Thursday 29 May 2008

Transformers Do Blu

Paramount Home Entertainment has revealed the specs for the upcoming Blu-ray release of Michael Bay's blockbuster hit 'Transformers' (link to my review), due to hit store shelves on September 2nd.

On this two disc special edition, video will be presented in 2.35:1 1080p AVC and be accompanied by both a 5.1 PCM and 5.1 Dolby TrueHD lossless soundtracks.

Extras for the release are exhaustive, and include:

* Commentary: Commentary by Director Michael Bay
* Featurette: OUR WORLD:
* Featurette: The Story Sparks HD
* Featurette: Human Allies HD
* Featurette: I Fight Giant Robots HD
* Featurette: Battleground HD
* Featurette: THEIR WAR:
* Featurette: Rise of the Robots HD
* Featurette: Autobots Roll Out HD
* Featurette: Decepticons Strike HD
* Featurette: Inside the AllSpark HD
* Featurette: Transformers Tech Inspector (TBD) HD
* Trailers: TRAILERS (will play after the feature via a menu)
* Trailers: Iron Man Trailer HD
* Trailers: Transformers Teaser Trailer HD
* Trailers: Rise of the Autobots HD
* Other: Transformers H.U.D. (Heads Up Display)
* Other: BD-Live Features (TBD)
* Featurette: From Script to Sand: The Skorponok Desert Attack HD
* Featurette: Concepts HD
* Trailers: Trailers HD:
* Trailers: Teaser Trailer 1 HD
* Trailers: Theatrical Trailer 2 HD
* Trailers: Theatrical Trailer 4 HD
* Easter Eggs: EASTER EGGS:
* Easter Eggs: Michael Bay Cameo HD
* Easter Eggs: Girl in Dress HD
* Easter Eggs: Bay Bot HD
* Easter Eggs: Casting Mojo HD

Although no official announcement has been made by Paramount, Transformers is a prime candidate for the D-BOX Motion Code™ system! Jumper (Blu-ray) showcases the feature to dazzling effect.

Transformers is going to be a system seller this upcoming holiday season! You'll be able to pre-order Transformers from my Blu-ray Shop and support my blogging. Your support is very much appreciated and, most importantly, at no additional cost to yourself! Thank you.

Wednesday 28 May 2008

Apple releases Mac OS X 10.5.3

After weeks of comprehensive testing, and compulsive nail biting, by the developer community, Apple has finally released Mac OS X 10.5.3 ahead of next month's WWDC 2008.

The Mac OS X 10.5.3 Update is recommended for all users running Mac OS X 10.5 and includes general operating system fixes that enhance the stability, compatibility and security of your Mac.


* Fixes a font issue that could result in Helvetica Narrow being used in applications instead of Helvetica.
* Addresses an issue with stuttering video and audio playback in certain USB devices.
* Resolves stability issues with Word of the Day, iTunes Artwork, and Slideshow screen savers.
* Fixes an issue in which certain attached hard drives may not show up in the Finder.
* Addresses an issue with .Mac syncing of Dashboard widgets over multiple Macs that use different screen resolutions.
* Includes additional RAW image support for several cameras.
* Improves the accuracy of the Software Update progress bar indicator.
* Addresses an issue in which Finder may not be available if the computer name is blank in Sharing preferences.
* Improves Active Directory binding and login.
* Eliminates a delay when logging in as an Active Directory user in a .local domain.
* Improves Spotlight searches on a AFP file server volumes.
* Clients can now change their password at the login window when bound to a Mac OS X 10.4 Open Directory server.
* Improves Safari reliability when connecting to the Internet through a Microsoft ISA proxy.

Address Book

* Addresses reliability issues when searching for contacts using built-in search.
* Resolves issues with mapping addresses that contain an ampersand character (&).


* Improves 802.1X behavior and reliability.
* Improves reliability when using Time Capsule.


