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SlashGear Week in Review – Week 49 2009

It’s been a long week here at SlashGear with the build up to Christmas and Cyber Monday shopping and deals. We learned this week that the DoD had ordered 2,200 PS3 consoles to beef up their PS3 powered super computer. The PS3’s are cheaper than buying the Cell processors themselves it seems.

The AT&T LG eXpo with a detachable pico projector turned up early in the week. The projector adds considerably to the bulk of the phone but we really like the idea. The Blackberry Pearl 9100 has shown up in a video demo. The device hasn’t been launched yet so exactly how the guy making the vid got hands on the phone is unknown.

The Barnes & Noble Nook eReader is having a growing issue with supply. Orders for the device have now been delayed until January 11. It seems few people will actually find one of these under their Christmas tree this year. If you are a fan of Steampunk you will get a kick at of the Chumbophone. The gadget is a mix of some Chumby guts crammed into an old school looking phone case.

Psystar and Apple have come to a bit of a legal agreement over the copyright issues. Psystar and Apple put a legal deal in place that will have Psystar stopping the sales of Mac clones. The catch is the agreement only goes into play if Psystar’sappeals are denied. Nokia filed suit against several of the world’s largest LCD makers this week alleging price fixing in the industry. Several of the firms named in the suit pled guilty to price fixing in the PC LCD industry so this suit may have legs.

A new Android 2.1 ROM with HTC Sense UI leaked this week. The ROM is available online and is the Hero 2.1 Eclair ROM over at xda-developers. Some shots of the HTC Rome handset leaked this week and the device looks nice. No real details came along with the leaked photos but it does have the ExtUSB connector suggesting it may be older tech.

I really liked the Bioshock video game and thought the creepiest of all the characters were the Big Daddy things that roamed with the little creepy girls. If you want the coolest costume ever for Halloween next year a Big Daddy costume was up for sale on eBay this week for $840 last we checked. The cool Asus ROG Maximus III Extreme mainboard offers remote overclocking. The cool part is that the remote overclocking can be done via a Bluetooth mobile phone.

A video hands on with the Entourage eDGe dual-screen eReader turned up this week. The thing runs Android for the OS and looks big, but pretty cool. Acer is set to launch a Google Chrome OS netbook for later in 2010 according to reports. The machine is rumored to be coming in H2 2010.

Intel released a new firmware for its X25-M and X18-M SSDs this week that fixes TRIM support for Windows 7. Now you can upgrade without killing the Windows 7 OS on your computer. The courts ruled that the sales injunction of the Barnes & Noble Nook that is in such short supply would not be granted as requested by Spring Design. However, B&N may need to worry because the courts recognized there is a “genuine dispute” over design theft.

Nintendo has slashed production of its Wii console in the face of softening demand. I wonder how much of the decrease in demand is thanks to the lower price of the PS3 and Xbox 360. The Motorola Sholes smartphone has been one of the devices that have been rumored for months now. Things have been quiet on the rumor front for the device until new pics of the handset turned up showing it has HDMI out. Still no word on when we will actually see the handset hit market.

A very interesting rumor turned up that has Logitech making a UMD drive add-on for the PSP Go. That would be one fantastic accessory for the device if the rumor proves to be true. Details of the coming Intel Atom processor set to hit in Q1 2010 surfaced. The new chips will reportedly have a 20% reduction in power consumption, which should mean much better battery life.

The Sony PlayStation turned 15 this week, it seems like the consoles have been around forever. The PlayStation certainly helped usher in the new generation of gaming consoles. That cool and sci-fi looking Emotiv Epoc brain-reading game controller tipped up with a ship date of December 21 for $299. I would certainly want to read some reviews of the thing before I spent that kind of money.

The camera woes of the DROID have been well publicized. We learned that an OTA fix is coming late this week that will address the issue. MSI, Asus, Acer, and Lenovo all have netbooks set to launch in January running the new Atom N450 processor. The machines will all be based on the Intel Pinetrail platform.

The Asus Eee 1201N Seashell netbook has landed on Amazon for pre-order. The actual ship date for the 12.1-inch netbook is set for January 15. The Android-powered WebStation had a bit of a rough start, but the device is now available for preorder. The 7-inch touchscreen device will sell for $399 with free shipping.

