2K Sports to offer Dynasty Edition of NBA 2K13 to this fall

In addition to the annual NBA 2K release, 2K Sports is also bringing a special dynasty edition this year with NBA 2K13. It’ll be available Oct. 2 for $100 on Xbox 360 and PS3.

The dynasty edition, which comes with a customized Spalding basketball, Skullcandy Ink’d earbuds and a Skinit controller skin
Details on the release below:

New York, NY – June 28, 2012 – 2K Sports today announced that the NBA® 2K13 Dynasty Edition will be available on October 2, 2012 for $99.99 on the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system. Limited quantities of the Dynasty Edition are being produced and fans are encouraged to pre-order at participating retailers.

In addition to a full retail copy of NBA 2K13 – the next installment of the top-rated and top-selling NBA video game simulation franchise* – the Dynasty Edition will include the all-new downloadable NBA 2K13 All-Star add-on content presented by Sprite, an exclusive NBA 2K13 full-sized basketball from Spalding® and Art of Basketball, exclusive 2K Sports Ink’d earbuds from Skullcandy, and an NBA 2K13 basketball textured controller skin from Skinit.

“With this special edition package, we want to give something meaningful to our great fans,” said Jason Argent, vice president of marketing for 2K Sports. “This is an awesome deal that is sure to please fans, and will become a must-have item while supplies last.”

NBA 2K13 is the follow-up to NBA 2K12, which has sold-in over 5 million units worldwide and won more than 25 Sports Game of the Year awards from outlets including Gamespot, Sports Illustrated and the Spike Video Game Awards.

NBA 2K13 is being developed by Visual Concepts, a 2K Sports studio. NBA 2K13 and the NBA 2K13 Dynasty Edition will be available on October 2, 2012 in North America and October 5, 2012 internationally. NBA 2K13 is not yet rated by the ESRB.

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Honda’s CR-V gains refinement, quieter ride

 

Is the Honda CR-V the perfect replacement for a minivan?

That depends on how much room you need. It’s big enough to carry a family of five and their stuff, but, again, it depends on how big the family is and how much stuff it has.

2012 Honda Civic CR-V

As a single adult the CR-V is almost too big, which isn’t a bad thing considering the good fuel economy.

How good? The CR-V gets 23 in the city and 31 on the highway, which I think puts it near the top of the pack for non hybrid compact crossovers. The 2.4-cylinder engine is virtually unchanged as is the transmission. The engine’s output is 185 horsepower with 163 pounds-feet of torque. While horsepower is OK, I’d like a little more torque. Acceleration is good, but I wonder how good this suspension would be with more giddy-up. If you want a four-cylinder, fine, but that’s all you can get. Chevy’s Equinox and last year’s Toyota RAV-4 offer V6 options. The CR-V gets no engine option, not even a turbo.

Honda does offer a lot of other things in the CR-V. The ride quality is excellent and the handling is, well, Honda. You can push the little crossover a bit and get some pleasant feedback. It never balks or protests. It stays planted in the corners and doesn’t show a lot of body roll.

Road noise has been diminished from last year’s model. It was quiet on the highway and even in the city. Fit and finish is what you would expect, while the new rounded styling is appealing.

My test model was an EX-L equipped with a rear seat entertainment system, The “L” stands for leather and it was fairly soft. I was a bit disappointed with the stereo system. It was supposed to be about 328 watts but It sounded as if it needed a subwoofer. Much to my surprise it had a subwoofer. Either an amp was out or something wasn’t connected.

Well done interior has good fit, finish

Everything else seemed to work well. The EX also gets heated seats, nicer wheels, sunroof, bluetooth, iPod connectivity and power everything. Honda likes these all or nothing packages. I like the company’s strategy because it usually bundles the right things.

One other quibble. If you go for the rear-seat system (which has a very small screen) you can’t get a factory navigation system. You can add a Tom-Tom, which, I’m told, will allow you to recoup your investment at trade in because of the low cost.

What is the CR-V’s cost. EX-L with dvd and destination is $28,775. That’s for the front wheel drive model. Add a little more than a grand to step up to the all wheel drive model.

I like this CR-V. It’s up against some stiff competition from Toyota, Chevy/GMC and Hyundai. All of those guys have product that’s about as good and in some cases cheaper. Honda may still have an edge on quality but Toyota has always been there and Chevy and Hyundai aren’t far behind.

Still, this CR-V does much more right than wrong. I can live without a bigger engine and the navigation/dvd thing isn’t such a hard choice. I do like this CR-V – a great deal.

cross@alldaytech.com

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PlaySquare combines kid’s TV and iPad for Touchable Television experience

PlaySquare’s Touchable Television, a free app on Apple’s App Store, is an idea we can get behind. Instead of having your kids just watch TV, they’ll interact with it.

