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Apr 23 2014 5:10PM EST | Source: MacLife.com

“Stealth board game” isn’t exactly a common genre, but it’s the best way to describe Hitman GO, the debut project from Square Enix’s new Montreal studio. It strips down and repurposes classic stealth mechanics from the popular console and computer assassination game series, and the result is a novel experience that’s perfectly suited for the App Store.

Hitman GO takes place on a series of game boards with a grid overlay, populated by security guards, night watchmen, and unwitting police officers. The iconically chrome-domed Agent 47 must sneak his way through each diorama, one space at a time, while completing objectives and avoiding detection by the patrolling enemies. If need be, Agent 47 can “kill” other pieces by occupying their space on the board. In keeping with the series’ tradition, 47 also has a few tricks at his disposal: a well-thrown rock can distract a wandering guard, for example, but a color-coded disguise can fool him altogether.

These goodies add extra layers of complexity to the puzzles on offer, but they build on a solid foundation of stealth gameplay: line of sight, pattern recognition, and timing are just as important to Hitman GO as they are in its more freeform predecessors. Hitman GO is to professional assassinations as chess is to medieval warfare, and the result is a more cerebral and pensive take on the series. Stubborn brute force won’t get Agent 47 very far.

Hitman GO’s larger structure is common for iOS puzzlers: you can earn up to three stars for each level, and earning these stars unlocks the later portions of the game. You might earn a star for dispatching a certain number of guards, for example, or completing objectives quickly or non-violently. These optional objectives are a nod to Hitman’s openness, but they also work well to illustrate the range of options provided by an ostensibly limited set of mechanics. 

The bottom line. Hitman GO is a clever and stylish work of alchemy, bringing elegant stealth mechanics to a new platform and a fresh genre.

Review Synopsis

Product: 

Company: 

Square Enix

Contact: 

Price: 

$4.99

Requirements: 

iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 6.0 or later

Positives: 

Clever mix of stealth and board game mechanics. Puzzle design offers a broad range of goals and solutions. Captures the feel and atmosphere of its console cousins.

Negatives: 

Being spotted means starting over, which is a real pain for complicated, multi-step puzzles. Hitman Go also chews up battery life.

Score: 
4.5 Excellent

Apr 23 2014 5:04PM EST | Source: MacLife.com

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Apr 23 2014 5:01PM EST | Source: MacLife.com

Gardening may look easy, but there's a subtle art to it. Even if you're just growing herbs on your windowsill, each plant needs careful management, and the slightest deviation in your watering or fertilizing schedule can result in withered leaves and small, undernourished stalks. Garden Plan Pro thinks it can help. With a comprehensive strategy that maps every square inch of your plot of plants, the app doesn't just keep track of your seedlings—it offers tips and guidance that promise to get your garden off the ground.

Freshly redesigned with a clean iOS 7 aesthetic, the app's interface gives off an air of simplicity, but there's nothing simplistic about its core capabilities. With a set of relatively easy-to-use tools, you can make a scale representation of your gardening area, including any flowerbeds, pathways, or shrubbery that may adorn it. When searching for plants to add, you'll find far more than a list of common flora: select one of the nearly 200 varieties of greens and it'll tell you optimal planting time, spacing, position, and soil saturation, along with a few extra tips and tricks for more advanced gardeners. And if your thumb isn't green enough to take advantage of all of that information, it can tap into location services to tell you what will grow best in your particular climate.

But while we enjoyed designing our garden, the app isn't quite as useful as it could be. For example, you can set the month a particular plant was put in the ground, but you can't choose a specific date of germination. Consequently, the only way to keep track of watering or rotating is by entering detailed notes in its barebones journal, so we'd like the ability to add pictures or set alerts in a future update. We also had some trouble with moving plants around, and experienced iCloud slowdown and syncing issues.

The bottom line. Garden Plan Pro will help you pick and plant the garden of your dreams, but the app isn’t as helpful with making it grow.

Review Synopsis

Company: 

Growing Interactive

Price: 

$7.99

Requirements: 

iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 6.0 or later

Positives: 

Good design tools help you meticulously map out your garden. Excellent library of plants. Lots of useful tips and information on proper gardening.

Negatives: 

No way to set specific dates for planting. Lacks scheduling options and watering alerts. No pictures or organization options in journal. iCloud syncing is slow and occasionally unreliable.

