This week in Crave: The cloudy edition

Had your head in the iCloud all week? Here’s what you missed on Crave.

Camael Diamonds iPad

The company calls it the world’s most expensive iPad, and we’re not going to argue with that.

Camael Diamonds)

? Wii U, PlayStation Vita, live TV on the Xbox: Which console gaming company stole E3 for you?

? Samsung Series 5 Chromebook: Interesting, incomplete.

? Take a ride on Disney’s sleek new Star Tours.

? This
iPad so doesn’t care times are tough.

? Angry Birds: Now in a life-size version.

? The FitBot mannequin got busty.

? Lara Croft’s gadget picks.

? See what’s hiding in the new Nook Touch.

Are you hiding anything we should know about? Write to us at crave at cnet dot com.

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Car Tech Live 219: CNET picks over the 2011 Hyundai Elantra (podcast)

The trend is on to unplug red-light cameras…Cambridge Crude could be the electric oil of tomorrow…Tesla turns a corner…and we take you for a run in one of the new four bangers that shame most hybrids.

Listen now:

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CNET reviews the 2011 Hyundai Elantra

L.A. seriously considers dropping red-light cameras

Can “Cambridge Crude” make electric cars more practical?

What do you think of a mini-er Mini?

• Tesla ends production of Roadster, gets ready to sell Model S

CNET’s LOLCars gallery!

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Apple recalls some Verizon iPads over duplicate IDs


Apple confirmed to AllThingsD today that it has recalled a very small number of Verizon
iPad 2 models after the products were inadvertently shipped with identical electronic serial numbers.

The numbers, officially known as mobile equipment identifiers (MEIDs), are important in the activation of devices that use Verizon’s cellular network and are designed to be unique to the individual device.


“Duplicate MEID numbers were flashed onto an extremely small number of iPad 2 units for the Verizon 3G network,” an Apple representative said today.

Although most of the small number of devices involved were still in the process of hitting the market, a few had already found their way into customers’ hands.

Word of the issue had cropped up on various Apple enthusiast blogs, including 9to5Mac.

Apple said at its developer conference on Monday that it has sold 25 million iPads since the original
tablet debuted last year and some analysts believe it could sell another 8 million this quarter. However, there have been some issues along the way, including a deadly May 20 explosion at a Foxconn plant in China believed to be manufacturing the iPad 2.

Story Copyright (c) 2011 AllThingsD. All rights reserved.

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5 awesome, useless MacBook tricks

Hold shift, then click the minimize button to watch your windows slowly melt away.

Screenshot by Sharon Vaknin/CNET)

MacBooks are well-known for doing awesome, useful things–they don’t (usually) get viruses, the battery life is great, and the user interface is simple. 

What they didn’t tell you was that your MacBook can do a lot of awesome useless things. Take a moment and indulge in the (mostly) unnecessary features available:

5. Invert desktop colors. Tired of the same look and feel of your display? Press CND-OPT-CTRL-8 and the colors on your screen will be inverted–white pixels turn black, blue turns orange, etc. This seemingly useless trick is actually an accessibility feature, and can be helpful in bright-light situations, but we all know it was really implemented to let geeks prank their unknowing friends. 

4. Talk to me, Terminal. Most
Mac users will likely never touch the Terminal, a built-in program that allows users to run commands for the OS to perform. It does do a couple awesome things, though. In Spotlight, type “Terminal” and hit enter. Here, type “say” followed by a word or phrase. Useful? No. Awesome? Yes.

3. Slow-motion minimize. You have two choices: a) you can click the minimize button on any window and get on with your life, or b) hold the Shift key, then click minimize to escape into a moment of life in slow motion. 

2. Zoom in anywhere. If you find yourself interested in a very specific part of the screen, or struggling with diminishing eyesight, there’s a useless feature for that. Mouse over the part of the screen you want to magnify, then press option while scrolling up (two fingers up on the trackpad, or with the mouse scroll wheel). 

1. Play retro games in Terminal. With games like Angry Birds and World of Warcraft available, you’ve probably forgotten about the good ol’ games like Tetris, Pong, and Snake. Go to Spotlight, type “Terminal” and hit enter to launch it. Then type “emacs,” and hit enter. Once the new screen loads, hit Esc, then type “x” followed by “tetris,” “snake,” or “pong.” Enjoy!

5 awesome, useless MacBook tricks (photos)

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E3 2011: 5 things I learned

E3 2011: Things we learned(Credit:
Sarah Tew)

LOS ANGELES–Another year, another show floor filled with bright lights, thunderous music, and scantily dressed women showing off big-budget studio games. Sometimes it feels like E3 never changes.

And yet, I’ve been to roughly 10 E3s in my life dating back to the Sega Dreamcast debut, and in my first on-the-show visit in a few years, the landscape has subtly and definitely altered from years past.

And so, here are my final observations about this year’s show.

Related links
? First take: Wii U
? Can motion, touch win over console gamers?
? E3 2011: Complete

The Wii U.(Credit:
Sarah Tew/CNET)

Everyone wants to be accessible.
The buzz language I keep hearing again and again, be it at Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, or third-party booths, is “games everyone can enjoy.” Forza 4 aims to be a game for hard-core simulators, or kids using motion control. The
PlayStation Vita’s myriad controls are meant for casual touch-based gaming or “hard-core” use. The
Wii U’s mission statement, according to Reggie Fils-Aime himself, is to satisfy mainstream audiences and more serious gamers alike.

