Techtramp
General ramblings from an insider within the ever evolving & fast moving world of UK consumer electronics.

Nov
12

codmw2

Well the wait is finally over and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is upon us!

And boy was it worth the wait! This game is phenomenal and ate up much of my time (and my other halfs patience) yeaterday.

Firstly the games graphics really are the finest I’ve seen in any FPS so far, believeable, lifelike and breathtaking. The scenery is stunning and full of life and movement, the flames, explosions and particle effects are jaw-droppingly realistic. The animation on how things move and interact with the scenery is just flawless. Even the charecters faces in certain cut-scenes and non-playable sections are so full of emotion its untrue – this is an area in which FPS’s traditionally struggle and infinity ward have really hit the nail on the head with this one. The enviroments, be it snowy wastes, brazilian slums, russian sub bases or afghan towns really help the graphics engine shine.

shot 3

The physics behind the visuals are equally impressive, bullets ricochet off of riot shields , cars explode and if the wheels fall off, then they roll down hill coming to rest at the bottom, windows smash, towers fall, it’s all just absolutely awesome.

shot 2

As for the gameplay, well in single player the missions are varied in terms of locale and objective, they’re full of excitement and dramatic set pieces  – it really is the stuff your HDTV and surround sound set-up were made for! What it lacks in terms of plot depth it more than makes up for in non-stop action.

shot 1

Although single player is fun, this game really excels in the multiplayer department. Call of duty is already recognised as having one of (if not the) best online multiplayer of any FPS title, but with the latest incarnation infinity ward have really outdone themselves. Take all that made the previous games multiplayer great and then build on it and you end with perfection. Kill streaks are now customisable, death streaks are introduced to help you out if your getting pwned by geeky live-at-home even though their 35, play games all day no girlfriend yanks. Customisable (and visible in game)banners and emblems are present and correct. More challenges, and end of round awards for a variety of criteria are here alongside the usual comprehensive array of differing game types. I would go as far as to say this is the best online FPS experience of all time. I’ll be amazed to see how this is topped.

In summary is it worth all the hype….

I think so, but only if you are a gamer and already into FPS games will you fully appreciate the subtlties of the game. As a casual fan you may may question the hype, but certainly not the quality of this fantastic game.

So play your 80’s power tune, create a heavily edited montage scene of you putting knife in sheath, loading gun, tying headband, putting on camo etc and get in on the action

See you in there

Nov
02

skyhdWell, better late than never!

I’m now part of the Sky HD posse, and I must say its really rather good!

Much better than I thought it would be, I’m finding I watch lots of mundane documentary content of little to no interest to me at all, just because it looks eye-poppingly gorgeous.

The new GUI is so much better than its predecesssor, mini TV preview, better navigation and quicker response times combined to deliver IMHO an industry leading EPG

If any of you are on the fence about upgrading to Sky HD let me advise you. DO IT! I deliberated for far too long and missed out on loads of content.

Since upgrading a collegue has also taken the plunge, and now we do A – B standard def to high def comparisons over the phone in real time – yes we are geeks, yes we are proud.

Right – off to watch antiques roadshow HD, I must see every wrinkle ;p

Nov
02

 

Well after an extended abscence of over a year! (radical personal life changes and tempermental internet connections galore) I’m back and bad – time for some more tech-related musings and hopeful hilarity.

see you at the bar

Dread

 

Sep
15

 Well its almost upon us! Award season….

It all kicks off with The Stuff awards tomorrow night followed by What hifi, then T3 in the next couple of weeks.

I’ll be updating Techtramp directly from the event with lists of winners and probably some pix of drunk industry carnage!

 

Categories are as follows; I’ve also included my predictions, sorry couldn’t resist a little dig 😉

  • Gadget of the year (Probably iPhone)
  • Phone of the year  (Probably iPhone)
  • Camera of the year (Damn apple don’t do cameras, so could be anyones guess)
  • Sat-nav of the year (iPhone via GPS maps app)
  • Portable media player of the year (iPod Touch – just to mix it up a bit)
  • Computer of the year (iMac)
  • TV of the year (Apple mac monitor)
  • Audio product of the year (iPhone)
  • Home product of the year (Apple TV)
  • Cool toy of the year (iPhone)
  • Sports product of the year (nike + ipod)
  • Watch of the year (iPhones built in clock)
  • International brand of the year (Apple)
  • Celebrity gadget blagger of the year (ey? weird category.. err..?)
  • Shameless product placement (Stuff themselves and Apple haha)
  • All are decided for by Stuffs “expert” panel but they don’t actually mention who is on this panel.

    Knowing Tom Dunmore,  it probably consists exclusivley of  Apple employees 🙂

    More info tomorrow….

    Aug
    20

    How good is the new app store for iPhone 3G (and 2G with 2.0 or above firmware). I’m over the moon with it!

    Ive been downloading left, right and centah! The interface is fantastic its very simple to use and has search functionality alongside browse, new and a handy update notifier automatically informing you of new updates to any apps you have already downloaded and installed. There’s also a reviews section for each app alowing star ratings and user experience. Charming

    I simply must share my top finds list below,

    1. Facebook

    A must for facebook users, fast to load, friend lists, status updates, your message box and wall scribblings a plenty! Perfect iPhone interface makes great use of the touch screen. It’s not perfect events don’t show and you cant accept or see friend requests but hey, nothings perfect! right?!

