Apple OS X 10.9 Mavericks

The Year of the Cat is done. Surf’s up, Dude!

Mac-OS-X-10.9-Mavericks-System-Compatibility-ListIntroduction

There have been a lot of changes at Apple since Steve Jobs passed a couple years ago. While the iPhone 5/5S/5C may be the last iPhones that he actually had design influence over, there have been changes not only in the mobile space, but on the desktop as well. Apple is continuing is annual update cycle with OS X; and its anticipated they will release version 10.9 to the general public on or around 2013-10-22.

Code named Mavericks, after a favorite surfing spot in California, Apple has run out of cat names. While that may make many meme lovers a bit sad, OS X users shouldn’t be too upset. Mavericks sports a number of back-end updates that make it largely a maintenance release. However, there are a number of new, end user based features that many may find useful or more useful now that they’ve been improved.

Mavericks-03

As a long time Windows user and recent (within the last 5 years) Switcher, there are some really nice enhancements here that should make most Mac users want to upgrade. Let’s take a quick look at all of them and see where the ups and downs really are.

New Features

Maps

After starting Mavericks for the first time, this is the first change that I noticed to the OS, as the program icon for Maps is in the dock by default. It was new, and very obvious to what it was.

I’ve been writing about Apple Maps for quite some time. In fact, GPS apps are a bit of a specialty of mine. I love using them, partially because I’m so directionally challenged, its laughable.

There’s been a lot of “room for growth” in Apple Maps since its introduction. Apple’s done a decent job of fixing some of its bigger problems and in keeping it OUT of the lime light. However, with the introduction of OS X 10.9 Mavericks, Apple Maps has matured to a point where Apple is introducing the app to the desktop as a direct competitor to Google Maps’ desktop browser interface.

Maps-03

Introduced as an app rather than a website or web service, Apple Maps is an Apple exclusive tool. With your Thunderbolt, Retina or HD capable Mac display, the app can display images in 100% HD clarity. Because it makes use of your Mac’s graphics adapter, zooming is smooth and responsive and text and details are HD crisp. Maps’ hybrid and satellite displays via Flyover are photo perfect; and its 3D capabilities give you the feeling as though you’re seeing your chosen location first hand.

Apple Maps’ navigation is greatly improved; and the best part about Maps on your Mac is that you can now plan out your trip – including all of your side trips – on your desktop and then send all of your destinations directly to your cellular capable iDevice where Maps will provide turn-by-turn, voice guided navigation.

This is a HUGE improvement in Mavericks and iOS 7, as it makes the app that much more credible and reliable. What Apple needs to do now, is insure that that message is successfully delivered and appropriately socialized to current and potential users.

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What starts with War, ends with Death

The long awaited apocalyptic game of the year 2012 Darksiders II was finally released, bringing into scene as the main character, the second horseman of the Apocalypse, Death, who wants to spare his brother from oblivion, War, and restore humanity.

The game continues the story of the first Darksiders, in a post-apocalyptic scenario of this world, and like in the previous chapter the hero is caught in the middle of the fight between heaven and hell, being forced to fight both sides, angels and demons.

While the original Darksiders was an action/adventure game, Darksiders II comes with some sort of role-playing elements, making the gameplay a bit different. In addition, your enemies drop coins, armors, and weapons. You can take the equipment, sell it to a merchant, or sacrifice it to level up rare possessed weapons, which you can customize at certain thresholds.

Some might say that Darksiders II is a combination of ideas and concepts borrowed from many other popular games like The Legend of Zelda, God of War, Prince of Persia, Legacy of Kain series, etc. But the think is that the game is still enjoyable to play, even if you find a mixture of common action elements in it.

Each level requires you to resolve a puzzle and to make you figure out how to get from one point to the next. You’ll have to scale walls, throw naturally occurring bombs you stumble upon, pull some levers, etc. You also get a phantom grapple hook that allows you to swing and you can extend your wall runs and jumps. Later, Death splits in three, petrifying your main form and using two doppelgangers to stand on switches and move platforms. Ultimately, you fire portals to travel across great ravines and even through time itself–and these are hardly the extent of the tools you use to make progress through Darksiders II’s clever self-contained puzzles.

Comparing with the original Darksiders, this one’s puzzles are more expertly created and you’ll have to really think harder and harder to unlock them (if you don’t see the youtube walkthroughs). But as much as you advance into the game you’ll find the controls more handy and you’ll learn how to resolve even the most complicated puzzles.

The combat movements and animations are looking quite similar to what the original Darksiders had to offer, but never mind, they are still looking gorgeous.

As a conclusion, I really hope that there will be one game for each Horseman of the Apocalypse as it’s now for War and Death!

 

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Windows 8 Release Preview Due in June

Microsoft is going to give us an RC release in June before Windows 8’s planned October release.

The first week of June should see the release of Windows 8 Release Preview, as Microsoft prepares Windows 8 for a mid-Fall release some time, likely, near the end of October.

These plans were announced by Steven Sinofsky, the head of Microsoft’s Windows Development arm, at a developer’s event in Japan, according to All Things D. This release preview follows both Developer Preview late last year and a Consumer Preview in February of this year.

