10 Gadgets of 2010
By S. N. Rasul
2010 promises to bring with it cooler than ever products for our technological needs. The previous year saw the emergence of many gadgets worth drooling for and selling your own mother over, but this year promises nothing less. Let's move on with our countdown of some of the gadgets to look forward to this year:
1. 4G Phones: The real download speed of most 3G phones is not more than 384 Kbps, and sometimes a lot less. That's because it might have a 3 Mbps announced download speed, but the real one is a lot less. The 4G phones promise data transfers of 100 Mbps, and could reach up to 1 gigabit per second when static. That could mean downloading a full length DVD movie in about a minute.
2. Hydrogen Rulz!: Hydrogen powered phones might be the next big thing. French researchers will probably announce by next year that a hydrogen fuel could be used as backup power source for mobile communications, letting users have some independence from electricity supplies to charge up their phones.
3. Dual Touch Screen Laptop: We've already witnessed top-notch laptops with touch screens. But what about dual touch screens? Apparently, the Italian firm V12 Designs will launch its new version of Canova, a dual LCD laptop. This time, both will be touch screens.
4. Mitsubishi Big 3d TV: With a massive 82 inch, 3-D-ready television, TV laggard Mitsubishi is attracting fresh buzz. 3-D TVs like these will require consumers to wear special glasses. And most folks have just gotten done upgrading to a flat panel that is most likely not 3-D ready. But Mitsubishi hopes to bridge this gap with a TV set that works both with 2-D and the new 3-D programming that's rolling out.
5. The Electric Newspaper: The device, called the Skiff Reader, is from a joint venture between Sprint and New York-based Skiff LLC. It can download e-books as well as both newspaper and magazine content, using a screen from LG Displays that nearly has the resolution of ink on a page. And the unit will be wirelessly connected to Sprint's 3G fast data network to allow for real time content updates.
6. Skiff Reader: is from a joint venture between Sprint and New York-based Skiff LLC. It can download e-books as well as both newspaper and magazine content, using a screen from LG Displays that nearly has the resolution of ink on a page. And the unit will be wirelessly connected to Sprint's 3G fast data network to allow for real time content updates. Considering that most print publishers are struggling to compete with Web content, the buzz is that this unit, or something similar, will be in the top 10 newspaper markets by the end of 2010.
7. eDGe: This is a two screen device, called the eDGe, that has an eReader on one screen and a netbook computer on the other. It will feature both access to e-book content and supports most notebook computing functions, including Web access. The eDGe is a fascinating attempt to marry reading with the live Internet.
8. 3M Ten-Finger Touch Screen: Imaging and adhesive giant 3M is rolling out a 22 inch LCD display called the M2256PW. The touch enabled HD display screen will work just like any one of a number touch enabled devices, like the iPhone and HP TouchSmart PCs. But 3M's display will be able to handle ten fingers of touch manipulation. The M2256PW is aimed at higher end design and interactive applications like engineering and medicine. But considering how much data this screen can handle, and how hot touch computing will be in 2010, and with the coming Apple tablet computer, consumers will see more and more sophisticated touch devices sooner rather than later in 2010.
9. Light Touch projectable keyboard: The English company Light Blue Optics is debuting a projection system that throws an image of a fully functional keyboard on any table or flat surface. The outfit claims its new technology, which uses holographic lasers to capture typing strokes and hand movements, will be close enough to a real keyboard to type well.
10. Sonos Zone Player: The company is coming to market with what amounts to a high-quality boom box that wirelessly connects to an iPhone, iPod or just about any other portable WiFi-enabled device. Simply pull the S5 out of the box, find the unit on your iPod WiFi network's tab and there's your music in all its glory. The new box puts Sonos smack in the middle of the lucrative Bose, Cambridge SoundWorks, Tivoli desktop audio wars. And those operations are sure to respond. But consumers looking for a plug-and-play iPhone/iPod music option should consider this device.
Yes, fellow tech-freaks. Get your spits and machetes ready. They might come in handy real soon.
Truly, Bioware is the (proverbial) god.
It's amazing how they can take the age-old cliché of 'a protagonist from humble beginnings becoming a hero and saving the world', and make it into something extra-ordinarily awesome. Usually in the form of days worth of pure gaming bliss.
Dragon Age is such something of pure gaming bliss. Dragon Age is, in point of fact, the paradigm of pure unadulterated gaming bliss.
The Darkspawn, tainted creatures living in the Deep Roads, have begun to surface once again, which means there's a Blight coming. The last time that happened, the only thing that stood between them and the world were the Grey Wardens, the most elite from all races and religions. They drove the Darkspawn back into the Deeps, but not destroyed. Centuries of peace later, the Wardens are all but forgotten, but they're ever watchful. And now, there's another Blight on the horizon, and not enough Grey Wardens…
Clichéd as that may sound, it's obviously a lot more awesome than simply just that.
Dragon Age has an awesomely engaging storyline that keeps you hooked until 6.00 AM in the morning for several consecutive days. Fun as that is it's not very pleasant for the rest of the day when you've got loads to do. Bioware writers have indeed struck gold in their story writing and scripts. Though there is a pervasive grim atmosphere, the script isn't overly melodramatic, and always has JUST the right tone. You'll find yourself amused often. Pure gold, indeed- the right amount of darkness and wit and humour.
I was slightly disappointed when I found that my character was not voiced casted like all other NPCs, as Commander Shepard was in Mass Effect. That disappointment however, did not last long as I got lost in the aforementioned awesome storyline. Besides, you hardly notice these things- Neverwinter Nights, Jade Empire, Star Wars KotOR were all the same anyway.
Regarding the auditory sense, though not exactly a very overwhelming soundtrack, it's still decent enough. To be honest, I've not paid much attention to it- it becomes a sort of background blur thanks to the story/combat heavy orientation of the game. But a good background blur.
The graphics are a doozy. Really good details and textures really, and spiffy distance loading is really endearing and helps in the immersion. However, it pains to me say that the in-game animations are lacklustre though not to any point of intolerable. In fact, like the voice-actorless protagonist (and I'm sure I'm probably the only one who was bugged by this initially), you get used to it and it ceases to matter.
Combat is classic turn-based using a lot of DnD mechanisms and something of its own. Utilizing the pause key and the tactics slot of your companions is crucial to survival, and of course, victory. Dragon Age is NOT a game that you can play by rushing into every battle head on and hacking and slashing. Strategy is important, quick thinking, and adapting to different enemies and their strengths/weaknesses. Potion making and poison making can come in handy, though I've opted to not go for it. I've never found myself the crafty type. But yes, coating weapon with fire, acid or poison can be really useful.
And of course, true to an RPG, you will have to make numerous decisions that affect you, your party and the outcome of the game in the long run. Never a black and white choice, I've often found myself lingering over a single crossroad just because I wasn't certain what the right thing to do was. Chose your companions wisely, and always think twice before making decisions.
Choices, choices, choices. Whether it's in-game decisions or choosing your skill points and talents, choose wisely. Dragon Age is sure to keep you busy for several days long. According to official sources, it has over 120 hours worth of game play. But this is only if you do every single side quests, and the numerous errands that you can do for some petty cash. Otherwise, you're looking at an average time span of say 30 to 50 hours? Of pure effing awesomeness.
Needless to say, if you're a fan of RPGs, then you'll love this game. And if you're a fan of Bioware, you've already loved this game. Heck, you'll probably love it anyway.