World’s Largest Video Game Collection Nets £440,000 At Auction

A collection of over 11,000 video games – confirmed by The Guinness Book of World Records as being the largest in the world – has sold at auction for $750,250 (roughly £440,000).

Amazingly, the bidding began at just $1.

The auction, held via website Game Gavel.com, ended on 15th of June, leaving the collection’s (now former) owner Michael Thomasson a very happy man.

Thomasson, a lifelong gamer, operated seven different indie gaming outlets throughout the 1990’s and spent the last decade working at a chain store. During this time, he has also been running his own online business, Good Deal Games, since 1998.

“Whenever I purchased a game that did not directly come from the distributor I was able to look through all our inventory and pick out the nicest copy of a game, including grabbing the nicest box and manual”, he wrote on the item description for his mammoth collection.

According to Thomasson, over a quarter of his collection were still factory sealed at the time of listing.

“A few years ago, I supplied almost a thousand games to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games (part of the Strong Museum) and Shannon Symonds (the Acquisitions Cataloger for the ICHEG) stated that the games I sold them were the nicest collection of games they had ever received. And those were duplicates that were not as nice as the copies that I held back for my personal collection”.

Thomasson also went out of his way to confirm that Guinness’ assessment did not count duplicates, meaning that there were no repeats in the sold-off collection, either.

Michael Thomasson’s item description bragged, “Win this auction and you will have the largest recorded collection of games in the world – or Universe, even! I’m handing over the baton and the winner will instantly become the new crown holder, without three plus decades of meticulous hunting”. He wasn’t kidding, either!

56 bids later and Thomasson was more than $750,000 better off. The money, he claims, is being used to help his family with “needs that need to be addressed”.

In 2012, when Guinness World Records initially appraised the collection, it numbered 10, 607 titles. However, in the time between the broken record and the sale, Thomasson had added a further 400 games to his collection.

He also chucked in a lifetime subscription to RETRO magazine, as well as a signed copy of the issue that featured his collection.

“While I do not wish to part with these games, I have responsibilities that I have made to others and this action is how I will help meet them”, wrote Thomasson, of the eventual sale.

SOURCES

http://www.gamegavel.com/item.cgi?show_item=958029

http://www.polygon.com/2014/6/17/5818970/worlds-largest-video-game-collection-750k-auction

What Are the Different Types of Security Earpiece?

Without giving too much about this headset piece, but I thought it fascinating and related to what I’m currently doing.

There are a number of different types of security earpieces that can be chosen and worn by a security professional, and the type used typically depends on a number of factors. In general, there are two major categories for these devices: wireless and wired. Within these two basic categories, however, there are a number of different models and versions available. The type of security earpiece a professional chooses is often based on the needs of that individual and the level of secrecy he or she wishes to maintain with regard to the earpiece.

security earpieceA security earpiece is a device worn around or in the ear which is connected to a two-way radio or similar device. This is commonly worn as part of a set with a microphone and receiver to allow a person to receive and send messages to other individuals who are also wearing similar earpieces. These devices are often used by security personnel and bodyguards such as law enforcement officers, the US Secret Service, and private personal security professionals. A security earpiece is typically either a wireless or wired device, with different models available of each type.

Both a wireless and a wired security earpiece can come in different models, usually either as an earpiece worn over the ear or a small earbud placed just within the entrance to the ear canal. Wireless devices of this type are often worn for extra secrecy, to allow a person to wear such an earpiece without it being readily apparent to observers. These devices are often earbuds that receive a signal wirelessly; a separate microphone is often worn on a lapel or at the end of a sleeve. The wearer can then speak into the microphone to send messages, while receiving messages in the wireless security earpiece.

A wired security earpiece will typically work in a similar way, though a wire connects the earpiece to the receiver. This wire can be clear to make it more difficult to notice, and often loops around the back of the ear to remain out of the way while worn. These types of earpieces often come in one-wire, two-wire, or three-wire versions. One-wire earpieces consist of only an earpiece without a microphone, two-wire devices have an earpiece and a second wire connected to a microphone that is often connected to a lapel or sleeve. A three-wire security earpiece includes the earpiece and microphone that is typically worn on the lapel, and then features a third wire that connects to a device on the wearer’s hand that allows him or her to activate the microphone inconspicuously.

