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Thursday, October 31, 2013

FAA Eases on Electronic Usage

Everyone who's ridden a plane knows that electronic devices are strictly prohibited during take-off and landing at an airport. This is not a flight attendant wanting to ruin your Words with Friends game, *cough* Alec Baldwin *cough*, but actually a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guideline that all airlines are required to follow.

As technology has improved, we have seen new innovations that allow for new modes of communication. When many of these FAA policies were first installed, there was no such thing as WiFi or Airplane Mode. Now, in the year 2013, the federal agency is letting off on the leash a little bit for the airlines who show that their systems can handle a little more interference from our pesky devices.

While the FAA is giving clearance, don't expect to take a flight tomorrow and see the changes immediately. Not all airlines nor airplanes are equipped with these mandatory pieces of equipment. The FAA is requiring inspection before they give a green light to the airlines to allow new changes.

So what does this mean for us as citizens? According to this MSN article, netbooks and notebooks will still need to be put away for fear that they could physically injure someone in the nearby vicinity. Cell phone calling is still restricted as that is not under the FAA but under another federal agency, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

While the article doesn't explicitly mention it, it appears that WiFi enabled airlines will be given more slack as they are more resistant to interference from the newer devices of recent years.

This is something to think for those of you who use airlines and require use of mobile technology. Perhaps it would be in your best interest to choose an airline with newer jets?

What do you think of the new decision to change the policy? Is it good or bad?

What's Next for Grand Theft Auto?

Most of us have played Grand Theft Auto V and have beaten its offline storyline. Many of us are now enjoying life after the story, waiting for the DLC(s), and enjoying the online play. The next likely project for Rockstar is another Red Dead game as many have speculated, probably a sequel to Max Payne, and maybe a third title in there somewhere, and finally a Grand Theft Auto VI / 6. Really, this game is far down the road, like four years away, but it's what many of us fans are still looking forward to.

The series really got big when GTA landed on PlayStation 2 with Grand Theft Auto III. Nostalgia overcomes many of us when we hear this title. Vice City came next and San Andreas followed. Following San Andreas were a few minor titles released for handhelds such as the Stories mini series which returned to Vice City and Liberty City, and an additional title that was released for Nintendo DS then for PlayStation Portable (PSP) which was Chinatown Wars. The next major release became that of IV which returned gamers to the streets of Liberty City with an entirely rebuilt engine. The most recent major release was V which was released a month ago. This title returned to the hood many of us grew up on in San Andreas. Both games featured the names from the old titles' cities but the maps had major changes.

What most fans expect to take place is for the series to return to Vice City with its revamped Rage engine. It is unlikely that we will see many differences between that game's engine and this one unless it is released on new hardware we are not yet familiar with.

Other changes expected to take place would involve new activities included into the game. Many fans were disappointed in the most recent release as it didn't open the series up as it should have. Granted, the game was released on outdated hardware that couldn't support all that we ask for such as a larger map and the ability to open any door of any building. These two are features are likely to be seen in the next release supposing that the new hardware will have vastly improved equipment.

What is unlikely to change is the same humor and unnecessary violence that we've all come to know and love. We can expect to meet newer, more controversial characters and new story that will keep us on edge for a few more hours.

Many of us hope that we see a return of the new Grand Theft Auto Online addition. Not only that, we would like to see some changes to it such as better connectivity between players, more options for players, and a better currency system. Certainly not least of all, we would love to see it released at the same time as the actual game with little to no major bugs, which is unlikely as we've seen happen across various consoles and publishers' titles for newly released games.

Speaking of GTA Online, we may see a minor release of this as a stand-alone title. I would say that if Rockstar saw positive, profitable results from this release, we can expect to see some sort of additions or stand-alone title featuring an online (only?) story.

The other changes that we are bound to see, mostly within the engine itself, will be revealed in Rockstar's next games unrelated to the GTA series. Grand Theft Auto V was built using many elements used in the most recent Red Dead Redemption and Max Payne games. Those games, themselves, were built using lots of elements from the GTA IV release. I suspect that Rockstar would like to create an entirely new series separate from these other games that we may see in the upcoming four years (considering that most major GTAs had about four years between them). This game, if released, may also give us some additional insight into what GTA VI will look like.

Depending on the reception GTA V produces over the next year, we will also begin to see how Rockstar takes ideas into consideration for a future release. Some of the beefs people had with this title will be addressed in the next and some of the changes that users enjoyed will more than likely be added into the newer title.

Thinking of the map itself, could it be possible that the newer title will include all previously visited locations or maybe even introduce players to a new one? I say that the latter is doubtful as Rockstar is leaning on nostalgia amongst its current fanbase, most of whom grew up playing in the streets of Liberty City and San Andreas. Vice City is sure to be next just given their previous choices. Including all locations at once may be an idea but highly unlikely due to hardware restraints. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (I assume these will be the consoles the title will be released on) don't seem to have enough power at the moment to handle all of that information. But who knows? Maybe Rockstar will find a way or those two consoles will find ways of adding necessary hardware to emulate the game's massive amount of data. Rockstar could also go the route of adding the additional necessary information on a secondary disc (if discs are to be used at all) or provide gamers with additional hardware which is another unlikely as gamers don't typically like the higher costs.

What sort of things would you like to see in the next GTA release? What kinds of things do you think will be seen by us in this game?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Tips on What's A Fake iOS Jailbreak

Due to some becoming angered that I called out their scam on my blog, I am unable to use real names and speak the truth about which jailbreak "news" websites are fake and spreading false information that takes advantage of users that want to jailbreak their iPhone. Feel free to thank those people for degrading the usefulness of this blog for you.

