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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Disney Buys LucasFilm for $4 Billion

I'm late to reporting the news as I've been talking it over with friends the last few days even friends who don't watch the Star Wars series are well aware and curious of the acquisition.

It's interesting to me. When Disney began buying up certain franchises and production companies like Prince of Persia and made films like John Carter, I was optimistic but skeptical knowing that Disney is a company that has mostly centered their Disney name around the children's genre. Seeing Disney make PG-13 films was interesting to me and I've been impressed.

While John Carter didn't live up to the hype created by the massive advertising campaign, the movie was still stellar and I patiently await a sequel.

I grew up with the Star Wars series, watching the first three as a child and later catching up with the last three made. I've always been interested in seeing a new trilogy which follows Luke and the gang or follows a new group of characters in the same universe, no pun intended.

George Lucas has said multiple times that he is satisfied with the series how it is even earlier this year making that case. However, with Disney's acquisition, a new set of three additional movies has been set to be released after the year 2015.

Disney acquired Marvel Comics a short while ago and I was highly upset upon hearing of the acquisition knowing what sort of company Disney is. However, since Disney's purchase, the Marvel movies haven't been too bad. If those were done under the direction of Disney, I have to say that I am impressed even more so impressed than I was before their purchase.

I look forward to reading more about this and getting to final see the next movies to follow.

What are your thoughts on this? Are you a fan of LucasFilm movies? What do you think of Disney as a company?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Internet Explorer on Xbox Live

In this link, I talk about the new Xbox update and this is more on Internet Explorer as I've been using it since.

I have owned the Nintendo Wii, 2 Sony PlayStation 3's, 2 Microsoft Xbox 360's, Sony PlayStation Vita, Sony PlayStation Portable, and many more devices. In each of these, web browsers have been introduced (although the SEGA Dreamcast was the first to introduce a web browser) for each corporation.

I have tried each and everyone and wondered why the computer giant, Microsoft, never added Internet Explorer (or an Xbox exclusive browser) for its popular Xbox system. Many made the point that Microsoft probably wanted consumers to purchase computers as well as an Xbox. If consumers had the Xbox and a connection to the internet, they may not purchase a computer which could cost them revenue. But it was time that Microsoft caught up with all of their competitors and give users a web browser of their own.

I actually like what little of the experience that I've used of it. However...I am dissatisfied with the keyboard mostly. I was looking for the original keyboard that I've gotten used to, to begin using with the internet. But Microsoft knows what they are doing and added a keyboard that actually fits the browser perfectly in that you can use a cursor and navigate the keyboard faster as well as being able the transparency of the keyboard allows for users to see the webpage while typing.

My biggest beef? It has to be with the fact that there seems to be no flash support. Flash seems to be the one thing that many consumers must have when using a web browser. I tested it by visiting YouTube and trying to watch a video. As far as I've tried, YouTube videos can only be played through the app outside of the browser. I have yet to try to visit Adobe's website and see if they have a download for the Xbox, however, it is unlikely.

The browser uses a desktop user agent and not its own unique one or a mobile/tablet so you can view the web as you do like you're viewing your computer on the HD television.

The cursor is beautiful! I love it. PlayStation 3's web browser uses a standard computer cursor arrow which is cool but Xbox's uses a bright green, roundish cursor. It runs fairly smooth.

I have yet to use the Kinect or see if it is compatible with the browser but I will update here if and when I do.

One of the things that I enjoyed about the web browser on the Wii was using the nun-chuck controllers. Knowing Microsoft, I'd say that they did add some sort of connectivity with Kinect to make the browsing experience unique and fun for the user.

The browser is nice, but I can't say that I'm an expert on it or know everything about it. I'll try to learn and use more of it and detail it with you guys very soon. So, stayed tuned!

Update 10/29/2012 10:10 pm:
I have tried out the browser in much more detail and I'm blown away.

At first, I connected my Kinect sensor and tried moving the Internet Explorer app and was very disappointed. It wasn't until I looked further into the app that I discovered that Microsoft enabled a new way to connect with your Xbox that surpasses anyone else's console that I know of...

Microsoft now allows users to connect with their phones to their Xbox and not just with gimmicky stuff like seeing what your friends are doing, but actually using the phone as a remote! Sony did this with their PSP/PS Vita when they took it one step further and allowed the entire emulation of the PlayStation 3 (minus gaming unless you've got a hacked console) onto your device. However, Microsoft still ties with Sony for this awesome innovation.

I have a wireless Bluetooth keyboard for my PlayStation 3 that not only has a keyboard but also a touch pad much like the one on laptops. Microsoft allows the same principle to be done on your phone.

Naturally, I assumed that Microsoft was going to be a huge jerk and say that this feature is only available for Windows Mobile phones. Wrong. It's also available for Android phones like my Samsung Galaxy S III!! I have yet to confirm if it also works on iPhones/iPod Touches/etc.

Here are two screenshots directly from my phone.

The first screenshot is of the touch pad in action while on the Internet Explorer app. That entire black area is for your fingers. If you pinch zoom, your Xbox will zoom. If you click that address bar and type something in it, your Xbox will go to that website. If you click that button at the bottom with the two arrows, you will bring up screenshot 2's screen. From here, you can pull up the Xbox Guide on your Xbox just like if you were holding your controller. I'm not exactly sure what the controller button does though.

When on the Xbox main dashboard, your phone can still navigate through it! You can also navigate through other apps like Netflix (although I have yet to try it). The screen will be black, like above, for your fingers to move. Three corners will have different colors and letters on them just as your Xbox controller has different colored, lettered buttons. Each of these can be used just like your controller. If you click the center, that acts as the green, A button.

I searched for flash support, but still haven't seen it. It is surprising that Microsoft didn't allow the app to have flash considering how important it is to people. But all in all, this makes up for not adding flash support and Kinect support for me personally.

Unfortunately, games cannot be played with your phone. Just as I suspected, but I tried in hopes of it happening anyway.

What do you guys think of this newer Xbox experience? I'm loving it so far.

Update 11/13/2012:
I have confirmed that the Xbox Internet Explorer app can play YouTube videos. The IE app utilizes HTML5.

If you'd like to try HTLM5 on YouTube videos, you can do so by pointing your web browser (Google Chrome supports it, Internet Explorer on PC and Xbox supports it...) to this website http://www.youtube.com/html5 You will need to have a YouTube account to use this as it is a trial for now. Once you have opted into the trial, YouTube will load using HTML5 through whatever web browser has such a feature. You can try this on just about any device and any web browser to see if it works. If your web browser doesn't support it, YouTube will notify you through that link telling you that it will not work.

I have confirmed that my PlayStation Vita and BlackHood4's Nintendo 3DS do not support HTML5 in their browsers.

Upon loading a video through Xbox, the video loaded just fine and played just as it should. But when I clicked on another video, it somehow forgot that I was using HTML5 and said that I needed Adobe Flash.

I had no idea but there seems to be a move towards HTML5 and away from Adobe's Flash in recent years but a friend had told me this.

Restricting Facebook Friends from Viewing your Activity

Did you friend that close friend of your grandmother's? Did you friend that overly religious aunt who reads all of your posts and calls mom and dad when you talk about sex? Did you friend that person who feels a need to comment on all of your activity? The worst part is that you can't block or delete this person from your friends' list...so what do you do? You don't want to delete your Facebook (if you do, check this link), you can't delete them or block them cause they'll find out or you don't want to hurt their feelings...so what do you do? I have an answer that may help solve your problem.

Like you, I have friends and family on my Facebook friends' list that I cannot necessarily just get rid of and getting rid of my Facebook is near impossible.

Solution #1:
This is, perhaps, the easiest solution.

When you post your next status/share a video/picture/etc., do so just like you would at any time except hold up! Click this like in the picture below.

Click that thing just like inside of the red circle. Yours may say something different than mine like Public, Only Me, or Custom. Switch it to Custom. Even if its already on Custom, click Custom once more. This sort of box should pop up.

The blacked out box is one of the school networks that I belonged to, blacked out for my privacy. Near there should be various networks that you are linked to on Facebook. The place that you want is near the bottom where it has a red X and says "Hide this from". Below this, there is a box. Click that box and begin typing your Facebook friend(s)' name just as it appears on their profile. Below that box should be a list of names on your friends list that you can click. Either click the person's name when you see it. It will now be in the box and turn into a bluish box with an x beside it. This is good, this means that this person has been added and will not be able to view this current post. You may now add additional names if you'd like. Once you're done, click "Save Changes" and post your post. Easy enough, right?

Solution #2:
For some reason, solution one only worked once then went right back to where I was and allowed everyone to continue viewing my posts as before. After that, I'd have to keep selecting these peoples' names for each and every post that I didn't want them to see. What a pain, huh?!? Solution #1 may work for some people indefinitely. It worked for me for a while until I changed it. In that event or if you'd like this person to never see any of your posts and be sure they don't, I highly recommend this solution above #1. This option also allows the user to not be able to see old and new posts which Solution #1 doesn't do, to my knowledge.

While on Facebook, click the button near the top like in the below picture:

Again, information pertaining to me has been blocked for my privacy. The above blacked out box would be where your name is in the top right hand corner.

From this box, click "Privacy Settings".

