Monday 30 June 2008

PS3 to get XMB in July

PS3™ to give online gamers the features they’ve been requesting: XMB™ (XrossMediaBar) access in-game and trophies available in this free, automatic system upgrade

June 30, 2008: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe today announced new online gaming functionality for PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3™), which will become available on July 2, 2008 with the 2.40 enhancement, an automatic firmware upgrade that delivers several of the features most requested by gamers. Combined with PLAYSTATION®Network’s unique service of free* online gaming, the enhancement makes PS3 an even more attractive platform of choice for the online gamer.

Firstly, the 2.40 enhancement allows XMB™ (XrossMediaBar) access in-game. This means that you can access the PS3 menu at any time while playing most games, simply by tapping the PlayStation button on your controller. With 2.40, you can check if any of your friends are online (thanks to their own user profile), read and send messages, change some settings for games, all without having to quit the game you are playing. While you can’t pause an online multiplayer game involving other people, you can rejoin play at any time when you’ve finished browsing. Along with these enhanced communications features, the Friends list capacity will double to 100 Friends.

2.40 also delivers trophies to recognise players’ achievements in the online arena. Other competitive activities recognise winners with trophies – so why not gaming on PS3? Many online games will have gold, silver and bronze trophies – with platinum available for those who snag all three – all displayed on the XMB for everyone to see.

Super Stardust™ HD, a PLAYSTATION Network-exclusive released last year, will be the first game to leverage the Trophies system and will offer a variety of trophies**. The following first-party games are also slated to offer Trophy support:

· BUZZ!™ Quiz TV

· LittleBigPlanet™

· MotorStorm™ Pacific Rift

· NBA 09 - PS3

· PAIN**

· PixelJunk™ Eden

· Resistance 2™

· SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Confrontation

· Warhawk™**

The 2.40 enhancement is just one more reason to join PSN, the online network for PS3 users that lets you game online for free*. All you need to do to join is connect your PS3 to broadband and register, or go to the connection guide at to find out more.

Once in, you’ll find online matches and leagues for all of your favourite games – whether that’s MotorStorm™, Resistance™, Warhawk™ or Gran Turismo™5 Prologue – absolutely free (although users are responsible for paying their broadband fees) and at any time of the day or night. You’ll also find PLAYSTATION®Store, where you can download entire games as well as extra levels, content for your existing games plus internet browsing, video chat thanks to PLAYSTATION®Eye and much, much more.

There’s never been a better time to buy a PS3!

* No subscription required, broadband fees apply

** Requires a game update to be downloaded and installed

Sunday 22 June 2008


Yesterday I attended my inaugural Tweet-Up or Tweet Meet, depending on your preference.

What's a Tweet-Up? Making new friends and acquaintances online is one thing, but meeting them is entirely different! Hopefully it gives people a chance to learn new things, meet even more friends and have a good time away from the online world that we all now and love.

Saturday's Tweet-Up stemmed from an idea proposed by one of my Twitter peeps @LittleLaura! The venue of choice, as suggested by yours truly, was the Apple Store Princesshay, Exeter; anywhere else would have been considered sacrilege!

At Apple Store Princesshay I got up close and personal with the MacBook Air! Still stand by my previous assertion that it's a 'pretty paperweight'! That said, it's the future...

It was great to meet-up with like-minded, and friendly, folk and discuss everything from how long we've been using Mac OS X and the return of Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) in last night's episode of Doctor Who to Tim Burton's cinematic oeuvre - Edward Scissorhands is still his most accomplished film-to-date in my subjective opinion - and musicals!

We intend to have a Tweet-Up on a regular basis! If you're actively involved in the social media space (this is the only prerequisite), would like to attend and drink copious amounts of coffee and tea, then please follow me on Twitter or, alternatively, leave a comment on this post!

Special thanks to @LittleLaura and @huskypup. Two Twitter peeps you should be following.

Friday 20 June 2008

Love Lumix Leica Lenses

I'm in the process of replacing my Canon PowerShot A70 and appear to have reached an impasse! Do I stick with Canon or switch to Panasonic Lumix?

