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Monday
Feb282011

One Big Post to Rule Them All

New MacBook Pro's

So, last week Apple refreshed their MacBook Pro Lines. I was underwhelmed with the refresh. Leading up to the announcement, many rumors abounded on what exactly Apple was going to release. I myself was hoping for some radical changes in line with the new MacBook Airs as far as the body was concerned, removing the DVD drive and using a SSD/optical drive combo.

Alas, this was an internal update only. New Sandybridge Mobile Processors, AMD graphics chips are back in the mix and Thunderbolt- Intel's new Light Peak USB-like interface (This thing has real potential). Right now, benchmarks are pretty high for the new Pro's. I will wait until next year to see if Apple redesigns the body. Maybe then I will take the plunge.

iPad 2

Wednesday (March 2nd, 2011) Apple is set to show off the iPad 2. Rumors about this sucker have been all over the place. Here is what I think will actually be in there:

  • Thinner Design (not a crazy redesign)
  • Bigger Speaker
  • Camera (front and back)
  • Slightly better screen, more for viewing angles and sunlight. NO pixel/retina display upgrade.
  • Faster Processor/ more Ram

So, that is what I am guessing for the iPad 2. All safe bets, but that is how Apple rolls with these refreshes. Drastic redesigns usually happen every 2 years, which makes sense form a manufacturing perspective.

Apple may also wow us with Free Mobile Me as well as IOS 4.3. There could be some software enhancements they could talk about, but nothing more. With that being said, I think I may bag an upgrade to iPad 2 and wait it out for iPad 3 next year which should have the inevitable retina display and perhaps a major body redesign as well as being much lighter. Like the Pro, there doesn't seem to be enough for me to upgrade,

however...

XOOM and Honeycomb (is it sweet enough to make me bite?)

I am digging the Motorola Xoom, or at least Google's Android Honeycomb Tablet OS. I am really digging what I have seen so far. I want to get my hands on this Xoom to play around with it. Reviewers tend to like what Google has done here, but the ending to all of these reviews are the same: not enough Apps yet. You know what? That is a great position for Google to be in. With fairly good reviews, developers may start taking the Google Tablet seriously and building up that App store. There are just a few essential apps that need to be there for folks to feel like they have worthwhile apps to download. After that, all is gravy. Right now, Apple has that market, but Google has the best chance to match it.

So, I am not sure I will get one of these right now, but I do think a next generation Google Tablet will be the thing that can compete with Cupertino's juggernaut and just make me switch.

I am also interested in HP's Web OS, but I like to see it in action some more. IT seems sluggish right now, a complaint on Palm Web OS phones. But that OS is also compelling, but not sure if it will have the legs like Honeycomb. I have no feelings for Rim's Playbook. I could be an ass in disregarding it, but they need to prove the most in this race. Only time will tell.

Back To the Future The Game (iPad Review)

So, I bought Telltale Games' Back to the Future adventure game for the iPad. I enjoy point and click adventure games (I had an IBM PCjr with King's Quest way back in the 80's). Telltale has been crafting great adventure games in episodic format, very much like a TV show with Seasons and monthly episodes. It seems to be working for them, as they have just annoucned a slew of new games they are developing as well as a few stables they already have. Spy the list below for a few of their hits and upcoming titles:

So, back to Marty McFly. The iPad, in my opinion, is the best way to play point and click adventure games. The very nature of these types of games, hunting the screen for objects and then using them or combining them to use them, within the game, fits perfectly with the point and tap interface of the iPad. Of course, these games are available for PC/Mac as well, I like the portability of the iPad when playing these games. Telltale, in the past, has released a few games on Apple's device, but sadly only have released the first episode of a particular series. Starting in 2011, Telltale promises this will change as the full season of Tales of Monkey Island will be released as well as the Back to the Future game. I would assume others will follow.

Back to the Future the Game takes place seven months after the last movie. Doc Brown (voiced by Christopher Lloyd) is gone and Marty is trying to cope without his friend and time travel. Soon after, the time traveling DeLorean shows up and whisks Marty back to the 1920's to find his friend. You meet some new characters and interact with old ones. Edna Strickland is a pisser.

The puzzles in the game are not terribly difficult. The in game help system will get anyone over any humps they find themselves in. They usually involve finding items, sometimes combining them, and then using them on characters or the environment. Again, not too hard, though some puzzles will make you think.

The first episode is is fairly short, around 4 hours of game play if you play around in the game world and listen to all the character's lines. This is typically where Telltale shines and for BTF, it is no different. This game feels like a BTF movie, the same humor and frenetic pace of the original films (AJ LoCascio does a great job with Marty McFly's voice). The game engine is gorgeous, the character modeling top notch in this neo-cartoon world. The production values are spot on with this game. Music plays a big part in getting you immersed in the world and again Telltale does an admirable job here in putting together the soundtrack. They even licensed Huey Lewis and the News' hit for the game.

All in all, if you like Adventure games or Back to the Future this is a must get. For $6.99 at the app store, you couldn't do any worse. Many app store game detractors will balk at this price, but it is the first part of a 5 part series. Purchasing the whole series will cost you $34.95, a perfectly reasonable cost for a 20 hour game. The game is avaible from Telltale's site and Steam as well. PS3 and Xbox 360 coming soon. 

This first episode leaves you with a cliff hanger and I must say, I can't wait to go back in time.

l8r

 

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Reader Comments (1)

Welcome back to blogoland. I was excited about the Android pads for a while, but I am losing interest. I am ambivalent about the iPad. Actually, pads in general...I don't even care if I can get one that prints at this point. I look for your enthusiasm to sustain me until I find a new gadget I like.

March 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDon

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