Star Wars Battlefront Beta – Available Now!

October 8th, 2015

This is going to be the game of the year. No doubts. Event from this limited public beta, you can immediately appreciate the scale and quality of this game.

The Star Wars universe is at your fingertips, in all its full glory. If you love Star Wars, you’ll love Battlefront.

You have time from today until the 12th of October to play the beta on PC (via Origin), PS4 and xBox One. You can’t miss it.

Now, if you’d excuse me, I have a Tie Interceptor to fly.

BMW 420d Sport Gran Coupé – Test Drive

October 8th, 2015

I had a chance for the past couple of days to test drive the BMW 420d Sport Gran Coupé and as always I have a couple of things to say about it. Let’s start with the specific engine configuration I was driving.

Transmission Fuel Type Drive Power Efficiency CO₂ Emissions
Manual Diesel sDrive (rear-wheels-drive) 190 hp 62.8 – 67.3 mpg 111.0 – 119.0 g/km

I’ve also done a full spec configuration that you can review at this link if you are interested in the whole package. All in all, it comes up to a grand total of £37,985 on the road cash price.

Now let’s get down to the finer details.

  • Steering wheel: this specific configuration doesn’t have the adaptive steering wheel. This means that no matter which speed you are going, the steering wheel always feel the same. In this case that means that it was always too light, even for lower speed. I believe this option should be considered a standard item nowadays.
    Except for that, the steering wheel is very comfortable and has a good grip.
    I like the cruise control buttons on the left side, that provide easy access and management of your set speed. On the right side you have the multimedia/phone controls which are very easy to use as well.
  • Interactive display: underneath the speedometer, there’s a small display which will show different information depending on which engine mode are you running with, music/entertainment or navigation aid. The clever take here is that the display is partly embedded into the analogue dial creating a neat effect. The information displayed can vary quite a lot but is always presented in a very readable format. Navigation reminders only appears when actions are required (for example, if you need to stay on the motorway for 100 miles, no information will be shown).
  • Fuel consumptions: the real time indicator of fuel consumotions is a good way to improve the efficiency of your driving style. In addition to that – if you run in Eco+ mode – the display will actively suggest the best moment to shift gear; it will tell you how to better use the throttle and it will prompt you to go on Neutral when idling so that the engine start/stop function can be activated.
    Because it’s a very graphical system, it’s very easy to use and it will not distract the driver even if there’s a lot to be taken in.
  • Gearbox: the manual gearbox is quite responsive, but there are a couple of things that would have probably benefited from more attention. The position of the reverse gear is just stupid. You have to go further out than the first gear, but the stick is crammed into a very small space, making this shift quite uncomfortable and not initial obvious. Plus, the stick itself feels very cheap. Everything else on the car is very refined and you can touch and appreciate the overall quality of the interiors. The gear stick seems to have fallen victim to a last minute budget cut because it feels worse than the one I had on my 2007 Fiat Grande Punto.

This is by no means a full review. It’s just a collection of quick thoughts gathered after a few hours drive. All in all, it’s a very smooth and elegant driving experience, packaged into nice overall design which will make it stand out in a very crowded parking lot.

Asked during an interview if he could imagine making another James Bond movie, the actor told Time Out London: “ I’d rather break this glass and slash my wrists … I’m over it at the moment. We’re done. All I want to do is move on.”
He later clarified: “For at least a year or two, I just don’t want to think about it … If I did another Bond movie, it would only be for the money.”

It definitely sounds like he’s having the time of his life playing James Bond.


Sherlock – The Christmas Special

October 8th, 2015

Suggesting that viewers are in for something creepier than previous installments of Sherlock, Moffat said: “Ghost stories work better in a Victorian setting. This strand of Doyle original stories that are creepy and scary, and the chillers, we haven’t done much with in the modern show. But putting it back into Victorian times, you think it’s a chance to do a ghost story, really – a creepy, scary one.”

The stage is set. The curtain rises. We are ready to begin.

iPad Pro In The Wild #2

October 7th, 2015

Apple is doing the round with the new iPad Pro. After a stop at Pixar, they moved to their good friends at Disney.

The testing seemingly went well for Disney. “Let’s order a bunch,” product manager Paul Hildebrandt said at the end of a Periscope stream showcasing the device. In a separate Periscope steam, Disney animators Jeff Ranjo and Jeremy Spears used the iPad Pro to draw caricatures of each other. You can view the replay of that process at the links below.
Disney’s team of designers tested the iPad Pro with illustration apps like Pro Create and FiftyThree’s popular Paper, both of which have already been optimized for the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil.

The results once again was extremely positive. Be sure to check out the Periscope session where you can see the device in actual operation, with a specific focus on the Pencil and its good responsiveness.

One fun aspect of the Periscope video: the Disney artist being surprised by the fact that the Pencil is not bundled with the iPad Pro, but it’s a separate $99 purchase.

Apple Watch Hermès Unboxing

October 6th, 2015

. A special orange cardboard box outside the standard white plastic Apple Watch box, with a matching orange post-purchase carrying bag.
. A Hermès embossing on the microfiber lining of the plastic Apple Watch inner box.
. Hermès-branded papers, including both instructions and their cardboard sheathe.
. The Watch itself, with the premium leather Single Tour band attached.
. An orange-accented pairing pattern for the iPhone’s Apple Watch app.
. Customizable Hermès watch faces, including optional complications and the ability to reduce the hour numbers on the display.

Typical attention to details. I like the single loop shown in the video, but I definitely prefer the double tour much more.


When Pepsi managed to get its brand of sugar water in 1985’s classic Back to the Future II, it surely wasn’t anticipating being able to cash in on that product placement 30 years later. But that’s exactly what’s happening this month, as the company featured in Marty McFly’s fictional 2015 is releasing a real product based on the movie: the Pepsi Perfect bottle. Limited to a release of 6,500 and set to go on sale on October 21st, 2015 — the date to which Marty and Doc Brown traveled forward in time — the Perfect bottles will cost $20.15 each.

This is so great. Now all we need are the self-lacing Nike. Oh wait.

Another iPad Pro Real Life Test

October 6th, 2015

Jackie Dove at TheNextWeb was lucky enough to have a go with the iPad Pro at the AdobeMax conference.

While the 12.9-inch iPad is much larger than the latest iPad Air 2, it’s first and foremost a creation device1. Most people in the room were trying it out as it lay flat on a table, rather than attempting to pick it up and hold it. For creating comps and sketches and editing photos, I suspect that will continue to be the case.

The best news coming from this article is once again a remark on how the Pencil works great in conjunction with the new iPad Pro, seemingly making it an essential accessory.

November can’t come soon enough.

  1. Emphasis here is mine. Finally a clear shift in the mindset of some press about the role of an iPad.