Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks


Angry Birds Star Wars 2 visits Naboo

Posted by Alan at 10:12 AM on December 5, 2013

angry birds star wars 2Angry Birds Star Wars 2 is the latest member of the family of popular games produced by Rovio. The game maker has been on a roll recently with updates to several of its titles, including the original game and also Seasons. Now the Finnish company has launched a new batch of levels for the newest game.

This time Rovio is adding 44 new levels, 20 for the Bird Side and 20 for the Pork Side, plus two secret levels for each. These levels add Naboo to the game. “Get ready for the Battle of Naboo – the third chapter of Angry Birds Star Wars II that takes you to the epic conclusion of the first Star Wars movie, Episode I”, the game maker announces.

Customer will be able to use Naboo’s giant trees and nature against the Pork Side high-tech army before facing the epic battleship blockade in space. Or, conversely, choose the Pork Side and conquer Theed City by using underwater gameplay.

The new update is available for both Android and iOS, but if you prefer, you can also purchase PC-based version that Rovio sells for only $4.95.

Angry Birds Seasons gets in the holiday spirit

Posted by Alan at 12:07 PM on November 29, 2013

With Thanksgiving having now past, we reach the heart of the holiday season, with cold weather and frantic shoppers. There are a number of ways to get into the spirit of the season, including the music you listen to and themes for your desktop and web browser. But, you can also look to mobile gaming as an option.

For the second time in less than a week, Rovio has pushed an update to its popular Angry Birds series of games. While the last one was for the original version, this new update is for Seasons, which generally gets new sections that are based on the current time of year. This update is no exception — “This all-new Angry Birds Seasons episode brings 25 festive, frosty and fun-filled levels, plus another 4 bonus levels”, to Finnish company claims.

angry birds seasons

The new levels bring a change of pace, in that you can now fling the birds down into the water, in an attempt to have them rise back up and attack the pigs in a new way.

Rovio electrifies Angry Birds with new levels

Posted by Alan at 8:06 AM on November 26, 2013

Fans of the Rovio series of games can rejoice today, as the Finnish game maker is rolling out an update to its flagship mobile product. While it’s probably no longer the most popular Angry Birds, the original has become a classic in the minds of many gamers.

“Today Angry Birds received an electrifying new update with 30 fun-filled levels set in Professor Pig’s lab”, the company states. It then proceeds to describe that customers will find the new levels contain a bonus — the Bomb Bird has now become electrified. “His temper has grown after he accidentally stumbles upon powerful potions and electricity in the Professor’s lab”, as Rovio describes it.

Not to let a marketing opportunity fail to pass them by, the studio is also pushing a new tee-shirt emblazoned with the logo “shockwave”. It has also release a short trailer video to get you familiar with this latest update. You can watch the video below, but beating the levels is something we can’t help you with.

Twitch Cracks Down on Non-Gaming Content

Posted by JenThorpe at 7:01 PM on November 25, 2013

TwitchTwitch is a great place to check out if you want to watch people play video games. For example, I’ve been watching people stream as they play the beta of Diablo III: Reaper of Souls. Its awesome to get a glimpse of what will be in the upcoming expansion.

Sadly, though, it seems that some of the people who use Twitch to stream themselves playing video games are abusing the service. Recently, Twitch streamer Darckobra was banned after he chose to do some “not safe for work” (and completely inappropriate) things while streaming. I’ll leave you to visit the Gamer Revolution article for further details about exactly what happened.

The guy, and his wife, were playing a PS4 game called The Playroom. The game uses the PlayStation Camera and requires a DualShock 4 wireless controller. The camera shows your living room on the screen, and adds playful little robots that you can interact with. In other words, it is an augmented reality “game” that is designed to show off what the PS4 can do.

Twitch sent out the following tweets to show that they will be cracking down on “non-gaming” content:

It is possible to stream The Playroom through Twitch.tv (or Ustream) through the Live From PlayStation feature. Parents should be aware that watching a stream of The Playroom may or may not be appropriate for children to view. That’s rather sad, since it looks to me like The Playroom is something that is primarily entertaining to children.

Dig out your wallet — white Xbox One on Ebay

Posted by Alan at 6:20 AM on November 12, 2013

In ten days Microsoft will launch the next generation game console, the Xbox One. The $500 device is designed to take over the living room, bringing just as many entertainment options as it does games. If you have pre-ordered one, or plan to grab one later, then you can expect it to come in black.

