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Sunday, January 27, 2013

New Blog Design

We've been experimenting with the blog's design for a little while now and have landed on one newer design.

Thanks to the folks at Blogger for making some of these cool designs, we have been able to utilize some of the cool new features in order to make our blog more appealing to the eye.

If there are any issues, please do not hesitate to let us know what is the problem with the page. Often times, we don't have enough time to test our own pages and we won't see how the changes took place after a post's publication.

For some reason, YouTube embedded videos do not work with our layout and we are aware of the problem and trying our best to find a solution.

Thank you for choosing WIFLI:TE!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

United States Makes Unlocking Phones Illegal

See for yourself from the Daily Mail.

While rooting Android phones and jailbreaking iOS devices may be legal according to this court ruling, a new provision to the same law now makes it illegal for people to unlock their phones unless given consent by their carrier.

It has been, for many years, perfectly legal for individuals to buy a phone from any carrier and unlock them and move them to another carrier. Many people have done this with their Apple iPhones and moved them over to T-Mobile or other GSM SIM card carriers. This new law will now make it illegal for any of these people to continue doing this.

The punishment for doing such an action? The least that will happen, if prosecuted, will be a $2,500 fine. The most is $500,000 fine + time in prison. The $2,500 fine will incur on individuals who unlock phones in private for themselves while prison time and the higher fine will go to those who are doing it for profit in a business or to multiple individuals similar to how drug dealers/users are charged.

What will this mean for us? For us, as individuals, we will no longer be allowed to buy a phone from a carrier and unlock it and use it on another carrier unless the carrier allows. For businesses, they will no longer be able to unlock anyone's phone for any reason unless allowed by the carrier.

Many are complaining because these smartphones can cost, on average, around $400. Many people feel that it is unfair that they buy a phone and are not able to do as they please with the phone.

What do you think of the new law?

We at WIFLI are outraged over legislation like this. We have always been and always will be for the right of individuals to buy a product and use it in any way they please as long as it does not cause harm to another individual.

[Review] Samsung Galaxy S III Telescopic Lens

It's about time Android devices began getting some of the cool iPhone accessories.

Since the iPhone's release in 2007, it has gotten many cool, unique gadgets that are usable by the phone. However, Android phones, not so much.

One of these accessories is a telescopic lens that allows the camera application to zoom in, even farther, than the default zoom allows. Finally, one of these arrives to one of the most popular Android devices on the market now, the Samsung Galaxy S III model number i9300 (as indicated by box).

Here's the Amazon link, where I bought my particular lens: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009UQWC74/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00

What comes in this box?
-12x lens
-tripod
-case
-carrying bag
-cleaning cloth
-instructions

With most Android devices, there is a camera app and this app will also allow for digital zoom. Most simply have the user pinch to zoom in or out, others use the volume buttons, and others have a designated, on-screen, button that allows zoom. The only Android device, that comes to mind, that would be different is the Samsung Galaxy Camera with an optical zoom.

Below are some of the screenshots for comparison purposes.

Photo taken with default camera without any zoom
Photo taken with default camera with digital zoom
Photo taken with default camera with telescopic lens without digital zoom
Photo taken with default camera with telescopic lens with digital zoom


Generally it is a good idea to compare objects that everyone can identify so I chose a lemon! All photos were taken from the same distance.

You can see clear differences between the photos.

When I first tried doing this, the pictures didn't come out so well because I was so close. You have to be where I was which is about 5.25 feet away. You could get a tiny bit closer, but not too close.

What I did notice when taking these pictures is that I'd need to use the tripod. When I tried taking the pictures, especially the one zoomed in with telescopic lens and digital lens, the photo came out very shaky. Even taking the picture with the tripod was tricky getting it how it is now because it was so shaky. The touch of a finger against the screen was enough to make the picture come out blurry. I eventually was only able to take the picture when I gently tapped the button. Update: pesu, in the comments below, mentioned that using a self timer for the pictures would be an additional item to try. This would work because you wouldn't have to actually touch the screen at all which would help make a good picture without shakes.

As you can see, it takes pretty good pictures from a far enough distance. I'd like to journey to some hills and get some even better pictures and share them with you guys. Update: I attempted to take pictures out in the wilderness area with mountains, trees, and such and wasn't able to get the best pictures that I wanted. This was due mostly to the tripod. Using it in the city is no problem because there are plenty of flat surfaces available. I didn't think about that when going out but there aren't any good flat surfaces outdoors like indoors. That's not to say that it can't take any pictures outdoors, just that it couldn't take pictures of things that I wanted like a mountain far off in the distance. I suppose a solution to this would be to bring a book with you or some other flat surface. I won't be able to take any more pictures with this lens and tripod because I no longer have a Galaxy S3. I apologize for not coming back to update this for anyone that was waiting for such pictures.

The actual lens is made of some pretty decent aluminum as is the tripod. I have yet to use the cleaning cloth. The tripod is not very sturdy. When the phone is on it, it moves a little. You will need to tighten the stand as tight as possible if not more to make it to where the camera doesn't move at all.

The lens can be used without the camera but not like how you'd think. It's not as easy to use as a telescope that is built for your eye can be to use. It can be used for that, just that it is too small for my eye although I could see some things with it. It can also be used, backwards, as a microscope. Granted it cannot see microscopic bacteria but it can help you see pieces of, say, a dollar bill much more closer. It's not quite a microscope, but it magnifies more than a magnifying glass. You will not be able to view the moon's surface with this piece either. This is simply for objects that are close by.

The plastic case that comes with the package is not durable. One reviewer said that theirs actually broke where the lens fits. Just by looking at the case, you know that it isn't made as well as it could have been. It is not and should not be used as a substitute for your OtterBox case or whatever plastic case you already have. One other thing is that this case only works on a "naked" phone; it will not work on any cases you have on the phone. So if you want to take pictures with it, you will not be able to use it with your existing case.

The lens was a good deal for me at the price. It wasn't too bad nor was it exquisite. I am very happy with the quality of the pictures and it by itself. I may not use it often but when I do, it will come in handy.

I would recommend it to others who have Galaxy S3 phones. I would not recommend it to anyone who already has a pristine camera as this one cannot compare to the pictures you can take with a professional camera. But for those experimenting with money to spare, this is a good buy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Gaming News 1/23/13

Yoshi Wii U? You may get some of the green dinosaur yet. On the Wii U's official facebook page, they've put out three photos for you. By the looks of them, the game will be a 3D 2D platformer like the New Super Mario Bros games. In one of the pictures, Yoshi is all yarn-ed up like the last Kirby game released, but in 3D.
Also on the Wii U's page, they've put out a trailer for Bayonetta 2.
Liked The Legend of Zelda Windwaker for the Gamecube? Want them to put it on the Wii U as a port from the Gamecube? Looks like you're not thinking big enough! It was announced that it will be getting an HD remake. Not just a touch up, but they're actually making the game again specifically for the Wii U, which means it will use the game pad and have a few things reworked on it. No new details on that other than it may come out in a few months but I'll let you know as soon as there is some more. Apart from that, the Wii U may get it's own original Zelda game. The studio with it says they're rethinking the conventions of Zelda. I don't know what that means but if I get anything I'll let you know.
Hey guess what? More Wii U news! New Smash Bros is coming to the Wii U as well as a new Mario Kart and new 3D Mario done by the Mario Galaxy team. On top of that, the Virtual console is coming to the Wii U as well. It will include save states, playing on the game pad and you'll be able to play Gameboy Advance, NES and SNES games. NES and SNES will kick it off to begin and others are poised to be released at a later date. If you bought the Virtual console on the Wii, you'll get a sweet deal from Nintendo which will significantly drop the cost for it on the Wii U. How low? Well the SNES at it's highest price is almost ten bucks but with that little deal you get it for less than 2. As an added bonus, those games will also be at a very low price. Mario and Smash will be playable at E3.
Monolith Soft (guys from the Xenoblade Chronicles) is coming out with a Wii U JRPG. Not much details on that but as always I see what I can find.

