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CNET Tech Review
Making friends with the Facebook TimelineThis week on the CNET Tech Review: new Kindle Fire sets the tablet world ablaze; Shadowgun gives gamers gorgeous graphics; our Top 5 free SMS apps; and how to keep some things secret when using Facebook's Timeline.
-This week on the CNET Tech Review, Amazon official enters the tablet wars, learn to live with Facebook Timeline, console quality gaming comes to the iPad, and get ready to kiss your texting plan goodbye. It's all coming up right now. Hi, everyone, I'm Molly Wood and welcome to the CNET Tech Review where you collect our hottest videos of the week and tell what's good and what's bad in the world of tech Plus offer our own unique tech wisdom in the form of the bottom line. Let's start with the good. Amazon held an event in New York City this week to announce its revised Kindle lineup including the company's much anticipated entry into the tablet market, the Kindle Fire. Here's Bridget Carey with all the details. -Hi, I'm Bridget Carey with CNET TV here at the New York Amazon press conference where not only that Amazon just announced a whole new whole new line of E-Ink readers, we also got a look at he Amazon Tablet. -It's called Kindle Fire. -The color 7-inch tablet that is at really low price point, $200. It's big difference from the Barnes and Noble Nook which is $40 more. -Kindle Touch 3G, Kindle Touch, and Kindle. -When it comes to E-Ink readers, Amazon really dropped their prices. Not only is a non-touch version now available $79, but there is also one touchscreen for $99, also much cheaper than the Barnes and Noble version of its Nook touch. Amazon also has 3G version of its new touchscreen E-Ink reader. It's $150 and they are gonna be available for holiday, but the one that you can order now and shift now is the non-touch version for $79. Amazon also unveiled a few new features that are important to the new Kindle Fire tablets. You're looking at Whispersync that not only does books, but also automatically syncs the kind of movies, TV shows. So, essentially, you could take, as you're watching on your tablet, stop it and play back on your TV and amazon says that worrying about back in a few data is the thing of the past. Everything that you download is gonna be stored in their Amazon cloud to be accessed anytime and delete it from the hard drive space anytime, but that hard drive is only 8 gigabytes. Of course, that's why they're really pushing that amazon cloud. So, essentially, you have all the space you want in the cloud to store things. -Kindle [unk] -And Amazon introduced a new mobile browser to its Kindle Fire. It's called Amazon Silk and it's supposed to make things really a lot faster to load than traditional mobile browser. Not only are these New Kindles a lot smaller, a lot lighter, but they are also a lot cheaper expecting to be a big holiday seller. For CNET TV in New York, I'm Bridget Carey. -$79 per Kindle? That's just like a little more than a couple of hard covered books from you local book store. Oh wait, you don't really have those anymore. Stick around for more kindle fire details coming up later in the show. Last week, we showed you some of the new features Facebook is working on including the new Timeline, which will dominate your profile page. Well, the timeline started rolling out to the public this week and Sharon Vaknin is here with the [unk] of how to videos to help you get started customizing your profile and also hiding some those skeletons from your Facebook past. -Hey everyone, I'm Sharon Vaknin for cnet.com here to walk you through the new Facebook profiles now known as your Timeline. Timelines are completely different than your profile and start with the new edition called the cover photo. For my profile, I picked this photo of myself so that it can be wherever you want like a photo of your dog or your favorite city. To change it, hover over your photo, select change cover and choose a photo from your Facebook albums or a good one from your drive. Just below your cover photo, you will see all of your info on the left and other profile items like friends, apps and photos on the right. To add it or change the privacy settings for any of these items, click on the item. This works for you info, photos, friends, and other modules. You can also decide which boxes show up at the top. Click the arrow to expand, hover over a box and click the pencil. There is an option to swap the box with something else or remove it entirely. There's a new app called Navs, which is the geographical version of your timeline. It puts points where you've tagged the location in any of your post. Pretty cool, but if you think it's freebie, hover over the box, and remove it. Now comes the fun and kind of scary part, your timeline. All of your Facebook activity is now viewable to you and your friends in chronological order going all the way back to the day you joined Facebook. In the very beginning, you will see