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Apple has had a very interesting history, to say the least. In 1976, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ronald Wayne, and, with the help of some external funding, founded Apple Inc. Their computers were crude, large, extremely expensive and also brilliant. Using the new GUI (Graphical User Interface) invention, they created a computer that was easy to use and good to look at. But, as mentioned, their computers were too expensive, and didn’t sell well. Apple came out with other models of computers, including the Lisa and the Macintosh, some of which sold decently enough, but only just so.

Steve Jobs, the creator of Apple, was relieved of his position as head of the Macintosh corporation in 1985 due to an internal power struggle between him and some of his employees, and Apple started to slide down a slippery slope into bankruptcy. They released multipule failed products, such as the Macintosh Portable, which was 17 pounds and sold under 100,000 units total. The Powerbook sold better, and it came with Apple OS 7, which was the groundwork for the future OS releases, but overall, didn’t pull Apple out of the hole.

Though the next years, Apple would release other computer units that did compete with Microsoft, but they were all deemed too expensive and, some, too complex for the average user. They continued to release flop devices such as the Newton, a PDA, and the Apple II series, which was immensely expensive and stole sales from their other products.

But, in 1996, Steve Job’s company was bought by Apple, and soon Jobs found himself back on top of the Apple chain of command. From here on, Apple began reinventing the wheel, creating computers that pushed the boundaries of our mind and inventing software that was thought impossible. Whether or not it was Jobs that started the turn around is debatable, but when he came back to the helm, Apple prospered. And with the creation of the iPod, Apple finally had breathing room, and lots of it.

But enough of the history lesson. I have other things to talk about.

Things like, “What if Steve Jobs had stayed with Apple for that 10 or so year slump?”

*cracks knuckles*

Here we go.

…just know, this is all for fun. Don’t get too bent out of shape.

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New Apple Time-line:

1985 – Steve Jobs keeps his job at Apple and begins work on a new project.

1986 – Jobs reveals the Powerbook, a ten pound box, running the new OS 7. It costs only $1500 and runs on batteries for ten hours.

1987 – The Apple II series Macintosh is released. The computer is slim, weighing only five pounds, and it is running the new OS 8. Sporting a 200MHZ processor with 128 megs of RAM, it costs $1200.

1988 – The Apple III series Macintosh is released. This new model of the Apple II is even lighter, running the upgraded OS 8.5. It has a 450 MHZ Power PC processor and has 512 megs of RAM, costing $1199.

1989 – The Newton is revealed, with a color screen and actually works. Released for $500.

1990 – The Newton 2 is released, has music playback ability and runs at millions of colors. It comes in a 10 GIG version and 15 GIG version, costing $350 and $450. At the same time, the first iMac is revealed. The computer and monitor is one unit standing on a slim stand. The computer uses an improved LCD screen that runs at 1200 by 1600. The computer brags a upgradable 1 GHZ Power PC II processor with a GIG of RAM. It is running a completely overhauled OS 9. It is released for $1599 for a 60 GIG HDD or $1699 for a 120 GIG HDD. It becomes the new standard for movie makers and Pixar buys stock in Apple.

1990 – Steve Jobs begins working on a secret project, codenamed “iNewton”.

1991 – The “iNewton” is revealed to be the iPod, a portable music device. The first generation of iPod has a 30 GIG HDD with a color screen and picture playback. It costs $600. iTunes is also revealed at the same time, though it runs clunky and isn’t completely optimized.

1992 – The iPod II is revealed, slimming the device down nearly 50% and doubling the HDD to 60 GIGs. It now supports video. The new iMac II is also revealed, and though it looks similar to the original, the new one has a 2.2 GHZ Apple Power PC III processor, which is also upgradable, and has 2 GIGs of RAM standard. It is running the brand new OS, OS X. Pixar buys the majority of Apple’s stocks.

1992 – Microsoft releases Windows 3.1 with a color screen and a basic interface costing $2499. It sells 129,000 units.