Bitter sweet news: THQ has been dissolved.
-SEGA has purchased  Relic, dev of Company of Heroes and Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War.
-Koch media, owner of Deep Silver (Dead Island's dev), has picked up Volition which made Saints Row and Metro. They have stated they will continue to market those games.
-Crytek has picked up Homefront and they will make Homefront 2.
-Take-Two, parent company of Rockstar and 2K, was rumored to have picked up Vigil (Darksider's dev) but has not. Instead they have Turtle Rock Studio's project code named Evolve.
-Ubisoft has picked up THQ Montreal and has decided to join it with their current operation teams. Apart from that, they've also picked up the new South Park game: The Stick of Truth and have slated it for a release sometime this year.
Each of them paid a hefty sum for their share. The only thing left is the WWE franchise which has been yet to be disclosed. If I get any new information et cetera, et cetera.

Dead Island: Riptide has a new game play trailer/footage out there. Sorry I can't put it on here but you'll be able to find it on Youtube as always.

Elder Scrolls online released the beta to a select few people. You can sign up on Bethesda's official site.

Dead Space 3 has been announced their will be micro transactions like in MMOs for the game. You can spend real money to buy new weapons. Apart from that, you can still get the weapons in the game without spending real money which is a nice touch.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Universe Sandbox Review 8/10

It's true what they say: video games are violent. But there's nothing wrong with that. But sometimes, violence becomes overbearing. In the end, nothing really matters. After that last guy I killed, more and more will simply spawn up. I know! Why don't I destroy their planet? Ya!

If you haven't guessed by the sentences above, I'm kind of joking. Universe Sandbox is a game on Steam for a very little amount of money. In it you can have a bunch of galaxies and test out a couple your hypothetical theories on the universe, say if the sun was either lighter or denser, how would gravity react to the planets around it?

The Good:
Pretty decent graphics I must say. Nothing too amazing but I personally could just look at the empty sky in this game for a while and be a bit satisfied. The planets all look nice but there's nothing to write home about.
What most people who play this game will notice is how much of a learning curve this has. You can spawn random planets but after that, its more of a game of "Let's see what these random sliders do!" I was glad to see that other people can load their content to a little bar on the side of the screen. Such things as when our galaxy will collide with another galaxy in a few thousand years, our own personal galaxy in all it's plainness and even our solar system with some planets we know are out there.
There is a vast amount of content for people who know what they're doing. I've never found out how to make a black hole but what I can do is make the gravity of other bodies go completely out of whack and make for some fun and interesting mishaps.

The Bad:
Well not necessarily bad, the game does get kind of boring after a while. It's basically a tool box: some people will try to find everything it in, others will use everything and others will become bored because of how straight forward the game is. No unlockables (aside from a few achievements), nothing to upgrade or explore. It's very lonely as well.

The Meh:
I wish the user content was a bit more fleshed out. I would just randomly scroll and then pick something at random. Not much to do after you've done a good hour's worth of messing around.



You could go worse with other games but just having this in my Steam library isn't bad at all. It's one of those games I pop in every now and again just to get away from the monotony of slash, stab, shoot, repeat gaming and I guess it's worth the ten bucks.

Monday, January 21, 2013

PS Vita vs. Nintendo 3DS

I bought a PSP Go in mid-2011 but then heard about the new "NGP" to be the sequel that we'd all been waiting for to the PSP and it was then that I traded it in anticipation for the new release. I had had about 3-4 different PSPs since its release in 2005 for various reasons and seemed to enjoy it more than Nintendo's DS line. However, I did eventually purchase the DSi in 2010 or 2011 and enjoyed it as well but stayed faithful to my PSP line.

The NGP, now commonly known simply as the "Vita" or "PlayStation Vita", was a huge innovative piece of hardware due to its new features. The addition of the second (and real analog stick) is what makes this device stand out. A touch screen was what many of us had asked for and were hoping to see in the PSP Go. We weren't expecting 3G or a rear touch screen which are also new things to see on handheld devices.

I sold my DSi sometime ago because I had lost interest in it. I grew up playing with the OG Gameboy Pocket (not the fat one, the second one that was still in black and white before the Gameboy Color's release). I enjoyed playing the original and frustrating Super Mario World and Tetris games as these were the only two we had at the time. I enjoyed pretty much all of the Mario games but just preferred the 3-Dimensional gaming versus the 2D games like the Mario World-kind of games that Nintendo is famous for.

Even today with the 3DS, we see many titles still utilizing the original 2-Dimensional view in gaming. However, more and more, I see more titles being released that are more like Mario 64 that use 3-Dimensions.

I have had my PS Vita for quite some time and my Nintendo 3DS for the past few weeks and feel confident enough to compare the two experiences.

Looks and Appearance:

PS Vita: The PS Vita has a solid look that resembles its predecessor, the PSP. However, if you hold one and the other in both hands, you can feel the obvious differences. With new hardware, the Vita automatically became a little heavier and slightly bigger in width and length. The controls are beautifully done with the two analog sticks being where they need to be. However, if I were the designer, I would have added extra "L2" and "R2" functions just like on the PlayStation home consoles to allow more functions in games.

The cameras are beautifully installed, both front and back. But the back camera seems like it shouldn't be there or was added after the fact due to it being out and not in. I often worry about it chipping or falling off if it fell due to it not looking like its connected. The rear touch screen is nicely done with a seemingly infinite number of squares, triangles, x's, and circles for what PlayStation has been known for since its beginning in 1994.

A lack of color choices besides black and white (when I bought it, black was only available) is what Sony has been known for but it still isn't attractive to people who want to be as unique as possible from their friends.

Nintendo 3DS: The Nintendo 3DS is also a solid handheld. It is basically the same as the previous DS handhelds only that it is a tad bit smaller in size for the most part. Unlike the Vita, the 3DS opens and is used more like how you would a laptop with a usable screen at the bottom and a viewable screen at its top. DS was, perhaps, the first handheld to first use a touch screen. However, I prefer touch screens that can be used by fingers and not a stylus which the 3DS is almost entirely used by a stylus. But, you can use your finger nail so it does have that advantage.

The 3DS comes in many different colors and now a new size (new for the 3DS generation). The colors are fantastic. Mine, personally, is red although I would've preferred a black. But the red isn't a bad color at all. It is almost a clear red on its top while black on the inside.


Battery and Power Usage:

3DS: I have carried my 3DS around with me for the past few weeks, playing on the go, and using it heavily with the wireless turned on. (Only turned on 3D when showing off to others for a few minutes.) The 3DS is rock solid in this area, stealing the show from its rival by being able to keep a charge for hours upon end before losing one bar of battery power. I have yet to be out and about and my 3DS dies on me.

I left my 3DS in a pocket for the last couple of days and it eventually lost its charge as most electronics do. It was completely dead and wouldn't turn on at all until plugged in. Leaving it on the charger for 30 minutes almost completely charged the battery but not completely. The red/orange light was still on, telling me that the 3DS was not fully done charging.

Vita: The Vita has a terrible battery span. I carry it with me but I better make sure to use it for a while if I ever pull it out to play a game. Otherwise, the battery runs down way too fast. Powering the games it does, I am not all that surprised.

However, by comparison to the 3DS, it too had been left off of the charger except it had been left off for weeks (ever since I bought my 3DS). I put it on the charger at the very same time that I put the 3DS on the charger. But the Vita was fully charged within that time while the 3DS was still charging.


Apps:

Vita: The Vita has a few apps that have slowly come around. Netflix, YouTube, Facebook, and others including Google Maps have versions available for the Vita to use. I use a WiFi Vita so I am not able to enjoy AT&T's 3G service like others so things like Google Maps are out of the question for me. However, I do use my phone as a hotspot which does allow for apps like Maps to work.

Netflix on the Vita is a fairly decent experience. While you may not want to watch the entire Battlestar Galactica series on the Vita's 5 inch screen, you may find yourself watching a quick 30 minute episode of the Chappelle Show while waiting for your ride.