Score: 
3 Solid

Apr 23 2014 4:57PM EST | Source: Geek.com
Samsung Galaxy K
We’re only a week away from Samsung officially announcing the new Galaxy K, but it turns out this camera hybrid stopped for a photoshoot on the way. Samsung is one of several companies […]

Apr 23 2014 3:26PM EST | Source: REUTERS Technology
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. regulators are expected to vote on May 15 on a new set of so-called "net neutrality" rules aimed at making certain that broadband providers do not slow down or block consumers' access to legal Internet content.

Apr 23 2014 3:16PM EST | Source: REUTERS Technology
BOSTON (Reuters) - The FBI has warned healthcare providers their cybersecurity systems are lax compared to other sectors, making them vulnerable to attacks by hackers searching for Americans' personal medical records and health insurance data.

Apr 23 2014 2:00PM EST | Source: REUTERS Technology
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc's quarterly results on Thursday may heighten worries that its edge over online and even traditional brick-and-mortar rivals is narrowing as it charges sales tax in more states, curtailing growth in its core business.

Apr 23 2014 1:55PM EST | Source: REUTERS Technology
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Increasingly aggressive discounting is taking a toll on AT&T Inc and U.S. cellular rivals as they struggle to attract customers in a nearly saturated market.

Apr 23 2014 1:54PM EST | Source: CNET iPhone Atlas
New renderings from French website Nowhereelse.fr imagine an iPhone 6S and 6C in all their large-screen glory complete with a thinner, rounder design.






Apr 23 2014 1:41PM EST | Source: REUTERS Technology
(Reuters) - U.S. regulators on Thursday will begin to review the specifics of a new set of so-called "net neutrality" rules aimed at making certain that broadband providers do not slow down or block consumers' access to legal Internet content or applications.

Apr 23 2014 1:12PM EST | Source: REUTERS Technology
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan raised $903 million in its first auction for 3G mobile phone networks on Wednesday, as well as $210 million for the more advanced 4G spectrum, with four foreign-owned companies emerging as winners from the long-anticipated bidding process.

Apr 23 2014 1:02PM EST | Source: REUTERS Technology
NEW YORK (Reuters) - International Business Machines Corp, in its latest attempt at reviving demand for its hardware products, is launching high-end system servers that it says are 50 times faster than its closest competitor at analyzing data.

Apr 23 2014 1:00PM EST | Source: MacLife.com

Samsung Android peeking

The latest courtroom battle between Apple and Samsung took an interesting turn this week as an attorney for Android maker Google finally took the stand to confirm the search giant is lending its biggest OEM a helping hand.

Re/code reported Tuesday that Samsung may not be entirely on the hook if the Korean manufacturer should lose its latest courtroom tussle with Apple, thanks to Google picking up at least some of the liability.

According to testimony from Google lawyer James Maccoun, the Android maker "agreed to provide partial or full indemnity" for Samsung and even take over defending four patents which Apple claims were effectively stolen. Two of those patents were tossed out prior to trial, while the remaining '414 and '959 patents cover background synchronization and universal search.

Samsung and Google declined to comment more specifically on exactly what legal tab the latter might pick up, but Apple is seeking as much as $2 billion in damages against the Korean smartphone giant for the latest infringement claims.

Curiously, some of the features being targeted by Apple were actually created by Google, but patent laws allow companies to go after the product that uses such infringing code — and as the report noted, Samsung financially benefits from the Android platform, while Google essentially gives it away.

Samsung also appears to have been caught in a bald-faced lie: After claiming in September 2012 the company was not "seeking indemnification from any party," Apple presented Google and Samsung emails dated between May and December, which clearly indicated the search giant was willing to help finance Samsung's legal defense.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

(Images courtesy of AndroidGuys.com and Gadgets.NDTV.com)

 

Apr 23 2014 12:31PM EST | Source: Geek.com
iphone6_render
Several leaks recently have suggested that Apple is expected to release not one, but two models of the iPhone 6 later this year. The 4-inch display seen in previous generations is finally being […]

Apr 23 2014 12:30PM EST | Source: CNET iPhone Atlas
New renderings from French website Nowhereelse.fr imagine a 6S and 6C in all their large-screen glory complete with a thinner, rounder design.






