and Spaces

Awww yeah...

Aw. Yeah.

Here I am. On my Mac mini. The only sounds other than the ambient is the GiantBombCast...The mini itself, virtually silent. You know, it's very cute. Sweet little thing, happily glowing it's teeny light to indicate that it's on.

So, Leopard. I have to say, this OS is fantastic. Everything's so seamless, so slick. Spaces for instance is a great way to manage tasks. I have iTunes is alone in Space 1, utilising as much screen space as possible. After all, whenever I'm interacting with it, I'm focused entirely on it. Adium & Mail (I'll be putting Address Book and iCal there too) are in Space 2, since they're all fairly related. Space 3 is my browsing space, Safari and FF3 are there. Space 4 has the Finder and System Preferences at the moment, I'll be adding any games and apps related to getting things done.

Dashboard is cool, I can call it up and dismiss it from F4 and I have Web Clips set up for the latest PvP and Penny Arcades. I'll probably add Dilbert at some point.

Adium is a great IM client. Very minimalist, very pretty.

My iDisk is monted, my .Mac Mail all set up. It was so easy. It's just awesome. I love this OS to bits. Incidentally, a lot of people don't enable Magnification on the Dock...First thing I did. I love me some eye candy.

Front Row is also awesome with my dinky little Apple Remote. It's a great way to access video from across the room, very pretty. Plus, I was able to stream the trailer for The Dark Knight right in it (Looks cool by the way).

I'll be back with the photos later. The video will probably be tomorrow. It's not very long, I just wnat to edit it to perfection in iMovie before I upload it for your viewing pleasure.

Right, I'm off to download the iWork Trial.

Jens Out

17 June 2008

Well, that's over

Awesome. My last exam is over and done. Freedom folks. Seriously, I can't describe how liberating it is to have all that over and done with. I've now got a couple of months largely focused on chilling. I still have work, but apart from Saturday's I pick and choose when to do that and besides which it pays for my stuffs.

On that note, I'm getting a raise from the 29th and possibly a 10% discount. Admittedly, I'll probably only see benefit for like a month, but I intend to make full use of them.

Of course, not all my leisure time will be dedicated to that task which, many of you are aware, I attach huge importance to (Namely, doing nothing). Nope, I'll also be kicking Multiplayer into 1st gear. Starting tomorrow with the Mac.

Oh gods how I'm excited about my gosh darn Mac mini. Seriously, I've marked out its home with my (Now) signature green felt tip. I'm not sure how that became my signature non-extended prose pen...I took ownership of it to sign people's shirts on the "last day" and ever since then I've used it for, for example, writing labels, marking positions (As mentioned) and circling things.

But I digress. The DVI cable, the keyboard extension cord and the iPod Shuffle dock are all in position for easy plugging in. I believe I've mentioned but I'll repeat the keyboard extension cord is hanging down with the bundle of wires heading onto the bookcase so all I have to do to hook it up is unplug the keyboard cable from the USB hub and plug it into that. The mouse is plugged into the keyboard as well, so that lowers the ammount of cables going in.

I'm still debating with myself about plugging the Mac mini into the monitor's audio...Okay, decision time...Yes. I will. The PC can be a headphones thing from now on. The mini will be my media box anyway (Front Row FTW).

Speaking of Front Row, I'm totally excited about the Apple Remote. For some reason, the prospect of putting the little mini to sleep from across the room by holding the play button appeals.

I'll be taking pics of the mini in it's home and the monitor showing off the Leopard goodness as well as recording the promised unboxing video. Unlike most of these unboxings, mine will be done with fore-knowledge and preparation. I'll unbox it and plug it right into it's new home. The very model of efficiency.

Anyway, in other news, I've got soem new Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Hi-Tops. These new ones are a gorgeous navy blue. They also came with a nifty "POW" tote bag. No, not John McCain, a giant explosion...Hey, Giant Bomb! Damn I love that site. Sounds like it's blowing up July 7th or 8th.

I might show you these schmexy new shoes tomorrow with the pics of the mini.

Jens Out

For now.

13 June 2008

Erm...Well, it's 16:10 at least

Slight snag...I suspect because of the switcher. Anyway, my PC is now running at 1440 by 900. It's enough to show 720p video fullscreen, but everything's huge...And of course because it's analogue VGA it hardly looks pristine under the best of circumstances.

I really want to force it up to 1680 by 1050. I really can't see why the Switcher wouldn't be able to feed it, so I'm forced to conclude it's the computer being silly because it can't see the monitor directly.

