It's hard to go vintage

You’re always missing something. That is the problem. I searched through my parents attic a few weeks ago and found my NES. The one my dad bought me at a yard sale when I was seven. $35, with two controllers, a zapper, and Mario / Duck Hunt. My next game was Mega Man 3. I was late to the console party, but I made up for it over the years. But still, trying to go back? It’s nearly impossible! Continue reading “It's hard to go vintage”

The user-moderated internet

I wanted to sell my old Xbox 360 on Craigslist after I bought a Slim console. I tried to sign up for Craigslist, but I couldn’t unless I provided a phone number. I’m VERY selective about where I put my cell phone number online, as I don’t have a land line, and don’t want this thing ringing every five minutes. I tried to use a Google Voice number, but it wouldn’t take. I skipped it.

That was a year ago. Recently, I had occasion to try again, with Craigslist. I caved in and provided my number so I could authenticate my account and list my goods. Only about 12 hours, my post was flagged and taken down, with no clear reason given. A list a mile long of potential reasons was given, but no single “flagged for xyz.”

I was recently told by a friend that he couldn’t see anything I was posting on Reddit. I have no notification, no reason to suspect I was problematic – I link to my blog posts occasionally, a little self promotion when I think it’s something Reddit folks might be interested in, but I don’t do it daily. Being logged in to the Reddit site, I saw now sign that I didn’t exist any more, no warning that my posts may be blocked as Spam, but it’s nearly the only thing I can think they would’ve hidden my posts for.

So what happens on the user-moderated internet? When someone doesn’t like you, or your content, or is mad that you’re getting more views than them, they flag you, and the system listens. I’m told some places require multiple flags before any action is taken, but the problem isn’t how many or even that it’s happening – it’s your recourse after the fact. I sent a support request to Reddit and haven’t heard anything back. I emailed Craigslist support to ask the specific reason I was flagged, and got the same email in response that I was initially sent: a laundry list of possible reasons. You can’t do anything to get yourself quickly reinstated, or actually find out what you did wrong in the first place!

I have theories on why people may have flagged my content on a site or two, but I’m not trying to a spammer, I’m a nice person, and the links I post are genuinely helpful to many people. Why do I suffer the same fate as the guy posting links to “CH3@P V1AGR4!” in the comments!?

ConnectivityShortcuts for Windows Phone 7

I’ve had this app installed for so long, I’ve taken it for granted. In order to do things like switch Wi-Fi on or off, or enable Airplane Mode, you always had to dig through the Settings menu. Coming from Windows Mobile 6.1 where I had hardware shortcuts for things like airplane mode, and Android with widgets, this was a huge pain.

Enter ConnectivityShortcuts. This app allows you to place tiles on your Windows Phone 7’s Start Screen, which can be assigned to Airplane Mode, WiFi, Bluetooth, and your cellular radio. Each one has customizable text, too, but the simple large icons make it obvious what you’re going for. Simply open the app, choose a tile, and pin it to your Start Screen. You can choose to use a custom color, or make the icons automatically use the color of whatever color theme you’ve selected.

It might be a simple choice for a platform without much life left in it, but if you’re looking for easy widgets or shortcuts for switching off wifi, Bluetooth, airplane mode, etc… ConnectivityShortcuts is it.

How to shut down your new Windows 8 computer

It really happened. I kind of thought it might, and addressed this once before, but I hoped it wouldn’t. Microsoft failed so badly at explaining Windows 8, people actually need to search the internet to figure out how to do it. If you’re reading this, and you came here asking how, DO NOT FEEL BAD! It isn’t your fault at all. Microsoft changed things too much and just assumed we would all just figure it out. So, if you’re asking how do I shut down Windows 8? Here’s how:

  1. Bring up the Charms Bar (the menu on the right). Here are 3 ways to do it:
    -On a computer with a mouse, place your pointer in the upper or lower right corner of the screen.
    -With no mouse, only a keyboard, you can press “Windows Key + C” to bring up the Charms Bar.
    -With a touch interface, swipe in from the right hand side of the screen.
  2. Click Settings – yes, the cog/gear icon.
  3. Click Power.
  4. Click shut down.

1994 – Evolver

In 1994, electronics, gadgets, toy, and games were my entire world. I was 10. I remember stumbling on to a movie on the Sci-Fi channel around the same time (ya’know, SyFy now?). Evolver. Evolver is a B-Movie about a kid who wins a prize by getting a high score in an arcade game contest. Kind of. Anyway, he gets the prize robot, and then the robot starts killing people.

Alright, so it’s pretty straight forward and B-Movie style. But there were some stars in there! Ethan Embry was the main character, and William H. Macy was the voice of the Evolver robot. Evolver is the name of the film and the murderous robot because of how, every time you “beat” it in a game, it “evolves” and learns from the environment and experiences. It’s a basic plot with a little thriller horror and not very many unexpected twists. But man is it fun. It takes place in the same universe as the movie Arcade and has a few recurring characters, but you do not need anything at all from the others to sit down and enjoy Evolver.

What is Xbox Live? An answer from Microsoft


Picture Credit: Godfree @ GamerTagRadio.

What is Xbox Live? When the name first came out, people thought it was a video service. Xbox Live might feature news anchors, or live broadcasts of some kinds. Now, ten years later, people are closer than ever before to being right – no matter how they answer the question. Here is what Microsoft says about Xbox Live:

“Xbox LIVE is the online service for Xbox 360—and a whole lot more. Your TV is transformed into a connected entertainment experience with Xbox LIVE. Play Kinect and controller games with online friends wherever they are or instantly watch HD movies, TV shows and sports. Use Kinect to discover entertainment options that interest you—just say what you want to watch, and Xbox finds it.”

Xbox Live is the core service you sign in to, and from there you can everything from playing games, to watching movies on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, etc… to browsing the internet with Internet Explorer. There are different tiers of Xbox Live, and there are some big differences between Xbox Live Gold vs. Silver, so go ahead and read up on them, then join us online!

Sprint tries to enter… the meme market?

Rolling out slowly over the last two weeks has been “Tor, the Data Coach.” Sprint created personas for the data coach, giving him at least his own tumblr and Twitter handle, @DataCoachSays. The tumblr page posts random pictures of the datacoach with attempts at meme-worthy jokes, completely with broken English. I guess that plays in to the character’s foreign (Russian?) persona.

Nobody will be fooled in to thinking it isn’t a ploy by Sprint. The tumblr site is filled with Sprint advertisements, the color schemes are obvious, the official Sprint twitter not only follows, but responds to @DataCoachSays. In the linked tweet, the official Sprint account fights against the data limits imposed by the Data Coach. What would make this great would be if these tweets were replies to various “@VerizonWireless” tweets in regards to how great shared data plans are. But @DataCoachSays’ 122 followers tell me this isn’t going to catch on very fast.

The least they could do is buy a few more followers!