What I can tell you is how to use assumption based on keywords about what are fake releases and which are real. I can name the websites that supply legitimate information and can be trusted unless they have a problem with what I post.

First tip: only trust trusted news sources. Trusted news sources can include valid Mac/iOS forums such as Macrumors or real developers that have provided the community with proven jailbreaks like that of the Evad3rs Team. The software used to do the most recent public jailbreak was done using evasi0n. You can find out more information from their official website here. Also, you can find their relevant Twitter and other social media links there which are 100% legitimate. I can tell you that there are other websites out there working under the Evad3rs and evasi0n name and most of them are frauds.

To determine which are the true developers, you can tell by the news information posted by them as well as how they operate. Public jailbreak releases are always 100% free with no surveys or any money asked for. Jailbreak developers develop exploits based on donations or simply for free and release their final releases to the public. Reputable sources will share relevant release information about these releases.

Jailbreak teams release more information than just information about their next release. They typically visit conventions and talk about advancements and what Apple is up to. The fake scammers do not typically share this information. They are more focused on releasing fake news and/or fake jailbreak software.

The news articles can be a bit tricky to determine whether or not they are fake. When multiple reputable websites share news about a jailbreak, the news is most likely true. However, don't take the word of just one source even if it's as reputable as the 24 hour news channel.

Be careful of blogs, even mine. It's easy to hack into accounts and share fake information with the public.

We at WIFLI are keeping a close eye on the jailbreaking scene and doing our best to prepare to share the news when it becomes available. However, as I said, don't take one source's word for it either, not even ours. Check multiple sources before trying a jailbreak.

Fake jailbreaks pose several risks to users. Risks can include harming you financially, stealing your valuable time, and possibly destroying your devices. Most of these scammers are more interested in sharing fake information to steal money from you and have no software at all. However, some release malicious software that can destroy your computer and/or iOS device. So, please, do be careful.

Jailbreaking is great and unlocks the true potential of iOS devices but it's easy to be tricked into scams.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

World's Worst Virus?

We have all seen the thrillers where a gang kidnaps someone and asks for money. What we see very little of is people kidnapping non-humans and demanding ransom money.

In the case of the Crypto Locker Virus, it encrypts your valuable data and then requires you to pay ransom money or it all is destroyed in 100 hours.

Most sources say that the ransom money is usually set between $100 to $300; however, some have said that they were required to pay as much as $700 to free their computer.

If your computer happens to be infected with this virus, it is recommended that you visit a repair technician who can fix the problem. The only other alternative is to try and repair your computer yourself, but it could be quite tricky.

To defend yourself from a possible attack, be aware of what e-mails you open and attachments you download. Really, be aware of any software that you download online even if it comes from a seemingly reliable source as scammers are able to camouflage their websites into looking legitimate.

Many sources are saying that these attacks originate from fake Fed-Ex and UPS scam e-mails. I have received a couple of these over the past couple of months but never open them.

It's hard to determine for many what is considered fake and what is considered real in terms of these e-mails. The only really way that I've been able to tell is that my e-mail service provider has a great spam filter that automatically recognizes them as spam. I also have been able to tell which are fake and real because I don't have lots of packages being sent to me. Plus, when I do, I don't give them my e-mail but eBay or Amazon usually send me e-mails or let me view the package's details from their website.

If you do a lot of online shopping and dealings with Fed-Ex, UPS, or any of these other agencies, I would suggest that you create multiple e-mail accounts and dedicate them for each service. Use one e-mail account strictly for packages and another strictly for private use. This will help you differentiate which e-mails are fake and which ones are most likely true.

Also, rather than checking these e-mails, visit the agencies' websites by manually typing in their URL (example: or using a reliable search engine like Google or Yahoo to get to their website. Once there, check your account from there so you don't need to rely on the e-mail that was sent in case it is a fake.

Another way to protect yourself is to use separate computers or devices for your different needs. Instead of using a Windows PC to check your e-mail, use your Android or iPhone. A virus created for Windows will most likely not have the same effect on your iOS or Android device as they are completely different operating systems. Most viruses are created for Windows so it is not wise to use a Windows device for this.

Be careful while browsing the net. This is just one nasty virus out of many.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Instagram to Introduce Ads

Facebook introduced ads into their users' feeds a short while ago. The social network surrounding pictures is trying to do the same.

Users have seen ads all over Facebook on its sides but more recently the site included ads into the feeds as if users' friends were in their own network. Instagram won't be cluttered like many think but included them in the feed as well. The ads will look something like this.

There will be a "sponsored" label above the posts to let you know that the user posting is not a friend of yours.

What are your thoughts on this? Is it something that you think would be beneficial for the network? Would you be willing to pay for an "ad-free" experience, if one were to be introduced?

Monday, October 21, 2013

RE: List of Fake iOS 7 Jailbreak Scammers

Some of you may or may not have noticed, but I recently posted a blog entry regarding websites that I felt, based on many assumptions, were involved in sharing fake jailbreaks to vulnerable users.

A user disagreed with my decision to include one of the websites in the list, presumably because it was his/hers. The user said that they would file a DMCA complaint against us if I did not remove the specified website from my entry. I feel that I have not violated any laws but I agreed because they had requested that I remove the name and that is a policy of ours that I will uphold.

Personally, I did feel as though that specific website was sharing incorrect information but I agreed to remove it because he/she requested it. But then I thought of something before I went to edit the blog post. Rather than doing that, I removed the post entirely.

Truthfully, I shared the websites and Twitter, Facebook, etc. accounts because I felt that they were sharing information about jailbreaks that were unreasonable. Many of these sites (not his/hers, in particular) have had complaints made against them for false statements and unproven jailbreaks.