Now, go down to the very bottom of this page to where it talks about "Blocked People and Apps". To its right should be a link that says "Manage Blocking". Click that.

Next, should be an entire area filled with names (hopefully you don't have any) names of people that you've blocked as well as apps towards the bottom that you've blocked. In the first paragraph should be something about adding friends to a restricted list. Click the only link there which should be this link. A dialogue box should pop up. In the only box provided, begin typing the name(s) of the Facebook friends that you don't want viewing your posts.

In doing so, this eliminates these people from being allowed to see any of your posts, both old and new regardless if you add them to that specific list in Solution #1 or not.

My setting is currently enabled to "Friends" only and restricted friends are not allowed to see my posts. However, I am able to see their posts still. I have two Facebook friends in that restricted list and neither have seen my posts on my timeline. HOWEVER!!!!!!!!!!!...they have been able to see posts that I post onto other people's pages and fan pages. Be careful what you post there. This just makes sure that they can't see anything that you post onto your timeline. As far as what others post about you...I am unsure if they are able to see these or not. I tried tagging one of the restricted people into one of my posts but I don't think that she saw it.

I use these for myself but use these at your own risk. If you find anything contrary to what I've said above, PLEASE share with the rest of us in the below comments. They are greatly appreciated as they make the tutorial more helpful for everyone. Good luck!

Keyboard Shortcuts

Have you ever envied the people on television and in the movies who hop onto a computer and type in codes for a computer in a few minutes? I have and I've gotten to the point at which people envy me especially since I've been able to, almost, completely refuse using the mouse and rely solely on the keyboard.

In the early days of computers, keyboards were all people really used until user interfaces became more common in Windows 95 and Macintosh versions which then resulted in the modern day mouse. But many people may be unaware that you can pretty much not even use your mouse. What is the upside of doing this? You never take your hands from the keyboard which can increase the speed of doing things like homework, coding, and other computer related things much more quickly.

For me, I can type very fast without looking except that I never truly learned how to type like the professionals in school would have you learn. Instead, I learned from trial-and-error. I learned where the keys were on a keyboard in the QWERTY fashion (QWERTY is the keyboard setup that is most commonly found in keyboard with the top row being Q-W-E-R-T-Y). So this method may be much faster for those of us who can type like so versus people who type the traditional way. At first, using keyboard shortcuts is slow because you are learning, but it becomes much faster for the methods that you use often.

For me, I first learned how to do keyboard shortcuts when I began using the CTRL + V to paste. CTRL will be very common in most of your keyboard shortcuts. These keyboard shortcuts should be universal with some keyboards being slightly different. Also, these keyboard shortcuts are for Windows computers. Macs use some of the same shortcuts but sometimes with different keys, but this "tutorial" will show you some of the basics and focus on the Windows UI.

(When the + sign appears, this is to say that you should hold down the key indicated before and after the + sign. Most of these shortcuts have the user hold down all keys simultaneously to perform the desired function.)
CTRL + V is to paste.
CTRL + C is to copy.
CTRL + A is to select all.
CTRL + S is to save.
CTRL + F is to open the find menu to find a specific character or group of characters.
CTRL + +/- is to zoom in/out.
CTRL + P is to print.
CTRL + O is to open.
Shift + "desired arrow key" can be used to highlight text.
(Key between right side ALT and CTRL) is another way of performing a right-click. Macs have a similar key here that has a similar function.
CTRL + ESC is to bring up the "Start" menu. Alternatively, the Windows icon near the left side of the keyboard can also do this function.
CTRL + Shift + ESC is used to pull up the Windows Task Manager (tried only on Windows 7 and Windows Vista).
ALT + F4 is used to close the selected window. (Very useful in games that have malfunctioned.)
CTRL + ALT + DEL brings up the Windows Task Manager for operating systems older than Windows Vista but in Windows Vista & 7, this brings up a new menu including a way to start the Windows Task Manager as well as some other functions.
ALT can be used in some Windows programs like Windows Media Player to bring up the classic menu at the top with the "Start", "Edit", and other buttons.
F11 in most web browsers will put it into full screen mode. Alternatively, F11 will also exit out of full screen.
ESC usually escapes out of full screen when using flash applications online like the full screen on a YouTube video.
FN is a very useful button that is found on most laptops and some high-end keyboards. FN stands for "function" and is usually colored a different color than the other keys, usually something like blue. You may notice that other keys on your keyboard are blue and smaller font. Pressing the FN key plus any of these blue keys will result in something like changing the volume or decreasing/increasing the screen brightness.

These are just some of the hundreds of shortcuts available to you. These are just the ones that I use the most. How did I find these? By accident.

The reason that I know so much in regards to computers is due to lots of different methods and problems that I began searching to find out myself. Other times, it was plain curiosity that ended me in asking any and all questions as well as the generosity and kindness of those giving me the answers. Most of my knowledge stems from just playing around with the computer and looking in every area possible. Of course, you should use caution in doing so as deleting just one file can ultimately destroy your computer. However, playing around with the internals can only really result in the malfunction of the software and can be easily fixed with a recovery disk so make sure to keep one handy and close by.

Often times, programs like Microsoft Word will actually tell you the shortcuts! Most people typically use the mouse to use "Copy", "Paste", and the other useful functions and usually through the "classic menu" with the "Start", "Edit", etc. buttons at the top of the program. When you click these and hover over the available options, look to the far right of the dialogue boxes and you'll notice some of the same functions that I discussed with above.

If you'd like to share any of your own shortcuts that you've found, we'd love to hear them in the comments section below!

Some Great Ways to Promote your Website/Blog

I started this blog in April, 2012 and it has grown considerably. While you may not be able to see many comments and I'm not comfortable with sharing my actual numbers, I can assure you that the website is growing by the thousands little by little. The way that this website is growing is dependent on the fact that I am not very active here because I have a job, school, and other interests. Also, I don't feel like posting every day here, but if I followed each and every one of these steps, my website would be much bigger. How big? It all depends on many things such as events and other bits of news.

I've been keeping some of these secrets, but why should I keep them to myself? I'd like to share them with others and help others have success!

You probably came here because of a search engine. That was my intention.

First of all, I highly recommend you to make sure that your blog is accessible by all, if not all, most, search engines. If you use a service like I do, being Blogger, there may be an option in the settings to enable search engines to "crawl" your website to add it to their search engine. Make sure that is checked and enabled. If you are unsure, just simply visit your favorite search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo, AOL, Ask, etc.) and type in your website/blog's name. Mine, I would type "wheneverifeellikeit" all one word just as I write it here. If you do not see it, your blog may not be listed and you may want to check your settings and/or contact your service provider (Blogger, etc) or domain handle (DSL Extreme, GoDaddy, etc.) and ask them to fix this for you.

Make sure to use keywords in your posts. Keywords can be many things that people may be searching for. On my other blog that deals with politics and religion, I try my hardest to stay with the political news and political events as soon as I can write about them. Even if my post seems to be nothing more than a copy of what the news is saying plus my personal opinion, I still strive to get to the story as soon as I can. When using keywords, remember to use as many synonyms as possible including different versions of the same name. Do not refer to the iPad as simply "iPad" throughout your entire post. Also refer to it as "tablet", "device", and other names you can think of. When referring to someone like President Barack Obama, use many differences of his name. "President", "Obama", "Barack", "Mr. President"...as many different names and ways to describe the man. What happens is that search engines crawl websites for words. When someone looks up "Barack", it searches the internet for the websites that use the word the most as well as which websites generate the most traffic. Websites, such as Facebook, will be first on the list because they have higher traffic coming to their website than others. However, ones, like a Obama fan-page, may be higher on the list because they have more uses of the word "Barack" than other websites do.

Use "free advertising" to your advantage. Now, free advertising is not what many think it is. It is not, necessarily, going to a website like Google Adwords to add your website to it. It is, more, going to a website like a forum to advertise. Many forums allow users to add signatures and allow members to add their blog/website/other to their signature. It is wise to register with forums that are in the same genre as your website/blog and using it to your advantage. Also, if the forum allows, link relevant posts to forum threads. For example, I have a few "how-to"s as well as a few posts that are lists like my popular "Galaxy SIII ROMs List". I have shared this link in a few posts to members looking for a few ROMs for themselves. If your blog/website is about news, be sure to create links to your recent posts about the news article if you start a thread. Or, if someone asks a question, there's an opportunity to share your post there too. Forums are a great way to share your blog, if not, the best way to do so. It gets you involved with the community eye-to-eye and helps people spread the word.

Something that everyone can do is share your website offline with friends and family. Encourage them to share the website/blog and visit regularly! Of course, only invite friends and family that would be interested. I wouldn't advise alerting friends and family to a blog that they may disagree with as it could pose more problems for you than help. Sharing your website/blog with someone else in person can also be a topic starter for someone brand new. Don't be afraid to impress that cute girl! Tell her that you run your own website. Share your link with her and encourage her to stop by. However, this could be problematic as it could not end well if your website/blog isn't too popular like mine. It could detract her from wanting to talk to you as well as possibly losing her completely from visiting your website more if you pumped up your website too much beyond what it really is.

