Sunday, 7 November 2010 - tech news fast! - tech news fast!

Electricpig opinions: Why iPhone 4 needs a kill switch, Microsoft Kinect, Kinect games and the new Apple MacBook Air

Posted: 07 Nov 2010 05:00 AM PST

It’s that time of the week where we roundup some of the opinions of Electricpig staffers on tech issues and the latest gadgets and games we’ve had hands on this week. This week’s hottest opinions include thoughts on stolen iPhone 4s, Microsoft Kinect, Kinect launch titles and the new Apple MacBook Air.

iPhone 4, the missing kills switch and why thieves will always prosper

Our trusted tech writer, Mic Wright was in the unfortunate situation of having had his iPhone 4 stolen from hoodlums using cowardly distraction techniques in a London Starbucks. Using MobileMe and its Find My iPhone feature, Mic attempted to locate his iPhone 4, but once the chase became impossible he hit the red button to remote wipe his beloved handset.

Unfortunately for Mic (and other this has happened to, we’re sure) it wasn’t enough of a retribution. The phone could have been easily restored. What Mic wants is a proper iPhone 4 destruction button. One that’ll make stolen phones about as useful as a feather-light paperweight.

“Apple needs to add a feature that allows you to render the phone completely useless – virtually concreting up the guts, making it impossible to restore, impossible to upgrade, showing nothing but a static screen saying: "The person in possession of this phone is a thief,” Mic says.

“We didn't get the phone back. I lost my iPhone 4, the criminals got one and the tracking was just a sideshow in the meantime. That phone should be deader than disco. Find My iPhone didn't help me do anything other than see their escape route. Thanks a bunch Steve, I'll be in later to buy another iPhone 4. SIGH.”

Agree with Mic? Do let us know.

Microsoft Kinect reviewed. Impresses.

Ben Sillis finally got his hands on Microsoft Kinect this week. The controller-less motion tech has been eagerly awaited and mocked by fans in equal measure, but when it came to crunch time, Microsoft Kinect turned out to be highly impressive.

Kinect has a great deal of potential. One thing Ben noted was that it could revolutionise gaming, an opinion that shouldn’t  necessarily be mistaken for saying that Kinect is the sole future of gaming, but  instead it be a massive part of the future of gaming. A different thing entirely. In any case, as we’ve already seen in our EA Sports Active 2 for Kinect hands-on it does have the potential to revolutionise some genres at least. Potential being the key word there.

On some of the Kinect launch titles Ben says: “Kinectimals is utterly adorable, Kinect Sports is even funnier than Wii Sports and Dance Central is one of the games of the year, annihilating anything the Wii has to offer when it comes to busting a move in your living room.”

There are some minor glitches though, but nothing to detract from your enjoyment too much. “There is the odd glitch with Microsoft Kinect. Inevitably, it doesn't get the right hand you're using 100 times out of 100, so now and again you'll pause for a second to adjust – especially if there are two people in view of the camera. We also triggered the pause menu by accident now and again. But for pure motion control, these hiccups are negligible.”

As for Ben’s closing thoughts on Kinect, he reckons it’s well worth it. Even at £129. “For the price (£129 on its own), Microsoft Kinect still represents a phenomenal way to get the whole family involved in gaming in a manner that not even Nintendo has managed. And there's so much potential, we're aching with excitement. Sure, an Xbox 360 with Microsoft Kinect may cost almost twice as much as a Wii, but it's worth it.”

MacBook Air reviewed

And just like Microsoft Kinect, the Apple MacBook Air also splits tech fans. Electricpig editor, James Holland reviewed Apple’s latest Air refresh. He loved its lengthy battery life and its performance, despite its “underwhelming specs.” James wasn’t so keen on its migration procedure for existing Mac owners, but maintained that the MacBook Air is still worth taking on the road.

“At a pound short of £1,350 the highest spec MacBook Air isn't cheap, especially for a second computer. You'll want the highest spec possible of course, to future-proof your new purchase as much as possible. But considering the guts of the MacBook Air include a last-generation processor, it's a tough price to swallow. That said, Apple's all-flash storage, fine-tuned software and yes, that jaw-flooringly gorgeous design, soften the blow substantially.”

Not to mention the performance squeezed out of it, right James?

“The performance Apple has squeezed from the new MacBook air is truly astonishing. Yes, compromises have been made, but all things considered very few corners have been cut, and once you're past that awkward set-up procedure it's a pleasure to pack the MacBook Air in a daybag. The last hurdle for MacBook Air owners is the price: but since when has Apple made anything other than expensive kit? This time though, it really is worth it.”

Disagree with any of the opinions expressed here? Then feel free to fire of in the comments section below.

Related posts:

  1. Hackers disable Apple's iPhone app kill switch
  2. Windows Phone 7: Microsoft kill switch revealed
  3. Techie Breakie: Microsoft Kinect review, all the Kinect games tested and more

Video of the week: Kinect skills coming to the office?

Posted: 07 Nov 2010 01:00 AM PST

With our earlier review of Microsoft Kinect and seven of its launch games tested, we’ve understandably had motion control on our minds. Microsoft, it seems hasn’t had enough, purchasing Canesta. They make 3D depth perception sensors. We could see the new tech power future generations of Kinect, but for now catch a glimpse of how you may one day use it to grab and manipulate files in the office, in our Video of the Week.

There’s still no telling whether Kinect can ever replace traditional controllers in gaming. We’re not saying it will, but that reality has certainly tip-toed ever so slightly forward. Microsoft now seems intent on making gesture-based motion control a mainstay of the office by snapping up the gesture technology shown off by Canesta in the video below.

The video showing a user resizing windows, opening up pie charts and using gestures to scroll isn’t the most exciting use of motion control tech we’ve laid eyes on, but are the Minority Report style controls a glimpse of the future office? Or a tiresome looking gimmick?

Hit up the video and lets us know. Note the Apple keyboard.

Kinect future tech spotted: Microsoft buys Canesta

Related posts:

  1. Kinect future tech spotted: Microsoft buys Canesta
  2. Official: Microsoft Office coming to Nokia phones
  3. Microsoft Kinect Xbox Live skills shown off: chat and voice select!

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