The problem, of course, is content. There’s just not much. Right now, there’s an episode of WordWorld’s “Happy Birthday Dog” (and no, we have no idea who or what that is, either). In the show, kids learn letters and words as they watch and play.

Aimed at kids 3 to 6 years old, users can draw on the screen and become part of the story. In the “Happy Birthday Dog” episode, the dog thinks all of his friends have forgotten his birthday. The child user gathers party pieces together and gives the dog the birthday party he wants.

And if that’s all a little too much Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood for you, well, the game is aimed at your kid. If the game maker could license and use popular characters, this could be huge. Of course, it could develop its own characters and be huge, too. Either way, we like the idea.

The app was developed by a team of media folks from kid happy Nickelodeon, Sesame Workshop, LeapFrog and MIT. It features, according to PlaySquare:

•Rich, colorful, award-winning animation
•Lovable, funny characters
•Engaging, immersive story world, in which children can explore, discover, collect and create different parts of the story as they play.
•Supports development of early literacy skills, including:

Letter recognition
Letter sounds
Word building
Word recognition
Reinforces eye-hand coordination and motor skills

Here’s the full media release:

NEW YORK, NY, June 28, 2012 — Television and technology industry veterans Alex Kay, Scott Webb and Tinsley Galyean announced today the launch of New York-based PlaySquare, LLC, a new company that will develop tablet-based Touchable Television™, the next generation of children’s media for the touchscreen generation.

PlaySquare’s introduction of Touchable Television transforms television from a passive viewing experience into an active adventure in which the child is watching, thinking and doing. Touchable Television is the seamless combination of existing television episodes with interactive content that allows a child to step into and participate in the actual story of a television property.

“PlaySquare combines interactivity, creativity and exploration with great story narrative to allow today’s children – the touchscreen generation – to be part of the story,” says Alex Kay, CEO of PlaySquare. “This is the future of children’s television in an increasingly interactive and mobile world.”

PlaySquare has developed a proprietary technology and interface design that allows it to take existing video libraries and convert them into touchable, interactive experiences for the iPad based on a production platform and toolset that is quick, efficient and at a low predictable cost.  PlaySquare will license properties and convert them into interactive episodes.

“After nearly 50 years of passive television watching, children can now be actual participants in their favorite television shows,” adds Webb. “They can play directly with characters within stories. This is quite simply the next iteration of where media needs to be.”

The company’s first licensing agreement, being released as an app on iTunes on June 29, is with WorldWorld, LLC.  WordWorld is an Emmy Award-winning television property shown daily on PBS Kids and in over 90 countries worldwide.  The original television series was funded in part by the Department of Education through a Ready to Learn grant, established to fund television programming that teaches literacy fundamentals to early readers through media. The WordWorld PlaySquare episode is free of charge for a limited time.

“We are excited to be working with PlaySquare on their innovative initiative in children’s electronic media,” says Jim Sharpe, WordWorld CEO.

PlaySquare has signed an agreement with renowned children’s media specialist Tina Peel to serve as Advisor and Executive Producer. Peel has over 30 years of experience in creating, producing, managing and evaluating award-winning television and media products for children and their families. She brings 15 years of experience at Sesame Workshop, where she was the Vice President and Project Director of “Ghostwriter,” Vice President and Project Director of the internationally acclaimed preschool series “Sesame Street,” and Vice President for Production Research. Peel has also served as an Executive Producer on the Nick Jr. series “Max & Ruby” and is an Emmy Award winning Executive Vice President of the PBS series “WordWorld.”

“As soon as I heard PlaySquare’s vision, I wanted to be a part of the team,” comments Peel. “This kind of interactivity and engagement is what all of us in children’s television have been waiting for.”

The team of media professionals behind the development of PlaySquare are uniquely suited and deeply committed to making smart, popular, state-of-the-art entertainment for children.

After a successful 13 years as an investment banker, Alex Kay, PlaySquare’s Chief Executive Officer, co-founded the Ready to Learn Partnership, recipient of a $47.3 mm grant from the Department of Education, to develop best in class literacy content for children. The result of this initiative was WordWorld.

Scott Webb, Chief Creative Officer, was the creative director of Nickelodeon for 17 years, a tenure that included launching the ‘orange’ Nickelodeon, Nick-at-Nite, TV Land and the Kid’s Choice Awards. Considered both a branding expert as well as a leader in kids’ media, Webb went on to launch or revamp several other networks including Oxygen Media, College Sports Television, and AMC’s Yeah!.