Focus on positive posts more than negative ones. My blog on politics and religion has gained a huge amount of views but because I angered an entire group of people. This was good for a few weeks until they found something else to be mad about. Whereas here, focusing on positive posts like "how-to"s and news, has been more appealing to readers. You may be asking, "What are some positive posts?"

Positive posts can be just about anything. Tutorials, otherwise known as "how-to"s, are a great place to start. Find a problem, and provide a solution that you know about. Your solution is what matters but also how you deliver your solution is how well you will do. At first, do not be discouraged. Many of your readers will come only once or twice just for that one little bit of information and may not come back for some time. This is progress and just one of the first steps to building a strong website/blog, don't be discouraged, have patience. Other positive posts can be as simple as repeating the news of the day. Often times, my posts are just repeating one of Wololo's posts or something going on in the news like the new iPhone. Admittedly, these posts don't receive as much attention as others...at first. These are posts that you can use, at first, to simply fill your own "quota" and develop your website/blog but these do not become useful until people begin looking for your website specifically or you develop a solid base of fans. I write these anyway because some of these posts get bigger as time goes on, and if your post has been there since day one and/or you continue to "update" it as news unfolds, you will receive more and more posts.

Use pictures! Most, if not all, of my referrals come from places like Google Images. Even if you don't have the best content, people will come to your blog/website if you have good, interesting pictures that they need to see. Try to be as unique as possible. The more unique and creative, the better your results. However, if you do borrow a picture, be sure to include the source from where you borrowed the picture from. Not doing so is not only morally wrong and illegal, but also gives you a bad name. If it's one thing that readers don't like, it's people who aren't original or claim to have something original that has been somewhere longer. Videos are good too, but interestingly enough, pictures gain more views when posted on your blog/website.

Above all, have patience. It takes time and lots of hard work to develop your website/blog. Make sure that you can stay enthusiastic throughout it all and remain calm and patient.

These are just a few of some of the free and easy ways to promote your website. What not to do?

Refrain from spamming. Spamming can be one of many things. Spamming can be posting your link in irrelevant places like on a website/blog that has nothing to do with your specific genre. It can also be posting often, over and over again in the same place with the same words. It's okay to post again and again in the same place (on different days), but it is not okay to post with the same exact words. It makes you look robotic and people like originality more than something that you continually copy-and-paste again and again. Also, make sure to not copy-and-paste the same exact words from website to website as it can catch up and have the same effect as posting on the same page again and again.

Abide by the rules of pages and don't do anything to make those people mad. By making a website mad at you, they may block you and prevent you from continuing to have a place to freely advertise your website.

Be kind and courteous and respectful. Be positive. Don't attack others or what others believe. Also, try to refrain from using profanity. Not everyone curses, and cursing may detract people from coming to your blog/website but not using profanity won't cause people to stay away from you.

Use common sense. Don't do anything that would upset you and don't do anything that you think may not work.

Consider this specific post, and only this post, as way to "practice" using your free advertising! By practice, I mean, feel free to comment below with your website/blog's link and ask me a question or explain what your website/blog is about. If you have anything extra to add, feel free to share that with us too! We would love to hear some of the great ways that you advertise your page.

Good luck to you guys out there with your blogs/websites!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Why History is so Prevalent in Gaming

With Assassin's Creed 3 coming out on Tuesday, which I'm totally going to get, I'd like to talk about why history is so often feature in video games. Now I'm not going to talk about the history of it, just our own real history in itself.

Too often I hear about people complaining about how many games featured World War II and didn't focus on other wars for video games. I've also heard people, specifically my parents, say that playing these games will warp my mind to the real facts as most clearly are works of fiction either made up on the spot, taken with great speculation (see Assassin's Creed series of course) or simply an easy way to say something could have happened because there isn't a clear reason why or why not. The first is easiest and simplest to explain: World War II was perhaps the worst war ever. Truthfully I'm not looking at other wars but this war is the worst that is the freshest in our minds and there still are people alive during it's time both as people who saw the war first hand and others who were born around it's time. It's also an easy enemy to make of the Nazi party. The second part is a bit trickier. Yes a lot of these games are works of fiction and discerning which is and is not takes time, effort and research. The reason it's good that we have these 'mind warping' facts is because those minute details aren't going to stick in our heads but rather the initial main details. As a kid, the game I played a lot was Medal of Honor: Frontline, a WWII shooter. To the best of my memory, the very first mission was the Invasion of Normandy or D-Day. That portion of the game was pretty tough for me. Though I never knew what it was like during that time, it captured the moment pretty well. Avoiding gun fire was the only way you'd survive, you had to sit behind these awkward cover points desperately trying to lay down covering fire and when you got through you had to fight in cramped places that usually could kill you.

Assassin's Creed isn't an accurate game, but it is very thought out. The way the Templars are seen is slightly accurate considering the actions taken during the crusades and it's very interesting to see how they were implemented within the events of history. There's also a DLC with George Washington being a dictator. To that I have to say very ambitious and I would like to see how it turns out. I really am excited how the game will turn out and how the story will turn out.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Windows 8 Launched Today

Windows 8 officially launched today but there are some problems and some unknowns.

Blizzard, famous for games like World of Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo, Valve, company behind the Steam gaming community, and Notch, creator of Minecraft, have all stated their displeasure with the new Microsoft OS according to this and other articles.

But why? The new Windows 8 has many new restrictions along with its new user interface. As many of you may know, Windows 8 has a new UI known as "Metro" that uses tiles instead of the traditional Windows UI that has been files, folders, and the like. The new UI uses Metro instead to allow more tablets and other touch screen devices. The restrictions with the OS are made to restrict developers from doing things like creating software that allows files to be downloaded. This directly attacks Valve's Steam service which has been providing gamers with a way to purchase and download games from the same machine that they play on.

It is uncertain whether Microsoft will change policy or respond to the criticism of its operating system. If Microsoft doesn't respond positively, it could be the end of the Windows era that has dominated the personal and business sectors for the past decades.

While this operating system is huge news to many, it is not new. For some time, Linux has been offering its users "apps" that we've come to know and love. However, it wasn't until Apple released the AppStore on their iOS devices in 2007 that they became more popular for the average user. Thereafter, Google followed with its Android OS that also utilized apps. (Ironic that both mobile OSes are built on Linux kernels.) Apple later released an AppStore for its computer lineup and now Microsoft is following in the footsteps, trying to keep up with everyone else with Windows 8.

The difference between all of the OSes has to be with how the parent companies of the app markets. Google and Linux have been praised while Apple and now Microsoft have been criticized on the issue of closed-source methods. Linux and Android have been open sourced and both seem to be very open to developers, developing on their operating systems. Apple and Microsoft have been closed to the idea and very restrictive with developers as to what they can and cannot develop on their operating systems. Without getting too off track, this post is mostly about Microsoft than the competition. I may dive deeper into closed-source and open-source at a different time.

Microsoft can go either way. They can go the route that seems to be more progressive and be more open or they can continue trying to restrict and see if they can survive. There is a third option, and perhaps, Microsoft might be able to pull off doing both at the same time. Microsoft has been a strong and smart company when it comes to decisions such as this and I'd like to see it play out.

To survive, Microsoft must do something to help along developers. Gamers are a huge portion of the users of Windows but there are not the only users.

As I stated before, personal computing and business computing are and have been a huge percentage of the Windows population. Personal computing is more than just gaming which can also include students and home/small businesses.

It's no secret that things have been bad for our economy and this has resulted in thousands, perhaps even millions, losing their jobs and sole sources of income. During a time like this, new opportunities arise and the internet and computing have become one of those options. Many have begun starting small businesses at home and much of their business depends on computers and the internet. The way that Windows 8 plays out can mean the difference between a good, solid business or one that may not be as strong. There have been questions and uncertainty as to how non-Metro UI will work or if it even comes shipped with Windows 8. Students are another big part of the personal computing but this change may benefit students the most.

In many of my college classes, I see less and less laptops and more iPads and some other tablet-like devices. The tablets have become more valuable for students because they are lighter and easier to carry. There's usually no keyboard to get in the way which also keeps the device slim. Many other great pluses come to aid students that laptops could never accomplish so there, the Windows 8 Metro may succeed alone.

Another percentage of the Windows users includes in the business sector. Depending on how Windows 8 operates and what type of business will utilize it will vary the results as time progresses. On the one hand, for some businesses, they may not need all of the extra goodies that Windows 8 can provide like entertainment apps, but perhaps, businesses can find some use somewhere in the OS that can specialize in its own unique ways.

In previous Windows versions, we've seen Microsoft create special editions like Basic, Home Premium, Business, and Ultimate which have some features enabled and others disabled depending on performance. I haven't been able to find out if there are different versions of Windows but if Microsoft has, there may be hope for them yet. But with the economic decline, and even prior to it, businesses have not usually been the types to update every system to the latest OS versions as previous versions work just as well for their basic needs with little to no change.

