Scientists Discover New State of Matter, Could Be Used To Upgrade Microchips…

via Gizmodo by Elaine Chow on 10/23/08

McGill University researchers have discovered a new state of matter to go along with good ol’ solid, liquid, gas, plasma and a handful of quantum states—it’s called a quasi-three-dimensional electron crystal. While the name sounds like something that would sap Superman’s powers, this new state of matter could be used to fabricate modern transistors and continue Moore’s Law… possibly indefinitely.

The quasi-three-dimensional electron crystals were discovered in a device scientists cooled at ultra-low temperatures – roughly 100 times colder than intergalactic space. They then exposed it to the most powerful magnetic fields possible on Earth, which made it “pop” from a 2D electron system to a semi-3D one. It could also help improve transistors, allowing for greater density on a single microchip. Looks like Gordon Moore can rest assure that his law won’t be broken for another long while. [Science Blog]

(Note: That’s not a picture of the new state of matter, by the way.)

Rocket Car Will Hit 1000mph in 40 Seconds, Empty Bowels in About 5 [Rocket Car]

via Gizmodo by John Herrman on 10/23/08

Britain’s Minister of Science Lord Drayson is announcing today the commencement of the Bloodhound rocket car project, which will propel current land speed record-holder and RAF Pilot Andy Green to speed of over 1000mph. This is another step in the sporadically intense fight for the fastest car in the world, but the Minister has a half-hilarious, half-reasonable excuse for it: it’ll get British students interested in taking advanced science classes. Nobody really cares about stuff like that because, well, 1000mph.

The first part of the run will be propelled by a jet engine, originally designed for the Eurofighter. After the Bloodhound reached 300mph, propulsion duties will be taken over by an experimental “bespoke” hybrid rocket, during which time the driver will be subjected to 2.5Gs of acceleration force until he hits 1050 mph. The whole process will take about 40 seconds, amazingly.

Naturally, possible blackouts, horrific crashes and mechanical malfunctions are all in the cards here. Dont’ worry though — according to the Times, he is preparing in the most ludicrous way possible: “He will practice… in a stunt aircraft, flying upside-down over the British countryside.” No date for the run has been set, but we should get a few more details after the Minister Drayson’s formal announcement today.

[Times Online]

Logitech Premiere Edition Guitar Is Such, Such Guitar Hero Overkill

via Gizmodo by Mark Wilson on 10/23/08

The Logitech Wireless Guitar Controller, Premiere Edition shows that even a keyboard and mouse manufacturer is ready to challenge Fender in the world of high end game guitars. The $250 PS2/PS3 accessory features a premium build including a genuine wood neck, rosewood fingerboard and metal frets.

Plus you’ll see the wonky Touch Sensitive Neck Slider that will support new functions in Guitar Hero IV (we doubt it’ll do much in Rock Band). The controller will be available this December to anyone willing to pay as much on a guitar controller as they could on a real guitar. And let us apologize in advance for this slightly disappointing, less artsy bonus pic:

[Logitech]

Spy shots of the Nokia E63 emerge

via Boy Genius Report by Kelly Hodgkins on 10/22/08

As part of the whole discussion on the leaked Nokia promotional video about a month ago, the existence of the mysterious Eseries phone, the E63, has come to light. Much of the phone still remains a mystery but we do have some new spy shots to confirm its existence and few leaked details on the handset itself courtesy of the Telefon-Tredd.de forums. This is all rumor so take it with a healthy grain of salt. The Nokia E63 is purported to come in three variants: the E63-1: for Europe, the E63-2: without a camera and more memory (?), and E63-3: for the Americas. According to a user agent profile on Nokia servers and from the spy shooter himself, the E63 will have the following specs:

  • GSM and GPRS + EDGE
  • UMTS + HSDPA
  • Display: 240 x 320 Pixel, 18bit
  • Camera: At least 2MP. No Front Camera.
  • WLAN
  • Bluetooth
  • Symbian v9.1
  • S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 1
  • MIDP 2.0 and CLDC 1.1
  • Has 3.5 mm jack connector
  • Is thicker than E71
  • Has a flashlight function (which by pressing the space bar immediately activated and can be disabled)
  • No metal construction (plastic only) except Navikey and camera module
  • No side buttons
  • Left side: microSD slot and micro-USB connector (with hard plastic closure)
  • The microphone is on the lower side (not front as E71)
  • 2mm mains next to the microphone
  • Bottom right (on the corner) is an eyelet
  • Menu’s like E71, looks like FP1

So there you have it folks, the Nokia E63 as we know it today. Hit the jump for a few more spy shots.