* Addresses an issue in which some actions may not work with the "Show When Run" option enabled.
* Resolves an issue in which the "New iCal Event" action may not work.
* Resolves an issue that prevents workflows from being saved in the Finder's contextual menu.
* Fixes reliability issues for Automator scripts that search for files by date.
* Resolves an issue that prevents workflows from being saved in the Finder's contextual menu.
* Addresses an issue in which Automator workflows as Finder plugins do not work when the workflow begins with the "Get Selected Finder Items" action.
* Fixes an issue in which the "Copy Files" action does not reliably work when added from Automator’s warning dialog.


* Addresses potential privacy issues by allowing events to be marked as private.
* Resolves an issue in which the inspector does not show capacity and availability info for conference rooms within a building.
* Addresses an issue in which the current day could appear in the left-most column of the weekly view.
* Addresses reliability issues with meeting alarms, invitations and attachments.
* Resolves issues with reliability when restoring from iCal backups.
* Fixes accuracy issues with auto-completion, availability data and location names.
* Resolves an issue in which iCal may send cancellation notices for events in the past after a calendar is deleted.
* Fixes reliability issues with iCal syncing.


* Addresses reliability issues with screen sharing.
* Resolves an issue in which saved chat transcripts may reported as "still in use" after opening and closing them in iChat.
* Resolves an issue with group chats not being indexed in Spotlight.
* Only the last 250 messages of an active chat are saved. Fixed to save unlimited number of lines.
* Addresses issues with echo cancellation that may occur on portable Macs.


* Resolves an issue in which Mail may prevent idle sleep when set to automatically check for new messages every minute.
* Addresses stability issues that may be encountered when dragging large attachments into an email message.
* Fixes an issue that could occur if two compose windows are open when dragging a file to the Mail icon in the Dock.
* Addresses reliability issues when changes are made to a mailbox while offline.
* Resolves wrapping issues that may be found with consecutive spaces in plain text.
* Fixes issues with certain web pages appearing garbled when emailed from Safari.
* Fixes an issue in which the Sent, Drafts, and Outbox mailboxes incorrectly list the "cc" recipients in the "To" column.
* Addresses reliability issues with attachments added to plain text notes.
* Fixes reliability issues with authenticated RSS feeds.
* Resolves an issue in which attaching an alias to an email message may not send the actual file.

Parental Controls

* Addresses reliability issues with application logging and time limits.
* Resolves an issue in which Parental Controls may prevent forced sleep.
* Addresses performance issues with web content filters.
* Fixes an issue with managed accounts in which iChat transcripts may not be created.
* Addresses issues with 4-byte files and whitelist.


* Resolves an issue in which switching to a different space and returning back to the original space may reorder the application windows with a different active window.
* Resolves an issue in which activating an application from the Dock switches to a different space, even if there is a window for that application in the current space.
* Fixes an issue in which Command-Tab may incorrectly switch to a new space.
* Addresses reliability issues with Spaces when syncing preferences over .Mac.

Time Machine

* Includes fixes for Time Machine compatibility with Time Capsule.
* Resolves certain issues when backing up a portable Mac that is on battery power.
* Addresses compatibility issues with Aperture 2.
* Addresses reliability issues when performing a full restore from a Time Machine backup.
* Fixes an issue in which certain function keys may be disabled after using Time Machine.
* Fixes a possible alert message that incorrectly states a backup volume does not have enough space.
* Updates Time Machine to reliably restore attachments and messages in Mail.


* Includes Braille Update 1.0 which enables GW Micro, HandyTech, HIMS, Nippon, and Papenmeier Refreshable Braille displays.
* Addresses an issue with Braille dot 7 and 8 underlining.
* Fixes an issue in which HTML page anchors may be ignored by the VoiceOver cursor.
* Fixes an issue that prevented Hot Spots from being used in text areas.
* Resolves an issue with spell checking in which VoiceOver may only announce the first misspelled word if there are multiple words spelled incorrectly.

