ComiXology goes HD, includes Social integration

With the latest iPad hitting retail it’s no shocker that everyone is trying to update and make use of the new hardware, ComiXology is rolling out CMX HD to bring high-resolution content to the new iPad for a select group of titles. Expansion will be inevitable and the company notes they’re already working on updating their catalog to the new standards hoping that HD plays a large part in their next milestone of purchases and sharing between comic fans.

In addition to the upgraded goodness of crisp art, CMX HD will also allow readers to share comics with friends on Facebook, Twitter and Email form to spread the word, it’s a unique way to keep friends updated on your tastes especially when the holidays come around and they go into panic mode. It’s also a solid way to turn those on the fence over to comics or more specifically digital comics through ComiXology.

Here’s a full taste of the app log, enjoy and chase it down if you’re already holding on to an iPad HD. If not just continue enjoying your collection and know that your SD titles will be getting a nice boost in the future as well!

CMX-HD Comics
Now featuring High Definition capable comics for the new iPad — with twice the resolution. Look for the CMX-HD badge in the store to find these HD comics and graphic novels.

Facebook Sharing
Finally, users also have the option of sharing comments via an individual’s Facebook wall or Timeline.

iOS 5 Integrated Twitter Sharing
Comics now uses the new Twitter APIs on iOS 5 to enable social commenting on any Comic Book.

iOS Email Sharing
Users also have the option of sharing via Email.  The Email share view displays the iOS app email compose view, including an HTML formatted email.

In all cases, including Twitter, if no network is available then the user will not see any share options.  If an account is not yet set up for the chosen share method, then Comics will alert the user to setup that particular sharing account.

The “Read Now” Button
Immediately after purchasing a comic book that begins downloading, users will be presented with a “Read Now” button (replacing the former “Downloading” button).  Now users can begin reading comic books without waiting for the entire download to complete.

Miscellaneous Bug Fixes & Stability Improvements 
Additionally to the above feature enhancements we have made substantial improvements to bugs, crashes and stability in the Comics App.

HTC announces the One series at MWC 2012

Yesterday HTC unleashed the One series to the world, a next-gen phone for the company delivering a focus on user experience as they maximize their smartphone in everyday use. The series will come in 3 variants for users to pick from, each of them addressing the needs of their targeted demographics, there’s a list below but we’ll talk about the upcoming features to these ICS powered phones carrying HTC Sense 4.

Camera changes:

ImageSense is a new platform delivering improved sensors, lenses and software to their line of phones. This feels like a natural progression after using so many of their phones over the years since the Droid Eris.  The development doesn’t stop there, HTC also includes a new ImageChip to help deliver fast captures, high quality under hard conditions and quick review options for users.

ImageSense perks: Quick AF, f/2.0 lens, HDR support, Video Pic (capture stills during video), dropbox web storage

Audio changes:

As seen in 2011, HTC has increased its effort into producing higher quality sound output from their devices. Beats by Dr. Dre Audio is now standard across the line allowing for more authentic sound reproduction in any of your apps. Those on Cyanogenmod might already notice this flaw in regular audio playback when using the DSP tools to fix their frequency balances on the phone. Sync manager allows for traditional management to continue on and it also includes a Music Hub to match with favorite services and applications.

HTC One X

  • Polycarbonate unibody design
    • Lightweight with rugged strength of metal
    • (Assuming currently this means it’s laminated Polycarbonate)
  • High Gloss Piano Black finish with matte back.
  • Tegra 3 4-PLUS-1 quad core with battery saver core enabled
  • 12 Core NVIDIA GPU
  • 4.7″ 720p HD screen with Corning Gorilla Glass
  • LTE Support
    • LTE enabled Snapdragon S4 with up to 1.5GHz dual-core CPU’s

HTC One S

  • Metal Unibody design
    • 7.9mm thin
    • Ultra-matte black ceramic metal finish (microarc oxidation formed)
    • Anodized gradient finish
  • 4.3″ screen with Corning Gorilla Glass
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor with up to 1.5GHz dual-core CPU’s

HTC One V

  • Aluminum unibody design
  • Using the design from the HTC Legend
  • Focus on broad market and casual features
  • Improved camera and sound ability

The Serious Sam Collection and a retrospective by Rich Knuckles

You thought you knew hardcore when you played MW for the first time, or when you managed your way into BF3. Fact is, you never knew hardcore at all because everyone seem to have forgotten about Sam… Serious Sam. The hardcore bastard with a love for killing everything that Mental can throw at him came back at the end of 2011 with a new game and tons of action for PC gamers. With BFE and the indie series already out for sale on various digital channels there was only one more thing Croteam and Devolver Digital could do, The Serious Sam Collection is a result of that.

Check out the video to get a full taste for how epic this really is. After that, head over to Steam and get in on the goodness because it’s that damn amazing.