Apr 23 2014 12:29PM EST | Source: MacLife.com

BlueLounge Jimi

Tuesday delivered a bevy of Apple updates as well as OS X Mavericks beta access for non-developers, but the real story might be the Susquehanna Financial Group analyst who is predicting that Cupertino may eventually kiss the iPod as we know it goodbye and roll its functionality into the fabled iWatch — a prognostication that makes a lot of sense when you think about it. But you won't have to twist your mind to find out what else went down yesterday, because we've got it all right here...

BlueLounge Debuts Jimi USB Port Extension for iMac

An iMac is one of the best personal computers you could ever own, but it does have one nagging downside for frequent accessory users: No front-facing USB port. The folks at BlueLounge have remedied this oversight by creating Jimi, a j-shaped extender that plugs into an available USB port on the back of any slim unibody iMac model released from November 2012 or later and makes the port available from the front as shown above. It's one of those ideas so deviously simple, you have to wonder why no one thought of it before. Jimi is now available for $14.95 from the BlueLounge website and various resellers.

Mr. Reader 3.1 Adds Feedja, Mark All as Read Support

Developer Oliver Fuerniss released a big update to the popular iPad-only RSS app Mr. Reader on Tuesday, adding an additional sync service with Feedja. Version 3.1 also changes the behavior of the "Mark All as Read" setting, which now automatically opens the next folder or feed with unread items, rather than hopping back to the menu each time to do so. The RSS reader is now capable of writing and executing scripts written in Javascript, creating reminders and sharing articles to both Microsoft OneNote or Sina Weibo. The update is free for existing customers or $3.99 as a new purchase, now available from the App Store.

AT&T Announces Plans to Create $500M Hulu Rival

After failing to make a bid for Hulu several months ago, AT&T and The Chernin Group announced Tuesday a $500 million investment to "acquire, invest in and launch over-the-top (OTT) video services" — in other words, one or more services intended to compete directly with Hulu and its rivals. The press release specifically mentions investments in "advertising and subscription VOD channels as well as streaming services," which pretty much covers all the bases. The Chernin Group already has a foothold in that space as majority owners of the subscription-based Crunchyroll service, so it will be interesting to see where this joint venture takes both companies.

WinZip Mac 3 Adds Dropbox, Google Drive Support

On the Windows platform, PC users swear by WinZip, a veteran solution for compressing or opening files. On the Mac, however, WinZip is a relative newbie, having debuted on the Mac App Store in early 2013. The company is working quickly to become the go-to solution for Apple users with this week's release of WinZip Mac 3, which adds cloud file sharing to its bag of tricks. Available for Dropbox or Google Drive, a new Cloud Picker feature allows WinZip Mac 3 users to access, rename, delete or zip/unzip files and folders stored on the cloud without having to leave the application, as well as quickly share links via email. With support for Zip, Zipx, RAR, LHA, 7Z, JAR and WAR formats, WinZip Mac 3 also features an updated UI with new shortcuts.The new version is available for $29.99 from the Mac App Store, and the company also offers official WinZip apps for iOS as well.

Dish Reportedly Launching Internet TV Service This Summer

The dream of a true internet television service may finally come to pass this year. Bloomberg reported Tuesday that Dish Network is eyeing a late summer launch for an internet-based TV service that skips the cable or satellite subscription and allows customers to pay $20 to $30 per month to watch on their smartphones or tablets. Dish is said to already have the support of Disney-owned properties and is talking with A&E, Turner and CBS to shore up content from at least two of the four broadcast networks and "at least 10 of the highest-rated cable networks," a stipulation apparently made by the larger content providers.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

 

Apr 23 2014 12:08PM EST | Source: REUTERS Technology
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan raised $903 million in its first auction for 3G mobile phone networks on Wednesday, as well as $210 million for the more advanced 4G spectrum, with four foreign-owned companies emerging as winners from the long-anticipated bidding process.

Apr 23 2014 11:25AM EST | Source: Geek.com
OnePlus One
For a scrappy new hardware company about to start selling their first smartphone, the folks at OnePlus have been working hard to get your attention by any means necessary – even trash talking […]

Apr 23 2014 11:14AM EST | Source: REUTERS Technology
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Social network giant Facebook Inc has won U.S. antitrust approval to buy Oculus VR Inc, a two-year-old maker of virtual reality goggles, the Federal Trade Commission said on Wednesday.

Apr 23 2014 7:11AM EST | Source: REUTERS Technology
(Reuters) - Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, the world's third-biggest smartphone manufacturer, plans to spend $300 million on global marketing in 2014, a senior executive said on Wednesday.

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