As ever, I unreservedly recommend all Mac-based readers to download the hefty Mac OS X 10.5.3 Combo Update! If readers encounter any show-stopping problems, please post a comment. Thank you in advance.

Thursday 22 May 2008

Talking Twitter, The Double and Princesshay nail bomb

This past week much has been made of Twitter's recurring service outages! Clearly Twitter is suffering scaling issues, escalated, in no small part, by mainstream media conglomerates adopting Twitter as part of their online channel offerings.

In a somewhat reactionary move, some self-appointed 'opinion leaders', on Twitter, were calling for a boycott of the young service yesterday - prophetically dubbed - Twit-Out!

I chose to boycott the boycott! Ironically, Twitter, itself, was 'out of it' for a while; although I doubt that this was intended to express solidarity for Twit-Out. I was aggrieved due to my unabridged delight at Manchester United securing The Double against Chelsea FC, whom I'm loathe to ever like, under dramatic circumstances!

On a most serious note. This afternoon, Twitter, yet again, proved its intrinsic value with regards 'breaking news', when a nail bomb exploded at Exeter's Princesshay Shopping Centre! I had, literally, only driven by Princesshay minutes prior to the explosion. Wondering if Peter Lacey, an eye witness interviewed by the BBC at Princesshay, is the same Peter I knew at primary school? Small world if it is!

One of my Twitter peeps, Geoff Rogers, has written an incisive post:

Twitter applications with actual applications

Geoff's a CSS style guru, amongst innumerable web 2.0 talents, and consulted on the usability of this blog! May I suggest that you subscribe to his blog's RSS feed too, you may learn something invaluable!

You can follow me on Twitter.

Wednesday 14 May 2008

Twitter adores ASUS Eee PC

Last night (GMT) Twitter was awash with excitement regarding the award-winning ASUS Eee PC range of portables! Of particular note was the all-new Eee PC 900; the latest weapon of choice for discerning bloggers-on-the-go everywhere (and that includes Mac Users too)!

A few weeks ago The Gadget Show, shown on five (a UK-based commercial television network), tested the Apple MacBook Air, Sony VAIO TZ31 and ASUS Eee PC, to ascertain which product offered the best value for money in terms of both ease of use and wireless blogging for all members of the family.

Inevitably the MacBook Air achieved merit for its eye-catching beauty and build quality. The ASUS Eee PC was victorious due to its multimedia flexibility (an aspect woefully overlooked in the MacBook Air), ease of use and compelling price point! What blogging-on-the-go consumer would bemoan £200+ against a bank-breaking £1000+ for either the MacBook Air or Sony VAIO TZ31? Unless you need to undertake any heavy lifting...

I've yet to play with an ASUS Eee PC (sponsored review machine anyone?)! But, many of my Twitter (direct link to my profile) peeps own, or loan, an ASUS Eee PC and can't recommend the brand highly enough!

Monday 12 May 2008

The Return of the King

Mattel's Masters of the Universe (MotU), one of the company's most successful multimedia franchises, is to return in the Fall!

Behold King Grayskull, who will be a SDCC Exclusive! King Grayskull is the inaugural MotU figure to feature super articulation and classic detail sculpting by the Four Horsemen. Grayskull comes in a brand new package, featuring lights and sounds, which transforms into a mini Castle Grayskull playset.

Castle Grayskull was once home to King Grayskull, an ancestor of Prince Adam. He appears in the Episode, "The Power of Grayskull", waging battle and ultimately defeating the Snakemen led by King Hiss. King Grayskull's triumph was shortlived and he dies defending his kingdom from Hordak. During his lifetime, King Grayskull ruled with wisdom and compassion.

With the emphasis on the collectors market, and The Four Horsemen in the sculpting saddle, the revitalised MotU line is sure to raise the bar on what constitutes the very pinnacle in mass produced collectibles! Read my childhood Masters of the Universe recollection!

