Author Archives: Rob Jones

Preowned 20GB Xbox 360s for $99 at Gamestop

Gamestop Xbox 360 bundlesGamestop’s latest offer is a straight $99 for a preowned 20GB Xbox 360 bundle. The offer is a full $100 off their normal price of the console – in comparison Amazon are selling the 4GB version for $199.

The other offers Gamestop have on Xbox 360 bundles include $120 off the Fable III bundle and $130 off the Pro Game bundle which comes with Fable III and Halo Reach.

Check out the deals here, and bear in mind they are only available as long as stocks last.

Winners of our OCZ Flash drives giveaway

OCZ ATV USB 2.0 FLASH DRIVE

OCZ ATV 16 GB Flash drive

OCZ 16 GB Diesel Flash drive

OCZ 16 GB Diesel Flash drive

OCZ Rally 2 8 GB Flash drive

OCZ Rally 2 8 GB Flash drive

 

 

 

 

 
The deadline has passed for our giveaway in partnership with OCZ and we’re pleased to announce the winners are:
John Hoffman
Janice Wei
and Carol Donnermeyer.

Congratulations to all three, we will contact you shortly to sort out details and your Flash drives will be on the way to you.

Thanks for everyone who took part in the competition and keep an eye on the website in the near future for more giveaways.

Amazon offering $150 off Intel and PNY Nvidia Quadro bundles

Amazon offering $150 off Intel and PNY Nvidia Quadro bundlesAmazon are currently running a series of offers with up to $150 off a selected range of Intel 15/17 processors bundled with PNY Nvidia Quadro graphics cards. They have 3 offers in all, a $30, $50 and $150 off deal when you buy the processor and card together.

The $150 offer covers the Intel i5-2300 2.8Ghz, 15-2500 3.3 Ghz, I5 2500K 3.3 Ghz and I7-2600 3.4 Ghz processors when bundled with the PNY Nvidia quadro VCQ  5000 card.

Full details on all the bundles can be found here if you’re making a new PC and looking to make a saving. The offer ends on June 5th and is eligible for Amazon’s Super Saver Shipping, that is, free shipping to addresses in the U.S.

New game releases for the coming week May 30 – June 6

Hunted: The Demon's ForgeThis week sees the release of the Generations expac for The Sims 3 on Tuesday. It will be the fourth expansion for The Sims 3 since its release in 2009.

Also of note is Hunted: The Demon’s Forge, a dark fantasy third-person actioner published by Bethesda. It is hitting PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 also on Tuesday (May 31)

PC
The Sims 3: Generations – May 31
Hunted: The Demon’s Forge – May 31
Rockin’ Dead – May 31
Hank Haney World Golf 2011 – May 31
Dawn of Fantasy – Jun 3
Call of Duty: Black Ops – Escalation – June 2
Curse of Slate Rock Manor – June 1
Chronicles of Merlin – May 31
Prius Online – June 2
Bioshock 2: Minerva’s Den – May 31
Koya Rift - May 31
Soon Serenade – May 30

Xbox 360
Hunted: The Demon’s Forge – May 31

PS3
Hunted: The Demon’s Forge – May 31

Wii
Maximum Racing: Sprint Cars – May 31
Maximum Racing: Super Truck Racer – May 31
Wicked Monster Blast – May 31
Get Up Games: Family Sports – May 31
Fast – Racing League – May 30

Nintendo DS/3DS
(3DS) BlazBlue Continuum Shift II – May 31
Duke Nukem: Critical Mass – June 3
House M.D. – Episode 1: Globetrotting – May 30
Valet Parking 1989 – May 30
B Team – Episode 1: Dust & Steel – May 30

PSP
BlazBlue Continuum Shift II – May 31
Ducati Challenge – May 31

New game releases for the coming week May 23 – May 30

Dirt 3This week sees the global release of the latest instalment in Codemaster’s rally car series, Dirt 3. It’s out on Tuesday for the PC, Xbox 360 and PS3.

Also of interest this week is a new Dungeons & Dragons game, Daggerdale. The action RPG  hits PC and Xbox 360 also on the 24th.

