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    April 29, 2016
    Google Play Now Labels Apps With Ads

     

    One of the troublesome things about apps is that you never really know what you’re actually going to get before you download it.  It might be something fun, and you might love the game or whatever you’ve downloaded.  However, most of the apps that are free come with a catch.  That catch is, of course, you’re not paying for the app with money, you’re paying for it with your eyeballs.  Free apps come with ads, by and large, and Google Play is going to make that more transparent.  Google Play will label all apps that have embedded advertisements.

    There’s also a notice already in place that announces when apps have in-app purchases, so that’s two of the biggest bugaboos I have with apps displayed right up front.  Given the choice between spending a dollar or two on an app versus being force-fed ads, I’ll typically go with the ads.  However, if the paid, ad-free version is, say, $1, and it’s something I really love?  You bet I’ll pony up for it.

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    April 27, 2016
    Wordless Wednesday: Space Marathon

    tim-peake-space-marathon

    Image via Discovery.

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    April 26, 2016
    Rock Band 4 Will Get Online Multiplayer

    rock-band-online-play

    One of the things I enjoyed most was playing video games with my father.  We’d sit in my room and play Super Mario Brothers or fire up the old Atari.  Later on, we’d get together for Super Nintendo games.  A couple of generations after that, we’d fire up the Wii and do some bowling, but our favorite games were those music-playing rhythm games.  Specifically, Rock Band.  I’d play the drums and he’d play the guitar, and when friends would come over, they’d join in.  It was a lot of fun.

    My father has passed away.  Most of my friends have moved out of town.  However, there might be a way to get together with friends all around the world.  Rock Band 4 will have an online multiplayer mode.  It’ll be essentially like Quickplay mode, but with some balances designed to make the game a little more fair for different players of different abilities without keeping everyone separated.

    Says Harmonix, developers of Rock Band, “As one of our most requested features, synchronous online multiplayer has been a major focus of discussion within the Rock Band 4 development team for a while.  Harmonix is dedicated to bringing high quality features to Rock Band 4, and we intend to continue support of the game as a platform through the entire 2016 year (and beyond!).  We’ve listened to our audience, and we’re happy to announce that online multiplayer is confirmed as a major feature in the Rock Band 4 development roadmap.”

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    April 25, 2016
    Retro Receiver Makes Your Nintendo Modern Again

    I have a lot of video games for my old Nintendo Entertainment System that I’d love to play again.  However, there’s a problem.  I’ve gotten used to having wireless controllers and as such, I move my hands and arms a lot more than I used to back when I was hooked by a black wire to a gray box in my bedroom.  Fortunately, for those of us who didn’t buy a wireless controller back in 1987, there’s a more modern solution.  The Retro Receiver allows you to hook a modern wireless controller to your Nintendo.

    A Nintendo Wiimote?  A Sony DualShock 4? Yup, just get them connected and you can bring modern ergonomics to Super Mario Brothers 3.  The hard part might be finding a tube television that will allow you to play your Nintendo again, since the standard definition graphics have a lot of ghosting on high definition systems, and I’m not sure there are a lot of converters out there to fix it.

    Get your own Retro Reciever at 8Bitdo.


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    April 20, 2016
    Wordless Wednesday: Snapchat Bob Marley Is A Bad Idea

    snapchat-bob-marley

    Image and amazing story via Wired.

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    April 19, 2016
    Counter-Strike Ported To Android

    Counter-Strike_Classic

    There are a lot of people, like myself, who would love to play classic games on my smartphone.  Sure, I have Fallout  and Fallout 2 loaded onto my laptop, but I don’t have my laptop with me all the time.  I want to play Fallout in the car, from the safety of the passenger seat.  It’s not Fallout, but it’s a start.  Someone ported Counter-Strike 1.6 onto the Android OS.

    The coding is the work of Alibek Omarov, who ported the game onto Android by himself.  And it’s the real version of the game, not a stripped-down version.  Sure, the game is ancient, but getting anything meant for a real computer to run on a phone is pretty incredible.  It’s impressive, and given the game’s enduring fan base, it could be lucrative.

    It’s all unofficial at this point, but… maybe he’ll give the Counter-Strike developers some encouragement.  Counter-Strike still has a lot of active players, and if they could get that 22,500 or so to buy an Android version–as well as old fans returning to the game with a new smartphone version–that’d be a vibrant gaming community.

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    April 18, 2016
    Amazon Unveils Streaming-Only Video Plan

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    I’ve been an Amazon Prime customer for a long time, at least since I got my Kindle Fire tablet.  Once I got used to free two-day shipping, video streaming, and all the other benefits to having Prime, I couldn’t say no to it.  However, some people don’t want the free two-day shipping, they might just want access to Amazon’s great original programming and video streaming offerings.  Well, congratulations, that’s now a thing that you can have.  Amazon has a video-only Prime subscription without all the other benefits of Prime.

    Prime Video is only $8.99 a month, cheaper than Netflix while offering Ultra HD streaming through its video servers.  That’s a pretty sweet deal, and it’s perfect for people who might want a month or two to watch The Man In The High Castle but not pay for a full year of Amazon Prime.  However, if you pay for Amazon Prime, you actually save about $8 per year over just subscribing to Prime Video for a year, but if you don’t want all the other benefits to Prime, then that’s your business.

    A streaming plan for $8.99 is still a really good deal.

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    April 14, 2016
    AMC Considers Allowing Texting In Theaters

    Everyone loves texting, but nobody likes it in the movie theater.  The screens are too bright, people don’t mute their phones, and it’s just a whole lot of annoying.  It’s also happening on a regular basis, and it seems like some movie theater chains are tired of fighting the good fight and are increasingly becoming willing to give up and give in.  The world’s largest movie theater chain might be throwing in the towel.  AMC is considering allowing texting in movie theaters.

    “When you tell a 22-year-old to turn off the phone, don’t ruin the movie, they hear please cut off your left arm above the elbow. You can’t tell a 22-year-old to turn off their cellphone. That’s not how they live their life,” said AMC Ceo Adam Aron in an interview with Variety. “We’re going to have to figure out a way to do it that doesn’t disturb today’s audiences. There’s a reason there are ads up there saying turn off your phone, because today’s moviegoer doesn’t want somebody sitting next to them texting or having their phone on.”

    Rather than allowing people to text on their phones, let’s make it worth their while not to text.  There are already reward programs, like Cinemark Cinemode, that reward people for not using their phones.  Maybe that’s the right step to take, rather than just shrugging and throwing all movie etiquette out the window.

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    April 13, 2016
    Google Wants To Fill Your Day

    Google is nothing if not productive.  After all, even the company’s big failures are interesting ideas, and one of Google’s most famous ideas is the idea that programmers can spend 20% of their time doing personal projects in what is called Innovation Time Off.  That’s making good use of your time, which is something Google is pushing to the forefront with an update to Google Calendar.  Google Goals is an attempt to help you fill your day with all those things you’ve been meaning to do.

    Here’s how it works.  You enter a personal goal into your Google Goals.  Google Goals then looks at your Google Calendar and figures out a time in which you can accomplish your personal goals.  If you add something to your Calendar that conflicts with your Google Goal, then Goals will move your personal goal to a different time to avoid the conflict.  The more you work with Google Goals, the better the program will be at helping you accomplish your long-held goals.

    As someone with a lot of personal projects and not as much time as I would like to do things that I want to do, rather than things I have to do, I love this idea.  Of course, I’m not great at keeping a calendar, but… maybe I can make that my goal?

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    April 13, 2016
    Wordless Wednesday: N64 Table

    n64-gaming-table

    Via Reddit

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