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Month: February 2016

PC game releases for March 2016

March 2016 brings some hotly anticipated titles to PC gamers. Here are the highlights of the month.

Far Cry Primal

March 1

The latest in the Far Cry series takes you way back to the very beginning of civilisation. While the game hit consoles in Feb itself. PC gamers had to wait a little longer to get their hands on it. Reviews have been good and this looks like another great entry in the Far Cry series

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Tom Clancy’s The Division

March 8

This is Ubisoft’s second big title to hit the market. This massive RPG has been a long time in the making. While the beta impressions seem mixed it’s still remains interesting and something PC gamers can look forward to.

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Hitman

March 11

We covered the beta verion of the game recently and as we concluded it might be a welcome return to form the Hitman series. The first episode of this AAA episodic game releases in March

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Nylas N1 can now fully replace Mailbox

We’ve covered Nylas N1 the open source client before but today’s update brings a ton of features that will appeal to fans Mailbox that is officially being shutdown today. Snooze, Swipe Actions are the highlights of this release. Unfortunately the swipe actions only work with touch screens and we how there us some form of mouse support in the future.

Download the latest release from here

While the default look of N1 differs from Mailbox users can create themes for N1 and Taiga is one such theme that is inspired by Mailbox. You can get that theme from here.

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Official Update Notes

Features:

  • Snooze: Schedules threads to return to your inbox in a few hours, a few days, or whenever you choose.1_fccanQ6gRA1Hk5j8IJ-Zsw.gif
  • Swipe Actions: In the thread list, swipe to archive, trash or snooze your mail. Swiping works with the Mac trackpad and with Windows / Linux touchscreen devices.
  • Send Later: Choose “Send later” in the composer and pick when a draft should be sent. These scheduled drafts are sent via the sync engine, so you don’t need to be online.1-0imzT6J1MFbdDOIad74wXQ.gif
  • Read Receipts and Link Tracking: Get notified when recipients view your message and click links with new read receipts and link tracking built in to the composer.1-SYPSOaCrtkEo64jIzRicug.gif
  • Emoji Picker: Type a : in the composer followed by the name of an emoji to insert it into your draft.1-dcsmnvaHBBxjlg6fXZNSIg.gif

 

Design:

  • This release includes slimmer toolbars and new icons in the composer.
  • Font sizes throughout the app have been made slightly smaller to match platform conventions. Like it the old way? Use the zoom feature in Workspace preferences!
  • The N1 icon is now more of a “sea foam” green, which helps it stand out among standard system icons, and features a square design on Windows.
  • Tons and tons of additional polish.

Hitman Beta Impressions

We recently got access to the Hitman PC Beta and played through it. For Hitman fans who have been eagerly awiting the next installment in the Hitman series, here are our first impressions. We aren’t sure if this is the way the game will start in the full version but you begin with Agent 47 and his handler Diana making their way into some kind of training facility.

The very first mission takes place on a small cruise ship. This particular mission is almost completely guided with the game being very explicit about how you must go about executing your target. More than anything it is structured to give both fans and new comers alike a chance to get familiar with all of the game systems that make up a Hitman game.

Once you are done with this level you are dropped right back into the very same level. This time however you are completely free to choose your path to your objective. This level seemed a little on the smaller side but did offer a reasonable number of paths to complete your objective. I did die a few times before I finally eliminated my target and escaped.

The 2nd mission takes place in a different location. It’s something like a military base that is protecting your target. It was a slightly larger level than the first one and I was hoping to find more freedom in the way I approached my target. Unlike the previous level you are completely free to try your own approach to the assassination. One of the things I did encounter as soon as I began the mission was an ongoing conversation between two NPCs. The game at this time prompts you to hear the conversation so that you can learn some new information that might help with your objective. You get a new suggestion and directional marker at the end of the conversation. You are completely free to ignore the suggestion and try something different which is where I stumbled upon another conversation between a different set of NPCs. This time I got a different suggestion. I chose to ignore this one and try the first approach which had a rather funny payoff.