PC
Dungeons & Dragons Daggerdale – May 24
Kaptain Brawe – May 24
Faxion Online – May 26
Aion 2.5: Empyrean Calling – May 25
King Arthur Collection – May 24
LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean – May 24
Dirt 3 – May 24

Xbox 360
Dirt 3 – May 24
Kung Fu Panda 2 Kinect – May 24

PS3
Dirt 3 – May 24
Top Gun Hybrid (Game & Movie) – May 24
Kung Fu Panda 2 – May 24
Days of Thunder (Game & Movie) – May 24

Wii
NASCAR The Game 2011 – May 24
Kung Fu Panda 2 – May 24
Crazy Machines – May 25

Nintendo DS/3DS
(3DS) Dead or Alive Dimensions – May 24
Emily The Strange – Strangerous – May 24
Kung Fu Panda 2 – May 24
Duke Nukem: Critical Mass – May 26
Paws and Claws Pampered Pets 2 – May 24
Paws & Claws: Pampered Pets 2 – May 24
Cake Mania: Main Street – May 24
Murder in Venice – May 24
99Bullets – May 24

PSP

Gabe Newell: charge players based on how fun they are to play with

ValveGabe Newell recently did a long and interesting interview with Develop magazine, in which the Valve boss discussed the working culture inside the company and how they only hire the best people for the job among a lot of other things.

The most interesting thing Newell discussed was a ‘bug’ in the payment model used by the games industry – all players pay the same rate, whether they’re good or bad for the community they’re playing in.

Newell floated the idea of charging gamers based on how fun they are to play with:

Some people, when they join a server, a ton of people will run with them. Other people, when they join a server, will cause others to leave. We should have a way of capturing that. We should have a way of rewarding the people who are good for our community.
So, in practice, a really likable person in our community should get Dota 2 for free, because of past behaviour in Team Fortress 2. Now, a real jerk that annoys everyone, they can still play, but a game is full price and they have to pay an extra hundred dollars if they want voice.

The whole interview is worth a read, covering a lot of topics like Facebook and social gaming, the Source engine and a lot about the culture inside Valve.

Gabe Newell on Valve via Escapist

New game releases for the coming week May 16 – May 23

L.A. NoireThis week sees Rockstar return with their single player detective thriller set in 1947 Los Angeles. L.A. Noire hits X360 and PS3 on Tuesday.

Also of note this week is The Witcher 2 for PC, new DLC for Fallout New Vegas, and Fable III’s arrival on PC.

PC
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings – May 17
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings – Collector’s Edition – May 17
Fable III – May 17
The First Templar – May 17
Crysis 2: Retaliation – May 17
Fallout: New Vegas – Honest Hearts – May 17
Terraria – May 16
Final Fantasy XI: Ultimate Collection Abyssea Edition – May 16
Detour – May 16

Xbox 360
L.A. Noire – May 17
SEGA Rally Online Arcade – May 18
Crysis 2: Retaliation – May 17
The First Templar – May 17
Fallout: New Vegas – Honest Hearts – May 17
Pinball FX 2: Marvel Pinball – Fantastic Four – May 17
Shift 2: Unleashed – Speedhunters – May 17

PS3
L.A. Noire – May 17
Marvel Pinball: Fantastic Four – May 17
Fallout: New Vegas – Honest Hearts – May 17

Wii
ExerBeat – May 17
Chrono Trigger – May 16

Nintendo DS/3DS
Cake Mania 4 – May 17
Spongebob Squigglepants – May 17
Chess Attack! – May 18

PSP

We have 3 OCZ Flash drives to give away

OCZ ATV USB 2.0 FLASH DRIVE

OCZ ATV 16 GB Flash drive

OCZ 16 GB Diesel Flash drive

OCZ 16 GB Diesel Flash drive

OCZ Rally 2 8 GB Flash drive

OCZ Rally 2 8 GB Flash drive

 

 

 

 

 

OCZ have very graciously supplied us with the swag for our newest giveaway (we haven’t done any in quite a while but have a few in the pipeline for the coming months).

We have 3 OCZ Flash drives to give away, with capacities ranging from 8-16 GB.

To enter, follow the rules below and fill in the form at the end of this post. The contest closes on June the 3rd when we will contact the winners.

