Have a Solar-Licious Summer

I felt compelled to write about solar-powered radio products today. I’m not sure why. Maybe because it’s such a nice day out, and we should all be outside instead of in our offices. Some of these products you may have already heard of…but I thought I’d roundup these energy-savers anyway in preparation for the start of summer. (Can you tell I’m anxious?)Soltronix AM/FM Headset Solar Radio ($29.95)It’s not the hippest headphone you’d ever wear, but it beats buying new batteries. Just 1 hour of a charge in the sunlight, and you’re good to go at the beach for 1-3 hours of listening pleasure. Even more, when fully charged, the headphones play for more than 20 hours inside and outside. Features an internal antenna, extended bass, and a NiMh AAA battery. Solar Radio ($19.99)I never thought I’d see gadgets on EddieBauer. Sure enough, here’s one.

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This solar-powered portable radio clips onto a belt or bag. Comes with headphones. Available in Dark Red or Grass.NexxTech AM/FM Solar Pocket Radio ($8.99-$9.99)Or, if you don’t want to don the Eddie Bauer brand, here’s one from Circuit City. Comes in blue or yellow. Includes a belt clip and headphones. Sunlight charges internal battery up to 12 hours. Solar Rechargeable Lantern SL-9000SW ($64.95)I expect to do a lot of camping this summer, so obviously there won’t be any outlets around to plug in a radio or some lights (remember, I’m scared of the dark!). This Lantern features AM/FM weather radio and a 9-Watt flourescent bulb that provides 7-12 hours of light from the built-in rechargeable battery.

The coolest thing is that the 2.5 Watt solar panel unfolds on the back for handy solar charging and then folds close for nightime use. Comes with an handle and includes an 120V AC wall charger, 12V DC car lighter charger, and LED charge indicators.Solar Armband Radio & Emergency LED ($17.99)I also plan on doing a lot of running. Although I could use my iPod to exercise (and I do), sometimes I like to be old-fashioned and listen to the radio. Here’s a solar-powered radio that attaches to your arm for convenience. Comes with headphones and a AC adapter.

Helio Makes Me Sad

My very last meeting at the CTIA trade show was with Helio, the new cell-phone carrier run by Internet billionaire Sky Dayton. I went in with high hopes. I came out saddened.Dayton’s other company is Earthlink, and he was supposed to bring a fresh perspective to the cell-phone industry. Mobile phone hardware and content development in this country has been stymied by carriers’ obsessions with control. Because every phone must be approved by a few carrier apparatchiks, because every game must be vetted for a carrier’s deck, we don’t see the speed of innovation in mobile phones that we have on the Internet. Nothing can ever grow from the grass roots.Helio Makes Me Sad

Competition brings innovation, but the mobile-phone world is a Soviet-style economy.Helio was supposed to be open. Helio was supposed to bring the hottest Asian phones to the USA, and hey, if you have a phone they don’t sell, they’d let you activate it. Helio was supposed to have full Internet browsing, Wi-Fi integration, open standards, and a focus on freedom via the latest technology. Helio could have blown open the doors and brought the US to the peak of the mobile world.Unfortunately, what I heard from Dayton this time around was, Helio is Amp’d, a notch upscale. They’ll offer two phones (including the Kickflip, at left) without Web browsers or even Bluetooth (even Amp’d has a Web browser and Bluetooth!) and, apparently, lots of BMX and wrestling videos. Or some sort of other similar, usual, walled-garden, “xtreme”ly stupid content that nobody really wants, but that they could get licensing for.

Excuse me while I can’t decide whether to yawn or to cry.Helio’s tie-ins with MySpace and, more recently, Yahoo! don’t improve my mood. They’re still coming from the old Soviet perspective of, “you’ll use the sites we approve/optimize for you,” not the Internet perspective of, “let’s put some open standards out and let a million options bloom, including ones we might not have thought of.”I’m hoping I misunderstood. I’m still looking forward to Helio’s launch and to reviewing their phones. I want them to change my mind, because I want someone to shatter the old way of doing business. The nation doesn’t need another carrier retreading the same worn road in search of the frat-boy market so deeply plumbed by Amp’d and Virgin. The cell phone nation needs freedom; I guess we’ll have to look for another champion.

