Wednesday, 9 September 2009

How now Derren Brown?

So about an hour ago, Derren Brown, psychological illusionist extraordinaire, "predicted" the UK national Lottery live on TV. I say "predicted" with bunny ears, as what he in fact did was show us his "prediction" seconds after the balls were actually announced on the Beeb due to "legal reasons". Cue much speculation as to the incredibly simple camera trickery he probably employed in the execution of this machiavellian shenanigan. Or machiavellanigan. Bear in mind Derren has publicly stated that these several Events, of which this is the first, are exercises in misdirection, so chances are, it probably really is something very straight forward because, lets face it, the man cannot predict the lottery. It was certainly all live though, as my double TV setup can attest. All is apparently revealed on Friday, so we have a couple of days to think about how the hell he did that. So seriously, how the hell did he do that?

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Tuesday, 1 September 2009

PS3 Firmware 3.0 goes live

Today, three things of significance have happened. The first (and arguably the most important) is that I’ve managed to find time to write again. I’ve left Munial holding the fort for far too long and doing an amazing job. The second is that PS3 Firmware 3.0 went live at midnight and thirdly, the PS3 slim finally went on sale today (officially anyway).

The full list of changes from the Firmware update is quite long and, if I’m honest, some changes work and some are just a tad baffling. For example, the font of all the writing has been increased substantially making the interface look less sleek and sexy. I actually thought something had gone wrong with the resolution of my TV for minute. There wasn’t much wrong with the font size to start with so I’m flummoxed. Equally there are other seemingly minor amendments that increase the sexy, sleekness of it all and leave me rubbing my sweaty palms against my clean jeans. On the whole though, it’s a mixed bag. Two changes shine through for me: the BBC iPlayer launching directly from the XMB and the inclusion of animated themes. Call me a scrooge but I really thought the first animated theme should have been free; instead the American PSN store has a LBP animated theme for $2.99 and the European PSN store doesn’t have one at all. The theme itself looks amazing but $3? Ok, I’m a scrooge. I admit it. However, if you jump onto the Japanese PSN store, there is one completely for free and rumour has it that it’s better than the LBP one!

Main features in system software update version 3.00
- New design for the XMB™ screen.
- The information Board has been replaced and contains a new design and new features.
- We can now access the latest content available from PlayStation Store directly under Game and Video.
- When using storage media that contains folders, the number of folder levels that can be displayed under Photo, Music and Video has been increased.
- We can now copy text using the on-screen keyboard.
- Audio Multi-Output has been added as an option.
- We can now use the right stick of the wireless controller to perform fast forward or fast reverse operations during video content playback – I’m dreading this as I will no doubt keep doing this by accident. It might be time to invest in a dedicated remote control.
- We can now save a screenshot of the Internet browser.
- A list of messages that you have exchanged with a Friend can be now accessed from the Friend’s profile screen and actually shows up on the main screen on the top right hand corner.
- Internet speed is now shown – both uploading and downloading. Good for telling your ISP that they’re not delivering on the speed they promised you!

The service I’m most looking forward to is movies on demand for the PSN launching in November 2009 promising hundreds of movies for the PS3 and PSP in both Standard Definition and High Definition. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Vidzone and use it far more than I thought I would.

PS3 Slim
The PS3 Slim … need I say anything about this that you probably don’t already know? An RRP of £249.99, Bluray, free online access, larger hard drive (from 80GB to 120GB), a redesigned internal design architecture; from the main semiconductors and power supply unit, to the cooling mechanism resulting in a much slimmer and lighter body. In total, the internal volume as well as its thickness and weight are trimmed down to approximately two-thirds. Furthermore, power consumption is also cut to two-thirds, helping to reduce fan noise. What are you waiting for? Get one and let our online battles commence! Or, you can wait till the new XBoz Natal SKU ...

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