If anyone has any ideas how to do hat, let me know. It's an ATi Card so yes, it is infected with Catalyst Control Centre...I did tell it that the monitor's native resolution (1680 by 1050) was it's maximum, but it seemed not to help. The option's still not there.

Maybe if I tell it the maximum is bigger than that...Nope, still doesn't give 1680 by 1050, though it did give one higher than that, 1600 by 1200.

Seriously...If you can help please do.

Jens Out.

Edit: On the bright side, Chicken Little is now playing the trailers and hot damn, the playback of the Blu-Ray at least looks gorgeous. And once I get my mini, that's all that will matter anyway.

HDCP is teh suck

Jeez. All I want is to watch Chicken Little on Blu-Ray. I have all the necessary hardware and software, so it should be simple, shouldn't it? Well it's not, they all refuse to play nice with eachother and the HDCP keeps failing to initialise.

And so, the PC is having it's DVI privileges revoked. With any luck, moving it to VGA will finally allow me to watch. It should, because that's what the helper suggests, but since my graphics card only has DVI, I'll have to use an adapter, so who knows.

What this means in regards to my setup is that the shortest VGA cable is now running the shortest gap, the longest by far is running the longest gap and the beautifully long DVI cable is running from the monitor to where the mini will sit.

So the Mac mini gets the best hookup. Only fair I guess, it is going to be my primary system.

Jens Out

12 June 2008

The new Setup in Pictures




What's under the white on the screen? It's a secret.

09 June 2008

WWDC: iPhones, MobileMe and a Big Cat in a Cold Country

Wow, that OS X iPhone SDK stuff sure was one helluva Dog and Pony show. Nothing much new there except those cool little notifications apps can send you. That sounds cool my friends. Very cool.

Oh, and I want the AP app. It's free and will enable me to do skunk works reporting, which you can no doubt guess I would love to do.


From that, you have no doubt inferred I intend on using a device running Apple's OS X iPhone 2.0. And you'd be correct. Which neatly leads us to the big news from Steve's Keynote yesterday: iPhone 3G.

Well, it's damned pretty. The new plastic back looks nothing like those ugly mockups, it's a thing of beauty.


It's got 3G (As implied) for high-speed data access over-the-air, GPS for precise positional data, allowing breakthrough location-based apps like Loopt to give us a truly awesome experience. The battery offers 10 (Up from 8) hours of 2G talk and 5 hours of 3G talk, beating competing 3G devices by some 1.5-2 hours.

Aside from that, it's the same great phone it's always been. Same gorgeous front with the awesome 3.5" Multi-Touch display,
same Home button and (upgraded) iPhone OS software.

And O2 have made my (And WizzKid's) day. The iPhone 3G will be available Pay/Go here in the UK. This means there is no reason I can't get one. As such, assuming O2 are nice and allow the Pay/Go-ers to buy on launch day (Oh yeah, July 11) along with the contract signers and the price for the 16GB is less than or equal to £329, I will be at my local Carphone Warehouse store (Just 10 minutes away) on launch day to pick mine up.

As for contract signers, O2 has dramatically improved the deal for you:


Very good deals there, I think you'll agree. The £30 tariff is weird. Yes, it's good the monthly cost now has a new bottom end, but the difference between the £30 and the £35 is so great the extra £5 is more than justified. Still, good if you're on a budget and mostly just want data.


Now, onto the next big thing from Steve's talk. MobileMe. Yes, the rumours were true. And MobileMe does indeed look like a huge improvement, Exchange for the rest of us. With MobileMe, I'll be able to keep my desktop (The Mac mini I mean. I can of course do it on a PC too, but I'm transitioning to an Apple oriented environment) and my phone (iPhone 3G 16GB in Special White Version) in constant sync, all over the air.


That's e-mail, contacts, calendar, photos, bookmarks, the whole deal. Nice.

Furthermore, it will enable me to share my photos from iPhoto and to some extent my videos from iMovie. And all of this...With my jensonb(at)mac(dot)com e-mail address.

I knew it was a good idea to get in on that early. Best part is, my .Mac trial will be automagically upgraded to a MobileMe trial in early July, so I'll run out the trial period in MobileMe. Then, I'll be buying the 1 year 20GB (Yes, they doubled the storage) for the new prie of £59 - down £10. Awesome.

And you know. It was kind of important I move to an all-new e-mail account anyway. My Hotmail was set up for me some time ago. Probably over a decade and I've used it ever since. And I've never used folders. It's a mess. Windows Live Mail (The desktop app) allows me to easily search all the e-mails, but seriously...Change was needed.

