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Archive for Alex Watson

Thoughts On Digital Magazines

Posted on 28th Sep 2010 at 18:57 by Alex Watson with 25 comments

Alex Watson
I warn you now: this post isn't going to be entirely about the iPad, but it will be featured, so look away now if you're squeamish. Or skip straight to the comments to bash Steve Jobs!

That said, I don't come specifically to praise the iPad either, or even to focus on it. What I want to talk about is the stuff that's on the iPad: particularly the bundle of words, pictures, videos and ideas we call a magazine. There's a lot of great magazine stuff happening on the iPad, from straightforward digital facsimiles (essentially PDFs) of paper mags such as our own Custom PC Zinio edition, through to Apps with video and software features such as 360 degree rotatable images (the ones that, if you're particularly viciously disposed towards the English language, you might call 'magapps').

They're solely iPad Apps at the moment because it's taking the rest of the industry a long time to catch up, but as soon as Android tablets, WebOS tablets and the BlackBerry tablet appear and start selling in numbers you'll see similar offerings on them as well.

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I'd wear that: bit-tech t-shirts

Posted on 20th Sep 2010 at 11:33 by Alex Watson with 210 comments

Alex Watson
Summer's over, mornings are getting a little colder and you're probably wondering where your gloves are.

Clearly, the time is right to introduce a new range of t-shirts!

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iPhone review: Epic Win

Posted on 14th Sep 2010 at 11:16 by Alex Watson with 6 comments

Alex Watson
Surely you must have played the Game of Life? It was a board game that always appealed to me; partly because it had a clicky spinning wheel instead of regular dice, but also because of the neatness of the whole experience - the well behaved blue and pink pegs, the salary that always came in on time, the guarantee that insurance and university really did pay off.

Perhaps it's no surprise then that I'm a big believer in organizing my real life with lots of lists - I have tried full-on GTD but really what I prefer are just to do lists, on paper, so that I can underline, star and vigorously score out entries when they're done. Even better is the act of feeding the whole list to the shredder when everything is done.

I've been playing around with a new iPhone app called Epic Win, which in some ways is like a 21st century Game of Life. Specifically it's the game of your life.

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StarCraft 2 is here

Posted on 23rd Jul 2010 at 17:40 by Alex Watson with 45 comments

Alex Watson
...but we're still waiting. As you might have seen from our post on Twitter earlier, our review copy of StarCraft 2 is here, but we can't play it - the game has to authenticate using Blizzard's servers and they're not coming online until Tuesday, when the game actually launches.

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Will the keyboard be dead in ten years time?

Posted on 12th Jun 2010 at 10:24 by Alex Watson with 65 comments

Alex Watson
I was talking to Tim, the editor of PC Pro last night about Computex 2010, and that while the show had lacked a killer product, there had been a real sense that the massive companies which have dominated computing for the past thirty years – Intel, Microsoft, etc – are suddenly looking very vulnerable.

Tim mentioned that a while back, a senior member of Sony’s Vaio design team had bet him that keyboards would be dead within ten years. At the time, it seemed a sure thing – QWERTY reigned supreme. Now though, he’s not so sure.

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Winners and Losers of Computex 2010

Posted on 8th Jun 2010 at 12:41 by Alex Watson with 17 comments

Alex Watson
According to the flight map, as I finish this blog post, I’m somewhere west of Ulan Bator, on my home from Computex 2010 in Taipei. It started with me lying awake with jetlag late one night and early one morning, passing the time making a list of the companies I thought had a good show, and who didn’t.

While some people – inevitably – complained that the show wasn’t as busy as in previous years, I think that’s probably because there weren’t many (if any) amazing, ready-to-ship products to catch people’s attention on the show floor. However, thinking about the companies that came out well (and those that faired poorly) from Computex, what struck me this year was that how the list illustrates how rapidly the traditional power structures in the tech industry are changing.

Before I run down the winners and losers, I ought to say I was looking for companies that had either an unexpectedly good or bad show. I’m not going to list those that performed pretty much as expected. I should also say this is very much my personal list; I’ve batted a few emails back and forth with Rich and Harry, and their views are quite different – when they get a free moment, they’ll also post their thoughts.

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My iPhone told me what to have for lunch

Posted on 27th May 2010 at 10:42 by Alex Watson with 16 comments

Alex Watson
We have a tradition here in the bit-tech offices, long held and deeply cherished, and it's called Burrito Friday. Its origins are shrouded in the mists of Harry's hunger, but we celebrate this joyous occasion every Friday by going for burritos at the excellent Benito's Hat.

Little gets in the way of Burrito Friday - until I started using a service called Foursquare.

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Valve claims Steam is five times more stable on Mac

Posted on 26th May 2010 at 13:45 by Alex Watson with 74 comments

Alex Watson
Now I have to be careful handling this claim, because it's dangerous stuff - we're talking weapons grade flamebait here. We're way past UN inspectors; if Dubya was still president, I'd be looking for a cave to hide in and thinking every shadow in the sky was a fleet of Apaches coming to blow me to kingdom come.

Valve, PC gaming's last, best hope, recently made the claim that for its software, "the Mac is five times more stable than Windows," in terms of minutes played versus number of crashes.

It's not just some Valve underling saying this, either - it's Gabe Newell himself, in a US podcast called The Conversation.

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First video and pictures of 3DMark 11

Posted on 24th May 2010 at 18:57 by Alex Watson with 29 comments

Alex Watson
As we reported a few days ago, Futuremark is back with a new benchmark, 3D Mark 11. The official site is now live, and features pictures and a preview video.

According to Futuremark's YouTube page, "3DMark 11 uses a native DirectX 11 engine which makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading."

You can see it in action in a video which features a pair of MSI-branded submarines floating underwater - embedded after the jump.

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Use the internet to decide how to vote

Posted on 4th May 2010 at 08:19 by Alex Watson with 30 comments

Alex Watson
As you’ve probably noticed, we’re two days away from the General Election. Some people might find the wall-to-wall press coverage a bit over the top. I’m inclined to forgive the quantity of it – after all, we only have General Elections every five years or so, and it is quite important, the whole governing the country thing. I’m less inclined to forgive the quality of the coverage, which has frequently been extremely frustrating if you’re actually trying to make an informed decision about who to vote for.

It’s easy to become cynical, bored or horrified by the election – and to give up on it. I’ve always thought it’s important for people to care about politics (much to the displeasure of some of my friends); ultimately, if you’re not prepared to be involved in the process, then it’s no surprise that you get travesties such as the recent Digital Economy Bill getting passed in to law.
Still, we’re all busy people. Jobs to do, homework, DIY, games to play, blog posts to write. The problem with giving a toss is that it takes valuable time. Fortunately, the internet is here to help; it makes getting information on your MP very, very easy, and in a few minutes of browsing you’ll be able to equip yourself with all the facts you need.

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Five nights in The Forest: A virtual survival diary

Five nights in The Forest: A virtual survival diary

Rick explores Endnight Games' ambitious survival title.
Mod of the Month July 2014 in association with Corsair

Mod of the Month July 2014 in association with Corsair

We've picked six of the best in-progress projects - vote for your favourite

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