Killing zombies and FIFA World Cup action: iPhone apps of the week

With today's launch of the iPad 3G, the battle between Apple and Adobe over Flash, and the drama that continues to unfold regarding the leaked iPhone 4G, there's plenty of Apple to go around in the news. But instead of adding my two cents on any of these stories, I'd rather relay the rumor I read about over at Apple Insider.

Apparently, according to "sources familiar with the situation," the iPhone 4G may go on sale June 7, on the first day of the Worldwide Developers Conference. Like many Apple events, Steve Jobs will be … Read more

Hands-on: 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa

Every four years the sports world is graced with the largest soccer tournament on Earth. This year the World Cup will be played on African soil and to celebrate the games we're taking a look at EA's 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.

Jeff: There's something special about EA's FIFA World Cup games. For the most part the action is relatively similar to FIFA 10, but perhaps it's the overall presentation and sense of realism that allow the game to assume its own identity.

Sure, there are a few new features in 2010 FIFA World Cup; you can now play the entire tournament online and there are some new penalties that get called during the action. A few trite coach cutaways aside, FIFA World Cup really does nail the feeling of excitement associated with the world's greatest sports tournament and is ultimately where the game shines the most.

Those looking for something completely unique from a gameplay standpoint may be disappointed as there aren't too many improvements found here. You may spot a few new replay angles here and there, but the game doesn't up the ante as much as we saw in 2006's Germany World Cup game.

We definitely feel 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa is among the most accessible of games simply because of its international appeal and the amount of coverage the actual tournament gets here in the US. Casual soccer fans who may not be in line to buy FIFA each year definitely should give 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa a look as it simplifies the soccer experience unlike the traditional yearly FIFA effort.

David: EA Sports has learned through its market research that its World Cup-branded FIFA titles tend to appeal to less hard-core video soccer players who are simply inspired by the World Cup to buy the game. Thus, EA tries to make it more accessible to novice players while not offending advanced types. An example of this option is the new two-button control scheme that simplifies the whole passing and shooting situation for those who aren't ready to deal with a layered control scheme.

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Yahoo's Bartz exports personal style to Europe

LONDON--After 16 months at Yahoo's helm and an expectations-beating first quarter, new chief executive Carol Bartz brought some of her down-home style to the Old World for her European press debut Wednesday.

Bartz fielded questions, touted Yahoo's refurbished strategy, and, flanked by the company's head of European operations, touted news that the Internet pioneer won sole rights to show game highlight videos for the Premier League, the 20-club group top of the English football competition pecking order. Bartz was here as part of a tour to meet senior ad agency executives in London and was due for … Read more

BP Castrol machine kicks balls at over 125mph

In anticipation of the upcoming World Cup, BP Castrol Japan has built a machine that kicks a football (or soccer ball, if you're American) at over 125mph. According to the MSNBC video, in comparison, Ronaldo (no mention if they mean the Portuguese or Brazilian superstar) kicks at about 80mph. According to an article on Guardian, a 114mph shot was recorded by a David Hirst from English club Sheffield Wednesday in 1996--still less powerful than what the machine is capable of.

This contraption is a promotional item and will be showcased during the tournament in South Africa. Trust the Japanese … Read more

Son allegedly stabs dad over PlayStation tactics

Italians love soccer. Despite the fact that the country does occasionally win the World Cup, however, the Italian brand of soccer is more venal than Ben Kingsley in "Sexy Beast."

The teams intimidate, they're negative, they will stoop to violence, and they're infinitely less interesting to watch than Joaquin Phoenix on the "Late Show with David Letterman."

I mention this because I understand that the Italian love of soccer, even virtual soccer, has led to a domestic dispute of stunningly negative proportions.

According to Reuters, a 16-year-old boy identified as Mario R was merrily engrossed in a game of FIFA 2009 on his PlayStation when his dad decided to offer a little advice.

The story doesn't recount whether Dad suggested the son play another two men across the back (a very Italian suggestion) or whether he merely figured that Mario's team needed to get a one goal lead and then cease to play soccer altogether--another very Italian characteristic.

Mario was not impressed with Dad's tactics. Perhaps he expressed himself forcefully. For Dad's reaction was to turn off the TV.

Mario seems to have felt this was provocation beyond the limits of filial loyalty. This was provocation not unlike Italian defender Marco Materazzi offering allegedly disgraceful slurs that caused France's Zinedine Zidane to lose his head--into Materazzi's chest--during the 2006 World Cup Final.

Mario reportedly wandered into the kitchen, grabbed a 15-inch knife, and stabbed his dad in the neck. He then supposedly wandered back into the kitchen, washed the knife, as his mom looked on, still unknowing, and put it down to dry.… Read more

Cool pool tool

Soccer betting games like Toto, Lotofoot, and TotoCalcio are played by millions around the world, but they're particularly popular in countries where soccer mania rules--which is most of the world outside of the US, where "football" means shoulder pads, not penalty kicks. TotoCalculator 2 is an easy-to-use program that improves your odds of winning association football betting games.

TotoCalculator's main interface is a plain but familiar Windows dialog box. Pop-up options dialogs handle truly copious settings. The input window features a color-coded spreadsheet format listing matches between major English and European professional soccer teams, as well … Read more

Pocket Radar for tattletales, athletic coaches

When it comes to speed radars, why should police officers have all the fun? Santa Rosa, CA-based Pocket Radar, Inc. has engineered a palm-sized speed radar for those curious about the speed of moving objects.

Tattletales might enjoy aiming the device at motorists or speeding cops, but Pocket Radar is intended for more serious applications.

In an interview with the Press Democrat, co-founder Steve Goody explains that it can also be used by hockey, bike racing, horse racing, and soccer fans. "It has an application for any sport with a moving object," he said.

Steve Goody, Chris Stewart, … Read more

Can Facebook group change World Cup game result?

You know this is serious because they've already talked about it on SportsCenter.

Wednesday saw one of the most painful pieces of cheating that soccer has enjoyed since, oh, since pretty much any other World Cup qualifying game.

However, this occurred in the dying minutes, featured one of the most famous players in the world (yes, he's been on the front of an EA FIFA game box), affected the result of the game, and was so crudely obvious that the world has decided to fight back by socially networking.

In case you were only recently released after being … Read more

Open source: Big value, not big money

Open-source software may have a lot in common with the global soccer (football) business: while it generates a tremendous amount of value for users, very little of that value can be converted into cash. At least, not directly.

That's the thought that struck me while reading the exceptional "Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Germany and Brazil Win, and Why the U.S., Japan, Australia, Turkey--and Even Iraq--Are Destined to Become the Kings of the World's Most Popular Sport." Among other things, the book tackles the economics of soccer, and yields some counterintuitive insights:

...[I]f Deloitte … Read more