Can iPad resist the hybrid PC/tablet trap?

Thankyou for reading my site, here is a piece i actually loved reading. With their authorization i’m able to repost it. I compose many of my own content, but occasionally post other content i think are interesting, thanks for reading.

When the iPad came out, almost four years ago, it was immediately misunderstood by industry insiders – and joyously embraced by normal humans. Just Google iPad naysayer for a few nuggets of iPad negativism. Even Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, couldn’t avoid the derivative trap: He saw the new object as a mere evolution of an existing one and shrugged off the iPad as a bigger phone. Schmidt should have known better, he had been an Apple director in the days when Jobs believed the two companies were “natural allies”.

I was no wiser. I got my first iPad on launch day and was immediately disappointed. My new tablet wouldn’t let me do the what I did on my MacBook Air – or my tiny EeePC running Windows Xp (not Vista!). For example, writing a Monday Note on an iPad was a practical impossibility – and still is.

I fully accept the personal nature of this view and, further, I don’t buy the media consumption vs. productivity dichotomy Microsoft and its shills (Gartner et al.) tried to foist on us. If by productivity we mean work, work product, earning one’s living, tablets in general and the iPad in particular have more than made the case for their being productivity tools as well as education and entertainment devices.

Still, preparing a mixed media document, even a moderately complex one, irresistibly throws most users back to a conventional PC or laptop. With multiple windows and folders, the PC lets us accumulate text, web pages, spreadsheets and graphics to be distilled, cut and pasted into the intended document.

Microsoft now comes to the rescue. Their hybrid Surface PC/Tablet lets you “consume” media, play games in purely tablet mode – and switch to the comfortable laptop facilities offered by Windows 8. The iPad constricts you to ersatz folders, preventing you to put your document’s building blocks in one place? No problem, the Surface device features a conventional desktop User Interface, familiar folders, comfy Office apps as well as a “modern” tile-based Touch UI. The best of both worlds, skillfully promoted in TV ads promising work and fun rolled into one device.

What’s not to like?

John Kirk, a self-described “recovering attorney”, whose tightly argued and fun columns are always worth reading, has answers. In a post onTablets Metaphysics – unfortunately behind a paywall – he focuses on the Aristotelian differences between tablets and laptops. Having paid my due$$ to the Techpinions site, I will quote Kirk’s summation [emphasis mine]:

Touch is ACCIDENTAL to a Notebook computer. It’s plastic surgery. It may enhance the usefulness of a Notebook but it doesn’t change the essence of what a Notebook computer is. A keyboard is ACCIDENTAL to a Tablet. It’s plastic surgery. It may enhance the usefulness of a Tablet, but it doesn’t change the essence of what a Tablet is. Further — and this is key — a touch input metaphor and a pixel input metaphor must be wholly different and wholly incompatible with one another. It’s not just that they do not comfortably co-exist within one form factor. It’s also that they do not comfortably co-exist within our minds eye.

In plain words, it’s no accident that tablets and notebooks are distinctly different from one another. On the contrary, their differences — their incompatibilities — are the essence of what makes them what they are.

Microsoft, deeply set in the culture of backwards compatibility that served it so well for so long did the usual thing, it added a tablet layer on top of Windows 7. The result didn’t take the market by storm and appears to have caused the exit of Steve Sinofsky, the Windows czar now happily ensconced at Harvard Business School and a Board Partner with the Andreessen Horowitz venture firm. Many think the $900M Surface RT write-off also contributed to Ballmer’s August 2013 resignation.

Now equipped with hindsight, Apple’s decision to stick to a “pure” tablet looks more inspired than lucky. If we remember that a tablet project preceded the iPhone, only to be set aside for a while, Apple’s “stubborn minimalism”, its refusal to hybridize the iPad might be seen as the result of long experimentation – with more than a dash of Steve Jobs (and Scott Forstall) inflexibility.

