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2012

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Last Thursday, the night before the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony, we were invited by Acer to visit the Olympic Park.

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This is what the entrance looked like on Thursday afternoon – it certainly won’t look like that now!

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To get in you needed an Olympic Park ticket.

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Then it was time to go through security.

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Welcome to London 2012!

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Then it was time to make our way through the Park.

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The views throughout the Park are amazing.

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The Park is huge – just take a look at the map below.

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There was lots of helicopter activity – I wonder if that was part of the entrance made by the Queen and James Bond (if you haven’t seen it, look for it online)!

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I have to say that I felt incredibly proud to be British and to see what all the hard work has accomplished. It was also a privilege to able to walk around the night before the opening ceremony, and watch as the finishing touches were being made, without the hundreds and thousands of visitors that will be there.

Have you been to the Olympic Park yet? If so, let us know what you thought of it by leaving a comment below.

Samsung, Worldwide Olympic Partner in the wireless communications equipment category, today launched the latest initiative of its Everyone’s Olympic Games campaign by unveiling the Samsung London 2012 Predictor app, providing informative and entertaining Olympic Games content on Android devices, including Samsung’s Olympic Games phone the Galaxy S III.

Samsung Olympics app

The new app features a competitive element where friends can challenge each other using Facebook by predicting medal winners in Olympic Games events. The Samsung London 2012 Predictor app contains key information on athletes and teams including their previous performances and career accolades, meaning participants can make an informed judgement when making their predictions on which teams and athletes will enjoy a podium finish. Medal notifications are delivered instantly when an event finishes so those taking part can keep up to date with who got their prediction right and who was left languishing in last place.

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I spent the afternoon and evening yesterday in the Olympic Park, but more on that very soon!

[button link="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.samsung.olympics2012&feature=search_result#?t=W251bGwsMSwyLDEsImNvbS5zYW1zdW5nLm9seW1waWNzMjAxMiJd" style="download"]Download the London 2012 Predicator app now from Google Play[/button]

Have you installed the app? Let us know what you think of it by leaving a comment below.

Today Microsoft announced their Windows Server 2012 line up, and one server noticeably missing is Windows Home Server!

2012 Server Line up

This little piece of news is something that we MVP’s have known about for some time but because of NDA’s haven’t been able to say anything.

This is one of a few reasons why we changed the name of this site from Using Windows Home Server to Connected Digital World!

So if you want similar functionality to Windows Home Server in a 2012 Server product then you will be looking for Windows Server 2012 Essentials, which will cost you around $425! So that’s quite a price hike from Windows Home Server 2011!

Some additional information could be found in the Windows Server 2012 Essentials FAQ:

Q: Will there be a next version of Windows Home Server?
A: No. Windows Home Server has seen its greatest success in small office/home office (SOHO) environments and among the technology enthusiast community. For this reason, Microsoft is combining the features that were previously only found in Windows Home Server, such as support for DLNA-compliant devices and media streaming, into Windows Server 2012 Essentials and focusing our efforts into making Windows Server 2012 Essentials the ideal first server operating system for both small business and home use—offering an intuitive administration experience, elastic and resilient storage features with Storage Spaces, and robust data protection for the server and client computers.

Q: How long will customers be able to purchase Windows Home Server 2011?
A: Windows Home Server 2011 will remain available as an OEM embedded product until December 31, 2025, and will remain available in all other current channels until December 31, 2013.

So what do you think of this news? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

If you want to read the full line-up of Windows Server 2012 products, click here.

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We spent last week with Ford at their Future Trends event in Detroit, and on the last day we were taken to Ford’s Test Track. One of the things we got to do was see and drive the new 2013 Mustangs, including being driven around by a professional driver.

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The area for this part of the day was called Adrenaline Road, and they were not kidding!

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There were six cars in all – 2 driven by professionals, 2 automatics and 2 manuals.

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We also got taken around the track by a professional driver. This experience was amazing and even 10 minutes after getting out of the car my heart was still racing!

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Towards the end of the morning they had to replace both professionally driven cars because they had gone through all the tyres!