Apple announced that the Mac Pro now has the option of 2TB storage and a speedy Intel 3.33GHz Xeon processor. That beastly CPU option adds $1,200 to the price of the machine alone. Late this week we learned that the CrunchPad partner Fusion Garage wants to tell its side of the story on the failed CrunchPad. This should make for an interesting read.

That’s it for this week, thanks for reading!

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Slashgear Android App Of The Week: Auralux With Tegra

SlashGear Android App of the Week: Auralux with Tegra-exclusive expansion

The NVIDIA TegraZone has brought on many next-level shooters, racing games, and graphic-heavy beasts that show the power of Tegra processors plainly – with Auralux, it’s not quite so simple to see. What you’ve got here developed by Wardrum Studios is not a shooting game with rippling puddles of blood, nor is it a water shooting game where you put out realistic looking fires – instead its the most minimalistic vision of what Warcraft addicts fell in love with back in the 1990s with strategy and troop controls, but this time it’s in space. And it’s fought with bubbles.

This game is an instant buy for anyone who loves the game Osmos in that it requires you to look at your physics-heavy blob-controlling situation from a bird’s eye view – though you’re in space, so it’s more of a gods-eye-view. Everything is flat, but you’ve got hovering bodies living around planets which produce these bodies. These bodies – or bubbles – are your troops. The object of the game is to reduce your enemies to nothingness.

The planets are either controlled by you or one of your enemies, or they can be neutral. Depending on the setup of each level, you and your enemies will have different positions amongst different amounts of planets which can be taken over by your troops. To take over a planet, you’ve got to sacrifice an amount of troops to it.

Once you’ve activated a planet with enough troops, the planet will begin producing troops. The smallest planet size produces troops the slowest, the largest produces the quickest. Each dormant/gray planet has a limit to how large it can get, with the most challenging environments having only a collection of the smallest planets. The larger you make a planet, the harder it is for an enemy to take it, as well.

This game is played at a relatively slow pace, but you can purchase a Speed Mode from the Google Play store that allows you to rock and roll at what I just hate to call “blazing” speeds. There are also levels galore you can buy with an NVIDIA Tegra exclusive pack hiding near the end of the list – it’s the best!

This game is a home run for mobile devices, and on a Tegra-toting device it’s a powerful punch for tablet and smartphone gamers alike. Auralux sits somewhere between a rather involved game and a casual game, making it really great for lots of different types of people looking to make great use of their touchscreen interfaces on all manner of devices. This game has rather quickly become a first-install for all of the devices I’ll be reviewing in the near future – count on it.

You can download Auralux from the Google Play Store or catch it on the NVIDIA TegraZone starting this week as well. What are you waiting for?!

The Week In Drones: Wedding Photographers, Prison Guards, And More

Cold Spring, New York.

An aerial view of the town where NY Representative Sean Patrick Maloney used a drone to film his wedding.

Here’s a roundup of the week’s top drone news, designed to capture the military, commercial, non-profit, and recreational applications of unmanned aircraft.

Weddings, Investigated

When New York Representative Sean Patrick Maloney got married in upstate New York in June, he did something fairly common: took video of the wedding, and put it online. The only problem? The camera was on a drone, and now the FAA is investigating to see if it’s a case of an illegal use of a drone. The video has since disappeared from YouTube, and so long as the rules remain vague and the FAA enforces selectively, it’ll be hard to tell the legality of any drone photography. Of course, Representative Maloney and wedding guest Nancy Pelosi could, as members of Congress, introduce or move legislation to clarify the legality of filming from a drone.

Stealth Drone Is Actually Stealthy

BAE Systems, in conjunction with the U.K. Ministry of Defense, revealed this week that their experimental stealth drone Taranis is in fact stealthy, once they remove all the weird and superfluous antennas. The drone, a grey flying “V”, is similar to the American X-47B in that it’s a testing tool, designed to collect data for future projects. If both Taranis and X-47B are any indication, the future of air combat is flying grey triangles.

Taranis At Night

Robots On The Outside, People On The Inside

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction is thinking about having drones watch over their prisons. Under consideration are quadcopters, fixed-wing drones, and unmanned tethered helium balloons. Ohio is also considering infrared cameras for the drones, and says that these drones could stop people tossing contraband (weapons, drugs, tobacco) over the fence at night. That’s nothing a second layer of fences couldn’t solve, but at least with drones there’s the added dystopic feel of robots keeping humans in cages.