I haven't had a chance to fully use Facebook so I cannot speak on it. But using YouTube is okay. It's not as great as watching on your phone and it certainly isn't as great as watching on your computer. The idea of this handheld taking the place of your phone is unrealistic for apps.

There are not enough apps and their experience isn't quite as good as what you can get from a computer or other handheld devices like your phone or tablet.

The biggest draw-back to apps on the Vita is that you must be on the latest firmware version to download and use most of them with an internet connection. You will not be able to watch Netflix videos or sign into your Facebook account if you do not have the latest firmware version.

There is a painting app called Paint Park. I've used this game/app numerous times and it is fun when you are bored. However, it is even more fun with a stylus. If anyone is interested, a working stylus for the Vita is not the same as one for the 3DS. You can pick up one of these unique styluses at just about any place that sells smart phones. Most smart phones nowadays use touch screens that recognize human touch and not inanimate objects like the 3DS does.

The Skype app is available for the Vita, but, of course, is not usable by anyone not on the latest firmware.

The Vita has a new app called "Near" that allows players to "find" local players as well as record players' distance. A connection to the internet is required so, again, I am not using this app to its fullest. However, I have used it with my phone's hotspot and it has been able to determine my location on the go. It's good for seeing what people in your area play but it doesn't seem like anyone is interested in playing with people locally. Near is used in some games and apps as a way of sharing trophies and other sorts of things with other players. Players can collect items like for games like Treasure Park from local players using Near.

The camera app is nice but doesn't seem like it'd make you put down your camera or phone to use solely.

Music is a huge improvement between this and the PSP. When the original Xbox came out in 2001, many players found out that many games like Amped allowed players to use music stored on their console in the game. The only downside was that this depended on individual games making this option available and this option only being available at certain times in the game. When the Xbox 360 came out, many players discovered that they'd be able to use their console's music completely within any game at any time including loading screens. The PS Vita is the next to utilize this feature allowing players to do the same. I have music stored on my Vita's memory and have played this music while in games as well as out and used it as a secondary MP3 player. Again, the same applies here, I wouldn't recommend anyone buy this hoping it to replace their iPod or other MP3 player.

Remote Play continues on the Vita but expanding into areas that players wished Sony would have used when coming out on the PSP years ago. Players wanted to be able to not only emulate the PS3's screen but also actually play games from their PS3 to their handheld. Their wishes were granted when the Vita was still being announced as the NGP. Sony promised players would be able to play full length PS3 games using Remote Play. Since the Vita's release, we haven't seen anything like that except for the few that have had jailbroken PlayStation 3's using pirating software. Many of them have said that their Vita's are able to emulate games from the PlayStation 3 like Killzone 3. Sony has yet to announce when this will officially be supported and arrive to everyone's PS3's and/or Vitas. Unfortunately, like most other apps, you will need to be on the latest firmware on both the Vita and PS3 to, at least, use Remote Play via the internet.

The Vita just allowed users to use e-mail on their devices a few updates ago. However, I haven't had the chance to check it out for myself as I use my phone for notifying me of e-mails. Plus, again, I don't have a 3G connection to allow the convenience.

Most Vita apps are free.

3DS: The 3DS has a few apps, but nothing exciting. The few that are available do cost the user money.

While there is a Netflix app, it didn't meet users' expectations as most websites promised. Knowing that the Nintendo 3DS has 3D as a feature, you'd assume that Nintendo, or those behind the development of the Netflix application, would have utilized this feature to incorporate with movies and television shows. Who wouldn't want to watch The Expendables in 3D on the go? The lack of this has made many users, like myself, not really even care for the app. I only used it once to watch one episode and didn't care for it and rather use my phone or laptop to watch Netflix instead.

The 3DS comes with a pre-installed game called Face Raiders that is actually quite fun. Although not an app per se, it is something that helps kill time on the go. This game utilizes the camera by allowing and encouraging players to take pictures of people and use them in the game. The game turns these faces into little orbs that fly around you. The player uses a gyroscope, built into the 3DS, to move in a 360 degree direction to shoot these orbs with balls until they are no more.

The 3DS completely destroys Vita's Near by using "Street Pass". Nintendo encourages 3DS users to simply close their 3DSes (to make the 3DS "sleep") and walk around like normally. When one 3DS passes another on the street, the two link and begin to share information. There is an RPG game involved in this that has users use other Miis (Nintendo's avatars) to fight for the players' Mii to be rescued from a dungeon by fighting ghosts in turn-by-turn battles. There is also another piece to this that allows players to share puzzle-piece like shapes to complete an entire picture. Players will only be able to share pieces that other players do not have. Players also have the choice of which piece they want to borrow from someone else. Street Pass allows players to also share information from game to game. For instance, within Mario Kart 7, players using Street Pass, are able to share ghost races and other information with other players locally. The best places that I've found are at malls to meet people for Street Pass.

I and many others were disappointed that no YouTube app has made its way onto the 3DS. YouTube for 3D devices such as the HTC Evo 3D allowed for users to view videos in 3D. Uploaders on YouTube, like myself, can confirm that YouTube also has a way of allowing users to select whether they'd like their video presented in 3D or not so 3D isn't the question. Nintendo seems to try and suffice this by adding their own video app, but it's still not the same.

Most of the 3DS apps cost money. I haven't tried all of them but there are some calculators, a Pokedex, and some other apps.


Storage:

3DS: The 3DS includes an SD card which was also made for the DSi models. This card is used for storing pictures, music, and other sorts of things. As for saving game data...I'm not exactly sure.

This forum seems to have some more knowledgeable people on the subject. One poster, BEARDEDONE, says this


  1. You can copy everything from one SD Card to another using a computer.  You will only be able to play games transferred this way on the 3DS where they were originally downloaded.
  2. Extra data is stored on the SD card and can be copied to another SD card using a computer.
  3. This may depend on the game.  StreetPass data for Mii Plaza is stored on the system.  Anything that is saved on the SD card can be transferred to another SD card, but the data may not be usable on a different 3DS system.
  4. DSiWare and its saved data are saved in system memory.  Downloaded 3DS software (like excitebike or the ambassador games) and their saved data are stored on the SD card.
  5. Yes, you can put DSiWare on the SD card and transfer it to another SD card.  I don't think that the game save data can be transferred to the SD card, though.  You can transfer the DSiWare to another SD card, but you will only be able to play the DSiWare on the console where it was originally downloaded.  Also, to play the DSiWare, it must be copied to the console's system memory.
  6. Any data stored on the SD card can be transferred to another SD card using a computer.  You will not be able to use downloaded software on a different 3DS system, though.  You can view photos transferred to the SD card on any 3DS system, however.

It's good that you are not trying to transfer things to another 3DS because for most things this is not possible.

So it seems that if you want to move things over from one 3DS to another like a game that you downloaded, it cannot be done. Which is a shame.

As usual with Nintendo games, game data is saved onto the actual cartridge for the game for each game. For downloaded games? I am unsure as I haven't bought any from the market. But I assume that they would be downloaded to your SD card.

The cartridges for the 3DS are very similar to that of the former DS with just a little portion at the top on the left hand side and the cartridges are colored a grayish color.

Props to Nintendo for allowing players to use DS cartridges with the 3DS system. Many players enjoy this as it gets a little annoying upgrading to the latest system from an older one and not being able to carry over your old games.

Vita: The PlayStation Vita has, perhaps, the most confusing storage system ever conceived.

Sony decided to have the brilliant idea to create a brand new, unused by anyone else, type of storage card that can only be used by the Vita as of now. There are, currently, no other devices that can use this, no external adapters that can make easy transfer from computer to card, and no way of getting one before the Vita was released. Not only that, the cards are expensive considering how long you'd actual use them. My 16 GB card cost me around $50 just for the card. Whereas my Micro SD card for my phone, a 32 GB, cost me around the same price.

Why didn't Sony make the Vita compatible with other cards? It's because of control.