While the conversation is an interesting element of the game play there are misgivings of how they are going to be integrated into the natural flow of the game. As of now they seem to trigger at the exact moment when I reached designated spots.

For fans who weren’t too happy with Absolution because they felt it was a more on rails experience compared to the previous games we think the new game might return to it’s roots in terms off giving players greater flexibility in how they approach the assassinations. The new Hitman has definitely piqued my interest both with the game itself as well as the episodic release format. Look out for the full first episode when it hits in March.

HP Elite X3 the Windows Phone that has everything

 

While MWC is an exciting event for the entire mobile industry for Windows Phone fans it’s never been the most exciting of times until now. HP a company that has been absent from the smartphone market for a while annouced a stunning new Windows Phone called the HP Elite X3. For the external build of the phone to it’s top of the line internals it’s a phone that makes no compromises. Let’s take a look at what makes this one of the most exciting new phones to come to Windows in a long time.gallery_first1_tcm245_2174658_tcm245_2172765_tcm245-2174658

The CPU and RAM

  • The HP Elite X3 is powered by the latest top of the line Qualcomm processor the Snapdragon 820. This is the same processot that is powering the latest Android flagships too.
  • It’s amazing to think that until a couple of years back 4 GB RAM was sufficient for most PCs. Now we have 4Gb in a smartphone. Whether it actually needs that much RAM is debatable but nobody’s complaining.

Looks

  • The Elite X3 looks like a premium device with a nice metal finish at the bottom.
  • It’s has a large 6 inch display which should make it perfect for productivity

Internal Storage and Exapadability

  • While many flagships give you 32 GB of storage as a minimum HP has decided to go with 64 GB as the default.
  • This combined with the option to add external storage cards should give users plenty of storage space.

Continuum Support

  • Like Microsoft’s flasgships the Elite X3 was designed to have full support for Continuum. To this end HP have created their own dock similar to the one by Microsoft.
  • In addition they also plan to release something called a Mobile Extender. Basically it’s a 12.5 inch display with an attached keyboard. It dosen’t have it’s own CPU so it is powered via the main phone itself.

Display and Camera

  • The large 6 inch display has a QHD resolution of 1440 x 2560.
  • The Elite has a 16 MP back camera. We can’t really say if it can compete with the Lumia Pureview tech but it should still do plenty well.
  • The Front facing camera is a 8 MP one so it should very well for video calls

Battery

  • Powering such high end internals is a massive 4150 mah battery. HP did an impressive job of fitting all of this into a nice package.

Everything else

  • Dual sim support
  • Bang & Olufsen speakers
  • Its IP67 certified – dust and water resistant
    • Water resistant up to 1 meter and 30 minutes
  • Iris scanner and fingerprint sensing
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 4
  • Type-C reversible connector
  • QI and PMA wireless charging

Virtual Apps

This is a unique feature that HP will be offering. While we aren’t very sure how this would actually work. The gist of it is that corporates would be able to access and run their apps virtually through a platform called Hp Workspace. While consumers may never be able to use this it’s an interesting feature nonetheless

Overall

As you can see the HP Elite X3 is a phone that leaves nothing out. It’s the kind of phone Windows fans are already going gaga over. One thing to keep in mind though is that HP is pushing this phone towards corporates so don’t expect to be seeing any consumer advertising for the product. While some might feel that this might hurt it’s sales the truth is that Windows Phones in the consumer space have never really taken off. So HP is probably doing the smart thing by not wasting advertising dollars there at all. That said HP has said that the phone will be available to buy for regular consumers too it might be worth the wait for fans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tweet It! for Windows

One thing the Windows Store does not lack in is awesome Twitter clients. Tweet It! by developer My Amazing Big Fork is one of the most polished Twitter clients on the store and another amazing choice for Windows users.

UI

Tweet It! features a clean minimal UI and it’s choice of colors spacing and fonts exudes a very calm focused feel. You can add upto 5 columns depending on the width of your screen for ultimate Twitter power usage.

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You also have a choice of 3 different color themes dark, grey and white. You can also change the text size to suit your preference.

Media from various sources can be viewed inline and tapping on an image shows it in a beautiful full screen view. The way the image transitions from the timeline to the full view and back is a very pleasant touch.

