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Avernum 5

Its looks are basic, but its story and crazy amount of options will keep you coming back for more.  Avernum 5 is like a steaming plate of diner meat loaf—the presentation ain’t pretty, but it fills you up and leaves you satisfied. With an intense and engaging story smothered in traditional RPG gameplay gravy, it will thrill role-playing fans, as long as they don’t expect fine-dining flourishes like 3D graphics or multiplayer modes.

Susie Ochs's picture

Master Kick

Foosball Rules!Haven’t you always wanted to play foosball on your Mac? Come on, sure you have. Foosball rules. And this is a light, practically brainless, stress-relieving, palate-cleanser of a foosball game, perfect for breaking up long stretches of...whatever it is you do all day. 

Zack Stern's picture

Axiotron Modbook

The Modbook can do a lot of things a regular MacBook can’t. We still don’t recommend that you take it for a float in the pool!  Take away a MacBook’s keyboard, and add a touchscreen display, and behold the Modbook. Literally a retrofitted MacBook, this Apple-sanctioned tablet Mac shares the same features and performance. But the Modbook does more—and less—than Apple’s portable. The Modbook’s touch-sensitive screen responds well to the included stylus, making it a great digital sketch pad for artists. With the right software, the Modbook makes a useful in-the-field device for doctors, insurance representatives, and other specialized mobile users. A built-in GPS module even tracks the Modbook’s location. But efficient work, even in graphic and other media applications, often requires buttons—or the keyboard that this tablet lacks. A narrow segment of users will find the Modbook ideal; it’s the only tablet computer that runs OS X, after all. But we wish it had just a few more features.

Zack Stern's picture

The Sims DJ

Stereotypical, shallow DJs have more depth than this iPod game.  Imagine you’re spinning turntables in the hottest nightclub in the city, keeping the party rocking until the fire marshal shuts you down. The role of the fire marshal will be played by The Sims DJ. This iPod game is spun around the winning idea of a DJ simulator, but the result is just a repetitive series of mini-games wrapped around boring rules.

Zack Stern's picture

iPod Monopoly

iPod game wins second prize in a beauty contest, collects $10  iPod Monopoly is just as fun as the capitalist board game, minus the joy of throwing houses and hotels at your sibling after a three-hour stalemate. For better or worse, almost nothing has changed from the physical game, with the iPod version sporting the same rules and play. You can even customize more than a dozen “house” rules; we never realized that putting tax money on Free Parking wasn’t in the official game, but iPod Monopoly let us add that jackpot to that space.

Zack Stern's picture

Healing Rhythms

You can practice meditation techniques with biofeedback from these sensors.  To us, biofeedback has always seemed like the natural direction for input devices, where sensors can hook up to your body and read subtle changes in brain activity that would control what’s displayed on the computer—or, in our most advanced sci-fi fantasies—what the computer does. Companies such as NeuroSky (www.neurosky.com) are developing EEG brainwave-reading systems to control machines. These applications could eventually lead to a retail product that lets you move the cursor with your mind. Healing Rhythms introduces us to a few other biofeedback sensors designed to teach users about meditation and quieting the mind and body. The hardware and software don’t control the Mac otherwise, but instead monitor your responses as you move through various exercises. We got a kick out of watching the software change with biofeedback, and we even learned a few useful basic meditation techniques in the process.

Cintiq 20WSX

Take your photos and illustrations in hand with this gloriously large and responsive LCD tablet.  Digital Artists, Designers and photographers need a way to edit photos, draw onscreen, and edit their designs and images. Without a pen tablet, clicking and drawing with a standard mouse can feel cumbersome and imprecise. With Wacom’s gorgeous (and pricey) Cintiq 20WSX, you can banish your mouse and write, scribble, and sketch onscreen with a stylus instead. This 20.1-inch drawing tablet merges a bright LCD with a touch-sensitive surface, giving amazing control in the apps that graphics pros use most. The result feels nearly the same as actual pencils and brushes, but with all the benefits of a digital workspace, like undo, layers, and scripts.

Dictate 1.0.1

Dictate comes with a USB headset. Dictation programs act as your personal typist, transcribing words as quickly as you speak—theoretically, anyway. Initially, Dictate did an excellent job transcribing our spoken phrases into onscreen text. And it even let us control menus, edit text, and access other functionality in the open app, so we kept our hands off the keyboard with great success. Dictate impressed us with its quick, accurate performance. However, we hit a wall almost immediately. In its initial release, Dictate can’t improve its accuracy when listening to your corrections. If it thinks you mean “racket” when you say “wrecked,” it always will until MacSpeech releases an update.

Anonymous's picture

First Look: Acrobat.com

  If you like a little eye candy with your online applications instead of minimalist geek-chic, have a look at Acrobat.com, a new collection of free collaborative tools and software from Adobe. Beta of online collaboration suite impresses.

Leslie Ayers's picture

First Look: Shiny, Happy 'Book Bag

 Our first thought when we unpacked thePakuma Choroka K3LT laptop bag in Chilli Red (62.99 pounds, about $124) was that we don't have enough tattoos, piercings, or clothing items made by Ben Davis to be schlepping our Macbook Pro in this retro tomato-colored vinyl messenger bag with white racing stripes. We do schlep a lot more than the 'Book, though, so we need a messenger bag that can hold various and sundry items, and protect the MB Pro from the hard knocks that sometimes accompany frequent patronage of a metropolitan public transit system (If you're the 6-foot-4-inch WSJ-reading businessman who stomped on this editor's toe on the train this morning, we're talking to YOU!) The 3K3LT is not as ridiculously oversized as some well-padded bags in its class, which we like, but it does offer enough extra room to fit necessary stuff like a wallet, glasses case, portable external hard drive, an iPod or iPhone, two paperback books, and a few not-too-stuffed manila envelopes. It's also got a passthrough slot for your earphone cable, although it we searched all of the bag's seams, pockets, and pouches tand never found it...we don't think.