As Bill Cosby once said, “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.” Game companies might be better off making some games for some audiences and some for others rather than trying to shoehorn all experiences into the same mass-appeal channels.

The PS Vita.(Credit:
Sarah Tew/CNET)

More might not be better.
The fact that the PS Vita and the Wii U both have a daunting number of thumbsticks, buttons, motion controls, and touch options either opens up these devices to become true Swiss army knives of gaming, or will daunt would-be owners. The lesson to be learned from do-anything devices like Apple’s
iPhone and iPad is that those gadgets are black-box simple: flat touch panels with nearly no button clutter. Time will tell if Nintendo and Sony are on to something or are making a mistake.

Creativity’s hard to come by.
Endless sequels, particularly of the third kind, flooded the E3 show floor. Even if games aren’t sequels, most are easily pegged as spiritual knockoffs of one genre or another. Gaming’s not the only industry to suffer this repetition, and the reason it’s so prevalent at E3 is because we’re mostly seeing massive companies making top-down products. Only a few games, like BioShock Infinite, seem capable of bucking the trend and producing auteur-level brilliance.

Indie games are the solution. Garage developers are the ones who brought gaming brilliance out of the iPhone and iPad–otherwise, we’d be stuck with big studios and virtual analog pads. The Wii U, Kinect, Move, Vita, and 3DS–systems with unique hardware, controls, and interfaces–desperately need the imagination of individuals who will burn the midnight oil and fearlessly develop groundbreaking ideas. This is particularly true for motion and touch games, which still have a long way to go to become truly compelling. Otherwise, we’re destined for stale games in the future.

Everyone might not be afraid of Apple, but it sure seems that way.
Not every company will admit it, but the new hardware at E3 2011 offers more of a nod to Apple’s iOS devices than ever before. The PS Vita’s touch screen and motion controls are reminiscent of the iPod Touch and iPhone (and many Android phones), while the Wii U’s tablet controller has more than a passing resemblance in form and function to the iPad. Game companies are quick to remind people how much richer dedicated gaming consoles are than other entertainment experiences. Apple’s simultaneous WWDC conference this week was no accident: iOS gaming is a force to be reckoned with, and the influence of connected mobile gaming devices and cheap apps made by hungry independent developers is affecting the mainstream landscape.

PC gaming might be in a state of evolution.
PC gaming feels even more marginal at E3 2011 than it has before, possibly because it’s getting squeezed not just by gaming consoles and handhelds, but by smartphones and tablets. A dinner I attended dedicated to PC gaming steadfastly trumpeted that services like EA’s Origin and Valve’s Steam are part of a hardy, vibrant industry, but I’d argue that we’ve never doubted the PC’s ability to play games. Rather, desktops and laptops just aren’t fun machines for most people to play on. The faster that legitimate tablets can rise with significant gaming power, or that PC games can adopt interactivity with small devices like smartphones and existing tablets, the sexier (and frankly, more mass-appealing) PC gaming will be. Alternatively, services like PlayOn could be a gateway to MMOs and other PC games on ultramobile devices, or cross-platform games like Minecraft, which is emerging on everything from phones to consoles.

What struck you about E3 2011? Let us know in the comments.

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Ford scraps C-Max mini van, amps up production of C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi

The Ford C-Max Energi is the company’s first plug-in hybrid production electric vehicle.


Ford is planning to grab a large piece of the electric vehicle market pie. The U.S. automaker today announced plans to triple production of its electrifying platforms.

In a press conference on Livestream, Jim Farley, group vice president of marketing, sales and service said the company will triple production capacity of electrified vehicles in the U.S. by 2013. Ford plans to invest more in the C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid vehicles, but will not be bringing the C-Max mini van to production.

“Customers have come to expect fuel efficiency with every new vehicle Ford delivers today, and now we are further differentiating our electrified vehicle lineup with something else people truly value–choice,” said Farley. “Whether people want a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid or full battery electric vehicle, we have a family of vehicles for them to consider, providing a range of options to best meet their needs and support their driving habits and lifestyles.”

Ford currently sells about 35,000 electrified vehicles a year–including the Fusion Hybrid and Escape Hybrid. With the C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid, Ford will bring its electrified vehicle production capacity to more than 100,000 annually by 2013.

Ford uses lithium ion battery packs for C-Max Hybrid, and larger lithium ion battery packs for C-Max Energi, but the vehicles still have room for five passengers–opposed to the Chevy Volt’s seating for four.

The battery packs are up to 50 percent lighter and 25 percent smaller than current nickel-metal-hydride batteries and increase the amount of energy available to extend the vehicle’s driving distance and boost fuel economy.

Farley did not say how long of a range the
car will travel in “electric-only” mode, but said total range would be about 500 miles. He also said the vehicle is rated at 41 mpg on the highway.

As for home charging the C-Max Energi, Farley said, the home charging stations will be available at a lower cost than those of competitors. And, he said, Ford is working with Microsoft on a new Web-based interface designed to ensure the vehicle charges only when electricity rates are lowest.

Ford will also invest $135 million and add more than 220 “green technology” jobs in Michigan, and 50 new electrified-vehicle engineers. The Michigan assembly plant will also be retooled to build the C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi.

The C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi will be available in 2012. No price has been announced yet.

The C-Max Hybrid is a next-generation full hybrid version of the five-passenger multiactivity.


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