With the PSP, it utilized a very standard card that most devices used. In Sony's eyes, this is what made piracy so easy for the PlayStation Portable. One could use an external adapter or simply plug the PSP into the computer and transfer any and all files over. The Vita has new measures to prevent any sort of thing.

While the memory card can be inserted and taken out, nothing else can really be done with it.

To communicate with a computer, the user needs to install the infamous Content Manager Assistant from Sony. This software is one of the most confusing things for hacking as I will soon explain. One of the biggest problems that people have had with the CMA client stems from it not being able to be used without an internet connection. However, hackers have made open versions of the client which they call Open Content Manager Assistant  or, simply, OpenCMA that has the ability to connect to the Vita regardless if there is an internet connection or not.

The required internet connection was made because Sony was to force every Vita to update to the newest firmware when they would try to sync to the computer. As it has been from day one of the PSP, the same is true with the Vita that Sony blocks access to publicly known exploits by sending out new updates.

While the PSP was able to allow people to update using the card, the Vita cannot. This is also done for Sony to have ultimate control because this was exploited many times on the PSP and PS3. However, updating does seem like it can be done with Vita games. I was on a lower firmware when I bought LittleBigPlanet and when I tried playing the game, it said that I'd need to update to the newest firmware.

What gets most confusing about the Vita is for newcomers asking whether or not they actually need an external card.

Sony ditched their UMD (Universal Media Disc) for the PSP when they moved to the PS Vita. The Vita is not able to play UMD games but instead can play PSP games that have been bought using the PlayStation Network Store. With this, a new design was created and this is Sony's first time using cartridges rather than CD-like devices to use with their gaming system.

Like Nintendo's DS system, some of these cartridges are able to save game data to them. But other games don't and require an external card. The more and more games that I have bought, it seems that most games will use the external card rather than their own cartridge for storing game data. However, one can technically buy the Vita without the card and play some games. But to play downloaded games and apps requires the external card sold separately.

All in all, I and many others, are greatly dissatisfied with the storage system used by the Vita. It is, perhaps, the number one worst thing about the system.


Hacks, Homebrew, and Piracy:

Vita: As I mentioned before, the storage system makes the Vita almost unplayable when it comes to hacks and homebrew.

With the PSP and the DS and 3DS, users were and are able to drag and drop files from a computer into the card or device with no problems at all. The computer reads these as simple file storing cards like any other USB device. With the Vita, it got more tricky.

Installing an emulator like the Nintendo 64 one was a pain and I never truly got it going. I installed all of the necessary ROMs to the card as well as the emulator itself. It was working but for some reason couldn't properly identify the N64 ROMs. I gave up after a while and switched to using the 3DS more shortly thereafter.

I was able to get Lamecraft, a third-party attempt at Halo and Counter-Strike, and a few other homebrews onto the Vita for use. The games ran well except for Lamecraft which would constantly freeze. Halo and Counter-Strike were just cheap imitations created by someone in their free time. I could never get into the games because they just were too buggy and not completely finished. I tried Wololo's Wagic and it was interesting but I wasn't into that. Wololo is a developer and leader in the Vita scene so he was able to fix Wagic and make it compatible for the Vita as best as he could which meant that the game ran very smoothly.

All in all, if you are wanting to get the Vita for hacking, homebrew, and piracy, it's not worth all of the hard work and trouble at the moment. There currently is no way of using backed up Vita games nor are there any publicly released Vita hacks at the moment. All of the hacks are done within the PSP emulator on the Vita. However, a hack has been discovered that allows players to use ISO copies of PSP games. Check out Wololo's website for more information.

One of the biggest drawbacks on hacking is that you will not be able to get to the newest firmware (although I have heard of developers that haven't released their hacks being able to move from firmware to firmware while keeping their jailbroken status) which greatly hinders many of the things that you can do with the Vita. Mostly trying to access apps and games that use internet access. However, the internet browser is still usable even if not on the newest firmware.

3DS: Nintendo seems to be very relaxed when it comes to hacking, homebrew, and piracy. It is not encouraged for those with hacking methods to update to the newest firmware. But usually fixes are made that allow for continued use of hacks even though a new firmware has been released.

Most of the hacking is done through third-party cards like the R4, Acekard, and CylcoDS. These cards only play DS ROMs at the moment. There is currently no public way to play 3DS ROMs. One person had told me that they have made the card to read 3DS ROMs, but unsure whether to release it yet due to it possibly making the 3DS developers move away from making games for the system.

I have the R4i card made for the 3DS and it failed on me. But when it did work, it worked well. I tried using a SNES emulator with the card but it didn't work for whatever reason.

There is no real downside to using hacks as you can still use mostly everything (except the Nintendo market) even though you're not on the latest firmware.


Wireless:

3DS: The 3DS has WiFi built into it which was a new thing for the DSi models. With this comes many new ways to play games and use the internet.

As I mentioned briefly before, the 3DS has an app known as Street Pass. Even though the wireless is turned on, it doesn't wear down the battery in sleep mode or even if its just on and you playing a game.

Nintendo added a new feature to be used on the 3DS called Nintendo Zone that allows for free hotspots. In places like malls and airports, 3DS users can connect for free and view content, surf the web, play against other players, watch Netflix, and much much more. I connected to one while at a local mall and it was quite an interesting experience.

My biggest beef with the wireless hasn't changed since the DSi. For whatever reason, Nintendo only allows 3DS owners to only save three different hotspot connection points. Any more than that, and you'd have to delete one connection. For someone like me, I connect when I go to my grandparents' house, my parents' house, at work, and on my cell phone's hotspot. That's more than three places and I still connect at other places like friends' houses. This can be tedious especially considering that most of these use passcodes to get into the WiFi.

Vita: The Vita is about the same as it was with the PSP. Unlike the 3DS and DSi, the Vita (and PSP) can connect to and save lots of different connected hotspots.

However, as I mentioned many times before, the WiFi is useless if you aren't on the latest firmware unless you're just going to surf the web.

The Vita also has 3G connectivity that allows for connection on the go which the 3DS doesn't have. I haven't used it, but it still is an available feature.

Screens:

Vita: After years of hearing our complaints, Sony finally made a portable device with not just one but two touch screens. One for the front and another for the back.

I have had the chance to use both screens including the back on many different games.

At first, many were complaining that the Vita was only able to scroll through the menus using touch and no sort of support for using the physical controls to navigate the menus. Finally an update came that allowed for this and it works just as well as using touch.

In many games such as Resistance: Burning Skies and others, the rear touch screen is used but not as fun as it appeared in ads. Perhaps it's more fun for games like Little Deviants that are more animated. Like the 3DS' 3D feature, this seems to be more of a gimmick than something you'd actually want to use. But, at the same time, it does sort of suffice for the lack of more controls like a "L2" and "R2" function. It can get pretty tiring after a while and is hard to use as its awkward to hold.

The front touch screen is good but can be unresponsive sometimes like it is when I'd use Call of Duty Black Ops Declassified. Often times, I'd click the screen to knife someone and nothing would happen.

I do prefer the touch screen of the Vita to that of the 3DS as it recognizes human touch rather than a stylus.

The screen seems to be made well and can be cleaned easily. It is connected to the rest of the front of the handheld so everything is made from the same material which is fairly easy to clean. I have yet to see scratches on the screen but I do keep it in a case when not in use.

3DS: The 3DS has two screens just as it has since the very first DS model. While the lower screen is used almost solely for touch with the stylus, it can also be used for viewing and comes in handy for displaying stats such as during a race or in a game for health. The top screen is used solely for viewing the actual game.

However, as I have heard, if you are playing GBA games (only playable through use of a R4, Acekard, or CycloDS card), then either screen is chosen to be used for displaying the game.

The 3DS has, of course, a viewable 3D display on the top screen only. The bottom screen does not have 3D capabilities. This 3D is viewed without glasses. However, if you view the screen with one eye, you will not be able to see the 3D as clearly as you would with two. I've tried it with three different people that if you close your left eye, you will be able to see the 3D slightly. If you close your right eye, you will not be able to see the 3D at all.