So now I'm in my ultra-tidy new @mac.com e-mail account and I love it. Much better UI as well.

I recommend all my friends reading this now begin to use my @mac.com address for all personal communication with me.

And finally, Steve has revealed there is indeed a 10.6 being previewed, it's called Snow Leopard. I for one like that name, it's befitting of this release which is said to focus on giving OS X a smaller footprint and optimisig it, for example making it work better with multiple cores.

All very exciting stuff.

Jens Out

06 June 2008

Fast times at Moscone Centre Junior High

I've extensively updated my WWDC '08 Speculation post. You can review all my predictions for the keynote, the event and the period around it by visiting the link, or review the newest information below:

"
Rumoured pricing (UK) has the iPhone selling subsidised on contracts from as little as free, up through £100. Macworld UK is suggesting the phone will sell unsubsidised on a Pay/Go tariff at the current £269/£329 price points (16GB/32GB or 8GB/16GB)."

"the 3G iPhone will match the existing model in general design and material choice, though it's size may have marginally decreased."

"From there, Steve will move on to the software powering iPhone 2nd Gen and iPhone black/white - as well as existing iPhones and iPod touches. That OS is now called OS X iPhone. Expect this section to give details on the AppStore as well as new software features. Highly unlikely Steve will go back over the SDK itself, more on that will follow in the sessions.

Expect Steve to announce launch apps including some of those we've already seen."

"
Expect revamp of look and feel - the web interface I mean - in line with the recent .Mac Mail revamp, expect some more cross-platform uses, possibly a free version, possible capacity bumps and finally, expect integration with OS X iPhone. What form this final integration will take is debatable, likely it is syncing of and access to data - I'm sure you can imagine what forms this will take.

Unclear placement on this next stuff, but from what we see, it is worth mentioning. Mac OS X Leopard has been rechristened OS X Leopard, in line with the new name for iPhone OS, OS X iPhone. This probably means Apple will outline the differences and similarities going forward.

Rumours have suggested Apple may seed an OS X Snow Leopard (Technically, 10.6 under these rumours though I speculate even under that theory, Apple is dropping the 10.x.x numbering scheme in favour of OS X Name Version x.x, or even OS X Leopard Version x.x), an update in the same vein as OS X 10.1 back in the day - focusing on security, stability, general fixes and so on. Additionally, the release is said to drop PPC support and remove or de-emphasise Carbon.

I speculate these rumours are either correct and OS X Snow Leopard is the codename for the first update to OS X Leopard under a new naming
system and release schedule/system or they are referring to a third OS X.

OS X touch would be a hybrid of OS X Leopard and OS X iPhone, combining the mobile platform's touch control roots with more of the raw power of the flagship OS for what I am calling iNewton, but you might call Mac touch. Yes, the Mac Tablet. I speculate Apple will reveal the iNewton and its OS X touch OS here, preparing developers for it by talking about it in sessions & the keynote and also seeding a developers' preview ready for a full unveiling and release details/release this comign January. This version would remove Carbon entirely as speculated.

That said, if Snow Leopard is, as others believe, an OS X Mac (As I am now calling the flagship OS as a line in light of the new naming scheme for the OS X iPhone line - to that end Apple would be advised to give individual OS X iPhone releases small mammal names) release, named OS X Snow Leopard, Is till believe it will include pervasive Multi-Touch based on the OS X iPhone line and be destined to power an iNewton because of this. This version would include the Carbon tools, but Apple's own apps would all move to Cocoa/Cocoa touch."

"
As for the Mac mini's belated updated, the predictions I initially posted with regards to the update itself remain unchanged, but I now speculate it may occur at WWDC after all. Rumours suggest Apple wished to unveil new MacBooks at WWDC but has been forced to delay by Intel. I speculate Apple will move the MacBook updates to last year's consumer desktop update timeframe (August) in a straight swap with this year's due desktop updates (Mac mini and Mac Pro)

To put it simply, I think Apple was planning to update the MacBooks here and the Macs Pro and mini in August and may now be doing them the other way around.

It remains possible both lines will go without updates."

05 June 2008

Yes, it's that time again

Got some specific updates for you with regards to the 3G iPhone in the UK. First up, 9 to 5 Mac (The darling of the Apple Rumours Community) is reporting that Macworld UK believes new iPhone buyers, signing an 18 month contract, will pay as little as £100 for the handset. Even that those on that crazy top-tier tariff will get the phone for free.

