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Saturday, December 28, 2013

New Bing Rewards!

It's about time but now Bing has some much better awards than they've had before.

Check out the page now!



Some of the rewards include an IHOP gift card, GameStop gift card, Burger King, Sephora, and much much more.

Most of the gift cards are for $5; however, there seems to be no limit as to how many you can get. I currently have over 1000 points and each $5 gift card is about 475 for gold members so I can get around $10 in free stuff for just using a search engine that I would've used anyway. It may not be enough for an entire meal at a place like IHOP, but it could feed two at Burger King from their dollar menu.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Got Jailbreak Questions?

There are many great places to go for help with jailbreaks on the web, the best being forums. I enjoy helping others on forums, been a long-time user at ones like XDA and AndroidForums for Android (asked lots of questions but tried to help when I could), but there are different ones for iDevices too.

@pod2g on Twitter is one of the developers on the evad3rs team, most known for its iOS 6 and 7 jailbreak exploit releases and has been receiving quite a few questions. He recommended that users check out this webpage instead:

The webpage's full address is http://www.jailbreakqa.com/

I always try to be available for people who come to this blog for help as I know how it is to feel helpless, but this is great for additional help.

[Noted Jailbreak Tweak] iCaughtU

(iGotYa is a similar app, according to users)
It's a no-brainer that a large majority of smart phones in America are some model of iPhone and that many of those are stolen by thieves. It's a pain to have your phone stolen and not returned. Sure, most insurance covers theft now, but why waste money, lose out on a phone for a while, and know that some thief got away clean? Now, a new sort of app can help protect your precious iPhone.

iCaughtU has been around for a while and actually has some testimonies of people that have successfully "found" their phone.

Yes, Apple has Find iPhone that helps users lock, locate, and find a lost iPhone, but what good is that if it's stolen and the thief gets away clean without ever getting caught? And what if your phone's not stolen? What if a snoopy girlfriend or boyfriend is trying to look into your phone without permission or maybe someone else is? Wouldn't you want to know? iCaughtU helps solve these problems.

Most of us have password locks on our phones to keep people out, but sometimes that's just not enough. Sometimes people want to try and guess your code and this is where iCaughtU comes in.

When someone puts in the wrong code, iCaughtU uses your front camera, takes a picture of what's there, and sends it to you e-mail address instantly. iCaughtU can also send the location where the photo was taken and the time when this happened.

Some people have said that all someone has to do is turn off the iPhone and this wouldn't work. That's kind of hard to do as iCaughtU prevents anyone from shutting off the iPhone while its locked.

Some concerns may be that you sometimes put in the wrong code or maybe thieves won't try to unlock a phone if they find it. Well, really, how many times have you found a phone and just put it in your pocket without ever trying to see if it works? If not at that moment, you might pull it out later and try to unlock it and when the code pops up, you'll try putting in something like 1234 just to see if it works. The app also has a setting that allows you to set a number of attempts before it takes a picture.

The app is offered on Cydia for free but there's also a pro version with additional features for $2.50.

Some issues? Well, for one, it doesn't currently work for iOS 7 properly. You can download it, but it will terribly screw up your phone. I needed to restore my phone because it was so bad. Considering the lock screen is the first to pop up, it's understandable. Give it some time and it or others like iGotYa should be compatible soon.

What do you think of the app? Have you tried it? Does it work? Any other issues or comments you'd like to make? From the many comments that I've seen, it seems to be a good app that has worked. Many people have said that the police have caught the thief using the picture taken and retrieved the iPhone successfully.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

[Noted Jailbreak Tweak] Intro

My [iOS App of the Week] seems to be pretty popular amongst viewers and I'd like to branch out and do a similar series with jailbroken apps and tweaks which I'll call [Noted Jailbreak Tweak]. Expect to see them every now and then as I come across them. Most, if not all, will be available and compatible with iOS 7 jailbreak unless stated otherwise.

I'd like to list the cons as well as the pros as every app and tweak seems to have both. Most cons will just detail what sort of effects they have like crashing.

Stay tuned!

[FREE STUFF!] 12 Days of Gifts iOS App

Most of my readers enjoy free things and will enjoy this next free thing for their iOS devices. For this, it seems like there is no getting around it-you will need to download the app and actually run it. You can download it through iTunes on your computer, but you need an iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone to actually get the gifts.

You'll need
-iOS device
-Apple account
-internet access
to get to enjoy these free gifts.

Many of you have probably even passed up on the app, but here's a link to it if you want to download it.

Apple has promised to give a free gift every day for 12 days. These gifts range from music to apps to movies...anything that is available on the iTunes store.

Open it on December 16th and everyday thereafter for 12 days to see what gifts are available to you.

Apple has noted that gifts may vary based on location. Knowing that lots of people travel over this holiday season, this is likely to affect many users. Your gift may come at a different time or be completely different than a friend's because of where you are.

