Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Mean Machines

With Wii in short supply, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, the titans of technology, are alluring premium-priced propositions!

Undecided on which next generation console to buy (if any)? CNET's Veronica Belmont (no relation of Simon Belmont from Castlevania) has produced a PlayStation 3 Vs Xbox 360 comparison video test that might assist in your purchasing decision.

Veronica makes many concise points, and Microsoft might consider that Xbox 360 Elite still falls short in terms of built-in Wi-Fi support. An Xbox 360 Wireless Bridge, at additional cost, is inexcusable at the Xbox 360 Elite's price point, and a missed opportunity! Major Nelson, what say you?

Friday, 25 May 2007

Gadget Galaxy

You know how much I love Star Wars! Come on, the title of this blog is a dead give away, eh! So, it was a pleasant surprise to hear from Jennifer L. DeLeo, an Associate Editor for PCMag.com, on this auspicious day!

Jennifer has written a really cool article, one I'd have ripped a droids arms out of its sockets to write:

Technology and Star Wars go hand in hand. We lowered the blast shield and used the Force to find FX lightsabers, Chewbacca flash drives, and more.

The 10 Coolest Star Wars Tech Products in the Galaxy

May the force...

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Firmware fillip for PS3

PS3 Firmware Version 1.80 Announced

Latest PLAYSTATION 3 Firmware Update Provides PlayStation, PlayStation 2 and DVD Upscaling Remote Play on PSP (PlayStation Portable) via the Internet and DLNA transfer of media content also enabled

London, 24 May 2007 – Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) announced today availability of the latest version of the PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3™) firmware. Version 1.80 features upscaling of PlayStation® and PlayStation 2 games, and DVD movies up to full 1080p HD resolution when viewed on a compatible HD TV set.

The capability to upscale DVDs to HD quality is a feature normally only associated with top range DVD players, and its inclusion in the latest firmware upgrade now allows PS3 owners with an existing DVD collection to dramatically enhance the viewing pleasure of their DVD collection when viewed through a compatible HD TV set1. Not only can DVD movies be enhanced to full 1080p HD quality but so too will PlayStation 2 and PlayStation games be upscaled to provide much improved gaming pleasure.

In a comprehensive update to PS3’s already impressive capabilities, Version 1.80 also allows users to enjoy Remote Play on their PSP across the internet, allowing them to access their PS3 anywhere in the world where a broadband internet connection is available2.

Version 1.80 also allows users on a home network to seamlessly view and play rich media content such as images, music and video on their PS3, that is stored on their DLNA3 enabled devices such as PCs and laptops elsewhere in the house, reinforcing PS3’s credentials as a home entertainment hub that truly deserves pride of place in the Living Room.

A host of other enhancements include the ability to print photo images stored on PS3’s hard disk or inserted storage media to a selection of Epson printers.

PS3 owners will be able to upgrade their PS3 with the latest Version 1.80 firmware from 24th May 2007.

In related news. The PlayStation 3 shot to the top spot on Amazon.co.uk's Hot 100, bolstered by last week's Sony Gamer's Day.


1. DVD-ROM (including DVD Video content) can only be upscaled with HDMI compatible TV sets.

2. Use of Remote Play requires a powered up PS3 with Version 1.80 as well as PSP firmware version 3.50 which will be available at the end of May.

3. DLNA – Digital Living Network Alliance.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

"Come on City!"

Despite being unable to find a QuickTime codec to view .3gp digital video clips (recorded using my LG Chocolate mobile phone), I've successfully uploaded footage, taken from the Conference "play-off" final held at the new Wembley Stadium, to YouTube!

This clip captures the moment that Lee Phillips scored Exeter City FC's first, and only, goal during their epic clash with Morecombe.

Mario Strikers Charged (Wii) is aptly released this week!

Monday, 21 May 2007

Grecians Play Wembley Way

The last time I went to Wembley Stadium Michael Jackson was creating HIStory! That was a decade ago and, following the former King of Pop's visit to St James Park in 2002 at the behest of Uri Gellar, Exeter City FC returned the favour by playing at the new Wembley Stadium, costing a cool £750 million, in the Conference "play-off" final against Morecombe, yesterday! This was in front of a record-breaking Conference League audience of over 40,000 supporters.

Bobby Moore we salute you!

Relatives and me likened the new stadium's architecture to LAX airport! However, an impressive, and much improved, venue nonetheless. OK, the two towers really should have been incorporated into the design - their ghost will, forever, remain - and the new logo looks like an upturned satellite dish!