The 3D is fun to view but immediately hurts the eyes. Nintendo warns parents that children under the age of 7 should not view the 3D of this device. This may be an indication that viewing this for prolonged periods can result in damage to your eye.

The 3D is more of a gimmick than actual help. I only use it when showing to friends as a way of saying, "Look how cool it is!". But never really turn it on for any games or apps. Turning it on and leaving it on can result in higher battery consumption. The average battery life on 3D is 3 hours while without 3D it's around 5.

The screens seem to be made well. There are no scratches on it but that can be attributed to the fact that both screens close facing one another and not exposed when not played. The bottom screen does give me a problem with getting lint and other kinds of things on it. It is not an easy screen to clean due to the sides of it sticking upwards. The top screen can be cleaned, but not as easily as the Vita's screen can be due to the sides being taller.

Cameras:

3DS: The 3DS is a revolutionary device for handheld gaming in that it includes three cameras. One is viewed for front use and the other two are for the back. This is one of the first handhelds to be able to take pictures in 3D and 2D. However, it seems that the pictures can only be viewed through a 3DS system for 3D. I have not tried transferring photos anywhere else but I am almost positive that they cannot be viewed in 3D anywhere else.

Videos can now be taken with the camera and videos in 3D can be taken when you update to a later version. Again, videos will probably only be in 3D for as long as you view them on a 3DS system.

The camera is nice but doesn't seem to take the place of your phone or camera. I haven't used it extensively but it is nice to have.

The 3DS does have a zoom feature.

Below are pictures taken using the 3DS cameras.

3DS back camera zoomed in

3DS front camera

3DS back camera normal


Vita: Before I even begin, I decided to take some pictures with my Vita and 3DS and upload them to compare. I have not used my Vita in quite some time so it hasn't been updated and neither has CMA. So in order to transfer the photos to my computer so you guys can see them, I need to use Sony's service to upload the photos. And both need to be updated and connected to the internet and blah blah blah...it wasn't a happy experience for me just to send some photos. I even tried signing into my e-mail on the web browser and attaching the photos so it wouldn't take so long but my e-mail couldn't recognize the photos and refused to attach them. So I'm updating both of them as we speak. Basically, I'm already beginning to hate the camera function just because of the hassle it gives you to simply share the pictures. All it took for my 3DS to do was take out the card, pop it into my computer, and there were my pictures. Based on that alone, I like the 3DS more for camera and pictures.

The Vita takes okay pictures. I do like the modes because it's all very simple. Whereas with the 3DS, everything is all jumbled together and it's difficult to find what you're looking for.

As far as I could tell, there is no way to zoom on the Vita. There is a video function just like on the 3DS.

Below are some of the pictures

Vita front camera

Vita back camera

Menu & User Interface:

Vita: The Vita uses a new interface different than what the PSP and PS3 use which was referred to as the XMB. The Vita has a more touch-friendly surface with bubbles rather than rows and columns. The interface is very customizable from customization of the background screen, the tile arrangement, adding new pages, and more.

The Vita just got an update a while ago that allowed users to use the actual controls to navigate the menu rather than relying on touch solely. While touch can still be used, it just allows for more interaction in case you don't have both hands available.

3DS: The 3DS' look and feel hasn't changed much since the DSi except in a few ways such as allowing users to change the look from big icons to smaller ones that allow for rows and columns. 3D has been used in the menu to simulate 3D objects in the top screen.

The 3DS' menu can be navigated using either the stylus or the actual controls.


Games and Graphics:

Finally we talk about the comparison between the games. I find it funny and interesting that there is so much more to handheld devices nowadays than just gaming. We have a camera, touch screens, apps, movies...pretty much everything including gaming. I always imagined for a day like this where we'd have more than just simple Mario and Tetris-like games for our handhelds and actually hold computer-like devices that could have games pre-loaded onto them without a disc or surf the web and all of that other good stuff.

3DS: The games on the 3DS are much better than what was on the DS. When I first played a DS, I couldn't imagine paying $30+ for any of the games...well, there were a few like Grand Theft Auto Chinatown, but other than that and a few others, the games seemed kind of cheap and rushed. The graphics were sub-par with lines. It's what ultimately made me want an R4 card because none of the games seemed worth my time or money. And I was convinced when I played some of the games.

But the 3DS is a much different story. I bought a whole lot of games like Star Fox, New Super Mario Brothers 2, Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7, Splinter Cell 3D, and Harvest Moon A Tale of Two Twins and I am thoroughly impressed with each game (except Splinter Cell, but even then, it's not that bad of a game, just that it's a complete port and not an actual new game).

I was never really much of a fan of 2D games but did enjoy some of them. I always preferred the 3-Dimensional games that Sony and Microsoft had been known to sell and cater to while Nintendo seemed to only do 2D-like games like Pokemon where the world is 3D only in the sense that you'd imagine it is. Very rarely did they make a game like Mario 64 but when they did, I really enjoyed it.

With their games like Super Mario 3D Land, I actually really enjoy it because of the dimensions. I can move about freely around enemies and not have to simply jump over or under them. But even with games like New Super Mario Brothers 2, I still like it because of the graphics quality and it doesn't go too off course for fans of the original Mario games of the late 80's to early 90's.

Unlike the DS, these games also have a more smoother feel to their graphics. Comparing Mario Kart 7 to Mario Kart DS is a huge difference. There are no lines and grainy graphics. Everything is there and beautifully done just as you were watching a Pixar film.

The only problem that I have with the 3DS games are that there aren't too many games out there and the few that are, are more geared towards kids. Which is fine because Nintendo has been that sort of company and kids need games they can play too. That's just not my personal taste and this isn't really my field. But the few games that I do enjoy, do keep me occupied for long periods of time.

Even though the library is not extensive, Nintendo allowed us to continue using our DS games which sufficed our needs for the most part. I can still walk into a GameStop or other game store and buy DS games without having to worry if they'll work in my new system or not. Nintendo has always been that sort of company anyway.

Vita: When the PSP was announced, the games were supposed to be PlayStation 2 quality and they were but the PS3 came immediately after and I and many others grew bored of the graphics. The games were good but needed more hardware like the much needed second analog stick. When the PSP Go was announced, I knew for sure that it would be a touch screen just by seeing it. When I found out the truth, that it wasn't, I was very disappointed. But when the NGP was announced, I was super excited that Sony had listened to our cries and made a device worthy to be called king of handheld gaming. Unfortunately...it didn't go as planned.

We were promised way too much by Sony before its arrival. We were promised that we'd be able to play PS3 games, we assumed that there'd be tons of good games at launch and good games to come, that we'd be able to play PS2 and PS1 games right out of the box...but we were mistaken. Almost all of these have not yet come except PS1 support. Sony let us down again by not allowing people to bring over their UMDs from their PSPs and not giving us discounts on the store or allowing us free downloads for our UMD games.

That and including a very low library, the Vita hasn't taken off. And with games like Call of Duty and Resistance that came to the device and finally brought really 3D FPS to handhelds, we were still heartbroken because the games didn't make our expectations.

The quality of the graphics of the games do compare to that of the PS3 but the PS4 or Orbis is right around the corner and we may end up with the same deal as we did with the PSP.

Many of us also assumed that Android was going to be the OS of the Vita, but were disappointed as well that Sony didn't choose that either.

But the gaming hasn't been too bad and it may pick up. Many of us are still waiting for Killzone to be released on the handheld and to see what other games will come around. As I just updated my Vita, I noticed that Jetpack Joyride and Oddworld Stranger's Wrath HD had been released into the store and I have downloaded both.

The few games that I have bought, well, have met sort of my expectations. Only Call of Duty Black Ops and Need for Speed Most Wanted 2012 have been disappointing. Assassin's Creed III Liberation, Resistance: Burning Skies, Unit 13, and more have been okay games to play on the go but others in the community think otherwise.