But hurry and get these gifts while they're available!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Backup Often

It's true for any device or electronic, but make sure to backup often.

With the recent jailbreak release for iOS 7 devices, there hasn't been a whole lot of compatibility for those of us who upgraded and are now jailbroken. Take my advice and be careful what you download from Cydia and make sure to have an iTunes backup handy in case anything goes wrong.

My phone got stuck tonight after downloading an incompatible app and refused to let me open Cydia, run my phone normally, and even jacked up some other stuff. I won't blame the developers as it's not their fault; if anything, it's mine for not being more careful.

Luckily, I have a recent backup to use and was able to get the iPhone in recovery mode. (To do so, hold down the power + home button until the Apple logo appears then let go of the power while still holding the home to enter recovery.)

To be careful, only install apps and tweaks that you are 100% sure are compatible with both your version of iOS and your device (whether it be an iPhone 5 or 5S, iPad, iPod Touch, etc.). Only use sources that you are sure are reliable and safe. Ones that contain illegal and/or questionable content usually pose a higher risk of containing apps and tweaks that can harm your iDevice.

For us brand new iOS 7 jailbreakers, we should be cautious about apps (more so about tweaks) that drastically affect the system. iOS 7 is a brand new OS that contains new changes and additions never before seen. Therefore, while it may have been safer before, it's not as safe now as some of the system files may have been moved. An app may try to contact one file location and run into issues and then completely freeze up like it did for me tonight.

Installing apps like a Flashlight don't pose as much of a risk as much as something that changes how you unlock and lock the phone can. Be mindful when downloading and running these programs.

For brand new beginners who are not familiar with jailbreaks: it's best if you give the community a few days or even weeks to settle in with iOS 7. Until then, keep your jailbreak status, do not update if any new updates come (unless the community says that they are compatible with jailbreak), and wait patiently for news on what's compatible and what's not.

Blade Symphony - PC Quick Look

Hey! Merry (almost) Christmas... unless I screwed up in editing. Well I thought I should treat myself to a game after a long day of shopping with a Christmas present of my own. Seeing as how the Steam sale is going on right now, what a better present than a game significantly marked off. I saw this game and it looked really really good. And since I saw it was a sword fighting game well... I just couldn't help myself. This won't be an official review since the game is still being made (or at least it looks like that from its Steam page). So I can't be overly harsh or praising of this for now.

The Good:
This game looks really good. I mean like reaaaally good. Like triple A game good. Suffice it to say you won't realize the full scope unless you check it out.
Weirdly enough, this game is a sword fighting game. But the perspective isn't from a classic 2D or even 2.5D stand point. Its actually third person. Like in the Batman Arkham games. This is pretty good and unique seeing as how most fighting games go for the latter. Its an interesting perspective I'll talk about a little later. What makes this shine is how you and your opponent have different fighting styles from which you can choose from on the fly and seeing their different styles can help you counter them. Simple things like grabs and blocks also are in this so I'm kind of excited to see how they'll play out in a real combat situation. The styles vary from the simple light, medium and strong which all play out differently for the four different characters they have. Each character has their own unique style for the stance and moves differently than the others. The different weapons you are given also do have different styles, however, all I've found was about two: parrying and blocking. Apparently they have different damages as well, but the details are kind of taxing to read in the sense that its a jumble of letters. Still, I can see a few things easily. Basically its just a change between two like before.

The Bad:
As far as I've seen, all this game has is a simple tutorial and online fighting mode. While decent, this goes to bad considering I can't find a single person online to fight with. I tried fighting a bot but for some reason it just wouldn't work. Might be doing something wrong. I'll try to work it out later.
There's not a lot of explanation... like little to none at all. I need these things called notes to unlock new masks for my characters and more weapons but it doesn't say how to get them. I presume fighting matches... but as I've said before, no one seems to be online and I can't get to fight any bots at the moment so I guess I'll just have to wait.

The Meh:
Apparently there's all of one achievements. Normally I'd see this as a chance to finally be a completionist but that achievement is for winning a match. Its a minor problem that I wouldn't care if fixed. Basically: whatever, do what you will.

Not a terrible buy for about less than eight bucks. Normally its fifteen so if you think you like what you've seen here, give it a look.

Monday, December 23, 2013

What is Jailbreak (root)?

This entry is written for educational purposes. We, at Whenever I Feel Like It, are in no way responsible for anything that can and may occur to your phone. By continuing to read this entry, you agree to not hold us liable for anything that may or may not occur to your device.

With all the excitement today (yesterday), I'm sure there are some iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad users who are unsure what exactly a jailbreak is.

A little lesson in correct terminology:
Jailbreaking refers to iOS devices in the mobile community (also to PlayStation devices)
Rooting refers to Android devices in the mobile community

Both rooting and jailbreaking are essentially the same thing.

