In response to the article “Razer is making an iPhone game controller, according to leak” on gigaOM.com

A while back, I posted about how smartphones are becoming incredibly advanced. I mentioned how many of them have surpassed computers and gaming systems from not too long ago. I wasn’t surprised when I found out that iPhones are already becoming the next step in portable gaming.

According to the article, Razer is not the first to turn the iPhone into a video game controller. Logitech and Moga also have cases that adapt the iPhone into a handheld gaming device. It is interesting to see Razer on this, however, because most people recognize Razer as manufacturers of top of the line gaming products. Their participation in this gives the iPhone an image of being a legitimate gaming device.

Technology has made it easy to cram the power of a full computer into a tiny phone. Some smartphones now are even faster than modern tablets and netbooks. In a few years, we may see gaming smartphones on par with full consoles like the Xbox 360 and PS3. In my opinion, it was a smart move for Razer, Logitech, and Moga to get involved in the iPhone market. I feel there is great potential in smartphone gaming.

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After viewing “Gravity Squeezes 40% More Power From These Solar Panels” on Mashable.com

This article caught my attention because I have always been very interested in other forms of energy. The article is about a Princeton undergrad who developed a way to get 40% more energy from a solar panel by making it turn to follow the sun throughout the day.

I haven’t heard about anything new in solar energy in quite a while. I was starting to get worried that it had reached a dead end. This would be disappointing to me because I am a strong believer in alternate sources of energy. Fossil fuels are limited and decreasing rapidly. The way I see it, we should find some other way to get energy now before they run out, rather than waiting until it is an absolute emergency.

I feel like oil companies have done everything they can to hinder renewable energy. It is unfortunate that the oil companies and electric companies are very powerful and have far too much influence, because they are holding the nation back from making great progress in technology. If new companies stepped in to replace these companies with renewable, self producing, clean energy, everyone but the current companies would benefit. However, because these huge corporation are so influential, they decide when we stop needing their products. This backward form of capitalism is holding the entire country back. It is time that the corporations give up and allow what is best for everyone. Could you imagine if you never had to pay an electric bill again after installing solar panels, or never having to stop for gas because your car is solar powered? Even though the push for new forms of energy seems to have slowed down, I am really hoping to see some great progress in the next few years.

In reaction to reading the article on engadget.com titled “If you’re in the UK, you, too, can now view Google’s info cards within the Play Movies app

So apparently Google’s info cards are pretty big in the UK now. This is the first I’ve heard of them and it has caught my full attention. On the Android app Play Movies, users can pause the movie to search the filmography with a simple touch. This is wonderful for film enthusiasts like me who find themselves turning to IMDB several times throughout the course of a movie. It would definitely save me a few minutes of time.

This is a small convenience really, and most people might not really care about it, but for me this is a really cool feature. I hope this feature not only spans to the US, but also to other platforms. Maybe one day, Netflix will incorporate it or it will be standard with all digital TVs. This could be the next step in movie viewing. It might not seem big, but it is somewhat similar to audio devices in cars. No one ever thought that a tape deck in a car would make much of a difference, but after Ford and Motorola developed and installed the first system it became standard in all vehicles. Now no one can own a car without it having a CD player or MP3 player. TVs have already made advancements like this. Perhaps info cards will be the next one. For all those film enthusiasts like me, we can only hope.

upon reading the article and watching the video “Intel Is Opening Its Own Pop-Up Stores For the Holidays” on gizmodo.com

So Intel saw how popular the Apple store was and wanted to give it a shot. Good idea, right? Wrong! Here are some reasons why:

Apple has a plethora of products from computers to phones to mp3 players to accessories for these devices. As we have seen, they can easily fill an entire store with these products. Additionally, where no other store sells strictly Apple products and all Apple products in one place and employs experts on the particular field, lots of stores already sell intel incorporated products. Intel makes processors and other computer hardware. They make things that a lot of non-tech savvy people don’t even pay attention to when they buy a product. Sure, Intel could open a store that sold all the HP, Dell, and Toshiba computers that use intel hardware, but then what would be the difference between going there and going to Best Buy or Staples?

The Apple store also employs experts that are trained to help fix your devices. This is helpful because of how often Apple products break and how few people can fix them themselves without voiding their warranty. Intel could do this, but it would not be much different from calling tech support or bringing your computer somewhere to be repaired. Once again, the concept has been done.

One thing Intel does have going for them, however, is free coffee. The video claims that the stores will have free coffee and movie screenings, so this may help draw many people in, but it will not necessarily sell more products. I think if Intel wants to pull this off they are going to have to assimilate much more diversity to their store because most of what they can do by selling Intel products only has already been done by other stores. However, if they start by giving out free coffee and showing movies, it might end up being the new place that hipsters go to hang out.