For me, personally, I've been excited for the new OS until seeing what devices run it with what hardware specs. I recently upgraded my laptop from 4 GB of RAM to 8 GB and have been doing some heavy gaming. But with most devices running Windows 8, they run on 32-bit ARM processors with very little RAM, little memory, and no CD/DVD/Blu-Ray drive. While it is true that tablets use little to none of these features, I have always used them and found a need for them. While I can always buy a CD/DVD/Blu-Ray adapter or use things like CloneDrive, I still am unsure of if any Windows 8 computers will have 64-bit processors, full keyboards, and run just like a normal laptop. If not, I'd like to continue using my Windows 7 laptop or switch completely to another OS like Linux until things change. I would very much enjoy a touch-screen and have longed for one on my Windows 7 PC but that, alone, isn't enough for me to switch.

We have yet to see the full line of computers/tablets/devices that will come out in the lifetime of Windows 8 and until then, we leave it up to speculation and what we witness.

I have yet to try the beta but I have demoed the OS in a Best Buy on Tuesday with a touch screen. I enjoyed the few minutes that I spent playing with the computer and would like to see it used to its full potential.

Have you tried Windows 8? Beta or final? What are your thoughts on it? What do you use Windows for mostly? If you game, what do you think of Valve, Notch, and Blizzard not supporting the OS? Do you have faith that it will do well or be Vista 2.0?

Nintendo sues PETA

A while ago, PETA made a parody of Nintendo and Game Freak's Pokemon game and Nintendo has decided to act. If you haven't read one of my previous posts, PETA parodied Pokemon in a very violent and malicious way. Before this, they made two other games which caught the attention of Nintendo. The first was  Super Chick Sisters, a dual parody of Kentucky Fried Chicken and the Super Mario Bros game. Later they parodied the New Super Mario Bros game with Mario Kills Tanooki. Nintendo responded politely to these. However, once PETA's Black and Blue came out, they felt the need to step in saying, "Nintendo and the Pok√©mon company take the use of our products and intellectual property seriously."

You may be asking yourself is it right for Nintendo to do this or if it's both ethical or even possible. You should note that PETA previously tried to sue Nintendo for their Star Fox game saying it was cruelty to animals. I say good for Nintendo. Finally it's time for someone to stand up to these people. Though it isn't plagiarism, it's definitely bringing a lot of attention to PETA and giving them money in the long run technically making them profit from someone else's work. I really hope the court case goes in favor of Nintendo.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

5 Reasons Why 'Steam' Works

In 2003 there was this program released by Valve which has revolutionized PC gaming forever. Since then it has only gotten better. However, there is another big program like this which I'm going to be focusing on in comparison to this that recently came out. It's this little program called Origin. For all intensive purposes, this should be doing as well as Steam is doing but for some reason it isn't. People keep talking about how foreign it is or how unusual it feels. This post is specifically for EA and all other companies who make these systems to show how this program should be used.
If you didn't know already, Steam is program you can download on your PC. It is completely free, no strings attached and is pretty easy to use when you first start. Now, Origin has the same things that makes Steam really a nice program (games to download on a program that can be purchased through an easy to use payment system and these games will show up for you to download them again easily should you delete the game or change computers), but it fails in some ways.

1) Attention  to detail.
What does this mean? Well simply put, keeping everything simple and accessible while keeping a user friendly format for people to use. When I start up Steam, I am immediately put into my account because I have been remembered and it goes directly to my library of games. Simple, right? Origin starts up with a login screen. No matter how many times I say "remember me" it always starts with this screen. Sometimes, it already knows my password and email yet still I need to confirm it to work. That doesn't make any sense to me. When I turn on my Xbox, it already remembers my gamertag, it starts up on the same screen every time and (if I so please) I can also make it so a certain account immediately signs in when I start.
2) Accessibility.
With Steam, all of my games are right on the left hand side of my screen in my library. From there I can download games I haven't already downloaded and play games I currently have. On top of that, in the middle of the screen is some recent news from the internet pertaining to this game. Whether it's that there's a sale going on for this or mod content I can download right there. If I don't like this, I can change the look and choose from three different choices from how to view these games. On top of that, any games I have purchased but not downloaded are seen slightly differently (yet noticeably) than ones I have.
3) Keeping fans happy.
Valve is a pretty awesome company by all standards. I haven't seen a bad game made by them and if they're taking time making a game (Half Life 3 or Half Life 2 Episode 3) you know it's because they're crafting something awesome. Like I said above, I can get my games just about whenever I want. All I need is to be on the internet and I'm there. I haven't been a member since it was made but I haven't heard any complaints from people who have been long time users. Simply put: don't fix something that isn't broken.
4) Free to play games.
I love things to be free and free to play games are right up my alley. Truthfully I don't play them as often as I should but its awesome that I have the choice. Right now I think Steam has about 95 different of these games and that's pretty cool. They have some recent ones developed by decent sized studios like DC Universe Online or ABP, and some that have been created by random people or smaller companies. And some of the games you have to purchase to play like Rock of Ages and Left 4 Dead 2, sometimes get these things called free weekends, which basically means you can play this game for free until a certain date. How awesome is that? This happens with a bunch of different titles, both semi new and pretty old. And they're not games that are terrible or you would hate. By the way, those two games I mentioned up above are actually free to play till about Sunday right now.
5) A Vast Community.
Before I mentioned mods that you could play. Most programs/companies wouldn't dream of allowing mods for their games but Steam makes it easy to put mods into your game. Now these aren't things that will help you win more or something that will break the game but more like if someone said "You know what would be fun?" and just put that into the game. Its really easy to find these things too. I just have to click on my 'Community' tab and then go over to game hubs or workshop. When The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim came out, a guy I personally admire, Todd Howard, said he really wanted for people to mod the game or create their own content, and that wasn't an empty promise. Skyrim has eleven thousand player created items, quests, worlds etc and that's not even the biggest. But that's not even the half of it. I can also go into a type of Forum built directly into the program (what a concept) and easily get information. After that, I can see when my friends get online and maybe even jump in a shared game with them. After that I can check news on a broader range of games via a simple tab. And there's this new thing called Greenlight. Greenlight just came out but it's a really awesome concept that allows people like me to create games and then submit them to Steam. After that, the entire community can vote whether or not to add my game to the list of buyable games on Steam. I will get the proceeds from that game as well. This not only get my name, my game and basically my resume out there if I want to be a professional game maker. The final thing is a bit harder to describe. I don't know how long it's been around but there's this cool thing called Humble Indie Bundle. Basically I can pay whatever I want for a bunch of games and I can choose where that money goes whether it's a charity, to the developers of the games or to the people who made Humble Indie Bundle. Where it goes into Steam is when I buy these games, I have the option to transfer them to my Steam account so I can use them forever. What a concept that I can be able to play my games for as long as I want and then come back to them later.

I don't know what else to say more other than Steam is just awesome. I was never a PC gamer because of the hassle of what I had to go through with PC games (ie. loosing them, codes that aren't usable over and over again or even not having enough hard drive space at the moment) and now I spend even more time messing around on my computer. Thank you Valve for this awesome program.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Thank You!! Yes, You!

A huge thank you to all of my viewers both old and new, regular and first timers! This blog is blowing up with viewers each day with more and more as you guys come from all over the web to read what we have to say. Today was the highest that it's ever been for a full day and most of the people coming to the blog have been searching, specifically, for this blog and didn't stumble upon this through some problem they had or whatever.

A huge thank you to everyone who has contributed to us. We appreciate it. I never started this blog as a way of making money but just to connect with others like me and share some of the information that I've collected over the years. I hope to expand into other areas and I cannot do that without the help of you guys in our growing community! An even bigger thanks goes out to everyone who shares this blog via Facebook, Twitter, or from person to person.

This blog relies on people like YOU. Yes, YOU. Without viewers, all that is written here stays here and goes no where. I have some plans for the future to grow this community even more than it is now but it depends on you guys.

Please, feel free to comment here and to share your thoughts with us! We appreciate feedback and would love to hear from you! My disclaimer is there merely for legal reasons in the rare and, God forbid, case that someone may try to hold me liable for something they did.

Myself and the other authors and administrators here greatly appreciate all that you've done and for being here. We are growing and it's only thanks to people like you.

If you have any ideas for us, feel free to leave your feedback on any of our blogs. We try our best to get back to everyone who responds to our posts. Again, thank you! :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

New Xbox Update

A new Xbox update rolled out sometime earlier today on October 23rd, 2012. The update has dramatically changed the look of the Xbox UI (user interface). While it still looks the same in some ways, other pices have changed such as the tile sizes. The biggest and most anticipated change has to be the new implementation of Internet Explorer into the Xbox experience that we've all come to know and love.

The Xbox Guide has changed a bit by removing the far left two pages and combing them into one page entitled "Games & Apps". The two pages merged into one with the same options as before.

A few name changes have also occurred where the music and video players' names have changed to "System Music Player" and "System Video Player" to distinguish a difference between them and Microsoft's Zune player. "Xbox Music" and "Xbox Video" have also been added that seem to take over what Zune had peviously been doing. In these areas, new UIs have been made with the same, recent feel of the Microsoft's original "Metro" design. Unfortunately, these two will take a minute to load unlike "System Music & Video Player".

I have yet to connect my Kinect to check out if the Kinect experience has changed.

Under the home tile, a new button has been added known as "My Pins". In here, you can "pin" your favorite apps for quick access without having to jump from tile to tile.

