Friday, 30 September 2011
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!
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.
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.
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.
Thursday, 29 September 2011
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).
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.
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.
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.
Thanks everyone who sent this in!
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.
Wednesday, 28 September 2011
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.