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The latest version also supports full screen mode with the toggle of a button.

Features

Besides the regular Twitter features Tweet It! supports a wealth of other features that we have listed here.

  • Tweet Marker support – This helps you synchronise reading positions between apps on different platforms
  • Filtered tweets – The ability to hide tweets with certain keywords from your timeline
  • Multi Language Support – UI Language options as well as translation
  • Abitility to switch off notifications for each account on a device
  • Built-in web browser

Mobile Version

The Mobile version supports all the features of the Windows version. The only thing that will feel different is that because columns don’t make sense in the portrit view you are forced to tap the hamburger menu to switch between different sections like mentions, likes etc. It would have been very helpful to simply have been able to swipe across the header to switch between different sections

Performance

That said the app does have some performance problems. When the app starts afresh it does take a while to load your timeline and in the version we tested tweet conversations took way too long to load. The app is actively maintained and updated and hopefully performance will improve with time.

Overall

Performance issues aside we highly recommend Tweet It! for windows. It’s stable functional, polished and a delight to use. Get it from the link below

Tweet It! for Windows
Tweet It! for Windows
Developer: My Amazing Big Fork
Price: $4.49

 

Lumia 650 announced

Microsoft has just announced the Lumia 650 a budget $200 phone with specs that you would probably expect from a phone at that price. A few things to note are that it does supports glance, and comes with a wide angle 5MP front-facing camera. While it only comes with 16 GB of inbuilt storage space it can be expanded via external storage cards. It will be available in select European markets starting Feb. 18 onwards.

 

The design of the phone seems a lot nicer than the flagships with a choice of black or white matte finishes with an aluminium frame. The rest of the phone specs are listed below.

2016-02-15 15_45_28-Microsoft Lumia 650 Specifications - Microsoft - GlobalDisplay: 5 inch OLED supporting glance with a resolution of 1280 x 720

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 212, Quad core, 1300 MHz

Memory: 16 GB expandable upto 200 GB via MicroSD

RAM: 1 GB

Camera: 8 MP Main, 5 MP wide angle front-facing

Battery: 2000 mAh

 

Quantum Break gets a simultaneous Windows 10 Release

Remedy the Finnish studio behind  the Xbox One exclusive game Quantum Break have just announced that a Windows 10 version will also be released alongside the Xbox version on April 5th. This is great news for Windows 10 fans. All Xbox One pre-orders will come a free download code for the Windows 10 version.

Remedy has also released the official system requirements for the PC version.

Quantum Break PC Requirements

Minimum Requirements Recommended Specs
OS Windows 10 (64-bit) Windows 10 (64-bit)
DirectX DirectX 12 DirectX 12
CPU Intel Core i5-4460, 2.70GHz or AMD FX-6300 Intel Core i7 4790, 4GHz or AMD equivalent
GPU NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 or AMD Radeon R7 260x NVIDIA GeForce 980 Ti or AMD Radeon R9 Fury X
VRAM 2 GB 6 GB
RAM 8 GB 16 GB
HDD 55 GB available space 55 GB available space

 

The VAIO Phone Biz

Given how limited the choice of Windows 10 Mobile hardware is these days any announcement of new hardware is met with some enthusiasm. As the state of Windows 10 Mobile hardware currently stands the Lumia 950 and the 950XL are the only 2 phones that can be accorded some kind of flagship status. As far as flagship phones do go they do leave a lot to be desired especially in the looks department. That’s the reason there has been some interest in the recently announced VAIO Phone Biz. It’s a mid-range 5.5 phone with a sleek, silver, metallic body. The metallic finish alone is something a lot of Windows fans were hoping from the Microsoft flagships.