Apple’s bet can be summed up thus: MacBooks and iPads have their respective best use cases, they both reap high customer satisfaction scores. Why ruin a good game?

Critics might add: Why sell one device when we can sell two? Apple would rather “force” us to buy two devices in order to maximize revenue. On this, Tim Cook often reminds Wall Street of Apple’s preference for self-cannibalization, for letting its new and less expensive products displace existing ones. Indeed, the iPad keeps cannibalizing laptops, PCs and Macs alike.

All this leaves one question unanswered: Is that it? Will the iPad fundamentals stay the way they have been from day one? Are we going to be thrown back to our notebooks when composing the moderately complex mixed-media documents I earlier referred to? Or will the iPad hardware/software combination become more adept at such uses?

To start, we can eliminate a mixed-mode iOS/Mac device. Flip a switch, it’s an iPad, flip it again, add a keyboard/touchpad and you have a Mac. No contraption allowed. We know where to turn to for that.

Next, a new iOS version allows multiple windows to appear on the iPad screen; folders are no longer separately attached to each app as they are today but lets us store documents from multiple apps in one place. Add a blinking cursor for text and you have… a Mac, or something too close to a Mac but still different. Precisely the reason why that won’t work.

(This might pose the question of an A7 or A8 processor replacing the Intel chip inside a MacBook Air. It can be done – a “mere matter of software” – but how much would it cut from the manufacturing cost? $30 to $50 perhaps. Nice but not game-changing, a question for another Monday Note.)

More modest, evolutionary changes might still be welcome. Earlier this year, Counternotions proposed a slotted clipboard as An interim solution for iOS ’multitasking‘:

[...] until Apple has a more general solution to multitasking and inter-app navigation, the four-slot clipboard with a visible UI should be announced at WWDC. I believe it would buy Ive another year for a more comprehensive architectural solution, as he’ll likely need it.

This year’s WWDC came and went with the strongest iOS update so far, but no general nor interim solution to the multitasking and inter-app navigation discussed in the post. (Besides the Counternotions blog, this erudite and enigmatic author also edits counternotions.tumblr.com and can be followed on Twitter as @Kontra.)

A version of the above suggestion could be conceptualized as a floating dropbox to be invoked when needed, hovering above the document worked on. This would not require the recreation of a PC-like windows and desktop UI. Needed components could be extracted from the floating store, dragged and dropped on the work in process.

We’ll have to wait and see if and how Apple evolves the iPad without falling into the hybrid trap.

On even more speculative ground, a recent iPad Air intro video offered a quick glimpse of the Pencil stylus by Fifty-Three, the creators of the well-regarded Paper iPad app. So far, styli haven’t done well on the iPad. Apple only stocks children-oriented devices from Disney and Marvel. Nothing else, in spite of the abundance of such devices offered on Amazon. Perhaps we’ll someday see Apple grant Bill Gates his wish, as recounted by Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson:

“I’ve been predicting a tablet with a stylus for many years,” he told me. “I will eventually turn out to be right or be dead.”

Someday, we might see an iPad, larger or not, Pro or not, featuring a screen with more degrees of pressure sensitivity. After seeing David Hockney’s work on iPads at San Francisco’s de Young museum, my hopes are high.

Source – http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jan/09/ipad-hybrid-pc-tablet-trap

Russian Officials Brand The Sims 4 as ‘Harmful to Children’

Russia has come under fire from both gamers and the global LGTB community for its decision to restrict sales of Electronic Arts game ‘The Sims 4’ to 18+ gamers.

EA have claimed that this 18+ rating is due to the game’s depiction of same-sex relationships, images of which are deemed by Russian law as being “harmful to children”.

The Sims, in any incarnation, centres on the lives of a group of virtual characters. Players must ensure that the characters are fed, enjoy gainful employment, have somewhere to live (preferably with adequate toilet facilities) and are generally happy in their lives.

sims 4 2014There are very few mission-based objectives within The Sims. In fact, it is intended as a virtual depiction (some may say satire) of modern life. To this end, relationships play a part in the game, although characters are neither explicitly heterosexual nor homosexual, these are largely choices made on the part of the player. Relationships can either be brief flirtations, casual flings or monogamous, steady partnerships; it is entirely up to the gamer.