Legality
For starters, some may be unsure, but jailbreaking and rooting your mobile device is currently legal in the United States. However, unlocking any phone from one carrier to put on another without the carrier's permission is currently illegal. Apple has always been against users jailbreaking their devices while Google has been a bit more lenient and has left it mostly to the manufacturers (Samsung, HTC, etc.) who each have different opinions on their consumers rooting their products.

With this in mind, remember to never bring your jailbroken or rooted device into an official Apple Store, carrier store (Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile, etc.), or any of these places for repair. Most, if not all, of these companies will void your warranty with them for hacking your device.

Explanation
In basic terms, jailbreaking and rooting eliminate the security initially put onto your phone, putting you in complete control.

Think of it this way: on your Windows computer, you have Administrator and Guest accounts. Most people know that Guest accounts don't have much control over the computer. They cannot install any program or make any other drastic changes to the computer. On the other hand, an Administrator has every right to do what he/she pleases. They can delete any file they wish, create or delete any user they wish, run and install any program they want, etc. This is the same as "root access".

Root Access is what gives a user complete control. With this, it gives the user the ability to view, delete, move, and even create any file they wish on the system in the most advanced places such as the root which is usually where all of your vital files are stored (kind of like the C: drive on a computer).

When you buy an iPhone or Galaxy phone, Apple and Samsung do not allow you to install any software that you want. You are only allowed to download and install files that have been approved for their app stores. Apple has their App Store and Samsung uses Android's Google Play Store (users can also download the Amazon App Store and a few others). But as for just creating an app and just uploading it, it's not that simple.

The reason why Apple and other companies don't release phones like this to the public is that many users just don't understand how it all works and can really screw up their system if they make the wrong move. Most phones have some sort of insurance so you can imagine how many people would demand a new phone after nearly destroying their phone. To prevent this, most manufacturers have decided to not give users any sort of real control.

However, users in the community have found ways around it by means such as jailbreaking. They find exploits within a software and find ways of manipulating the code to allow them to run "unsigned code". Unsigned code is basically code that has not been officially recognized and okayed by Apple to run on iOS. This is the ultimate goal of a jailbreak, is to run code that Apple wouldn't allow.

Cydia is the software that comes with most jailbreaks on iOS and it is the App Store that Apple never officially recognized. It was designed to combine all of these unsigned coded programs together and make it easy for users like you and I who have very little knowledge about coding and installing to install these apps onto our devices. It also makes it nice because it provides for a place for these people to distribute their projects to more people and it's slightly regulated so users can feel safe especially when payments are involved. It is regulated by the community so users can feel safe knowing that something actually works and doesn't have malicious intentions like a virus hidden within it.

For Google's Android system, there's not much to do once its rooted because Google has been so open with their operating system (OS). Most users root their Android devices for things like a custom made ROM that is built differently and looks and acts differently than what initially came out of the box and for other things like tethering an internet connection.

Brief History
Most users jailbreak their iOS devices for similar reasons but there's also so much more potential as Apple isn't so accepting of new innovations until they're sure it works or it won't change their initial design too much. Back when the first iPhones came out most users jailbroke for features like copy-and-paste and customization that Apple eventually added later on.

Now, jailbreaks aren't as frequent nor sought after like they were before. Apple has added most of the features that users want and need so there's very little need for user-generated programs.

Purpose?
People, like myself, enjoy jailbreak for the extras that others may not be as comfortable with such as 5 icons on the bottom row, tethering without purchasing a separate option from my carrier (Sprint), and other features. I also like to just have my device be mine. I'm not the typical user who relies on Apple every time something happens with my iPhone. I like to do things myself at home sometimes and can much more effectively with a jailbreak.

Will you need it? Probably not. If you're not sure what it is, you probably will never use it. I came across it in the early days when things were missing, so it's been something that I always felt like I'd need.

Friends of mine have been asking me about when a jailbreak comes out but most of them will use it only for further customizing their iPhones. Most of them would like a pink lock screen, or blue colored dialer...just something really wild. Most will never use the additional features it can provide.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

[Tutorial] How to Enable Jailbreak Tweaks in iOS 7 Settings (PreferenceLoader & MobileSubstrate)

This entry is written for educational purposes. We, at Whenever I Feel Like It, are in no way responsible for anything that can and may occur to your phone. By continuing to read this entry, you agree to not hold us liable for anything that may or may not occur to your device.

According to most sources and users, iPhone 5S will not allow any sort of MobileSubstrate at the moment. This tutorial is done using an iPhone 5.

Using some jailbreak tweaks and apps, sometimes you are required to access these special settings through the iOS Settings "app". I mentioned earlier that this could not be achieved thanks to changes in iOS 7's design; however, this has been fixed thanks to a new tweak.
Add these repos to your sources in Cydia. To do this, visit the Cydia app and go to Manage.
Now, go to Sources.
In the top right hand corner, click Edit.
In the left corner, click Add.
Now, add these addresses exactly as they are written into the field again and again until they're all finished being added. Your phone may reboot after some of these and it may take a while downloading the necessary information, so please be patient.

