Friday, 30 September 2011

Elephant Quest is an addictive, deep platformer

elephantquest
When someone tells me about a "platformer", my first thought is that it's probably a simple game that mainly revolves around running and jumping around, with a minimal plot. [Play a Zelda game! -Ed]

Elephant Quest is one platformer that managed to prove me completely wrong. Yes, you do run and jump around, and you also shoot at stuff. But the game has much, much more going for it.

Basically, as you run, jump and shoot, you gain experience points and level up. Hitting Space brings you into an interface where you can convert your experience points into Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Dexterity points. Once you've "specialized" your points, you then get to pick what exact skills you'd like to enhance in each field. For example, you could use your dexterity to enhance your weapons or increase your swiftness.

The game is played in a huge maze; you go through rooms using doors, and there's a large map. As the name implies, there are quests you can take, too. For example, one quest had me searching all over the place for ten balloons.

The bottom line is that this is a surprisingly deep game that just might ensnare you for a good bit longer than you intended to play. Beware!

Elephant Quest is an addictive, deep platformer originally appeared on Download Squad on Fri, 25 Mar 2011 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Zoho Docs 2.0 adds iPad support

zoho docs ipad
Zoho has offered an iOS app for a while now -- at least for the iPhone and iPod touch. Those of you who have been wanting to use the Zoho app on your iPad were out of luck, but that's no longer the case.

Zoho Docs 2.0 has landed in the App Store, and the most notable change is that it's now a universal app. Now you're able to take advantage of the app's mobile productivity powers on your larger iOS device. Retina display support has also been added, as have document sharing options -- which you can utilize in both the viewer and collaboration modes.

Just like the basic Zoho service, the app is available totally free of charge. Paid subscriptions get you additional storage space and start at $3 per month for professional use.

Zoho Docs 2.0 adds iPad support originally appeared on Download Squad on Wed, 06 Apr 2011 22:17:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Adblock Plus developer pokes holes in Mozilla's new add-on performance tests

Wladimir Palant, developer of the most popular add-on in the world, Adblock Plus, is also an active contributor to the Planet Mozilla blog community. Over the last few days, in response to Mozilla's new name and shame list of slow add-ons, Palant has been investigating whether Mozilla's testing methods are actually accurate.

Rather surprisingly, it turns out that Mozilla's numbers could be significantly wrong -- and if they're not wrong, the factors that Mozilla uses to tabulate an add-ons final score should definitely be made more transparent.

In the first set of tests, Palant shows that FlashGot's position in the top 10 is probably due to a fault in Mozilla's testing setup, and that add-ons can perform very differently depending on which operating system they're being tested on. In the second analysis, Palant uncovers an irregularity that doesn't seem to have an obvious cause -- but it could be due to an I/O bottleneck on Mozilla's test machines. Basically, even though performance testing of Read It Later is disabled because of a bug, it still (somehow!) manages to record a 14% slow-down on Windows 7.

Palant concludes both analyses by scolding Mozilla for going public with the performance data before its testing methods had been confirmed accurate. It definitely looks like Mozilla has been more than a little reckless, considering the importance of Firefox's add-on ecosystem.

Adblock Plus developer pokes holes in Mozilla's new add-on performance tests originally appeared on Download Squad on Fri, 08 Apr 2011 05:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Carry Your DSLR Hands-free with the Black Widow Holster

Samsung Galaxy W gets the FCC once over (again), appears ready for AT&T

In a Samsung Galaxy soon coming your way, are a stable of alphabetically ranked handsets. Among these newly hatched Korean mobile offspring is the 'W' line -- meant to imply wireless wonder. Well, wonder about its US bow no more because that handset -- previously announced for the British Isles -- is getting a double take at the FCC. The time 'round, the Commission's filings reveal GSM / WCDMA 850MHz / 1900MHz bands, making this variant prime for Canada's networks and our own AT&T -- at speeds of 14.4Mbps down. We know from previous reports that this 3.7-incher sports a Super LCD display, in addition to a single-core 1.4GHz processor, 5 megapixel camera, 4GB of storage, WiFi and Bluetooth. Now, all we need to complete the picture is an official announcement and an offering in virgin white. Check out the source below if spectrum testing rings your bell.

Samsung Galaxy W gets the FCC once over (again), appears ready for AT&T originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 30 Sep 2011 09:32:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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webOS 3.0 beta now available to developers

hp touchpad webos 3.0
With the webOS 3.0 SDK available for almost two months, HP has now given developers access to a beta download of webOS 3.0 -- which powers the upcoming TouchPad and will likely ride along on HP desktops and laptops in the form of an emulator.