Depictions of sex (called ‘woohoo’) within the game take place under sheets, or in other private places. Players can tell that something is going on, but one would be hard pushed to guess that it was sex without some prior erm…Woohoo experience.

In 2010, Russia passed a law known as 436-FZ, which was created, ostensibly, to protect children from harmful content. The law gives Russian officials the right to censor anything that may elicit “fear, horror, or panic in young children”. It sounds fair enough, except when you try to envision any child, no matter how sensitive, being rendered ‘fearful, horrified or panicky’ at the sight of two, essentially genderless, computer sprites exchanging, essentially nothing, under a duvet.

For the record, Sims cannot take illegal drugs or self harm in any way (with the possible exception of being up all night woohoo-ing and then falling asleep at work and being fired, which I don’t think qualifies), so it is hard to imagine why else the game could have garnered such a severe age restriction.

Oh wait; I forgot to mention that in 2013, Russian authorities amended 436-FZ so that it prohibits the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships”. Now there’s an ill-fitting definition if ever there was one.

Many studies/groups (such as America’s TREVOR project) maintain that media-enforced pressure to conform to heterosexual norms can cause depression, anxiety and even suicide among LGBT youths, essentially proving that only showing one type of romantic relationship can actually be harmful to young viewers. On the flipside, as far as I know, there is no evidence to suggest that seeing a same-sex partnership in a video game will cause an otherwise heterosexual gamer to become a homosexual and even if there was, how exactly would they be being harmed by this unlikely metamorphosis?

Critics maintain that this move reflects little more than personal prejudice in the guise of child protection. Who’s ‘fear, horror and/or panic’ are Russia really preventing here?

In the rest of the world, The Sims series has either been rated at 10+ or 13+ (mainly because of all the woohoo, I suppose). Electronic Arts was voted as being one of the best places to work for LGBT individuals by the HRC (Human Rights Campaign) in 2012, it got a score of 100%.

One has to wonder what score the Russian government would get.

SOURCE

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-27374539

Review of the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2

Lenovo’s influential laptop designs are legendary. Despite being, in most cases, re-branded IBM computers, there was a time when the Lenovo laptop was the only model to be certified for use in outer space (I’m not joking). The Lenovo ThinkPad 2 tablet is hoping to take this tradition of quality merchandise and trusted branding into the world of the tablet PC. In the process, Lenovo are hoping to exercise the demons awakened by this tablet’s predecessor…

Yes, the original Thinkpad was a bit crap. It wasn’t stunningly awful, but it certainly wasn’t anyone’s tablet of the year. Why not? Well, for starters the battery life was shorter than Mini-Me’s understudy. Secondly, the general operation of the computer was slower than Wayne Rooney’s Sudoku record. Thirdly, Android doesn’t really do that many ‘pen friendly’ apps.

So, how is this new version different? Let’s find out…

THE SPECS

The first major difference between the Thinkpad 1 and the latest model is the OS. The original model ran Android, but not especially well. This new version runs Windows 8 and is, dare I say it, much better for it. Lenovo principally make computers for Windows, so having them back on home territory can only be a good thing.

The second thing you’re likely to notice is that the bodywork has been completely overhauled. This new ThinkPad now comes complete with a rubberised finish that feels comfortable and pleasing to touch, a vastly improved screen (1366 x 768, nicer, but still not HD) and a cute little keyboard that is fantastic, both to look at and to use.

The ThinkPad 2 is lighter than the older model (from 1.58lbs to 1.3 lbs) and you get about 8 hours of battery life.

THE PRICE

Available at around £430, this is actually one of the cheaper Windows 8 tablets around. It’s a bit pricier than other hybrids, of course, but is probably worth the extra money in the long run. If you really want Windows 8 on your tablet, but you don’t want to pay the funny money, this one could be a decent choice.