Tinsley Galyean, Chief Technology Officer, is an award-winning technologist and artist.  Galyean has specialized in unique entertainment and educational user experiences for clients ranging from Disney, Discovery Kids, and Scholastic to MOMA, Sprint and Motorola. He was one of the first graduates from MIT’s prestigious Media Lab, from which he earned a Ph.D.

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Google Chrome and Google Drive coming to Apple mobile devices

Apple mobile device users are about to get more Google in their lives.

Thursday at a developers conference, Google announced it was porting its Google Chrome browser and Google Drive cloud hard drive technology to Apple’s iOS operating system.

The Chrome browser allows users to sign in and synchronize bookmarks and tabs throughout all devices running Chrome and signed into the same google account. Google advertises Chrome mainly by touting its speed versus other competing browsers, and claims 310 million active users, nearly double the number from a  year ago.

Google Drive is a cloud-based hard drive, like DropBox, where users can store files and retrieve them when needed. Google Drive comes with five gigabytes of storage for free.

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Exclusive video from EA Sports NCAA Football 13, plus preseason top 25

EA Sports highly anticipated NCAA Football 13 debuts July 10. The company has released a teaser video showing how users can handle the dynasty mode in the game

Here is the preseason top 25:

RANK    TEAM

1              Alabama

2              USC

3              LSU

4              Oregon

5              Oklahoma

6              Georgia

7              Arkansas

8              Florida State

9              Michigan

10           West Virginia

11           South Carolina

12           Michigan State

13           Kansas State

14           Clemson

15           Virginia Tech

16           Wisconsin

17           TCU

18           Ohio State

19           Nebraska

20           Stanford

21           Boise State

22           Texas

23           Oklahoma State

24           Notre Dame

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Google Now promises to deliver information you need before you ask for it

When Apple debuted its new Siri voice assistant, most industry insiders didn’t think it would be long before Google came out with an answer for users of its Android operating system.

Google’s answer is awful strong.

Google Now looks to be an impressive piece of software. Imagine you’re on your way to work and the traffic is bad on your normal route, Google Now will send up a “card” on your phone (a card that looks similar to Siri) to alert you to the traffic and it will provide an alternate route.

If you ride the subway, it will tell you the time of your approaching train and even suggest good restaurants nearby. Wander into a restaurant and Google Now will offer a list of the most popular menu items.

Weather

This takes Voice Assistant to new levels, eh?

The software will check flights, provide updates to sports scores (after it learns your favorite teams).

Weather

The software will even assist you with language barriers when traveling or currency conversion. It’ll be available on Google’s new JellyBean operating system (Android 4.1).все об англииучеба английского языкаbuy seo packageFiiO E12детские коляски ценыблаготворительность 2015купить мотоцикл недорогоweb site promotion servicesкак цена на видеорегистратор

Will Google’s Nexus 7 rule the tablet world?

Google finally announced its long-rumored Nexus 7 tablet Wednesday and we know the price points, the size and the features.

What we don’t know is the answer to a big question: Will Nexus rule the tablet world?

The Nexus 7 looks like a strong contender to Apple’s popular iPad and the upcoming Microsoft Surface. And it surely buries most if not all of the existing Android tablets out there, save perhaps the Samsung Galaxy models.

Nexus is specifically designed to work with Google’s online app store, Google Play, which sells movies, music, apps, books and other content. It’s Google’s version of Apple’s App Store and the Amazon Store, which helps fill up the Kindle and Kindle Fire tablets. Nexus will marry to the Google App Store the way the iPad does with Apple’s, and that’s a good thing.

Nexus has a 7-inch screen like Kindle Fire, which is smaller than the nearly 10-inch iPad, but the Nexus will ship next month at $199 or $249, the same price as the Fire, and substantially less than the third generation iPad, which starts at $499. Customers can buy the iPad 2, which debuted in March 2011, for $399.

Nexus will also be the lightest of the “Big 3”. iPad weights about a 1.5 pounds. Kindle Fire is 0.9 pounds. Nexus 7 is 0.75.

Several analysts believe to sell at the price point its introducting Nexus 7 at, Google will have to subsidize the tablet, or sell at a loss, hoping to regain costs in Google Play sales. The Nexus 7 is made by AsusTek Computer.

With all the millions of tablet and smartphone sales out there already, the potential audience is still far greater than the audience that has the devices, so as popular as, say, iPad is, there’s still room to sweep in and overtake it. It’ll take the right strategy, and that strategy begins at price point. Google has a very aggressive price point.

But there is another thing to consider: the ecosystem.