an empty section for the day you were born. The idea is that Facebook wants you to fill in events that happen throughout your life even before Facebook. To add an event, hover over the point in the timeline where it happened and click the grayline. You have the option to add [unk] update, photo, location you visited, or type of life event. For example, maybe you learned a new language, broke a bone, bought a new car, or graduated. There are about 20 suggested events, but if you wanna add something of your own, just click other live events. Once you fill in the information, the story will be added to your timeline and it will show up in your recent activity at the top, but what if you wanna hide some events from your timeline. You might be embarrassed or ruffled about the things you posted in the past, but luckily, you can hide them. The easiest way to hide old post is by going to view activity at the top. Here, you will see a simplified version of your Timeline, which you can filter by type. Once you find the post you want to remove, click the arrow next to the story and you will see many privacy options. You can hide it from your timeline, change the privacy settings, or delete the post entirely, which means it's never coming back. If you have a lot of old post you would rather hide, this process might take a while, but at least you only have to do it once. Once you've added and removed post from your timeline, you can start featuring the ones you wanna highlight. Find the post you wanna feature, hover over it, and click the star to make full [unk]. To un-feature it, just click the star again. When you've tweaked your profiles click the settings button here at the top and select view as, then enter any friend's name to see what it looks like to them or click public to see what your timeline looks like to everyone including people who are not your friends. I know this is a big change, so if you have any questions, feel free to ask me on Twitter or of course my Facebook page. For CNET, I'm Sharon Vaknin and I'll see you on the interwebs. -Hey everyone, I'm Sharon Vaknin for CNET.com here to guide you through all big privacy changes on Facebook. When Facebook announced Timeline, the new profile design, many people were worried about a change in the Facebook apps polices. Now, all you need to ask for permission once before sharing your activity whenever they want. You can't change the new policy, but you can decide, which friends got to see your activity or hide the activity entirely without deleting the app. Go to privacy settings, then head to apps and websites and click edit settings on the right. Then, click edit settings gain. First, take a look at the list and remove any apps you no longer use. Then, find the app you want to adjust permissions for and click edit. Some apps like Spotify let you removes specific permissions like posting the Facebook as you, so go ahead and remove to your liking. For app, activity privacy, pick the people who can see you activity from the pop list. If you don't want anyone to see it, click customize, then only me. Back in the privacy center, check your settings for how tags work and how you connect. Make sure you're connecting with the right people. Once you can figure those settings, head to your timeline and tweak some important privacy settings there. Every time you do small things like add a friend, write on someone walls, change your info, or add a life event, Facebook logs it in you recent activity. If you think that's too intrusive hover any story and click the X and select hide all. Do this for every type activity you want to hide. To unhide them, just click the pencil, select hidden activity, and click the X next to things you want to unhide. At this point, your privacy is already little more secure, but Facebook varied even more settings we need to adjust. At the top of your Timeline, you will see you general info on the left and some boxes on the right. To change the privacy of your information, click it, head edit for any module, and use the drop down menu next to each item to pick who sets to see it. For the boxes like friends and photos, you have options too. To hide your friend's list, click on the box and adjust the privacy settings at the top. For photos, click the box to see all of albums and adjust privacy settings for each one. Now back at your profile info, you saw an option for hiding your mobile number. Weirdly enough if you make it visible to only me, it's still doesn't guarantee your privacy. Go to account settings, then mobile, and un-check the box next to share my phone number with friends. Now, your phone number is private. Once again, Facebook always makes this more work than we should have to. Once you've got all your privacy settings sorted out, head back to your profile and click the settings button, then view as to see what your profile looks like to other users and to your friends' name to see what info you're sharing with them or click the public link at the top to