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Nearly one-and-a-half years after it promised the world a new way to play video games, that is, by turning gamers into controllers, Microsoft has launched Kinect. The device, launched last week, combines an RGB camera, depth sensor and multi-array microphone, tracks a player’s full body movement in 3-D and responds to gestures and spoken commands. Microsoft says this is a “transition from the current graphics user interface” which has people talking to a machine. Now, there is a “natural user interface” that allows even those uncomfortable with clicking buttons to play games without having to negotiate a difficult learning curve. But there is not much for hardcore gamers. Kinect has been launched in India with 11 games. Barring Harry Potter and deathly hallows, every title is targeted at casual gamers. The price is steep at rs.9900. But if you’re the type of gamer who loves to dance or drive a virtual car by moving an imaginary steering wheel in the air, you may like Kinect.
There is change and it’s all for the better. Unlike in the past when many of the latest gadgets never used to make it to India, now they do. After Kinect, it is apple’s new MacBook Air and iLife 2011. Air is arguably the world’s thinnest notebook, or rather thinnest, most beefed-up netbook. It’s 0.11” at its thinnest end and 0.68” at its thickest. It is light, has a full-size keyboard and its unibody aluminum construction makes it immensely sturdy. The only problem is price and its hardware which is not great. Rs. 60,900 is too much for an entry-level notebook with a two-year-old core-2-duo processor. iLife 2011, meanwhile an update of the Apple software suite that includes iPicture, iMovie and GarageBand, an application that teaches you how to play music. In typical Apple fashion, the new iLife suite is very polished. Particularly impressive is the simple video and audio editing and the new social network integration that allows user to share pictures and videos right from within the application.
There are many who love their iPod but hate iTunes. They find it too confusing, resource heavy and functionally restricted. iTunes doesn’t even allow songs to be exported from iPod to computer. But several third party programs give iPod users options unavailable through iTunes. SharePod is one of them. It is a lightweight, feature-rich program. Sharing songs between computer and iPod couldn’t be easier. There is drag-and-drop support, an option to backup the iPod, edit playlists and tags. Users who feel at home with windows and its folder-based navigation will find SharePod particularly easy due to the low-level control it gives to the syncing process.