Mac

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Back in January we told you about StarTech’s new Thunderbolt laptop docking station – well now it’s time for our review.

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The Thunderbolt Docking Station gives you a single connection point to your home / office workstation, for a flexible setup with formidable speed. Adding Thunderbolt and HDMI video outputs, Gigabit Ethernet, a USB 3.0 hub and 3.5mm audio ports to your Thunderbolt-equipped laptop has never been easier.

Who are StarTech?

From their website:

Founded in 1985 by Paul Seed and Ken Kalopsis, StarTech.com is an ISO 9001 Registered manufacturer of hard-to-find connectivity parts. Since its inception, our company has been dedicated to making IT professionals jobs easier by helping them identify, find and get the connectivity parts they need to enable their solutions.

Features

· Thunderbolt output, daisy-chainable up to six Thunderbolt-equipped devices

· High resolution support: 1920×1080 through HDMI, 2560×1440 through Thunderbolt

· Integrated 3-port USB 3.0 hub, with UASP support, full USB 3.0 throughput per port

· Host connection supports full Thunderbolt throughput, up to 10Gbps

· 10/100/1000 Mbps compatible Gigabit Ethernet port

· Weighted stand for vertical positioning

· Speaker and Microphone support via 3.5mm stereo mini-jacks

· Includes 1m Thunderbolt cable

· Plug/port compatible with Thunderbolt 2-equipped MacBook laptops and Thunderbolt 2 devices

What’s in the Box?

  • The box contains:
  • The Thunderbolt Docking Station
  • 1m Thunderbolt Cable
  • Stand with screws
  • 4 x Rubber Feet
  • Power Adaptor (with multiple plugs for different regions)
  • Installation CD
  • Instruction Manual

A Closer Look

The majority of the ports are on the rear of the dock (these include 2 USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt ports, HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet and of course the power connector.

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The front of the device has a single USB 3.0 port, and a 3.5mm microphone and headphone socket. There is also a power light on the front which illuminates when the dock is connected to your Mac.

Final Thoughts

The first thing I noticed when I opened the box is that the actually contained a Thunderbolt cable. So often these days you get a Thunderbolt device only to find that you also need to go and buy a cable. Thankfully StarTech put a 1m cable in the box for you.

The Docking Station is quite small and needs to be placed on the stand and secured with two screws – this only takes a moment and you are ready to go.

Plug in the power adaptor and connect the Thunderbolt cable to the dock and then to either your Mac or PC with a Thunderbolt port and the device comes to life – you can see it’s all working by the light on the front of the device. You don’t need to install any drivers as this is taken care of for you automatically.

One thing I really liked was the ability to use both a Thunderbolt display, and an HDMI display at the same time. In fact, if you count the Mac’s display as well you can have three displays running! If your monitor has a mini-display port then you can use that too, however the HDMI port then gets disabled, so bear that in mind depending on your multiple display needs.

Overall I really liked the Thunderbolt Dock – it had everything I needed to expand my Mac’s connectors.

The only thing that might put people off is the price – it’s not cheap, but then you are getting a lot of ports for your money, plus you do get a Thunderbolt cable in the box. And if you have a Mac you know that Apple doesn’t make docking stations so this could be a very wise purchase if you want to expand your Mac!

The price for StarTech.com’s TBDOCKHDPBC Thunderbolt Docking Station is $279.99 in the United States, $288.99 in Canada, £214.99 (exc. VAT) in the UK, but as usual look around for the best deal.

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You can learn more from the StarTech website.

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Today 2K and Firaxis Games has announced that XCOM: Enemy Unknown – The Complete Edition is now available internationally for Windows PC and Mac. Its was developed by the strategy experts at Firaxis Games, XCOM: Enemy Unknown – Complete Edition includes the XCOM: Enemy Unknown (2013) and XCOM: Enemy Within (2014), as well as the Elite Soldier Pack, Slingshot and Second Wave add-on content priced at £29.99.