Existing iPhone owners will be encouraged to update, signing extensions to their contracts (18 or 24 Months) in exchange for a free upgrade to the 3G model. Needless to say, all the UK iPhone users I've seen commenting are chuffed to bits.

More excitingly (For me at the very least), O2 is apparently preparing to sell the iPhone to Pay as You Go customers - like me. The price? Starting at £269. If that's a 16GB 3G iPhone, I'm buying one, no question.

If it's an 8GB 3G iPhone...Well, I dunno...I certainly will buy a 3G iPhone if I can get it on Pay/Go or unlocked, but if that's 8GB, I may or may not pay the extra for the 16GB. For one thing, I need it to be a better upgrade to the iPod touch. For another, I want some room for iTunes movies. Zoolander must be on that thing.

For those paying attention to my fledgling "Studio in a Bedroom for less than £1000" project, I've decided that rather than hunting out a high quality USB or FireWire (The latter preferred, I initially wanted iSight even though it's been discontinued but it proved hard to source at a reasonable price), I'm going to hook my miniDV camcorder up via FireWire and use that. It will probably work out better anyway, with advanced features like zoom and a screen I can use to monitor what it's looking at - I'll be doing the filming away from the desk.

I've even decided where I'll put it and where I'll position myself for filming. On that subject, if anyone's interested in creating a 30 Second looping abstract background, let me know.

The english exam today was a breeze by the way. And it gave me a chance to spend 45 minutes raving about Obama.

Finally, I'm announcing that Multiplayer Magazine's host has been chosen.

Jens Out

04 June 2008

It's done

Well folks, I've got it.

You can now reach me at jensonb (at) mac (dot) com.

I'm migrating my online identity over to the new address in the coming months. As of now, all my main memberships have moved to this address.

I'll be propagating it to friends and family next.

Jens Out

Now the Dust is Settling

First up, it's over. Barack Obama has clinched the Democratic Nomination for President of the United States. I'm elated. Obama has been my man throughout this election and in fact I think that right now, he's my favourite ever politician. Surpassing even Lincoln and JFK.

He stands for hope, for change. He's the most inspirational leader I've ever seen. When he talks, I can't help but feel reverence and, yes, hope. Now we just need Hillary in the Veep spot, John Edwards* for AG and we can go win this thing.

I've been listening to some of the rubbish McCain has been spouting lately...It amazes me how much I loathe that guy. From what I'd been told, he was a Republican like Arnold Schwarzenegger is a Republican. But every time McCain opens his mouth, all I hear is hate.

A man who wants to continue the Conflict in Iraq despite the fact that it's a self-creating conflict. The insurgents are pissed because we're still there McCain. If we leave, they'll be less of a problem, even stop. That's not going to happen with us there.

Which calls to mind another thing I hate about American media and Republicans. It seems they think that Supporting the Troops is the same as Agreeing with the War. It's not. It's like how they think supporting the President is the same as Patriotism. In fact, supporting the President when he's doing a bad job is the opposite. The US Constitution encourages us to do something about a failing President.

On a related note, it offends me when ex-army politicians criticise those who did not serve. Not everyone can or should join the Armed Forces, that doesn't mean they're not qualified to comment, or even command.

Anyway, now that's out of the way, it's Giant Bomb time. Exciting news from the last Bombcast, Brad Shoemaker and Vinny Caravella are now members of the Giant Bomb Editorial staff. Caravella gives the site an acomplished AV professional for producing video content. Shoemaker represents a valuable addition to the writing staff with lots of experience, talent and many fans.

Including me, Brad rocks. Vinny too.

I can't tell you how much I love Giant Bomb. Way awesome.

Apple has added movies to iTunes UK. Aww yeah. I can get my Enchanted and Zoolander on, yo. Only thing is, I now kind of want an AppleTV again, for to get in on the HD rentals. I might be able to seel my dad on putting one in the living room for that purpose.

Speaking of Apple, rumours abound that Apple is set to seed OS X 10.6 at WWDC, ready for a January (MacWorld) launch. This version is said to be Intel-only and I expect it to incorporate Multi-Touch (More than the trackpad stuff we have, I'm talking pervasive) in preparation for a Multi-Touch tablet launching at the same time.

Beating Microsoft to market by easily a year, probaly 2, with a Multi-Touch "Desktop" OS release.

Meanwhile, an August event is rumoured to be in the works by Apple. Most of those parroting the rumour suggest it will intro the aforementioned Tablet and update the MacBooks (I can't imagine they mean the Pros as well, that would be one crowded event...I guess they expect that on Monday?). I stand by my prediction of a Tablet in January alongside OS X 10.6.