We should have been 3-0 up at half time! But, what's the good of an excellent goalie (really impressive performance) without on-par strikers and defenders? Morecombe exploited inadequate defending and pace. Morecombe's defence, itself, left much to be desired, yet our strikers lacked the flair, verve, or precision needed to volley into an open goal! To be fair, several players blasted the ball over the net, for glory, and who could blame them? Fair play.

That said. Exeter City FC's defeat shouldn't detract from a truly memorable day and a feverish end-to-end football game that belied its Conference League roots; putting some Barclays Premiership clashes to shame. The atmosphere was truly electrifying.

Despite both my teams (including Manchester United) losing at the weekend, seeing Exeter City FC play at Wembley, the day after the FA Cup final, was an historic event I'll never forget, especially as I was unable to attend Exeter City FC's FA Cup third round tie against Manchester United in 2005.

"Exeter is excellent!" Indeed. View more of my match photos on Flickr.

Friday, 18 May 2007

Coke, Cannes and free iTunes

I'd meant to comment on the latest Coca-Cola announcement, but have been preoccupied with traveling arrangements for Sunday's Conference "play-off" final between Exeter City FC and Morecombe at the new Wembley Stadium! I'll be posting photos, on Flickr, for those of you who are interested.

Coca-Cola, not content with Nintendo's Get Up and Play bling-bling, is running another Coke+iTunes promotion this summer for all of us lucky Europeans!

As part of the promotion, Coke and iTunes will give away songs from the iTunes Store in over 2 billion promotional packs of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke and Coke Zero this summer. The on-pack promotion will also offer customers the chance to win free iPods and attend some of the 100-plus Coke and iTunes sponsored summer concerts across Europe. The promotion will be launched at the Cannes Film Festival with a special live performance from Faithless, who have recorded an exclusive track for Coke and iTunes and collaborated with designers Paranoid on a limited-edition, aluminium Coke bottle.

"Coca-Cola has a long and rich heritage in music, from memorable advertising tracks to grassroots support to big live events. In Summer 2006 we started an innovative new partnership with iTunes," said Chris R. Burggraeve, group marketing director for the European Union Group. "Coke+iTunes aims to reinvent the ways young people create, listen to, and experience music every day. Thanks to Coke+iTunes, European youth will enjoy this Summer 2007 the biggest pan European music experience ever. And what better way to build bridges among European cultures than through music?"

"iTunes is the world's most popular online music store selling 58 songs every second at a rate of 5 million tracks a day," said Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of iTunes. "We've already had great success working with Coca-Cola over the past year and this new pan-European initiative gives music fans across Europe the ability to download free music all summer long."

American readers you'll have to write Pepsi!

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Halo Effect

In 2002 I purchased an Xbox solely to play Halo, which was originally developed for the Mac platform by Bungie (prior to Bungie's purchase and subsequent integration into Microsoft Game Studios)!

The epic saga continues with Halo 3, the hugely anticipated third chapter in the highly successful and critically-acclaimed Halo franchise. Master Chief returns to finish the fight, bringing the epic conflict between the Covenant, the Flood, and the entire human race to a dramatic, pulse-pounding climax.

Halo 3 represents the third chapter in the Halo trilogy—an international award-winning action series that grew into a global entertainment phenomenon, selling more than 14.5 million units worldwide, logging more than 650 million hours of multiplayer action on Xbox Live, and spawning action figures, books, a graphic novel, apparel, an upcoming film adaptation, and more.

However, will Halo 3 be eclipsed by Mass Effect?

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Wii Network

Given the ubiquitous success of the Nintendo Wii, and an underlying trend of Mac User ownership, I've founded Wii Network (a FeedBurner Network).

This new network will comprise of Mac and Wii-related blogs.

In order to read it, you need to either subscribe via RSS or via email (I’ve set this up with FeedBurner but other email subscription services are available). If you subscribe via RSS and use a feed reader like Newsgator or Bloglines, new posts will appear soon after they appear on Wii Network members blogs. If you choose FeedBurner email, you’ll get a daily email with all the posts and a convenient table of contents.

Some of you may want to look at the feed only occasionally to sample individual authors you want to subscribe to. It’ll be interesting how this all works out. There is no actual blog site associated with the feed but there will be landing pages, which list the network members.

There are three principal benefits to participating bloggers:

1). Being discovered by new readers who view or subscribe to Wii Network.