My Canon PowerShot A70 is perfectly serviceable! However, I'd like to exert a similar level of manual control, I once enjoyed at Exeter College, with PENTAX cameras! I've managed to whittle my price-sensitive choices down to the following and would welcome readers feedback:


Canon IXUS 80 IS Digital Camera
Canon proudly presents a fresh new addition to its Digital IXUS range: the Ixus 80 IS. This ultra-compact camera is available in four discreet colours that enhance the smooth curves of its casing, and is loaded with leading technologies for fun, stylish photography. The successor to the Digital Ixus 70, the Ixus 80 IS puts all of Canon's know-how to good use to bring you flawless shots. Its features include a powerful 8-megapixel CCD sensor and a DIGIC III image processor, as well as an optical stabiliser, meaning you can say bye-bye to blur. Its remarkable ISO sensitivity of up to 1600 ensures photos turn out fantastically even in low lighting conditions, while its 2.5-inch TFT screen lets you take complete control of your creations. You'll be able to explore your creative side further with its various scene modes and photo effects, including Ai-AF face detection. Thanks to this technology, the Digitax Ixus 80 IS is able to recognise up to 9 faces in a scene and smooth out shady areas. Express your creative side with professional quality snaps with the Digital Ixus 80!


Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX55EB Digital Camera
The Lumix DMC-FX55 from Panasonic is the new and improved version of the FX33, with the same Auto Intelligent technology but with a larger 3" LCD screen! Behind its stylish design, the Lumix DMC-FX55 is equipped with an 8 effective-megapixel CCD sensor and a 3.6x wide-angle optical zoom, which can be expanded depending on the photo resolution. The optical zoom efficient goes up to 5.7x for 2 megapixels, allowing you to take detailed close-ups. The DMC-FX55 also includes the renowned Venus Engine III image processor and an Intelligent ISO Control mode (up to 6400 ISO sensitivity) to guarantee bright, continuous lighting even in darker environments. Meanwhile, the Mega O.I.S. optical image stabiliser counteracts camera shake to deliver clear images every time. The Lumix FX55 is also equipped with an Intelligent Auto mode that automatically adjusts the settings according to conditions so you don't have to! With the Lumix DMC-FX55, you'll have all of Panasonic's latest technologies in the palm of your hand!

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 Digital Camera
Powerful 18x Optical Zoom, 28mm wide-angle Leica DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens and unique Intelligent Auto Mode. The perfect choice for any photographer with varied photographic needs and high ambitions - Panasonic is pleased to introduce the new DMC-FZ18 8.1-megapixel Lumix camera, featuring a powerful 18x optical zoom (equivalent to 28-504mm on a 35mm film camera), newly developed 28mm wide-angle LEICA DC VARIO-ELMARIT lens and Panasonic's new and unique Intelligent Auto Mode. Panasonic's award-winning FZ series of Lumix cameras has been highly praised across the world, for concomitant realisation of both high performance and ease of use, and the FZ18 is no exception. Bridging the gap between high-end compacts and digital SLRs, Panasonic's DMC-FZ18 offers a level of control close to that of an SLR, but without the need for interchangeable lenses. Perfect for photographers on the move and families who want to shoot pictures outdoors for example, the FZ18 offers an easy way to enjoy the fun of capturing beautiful digital pictures.

Panasonic DMCFX500 Digital Still Camera
The DMC-FX500 features intuitive touch-screen operation on a large, 3.0-inch LCD to provide an advanced hybrid control system with both touch-screen and joystick control. In addition to the 25mm ultra-wide angle Leica DC lens with 5x optical zoom, manual operation controllability give users great creative freedom. A variety of advanced functions, including Intelligent Auto mode, HD motion picture recording and HD component output, together with slideshows enhanced with music, further enrich the camera and user experience.

Canon's IS range is revered, but Panasonic's Lumix line is snapping at its heals! Many Lumix models are fitted with Leica lenses that have been developed and designed by Leica's German optics engineers but are produced in Japan and some are effectively Leica branded cameras without the brand name and with different exterior styling!

It's almost a case of change for change's sake!

Tuesday 17 June 2008

Firefox 3 'Download Day'

Don't forget to download Firefox 3 today and assist Mozilla's aim to set a Guinness World Record for software downloads!

This is the most Mac-like iteration of Firefox yet, mostly due to an extensive, and long overdue, rewrite of the code; to benefit from modern Apple technologies, such as Cocoa, and fix enduring bugs! Code optimisations, paving the way to a 64-bit future, aside. The 'most visited' bookmark feature "adds value" to the browsing experience!

The Firefox Release Candidates (RC) 1-3 rapidly replaced Safari as my default browser, which I hope is recommendation enough!

Wednesday 11 June 2008

Heroes Do Blu

First Transformers and now Heroes is to receive the Blu-ray treatment!