I think that it is highly unfair that websites are able to share false information with users but I suppose that I should have personally experienced it for myself before sharing information based on assumptions with everyone. I simply wanted to help clear the air with everyone but I have decided that I'll simply create a post to help you as you go through the various links on Google or whatever search engine you use without explicitly naming anyone.

I apologize to anyone who was included in the list and felt they didn't deserve to be there. Some of the links were added because they shared information about jailbreaks that I felt were not valid especially when they came from teams that seemed fraudulent.

This is bound to happen in the business that I am in. People will have issues when I list them in a group that is responsible for causing harm to a specific community. Some of these people will have genuine complaints because they really are not involved and others are simply lying to cover their true intentions. Either way, I'll put forth my best effort to only list names when I have concrete information about an issue.

I won't stop exposing what I believe to be false information but I will make sure that the information that I share is absolute and not based on assumptions.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

[Cheat] Grand Theft Auto V: Xbox 360 & PlayStation 3

Are you terrible at coming from behind people and successfully sticking a knife in their neck? Do you want to improve your sneak skill on Rockstar's latest installment in the Grand Theft Auto series? Well now you can with little to no work from you!

This is a foolproof trick that only requires that you have a rubber band besides your console, controller, and, of course, Grand Theft Auto V game. You don't need to be a hacker, use a computer, USB, or any other nonsense. Here's how it works:

For Xbox 360:
First, you will need to turn on your Xbox 360 console and start GTA V. This will work for both Story or Online mode, whichever you prefer. Launch whichever mode that you want to level up in.

Tip: For online players, it is best to open a match open to only you which can be done by launching a closed match for friends only. You'll see why in a few minutes. For story mode, you can do this without going into any special mode.

Once you've started the game, make sure you go to a big area with little to no trees or other obstructions. Place your player somewhere where he/she can walk for miles without ever running into anything. You could also just start from wherever you are too, you'll just need to be next to your controller a lot more.

Place your rubber band around your thumbstick and pull it upward and around to the back of the controller behind the L trigger. Just like in the pictures below.

Now just click the thumbstick like you would in the game and let him/her walk around and they'll rack up some sneak skill for you without you doing anything!

I would recommend that you sit close by just to make sure your character doesn't walk into traffic or other dangers. You may also have to move them from time to time because if they hit a wall, they'll stop and you won't receive any points. This is why I recommend going somewhere that is as open and deserted as possible.

You can move your character by simply moving with the right thumbstick.

I can personally confirm that this works for Xbox 360 and I'm positive that it'll work even through the various patches Rockstar sends out as it isn't software based.

For PlayStation 3:
First, you will need to turn on your PlayStation 3 console and start GTA V. This will work for both Story or Online mode, whichever you prefer. Launch whichever mode that you want to level up in.

Tip: For online players, it is best to open a match open to only you which can be done by launching a closed match for friends only. You'll see why in a few minutes. For story mode, you can do this without going into any special mode.

Once you've started the game, make sure you go to a big area with little to no trees or other obstructions. Place your player somewhere where he/she can walk for miles without ever running into anything. You could also just start from wherever you are too, you'll just need to be next to your controller a lot more.

Place your rubber band around your thumbstick and pull it upward and around to the back of the controller behind the L2 trigger. Just like in the pictures below.

(I apologize for the sideways picture. Not sure why it keeps doing that nor how to fix it as I didn't take it sideways.)

Now just click the thumbstick like you would in the game and let him/her walk around and they'll rack up some sneak skill for you without you doing anything!

I would recommend that you sit close by just to make sure your character doesn't walk into traffic or other dangers. You may also have to move them from time to time because if they hit a wall, they'll stop and you won't receive any points. This is why I recommend going somewhere that is as open and deserted as possible.

You can move your character by simply moving with the right thumbstick.

I don't have the game for PlayStation 3 so I haven't confirmed that it works but it seems like it would work. If it doesn't work, feel free to let me know.

Update 10/19/2013 @ 7:27 p.m.:
Additionally, you can rubber band both analog sticks together to make the player walk in circles. This will make it so that you don't have to sit there and make sure the player doesn't stop or get hurt.

A friend confirmed this working on Xbox 360.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Stanley Parable PC Review - ?/10

This game is... wow. There aren't really any words to describe it other than genius. Playing this game is an experience in itself. The choices you make are insane and amazing and I had a great time with this. I can't even really review it, other than to tell you that it is amazing and should be bought by anyone who likes psychological horror. Its available on Steam for pretty cheap, and its on a deal right now so the sooner you get it the better.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Possible Game Breaking Bug - Pokemon Y

Saving in Lumiose City and then reloading has caused several problems for people according to the internet. The only fix for this is to completely restart a new game. The bug makes textures not pop in, some art doesn't show up on the screen and at worse the game freezes completely. Best thing to do is NOT save in this town, period. If you have to, do your best to not turn off the game or this problem could occur for you too.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Avoiding Scams on Craigslist

If there's one site that people often visit for local sales, it would be Craigslist.

About two years ago, I was searching for a car and was shocked to see some of the "deals" people on Craigslist had to offer. At the time, this was 2011, there were cars like a 2006 Chrysler 300, fully loaded, going for only $3,000. I was shocked and immediately fooled into falling for the "deal". I came to find out that these were nothing more than scams. After a while, I became alert enough to notice which were scams and which were more legitimate.

Right off the bat, I can tell you that anything that sounds too good to be true over the net is, 99% of the time, too good to be true and you should stay away. The internet is full of crooks and since it isn't really regulated, crooks find all sorts of loopholes that can lure you into a trap that you can never get out of. This is mostly due to international lines and your country not having enough power to handle the situation. It's a much easier process if you live in the United States of America and someone scams you within the United States of America. However, it becomes more difficult to do when you are in the U.S. and the other person is in a country like Romania. This is one of the most common ways that crooks get away with ripping people like you and I off.