Internet Explorer will have to be downloaded (I think?) as it does not seem to be accessible at the moment. Upon trying to launch the app, (or what seems to be the app), the only options are to "pin", "rate", and a second slide for details about the app. When trying to search for the app in the app marketplace, the app is found but the same thing happens when trying to launch it. When trying to search the internet for something, an error message appears for me saying,

"Xbox LIVE
Sorry, there's a problem with the Xbox service. Try again later. For help with this problem, go to www.xbox.com/errorhelp.

Status code: 800700E8"

After downloading the Xbox system update, a notification appeared saying that Netflix had finished updating. I have opened up Netflix to see what changes may have taken place and none seem to pop out at the moment. The UI still looks the same as well as the way in which you move about the menus.

No other changes seem to be found at least on the surface. I'm sure that there's new code implemented in this update to prevent any sort of hacking as there usually is with these updates.

Personally, I preferred the original "Blades" version of the Xbox UI back when the Xbox 360 was first released as did many others. Xbox seems to have listened to us and given this which seems to be a mix of the two UIs into one. I like it but prefer the Blades more probably because of early memories more than anything.

What do you think of the changes? Have you been able to see any other differences? Did Internet Explorer run for you? What's it like? Which Xbox UI did you like the most?

Update 10/29/2012:
I've used Internet Explorer a bit and here's the link to that specific post where I talk about it briefly.

One change that I've also noticed is that Microsoft has changed the keyboard from being their original ABC keyboard to being QWERTY. Personally, I don't like the change, but I'll adjust to it eventually.

'Fixing' Something that isn't Broke - New Xbox Update

For some reason I can't sleep tonight, so I decided to play some games on my Xbox. However, I was greeted by a system update. After it was done, like most times, the new update felt foreign to me. Now I will probably get used to it in time but that's not why I'm talking about this as you can clearly see on the title. Not that I'm questioning Xbox or Microsoft but, why do we apparently need a new update? Though I appreciate their work constantly keeping my system up to date the new format just looks weird. I find it unusual whenever I see the very first Xbox format with the file folders and everything. After that it's just kind of a haze. I can't remember the update before my previous format or the update that came after the file folder. I know it's in the best interest to keep the menu easily accessible to those of us who are playing but is it really that necessary? I see it as more of a way to keep it fresh. I have kind of gotten bored of the previous format but this new one just seems a little bit unusual. First of it's basically just a rehash of the previous, following on the same 'squares' design keeping everything in a nice little square and just a tab away but in a more newer way. Sorry if this all seems confusing for you.

My brother keeps talking about how great the file folder format was like some bitter old man talking about "the good ol' days" while I am kind of embracing the new. Personally I just wish we had the option to switch back to the previous formats. I'm familiar with the others quite well and it just makes me feel like playing games is more of a chore because now I have to figure out the format of new menu. I have to find the way to get to my games or the market place, try not to be unnerved by the new gadgets that have been added. I hate to reiterate this again but I'm really proud that the Xbox's team is actually trying to make it better. The only problem is I don't see a real need to do so. Apart from a new format, if you don't download it you can't go online. If any Microsoft team members would like to tell me exactly what was changed and how it makes it better I'm totally up for it. I mean personally I would like to know what kinds of things were fixed and changed. I like to be up to date on my system as much as possible. If the new update makes my game playing more streamlined and easier then I'm all for it. But if it's an ascetic change I don't really see the need.

I don't know, that's just my personal view. If you'd like to comment I'd appreciate it. I'd like to know your thoughts on this update or just updates in general. I will say I do like the Xbox's updates far more than the PS3's. I don't know what Sony's doing but that is an insane download time. The biggest thing I've ever downloaded on my computer was a 20 gig game from Steam and even then that took about two hours whereas the PS3's updates can take almost five. Any Sony reps want to talk to me about that as well would be gladly appreciated as well.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Recent Decline of Quality

I don't think there's any easy way to go about this so I'll just put it bluntly: game quality is in a decline. Now there are some exceptions to this but the general consensus is that games aren't exactly getting better. Some people will hate me for saying this and be in an uproar and others will recognize what I'm saying. When I say game quality is in a decline, I mean this in a broader term like if you saw the quality of games throughout our entire history from beginning to end via a graph or something. I recently purchased Dishonored because of the raving reviews and I must say they were right. The game is very good, the narrative mature and engaging, and the mechanics blend almost seamlessly throughout the entire campaign. Why did I mention this game? Well you see, for that one game there have been ten others within the same year that have either failed miserably or hid from the public's eye. One game that came out recently, right around the same time, was Fable: The Journey. I groan every time I hear of a new 'Kinect Exclusive' game because I think Kinect is a gimmick. Now, I think of it as a gimmick in the same way as I think of 3D movies: something to distract you from something that is lack luster or terrible that is dressed up in a way you have to say something nice about it. If you've played the first Fable game, you were rightly disappointed. I've already talked about Molyneux's constant overplaying of his games so I won't talk about that further. It is a well regarded fact that the Fable games have gotten worse each game and this game only further proves it.

Let me put this in perspective. Hitman, a game with a massive following and considered to be one of the best games ever, gets a new game that the developers took years to perfect and each game is just as or more awesome than the last. Dishonored, a game no one heard of, got little press, was a stand along title that did something unique with it's story and gameplay mechanics. Assassin's Creed III which was actually built from the ground up after the mixed reviews of Ubisoft's last Assassin's Creed, decided to revolutionize what was done with the gameplay, story and everything else. Now for the bad: Fable The Journey is a lack luster on rails shooter for the Kinect which received no decent reviews to my knowledge. Resident Evil 6 did not live up to it's predecessors despite doing something different (ie. four different gameplays. Not bad but still not in same direction). Inversion was a lack luster shooter built around a unique principle but did nothing to further facilitate the quality of the game. Any sports game (seriously it's just the same game with a few different changes. Why make progress when you can repackage the same game?)

Maybe it's because we've done just about everything or that this industry is still putting profit over innovation. What I am excited for are the really good games that are coming out and I'll forego the ones that did nothing to improve. You want to know what improving is? Borderlands 2 came out not too long ago. What it added from the original story (if you can call it that) was an in depth story with a villain who seems at first to be a joke typecast guy but then turns into a multidimensional character. Add in a whole lot more guns, cooler skills, more awesome settings, better enemies (when they don't bug on the occasional time after time), better characters and more personality. You don't have to make an entirely new game, simply making something better or more finely tuned is great in itself.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Amazon AppStore

Android and Amazon have developed a unique and long-lasting relationship with one another. Everyone who follows up with the latest devices should be well aware of Amazon's Kindle tablet line but not everyone knows that Amazon competes with Google with its own appstore which is on the Android OS.

For many people who own Android devices from other countries like China, there is no real Android Market or Google Play Store as it has been removed. Attempting to install a borrowed Play Store.apk file onto one of these devices usually results in nothing happening. For many of these people, to get the latest apps for their Android device, here in America, they have no choice but to install the Amazon AppStore.

First, we had Apple's AppStore, then Google's, and now we have Amazon that has jumped in the game. They have been in the app game for around a year and a half now, if I'm not mistaken, which would surprise people as to why they'd do so well if they came so late. What usually happens when a new product comes into competition with others, is that certain incentives are given that the competitors either don't or can't afford to do. Amazon has a unique program which has been commonly known as "1 Paid App for Free per Day". I had known about this since day one of owning my first Android device, but never paid it much attention until one day when I desperately needed an app and couldn't afford it, one other member referred me to Amazon's AppStore and said that it was the free app given for the day. Ever since then, I and many other users, flood Amazon's servers to check what the new app for the day is.

I'm not sure what kind of deal Amazon has, but for 24 hours, one of the apps that they host for pay is listed for free. Users that "purchase" this app are allowed to carry that app with them wherever they go and download it to other devices as it remains in their purchase list as if they had actually bought it. The catch is simply that you cannot run one of these apps (unless somehow cracked) on a device without the Amazon AppStore installed and without the purchaser's account linked. For instance, you will not be able to get the free app and send it to your friends and let them use it because it won't work without the Amazon unique signature.

I highly recommend every Android user to check out this AppStore for themselves. The highly anticipated game, Jetpack Joyride, was on iOS devices for a few months until finally coming to Android. When it did hit Android, it first came to the Amazon AppStore and has now finally come to the Google Play Store.

To get this store, you can visit Amazon's website on your Android device or you can download Amazon's official market app and download the appstore from there. Once done, you will need to either create or log in to your Amazon account to download the apps listed. Every day, the free app of the day will be listed on the first page at the very top of the app's screen.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Update on Massive Spam E-Mails

In a previous post, I had briefly asked you guys, as the viewers, about your spam boxes within your e-mail accounts. I had said that I receive lots of spam e-mails on a daily, even hourly, basis and was wondering how well do you guys deal with spam and what are some great ways to combat this.

I've found an answer and it has been slowing down the e-mails. They haven't completely stopped, but I am getting fewer and fewer of them and it may be next to zero by the time that Christmas comes.