Right now, the webOS 3.0 beta is only available to Early Access developers. The crew at PreCentral states that HP appears to have eased up on access restrictions, however, so hopefully more devs will get on board and those of you who are planning to buy a TouchPad in the next couple months will have plenty of slick webOS 3.0 apps to install on your new tablet.

webOS 3.0 beta now available to developers originally appeared on Download Squad on Thu, 31 Mar 2011 09:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Daily Crunch: Graffito Edition

For iPhone 4: Super-Cute Hello Kitty Cases From Japan Warn Friends And Foes With These Nine Aperture Science Test Chamber Labels ?Light Scythe? Is A Monster LED Strip For Long Exposure Art Mouse Up And Roll Out With This Transformers-Themed Razer Gear Tag Heuer?s Android Powered Link Smart Phone

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Thursday, 29 September 2011

Fire vs. iPad: Pick Your Garden

Starting at a mind-warping US$199, the new Amazon Kindle Fire tablet has nailed a price point that the $249 Barnes & Noble Nook Color was only able to flirt with. Put it this way: As a consumer-oriented device ready to deliver e-books, movies, TV shows, apps, Web browsing and email, two Kindle Fire tablets can be purchased for $100 less than the $499 Apple iPad 2.

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Windows 8 to feature adaptive Aero colorization, get it now on Windows 7

windows 8 aero colorization aura
While we've still yet to see anything truly Earth-shattering, the tandem of Rafael Rivera and Paul Thurrott continues to churn out insight about interesting new features they've discovered in Windows 8 milestone 3. The latest discovery is that Aero in Windows 8 will be able to automatically adapt itself to match your current wallpaper image. It's a bit like what Windows 7 already does with your taskbar icons: if a program alert needs your attention, the icon will glow using the predominant color (e.g. Firefox should glow orange).

And yes, you can already make Windows 7 behave this way if you like. Over at CodePlex, there's a little program called Aura that parks itself in your system tray and automatically adjusts your window borders to compliment your wallpaper images. The effect is quite nice, and you can try it out by minimizing your windows and cycling through your theme's wallpapers (right click on your desktop and choose next desktop background).

Windows 8 to feature adaptive Aero colorization, get it now on Windows 7 originally appeared on Download Squad on Thu, 07 Apr 2011 07:40:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Google holds back on open-sourcing Honeycomb, heralds massive shift for Android

Android Honeycomb
Google, in an interesting but not entirely unexpected twist, will not be open-sourcing Android 3.0 Honeycomb for the foreseeable future.

Historically, Android is usually open-sourced via the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) a few days or weeks after the code is finalized. While this departure from the norm won't affect OEMs like HTC and Motorola that have access to internal builds of Android, small-time developers will likely have to wait months before rolling their own distributions.

As to why Google is holding back Honeycomb, its reasons are actually rather rational. Honeycomb, while originally intended to run on all mobile form factors, is only ready for deployment on tablets. "To make our schedule to ship the tablet, we made some design tradeoffs," says Andy Rubin, the head of Google's Android group. "We didn't want to think about what it would take for the same software to run on phones. It would have required a lot of additional resources and extended our schedule beyond what we thought was reasonable. So we took a shortcut."

In other words, Google wants to prevent OEMs and homebrew developers like Cyanogen from rolling their own smartphone versions of Honeycomb -- it doesn't want to see the same bitter-tasting tabletified bastardization that occurred with Android 2.1 and 2.2 last year.

Continue reading Google holds back on open-sourcing Honeycomb, heralds massive shift for Android

Google holds back on open-sourcing Honeycomb, heralds massive shift for Android originally appeared on Download Squad on Fri, 25 Mar 2011 07:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Cut the Rope updated with 25 new levels, Om Nom hungrier than ever

Cut the Rope

Cut the Rope, the popular and highly addictive game that introduced Android to Om Nom and his sweet tooth, has been updated with 25 new levels. Toy Box 1.1, available now, ups the ante to 200 levels total, and also adds new game mechanics in which you can use a trampoline to bounce candy into Om Nom's mouth. Cut the Rope costs 99 cents and the latest update is available now in the Android Market, with availablily in the Amazon App Store coming "soon." Hit the break to grab it now.

