Counterclockwise: remembering the Doom ports on mobile phones

Once upon a time Doom was installed on more computers than Windows 95. Microsoft tried porting the game to boost the popularity of its new OS (an effort lead by one Gabe Newell), but Doom would be ported to just about every platform you can think of – including many phones.

Our story begins before app stores were popular and worse, there were so many mobile operating systems. So this was a bit more complicated than putting a game up on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.

CDoom was one of the earlier ports, published in 2001 for the Nokia 9210 Communicator (9210i and 9210c as well). Owners enjoyed the early 90’s graphics on the large (for the time) 4.5” screen with super high 640 x 200px resolution.

The 52MHz processor and limited RAM meant that the game ran at just 3 fps and used up almost all the available memory. There was no sound and no multiplayer. Despite a laptop-like form factor with a full QWERTY keyboard plus a D-pad, controls were hardly comfortable.

Cdoom running on the Nokia 9210 Communicator (<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">image credit</a>)
Cdoom running on the Nokia 9210 Communicator

There was a sequel called C2Doom. This did have multiplayer that ran over Bluetooth as well as audio.

Sony Ericsson phones had their own port, SeDoom, which ran on feature phones like the W810, T700 and others. This port (and many others) supported custom WAD files – id Software’s custom map and character storage file – so the game could be skinned to look like ports of Quake, Wolfenstein and even non-id games.

Then there was 2005’s Doom RPG – not the original game, but a turn-based RPG set in the same universe. There was a J2ME implementation, the prevailing featurephone platform at the time, but also versions for BREW and BlackBerry.

When the iPhone came out in 2007, a Doom port appeared quite quickly – the phone was released in June, the game arrived in August.

There was also Rockdoom, which was made for MP3 players. It supported 5th generation iPods, but also players from iriver, Sandisk and others.

Microsoft’s Zune players got two Doom ports. You could use either touch controls (which cramped the screen)or the accelerometer.

In 2010 an intrepid XDA member ported Doom Blood to Windows Mobile so you could play on your HTC Touch Pro (complete with slide-out QWERTY keyboard), HTC Diamond or other handsets.

Naturally, there are Doom ports on modern platforms like Android and iOS. Someone even made a Doom-themed live wallpaper. But those lack the double dose of nostalgia of playing the seminal first person shooter on a mobile phone barely fast enough to live up to the performance of an early 90’s PCs.


Deaf gym junkie’s Auslan fitness classes believed to be Australian first

Deaf gym instructor Jarran Harris with a kettle bell

All around Australia, gym-goers are yelled at by enthusiastic exercise class instructors to go harder and faster.

But, that can be pretty tough to follow if you’re deaf.

Self-described Hobart gym freak Jarran Harris was born without hearing.

The 27-year-old is combining his passion for fitness with his skills Australian sign language (Auslan) to instruct gym classes for the deaf.

The free classes will be trialled for six months at Hobart’s PCYC, which received support from the Hobart City Council to establish the classes and provide free membership for participants.

It’s believed to be an Australian first.

Signing the workout

To get the class pumping, Mr Harris will use Auslan to explain the moves along with emphasised expressions.

He said deaf people would feel more comfortable participating in the class if it was run by a deaf person.

“It will break down the barriers,” he said.

“I’ll be running bootcamp and circuit which involves weight training along with a core workout, whole-body workout and we will use exercise equipment.”

Deaf gym instructor Jarran Harris sitting on a fit ball Photo: Mr Harris says class members will feel more comfortable knowing their instructor is also deaf. (ABC Radio Hobart: Georgie Burgess)

Breaking down daily barriers

There are about 500 deaf people in Tasmania, and one in six of the population are hard of hearing.

Expression Australia chief executive Christine Mathieson said deaf and hard-of-hearing people experienced many barriers in daily life, particularly when it came to access to communication and Auslan.

She said the InstructAbility program was great example of making an everyday activity more accessible.

“By having a deaf instructor who is fitness industry qualified running classes in Auslan means people can access the program in their native language,” she said.


vivo NEX 2 to have 10GB of RAM, in-screen speaker, f/1.3 camera

The Nokia 8.1, the global version of the Nokia X7 is now available to order in Taiwan after going official yesterday.

The phone is priced at NT$ 9,990 (€285), which is a significant step down from its projected €400 ($454) price in Europe. Nokia Taiwan even bundles a clear case with the phone and also offer the official flip case at a discounted price of NT$ 22 ($0.71). So far it looks like the only available color is Steel. Pre-orders are live now and shipments are expected to start on December 12.