NOTE: Sadly, the keypad itself will set you back another £80, bringing the total up about £510. This is still a decent price compared to some of the others out there, however.

THE PERFORMANCE

This tablet performs pretty well. The processing speed is suitably fast and the general look and feel of the tablet implies comfort, durability and professionalism. It handles the Internet with no problems at all and the apps also work well without hiccups.

One minor annoyance is the pen. That stylus just doesn’t want to come out of its friggin’ holster. Ever. It’s actually embarrassing when you’re in public and struggling to pull the f****r out.

As a negative point, I wouldn’t say that there was anything especially exciting about this tablet. It works fine; it’s not the fastest tablet in the West, nor is it the most energy efficient model ever. It is neither great value nor a ripoff and it runs Windows 8, which is a plus or a minus, depending on your perspective.

It is, however, miles better than the previous model. It represents a genuinely huge improvement on the ThinkPad 1.

THE VERDICT

Generally speaking, I liked this tablet. I don’t know if it will feature on anybody’s ‘best of the year’ lists, as I said of its predecessor, but that doesn’t make the ThinkPad 2 a bad tablet.

All in all, it’s just a standard Windows 8 tablet. Don’t expect a dazzling Retina display, don’t expect the hardware of the Microsoft Surface, don’t expect the brand pull of some of the other tablets out there and don’t expect a major bargain. What you see is a nicely made, reliable tablet at a reasonable price.

And what you see is ultimately what you’ll get. 

What’s is the Best Bluetooth Headset for Running?

Asked by Hiromi in Osaka

Hi Hiromi, How’s life in Japan? I’d love to visit one day, but until then, here’s your answer…

It all depends on how much you sweat. Yes, I know that’s a little bit indelicate of me, but unfortunately it happens to be true. I’ve read many, many customer reviews of otherwise fine and good headsets that claim to be designed for joggers, but that conk out the first time they get significantly wet…

Headsets designed for jogging are often created so that they won’t fall out of your ears as you run, with almost no concern placed on how much you may sweat during the run. Some people sweat a lot and some sweat very little. In either instance, your sweat level needs to be a factor in your purchasing decision (and there’s no nicer way to say it than that!)

Then, another factor to consider is how much the headset will isolate you from your surroundings as you run. Noise cancellation headsets might do a superlative job if you’re running past a noisy construction site, but they aren’t going to be much help in the wake of oncoming traffic. Again, it comes down to individual choice. Some runners subscribe to the Linford Christie ‘bullet from a gun’ mentality, whilst others simply enjoy a bit of exercise, but also like to stay aware of what’s going on around them.

It is also misleading to assume that a branded headset from a sportswear manufacturer is in any way superior to one designed by a trusted electronics firm. In many/most instances, the opposite is actually true.

Sadly, even so called ‘sweat resistant’ headsets are often anything but and there isn’t a lot you can actually do to get your money back. Your best bet, if you ask me, is to buy a mid-range headset, use it specifically for jogging/going to the gym and don’t expect it to last for very long. If it performs badly, chalk it up to experience and buy a different headset, if it lasts for a decent period of time, then replace it with a similar model, or else the same one again.

I’ll be honest; every so often I get one of these questions that I find hard to answer, as no amount of research will really help. Type in the name of any ‘Bluetooth Headset for Jogging’ into Amazon (or whatever the Japanese equivalent of Amazon may be) and you’ll read just as many complaints in the reviews as praises.

Due to this, I’m reluctant to name specific models, because they may not actually work for you. I’d hate to say, “Oh, this headset works really well”, only to have you write back “Does it b*llocks!”. I have personally reviewed several pairs of headphones online (which you can view by clicking HERE), but not any Bluetooth headsets (to the best of my recollection), so I’m afraid that’s all the advice I can give you on this one!

How To Use A Radio Earpiece?

Pete’s question may seem obvious, but it is actually a perfectly reasonable thing to ask. Besides, Pete’s email was long, detailed and impeccably polite. I like Pete. I dig Pete (HUR HUR HUR – Sorry Pete, that one couldn’t be helped).

