ESPN on Xbox LIVE update coming Aug 25

When Xbox LIVE first launched, Microsoft talked a lot about the potential for the service and how quickly it could grow into the hub of all living room entertainment. It’s not quite there yet, but as the service list has grown, Xbox LIVE has gotten closer and closer to that goal. If you’re a sports fan and haven’t already hooked in to the service, now might be the time do so. ESPN on Xbox LIVE is going to get a major update on August 25th to help kick off the college football season.

“The new ESPN on Xbox LIVE is going to the take the sports viewing experience to the next level,” said Raphael Poplock, Vice President, Games and Partnerships at ESPN. “By putting fans in control through better personalization and interactive features, we’re able to deliver live events, highlights and more from ESPN in unique and innovative ways.”

The new features in the August 25 update include:

· My Sports – ESPN on Xbox LIVE now allows you to choose your favorite sports and teams and designate these channels as “My Sports,” so you can jump directly into the games and content you care most about. ESPN on Xbox LIVE will automatically provide you with a personalized daily feed of news and highlights based on “My Sports,” catching you up on only the teams and sports you care most about.

· Mini Guide – The Mini Guide gives you a preview and quick access to all the sports content you care about right at the bottom of the screen. Saturday is all about college football, and now the best fans don’t have to miss anything. Is another game tied up late in the fourth? Instantly switch to that game. Halftime? Play the earlier highlights.

· Split Screen – Because true sports fans want to watch more than one game at a time, ESPN on Xbox LIVE is adding Split Screen, allowing you to watch two events at once. Watch live events on both screens or a live event on one while you catch up on news and highlights on the other. You can even control both screens independently, pausing and rewinding each separately so you never miss a second of the action.

· Voice Control with Kinect ™ – Focus on your team instead of looking for the remote. Navigate through the Content Guide, skip to the next highlight, or play, pause, and rewind that big play…all with the sound of your voice and the magic of Kinect ™.

· Scoreboard – ESPN on Xbox LIVE is also adding a live college football scoreboard that you can jump to any time. You can even use Split Screen to watch the big game on one side of your screen while the live scoreboard occupies the other, keeping you up on all the action from around college football.

· Reminders – Too many big games to keep track of in your head? Not to worry – ESPN on Xbox LIVE now lets you tag games and set reminders so you never miss a moment.

· Live Alerts – With new live alerts, ESPN on Xbox LIVE will keep you posted on score changes from around college football, even if you’re not keeping a close eye on the scoreboard.

· ESPN BottomLine – The addition of the ESPN BottomLine to ESPN on Xbox LIVE keeps you in the know with breaking news and score updates from around the world of sports.

The college football season is close on the horizon, and ESPN on Xbox LIVE is giving you everything you need to dig in and see every second of the action you care most about in vivid HD-quality. Beyond football, ESPN on Xbox LIVE will continue to provide you with live games and highlights from the NBA, MLB, soccer, golf, tennis, and much more.

Five New Apps that are Taking Over the World

By now, you’re hopelessly behind the times if you don’t have a smart phone that allows you to take advantage of the latest, most useful apps. If you want to get the most out of your smart phone, though, you need to know which apps will work best for you. Here are five new apps that are taking over the world.

Crackle – Free Entertainment on the Go

Smart phone developers have designed high-resolution screens so that users can do anything from watch movies to follow directions on a map. Without an entertainment provider, though, you can’t take full advantage of your smart phone’s screen. Crackle is an app that makes it easy for you to stream hundreds of movies and television shows on your iPhone. Feel like watching a comedy? Crackle allows you to stream Ghostbusters. How about a suspenseful drama? You can have The Da Vinci Code in the palm of your hand instantly.

MetroFax – An App That Finally Makes Faxing Easy

The MetroFax mobile app that was just released lets smart phone users receive faxes no matter where they are. You no longer need to feel that you are tethered to your office. MetroFax’s app allows you to access up to 200 faxes from your mobile phone. That way, you never have to feel that you are disconnected from your colleagues at work and you can always stay on top of the latest business developments.

Full Fitness – Keeping Your Body in Shape

Relying on technology can lead to a more sedentary lifestyle…except when you have the Full Fitness iPhone app. This app gives you instructions, video, and pictures that will show you how to perform over 300 exercises. You can even use it to make your own custom workout and keep track of how well you perform the exercises.