1993 – Apple reported having a 97% consumer base for the personal computer. The iMac 3 is released, which comes with a standard touch screen monitor. It has a slightly upgraded Apple Power PC III processor, running at 2.4 GHZ. The new iMac 3 has a RAM limit of 8 gigs, and costs $1299 at release. It runs the new OS X 10.1.

1993 – Steve Jobs introduced the world to the iBook, a sleek and thin laptop weighing only three pounds and having the power of the iMac II. It has a 12 hour battery life and costs $1999, being their most expensive item ever released.It also runs OS X 10.1.

1994 – The iPod III is released, removing the plastic cover instead opting for glass and metal. It comes with a minimum of 120 GIGs and up to a 256 GIGs model, selling for $250 and $350. At the same time, the iPod Mini is released, being 80% smaller than the iPod III. It has a color screen and supports video. It comes with a 40 GIG solid state drive and costs $250. iTunes is updated to 5.0, allowing access to buying music, videos and movies. The songs costs $.59 a piece.

1994 – At the beginning of the year, Microsoft releases Windows 95, which costs $599 by itself. It is plagued with bugs and sells poorly. At Christmas, Microsoft announces that they are stepping out of the computer business and are working now on a secret project.

1995 – Apple releases the iBook Pro, a larger screened version of the original iBook. It is slightly upgraded in terms of power, but comes with the touchscreen found in the iMac 3.

1996 – Apple remains quiet, not releasing any products but releases small updates to OS 10.1. Meanwhile, Microsoft introduces the Xbox, a gaming console to go up against the Playstation and the Nintendo 64.

1997 – The iBook ProV is released. The laptop is highly customizable, with nearly every aspect being able to be rearranged online by the buyer. The iBook ProV’s in stores came in a 19 inch screen version with a 2.2 GHZ Power PC III processor and 2 GIGs of RAM and a 21 inch screen version with a upgraded 2.4 Power PC III processor and 2.5 GIGs of RAM.

1998 – A much needed upgrade to the iMac is released, called iMac 4. It comes with a upgraded version of the touch screen that does not pick up any finger prints. It comes with a standard 3.6 Power PC IV processor and a maximum of 10 GIG’s of Ram. It, once again, becomes the new standard for movie and music creators and sells nearly billions. It was priced at $999 at launch, Apple’s cheapest launch PC. It runs OS X 10.2

1998 – The iPhone is revealed and has a wide screen that is also touch. It only has one button, a home button, and is controlled completely by the touch screen. It is a cell phone that runs off of a Apple network that covers 98% of the United States. It is the first “smart phone”, that can not only make calls, but it acts as an iPod as well. It is sold without the phone features for $199 with 20 GIGs and with the phone features for $299 as well with 20 GIGs.

1999 – It is reported that 56% of home PC users use the iMac 3, 20% use the iMac 4, 23% use an older iMac and 1% use something other than a Apple product. Apple releases the iPhone 2, with more power and all models having the phone feature. It sells for $249. The iPod Touch is released after years of waiting for a new iPod. It looks like the iPhone, but it is slimmer and has no phone capabilities. It also has a slightly larger screen at no expense to the size of the entire unit. It comes in 16 GIG and 32 GIG models, selling for $149 and $199.

2000 – The iMac 4 is given a software update for free, up to OS X 10.3, which featured several graphical updates and security fixes. Apple also offered cheap hardware upgrades for those who had previously bought a iMac 4, no matter where purchased. The upgrade also applies to the severely outdated iBook ProV. The iPhone 3 is released, with a 1 GHZ Power PC M processor and 512 MBs RAM. The iPod Touch, now called simply the iTouch2 is released with the same power as the iPhone 3. Both new devices came with 64 GIG drives.

2000 – Microsoft releases the Xbox 360, competing with the Playstation 2 and the Gamecube.