[via Finest Fones]

Read (translated)

AT&T Sells 2.4 Million iPhone 3Gs, 40 Percent to New Customers

via Gizmodo by matt buchanan on 10/22/08

Not surprisingly for AT&T, the iPhone 3G is a strong part of their quarterly earnings report. Off the top they added two million net subscribers, ballooning to nearly 75 million total, and it looks like the iPhone 3G played a solid part in landing them. Of the 2.4 million iPhone 3Gs activated last quarter, 40 percent were to new AT&T customers (which, doing the math, shows that nearly two-thirds of iPhones are sold outside of the US now). Interestingly, selling so many and subsidizing them so hard actually cost AT&T $900 million this quarter. Oh, and AT&T is still the financial size of a small country: They spent $25.7 billion to make $5.6 billion.

[AT&T]

Review : Fable 2 for Xbox 360

via 8Bit Joystick.com by Jake on 10/21/08

Rating : 97% An incredible accomplishment in the advancement of video games as meaningful art. Front runner for game of the year

Box Art - Standard Edition Front

I was a little bit giddy when unwrapping my copy of Fable 2 for the Xbox 360. This is the follow up to the insanely ambitious fantasy action adventure role-playing game Fable for the Xbox. This game is set five hundred years after the world of Fable and the fantasy European world of Albion has evolved in complexity and detail in every measure of the word.

If you ignore the previous game and look at Fable 2 on it’s own you will see an wholly successful action adventure game that can stand on it’s own merits. This builds on and expands on the conventions of Fable crafted by Lionhead games. That is a phrase that really applied to Fable 2; handcrafted. You can tell that this game was a labor of love by Sir Peter Molyneux. You know it is going to be good when it is a game designed by a knight of both England and France. The first game is not a prerequisite but if you liked the first game than you are going to eat this game up. It is going to be yummy.

The world of Fable 2 comes off incredibly European but better than a trip to the renaissance faire while it manages to be medieval but not a not wholly Tolkien rip-off.

The game is structured around the concept of choices and consequences. You are quietly presented with choices of morality that are not quite so clear and how you choose affects the total outcome of your standing in the world. Unlike Grand Theft Auto that is willing to dispense forgiveness by a simple trip to the Pay-N-Spray the moral choices you make in Fable 2 have lasting serious consequences. Choices of right and wrong are balanced with the quest for power and fame. Sure this game is rated M for Mature but since it presents moral consequences for your actions I would have no problem having the kids that I know enjoy this game.

This game is not just about going on quests and little bad guys but a simulation of social human interactions is a central concept of the game. This is as much The Sims as it is Lord of the Rings. Unlike the first Fable game you can choose either a male or female hero and over the course of the game you can engage in straight or queer romantic relationships. you can get married, buy property, have children along side your quest to save the world.

HUD_Screenshot_01

The graphics are evidence that they had a small army of well trained graphical artists and animators at Lionhead who spent years to develop a rich breathing world that is just as alive as the fake New York of Grand Theft Auto IV.

The gameplay controls are designed around the concept of context sensitivity. That means that the functions of the buttons will change given the situation that you are in and once you pick up the game interacting with the rich world should be second nature. It really is intuitive way to cram a bunch of controls possibilities on to a standard video game controller. The combat nearly approaches a single button game play control placing timing and context over shear button-mashing or complex combos. This game advanced the implementation of magical spells and introduced firearms and crossbows instead of the bow archery of the first game.

Jump01

Owned

I sort of thought that there was too much hype made around the Fable 2 Pub Games XBLA game but then again I never liked gambling and would rather earn treasure by going on quests and killing goblins than rolling the bones.

The work that was invested in the audio of this game really comes across. The musical score and sound effects help to build a fantasy world without getting too Hollywood. The voice acting is actually pretty darn good and greatly contributes to the enjoyment of the game.