Thing is, that event would be the timeframe for the Mac mini update. But with the MacBooks being the subject of the event, would Apple bump the mini at the same time as they did last year alongside the iMac or, as some have speculated, intro a MacBook mini?

If Apple is going to give August over to portables this year, it's possible they've swapped the portables with the desktops thanks to the Intel delay on Montevina. You know when the portables were expected to get their day in the sun?

WWDC.

Prediction: Mac Pro and Mac mini updates may come week of WWDC. Possible no Keynote mention. Reason: Lack of other available periods any time soon.

I hope so. I really want them updated before I buy.

But wait there's more. And you thought I was done.

All this coverage of .Mac becoming MobileMe has gotten me to take a look at the service. I have to say, much of it looks pretty cool. And since it will already have been updated when I get my mini, I intend to trial and maybe even buy the service if I like it.

Only thing that bugs me is I'll probably get the lame @me.com e-mail address, rather than the vanity @mac.com I really want.

Mind you...I could combat that by starting the trial early, surely? It is 60 days, so I have time.

I might have to think about that actually.

I tell you what appeals most to me: mounting the iDisk. I've been looking for net-based storage for some time and for me, capacity is secondary. I want it to work like an HDD. And with my Mac mini and MobileMe, it will be integrated right into the Finder.

I call win. I keep saying I call things, it's cos I'm following the election...And playing Sudoku on Brain Training where I "call" a square for a number once I think it can only be that number. On a similar note, I've taken to holding a biro, pointiing with it and tapping a lot. I picked that up from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

I don't even use biros. I write with a Parker fountain pen.

Lastamly, I promise, here's one from the my plans files. I'm currently looking into the prospects of launching a video show using a virtual backdrop. This would be powered by the Mac and may or may not be a part of Multiplayer. if not, it would integrate with this blog (Or my personal site, should I ever launch one).

For that reason, I'm looking into high-quality webcams (Must be Mac compatible) and comign up with some rough ideas about the virtual set. Currently, I'm tnking abstract and animated as opposed to anything photographic or stupid like that.

In an oddly organic throwback...It seems Giant Bomb are doing something similar with their video stuff. though way more advanced. All green screen and shizz. They're reason: space. A green screen set uses way less space. My reason is similar in that I don't even have an pffce, just my room.

Jens (Finally - Ed) Out

*My second favourite living politician BTW and fourth of all time

Calling It

Okay, I'm prepared to call the Mac mini 2008 Update for August. Prediction: new CPUs, new motherboards, new graphics (Newer GMA), larger hard drives possible new design. May be modular.

Next, we're calling Barack Obama the Democratic Nominee for President of the United States, sitting as he does just 10 Delegates shy with 30 Pledged Delegates up for grabs total tonight in two Primaries he is believed to have bought and paid for.

With that out of the way, we can move on to the forthcoming Giant Bombcast in which Jeff Gerstmann and Ryan Davis are expected to reveal something major about Giant Bomb (dot) com I have a suspicion about what it is.

First, I'm half hoping, half expecting, the duo to announce registration and potentially the forums for the site are open, or opening this week. This would be great, the Giant Bomb fans are hugely devoted but currently the main communication medium for us in comments.

Forums would allow the community to blossom. And for once, I would be around at the incepton of a multiformat games website's forums meaning I wouldn't get lost amidst the kind of crap at GameSpot and IGN (I could never be bothered digging through that rubbish only to have the snobs snub me).

Secondly, with a probability of 65% or better, I expect the pair to announce a launch date for the Giant Bomb site - the day they're "blowing up".

Furthermore, I'd say this date will be at most 14 days ahead of E3 - which starts July 15. That is, I epect it to be launched no later than the start of July. I'm hoping for late June, but I'm realistic.

On an unrelated side note, Demi Lovato kicks ass.

Now then, I have an update on Multiplayer Magazine. My partner in crime WizzKid and I have made a decision about what will power the site and I have made a choice about hosting.

As time marches on, we'll be discussing it more and more. One of our current to dos is having our graphics team design a logo and setting a colour scheme for the site. Meanwhile, I'm going to be using some of my upcoming free time to begin getting the Multiplayer Content Specifications written up. I've written content philosophies before, but this one is entirely new - the previous one was based primarily on the first, itself fairly standard though with some unique twists.

The MCS will be pretty comprehensive, since it will be necessary to provide guidelines for all content types.

Anyway, I'm pretty tired. Night.

