Battlefield Hardline

Battlefield Hardline is an upcoming first-person shooter video game developed by Visceral Games in collaboration with EA Digital Illusions CE and published by Electronic Arts. It is due for release on October 21, 2014.

Battlefield Hardline features a whole new variety of gameplay that breaks away from the traditional Battlefield game modes. The focus of the game has been shifted to police and the "war on crime", breaking away from the military background that has spanned the series up to now. As such, the main factions in Hardline are the police Special Response Units and the criminals. Players will have access to various military-grade weapons and vehicles, such as the UH-60 Blackhawk as well as having police equipment such as tasers and handcuffs.

Hardline also uses the Levolution mechanic from Battlefield 4. For example, in the map "High Tension", players can send a construction crane crashing into the center of the map, ripping down debris from the central buildings in downtown Los Angeles.

The new game modes are Heist, Rescue, Hotwire Mode and Blood Money.

Heist: The criminals must break packages out of armored trucks by blowing the doors off, then moving the package to an extraction point; the police must stop them. If the Criminals manage to escape by bringing all the packages to the extraction points they win.

Blood Money: Both factions must retrieve money from an open crate in the center of the map, then move it back to their respective sides' armored truck. Players can also steal money from the opposing team's truck. The Team that first deposits $5 million into their truck or the team with the most money under a time limit wins.

Hotwire Mode: Police chase down criminals at high speeds across expansive environments.

Rescue: Police Officers or S.W.A.T must try to save hostages from the criminals.

The plot revolves around Nick Mendoza, a SWAT officer who is involved in criminal activity. For the first time, in Battlefield Hardline, players can complete their objective in various different ways and paths, either silently or violently. A new gadget, called the Police Scanner, can be used to find enemies, important objects and evidences, and mark them.

Battlefield Hardline was revealed on an EA blog post by Vice President and General Manager of Visceral Games, Steve Papoutsis. The game was due for announcement during E3 2014, but information was leaked early. Unlike other games in the Battlefield franchise that feature military warfare, Hardline features a "cops and robbers" gameplay style. The leaked trailer refers to the game as Omaha. "Visceral started work on Battlefield Hardline about a year before Dead Space 3 shipped," creative director Ian Milham has revealed, suggesting that the game may have entered development in early 2012.

As of June 9, 2014, the Battlefield Hardline beta has gone public on their official website, coming after an official announcement at the 2014 Electronics Entertainment Expo that the beta would be coming to PC and PlayStation 4. The beta ended on June 26, 2014.

Apple iOS 8 preview

With iOS 7, Apple gave its mobile operating system a huge overhaul, completely reworking its design and adding a raft of new features. But if you thought that meant iOS 8 would be a small update in comparison, think again.

The new version, which will arrive on iPhones, iPads and iPads this autumn, brings with it dozens of new features. Some, such as the Health app, had long been rumoured. Others, for instance the opening up of iOS to third-party keyboards, came as a complete surprise. But possibly the biggest shock of all was one that the average iPhone user won't even notice - namely the announcement of a new programming language and major updates to the way apps can be coded.

With the iPhone 6, complete with a rumoured larger sapphire glass screen and beefed-up camera, due to land in September, iOS 8 will clearly be a big release for Apple. So here's what you can look forward to seeing on it.

iOS 8 will look more or less identical to iOS 7, which is just fine by us. Flat, colourful and minimalist - no problems there.

So while OS X Yosemite, the latest version of the Mac desktop OS, gets classy new transluscent toolbars and revamped icons, iOS 8 gets pretty much nothing on the looks front. That's in stark contrast to the jump from iOS 6 to iOS 7 - which was huge, design-wise.

Still, if it ain't broke, don't fix it and all that.

Android's long led the way for keyboard support, but not for much longer. For starters, iOS 8 will feature a new QuickType keyboard, which brings predictive text to the Apple party. And about time, too.

Apple iOS 8 review

It's context-sensitive and personalised, learning how you speak to various friends and colleagues and adjusting its suggestions accordingly. So, for instance, it will give you different options if you're replying to your mum than it would if you were texting your mate. We're a bit sceptical, to be honest. Much of its success or failure will presumably depend on how much the language you use varies from person to person and how consistent you are. We'll see.

However successful it is, all the learning it does will be local to the device and won't ever be uploaded anywhere. And it'll work with lots of different languages.

But that could all be irrelevant anyway - because Apple is opening up the keyboard to third-party apps.. So expect to see the likes of Swiftkey and Swipe on iOS soon. It's a big move, and one that could have big implications. The lack of third-party keyboard options has long been a stick for Android-ites to beat Apple with - but no more.

Keyboards aren't the only things being opened up to third-party devs. In fact, there's very little about iOS 8 that won't be accessible to non-Apple app-makers.

Take Touch ID. Previously, it was a closed shop: you could use it to log into your iPhone 5s, but not much else. Now, devs will be able to build Touch ID functionality into their apps, enabling financial or password programs to include an extra level of security in their login, or shopping apps to use it to authorise purchases. Want to buy that new TV on Amazon? Just press your finger to the button.

