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Windows Phone Apps Mysteriously Dropped…

Playing with my new Nokia Lumia 920 this week, I noticed that there were few titles missing from the Windows Phone Marketplace.


I don’t mean missing as in “there’s no app/it’s shit!” but in the sense of they were there a few weeks ago on my Windows Phone 7.5 handset, but where are they now?

Most crucially, I wanted to restore the same app set to my new Windows Phone 8 device, but the lack of some key apps and games made this impossible.

My list at present consists of:

  • Spotify
  • Crimson Dragon
  • Sid Meier’s Pirates
  • Pulse
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Tango
  • AskZiggy
  • TuneIn Radio

These are apps that I consider usable on Windows Phone 8 as far as functionality goes. Games speak for themselves.

The biggest omission is obviously Spotify, followed by TuneIn Radio. I’m a big fan of the latter, and I’m really missing the lack of any public response from Microsoft or the app developers.

Three weeks into Windows Phone 8 going live, I don’t think that this is good enough. The SDK has been available for months – it’s not as though the developers of these titles didn’t know about it.

Megan Fox: She Talks to the Animals!

You know, virtually every red blooded male on the planet fancies Transformers actress Megan Fox – but who knew that her real dream wasn’t to act, but to become a real-life Doctor Doolittle? (Note that this is a post sponsored by Acer).

Thanks to the new Acer S7 running Windows 8, Megan “Foxy” Fox was able to achieve her amazing ambition of chatting with dolphins – with the help of a bunch of nerdy scientists, of course…



The Acer S7 series of ultrabooks is an extremely impressive line, sporting a 12.2mm slimline form, back-lit keyboard, 180° opening and Gorilla Glass-protected Full HD display and comes in two versions, the 13.3″ model or the ultra-mobile 11.6″ build. Wielding Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, 4 GB of RAM and a minimum 256 GB SSD, these are hardcore professional portable computers.

Find out more at us.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/series/aspires7.

New Windows Phone Ad Sneak Peak

Not content with lacing soap operas and other shows with their Lumia phones, Nokia’s flagship Windows Phone, the Lumia 920, plays a leading role in a new TV advertising campaign starring Holly Willoughby (This Morning, Dancing on Ice, Celebrity Juice).

Promoting the phone to busy working Mum’s and highlighting the Kids’ Corner hub is a wise move, however, and if the campaign gets the right audience – namely those watching Willoughby on a weekday morning – then this could certainly prove in Nokia and Microsoft’s favour.

For those Metro naysayers out there, a word in your shell-like. If Windows Phone can gain some good market share, Nokia should be able to survive – something that is in everyone’s best interests. Additionally, if Windows Phone can make a decent stab at the market, perhaps it might inspire Apple to try something different with their tired rows of icons…

Has Apple’s Legal Team Made a Big Mistake?

Forget Bill Gates, forget Samsung. There’s a new enemy in town for Apple: US District Judge Phyllis Hamilton.

Apple - technology giant

She’s the plain talking lawmaker overseeing the nonsensical claim over the English language currently being made by Apple as they attempt to take ownership of the phrase “app store”, thereby preventing everyone’s favourite tax-dodging tax evading Internet retailer Amazon from using it on their collection of Android games and applications.

A number of ridiculous details have arisen in this case:

  1. Hamilton previously indicated (in 2011) she was unimpressed by Apple’s arguments and denied them a preliminary injunction.
  2. Apple claims that Amazon’s promotion of its own “Appstore” is false advertising.
  3. Apple’s lawyer, David Eberhart.

Yep, Eberhart is a bit of a character. If he’s not a complete maverick employed by the Apple legal department to pull a victory from the jaws of defeat, then he’s in completely the wrong area of the legal profession in our opinion. Apparently Apple claims that Amazon had deceived customers with by using the term “Appstore”, but Eberhart isn’t making a great case.

“They [Amazon employees] admit they targeted Apple customers, because Apple set the benchmark for what consumers expected. When you combine that with our evidence consumers associate the term ‘app store’ with Apple…”

However our new hero Judge Hamilton is completely unimpressed by this.

“Everyone who uses a smartphone knows the difference between the Apple iOS system and the Android system. Where’s the confusion? There’s some suggestion [by Apple] that if Amazon is using the ‘Appstore’ term someone might think they have as many apps as Apple does. Well, why? And how, in fact, does that contribute to any deception on the part of Amazon?”

This is a woman who has successfully brought some plain talking into Apple’s relentless attack on its non-Microsoft competitors over the past few years. Indeed, it is a shame that more of the judges involved in these cases haven’t taken a similar no-nonsense attitude.

Because, dear reader – and forgive me for bringing this up – but Apple is on the verge of losing all respect among the tech blogging community (and I mean actual bloggers, not those bought-and-paid-for technology “journalists” who are littered with shiny white Cupertino hardware every year). The once mighty company is falling into hole, becoming a shadow of its former self as it wages a 1990s Microsoft-style war against companies it deems to be using its technologies.

It’s sad, and unless there is a change in policy it’s going to have a severely negative impact on Apple’s public face over the next couple of years.

And as for apps, well I was buying them from Handango back in 2004. I don’t recall them launching any lawsuits against Apple for stealing their idea of providing an easily accessible marketplace for apps to be downloaded and installed. Which brings us back to Eberhart:

“Consumers will see this kind of advertising and import their associations with Apple service. They understand what the App Store by Apple entails—hundreds of thousands of apps, and an ease of service unmatched by any others,” said Eberhart. “When a consumer sees something like this they will be deceived into thinking the Amazon store has the same types of qualities.”