If you are heavy into Amazon products, it may be tough to switch to Apple or Google which have their own sell/buy systems. If your iPhone is full of Apple-branded apps, say, you can’t port those over to Google, or vice versa, even if they are the same game or app. This is where Google is weak. It’s tablet apps are slim, especially compared to Apple.

So people who have started with one system are probably more likely to stay with it. Google must play catchup there. And that will play into tablet choices for those who have smartphones already. We don’t think this is as big an issue in the PC world since Apps aren’t quite as big there, though Apple is trying to gain ground with online app sales for its Mac line of computers. You’re more likely to see a guy with a Mac laptop and an Android phone than an Android phone and an iPad, for example.

Ultimately, though, user experience is the biggest sales card. Google is taking big steps to improve the user experience. Like Apple has done for years, Google is controlling the hardware side. It’s got its hand in product development unlike in the past when its lent software on signature devices and let other manufacturers control the hardware (see Xoom, Motorola).

On the Jelly Bean operating system, for example, you can drag widgets (essentially small snapshots of apps) to your homescreen and they will resize themselves. Nexus has a front facing camera, which Kindle Fire does not, and its got vocal search to match Apple’s Siri voice assistant.

Apple’s user experience is exquisite as has been the company’s selling point for years. Google is gaining ground with its Android software and Android is what powers Nexus 7. Android is the world’s most popular mobile operating system as Google offers it free to device manufacturers who install it on all manner of phones. So a lot of people know Android, and that will help sell a smooth operating device that delivers what it promises.

We haven’t had a long term test with Nexus yet, but early indications indicate it’s a device that does just what Google promises.

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Google launches 7-inch Nexus 7 tablet

This July, Google will ship the 7-inch Nexus 7 Tablet. It weighs less than a pound. It’s got a 7-inch display and a quad core processor, which means it should be screaming fast for most mobile applications. Google designers claim “a war on laggyness” with this device.

They wanted it to be ultra responsive. You touch something and the screen responds.

Customers can order the tablet now from the Google Play store for $199 (8 gigabyte) or $249 (16 GB). Purchasing from Google Play comes with a bonus: a $25 credit to spend on Google Play media. The price point puts Nexus 7 right in line with the popular Kindle Fire — though it is lighter at about 12 ounces — and about half the cost of the cheapest third gen iPad, though customers can get the 2011 iPad model for $399.

Other specs of interest? There’s a micro-USB port, 1 gig of RAM memory and a 1.2 megapeixel front camera. Google include GPS, a gyroscrope, state-of-the-art WiFI and a microphone. It did not include a rear facing camera (you use your phone for photos, right?). The camera part probably saved some cash.

“We wanted to design a best-of-Google experience that is optimized around all this great content,” director of Android Project Management Hugo Barra said. “We want to let you immerse yourself in all that media.”

The new Nexus tablet will run the latest Android operating system, 4.1 or “Jelly Bean,” which will be available to other manufacturers next month. Among new features? A Siri-style voice assistant, the ability to share videos and photos via Android Beam with another similarly equipped nearby devices. In the past, Android Beam could allow share maps, webpages and contacts. You can now also go speech-to-text without an online connection and something called “Gesture Control,” which allows you to swipe your hand to navigate the user interface.

Google says to expect about nine hours of battery life.

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Chrysler 300: imported from Detroit and proud

 

2012 Chrysler 300

When you have something as popular as Chrysler’s 300 sedan and you need to make changes but don’t want to mess up a good thing what do you do?

You do exactly what chief designer Ralph Giles and company did – fix the car’s interior and freshen the exterior so that it’s recognizable but better.

Give Mr. Giles a medal for restraint and his use of simple elegance. The 300 has only gotten better looking. It no longer looks like a poor man’s Bentley, but an upscale American luxury sedan. I think that’s a good thing these days. The car’s grille is more integrated into the fascia and those LED headlights add a bit more bling. The wide stance, big ol’ wheels and limo-looking proportions make this car look good on the road.

Well, it’s always looked good on the road, but not so good looking inside. Let’s face it, the last 300 had some cheap plastic and really fake wood which didn’t fit with the rest of the vehicle. That’s been banished and replaced by a gorgeous dash and finely finished trimmings. This thing is now a delight. The seats, even covered in cloth are ooooh so comfy, but supportive at the same time.

Back to that dash. The focal point is a big LCD screen that controls or displays most of the car’s functions. Above that screen is an analog clock that looks as if it was plucked from a jewelry store. The screen is touch sensitive or you can control the functions by voice. The gauges glow with an icky but serene blue hue. The tach and speedometer are under a cowl with helps to block out the sunlight. The fit and finish is excellent and the execution is nearly flawless.