Jens Out

02 June 2008

Apple Rumour Sites say the darndest things

Mac Rumors are reporting that Kevin Rose has posted a video blog about a rumour he's heard. First, he mentions the 3G iPhone will likely cost the same as the current iPhone does now (We'll come back to that), then he goes on to a new rumour. Namely, he speculates there will be a $200 (I imagine listed as $199) low-end iPhone announced alongside it.

That would be my iPhone black/white rumour. Rose's price seems awfully damned low though. Like...Wow. That's half-freaking-price.

As to his specific comments about the 3G iPhone's price, I'm inclined to agree. Apple's not stupid, they know they need to bring in the new phone at the current price or risk putting people off. On some updated products, they drop the price (2nd Generation MacBook for example). I doubt that will happen here, but we can assume current prices.

I find it funny that Kevin Rose, the Digg guy, has apparently got more sources for leaked Apple news than a site called Mac Rumors. I mean, what the hell?

Meanwhile, what sources Mac Rumors do have are speculating that the 16GB 3G iPhone will be the base model...But it'll stay at its current price. That's $499! That means there will be no $399 iPhone any more - contradicting Rose's insinuations for one thing and also just seeming like bad damned idea.

Aple tried that iPhone starting at $499 thing before, you 'member? Didn't go well.

Meanwhile, they suggest a 32GB iPhone will be intro'd. At - wait for it - $699. No, that's not a typo. Six-hundred-and-ninety-nine dollars. As in, $100 more than they've ever charged. As in, $300 more than the current bse iPhone, $200 more than the top end.

And further, they're continuing to push this idea that it'll be in the leaked plastic shells I say are destined for the budget iPhone.
Am I the only one here who thinks the present iPhone design is brilliant? Why is everyone in such a hurry to believe Apple are changing it for such a clearly inferior one in the form of these plastic shells which are so obviously more suited to a cheaper device?

All of this seems totally ludicrous and it is for that reason we can only pray they're just being stupid, or their sources are anyway. None of this sounds good at all.

Jens Out

31 May 2008

Twitter

I'm now fairly regularly Twittering, so here's the link to my Twitter page:

Me at Twitter

I might put the Tweets in the sidebar here. I'm not sure, there's an awful lot of stuff in there...

I'll think about it and get back to you. If you have any input, don't hesitate to comment. I always enjoy comments. They give me proof I'm not talking to myself and the one person I know reads the blog.

You know who you are.

Take me away,
Jens

Update: I went ahead and added it anyway. It's not very big.

I tell you what I love about Twitter: I can post to the internets from anywhere I have mobile phone signal This means I can tweet whilst on break at work and all sorts. Surprisingly fun.

WWDC '08: Steve Jobs Keynote Predictions

It's that time again. I'll be putting all my ideas as to the content of the opening keynote address of Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference - to be delivered once again by Steve Jobs, Apple CEO - in this post.

First, Steve will unveil iPhone 2G, which will - humorously enough - be primarily about adding 3G cellular technology. It'll also add GPS and I expect Apple will double the offered capacities from 8/16GB to 16/32GB.

Update: Rumoured pricing (UK) has the iPhone selling subsidised on contracts from as little as free, up through £100. Macworld UK is suggesting the phone will sell unsubsidised on a Pay/Go tariff at the current £269/£329 price points (16GB/32GB or 8GB/16GB).

Rampant internet speculation based on "leaked" shots of the new iPhone's body (Tellingly, no shots exist with the electronics inside the shell) suggests the new iPhone will sport a plastic, glossy rear. I tend to follow more recent and more reliable suggestions that the 3G iPhone will match the existing model in general design and material choice, though it's size may have marginally update: decreased.

On a purely speculative basis, the approximate existing iPhone guts may continue to be offered in these new plastic shells as an iPhone with the nano suffix or something (I speculate iPhone white and iPhone black) - a more budget oriented iPhone.

From there, Steve will move on to the software powering iPhone 2nd Gen and iPhone black/white - as well as existing iPhones and iPod touches. Major update: that OS is now called OS X iPhone. Expect this section to give details on the AppStore as well as new software features. Highly unlikely Steve will go back over the SDK itself, more on that will follow in the sessions.

Expect Steve to announce launch apps including some of those we've already seen.

Finally, Steve will One More Thing .Mac. Update: Expect revamp of look and feel - the web interface I mean - in line with the recent .Mac Mail revamp, expect some more cross-platform uses, possibly a free version, possible capacity bumps and finally, expect integration with OS X iPhone. What form this final integration will take is debatable, likely it is syncing of and access to data - I'm sure you can imagine what forms this will take.