If anyone at Mattel is reading this, please contact me to discuss the possibility of running a 'give-away' competition during the holiday season! Thank you in advance.

Friday 9 May 2008

Top-selling GT

Remarkable Sales Achieved In Only 10 Years And 4 Months Since The Original Gran Turismo Launched In 1997

Tokyo, May 9, 2008 – Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) announced today that the cumulative worldwide shipment of the Gran Turismo™ franchise, a genre-defining racing and car-life simulator available on PlayStation®, PlayStation®2, and PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3®) computer entertainment systems, has exceeded 50 million units as of April 30, 2008. This remarkable sales figure was achieved in just 10 years and 4 months since the launch of the first title in the franchise - Gran Turismo, in December 1997.

The Gran Turismo franchise, from the original Gran Turismo to the latest Gran Turismo™ 5 Prologue, has continued to evolve alongside the PlayStation platforms. With its outstanding game play, beautiful graphics and the true to life driving feel, the franchise is recognized as the world’s number one automotive game title on the PlayStation format, receiving high regard not just from game fans, but also from professional racing drivers and people in the automobile industry.

The seventh installment of the world’s best-selling racing franchise, Gran Turismo 5 Prologue introduces entirely new entertainment modes by taking advantage of the broadband network, such as online head-to head racing for up to 16 players, “GRAN TURISMO-TV”; a new in-game online channel that delivers automotive video contents from around the globe, and downloadable additional contents including new cars and courses, only possible on PS3. Gran Turismo 5 Prologue has recorded strong sales since the first launch in Japan in December, 2007, followed by North America and Europe in Spring of 2008, with more than 2 million units of cumulative shipment worldwide and contributing to the further expansion of the PS3 platform.

For all Gran Turismo fans around the world, SCEI and the developer of the Gran Turismo series - Polyphony Digital Inc., will continue hereon to vigorously promote development of the Gran Turismo series, which can be expected to evolve even further through the PS3 platform and broadband network environment.

“Initially, “Gran Turismo” was an “alternative” racing game, kind of an outsider in the genre.” said Kazunori Yamauchi, Producer of Gran Turismo. “And we made it thinking that it would be okay as long as it reached out to “the select few who would agree with us”. So this figure, 50 million units - is simply astounding. If you go to a game store and look for a particular package, and pay for it at the cash register, though the time may be very brief, it still takes at least 3 minutes or so. It’s simply mind boggling and hard to believe that this has been repeated 50 million times all around the world in the last 10 years. I would really like to thank all the fans who have supported the Gran Turismo series over the years, for all their passion and love of the game. We’d like to continue making every effort to create cutting edge, high quality games, so that we don’t disappoint anyone’s expectations.

Title Release Dates in Japan

Gran Turismo December 23, 1997

Gran Turismo 2 December 11, 1999

Gran Turismo 3 A-spec April 28, 2001

Gran Turismo Concept 2001 TOKYO January 1, 2002

Gran Turismo 4 Prologue December 4, 2003

Gran Turismo 4 December 28, 2004

Gran Turismo 5 Prologue December 13, 2007

Wednesday 7 May 2008

Candy Girl

I have to profess that Hard Candy is my favourite Madonna album since Ray of Light (1998)! That said, she's pretty much guest starring on cool cuts produced by Timbaland, Neptunes and friends! At times Madonna sounds like Timbaland muse Nelly Furtado and one-time rival Paula Abdul on Candy Shop!

Hard Candy is more a sequel to Justin Timberlake's awesome Future Sex / Love Sounds, which, in my view, is a good thing, even if it doesn't push the envelope and Madonna is a trend follower in this instance!

Is Hard Candy as good as Mariah Carey's blockbuster E=MC²? I'd suggest not!

Sunday 4 May 2008

Star Wars Day

May the Fourth couldn't be a more apt day to announce the winner of my Star Wars competition!