The dash has been given the royal treatment

The most desirable version of the 300 is the SRT8 which gets the vaunted hemi engine. While still great, you don’t get short changed by picking the V6 which has been messaged and tweaked to 292 horses. Heck, who needs a V8, especially when this V6 can get 31miles per gallon on the highway.

My test car had the optional eight (8) speed transmission which is a wonder in itself. Shifts are barely felt and it helps to push this baby down the road with aplomb.

Yes, the chassis has been improved and yes, the chassis is still based on Mercedes bits  and pieces. If you were satisfied with last year’s 300, this year’s will not disappoint.

Faults, complaints? None that I can think of. The base car provides a smooth ride, brisk acceleration and handling that belies a car of this size. The high waistline and squinty windows may be a bit much, but not enough to scream about.

Me like. Me like a great deal.

The base 300 starts at $27,170 and comes with loads of stuff which includes traction and stability control, anti lock brakes, dual zone climate, cruise, multifunction steering wheel with tilt, power package, illuminated cub holders, 60/40 split rear seat, Uconnect touch screen, satellite radio, heated power mirrors and iPod connectivity.

The only options were the eight speed transmission ($1,000) and voice control ($295).

A $1,000 discount was given to replace the 8.4-inch touch screen with a 4.3 version due to early production shortages.

Factor in $825 for destination and the as tested price came to $28,290 – a relative steal. This new 300 should have been the car Eminem was driving in the “imported from Detroit” commercial. This is the new face of Chrysler. Ralph, you’ve got another winner.

cross@alldaytech

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T-Mobile customers, thanks to Verizon, here’s why your network could get better soon

T-Mobile has reached an agreement with Verizon Wireless to buy some wireless spectrum and to swap some spectrum.

What does all of this mean?

Spectrum, basically, is “slots” on the airwaves, kind of like a radio station has. As more and more people are grabbing up phones that are more personal computer than communication device, cellphone companies need more “spectrum” to help service their needs to access the internet on the go or make video phone calls or even text.

The speed in which you download a page or watch a YouTube video on your Samsung Galaxy is directly affected by how spectrum your wireless provider has in that area.

This new deal, if approved, would allow Verizon and T-Mobile to offer faster data speeds in key areas. It gives T-Mobile more precious spectrum in key areas where it needs it.

Neither company released how much T-Mobile was paying for the spectrum. But T-Mobile did state in an official release that it will gain coverage to more than 60 million people — notably in Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; Detroit; Minneapolis; Seattle; Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; Milwaukee; Charlotte, N.C.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Greensboro, N.C.; Memphis, Tenn.; and Rochester, N.Y.

That came in exchange for cash and some of T-Mobile’s spectrum that covers 22 million.

“This agreement will provide T-Mobile with critical AWS spectrum, enhancing both network capacity and performance and allowing us to meet the growing consumer demand for 4G mobile broadband,” T-Mobile CEO and President Philipp Humm said in a press release. “This is good for T-Mobile and good for consumers because it will enable T-Mobile to compete even more vigorously with other wireless carriers. We anticipate FCC approval later this summer, in time for us to incorporate this new spectrum into our network modernization and the rollout of LTE services next year.”

The agreement also includes exchanges in a number of markets in which the companies will swap licenses to create more contiguous blocks of spectrum and re-align spectrum in adjacent markets. These swaps, T-Mobile claims, will enhance T‑Mobile’s network performance and data throughput in key locations.

This agreement is in addition to T-Mobile’s previously announced $4 billion 4G network evolution plan, which includes modernization of 37,000 cell sites, launching 4G HSPA+ services in the 1900 MHz band and deployment of LTE in 2013.

Think of HSPA+ as really, really fast 3G and LTE as next-gen 4G, for simplicity’s sake. And all this means, really, is that T-Mobile looks like it will continue to be a strong provider in the United States and will gain a stronger network.

The deal is contingent on Verizon getting government approval to buy spectrum from cable companies and Leap Wireless for nearly $4 billion. The deals were agreed on late last year but public interest groups have helped cause delays because they feel Verizon is already the nation’s biggest wireless provider and it doesn’t need any more wireless spectrum. T-Mobile had also opposed the deal, saying it would give Verizon too much spectrum.

A few analysts feel this deal is Verizon “buying off” T-Mobile, giving them spectrum they need and backing off opposition to allowing Verizon to get a bushel of additional spectrum. But the T-Mobile/Verizon deal would give T-Mobile significant spectrum in 15 of the top 25 U.S. markets.

 

 

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