  • http://cydia.myrepospace.com/Everythingapplespro/
  • http://cydia.myrepospace.com/kmdu59/
  • http://smolk.myrepospace.com/
  • http://cydia.myrepospace.com/iPWNDApple/
  • http://sinfuliphonerepo.com/
(Thanks to the guys at this website for these repos)
Once this is done, download Mobile Terminal from Cydia. Also, download Bootstrap.

After those two have finished installing, open Mobile Terminal and type "su" without the quotations. The default password is "alpine" without quotations. If successful, there should be a # symbol which means you have been granted root access. Now type this without quotations "/bin/Bootstrap.sh". Your device will now reboot.

Once this is done, you should have all of your tweaks available in the Settings app. Below is a screenshot of what mine look like.


See where it says Adblocker, Browser Changer, and WinterBoard? This is what you are trying to accomplish. These are apps currently only available via Cydia and require access through Settings.

I can confirm that Browser Changer works. I was successfully able to open a link from Instagram into Google Chrome even though Apple set the default to Safari.

Any additional tweaks or apps that require Settings should now show up here.

Is It Safe to Upgrade to iOS 7 from iOS 6 Jailbreak?

Short answer: no. I wouldn't recommend doing it.

There are a few short lists of what some users have complied as working and what doesn't work like this list.

From what I have personally seen, most apps and tweaks seem to be compatible with iOS 6; however, none, at this current moment, state what is compatible and what isn't with iOS 7.

For the moment, stick with your iOS 6.1.2 and below jailbreak until everything is sorted out. Many of these apps and tweaks already support it but others don't because iOS 7 was a major change.

Many of the tweaks require that you go into your Settings to enable or disable the tweak. iOS 7 has a similar Settings; however, many of these jailbreak apps and tweaks don't recognize it and the tweaks are unseen here.

I would expect many of the developers to already be working on fixes as we speak tonight, but don't get your hopes up. Most will probably have fixes available sometime after January 1, 2014 due to the holiday season. When you begin seeing "iOS 7 compatible" alerts on Cydia, that will be when it is safest to upgrade. But until then, take it from an iOS 7 jailbreaker, give it some time before updating because there's very little that we can do. Tethering doesn't seem to work, 99% of the themes are unsuable (WinterBoard opens but it doesn't seem like any themes or choices can be made and DreamBoard crashes and doesn't open at all), many tweaks don't work...it's just not ready for us yet.

A huge thank you to the guys behind this jailbreak! I and many others are very thankful to have our devices fully unlocked. We continue to wait patiently.

Stay tuned here and other sites for additional information on compatibility.

Got iOS 7 Jailbreak, Now What?

Well, I began running Cydia to see what sorts of cool jailbreak-only apps and features I had been missing out on. It's a bit of a shame but understandable for Day 1 jailbreak to not have any compatible apps available for iOS 6.1.3 to 7.0.4.

That's not entirely true. Some apps do work but you just need to try them for yourself or make a few changes.

For WinterBoard, simply go to the Sources and visit the WinterBoard page to reinstall it. This will allow it to be reinstalled to your home screen for usage. I downloaded and tried running a different keyboard as well as some other changes to the screen, but it seems that these aren't quite ready yet.

iFile does work from what I can tell. Simply download it and run it to see if it works for you as well.

It seems that we'll just have to wait a few days or weeks for everything to catch up to the newest iOS version. Be patient with the developers and give it time before you really get to see the full potential of your iOS device.

In the meantime, maybe you could read up on what jailbreak can do for you and what you can do for the jailbreak community. This community relies heavily on the users' support and many users have become developers after some time too. There are also other ways to support such as donating. Consider donating to the evad3rs team as well as developers on Cydia. Many of these people work very hard and release their content for free. It's nice to have us to show simple support whether that be $10 or $0.99 for the things we love.

iOS 7 Jailbreak is Here!!

The evad3rs team has released the official iOS 7 jailbreak today compatible with all versions and devices running iOS 7 currently up to 7.0.4!

Click here to go to their website to download the jailbreak for yourself.

There have been some users who have reported issues with the jailbreak. The team has responded to these by recommending users to:

-update through iTunes if possible and not OTA(over the air updates, basically updating through your phone's settings without a computer)

-however, if you have updated through an OTA, it is recommended to backup through your computer then restore that backup and proceed with the jailbreak.

Doing otherwise could potentially brick your phone. However, if you have bricked your device, it is simple, according to other users, by going into the iPhone's recovery state. This can be done by rebooting the phone using the power and home button together until the phone turns on. Once the Apple logo appears, release only the power button while holding the home button still. This should bring up an icon that will require you to connect to iTunes and restore. Once this is done, you should be able to continue through with the jailbreak process.