Windows’ Paperclip Reemerges in XP on Apple

Last week at Gearlog, we installed, ran, and benchmarked Windows XP on three Intel-based Apple Macintosh computers: a Mini, an iMac and a MacBook Pro. What we found was shocking: Windows XP ran faster on Apple machines. What happened after the tests was even more shocking. Upon finishing the last of the tests, a dull thud shook the lab, and the lab filled with a noxious odor.  At first, our young team thought the Macs, perhaps not thoroughly engineered to handle the new Intel processors, may have been overheating.  And then without warning … he appeared.  “Clippy,” Microsoft’s beloved paperclip, poked his odd,  poorly animated eyes around the edge of the Mini’s desktop.  Then, he stepped into full view.  He looked … different … as if he were more powerful (and annoying) than before.

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Clippy was back, and this time he meant business.  “When Clippy appeared, he winked right at me as if saying, ‘I’m back, Joel buddy, and I’m feeling better and badder than ever,'” reported Joel Santo Domingo of PC Magazine Labs, one of the original testers of Windows XP on Apple for Gearlog. Santo Domingo, as if under a spell, went on to explain that he discussed a variety of “plans” with Clippy that involve “conquest” and “domination” of unspecified geographic areas. While conducting the interview with Santo Domingo, all work halted when Sascha Segan, also of PC Magazine Labs and another of the original testers, entered the room yelling, “All I know is that damn Clippy keeps looking at me.” Segan began violently pointing at the XP Desktop displayed on a nearby MacBook Pro. “He’s out to get me. I know it. I don’t trust that F*#@ing paperclip. I thought he was gone, but now he’s back!” He then flailed wildly at the laptop until he was restrained and forcibly removed from PC Labs by security personnel.

An expert from Microsoft, who happened to be visiting PC Labs that evening, tried to explain the unprecedented appearance and metamorphosis of the animated paperclip on the Macs, “It could only take an utterly unpredictable event (Apple moving to Intel processors) compounded with another unforeseen action (installing Windows on a Mac).  It must have torn a hole in the fabric of reality, and Clippy stepped right through it.” He winked then smiled.  And that’s all I remember. In an unrelated story, Con Edison has reported a gas leak near the PC Magazine Labs building. A Con Edison spokesperson has confirmed that the gas is neither toxic nor explosive, but may have a hallucinogenic effect on anyone inhaling it near Intel-based Macs running Windows XP.

Why I Won’t Buy Another DVD or Blu-ray Disc

I am a movie fanatic. My wife and I love to go to the movies, watch movies, and buy movies. I own almost 400 dvds and a handful of Blu-ray movies in my collection, but I am never buying another physical disc again. I have made the switch to digital movies and I love it!
For years, most of us have been buying music digitally. We purchase it right from our mobile device, it downloads, and we are ready to go instantly. No extra trips to the store. No discs. No hassles. It works out well because the files are small, so we don’t need devices with massive storage to carry a bunch of songs with us.
The stumbling block for digital movies is the amount of storage required for large files. Externals hard drive aren’t a cheap or convenient option, and it’s no fun transferring files from your computer to your mobile device. With cloud storage, however, you eliminate that hassle. You can now store movies remotely and access them whenever you want.