Google Sky Maps – Constellations in Your Pocket

Is the city light making it hard for you to show off your knowledge of constellations and other celestial bodies? A city that never sleeps doesn’t have to spoil your date night when you have Google Sky Map on your Android phone. Just look at the sky through your phone’s screen and you will see the stars, planets, and moons as easily as if you were standing in the countryside. Plus, Google Sky Maps provides information about the celestial bodies to keep you informed of what you see.

Ovi Maps – Know Where You Are Going for Free

Ovi Maps is a free GPS app for Nokia smart phones. Just because it is free doesn’t mean that the developers skipped important information. This app gives you access to maps in 75 countries and can read you directions in 46 languages. You’ll never have to feel lost again as long as you have your phone.

These are five of the newest apps that are taking over the world, but new software comes out every day. What are some of the most useful apps that you have found for your phone? Which ones have become essential to the way you live your life?

Google launches Google+

Google+

It’s been a long time coming, but Google has finally made a serious entry into the social media market. It took three attempts – you remember Wave and Buzz right? No? That’s okay, no one does – but it looks like Google may finally have a winner on its hands.

Still, Google+ has a long way to go. The service has launched to a relatively small group of users and continue to be limited by invites, but that could provide the kind of hype Google wants for a new service. Here’s an excerpt from an article I wrote about the service for Bullz-Eye:

One of the coolest parts of Google+ is Hangout, which allows users to jump into text and video chat rooms with customizable accessibility. It’s a product that could easily punch a hole in Skype and become an amazing productivity tool. That’s especially true for the companies that have made the transition to Google’s online products.

Sparks, on the other hand, is the service’s big flop. It’s meant to be some sort of social news feed, but it’s cumbersome instead of sleek, slow instead of fast, and skimpy where it should be overflowing with information. Sparks actually surprises me in its shortcomings. Google has mountains of information about me. I’m always signed in to its email service, I use the search engine exclusively, I have an Android phone, I use Google Reader on a daily basis, and I’m writing this article in Google Docs. Why is it so hard for me to get a decent feed on Sparks?

For the rest of the article, head over to the Bullz-Eye Gadgets channel.

GAME REVIEW: Wii Play Motion

Anyone still lamenting the Nintendo Wii’s lack of quality titles is just wasting their breath at this point, because its audience has been figured out for quite some time now, as evidenced by the onslaught of minigame collections targeted at those who only power up their Wiis when they’re having friends and family over. Though there are quite a few compilations out there to choose from, Nintendo’s own “Wii Play” series is probably one of the best, and the latest installment offers up 12 new games that fully utilize the system’s MotionPlus expansion device. If you don’t have a controller with MotionPlus yet, don’t worry, because “Wii Play Motion” comes with a black controller that has the hardware built in, and it’s actually a lot nicer than the bulky add-on that was first released.

As for the games themselves, it’s pretty hit and miss as you might expect, although there aren’t any that are so terrible that you’ll never want to play them again. Star Shuttle, which puts the player in control of a spaceship that they must then dock onto a space station, is certainly the most frustrating of the bunch due to its steep learning curve, while the stone skipping simulator, Skip Skimmer (say that five times fast), isn’t nearly as fun as the real thing. The rest of the minigames range from cute to addictive, like Cone Zone, an amusing balancing game using ice cream scoops; Veggie Garden, a suped-up version of Whack-a-Mole; Pose Mii Plus, a variation on the Japanese game show “Human Tetris”; and Teeter Target, a cool mash-up combining pinball and marble mazes.

My personal favorites, however, were Spooky Search and Treasure Twirl. The former is probably the most innovative game in the collection and has you searching for ghosts using the Wiimote like a metal detector and then reeling them into a containment unit à la “Ghostbusters.” Treasure Twirl, on the other hand, may look boring at first sight, but it makes great use of the Wiimote as you twist it around like a crank to lower your Mii into the deep sea to hunt for treasure, all while avoiding obstacles like sharks and jellyfish. As usual, each game has different modes and levels that you can unlock as you play through them, and you’ll even earn medals for your performances. The biggest downside is the price. But if you’re in need of a new controller, it’s not a bad investment, because while “Wii Play Motion” isn’t something you’ll likely revisit on a regular basis, it’s a nice addition to any party game rotation.