X-Box One… B

Ok, everyone knows that Microsoft announced their new console, named the X-Box One. I mean first of all, I gotta say that I hate the name of Nintendo’s Wii U. And as much as I thought that was a terrible name, Microsoft somehow topped it. I mean Nintendo has talked about how people thought the Wii U was a peripheral to the Wii, however at least there is a distinguished name to it. X-Box One has already existed, it was the first X-Box that Microsoft deleted years ago, and so I have no choice but to now call it the X-Box 1 B or the X1B from now on because I don’t want people to get confused with the original X-Box which I will now call X1A. And you see why I hate the name. Continue reading “X-Box One… B”

Wii U Review pt 2

In my previous post about the Wii U, I discussed many apps and features that come with the Wii U. I realized later that I did forget to mention the browser so I thought I would give it a brief mention here. I do really like the browser that was instituted within the Wii U. The Wii U browser is, I think, the best browser so far on a Nintendo system, and If eel that it works perfectly in conjunction with a tablet like system that allows you to easily enter in addresses via an onscreen keyboard. I especially enjoy that I can now easily surf while watching television. Continue reading “Wii U Review pt 2”

Wii U Review, pt. 1

It seems that whenever I buy a console, there is always a story involved. This time, the story was that I really didn’t have the money to purchase a new console, so I spent months saving gift cards from Christmas and Swagbucks, I finally was able to collect $125 in gift cards and a little extra to sign up for the power up rewards premium. I go through my ebates link in order to get $8 back and put in my order with the slowest shipping. After four business days it still hasn’t shipped… well it turns out my credit card halted it for fraud protection. Continue reading “Wii U Review, pt. 1”

New Computer Needed

Perhaps the most annoying part of the fact that I have no money due to a new mortgage and car loan is that I really really need a new computer. The current computer that I have is still operational, but I think a couple of the fans are Dying and it now makes a lot of noise. In addition, I do note that the speed is fading, though maybe a reformat of the OS could help alleviate that for a time.

I built this thing shortly before I got my current job. It was one of the last things I bought with the remnants of my student loans. That means this computer is about 5 years old, give or take. As a gamer, you can imagine how i feel about that.

Since I’ve had time a bit more lately, a lack of money and a design to think about this sort of thing, I have actually gone and done some research on the current iteration of computer hardware. In doing this, I did decide that it was high time to fulfill a long standing idea. In fact this idea was one I had when I originally built this current computer: A Media Center.

And yes, I mean to make a media center as a primary computer. The way in which I intend to do this is actually to make two computers and not just one.

The idea is that there will be a traditional media center that would be a very small computer that would attach itself to the Television. This particular unit would carry in it a powerful wifi receiver, a solid state hard drive, a small but decent graphics card that would allow for playing some games on the television, a bunch of RAM and a wireless keyboard, mouse and game pad.

The other computer is actually the main computer. This particular computer would actually be a media server. This one would feed the media center all the movies, music and whatever else that it will need so that I can be entertained in my living room instead of my bedroom (where my computer is currently located). My plan is to have about 8 2TB Green drives that could be on most of the day (or at least in sleep) and then quiet when it is on so that I can sleep in its presence.

The media server would also have in it a state of the art processor, graphics card and RAM. The main reason is to play modern top end games that I don’t think a media center will be able to handle (that one is more meant for older games and/or indie games). However, I do think increased RAM and Processor speeds will aid in streaming stuff to the main media center.

Ironically, a lot of what i want this system to do, I think the Wii U will be doing with the TVii app that they are building. I really like what they are doing, but the one problem I have is the lack of information on customization. As far as I can tell, the only thing that you can actually do with TVii is access online services, not your own hard drive on a different computer, so though I think it is an excellent service, I don’t think it is going to be doing what I want it to do.

So that is my plan. It would require a lot of work and a lot of money, this later bit I really don’t have and so I don’t know if it is going to happen soon. Unfortunately even if I had some extra cash I have other things that are slightly higher on my list than a new computer.

The one bright side of all this is that I do think that I am hopeful of finding a newer higher paying job in the next few months, and I do believe that my exploits into swagbucks may be paying off finally. When last we spoke about it I was earning about $20 a month in amazon gift cards. As it stands i have already earned $25 in December in just one week and am hoping for a $25 gift card to Gamestop before the month is done. A definite improvement in production!

Final Thoughts on the Wii

With the Nintendo Wii U officially out now, I thought it might be appropriate to reflect upon the Wii given that it’s life cycle is finally complete. It is hard to believe that it has been a full six years, thinking on that it is odd that some have said it is too early for a new system but that is about the correct time frame for a new generation, especially considering that the Wii was without a doubt the weakest of graphics wise of the last generation. Continue reading “Final Thoughts on the Wii”

New Cell Phone

After two years, my roommate came to the point where we could get new cell phones at discounted prices assuming we would sign new contracts. It came about the right time too as our previous phones were falling apart. We both previously had HTC Heros, this time we didn’t go with the same phones. I went with the Samsung Galaxy S 2, and my roommate went with the iPhone 4.