see what your profile looks like to the rest of the internet. If you have any other privacy or Timeline related questions, leave me a comment on my Facebook page of course or hit me up on Twitter. For CNET, I'm Sharon Vaknin and I'll see you on the interwebs. -So broke a bone, had surgery, and overcame an illness and all default life even options, how? Maybe next time I go to the doctor I can just refer them to my profile instead of filling out the medical history form, ha, ha. -If you can't see the timeline on your profile page to see, don't worry, it's coming soon whether you like it or not. In this week's top 5, Brian Cooley is not only counting down the best free SMS apps, but is also offering some shocking statistics about your text habits. -Hi, texting is huge. In case you haven't noticed, the average American cellphone owner now sends and receives 41 text messages a day of more 1,200 a month. Try that on one of those 500 texts for $10 plans and the overages are gonna about double your monthly bill. Now, of course, you can get an unlimited text plan but I might have some better options. I'm Brian Cooley with the Top 5 SMS texting apps that are both cheaper and more fun to use. They rely on your data plan and don't lean on your SMS count. We're gonna rank them by the feature set. Number 5 is Google Voice. That's right Google Voice. This app may have the least features of any I'm gonna shows you, but it does something unique. It assigns you a separate Google Voice phone number that means you can also text people who are not on smart phones and don't have a data plans and you still won't be charged for SMS on your end. Pretty neat trick, huh. It doesn't quite make up though for other things it can't do like sending pictures. Number 4 is Kik. If you're a real heavy texter with like 5 SMS threads going at once and you dread that day when sluggish text app is gonna trip you up and cause you to sext a photo to the boss instead of the boyfriend, Kik is your huckleberry, super responsive and fast. It also has got a cool single letter interface. These little callouts on the bubbles to let you know if a text has been Sent, Delivered, or Read. Great for the obsessively impatient. Number 3 is called LiveProfile. It's interesting and then it connects you to your texting account via your email address instead of a fixed phone number, makes it great if you use as many phones as you send texts like some people do. You log to whatever device you've got via your email address on any of them and your messages and contacts follow you. It also lets you post your text to Twitter or Facebook, but doesn't offer group chat, which 3 of our 5 do. Number is 2 PingChat. PingChat does have the group chat that LiveProfile is missing, but it also let's you text pictures while sharing you location and integrating your social network status that's great because the stalkers union called and they're demanding an easier workload. This is an ad supported app by they way and no clean paid version is even available as of this moment. Before I get you to our number 1 SMS text alternative app, let's get a little reality check on this idea that 'everyone's texting instead of calling'. No, we're actually doing lots of both. The latest numbers from the Pew Internet and American life survey show that the more you text the more you call. But the more a person texts, the more they prefer to be contacted that way, so take a hint and stop calling me! The number 1 SMS alternative app is KakaoTalk. It has just about every major feature going for it. You can send pictures, send video, share audio, do lots of appearance customization to keep you phone fetishists from getting nervous that maybe your phone isn't cooler than mine and you can password protect a given conversation like the one between you and Mrs. Jones. But note that Kakao is available on the fewest platforms, just iPhone and Android as of today. All the others add either BlackBerry or Windows support to those too. For the full details on today's great text apps, check out Nicole Cozma's piece at CNET.com. We've got a link to it at top5.cnet.com. I'm Brian Cooley. Thanks for watching. If any of you are texting as much as Brian says and know some of you are, then you need one of these apps and you should probably consider giving those thumbs a rest too. Alright, we're gonna take a break. So, if you have any texting to do now, would be a good time. We'll be right back with more tech review right after this. Welcome back to the CNET Tech Review, our weekly video digest of all things good and bad we've seen here at CNET TV, continuing on in the good, Angry Birds, Bejeweled, Tiny Tower. These mild minor games are fine for passing the time, but every once in a while it just feels good to blow something up. In this week's Tap That App, Jason Parker shows a game that not only fulfills that need, it looks good doing it. - Welcome to Tap that App, I'm Jason Parker and this is the show where we cover the hottest apps in the mobile