How am I able to tell which are scams and which aren't? As I said before, check the price. If there is hardly anything wrong with the vehicle (same goes for most items) and the price is way below what it ought to be, this should tell you to be careful. If someone is selling a near brand new car for next to nothing, this should raise some red flags.

I was able to further determine which were scams because of what the person would say. Normally if you are interested in an item on Craigslist, you e-mail the seller and tell them that you are interested and usually ask for more information on the item. In this case, a car, you would ask questions like how much mileage does it have, what does the interior look like, etc. Again, if everything is in perfect condition yet the price is really low, watch out. The other red flag is when someone tells you that the item is in another area and they'll need to ship it for you.

The first red flag should be if the person says that they will handle shipping costs especially if the price is dirt cheap. Not only should this raise a red flag that the person doesn't actually have a car but it should also worry you as, if they do have the car, it could be stolen.

The last time I fell for one of these scams, I decided to run with the scammer. I wouldn't recommend doing this; instead, I think that you should run from the person if you realize they are a scam. Talking to them more can put you in further risk than if you just walked away.

Nevertheless, the "woman" told me that she was selling her brand new car for such a cheap price because her son had died in Afghanistan as a U.S. soldier. This raised the first red flag for me, but I sent her condolences just in case it wasn't a scam. The person continued and said that the car was located in Minnesota but they would be willing to have it shipped to me. This raise the second red flag for me. I decided to play around and tell the person that I actually had friends and family that live in Minnesota who could pick up the car for me and there would be no need for any shipping costs on their part. The person got a bit clever and made up some B.S. about the car being stuck in an impound lot and they wouldn't be able to let anyone inside to get the car. This was the final red flag that confirmed my suspicions that they were lying all along.

So how does the scam work? Well, it's quite easy. The biggest red flag that should get you is when they ask for payment. If they ask to deal with you using Western Union, forget it. It's 99% of the time a scam. Craigslist understands this and has also posted multiple warnings all over their page regarding this. Recently, people have also been willing to use PayPal. I can attest that PayPal is a safe method for transactions but only over eBay. I would not recommend to use it for anything else as there is no record so it's harder to trace where money is going and why. eBay owns PayPal so getting information about sellers, buyers, and additional information in transactions is no problem for the company. However, when it comes to the case of Craigslist, PayPal has no information about your transaction and probably very little on the seller. Also, PayPal doesn't have records of you ever contacting the person and what is detailed where eBay does have this information.

The only way you should make payment is with cash and in person when dealing with someone over Craigslist. Not only that, stay away from any offers to have the item shipped to you or from you. It's not worth the risk.

The best way to ensure that you are most safe while using Craigslist is to follow these simple guidelines:
1. Do not deal with someone if they offer to ship the item to you.
2. Do not deal with someone if they ask if you can ship to them.
3. Deal with cash if you possibly can whether that be being a seller or a buyer. As a buyer, checks may be okay as you could cancel the check if something goes wrong, but it's best to stick to using cash if it all possible.
4. Meet with the person in person.
5. When handing the cash or receiving the cash, have the item with you if it all possible.
6. Make sure to check the item to ensure that it is 100% legitimate. If it's a car, try to test drive it or at least sit in it before making the purchase. Also, check the VIN number to make sure the car is not stolen or salvaged. If it's another item, check to make sure that it's the real deal and not a fake.
7. Bring someone with you and meet in a public place during daylight hours. Besides protecting your assets and finances, make sure you protect your life from harm.
8. If you are very sure that something is a scam, don't deal with the person anymore than you already have. If necessary, contact the police for additional help.

These are things that I had to learn while using Craigslist. It can be a great tool in helping people in the community meet and make local transactions, but it can also be very dangerous in many ways. It's best to be as safe as you can.

Does Hulu / Netflix Have [insert show/movie name]?

I get a lot of referrals to the blog from Google of people searching for, "Is Sons of Anarchy on Hulu?" as well as other searches related to this. To answer this question, the short answer is that, currently, Hulu nor Hulu Plus carry full episodes of FX's series, Sons of Anarchy. However, Netflix does carry seasons 1-4.

If you would like to find out if Hulu or Netflix carry a certain movie or television show, you can always visit their website to find out for yourself. As is my understanding, both websites allow non-paying users to view which movies and television shows are available to them through a browsing menu. I know for a fact that Hulu does as it will allow you to "see" what is on Hulu and it's premium service, Hulu Plus, by displaying a message that says that you have to be subscribed to the service. I am almost positive that Netflix does the same.

If you are still unsure, you can always ask a friend or family member who does subscribe to these services. Chances are high nowadays that someone close to you has a subscription to one of these two services and can not only tell you if they are available but also what seasons are available to you to view.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

How to Have A Successful Blog

Lately, it seems that more and more people want to establish themselves online. Many people are realizing how great it is to have an online blog to share their personal feelings and for some it's also to earn some money. But the key to it is to have a successful blog.

By the looks of this blog, we are not very popular, but that's because us as authors don't put enough money and time into our blog as we ought to. Also, we don't mind the smallness of the blog as it is. But if you keep the tips below in mind, you will find lots of success with less effort than if you went at it alone.

1. Pick a topic. Find a topic or genre to discuss.

2. Do not make your blog random or allow the posts to be irrelevant to one another. In doing so, you eliminate the chances of creating followers who check your blog each day to see what new entry you post. For example, you shouldn't create a blog post one day about fixing cars and the next entry be about how porn is tearing apart this country. Allowing your blog to be random is nice if you want to create it for diary purposes or just to get a few quick views, but if you want to be successful, I would definitely not recommend writing random posts.