I'm currently downloading and installing the update then will be doing the jailbreak so I have no way of confirming any of the information above yet. The evad3rs website (evasi0n.com) is legitimate so it's safe to say that this is real. Tech websites all over and on Twitter are confirming this jailbreak as well.

Update 12/22/2013: I can confirm that the new jailbreak provided at the link does, in fact, work. I did the jailbreak just as I described for you guys and it worked flawlessly without any issues. It did take a while though, like 30 minutes or so, but it worked.

I plugged in my iPhone to my (Microsoft Windows 7) computer
-ran iTunes
-backed up the iPhone
-updated it from iOS 7.0.3 to 7.0.4 through iTunes (I believe it backs itself up at this point again)
-closed iTunes
-(on Windows 7) clicked Ctrl + Shift + Esc
-opened "Processes" tab
-disabled ALL iTunes and Apple services (iTunes Helper, iTunes, etc.)
-opened the evasi0n ReadMe file
-read the instructions
-ran evasi0n.exe (Windows 7)
-plugged in iPhone (might be iPad or iPod for you)
-clicked run
-followed directions
Done. My iPhone was jailbroken, complete with Cydia.

Follow these instructions and you should have no issues. The process does take a while, so make sure you have some time on your hands before starting it.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Lessons from Star Trek and the Future of Planetary Exploration

Thanks to Hulu Plus, I and many other viewers have the opportunity to catch up on episodes with Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the Enterprise in Star Trek: The Next Generation. I'm only in a few episodes but I watched it plenty as a child. One of the themes of the show is to show viewers who were living in the 20th century, some of the flaws with the culture of the time and how different it should be.

Set centuries later in the Star Trek universe, Captain Picard often speaks of the way things had been centuries before with wars and disagreements. In this universe and many centuries later, it appears that Earth finally became united together and was able to achieve some of the greats like interstellar flight made possible on ships like the Enterprise.

A blog recently interviewed a man running for a seat in charge of NASA and he was talking about some of the changes that he'd like seen in NASA and the way it operates. One of these is that he wants us to visit one of Jupiter's moons, Europa. According to human research of the moon, Europa is an ice satellite with approximately 67 feet of ice and water is believed to be beneath this surface. The man, Houston Republican John Culberson, wants us to visit this planet and become the first country on Earth to discover life outside of our planet. His reasoning is that there is likely to be "tube worms and lobster"-like creatures in this moon's covered oceans. Out of all of the other cellestial bodies in our vicinity, Europa does sound like it has the highest chance of containing life besides that of our own planet, Earth.

According to research, Europa has more water than that of Earth as can be seen in the illustration below.


However, Culberson wants yet another change in NASA, rather, to prevent NASA from doing something. That is, to cut off ties with any ties with have with China and do research on our own. He cites their recent lunar landing as seeming a bit more for capital gain than exploratory science as the moon has many elements that are rare on Earth especially in the area that China chose to land on.

I agree with Culberson, that we ought to be different in that we don't exploit planets (at least, this seems to be his stance) and I see his pride in his country and have similar feelings about the United States; however, thinking of Picard from Star Trek, I can't help but wonder what awesome things we can accomplish if we join our resources together with other countries like China. Currently, Russia, China, India, and the United States of America appear to be the countries that are really delving into space technology and exploring our universe. If we were to combine our knowledge, scientists, and technology, where would we be in 10 years? I bet we could accomplish 100 years worth of space travel in 10 years if we did such a thing.

Instead, we bicker and argue over these issues, never compromise, and never get anywhere...no pun intended.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

[iOS App of the Week] Angry Birds Star Wars II

This week's iTunes Single of the Week is Christina Perri - Something About December.

In addition, Apple also gives away a free ebook every week. This week's free book is A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles M. Schulz.

Finally, this week's free app is Angry Birds Star Wars II.


Following in the steps of the previous popular mobile games, Angry Birds Star Wars II does not disappoint gamers eager to smash some blocks and piggies.

As with all new titles in the Angry Birds series, this one features new birds, new abilities, and new levels to explore.


There are a few different stages to the game; however, only a few are currently unlocked. Never fear, more are promised to come just as it is with all Angry Birds games. Most gamers will be stuck for a while on a few levels or trying to get all three stars for every level before reaching that point.


As is with most of these games, there is a way to unlock more features using real money. Stages later in the game can be purchased using in-game currency that is signified by the top right corner with a gold "Y" symbol.

However, these stages can be unlocked by just playing through the game and racking up as many stars as possible.


Below are screenshots of some of the gameplay in action with two of the birds featured in this game.



I haven't beaten the game, but I have passed 5 of the levels and it is the same, fun experience I've grown accustomed to over these years.

Would I recommend this game to others? Definitely. Get it while it's free before it becomes another paid app!