Anyway, Pete wanted a step-by-step guide to putting on a radio earpiece. It is actually ridiculously easy to get tangled up in the wires (which, as I told one curious soul back in March last year, has something to do with the randomness of the universe). In any instance, I decided that others might have experienced the same problems as Pete, so I thought it best to acquiesce and write this guide.

OK Pete, the first thing to do is take the clippable (which, according to my spellchecker isn’t a word, but bear with me anyway) microphone and attach it somewhere on your person where it can pick up your voice without too much difficulty (a tie would be a great place).

Next, attach the earpiece to your ear. It goes on the same way your headphones do, you may have to toggle it until it is comfortable, but that’s all part of the fun! Put it through your shirt so you don’t have cables hanging out everywhere.

At this point, you might as well turn the radio on. It’ll be easier to do now than when it is clipped to the back of your belt.

Then, you take the remaining piece of wire (the bit dangling down from the clippable mic) and loop it through your shirt so that it comes out of the back. You then take the radio itself, slap the plug into it and attach the radio to your belt behind you (or wherever you plan on attaching it).

To operate the radio, you have to use the PTT (Push To Talk) function on the mic. You do this by simply pushing the button and talking.

In most cases, the other radio functions (whatever they may be) will have to be performed after removing the radio from your belt (unless, of course, you happen to be some kind of contortionist, in which case: go nuts with different body combinations and freak random people out as you go).

I hope that answered your question, Pete. Have fun using your radio!

Review of the The Sony Xperia Z Tablet

Sony are sort of perennial outsiders, or ‘nearly men’ in the tablet PC marketplace.

They’ve tried very hard not to be, in fact, they’ve ploughed millions into the development of various tablets. From the underrated Sony Tablet S to the pretty dismal Sony Tablet P and onwards to the mis-step of the first Sony Xperia, it seems like everything they touch is doomed, inexorably, towards slow sales and mediocre reviews.

In preparation for this review, I dug out a few of my own reviews for the aforementioned products. I believe I can narrow down a few negative points common to all Sony tablets.

1)      The price – even when the tablet is generally sound, Sony lack the reputation required to charge as much as they do for their tablets.

2)      Branding – A single letter name and an offbeat design can make the branding a little too ‘high concept’ for the average consumer and a little too ‘hokey’ for the expert.

3)      The screen – Let’s face it; the screen is, in some respects, the only aesthetic feature a tablet PC has. It is also the first thing that the average customer gravitates to. Sony’s screens have been, by turns, slippery and awkward or just far too polished for its own good (definitely the case with the Xperia).

So, this is the criteria we’ll be looking at as we review the new Xperia Z.

THE SPECS

The screen is, sadly, not much to write home about. It looks nice enough and has a polite 1920 x 1200 resolution, but when measured against the Google Nexus, the Microsoft Surface Pro or the iPad’s Retina Display, it just comes off as inadequate. Of course, this isn’t to say that the screen is bad, just that it is a mid-range, average display.

On the other hand, at 6.9mm, the Xperia Z is the thinnest tablet in the world and exhibits a smart, modern design that really looks the part. Sony’s earlier S and P models indicated a great desire to play with the aesthetics of the form (the ‘rolled up magazine’ model was a personal fave) and, although these desires have since been scaled back somewhat, Sony sure knows how to design a handsome product.

The Xperia is also completely waterproof (and can be dunked into a fishtank if you don’t believe me), this makes it very useful for use in the rain and eliminates the worry that it’ll blow up if a few drops somehow get inside the casing.

THE PRICE

The Xperia is being released to compete with iPad on price. Oh, Sony…

THE PERFORMANCE

Personally, I loved the infrared port, this allows your Xperia to work like an all-purpose remote control, meaning that it can change the channels on your telly if you can’t find the remote. It’s kind of gimmicky, but hey, I like it.