This may be the last time that I buy a Sony product right at launch. It didn't live up to its hype which helped its downfall. It's not a bad system, just, again, didn't live up to the hype.
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Overall...if I had to choose one system above the other, I wouldn't be able to make the decision. Each system has its ups and downs in their respective areas. Sony and Nintendo are two completely different companies that focus on different areas. But to compare the two...well...it just depends on what you consider to be more important than the other.



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Remembering Dr. MLK Jr.


On this day, we take time to remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the life he lived.

I personally take this day to heart because without it, I wouldn't be here today and/or I wouldn't have the life I have today. My family is very successful and African American. Without people like Dr. King, we wouldn't be in the shoes we are today. We are forever in his debt and he deserves the little bit of respect we can show him today.

On this blog, I wanted to take the time to personally remember the man for his accomplishments. Others want to bag on him for some of the rumors but even if they are true, that still doesn't negate the wonderful things Dr. King did for the rest of people of all colors and races.

Thank you for your sacrifice, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

[Review] Rocksmith for PS3

I know Rocksmith has been out for around two years, but I still felt like doing a review on the game.

I have played the guitar since I was about 7 or 9 years old and had many different teachers. While I may not be a legend like Slash or Jimi, I have learned a few things and been able to play some very notable riffs. Almost immediately after I canceled my most recent guitar lessons with a one on one tutor, I bought Rocksmith.

If you are a beginner and want to learn how to play the guitar, Rocksmith may or may not work out well for you. If you are trying to use Rocksmith as a tutor, I would not advise it at all. Rocksmith is not designed and cannot take the place of a tutor because there are things that a tutor can do that Rocksmith can't.

However, if you have almost no time and just want to learn a few songs, Rocksmith can be that stepping stone.

Rocksmith can teach you basic techniques, however, Rocksmith can't teach you how to utilize those techniques in the correct way. For instance, Rocksmith will teach you how to bend notes but doesn't teach you how to do it efficiently.

My guitar teacher, on the other hand, taught me that I'd need to use three fingers to bend a string to get that quality note sound.

Rocksmith is able to hear notes but can't determine how you played them. For example, some songs will have you hammer a note but if you just play that note normally, Rocksmith can't tell the difference and will give you credit even though you didn't hit it.

Other techniques such as picking, Rocksmith will not suffice. Both of my most recent guitar tutors taught me that to pick well and fast, you must pick strings up then down. Rocksmith does not teach you this which could potentially make you better but probably not because you can't keep the rhythm down as well as you could if you picked up then down on each corresponding string.

The game is built like Rock Band and Guitar Hero. It focuses you on playing songs rather than mastering individual techniques. But, the game can help you master songs. The game has a built in system that allows players to get small parts of the song in pieces one by one until the player can get it near perfect. One of these ways will slow down the song until you have gotten every note correctly and then slowly speeding up the song until you get it right. Again, the game cannot tell if you have hammered the string perfectly or not so it won't be able to help you master these techniques.

What distances itself from normal band games is that there is no difficulty per se. The game, when first booted, assumes that the player is a beginner and treats the player as such until the player has shown that it can master the songs correctly. This is one of the biggest complaints from players saying that they wish they could change the difficulty. For me, it was fine, but then again, I'm not a professional like others may be. My feeling has always been, if you are a great player, it shouldn't take too long before the game realizes that you can get all of the notes perfectly. The only exception I can see with this is that if someone who has mastered the song and wants to play on the game, they may have a hard time playing it differently as a beginner rather than with the chords and notes they've been used to using.

The biggest problem that I have with the game has to be with the music selection. While there are popular bands, the songs aren't the ones you would expect to play from them. I was excited to know that Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana, the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, and more were featured on the game but disappointed to see what songs they had available. I was expecting something more popular from these artists but didn't see anything remotely interesting for me except with Nirvana. The other bands that I hadn't heard of were great and then there are some classics that you will recognize like Lynard Skynard's Sweet Home Alabama or Nirvana's In Bloom. I was expecting to see some bigger names though. I can't believe there is a game out there about playing the guitar yet nothing from Jimi Hendrix or Slash. I do realize that this is probably due to RB and GH already taking most of the licenses and probably others were too much to pay for.

Now...I have this game for PlayStation 3 and last I checked (probably a year ago) there weren't many songs to download for the game. But, I looked on the Xbox 360 market (a few months ago) and saw many songs that I would've loved to purchase from artists such as Black Sabbath. However, I felt the prices were too pricey for me. I would've been buying single songs rather than packs because the packs only had like one song I would've enjoyed.

I have contemplated on buying the Xbox 360 version or maybe even the one for PC from Steam just for a different experience. Luckily, unlike RB and GH, if you have the cable and a guitar, all you need to do is just buy another game for the other system. I still have my original Rock Band equipment for PS3 and it just sits in my corner collecting dust and I think I can't even use it for Xbox 360 if I just bought the game. So that is another plus that even if the game gets old and/or a Rocksmith 2 sequel is made, you'll have all of the equipment necessary and not be left with useless, outdated equipment to get rid of. It also cuts down on costs. I already had a guitar so I didn't need to buy one or the special pack that came with one unlike Rock Band where I had to pay $160 for the pack and it's all useless now.

While this is the first game to feature an actual playable guitar in-game, it didn't live up to its hype from many of its customers. For me, I enjoy it and play it often. It keeps me going in my spare time and up to speed with playing the guitar. I wouldn't advise anyone to buy this game hoping to take the place of a tutor but more for people who have a game system, guitar, and want to just have fun and/or not get rusty from not playing.

I wouldn't advise avid gamers, like myself, to buy the game unless they are very serious about playing and keep a strict schedule of playing. For me, my guitar sat for months because I was more interested in other games.

Overall, the game is nice but if a sequel is made, lots of improvements must be made to take the place of other games.

Remember to Back-Up Often

This has happened to me way too often for it to happen again.

I would like to remind everyone that uses an Android device...really, any sort of device with external memory, to back-up often.

For some reason, it's either Android, Windows, or the card itself that randomly deletes all information from the card making it unusable to the user until formatted. Other times, it can be a permanent loss of information as the card becomes corrupted.

There is no easy way to avoid this from happening from the user's side but the user can back-up the information often. Note that this will take lots of room and is best kept on a PC that has lots of usable memory or another external device that is reliable.

For me, I am using my PC. While it only has 500 GB and I am running out of room quickly, it still is sufficient for the time being.

I created a special folder where I keep copies of everything from my phone's SD card and have it saved onto the computer. This way, in the event the card is erased or lost, my information, or most of it, is still available. It is best to update this copy folder often to avoid losing too much data.

Tonight, my card failed me once again. Fortunately, most of the information was saved, however, not all of it from the past 2+ weeks so there goes quite a bit of data that will be lost including irreplaceable pictures and videos.

Even if not all information, simply make sure to back-up important pictures and videos somewhere for your own sake. You can almost always recover files you downloaded from the internet, but you can't as easily with pictures and videos.

When I do back-up, I simply drag and drop the entire card's contents into this folder and I allow the files from the phone to overwrite what was there. Doing this will make sure that anything that hasn't been updated such as contacts if you added anyone new, will be added to the copied file so it can be as updated as possible.

I suppose I was working the card too hard tonight. While transferring over a large file over the USB connection, I tried moving files from the card to the PC and I think it overloaded. When I unmounted the card and remounted it, it said the card was blank and needed to be reformatted. So it was but I am upset that I was so careless in losing all of this valuable information.

If possible, try to connect your card to your computer via another means besides USB cable PC to phone connection as this doesn't seem like the safest way to do it. Instead, use an adapter whether it be a USB card reader or maybe a card adapter.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Ubuntu for Multi-Core Android Devices

Linux has been around for some time with various flavors like Ubuntu.