Rules:

  1. This contest is only open to readers in the USA, Canada and Europe.
  2. To be eligible to win, you need to either follow or like the Facebook or Twitter pages of OCZ and Igniq.com:
    Visit the Facebook pages of Igniq.com and OCZ and click the Like buttons at the top right
    or
    Visit the Twitter accounts of Igniq.com and OCZ and click the Follow buttons at the top left
  3. Once that’s done, fill in your name, email and the link to your Facebook or Twitter pages in the form below.

We will close the competition on June the 3rd 2011 and announce the winners on the site. Make sure to include the link to your Facebook or Twitter so we can verify the winners.

[contact-form 4 "OCZ giveaway"]

Civilization for Facebook featured on CNN

 Civilization World
CNN.com recently posted a new feature article with Sid Meier where the gaming legend gives his thoughts on gaming and more specifically the new world of social gaming through Facebook. The bulk of the article deals with the upcoming Civilization World, which is set to launch sometime in the summer.

Meier gives some insight into the changes he and his team had to make to the franchise to make it an easier fit for the social medium. Like a lot of the browser games already on Facebook, Civ World will have a focus on playing with friends:

“What was really intriguing to us was being able to emphasize cooperative game play, which was something that really hadn’t been a major part of ‘Civilization’ up to now,” he said. “A lot of our design in ‘Civ World’ was taking advantage and using these opportunities for players to work together — teamwork, communication, planning. Those are all the things that become really important to ‘Civ World.’”

Originally called Civilization Network when it was announced last year, Civ World doesn’t have a definite release date as of yet, however the alpha test for the game has been open since January. To take part in the alpha test you need to sign up with a group of friends as a team (this is for a better experience of the cooperative gameplay). The teams must have between 5 and 50 players to be accepted. Full details and how to sign up can be found here.

You can also follow updates and developments on Civ World at the official Facebook profile here.

More links:
Civ World “Fundamentally Changes Series”
Sid Meier’s Civilization Migrates To Facebook This Summer, Starts Going By Civ World
Civilization for Facebook coming next year (Nov 12 2010)

Related:
Civilization 5 Roundup
Civilization V Official Strategy Guide
Civilization III Complete
Civilization IV: The Complete Edition


Get 40% off Dead Space 1 and 2 for the weekend

Dead Space 40% offEA are running a weekend special on their online store for Dead Space and Dead Space 2. A straight 40% off can be had when buying the digital download version over the weekend, but only if you’re in the US or Canada.

The offer expires on the 8th of May and is only available for the digital version of the games. Check it out here.
All of EA’s current offers can also be viewed here.

Gamestop early May offers and codes

Portal 2Gamestop have rolled out a few offers for early May, including two codes and a straight $20 off the recently released Portal 2.

  • 15% off in-stock Xbox 360 or PS3 games totaling $79.99 – Use code: 15SAVE Expires May 15
  • $20 off Portal 2. Expires May 15
  • Pre-order Gears of War 3 and receive access to the beta
  • Free value shipping on orders of $24.99 or more. Use code: VSHIP.
  • iCADE, an authentic arcade-style cabinet for your ipad, complete with joystick and buttons

Related:
Portal 2 gets bug-zapping fix for PC
Portal 2 for $29.99
Portal 2 DLC coming this Summer; free of charge
Portal 2 scores big with critics, ordinary gamers not happy with short gamehours and DLC
The Trinity: Portal 2, PS3 & Steam
Portal 2 (for all platforms) on Amazon


New game releases for the coming week May 2 – May 9

Great Battles: MedievalOf interest to history buffs this week will be the release of The History Channel’s Great Battles Medieval on Tuesday. The game is set during the Hundred Years War between France and England in the 14th – 15th centuries, the era of the Black Plague and Joan of Arc.

A new episode in the Back To The Future game is also set for release on the 3rd.

