2012

Review: Survive doomsday and race your way out of the zombie madness in Escape 2012

Escape 2012 is silly zombie fun in spite of its tough-to-master controls and mediocre layout. This game is exciting and easy enough to pick up and play that it will definitely entertain you for a little while. Don't expect much replay value once you've beaten the game, though.

Escape 2012 puts you behind the wheel of a small car as you try to drive to safety in a zombie apocalypse. That means dodging obstacles and other survivors as you grab oil cans and crash through zombies. The game ends when you reach 5000, which isn't too difficult … Read more

Review: OPlayerHD Lite is a powerful, multitiered media player for your iPad

OPlayerHD Lite takes advantage of the larger screen of the iPad to create a powerful, feature-rich media player you can use for nearly anything. From direct downloads to creating custom playlists and accessing files from your cloud storage or local network devices, OPlayerHD Lite is one of the best all-around media playing apps currently on the App Store.

When you open OPlayerHD Lite for the first time, you'll be confronted with a number of options. Layered by level on the left side of the screen, you can swipe to slide in and out of folders and file servers. You'… Read more

Review: OPlayer Lite is a powerful, multifeature media browser and player

OPlayer offers a number of tools and options for browsing and playing your media files directly, remotely, and from the cloud on your iOS device. Despite the lack of initial user guidance, the result is a well-crafted, generally easy-to-use tool that can bring together the disparate storage solutions for your music and videos into one streamlined media player.

When you open OPlayer for the first time, you're shown a number of options and no clear instructions on how to set any of it up. This is one of the few problems we found with the app. With no clear … Read more

Windows 8.1 to let you shut down directly via Start button

Windows 8.1 will try to make your life a bit easier by letting you shut down or restart your PC from the Start screen.

The preview edition of Windows 8.1 isn't due out until Wednesday. But the Windows Server 2012 R2 preview is available now for download. Since both versions share many features in common, the server-based preview provides a good glimpse at what's ahead for PC and tablet users.

Windows 8.1 users will be able to trigger a shut down or reboot much more quickly than in Windows 8. On the PC's Start … Read more

The RAV4 EV is no Tesla in Toyota clothing

Just about every automaker has an electric vehicle in its lineup now, from the Nissan Leaf to the soon-to-be-released BMW i3, but among this crop of quiet cars there is only one electric SUV. The Toyota RAV4 EV came about as tribute from Tesla Motors, in recompense for Toyota ceding its Fremont, Calif., manufacturing digs. I think Tesla got the best end of that deal.

However, the RAV4 EV, powered by a Tesla Motors driveline, steals a march on Tesla's own upcoming Model X electric SUV. With the Tesla-derived 41.5-kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery pack, the RAV4 EV boasts … Read more

One reason Apple is hard to beat

Apple products aren't perfect, but they get a lot closer than most.

One reason for Apple's success can be summed up nicely in the 13-inch MacBook Pro Retina.

At first blush, it seems uncharacteristically pedestrian and unrefined for an Apple product. It doesn't have the usual Apple panache or design boldness. And it's thicker -- despite being smaller -- than the 15.4-inch Pro Retina. … Read more

Electric car price war? Chevy chimes in with Volt incentives

Chevrolet is offering a sizable price incentive in the face of price slashing in the electric car market.

The 2013 Volt now comes with a $4,000 cash-back incentive and the 2012 model ups that to $5,000, according to Michelle Malcho, a Chevrolet spokeswoman.

That's the largest Volt cash incentive that Chevy has offered to date, Malcho said.

Alternatively, a Volt can now be leased for $269 a month for 36 months with a $2,399 down payment.

The Volt is a plug-in hybrid (GM refers to it as an extended-range electric vehicle or E-REV) with a range … Read more

Review: Updating your PC's drivers with RadarSync PC Updater is a leap of faith

RadarSync PC Updater 2012 might be the easy way to keep your PC's drivers up to date, but its free trial disables its primary functionality. PC Updater scans your PC to identify its software and drivers, and then scans the Internet for updates and applies them one by one or all at once. While it's a free-to-try PC Updater, you still must register the program to apply the updates it identifies. That costs just under $25 but includes technical support (the interface even displays a toll-free, 24/7 support number).

PC Updater's user interface has controls for … Read more

Angry Birds creator Rovio: We're an 'entertainment' company

LAS VEGAS -- Rovio, the company that developed the popular Angry Birds games, is not just a mobile gaming company anymore. It's an "entertainment" company, says Chief Operating Officer Harri Koponen.

Speaking at the CTIA 2013 trade show here Wednesday, Koponen described the company's evolution from casual game-maker to media mogul. The company, which launched its first Angry Birds game in December 2009 on the iOS platform, has built an empire around the lovable, wingless Angry Birds, which players hurl at structures to protect their eggs from "bad piggies."

"Entertainment is a big … Read more

Review: Hugin for Mac offers an open-source tool for creating panoramas

When cameras do not have a panoramic capability, users may need a program to combine two separate images for the desired result. Hugin for Mac functions well, but is overly complicated for its relatively limited purpose.

The downloaded file folder contained multiple files in addition to a readme, and also had two subfolders, one of which was just for licenses. Installation of Hugin for Mac was overly complicated and actually placed two separate programs into the applications folder. Initiating the program also brought up a warning that a prior version was detected, which was not possible since the test computer … Read more