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Weekly Digest

Life
Good weekend. Tickled a couple of websites, bit of DIY, out with the camera this evening and actually got some sleep unlike most of last week.

Media
Forza Horizon is just fantastic.

Holedown on iOS and Android is well worth playing. One of the best mobile games this year – so addictive.

Doctor Who – looked fantastic tonight. Well done all.

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Weekly Digest

Life
Autumn has landed – from a gorgeous day on Saturday to…well…shitty rain and wind. Glad I got out and about up North yesterday and saw some of the Autumn colours.

Also been using the new Apple Watch for over a week now and really enjoying it. Big upgrade (for me) over the Series 0.

Media
Doctor Who – great first episode. Jodie Whittaker nailed it, the writing and story were pretty good and the reworked music also landed.

Ant-Man and the Wasp – watchable follow up although nothing very original about it.

Forza Horizon 4 – stunning looking game. Set in the UK and really enjoyable first few days with it, even if the streets are too clean.

Links

Weekly Digest

Life
A bit late with the update. On holiday from work (back tomorrow) and busy fixing the house, taking photo’s and flying a drone. Normal stuff really. Links this week are pretty Apple heavy – fun fun fun!

Media
Solo – average film and would have probably ditched it half way through if it wasn’t a Star Wars movie.

Bodyguard – well done all involved. Stuck the landing and plenty left to take another series forward.

Links

Apple Day 2018

Today’s the day that Apple release their biggest products of the year. New iPhones, new Apple Watches. Huzzah! From the keynote last week and also the reviews that have come out I’ve a few thoughts on this year’s products that are longer (almost) than a tweet or two.

  • The iPhone names are just bonkers to me. Everyone calls the iPhone X the iPhone X and not the iPhone 10. I’ve been that guy that corrects people too – what a twat. So this years iPhones being called iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR means even more that they will be called XS, XS Max and XR. No one is going to see XS and think that should be pronounced 10S. The names probably don’t make any dent on sales but just doesn’t make sense to me when everyone (quite rightly in my opinion) praises Apple for their marketing genius.
  • iPhone XS is one of the smaller S upgrades we’ve seen. Same screen, faster chip, slightly improved camera, it records in stereo, slightly tweaked colours and that’s about it? Looks the same too.
  • The XS Max is exactly the same as the XS apart from being a bigger screen and slightly improved battery life. Prefer this than when the Plus phones came out and it wasn’t only the best screen but also the best camera – that stung if you didn’t want. huge phone.
  • The XR surprised me. Expected lesser screen, last years A11 chip, last years camera etc but the only difference is a larger but less pixel dense screen but all this years goodies in the XS are in the XR apart from the dual camera’s. And the XR comes in some great colours.
  • The XS is the smallest phone you can buy from Apple at 5.5 inches. That’s not small and by killing the SE they will lose some customers to Android.
  • The new A12 chip and it’s neural engine is quite the upgrade from last years and is driving a jump in computational photography. Smart HDR looks much better than the HDR modes we’ve seen in Apple products up to now. The amount of computing that is taking place when you press the (virtual) shutter button is boggling. Google’s Pixel 2 was regarded as the best smartphone camera in the last couple of years thanks to how much computation they were doing. Apple have made some big improvements this year and in some tests so far looks better to my eyes than the Pixel 2, but in other tests the Pixel 2 produces the better image. That’s before the Pixel 3 come out next month. To read a lot more about the camera improvements I recommend reading John Grubers iPhones XS review which details a lot of the camera improvements in the XS. Apple really buried the improvements on stage.
  • Not iPhone related, but Siri Shortcuts in iOS 12 is worth spending some time on. Apple acquired the Workflow app and team 18 months ago and Shortcuts is the result. Can get some great results from Shortcuts and really make Siri more powerful than it currently is. Many app’s have updated this week with Siri support but their features are pretty buried which is something that Apple need to help surface.
  • Apple Watch series 4 was the standout for me from last week’s keynote. Bigger screen, focus on health, complications, new colours, faster chip. All in all this was more exciting and a bigger leap than the phones that Apple launched this year.
  • Apple gaining FDA approval to market the watch as an ECG device is a big deal. It’s only one rather than 12 points that a standard ECG captures but being able to do this anytime and pass that info to a medical professional has major implications. Alongside the fall detection and some other heart notifications it’s good to see that Apple finally have clear focus on what the Apple Watch is and isn’t.
  • Prices go both phone and watch have creeped up this year. Buying Apple was always expensive but it’s getting ever steeper. Increasing price a way of keeping up overall sales as numbers decline in an ever saturated market? Time will tell.
  • No AirPower. No new AirPods. Shocker. All the rumours say AirPower is dead but it appears in the XS leaflet that people will get with their new phones. So still in development? Apple should stop previewing products that aren’t ready and get back to what they were good at – here’s a new product, buy it in a couple of days for delivery next week. Stop the bullshit.
  • No iPad or Mac news either so expect some press releases or an event in October. If the iPad is slimmer borders, Face ID, USB C as many rumours are stating then I can’t see that being a press release.