PC
History Great Battles Medieval – May 3
Section 8: Prejudice – May 4
Assassin’s Creed: Ultimate Collection – May 3
Brothers in Arms: Complete Collection – May 3
Dead Meets Lead – May 3
Avadon: The Black Fortress - May 2
Fate: The Cursed King – May 2
New Boyz: The WORLD – May 2

Xbox 360
Thor: God of Thunder – May 3
History Great Battles Medieval – May 3
Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury – May 4
Moon Diver – May 4
Call of Duty: Black Ops – Escalation – May 3

PS3
Motorstorm Apocalypse – May 3
Thor: God of Thunder – May 3
Back to the Future – Episode 3: Citizen Brown – May 3
Under Siege – May 3
MotorStorm: Apocalypse – May 3

Wii
Thor: God of Thunder – May 3
Crazy Machines – May 2

Nintendo DS/3DS
Challenge Me Word Puzzles – May 3
The Mysterious Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde – May 3
Word Up-Brainstorm Series – May 3
Thor: God of Thunder – May 3
Anonymous Notes Chapter 2 – From the Abyss – May 2

PSP
Me Monstar: Hear Me Roar! – May 5

Gamestop offering Gears of War 3 beta keys on preorders

Thrashball Cole and Gold-Plated Retro Lancer

The beta test for Gears of War 3 went live on Monday and anyone who preorders the game at Gamestop can gain access and start playing. If you avail of the offer you can also snag a Beta Tester Medal for your gamer profile when the game officially launches. All you have to do is complete one match in the beta to unlock the medal, which will carry over to your profile in GoW 3.

There are also two extra unlockables available during the beta that you’ll be able to carry over to your profile:

Thrashball Cole: Unlock Thrashball Cole to play as Augustus Cole as he was before Emergence Day – a legendary Thrashball athlete known for his ferocious, flamboyant style. Complete 10 matches as Thrashball Cole during the beta to keep this unlockable for your GoW 3 profile.

Gold-Plated Retro Lancer: Before the chainsaw bayonet was deployed at the beginning of the Locust-Human war, the original Lancer assault rifle had a large fixed blade. Score 100 kills with the Gold-Plated Retro Lancer during the beta to keep this unlockable for your GoW 3 profile.

Full details on the beta can be found here.

Gears of War 3 is set for release on the 20th of September this year.

Playstation Network shut down to prevent piracy bonanza?

An interesting rumour has appeared on reddit.com that the ongoing shutdown of the Playstation Network is down to the release of a piece of custom firmware called Rebug which, with some hacking, essentially turned a normal retail PS3 into a dev console.

Apparently this gave access to Sony’s private developer PSN network. Once there, the authenticity of info provided like credit card numbers was not checked and a huge potential for piracy existed.

Well, it also turns out that some people over at NGU found out that you could provide fake CC# info and the authenticity of the information was never checked as you were on Sony’s private developer PSN network (essentially a network that Sony trusted).

What happened next was extreme piracy of PSN content. Sony realizing the issue here shut down the network. Now, before you go freaking out about the latest information posted about Kotaku, no ones personal information was accessible via this hack. Not to say they couldn’t get it, but no one is admitting to it being available. Anyway, that’s the real reason for the PSN downtime.

The reddit poster, Chesh420, is a moderator from PSX-Scene.com and he points out that his theory is speculation since Sony haven’t given an official reason for the downtime, but he has given a timeline as the reasoning behind the theory:

To those of you saying that this is speculation, you are correct. But, it is speculation based on a lot of facts and the outcome seems to make the most sense.
1. Rebug was released on 3/31/11.
2. First guides of how to use the dev network to get back on COD games on 4/3/11. 3. Word of “shady” sites finding a way to pirate PSN content via the dev networks on 4/7/11 (basing this on posts I had to delete on the website).
4. PSN goes down on 4/20/11

Sony shut down the Playstation Network almost a week ago and as of yet, it still hasn’t come back online again. The latest update on the official Playstation blog is from yesterday (25 April), with no details of why exactly the service has gone down or when it’s expected to be operating again.

In an earlier post the company said they would have to completely rebuild their infrastructure after what they called an external intrusion on their system.

Related links:
PlayStation outage caused by hacking attack
Torrent Freak: Playstation Network Shut Down To End Piracy Free-For-All
Did Custom ‘Rebug’ Firmware Kill Sony’s PlayStation Network?‎
Free-download PS3 firmware behind PSN downtime?‎
The Official Playstation Blog

New game releases for the coming week April 25 – May 2

DarksporeThis week sees the release of Darkspore on the 26th – the sci fi RPG is from Maxis and is partially based on Will Wright’s Spore. Also of interest this week is Jurassic Park: The Game, an episode-based take on Spielberg’s early 90′s blockbuster.