Skyrim HD, 2K and Normal and ENB round-up

Skyrim has an ongoing list of super mods available, users are able to modify so many aspects of the game it’s almost crazy. We’re not going that far into the exploration just yet, instead we’re focusing on the visual engine and how many tweaks are just waiting to get used out there. Before jumping into that I’ll go over the hardware used in the testing and the software we used.

Test system:

  • AMD Phenom 9750 (Stock)
  • Jetway 790GX ComboL
  • 4GB Crucial DDR2 PC6400
  • ASUS EAH6850 DirectCU (950 core / 1100 memory)
  • Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtrememusic

Software:

  • Windows 7 x64
  • 2K Texture pack for Skyrim Version 1.4
  • ENB Series mod (ENBPM 2.03 Beta)
  • Fraps (monitoring FPS and screen caps)
  • ATI Catalyst 12.2

Settings:

  • Resolution: 1920×1200
  • FXAA: On | SSAO: On (slow) | AA: Off

Skyrim is no doubt amazing to look at from a distance, the textures at their worst come off with clarity and drive home the sense of fantasy. Up close though… that’s really a different story, the textures look blocky and blurry upon closer examination (walking over them). One of the first moves from the community to restore the immersion was the 2K texture mod, a project completely revising the look of the game textures. Recently Bethesda tried their own hand at releasing a full HD kit of their own to update the PC version. The question now is, what gets it done the best and that’s what we’re looking at now.

Outdoor comparison:

 
Normal Textures – (Left: no ENB | Right: ENB on)

 
2K Texture Pack – (Left: no ENB | Right: ENB on)

 
HD Texture DLC – (Left: no ENB | Right: ENB on)

Biggest thing to take out of the outdoor shots? 2K demolishes both without hesitation, in fact it’s a huge difference walking through the world and over land masses. Sure if you fast travel everywhere it doesn’t matter as much but that’s not exactly for everyone and after a while you need to explore to find those extra hidden areas in the map. ENB manages to help polish up all 3 options as well, you can be on normal and get an entirely new sense of depth to Skyrim thanks to the ENB mods being made.

Where does the HD DLC really kick in then? It’s actually indoors that I noticed the biggest kick, with the 2K kit establishing a large lead I left the next comparisons down to the normal and DLC textures instead.

Indoor comparison:

 
Normal Textures – (Left: no ENB | Right: ENB on)

 
HD Texture DLC – (Left: no ENB | Right: ENB on)

Here we see the HD pack shine, it adds definition to the sheets for threads and revises the chest completely, floor textures like the rugs and coverings all get a revamp for higher clarity. While the outdoor scenes may not show it, tighter spaces make heavy use of the revised HD textures. The primary difference to the 2K pack is the illusion of bump mapping and depth to the textures in the 2K pack for more realistic walls and added depth to tables. This all comes at a cost as we’ll see in the performance section. Before going there, we’ll take a close up with character models and the HD pack update to clothing and overall design.

 
Normal Textures – (Left: no ENB | Right: ENB on)

 
HD Texture DLC – (Left: no ENB | Right: ENB on)

Huge shift in the shirt is the first thing I picked up, clothing gets a massive overhaul to give actual definition to the characters. Faces, hair and other items also take up a boost but that shirt… it’s like it’s from a different game. Odd enough if you’re running ENB you’re able to potentially mask some of the horror in the blurry textures thanks to the post processing effects masking it with heavier shadows and blur.

It’s amazing what can be done with just a revamp, but these do come with their own damage. Lets take a look at the Memory and FPS hit running these mods.

Memory in GB (1.46GB before starting Skyrim):

bamfas.com

FPS:

bamfas.com

Memory wise it’s almost confusing why Skyrim HD DLC takes up nearly as much memory as the 2K pack given how it performs outdoors, it seems likely the bulk of it focuses on armor, models and structural spaces more than anything. The 2K pack is the clear winner for overhaul sake but it also does require a large amount of memory and it has the biggest performance hit out of the list. When using heavier ENB mods like ENBPM you’ll drop FPS in half if not worse which is a gamble unless you have the hardware to back it up. Either way they both work to leave the stock pack of textures in the dust and it should be a clear recommendation to at least get the HD pack if you have the memory to spare. For those more adventurous there are users also combining the two for an ultra texture mod of traditional art and the 2K pack.

For those wondering if ENB always takes that much power away, no. It’s strictly on a case by case basis and many of the mods don’t induce that hard of a performance hit but finding the perfect one for your setup may require investing some time in tweaking the configuration yourself.

Thanks for tuning in with us and if you have questions feel free to ask in the comments.

Downloads: 2K Texture Pack (Skyrim Nexus) | ENB Series Presets | ENBPM 2.03 beta | ENBPM Feedback

Day 5: Android 10 Billion download 10 cent event keeps going

Day 5 continues and we get a bit of a warning, last night we got a last minute slap that EA put Need For Speed: Shift on sale at the end of the night for 10 cents as well. Anything seems to go in this wild event so keep your eyes locked on the market at night for last chance deals.