The Walking Dead Season 2 (Episode 1: All That Remains) PC Review - 9.5/10

Seems like Tell Tale is on a roll. With two new games just released (The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead Season 2) as well as two new projects on the way, seems like they've just been running downhill catching speed and it doesn't look like they'll stop anytime soon, nor would I want them to considering they've been making some really excellent games.
I actually just finished the first game like an hour ago (got stuck on the part with Lily and the train which pissed me off to no end) just so I could have the full experience.

The Good:
Game looks great. Real step up in the graphics department while still looking similar to the first game... though that may have something to do with the fact I just about always lower the settings for my games. Still, looks pretty sleek.
The sound is actually really good. Simple cues like twigs snapping and thuds come back like in the first game nicely. The key here is that just about everything the first game was has been upgraded in some way. It really adds to the atmosphere.
The tone is the same except a bit more darker since its a small child instead of a grown adult. Simple actions like leafing through Clementine's backpack for some things we saw in the first game really give a sense of progression as well as seeing how things tie together on both a sensible and emotional level like how even though she's a bit older she still carries around one of her drawings as well as a torn picture of Lee.
So far the writing is fairly good. At least up to par with what I'd expect from Tell Tale. However, I can't fully see it considering this is only one episode. Though from what I've seen it seems to be just as good, if not better, than the first game. The game likes to play with your emotions a bit by having genuinely nice moments and then they go completely dark. Like how I found a dog in the woods who I warmed up to, but as soon as I fed him, he went crazy, bit me and eventually I had a heartbreaking moment where I put him out of his misery in the wake of his former family's campsite. Lets be clear, I don't like this. I simply see it as amazingly capturing the atmosphere through simple actions and cues by toying with my emotions. Again, I don't like this, but it works so I will endure.
The gameplay also tailors itself around Clementine's age as well as height. Things Lee would have easily been able to reach are out of Clementines, making solutions feel a bit more unique as to compensate for how small she is. Its a nice touch to say the least.

The Bad:
If there's one thing I don't like about the Walking Dead universe (games, comics, television shows) its that it easily slips back into killing off good or at least nice characters. At times it makes me feel like my actions really don't matter (like with the first game's 3rd episode where a person I liked gets killed by a person I was beginning to hate). Without going into spoilers, the same thing happens within the first few minutes. I cannot tell you how frustrating it is to keep someone alive only to see them dead in a few scenes. I understand that characters usually have to die, but so frequently is just frustrating.
I can't tell if I don't like the new interface or not. In the first game, it was a bit easier. You hovered over something and you could use numbers to switch between what you would choose for a certain thing should there be any options. In this one, that interface has been upgraded so that hovering has multiple options but its harder to use. A bigger circle will appear over an item and you can slightly move the mouse over options to select them. Problem is that your accuracy is dependent on how how steady you hold the mouse making for tense quick time situations and some times tedious regular settings. Basically, selecting something as simple as looking versus picking up a can, can take twice as much time as previous. I haven't found a way around this since I only played for a bit so I can't really say I hate it. I can say its perturbing at the least. The same goes for dialogue. Instead of the list view, you know have four boxes that take up a good portion of the bottom of the screen that are lined up two by two beside each other. The wait meter (which determines whether or not you'd like to let time run on the conversation or simply how much more time you have to answer) is almost completely overshadowed by the new boxes at the bottom and you'll only realize how little time you have left until its too late. All in all, its manageable.

The Meh:
I would really like to know the time stamp on this. At the very least how much time has passed since Clem was with Lee. From what I can tell, she is at least 10 years old since the game only tells you after a certain period that it has been sixteen months from a previous period. The previous period however told me nothing so I can only presume it was around a year seeing as how one of the characters who was previously not, is pregnant by at least 8 months. Minor gripes but it would really help in the immersion department for previous fans/players.


While I have minor gripes, this is a very good game. Its mature in its content and not just in violence, it doesn't hold the player's hand and it ties a few of the missing threads in between games. Again, I can't fully rate this game because its just about 1/5 of the completed game. Its a good introduction of what is to come and a nice return of a game I felt was amazing.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Congratulations, China!

China is the world's second country that has been successful at landing a man-made ship from Earth onto the moon after the Soviets and United States.

Congratulations to China!

I'm very much into technology in regards to space and what we find on other planets and satellites so this will be quite interesting to see what they find there. Best of luck to them!

Youtube's newest copyright infringement policy (and how it effects you)

If you haven't heard, Youtube put up this new system (or software, I'm not really a tech savant) that is basically a blanket that flags videos that have certain content pertaining to a game developer. That means that any gaming channel that has footage, music or even pictures of a video game can be flagged and now owned by the company that made the actual product. Many gaming developers have come forward and said they haven't done this and have never made any requests to have this done, eluding to Youtube being its sole proprietor of this entire new system. Worse yet, Youtube will not take any emails or even tweets by the people on their website that use their videos as revenue. So that means that a multitude of your favorite Youtube personalities (whether they be Gaijin Goombah, MatPat13, Angry Joe, PewDiePie, LORE and perhaps even AVGN as well as a bunch of other channels I have not mentioned) will basically be out of the job, not making money and therefore have little to no incentive to continue making videos. The sweep is supposed to cut down on people uploading full videos and full songs but is not targeting only those but simple game footage channels as well as reviews featuring clips from the game itself and possibly even walkthroughs.