So, who invented single-click purchasing?

David Braben Launches Elite Sequel Project on Kickstarter

In what is likely to be a very popular crowd sourcing project, Elite designer David Braben has announced a Kickstarter project to raise the $2 million needed to program and release an updated version of the 8 bit classic.

Speaking to the BBC, Braben confessed that “Elite is a game that I’ve wanted to come back to for a very, very long time. It’s the sort of game that I would very much like to play today.”

Hailing from 1984 and featuring the wireframe graphics you see above, Elite possessed a surprising amount of depth, offering gamers to live the life of a Han Solo-style smuggler and trader.

Time has been very kind to Elite, leaving it as one of those rarities, a classic pioneering title uttered alongside names such as Tetris and Pac-man. However, its position as an old school title means that bringing it up to date could prove tricky, especially with a raft of modern pretenders already up and running.

Eve Online brings the concept of Elite to the MMORPG generation, while another Kickstarter project, Star Citizen, shares some similarities with Elite. At the same time Minecraft creator Markus Persson is developing a space simulation 0x10c.

You can back Elite on Kickstarter by visiting www.kickstarter.com/projects/1461411552/elite-dangerous – with just under 60 days to go, you can pledge at least £1, with rewards including having your name in the game, being part of beta testing, and even dinner with the developers!
Back Elite Dangerous on Kickstarter

Play Gramophone Records on Your iPhone!

The Apple iPhone 3G in white

Okay, so it might not be an actual record, and it might not be an actual gramophone. But if you’re looking for an authentic sound for playing back some classic (or even modern) swing, then this useful piece of work (designed in SolidWorks) might just be the answer to your bleeding gums prayers.

Found via the ever awesome Instructables.com, this is one of those iPhone speaker solutions that really makes you wonder if it is worth spending £200 on a pair of clinical white headphones or splashing out on a powered speaker dock when something like this is far more interesting, stylish and green.

Colouring the Sheeple

Are you a fan of the iPhone? Do you upgrade each and every time Apple says you can? Over the years the iPhone has devolved from a stunning piece of hardware into a device that is just “good enough”.

The immense amount of quality software for the platform and the quality of the device build is undeniable – but so is the poor quality of the OS UI, which has now gone a ridiculous five years without any noticeable development.

HTC, Samsung and Nokia all fancy their latest phones as potential iPhone beaters, and Nokia’s current Lumia 920 strategy appears to mock not just the iPhone 5’s single monochromatic release but the people who lap it up time after time…

I’m Not the Tech You’re Looking For!

From time to time I receive email requests asking for assistance in resolving problems with computers and phones. They come via the Contact Christian page and sit staring at me in my inbox.

Naturally I will always reply, but sadly I have to refuse assistance.


Continue reading “I’m Not the Tech You’re Looking For!”

Are Sex Toys Gadgets?

Recent figures – combined with a focus on female sexual habits on TV – are leading a media frenzy that claims that not only should sex toys be classified as “gadgets” but that they’re set to be as common as smartphones within 8 years!

Website Lovehoney.co.uk estimates that nearly almost half of the UK population nation owns a sex toy, with global sales of vibrators and other sex toys soaring to £5.5 billion per year. At this rate, the figure will rise £40 billion by 2020!

Despite the fact that these figures suggest that your Sex and the City-mad parents are using dildos and Fleshlights (perish the thought!) it also seems to be a little misleading.

Naturally the figures above are based on averages – after all, there must be a few people out there who consider themselves to be moulded rabbit latex aficionados – so don’t worry about mum and dad getting jiggy with the lube and the Ann Summers catalogue.

After all, they’ve got mobile phones with vibrate settings…

..and as porn star Stoya once begged Apple to develop sex toys (iSex?) it would seem, combined with the phenomenon of cybersex – that this is an area that is set to converge and develop over the coming years…

Name Weapons for Krater!

The Krater RPG from Fatshark is set for release via Steam in June 2012

Here’s an unusual thing – a video game that is in the pre-release stage but isn’t quite finished!

Developers Fatshark have announced that Krater – coming to PCs via Steam in June (a Mac version is coming in July) – is missing names for some of the weapons in the game.

“We have three weapons that have one thing in common, besides being badass, and that thing is that they don’t have a name. There was some bad communications between the weapon designers and the name creators. And then Gunnar came up with naming them The Gunnernator I, II and III – that gave us all brain freeze.” says Martin Wahlund, CEO and Executive Producer, Fatshark. “Please help us out with naming these three weapons – or they might just end up being the Gunnernators!”

Check the trailer below for an idea of what is to come…

Great news for whoever is lucky enough to have their names adopted (submit your suggestions at www.kratergame.com/gamedesigner) – you’ll appear in the game credits!

“The three best names will end up in the game, which means that anyone picking up the game will be able to use the weapon you named. And better yet, you will be in the official game credits under ‘Senior Lead Weapon Name Creator Director’ – or something shorter.” Says Victor Magnuson, Game Designer, Fatshark. “Now be creative and save us all from the Gunnernator!”

Meanwhile, you can head to http://store.fatshark.se and pre-order the game to get instant access to the alpha build!