If you have an iPad, or you think you’ll get one this holiday, the first thing you’ll want to know is what you should install on the thing. Don’t get me wrong – the iPad is great for listening to music, watching Web video, checking your e-mail, surfing the Web, and tons of other things right out of the box, but you can really extend its functionality by adding some great (and in many cases free) apps to it.
To help, PC Mag has put together a great list of 50 amazing apps for the iPad that will help you be more productive, squeeze more use from your iPad, or just have more fun with it. Some of my favorites in the list are games like Angry Birds, Geometry Wars, and Dungeon Hunter, but you can also use your iPad to get a little work done with apps like AirDisplay and iWork.
Kick back and relax with a book using the Kindle app, or listen to music using the Pandora app, or watch a movie instantly using the Netflix app. There are tons to choose from, and the list is definitely a must-bookmark if you have an iPad or you’re planning to get one.
Not a lot of people managed to get their hands on an Apple TV to review, but the folks at PC Mag did, and the verdict? It’s good – really good, especially if streaming media is your thing. That’s not to say that the device doesn’t have issues that Apple really could address if they wanted to, but it’s better in person than a lot of the feature roundups have proclaimed, and it was streamlined and polished enough to earn the Editor’s Choice award from PC Mag and a total of 4/5 stars.
Of it’s highlight features, it looks dead simple to set up and get running, is controllable from a variety of remote control apps (and comes with its own,) streams video and music and photos from a computer on the same network, and brings the thunder with Web video, including YouTube, Netflix Instant, and tons of rent-able TV shows and content from partner networks. If you have another iOS device like an iPad or iPhone, it can even stream what you have there to your television.
That’s all great, but it also doesn’t change the fact that the Apple TV doesn’t have a hard drive, can’t connect directly to storage, and all of your media consumption using the device will be rental and temporary in nature; you can’t keep anything on your Apple TV. But if the bulk of your streaming video is Netflix and Web video, you just can’t go wrong with this tiny little $99 box.
That is, at least until Roku’s new offerings come out for half the price, and then the Boxee Box hits the market for twice the price. Apple’s new gadget will be interestingly positioned both feature and price-wise, but we’ll have to see if it can go the distance.
Obviously I’m more of a “build it, don’t buy it” kind of guy, especially when it comes to a gaming rig. I’d rather spend more on quality components that I research and choose myself and then put the whole package together on my own than trust another company’s decision-making on which components to skimp on and which are worth investing in.
Admittedly, that approach isn’t for everyone! If it’s right for you, however, the fine folks at ExtremeTech have a guide for you on how to build the right gaming PC for your budget – whatever that budget may be! The article is a series of lists of components you can pick up and put together at different price points. If you have $500 to spend? There’s a gaming rig you can assemble for that. Maybe you have twice that much – there’s a section on building a gaming PC for $1,000! What could you get if you had a few more dollars to spend than that? $1,250 it is.
Head on over and take a look at the full roundup – just in time for back-to-school shopping!
While Android phones and the Android market certainly haven’t caught up to the iPhone and the iTunes App Store when it comes to games and mobile gaming, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some great games available for Android devices. Being a proud Droid by Motorola owner, I can tell you that there are some really great free titles out there for Android phones (games like Replica Island, Jewels, and Robo Defense Free.)
If you’re an Android phone owner and you’re looking for some free games to help you pass the time, Mashable has this excellent rundown of 10 free games that will work on just about any Android phone, from text games to puzzle games to shooters, and they even include Replica Island, one of my favorites. Check out the full list and start downloading!
If you’re looking for an excellent time-waster, look no further than this little flash game based on the hilarious TV show The IT Crowd, currently in its fourth series (what the UK call seasons) on channel 4 in the UK. If you’re a fan of the series, you’ll absolutely adore the game – if you’ve never watched it before, head over to Amazon and buy The IT Crowd: The Complete Series (Seasons 1, 2 & 3) immediately.
If you’re already a fan, the game should be amazing for you – it puts you in the shoes of a new IT temp working with Roy, Moss, and Jen, keeping a watchful eye on the network, zapping spam and viruses as they appear, whether from the Internet or wireless access points, responding to complaints from users, and making sure the network stays free and clear for the flow of information. As the game proceeds, you can upgrade your network with spam slurpers or antivirus injectors to lend you a hand when you’re not looking – all you have to do is make it through your shift to get through the level and to the next day.
Head over and give it a try!
If you’re a big Hulu viewer (like I am) you’ll probably be bummed to hear this, but Hulu is planning a subscription service to view older episodes and back-catalog shows that it currently hosts for free. Hulu announced that they were moving to a subscription “freemium” type of model several months ago to the dismay of people who had grown dependent on the service for their regular television viewing, but I think most people assumed that this was coming.