Reasons I Love Digital Movies

1) Cheaper –  This was initial reason I made the switch to digital movies.  I purchased Brave for my daughter digitally from the Google Play store for $15.  At Wal-mart, it was $20 for just the DVD, and if I wanted the digital copy so that I could play it on my mobile devices, it was $30.  I can purchase 2 digital movies for that price. Which I did. I got my son, Frankenweenie, which was on sale in the Play Store for $10.
2) No Lost or Damaged Discs – There is nothing worse than wanting to watch a movie but when you open the case, the movie isn’t inside. Or worse, you are halfway through a movie and can’t continue because the disc is scratched or smudged. I had one disc that was even cracked.  With digital movies, however, all of my movies are always right where I left them in my digital library.  Hell, I don’t even have to get off the couch to put a movie in anymore. I just bring up the app, select the movie, and hit play.
3) Easy Playback on Multiple Devices – Digital movies purchased through the Google Play Store are also available on all of my devices. I have instant access to my movies on my Chromebook, smartphone, tablet, and Google TV. When I’m on the go, I have my digital movies with me. Just last weekend I went over to my Mom’s house and she and the kids decided they wanted to watch Frankenweenie. I was able to log into my account on her Google TV and they got to watch their movie.

My Setup

My family is completely tied into the Googleverse. I have a Samsung Series 3 Chromebook, we have Galaxy s3 smartphones, and a Revue Google TV.  All of this makes it very easy to access movies that we’ve purchased from the Google Play store.  On each of those devices I have the Google Play Movies and TV app.  I can quickly and easily purchase any movies through my Google account. With my Android Phone (or if I owned an Android tablet) I can easily “pin” movies that I want to watch later if I know I am going to be offline.

Drawbacks to Digital

1)  Limited Selection – I prefer buying from the Google Play Store.  My Google TV has the app and it works really well.  It’s also just easier to have all the movies in one place.  Unfortunately, not every movie is available for purchase from the Play Store.  The Hobbit, and all of the Lord of the Rings movies, are only available for rental through Google.  I had to venture over to the Amazon Store to purchase it digitally.  It’s not a huge deal, but there is some inconvenience.  Amazon does not offer an app for my Google TV, the video gets played through a media player on their website. Loading up a movie to watch is not as effortless as it is through the Google Play App.  It will also play on my Chromebook, but not on my Android Phone.

2)  Who Owns Your Movies When You Die – This is the biggest complaint I have heard from people about moving over to digital movies.  They like to have the physical discs because they actually own them.  Currently, when you die, the license to view these movies die with you.  This is not just for movies, but for all digital purchases like music and books (some of the same people I have heard the movie complaint from have extensive digital music and book collections).
I really don’t see this as a big deal.  I look at the movies that my parents owned and I’m not really clamoring for my dad’s copy of Top Gun. I’m sure my kids will feel much the same way about my movie collection.  Even more importantly,  technology becomes outdated.  If my parents left me all of the VHS tapes they own, I wouldn’t even have any way to play them.  I haven’t owned a VCR since the 90′s.

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I have no idea what could be beyond digital files, but I do now how technology (and capitalism) work.  Something will come along within the next 15 years that causes a shift in the media that we use and we will have to pay to convert or repurchase the media we own anyway.  Records, 8-tracks, cassette tapes, VHS, C.D.s, Laser Disc, DVD, Blu-ray, Digital Downloads.
There are also groups working to get these digital restrictions changed and I believe that as we move to become more digitial, laws will come about that change the restrictions on passing on our digital possessions.

Conclusion

While there are still some some drawbacks to purchasing digital movies, for me, the positives far outweigh the negatives.  Not having to store the movies, always knowing where they are, always having them with me, being able to buy them right when I want to watch them, paying less for the movies, and not having to get off the couch to put a new movie in are all big pluses for me.  I won’t be purchasing DVD’s again.
Have you purchased any digital movies?  Have you considered moving from dvd’s to digital?  Let us know in the comments below.

Clash Royale Cheats – Free Gems Daily !

You’re inside it to get a huge shock if you are somebody who is a huge fan of the well-known game program, Clash of Clans (CoC). Its makers have produced another exciting and fun game-related to it , which time, they called it Clash Royale Cheats for unlimited gold. For those who are familiar with coc, among the figures there are recognized as the Royales and we need to state they are hilarious! Because these men could fight but do they are underestimated by ’t! They are simply one of the characters in the first game that are hereby the way. Then you’d certainly love this game even more if anyone has been adored by you aside from these men.

So what exactly should you expect from this game?