2001 – Apple announces the new line of computers to replace the iMac 4, simply called iMac. It is considered to be the “Apple iMac reboot”. The first model is running the new Apple Power PC V, with a standard of a dual core 4.0 GHZ processor and a maximum of 16 GIGs of RAM. It is running the new OS X 10.4. The monitor has a touch screen similar to the one on the iPhone. The iPhone 3GS is announced, sporting a dual core Power PC M2 processor, clocking in at 1.2 GHZ and a gig of RAM. The iTouch2 is phased out and is replaced with the iPhone 3GS. Apple dropped the price of the iPhone 3GS to try and fill the iPod spot. They say they want to stream line their products so it is less confusing to the consumer. The iPhone 3GS costs $149 for the 64 GIG version, $199 for the 128 GIG version and $249 for the 256 GIG version.

2002 – Apple announces the same program that they did for the iMac 4 with the new iMac, and offers nearly free hardware upgrades to everyone who purchased the iMac the previous year and a free upgrade to OS X 10.5. The iBook ProV also was included in the upgrade program. The iPhone 4 is released with double the storage and a slight increase to the power.

2003 – The success of the Xbox 360, which seemed to be ahead of its time, out sells both the Gamecube and the PS2, and forces Nintendo to announce that they will not be making a console in the next generation but instead will be developing exclusively for Sony.

2003 – The iMac L is announced, running the new Power PC V Quad processor, a quad core processor running at 4.0 GHZ. The RAM storage is capped at 24 GIGs. The iPhone 4 gets a new OS update, but no new hardware update.

2004 – Apple is quiet, releasing only some software updates for OS X 10.5 and the iPhone OS. Microsoft and Sony start to reveal their new home gaming consoles, the Xbox 1080 and the Playstation 3.

2005 – Apple announces that they will be joining Sony and Microsoft on the home gaming console wars. They announced the iGame, to be released Christmas 2005. Several major publishers signed on to Apple, and the iGame will release with 34 launch titles, 20 of which are AAA games. It will cost $400.

2005 – The Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and iGame with a $799, $499 and $399 price tag respectively, are released at Christmas.

2005 – At Christmas, Apple calls the previous program to upgrade computers iUpgrade, and applies iUpgrade to anyone who owns a iMac 4, a new iMac,  iMac L or the old iBook ProV. iMac and iMac L users are upgraded to OS X 10.5.10

2006 – Apple announces that they sold over 2.1 million iGame consoles by April and dropped the price to $299 in April. The PS3 sells a million consoles by April and the Xbox 1080 sells only 670,000.

2006 – The iMac LL is released, with a Power PC 6 processor, running six cores at 5.4 GHZ. It has a RAM capacity of 30 GIGs and is released with a ten terabyte HDD for $1200. The new OS X 10.6 comes pre-installed. The iPhone 5 is released, and is slightly thinner and slightly longer with a 512 GIG drive costing only $199. It is also slightly more powerful. The iGame sells another 3 million units between April and December, while the PS3 sells another million and the 1080 struggles at only 214,000 consoles sold. The price of the iGame drops to $249, while the price of the PS3 and 1080 stay the same.

2007 – The iMac LL is continued to be advertised with more updates to the hardware and software through iUpgrade. The iPhone 5 drops the iPhone OS in favor of OS X 10.6, the full featured OS that is on the iMac LL.

2007 – The Xbox 1080 is discontinued at Christmas due to incredibly poor sales, only selling 54,000 units in the 2007 year. The Playstation 3 dropped it’s price to $299, and sold 1.9 million units by Christmas 2007. The iGame sold another 3.3 million units and it’s price was dropped to $199.

2008 – OS X 10.7 is given free to all iMac, iMac L and iMac LL users, as well as to all iPhone 5 users. The iGame is also upgraded to OS X 10.7, dropping the old software it ran before. iUpgrade continues to be popular, as nearly 89% of all iMac, iMac L and iMac LL users have been reported to have used the service to upgrade their Macs.

2008 – The iGame continues to sell over 2 million units a year, while the PS3 finds itself to be gaining momentum. It sells 2.3 million units in the 2008 year.

