Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 for iPhone and iPad brings the legendarily gory and addictive fighting game to iOS, and it mostly hits the mark with only a couple of problems. What was formerly a smash hit (and somewhat controversial) stand-up arcade game went through a complete face-lift for the iPhone version. Gone are the stop-motion character animations from the original arcade game, replaced with beautiful 3D animations that re-create all your favorite characters' fighting moves. For the most part, this game looks and plays great, as long as you can get past the limited character set and the lack of … Read more
Back in the days before home theater, only the most devoted bass fanatics used subwoofers. It's not that people didn't like bass, just that they bought speakers large enough to satisfy their bass cravings. Then again, the bass response required to play music isn't as demanding as movie soundtracks, so even fairly small speakers with 4- or 5-inch woofers could produce satisfying bass.
The best of today's small- to medium-size speakers produce much better-sounding bass than speakers did 10 years ago, so if you're primarily interested in listening to music and your speakers have 4-inch … Read more
When Apple released some of the final updates to OS X 10.5 for PowerPC systems, a number of Harman Kardon iSub owners found their speaker systems no longer worked properly with their computers. The problem appeared to be a driver-related error but neither Harman Kardon nor Apple stepped up to fix the issue and owners had to resort to other speaker systems.
Recently, an open-source project "iSub Fix" has become available, which is a small driver replacement for PowerPC-based Macs running OS X 10.5.8, which should get the iSub working again. The package comes with … Read more
Subwoofers make bass, that's easy. But really high-quality affordable subwoofers are surprisingly rare. The big problem facing subwoofer designers is the pressure to make really small subwoofers. That's not to say small subs can't make bass, they boom and thunder all right, but the sound tends to veer to the muddy side of accurate. That can sound acceptable for home theater duty, where nuance and subtlety aren't always big priorities.
So sure, a 1-foot cube sub can get the job done for a home theater, but can it define the sound of a 1962 Fender Precision Bass? Can it play music and let you really hear what's going on in the bass? No way! For that you need something a bit more substantial: a large subwoofer. Big subs also make their presence known in home theaters, where their sound has the gravitas no minisub can match. Oh, but most large, high-performance subs come with heavyweight price tags.
That's why I'm jazzed about the $799 Epik Empire; this bad boy boasts two 15-inch woofers; a Class D 600-watt (1,500 peak watt) power amplifier; in a 22-inch-high, 18-inch-wide and 24-inch-deep cabinet. The Empire's 120-pound weight might be a not so subtle indication that it's solidly built.
I briefly spoke with Epik's founder and chief designer, Chad Kuypers, Thursday. He's a no-nonsense kind of guy, and he told me he's working on some really cool larger and slightly smaller subs, but for now he's just offering one model, the Empire. Epik Subwoofers is located just north of Chicago, Illinois, where they build the subs, including fabricating the precision CNC machined cabinets in-house.… Read more
Hey, cheapskate! No, not you, the guy who won't spend more than $100 on what is usually a bare-bones, off-brand monitor, with no warranty and a tech support service that won't return your calls, which of course you'll need since your new monitor is dead after two days. No, not you.
I'm talking to you, the guy who, maybe can do without HDMI but still wants at least a decently performing monitor with a few extras. Yes, you, come closer. No, closer...closer. Can you hear me OK? Good. It's sub-$250 monitors!
OK, the … Read more
I request a lot of monitors from various manufacturers without always taking into account their retail costs. Sometimes, I'm just much more excited about posting a review of the latest, greatest, coolest monitor, than I am about the cheapest.
Thing is, most users simply don't care about the latest, greatest, coolest monitor. Most simply want something that's low-priced and does what it does (shows pictures of whatever they're attempting to display) well enough that they don't notice any problems.
I've gotten plenty of feedback lately requesting such information. "What is the best monitor … Read more
ToDoList provides a set of easy-to-use tools for monitoring several tasks and due dates. The program's efficient layout is designed to keep users informed of progress and upcoming deadlines on everything from simple tasks to major projects.
The program is a little intimidating to start off with, since it's really not much more than a blank screen with a lot of strange-looking command icons. Fortunately, the Help file's tutorial quickly gets you on track. Populating the list took only a few minutes. You can make notes, set due dates, mark your progress, and color-code everything. Completed lists … Read more
Casio's going full force after consumers shopping for digital cameras in the $100-$200 price range. First, the company announces the Exilim EX-Z450 and EX-Z90, $199.99 and $149.99, respectively. And then Monday, it announces the $179.99 EX-Z280 and $119.99 EX-Z33.
The Z280 (pictured right) is a 12-megapixel ultracompact with an f2.6-5.9 26-104mm-equivalent wide-angle lens with a 4x zoom, sensor-shift image stabilization, 2.7-inch LCD, and Casio's newest image processing engine featuring a dual-processor design for lower power consumption and better photo results. It also gives you 720p HD-quality video capture and the … Read more
The Gateway KAS-203 home-theater-in-a-box was an exercise in poor design.
I gave it a 5 rating, the lowest CNET score I've ever "awarded" any product I've reviewed. I'll get to the best HTIBs in the next Audiophiliac.
I liked the Euro style receiver/DVD player and the powered subwoofer, but as soon as I heard the KAS-203 it sounded so bad I thought it was broken. A second KAS-203 sounded identical to the first one, so I concluded the first KAS-203 was representative of what people were buying in stores.
On paper at least Gateway's KAS series home theater systems stood out in a field crowded with chintzy, plastic designs. The KAS speaker package featured a bevy of interesting ideas and a subwoofer designed by Hsu Research, a high-value company known for its exemplary subs. The receiver/DVD player boasted the build quality and looks of a serious component, but slipshod engineering and substandard quality control resulted in the most poorly executed $699 HTIB ever.
The sound of the four 5.75 inch tall sats were bolstered by a large center speaker, 16.75 inches wide, 9 deep, and 5.25 high. Rounding out the system was a 17 inch tall, 100 watt powered subwoofer. The entire sub/sat system came in a black ash finish, definitely a step up from the standard sliver plastic HTIB fare. … Read more