PC
Darkspore – Limited Edition – April 26
IL-2 Sturmovik: Cliffs of Dover – April 26
Jurassic Park: The Game – April 30
Ether Saga Odyssey – April 27
Stray Souls: Dollhouse Story – Bonus Edition – April 26
Twisted Lands: Shadow Town – Bonus Edition – April 26
Chronicles of Mystery: Secret of the Lost Kingdom – April 26
The Egyptian Trilogy – April 26
Deadly Secrets: Art Of Murder – April 26
Cargo: The Quest for Gravity – April 26
King of Kings 3: Dragon God Resurrection – April 30
School 26 – April 30
Hector: Badge of Carnage – Episode 1: We Negotiate With Terrorists – April 27
Operation Flashpoint: Red River – April 26
Haunted – April 26
Sail Simulator 5 Deluxe Edition – April 26
Tom Clancy’s End War With World in Conflict – April 26

Xbox 360
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Resurrection – April 30
Nin2-Jump - April 27
Kinect Sports: Calorie Challenge – April 26
Man vs. Wild – April 26

PS3
ZEN Pinball: Sorcerer’s Lair – April 26
Outland – April 26
Man vs. Wild – April 26
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Resurrection – April 30

Wii
Remington Super Slam Hunting: Alaska – April 26
Ultimate Battle of the Sexes – April 30
Aladdin Magic Racer – April 30
Man vs. Wild – April 26

Nintendo DS/3DS
Airport Mania: First Flight – April 25

PSP

Portal 2 scores big with critics, ordinary gamers not happy with short gamehours and DLC

Portal 2The gaming community has only had one day to digest the long awaited Portal 2 but already the game has scored a very impressive 95% on review aggregator Metacritic. The 95% score is based on professional reviews, however the user rating for the game based on opinions from ordinary Joe Bloggs gamer comes in at a slightly less stellar 73%.

MCV has a rather scathing opinion piece here, saying the bad user reviews are down to gripes with release day DLC, the Potato Sack promo before the game launched and most importantly the 4-6 hours it takes to complete the single player campaign. The writer essentially tells gamers to stop griping and appreciate the game as an all time great as he sees it.

There are so many things in this world that the public should rightly be up in arms about. Yet things like child poverty, racial prejudice, genocide and political corruption go unnoticed by most. Yet some of these same people will happily sit at their PC posting erroneous review scores for a game because the developer behind has had the bear-faced nerve to include an optional DLC store.

The mind boggles.

Here’s an example of a user review from Metacritic:

You can dismiss this as “trolling” or whatever you want (because somebody couldn’t POSSIBLY not like the game) but it was a huge let down for me. Feels like an incomplete game, only 4-6 hours of game play and it’s game play that is basically copy and pasted from Portal 1. Huge amount of day 1 DLC was kind of a slap in the face too.
User: Times11 Rating 3/10

A quick glance through the negative reviews does seem to focus a lot on the DLC and the game hours. I think people are entitled to gripe about this if they want to however. They are after all the user base and if they feel aggrieved then that’s their right, it’s an aspect of the game on launch day.

I haven’t picked up the game yet myself, I will probably wait a few weeks to see if the price goes down. What about you, have you played and what’s your verdict?

Related:
Portal 2 available now on Steam
The Trinity: Portal 2, PS3 & Steam
Portal 2 (for all platforms) on Amazon

New game releases for the coming week April 18 – April 25

Portal 2Among this week’s new releases is Valve’s major release of Portal 2 on the 19th. The cross platform puzzler comes 4 years after the release of the original game and Valve are running a major Portal-inspired promo on the official Steam site called The Potato Sack (details here).

Also of note is the reboot of the Mortal Kombat series for current consoles, dropping for the Xbox 360 and PS3 on Tuesday.