The United Arab Emirates are expected to start Nokia 8.1 pre-orders later today at a price of AED 1,500 ($410).

The Nokia 8.1 packs a 6.18-inch IPS LCD of 1080x2280px resolution, a Snapdragon 710 chipset with 6GB of RAM, a 3,500mAh battery and a dual 12MP + 13MP main camera at the back.


Lenovo Z5s arriving on December 6

The Lenovo Z5s appeared on TENAA and 3C last month, giving us a sneak peek of its appearance. It will have three cameras on the back with a fingerprint scanner to keep it company, while the front has one shooter in the center.

Later we heard that this might not be a waterdrop notch, but an in-display camera, and today Lenovo confirmed we’ll know for sure on December 6, when the official announcement will take place.

The company VP Chang Cheng posted the image on Weibo, to save the date for a new announcement. The Lenovo Z5s will have ZUI and is expected to be “powerful and strong”. We know little about the phone’s internals, but some previous info suggested 6.3” display, a new Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset and a 3,210 mAh battery.


The best gadgets to give a college student

Smiling teenage girl with digital tablet taking selfie with mother and sister in Christmas living room

If you’re shopping for a gift for a college student over the holidays, consider gifting a gadget rather than a pair of fresh bed sheets.

As CNBC’s in-house gadget reviewer, I have a few ideas that I think college students will really love, from streaming TV sticks to smart speakers and portable gaming systems. And if your student is planning to spend any time abroad, I even have a good idea on an unlocked cellphone so you don’t need to worry about paying for expensive roaming fees.

Here are the best gadgets to give a college student.

  • Google Chromecast

    In other gift guides, I’ve recommended the Amazon Fire TV and the Apple TV, but I think the Chromecast is the best streaming TV bet for a college student. It lets them stream movies, TV shows, pictures and more from a smartphone to their dorm room TV. And, if they have friends, they can enable a guest mode so that others can get in on the fun. It’s only $35, so it won’t break the bank, and you won’t have to worry about it if your kid’s roommate runs off with it at the end of the year.

    Price: $35
    Buy Now: Google Chromecast

    The Google Chromecast

  • Motorola G5S Plus

    The Motorola G5S Plus is an unlocked cellphone that works on all major U.S. carriers (without a contract) and can also be used abroad. It’s perfect if you have a son or daughter getting ready for a semester abroad, since it costs only $240 but offers all the basics, like fast charging, decent cameras, a fingerprint reader, a large 5.5-inch 1080p display and a premium all-metal design. Once your kid sets foot in Europe (or elsewhere) just buy a local SIM and you’ll save big on data and roaming fees you might otherwise pay some U.S. carriers

    Price: $239.99
    Buy now: Motorola G5S Plus

    The Motorola G5S Plus

  • Apple AirPods

    Every kid needs a decent set of headphones and, while they’re still kind of silly looking, Apple’s AirPods are my top choice for most activities. They’re compact, offer great battery life and work with iPhones and Androids. Sure, you might want a set of noise-canceling cans for longer trips, but they cost more and aren’t as portable as AirPods. Plus, now that smartphones are largely ditching the headphone jack, it’s time to get on board with Bluetooth headphones anyway.

    Price: $159
    Buy now: AirPods

    CNBC: AirPods 2


iOS notifications have been improved, but Android’s are still better

iOS vs Android Notifications

When most compare Android to iOS, the first thing people typically bring up is that Google’s mobile operating system is customizable while Apple’s is rigid and set in a walled garden. While this can be argued for and against, one of the critical aspects of each operating system is how they handle notifications.

As Apple recently introduced new notification grouping in iOS 12 and Google has been working to provide Android users with more control over notifications, let’s take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of each mobile operating system.

Grouping notifications

iOS Notifications

Apple as a company took a significant step forward with iOS 12 and introduced a feature users have been requesting for years: notification grouping. With the update installed, iPhone and iPad owners no longer have a long-running list of incoming notifications. In its place is a long-running list of incoming notifications that are grouped by whichever they came from.

If it sounds like Apple’s new notification grouping feature is still a pain point, that’s because it is. This will be touched on in another section.

Editor’s Pick

Google first introduced grouped notifications, or bundles, with the release of Android Nougat in 2016. By stacking or combining all of the incoming notifications from a single app into a single card, users wouldn’t have to worry about a cluttered status bar.

The implementation of bundles have been improved upon in Oreo and now Pie, but the feature became a hit and was widely adopted within the Android app ecosystem.

