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Game Review: Metal Gear Solid 4 – Guns of the Patriots (PS3) August 26, 2008

Posted by Neal Atienza in Playstation 3, Tech Reviews.
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Solid Snake is back and better than ever. After what has seemed like an eternity of waiting, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is here, and not only is it a stunning achievement in terms of technical aspects (this game utilizes what the PS3 is capable of like nothing you have ever seen before), but it also conveys one of the deepest and most engrossing storylines that you will ever come across in a video game. Yes, as you have no doubt heard by now, the game features some quite lengthy cut-scenes that seemingly pop up out of nowhere in the middle of gameplay. While this can get annoying, nearly everything else about Metal Gear Solid 4 is simply flawless. The storyline, what little can be mentioned without giving away a barrage of spoilers, finds an aging Snake in the middle of Liquid Ocelot’s new, destructive plans. Familiar faces are abound as well, which will lead to many surprises and shocks, even for the most hardcore of Metal Gear Solid fans. As said before, Metal Gear Solid 4 boasts the best audio and visual presentation you will ever see in a video game. Quite frankly, this game is a gorgeous sight to behold.

Gameplay wise, the game offers up some equally impressive shooting and stealth mechanics, while the boss fights are nothing short of epic. Online multiplayer modes seem to be the only aspect of MGS4 that don’t conjure up the awe-inspiring moments that the rest of the game does, but they are fun on their own regardless.

Playing MGS4 in my new 40” LCD was the best combo, it just made the experience a lot better and I even ran out of words when I switched on MGS for the very first time. I’ve been a MGS fan since the debut of the first game in the series and it is safe to say that Hideo Kojima and Konami have delivered amazing games year in and year out. You can find reviews for MGS online and you will see how good this game is, every aspect is done with great detail and pulls the gamer into the storyline. From slow-mo action sequences, war-torn environments, stealth missions and ultimate battlefields, this game covers every single aspect with stunning cut sequences.

Words alone can’t do this game justice though. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is by far and large the best game to come out on the PS3 thus far, and without a doubt is one of the finest video games to ever see the light of day. I just finished the game and I am already planning to play the game again in a harder mode, plus I have online play so that my copy of MGS doesn’t collect dust! Yes, it really is that good, and if you have been waiting for that PS3 “killer app”, your wait is over.

Tech Reviews: Apple Aluminum Keyboard (Wired or Wireless) August 22, 2008

Posted by Neal Atienza in Mac News, Tech Reviews.
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You know what, I wasn’t a big fan of Apple keyboards, it seemed too ordinary, didn’t pack extra and useful features but I was wrong. Apple based the keyboard design on the Macbooks and the Macbook Air, if you look closely at the picture, you will notice that the keys have maybe 3mm space between them, this space actually reduces typing errors and it works. Your fingers have enough room to hit the key and in this way, accommodating users with large or small fingers.

The keyboard also has function keys located on the top to control spaces, volume, brightness, and many more. The keyboard also provides 2 USB ports located underneath the keyboard and which is perfect for USB dongles for mice or external hard drives, and cameras but there’s a catch. It does not support USB powered peripherals, I think that’s really weak for Apple to design the USB port but I’m just happy that im getting 2 new USB ports because my MBP only has 2 ports.

The USB receiver tucks neatly under the keyboard and you wont even notice its there, its perfect. I would certainly recommend this keyboard to anyone, its available wired or wireless, the wireless bluetooth version does not provide USB ports and that’s why I bought the wired version.

This keyboard can be picked up at your nearest Apple store for $59 and the Bluetooth version for $79. (www.apple.ca)

Pros: Great layout of keys, 2 extra USB ports, thin and durable, barely any space for dust and dirt to get into the keyboard, provides MAC-specific function keys.

Cons: Does not support USB powered devices, can’t elevate or tilt the keyboard, not Windows friendly.

MacInBlog Rating: 4.5/5

Tech Reviews: Logitech MX Revolution August 22, 2008

Posted by Neal Atienza in Tech News, Tech Reviews.
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I was on a one week quest a month ago to purchase a mouse, for work and for my MBP at home. After digging into review sites and online stores, I decided to get the MX revolution for my MBP. I just love everything about this mouse; the design is absolutely stunning, great companion to my MBP. The design allows your thumb to rest on the mouse for comfort, it supports hyper-scrolling (wheel spins when you flick so you can scroll faster), a second scroll wheel on the side of your thumb to perform application switching and no need of batteries.