The winner of the limited edition mimobot Boba Fett is Ian Cook, whose comment eloquently distilled the character of Star Wars' most notorious bounty hunter in a USB flash drive:

"A Fett shaped memory stick .. To truly guard those precious files .. Unless someone offers him the right price to divulge their contents .. Curse those mercenary bounty hunters ;)"

Congratulations Ian, please DM me on either Facebook or Twitter and Boba Fett will be on his way to you very soon.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to leave a comment, and please remember to subscribe by RSS for future 'give-away' competitions. If you're an Indy fan stay tuned for an awesome Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull tie-in with DK Books!

Saturday 3 May 2008

Switching Sony for Onkyo!

A few weeks ago I was perusing the What Hi-Fi? forums to ascertain whether or not the Onkyo TX-SR605 was still available and if there were any bargains to be had?

At a mouthwatering £399, the TX-SR605 garnered What Hi-Fi's most coveted Product of the Year 2007 award, and I sorely needed to replace my ageing Sony STR-DB910 A/V receiver, that had served me well for 8 years; a testament to the build quality of Sony's QS brand. Coincidentally Onkyo announced its 2008 product line, which includes the TX-SR605's replacement! The TX-SR606 at £399!

The TX-SR606 builds on the award-winning success of its sibling and, unsurprisingly, Onkyo's latest marvel has received 5 stars in What Hi-Fi's online review. That's 5 stars with caveats! The Onkyo TX-SR606 isn't the most attractive, nor musical, multichannel receiver on the market. That said, it would be most churlish not to look beyond its functional exterior, especially as the Onkyo TX-SR606 boasts features only reserved for multichannel receivers priced £1000 or higher:

Onkyo TX-SR606 specifications

Power 7x140w
Surround Modes Dolby Digital/EX/Plus/TrueHD/Pro-Logic IIx; DTS-ES/96 24/HD/Master Audio/Neo:6; LPCM; stereo
Tuner FM RDS/AM, 40 presets
Auto set-up yes
Room EQ yes
Video upconversion yes
Video scaling 720p/1080i
HDMI 1.3a yes
HD audio via HDMI yes
Learning remote no
Multiroom 2 Zone
Network capable no

Audio inputs
Coaxial digital 2
Optical digital 2
Analogue audio 5
Phono no
Multichannel analogue input 8ch

Video inputs
Component 2
S-Video 4
Composite 4

Audio outputs
Coaxial digital no
Optical digital no
Analogue audio 2
Preouts subwoofer

Video outputs
Component 1
S-Video 1
Composite 1

Dimensions (wxhxd) 43.5x17.5x37.5cm
Weight 11.4kg

Due to overwhelming consumer demand there's a waiting list for the Onkyo TX-SR606! I've paid a deposit, at a local Onkyo stockist, and will await delivery, which is expected at the end of May. I'll post a review soon thereafter.

Thursday 1 May 2008


It's May 1st and I need to select a winner for the mimico-sponsored 'give-away' competition! There can only be 1 mimobot Boba Fett winner! The tension is mounting, but I'll announce the winner on May 4th!

Missed out? Don't worry! I'll be running further 'give-away' contests throughout the spring and summer! Fancy winning a copy of AVPR: Aliens Vs Predator - Requiem on DVD? Then enter this competition over at (unless otherwise stated, I accept no responsibility for the content of any other web site, including any site which may link to or from this site).

The month of May heralds the fourth anniversary of my blogging career! And I can't think of a more auspicious way to mark this milestone than with the most recent Google PageRank algorithm update! This blog is now the beneficiary of a PR5! Absolutely awesome.

Did you enjoy Saturday's Sontaran yarn? It was good fun, and most humorous to see the diminutive potato-headed clones back in full force! The tech noir trappings of The Sontaran Stratagem were most becoming! Can't wait for the action figures!