Nerds love things that are "limited edition". Once we hear that something will be in limited supply, we just have to have it. If a company released a limited edition Game of Thrones Pet Rock for $500, it would probably sell out. Make them individually numbered and you can probably get double.
Of course, some limited edition items are rather cool. Hell, I have been known to get caught up in the hype, buying limited edition art prints and vinyl figures. Most recently I scoured the internet in search of a limited edition Titanfall Xbox One controller and I don't even own that console or game! Why did I need it then? I wanted it to use on my Windows machines, and I couldn't be caught dead using the normal black one, right? Today, Microsoft announces another limited edition peripheral -- the Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 Halo Limited Edition: The Master Chief (phew, long product name!). This is being released to celebrate Halo: The Master Chief Collection for Xbox One.
Growing up as a computer nerd, I remember thinking that I would learn how to program, so I could develop my own video games. I think this is a dream that many nerds share. I remember that my dad bought me a huge book on programming and after about 5 pages, I gave up and began reading comic books instead. The moral of this story is not that I'm stupid (although that is debatable), but that not everyone is cut out to be a programmer. My dreams of creating a video game were dead.
Or were they? Today, Logitech announces that it will be crowdsourcing a video game. This means that the direction of the game will be handled by fans on the internet -- pretty cool, eh? The best part is, no technical skills are required. In other words, my dream of contributing to a video game is alive and well.
We all know Google is the darling of the mapping world. If you are going on a trip, the search-giant's navigation solutions are arguably the best. However, it is dangerous to allow one company to essentially own an entire aspect of technology. Luckily, there are additional solutions like Apple Maps and Nokia HERE, to at least offer some semblance of competition. As a Windows Phone user, I have learned to love Nokia HERE as an excellent alternative to Google Maps and navigation. While HERE is lacking in some areas, it has the potential to be great.
Even though I love Windows Phone, I love Linux too -- shocking right? Yes, believe it or not, you can love both Microsoft products and open-source. Not all Linux users have tattoos of penguins urinating on the Windows logo. Hell, I own an iPad too -- the horror! Well, today, Canonical announces that it has formed an agreement with Nokia HERE to provide A-GPS technology to Ubuntu computers, including phones. Don't worry you strict Linux enthusiasts, Microsoft does not own Nokia HERE -- it was not part of the Nokia acquisition.
PC gaming is a really awesome pastime. While some people prefer console gaming, it is strictly a matter of preference. I like both, but I particularly like the gamification of PC gaming hardware. In other words, the actual building of the gaming PC and buying of cool peripherals can be as fun as the games themselves. Hell, it can sometimes be more fun.
One of the most fun peripherals to buy for a gaming PC is the mouse. Unfortunately, far too much emphasis has been put on appearance lately, instead of performance. Don't get me wrong, a gaming mouse should look cool and sexy, but only as a secondary focus. Today, Logitech announces a mouse that meets the needs of performance and appearance-driven consumers, with the G402 Hyperion Fury. The company claims that it is the world's fastest gaming mouse. Is it faster than Speedy Gonzales?
Traveling and staying in hotels can be quite the adventure -- both good and bad. Of course, the quality of the lodging can determine the overall experience. If you check in and find a dead hooker under the bed, or stains all over the rug, you are going to have a bad time. Conversely, staying in a quality hotel can be quite the luxurious experience. Frankly, I have been on vacations where staying in the big comfy bed all day and watching movies was the highlight. Let's not forget room service -- eating fried mozzarella sticks and dripping marinara sauce everywhere? Who cares, its a hotel! The maid will clean it, right?
Unfortunately, leaving the hotel and looking for something to do in the vicinity can be an ordeal. I mean, going to a restaurant or attraction sight unseen could prove to be hit or miss. Choose the wrong restaurant and you will be stuck on the toilet for the rest of your vacation -- yuck! Today, Google announces that it wants to help users have a good time while on vacation. While that sounds great, the search giant is doing it in a creepy way -- by reading your emails!
Self-proclaimed tech nerds around the world are turning their backs on system-building. This is tragic, as this art is part of the foundation of the tech nerd lifestyle. It is hard to argue with these perceived traitors -- an off-the-shelf tablet such as an iPad can do very much. In other words, why spend the time and money building a PC? The same can be said for much in life. I mean, why cook when you can get take out? Why mow your lawn when you can pay someone to do it? The answer is simple -- fun and self satisfaction. Yes, building a computer is a rewarding experience and everyone should at least attempt it.
System-building is something I am still a fan of and I know I am not alone -- you guys are out there. Amazing components are constantly being released -- motherboards, processors and even power supplies. A power supply is the unsung hero of any system build. It literally powers the computer! It is sad how often people choose cheap PSUs for their builds and instead focus on the "fun" stuff, like RAM and processors. I have always cautioned against cheap power supplies. When I say "cheap", please do not misunderstand -- I am referring to poor quality and not low price. If you can get high quality for a low price, awesome. However, if you've never heard of the manufacturer, it is probably a good Idea to pass. Recently, I saw a new PSU from world-renowned manufacturer Cooler Master that got my motor running -- the V1200 Platinum. Once I wiped the drool from my chin, I obtained one to review.
Thanks to technology, the business world is shrinking. Compared to prior decades, it is becoming far easier for businesses to operate in multiple countries. While this has the potential of being great, it also can be bad. After all, economies are not puzzle pieces that fit together nicely. No, sometimes there is an oil and water situation, where things don't mix.