And here is a video showing the new 2013 Mustangs, the Adrenaline Course, being driven around by the two professional drivers and they us having a go ourselves!

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We spent last week with Ford at their Future Trends event in Detroit, and on the last day we were taken to Ford’s Test Track. One of the things we got to do was see and drive the new 2013 Police Inceptors.

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One of the areas was called Police Interceptor Drive and they had the new Sedan and the new Utility versions of the 2013 Police Interceptors available to see and drive – so who were we to turn down such an opportunity!

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Ford have specifically designed and engineered an all-new Police Interceptor vehicle;e to handle the rigors of police work, working hand-in-hand with its Police Advisory Board of law enforcement professionals.

Some details on the vehicles:

  • 3.5-litre Ti-VCT V6 FFV flex fuel-capable
  • Optional 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6
  • Six-speed automatic transmission
  • All-wheel-drive system

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And here is a short video explaining more about the new 2013 Police Inceptors, and also us driving them!

They were a lot of fun to drive and they handle really well. Queue the Cops theme tune…..

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We spent last week with Ford at their Future Trends event in Detroit, and one of the sessions included seeing how they test their cars in a wind tunnel.

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We were taken to Wind Tunnel 8 where we would be standing in the wind tunnel during a test.

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Because we were actually in the wind tunnel they only took it up to around 25 mph.

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Using smoke, they demonstrated how the new 2013 Ford Fusion deals with wind and is aerodynamic.

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Here is a short video of it in action – apologies that it was a like shaky in parts, but we were in a wind tunnel!

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Recently we reviewed the CoPilot Live Premium GPS Navigation app. Now CoPilot have released their 2012 Q1 map updates – but only for North America so far.

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This is what CoPilot posted:

We’ve released a complete map update featuring our latest 2012 Q1 map data for all North America & USA CoPilot Live Premium iOS and Android customers. This adds thousands of new miles of roads in the U.S. and Canada and hundreds of map improvements submitted by customers during the months of March, April and May.

Here’s how to get the latest quarterly map update:

  • For iPhone & iPad CoPilot Live Premium customers: You can download the latest free Quarterly map update via the latest application update in your iTunes; For Premium HD USA, Premium USA, and Premium NA customers: Version 9.1.0.297. For Premium HD NA customers: Version 9.1.0.270
  • For Android CoPilot Live Premium customers: You can download the latest version of maps directly from your phone using CoPilot Live. Within the app, go to MyCoPilot > My Maps and you will receive a prompt that a new version of your maps is available. Click OK to begin the download.

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Today at E3 Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist was shown off at both the Microsoft press conference and also the Ubisoft press conference – and it looks really good!

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The United States has a military presence in two thirds of countries around the world. A group of rogue nations have had enough and initiate a terror ultimatum called the Blacklist – a deadly countdown of escalating terrorist attacks on U.S. interests. Sam Fisher is the leader of the newly formed 4th Echelon unit: a clandestine unit that answers solely to the President of the United States. Sam and his team must hunt down these terrorists by any means necessary, and stop the Blacklist countdown before it reaches zero.

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Key Features

Operate without Restrictions
Sam is back in his tactical suit and goggles, and he’s more deadly than ever. He is the only secret operative with the power to act above the law, and uses ruthless methods to interrogate enemies in order to extract crucial information that will prevent the next Blacklist attack. Pursuing the terrorists to the far reaches of the world, Sam flies from exotic locales to U.S. cities as he races against the clock to find out who’s behind the Blacklist. Thrilling gameplay is enhanced by full motion performance capture, creating a highly cinematic experience.

Kill in Motion:
Always one step ahead, Killing In Motion lets Sam strike with lethal precision by marking and executing multiple enemies in one fluid motion. Active Sprint allows him to traverse the environment easily and fluidly, climb walls and leap over barriers in order to reach his next target while on the move.