So did I buy anything? No new iPhone for me this year. Small update really when you look at the iPhone X that I currently have and with phones now at £1k it’s an every 2-3 year purchase like an iPad for me. I did order a new watch though. The Series 0 has done well but struggled in the last 6 months with speed and also battery life. Really looking forward to getting the Series 4 as I use the Watch for workouts, notifications etc and being able to playback music and podcasts, answer calls etc without a phone during a workout will be a real step forward for me.

If you are getting a new phone or watch today (or next month!), enjoy it. The last year with the X has been great – easily the best phone Apple has made…until now.

Weekly Digest

Life
Weather has turned and I’ve got the next 10 days off. Woo hoo. The break will be good though no matter what the weather has in store.

Media
The Mighty Redcar – loving this. Great documentary – Redcar reminds me of Barrow. The soundtrack is also one of the best I’ve heard in years. Grab it on Apple Music or Spotify.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – Formulaic and predictable. Yawn.

Links

Weekly Digest

Life
New toys arrived. Mavic 2 Pro – faster, longer battery, great range and a much improved image. A lot to like. Looking forward to some time off later in the month and getting some drone and normal pic’s out and about around Scotland.

Media
Bodyguard – gets better and better
Press – well made, great cast but flat opening for me
Hang Ups – so funny

Links

Weekly Digest

Life
6 months since buying my last drone…I may have bought another. There’s no may about it, the Mavic 2 Pro is currently on it’s way from China. Can’t wait to fly it and see the image improvements.

Media
Finsihed All or Nothing but it got a bit samey though the season and the last couple felt very padded. Interesting insight.

Bodyguard on BBC. Oooof – loved it. Jed Mercurio is at the top of his talents right now and Bodyguard got off to a flier – the cast were top notch too.

Links

Weekly Digest

Life
Got out early on Saturday in the hope of a good sunrise. Weather was perfect and not only got some cracking images but it was good to get out and about. Got a walk in through a totally deserted forest – loved it.

Media
All or Nothing:Manchester City – enjoy a good doc and this one on Man City is well worth a watch. They got some amazing access to both manager and squad.

Links

25 Years of Edge

August 1993 and the UK saw a new type of gaming magazine. Edge was a serious look at the gaming industry and focussed on technology, the studios and in depth stories on the development of games themselves. I loved it and have blogged about Edge a few times over the years.

I’m still a subscriber and enjoy getting a physical copy each month. It’s read cover to cover and joins the full collection of Edge magazines that I’ve been close to ditching a couple of times but glad I held on to them even if the shelves storing them collapsed recently. They do weigh quite a bit.

Edge launched at a key time. The first PlayStation came out a year after launch in 1994 and a few years later saw the launch of the PS2, Gamecube and the first Xbox. It was a golden age with lots of hardware and game studio changes and Edge was often the first to break stories, have exclusive game previews and conduct interviews with developers that no one else could get.

The internet quickly changed the magazine market but Edge has survived mainly thanks to it’s original content. In the past I’d decide game purchases based on Edge reviews but not anymore. Games are often out for 4 or 5 weeks before a review will drop through the post. They are still a great read and the rare Edge 10’s still something to covet but they don’t make or break a game anymore. Looking back at issue 1 feels like ancient history – they had 2 pages dedicated to format charts and Syndicate was number 1. Rise of the Robots was previewed, just one of the many games that looked amazing but was actually terrible. Issue 3 was previewing VR which took some 23 years to land in anger – you can’t say Edge wasn’t ahead of it’s time. It was also when import games were king and paying £80 – £120 for a game wasn’t unheard of as it would take 6-9 months to land in the UK.

One last noteworthy aspect about Edge is the covers. Some of them have been amazing featuring exclusive art, use of different finishes and in pre-internet days and sometimes still today would reveal a new piece of hardware or preview of a game. Don’t get me wrong, some of them have been awful but they give a great visual history of the last 25 years of gaming. Click on the image to the right to see all 323 covers or visit my Edge Magazine Covers Flickr album to see them in detail.

Hard to believe that 25 years have passed since that first issue. I’ll also confess that I didn’t buy the first one and had to order a back issue after a few months. So glad I did! It seems unlikely with the pace of change, but here’s to another 25 years of the worlds best gaming magazine.

Weekly Digest

Life
Too much social media angst. Instead thinking about money, pensions, shares…you know, really positive thinking 🙂

Media
A quiet weekend so treated myself:

Batman Begins – Well made with great performances. A new darker Batman.
The Dark Knight – The best bad guy performance in a superhero film. Ledger lifts this and alongside a great story and some strong performances this still feels fresh despite it being 10 years old.
The Dark Knight Rises – Good but not great, the overall film just doesn’t land and despite the ball of rage that is Tom Hardy it doesn’t match The Dark Knight.

Watched them all in 4K and HDR. Batman Begins looked OK but the other two really shone especially the sections shot in IMAX format. There’s also an obvious difference between a 4K Blu-ray and 4K streaming. Tried some scenes on iTunes which was also 4K and HDR and the difference was notable.

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