Well, first is the reality that you just might be striking lots of cards here that you can amass. As you move forward with the game they can be upgraded by you. Those cards are not insignificant for your protection moves because they feature additional components that would aid you in the centre of the conflict and spells. And since this game is a family of CoC, you’ll be able to anticipate nicely and heroic challenges, infant dragons! Since I think they’re those who provide edge for this game to help it become mo-Re intriguing I in it for the dragons,.

Also, here you will understand edges and some characteristics of Clash Royale, which will force you to be be actually more, love it:
This can be played in actual period:you can perform with this with anyone from around world. Simply ensure you are connected to the Net. ?
You will have to actually use the human brain here to think of good approaches to overcome your opponents because it truly is a strategy game.
Many people might promote their consideration to others: if enough great numbers have been made by them.
Because you’ll have to take in a number of the minutes of the game, especially when your character means to really do that in cost: this may test your leadership abilities as nicely.
When it’s necessary to destroy your nemesis systems: the delight begins and you must win lots of Caps. You will get the adrenaline rush for making yourself these Crown chests. You’ll make lots of bragging rights after that of program!

Upgrade: your card group each and every time you acquire a conflict!

Now, here is probably my favorite component: a duel is involved by this! This takes me right back to the ancient methods for battling. It’s possible for you to challenge a friend for a private conflict or anybody in your household!
Unlike other games: you can actually see your progression here in different types of Arenas.
You create your own neighborhood and can assemble your own clan:here.
And since this game is linked on TV Royale: you can learn from the many strategies that you could win in this game.

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Now, this game might be exceptionally difficult you will desire some strings to take it off, once you learn the reason (wink*). I mean it really is no key that other gamers use Clash Royale Cheats and tricks to pull this away. They can be understood by me because right in the middle of this game, you would notice how difficult it really is. You’re in fortune today however because I have the most reliable Clash Royale Cheats that you may locate online For Free Gemstones & Gold. Plus, this comprises strategies that increase and would aid your enjoyment on the game & a Tips, tricks.

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How to do Free to Play in Home

The following is an opinion post, the views expressed do not reflect Gamer Indepth, advertisers, users, or staff they are solely those of the author.
The free to play market is booming on PC, with tons of games like League of Legends, Tribe Ascend, ABP, DC Universe, Team Fortress 2, and more pushing thousands of units and making money via micro transactions & DLC. Sound familiar? It should because PlayStation Home is probably the biggest Free to play platform on any console ever.
Home makes the majority of its money on the micro transactions via clothing and other atheistic items (this would be your LoL approach). The key to micro transcations is bringing the price down enough that the sales soar because people don’t hesitate to spend the money, the butter zone here is 0.50¢  ~ $1.00. Once you get over a dollar people will stop and think about the item, get over$5 and you have shot yourself in the foot.

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But why would selling something at 0.50 cents make more money then selling the same item at $5? Simple. Volume. If you need proof of this head over to http://store.steampowered.com/. As of this post Steam is running their RIDICULOUS summer sale. Almost everything on the site is 50% off with many huge $30 – $50 games getting cuts as high as 75% and some even a stupidly high 90% off. But how can this be good for Valve? Because during their sales they sell so many units they make more money then if they did not have the sale. Valve has stated that if the sale did not make them silly amounts of money they would not even bother, but it does and so the Summer and Winter sales continue to be Steam traditions.
If you need a break down of the low price tactic lets say I sell a game for $10 and sell 10 units a day. I drop the price to $5 and sell 30 a day. I slash it to 2.50 and all of a sudden i am pushing 100 units a day. I am not making more money by cutting my price then i am otherwise, once that surge goes down i just bring the price back up but with a micro transaction you never really need to pull the price back up because you have dozens of other items to bear the load.
So this is the key to the micro transaction, sell your items at a low enough price point that people don’t double think buying them.
However there is another method of free to play in Home, and that is game transactions. Unlike clothing and spaces these have real effects on other players and yourself and these are an utter mess in Home right now.
The most recent example is the Micro Bot game, that allows you to buy access to special weapons. However if you don’t spend money you cant use the weapons, meaning you are at a fundamental disadvantage to other players who have paid. In Asia this is conman, and is reffed to as buying power, but for good reason the North American market has spoken loudly against it. Buying power is a very morally bankrupt style of making a F2P game because you twist the arms of the free players to buy rather then make it a option. For the micro bot game this is easily fixed, allow everyone to pick up the power ups but allow paid users to spawn with a selected special weapon (or just leave the gadgets as the method of making money)