PC
Portal 2 – April 19
Hidden Mysteries: Notre Dame – April 19
Chronicles Of Mystery: The Legend of the Sacred Treasure – April 19
Seek & Find Adventures 2 – April 24
Cargo: The Quest for Gravity – April 21
Assassin’s Creed: Ultimate Collection – April 19
Brothers in Arms: Complete Collection – April 19
Blazing Angels Bundle – April 19
Majesty 2 Collection – April 19
Tom Clancy’s End War With World in Conflict – April 19
Elements Of War – April 19

Xbox 360
Portal 2 – April 19
Mortal Kombat – April 19
Mortal Kombat: Kollector’s Edition – April 19
3 pack – LIMBO, Trials HD, Splosion Man – April 19
Section 8: Prejudice – April 20
Pinball FX 2: MARS – April 20
Triple Pack: Xbox Live Arcade Compilation – April 19

PS3
Portal 2 – April 19
Mortal Kombat – April 19
Mortal Kombat: Kollector’s Edition – April 19
SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy Seals – April 19
SOCOM 4 U.S. Navy SEALs Full Deployment Edition – April 19
Prince of Persia Trilogy HD – April 19

Wii
Conduit 2 – April 19
Remington Super Slam Hunting: Alaska – April 19
My Little Baby – April 18

Nintendo DS/3DS
Gem Quest: 4 Elements – April 19
GO Series: Captain Sub – April 18
DodoGo! Robo – April 18

PSP
Final Fantasy IV The Complete Collection – April 19
Mad Blocker Alpha: Revenge of the Fluzzles – April 19

I post the week’s upcoming releases every Monday and you can always find the latest post under the tag new releases.

30 handy apps, all free and weighing under 2MB

PC Decrapifier
Here’s a handy list of super lightweight apps to mess around with over the weekend. Maximum PC have compiled a list of 30 tiny apps for a variety of different purposes, all weighing in at under 2 MB in size and all free to use.

A few I’ve heard of and used in the past – like the Gmail Notifier, Irfanview, uTorrent and CPU Z – but the vast majority are new to me.

One in particular caught my eye – Everything by Void Tools, an ultra-light indexed search for Windows 7 which Maximum PC claim is lightning fast. Another worth checking out purely for the awesomeness of its name is the PC Decrapifier, which is aimed at anyone who has bought a laptop (or any desktop really) only to find their new PC filled with unnecessary bloatware from the manufacturers.

Browse the full list of apps here.

EA Sports titles on 50% discount for the weekend

EA Sports Weekend SpecialEA are having a sale on their online store this weekend for a few EA Sports titles.The store itself is a bit confusing in that they don’t have anything to point you towards the discounts, but according to their newsletter the following titles will be slashed by up to 50%:

NHL 09
FIFA Manager 09
FIFA Soccer 09
FIFA Soccer 10
FIFA Manager 10,
FIFA Soccer 11,
FIFA Manager 11,
FIFA Manager 11 Team Control,
FIFA Manager 11 Live Season,
FIFA Manager 11 Premium Account,
FIFA Manager 11 Fan Pack,
FIFA Manager 11 Special Edition
NFL Head Coach

The offer applies to the digital download version of the games only and is valid from today (15th of April) to Sunday the 17th. Unfortunately the offer only applies to the U.S. and Canada.

EA’s offers page can be found here.

WoW player grinds to 85 without killing any mobs

WoW: CataclysmHere’s a curious story of a player who grinded for 6 months in World of Warcraft, painstakingly levelling their character to 85 without killing a single mob or turning in a quest. The method they used to get the XP: explored the world map to get every last point of discovery XP as well as mining, herbing and archaeology when they reached the required level for it. :

Being on the ground and sneaking around mining and herbing and eventually archaeology, going everywhere to get every single point of discovery xp that you can, really gives you a chance to see an amazing world up close and personal. I spent hours swimming around reefs and flying to the farthest reaches of the maps.

