We are right around the corner from the release of Rock Band 2, so we figured we would bring you this extensive preview of the game, starring the makers of the game themselves, Harmonix. We bring you a 15-minute primer, focusing on all the new hotness in the next iteration of Rock Band, including the tracks, features, and instruments. We also go in to a little of the history behind the Rock band franchise and the reason it came about (other than seeing that Guitar Hero was a raging success, we mean.) We end it with a demo of the game, with a couple of people teaming up to form bands on the fly. If you are into Rock band, this is definitely one to watch.
Apple has finally unleashed the iPhone 2.1 firmware to the masses as of an hour or so ago. If you’ve been running iPhone 2.0 since July, then you’ve probably been waiting desperately for this firmware release, which is supposed to clear up a ton of bugs and other annoyances about the app-centric iPhone OS. Here’s a list of the changes and improvements:
- Decrease in call set-up failures and dropped calls
- Significantly better battery life for most users
- Dramatically reduced time to backup to iTunes
- Improved email reliability, notably fetching email from POP and Exchange accounts
- Faster installation of 3rd party applications
- Fixed bugs causing hangs and crashes for users with lots of third party applications
- Improved performance in text messaging
- Faster loading and searching of contacts
- Improved accuracy of the 3G signal strength display
- Repeat alert up to two additional times for incoming text messages
- Option to wipe data after ten failed passcode attempts
- Genius playlist creation
So, there’s a lot of stuff there. Of course, most are concerned primarily with the big fixes. Here’s hoping that iPhone 2.1 is the solid OS that the 2.0 release should have been. You can get the update by connecting your iPhone to your computer, firing up iTunes 8 (it’s required), and hitting “Check for Update.” Good luck!
Read More | iPhone 2.1 details
If you are tired of hearing us talk about all the Apple news of the day, maybe you’d prefer listening to Steve Jobs himself deliver the news. If that is the case, you’ll be happy to know that the Let’s Rock keynote is now available online for your viewing pleasure. You can stream is now from the Apple Special Event page. If downloading is more your thing, we are sure it will be hitting iTunes 8 shortly.
Read More | Let's Rock event video
The worst-kept secret of today’s Apple Let’s Rock iPod event was the newly updated iPod nano. Apple officially let the cat out of the bag today, sharing all the details. The new iPod nano is taller, and also turns out to be the thinnest iPod ever made. It’s available in a record nine colors, and you get two models to choose from - an 8GB version for $149, and a 16GB version for $199. The battery will hook you up with 24 hours of music or 4 hours of video. The nano now has an included accelerometer, which allows it to sense if you are holding it in portrait or landscape mode, so it can then change the screen orientation accordingly. That same accelerometer also gives rise to a new “Shake to Shuffle” feature. It’s exactly what it sounds like. If you don’t like what you are listening to, shake the nano, and you get a new random track. You can order the new iPod nano now at the online Apple Store, or pick one up at a physical location as they arrive over the next few days.
Read More | iPod nano
During this morning’s Apple event, Steve Jobs let us in on a few of the details of the upcoming iPhone 2.1 software update. In giving the details, Steve also admitted to the faults that have been pointed out consistently since the iPhone 2.0 software launched. What can we look forward to when 2.1 is released this Friday for the iPhone? How does fewer dropped calls, major improvements in battery life, faster backups, and no crashing apps sound? Yeah, we thought so. Now to wait for Friday to see if the promises prove to be true. Fingers crossed!
EDIT: iPhone 2.1 has been released!
Apple is improving the iPod touch with a thinner stainless steel case, hardware volume controls, a built-in speaker, and a Nike+ receiver (you’ll need to puchase a Nike+ kit to take advantage of that one.) Battery life is now at 36 hours for music, which translates to around six hours for video. The new Genius feature will be included, alongside the App Store. They’ve also redone the casing, which is now a thinner stainless steel, and we’ve even got actual hardware volume control buttons. The new iPod touch is available now - 8GB for $229, 16GB for $299, and 32GB for $399. You can pick on up from the Apple Store Online now.