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The specs of the phone are listed below

color Silver
OS Windows 10 Mobile
processor Qualcomm® Snapdragon ™ 617 Okutakoa
1.5 GHz (quad-core) + 1.2 GHz (quad-core)
Memory * 1 Internal (ROM) 16 GB
Internal (RAM) 3 GB
External memory maximum support capacity 64 GB (microSD)
Liquid crystal display device Resolution name Full HD
Screen size 5.5 inch
resolution 1080 x 1920

As you can see these are pretty standard specs for a phone in 2016. For a Windows Phone in 2016 though it’s one of the better looking ones. The only sore points for us was the lack of physical navigation buttons something that is increasingly rare among phone manufacturers these days. So while this is not a surprise in itself, considering how much space is taken up by the that ridiculously large bottom bezel on the phone we can’t help but think how well physical keys would have fit there. It’s a shame though that the phone will probably never make it out of Japan.

Marxico – Markdown Editor that integrates with Evernote

While the OS X has a wealth of beautiful Markdown editors the choices on Windows are fewer. Though many of them are functional, aesthetically they leave a lot to be desired. While Marxico is not technically a native windows app they do offer a windows download that you can install and access via start menu shortcut. It’s a packaged chrome app but it runs very well and offers a wealth of features.

Markdown Features

Setting aside the Evernote side of it let’s look at Marxico as just a Markdown editor first.

UI

This is beautiful minimal app with a split view for live rendering of the markdown.

On the editor side you have several color themes to choose from. On the rendering side you can write custom css so everything is output exactly as you desire. This lends a great degree of customisation to the app.

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Markdown Syntax Support

While Marxico supports all the standard Markdown syntax you might expect from any editor it also supports Latex, Flowcharts and sequence diagrams.

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Evernote Integration

The other neat thing about Marxico is it’s integration with Evernote for syncing your notes. Enter your account and your syncing is good to go. Mind you syncing is not 2 way so changing something on Evernote will not reflect back to Marxico. If you don’t want to sync with Evernote all of your notes will be saved in your local storage.

Image Handling

If you are familiar with Markdown you know how images are handled. To see a preview of the images the image needs to be on a web server and the url of the image needs to be inserted. This works as intended in Marxico but it also has another trick up it’s sleeve. You can simple drag and drop an image from your desktop onto it and it will instantly show up in the Markdown preview. It goes even further with image handling by allowing you use the Windows paste command to paste any image from your clipbaord like a screenshot instantly into your editor. This in our opinion is a killer feature.

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Marxico can be downloaded from here

PC game releases for Feb 2016

While Feb may be a slightly quieter year for big PC releases there is still some notable stuff coming this month. Here are the month’s highlights.

Cobalt

Feb 2, 2016

Cobalt is an action platforming game from Oxeye Game Studios. We’re publishing it. Take Agent Cobalt on a voyage of awesome discovery (while blowing up robots in awesomely satisfying slo mo, or take our your friends in the multiplayer mode of a generation.

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XCOM 2

Feb 5, 2016

XCOM 2 is the sequel to the 2012 Game of the Year, award-winning strategy game, XCOM: Enemy Unknown.

Earth has changed. Twenty years have passed since world leaders offered an unconditional surrender to alien forces and XCOM, the planet’s last line of defense, was left decimated and scattered. Now the aliens rule Earth, building shining cities that promise a brilliant future for humanity on the surface, while concealing a sinister agenda below and eliminating all who dissent from their new order.

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Unravel

Feb 5, 2016

Unravel is a physics puzzle game published by EA and developed by Coldwood Interactive.

The game centers around its protagonist, Yarny, a small creature made of red yarn, who explores the world around him by using his own body. As Yarny moves, the twine which he is made of unravels, creating lines which the player must use to solve puzzles and progress in the game.

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Firewatch

Feb 9, 2016

Firewatch is a first person adventure game and is the debut title for both developer Campo Santo and publisher Panic.

In Firewatch you play as a man named Henry who has retreated from his messy life to work as a fire lookout in the Wyoming wilderness. Perched high atop a mountain, it’s your job to look for smoke and keep the wilderness safe. An especially hot, dry summer has everyone on edge. Your supervisor, a woman named Delilah, is available to you at all times over a small, handheld radio — and is your only contact with the world you’ve left behind.

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Dying Light: The Following

Feb 9, 2016

The Following is a standalone expansion to the original Dying Light. It will include a new campaign, story and map.

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