3. Pick a topic that is popular. Also, make sure that it is not trendy as in for the moment. Make sure that your blog doesn't surround something that's temporary such as a popstar like Justin Bieber. Unfortunately, he is most likely going to be a fad. Of course, you have the potential to have success for a while, but in due time, when his fame runs out, your viewers will be less and less. Rarely can this be successful for a long run for a few such as if you are discussing someone as popular as Michael Jackson who may be popular for many years even after death.

4. Pick a topic that you are familiar or want to be familiar with. If you enjoy video games, focus on that area. However, just because makeup is popular, that doesn't mean that you should focus your blog on it if you never wear makeup. For me, as a guy who doesn't wear makeup, I would not be able to discuss the important pieces of makeup as well as a woman who wears it could. If you do not play video games but maybe you'd like to start, this is fine. Just be sure that it is something that you will be interested in for many years to ensure that your success is not temporary. Video games are a good area because they are played by many genders, ages, nationalities, etc. The chances of it dying out as a fad or someone growing out of it are little to none.

5. Make the best effort to keep your word at all costs. If you say that you will return to finish a blog entry, make sure that you finish. Your readers will not find you to be reliable if you do not keep your word such as if you did a review in 2009 and never updated it as you had promised. Also, if your blog is to have a new post every Thursday, make sure that you update it every Thursday even if it is to just say that you can't update it for the day.

6. Do research. If your blog focuses on makeup, make sure that you do more than just wear the makeup. If your blog focuses on video games, make sure you do more than play video games. Get online or visit stores for news. News articles on topics can help you make fillers. Rather than your blog focusing on reviews, you can also discuss new innovations and inventions in your specific area.

7. Make sure your information is from credible sources. And if your information is hearsay, make sure to cite where you got it from to ensure that you are not the one who will be blamed for giving false information. Better yet, make sure your information comes from a good source like a trusted news agency or from a trusted website that has been around for years and is visited by lots of people such as CNET.

8. Try not to focus on one specific area. For example, do not focus only on Mario video games. While there are many Mario games within the franchise, you eliminate many potential readers. However, if this is the area that you choose because you are passionate about it, you do have the potential of not becoming popular among many but among a few and these few will be more likely to be die-hard fans of yours. For me on WIFLI, I try to focus on technology in all areas possible which has helped me receive lots of readers. However, as I said in point #2, it has become a problem as I do not have many readers who come here for WIFLI but for one specific post. For example, I receive readers for one specific post because that's what they're interested in. The rest of my blog doesn't appear to be appealing to their specific taste.

9. Decide whether you want to be commentary or an unbiased source for news. You can have both but it is reserved for more respected and established blogs than it is for others. For beginners, it is more difficult to do as it confuses new readers to determine which posts are your personal opinion and which are unbiased fact. If you do go this route, make sure that you have a way of clearly differentiating between the two on your site such as having two separate areas that are clearly marked as being commentary and another strictly for news.

10. Choose your design wisely. Make your blog, aesthetically, appealing to readers. Refrain from colors or designs that may offend or detract others from wanting to view your blog. Avoid from using images that may offend any reader, including readers that you may disagree with. Remember, if you want to be popular, this means setting aside your personal opinions to gain the attention of others including those you may disagree with in other areas. If you are a Republican, avoid using images and words that may offend Democrats and vice-versa.

11. Avoid from using profanity and other derogatory words if you can. Quotes that include profanity are not as dangerous as if you, the author, use words frowned upon in the workplace. You must remember, as I said before in point #9 that your viewers will share different views than you do. There are still very many people in the world who do not use profanity and may be offended when reading your blog.

This brings me to a point #11 1/2. Treat your blog as you would your workplace. If you worked as a bank teller or at a drive-thru for a fast food restaurant, would you use extreme profanity when guests arrive? You probably wouldn't if you wanted to keep your job.

Anything that goes against common sense for the workplace are the same ethics you ought to use for your blog.

12. Know your fanbase. Part of having a successful beginning is being like those you write for. If you have no connection at all to your readers, then you are less likely to succeed.

13. Utilize social media. A great way to share your blog is through social media. Using outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others can be beneficial to you as it helps generate new readers with very little work on your part. Using social media isn't necessarily creating your own fan pages either. You can use these to your benefit through just sharing posts with your friends and family that follow your posts on these networks. Your best way to start off is to have your friends and family supporting you. In doing so, they tell their friends and family who tell theirs and so on and so forth. You can share pictures of your blog, funny posts, posts in general, and more with friends and family for them to check out.

14. Use more than text. For a tutorial, such as this, text isn't always appealing to readers. You must do more to reach out. Google and other search engines use more than text searches. They also have picture and video searches too. Be sure to include as many pictures and videos as you possibly can to increase readership. This will not only help when readers search for pictures and videos but also it becomes more engaging for the reader. Reading text for hours upon hours can be boring and tiring for anyone as you may have noticed from reading this entry of mine.

15. Have fun and enjoy yourself. If you don't enjoy what you write, you will not be successful. That positive energy that you emit, channels through your writing to your readers. If you don't like what you write, the chances of others liking it too are very slim.

I'm not saying that if you follow all of these tips that you will have a multi-billion dollar company by the end of the year nor am I saying that success if guaranteed. But, these are some valuable tips that I've found while blogging these past couple of years. I've seen steady increases as I've made these changes.

So let me know how they work out for you. And if you have any tips or things that you'd like to add, feel free to do so in the comments below. Also, don't feel shy; you have my permission to share your blog on this post to help gain some new readers.

Good luck!

