(You're reading all posts by John Brownlee)

About John Brownlee

John Brownlee John Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)

Atmospheric space roguelike Out There gets a huge update, is coming to the Mac

Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 8.15.18 AM

Back before the popular starship sim roguelike FTL had come to the iPad, France’s Mi Clos Studio released a charming little game called Out There that scratched a lot of the same itches. Like a randomized choose-your-own-adventure novel with resource management, Out There allowed you to explore alien universes, learn extraterrestrial languages, fight an evil alien civilization, and more.

Not everyone loved the game, saying that victory in Out There was too random, but I always had a lot of fondness for it. It had an incredible sense of atmosphere, thanks to wonderful art and music. I’m delighted to hear, then, that Out There isn’t just getting a sizable update… it’s clso oming to the Mac.

Read the rest of this post »

IBM’s Watson could merge with Siri

watson-siri

IBM and Apple’s new enterprise partnership is already being called one of the “most important and powerful tech partnerships ever.”

But outside of selling more iPads, iPhones and Macs in business, what else could Apple get out of the deal, which was announced Tuesday? According to a new report, Watson — IBM’s Jeopardy-winning A.I. capable of understanding natural language.

Read the rest of this post »

Flappy Bird is now playable on the Apple II

The Flappy Bird phenomenon will never die. Although the game has been pulled from the App Store, the addictive little Bird has spawned a million clones, and been ported to all manner of devices, including Android and Windows Phone smartphones, as well as the Mac.

But what you’re about to see might just be the ultimate Flappy Bird port. It’s Flappy Bird running on a vintage Apple IIc, at an astonishing 60 frames per second.

Read the rest of this post »

Cydia’s creator to jailbreakers: Don’t count on me doing this forever

Cydia jailbreak backup

Ever since the first iPhone was jailbroken, hacker and developer Jay Freeman, aka Saurik, has maintained the Cydia Store as a way for jailbreakers to download, buy and sell their tweaks.

Run consistently since February 2008, there have been more than a few challengers over the years — Cydia alternatives developed by third parties who promise to “better monetize” the jailbreak community — but Cydia continues to be the de facto repository for jailbreak tweaks.

But Freeman says we can’t take Cydia for granted. In fact, he’s thought about picking up his toys and going home.

Read the rest of this post »

Dropbox’s new feature could speed up sync times by 200%

newdropbox

When it comes to syncing multiple small files, Dropbox is a great service that can make sure that your photo libraries, documents, and more are synced between multiple computers without fuss.

But one thing Dropbox isn’t great at is syncing bigger files. Oh, it’ll get the job done, but relatively slowly. But a new a update to the service is promising to get large files synced between clients twice as fast.

Read the rest of this post »

What Microsoft’s new CEO could learn about writing from Steve Jobs

microsofts-new-ceo-satya-nadella-is-known-internally-as-the-guy-who-cuts-middle-management

Outspoken ex-Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassée has never been afraid to speak his mind, even when contradicting the most powerful Silicon Valley executives.

But even by Gassée’s usual standard, he doesn’t have kind words for Microsoft’s new CEO Satya Nadella. Having read his recent “3,100 plodding word” essay sent out to 127,000 Microsoft employees to describe the Windows-maker’s new vision, Gassée calls Nadella a “repeat befuddler” who could learn a thing or two from Steve Jobs on how to express himself.

Read the rest of this post »

Mysterious iPhone 6 running iOS 7 hacked together from leaked parts

iPhone-6-Clone-03

The Chinese are so good at cloning Apple’s upcoming products that they regularly release fully functional doppelgangers of the next iPhone before Apple has even officially announced it. But these are ‘clones’ in only the vaguest sense, because they always have one major problem: they run Android, not iOS.

But that’s not true with this iPhone 6 clone. Although it looks exactly like an iPhone 6, it appears to be running iOS 7, not Android.

Read the rest of this post »

Rock paper scissors meets Portal in Smarter Than You

Luca Redwood, the creator of the super-addictive sliding tile game 10,000,000, has been working on a sequel to that game called You Must Build A Boat for the last year, but that’s not the only app he has up his sleeves.

Yesterday, Redwood announced that he had another game in the pipeline. Called Smarter Than You, it’s a modern take on rock, paper, scissors, but with subterfuge and a malevolent A.I. named M.E.T.I.S. mixed in.

Read the rest of this post »

Infinite worlds, pets, villages and more come to Minecraft – Pocket Edition

minecraft__beautiful_landscape_by_italyman12-d3fp9n2

When it was first released on iOS devices in 2011, Minecraft: Pocket Edition was just a shadow of what it was on the PC. Where as the PC version contained infinite worlds, Pocket Edition’s worlds were tiny and self-contained. There were no monsters, nor underground chasms. And so on.

For Minecraft fans hoping to play the game on the go, these omissions were disappointing. But over the years, slowly but surely, Pocket Edition has caught up with the features of its progenitor, and the 0.9.0 updated, released yesterday, makes Minecraft: Pocket Edition almost indistinguishable from having the PC version in your pocket.

Read the rest of this post »

China says that the iPhone is a national security threat

Apple-China

The iPhone brings untold billions of dollars of industry into China thanks to the manufacturing jobs it creates, but that hasn’t stopped the Chinese Government — through their state-controlled media mouthpieces — from calling the device a “national security concern.”

Why? Because iOS can track your location, which according to a China Central Television report, could be used to betray Chinese state secrets to the rest of the world.

Read the rest of this post »