One of the main features of this game is a simulated dog that will accompany the hero on the quest. You don’t control the dog directly, you interact with it. You can give it affection or scorn based on it’s actions and it really ties into one of the core central concepts of the game and that is love as well as morality. Sure the Companion Cube of Portal loves you but the faithful companion dog of Fable 2 really seems to care about the trials and tribulations of the hero of Fable 2.

HeroDog

The other core concept of the game is complex social interactions including sex and relationships. You don’t actually see a pornographic depiction of sex but you can meet people, fall in love, propose, get married, co-habitate and move in together and have and raise kids together. This is one of the first games that you can choose a female hero that can actually get pregnant and have kids. Actually I have a hunch that female gamers can fall in love with this game

Hobbe_Run

One of my girlfriend’s close friends is a woman named Jessica that has spend countless hours playing Fable one of the Xbox one and she loved it enough to ask for it for her birthday by name. She does not really play video games but she loves the social interactions mixed with a realistic fantasy medieval world enough that she asked for it by name. So this year we got her a used Xbox one and a copy of Fable one. I have no doubt that once she sees Fable 2 that she will be tempted to go out an spend two hundred bucks on an Xbox 360 Arcade just to be able to play this game. Her favorite part was meeting girls, marrying then and then keeping them happy. She had a wife in every town and the quest for romantic marital bliss was just as important to her as saving the realm. Fable 2 is sooo much better than The Sims.

Update: I am debating switching from good to evil in the game by starting to follow the dark side of the force in Fable.

The only thing I can really complain about on this game is the technical bugs that were in the early version that I played. It is well publicized that there is going to be a software title update patch that Microsoft and Lionhead are working on due out within the week but it is a little disappointing that it does not feel a hundred percent finished and tested. But then again it is not as big of a letdown as Windows Vista. Zing… Rimshot. While Fable 2 might seem a bit rushed for the holiday release it is still incredibly ambitious and I hope that the army of programmers at Lionhead get a chance to put the finishing touches on this game. I have a gut feeling that when I beat this game that I am going to be longing for more. I hope they make a smeg load of downloadable content as well as a Fable 3, One of the most ambitious things about this game was an online gameplay component over Xbox Live. It was not done for the pressing of the first batch of the discs and i’ll have to do a separate review on how online cooperative play ends up working out. I can’t wait to get a copy of this game into the hands of my good friend BBQ and I hope that we can go on quests together over the Xbox Live network soon. I personally would much rather play this game online than World of Warcraft and I see the possibility that this game might become the first super popular online RPG of the console video game systems. Currently if you set the online interactions to anyone you will see other peoples gamer pictures as floating circle icons over the towns and world of Albion and you can talk to them but the original plan was to join them as an online henchman and join their quests. You can have a second player pick up an Xbox controller in the room and join in as an onscreen henchmen and I saw this in full effect at Penny Arcade Expo 08. I really hope Microsoft does not drop the ball and they let Lionhead studios finish and polish this game to it’s full potential.

This game should be as big a killer application game for the Xbox 360 as Metal Gear Solid 4 was for the PS3. It is better than the last two Legend of Zelda games and that is coming from an admitted life-long Nintendo fanboy. This is one of the best western developed games and I can’t wait to see what Lionhead studios can do with the future of the Xbox platform. This is a much better game than Grand Theft Auto IV. I have only had this game for a couple of days but I have already surpassed my Xbox Live achievements on this game than GTA IV. If you own a Xbox 360 or are planning on getting one than you really need to consider getting this game. This is not only one of the best games of the year but it is a defining reason to own and Xbox 360.

Recalled LittleBigPlanet copies selling for up to $250

via PS3 Fanboy by Majed Athab on 10/20/08

It makes us sick to our stomach to hear that people who’ve snagged early copies of the now recalled LittleBigPlanet are selling the coveted discs on eBay. To make matters worse, some of these resellers have an asking price for up to 400% over the MSRB at $250. That’s a ridiculous extra amount to pay for a game that’s not even delayed that long.

With a reworked October 27 release date for North America confirmed, and Europe guaranteed the title by the week of November 3, we urge gamers not to give into these appalling resellers and just wait out the extra few days. It’s really not that long compared to other delays we’ve seen in the past.