However, if you have some spare money sitting around, and wish to support a good cause, then you can grab an ultra-rare white build of the console.

Xbox Live chief Larry Hryb, AKA Major Nelson, has one up for auction and the money goes to benefit Wounded Warrior Project. ”The winning bid will not only receive the extremely limited edition white Xbox One (console, Kinect and controller) but will also receive one year of Xbox Live, and a copy of each of our first party launch titles including Forza Motorsport 5, Ryse: Son of Rome, Dead Rising 3, Killer Instinct and Crimson Dragon”.

As of this writing, the bid stands at $11,300, but at least the shipping is free. Of course, the money also goes to a good cause, so that is the real benefit in spending the the rather hefty fee.

white xbox one

Asphalt 8 for Android goes free

Posted by Alan at 7:12 AM on November 6, 2013

asphalt 8

There is no shortage of good games available on the Android platform, from sports to shooters to racing. You can even relive your youth through classic arcade games from Atari and Activision. And, if you like fast cars with exotic names like Lamborghini, Ferrari and Bugati, then there are games for you as well.

Now Android customers who happen to fall into that category get a special treat. Asphalt 8: Airborne has gone free for the Google mobile operating system.

If you aren’t familiar, it’s an arcade-style racing game with lots of high-performance cars, exotic locations and scattered platforms and ramps around the tracks that allow you to fly your car and do stunts with it. You get none of the realism of games like Real Racing 3, but instead you do get perhaps a bit more adrenaline.

The developer describes it as “The best Android arcade racing game series reaches a new turning point! Perform dynamic, high-speed aerial stunts in an intense driving experience powered by a brand-new physics engine”.

All of this may mean that Asphalt 9 is on the horizon, but that’s fine. You won’t be paying for a game that may become outdated — free is free.

 

How To Lose Weight

Posted by Andrew at 6:07 AM on October 23, 2013

You might be forgiven in thinking that we’ve moved from a tech blog into a lifestyle magazine but I wanted to share a little of my life from the past 18 months. In late spring last year, I visited my doctor and she pointed out that in the 20 years since I joined her practice, I’d put on over 20 kg in weight – about 44 lb – and that my blood pressure was up. All classic signs of a heart attack waiting to happen. I had to lose some weight, get the pounds off and lower that blood pressure or an early exit beckoned. Obviously I’m still here but did I shed the pounds and how did I do it.

First of all, let’s get over the fact that there’s no diet in existence that will make you magically lose weight; you have to work at it. However, the recipe for weight loss is very straightforward – there are only three ingredients really.

  • Eat less
  • Eat better
  • Exercise more

While the recipe for weight loss is easy, I’ll admit that following it isn’t. The good news is that you can have three square meals a day; the bad news is that it means no junk – no crisps (chips), sweets or late night peanut butter sandwiches. There’s no need to starve: just take smaller portions and if you are full, stop eating.

Wii Fit Balance BoardAs a geek, I also employed a bit of tech to help achieve my goal – a Nintendo Wii with Balance Board, a Fitbit Zip and food apps / web sites.

Most people will be familiar with the Nintendo Wii though sadly its discontinuation has been announced in the past few day. The Balance Board is bundled with WiiFit and WiiFit Plus, and while the associated programs are fun enough, I used the Balance Board as electronic scales to record my weight. Each morning, shortly after getting up, I’d weigh myself on the Balance Board. If my weight was down, I gave myself a mental high five. If my weight was up, it was a mental “you need to do better”. The Wii records your weight day by day and will show a graph of your progress.

Fitbit ZipThe second piece of gadgetry is the Fitbit Zip. It’s an advanced digital pedometer that will upload its data to your PC and onwards to Fitbit’s portal. I received this for Christmas and Fitbit tries to gamify the activity of walking further by competing against friends and awarding badges. While I don’t need any stinkin’ badges, I was quite chuffed to be awarded my 1000 mile badge last month. The Zip doesn’t make you fitter by itself, but it does make you aware of walking and now I often choose to walk where previously I might have taken the car. Every little bit helps.