2009 – iUpgrade continues to upgrade all iMac L and iMac LL’s, but support for the iMac and the iBook ProV is discontinued. At Christmas, OS X 10.8 is released for free to all iMac, iMac L, iMac LL, iGame and iPhone 5 users.

2010 – The PS3 and the iGame are tied for sales, both selling just under 1 million units from Christmas 2009 till June 30th2010. The iPad is announced and released, being called “The laptop Apple has owed us for years”. Steve Jobs calls the iPad “A iMac in your hands.” It comes with a CD drive build inside the case, two USB 3.0 ports, a VGA output and a front and back camera with facial recognition. It has a wide touch screen that is 12 inches long and 10 inches high and weighs only two pounds. it runs the new OS X 10.8.5. It was released with cell phone capabilities running on Apples service for $499 for a 64 GIG version and $599 for a 126 GIG verion.

2010 – The June statistics for home PC users was broken down like this: 43% of the home PC consumers use the iMac L, 27% use the iMac LL, 15% use the iMac, 14% use the iPad and 1% use another OS.

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Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed my take on what would have happened if Jobs has stayed with Apple. And please, remember, it’s all just for fun!

Also, this is my official longest post ever! Whoo!

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Hello all. This is my first blog post on my iPad, the device that I will be posting from though out the summer. I am selling my laptop in favor of this little device that I love very much. Expect most posts be from this little thing, who is not named yet; I’m thinking still.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a Half-Life fanboy. I played the original Half-Life and it fast because my favorite game of all time. When Half-Life 2 came out, it blew me away in the story, the graphics and especially the character models. I still, to this day, have not played a game more or as often as Half-Life 2 and it stands as my favorite game of all time.

Then Valve started to release the Episodes in the coming years, and I enjoyed them just as much as the original Half-Life 2 game. But then it seemed that Valve got a little distracted; they created the fun, but certainly NOT Episode 3, Left4Dead. And the following year, out came Left4Dead 2.

Meanwhile, Valve worked and worked on their Steam platform, making it one of the largest online distributer of games on the planet.

So let’s get this strait: Valve created one of the most immersible games of all time with Half-Life 2. They ended it on a cliff hanger. The next game Valve made was the follow up to the cliff hanger ending, Episode 1. A bit more than a year later, Episode 2 landed, ending in a larger cliff hanger than the original game. And now what is Valve doing?

Everything but creating Episode 3.

Yes, Valve is doing good things with Left4Dead. No-one can argue about the quality of Valves games; they’ve never made one bad game in their entire existence. But while they were making Left4Dead and making Steam such a popular problem, they forgot one thing: Half-Life.

Now, of course, we have no idea what’s going on inside Valve’s front doors. Gabe Newel could very well be working his arse off to get Episode 3 out the door, trying to create the perfect game. But to us on the outside, with no information save for one simple concept art, which may or may not be Episode 3, we are starting to feel betrayed. To me, it seems he’s focusing all his time on their new franchise and putting Episode 3 on the back burner, which is not somewhere Episode 3 needs to be.

Maybe Valve has a master plan. Maybe they wanted this sort of argument argued. Maybe they wanted us to squirm a little in waiting for Episode 3. Maybe they are planning on showing Episode 3 at E3.

But Valve, please, we just need something, anything, about the bloody game with only one concept art.

E3 couldn’t come faster.

Check out the podcast I'm in, called Disembodied Voices!

Just a caution: I will try to keep it as vague as possible, but there might be some small spoilers. Also, if you want to keep the ending un-spoiled, don’t read the comments. 🙂

I had been playing Red Dead Redemption for about three weeks now in between some other games. I would do a mission or two then put the game away for a while to start back up later. Well, earlier tonight, I could tell the game was getting closer to the end, so I decided to stick it out and finish it in one last play session.

The entire game’s story had been working up to one certain point; the death of certain characters. The entire game focused on Mr. Marston’s plan to find these men and kill them. When I started to run into some of them over and over again, I knew the ending was close. So I kept playing.