Unleash the power of 4th Echelon Prototypes
Splinter Cell Blacklist innovates from the roots of the franchise, and players can enjoy a series of twists on franchise favorites including reinvented classic weapons. Infiltrate terrorist cells by using new gadgets such as the upgraded snake cam and micro-trirotor drone which allows Sam to scout ahead, mark targets remotely, distract enemies, or explode with frag grenade force. Splinter Cell Blacklist is also bringing back fan-favorites like the sticky shocker, and for close quarters combat, players can wield the curved and brutal Karambit knife.

Build a New Echelon:
With a mandate directly from the President, Sam is building a whole new Echelon unit; his team, his way. Anna “Grim” Grimsdottir is his technical operations manager, CIA operative Isaac Briggs brings additional firepower, and resident hacker Charlie Cole rounds out his support crew.  4th Echelon is a fully mobile ops unit with unlimited resources and cutting edge technology aboard the repurposed stealth airliner, the Paladin.

Enjoy a Fully Integrated Experience
Sam and his team are aware of terrorist attacks in real time thanks to the Strategic Mission Interface (SMI). The SMI allows the team to receive data about mission objectives while on the move.  Players can earn money for completing missions and objectives and buy upgraded weapons and items from the SMI hub aboard the Paladin.

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Splinter Cell Blacklist will be available in the Spring of 2013, so we still have a little wait yet. Having seen a few different demo’s today I am impressed, and I look forward to playing it myself, hopefully this week!

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It wasn’t a surprise to see Microsoft start their E3 Xbox press conference here at E3 with new footage of Halo 4.

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We were treated to several minutes of live action story followed by a few minutes of gameplay – and it looked awesome.

Here are some more images from Halo 4 to keep you going.

This is of the commissioning of the new ship:

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And these are other images from the game:

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“Halo 4” marks the beginning of a new saga in the blockbuster franchise that has shaped entertainment history and defined a generation of gamers. Developed by 343 Industries exclusively for Xbox 360, “Halo 4” ushers in the return of mankind’s greatest hero, the Master Chief, in a newly envisioned, epic sci-fi adventure.

Set nearly five years after the events of “Halo 3,” “Halo 4” follows the Master Chief and his faithful artificial intelligence (AI) companion Cortana as they venture into a mysterious new world and discover an overpowering ancient evil that threatens to annihilate mankind. With humanity’s fate hanging in the balance, the Master Chief and Cortana are thrust into a desperate mission against overwhelming odds to save mankind from the threat of imminent extinction.

As one of the biggest video game franchises in history, the “Halo” series has sold more than 42 million games to date, generating nearly $3 billion in total franchise sales. “Halo 4” takes the award-winning series in a bold new direction, delivering its most epic and explorative campaign yet, together with a groundbreaking multiplayer offering rooted in “Halo” fiction —setting the stage for an epic new sci-fi saga.

Features: Top features include the following:

·   A new “Halo” saga begins. “Halo 4” marks the dawn of a blockbuster new game series, the Reclaimer Saga, centered on the Master Chief ashe embarks on an emotional journey fraught with personal demons and the most daunting challenges he’s ever faced. Featuring a darker and more personal story that reintroduces the iconic hero as a genuinely human character, “Halo 4” sets players on an epic sci-fi voyage that will span the next decade of “Halo” games.

As the story unfolds, the Master Chief and his relationship with Cortana will evolve in deep and meaningful ways that will resonate through the entire Reclaimer Saga.

·   A powerful and riveting campaign. Brace for a thrilling, action-packed adventure deep inside a mysterious new world to confront the gravest threat humanity has ever faced. Harness a vast arsenal of futuristic human and alien weaponry, abilities, and vehicles as you step back into the boots of the Master Chief and wage a desperate war against an overpowering new nemesis and a deadly new class of technologically advanced foes —the Prometheans —that will challenge you to employ innovative new combat tactics.2

With increased pace and action, greater epic encounters, new interactive story elements, and more combat freedom than ever before, “Halo 4” delivers the series’ most dynamic and explosive campaign yet —whether you take up the fight solo or launch a cooperative assault with up to four players over Xbox LIVE.

