We’ve all done it. It’s a blessing of our generation, and a curse to retailers everywhere. You pick up a product in the store, and pause. You realize, you can probably get a better deal online. Want to be sure? Use RedLaser.
I think most people have heard of it by now, but I was excited when RedLaser came to Windows Phone. Simply launch the app, scan a barcade, and find the item at outlets all around the internet. It searches ebay first, as RedLaser is an eBay company, but then it checks Google Product search and lists onlne retailers and other shopping sites.
Just scan, hear the beep, and do your comparison shopping in a matter of seconds. RedLaser even has the ability to pull up retail chains around you – maybe you don’t want to wait to ship something from Amazon, but you want to know if you can get a better deal at Target, Wal-Mart, or Best Buy. Well, simply swipe over to the “local” page and find out! And if you’re not even worried about the price, but you want to know more about the product, you can check for reviews and see if the product you’re looking at will live up to your expectations!
RedLaser has simplified the whole process. Now that it’s on Windows Phone Marketplace, everybody finally has access to it.
So you’re in the Windows 8 “Desktop Mode” – because the Start Screen just doesn’t feel right. You installed a few programs, but with no Start Menu – you can’t find them! Sure you can try to browse using Windows Explorer and find you way in to program files, but that’s just not what you want to do. So where are the desktop programs?
Well, good and bad news. The good news is they’re easy to find – the bad news? They’re in the new Start Screen. Go ahead, put your mouse down in the lower left-hand corner of the screen, or press the “Windows Key” on your keyboard, and scroll all the way to the right. There are probably several small, not exciting icons. Those are your Windows desktop applications. “Apps” you install from the Windows 8 App Store get live tiles, and are different sizes and more bright and vibrant. Most normal applications that would put a shortcut in the Start Menu are going to also create an icon here. If it doesn’t? You’re not out of luck.
If you have the Start Screen open, just start typing the name of the program! You can also move the mouse to the right side of the screen or press “Windows Key + C” to bring up the “Charms” bar and begin searching. As you can see in my screenshot above, I installed a program called Handbrake – and in order to find it in the Start Screen, I just started to type – and sure enough it showed up in my list of “Apps.” The same goes for my installation of Office 2010 programs, and other applications like Steam and games installed like Half-Life!
If you’re looking for something like how to pick and choose your Windows Updates, you can search for Windows Update, then click Settings on the right side of the screen and then click on the icon to Install Optional Updates.
Today: Indie Music. I’ve met some talented people in my lifetime, and today I wanted to share a few more of them with you. First out, I met two of the three members of this band back in 2008, long before the band ever formed the trio known as Younger Me, from Red Lion, Pennsylvania. Great vocals and keyboard playing that gets in your ear and doesn’t want to leave. If you admitted to yourself that you actually enjoyed Vampire Weekend, then listen to the track Sleepwalk Home on their Bandcamp site and try to resist the urge to tap your foot. I dare you.
Next up, a local duo from my hometown, going by the name Slim and Red. Mike and Laura might cover songs here and there, but their originals bring out their fans. I can honestly remember being in high school chorus class with Laura, and I feel like my home town is lucky to have someone of her talent still spending time there. Her vocals can haunt you with their force, and the honesty in their lyrics is so very refreshing. If you don’t believe me, you can listen to their samples, and I would suggest listening to This Skin and seeing if her voice doesn’t get stuck in your head.
I’ve only played a little so far, and I hope to do more over the weekend. So far, Retro City Rampage is an awesome trip down memory lane. There are a ton of “in-jokes” that players not over the age of 25 just won’t get, unless they’ve done their homework. I bought the game without even downloading the demo, because I wanted to support the developer of this one. But my rose tinted glasses are already starting to let in a harsh reality that I may have jumped too soon.
The plot, so far, anyway, is vague and muddled. Not in a classic 1980’s “PRESS START AND GO RIGHT” sort of way, but in a “we’re so busy trying to cram references you’ll get down your throat, that we’re going to make sure none of them make sense.” You want nothing more than to go on a rampage… because you’re an antihero… who obeys every word his mob boss says… and suddenly finds a time machine. Which, based on the screenshots I’ve seen, is going to take me to other levels that play like other games from the past.
Alright, I’m clearly into retro, but some things get taken too far. References are great, but when literally every line has more to do with a joke than helping me understand what I’m supposed to be doing you’re trying too hard. Make the game enjoyable, don’t just slap me in the face with YOU REMEMBER WHEN THIS WAS COOL, DON’CHA? I’m hoping that maybe I’m still in a bit of a tutorial phase and the game will slow down, but so far the mechanics change, the plot seems extremely restrictive, and the game went from “Retro” and “Nostalgic” to something akin to the Home Shopping Network trying to get you to buy a Chia Pet.
A friend asked me what i thought of Microsoft buying a piece of Dell. Here is what I wrote to him on Facebook.