GTA Online Stimulus Package

It's no secret that Rockstar's new online service, Grand Theft Auto Online, has been experiencing some issues and major glitches. Rockstar has admitted that these glitches do exist and has promised to help correct the issues very soon. Many players are experiencing issues as bad as characters going missing which means that all of their hard-earned money and experience is all lost and cannot be retrieved, others are seeing glitches within the game such as invisibility for certain players, and others are having issues connecting to Rockstar's cloud service.

To make up for this, Rockstar has been kind enough to give players, what they call, a Stimulus Package. You can read more from their official blog the Rockstar Newswire by clicking here.

According to the blog, players will receive $500,000 in the upcoming weeks. As Rockstar has said, there are a few things that players must remember.

You will not automatically receive this money the next time you log on. Rockstar is setting up dates for when they will release this money to the public. On the blog, Rockstar says that this will happen sometime after a fix is made for the bugs.

Players will not receive one large lump sum of $500,000 either. Instead, Rockstar has said that they will do two separate Stimuluses of $250,000 so that players don't screw too much with the local economy within the game.

There are some requirements as well. Of course, you will need to own a legitimate copy of Grand Theft Auto V (or a downloaded copy) and have played online within the month of October 2013.

So to anyone who doesn't have the game, I suggest you get a copy right now before this special offer goes away.

Rockstar says that the patch should be released sometime by the end of this week, that being the week of October 13, 2013.

There is still no official word on a PC version at this time from Rockstar reps. However, many have speculated, based on previous GTA releases, that a PC port will be arriving sometime in April or May 2014. There is no official word from Rockstar as to whether PC players will receive this Stimulus Package either. It's doubtful as this seems like something designed for players who have been experiencing issues. The PC version will be less likely to experience these same issues when it is released.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Wolf Among Us Episode One: Faith PC Review - 9/10

The Wolf Among Us is basically a comic book that was turned into a game. The comic called "Fables" focuses on the fairy tales we all grew up with or are familiar with and throws them into our world. They are forced to conceal their identities to blend in with humanity which offers up some unique looking artwork and story telling. I haven't actually read the comics but they seem interesting enough to garner my attention. TellTale games takes this and turns it into a game not unlike their critically acclaimed game "The Walking Dead".

The Good:
I've said it once and I'll say it again: amazing graphics are boring. If you give a unique look you both make the game easier to play (performance wise) while giving a unique look to it. It has the same graphic style as The Walking Dead (cell shading I believe) and it fits perfectly considering this is adapted from a comic book series.
The voice acting is superb and this comes from a guy who doesn't normally talk about voice acting unless its bad. Every character sounds spot on and fits what I would think based on appearances would they sound like.
The character models look fantastic (yes I am saying that seriously). Its weird that I find it oddly nice that every human as well as inhuman character looks how their species would move should they exist. Add that to fantastic voice casting and you've got immersion on a deep level.
I do like the detective aspect. In The Walking Dead, it felt off to me. Why did I have to move my mouse/cursor over just to pick something up instead of walking over to it and pressing 'action'? Here it shines nicely. Picking up items as well as talking to people works very well. Since I was using a controller, I had about four options max when hovering over something. Objects usually have a pick up and examine button (Y and A), while talking has a few (X for talking, Action for perhaps touching). After a few minutes, I stopped seeing buttons and rather recognized the symbol for what I wanted and liked the added bonus they were colored like my buttons so it was easy to recognize when I didn't have time to look and see what the button did.
Most problems people have when adapting something is whether or not to include something. Things like back story, setting or even the characters all work differently in books, as well as comics, because they can do that at their leisure. Other times its adding too much is a problem. Seeing as how a great deal of fans from the original work will probably come in, the little tid bits may just be a boring droll to them. Here, its played out by ear. Its never fully put forth that these are fairy tales immediately off but brings about the knowledge of the world through a non contrived conversation, making it easy for people to get it early off to not alienate the newbies, while still catering to the veterans who already know this stuff and to avoid a cut scene or needless chatter they already know. Its strange that some people don't get this and understandable when other simply can't do it right. For me, I think its perfect here.

The Bad:
This is more of a personal thing for me. I really don't like getting a fifth of a game. I'd like to be able to play it at my leisure. Its not horrible, but I'm a pretty impatient guy so I can't really wait for things.

We won't know the full scope of how good this game is. Since this is one out of five episodes, the whole must be looked at. Whether or not your decisions carried over properly or even in coherent or interesting ways, whether or not the next episodes are worth your time. Personally, by what I've seen here, they are definitely worth my time and I'll enjoy the settings, characters and unique style it puts forth.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Debunking the Myth of Violent Video Games

There's this common misconception that violent video games cause violent behaviors among people. This is as true as it is with movies. Violent movies have been around since, well, since the beginning of movies yet not too many people make this same assumption about movies and violence as they do with video games. In their defense, I think it stems from simulation and control within games versus a controlled simulation with movies.

Nevertheless, I want to help in the research that would clear up the confusion.

A guy on YouTube that I follow, named MinnesotaBurns, tackles the very same points that I have been making in the video below.

For anyone familiar with my blog, you know that I enjoy playing lots of different video games both violent and non-violent games. Yes, it is true that a majority of the ones that I enjoy are probably violent, but I still enjoy a few that aren't as or have no violence at all such as racing games, Minecraft-like games, Lego games, and more.

With each release of Grand Theft Auto, there are always people in the media who will attack it for what it is. There are people who will commit crimes, like during GTA IV's launch, and then blame their actions on the game and its publisher, Rockstar. Then there are people who blame the games for violent behavior in their children.

First off, let me say this. In the first 3 days of GTA V's release, Rockstar reportedly made over a $1 billion dollars in sales off of that title alone. Each game costs around $60 so divide 60 into 1 billion and you come up with a 16,666,666.66666667. The game has been out over two weeks now. Have 16,666,666 violent crimes been committed since its release? Not hardly.