2). Receiving advertisements (and revenue) through FeedBurner from advertisers who have purchased placement in the entire network.

3). Cool bling-bling like badges and other widgets to put on your blog site.

Advertisers benefit by being able to make network-wide buys. This is an excellent funnel to reach a targeted audience. Click here to buys ads.

If you would like to join the Wii Network, please e-mail me here. Thank you.

Friday, 11 May 2007

Greg Martin

It's very rare that I am compelled to draw a desktop wallpaper artist - this is, indeed, the very first time - to your attention!

Jason Wishnov, a writer for Nintendo Wii Fanboy, recommended the works of illustrator, photographer and writer (to name but a few disciplines mastered by this eclectic digital artist) Greg Martin. I followed Jason's incomparable advice and was overwhelmed by Greg Martin's mesmeric depictions of the cosmos and fantasia, lavished with Photoshop magic! His sumptuous wallpapers now grace my Intel-based iMac's desktop.

If any readers would like to suggest other desktop artists and be in with the chance to receive a Joost invite, please leave a comment.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Apple Store Exeter

This morning Macworld.co.uk reported that Apple Inc has officially confirmed it is now recruiting staff for an Exeter retail store, which it plans to open in the redeveloped Princesshay area of the city.

For Devonian Mac Users, such as myself, starved of Cupertino consumer glamour, this is the news we've longed for! Lets hope that there's plenty of those most-coveted swag bags - from iPods to MacBooks - on opening day!

I'd better begin writing my job application!

Friday, 4 May 2007

Drink Coke, Get Up and Play Wii

In a move that mirrors last summer's hugely successful iTunes/Coca-Cola Music campaign, Nintendo UK has teamed up with Coca-Cola (GB) to run a joint £2 million promotional campaign on Coca-Cola, Fanta, Sprite and Dr Pepper soft-drink cans and bottles. Promotional codes can be redeemed at Get Up and Play. Each entrant will also get a £5 money-off voucher to spend at GAME.co.uk… guaranteed!

TV and satellite advertisements will support the campaign, which represents Nintendo's first partnership with a major packaged goods brand. The promotion will also be bolstered by online and print advertising. The Japanese firm says it could lead to a long-term partnership between the two companies.

Kicking off this week, the promotion will offer weekly Nintendo Wii and DS prizes to consumers, with participation based on players entering a promotional code found on drinks products online or via a text message.

Ten 'ultimate Wii games rooms' will be given away every day, which include a Wii, Samsung LCD TV, mini fridge and a case of Sprite, Fanta and Dr. Pepper.

Trade marketing and promotions manager at Nintendo, Ben Taylor, said that the promotion was aimed at developing Nintendo’s position as current market leader in the next generation console war following a successful Wii launch period.

“Wii is already the must-have gadget of the year for people of all ages, this activity will re-enforce our message not just with with hardcore gamers but importantly will also reach everyone in the household including the mums and dads we also want to attract to our products.”

“It is a classic on-pack promotion,” Nintendo UK marketing director Dawn Paine told MCV. “There will be a website and a very heavy TV advertising campaign, which will run on terrestrial channels. There’s going to be over a million pounds of investment.”

Retailers will be creating feature and display to raise awareness of the promotion including Sainsbury’s who will have a separate pool of prizes and a separate 'text to win' number, meaning a purchase from Sainsbury’s will give consumers two codes for two separate prize draws and therefore a higher chance to win.

Thursday, 3 May 2007

While Wii Wait

Despite the continued supply chain difficulties and assurances to the contrary (has anyone seen a Wii in-store in the UK?), Nintendo officially states that the following games will be coming out for Wii in Japan in 2007:

Donkey Kong Taru Jet Race (DK Jet or DK Bongo Blast, US) - June 28, 2007
Wii Health Pack -- 2007
Disaster: Day of Crisis - 2007
Mario Party 8 - 2007
Project H.A.M.M.E.R. - 2007
Wii Music - 2007
Super Mario Galaxy - 2007
Super Smash Bros. Brawl - 2007
Battalion Wars II - 2007
Forever Blue - 2007
Mario Strikers Charged - 2007
Metroid Prime 3: Corruption - 2007
Mario and Sonic at the Olympics - 2007

There's no official word on PAL release dates. However, the likes of Resident Evil 4 Wii Edition, Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Mario Strikers Charged should reach European shores sometime this summer, if major online retailers are to be believed.