Homemade Drone Over Gaza

As part of the ongoing strife in the Gaza Strip, Hamas released video of a drone it claims to have used against Israel. Upon close examination, the drone appears to be a converted toy with fake or ineffectual weapons. For their part, Israel claims that one of their Patriot missiles destroyed a Hamas drone.

Fighting Illegal Fishing

By the nature of their ocean habitats, fish populations are tricky to protect. Laws put in place to cordon off areas or protect certain species are a good first step, but police need a way to catch illegal fishers, and capture them in the act. It’s rather hard for boats to sneak up on each other at sea, so in Belize, the people protecting fisheries use small, fast drones to spot criminals.

Watch a video of it below:

Last Week In Tech: Apex Legends, America’s Ai Initiative, And A Long

I did not win when I played Apex Legends. Respawn

These last week in tech posts usually drop on Monday, but yesterday we introduced our fancy new podcast, Techathlon. If you haven’t listened to it, subscribed to it, given it a great rating, listened to it again, then bought your grandma a smartphone so she could do the same, we’ll wait while you do those things now.

OK! With that done, let’s dig into the biggest tech stories that popped up last week while you were busy wondering if it’s OK to put your snow shovel away yet (it’s not).

25 million people played Apex Legends in a week

A new battle-royale-style game has started stealing some of Fortnite‘s seemingly unstoppable momentum. Apex Legends is a more mature version of Fortnite‘s cartoony nonsense. It’s free to play on most of the big platforms right now, which helps explain its speedy growth. Pro tip I learned from my short time in the game: Get a middle schooler to help you because they’re great at it.

Amazon bought mesh router company, Eero

Smart homes rely on your Wi-Fi network to control your gadgets, set your alarms, and answer your kids homework questions when you’re not paying attention and they want to cheat. This week, Amazon bought Eero, an ambitious hardware company that makes networking gear to sling signal around your home. No one is sure how it will shake out just yet, but reactions vary from “this is the end of privacy and the world as we know it,” to “oh, neat, now Echo devices can also be mesh network points.” It’s probably somewhere in between.

Tokyo is officially making 2023 Olympic medals out of old electronics garbage

Japan has been collecting e-waste in hopes that it could harvest enough recycled metal to make the medals for the upcoming 2023 Olympic games. According to an announcement last week, municipal authorities are on-track to hit their goals with nearly 50,000 tons of e-waste already collected. We won’t know what the medals will look like until this summer, however.

There’s a new American AI Initiative

An executive order rolled off the president’s desk on Monday outlining some vague plans about America’s path forward when it comes to artificial intelligence. The order didn’t provide any new funding, but it did lay out some guidelines about establishing standards and encouraging young people to enter the field down the road.

The new Lightroom has a real CSI-style “enhance” feature

Digital cameras don’t see in color. Rather, each pixel has a colored filter in front of it (red, green, or blue) and then the camera has to crunch that data information to figure out what the colors should actually look like. The new version of Adobe’s Lightroom photo editing software claims to have figured out a better way to mash this data from raw photo files to scrape out more details in the photo. It’s not exactly magic, but the results do seem to make a difference.

LinkedIn now has live-streaming

Have you ever cruised the corporate wasteland of your LinkedIn page and thought, “wow, I wish I could see and hear all these people I don’t really know in real time.” Well, that’s coming down the road in an invite-only feature called LinkedIn Live. Soon, you can see videos from influencers, corporate CEOs, and your mom’s friend Debbie who has her own dog grooming business and you only accepted her invitation because your mom asked you to.

People are mad about a sex button

LoveSync is a pair of buttons that couples (or really any number of people, really) keep in their private quarters. If they’re feeling romantic, they push the button. If the other person also pushed their button recently, it’s a match and things get R rated. It’s received a lot of criticism online, but my go-to line is “Yes, hello, would you like to make smooches?” So maybe this thing is perfect for some people.

Mars One Ventures won’t actually send you to die on Mars

Remember the company that wanted to send people to Mars and then make a reality show about them as they learned to live, love, and get used to the taste of their recycled pee drinking water? Well, it’s bankrupt. Sorry. Looks like the Fyre Fest: Mars edition is canceled.

The yawn emoji made us yawn

We met all the new 2023 emojis last week and one of them is a yawning face. It might make you physically yawn. You might be yawning right now. Sorry.