Since getting this e-mail account, years ago, I had been giving it out as my primary e-mail address to any and all sites that I could when asked. In doing so, I made a whole lot of people happy because of the spam they could send my way. It wasn't until recently that I began to notice that not all of the messages in my spambox are spam and some are very embarrassing if anyone were to look in there. Ads about "penis enlargement" come through and if anyone were to view my inbox, they might think that I'm ordering stuff because I'm insecure or whatever. Either way, I wanted to get rid of the true spam once and for all. Unfortunately for me, Yahoo! Mail doesn't have an easy way of blocking these senders. Rather, all one can really do is click "spam" and Yahoo! gets notified of this sender and sends their e-mail to your spambox.

What I have been doing lately has been working. It doesn't work on all e-mails, but most. If you get e-mails from private e-mail addresses, this method does not always work. However, if they come from a certain company, you can do this. Simply click "unsubscribe" at the very bottom of the page. Sometimes it's a link on a specific word, usually the word, "unsubscribe", and other times, the entire bottom of the page is the link and you click that. Some will ask for your e-mail address while others have included your e-mail address in the link to speed the unsubscribing process.

If you are like me, and you get tons of these e-mails on a daily basis and don't have time to keep typing your e-mail address in the box. To get around this, simply type your e-mail out in the box. Don't click the "Okay" button yet!! Now, on your keyboard, hold down "Shift" and use your arrow keys to highlight the entire e-mail address. Right-click or use that button between the right "Alt" and "Ctrl" button to access a menu and click "copy". The part about "Shift" can also be done by simply using your mouse's cursor to highlight the word too, although I find the "Shift" method much faster because your hands never leave the keyboard. Now, once you've copied your e-mail address, whenever you click "unsubscribe" in the spam e-mails and it asks for your e-mail address, just right-click in the box and select "Paste" or click the box and hold "Ctrl" + "V" together. Repeat as often as you need to speed the process.

Most unsubscribe links will tell you that you might continue to receive e-mail for the next 10 days or so, and this is fine. Most if not all, will continue doing it for a short period of time and eventually stop. If you do happen to receive more e-mails during that time period, simply unsubscribe with those e-mails too just to be sure and so you don't have to make a list detailing which e-mails you've unsubscribed and which ones you haven't.

My box is going down, but I still get lots of e-mails. This method has decreased that number by a lot but not completely. You may never come to the point where you have peace and quiet away from the spammers unless you block them which can depend on which e-mail provider you use.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Minecraft Update!

Today I launched Minecraft on my Xbox 360 to find that it had been updated with lots of new updates. One of the most anticipated being the creative mode. Other new features have been added which explains why the update has taken so long to be released. One of the other important updates has to do with the recent YouTube videos done by trolls who would "grief" on Minecraft users' created maps. The new setting makes it so that creators of maps can disable and enable select users to actually mine on the map. Other features have also been enabled to reduce the "grief" attacks.

If you've been waiting for creative mode, this is your time to jump into the Minecraft for Xbox 360 universe. I spent a few hours on maps just creating and blowing up stuff with unlimited TNT barrels. Trust me, fans of Minecraft will enjoy this new update. Trolls: not so much.

Los Angeles to Get 4G LTE on Sprint!

Great news for those of us on Sprint with 4G LTE phones!

Like many other Sprint users, I have been patiently waiting the arrival of the LTE network and I've finally got confirmation and proof for those of us who live in Los Angeles, California!

Lately, Sprint has said to be hard at work on the network updates mostly dealing with the updated LTE towers but has rarely stepped into major U.S. cities which has caused many of us to grow impatient. Houston, Texas and recently San Francisco, California have been the only two major U.S. cities in the United States to get the LTE upgrade plus some minor cities and towns but now Los Angeles is getting its own.

While Sprint has not officially confirmed this through their Twitter, Facebook, or website, I have proof through screenshots on my Samsung Galaxy S III currently running TeamVenum's AnaKonda ROM. I've tested the 4G speeds and made brief comparisons between Sprint's current 3G as well as two tries on my home WiFi network.



The first screenshot was taken immediately after the 4G LTE test was taken while the second screenshot shows my results from all four tests. The bottom two are of my home's network, while the middle is of the 4G LTE network, and the top is the 3G speed. If you look in the top right corner of the pictures, you will notice that the one says "4G" while the other says "3G".

The speeds are as follows:
WiFi test 1: 12.98 Mbps / 1.37 Mbps : 17 ms
WiFi test 2: 15.40 Mbps / 1.36 Mbps : 31 ms
4G test: 8.83 Mbps / 2.11 Mbps : 90 ms
3G test: 0.19 Mbps / 0.35 Mbps : 257 ms

Of course, I should have done at least three tests to show what the average speed is. But the 4G network is slow and not very reliable. The signal was lost when I moved my phone a few inches. The network is being built, nonetheless, and this is proof of that. I also say to wait for the full network to be released because many people in many cities across the U.S. are claiming to have over 20 Mbps download speeds on average which is more than double what I got on this test.

This is great news for those of us who live in Los Angeles. I noticed a 4G signal in two different cities in L.A. county, one being near Gardena and Compton and the other being near Lakewood and Long Beach.

Do you have 4G LTE speeds yet? What do you think of the speeds? Has your city been announced to receive the upgrade? Have you noticed 4G signals even though it hasn't been announced?

Why We Need Downloadable Content (aka DLC)

First off, lets talk about what is downloadable content. Back in the OG years of gaming, what you bought is what you got. You couldn't go to the store and buy some extra content for your game, your game would never get any added content so you know when you bought something your game was, for all purposes as defined by the developer, complete. With the exception of games like Pokemon where your game had some Pokemon and the alternate version had other Pokemon your game didn't have, you were pretty much screwed if you wanted any more play out of your current game other than what it already offered. Now PC games were a little bit different but downloadable content wasn't as wide spread as it is now. Downloadable content, better known as DLC in this day and age, is a way for developers to change that. DLC ranges from huge things where entire maps are added to a game or smaller ones where weapons or certain minor things could be added to a game. Recently, however, this has taken a turn for the worst. If you didn't know, DLC is a way for developers to get a little more money from their game. As games take years to produce, even minor ones take about two years and bigger ones can take up to five, the money doesn't constantly roll in and dwindles exponentially as time passes since the game's release. Now if your a game developer, the first thing you want is to make the most amount of money on your game. The problem with this is not all of the DLC you release is going to be good or be taken by the consumer with loving arms. Many game developers have released massive amounts of DLC, taking the 'quantity over quality' view on it. Because of this many gamers have voiced their outrage.

Here's a perfect example. I bought a game a couple of months ago called Dragon's Dogma. If you haven't played it, I urge you to check it out because I personally think the game is awesome. Anyways, the game has a learning curve, which basically means the game is pretty tough if you aren't skilled or a level grinder. The game is an RPG so what you'll be focusing your time on besides doing quests and killing monsters is gathering weapons, armor, cash and items to upgrade your weapons and armor effectively making the game a bit less difficult depending on how frugal you are. Starting the game off you are pretty weak, as is shown during the first game's fight with the game's final boss. If you look on the market place (for me I use an Xbox 360) there are plenty of DLCs available for you to purchase for real world money. I saw some cool weapons and armor so I decided to purchase them for my game. It was then to my surprise that these weapons and armor, for lack of a better term, suck. It was then my thought, "Hey, I'm a level 40 character who's killed plenty of monsters and finished the game so of course these are going to be worthless to me." Thinking that I started a new game with an entirely new character. Now, for those of you who have played this game, you'll see my frustration with this soon. Surprising these weapons also sucked for my new character but just slightly. The problem with this even further than purchasing some practically useless stuff was the fact that this game does not allow for two different character profiles at the same time. So I had to delete my 50+ hour character permanently and now I have nothing to show for it. Recently I picked up the game again because it is still fun for me. I decided to buy more content on the market place. There are these little quests on here and plenty of them. The quests I purchased were actually ten mini side quests in which I walk around this massive map and pick up these coins. There's nothing else to that, I just pick up coins. Now, I do get gold for completing everyone of these mini quests and get XP for them but, really? Coin fetching?

So here's why I'm going to tell you why DLCs are good and actually there is one single reason why they are: they keep developers making games. Let's forget that there are a lot of useless DLCs out there and focus that these things give the game makers more money to create better games. If a game is bad then people won't buy the game. This then forces the game devs to make a better game. If they don't make a better game then they go out of business because no one wants to support them. What we as gamers have to understand is that games take massive amounts of money. To put that in perspective, Grand Theft Auto 4 took roughly 100 million dollars to make and as usual, Rockstar (the game's developer) made a great game and they are currently making a 5th installment in the franchise set to release next year. That game is at this moment the highest budget game yet so the 5th may be even more. Rockstar has released DLC for GTA and Red Dead Redemption, two of it's most successful games. Where little can be said about GTA's DLC being more of a decent continuation of the story, not being bad or great, Red Dead's Undead Nightmare DLC was met with a lot of praise. Simply put, if you like a company or a game, put money into because that tells the dev that you liked the game and you want to support them. If enough people do this, games will get increasingly better because the devs will want to create something even better to get even more money next time.