It's the same story in Notification Centre. You can now add third-party widgets - yes, widgets, finally - to your feed, meaning that you can now respond to notifications as you get them. So, when you receive an alert that you've just been outbid in an Ebay auction, you'll now be able to up your bid without leaving Notification Centre. Open a photo and you'll be able to apply filters from any camera app you have installed. Tap on a web image and you'll be able to pin it to Pinterest. Open the camera and you'll be able to control aperture, exposure and ISO, if you have an app that does that. And so on.

But before you scream "Security nightmare!", don't worry - Apple will still keep everything locked down. Third-party apps won't have access to your personal data unless you explicitly allow them to; instead, they'll request permission to do something and Apple will say yay or nay.

In the case of Touch ID, for instance, your fingerprint info will remain protected on your phone. If you want to use it to pay for something on Ebay, for example, the Ebay app will merely ask Apple if the correct fingerprint has been registered. It won't actually see the fingerprint itself.

Basically, it will give iOS an Android-like openness in how apps work with each other, while keeping Apple in ultimate control of everything.

Pretty Little Liars - Sara Shepard

Pretty Little Liars is a series of young-adult novels by author Sara Shepard, beginning with 2006's initial novel of the same name. The series follows the lives of four girls – Spencer Hastings, Hanna Marin, Aria Montgomery, and Emily Fields – whose clique falls apart after the disappearance of their leader, Alison DiLaurentis, in the summer after 7th grade. Later, when the girls are juniors in high school, they begin receiving various messages from someone using the alias "A" who threatens to expose their secrets.

The novels explore several different topics and themes such as bullying, murder, drug addiction, underage drinking, eating disorders, homosexuality, peer-pressure, infidelity, and mental illness. Moral ambiguity and the consequences of lying (suggested by the title) are featured prominently in the series; the girls constantly create their own problems through their unwillingness or inability to tell the truth about certain events and misdeeds they have done.

The novels have appeared on the The New York Times Best Seller list. A television series adaptation loosely based on the novels debuted on June 8, 2010 on ABC Family. The twelfth book in the series, Burned, was released on December 4, 2012. A prequel, Ali's Pretty Little Lies, was released on January 2, 2013. Additionally, a thirteenth book, Crushed,] was released June 4, 2013. Shepard revealed that she is planning on writing three more novels for the series. The fourteenth book, Deadly, was released on December 3, 2013. The fifteenth book, Toxic, was released on June 3, 2014.

The series is loosely divided into four arcs of four to five books each, chronicling the introduction and reveal of each "A". The series follows the lives of four teenage girls — whose names are mentioned above (nicknamed the Pretty Little Liars or simply the Liars) — whose clique falls apart after the disappearance of their best friend, Alison DiLaurentis. Three years after her disappearance, they begin receiving text messages from an anonymous source, "A," who threatens to expose their secrets; including long-hidden ones they thought only their close friend Alison knew. But shortly after the messages begin, Alison's body is discovered. The books progress with the four girls trying to figure out the identity of "A".

The Heart of a Woman - Maya Angelou

In The Heart of a Woman, Maya Angelou leaves California with her son, Guy, to move to New York. There she enters the society and world of black artists and writers, reads her work at the Harlem Writers Guild, and begins to take part in the struggle of black Americans for their rightful place in the world. In the meantime, her personal life takes an unexpected turn. She leaves the bail bondsman she was intending to marry after falling in love with a South African freedom fighter, travels with him to London and Cairo, where she discovers new opportunities.

The Heart of a Woman is filled with unforgettable vignettes of such renowned people as Billie Holiday and Malcom X, but perhaps most importantly chronicles the joys and the burdens of a black mother in America and how the son she has cherished so intensely and worked for so devotedly finally grows to be a man.

The Heart of a Woman (1981) is an autobiography by American writer Maya Angelou. The book is the fourth installment in Angelou's series of seven autobiographies. The Heart of a Woman recounts events in Angelou's life between 1957 and 1962 and follows her travels to California, New York City, Cairo, and Ghana as she raises her teenage son, becomes a published author, becomes active in the US civil rights movement, and becomes romantically involved with a South African freedom fighter. One of the most important themes of The Heart of a Woman is motherhood, as Angelou continues to raise her teenage son. The book ends with Angelou's son leaving for college and Angelou looking forward to newfound independence and freedom.

Like Angelou's previous volumes, the book has been described as autobiographical fiction, though most critics, as well as Angelou, have characterized it as autobiography. Although most critics consider Angelou's first autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings more favorably, The Heart of a Woman has received positive reviews. It was chosen as an Oprah's Book Club selection in 1997.