space. At this year's E3 gaming industry conference, a certain mobile game quickly got a lot of attention for having console-like graphics, high frame rates, and great-looking gameplay on a mobile device. It was so good looking, in fact, that many people didn't believe it was a real game for iOS. This week we're excited to show off Shadowgun, made using the Unity 3D engine, and offering a level of graphics not seen before on iOS devices. In our hands-on time with the game, we've been very impressed with the solid controls, crystal clear visuals, and the mix of tactical combat and third-person action. The storyline is fairly run of the mill: You play as John Slade, a typical tough-talking bounty hunter. Your job is to infiltrate a mountain fortress in search of one Doctor Simon, an evil geneticist who has created an army of cyborgs, mutants, and genetically enhanced humanoids. While fantastical in real-world terms, most gamers have had their share of chasing crazy scientists bent on world domination--Shadowgun is no different in this aspect. But where Shadowgun differs from the usual fare are the jaw-dropping visuals and easy-to-use controls on the iOS. As you learn the basic controls in the first level, you can't help but notice the visuals. Shadows and ambient lighting give the game unprecedented realism on iOS and a constant stream of action keeps you engaged as you make your way deep into the mountain fortress. The control system couldn't be easier: You move John Slade with a joypad on the left, and look around by swiping the screen on the right. You get buttons for firing and reloading your weapon on the lower right, and you can switch weapons (once you find them) by touching the gun icon in the upper right. But where the control system really shines is in how Shadowgun handles cover. To get out of harms way, you need only walk up to an object and your character will hunker down automatically. Hit the fire button to quickly come out of cover and take shots at enemies. Pulling back makes you return to a standing position, and pushing forward makes you jump over the object. Other games of this type often have you press a button to go into cover mode, but we really like the simple way Shadowgun handles this tactic. As you progress through the game, you'll need to operate elevators, turn off laser security systems, and operate other mechanisms. Shadowgun keeps it simple by switching your shooting button to an interact button the second you walk up to a machine. We really like these design decisions that make it easy to keep the game fun without a bunch of unneccesary complexity. With all the great things Shadowgun does, like the graphics, the easy-to-use controls, and an engaging--if somewhat predictable--storyline, it does suffer from being a bit repetitive. Each battle follows a similar pattern: bad guys come out, you go into cover, then you work through killing each enemy one-by-one. Enemy and weapon variation somewhat make up for this, but you'll still follow this basic pattern throughout the game. Still, ShadowGun is a must have for serious shooter fans offering amazing graphics, great level design, and endless gun battles--all with a heavy metal soundtrack. If you like any of these things, we heartily recommend you tap this app immediately. That's it for this weeks show, if you have any suggestions, send them to Tap That App at cnet.com. I'm Jason Parker and we'll see you next time. -799 is a little pricey compared to most of the apps we tap around here, but that's nothing compared to 60 bucks per console game, thank about it. Okay, now that we have seen the future of mobile gaming, let's revisit the past as we dive in to the bad. Retrogaming fans may enjoy playing classic [unk] titles like Adventure and Breakout on their handhelds, but they probably missed the classic controls like a joystick and physical buttons. As Scot Stein shows us Atari's new iPad controller aims to fix that problem, but unfortunately it misses the mark. - I'm Scott Stein, senior editor at CNET.com and if you're an iPad owner and you're arcade fetishes, well, you may wanna take a look at the Atari Arcade. Sure, you don't have a dedicated arcade joystick for your iPad. You have to rely on touching and smudging up your screen, but there is a solution. The $60 joystick made by Atari docks into your iPad will light to use a joystick and 4 buttons with Atari's greatest hits Arcade app. Just that app and it docks vertically in portrait mode. It can reorient any other way. Now, that's a trade off because a couple of months ago we also saw another device, the Ion iCade, a giant arcade cabinet for your iPad that use Bluetooth. Now, that one use batteries and could work with several other games in addition to Atari. This one only works with Atari, but it doesn't need batteries. Once you plug that thing into your 30 pin, you are set and this thing small enough that you can tuck into a back pack if you so choose to take it around and I don't know player key games