·   A revolutionary new multiplayer experience. “Halo 4” introduces the groundbreaking “Halo Infinity Multiplayer” offering that will redefine the award-winning series and revolutionize the way people think about storytelling and multiplayer gameplay.

–   Birth of your Spartan: Infinity. The hub of the “Halo 4” multiplayer experience is the UNSC Infinity —the largest starship in the UNSC fleet that serves as the center of your Spartan career. Here, you’ll build your custom Spartan-IV supersoldier and progress your multiplayer career across all “Halo 4” competitive and cooperative game modes. As you advance your Spartan career aboard the largest starship in the UNSC fleet, your multiplayer experience will be embedded in the fiction of “Halo” like never before, where your progress and game choices affect your appearance, your arsenal and your role on the battlefield.

–   Spartan Ops. The story of the UNSC Infinity intersects with the “Halo 4” campaign, and then continues on in a brand-new, story-driven experience known as Spartan Ops. A first-of-its-kind, exciting new addition to the “Halo” franchise,Spartan Ops is an episodic adventure that blends immersive storytelling, high-quality cinematics and action-packed gameplay to deliver an unprecedented serialized experience.

Through a weekly series of cinematic episodes, Spartan Ops will tell the continuing story of the UNSC Infinity, following the events of “Halo 4.” These episodes will center on the UNSC Infinity leaders and crew as well as a new team of Spartans —Majestic Squad. These cinematic episodes will provide the backdrop for the weekly Spartan Ops gameplay missions. Playable in single-player or cooperatively with up to four players, Spartan Ops lets you explore the corners of Requiem in objective-based missions and help uncover the secrets of the mysterious Forerunner world.

A massive-scale adventure that builds off the “Halo 4” story, access to Spartan Ops is included with “Halo 4” at no additional charge —effectively delivering two campaign experiences in one game.

–   War Games. The competitive multiplayer modes of “Halo 4,” known asWar Games,take place on the combat deck of the UNSC Infinity and revive the visceral and immersive experiences that “Halo” multiplayer is famous for. Featuring 10 diverse and action-packed new multiplayer maps at launch, “Halo 4” introduces a broad variety of immersive new game modes and strategies to help you progress your Spartan-IV career, while delivering an experience that’s distinctly “Halo.”

–   Total combat freedom and player progression. “Halo 4” features a vastly expanded suite of new multiplayer modes, weapons, vehicles and armor abilities; a new loadout and player progression system; and a new armor modification system that introduces gameplay-enhancing customizations for the first time in a “Halo” game. These advancements can be used in both Spartan Ops and certain War Games matchmaking playlists, empowering players’ choices, vastly expanding their creative options, and making the experience deeper for core fans and more approachable for newcomers.

The “Halo 4” player progression system goes beyond simple aesthetic upgrades, encouraging players to invest time and effort to create a Spartan that looks and plays the way they want. Players can obtain and activate combat enhancements called “Specializations” based on the style of play they engage in, from stealth to all-out assault and everything in between.

·   Redefining the “Halo” game engine. Built on the backbone of the engine that revolutionized the shooter genre and console gaming, “Halo 4” provides a more visceral and visually stunning “Halo” experience than ever before, taking a massive leap forward with all-new engine technology, including state-of-the-art graphics, lighting, animation, audio, physics, motion-capture cinematics and AI. All these systems have been dramatically overhauled or redesigned from the ground up to deliver the most visually striking and immersive “Halo” game to date.

·   Gripping music and audio. From acclaimed producer and composer Neil Davidge of the famed trip hop group Massive Attack comes a sweeping musical score that captures the heroic spirit and emotional intensity of the Master Chief’s adventure. Combined with all-new audio recordings for every weapon and sound effect in the game, the action gets up close and personal, delivering an impactful experience that resonates as powerfully as an epic Hollywood blockbuster.