What I will say is, is that I do believe there was an increase in violent crime during this time. Why? Well I do believe that it has an impact on young, developing minds, and those who do not have fully developed minds that can understand everything that occurs within the games.

As a younger child, I did play some of the earlier GTA titles. In my adult years, I played those same games again with little to no changes in the games except things like a graphic improve or a different console, etc. When I played those games now, I was surprised at what I saw. I didn't remember the same discussions and scenarios as when I was younger. This is because I didn't understand what all of the lingo such as what a blowjob was or what wacking someone was.

It is possible for children to pick up on these meanings if they are exposed to the media for long periods of time. I didn't. I played these games in secret because my parents didn't want me playing them so I didn't spend hours upon hours on them. For children that do, parents should be cautious as it can encourage some behaviors in their developing personality. It is every parent's job to monitor their own children. It is not the responsibility of GameStop, Rockstar, the government, ESRB, or anyone else but you as the parent. It is your responsibility to sit and watch what your kids play. If you agree with it, fine, that's your right to do so. If you don't, it is your right to remove that game from your child's life and no one should have a say in either situation.

With that said, I do believe that GTA deserves the mature rating that it is given to warn parents that this is not a game suitable for most children.

I work with developmentally disabled adults and many of them know that I enjoy playing video games. I sometimes even bring my PlayStation Vita or Nintendo 3DS to work and play on my breaks. A few of the people I work with came to me and talked to me about the new Call of Duty game coming this year as well as Grand Theft Auto V. I was careful about what I said as many of these people have violent behaviors as it is. Introducing them to a game like GTA may make things worse as they wouldn't understand that many of these behaviors exhibited in GTA are not acceptable behaviors to display in public.

With that said, I think that many of their parents, care-providers, and others they live with ought to be aware of what they play and watch. Most are. I know of one person in particular who isn't allowed to watch anything with action in it because then he gets under the impression that he too is an action star.

But should games and movies be banned for everyone just because a select few can't differentiate between reality and fiction? I don't think so. The majority of those 166 million understand the difference between reality and fiction. They know that stealing, killing, and other acts are not socially accepted in the real world. They understand the consequences that come with their actions. They understand that there are huge differences between the game and reality such as not being able to respawn after death.

Throughout time, there has always been death, violence, and an inconsiderate behavior for others and there always will be regardless what we ban and what we don't ban. Countries like Australia provide a great example. The country has banned many games yet violence still occurs.

There are other factors to also consider. The rise in crime around the time of a GTA release may be for different reasons. In Psychology, we are taught that correlation does not always imply causation. The crime surrounding GTA's release could be crimes involving people fighting over actual GTA copies or fighting in lines. It could be the season in which GTA was released. Maybe Fall is a season where crime occurs more because of the weather. Maybe something happened that upset people so they riot. It could be lots of different things and we will never know for sure what the real reasons are for a rise in crime, if one exists, surrounding the release of a game.

Rockstar, GTA's publisher, actually doesn't care what people think. In the early years of Grand Theft Auto, Rockstar actually paid people to protest the game to gain negative publicity.

The more you complain about the game, the more people will be ought to buy it. If you don't like it, don't play it. And if you don't want others to play it, don't talk about it.

I think MinnesotaBurns made a good point too. These games probably decrease violence and crime too. How can anyone of us actually commit crimes when we're too busy being glued to the television for hours upon hours?

NSA Targets Tor

Tor has been an excellent way to be online with little to no fear of spying by others.

What Tor is exactly is what it stands for. The Onion Router. It is named after an onion and uses an onion for its logo because it has layers like an onion.

Tor is a network that connects users to the internet via others. You can notice that some websites are able to determine your location such as search engines like Bing and news and weather websites that tell you relevant news to your location. However, for some, this can be troubling. Not so much because you can get relevant information but because some websites may use your information maliciously or maybe you just want to stay hidden from anyone and everyone.

Tor uses a network that connects one user to another. If you visit a website for weather while using Tor, you may notice that the website may say that you're from Bermuda rather than New York. This is because Tor connected you to a user from Bermuda. But if someone were to try and find this user, they would find out that it is not that user but another user. You may think that after they dig deep enough, they'll find out that you're from New York. Not necessarily. Just like onions having layers, Tor uses layers as well. The more they dig, the more users they have to search through. The next user may be from Idaho, and the next may be from Russia, and so on and so forth. It can take a while before they finally reach you; that is, if they ever do.

Tor is a project that has been funded by the government in many different sectors. The military utilizes this technology and even the NSA, National Security Administration, has put money into the network. But since Edward Snowden's recent leak, we have come to find out that the NSA has been trying to tap into the network and discover more information on its users.

This has come to be bad news for many who use the service but there is a brighter side of it. Some of the leaked information also suggests that the NSA has not been successful in cracking the network.

While that may come as good news for users, it still isn't great because it still means that the NSA is trying to break into it and may, one day, be successful and the anonymity will be gone.