Unclear placement on this next stuff, but from what we see, it is worth mentioning. Mac OS X Leopard has been rechristened OS X Leopard, in line with the new name for iPhone OS, OS X iPhone. This probably means Apple will outline the differences and similarities going forward.

Rumours have suggested Apple may seed an OS X Snow Leopard (Technically, 10.6 under these rumours though I speculate even under that theory, Apple is dropping the 10.x.x numbering scheme in favour of OS X Name Version x.x, or even OS X Leopard Version x.x), an update in the same vein as OS X 10.1 back in the day - focusing on security, stability, general fixes and so on. Additionally, the release is said to drop PPC support and remove or de-emphasise Carbon.

I speculate these rumours are either correct and OS X Snow Leopard is the codename for the first update to OS X Leopard under a new naming
system and release schedule/system or they are referring to a third OS X.

OS X touch would be a hybrid of OS X Leopard and OS X iPhone, combinging the mobile platform's stouch control roots with more of the raw power of the flagship OS for what I am calling iNewton, but you might call Mac touch. Yes, the Mac Tablet. I speculate Apple will reveal the iNewton and its OS X touch OS here, preparing developers for it by talking about it in sessions & the keynote and also seeding a developers' preview ready for a full unveiling and release details/release this comign January. This version would remove Carbon entirely as speculated.

That said, if Snow Leopard is, as others believe, an OS X Mac (As I am now calling the flagship OS as a line in light of the new naming scheme for the OS X iPhone line - to that end Apple would be advised to give individual OS X iPhone releases small mammal names) release, named OS X Snow Leopard, Is till believe it will include pervasive Multi-Touch based on the OS X iPhone line and be destined to power an iNewton ebcase of this. This versio would include the Carbon tools, but Apple's own aps would all move to Cocoa/Cocoa touch.

As for the Mac mini's belated updated, the predictions I initially posted with regards to the update itself remain unchanged, but I now speculate it may occur at WWDC after all. Rumours suggest Apple wished to unveil new MacBooks at WWDC but has been forced to delay by Intel. I speculate Apple will move the MacBook updates to last year's consumer desktop update timeframe (August) in a straight swap with this year's due desktop updates (Mac mini and Mac Pro).

To put it simply, I think Apple was planning to update the MacBooks here and the Macs Pro and mini in August and may now be doing them the other way around.

It remains possible both lines will go without updates.

Update:
Courtesy of TUAW we now have reason to believe the Mac mini could well be EOL'd today, replaced by a similar product using (As speculated previous) an enclosure similar to AppleTV and Time Capsule/Airport Extreme Base Station. No word on pricing, but it would sport an optical drive and be pitched heavily as a new developer's tool.This make sense thanks to the influx of new Apple developers owing to the OS X iPhone SDK - since iPhone apps are made on Macs, Apple needs a new, affordable Mac to be available so they can get making them apps fast and cheap.

Treat this with a grain of salt. I imagine TUAW's images, whilst they may be based o a real product Apple is conceiving (Since it makes a whole lot of sense), are faked.

29 May 2008

Live Blog: The Setup Renovation

http://www.scribblelive.com/Thread.aspx?Id=1031

Update: All finished now. The hi-fi ended up moving up a shelf. The Wii has moved about 8 inches to the right to accommodate the VGA Switcher's new home. Between them is Wii Remote Number 2. On top of the Switcher is the Mouse Dock and Wii Remote 1 in its charging station. Behind the Switcher, angled through the gap at the side of the book case is my USB fan.

Beside the Wii on the right is currently the Eee, but that gap is eventually the Mac mini's home. To the right of that gap are the Wii games. Most of the Wii Accessories moved into the Wii Games' old home, the others have entirely new homes. For example, my 3 wheels (The Ferrari multi-format one and the two Wii Remote shells - including the official Wii Wheel) are in that redundant PS2's old home.

I swapped the power strips so the 6 is at the back powering everything, the 4 now upfront for charging things.

Final big change, I moved the monitor back and the speakers forward, so there's now way more space on the desk.

It's a pretty nice setup. I'll have some pictures soon...

...Maybe.

Updating The Setup

Last post I mentioned my plan to redo the setup here just to unclutter the cables situation. Well I've decided to go a touch more drastic. I'm going to strip everything on the desk and the bookcase beside it out (Excluding some stuff on the bookshelf which will absolutely not be moving). That comprises the PC and all the related devices, the monitor, the printer, the VGA switcher, the Composite > VGA box, the Wii, the hi-fi & its speakers, all of my games & DVDs and the total removal of the redundant PS2.

