Monday, September 25, 2006

Need For Speed: Most wanted (360)

What a damn good game this was! Man oh man!This was one of the only games i was really excited about when i got my 360, and i have been playing it for the last 6 weeks! I’ve slowly been working my way up the blacklist, and finally, last night, i managed to beat ‘Razor’, the big man!

The story goes like this. You roll into Rockport. There’s a blacklist of 15 Racers. You want to be number one. Sounds easy enough, except, some punk called Razor fiddles with your motor, and you lose it in a race at the beginning. So you then have to buy a car, and improve on it to win races whilst evading police.

It’s the evading of the police chases though that is most fun for me. Point to point race’s are cool, circuits are ok, but trying to evade the cop’s whilst skimming corners, ducking down alley-way’s, and boosting down the freeway’s is where most of the fun for me comes from!

The graphics are very very good on this game, you can see reflections off car’s, you can see sparks up against walls, theres no slowdown and the cut-scenes whilst doing jumps etc are very very nice!

I will write a proper review another time, but my rating for this is: 4/5

Audio via the 360 Controllers

Xbox 360 Controller
I noticed at the weekend that the 360 controllers for the xbox have a little plug underneath which is used for plugging in the headset for use with XBL (Xbox Live). Now, this little plug has a headphone socket in the middle. Surely i’d be able to plug headphones in and play games without any disruption to others? I THINK that would be a good idea?.. but apparantly not so. The socket is just for communication! Right then!.

Still, it’s a shame. I’d love to be able to plug my headphones into my controller and play my 360 with out disturbing anyone else in the room!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

HI-Def comes to the 360

360hd360hd Hosted on Zooomr
To be honest, i’ve not been that bothered when it comes to the HD-DVD add-on for the 360. Yes, hi-def does look incredible, and yes, i will purchase myself a HD-Ready TV in time, but at the moment, im happy with my 24″ Mitsubishi Box. Now i could be miles off the mark here, but i’ve been told that standard TV looks awful on HD tv’s, and i wouldn’t be surprised. And seeing as in the UK, there isn’t a great deal of HD shows broadcast, i see it as a waste of money.

Give it a year or so, when i’m in my own place with my girlie, and the price of HD Ready flat screen’s drop to a reasonable level, and the amount of HD programs broadcast over the UK airwaves & cable goes up, then i will move into the HD era.. But until then, it’s a no-no.

But it’s still good to know that, when i do get that TV, HD movies wont be far away because the hd-dvd add-on to the 360 has finally had it’s prices announced. Unfortunatly, only to the japanese market, but the UK prices will be coming with-in a few weeks “apparantly”. Anywho, according to T3, and a little dollar to sterling calculation, the HD addon for the 360 should retail around £90. That’s a bargain if ever i saw one!

Now, of course, im assuming that HD-DVD win’s the current format war between HD-DVD & Blu Ray. A lot of people said that Blu-ray would win because of it’s increased capacity over HD-DVD (50gb over 30gb), however, HD-DVD has been first to the market with their media & players. In Addition, Microsoft have had a good year+ headstart over the PS3, and if it means that 360 owners only have to shell out £90 for the HD-DVD addon in comparison to the £400 player, then that’s going to be a boost for HD-DVD straight off.

Now originaly, i thought, that because blu-ray had the extra space on the disk, and the PS3 come bundled with a blu-ray drive, that it would win over hd-dvd, however, it seems to be changing. Obviously, the big US film studio’s have some sway in the final winner. Most are supporting both formats, however Universal announced today that they will not support blu-ray. Coupled with the high price of the PS3, and the delay in getting blu-ray (and the PS3) onto the market, these could lead to hd-dvd winning the format wars. This would be a serious kick in the teeth for Sony & their PS3, but let’s save that story for another day!

Get Well Soon Hampster

As most people would of heard by now, Top Gear’s presenter, Richard Hammond was involved in a high speed accident whilst filming a segment for the show. More details can be found here. Hopefully, Richard will make a speedy recovery! Get well soon Hammond! 

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Kingston U3 Data Traveller (1GB) - (Review)

I’ve always thought pen drive’s were quite expensive. I Remember i bought one about 2 years ago. Admittedly, it was a rubbish one, and it was bought so i can transfer saves between my PS2 & PC. It was a ‘Max Drive‘ usb pen stick, and it held a whopping 16mb! WOW! Now, i paid £20 for this, and that price is exactly why i thought pen drives were expensive!