This Week In Games: John Wick Tactics, A Blood Remaster, And A Survival

Can you feel that? It’s E3, right around the corner—meaning the slow parade of game announcements starts now of course, about a month before the show. The Final Fantasy VII remake finally resurfaced this week, there’s a John Wick puzzle game on the way, and Ubisoft unveiled a new Ghost Recon.

This is gaming news for May 6 to 10.

Give me a gun

You might expect a John Wick video game to look a lot like Max Payne or something, all slow-motion and death-defying stunts. Instead it’s coming from the developers behind polygonal platformer Thomas Was Alone and stealthy Volume, Bithell Games. And it’s…turn-based.

It looks intriguing though. The trailer opens with the line “It is said that combat is like a game of chess,” and that’s definitely the vibe here as you direct Mr. Wick to shoot/punch/kick various foes before they can react. Not what I expected, but maybe it’s better than what I expected. More creative, at the very least.

Hitman 2-ish

IO Interactive keeps experimenting with new ways to sell Hitman 2. First it was sold as a full $60 game. Then the opening prologue mission, Hawke’s Bay, was peeled off and given away for free. Now you can spend $12 on the Hitman 2 – Miami Package, which includes the entire Miami mission (the auto race and museum) as well as any Elusive Targets that take place there—which, for the moment, means Sean Bean.

It’s funny. 2024’s Hitman started episodic and was eventually released a compiled boxed version. Hitman 2’s headed the opposite direction, starting as a complete boxed version and being divvied up piecemeal. I’ll be curious whether the process continues.

QuakeCon gets culture Blood magic

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 is already hitting the trailer circuit hard almost a year prior to release, though admittedly only in hand-drawn cinematic form. This week it’s the reveal of the Tremere clan, masters of Thaumaturgy. That’s blood magic for the uninitiated among you.

Blood, reborn

Ghost Recon: Breakpoint

The fall release schedule’s pretty empty at the moment, but Ubisoft staked a claim this week with Ghost Recon Breakpoint, due to release October 4. It’s a follow-up to 2023’s Wildlands but more focused on survival aspects, with soldiers able to sustain semi-permanent injuries as they try to infiltrate the Auroa Islands and uh…kill guys, because they’re bad.

It’s alive

I’ll go ahead and bet the Final Fantasy VII remake will not release in 2023. Bold, I know. It exists, though! Sony held another of its Nintendo Direct-style shows this week and ended on a minute or so of new footage—the first time we’ve seen the Final Fantasy VII remake in action since 2024, to my knowledge. Expect more out of E3 next month, with Square set to host a press conference in Sony’s old slot on the Monday night before the show.

Two Point 2.0

There’s not much to this news, but Sega purchased Two Point Hospital developer Two Point Studios this week. To be honest I thought Sega already owned Two Point Studios so this comes as a bit of a surprise, but uh, good on them. Hopefully we’ll get more charming sim games out of them soon, with co-founder Mark Webley quoted saying that they’ll “continue to evolve Two Point County.”

Back to school

Maybe Two Point County needs a school? Failing that, there’s always Cities: Skylines though. Yes, this week the always-expanding city builder announced the new Campus expansion which allows you to build out a custom college campus, complete with sports teams and lots of neoclassical architecture.

Randy Pitchford

But just when you thought it couldn’t get any uglier, it did. After the gameplay reveal, fans noticed that Claptrap didn’t sound quite the same anymore, with former Gearbox employee David Eddings confirming that he is not reprising the role for Borderlands 3—specifically, that Gearbox wouldn’t pay him enough. Pitchford then said something about how Eddings had been made a generous offer, which prompted Eddings to fire back with a lengthy Twitter thread alleging that Pitchford “physically assaulted [him] in the lobby of the Marriott Marquis at GDC 2023” and following up with “I even blocked him a couple years ago for stalking me on social media.”

So much drama, and the game’s not even out for six months. We’ll see whether anything else comes to light between now and then I guess.

This Week In Games: Red Dead Redemption 2 Is Finally Coming To Pc

Leave it to Rockstar to completely blow up the November release calendar on a random Friday morning in October, eh? Sorry Planet Zoo, sorry Need for Speed, Red Dead is coming.

This is gaming news for September 30 to October 4.

Rootin’ and tootin’

Let’s go ahead and start with the headliner news this week. After much will-they-won’t-they consternation, Rockstar announced this morning that yes, of course they would. In other words, Red Dead Redemption 2 is coming to PC on November 5.