Finally to help eat better, I used a range of foodie websites and apps to find new, interesting and low calorie recipes. I find the BBC’s offerings both on their main site and on the Good Food site are excellent. Many of the supermarkets, such as Tesco, have good recipes too. Look for sections on healthy eating. App-wise, there’s a Good Food app on Android too. It helps if the app and website cater to metric as well as imperial units and do the conversions properly as directly converting from oz to g doesn’t work terribly well.

A word of advice. When browsing the supermarket shelves, “low fat” is not a particular benefit when the product is laden with sugar to make up the taste so approach with caution any food which loudly makes those claims. Ultimately, I found that weight and calories were the best guides so read the nutritional information on the back of food.

Did I succeed in losing weight with help from this tech? Absolutely – I’ve managed to lose nearly 18 kg (40 lb) and 4″ in waistline. There’s still a few pounds to lose but I do feel tremendously better for it. It has been hard work even with the tech – it requires willpower to say “no” to food, and food is so very much part of Western culture. But you can do it as I did. Remember; eat less, eat better, exercise more. Take encouragement from your success and determination from your setbacks.

Rovio gets ready for tricks and treats

Posted by Alan at 5:32 AM on October 22, 2013

angry birds friends halloween

Halloween is right around the corner and, as in previous years, Rovio is celebrating via its popular mobile games. In the past this has consisted of an update to Angry Birds Seasons, but this time around the developers are taking a different approach.

The Finnish company is rolling out two updates, this time adding zombie pigs to both the Bad Piggies game, as well as Angry Birds Friends, the weekly tournament game.

“This is the Halloween when Zombie Pigs will walk the Piggy Island! A new update for Bad Piggies, called Tusk ‘til Dawn, kicked off the Halloween celebrations by introducing 30 spooky new levels with scary Zombie Pigs searching for King Pig’s candy”, the company has announced.

In addition, beginning October 23 there will be a special Halloween tournament live on Angry Birds Friends. “Don’t worry! You’ll have new custom slingshots to fight the hordes of the oinking dead. You can purchase a new slingshot with a special power that will apply to all birds shot with it. You can change the slingshots for each bird, and once purchased you can use them permanently in both web and mobile versions of the game”.

Both updates are now available in the Google Play store and the Apple store.

Angry Birds goes Kart Racing on December 11

Posted by Alan at 7:10 AM on October 15, 2013

Rovio continues to find new ways to market its industry leading mobile game franchise, Angry Birds. This time, instead of teaming with another major franchise, as it did for Star Wars, the Finnish company is heading to the race track.

Today Rovio unveiled Angry Birds Go, a new racing game set to hit app stores on December 11. “It’s a complete first for the Angry Birds series, featuring high-octane downhill racing, upgradable karts, tons of characters with unique special powers and a fully rendered 3D world”, the company announced today.

The game will be free to play, and Rovio has partnered with Hasbro to integrate TELEPODS into the racing game. For now, a gameplay trailer has been released to tease you with what can be expected this holiday season.

Battle.net Adds New SMS Protect Service

Posted by JenThorpe at 3:19 PM on October 3, 2013

Battlenet logoGamers who play any of the games by Blizzard Entertainment may want to check this out. Battle.net has introduced a new way to protect your account from hackers. The new service is called SMS Protect. If you currently have your account protected by an authenticator, it is possible that you received an email from Battle.net about this.

It will send a text message to your cell phone every time suspicious activity is detected on your account. You will also get a text if your account is flagged for suspicious login activity, if your password has been changed, or if account security features are added or removed.

In other words, if something nefarious appears to be happing to your account, you won’t have to wait until you get home, and try to log in, to find out about it. You can get a text message about it, while you are away from your computer. All you need is a standard cell phone with a data plan. You also need to be in one of the countries that is currently supported by SMS Protect.

The sooner you know something has gone wrong, the sooner you can try to fix it. If you want to get texts, you have to log into your Battle.net account and enable the texts. (The “default” mode has the texts turned off).

Those of you who play World of Warcraft, Diablo III, or Starcraft hopefully are already using an authenticator to protect your account. The key-fob authenticators are still useful, and so are the mobile authenticators for iPhone, Android and Blackberry. Those will still function as intended. You are not required to change over to the SMS Protect service if you do not want to. SMS Protect is simply one more tool to use to protect your characters and loot from hackers.