Read More | iPod touch
We knew it was just a matter of time before our friends at TiVo finally released something a little more, robust, to take the place of the discontinued TiVo Series3 DVR. While the TiVo HD is a nice unit, it just wasn’t the premium product that the Series3 was. The TiVo HD XL is all about taking that premium spot, and it certainly looks like a worthy replacement. The unit ships with a 1 terabyte hard drive, which means it can record up to 150 hours of HD programming, HDMI cable, along with a premium Series3 backlit TiVo remote. The TiVo HD XL features dual tuners, which lets you record two programs at the same time, and is even THX certified (something that the TiVo HD can’t brag about.) The one jarring piece here is the price, as the TiVo HD XL is selling for $599.99. If it’s worth it to you, you can order one right now at the TiVo website, or you can wait a few days and check your local retailer. We have the full press release for you after the break.
Well, what do you know? Looks like that Apple event that Kevin Rose speculated about a couple of weeks ago is finally official. This morning, Apple sent out notification of their next event, titled “Let’s Rock”, is set for September 9th. Now, looking at the graphic, we think it is pretty clear that this one is going to be focused on iPods. Apple is notorious for refreshing their portable media player line in September (heck, last September was when the iPod touch was announced) for the whole back-to-school and holiday vibe.
While we expect to see new models across the board, word on the street is that the iPod nano and iPod touch will be the ones to pay attention to this time around. That is, unless, you are like me and have tons of media that you want with you at all times. If that is you, then you are with me in hoping we see something akin to a 250GB iPod classic. Aside from that, though, some surprises would be nice. I know I’ve been asking for it for years now, and this probably isn’t the appropriate place to announce it, but I sure as heck would just love it if Apple would also give us a new Cinema Display. Could happen, right? Yeah, I didn’t think so either.
Comcast has decided to change its users agreement so that as of Oct. 1, users will only be allowed 250GB per month. This means you can still download about 4 standard def movies per day.
“We know from experience the vast majority of customers we ask to curb usage do so voluntarily,” the company said. While they already reserve the right to eliminate those who use too much, now subscribers will be contacted by the company, as if we don’t already get enough nasty phone calls and letters.
Read More | USA Today
Kris Krug is here at Gnomedex to talk to us about taking better pictures. He goes into tips:
- Light in the Eyes: You want to try and get light in the eyes.
- Evaluate the Light: Sun? Shade? Incandesent? Halogen? Look around and find highlights, spotlights, and shadows, and then put your subject in good light. Look for reflection and light in the eyes, and if possible, use lamps.
- To shoot in low light: Turn your ISO UP, Increase your aperture (make number lower), decrease your shutter speed, focus manually if autofocus fails you, tinker with manual settings/metering, brace on things (tripod, wall, gear bag)
- Reflections are Yummy: Look for puddles, glass, metal, shiny floors that may have reflections in them, and then take an image of that reflection.
- Focus on a theme: Black and white, portraits, funny faces, laptop stickers, over-exposed. This will give you a goal.
- Learn Your Camera: Isolate the variables like depth of field, shutter speed, aperture, ISO, etc. ALso, Tinker, tweek, shoot a bunch of photos, share them, get feedback, and feel free to change up your style. Share your gear by finding someone you can test out lenses, flashes, etc. with. Last, but certainly not least, set the white balance.
- Take a look at your background: No trees sprouting out of peoples heads, less busy puts more focus on the subject.
- Fill the frame: Hold your hand out, and if your subject isn’t bigger than your hand, you are too far away.
- Get High! Swing Low: People look better from above, so stand on things, lay down, get the angle, and change your perspective. This is why people are always taking MySpace photos by holding their phone above themselves.
- Tips for being a good subject: Laugh, smile, have fun. Make eye contact with the camera. Stand in the light.
- Camera buying advice: Lenses are more important than the body. You should spend 2/3 of your camera budget on your lens. Don’t fall for megapixels. Look for manual controls. Cameras from Canon, Nikon, and Fuji are great.