Friday, October 29, 2010

Review: Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare

Review: Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare

Kotaku reviews the latest DLC for Red Dead Redemption.  I am a big fan of how Kotaku does reviews; they review the experience instead of relying on assigning a score.  I hope to use a similar approach when I start reviewing games.  But for now check it out.

The PlayStation Phone -- Engadget

The PlayStation Phone -- Engadget

I know I am a little late on this, but Engadget broke a major story about details of the Sony Playstation phone earlier in the week. Seems like a mix of a PSP Go and a Sony Xperia phone. Also of note is the touch sensitive strip which is supposed to mimic dual analog sticks. I will be writing a post later on to discuss my thoughts on the subject.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Barnes & Nobles Announce The Nook Color: My Thoughts

Image from Barnes & Noble

Today Barnes & Noble held an event in their Union Square store in New York City.  At that event they announced their new version of the Nook call the Nook Color.  Here is a quick summary of the specs and features:

  • 7" IPS LCD Touch Screen
  • 1024 x 600 screen resoltuion with support for 16 million colors
  • Screen lamination film to prevent glare on the screen
  • Weighs 15.8 ounces
  • Built in WiFi (b/g/n), no support for 3G
  • 8 GB of storage with further expansion through microSD cards
  • Android OS, though no confirmation on version and no access to Android Marketplace
  • 8 hours of battery life with WiFi turned off
  • Support of previous Nook features like LendMe
  • MSRP $249
  • Launches on or around Nov. 19th


I was never a big fan of the original Nook.  While I thought the concept to have a small touch screen to support a larger e-ink screen was great, it was never implemented well on the Nook.  The touch screen interface was hard to use and overall performance of the device was not good.  I can understand why Barnes & Noble would go for a completely new design.

I think the new device looks slick. I think the dimensions fall right in the sweet spot.  The screen size and less than 1 lbs weight makes it perfect for one handed reading.  I don't think not having 3G is a big deal, I would rather have the cost savings then the added radio for a feature I would rarely use.  I think storage is plentiful and it's nice they give folks the option to expand and load music/video on a microSD card.  I wish they would release more info on the chip set being used, cause initial hands on reports have indicated that the device is sluggish.  But that could be related to a software issue.

I think its a big benefit that they still build their software on top of Android.  However not having access to the Android Marketplace stinks; that's one of the best features of Android.  The new support for color books, magazines, and newspapers is a big add for the Nook.  Its something the Kindle does not have, but time will tell if the implementation is any better then the iPad.

I still think the Nook's biggest problem is its competitors.  Amazon sells a great single focus device for a much lower price with the newer Kindles.  The iPad has much of the same features and content partners as the Nook, but has a better battery life.  The iPad also supports both the Barnes & Noble book store (though early indications are they will not sell magazines and newspapers for the iPad) and the Kindle book store.  I will reserve final judgment until the device is released and I can get some hands on time with it, but unless you have a love for Barnes & Noble, it might be tough to get excited for the Nook Color.

Amazon Associates Program Associates Central
Image from

I want to be upfront about one of the ways I generate revenue on this blog.  I am part of the Amazon Associates program.


The program is an affiliate program that allows website owners to partner with Amazon so they can link directly to products being sold on  Amazon gets product marketing by having products either displayed or linked to on a variety of different sites.  In return for this Amazon gives the site owner a percentage of the sales that are generated from users that buy products from the links on those sites.


Well I am sure the first thing that popped in your head was to make money.  And that is true, it is one of the possible revenue streams for my site.  But I chose Amazon because I like Amazon and I use it frequently.  I think they have a great selection of products, and more importantly they competitively price their products.   Amazon consistently has the lowest prices for products that I buy, and they also have great deals and specials.  It is also my first choice to buy video games because of these deals and specials; I will write more about this in an upcoming post.


I told all of you because I wanted to be open and honest.  I also wanted to emphasize that I will only be linking to products that I am featuring or recommending.  I won't be adding fluff posts just because I want to make a buck.  I think the links will be able to provide you the opportunity to check out prices from a competivie retailer and also give you the chance to check out some user reviews of the product.  If at any time you have concerns or questions about my use of the program, just feel free to let me know.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sony Google TV Blu-ray Player Hands On

I stopped by my local Sony Style store yesterday to checkout the Google TV products.  I am pretty excited for Google TV so I was expecting their store display units to be packed with people, they were not.  I was happy about that though since I wanted to spend some serious time with Sony's Blu-ray Google TV player.

For those unaware of what Google TV is, click on this link for some information and videos from Google.


The unit was a lot bigger then I was expecting.  While not as tall as a PS3, the footprint looked bigger to me.  It is a nice looking piece of hardware.  The sides are wrapped in glossy white plastic, and the top is covered with blue reflective plastic.  I know in pictures it looks like the top is black, but in person it has a pretty deep blue tint to it.

