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November 11th, 2014
07:04 AM ET

The wonder of Interstellar

Interstellar is a good movie. It's not a great movie. But I still found it an enjoyable ride.

It's an odd thing to say, because in some ways it's my least favorite film by director Christopher Nolan. Objectively speaking, it's flawed. It feels far too long, dragging on to make sure every last loose end is tied up. Dialogue sometimes feels less like normal people talking and more like scripted monologues. And even by a movie's standards, there are more than a few dramatic flourishes that are just too implausible to suspend your disbelief over.

Despite all that, Interstellar works for me.

FULL POST

November 5th, 2014
02:17 PM ET

I think I'm too old for Call of Duty

I am 33 years old. But I think I am too old to play the latest Call of Duty game.

To be clear, this isn't to say I'm too old for video games in general. I love them! I play games all the time, whether it's Grand Theft Auto V or Pokemon X/Y.

Nor am I saying I'm too old for Call of Duty's brand of action, where the U.S. is constantly getting invaded, a double-cross is only ever minutes away, and everything explodes. That's all fine by me.

I feel too old to play Call of Duty because I don't think I have the reflexes to compete online in multiplayer anymore. FULL POST

September 11th, 2014
10:19 PM ET

Did Apple do enough?

September 9th was one of the biggest days for Apple in years. They introduced two larger iPhones, a mobile payments system, and the long-awaited Apple Watch - the first major new product created without the input of the late Steve Jobs.

But are any of them new enough?

After all, the trend for larger phones was pioneered by their arch-rival, Samsung. Mobile payment systems have been around for some time now. And while everyone expected Apple to completely redefine what a smartwatch is... the Apple Watch appears to be just a better version of what's out there; an evolution of current smartwatches instead of a revolution.

So how did Apple do? The New Yorker's Nicholas Thompson gave his take to Kristie Lu Stout.

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Filed under: Gadgets • Technology
September 11th, 2014
02:26 PM ET

The end of the iPod Classic

Thirteen years ago, Apple was a small computer maker. It's now the most valuable company in the world.

And that transformation was triggered by the iPod.

Apple has quietly discontinued the iPod Classic, the latest incarnation of the original iPod. While the line lives on in the shape of the Touch, Nano and Shuffle, they aren't as iconic as the original. When you think iPod, you think of the Classic: Shaped like a deck of cards, with a metallic back, and of course, the scrollwheel.

But the original design lives on in one tiny way: The top row of icons on the Apple Store includes the classic iPod silhouette.

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Filed under: General • Technology
September 9th, 2014
02:19 PM ET

Destiny's mingleplayer experience

Few realize that many of the first video games were multiplayer. It took time for computers to be smart enough to provide decent opponents, leading to the rise of singleplayer games.

Now Destiny is about to introduce gamers to a new type of gaming: mingleplayer. FULL POST

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Filed under: Games • General • Technology
September 3rd, 2014
10:03 PM ET

Game Faces: Rami Ismail

For a small developer that's just four years old, Vlambeer has a surprising influence on the gaming industry.

The Dutch studio is made up of just two people, but it's one of the most well-known indie developers. Co-founder Rami Ismail almost feels like an unofficial spokesman for the industry.

"We are not afraid to speak up against things we find problematic in the industry, and things we find interesting in the industry," said Ismail.

Indeed, he has been a staunch supporter of Anita Sarkeesian and her series examining women in video games - a series that has sparked a wave of abuse for Sarkeesian and those who stand with her.

He also suggested Vlambeer's high profile might be because the company always seems to find itself in the middle of the industry's latest trends. FULL POST

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Filed under: Game Faces • Games • General • Technology
September 3rd, 2014
06:57 AM ET

The rise of Xiaomi

Executives in wigs dancing and singing on stage. Hundreds of fans clad in the same orange shirt cheering them on. Fans racing on stage to win plush toys.

I wasn't sure what to expect from my first Xiaomi fan event. But I didn't expect this.

FULL POST

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Filed under: China • Technology • Titans of Tech
September 2nd, 2014
07:06 PM ET

Cloud computing demystified

The FBI has entered the hunt for the hacker who stole dozens of private celebrity photos. The nude images may have been stored in the "cloud."

It's safe to say that many don't really understand cloud computing. The new Cameron Diaz film "Sex Tape" is based around the idea that nobody gets how it works.

But it's actually fairly simple.

cloud2The cloud is really just another word for servers on the Internet. Using the cloud means you're outsourcing tasks to those servers that might otherwise be performed by your local device. The most common one is to use the cloud for storage; so, instead of storing data on your computer, data is stored on remote servers that you access via the Internet.

Think of it like putting your money in a bank. You're putting your property in a dedicated storage space. Using a bank means you don't have to keep all your money in a piggy bank at home, while using the cloud means you don't have to have every photo you've ever taken taking up valuable space on your iPad. And when you do want to see your photos, storing them on the cloud allows you to access it on any device - similar to how banks allow you to withdraw money from any ATM.

And it's a safe bet that you're already using cloud services. If you've ever used Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo! Mail or any web mail service, then you've been storing your email in the cloud.

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Filed under: Data • Technology
June 16th, 2014
03:08 PM ET

Virtual reality's new reality

There’s something a little strange that one of today’s hottest trends in technology is… virtual reality.

It’s an idea that seems past its time; sitting alongside household atomic generators and personal jetpacks as visions for the future that seem laughable today. But VR isn’t a joke anymore.

I had the chance to try on the headset that has almost single-handedly revived interest in virtual reality: the Oculus Rift.

For now, the Rift is only in the prototype stage and has some way to go before it’s ready for consumers. Still, even at this early stage the potential of the Rift is incredible.

It looks big and bulky, but once it was strapped to my head I couldn’t feel the weight of the Rift. The whole setup is slightly cumbersome; you have the headset, then you have to put on headphones and find your controller — without being able to see either, because your eyes are covered by the Rift.

My first impressions of the Rift? It’s a little unsettling. I was surprised by the low resolution of the screen, individual pixels reminding me that my eyes were millimeters away from them; I was acutely aware of the edges of the display; and basically, I could feel like I had a big plastic visor strapped to my face.

But then you move your head… and your view of the world shifts almost perfectly with your movement. Move your head to the left, and you’re looking left.

I played a 3D platforming game called Lucky’s Tale (from the creator of Words With Friends). To be brutally honest, it felt a little like a simple Mario clone: You make a cute little fox run and jump along a basic path running from left to right. Then the path turns back to the left… and you find yourself scoping out the way ahead simply by turning your head to look at it.

Video games have allowed you to move your view of the world for years through a controller. It’s not a new idea. But with the Rift, looking around a game’s world is as natural as looking around our own.

That’s when the Oculus Rift experience starts to click, and it all starts to work.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Gadgets • Games • Technology
June 12th, 2014
03:24 PM ET

Three standouts from E3 2014

E3 is one of video gaming's biggest events of the year; a three-day gathering in Los Angeles where almost all of the industry’s major players show off their newest titles.

Here are the three games that stood out most to me from E3 2014.

FULL POST

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Filed under: Games
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