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In XCOM: Enemy Unknown, players oversee combat strategies and individual unit tactics, as well as base management and resource allocation while playing as the commander of a secret global military organization: XCOM. With equal emphasis on deep strategy and intense tactical combat, XCOM: Enemy Unknown allows gamers to defend against a terrifying global invasion and determine the fate of the human race. XCOM: Enemy Within allows even more ways to enhance XCOM’s operatives: they can be genetically enhanced with abilities taken from the aliens themselves, or transformed into cybernetic warriors. These new abilities and units are imperative to face not just new aliens, but a new global threat known as EXALT, an underground human organization set on disrupting XCOM operations and taking control of Earth. XCOM: Enemy Within also includes an array of new maps, upgrades and weapons in both single player and multiplayer

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Warner Bros Games and Turbine have announced that on 14th March Infinite Crisis (MOBA), will enter Open Beta. To celebrate this milestone three never-before-seen Champions have been revealed!

Green Arrow, Aquaman and Mecha Superman will join an already robust lineup of Infinite Crisis Champions, which includes Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, among many others. Bios for each of these new Champions’ can be found below.

In Open Beta, players will be able to test their skills on Infinite Crisis’ exciting new tri-lane map, “Gotham Divided,” where two universes collide and players can battle across Gotham City and its Multiverse variant Gotham by Gaslight.

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Green Arrow Trailer

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NCSOFT and ArenaNet, has introduces the penultimate chapter in the saga of super villain Scarlet Briar today with its latest living world release, “Escape from Lion’s Arch”. The release opens with the cosmopolitan city of Lion’s Arch, a multicultural centre of trade dating back to the original Guild Wars, under siege by Scarlet’s forces. Even as the heroes of Tyria, made up of players and the iconic characters of this diverse world, rally to save the city, the ominous sense that Guild Wars 2 will never be the same is evident from the opening scene. Lion’s Arch is burning!

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For the past year, players have battled Scarlet’s minions, foiled her schemes, and discovered more about her sinister goals. Now, after months of planning, Scarlet’s attack on Lion’s Arch sets the stage for a final ruthless push in her still mysterious grand plan. In “Escape from Lion’s Arch”, players battle alongside the Lionguard to take on Scarlet’s dark allies and evacuate as many citizens from the city as possible. They will face ferocious challenges as her minions roam freely through the besieged city and in the waters of the harbour. To protect the innocent, players will have to battle everything from the brutal charr of the Flame Legion and the towering clockwork watchknights to vicious creatures such as the krait and the feared Aetherblade sky pirates.

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As all of this takes place, a deadly miasma poison spreads across the city, forcing desperate survivors into refugee camps in the outskirts. At the Vigil Keep in the Gendarran Fields, players will find a new rallying point and an impromptu hub of trades and services they’ll need to defend Lion’s Arch. Only they stand between Scarlet and total devastation for one of the most important cities in Guild Wars 2.

 

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NCSOFT and ArenaNet, today released the teaser video trailer for the upcoming living world release “Escape from Lion’s Arch,” coming 18th February. The ominous trailer focuses on the trademark city of Lion’s Arch, a beacon of prosperity in Tyria that acts as trading hub for players. The city has proven resilient to numerous onslaughts by enemy races, pirates, the undead, even an Elder Dragon. Now, the villainous Scarlet Briar may present this proud city with its most terrifying foe yet.

As the teaser trailer shows, the forces of the sylvari supervillain will soon descend upon Lion’s Arch. Aetherblade airships, dirigibles of death piloted by the dreaded pirates who now serve Scarlet, loom over the city like birds of prey. On the ground, the cruel serpentine krait and subterranean dredge hunt for prey and terrorize its citizens. In one grim moment in the video, the famed nautical architecture of the city burns as innocents try to flee the devastation.

Lion’s Arch is a thriving city familiar to any Guild Wars 2 player, home to in-game traders and vendors as well as the asura gates that lead to the far corners of Tyria and beyond. The city has served as the focus for in-game holidays and events including Halloween and Wintersday, and has been featured extensively in living world releases such as “Sky Pirates of Tyria” and “Cutthroat Politics.” Lion’s Arch played an important part in the original Guild Wars, and is featured in the extension of the game lore in the novel “Sea of Sorrows” by Ree Soesbee. “Escape from Lion’s Arch” will be available to all Guild Wars 2 players on 18th February.

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Telltale Games, in cooperation with DC Entertainment, has launched the second episode of the five episode game series, The Wolf Among Us. Based on Bill Willingham’s award-winning comic book series ‘FABLES’ and licensed by Warner Bros.

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Telltale Games brings the second episode, ‘Smoke & Mirrors,’ to Xbox LIVE Marketplace for Xbox 360, PS3 via the PlayStation Network, and on PC and Mac from the Telltale Online Store and other digital distribution outlets.  The episode also makes its debut this week on the iOS App Store as an in-app purchase within the original The Wolf Among Us release.

