There are a lot of mobile games that compete for our attention, and for many of us that means finding a simple game that we can become addicted to –at least in waiting rooms. Freaking Math is unique, fast-paced, and infuriating… but I challenge you to put it down once you have given it a try!
The premise of the game is simple: a math equation (always addition) pops up on your screen and you have 2 seconds to decide whether it is right or wrong (and try to get as many right as you can in a row). If you take too long to decide or you answer incorrectly, a buzzer sounds and the game is over (while you scream out loud at your device, tapping the answer violently that you meant to).
It’s fun as you compete against yourself, it’s infuriating as you try to sync your brain and fingers, and it’s devastating the first time you say 2+2 is 5. For those who like to compete on a larger scale, the app also features a leaderboard that shows how you rate against those in your circles as well as the general public.
Are you ready to do some rapid-fire calculations? Download Freaking Math for free now!
Sunday, August 10, 2014
News that Square Enix has launched Dragon Quest IV for Android, an epic RPG from a familiar (and very successful) RPG franchise, is very exciting. Dubbed as the first installment in the Zenithian Trilogy, this adventure spans across 5 chapters with each one giving focus to a different cast of characters.
Avid gamers will tell you that Dragon Quest is an advanced RPG, particularly as it relates to their party systems. Party talk allows you to speak with anybody in your party in real time –though you have no idea what they are going to say (it may be interesting, or they may just tell you to be quiet)!
Other features of the game include the tried and true Casino that lets you try your luck at three fantastic games, battles that can be initiated automatically, and amazing 360-degree views in all of the towns and villages.
It is no shock that this game is a home-run with a development team that includes the master creator Yuji Horii, music by Koichi Sugiyama, and artwork by master manga artist Akira Toriyama (from Dragonball fame).
Don’t let the $14.99 price-tag scare you. It’s certainly on the pricier side of mobile gaming, but with over 40 hours of gameplay and no nagging in-app purchases required, it’s well worth the price of admission. If you are ready to give it a try, download Dragon Quest IV now.
Following the implementation of an end-to-end encryption upgrade by Google to their Gmail service, Yahoo has announced that by 2015 their email offering will also use the same security enhancements.
Yahoo’s Chief Information Security Officer, Alex Stamos, took the opportunity during his speech at the recent Black Hat conference to discuss these upgrades and note that increased security measures will help users of their email service to “communicate in an encrypted manner with other Yahoo Mail users, but also with Gmail users and eventually with other email systems that adopt similar methodologies.”
Also of interest is the announcement that the source code for the upgrades will be available to the open source community, allowing for further refinement and testing.
According to Google, future security enhancements will include Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) encryption for Gmail –it is expected that Yahoo will follow suit with a similar offering.
Between 425 million Gmail users and 273 million Yahoo Mail users –securing email traffic between these services is a significant improvement.
Yotadevices has announced they are fleeing Moscow and moving their global headquarters to Toronto. The main reason they are doing this is to tap into a number of former Blackberry engineers and to circumvent the growing number of US trade sanctions levied towards Russia.
This company is mainly known for the YotaPhone, which employed some very unique design principles. It had a high resolution LCD full color touchscreen on the front and an e-ink panel on the back. Users got the best of both worlds, an e-reader and a fully featured phone.
When we reviewed this device in our Good e-Reader Labs, I did not give it a very compelling rating or endorsement. The e-Ink screen frequently crashed and it needed to be interacted with via the D-Pad and physical buttons.
Yota Devices plans to raise $100-million in capital within the next year, with the help of Toronto-based investment bank Jacob Securities, and potentially list the company on the Toronto Stock Exchange by 2015. They also are nearing a global rollout of their second generation Yotaphone with a touchscreen e-ink panel.
Penguin unveiled a brand new anniversary edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory last week. The Roald Dahl novel is eliciting a hefty amount of criticism from the entire reading community.
The new book cover is eliciting a tremendous amount of negative press on Penguins official Facebook page, where the unveiling took place. Creepy, awful, Toddlers and Tiaras, Valley of the Dolls, A low point for Penguin covers, the image is dreadful, is that supposed to be Veruca Salt? Absolutely misleading. I wouldn’t buy a book with a cover like this for my child. It is a timeless classic and Penguin has ruined it. One Dahl fan summed up the reaction: 'Is there time for a reprint? You’re destroying my childhood.'
But Penguin said it stressed “the light and the dark aspects” of Dahl’s work. “This design is in recognition of the book’s extraordinary cultural impact and is one of the few children’s books to be featured in the Penguin Modern Classics list. This new image for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory looks at the children at the centre of the story, and highlights the way Roald Dahl’s writing manages to embrace both the light and the dark aspects of life.”
The planned acquisition of Perseus Books Group by Hachette and Ingram has collapsed. The deal, which was announced in June, would have seen Perseus’ publishing imprints go to Hachette and its distribution business go to Ingram. Hachette, currently entangled in a long and very public battle with Amazon, relies heavily on fiction bestsellers. Perseus would have added a strong nonfiction backlist.
Until the end of July, Perseus had been working primarily with Hachette. However, talks became more complicated when final discussions with Ingram heated up. Although no one would comment on the particulars, Perseus’s unique position in the book world could have made valuing the company difficult, especially the company’s distribution arm; there has not been a major sale of a distributor since the beginning of the digital book age.
The broken deal is hurting Hachette’s chances of expanding their business past frontlist fiction. Perseus had over 6,000 backlist titles that were non-fiction and Hachette stood to benefit by more diversification in their books. HBG parent Lagardere had told investors in a presentation in late May it was their intention to growth their nonfiction line, and expand HBG USA overall: “It is necessary to be a bigger player in the USA than in the UK in order to secure enough primary rights,” they had said, also noting, “Size is, and will continue to be, a critical asset in the forthcoming years in this market.”
Amazon is playing hardball with Disney in ongoing contract negotiations. The Seattle based e-commerce giant has suspended pre-orders for all future DVD and Blu-Ray releases including two of the summers top hits, Captain America and Maleficent. These films combined earned over $700 million worldwide.
The hardball tactics employed by Amazon is designed to get the new contract signed as soon as possible. The suspension of DVD and Blu-Ray pre-orders is meant to give Disney “motivation” to fast track the new contract.
The elimination of pre-orders is nothing new for Amazon and has been standard business fare over the course of the past few years. Earlier this summer they did the same thing to Warner Bros before the new Lego Movie was slatted for a home release. Ultimately, the two sides reached an accord, and DVD and Blu-ray disc sales resumed.
Customers are buying less DVD and Blu-Ray movies and instead have gravitated towards online streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and iTunes. Despite all of this, home video sales still continue to play an important role in underwriting the cost of the film.
Amazons tactics with the film industry has certainly not garnered the type of press as their ongoing dispute with publishing giant Hachette. The two sides have been locked in a bitter contract dispute since May 2014. This is prompting many public statements released by Amazon, Hachette and Authors United.
Authors United has taken out a full page ad in the sundays edition of the New York Times. They accuse the online retailer of slowing delivery of Hachette's books, refusing to discount its works, and saying its books are unavailable. The letter is backed by many big-name writers, including Stephen King and John Grisham. The letter says the authors are not choosing sides, but urges Amazon to stop "hurting authors" as part of the negotiations.