Microsoft is aiming to complete development work sometime this summer, with, its thought, a release in late to mid-October, though Microsoft has not made this official. Windows 8 sports a new, redesigned interface called, Metro, as well as a Windows Store and digital delivery feature designed to go head-to-head with Apple’s App Store, introduced in OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and OS X 10.7 Lion, last year.

Apple is due to release its latest OS version OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion sometime this summer. Windows 8 is meant to directly compete with Apple’s planned OS release this year. How well it succeeds will depend on how well Metro is accepted on the desktop, as Windows tablets are not widely in circulation, if at all, as of this writing.

Soft32 is planning on reviewing the final version of Windows 8 when it is released, so stay tuned for our final thoughts and impressions on the OS later this year.

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Diablo III Launching May 15

Great news, folks. Blizzard has finally announced officially their release date for Diablo III which is set for May 15.

“After many years of hard work by our development team and months of beta testing by hundreds of thousands of dedicated players around the world, we’re now in the homestretch,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “We look forward to putting the final polish on Diablo III over the next two months and delivering the ultimate action-RPG experience to gamers worldwide starting on May 15.”

In Diablo III, players take on the role of one of five heroic characters — barbarian, witch doctor, wizard, monk, or demon hunter — and engage in combat with endless legions of evil. In your journey, you will explore diverse and perilous settings, grow in experience and ability, acquire artifacts of incredible power, and meet key characters who’ll join them in battle or aid them in other ways.

One of the most interesting things in Diablo III is the auction house – a place where the players can trade their hard-earned treasures. You’ll be able to buy and sell weapons, armor, and other valuable items in the auction house in exchange for in-game gold. Players will also have the option to receive real-world currency for auction house sales, which they can apply to their Battle.net Balance for the purchase of a variety of digital products through Battle.net, including Diablo III auction house items, or cash out through a third-party payment service such as PayPal in most regions.

Diablo III will be available for Windows XP/Windows Vista/Windows 7 and Macintosh at a suggested price of $59.99 USD for both the retail DVD-ROM version and the digital version sold directly from Blizzard.

For more information, please visit the official website.

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Latest 5 releases from last week

In case you have missed what had happened last week, this article will bring back in the news. These are the latest five major releases beginning with August 14.

1) Reason – your virtual studio rack with all that you need to turn your ideas into music

Reason is one of the most complete audio mixing tools on the market today. It combines complete recording tools with some of the best mixing consoles and equalizers into a single, integrated tool. With it, you’ll have access to multiple channels, multiple, parallel racks, and tons of effects. Reason’s fully equipped mixing desk adds a big studio signal chain to all your sound sources.

download Reason

2) Create stunning 3D text and logos with Maker 3D

3D design software for many ordinary people may be unfamiliar. Whenever you want to promote an image, web page, display text or graphics to add effect, your first thought may send you to tools like 3DSMax or to more complicated tools like, Photoshop. Thankfully, you don’t have to go down that road. Instead, you can use Maker 3D from Aurora 3D Software.

download Maker 3D

3) Latest Drivers for AMD ATI Catalyst

AMD just rolled out this month’s major Catalyst software suite release, Catalyst 11.8 WHQL. The software provides the latest WHQL-signed drivers for AMD Radeon GPUs, AMD accelerated processing units (APUs), and AMD chipsets with integrated graphics. This release sees the fusion of AMD Overdrive System (CPU) with GPU overdrive.

download AMD ATI Catalyst 11.8 Drivers

4) Age of Empires Online

Microsoft Studios brings back their popular RTS franchise, with Age of Empires Online. In this new chapter the player has to build mighty empires, manage resources, earn rewards, and battle his way into rich new worlds full of lively villagers, epic warriors, and historically-themed architecture. It’s like the whole classic gameplay concept has been improved in order to deliver awesome moments in an online environment.

download Age of Empires Online Installer

5) Mozilla Firefox 6 has arrived

Mozilla has released the sixth “major” version of Firefox. Unlike the fourth version which was by all means a true major update, Firefox 6 suffers from the same lack of new features and improvements like Firefox 5. Besides its number, the sixth version hasn’t been changed at all. This latest version does nothing else but to fix some security issues and to change some minor undercover features.

download Mozilla Firefox 6

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Music Beta by Google goes official

Google Music is a music streaming service and was launched today.

Google Music BETA first of all is only available in the United States.

Google Music Beta will allow around 20,000 songs and it is free (at least while is in the beta-testing phase).

This service will allow you to listen to music from any device you have with an internet access (phone/tablet Android 2.2, PC). You will also be able to create playlists, mood playlists and manage them instantly no matter what device you use with instantly sync.

With this new service Google has not invented the wheel, online streaming cloud players are services that exist for a long time for example Amazon Cloud Player, mSpot and AudioBox.

On a short comparison between Google Music Beta and Amazon Cloud Player, the most relevant part is that both parties offer around CLOUD 5Gb space (Amazon) or 20 000 songs (at 5Mb/mp3 file that is around 4.6-5Gb). Also Google offers this service only to Andorid users, while Amazon can stream also to iPhone and iPad.

You can read more about Google Music and request an invitation HERE.

 

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