Ultimately, communism and capitalism will never work together hand in hand. In other words, for an American company to operate in a communist republic, such as China, there will be pains. Today, it is revealed that China is investigating Microsoft for being a monopoly and has raided its offices.
Being a tech enthusiast is usually synonymous with being out of shape. Thinking back to the movie Revenge of the Nerds, it was clear that computer users were weaklings. As time marched on from the 80's, tech nerds went from simply being weak, to being fat too. Yes, we tech nerds like to sit in chairs and eat bad food. Of course, I'm generalizing; I am positive there are physically fit computer nerds. With that said, I have not encountered many.
Thanks to the smartphone, technology has become more and more mainstream and simple to use. An iPhone or Android device is in the hands of all ages. I have encountered many older people that have never owned a PC and likely never will, that own an iPhone or Android device. The mainstreaming of technology has brought the merging of previously non-tech things with tech. For instance, I recently saw a WiFi connected crock pot. The surprising trend, however, is technology and fitness. Dongles such as the Fitbit have been all the rage lately, but sadly, Windows Phone users were left out -- what else is new, right? Today, this changes as Windows Phone gains a Fitbit app!
When I go to the grocery store, nothing drives me crazier than people using the speakerphone function of their phone to talk with their partner. When I hear "honey, should I buy 1% or 2% milk?" and then listen to the discussion, it makes me nuts. It's like, I just want to throw their phone into the live lobster tank. Does no one have a sense of privacy and consideration anymore?
This nonsense also happens in the workplace. It is not uncommon for an employee to run a video chat or web-based conference call through their speakers. They then shout at their computer, so the cheap mic picks up their voice. This is very inconsiderate; it negatively impacts the entire office's productivity, as attention is diverted from tasks. Today, Logitech wants to quiet these annoying coworkers with the H570e USB headset.
Can you feel the electricity in the air? Today is Amazon Fire phone release day! Yes, the mythical smartphone, which was rumored for years, finally becomes available to consumers today. Next door to the pizzeria where I got my meatball parm hero for lunch today, is an AT&T store littered with signage for the device. There definitely is a buzz. Will it be a success? Time will tell, but a big factor will be app selection.
Yesterday, Amazon scored Microsoft OneNote for it -- a huge win for both companies. Today however, the app train keeps on rolling. MapQuest and WeatherBug, both of which are premium apps, are now available for Fire phone too. However, these are not just ports, but customized versions to take advantage of Amazon's unique hardware.
Note-taking and task-tracking can be a real hassle. Not only do you need a device, but the software too. Sure, there are many apps to choose from, such as Evernote and Google Keep, but I prefer Microsoft's OneNote. Don't get me wrong, the other options are good too, but OneNote is the most polished of the bunch.
My favorite thing about Microsoft's offering is that it works with a large range of operating systems. Whether I am using an iPad, Android phone, Windows Phone, Chromebook, Mac or Windows computer such as the Surface Pro 3, OneNote has my back. Sadly, Microsoft's app was not available for Kindle Fire HDX -- a tablet which I love. Today, this changes as OneNote not only comes to the Kindle Fire line of tablets, but the all-new Fire phone too.
Let me tell you a secret -- I am gaga for optical drives and discs. I know, it's a weird thing to be enamored with. If you listen to pundits and "experts", the world is transitioning to the cloud and flash drives. Optical media such as CDs, DVDs and Blu-Rays are relegated to spend the rest of eternity in the graveyard with floppy and zip disks, right? Wrong.
Say what you will, but I am not ready to give up on those shiny round discs. Yes, when backing up photos, I do use the cloud, but I also back up to Blu-Ray (BD-RE). Why? Redundancy is the key to smart backup. Maybe your files will forever be safe in the cloud, but why not store them locally too? Today, Samsung announces two new USB DVD drives aimed at consumers with Ultrabooks and tablets that do not have integrated drives. Surface Pro 3 users, take notice.
Dolly Parton is a living legend. Even if you do not love country music, you probably love one of her songs. Hell, she wrote one of the most famous, "I Will Always Love You", which the late Whitney Houston popularized. My personal favorites are "Jolene" and of course, "9 to 5".
Well, it seems like Google is working much harder than a 9 to 5 work day lately, especially when it comes to Street View. The search giant is constantly making a brouhaha over the latest place to which Street View has arrived. Today, it is revealed that Dollywood, the Dolly Parton co-owned theme park, is scoring the Google service.
It's generally never a good idea to hitchhike. Any time a guy sticks out his thumb, or a girl sticks out her leg, it could be the beginning of their troubles. Quite frankly, getting a ride from a stranger seems like the start of a horror movie.
The latest rage in getting a ride, is Uber. If you aren't familiar, it is an app that connects someone with a car and someone who needs a ride -- for a fee. However, the company partners with reputable car services that do background checks on drivers. In other words, as opposed to hitchhiking, it should be a safe experience. Today, Uber announces that the app comes to Windows Phone.
In the olden days, people used to collect CDs, DVDs and Blu-Rays (some still do). Buying physical media loaded with content was commonplace. However, the spread of legal streaming caused many to abandon their collecting and instead opt for services like Netflix, Hulu and Beats Music to name a few. Devices such as Fire TV and Roku have made the process far easier.
Of course, some people still download media illegally rather than pay for a subscription or rental. These people fill large hard drives with files from The Pirate Bay and other nefarious sites. Some pirates also like the convenience of streaming to their living room, though. Today, Seagate announces an option that may appease both pirates and honest home users alike -- a channel for Roku.