 The front of the box has a USB port, a power/eject button, and a connect button which is used to reconnect the remote as far as I can tell.  The back has your standard ports that you would expect.  Two HDMIs (one in, one out), optical out for audio, ethernet, IR blaster, and three USB ports.  The large fan that other sites have talked about is there.  You  have to remember though this is closer to a home theater PC than it is a blu-ray player.  It also has WiFi built in.

The much talked about remote was actually a lot more comfortable then I would have thought.  In a bit of irony it actually feels like an xbox 360 controller, just much lighter.  While the remote is comfortable to hold, it's an absolute mess to use.  While the QWERTY keyboard isn't so bad, its still hard to type something without looking down at the pad.  There are way to many buttons on it, and its hard to understand what they all do.  You spend most of your time in the dark grey area using the two directional pads.  The left pad is your standard four way directional pad with an ok button to select things in the middle.  The right pad is actually an optical touch pad.  Around the touch pad are your standard android buttons with the exception of search; this has been replaced with the Dual View toggle, more on that later.

The touch pas was responsive, but something i was surprised by is you use this to navigate almost everything.  The left directional pad doesn't really do much.  When using the touch pad, the screen doesn't not scroll automatically when you reach a screen edge.  You actually have to hold down the scroll button on the top of the controller to enable scroll.  I think this was a smart design decision given the frustration users might have when trying to select something near an edge.  The only other thing I found odd was the placement of the search button.  For a product that is based on a Google platform and has search as one of its main features you would think the search button would be front and center.  Instead, it is at the bottom of the controller next to the space bar.


I didn't capture any pics of the software because I think you can can a good idea of the look and feel of the interface on Google's site.  Instead I will just give you my impressions of the software.  I thought the performance of the box was pretty good.  I wouldn't call it snappy, but I would say it is on par with the PS3 XMB.  The only real difference between the TV with Google TV and the blu-ray player is the extra app added to watch blu-ray movies.  All the built in apps work just like you would expect.  Chrome is just like chrome on the any PC or mac.  Netflix looks and works like it does on all the other platforms it is on.  The apps really do have an android feel to them, which is expected given that Google TV is built on android.

The search feature is very helpful.  I tried generic search terms and got back what I was expecting.  For example I searched football and got back all the current college games that were on DirectTV along with the NFL channel.  The only problem I had was that I couldn't get any HD channels to return back.  Though this is most likely do to how the store had DirectTV setup and not the box's fault.   I should note  though that I did have trouble getting back to live TV.  It is easy to launch into the Google TV menu, but it was pretty hard to return back to live TV.  I couldn't get the back button to do it and for some reason the live TV button didn't work all of the time for me.

The only other issue I had was getting the Dual View to work.  Dual view is supposed to allow the user to view the Google TV software and live TV in picture-in-picture, but I kept getting an error on the blu-ray box.  It seemed to work fine on the TV sets, but every time I tried pressing the Dual View button on the remote I got an error.  I tried this on two different boxes and got the same error on both.


I walked into to store pretty excited about GoogleTV.  I left the store more excited about the future of the platform then its current state.  I think once they open the platform up to app developers and once Google works out issues with network TV and Hulu then it could really take off.  But at $399.00 its a bit hard to suggest given that it is basically a standard blu-ray player with some added software enhancements.  Sony will either have to lower the price, or Google will have to update the platform more to make it worth it.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

New 11.6" MacBook Air Shutdown Time

I was also able to capture a video of the shutdown time.  This was actually a lot faster then I was expecting.    

New 11.6" MacBook Air Boot Up

Just got back from the Apple store and was able to play around with the new 11.6" MacBook Air.  I captured a video of the boot up sequence and also show putting it into sleep state and then waking it up.  As you can see the boot up is fast, but I was expecting faster.  It is a very nice looking machine though, small and light.

Things Are Changing

Since I am just starting out with this blog, you will notice that the look and feel of the site will be changing over the next few weeks (and hopefully for the better).  I am not the best with color choices, so if things start to really look ugly just let me know.


I created this blog as a one stop shop for all of my interests.  The most common things discussed will be technology, gadgets, video games,  and movies.  But I will also be throwing in some random things like roller coasters, amusements parks, and some personal finance topics.

Things will be kept pretty informal.  I plan to try and write some feature pieces that revolve around a specific topic and and will also have posts that chronicle my time with a specific product or experience.  I will of course have some quick posts on things in the middle to keep you coming back for more.

Please feel free to comment on posts, but try to keep things on topic when commenting.  I am also open to feedback and questions so feel free to get in touch with me.  I hope you enjoy my blog and keep coming back for more!