I get why people don't like DLC, you just need to understand that there is a good reason behind it. When people do good things they should be rewarded, just as the opposite should be true. What I sometimes forget is I am the game industry's boss. I reward my employees when they do something good, they get chastised for doing something bad and fired for continuing to make bad things (save for Lionhead studios, some how they just barely slip under the radar or at least Peter Molyneux for that matter; see the Fable series in a whole for what I'm talking about). The flip side to this is I have millions of people as my co-boss. My friends are my co-bosses, my family, my neighbors and even you. What you have to understand is that we define this industry. Without us, they would be nothing. Reward progress, innovation and people making good things. Punish those who tarnish this industry by not buying their crap. The last reason and the most important reason we need DLC is because it keeps games games. The last thing I heard from Molyneux about his newest 'project' was it was going to be a box. Just that, a box. Now there is some psychological validation to this. You see he interpreted it as being an activity that every single can participate in, but there's only one box. Now people spend money to increase their chances of getting into this box. The only bad part is that what's in the box may not be what you want it. So being the highest ranked person in "The Box" (really there's no other name for this 'game') will crack the box open and find nothing he/she wants. The reason we pay for DLC is because we are telling developers to make more of whatever we just bought, like a pie chart and the biggest piece gives the company ideas on their next project. So we can be free of men like Molyneux and their box. If that project does go through, I have sympathy on the person who opens that box, because I bet it's just a picture of Molyneux and some text saying, "sucker."

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee - It’s Bubbly Time, Jerry

For some reason, YouTube videos do not post well on this blog. Here is a link to the YouTube video so that you can watch it on YouTube's website: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wriy3ICfF9U&feature=g-high-rec

I'm a huge fan of Seinfeld and both Jerry Seinfeld and Michael Richards. It's always nice to see actors as humans and genuinely acting like us in our everyday lives. In this video from Crackle, Jerry Seinfeld and Michael Richards drive around town and to a coffee shop where they sit and talk. Cameras roll and tape the entire outing. I laughed and felt great inside to see the two of them discuss things that happened behind the scenes and some of their deep emotions. Of course, the video is edited so it's not truly real time, but it was still nice to see.

Anyone who's a fan of the show should see this and others that are interested in actors should check out the other videos that Crackle has posted.

Humor #1 Grandpa Computer

I'd like to share humorous pictures with you guys as I see them so I'm going to start posting/sharing pictures with the title "Humor" and then a number and name. Here's your first one, enjoy. This one has been brought to you by this Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151100520282963&set=a.10151044435992963.430153.198464577962&type=1&theater


New YouTube Interface October 2012

I refreshed YouTube last night to find a new interface. What do you guys think of it? Do you like the change?

Blocked out images are pieces connected to one of my personal YouTube accounts


It looks more simplified but more dedicated to helping you find better videos and channels specific to what you watch.

Google's acquisition of YouTube a few years ago has got me feeling mixed feelings. Google has made some great changes but hasn't in other areas. YouTube isn't as small as it once was, YouTube is more professional because of aspiring individuals, and some other changes.

What are your thoughts on Google's changes? Like 'em? Hate 'em? Don't care?

Why PETA Shouldn't Make Games

Anyone who knows me in real life knows I'm a great supporter of animals. I recently adopted a stray cat not too long ago and fit my life around him because I felt he needed a proper home and stable food. In my twenty years I personally have had around thirty animals that I've taken care of and no I'm not an animal hoarder I just feel a compulsive feeling to help animals. Second to liking animals I like video games a lot. To put it into terms, if I didn't have a pet, the majority of my paycheck would be going to purchasing more video games. Another one of my loves that takes both my love of animals and video games and wraps it all into a really neat package is Pokemon. I grew up watching the t.v. show almost religiously, playing the games whenever I get my hands on them and could be labeled as a Pokemon master (should the title ever occur). Like many others, I was totally excited for the new Pokemon Black and White 2 to come out. Around this time, PETA ("People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals") made yet another game that came out around the same time the new Pokemon game was released in America. Their game was called Pokemon Black and Blue and features Pokemon battling some of the anime's and video game's characters such as Ash from the anime as well as Cheren and Ghetsis from the games Black and White as well as Black and White 2. In it, you are a Pokemon who battles humans, specifically those three other people I just mentioned. PETA took the characters and Pokemon and turned them into what can be described as Frankenstein's Monster. In it, they took four different Pokemon and morphed them into a horrible nightmare. Pickachu, the games and anime's main mascot, was given a partially bitten ear, scars and bandages with blood all over him. Another Pokemon, Snivy, has a metal piercing it it's tail and a syringe in it's forehead. If that wasn't enough, a seal like Pokemon named Oshawott is literally skinned from it's neck down. By this logic you would assume that Pokemon is something for teenagers and adults. Except it's not, it's actually totally for kids.

Years ago when PETA first started and I was a kid, I was totally gun ho for them, however, I never actually looked into what they were doing and instead liked the idea. Eventually I wised up and found out how suck PETA was, but I'm not going to go into that portion of their organization I think we're all a bit wise to their game about now. No this post is about why PETA shouldn't make games. You might be surprised to know this isn't the first time this organization has made a knock off game. The first time I found out about PETA's game making was when the New Super Mario Bros game was announced. What Mario Bros does best are power ups. When you touch a power up, you gain new powers basically. One of these powers caught PETA's eye which was the tanooki suit which gives Mario a fur suit and allows him to fly and turn to stone. PETA protested this saying it teaches a positive method for children to wear fur. The only problem is you can get this suit without killing any monster in the game. In fact it actually comes from a leaf (don't ask the series is crazy if you haven't grown up with it). In response to this, PETA made a game called "Mario Kills Tanooki". I personally haven't played this game but I challenge you to look at a picture of this game. I, however, will not post it because the picture is too graphic but here's a description: Mario covered in a bloody fur suit, holding a dead raccoon's head with a piece of spine protruding from Mario's fur suit. This is a perfect reason why PETA should not make games. They first said it was a negative message to children about animals to Nintendo and then turned around and made something worse. If this game they made is for children, then PETA is one sick organization. Another game they made was Super Tofu Boy, a remake of Super Meat Boy. Now, Super Meat Boy is not made of beef or any other kind of meat from an animal. In fact one of the creators of the game said in the recent documentary Indie Game: The Movie, that Meat Boy (the protagonist of the game) is not made of anything and is simply just a boy without his skin. That may sound gruesome but the game shows no graphic detail of the boy and, despite the minor violence, the game is pretty tame. And here I'm scratching my head wondering why PETA took the resources to remake this game that has nothing to do with their organization whatsoever?

Back to Pokemon, the horrific thing about PETA's remake is that it totally screws up the story. In the previous game, Black and White, you are a simple kid going on a Pokemon adventure. You've just left home and in the next town a rally is taking place. Team Plasma introduces their leader Ghetsis who talks about how Pokemon are being used improperly. Forced to battle their fellow Pokemon at the hands of their evil masters and calls for everyone to release their Pokemon in order to make the world a better place. This is the first time Game Freak (the makers of Pokemon) have ever actually introduced this question to the player (ie. you). The first time I read this message I thought to myself, "Am I really hurting Pokemon?" It may seem insane of me to say that about a few numbers, lines and dashes of code being referred to as real beings but it does offer up a valid point. All this time I've been playing Pokemon and never once thought of their feelings. True, if Pokemon were real not only would I have to ask myself that question but I would have to ask whether or not do I want to make this thing fight? Using it in real terms, would I make my cat fight another cat? Of course I wouldn't, I personally thing dog fighting and cock fighting is wrong and immoral. Pushing through this feeling I eventually reached the second town to find that Team Plasma was actually being physically abusive to a Pokemon. Soon their view was completely tarnished and I had the drive to finish the game. Further in you meet a child simply known as N. He has the same view about Pokemon and wishes for a world where Pokemon are free and in fact does his best to preach this to the player without being overbearing. Eventually at the end, we find out that N's uncle Ghetsis was actually a terrorist who wanted everyone to give up their Pokemon so he could enslave the world. N still remains with his ideals despite knowing this and goes off to face all evils that beset this world and the Pokemon who inhabit it. Why did I bring this portion up? Well you see in PETA's remake of the game, Pickachu is holding up a sign that says "I believe in Team Plasma!" Let that sink it. In any way you slice it, PETA is supporting a terrorist or at least a terrorist's false ideals. My personal thought is that PETA is simply ignorant to the end game's message but even then that's pretty idiotic of them. I mean they should have at least asked what happened at the end to find out if that ideal was actually true. I have never played PETA's version and I urge you not to as well. It's one thing to profess something and then totally blow it out of proportion but to then make anyone who even slightly believes in your ideals to then be seen as insane as you are is another thing entirely.

My final message is directly to PETA: You are horrible. You profess something that you do not fully believe in and do your best to make people like me, people who genuinely love animals, seem insane. Never make a game again. First focus on your ideals, no matter how twisted they may be and make sure you don't betray your cause. If you can't do this one simple thing, demolish your industry because it isn't worth it. Second, make sure you know what you're talking about. Never assume anything and always find the truth hidden inside. The anime professes loving your friends and teaching that animals aren't slaves or pets but that they are our partners, our equals. And lastly I say be careful with your words and actions. I didn't even have to twist the facts about you and you still seem pretty far out there. I can't believe an organization like you exists.

I'm BlackHood4. I love animals, I love games, I love Pokemon and I'm against PETA.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Facebook "Promote" Button

I saw this on the news a few nights ago and now it's a reality.