Level 85 with 0 kills and 0 quest XP via PC Gamer

Related:
Blizzard intro’s Crabby, the spiritual heir to Microsoft’s Mr Clippy
Blizzard invite players to get creative in video contest
Blizzard founders get misty-eyed, thank fans for support
Blizzard unload 4.7 million copies of WoW Cataclysm in first month
Cataclysm claims fastest selling PC game of all time title

Kindle with “Special Offers” aka ads, to launch on May 3

Kindle with Special Offers screensaver

An example of a screensaver ad on the new Kindle

Amazon have announced a new version of the Kindle reading device is set to launch (in the U.S. only) on May 3. The ad-supported Kindle will be $25 cheaper than the regular price but will include ads in the device’s screensaver and in a banner on the bottom of the menu page. Users won’t have to put up with any ads while they’re actually reading a book on the device.

The company are also setting up a yet-to-be-unveiled service called AdMash, which allows Kindle users to pick the most attractive sponsored screensavers for the marketplace. Users will also be able to set a preference for the type of sponsored screensavers that appear on their devices:

For example, you can indicate that you’d like to see more or fewer screensavers that include elements such as landscapes and scenery, architecture, travel images, photography, and illustrations. Together, AdMash voting and Kindle Screensaver Preferences help us select the most attractive and engaging sponsored screensavers to display on your Kindle.

As tasteful as Amazon makes these ads, they will still be ads – would you choose to save $25 on the purchase price to put up with ads for the lifetime of your Kindle?

More info from around the web:
Kindle includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers
Amazon Prices Your Attention at $25
AdMash: a possible nod to Mark Zuckerberg’s infamous Facemash
The Secret History of Ads in Books

New game releases for the coming week April 11 – April 18

Michael Jackson The ExperienceThis week sees the launch of the Kinect and Playstation Move-enabled Michael Jackson The Experience on consoles on the 12th. Also of note is the third instalment of the Patapon deity-themed series on the PSP. That will also hit shelves on the 12th.

PC
Black Mirror: Reflections from the Darkness Collection – April 12
Black Mirror 3: Final Fear – April 12
Vampire Mansion – A Linda Hyde Mystery – April 12
Chronicles of Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet – Collector’s Edition – April 12
Elements Of War – April 12
Armada 2526: Supernova – April 15
Time of Fury – April 15
Tom Clancy’s End War With World in Conflict – April 13
World of Tanks – April 12
Blazing Angels Bundle – April 13

Xbox 360
Michael Jackson The Experience – April 12
Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga with Soundtrack CD – April 12
Fantastic Pets – April 12
Rio – April 12
DanceDanceRevolution Bundle – April 12

PS3
Michael Jackson The Experience – April 12
Rio – April 12

Wii
Spongebob Squigglepants – uDraw – April 12
Rio – April 12

Nintendo DS/3DS
LEGO Battles Ninjago – April 12
Squinkies with Gift – April 12
Rio – April 12
TrackMania Turbo: Build to Race – April 12
Escape Trick: The Secret of Rock City Prison – April 11

PSP
Patapon 3 – April 12

Bumper Microsoft patch coming next Tuesday

Windows logoNext week’s Patch Tuesday for April is set to be a big one, with MS planning to roll out no less than 17 security bulletins to fix 64 different vulnerabilities. Nine of the bulletins are listed as critical and seven will require a mandatory restart.

According to Ars Technica, the patch is a tie with December 2010 for the most bulletins issued and exceeds that month for total vulnerabilities fixed.

As well as the typical patches for Windows, Internet Explorer, and Office, a couple of the bulletins include more unusual patches. Specifically, the Office Web Apps and Visual Studio are both receiving fixes this month. Not included in the list of patched software is Internet Explorer 9; this latest browser version is apparently immune to the flaws affecting versions 6, 7, and 8 that will be patched next week.

There’s a full list of the bulletins here and Microsoft’s advance notification of the patch can be found here.

Related:
Windows 7: The Definitive Guide (O’Reilly book)
3.6% of Windows 7 users have adopted IE9
European Commission seeks widespread adoption of Windows 7
Windows 7 price-drop on Amazon
Firefox 4 smashes IE9′s first-day downloads
Millions download latest version of Firefox – Why?

Microsoft aims to break Guinness World Record with Kinect

Kinect SportsMicrosoft is aiming to break (or create?) the Guinness World Record for 100m online sprint this Easter with the Xbox Live userbase and Kinect Sports. Players are invited to attend the free Xbox Live weekend that is planned for the 23rd of April,  where Gold access to Xbox Live will be free with various other events happening as well.