The MX Revolution comes with a USB dongle, charger and a base, the mouse sits on the base and charges, a single charge lasts about 5-6 days of average use. It uses the latest laser technology so that it is accurate no matter what surface the mouse is placed on. A battery indicator is positioned on the top of the mouse to provide the user a status of the battery life. I used to have the Microsoft Presenter 6000, don’t get me wrong, that’s also a good mouse, but not as good as the Logitech one. It is an expensive mouse, obviously, but if you do your shopping right, and get this at a good price, don’t just stand there, go and get it quick.

If you are thinking about purchasing this mouse, the best place I could find it for was Canada Computers for $85. (www.canadacomputers.com)

Pros: Great Design, Hyper-Scroll wheel, great usage per charge, slides along most surfaces, great point accuracy and second scroll wheel is a great addition. Battery indicator is a great idea.

Cons: Might be too big for some hands and it doesn’t support left-handed users. Expensive. Some features may not work in MACs.

MacInBlog Rating: 4.2/5

iPhone vs iPhone 3G – The battle continues… August 19, 2008

Posted by Neal Atienza in iPhone, Tech Reviews.
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I’ve had my iPhone 3G for exactly a month and it really has it’s ups and downs. Prior to getting the new 3G version, I had the first gen iPhone running 2.0 Beta firmware, and I was excited that the iPhone was FINALLY (i repeat…. finally) arriving to Canada. At first I though that I would have to sign with Rogers but Fido offered it and I immediately signed the ‘terrifying’ 3 year contract. So after hours and hours of use and developing a new relationship with my phone, here’s the pros and cons of what I think iPhone 3G is all about.

Pros:

I love the GPS, it saved my butt in finding certain locations  or restaurants around Toronto (i’ve had to call my roommates or friends to get directions.) I got 8 more gigs into my phone since I got the 16gb 3G version. On-the-go internet is awesome, but it’s obviously not for everyone. Ringer and call volume has been greatly improved. The plastic back feels better than the first gen one and it feels comfortable in your hands (i prefer the aluminum because it matches with my MBP). Corporate email syncs and push emails is the way to go! Phew! App Store is the best upgrade to the 3G, you will be spending alot of time here and messing around with your newly downloaded apps from the store.

Cons: now to the flipside….

Battery, battery, battery…. oh yeah battery is soooo crappy. It’s somtimes hard to believe that what you are holding is made by Apple. i just get enough battery for a day if my 3G is switched on constantly. iPhone software 2.0 is absolutely buggy, various lags in menus, contact lists and also web browsing. No camera upgrade and the plastic makes the phone feel very cheap (cracks have been reported on the plastic backs in the white versions). Syncing takes longer now because of the app store sync. No dock??? that’s very weak.

All in all, the upgrade from iPhone 1.0 to iPhone 3G isn’t that significant, if you haven’t owned an iPhone, I advise you to jump on the bandwagon asap because this is one of the best mobile devices in the world. It will be interested to see how the other competitors respond to Apple’s growing baby.

CNET rates Microsoft Vista – “Worst Tech Product of 2007” December 17, 2007

Posted by Neal Atienza in Tech News, Tech Reviews.
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It is clear that Microsoft Vista….. oh let me rephrase, Microsoft Vista Basic, Microsoft Vista Premium, Microsoft Vista Business and lastly, Microsoft Vista Ultimate….. is not good… at all. Microsoft dubbed it “the next wow” but how? Problems and user issues plagued Vista in a big way, Microsoft and their big reputation did not want to address these issues, and this lead to the lack of stability of the hyped operating system. Microsoft’s big problem did not end there, knowing that Apple’s Mac OSX 10.5 (Leopard) was being prepared for launch, they did not counteract to leopard in anyway, resulting in high sales for Apple and mediocre sales and reviews of Microsoft Vista. top-10-terrible-technologies-10.jpg

I have personally used Vista and to me, it is a more graphically enhanced version of Mac OSX Tiger (10.4), but Apple’s already been there and Microsoft thinks that they can fool the consumer market by releasing their version of Tiger… oh sorry Vista.

Vista’s main problems during it’s young timeline includes, lack of compatibility of external software and drivers, the high capability of the system in terms of hardware and lastly, the unexplained reason why there are “four” different types of operating systems. Obviously there are different user requirements of operating systems, but really, as consumers do we really need these kinds of variations????

I am surely not surprised about the fact that Vista was s huge disappointment for consumers, and a waste for Microsoft and their OS development team. Microsoft has indeed realized it by already doing research and development for the new Windows 7. At least they are moving on and hopefully not follow the mistakes they have made in Vista.

There is still hope for Microsoft, but at the rate Apple is conquering the Tech Industry, who knows how the market is going to be months from now, let alone, years.