The system came about around a year ago and has been met with controversy since by apparently actually flagging a video because it had bird calls in it as a copyright violation. Apart from the frustration this will cause everyone, Youtube is basically washing their hands of this entire affair when no one else is actually in favor of this.

-What does this mean for me? (a person who reviews games on a Google owned site but who doesn't use videos or clips or even pictures of said games): Virtually nothing... as far as I can tell. This system is targeting sounds, videos and possibly even pictures. I, and others like me, will hopefully remain generally unaffected by this bill other than to be hurt by watching so many good channels go under should this system continue to run rampant.

-What does this mean for you? (reader/watcher/purveyor of gaming Youtube channels): Videos, and perhaps even channels, will be unwatchable. For special people like Angry Joe who have their own websites, they will possibly be able to have life away from Youtube, but their main source of revenue is Youtube so they may cancel all their videos in order to pay for their everyday lives by getting 'normal' jobs. In lay-men's terms, we may see the end of the gaming channel as we know it.

-What does this mean for those channel owners listed before?: They will be hit the hardest. Like I've said, they will lose money, lose traffic, lose views and eventually even their jobs. What was once an almost limitless economy for them, in the sense they couldn't really be fired, will now shatter. They could continue to do this as a hobby, but most of them are expected to fall due to the time and effort it takes to make those videos (editing, set up etc). This may even go further to companies like Machinima. I don't know how far this is, which is why I mentioned LORE and AVGN which uses music from the game's opening and uses games for companies that may not even exist anymore. The main problem with this is that it doesn't discriminate how much of the video was used from the company or the music etc., it gives 100% of the money to that company or companies in some cases.

-What can we do?: The best thing to do is generate buzz for this. Word of mouth may seem small, but just commenting on a video, telling your friends and even emails could be our saving grace. Email the developers asking perhaps what can you do, email Google and tell them how you feel (if they read only one email, it could make the difference). The worst thing you can do is ignore this problem completely, because it effects us all.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

My First Look At Windows 8.1

I'm not sure if I mentioned it already or not, but I work as an unofficial IT for my company until they find a replacement so they asked me about getting some replacement computers. Most of our work has been used to using desktop computers with outdated hardware and Windows XP with Windows 7 installed on a few machines. We only had one Windows 8 computer and it was a desktop without a touch screen and I've got to say that it really turned me off to Windows 8.

I've said it since day one that Microsoft is stupid for making only one universal version of Windows 8.

Not all Windows 8 computers or machines upgrading are touch screens, so there should have been a non-touch friendly version made. What do I mean by that?

Microsoft decided to remove the classic Start menu which is understandable considering that the Metro bar thingy does a good job replacing it...FOR TOUCH SCREENS. Try navigating that thing with a mouse cursor and see how annoying it is. Also try using it for the lock screen. It was clearly intended for touch screens and not a non-touch screen. Microsoft should have released a version or at least some options to accommodate those of us without touch screens.

Enough of ranting though...my boss decided to get Microsoft Surface tablets then changed his mind seeing as how they don't have good keyboards, are expensive, and don't allow a full, true Windows experience (running .exe files). So he went with an Asus Transformer tablet. This is the model that can be used a tablet or connected to a keyboard.

I've got to say that the look and feel is really nice. It's a bit small and I miss the CD drive, but I can get used to it.

Windows 8.1 is much better with the Start button added to the side, although it's not complete as I still miss the complete Start menu. This is simply a button that takes you to the Metro bar.

With a touch screen, Windows 8 is nice to navigate through. It feels more futuristic than Windows 7, like it is a true successor. It takes some getting used to, but is better than I originally had used.

In Windows 8.2 or Windows 9, Microsoft should really consider accommodating non-touch devices. It will be a while before touch screens are standard on every device, but for now, they should be mindful of those of us, especially businesses, who don't have the resources for expensive items.

I do appreciate the difference in price. Windows is much more reasonably priced and there are no more multiple versions. Either you have Pro or you don't. And it only costs $99 which is much more reasonable than hundreds of dollars for a few more options. I have to applaud Microsoft for this.

Would I buy one of these computers? Eh...not sure. I feel like I still need a Windows 7 computer, maybe a desktop or a full size laptop running Windows 7.