It'll probably also require the reorganisation of a couple of crates and I'll be moving some of the Wii accessories (Though most will superficially remain where they are - hopefully neater though).

All of this is leading to the eventual installment of my new "desktop", the Mac mini. I put desktop in quote marks because it's actually going to sit on the bookshelf by the Wii, replacing the hi-fi which will move up a shelf or down two.

The other big news is that I might ditch the Dell after all. But only if my parents agree to pay me some money for the add-ons of this year in exchange for releasing it to them (Value £184, I'd hope for £150 from them). To recap, those add-ons are a Blu-Ray reader and a better graphics card.

I'd use the £150 to buy an Elgato eyeTV Diversity (Dual tuner Mac USB TV Tuner dongle) - that would replace the Dazzle*Stick as my TV, I'd let them have that...I hate it anyway. That would only cost £79.95, so I'd spend the rest on a big USB external hard drive - 400 or 500 GB. Half of that drive would be Time Machine for the Mac mini's drive and half would be additional media storage, mostly for TV recordings.

This would basically be me set. Yes, I'd lose Blu-Ray watching in my room, but I would still be able to do it elsewhere - either on the big living room TV or wherver they put the Dell. I'd also lose PC gaming, but the PC games I play most nowadays are things like Grid Wars 2 (Which has a Mac version) and older first person shooters (I keep going back to the First Person Shooters of 2003-2005 for some reason). Even Penny Arcade Adventures will run on the Mac mini!

Plus...I plan on getting a 360 anyway. So between Wii, that and the (Admittedly somewhat limited) games that work on the mini, I'll be set.

Speaking of Wii, MOHH2 is kickass.

I'm thinking of Liveblogging the rebuild from my Eee...Mainly as an experiment with livblogging, but also as a way to vent any frustrations with cables or whatever.

Anyway, that's all for now. Catch you later.

Goodbye papa, please pray for me,
Jens

28 May 2008

Whew

Well folks, it is done.

All published posts on this blog are now tagged. There are probably some errors and misses in there, but whatever. It'll do for now.

I'm really pumped about my Mac mini...I get it 3 weeks today, after doing 7 exams. I was watching loads of videos about it on YouTube earlier. I'm so excited.

Speaking of, I'm planning to strip out the desk area soon, re-wire everything and get the whole setup neatened up. Yes, I'm leaving before mid-August, but the mess back there is just bothering me.

I'm totally going to convince the parents I need a new desk for Scotland. Needs to be bigger for this monitor for one thing - there's just not enough free space on here.

I'll be doing a video unboxing and setup of the Mac mini. Should be fun.

I'm doing my WWDC Steve Jobs Keynote Predictions way early. But the post will get updates as I get more information closer to the event. My big hope? Mac mini update. Not because I'm unhappy with the current specs (Though the HDD could be bigger), more because I want it to be just before I buy so it can't be just after I buy. Which would be a bummer.

Baby bye bye bye,
Jens

23 May 2008

Housecleaning

Switched to a new design you may have noticed, it reflects the gradual change in tone up in here. I'm also currently in the process of tagging all the posts in the archive, and since I don't have any exams until June 3rd now, I should be getting that done in the next week or so.

I'm now on Twitter, dunno what I'm going to do with it, but I imagine I'll find some use for micro-blogging in the future. Follow me if you use it, but right now it's probably not worth joining just to follow me.

I'm hoping to get around to those exam reviews next week, I have some issues with all three I've done so far so stay tuned for that.

I finally enabled Advanced Desktop (Vanilla Xandros) on my Eee the other day, so I've been kind of geeking out. That's how I roll, yo.

Nintendo are bringing a turquoise DS Lite out. Hot damn. That might be the thing that makes me upgrade. That thing is lush.

Rumours abound Apple will unveil a 3G iPhone soon (Like, within 3 weeks) which will go on sale shortly thereafter worldwide. The most exciting rumour is that it may be sold contract-free at the fll price, with carriers offering rebates (Similar to the one offered by Carphone Warehouse and O2 recently) to drive contract sales. Well if I can get a 3G 16GB iPhone for £269, contract-free, then I might just have to go for that instead of the Sony.

I'd be more aprehensive about an 8GB, it wouldn't be a big enough upgrade on the touch.

Right, I'm off to spec up a computer to drool over at VooDooPC's website. I'll finish the upgrades to the blog soon.

Goodbye my Coney Island baby
Jens