There’s a catch, of course. Rockstar didn’t put out its own launcher for nothing. If you preorder through the new Rockstar Games Launcher you’ll receive two free Rockstar games of your choosing, including Bully, Max Payne 3, and the PS2-era Grand Theft Autos. Also a whole ton of DLC for Red Dead Redemption 2.

But the game isn’t locked to the new launcher. You can also buy it through Epic, Humble, GameStop, Stadia, pretty much everyone for a November launch—except Steam. Red Dead Redemption 2 is coming to Valve’s storefront, but not until December.

So that’s the deal. No credence to rumors of a Red Dead Redemption port apparently, and a delayed Steam launch. It’s finally coming though. Here’s an old trailer to get you in the spirit.

Gone in 60 seconds

Not your jam? Next week is Haemimont’s colony builder Surviving Mars, if you’re looking for the exact opposite type of experience.

Uncovering The Bradwell Conspiracy

I love the look of it, and I’m excited to delve into it uh…next week! Bossa put an October 8 release date on it just the other day, which is a surprise. I guess that makes this the launch trailer?


Bunker buster

It seems like Battlefield 3’s “Operation Metro” has become the series’ signature the same as “Nuketown” for Call of Duty. After being remade for Battlefield 4’s Second Assault expansion, it’s now receiving new life once again in Battlefield V . Reskinned as a German subway, “Operation Underground” is nevertheless based on the same close quarters nightmare layout, albeit with a few new flanking routes this time.

PlayStation Now

We don’t write much about Sony because, well, we’re a PC site. Microsoft gets some love because all its Xbox stuff is cross-platform nowadays, but not the PlayStation.

There is one way to access PlayStation games on PC though. It’s not great, but it does work—and this week it got a price cut. PlayStation Now, Sony’s streaming service, is now $10 a month instead of $20. You can play God of War, Uncharted 4, and more, albeit only in 720p. And it really only works if you’re near a data center, which mostly means living in a major metropolitan area. If those apply to you though? Go for it. I had a great time with it last year.


The Terminator’s finally been added to the Mortal Kombat 11 roster, and I have to say: This is one of the neater DLC characters I’ve seen. They’ve crammed a lot of unique ideas in here, chief among them the fact that the T-800’s skin can burn off and reveal the underlying endoskeleton—at which point he seemingly can’t be staggered by Scorpion’s blades. The Time Sphere fatality is incredible too. Not bad, for a dumb tie-in character.

Gearbox Gearbox Gearbox

The brutal lawsuits between Gearbox’s Randy Pitchford and former Gearbox lawyer Wade Callender have been settled this week, out of court. The Hollywood Reporter says that “All misunderstandings between the parties have been corrected, and apologies were exchanged.” I’m not sure how you apologize for saying very publicly that your former boss hosted so-called peacock parties where men exposed themselves to children, but uh…well, we’ll apparently never hear any more about it.

Meanwhile Troy Baker revealed to VG24/7 this week that he didn’t just “turn down” the offer to reprise the role of Rhys in Borderlands 3. Gearbox decided to use non-union voice talent and Troy Baker thus couldn’t participate. It’s a common problem—so common you have to wonder why Gearbox didn’t just cop to it up front.

Project Resistance, revealed

Capcom announced Project Resistance a few weeks ago, a 4-on-1 multiplayer version of Resident Evil. And it sounded like it had some cool hooks, with the four survivors playing a fairly standard third-person action game while the Mastermind watched the game through security cameras, placing traps and dropping in zombies.

Alas, this week Capcom put out a full match and…well, it looks pretty rough. The Mastermind’s quips are especially grating, even after just 10 minutes. Not a great sign.

Breaking point

Ubisoft’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint didn’t properly release until this morning, but access started on Monday for certain deluxe edition purchasers. Those who got in early quickly pointed out the incredible number of microtransactions bundled in, including ones that let you buy skill points and other time saving boosters.

It makes sense to me, even though I doubt that’s the full reason they were included—and strongly doubt they were in there “by mistake” at release. Anyway, expect them back at some point.


People are really getting into that Untitled Goose Game. Like, really getting into it. Twitch streamer Rudeism donned a goose costume for a recent stream that also functioned as a controller. You can check out the video below, but what looks like a shower curtain and some swim flippers is actually a controller that detects when he runs in place, opens his wings, and honks. It looks exhausting.

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