With a $119.99 sticker price, the Dirt Devil Dash Upright Vacuum is the cheapest vacuum cleaner we've looked at by more than $50. Unfortunately, it seems that to some extent, you get what you pay for when buying a vacuum, at least in the sub-$200 category. This Dirt Devil was the bottom performer in five of the nine tests we scored and was never in the top half. It performed reasonably well with pet hair on both mid-pile and low-pile carpet, but performed so poorly with the other debris types that we can't recommend this vacuum, … Read more
Video games are the subject of so many studies, not to mention findings. Some suggest cognitive benefits, others behavioral issues that may or may not persist over time.
Many of these studies are small enough to require further investigation, and the journalists reporting on them often confuse correlation (when results happen in tandem) with causation (when one action is shown to result from another).
A new study out of Ohio State University suffers from a small sample size (70 participants), but its findings -- that people who play violent video games for three consecutive days show increases in aggression and hostility … Read more
The sequel to one of our favorite iOS racing games is out today, and new game modes, customization options, and car upgrades make Reckless Racing 2 the best in its genre at the iTunes App Store.
When the original Reckless Racing came out, it was a revelation of what a savvy developer could do on an iOS device. With great-looking graphics, ultra-realistic physics, and a retro edge, Reckless Racing demonstrated a new breed of racing game on iOS.… Read more
Mad Skills Motocross is a fun and addictive game that started on desktop computers, but seems much more suited to the iOS. Sort of in the vein of arcade classic Excitebike, Mad Skills Motocross is a side-scrolling racer in which you race against a single opponent on several challenging tracks. The default controls give you buttons for throttle and brakes on the lower left and buttons for tilt control on the right. You can switch tilt controls to the accelerometer in the settings, but both variations proved to work well after a bit of practice.
You will need practice, by … Read more
Dune Rider is a freemium (as well as ad-supported) stunt-driving game that starts you out with just one vehicle, one level ("Zone 1"), and a clumsy steering interface.
Not only do you start the game with limited choices, but you're also strongly encouraged each time to buy more fuel, nitro boosts, and bonus multipliers in order to have any hope of getting the kind of score you need to earn coins, which you must then use to buy more fuel, nitro boosts, and bonus multipliers. Hopefully, you can save enough coins over time to buy new cars … Read more
Just after the big news of the iPhone coming to Verizon, Apple released a beta to developers for iOS 4.3 and it looks like it will add some big changes from previous versions--especially on the iPad.
New multitouch gestures will make it possible to close apps or just switch to another open app without having to press the Home button. You'll also now have the option to make the iPad switch on the side of the device either a mute or lock rotation switch--apparently, many iPad users complained of the previous version change to turn it into a mute button like the iPhone.
If you want to see some of the new enhancements in action, check out our First Look at iOS 4.3 video with Brian Tong.
This week's apps include a newsreader that lets you view actual newspapers and a motocross game that's both fun and extremely challenging.… Read more
Reckless Racing is just plain fun, taking some gameplay ideas from old classic console games like RC Pro-Am, and adding in modern graphics and physics to make a racing game that is a blast to play and looks great on the iPhone 4 Retina Display.
The game delivers on two major counts: graphics and controls. Reckless Racing is absolutely dazzling, with vibrantly colored cars and tracks that are just shy of photorealistic. And you get to choose from five different control schemes--everything from basic left/right-gas/brake buttons to an onscreen steering wheel, to accelerometer steering. We're partial to … Read more
Do you have a "jailbroken" iPhone? Ever since the iPhone first came on the scene, there has been a large group of users who believe Apple tries too hard to control what works and what doesn't on the iPhone. The minute a new iPhone firmware update is released from Apple, a whole slew of people search for ways to unlock the device, letting them download apps that have never had to go through the App store acceptance process. This means that apps that would have otherwise never seen the light of day can be used on an … Read more
2009 is suddenly a holiday of racers. If you don't believe that, consider the trifecta that have been unleashed upon us already: Need For Speed: Shift, Dirt 2, and Microsoft's holiday tentpole Forza Motorsport 3. All of them promise realistic physics, blazing speeds, and tons of customization, but NFS: Shift and Dirt 2 are multiplatform, while Forza Motorsport 3 is an Xbox 360 first-party exclusive. For my money, though, I'll take Forza 3. After playing all three, the newest Forza has, surprisingly, won me over--not with realism, but with fun.
I say surprisingly because "simulation racers" generally lie in a calcified place among the hearts of the mainstream gamers: the hundreds of factory-immaculate car models and pitch-perfect world racing circuits, along with the endless class licenses and intricate engine tune-ups, can turn most gamers off completely. Right here in the CNET offices, I told a colleague I was playing Forza 3, and that I actually enjoyed it. "Really?" he asked, somewhat disbelieving. It's assumed that Gran Turismo and Forza will be inaccessible to those who don't appreciate racers, just like Madden often erects a wall between NFL fans and gamers and the rest of the world.
I am a casual racer, and Forza 3 sucked me in.
Its first success was employing a calm British man to talk to me. Much like LittleBigPlanet, a gentle voice of authority (although in this case, not Stephen Fry) welcomed me, showed me the basic ropes, and told me everything was going to be all right. Rather than worry about detailed car controls and under-the-hood tinkering, a simple press of a few A and B buttons got me right into a season-long circuit of races. The voice tutorials gently tailed off naturally, until I had the ropes completely. Suddenly I realized that I had been playing for several hours, and was itching to complete just one more race challenge to unlock more credits. That's when I realized that, fundamentally, Forza 3 is a success.… Read more
SAN DIEGO--Earlier this summer, I wrote about the blossoming transition movement, in which local communities around the country and the world are beginning to prepare themselves for a post-peak oil world.
One of the best ways for communities to do this is to focus on local food supplies. With oil prices at peak prices, it won't be economical to truck in food from around the country, and those that do continue such a dependence are likely to experience major financial problems.
But those towns and cities that do put an emphasis on building more sustainable local food infrastructures are … Read more