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Flickr's New App Might Be Android's Instagram [Android Apps]

Flickr, who should have jumped on the Instagram filter train earlier, has finally put out an Android app and along with letting you scan photostreams, upload pictures, share photos to other social networks, you can also take filterized pictures. Woot! More »


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Ice Cream Sandwich supposedly seen in short video - is it the real deal?

ICS

So here's the story -- supposedly an anonymous fellow purchased a Nexus S on eBay, and to his surprise found it running Ice Cream Sandwich.  There are quite a few visual differences, namely a new launcher style, a new "Google Apps" folder, a new notification bar, and a new lockscreen.  There's also what looks to be a panorama feature in the camera, and the "Movie Studio" icon in the app drawer.  Everything is nice and fluid -- at least everything we get to see.

Here's where things get sticky -- those things can all be (and have been) faked.  Would it be easy?  Hell, no, but it's entirely possible.  With ICS coming sometime soon, this very well could be a development unit that somehow slipped away from Mountain View -- we've been expecting a leak or two for a while now.  But we have to hold off judgement and will let you guys decide and discuss yourselves.  Be sure to hit the source link and check out the video after the break if you haven't already.

Source: Engadget
Thanks everyone who sent this in!

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Game Review: Zombie Gunship

Another zombie game on the run! And, with the notion about all zombies? games having the same simplistic story and setting, nothing much was expected from it, after all, zombies? stories remain the same. But worry not, as this game has something in store for the players, especially those hard-core zombies slayer who are in for few surprises. If bringing zombies to their death beds becomes an extraordinary mission, this game is definitely for those who prefer this kind of [...]

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AVG launches LiveKive cloud sync and backup tool

avg livekive dropbox
A while back, we told you about AVG's new LiveKive service, a new cloud synchronization and backup tool which appears to have been named after a vat in which mash is made during the brewing process. But enough about AVG's odd choice of monikers -- LiveKive has launched and is now ready to accept your files into the AVG cloud.

LiveKive takes aim at services like Dropbox and SugarSync, though at the moment it's lagging behind in terms of features. As it stands, LiveKive is only compatible with Windows and OS X. There are no mobile clients yet, though with AVG's strong presence on Android we wouldn't be surprised to see an app arrive in the near future.

The company is offering a heck of a deal right now, however. If you sign up for a paid account during the launch phase, you can score unlimited storage for $80 for a whole year. You can't even score 50GB per year at that price from Dropbox, so if cost and space are more important to you than cross-platform availability, LiveKive might be worth checking out.

If you're not interested in ponying up any cash at the moment, you can still get a 5GB account free of charge. Just head on over, and create a LiveKive account.

AVG launches LiveKive cloud sync and backup tool originally appeared on Download Squad on Thu, 07 Apr 2011 10:42:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Isis NFC mobile payment group gets backing from handset manufacturers

Isis

Isis, a joint venture of Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, has announced that the major hardware makers of Android  (and Windows 7) phones have climbed on board and will offer hardware that implements Isis' NFC tech and standards.  The press release names LG, Motorola, HTC, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and BlackBerry manufacturer RIM as hardware partners, as well as DeviceFidelity to offer solutions such as NFC enabled memory cards for phones built without NFC hardware.  Scott Mulloy, chief technology officer at Isis, says the following:

Isis’ technology standards provide the direction and certainty needed for the development and deployment of NFC devices and the mobile commerce ecosystem.  Working together with the device makers and our founding mobile carriers, Isis can provide the consumer choice and scale necessary for widespread adoption of mobile commerce.

While we can't see the future, we're going to have to assume this isn't good news for Google and their own NFC payment system, Google Wallet.  Mired in some unknown exclusivity agreement with Sprint, Google Wallet was not provided for any unlocked, non-carrier branded Nexus S devices, though they would be fully capable.  With carriers and OEM's on board with Isis, it looks like another uphill battle for Google.  The good news for us is that now companies are seeing the value in devices with NFC technology, and the manufacturers are ready to provide it.  There's still one major player who hasn't chimed in yet, though -- Apple.  Only time will tell if Apple jumps on board with the upcoming "standard" or if they implement iWallet themselves in pursuit of a bigger cut.  The press release is after the break.

Read more about RIM and Isis at Crackberry

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Daily Desired: The Toughest Backyard Grill In the World [Desired]

A Weber grill is just a glorified hunk of cheap metal. Don't believe me? Heat the grates up to 1000 degrees and watch the thing fall apart. This grill is for people who want to cook for real. More »


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