Both franchises were HD DVD 'banner bearers' in the HD format wars! The war ended a few months ago and, with Sony's Blu-ray platter emerging victorious, Universal Studios Home Entertainment has, finally, unveiled the specifications for the upcoming Blu-ray releases of 'Heroes: Season One' and 'Heroes: Season Two', both due to hit store shelves on August 26th.

The wildly successful TV series will get the full high definition treatment, with video being presented in 1.78:1 1080p accompanied by a DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack.

Season One has been reduced from seven discs for the HD DVD release to five! Some special features, such as "Genetics Test" and "Mind Reader" games, have been removed. The special features are as follows:

Disc 1
* Artwork Presentation; Hero Connections
* 73-Minute Premiere Episode with Audio Commentary by Show Creator Tim Kring
* BD-Live Enabled
* Making Of
* Special Effects
* The Stunts
* Profile of Artist Tim Sale
* The Score
* Deleted Scenes

Disc 2
* Artwork Presentation, Hero Connections
* Deleted Scenes

Disc 3
* Artwork Presentation, Hero Connection
* PIP Cast Video Commentaries
* Deleted Scenes

Disc 4
* Artwork Presentation, Hero Connection
* PIP Cast Video Commentaries
* Deleted Scenes

Disc 5
* Artwork Presentation, Hero Connection
* PIP Cast Video Commentaries
* Deleted Scenes

Season Two comes on four discs, notably due to the writers' strike. Extras for this season include:

Disc 1
* Hero Connections - Bios, PIP Cast & Crew Commentaries
* Heroes Season 2 "A New Beginning"
* Takezo Kensei: Sword Saint
* BD-Live Enabled
* Hero Connections: Network
* My Scenes
* Deleted Scenes

Disc 2
* Hero Connections - Bios, PIP Cast & Crew Commentaries
* Genetics of a Scene
* Hero Connections - Network
* The Drucker Files
* My Scenes
* Deleted Scenes

Disc 3
* Hero Connections - Bios, PIP Cast & Crew Commentaries
* Tim Sale Gallery of Screen Art
* Hero Connections - Network
* My Scenes
* Deleted Scenes

Disc 4
* Hero Connections - Bios, PIP Cast & Crew Commentaries
* Generations Alternate Ending
* Inside the Alternate Ending of Generations
* Hero Connections - Network
* My Scenes
* Featurettes

Given that Heroes includes BD-Live, I recommend that you watch this title on a PS3! For those who are completely unaware of what BD-Live is, it is a newly developed Blu-ray feature that enables you to access content via your internet-connected Blu-ray player. BD-Live can allow you to download a variety of up-to-date content (e.g., refreshed previews and exclusive special features) and also enable exciting next generation possabilities, such as ringtone/wallpaper downloads, peer-to-peer interactions, live events and gaming activities. BD-Live is showcased on Men In Black (Blu-ray).

You'll be able to pre-order Heroes S1 and S2 from my Blu-ray Shop and support my blogging. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (Blu-ray) is available for pre-order now! Your support is very much appreciated and, most importantly, at no additional cost to yourself! Thank you.

Monday 9 June 2008

WWDC 2008 AKA The Day the Earth Stood Still

The title of this post is somewhat overblown and pretentious! It's not entirely without some merit as an in-joke; Twitter has been electric with, witty, sci-fi references regarding announcements beamed from the Apple mothership, I only needed to mention that Exeter was thundery and my Twitter peeps were inspired to alude to ID4 amongst others.

My initial reaction to Steve Jobs keynote is mostly positive, mostly!

The new iPhone 3G looks most compelling. I'm sold on the 16GB model (in limited edition white) and will be contacting my O2 Shop in short order: as soon as tomorrow. Assuming O2 can offer a good pay-as-you-go plan, alongside the £269 price tag, for an iPhone 3G, July 11th can't come soon enough! An iPod touch 32GB is on order for wireless browsing around the home.

.mac is to morph into MobileMe and e-mail addresses can be transferred, if desired, to However, a free service would've been welcomed! Apple's e-mail solution looks like a poor investment against highly featured, and free, services such as Google's Gmail! I'll review MobileMe once it becomes available, from July, and make it known whether or not subscribing for a fee-based service is worthwhile in the long-term!

Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard was previewed: “We have delivered more than a thousand new features to OS X in just seven years and Snow Leopard lays the foundation for thousands more,” said Bertrand Serlet, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “In our continued effort to deliver the best user experience, we hit the pause button on new features to focus on perfecting the world’s most advanced operating system.”

Breaking news: Aliens have invaded Apple Store Princesshay...

Sunday 8 June 2008

Apple + Twitter

Follow tomorrow's Apple WWDC 2008 breaking news on Twitter and discover whether or not I'll be buying an iPhone 2! It'll be up to Steve Jobs to convince me!

Friend me on popular social networks: claimID.

Friday 6 June 2008

Room With A VIERA

Last evening I attended an open evening at shop@Panasonic, located in Exeter's Harlequins Shopping Centre. Invited guests were privy to a captivating demonstration of Panasonic's latest, and finest, range of VIERA televisions and 10% discount off all products.

Here are my VIERA television recommendations for your delectation:


Panasonic TX-32LZD85
* Superb Moving Picture Quality with 100Hz Motion Picture Pro 2 and 24p Film
* 178° Wide Viewing Angle with IPS Alpha Full HD Panel
* 10,000:1 High Contrast with Intelligent Scene Controller
* x.v.Colour
* Smart Networking with VIERA Link and SD Card Slot (JPEG)
* V-Audio surround with BBE ViVA HD3D Sound

Panasonic TX-37LZD800
(Same specifications as TX-32LZD85)


Panasonic TH-46PZ80B
* 100Hz Double Scan
* 24p Playback
* Full HD (1920x1080p)
* High Contrast Native 20,000 : 1
* 4,096 Equivalent Steps of Gradation
* 2 x HDMI
* 2 x Scart

When Panasonic first introduced their award-winning VIERA range of televisions, the aim was to give consumers the pinnacle of a viewing experience – an experience so real, so true-to-life, that viewers would unwittingly feel themselves to be almost part of the on-screen action. Now in 2008, the year of the summer Olympic Games, no other company is better placed and able to deliver every second of the action from the stadia into your living room than Panasonic.

Panasonic has been responsible for relaying the Olympics to our homes for the past 20 years. Since the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Panasonic has exclusively provided professional broadcast cameras, editing consoles, monitors, and recording media to the international Olympic Broadcast Centres which beam images of the games around the world. 2008 will mark the first time that the entire production of an Olympic games will be done in High Definition – meaning that viewers will be able to experience all the events with unparalleled clarity and crispness thanks to Panasonic technology.

Thanks to Panasonic HD technology and the highly developed motion technologies in our VIERA TVs, millions of people around the world will be able to follow the ceremony and the proceeding games as intensely as if they were there in person – without missing a moment!

Thursday 5 June 2008

The O2 Arena

The halo of geek chic is in full effect and WWDC enjoys a public profile comparable to Macworld!

The buzz surrounding next week's WWDC 2008 is bordering on the feverish! Only a brand with Apple's mindshare could garner such frenetic excitement, from the mainstream mass media, for what is, arguably, exclusively a 'developers delight'!

Not only is there incessant talk of the iPhone 2/3G, there's Mac OS X 10.5.4 (didn't we all just download 10.5.3 last week?), Mac OS X 10.6 codenamed 'Snow Leopard', and a much-needed .mac makeover! The latter holds the most compelling secrets, and may convince me to renew my subscription in October!

Everything hinges on the iPhone 2 and whether or not O2, the exclusive UK network carrier, offers Apple's second generation mobile device at a compelling price point alongside pay-as-you-go deals! If so, I'm sold and it'll be goodbye Orange! Readers who watch Channel Four's Dispatches series will appreciate the pay-as-you-go bias!

Further to the iPhone and .mac refresh, I'm predicting that there'll be an announcement regarding a new portable device called Mac nano...

Sunday 1 June 2008


In the wake of last week's release of Mac OS X 10.5.3, the Apple Discussions forums have been flooded with myriad threads related to innumerable iCal problems! I can concur that the latest Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard update wiped all my iCal calendars, following a .mac sync, and replaced these with empty duplicates!

Thankfully I had a usable backup from which to restore all my calendars! This is my suggested workaround:

*Uncheck iCal sync (System Preferences/.mac)
*Delete this folder: ~/Library/Calendars
*Restore all iCal settings via your backup plan

Hey presto! A working copy of iCal. Your mileage may vary, but I hope that this simple tip will help some (if not all) affected users. Further to this, I'm seriously considering purchasing Time Capsule 1TB at the conclusion of WWDC 2008!