·   Building on the “Halo” legacy. “Halo 4” delivers one of the most anticipated entertainment launches of the year, building on the “Halo” franchise that has accomplished the following:
–   Sold more than 42 million game copies to date
–   Made nearly $3 billion in franchise sales over its lifetime
–   Amassed more than 3.3 billion hours of Xbox LIVE gameplay
–   Inspired books, comics, graphic novels and strategy guides that have sold more than 9 million copies (Eight of the 10 novels are New York Times best-sellers.)
–   Garnered more than 580 media and industry awards, accolades and nominations

“Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn”

Availability:

– October 2012 (worldwide)debut of five weekly episodes available via the Machinima Prime channel on YouTube and Halo Waypoint
– Nov. 6, 2012 , launch of the “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn” Special Edition, an extended edit with additional footage and bonus content as part of the “Halo 4” Limited Edition

Overview: Premiering this October on Machinima’s YouTube channel and on Halo Waypoint, “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn” is a groundbreaking, live-action digital series that takes fans back to the terrifying beginning of the Human-Covenant wars, when the Master Chief inspired a young cadet who would eventually become a leader aboard the UNSC’s greatest vessel: the UNSC Infinity. “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn” delivers an emotional, action-packed story of heroism and sacrifice that leads into the events of “Halo 4,” the biggest entertainment event of 2012.

The “Halo 4” Limited Edition will include access to the 90-minute “Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn” Special Edition via Halo Waypoint, with never-before-seen bonus footage, as well as bonus content and behind-the-scenes videos.

Alex Kuretz over at MediaSmartServer.net has some information on the WindowsSmart 2012 add-in and updated Home Server SMART information.

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This is what was posted in the MediaSmartServer.net forums:

As promised, Home Server SMART is and always will be free. WindowSMART, on the other hand, will be Shareware. WindowSMART will run for 30 days as a full-featured trial, after which it will need to be registered (purchase a license) or it will stop working. During the beta, this trial timer will NOT be enforced. If you purchase a license for WindowSMART before the production release, you will still need to update to the production release. July 31 is a hard-coded end for the beta builds.

5 FREE Home Office Licenses to MediaSmartServer.net Users!
I am offering 5 FREE Home Office licenses (a $20 value) to the MediaSmartServer.net community for WindowSMART 2012. Please send me a PM with your first and last name, business name (if you have one) and email address. The first 5 users to PM me will receive their free license via email. I will email your license in under 24 hours. Once all 5 licenses are given away, I’ll post the winners.

MediaSmartServer.net Pre-Release License Sale!
I am offering a pre-release license sale – you can buy a WindowSMART license now, and it will be good for Beta 6, Release Candidate AND all production releases. Updates are free for life. If you would like to buy a license today, you can. Here are the licenses that are on sale:

Family/Home – $10 (regularly $15) – non-commercial home use; unlimited users at a single residential address
Home Office – $15 (regularly $20) – same as Family/Home except commercial use allowed
Small Business 1 – $40 (regularly $50) – up to 25 unique users at 1 location
Small Business 2 – $60 (regularly $75) – up to 100 unique users at 1 location
Medium Business 1 – $80 (regularly $100) – up to 100 unique users at 2 locations
Medium Business 2 – $150 (regularly $200) – up to 500 unique users at 20 locations

Please visit http://wiki.dojonorthsoftware.net/WindowSMART_2012_Licensing for licensing details.

via: MediaSmartServer.net

Earlier today we told you that Kingston had announced their new HyperX 3K SSD, and we got to take a brief look at one today at the Gadget Show Live.

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Powered by the second-generation SandForce SF-2281 processor and based on SATA Rev. 3.0 (6Gb/s) interface, Kingston HyperX 3K SSD is the ideal high-performance upgrade solution for budget-minded gamers, enthusiasts, multitaskers, overclockers and system builders.

HyperX 3K SSD loads games and applications faster, increases frames-per-second for an improved gaming experience and allows for quick transfers and edits of large media files. It has incredible sequential read/write throughputs of 555/510MB/s and max random R/W 85,000/74,000 IOPS. HyperX 3K SSD features SandForce DuraClass technology to provide best in class endurance and to maximize life span and durability under the most intensive environments.

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Here is a short video we shot today at Gadget Show Live 2012 (apologies about the loud background noise):

Stay tuned for a full hands-on review later this week.

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