My GTA Online Experience

Okay so... wow. This is... wow.
GTA V is a really great game and I have little to no (major) problems with it. I haven't been an MMO player for some time but I know that always online games will screw up indefinitely at least once for everyone. I did not expect this to screw up for everyone... all the time. I actually waited anticipating this would happen (that and I was broke and without a LIVE account but I digress!) so I waited until today to actually play it. Where to start? Well, immediately I was kicked out "By other players" apparently. When the game did finally get working my screen was constantly barraged with help hints and the like... which I can deal with. I've never been a fan of online shooters, mostly because everyone else is better than me and kills me quite easily and quickly so I stayed away from the team death match and generally anything dealing with other players.
The point where it all went to shit was when this random guy ran at me so I killed him thinking, "Hey, kill or be killed." My car was then (somehow) smashed up by this SUV and flipped over (spawned like that). After that, every single player, car, civilian and even cop was gone from the world. The only thing left was the store clerks but they wouldn't hand out their money.
Things that work? My character worked fine for the most part. Apart from massive texture pop ins at the beginning, the game works fine. While I was playing other players seemed sluggish and cutting like most MMOs so that was pretty normal. All in all, when the game's major bugs are ironed out, it will be fairly playable. That is also considering you have a decent internet connection too.
Tips on how to make the best of it? Play alone. Most of the problems occurred when others were near. And major problems via gameplay wise, not personal feelings or whatever. Hold up liquor stores to get cash and run away from the cops successfully. This will get you money (robbing) and experience (evasion of police). Killing gang members also gets you experience. I found one of the missions working on repo-ing was in a Ballas territory, so I just replayed it a few times and came out with a nice bit of cash, xp and an Uzi.
The character creation is just... well its stupid. Let's be honest with ourselves, I don't think I've ever played a game with so little options. But then again, I really don't care. I've been fine with each GTA character not looking like me, so even though I'm a black guy I wasn't mad my character turned out looking Latino.
My last advice is when the game crashes, immediately get out (like save and close online). Rockstar seems to be doing their best to get the game to a working condition. The best thing you can do is let them do their jobs. Not saying you shouldn't play it, rather saying the best thing to do is make sure you're not interfering with their work. This will give you ample time to try and reach that oh-so coveted 100% rating you may not have gotten in single player yet. Also don't kill other players. Its kind of a dick move and all.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

[Review] AVG Virus Removal

There are some seriously sick people on the web these days that will do anything for money even if it's a small sum and they have to destroy innocent people's possessions in the process. Some of these people are those who create viruses with the intention to trick people into initiating a fake virus protection software that really shields your computer from using anything that would really rid it of the real virus.

Among friends, family, and co-workers, I have gained a reputation for being in touch with electronics so much so that people have begun to come to me for their computer problems. When people ask me about how they can protect themselves from viruses, I always recommend one piece of software and that comes from the folks at AVG for their amazing products that do work.

A few years ago, I searched high and low online for a good anti-virus software that could match my budget. My budget at the time was anything that didn't cost any money. I stayed away from any websites that offered programs for limited time free trials as these wouldn't be reliable. It was at this time that I came across AVG Free Antivirus software.

AVG's free antivirus software has been something that I have installed on every single one of my machines since first getting it. In my former days of downloading software that was known to have viruses such as the infamous Trojan virus, AVG still kept my computer running smoothly. When I would download one of these files with a virus in it, AVG would alert me that there was a virus being downloaded to my computer. It would then give me a few options as to what I'd like to do such as deleting the file or even moving the file to a virus vault where it wouldn't be allowed to harm other pieces of my computer. Needless to say, AVG has done a stupendous job of protecting my computer. And it all came at a price of nothing to me.

Everyone always asks me how AVG can provide software like this for free. Well, AVG provides one piece of software for free as it will encourage users to purchase other products and increase the services they already receive. AVG free antivirus is simply a free antivirus software and doesn't do much else except find the viruses and help you remove them. AVG provides other services at a price such as scanning e-mails and providing a better firewall than the one that Microsoft provides standard to Windows PCs.

One of my co-workers asked me to look at her desktop a few weeks ago and I finally was able to get around to it tonight. Her mother's computer was heavily infected with not just one, but multiple Trojan viruses that were mimicking real antivirus software and tricking the user into thinking that other software was damaging the computer. It was the same procedure as a previous virus I had seen on another computer where the virus wouldn't allow any .exe files to run.

.exe files are extensions for Windows programs that are necessary in running them. Just about every program that runs on Windows has a .exe behind its name. Macintosh and Linux have different extensions for their programs as well. This particular Trojan identified any .exe files that would open and immediately shut them down, claiming that the file was "infected" with a Trojan. The only way to fix the issue would be to buy the full version of their software. What gave away their scam was that they also required a payment to shut down the program. Any program on Windows can be properly shut down with the click of a button unless it was designed like this malicious program was to stay open permanently. This virus got so bad that not even Ctrl+Alt+Del would work. Bringing up the Task Manager would immediately be shut down.

On a previous computer, I was able to get into Safe Mode (on startup, click F8 during and after the BIOS screen) and successfully remove the virus. This virus was a bit tricky as it still had some control in Safe Mode and Safe Mode wouldn't allow me to do the same thing as before.

What ended up happening was that I decided that I would try and install AVG on a USB then plug it into the computer and run it this way. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that AVG can work this way. But, AVG does have software that will run on a Windows based computer and find any infections in the hard drive and remove them.

This program is called AVG Rescue CD. As I understand, this software is actually an operating system of some sort built on Linux. You can download it and extract it into a USB. Once it has been extracted, you can plug it into the computer's USB port, start the computer and while it starts go into System Settings in the BIOS and run the USB. This is where you will be able to run a scan and find any infections in the hard disks and heal or remove them. This way worked 100% as the virus has no way of manipulating the OS because it wasn't designed to do so.

The virus is now gone and back to its original state. When I deliver the computer tomorrow, I will be sure to advise my co-worker to get AVG to prevent this from happening again.

Time and time again, AVG has proved to be a great company that has helped me in my various virus troubles. Their software has never failed me and always found a way to fix my problems.

With that said, I highly recommend their software to anyone and everyone who wants to protect or fix their computer from a virus. I'd say that a company like this is deserving of my or anyone else's money. If you're a new user, try them for yourself for free to see how great they are and decide for yourself!

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