I like Android Jelly Bean as well and there is an opening for a truly brilliant Android tablet to swoop in and 

become ‘The Android iPad’, however, the Xperia just isn’t that tablet. It is likeable enough, uses good, fast processors and runs reasonably well, but this is, simply, an average tablet. It is not the iPad beater that the inflated price tag is forcing it to be.

When I was at school, I had a friend who was a nice enough guy (if a little annoying at times), but who was, at best, an average student. He wasn’t especially bright, wasn’t particularly athletic and certainly wasn’t an academic. His parents, however, pushed him to believe that he could do anything; in fact, they pushed him so far and so hard, that if he wasn’t a self-made millionaire by his late teens, they would possibly have died of shame. Of course, this friend did his best; he worked as hard as he could, but eventually it all came undone, as it was always going to. Sony, I feel, are like my old friend’s parents, telling him he could crack Unified Field Theory on his lunch break and then getting upset when he failed to do so and proved to be, well, average.

THE VERDICT

Sony does not have a great reputation with tablets. What they need is an innovative, affordable 7” tablet in the vein of the Kindle Fire HD or Nexus 7, something that can build a customer base and then attract customers to the next big, well-branded release.

Releasing their tablet against the iPad will probably doom it to the same ignominious fate as its predecessor. Let’s face facts: the iPad is the best branded, most visible and most popular tablet in the world today. If the average person is going to spend their money on a top-range tablet, what are they going to buy? An untested model that is an update for a low-selling and underwhelming series, or the world’s most famous tablet? Answers on a postcard, please.

As a stand-alone model, I would say that this tablet is a fine computer, like most of its predecessors, but also that it isn’t anything particularly special when held against the rest of the marketplace. As usual, a mediocre screen, branding that is better recognized as a smart phone model and a, frankly, silly price tag have conspired to sink a promising ship.  

A Review of The New Nexus 7 Tablet

In the 1994 movie ‘Star Trek: Generations’ the character of Guinan tells Captain Picard about the Nexus, a sort of temporal energy ribbon where all your hopes and dreams appear to have come true. “Its like being inside joy” she says of this ‘space ribbon’. It is a description that also fits the new Google Nexus 7, the latest update to the future-classic Android tablet. Just like Star Trek’s Nexus, this new 7-Inch masterpiece also feels like it can bring any passing whim to life…Its a little slice of space age magic.

Pathetically nerdy framing device aside, the new Nexus is truly a joy to use.

Essentially an update on the original Nexus 7 (but only inasmuch as tablet technology had advanced a lot in the last year or so), the newest member of the family Nexus has experienced a slight price increase (from £160 to £200 for a 16GB model), but that is to be expected given the updated technology available here, not to mention the rough and tumble of the decade’s economics thus far…

Frankly, it would be forgivable to expect a much larger price hike based on the strong sales of the original, but Google are smart people and they understand that the Nexus’ low price is a major selling point.

The 2013 Nexus 7 is lighter and thinner than its predecessor (the original weighed 340g, whereas the new one weighs just 290g). The new outer casing looks the part, for sure, but it’s actually the area that we found the most problems with…

For starters, the ‘improved’ screen is actually a major drawback; it is a case of form over function, of style over substance.

Essentially, the new screen has been embiggened, but to the detriment of the device itself. Due to this ‘improvement’, it is now tough to hold the Nexus without placing a digit on the touchscreen, which is problematic. It’s fine if you’re actively engaged in something, but a total pain in the you-know-where if you’re watching a video clip or navigating a menu. Unusually for Google, this comes across as poorly thought out.

The back is no longer coated with plastic, which makes it as slippery as a greased up iPhone. This will make the 2013 Nexus harder to keep hold of (and may increase its chances of sliding down in-between the sofa cushions and thereby being lost forever).

The screen, on the other hand, is beautiful. It’s as good as almost anything out there. It’s not a Retina screen, of course, but it’s easily the best you’re going to get for the asking price.

In addition, the 2013 Nexus is quicker than a whippet with a firework lodged tightly up you-know-where – and we mean that. You can put this thing to sleep (for hours, if you like) and yet, the second you boot it up again, the New Nexus is wide-awake, ready to rock and/or roll. As a matter of fact, the battery life, although not quite as good as the older Nexus, is good enough that you could probably let it sleep for days before you had to even think about charging.

