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Archive for Antony Leather

Is Google Maps on your phone a TomTom killer?

Posted on 9th Nov 2009 at 11:50 by Antony Leather with 13 comments

Antony Leather
I've written a couple of previous blog posts about using my phone as a sat nav, and while CoPilot's updates have turned it into a decent app, it's still not a serious rival for a dedicated GPS.

Google's recent announcement that phones running its Android 2.0 OS will all feature free turn-by-turn GPS navigation, however, is something that threatens to change the sat nav market completely.

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What Happened To The Flight Sim?

Posted on 14th Oct 2009 at 09:59 by Antony Leather with 24 comments

Antony Leather
Cast your mind back to the 1990s. Chances are if you were in to PC games at the time you remember playing a flight sim, or at least some kind of game that involved a set of wings and a propellor or afterburner and some machine guns or missiles.

Fleet Defender, Aces over Europe, Red Baron, Battle of Britain, Hind, 1942: Pacific Air War, Air Warrior 3, Apache Longbow, Operation Overlord. I could go on for quite a while before I have to mention Microsoft Flight Simulator which was just a drop in the pond. But this isn't a list of flight sims released in the last 20 years, it's that of those to hit the shelves in a fraction of that time in the 1990's when the PC gaming isle in your average Game store was a little longer. It was also crammed full of flight sim titles.

So what happened? In case you haven't noticed, flight sims have been listed in the endangered species list of PC game genres for several years now. With the demise of ACES Studio, the guys behind Microsoft Flight Simulator, the longest running game franchise on the PC, there are but a handful of companies actually left in the genre now - and even fewer produce combat flight sims!

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Using the iPhone as a Sat Nav Part II

Posted on 5th Oct 2009 at 10:33 by Antony Leather with 10 comments

Antony Leather
I blogged a few weeks ago about my experience with the TomTom and CoPilot apps for the iPhone. In short they were all but unusable and I was left feeling pretty dissapointed, not to mention thinking that the iPhone simply wasn't up to the task - or even that it was faulty. A lot has changed since then though, I've got a refund on one, and the other has received an update which promissed improved GPS performance.

With no update planned for the unusable TomTom app combined with the fact it cost me close to £60, I decided that a refund was in order. I also decided that if CoPilot failed to work after its update, I would go for a seperate Sat Nav unit and make rude jestures at my iPhone. Luckily the refund wasn't an issue, and a quick email to Apple through iTunes saw the money back in my account a few days later.

The CoPilot update took a few weeks to arrive but during a rainy evening a few weeks ago, I installed it and went out for a drive. Things didn't start off too well with CoPilot's second test. Initially I was about to throw my iPhone out the window then reverse over it a few times. The red location icon failed to lock on to my position and showed me as being half a mile away. Things seemed to have got worse not better!

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Would you buy cooler-less graphics card?

Posted on 25th Sep 2009 at 11:15 by Antony Leather with 44 comments

Antony Leather
Lets face it, water cooling your PC can be expensive. One of the most wallet-shredding bits is when you get to the graphics card. Full cover copper blocks for some of the larger graphics cards can cost over £100, but I recently had an idea that I thought I'd throw out to you guys to see what you think.

Instead of buying an air cooled card or a hideously expensive pre-water cooled example, what if you could buy just
the PCB?

Let me explain my madness.

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Cool Modding Stuff #1

Posted on 17th Sep 2009 at 12:07 by Antony Leather with 7 comments

Antony Leather
Being a modder at heart as well as an IT journalist, I'm always on the lookout for new and interesting hardware or gadgets that might be part of a future mod. I thought I'd share my findings here on bit-tech, just in case I've come across something you might find useful!

I hope to do this regularly too and I'll be bringing five or so cool things I've found on my travels on a monthly basis (hopefully!), so if you're planning a mod or a scratch build or you're thinking of improving the cooling in your existing PC, make sure you watch this space!

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Need for Speed Shift Impressions

Posted on 11th Sep 2009 at 17:45 by Antony Leather with 7 comments

Antony Leather
When it comes to racing games on the PC, I'll freely admit that I demand a certain amount of realism. The hole Fast and Furious wannabe culture just doesn't do it for me. So, when I learnt that EA Games had invited us to see the latest title in a long line of Need for Speed games that are traditionally a bit tongue in cheek when it comes to realistic driving, I was pretty underwhelmed.

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Morph tries to build a PC

Posted on 10th Sep 2009 at 12:41 by Antony Leather with 18 comments

Antony Leather
For those of you not familiar with Morph, he's the plasticine creation of the late Tony Hart whose art-focussed kids TV shows were aired in the UK in the 1980's. I thought they were great and recently I received a 'kit' as a present that allows you create your own Morph. If you have no idea who Morph is then check him out here.

Of course as soon as I made him he was up to mischief and with lots of PC bits hanging around, he soon caught the bug. I've hidden my Dremel for the time being in case he fancies and bit of modding. I dare to think how quickly a circular saw attachment can cut through plasticine, pretty quickly I'd imagine.

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Using the iPhone as a sat nav

Posted on 1st Sep 2009 at 10:36 by Antony Leather with 19 comments

Antony Leather
Previously, I've mainly used GPS for marine navigation rather than pointing the way on road trips. Having navigated busy areas off the south coast of England, I don't tend to find A-roads such a problem. That said, having had TomTom on my HTC TyTN II Windows Mobile PDA for the last few years I'm all too aware of how much of a boon it can be.

I've therefore been waiting patiently for a similar app for my iPhone 3GS. The iPhone 3G - which has a dedicated GPS chip - has been with us for what seems like an age but it's only with the release of version 3 of its OS that true Sat Nav apps, with turn-by-turn directions, have been able to start appearing. The latest of these is the much anticipated TomTom app but having used this and also CoPilot Live, I have to say I'm not just disapointed, I'd actually rather use a compass and a sextant to navigate as they're far more reliable.

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When three storms collide

Posted on 17th Aug 2009 at 15:53 by Antony Leather with 14 comments

Antony Leather
I was at a press event last week and whilst on my rounds meeting and greeting various hardware manufacturers and distributers, it was clear that a storm is brewing in the PC industry. However, in spite of the recession, this isn't a storm that will dampen our spirits further.

In contrast it will hopefully send a bolt of lightning right up the backside of any kind of daemon that has a financial grip on the IT industry. In fact it's what some might call a 'perfect storm' which, if you've seen the film, can only happen when two or more storms collide, the more the merrier really, unless you're a swordfisherman that is.

In this case, these storms are Windows 7, DX11 and Lynnfield and all are coming to an etailer near you before Christmas.

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Epic gaming moments

Posted on 11th Aug 2009 at 07:58 by Antony Leather with 35 comments

Antony Leather
A few months ago after searching for a new game to get my teeth into, I revisited an old friend and was soon hooked on Battlefield 2 again.

It's years since it was first released, but the servers are still teeming and my G36E felt just like it used to. What's more, it's one of the few games I've played that seems to have no problem generating epic moments, which is one of the main reasons why I love it.

One such moment happened a few nights ago. On the map Operation Cleansweap, myself and two other soldiers were defending the shoreline and picking off individual enemies with our sniper rifles when from across a bay appeared an armoured personnel carrier (APC) - Uh Oh!

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Custom PC Issue 125

Custom PC Issue 125

Our latest issue is bursting with premium PC goodness, as we enter the land of dream PCs, full of expert customisation and modding, as well as gorgeous water-cooling loops.

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