I like that there is an app store which is one of the pluses of Linux distros. It is very good for netbooks like this that do not have a CD drive so that they can get their much needed apps. Hopefully Microsoft doesn't leave Windows 8 app store users in the dust like they did with Zune though. We were left with 13 app options and promised more but were never delivered. Depending on what policing Microsoft does could also affect the performance of the app store. Microsoft needs to find the right balance and be more like Google is on their Google Play Store for Android devices and less like Apple is for iOS. Apple can be strict because they have seniority while Google and Microsoft are newer and can't be as restrictive to both developers and users.

For me, my Windows computer needs to do everything that a computer is meant to do like download and use programs. If it can't do that, I don't want it.

My boss seems to be giving me an option whether I'd like one of these netbooks or stick with my Windows XP desktop. I may stick to XP just because this keyboard won't do it for me at work. I type 70 wpm but not on a small keyboard or touch screen like this. Although, the touch keyboard is nice. Not nice enough to write an entire novel, but good enough for simple searches or writing a status or two on a social network.

Windows 8.1 on a touch device is much better than what I had originally used, but it still needs work. Microsoft has a habit of doing this by creating a great OS then making a shotty one, then making one that the users like, so this may be their moving in the right direction.

I'd like to know the compatibility too. I remember Notch of Minecraft, Valve, and other developers stating that they had no intention of developing for Windows 8, but not sure if this has changed yet.

What do you think of Windows 8.1 or 8 in general?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

[Review] LaptopScreen.com

I own both a Toshiba HD television and a Toshiba laptop. I am very impressed with Toshiba's quality in both electronics and am a very satisfied customer (still prefer my Smart Samsung HDTV). However, on Sunday evening while watching television and finishing a paper for one of my classes, my Toshiba remote slipped out of my hand and gently hit the Toshiba laptop screen and cracked the screen instantly. The entire left side of the screen was completely totalled. Luckily, I have a HDMI port and connected it to my TV so I could finish what I was doing. But no one can rely on a tv for everything especially considering a laptop is meant to be portable. So I went searching for a screen.

Much like many of you who are probably also searching for a new screen, you're worried about the costs. You've probably already read forum posts, much like I did, as well as reviews about companies and how much they charge.

Toshiba's website quoted me $390 just to replace the screen. Not only that, I would need to send them my laptop then wait, God knows how long, before I get it back. Not reasonable, affordable, or realistic for me and probably not for you either. A few people said that Best Buy's GeekSquad charges $500 to replace the screen which would be the cost of the screen as well as the labor. That's horribly unrealistic considering I paid less than $500 for the computer!! However, they did say that they charged them $100 when they brought their laptop and a screen which is a bit more realistic. Still, I'm a do-it-yourself kind of guy so I don't mind doing it at home.

So I came across this website called laptopscreen.com. Normally, I highly recommend anyone to stay away from websites with names like this. Nevertheless, the many positive reviews and reasonable price and shipping time seemed the best choice out of my three choices. So I chose it.

Altogether, I paid a little less than $80 for the screen which comes with a 3 year warranty, the shipping (they give customers a choice between the Postal Service for US customers, FedEx, and UPS), and an additional $5 which they say would give me the ability to return the screen for any reason within a set amount of days.

My Toshiba computer initially came with the cheap glossy crap that the manufacturers force us to get. LaptopScreen.com found my model and found all screens that were compatible with it. Two popped up and one was glossy and the other was matte. Best of all, and most surprising, is that both screens cost the exact same for my model. Since I was sick and tired of my glossy screen, I chose the matte screen. The screen itself was about $59.

I ordered the screen on Sunday night and chose the FedEx 2Day option. It did come today, which is Wednesday, as they had promised. Unlike other online retailers, LaptopScreen allowed me to choose which service I want. I don't like the USPS very much so my choices were between UPS and FedEx. Out of those two, FedEx was the cheapest, so I chose them.

Need I remind you guys that I had never ever changed a laptop screen in my life. However, LaptopScreen has video tutorials to help guide you through the process. It even seems like you can view these videos even if you didn't purchase your screen from them. Unfortunately, their choices were lacking. But their generic video for Toshiba laptops was just fine and helped me start it with no trouble. It was highly informative and made the process so easy for me as a brand new beginner.

After less than 45 minutes, my new screen was installed and ready to go. I'm typing and viewing the blog editor through it right now. It is just as beautiful as the one that initially came with the computer. I gained new information and knowledge, thanks to them, and I have the screen that I wanted at an affordable price.

I highly recommend these guys for anyone considering a new screen. Their service was easy, fast, and professional.

I can't comment on their customer service as I never needed to contact them, but that is a compliment as I didn't run into any issues.

Are they scammers? Not that I could see. There were no hidden costs and no cheap tricks. They are very open about their business and how they run things, even trying to help people understand how their costs are so low. Something that most scammers never do for you. I used a debit card and have not had it been stolen yet, so I'm good there as well.

Has anyone used them? If so, how were they in your opinion?
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