Generally speaking, this is the old Nexus 7 but smaller, thinner and faster. It really is a joy to use, as well as an absolute steal at the price. Almost intuitively, this tablet knows what you want it to do and then does it.

Sure, Android OS eats about 6GB of the memory (causing immediate memory problems if you buy the 16GB version), but it really is worth it. The Nexus series are arguably the best Android models out there, with the OS and the tablet being literally made for each other, so it does make sense in the end, we suppose.

Overall, the New Nexus 7 is not without its faults. There are things we preferred about the original Nexus 7 and there are things we prefer about this one. As an upgrade, however, the 2013 Nexus 7 is still a sound investment. 

Bit Torrent Site Gets Axed, Owner Forced to Pay £68m to MPAA

Bit Torrent website IsoHunt.com, a popular website that specializes in downloadable content, is being shut down following a court settlement.

 

The site, which was founded in 2003, was extremely popular with users. Some 7.4 million viewers had visited the site within three years of it going live. At its peak, Isohunt received an average of 40 million searches a month.

 

In response to the California court’s ruling, IsoHunt’s founder Gary Fung wrote on his blog that “its sad to see my baby go”.

 

The problems began when a group of major corporations, including Disney, Paramount and 20th Century Fox, accused the site of copyright infringement. A large portion of IsoHunt’s Torrent files contained copyrighted material, such as movies, TV shows and music albums.

 

The court case has taken more than 7 years to reach its conclusion, but a decision has finally been made.

 

Mr Fung has been ordered to pay $110m (£68m) to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), but since neither he, nor his company has access to funds of this kind, it is estimated that the MPAA will only receive $2-$4m from Fung.

 

It should be noted, however, that IsoHunt did not actually upload any pirated material. According to Mr. Fung, the IsoHunt users were ultimately responsible for what they made available for download, as opposed to the site itself, which merely served as a directory for available content.

 

Nevertheless, MPAA Chairman Chris Dodd was pleased with the Court’s decision, saying, “The successful outcome of this landmark lawsuit will also will help preserve jobs and protect the tens of thousands of businesses in the creative industries, whose hard work and investments are exploited by sites like IsoHunt.”

 

Fung has argued elsewhere that, if the entertainment industry was to fully embrace digital media (for example by lowering prices and offering simultaneous digital releases), it could easily render sites like his obsolete. 

 

The website www.piracydata.org, which is run by a team of researchers from Virginia, US, has suggested that, of the top 10 most pirated movies of the week, half were unavailable for legal download and none were available for streaming, making piracy the only option for viewers wishing to watch these films over the Internet.

 

But how damaging is online piracy to Hollywood’s profit margins? The 2008 James Cameron movie ‘Avatar’, for example, has been listed as ‘the most pirated film of all time’, after being downloaded something like 21million times worldwide. However, the movie still garnered $600m in DVD sales in the US alone, which is not taking rentals into account (which garnered a further $57m, again, just in the US). This indicates that a considerable number of people are downloading the movie as well as buying the DVD/Blu Ray release.

 

Not everyone in the film and television industries is opposed to piracy either. Musician, actor and spoken word performer Henry Rollins has repeatedly stated that he’d “rather be heard than paid” and Vince Gilligan, creator of the popular US TV show ‘Breaking Bad’ has said that piracy helped his show to be successful, by increasing “brand awareness” of his product.

 

In a Q&A session on Reddit, Gary Fung said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race and I have remained faithful. 10.5 years of IsoHunt has been a long journey by any business definition and forever in Internet start-up time”.

Regardless of the debates, the Isohunt site will likely be completely shut down by the time you read this.

  

SOURCES

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17812247

 

http://www.techradar.com/news/internet/avatar-the-most-pirated-movie-ever-1034312

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24580130

 

http://pctechmag.com/2013/10/breaking-bad-creator-says-piracy-helped-the-show-as-piracy-site-isohunt-is-to-shut-down/