Now though, Hulu has solidified its plans, and has proposed a $10 per month subscription to access all Hulu videos, including old archived episodes that it has in its library and to access old episodes of shows like Lost that it currently posts as soon as the new episodes air. New episodes of currently tracked shows will continue to be free, it’s just that episodes more than a few weeks old or episodes that “expire” will require a subscription to access.
What do you think? Does this throw a wrench in your plans to get rid of your cable or satellite company in exchange for IPTV, or is the money reasonable for you? Are you planning to just seek your Web video elsewhere (through legal or illegal means?) Let us know in the comments!
The fine folks at PC Mag caught this demo of Spotify running on an Android phone at SXSW, given by Spotify’s Daniel Ek. His phone is based in the UK, where (along with the rest of Europe) Spotify is amazingly popular for its ability to give you music-to-taste and on-demand whenever you want it, based both on your own local music collection and a massive database of music to stream online – Spotify isn’t available in the United States yet because of the licensing and royalty fees the service would have to pay the RIAA in order to license music to stream.
In all honesty, I don’t see any huge benefit to Spotify over a similar service I know and love called GrooveShark, which I’ve written about a couple of times. Still, competition is good, and Spotify is incredibly popular in Europe for a reason. The app already works on Android – could it be a hop, skip, and a jump away from landing on Android phones in the United States?
If you know me, you know I’m a huge fan of products that do more than one thing; solve more than one problem. If you know me you also know I’m dead set against bulky belt-clips for mobile phones that do nothing but make your precious phone easier to steal and let the world know what kind of device you have. Seriously, I even wrote an article over at our sister blog The Classy Geek about the fact that if CES 2010 taught me anything, there’s no excuse to walk around with a belt clip for your phone.
To that end, the fine folks at Malcolm Fontier were kind enough to send me one of their newest products, the iMojito, a combination wallet and mobile phone holster, that’s designed to not only be stylish, but also keep all of your important items like your phone, your ID, your credit cards, and a little bit of cash even, securely tucked away in your pocket without looking like you’re carrying a massive weight in your pants pocket. I really liked the iMojito, and I’d reccomend it not just for people who have iPhones, but anyone who’s tired of carrying a mobile phone case and a bulky wallet and wants to lighten their load. Read more of my impressions behind the jump.
Everyone has probably heard about the Boxee Box by now, but it was up there as one of the coolest things I saw at CES this year, and I had a chance to speak with Casey Pugh (creator of Star Wars: Uncut, a crowdsourced project to re-shoot Star Wars scene by scene with fans in place of the actors!) about the Boxee Box, it’s really interesting remote, and the way the Boxee Box works.
The Boxee Box was amazing to use, the interface was really clean and easy to use, and CES was the first time a lot of people had a chance to actually play with the Boxee Box, which has been anticipated for months but released and unveiled for the first time in action at CES. The Boxee Box is clearly a media extender, and while it doesn’t have storage of its own, it can reach out across your home network and out to the Internet to pull in music, movies, and other content that you own or have rights to watch and bring it in to your HDTV effortlessly.
When you watch that content and you like what you see, you can rate it using the Boxee software, share what you’re watching and what you thought about it with your friends, and do it all without inturrupting the media you’re watching. The D-Link hardware and the NVidia chipset under the hood makes for a really powerful set-top box as well, and the fact that it can play just about any audio or video codec or format you throw at it helps as well.
Boxee is a completely open platform as well – the software is still available for you to install on any Mac, PC, or even XBox you choose, and speaking with Casey he pointed out that Boxee has no plans to close off the software just because there’s a hardware platform on the market that comes with it too – so you can still roll your own Boxee Box, but if you don’t want to, you can buy one.
The remote was also interesting: on the front it works just like any remote – complete with a d-pad and selection buttons, but on the flip side it has a full QWERTY keyboard for typing in updates to your social networks, writing short reviews for the media you’re enjoying, rating things you see, and searching your media library without having to click down a hundred times to find something you want to watch. All in all, the Boxee Box was as impressive in action as it is to read about, and I’m seriously considering getting one.
Check out a video I shot while playing with the Boxee Box:
And head over to Boxee.tv for more information on the box and details on how to get one:
Building a Hackintosh is really no big deal, and there are tons of guides out there to help you do it if you want, you just run the risk of the thing not working the next time Apple releases a patch for Mac OS X. That being said, this particular Hackintosh is a killer.
Will Urbina decided that his old classic XBox wasn’t doing too much useful around the house these days, and it would make a good case for his Hackintosh – so what does he do? Picks up the required parts, then gets his hands dirty taking the Xbox apart and makeing it the perfect case for his new build. The whole thing is documented in the glorious video above, where you can watch step by step as Will goes through the motions of making his vision come to reality. It’s absolutely mindblowing – and not just in that “He fit a Mac in that Microsoft device!” way, either.