I, myself, have used Ubuntu for my computers running alongside Windows. I have ran Ubuntu in dual-boot and in a virtual machine for different purposes. I haven't been able to use it as my one and only operating system because I use lots of Windows applications that cannot be run on a Linux environment easily. Many have enjoyed the open source OS and it has paved the way for other OSes like Google's own Android as well as Apple's iOS.

Earlier, hackers had made available a way to install Ubuntu onto rooted Android devices like the HTC Evo 4G but this new method will come from the people behind Ubuntu officially.

The release is coming along with no official release date except coming sometime in 2013.

According to many sources, you will be able to use the entire Ubuntu environment on your phone as well as connect it to an external source like a HDMI compatible TV and use it as a full on computer.

You can read more by visiting Ubuntu's website and reading here.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Proof Bethesda cares PS3 Skyrim-ers

One of the disappointed Skyrim PS3 people? Well that's about to change. On Bethesda's official blog (bethblog.com), they've announced that this February all of the Skyrim DLCs as well as a new patch is coming to your console. As an added bonus, all the DLCs will be 50% off on PSN for the launch week. So crack open that Skyrim case or go out and get yourself a copy because you guys are in for an awesome time!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Gaming News 1/16/13

Want to try Dishonored? Well no is the best time thanks to a deal by GameStop and Bethesda. Anyone who purchases it from now until January 27th will receive "Dunwall City Trials" free on any of the three systems it's available for. Not sure whether that applies only for new copies or preowned though.

Splinter Cell: Blacklist has received a release date for August 20th this year. The trailer confirms that it will be coming to the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC but doesn't talk about if it will or will not be on the Wii U. As an added bonus, people who preorder it will also receive some extra content.

Dmc is out now! The game has received pretty good reviews so if you were iffy about it maybe this will convince you. If I can I will try to do a review on it.

Just a reminder: Pokemon X and Y release around the world this October. No further details on the direct release date but I'll do my best to give you the good news.
Speaking of Pokemon, if you can't wait for X and Y to come out then the new Pokemon Dungeon may hold you over. It's called Pokemon: Gates of Infinity, it comes out on the 3DS on March 24th of this year for retail and in the Nintendo E-Shop. The game is rumored to offer a few new things to the spin off such as not having to play as your Pokemon character chosen at the start but we'll see when it comes out.

For those of you who didn't purchase the Zone of the Enders HD collection and got the free exclusive demo that came with it for Metal Gear Rising but still want the demo well your prayers have been answered. The demo will be released next week for PSN and 360.

President Obama has stated that he wants a 10 million dollar study into the violence in video games and other related media. However, given the state of our economy and the Republican house majority, it may not come to pass. Let's hope this doesn't interfere with our games in any way.

A few release dates for you to end this. Have a great rest of the week.

360 + PS3:
-Gears of War: Judgement - March 19th
-Dead Space 3 - February 5th
-Bioshock Infinite - March 26th
-Crysis 3 - February 19th
-Tomb Raider - March 5th
-Aliens: Colonial Marines - Feb 12th
-Metal Gear Rising - Feb 19th
-Injustice - April 16th
-Metro: Last Light - March
-Remember Me - March
-Star Trek: The Game - April 23rd

PS3:
-Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch - January 22nd
-God of War: Ascension - March 12th
-The Last of Us - May 7th
-Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time - Feb 5th

PC:
-Resident Evil 6 - March 22nd
-Star Craft II: Heart of the Swarm - March 12th
-Crysis 3 - Feb 19th
-SimCity - March 5th
-Dmc - Feb 25

Wii U:
-Rayman Legends - Feb 26th

3DS:
-Castlevania Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate - March 5th
-Fire Emblem: Awakening - Feb 4th
-Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate - March

Vita:
-Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time - Feb 5th
-Ratchet and Clank: Full Frontal Assault - January

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Humor # 3 Windows Advertising Gmail



I found it ironic that there was an ad listed on Craigslist trying to find people who love using Microsoft products yet have people contact them through a Gmail e-mail rather than a Hotmail e-mail.

How to Properly Report Spam/Scams

Harassment in E-mails?

Are you receiving unwanted e-mails and have no way of putting an end to them? If so, read this section. If not, skip ahead to the next section.

I continued to receive spam/scam e-mails from a "Robert" about "Your Arrest Record". The e-mails were getting annoying and I continued seeing them even though I had clicked the spam button on them. The e-mail addresses were not legitimate as they could not receive e-mail yet send out e-mails. The unsubscribe button in the bottom of the e-mail was fake and sent the user no where. As far as I know, this is illegal for companies to do. Unsubscribe buttons are required for each e-mail sent by companies in the event that the user does not want to continue receiving e-mails.

I traced back his/her e-mail address via the service Whois with his/her IP address. This led me to find out that the IP address was given out by an ISP service and I contacted them with the IP address alerting them to what was my issue with one of their customers. A customer service representative replied back telling me that I would need to send the full header for them to correctly identify this person.

If someone is harassing you over an e-mail, you can find their IP address by opening the full header. When the e-mail is open, search for something about opening the "Full Header". A bunch of jibberish should appear. Search this jibberish to find a set of numbers like 67.168.92.0 or something similar to this. Use the Whois website to find out the information involving the IP address such as the internet service provider (ISP). There should be an e-mail link here allowing you to contact their customer service or technical support. Contact one or all e-mails available by highlighting the entire full header information and sending it to this company detailing, also, what the issue you are having with their customer is. At least in the United States and U.S. occupied areas, ISP services will be more than happy to help you in putting an end to these harassing e-mails.


E-mail Phishing Scam?

If you are the victim/target of an online phishing scam, here is how you should report it.

Today, I received an e-mail from someone claiming to be a woman from Canada who claimed that she was the victim of one of the Nigerian e-mail scams and that she received help from an FBI agent and was compensated $15 million and that I, too, could receive compensation.

When an e-mail contains someone claiming to be an FBI, CIA, or any other law enforcement agent, it is best and most efficient to alert the agency being spoofed about someone posing as one of their agents.

I went to the FBI's website to report the potential attack and read their FAQ on how to properly report crimes. This is the best way to find out how to deal with your particular situation.

I was sent to a website called IC3 which allows for citizens to report internet crimes.

It seems that even if no particular federal or state agency was spoofed in your e-mail, you can still use this website to report the e-mail that contains the scam.

Once you've filled out this form, keep the scam e-mail in case you are contacted by an agency in the future about the reported scam. However, and this is an important however, beware and questionable of any agencies that contact you in the future and be weary of what they ask of you or what website they ask you to visit. Make sure that it is an authentic website made and controlled by the appropriate agency. If not, file another complaint for the faked website/e-mail. Do not give personal information over this unless you are absolutely certain that it is legitimate. Never give out information involving your Social Security number or anything involving financial information over the internet for any reason. No law enforcement agency has any need for any of this information, only scammers would want this information. United States law enforcement agents do not ask for compensation for services unless they work privately, separate from the government agency.


Stay safe everyone.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The End of Used Games? Or the End of Consoles?

I suppose by now all of you have seen the PS4's patent or at least heard of Sony's relatively new idea to ban all used games for their systems. At first I wasn't going to talk about it because everyone is talking about it and there's not much to be said. But if this actually goes through I want to have given my two cents at least just so people can either reflect back on it and wish used games were still a thing or laugh and thank God this didn't actually go through.

Some of you may or may not know that Sony released a patent for their new idea to make used games obsolete. What you may not have known is that the this was already tried on the PS3, and thank God they didn't actually go through with that. However, now it's really hit to home. People are actually talking about it before it goes through, and there is also 'physical' evidence on the internet that validates our fears this may be a reality. There is also a rumor floating around that Microsoft's new system may do the same as well, leaving Nintendo to have the last console to still use used games.

First I would like to share my love of consoles. The very first console I ever got was a Super Nintendo Entertainment System, SNES for short. This was around the time of the PS1 but I still loved the thing nonetheless. When I first got into gaming that I can remember almost clearly I had an Xbox. Since my family never was all that rich used games were really a God send because of how low the price was and we could take it back with little hassle. To this day I still buy and sell used games and it's really kind of a necessity to me considering that I don't make a lot of money. I don't personally own a PS3, but the fact that this may become a reality is kind of scary because other companies may adopt this as well.