The Wolf Among Us second episode, ‘Smoke & Mirrors,’ is now available on Xbox LIVE Marketplace and PlayStation Network for $4.99 individually, or as part of a season pass option including access to episodes as they are released.  On PC/Mac, the episode is available as part of a season pass, and also available on the iOS App Store as part of a season multi-pack, or for $4.99 as an in-app purchase within The Wolf Among Us application.

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NCSOFT and ArenaNet have introduced players to a mysterious new realm in the ‘Edge of the Mists’. The release delivers living world content that drives forward the story of villain Scarlet Briar, exposing more of her horrific plans for Tyria and its citizens. At the same time, ‘Edge of the Mists’ introduces an overflow map with new gameplay systems and improvements to the overall experience for World vs. World (WvW), the game’s massive battle PvP mode that continues to surge in popularity.

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As players will discover in the ‘Edge of the Mists’, no place is safe from the schemes of supervillain Scarlet Briar. The previously undiscovered realm is now overrun by the Aetherblades; dreaded sky pirates of Tyria who are undoubtedly pursuing the deeds of their minion Scarlet. Tragically, norn warrior Braham along with asuran child prodigy Taimi; both key characters in Guild Wars 2; have become stranded in the Mists. Players must help them while fending off attacks from the vicious Aetherblades.

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The introduction of the ‘Edge of the Mists’ is also giving players a new way to experience the game’s popular WvW mode. In WvW, armies of players engage in PvP on an epic scale, competing to seize territory, lay siege to castles, raid enemy supplies, and spread mayhem on four vast maps in the Mists. Now, players will never again have to wait to participate in WvW.  ‘Edge of the Mists’ acts as an overflow map that gives them the option to continue playing in a PvP and PvE environment, with different zones that compose the map’s network of floating islands inhabited by creatures such as the kodan, ogres, and grawl.  Players continue to build rank and gain loot and achievements while still in queue to join regular WvW matches.  There’s also a new UI system in place that provides complete visibility on which maps are populated and anticipated queue times.

The living world action in today’s release isn’t limited to the Mists. Back in Tyria, players will join two other key characters, Marjory and Kasmeer, in the seedy Dead End Bar to piece together clues as to Scarlet’s true motives. Using artifacts and props from the last year of living world storylines, players will deduce Scarlet’s ultimate plan in a shocking revelation.

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Ubisoft has announced  that the R.E.M. DLC pack for Rocksmith 2014 Edition is now available for download on Xbox LIVE for Xbox 360, the PlayStation Network for the PlayStation 3 and Steam for PC and Mac.

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Songs included in this 5-song pack are “Shiny Happy People”, “Everybody Hurts”, “Uberlin”, “To The One I Love” and “What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?”

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Individual songs are available for $2.99 or the complete 3-song pack for $11.99.

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New music packs continue to be released on a regular basis

 

Here is the first official trailer for the next episode of ‘The Wolf Among Us,’  from TellTale games based on Bill Willingham’s award-winning comic book series ‘FABLES’ and licensed by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

The Wolf Among Us’ second episode, ‘Smoke & Mirrors,’ will be available on Xbox LIVE Marketplace and PlayStation Network for $4.99, or as part of a season pass option including access to episodes as they are released.  On PC/Mac, the episode will be available as part of a season pass, and also available on the iOS App Store as part of a season multi-pack, or for $4.99 USD as an in-app purchase within The Wolf Among Us application.

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‘Smoke & Mirrors’ will be arriving for download to consoles, PC/MAC, and iOS next week.

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Blackguards, the sinister turn based RPG by Hamburg-based publisher Daedalic Entertainment is now available worldwide via Steam and GOG for PC and Mac.

Players who purchased Blackguards via the Steam Early Access Program will receive an automatic update including the full version of the game. This will also include new features implemented as a result of feedback collected throughout the time the game was in Early Access.

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For players who would like to get a taste of the game, Daedalic Entertainment have released a free demo containing the first chapter of the game.

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Blackguards is available now for PC and Mac for the RRP of £29.99 for the Standard Edition and £44.99 for the Collector’s Edition.

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On a recent trip to Paris with Ubisoft for Watch Dogs, I had the chance to play Watch Dogs for a few hours, from the start, and here are my thoughts.