Pano is great but reviews say it requires a constant data connection for it to check the license validity, a problem when you go for scenic shots in tougher locations. Asphalt 6 was something I picked up in the Day 1 sale and don’t regret, it looks amazing but it’s a little difficult to get used to, touch steering is always a bit more difficult than axis controlled steering. The Sims 3 was a pick with no hesitation, I mean it’s The Sims and it’s portable which is just deadly in itself. Age of Zombies and Apparatus also look like great picks for the day.

The Monster is Back – Tajima breaks 10 mins at Pikes Peak

Defying the odds is never easy, Tajima has grown to become a cornerstone of Pikes Peak history. In the 2011 event he managed to not only take top spot, but to shatter the 10min barrier sought by so many. For those hoping that someone captured it all on video, you’re extremely lucky to have the embedded footage below. This isn’t your average SX4 by any means.

 

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Gunner Galaxies arrives on the iPhone and iPad…for free

In our off time we had an email drop about Gunner Galaxies coming to the iOS products for cheap, while it’s not hard to imagine 99 cent games or $1.99 games we rarely see well developed new releases debut at free and in HD form as well. Check it out on the App Store and give it a whirl, afterall it’ll only cost you a bit of bandwidth or wifi time. For those hoping to get more details, check out the mini gallery for some ideas of what madness you’re stepping into.

For those that take the leap let us know what you think of the game in the comments as only one of us has an Apple device and I don’t see any Android love right now. Maybe we can get a word from Franks when he drops in today.

Sony brings 3D to the masses

While everyone is running out to see the latest movie in crisp 3D, others are tinkering trying to figure out how to reproduce that clarity in their own space. Instead of using two cameras on a handmade switch, consumers can now pick from a series of new Cyber-shot cameras packing 3D results with a single lens.

For those eager to know how the camera does this, the camera uses a high speed capture design to take multiple shots and sew them together. The images can then be viewed in 2D or in 3D with the right hardware. For those curious to know their results before they shoot, the DSC-TX9 and WX5 both allow for 3D previews to be viewed before pushing the trigger. For those looking for intense 3D, both cameras also feature depth of field simulation and a revamped auto mode which searches for the lowest ISO noise possible.

The new models pack other features such as HD recording for video and additional modes. For the consumer looking to have extra fun with the camera the TX9 / T99 or WX5 should suit that desire perfectly. If we do catch Sony for a hands-on piece we’ll be sure to include pictures and details about how they handled.

Pricing:
TX9 – $400 (Dark Gray, Red)
T99 – $250 (Silver, Black, Pink, Green, Violet)
WX5 – $300 (Silver, Black)

For those looking for extra info, check out Sony Style
Continue reading Sony brings 3D to the masses

Zune HD is coming

You already knew that one, but I got to check it out live at the Best Buy demo nearby which was pretty cool. The units on display were showcasing the features of the unit minus that of the browser. I was able to listen to extremely clear HD radio signals with nice range across the board, not a lot of clipping as I moved around which seems to indicate the antenna is pretty strong. I think the biggest thing here is the clarity and the fact that if one doesn’t have a receiver for HD Radio they can get it on the spot via the Zune HD in their home or car.

The unit itself is sleek and slim, it takes about 2 units to equal the width of a first gen model, the construction is pretty rigid and comes in two flavors right now for the consumers, the onyx black 16GB model and the platinum silver 32 model. In person the silver model is really impressive, more-so than the onyx with the brushed look and nice contrast on the side profile of the Zune. The screen is vibrant for color and the OLED display is very bright even from sharper viewing angles. Overall during video playback everything was smooth and very well rendered, colors on the screen didn’t face patching or gradients although really much of that depends on the source material.

The unit was also plugged into a TV using the AV dock and HDMI, the playback on screen was great although thumbnails were a bit low resolution being extremely blurred in large scale, the dock seemed to work but there was an audio issue with the display system at Best Buy, so if it was a store issue or a device problem we don’t know. Chances are the HDMI audio works fine and it was just the HTiB setup they were using, they were trying to figure out how to use the standard stereo cables but I never saw any progress from there. The unit seems to deliver on all fronts, 720p playback over HDMI, high contrast brilliant color from the OLED screen and new features as well. Those familiar with the original AV system can rest assured that the functions haven’t changed and the remote handles things just the same.

Overall the unit is sexy, slim and powerful to say the least given that’s powered by NVIDIA. Hopefully we get to check out the unit, we were on the list early back in May 2009 and now Microsoft’s PR division has taken to giving us the run around about how demand is so high now for review units and we should have gotten in touch earlier (WE DID, BACK IN MAY 2009). Hopefully their team doesn’t fail horribly, it would be a shame to intentionally botch their review units to those who acted fast.

platzune

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