Last year, i noticed my boss had one sitting on his desk, which he hadn’t used in a long time, so i nabbed it off him. It was a marked improvement over my 16mb unit as it held a blistering 64mb! However, it took it back off me 2 months ago.

Now at work, i’ve got a few gig’s worth of files that i have accumulated over the years, which i want to ferry back to my home PC. Rather than burn CD’s everyday, i thought i’d look at Pen Drives again to see if the price had dropped!.. I was shocked to say the least.

eBuyer was offering a Kingston U3 Datatraveller 1GB for £13 ish! 1GB for £13 was fantastic. Add on delivery & VAT, and it came to arond £18! I was amazed to say the least! So i quickly ordered one, and 4 day’s later, i had my gig pen drive in my hand, and my, oh my, it’s a dinky little thing.

There’s not much you can really say about pen drives. They plug into the USB socket, and they carry data. Mine has not had any problem’s what-so-ever. It hold’s the data, it does exactly what i wanted it to do!

The real bonus though, was the U3 compatability. Now i’ve never heard of this until i read up on it. Basically, it’s a technology which allows you to run programs from your USB pen drive. Fantastic. The Datatraveller comes bundled with 3 trial programs, but visiting allows you to download more free & trial programs aswell as buying them!

So far, my U3 is running Foxit (PDF Reader), EssentialPIM (tasks, contacts, calender etc.), Editpad Lite (notepad type program) And filezilla (an FTP Client). Now these are really handy if i need to run a program from someone else’s computer. There’s loads of other programs that you can buy, however, i like free stuff, so im not really interested!!!

My only gripe with it is that transfer is quite slow, which is a shame, but i usually tend to start teh transfer between pendrive & PC (or vice versa) and then walk away so speed doesn’t really bother me!

So yeah, that’s my U3 datatraveller, I would certainly recommend one, and for £20, you cant really go wrong can you?

New Earphones

Im after a new pair of earphones for my Creative Zen. It Shouldn’t be a hard task should it? Apparantly so. I want a decent pair of earbud headphones which sound good, punchy, clear and can go quite loud when needed! The bud’s that came with my Zen were very good. In fact, they’re probably the best I’ve ever owned. However, after a year of abuse, being pulled out of my bag on a daily basis, in a tangled mass, something was bound to go wrong. Unfortunatly, it did. One bud stopped working. 3 weeks later, the other bud stopped working too. I thought i could fix it with a bit of sellotape, but that failed miserably.

Fast forward a week or so, and whilst in the office, i found a pair of headphones on the window-sill! I found out who they belonged to, and was told that they were spare, and were only cheap ones. No matter i thought, earphones are earphones. As long as i can hear the music, they’re cool.

How wrong was I? These no-branded, 99p earphones were terrible. Really quiet, really cheap feel to them. Sound quality was just wrong. It sounded like i was listenin to music underwater.

At this point, i was getting desperate, and was missing listening to my latest downloads at work! So routing around at home, i found a small silver pouch which i had picked up at a london station many moons ago. Inside the pouch was an Skype branded earbud & microphone, obviously intended for Skype use, however, they’re perfect for me at work. I cant sit at work with earbuds in both ears, so i only use the one!

BUT, these skype bud’s are only intended for voice and what not over the internet, so they’re not that good, but they’re better than the 99p jobbies i found! So i’ve been using this skype bud for about 2 months now. They REALLY lack bass, but other than they’re ok!

Ok, so i’ve digressed, the whole point of this post was about a review I read over at T3. It’s about a set of Creative Zen Aurvana earphones. The review was positive, and the tag-line was “Noise-blocking buds that don’t cost the Earth”. ‘They sound good’ i thought. Some decent phones for a decent price. So i went on a price hunt as T3 didn’t offer one. are selling them for £89.99. Wtf?!.. “..buds that don’t cost the Earth”. True, you can’t buy the earthy for £90 (maybe a small bit though), but £90 is alot of money for some ear-phones!!.. £90 is aLOT of money for a set of headphones (you can buy a car for cheaper!). So that’s the end of that idea.

Onwards with my search for some decent bud’s… any recommendations?