My thoughts after reading “Star Wars Episode VII: Why It’s Arriving December 2015” on mashable.com

When we first heard that Disney was officially buying Lucasfilm and planning to remake Star Wars, we all had the same thought. This is going to ruin a classic hit. It will be childish and poorly made, offering nothing to fans of the original films. This was definitely my first thought, but then I began to reconsider.

Remember the Pirates of the Caribbean series? That was not geared only toward children. For the most part, it was a genuinely good series (aside from being milked to death). Sure Disney is known for making animated children’s movies, but it has been proven that they can make a quality film for older viewers too, as long as Johnny Depp plays the leading role.

The fact that J. J. Abrams is now a writer is promising because he has made several quality films for a wide range of viewer. Additionally, seeing what he has done with Star Trek tells us that he is decent at recreating classics with modern aspects. The Star Trek and Star Wars followers are both hard groups to please, and seeing as he has done well with Star Trek it will be interesting to see how he fairs with the next big science fiction remake. Also, the fact that he is taking into account the opinions of the viewers is important.

I will admit that I am very scared and unsure of the Disney Star Wars. This is why I have developed a strategy to get the best of the film. Up until this point, you may still be wondering what the title of this post has to do with the context. Well here is where I explain. Often, when I go to see a movie and have very low expectations of it, I come out being more satisfied than I expected. On the other hand, when I have high expectations of a film I pick at every minor issue until I am disappointed. So my strategy is to remain negative about the new Star Wars and expect the least. That way, if it is even somewhat decent, I will be impressed and I will be satisfied with watching it.

After reading the article “Apple releases Mavericks update to remedy Gmail sync problems” on GigaOM.com

Let me start this post with a warning. This is probably going to just be a personal rant about my unfortunate experience updating my MacBook Pro. I would also not be surprised if halfway through it just turns into another post about why I hate Apple.

Maybe it will help if I get my complaints out of the way first. Mavericks itself is not the problem, but the process of installing is. I don’t know if it was the same for anyone else, but this upgrade took six hours to download and another hour to install. The download was inconvenient because I had to leave my MacBook open and running for six hours while it completed. This is a long wait for one upgrade. Now this would be understandable if it were a complete rebuild of the operating system, but really, Mavericks did not bring very much to the table, especially not six hours worth. After the download, I had to wait another hour to install it, all the while I could not use my computer. It may be hard to imagine, but this really ruined my entire day. I couldn’t get a single thing done because of it and I went to bed that night feeling like I wasted an entire day. On top of that, I don’t even feel like it was worth it. There were no significant changes to the OS that mattered to me besides the finder tabs thing, which is cool but still not on par to windows in my opinion.

Perhaps the upgrade just wasn’t for me. The article on GigaOM states that it fixed many bugs with Gmail and email related issues. I haven’t experienced these bugs so I guess I am not part of that demographic. Maybe Mavericks did more than I realize and I am just not a person who would notice it. I can give Apple this one possibility. But if they waste any more of my time with useless updates, I will be one unhappy customer.

Upon reading the article “‘Welcome to Night Vale’ Is the Eerie Podcast You’re Dying to Hear” on mashable.com

If you do not already listen to the ‘Welcome to Night Vale’ podcasts, I highly recommend you start. This article caught my attention because I am a huge fan of theĀ ‘Welcome to Night Vale’ series. Although the article itself was directed toward individuals who have not yet listened to the podcast, it still influenced me to write something about ‘Welcome to Night Vale’ in hopes that I may assist in spreading the word about this wonderfully strange podcast.

‘Welcome to Night Vale’ is a podcast based around a fictional town called Night Vale where bizarre and unexplainable things happen every day. The story is told in the form of news broadcasts voiced by Night Vale resident Cecil Baldwin. The events that occur in Night Vale vary greatly and don’t seem to be limited by any sense of reality or single unifying theme. They include monsters, angels, unexplainable events, supernatural occurrences, and much more.

The weather segment in every ‘Welcome to Night Vale’ episode is in the form of a song by various underground artists of a wide range of genres. The song usually has nothing to do with weather whatsoever, which only adds to the oddity of the podcast.

Another interesting addition to the podcast is the occasional advertisement. Cecil will often read out advertisements for real companies and products, such as Subway or Tropicana Orange Juice, but the advertisement itself will be spooky, usually having seemingly nothing to do with the product. This use of modern culture helps the reader to link Night Vale to the real world. It is also very funny.

One of the most interesting aspects of Night Vale, in my opinion, is that no matter what happens everyone acts very calm. Even though unordinary and impossible things are happening every day, the people, including Cecil, don’t seem to take much notice. Because these things happen everyday, the residents of Night Vale seem used to it. Therefore, the reader is shocked and puzzled by the events while the mood of the podcast remains calm.

This podcast is a must read for anyone who likes scary stories, supernatural and eerie events, dark humor, or giant, five-headed, fire-breathing politicians. I strongly suggest giving it a listen.

Happy Halloween!