As previously mentioned, a similar notification grouping feature was added with the release of iOS 12. Each of these groupings shows the name of the app that supplied the notification, how many notifications there are to view, and displays the preview of the last notification to come in.

I will note that not ever app follows this practice by default. Twitter, for example, groups notifications based on the sender of the tweet. Instead of every notification from the social network showing up in a single grouping, I have multiple groupings, each one based on the account who shared something on the platform. Fortunately, this can be changed in the app’s notification settings.

Related: Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs iPhone XS Max: Which is worth your $1,000?

Lastly, Android sorts the groupings of notifications by importance instead of leaving everything in chronological order like iOS. While it’s nice having the latest notification right at the top of the list, I find it much more useful when Android places texts and urgent messages front and center. It helps me not lose track of them in the chaos of other incoming notifications.

Interacting with notifications

Android Notifications

This is a section where iOS and Android are pretty much neck and neck, but Android still retains the lead. While implemented in slightly different fashions, both operating systems give the user almost identical options when interacting with the notification.

Using Twitter as the example again, on Android, you can swipe downward on an individual notification and choose to Reply, Retweet, or Like the Tweet. These same actions are available on iOS, but it requires you to swipe the notification card left or right, tap on the View button, and then interact with the tweet once things were finished loading.

Dismissing notifications is also a lot easier on Android. With a simple flick to the right or left, the card is gone and never to be seen again. On iOS, you slide the notification to the side and then you can tap on the Clear button to get rid of it.

The process is almost identical for groups of notifications. On Android, swiping the group one way or the other dismisses the whole bunch. On iOS, sliding over the bundle brings up a Clear All button. Additionally, after expanding a group of notifications on an Apple device, there is an X button that can clear everything away.

If you just want to clear away every notification on the phone in one grand sweep, both operating systems allow you to do that.

I will admit that the extra steps required by iOS to dismiss notifications can get annoying, but it adds a safeguard so that you don’t accidentally dismiss something. Far too often I somehow swipe away an entire group of notifications on Android when I meant only to get rid of one. By making it a two-step process on iOS, this isn’t a problem.

Notification settings

Android Notifications

Over the last several versions of Android, Google has added additional controls that allow users more authority over app notifications. Instead of just wholly allowing or blocking an app from throwing up notifications whenever it wants, the user can now go into any app through the Settings and adjust what they do and don’t want to see.

Comparing the options made available for Twitter on both operating systems, iOS does give the user a lot more control over where and when they would like to see notifications.

On Android, the user can choose to disable all notifications or individually turn off types of notifications. Google calls these channels.

iOS Notifications

All of these settings are offered on iOS in addition to so much more. On an iPhone or iPad, the user can decide if they want to see a notification on the lock screen, in the notification center, as a banner, or any combination of the three. They also have control over if incoming notifications should inform the user with a sound, show badges, and display previews of the alerts.

While Android has come a long way over the last several years, iOS offers a lot more notification customization options on a per-app basis.


Marriott Starwood hotel data breach FAQ: What 500 million hacked guests need to know

marriott breach

It’s been a couple of months since a major company unveiled a data breach that affected millions of people, so it’s time for a new one. The Marriot hotel chain has announced a major database breach that could affect anyone who stayed at its 6,700 worldwide Starwood hotel properties since 2014—up to 500 million people in total.

That’s a lot of people an a long stretch of time, so check out our FAQ for all of the information:

What happened?

Marriott says it received an alert from an internal security tool on September 8 warning of an attempt to access the Starwood guest reservation database in the United States. In its investigation of the incident, Marriott learned that an unauthorized party gained access to the company’s customer database and “copied and encrypted information, and took steps toward removing it.”

How did the hackers get in?

Marriott isn’t being totally clear here, but it appears as though this wasn’t the usual exploit of a vulnerability. Rather, someone without the proper credentials was able to access the Marriott reservation database to make a duplicate encrypted copy of customer information, which was then presumably taken outside the system.

How far back does the breach go?

Marriott says the unauthorized access goes back to 2014.

Why wasn’t Marriott alerted sooner?

Also unclear, but perhaps the unauthorized party only recently started accessing the system. Or possibly Marriott recently installed new security software that was able to detect the access.

Why are we just hearing about now?

Marriott says it was only able to decrypt the files on November 19, and is still working to uncover the scope of the breach.

What was stolen?

Marriott is still sorting through the data it was able to recover, but for most customers, the following data may have been stolen: name, mailing address, phone number, email address, passport number, Starwood Preferred Guest (“SPG”) account information, date of birth, gender, and arrival and departure information, along with reservation dates and communication preferences.