Good examples of in game item selling are all over the place, the current best model is Tribes Ascend which allows you to buy XP boosts and even items. The reason XP boosts are acceptable is that free players can still gain that XP, just slower. So the item is convenient but not mandatory. Guns however would appear to be buying power, but Tribes is very balanced so no gun is flat out better, they are side grades that allow you to tailor you load out to how you plan to play.
Home could make far more money, attract more users, and be less of a clear money grubbing system if it would just adopt the Free to play policies we see on the PC market. And if you as a Home user kept a bit of a tighter hand on your purse strings prices would drop to meet you, simple economics.

 

Project Runway 4 For Playstation

If you been following my other posts on the old GI Forum about Project Runway 2 then you have will have some idea about what this is about. It is a show unlike any other that I have been involved on PS Home. It is extremely well organized and is not just a regular fashion show contest. The main host is PrincessDomaro. She is the principle mastermind behind the show. But she has a full staff of people helping her. She has judges like mizz_evie and May 2099 (also a GI member). GI’s quasar 338 is also involved in helping the models and designers by answering questions and giving advice. The competion revolves around both fashion designers and models.

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There are elaborate custom photo shoot sets created by May 2099, who is a real life graphic designer. Not only has May designed the photo shoot sets, but also elaborate clubhouses too.  In previous Project Runway seasons, she designed a separate runway clubhouse and workroom club house for design sessions (that’s where the outfits were put together for the challenges). That is another unique facet to the competition is the use of multiple clubhouses for different parts of the show such as for meetings, runway show, judgement/deliberation, working design sessions, photo shoots, etc. May’s graphic design skills are definitely reflected in her latest club house which is partitioned off to include different areas for a runway walk, work room area, and more. When you are there, you feel like you are in some kind of Hollywood set. The photo shoots are done with Adam_Bell, who is a real life photographer, and is a pleasure to work with. I have posted pics from my photo shoots with him on the PS Community Forum in the “Ladies Fashion Runway” thread (of course always giving credit to the pics taken by Adam).  Some photo shoots are done in personal spaces and public spaces in addition to the sets that May creates.
I have been involved in the shows since Project Runway 2. Most recently I was in The Modeling Project, which was a competition for models only, and am happy to say that I came out one of the winners such that I would be one of the BADD Inc models for Project Runway. Currently the BADD Inc staff is currently looking for new designers for the next show, Project Runway 4. The deadline for registration of new designers is this Friday, February 3. Me & the other winners of The Modeling Project have earned our places as BADD Inc models for Project Runway 4. The models must have a lot of content to provide their designers with plenty to work with. The models must also be able to sell their fits.  They do this by how they work the runway with how they walk, pose, and use combinations of poses, and actions to show off their designers’ work.  In the show, designers will be assigned to model and compete in weekly challenges. My designer and I made the final 3 in Project Runway 2. Even though, we didn’t win, we had a lot of fun! I hear that Project Runway 4 is going to be even bigger than the past shows and will utilize 4 different clubhouses!
If you are interested in finding out more, go to their extensive web site: http://badd-inc.webs.com. There you can read more about The Modeling Project that I was just in, the upcoming Project Runway 4 show (looks like the posts for the previous seasons have been archived, but please refer to the aforementioned topic in the old forum), a calendar, a forum, and much more!
I have been meaning to write an article about my experience in Project Runway/The Modeling Project for HSM but haven’t gotten around to it yet. When I do, I will post a link here for you all to read!