Now I don't claim to be a business wizard but I do know value of games and what they mean to the industry.  Simple facts like if a game was released not too long ago and now it's significantly cheaper then it means the game sucks or the company behind it either went out of business or is very generous ie. Square Enix's Deus Ex Human Revolution's generous drop. I can say with all certainty that places like GameStop will go out of business eventually if this goes through. I mean, why else would they be buying up iPad's and other non gaming items. Now you may say "I don't care if they go out of business because they cheat me out of games." What you need to realize is a supply and demand is going through because if they constantly don't make a profit they will die out. There is a major fact that the majority of gamers tend to buy or sell used games often because it's cheap and relatively safe. Newer games are much more of a gamble because we don't know if it's good or a flop and, for most companies, a new game sell is final. What this means is a decreased sale of new games, which in Sony's case, is all games. After that, game companies will become less frequent and only the strongest will survive just barely.

It's kind of sad to see that Sony has finally lost it. It's like an old childhood friend who everyone knew was cool and whoever had him at their house became automatically cool. Sure as the years past he didn't age well. The PS2 was his best ever and after that he made a kind of crappy handheld system, but all was forgiven considering the games on it. Then the PS3 rolled around and everyone was excited and horrified. Their friend decided to make a hefty price for his awesomeness almost like he was selling himself to attend parties. But we paid and eventually it became more of a bore. When we turned our attention to him after a while he would sit there and wait, updating. He never really seemed there because we would just leave him there to warm up and make sure he was up to date. But all was forgiven again because of the games, despite his unusual approach to two players at a time or even switching between standard definition and HDMI televisions. And then The Elder Scrolls Skyrim came out and... it was completely broken. In anger Sony fans blamed Bethesda, the game's developer. Despite months of working with a broken system and two different expansions added to both other systems they only got it to be just barely playable. And now to make himself more edgy he's gone and betrayed his friends in search of a even greater paycheck. The sad thing is no one will buy into his game. Sure some will tag along for another while but are you really going to wait for those load times? Or the fact that your games will be even more expensive? Soon he'll be all alone and won't have any redeeming qualities left other than what came before. Well all look back and remember how cool he was and try to forget what he became.

You see Sony after you make your quick buck, after you finally sell out those who made you a corporate giant what will you be? Yes you make other electronic items but you'll never be a friend to us again like you were. Our patience is running thin to your constant bastardization of the community I hold so dear. You're on the edge of the cliff right now and if you take that final plunge there's no one to pull you back up. Don't betray your friends. At the very least if you don't think of us as friends why not partners? We give you money and in return you give us enjoyment. Not partners? Well how about your paycheck? Because we are your boss. We give you money in turn for good hard work, don't we? We may not see everything or have control but we sure as hell make your stocks rise or fall. Just think this through. That's all I'm asking. Bioware listened to their fans outcry over something they didn't like and they changed it. So would you listen to us? Just turn back so we can forget it and have a good laugh. I don't like where this is going. I may seem insane talking to you like a person but considering how many people have stuck by you since the beginning you've become somewhat of a family member to them.

Alright. Personal rant over. Let's pray tomorrow is a brighter day.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Star Wars: The Old Republic Review 9/10

For those of you who don't know, The Old Republic (swotor) was and still is an MMO that came out some time ago. Recently the game has gone free to play and since I'm really cheap I decided to give it a try. What I found was by far the best Star Wars game I've played so far which took out Battlefront 2 by a small margin.

The Good:
Holy s*** this game looks nice. I recently got a new computer which allows me to play more awesome games but even then this game still looks stellar. The character models, the graphics, scenery etc.

I REALLY hate MMOs. I mean, REALLY. The whole "have to be online to play" is freaking stupid. The fact that I bought a game (not in this case) only to have it not work in certain places and even in those certain places it still may not work sounds incredibly stupid as all of you Diablo III people can tell you. This game does it sort of decent. I've been kicked off about 3 times but I'll label that to internet traffic as I never had a problem before that. It's almost a necessity to have people in this game because if you're the same level as an enemy, it's a 50/50 chance you'll die and enemies come in spades more than often. Sometimes it was just waiting for someone to come by or just being super strategic.

I was really surprised with the combat. Combat is another reason I hate MMOs. I can clearly see my hit's... hitting enemies yet due to some stupid little stats, they completely shrug it off yet the later doesn't apply to me. At least in this game, I can see they kind of dodged the attack. Making me feel a little less pissed.

The cut scenes! Oh my the cut scenes! An MMO with cut scenes that look like the movies? Sign me up! I especially like how your character has their own voice. It makes me feel weird having a silent protagonist while everyone else speaks, yet at the same time I speak in either battles or people know what I'm saying. The two worst offenders of this are Knights of the Old Republic and the Zelda series. We can clearly hear these people talking yet they can't speak to others? I don't know it's just a tiny little gripe of mine, but I can definitely appreciate what Bioware did with this little thing.

Speaking of Knights of the Old Republic (another Star Wars game), this is what I wished Kotor could have been. The fights in that game were boring and just bland waiting games. In this, I feel like I'm actually doing something, whether it's using one of two main attacks or buffing myself. Apart from that, I can switch between any enemy I want to attack. I really wish they'd remake the Knights series and put in the combat mechanics from this.

The Bad:

At first, I was going to put this in the Good category, then as I progressed into the Meh, now it's just a fault. The exclusives. If you bought the game/subscribed for online play before it went free to play, you get some cool upgrades like cheaper items in store, bigger pouches and more character slots. Where I see it's nice I can buy them via money (otherwise I actually have to option to buy) I find it freaking annoying. You see premium players get this cool ability which allows them to run faster. That may not seem like a bad thing but this world is freaking huge and there's only three ways I've found to get around: 1) a teleport ability which teleports you to a previously found location and has a horrible (over an hour) cool down rate, 2) speeders, which I think cost money, which do the same as the teleport except that they are in certain specific areas and 3) walking/running. Now the sprint thing is not what I'm mad about, it's everything else. Apart from that, the game keeps reminding me how much I'm missing out by not paying for this stuff. Usually via whenever I beat a quest, sometimes there's this thing which I can't open unless I pay real cash. Sometimes, that's all I get (something I can't open). That is fucking stupid.

Always online? I know I touched on this but it's a good point. After a while of being disconnected for the third time in a row and my computer doesn't tell me what happened, you kind of have to get pissed off a bit. I know I put it up to traffic but if it wasn't forcefully online then I wouldn't have that problem to begin with. This is part of the reason I don't play MMOs period.

The items pretty much suck. I'm at level 9 right now and I'm waiting for my light saber. Also, I can't buy and use certain items because they won't allow me to level up some proficiencies like heavy armor. That's not a bad thing but now I have to level grind to get a bit more powerful, so I can do a quest, to get more powerful, so I can do another quest, so I can hopefully get my light saber. Again another reason why I don't play MMOs: for the run around. The run around basically means that they're trying their hardest to keep you playing.

While I have you on topic, level grinding is fine when I can see my progress. I've looked for at least an hour and I still can't find the damn level progression bar. For those of you who don't know, it's just this tiny bar that says how close you are to the next level. I think I've passed about 5000 xp and still no new level. If the bar is extremely high, I don't care just as long as I can see it to get some progression.

The Meh:

The Tutorials are fine but again they don't tell me much. At the first start of the game I figured out how to move all on my own (the WASD combo or the arrow keys). Yet I don't get the smaller things like here's where your stats are or where you can see your progression.

Some of the quests seem a bit repetitive. Though I need them for progression, I wouldn't mind a lot more in number as well as variety. Oh ya there aren't that many quests so leveling is a bitch.



After all this, I still think The Old Republic is the best Star Wars game I've played. And ya I'm kind of addicted to it so I'll probably still be playing it.
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