Critic Mary Jane Lupton says it has "a narrative structure unsurpassed in American autobiography" and that it is Angelou's "most introspective" autobiography. The title is taken from a poem by Harlem Renaissance poet Georgia Douglas Johnson, which connects Angelou with other female African-American writers. African-American literature critic Lyman B. Hagen states, "Faithful to the ongoing themes of survival, sense of self, and continuing education, The Heart of a Woman moves its central figures to a point of full personhood". The book follows Angelou to several places in the US and Africa, but the most important journey she describes is "a voyage into the self".

Mom & Me & Mom - Maya Angelou

The story of Maya Angelou’s extraordinary life has been chronicled in her multiple bestselling autobiographies. But now, at last, the legendary author shares the deepest personal story of her life: her relationship with her mother.

For the first time, Angelou reveals the triumphs and struggles of being the daughter of Vivian Baxter, an indomitable spirit whose petite size belied her larger-than-life presence—a presence absent during much of Angelou’s early life. When her marriage began to crumble, Vivian famously sent three-year-old Maya and her older brother away from their California home to live with their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas. The subsequent feelings of abandonment stayed with Angelou for years, but their reunion, a decade later, began a story that has never before been told. In Mom & Me & Mom, Angelou dramatizes her years reconciling with the mother she preferred to simply call “Lady,” revealing the profound moments that shifted the balance of love and respect between them.

Delving into one of her life’s most rich, rewarding, and fraught relationships, Mom & Me & Mom explores the healing and love that evolved between the two women over the course of their lives, the love that fostered Maya Angelou’s rise from immeasurable depths to reach impossible heights.

Praise for Mom & Me & Mom

“Mom & Me & Mom is delivered with Angelou’s trademark good humor and fierce optimism. If any resentments linger between these lines, if lives are partially revealed without all the bitter details exposed, well, that is part of Angelou’s forgiving design. As an account of reconciliation, this little book is just revealing enough, and pretty irresistible.”—The Washington Post

“Moving . . . a remarkable portrait of two courageous souls.”—People

“[The] latest, and most potent, of her serial autobiographies . . . [a] tough-minded, tenderhearted addition to Angelou’s spectacular canon.”—Elle

“Mesmerizing . . . Angelou has a way with words that can still dazzle us, and with her mother as a subject, Angelou has a near-perfect muse and mystery woman.”—Essence

“True to her style, [Angelou’s] writing cuts to the chase with compression and simplicity, and there in the background is a calypso smoothness, flurries and showers of musicality between the moments of wickedness. . . . A tightly strung, finely tuned memoir about life with her mother.”—Kirkus Reviews

“In this loving recollection of a complicated relationship, Angelou for the first time details the mother-daughter journey to reconciliation and unwavering connection and support. . . . Angelou vividly portrays a spirited woman. . . . [A] remarkable and deeply revealing chronicle of love and healing.”—Booklist

“Written with her customary eloquence . . . follows in the episodic style of Angelou’s earlier volumes of autobiography, pulling the reader along effortlessly. The lessons and the love presented here will speak to those trying to make their way in the world.”—Publishers Weekly

“In straightforward style, Mom & Me & Mom dives deeply into Angelou’s complicated relationship with her mother. . . . At 84, Angelou shows few signs of slowing down.”—BookPage

Letter to My Daughter - Maya Angelou

Dedicated to the daughter she never had but sees all around her, Letter to My Daughter reveals Maya Angelou’s path to living well and living a life with meaning. Here in short spellbinding essays are glimpses of the tumultuous life that taught Angelou lessons in compassion and fortitude: how she was brought up by her indomitable grandmother in segregated Arkansas, taken in at thirteen by her more worldly and less religious mother, and grew to be an awkward six-foot-tall teenager whose first experience of loveless sex paradoxically left her with her greatest gift, a son.

Whether she is recalling lost friends such as Coretta Scott King and Ossie Davis, extolling honesty, decrying vulgarity, explaining why becoming a Christian is a “lifelong endeavor,” or simply singing the praises of a meal of red rice, Maya Angelou writes from the heart to millions of women she considers her extended family.

 Letter to My Daughter (2009) is the third book of essays by African American writer and poet Maya Angelou. By the time it was published, Angelou had written two other books of essays, several volumes of poetry, and six autobiographies. She was recognized and highly respected as a spokesperson for Blacks and women, and had become "a major autobiographical voice of the time".  Angelou had no daughters herself, but was inspired to write Letter as she was going through 20 years of notes and essay ideas, some of which were written for her friend Oprah Winfrey. Angelou wrote the book for the thousands of women who saw her as a mother figure, and to share the wisdom gained throughout her long life.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - Maya Angelou

Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou’s debut memoir, first published in 1969, is a modern American classic beloved worldwide.

Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local “powhitetrash.” At eight years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age—and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns that love for herself, the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors (“I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare”) will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned.

Poetic and powerful, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings will touch hearts and change minds for as long as people read.

“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings liberates the reader into life simply because Maya Angelou confronts her own life with such a moving wonder, such a luminous dignity.”—James Baldwin