The online sprint is set for 6pm on 23rd of April, and as an added enticement, Microsoft say everyone who participates will be able to snag an Xbox and Guinness World Record Avatar T-shirt.

For more details and updates follow Xbox on Facebook here.

Related:
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Man plays Kinect game without moving
Kinect to Boost X360 for another 5 Years?
Kinect hacked to play World of Warcraft

 

Google’s incoming Plus 1 button

Google Plus One Icon

Google's Plus 1, coming soon to a search result near you

A little over a week ago news emerged from the Googleplex that they would be rolling out ‘the most significant social feature to its search service yet‘ in the form of a clickable Plus 1 button alongside the search results, search ads and eventually on other sites on the Web.

According to reports the service has only rolled out to 2% of Google’s U.S. userbase so far and I haven’t been able to check it out myself yet, but you’d be forgiven for noticing the similarities between the new button and the almost insidious spread of Facebook Like buttons across the Web.

My first reaction when I heard about Google jumping on this particular bandwagon was, what happened to Google as an innovator – the inventor of truly groundbreaking services like Gmail and Google Autocomplete? Another thought that occurred to me is I don’t use Google as a social tool at all, in fact I don’t even know how to add friends or contacts to my Google account apart from with my Gmail friends list. Another thought was, when I use Google, my aim is to get off the search engine as soon as possible and to my destination – I’m not interested in staying on the Google pages longer than finding the page I need and clicking out.

Maybe I’m wrong but it seems to me Google is heading towards another social media catastrophe like Google Wave, which was no good to neither man nor beast, or one that was largely ignored like Google Buzz. Like I said, I haven’t tried Plus 1 yet so I can’t really give a proper assessment but from an outside point of view it seems like just a defensive move against Facebook, overlooking Google’s own strengths (ie they aren’t social media).

Some reaction to Google Plus 1 from around the Web:
With +1, Google Search Goes Truly Social — As Do Google Ads
Google +1: Not Really Social, All About Business
Can Google’s Plus One Take On The Facebook Like?
+1′s: About the +1 button – Official Google Help page

Related:
Google Hacks (O’Reilly book)
Google plugs Flash Player vulnerability in Chrome
Google warns of IE security flaw

Watch the 2011 US Masters Online and in 3D with Nvidia

US Masters 2011Nvidia have just posted up the URL and details on how to catch the US Masters 2011 golfing tournament on their official blog. Alas the event is streamed through their 3D Vision pack and there’s no direct stream for those of us without a 3D enabled PC or TV.

For us ordinary mortals, streams of selected holes can be found on the official Masters website here.

Nvidia are streaming the whole event for those who have 3D Vision though, the details on what you need are here and the schedule is below:

All times are Eastern Daylight Time. Check your time zone to ensure you don’t miss it.
Thursday, April 7 2011: 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. EST
Friday, April 8 2011: 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. EST
Saturday, April 9 2011: 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. EST
Sunday, April 10 2011: 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. EST

Related:
nVidia GeForce Wireless 3D Stereo Glasses Kit with Emitter
Nvidia prepping new GTX 560
Nvidia shakes up GeForce drivers with auto-update and more
AMD wages war against Nvidia’s midriff
EVGA announce GTX 590 ‘Hydro Copper Edition’
AMD taunts Nvidia, challenging their ‘fastest card’ declaration

PSP price to drop 24% in Europe from today

Sony Next Generation Portable (PSP 2)

The PSP 2, codenamed Next Generation Portable is due for release at the end of the year

Sony have announced in a statement on their website the recommended retail price of the Playstation Portable in Europe will drop by almost a quarter from today. The gadget was priced previously at €169.99, with the pricing dropping down to €129.99. Sony are also touting the low price on games for the PSP, which now start at €9.99.

Read Sony’s full statement here. According to Bloomberg, the drop is aimed at increasing adoption of the handheld in Europe.

The price cut comes in the foreshadow of the upcoming PSP 2, code named the Next Generation Portable. That device is due for release in the last quarter of this year.

Link via Spong

Related:
Next Generation Portable on Amazon