    2. TubeStatus

    Absolute godsend. This is the kind of thing the App store is all about – simple, imformative, clean interface, perfect. Gives up to the minute information on the status of all of London underground lines. Click on a line for more detailed information. Brilliant.

    3. Twinkle

    Keep up to date with your twitter account here. Allows you to post tweets, shows your followed tweets, private messages, and has a handy vicinity feature which uses gps/phone masts to find your location and then shows all incoming tweets from within 50km of your location. you can also take and post phototweets. nice. If your twittered up then as with the facebook app this is a must!

    4. Urbanspoon

    If you like eating out – and lets face it, who doesn’t!, then this app is for you. Uses GPS to find your location (or tap it in manually) then comes upwith a list of districts, food types and price on one-armed bandit style rollers. Feel free to “hold” any wheels you like and shake your iPhone to spin the others, when they stop spinnin chi-ching theres your restauraunt. view address, maps, phone no and reviews.

    There’s also a manual browse function if your not as adventurous as some.

    5. WordPress

    Got a blog like this one? get the wordpress app then. iPhone optimesed interface, of course, add posts and take and include photos if the need takes you. Blogging is truelly mobile.

    Well, there’s my top five. Download em now! go on, NOW!

    Aug
    09

    So Im doing my Saturday morning tech news trawl (yes sad I know) and came across an absolutely hilarious article on product-reviews.net

    It’s an update on the smartphone wars i.e blackberry vs iphone for those of you who live under a rock. and it comments on a new survey thats taken place.

    3,567 consumers were surveyed on RIM’s new Blackberry line up. They were given a description and brief feature outline then asked their views.

    The results are hilariously poor, just 4% very likely to buy the new Blackberry Bold and 13% somewhat likely to buy.

    Here’s the funny part, the website then posts graphs with the figures making it look like a success (the maximum is 15% rather than 100% so the graphs bars look pretty impressive – actually there horsepi*s! )

    The story continues with comments like “These results show consumers hungry for all varieties of BlackBerry,” Errrr no it doesn’t. It shows that 4% of consumers are. Meaning 96% (the overwhelming majority) are not at all.

    and continues to say

    “The strength of these early survey results on the demand for RIM’s new products points to a potentially powerful counteroffensive to Apple’s 3G iPhone”

    Don’t make me laugh what 4% will buy and 11% might consider it… I wonder what the other 96% and 89% of people are considering buying hmmm, I’ve a sneaking suspicion iPhone 3G would be returning much higher percentages than these.

    Talk about putting spin on something, this article spins so much its wheels fell off!

    Check it out in its entirety here

    Aug
    09

    So tonight see’s the leaving do of one of the industrys legendary freelance journalists. Mr M.

    Naturally I will be attending the knees up at a trendy London locale, to sink a few shandys and wish him well on his American adventure.

    Im quite looking forward to it actually, it sounds like it could be a good night, with lots of peeps attending. The industry is often kinda quiet over summer (what with holidays, most products launching later in time for season etc) and this will be a great oppertunity for everyone to get together.

    Lets just hope this s****y weather sorts itself out, I not in the mood for washoutville.

    Aug
    07

    About a week ago I managed to get hold of some preview code of Soul Calibur 4 (yes Im a lord and have a grey preview code compatible xbox, heh, sheezy).

    Finally got round to having a go last night, and though the graphics, animations and frantic stance heavy weapons based combat are fantastic, the addition of Yoda as a character?

    WTF? completely doesn’t fit into the soul calibur mythology or style….. It ruins what was a good game (and still is to be fair).

    Cheap cash in anyone?

    Aug
    06

    It’s not often things make me smile in the office, but incompetant marketing departments and air headed no brain PR girls aside I found a reason to smile today.

    The latest issue of computer active landed on my desk and in its best buy USB section was this little beauty.

    The Dane Elec Poker Mate A gambling chip with intergrated hidden 2gb USB memory key.

    Totally pointless? yes. Totally cool? also yes.

    Might have to purchase one. Right now back to the office politics and untargeted promo budget wasteage, sigh, roll on 5

    Aug
    05

    Well after enduring months of extreme jealously stemming from the fact that I seem to be the only person in the UK electronics industry without one (Yes Luke, Rob, James, and numerous members of my company’s sales force I’m looking at you). I finally took the plunge and scoured the net to discover my local carphone warehouse had stock :0

    Shower, shave, toothbrush still in mouth and hair undone I ran to the car (news of shortages since launch still fresh in my head) and had the most stressful 5 min car journey of my life, damn you middle aged female micra drivers.

    Typically my worries were unfounded and stock in store was abundant. sigh 20mins later and its in my hand…. the moment i’d waited for was finally here and oh, the joy, the sure joy of entering the club I was so envious of.

    But it will it live up to my expectations, will it make me more of a yuppy than I already am, will it bring me social status and acceptance, is it the messiah!

    Time will tell