Some of you may be wondering what this new button is called "Promote" under some of the content you post to Facebook.

Facebook now allows users to upload content to Facebook and pay a fee to have their posts published at the top of the status line for special purposes. Other users will know when a user has "promoted" a post. Here's what happens if you click "Promote".


You will bring up the screen above that will allow you to add a credit card or pay using a PayPal account. The above text reads "Promote an Important Post: Now you can promote posts and move your important news, links and photos higher in news feed. This post will be marked as Sponsored"

What do you think of this button? Will you use it? Have you used it?

I think this may be a demise for Facebook. Imagine how cluttered Facebook will get. However, while it may anger some of its users, many of its users will still remain as they have with previous changes to the site. Facebook probably sees this as a win-win for them as it'll bring in some extra revenue. This may be the best way for aspiring bands, etc. to make their name big on Facebook all day long.

Is $7 too much for you? What price did you get?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Internet Bookmarks

When the internet was new and fresh in the late 90's, I only was able to use it at friends' houses and was limited, like everyone else, to using only Internet Explorer. While at home on my computer running Windows 98, I played around with Internet Explorer in the offline mode just to get a feel of what the internet experience must feel like to have it 24/7. It wasn't until very recently that I began utilizing many of the features that web browsers allow users such as bookmarks.

Everyone who has read a book has used a bookmark or at least made one while in elementary school. But using one for the computer? Almost unheard of to someone like me experiencing the net for the first time.

Now I use bookmarks often to track webpages for future reference. Obviously, that was one of their original intended actions from the very start. Perhaps blogging and using the web for practical means is what caused me to use bookmarks more than before.

In the early days of me using the net, which was 2005, I was using it just for MySpace and gaming with early flash games. I never got into using the web to search for answers to puzzling questions, connect with people who shared the same pet peeves as I, or to find out the answer to that math problem. Now, I use the internet almost exclusively for those reasons and more.

My current bookmarks include one to permanently deleting a Facebook account, a link to a popular Facebook app that is taken down, often, by Facebook staff, a tutorial for hacking the PS Vita, a Conservative blog that was referred to me, an Amazon link of a product that I desperately want, a link to a homework assignment, and a folder entitled "OAiNT".

For those wondering about the folder, I created it for the sole purpose of saving my web browsing history in the event that I need to shut down my computer or if my computer unexpectedly shuts down and Google Chrome (my browser) fails to load the last pages I was viewing. My tabs often include 18-24 tabs of internet web pages as I have some dedicated to Twitter, Facebook, my various e-mail accounts, this and my other blog, and a few other web pages that I am currently viewing.

"OAiNT" is an acronym that I created that means "Open All in New Tabs". In the event that I restart my computer or re-open Google Chrome, rather than individually opening 20 something new tabs and individually visiting each website "www.facebook.com, www.twitter.com...." I simply "right-click" this folder, and select "Open all bookmarks in new window". Presto! All of my webpages appear as if I never turned off Google Chrome.

For those interested, you can do this (I've tried in Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox) by holding "CTRL" + "SHIFT" + "D" all at once which should bring up a bookmark box asking if you'd like to save these bookmarks. (CTRL+D brings up the bookmark menu for the current tab that you are sitting at) This is a great way to ensure that all of your interesting webpages that you have no time to view will be saved if something were to happen to your computer or the browser.

Who would've ever guessed that bookmarks could be so helpful? Do you use bookmarks? What's your main use for bookmarks?

Google AdSense for Feeds is Closing

Google has decided to shut down the AdSense for Feeds officially on December 2nd, 2012. As of October 2nd, 2012, AdSense users no longer have the option to use AdSense for Feeds. This has been explained completely on their official page located here.

A few days ago, I began using AdSense on my other blog again after I found out that I accidentally removed it. I was curious as to why I wasn't able to use the radio button that said "Insert ads in feeds" for either of my blogs. Blogger, which is owned by Google and the host of this blog, allows us users to add ads to our blogs to create revenue. I joined Google AdSense a few years ago and began using it when I found out that I could use it on my Blogger blogs.

Does this affect your blog's revenue by much?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

My Spambox

A few days ago, I asked for some assistance from my audience with my spambox in my e-mail inbox which you can view here. Below is a screenshot of some of the spam e-mails that I receive on a daily basis. I am constantly emptying this box yet it always is filled within hours.


It's probably the same sorts of e-mails that you receive from spammers. E-mails asking if you'd like to view photos, have sex with cheating wives, etc. What are some of the spam e-mails that you receive?

I have no problem with sharing these people's names as they have disrupted my privacy by harassing me. I would share their e-mail addresses too if it wouldn't take so long.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Mass of Psychological Video Games

Video games have a varied history ranging from almost nonexistent to full blown media uproars. Today I'm here to talk about what we can call psychological games. Now, psychological games are much different from ordinary games. When you play something like Grand Theft Auto, not a lot of psychological thought enters the player's mind. If any thought does appear in this gamer's mind it's more along the lines of, "How big of an explosion can I create?" or, "I wonder how long I can go on a killing spree before dying?" If you're having trouble in seeing my logic of how Grand Theft Auto 4 can be psychological then just watch this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOZikwe8Gxc

Now when you see this video a lot of things come to mind like, "why did this guy take this much time just to make an explosion?" I have entertained this idea of the psychology of video games in a whole of like 'why would you do that' or 'what was your motivation to do that' kind of questions. This, however, is just a small and general portion of psychology in gaming.

Today I'm going to be focusing on a few games that specialize in either messing with the gamer's head or have mechanics that accidentally messed with a gamer's head. One game I purchased a while ago was Dark Souls. If you have no idea what Dark Souls is, here's the trailer for it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IbPrk-yuts&feature=relmfu

This game is insanely popular with a decent following for one reason: it is unforgivably tough. Every single enemy is more than capable enough of killing you. No matter how strong you get in this game, the weakest enemy still can kill you if given the opportunity. Now why would someone want to play this game? Well a couple of reasons. First, the game is insanely difficult so it's both addicting to play the game and super satisfying when you actually do complete something say slaying one of those massive bosses you may have seen in the video above. The overall tone of the game is very bleak and alone. This world is dead and so are it's inhabitants. This gives you a certain feeling of claustrophobia because you know that behind you can be lurking yet another enemy waiting to kill you. The game actually allows other real players across the world to come, kill you and take your souls which are used for currency as well as making your character stronger.

The last things I'm going to talk about are four games that have recently gained popularity called SCP: Containment Breach and Slender, and a game from yesteryear called Silent Hill 2 and one more recently called Bioshock. I'm not actually going to show you any videos of this because these games are quite scary and if you're brave enough you can go watch a video of them on Youtube.
Now both of these games are completely free and made by independent parties. If you're a person who doesn't like horror movies or games then we can see eye to eye on this matter. However, these free to play games, specifically designed to scare you, are very popular. Why is that? One can argue that fear is the final medium that we all can feel with media. When I go into a heartfelt movie or a sad movie, usually I'm not sad or feeling anything other than wanting to go and refund my ticket. But fear is universal, and is used a lot whether to shock someone or to make them think twice before entering a dark hallway. Why do people download these games? Well usually it's because these games have a unique style. In Slender, you're main objective is to avoid Slenderman (look it up, it's kind of weird) and collect these pages to kill him, I guess, it's never really made clear. Your only way to see him is with a single flashlight. If you see him, the screen starts to fuzz. If you don't get away quick enough, eventually all you see is a completely fuzzed screen and Slenderman's blank face staring at you from inside your computer.
In SCP, the game is even more weird. The graphics are horrible at times, but the atmosphere is really what gets you. There's a mechanic in the game where you need to blink every so often. How this is implemented is there are these really creepy enemies who can only kill you if you're not looking at them, so blinking can be a life or death sentence.
In Silent Hill 2, you're a lone man wandering a nightmarish town with creatures waiting to kill you. The creatures are all incredibly creepy but weirdly enough, every single insane character has a deep psychological purpose tied to the protagonist. Back when the PlayStation 2 was at the peak of it's popularity, it didn't have as much processing power as the newer PlayStation 3. To compensate for this, the game developers decided to do something creative.
Lastly is Bioshock. At first glance, this game is seen as being a steam punk-ish first person shooter with some cool stuff to boot. This man is helping you out named Atlas (probably reminiscent of the book Atlas Shrugged). He gives you tasks and before each he keeps saying, "Would you kindly...?" which has become synonymous with the game's franchise despite only being used in one game. It's incredibly unusual to say the least. At first it's thought that he's just a very polite man but then he says it every single time like it's a catch phrase or something. Eventually a shocking twist is found out when you're forced to kill a man named Andrew Ryan who runs the undersea dystopia aptly named 'Rapture', or at least what's left of it. A bunch of things happen but the final conclusion is that 'Would you kindly' is actually a hypnotic phrase designed to mind control our protagonist into doing whoever says the phrase's bidding. The last thing Andrew Ryan said still chills me to the bone: "A man chooses, a slave obeys."

There are many reasons why psychology is prevalent in games as well as movies and books. Perhaps it's a way to draw in their audience or to make it feel real. Whatever it is, it works and it's not going away anytime soon.
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