'Hell is Other People': Anti-social media to keep you alone

Like most social media, Foursquare is designed to connect people, but what if you feel like being alone?

Web app Hell is Other People takes friends' check-in data from your Foursquare account and calculates what the creator calls "optimally distanced locations" to make sure you don't bump into any of them.

Scott Garner, designer of the app named after Sartre's famous "hell is other people" quote from "No Exit," made a video in which he tests the effectiveness of these safe zones. You can watch it below. … Read more

The 404 1,247: Where we hop in the ball pit with Emily Dreyfuss (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Hi-fi reviews based purely on the feel of the knob .

- Which celebrities can you pay to message on Facebook?

- Can you bully a celebrity? Short answer: no.

- How the hell do you pronounce GIF anyway?

- Follow Emily Dreyfuss on Twitter.… Read more

New-to-vinyl converts talk about the joys of playing LPs

I've heard the naysayers for years, the ones that say vinyl is a fad, or that kids buy records just because they think LPs are cool. But the fact is vinyl sales keep going up year after year. I'd be the first to admit that playing an LP is more of a hassle than listening to Spotify, so why do people who grew up listening to CDs and files invest in a turntable, and search out their favorite music on LP? Why do they do it?

Recently, I talked with a few music lovers who grew up in … Read more

Kick the iTunes habit and celebrate Record Store Day

Kick the iTunes habit and stop streaming, it's time to get physical with music you can touch!

Record Store Day is a celebration of the joys of buying music in the real world, and brick and mortar stores all over the country are participating in the event on Saturday, April 21.

The first Record Store Day was in 2007, and every year more and more stores get involved. The Record Store Day Web site has this quote from author Nick Hornby:

"Yes, yes, I know. It's easier to download music, and probably cheaper. But what's playing … Read more

Device syncing on-deck for Chrome

Google has started to warm up Chrome with features designed to make it interact more smoothly with Android and other computers, as the summer's Google I/O conference and a possible final street-ready version of Native Client wait in the wings.

Google Chrome 19 beta for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome Frame landed today, updated with Other Device support. The new feature lets you access your Chrome tabs from other computers, and includes Chrome for Android if you've got an Ice Cream Sandwich device. The Other Devices option is available at the bottom of the New Tab page, … Read more

Apple criticized in Chinese environmental report

Apple has been accused by a coalition of 36 Chinese environmental groups of ignoring hazardous and unhealthy conditions at the factories in China where its components are assembled.

Released yesterday by the Institute of Environmental and Public Affairs (IPE), the report "The Other Side of Apple" ranked the iPhone maker dead last among 29 other tech companies for their responsiveness to health and environmental concerns in China.

Specifically, the report claims that Apple ignored concerns at Wintek, a factory that makes touch screens for the iPhone and iPad as well as components for other companies. Wintek came under … Read more

DIY HD kit gives old laptop drives new life

Replacing hard drives in laptops isn't new, and neither is converting old drives into external backup drives. Yours Truly did both those things about a month ago, taking my MacBook's stock 80GB drive, replacing it with a 250GB drive, and then taking the old drive and adding it to a bus-powered 2.5-inch enclosure to make a portable 80GB HD I can take anywhere.

Other World Computing has new kits that combine both a new drive and an external enclosure, as well as all the tools you'll need to do the upgrade and build the external.

What'… Read more

Metroid: Other M--Samus speaks

The Metroid Prime trilogy that stretched across two consoles is regarded as one of the best in Nintendo's history. With Metroid: Other M, we're seeing a franchise reboot, a brand new imagining of Metroid that combines 2D and 3D gameplay.

There's a lot of differences this time around--some we liked, some we could do without. Read through for our take on Samus' latest adventure in space.

Jeff: We were anxious to get our hands on the latest tale in the Metroid saga, mostly because of the radically different direction developer Team Ninja decided to take the franchise. Other M shares a lot of its core with 2D side-scrolling NES and SNES titles while being able to still keep things fresh. After just a few minutes with the game, it's abundantly clear how heavily Metroid influenced games like the Xbox Live Arcade game Shadow Complex.

Other M follows Samus and the events that take place after Super Metroid. If you're at all interested in the mythos that surrounds the female lead, you're in luck. The narrative aspect in Other M is unlike any we've ever seen in a Metroid game. Cut scenes are beautifully animated and rendered with tons of background information about Samus' early years. That said, these movies are pretty long and, more upsettingly, impossible to skip. Though we wish we had the option to do so, it is interesting to finally hear our main character speak for the first time--in another milestone for the franchise, Other M is the first game to feature a full voice over cast.

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preGame 24: Metroid: Other M; Kane and Lynch 2

Today on preGame, we'll take a look at Metroid: Other M, and Kane and Lynch 2.

It's been a while since we've featured a Wii title on preGame, but the latest installment in the Metroid franchise is a totally new take on the series and something we're excited to preview. Metroid: Other M combines 2D, 3D, third-, and first-person action in a way we haven't yet seen on the Wii.

Next we'll roam the gritty streets of Shanghai in Kane and Lynch 2: Dog Days. A complete departure from the original, Dog Days also … Read more

Super Mario Galaxy 2 lands May 23; Metroid: Other M June 27

We were all expecting the final details on the Nintendo DSi XL at Wednesday morning's conference in San Francisco, but the gaming community was pleasantly surprised to learn about the release dates for titles in two of the company's most recognizable franchises.

The sequel to what's arguably the Wii's best game, Super Mario Galaxy 2, will arrive on store shelves in just three months on May 23. While the game was first announced at last year's E3 2009 press conference, the sequel was mostly written off as a lock-in for the 2010 holidays.

We can'… Read more