The old HTC Hero I am fairly torn with. On one side I really liked it. It was in essence a first generation Android phone, and I felt that it was a pretty good one. However, over the last 6 to 9 months it really started to show its age. Both of ours started freezing and crashing periodically. One of the button plating had started to fall off and the back cover barely stayed on mine. And there were a number of other similar problems. It is these hardware malfunctions that made me decide to go back to Samsung who had developed my two phones previous to HTC and both of which were excellent phones in my opinion.

When I unboxed the Samsung Galaxy S II, I couldn’t help but look at it and go “Holy Crap! That’s way too big. The Galaxy has a 4.5-inch OLED screen which is a full inch bigger than the iPhone 4 and I think 1.5 inches bigger than my previous phone. It looks huge even though it is nearly all screen! I really thought I might have issues putting it into my pocket, but fortunately, it is a really thin device at less than a half-inch thick. I think the thinness of the phone makes up for the length and width. I feel it actually fits in my pocket better than my previous phone despite initial worries. I will be honest, even 4 days later I am still trying to get used to the size and this is still making me contemplate returning the whole thing.

The screen itself, outside of size, is quite amazing. A much more clear and crisp quality than my old phone. Blacks are REALLY black and colors just pop out. I turned on the netflix app and could actually see myself buying a stand of some sort and actually watching movies of some sort. It is a far better screen than any other cell phone that I think I’ve seen, iPhone included.

I am an Android devout. I like the OS. I like that Google left it open. I like that they actually support and innovate, unlike their competition. I like that they invented bar code scanning and voice control and don’t sue others who use it, even though they probably should. And I gotta say that Gingerbread is pretty awesome. Rumor has it that the Galaxy S 2 is going to be upgrading to Ice Cream Sandwich, which was part of the reason I made the switch, but for now I’m enjoying Gingerbread. My previous version (I think it was donut) felt like an early iteration. It had a ton of promise, but a ton of problems. Many of these issues they’ve fixed and have since added a ton of effectiveness.

The in-phone keyboard is much more smooth than it used to be and I find myself much more comfortable with it and getting things wrong less. I haven’t really liked the swipe feature very much, it is a good idea but I have had issues using it so far and it actually feels like it takes me longer to make a word on it than it does just typing. I have been amazed at the voice control of the thing. I always liked the voice recognition on my Hero, but I didn’t use it because you couldn’t use it in too many places unfortunately. Well Samsung stepped up and included the mic button anywhere you could type and it works wonderfully. It has caught nearly everything I’ve tried at it. I went and downloaded a task app and started speaking my tasks into the keyboard input… “Geocaching,” “Take Medicine,” “Fold Clothes,” “Clean Kitchen,” and “Take out Trash” all worked without a hitch. The only issues it had was with write which it spelled right, not a huge deal, and “do litter” which it read as “do later.” I think the last one was a fair problem but could have been user error, I will give it the benefit of the doubt. I’ve used it dozens of times since and those remain the only two issues I’ve ever had. It’s everywhere and it works.

The phone has 4G, another reason I got it. I wanted to make sure it was fairly future proof seeing as I was going to have it for two years. I didn’t actually think that we got 4G in this area, but it has been picking up 4G in this area none the less.

The jury is still out on the battery life. It is supposed to have 8.5 hours of talk time. However, I’ve been playing a lot of games, and keeping 4G and wi-fi up as I’ve been home so the battery has been draining. Games in particular are draining it faster obviously. I played Angry Birds on it for about 4 or 5 hours yesterday morning and ended up having to plug the phone back in at about 2pm because it was down to 10 or 15%. I woke up at 7am so I guess this isn’t bad. If I start using it more normally, I think it should last all day pretty easily.

It has a pretty nifty zoom feature where you can put two fingers on the screen, you can tilt in or out to zoom in or out. I think it works pretty well though is difficult to control how fast it zooms. I never really was able to get the pinch thing to work reliably on the Hero so I’m not tied to any previous function so I’m going through both and seeing how they work.

It also has a nice feature that you can turn the phone upside down and it is supposed to mute so that it doesn’t disturb you at work or what not. My initial test of putting it on my stomach while I was laying down didn’t work so well, I’ll have to see if it works better on an actual flat surface.

Overall I like the phone quite a bit. I kind of wish that Samsung released different versions of the phone with high-end and low-end. I would like this phone maybe without the giant screen and half the storage, but overall it’s a great phone. I’m now leaning towards keeping it where I was considering sending it back when we got it thanks to the size issue. But I’ve gotten used to it.

I btw, also had this reaction to getting a big screen TV. I remember when we put it into our house a few years back we looked it and thought that it was way too big and we should have gotten a smaller one. But we did eventually get used to the adjustment and now have a hard time going smaller. Funny how those things work.