Microsoft taking 10-15% of Dell is a natural move, now that they are edging more in to the hardware market with Surface, Surface Pro, and whatever this year’s Surface 2 is bound to be. Apple doesn’t want Dell, they’re ALREADY a hardware manufacturer with ties to Intel, which they will break when OS11 launches. I expect them to go back to their non Intel ways. Higher profit margins. Right now I think every company is trying to innovate ways to increase revenue streams, not being innovative in ways that are making people flock to them. This goes for everyone. Did apple think a 5th row of icons was gonna sell iPhone 5? Does Intel think we can stay at their 3Ghz barrier forever and just keep adding cores? Microsoft stepping in to more hardware is exciting. It’s not just a mouse with their logo on it, or the next Xbox, it’s a real Microsoft product stepping up and showing companies like HP and ASUS how to do it. With a stake in Dell, it makes that a lot easier.
My friend mentioned that he didn’t think it would stop at 15%, and that Michael Dell wanted to bring the company back to a privately held company. I continued…
Michael Dell only owns I think 15 or 16% himself. Private, maybe, but I don’t think he wants to give up the goat to Microsoft entirely, and let them call the shots. And I don’t think Microsoft is interested in being seen as a threat to their licensing partners; all the other OEMs who sell Windows on their machines (Acer, ASUS, Toshiba, Sony, HP, etc…). If they see Microsoft as a direct threat to their business, they won’t support it by licensing Windows. MS must know that. If Microsoft buys a huge chunk of Dell, the others will flock to Linux or another alternative, just so they aren’t giving their competition a dime. It would be the end of Microsoft as anyone has known it for 25 years. I think Microsoft is smart enough to know a small investment in Dell would pay for itself while working on “a tablet” and maybe “a desktop” or two, but they don’t want to be seen as a threat to their OEMs.
GrooVe IP is an app that Google Voice should be. A free download from the Play Store, GrooVe IP Lite lets you make VOIP calls from your handheld Android device. I know a few of you are thinking that’s the point of Google voice, but there is a difference. The official Google Voice app for Android makes a “call back” call. Basically, you dial a number, and via your data connection, a signal gets sent to the Google Voice servers. Then the server calls you. Once a call to you is established, it rings the person you called, connecting the two of you. Microsoft’s Lync app works the same way. But this uses your normal cell phone minutes – the only real benefit is that the call looks like it is coming from your Google voice number instead of your personal cell phone.
GoorVe IP Lite allows you to make calls truly using WiFi. You could make a call with a tablet, provided it has a Microphone. A $4.99 Pro Version can make calls over your phone’s 3G/4G mobile data connection – no WiFi required!
As I said above, I really feel like this is what the Google Voice app should’ve been. You could discontinue your phone service, carry your Android phone with you, and use it to make calls, get messages, and surf the web, wherever you have WiFi! Seriously, ditch your cell phone plan and just use this! Alright, that might be a bit drastic, but this really is a great app, so go check out the free version and get the Pro if you end up liking it!
Some business users may have put in the wrong key when the first installed Office 2010. Some software pirates may have been caught. Whatever your reason, changing your Office 2010 Product Key is easy, here’s how you do it:
I consider Microsoft Word to be the father of all Office products, so I advise opening Word. But if you didn’t install Word, any Office product ought to do, such as Excel, or even Outlook. Click on the File menu in the upper left. Then select Help. To the right, you should see that your product is already activated – if it isn’t, this is where you can activate a new install, or change your key of an existing install. In order to avoid the need to reinstall your Office product, your product key should match the current version of Office installed (Home and Student, Professional Plus, etc…).
Similar steps can be followed in Office 2013 to activate or change your product key, should you need to.
Back in 2008, the questions abounded – would the Xbox 360 ever support BluRay? Rumors flew in all directions, but nobody knew for sure. We knew the Xbox console couldn’t read the discs the the way it was, but maybe a replacement drive, or an external device? When word broke that Microsoft, as a company, were trying to stay compatible with BluRay, people seemed to forget Windows was a bigger part of Microsoft than Xbox, at the time. I quashed that rumor myself, and helped to clarify the confusion. Xbox 360 owners ended up getting the external HD DVD add-on drive, which still works to this day. But that was it. BluRay support was never added.
Now, it seemed to me that this was an open and shut case, but I’ve seen the question asked in the past, and I’ve seen it answered and a really untruthful way. A person said YES, but then linked (referral links, no less) to paid software to convert the BluRay movie. It enabled person to put a BluRay disc into their computer (provided it had a BluRay drive), then convert the software, then you had your option of transferring it to a thumb drive or streaming it to the Xbox 360. This doesn’t mean the Xbox 360 can play a BluRay movie, this means the Xbox 360 supports several digital video formats – but it cannot read BluRay discs no matter what you connect up to the Xbox 360.
I just wanted to re-hash this – hopefully there was no more question, but I think people are still looking for the answer, and I wanted to provide it for them. Unfortunately for movie buffs, the final answer is NO – the Xbox 360 does not and will not support BluRay movies. The next console from Microsoft (what I’m dubbing the Xbox “365”) might, but we’ll probably need to wait until E3 2013 to find out.
On Fridays I generally write some sort of post about gaming. But nothing I wrote this week could’ve held a candle to this amazing article over on The Verge. The article is called: For Amusement Only: the life and death of the American arcade. It’s lengthy, but it is a fantastic read. And for the average American attention span, there is an 8 minute video (embedded above, though not very reliable – go to The Verge and watch it) that is part of the article. A fantastic look back at the arcade industry, and a few theories as to why it’s so hard to find a good arcade these days. Enjoy the article.