And when the event finally happened, I felt very happy for Marston; he had finally completed his task that had taken him so very long and had been haunting him like a ghost. As I rode my horse back to finally get my reward, some nice music played and the atmosphere was perfect. I felt accomplished.

But, after a scene with my reward, I noticed that I suddenly had more missions. Story missions. More bloody story missions. And then I continued to play the game for another HOUR and a HALF before it was over.

And when it finally ended, the real ending was not nearly as fun or climactic as the “1st” ending. Not to mention that the final scene seemed forced and it gave no explanation whatsoever as to why it happened. The game could have ended on the perfect note nearly two hours ago. It seemed to me that Rockstar felt the game was a little too short and decided to throw some other crap ending in just to get some more game play.

“Well,” you ask “why does it matter if there are more missions? It’s all about having more fun, right?”

Wrong. Not only did they ruin a perfect ending, the “extra” missions that you then get to do are incredibly easy and boring. One mission has you shoot crows off of a silo. Crows. I shot ten of them and the mission was over. All the extra missions are worthless filler, only there to get the player from the 1st ending to the 2nd one.

Needless to say, I’m disappointed in Rockstar. They had a perfect ending, one that would have let the player go out and finish all the side quests and continue to explore the land.

Then they ruined it.

UPDATE: Let me be clear; I know about the ending that you play as Jack, so you guys can stop informing me about that. I was so disgusted with the “Marston” ending, I turned the game off right then. Sure, the Jack ending might give the story a bit more of a nicer ending, but for me, it was already ruined.

Republished with permission from Virtual Shackles

Game consoles down through the years have been all different shapes and sizes. We’ve gone from the incredibly big PS3 to the tiny little GameCube, and everywhere in between. We’ve had good features like Xbox Live and horrible add-ons like the Power Glove. But what if we took all the good from the consoles and put them together into one super console? Let’s see what we can create!

Pardon the crudely photo-shopped picture.

We are going to assume that the guts (all the megahertz and gigahertz stuff) of the super console are the current highest tech; we’re not focusing on that part on the consoles.

  • First off, while the Xbox 360 had some hardware failure problems, the case that the Xbox lives in is quite nice looking. I think if we got rid of the power brick, we should use the Xbox 360’s case. Let’s make it a little smaller, but it still needs to be able to stand up or lay down. Also, it should be stackable, without a curved top (the PS3 and the original Xbox’s were impossible to stack, while the PS2 and 360 are easy!).
  • The PS3 has the quietest DVD/Blu-ray drive I’ve ever heard in a console, so we should use the drive from the PS3.
  • Personally, I love the PS3/PS2 controllers, but let’s swap the place of the D-Pad and the analog stick. Also, real triggers like the 360 has, not those mushy buttons the PS3 has. If not that, let’s use the SNES’s controller. It had a perfect feeling to it. We’d just need to add analog sticks and some triggers.
  • Let’s make the console black, but matte, not shiny. It could also be available in other colors like white and a dark red.
  • It needs to have more than two or three USB ports. Let’s take a note from the original PS3 and have six total USB ports, four in the front and two in the back. Also, Bluetooth needs to be standard and should be compatible with all Bluetooth devices.
  • Obviously, like the Wii and PS3, we need built in Wi-Fi.
  • We seriously need the Xbox Live service, but free.
  • Let’s use the PS3’s operating system. The ability to use any USB device up to any size to store anything is also a must.
  • On the 360, you have a nice circle of lights telling you which controller you have plugged it. It’s a brilliant system and one of my biggest complaints about the PS3. We need that feature.
  • We need bigger hard drives, like the PS3, but really easy to remove, like the 360. And it should take any hard drive so we aren’t stuck with paying large amount of money for hard drives that should cost a fraction of the price.
  • HDMI ports are a must. Stupid older 360’s 😡
  • We need a virtual console! All three companies are doing pretty good jobs getting older games from their older consoles on their online service. Let’s keep it up!
  • Headsets need to come packaged with every single console, like most 360’s, but they should be Bluetooth wireless, like the PS3.
  • We need the Xbox’s ability to let most anyone make a game and get it sold, but we want it without the money Microsoft asks for. Along that same note, we don’t want to pay for DLC that the developers don’t want to charge for, like the PC and the PS3.
  • Netflix and Hulu need to be integrated at no extra charge (besides a Netflix subscription fee) with no disk needed.
  • Let’s do away with the avatars. Both Microsoft and Nintendo has tried to integrate them, but honestly, I couldn’t care less about my avatars. See ya!
  • We need to be able to store our gamertag or whatever to our controllers, sort of like what the Wii did with Miis, except it needs to be all our information so we can move our gamertag around much easier.
  • And lastly, we need two tiny things from Sony: we want the symbol for the console to flip around when we change the position of the console and we want the touch activated on and eject button. I am sorely missing having that on my slim PS3.

