Two weeks ago marked the end of the HP Touchpad, but last Monday, it became the most sought after tablet! Last week also marked the end of an era, the iconic Steve Jobs steps down as CEO of Apple.
The tablet market is a ruthless arena to play in. The arena is ruled by Apple and Google’s Android; Apple has the exclusivity and the most popular tablet and Google has the luxury of having saturated the market with numerous vendor creations, such as the Motorola Xoom, and Samsung’s Galaxy. Companies like RIM, the makers of the Blackberry Playbook, and HP’s TouchPad have serious uphill battles to remain relevant, and yesterday, HP announced the end of the HP TouchPad after only seeing a few weeks on the market.
So, Lion has been out for a little over a month now, and I bought it on launch day. I’ve yet to formulate an official article on Lion, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have my opinions on it. In general I really do like it, and I’ve not found any major faults with Lion, but that’s not to say there aren’t a few rough spots.
One new feature of Lion is the LaunchPad, which is basically an IOS app management interface. Using the gestures of a four finger pinch move, you can bring the LaunchPad up, and it behaves just like an iPad, except you can’t touch the Mac desktop screen (yet). LaunchPad is definitely useful, considering before this, you had to go digging in the Applications folder to find apps that you didn’t manually move into your dock. Unfortunately, Apple didn’t quite completely follow through with the LaunchPad. It shows EVERYTHING in the Applications folder, and there’s no way to hid some of the less useful apps. So, if you’ve got lots of applications installed on your desktop, or even segmented applications like Adobe’s Suties, you’ll have a ton of Applications that you might not need to use regularly, like all the Adobe Uninstallers (yeah, I use those a lot…). So, wouldn’t it be nice to get rid of those useless applications from the LaunchPad? Well, you can’t… The only workaround you have is to put them into a group of similarly useless applications.
Fortunately, enterprising developers have found ways to hide these unwanted icons through command line tools, but honestly, who really wants to muck around in the unfriendly bowls of the mac to perform this simple task. Luckily, a talented developer at http://zoltanb.co.uk/launchpadcleaner/ created a nice little free app called “LaunchPad Cleaner”, which does the dirty work for you. The app has a simple interface where you can select items you no longer wish to see in the LaunchPad and remove them. The app also can easily undo the operations and allow you to add your own apps into the LaunchPad. A very handy utility to perform a set of operations Apple overlooked.
Surely I feel old this week, because this week marks the 30 year anniversary of the original IBM PC, the 5150 was released this week back in 1981. I wasn’t one of the early PC adopters, and I found them to be quite unattractive and much less interesting than the Apple computers at the time. Indeed, at that time, I was more interested in the emerging video game world, and the original IBM PC was $3000 or more, which at my age, might as well been a million dollars. The IBM PC, however, began a new era in business computing, a space many competitors, like Apple, didn’t have a foothold in. The IBM PC wasn’t innovative hardware wise, but what it did do was spark the PC revolution to what it is today.
This week is quite a week for games. The folks over at the Humble Bundle are running their charity event again, Humble Bundle #3. If you don’t know what that is, its basically a charity event that raises money for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Child’s Play, at the same time it offers exposure to independent game developers and a chance for them to make a few dollars too. This Humble Bundle includes the following games: Crayon Physics Deluxe, Cogs, VVVVVV, Hammerfight, And Yet It Moves, and Steel Storm. You also get a promo to play Minecraft until August 14. As an additional bonus, anyone paying above a certain minimum (currently $5.20) can also get the games in the previous Humble Bundle, which includes, Braid, Cortex Command, Machinarium, Osmos, and Revenge of the Titans. All told, that’s 11 game, not counting the time limited Minecraft promo, quite a deal indeed!
Today also marks Square Enix’s release of Final Fantasy Tactics for the iPhone, for $15.99. The price seems steep in comparison to other games on the Apple App Store, but this is a port of the latest Playstation Portable (PSP) version, and at half the price of the PSP version! For those unfamiliar with the series, Final Fantasy Tactics is a turn-based strategy game that’s been around since the Playstation One days and set the standard for just about all turn based strategy games that have come out since. Square-Enix has also made a very strong showing on the Apple platform, by making quality ports of their Final Fantasy games, and even a new game series called “Chaos Rings”. So Final Fantasy Tactics should be pretty darn good. My only reservation is Square-Enix has the habit of releasing separate iPhone and iPad versions, instead of a universal version, which means I will need to buy the iPad version separately when it comes out later this fall, and I don’t relish the idea of buy the game twice… Even with this in mind, I’ll probably still pick this up.