with your friends. Some people might prefer to still go within Arcade cabinet though. If you're gonna take this thing and dock it somewhere on your desk, you might as well go pull out geeky, but with this you kind of get a little bit of both worlds and as a result, the joystick and the buttons feel a little bit less arcade perfect if you're gonna be a real retro perfectionist compared to something like the iCade. Then again, it's a lot better than touching on the screen, but if you're gonna put in that portrait mode, just remember it's going to shrink down those arcade games kind of letter box than a little bit. So, unless you're playing a game like centipede here which uses the full screen in order to play because that was an original arcade game that use that mode. Most of them are not going to take up nearly that screen real state and wait a second here. If you're gonna be arcade perfectionist, Centipede used the trac ball. Wait a second, why are we using a joystick for that. In fact, a lot of Atari's arcade games; Centipede, Breakout, and Missile command ones like that use trac balls or paddles. Next time, Atari, how about giving us one of those. I'm Scott Stein. It's a look at the Atari Arcade joystick dock for the iPad. -Have you tried playing missile command with joystick? So, lame, though, it is a bit better than playing it on a touchscreen, and would it have killed Atari to make the stand also work as a charger too, [unk], do I have to think of everything? Well, if that's the case, then I think it's time to move along to this week's bottom line. Earlier, Bridget Carey showed us the highlights from Wednesday's Amazon announcement, but here's David Carnoy with a closer look at the Kindle Fire tablet. I'm David Carnoy and I'm here at the Amazon Event here in New York City where Amazon has introduced a new $199 Android tablet, the Amazon Kindle Fire. It doesn't necessarily look like an Android tablet on the surface. It's got a nice meaningless simple interface to it that really attempts to tie on all of Amazon services that includes a Kindle E-books, video, mp3 audio, and Amazon's Cloud Drive. The one shortcoming to the device is that it comes with only 8-gigabytes of memory and it has no expansion slot for more memory. Amazon, however, is telling the fact that you really gonna only store a little bit of content on the device and then delete it and get stuff from their Cloud. The tablet comes in only one color, black, and it weighs 14.6-ounces. Amazon wasn't giving a whole of lot specifics on the battery life but I heard from one rep here that it was about seven hours under a worst case scenario where you're playing video. So, okay batter life similar to the Nook Color. It has a dual core processor. It seems zippy when we saw the demos here. Amazon wasn't letting anybody handle the device. There are a couple of other key features that Amazon is taunting. It's the new Silk browser. It's a mobile browser that supposed to be a better mobile browser with caching that allows pages to load faster. There are some talk that even be able to predict where you were gonna surf. For instance, if you went to the New York Times website and you ended up going to the front page and it knew that you're going to the business section a lot, it would preload the business section for you. The other feature that Amazon was taunting is that Whisper Sync and now like is available for e-books now like it is on other Kindle devices but it's also available for video and audio. So, everything syncs wirelessly with this device similar to what's gonna happen when iOS 5 comes out with Apple. Unfortunately, you cannot get this today. This won't be out until at November 15th but Amazon is already accepting pre-orders and expecting a lot of people to do those pre-orders and is apparently making millions of these. One of the key headlines here is that this device costs only $199. Amazon was expected to come out with a $249 Android tablet. Coming out at $199, obviously makes this even more attractive. Some people are calling it a Nook Color competitor. Some people are calling it an iPad competitor and obviously for those people who don't want to spend $500 to $600 for an iPad, this becomes a nice alternative and it's also smaller and more pocketable. Until then, it looks like on the surface at least Amazon has really put out a product that a lot of people are gonna want this holiday season. I'm David Carnoy and that's the Amazon Kindle Fire. -The bottom line this week, the Kindle Fire in fuego! I know it's not even Halloween yet, but whatever. I hereby predict that the Kindle Fire and all the new Kindles actually will be some of the biggest holiday sellers of the year. Alright, that's gonna do it for this time everyone, but come back next week for an all new CNET Tech Review when we will have all the news from Apples October 4th iPhone event. Until then, there are tons of great videos available everyday at CNETTV.com. I'll see you next time and thank you for watching.