Any ideas of your own?

Alan Wake is a video game inspired by Stephen King, or at least, that’s how it feels (though I’ve been informed that King had nothing to do with the games story). The story plays out just like one of Mr. Kings novels: fast paced; created just to keep you on the edge of your seat. The game usually gave me the chills and there were times that got me a little jumpy. The most shocking part? The game is rated T for teen, proving that we don’t need blood, guts and sex to make a scary piece of media (not to say blood, guts and sex are scary, but usually gore tries to play itself off as “scary”, ala Saw which was more “ew” than “AHH”). All we really need to scare is good story telling and relatable characters.

Oh, and the sense of helplessness at all times goes a long way in the scariness factor.

Alan Wake uses light and dark as a large factor in its game play mechanic. It basically smears it all over the screen that “DAY TEH GOOD DARK TEH BAD!”. The enemies you fight are completely invulnerable to your guns and fists. How do  you kill them? Your trusty flashlight (Duracell: Smart Power *thumbs up*). After you blast the baddies with some serious lightage for a couple of seconds, they become human again instead of dark monsters, making them stoppable with your firearms. It’s a great gaming mechanic, one that really can send you into a panic when you have to change batteries on your flashlight and someone is already on top of you with an ax or if you’re running towards a light with bad guys behind you and Alan starts to get tired and slows down. The game does a very good job making you nervous.

The environments in the game are bloody brilliant, to put it bluntly. When running through the forest (which you do a lot) the trees swaying in the wind look gorgeous. The darkness power swirls around cars, buildings and trees, forming a sort of black smoke. It all looks very creepy. I found myself awed by most of the environment settings. This is certainly the best looking game I’ve seen in quite a while.

Unfortunately, as has been the case with a lot of recent games, the characters look like they just jumped off into the uncanny valley with an anvil tied to their leg. I’ve seen better face models in much older games. Some other recent games have been having the same problem with their character models; they look terrible but move the way that humans do.   Maybe this is a sign that we’re getting incredibly close to bridging the gap of the valley; we’re getting much worse right before we get perfect.

The voice acting was also taken very seriously in Alan Wake, as is the tradition in Remedy Entertainment’s games. The voice actors do a very good job creating real personalities for Alan, his wife, the dark creatures (which have some distortion on their voice to make them even creepier) and other various people that live in the town. Along side the voice actors is a very well scored soundtrack. The inclusion of some in-house rock added a small but brilliant touch to the game (when you get to that part in the game, you’ll see what I mean).

The only real problem I have with Alan Wake is that by the end of the game, I just wanted to know how the story ended. While I enjoyed the gameplay when it was new and fresh, at the end of eight hours, I had my fill and was ready for it to just be over. The story kept me playing though, because it was just so darn good. There are some collectibles to find, including pages from the book Alan is writing, but I found it easier to go online and look them up because I would always miss a single page or something stupid like that and I didn’t want to bother playing the entire level again to find one missing page.

Alan Wake is a brilliant looking game with a story that will stay with you for a long time, but it’s held back by semi-repetitive game play and some bad facial models. Regardless of it’s low replayability, it’s still worth your time and could possible be seen at the end of the year when voting starts for the “Game of the Year” awards.

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