Kickstarter, don't fail me now

I have only backed a few things on Kickstarter, so far. All of them geeky. Not only was one of them Ouya, but another upcoming gaming “console” has reached funding, this time in the form of the Gamestick.

Although their fundraising goals were not as ambitious, and they were not overfunded by 800%, Gamestick still shows promise. It is a device that plugs into your television via HDMI port, is powered by the HDMI port, and plays games via a wireless controller where the HDMI stick rests when not in use. While I don’t genuinely believe that either of these new consoles is going to disrupt the current marketplace, I am excited to see that they are ushering in a new era of gaming. Ultra portable, far more independent, and not tied to any old traditional methods.

Although we may not remember either Gamestick or Ouya in ten years (or perhaps they will surprise us all and come to dominate the market), I will be proud to have these first consoles of a new generation. I keep thinking that this should be tomorrow’s gaming post, but really I just want to talk about the future. I’m very excited that this is happening while I’m here to witness it. I don’t know if inexpensive consoles, with annual hardware refreshes is really the future. I also don’t know if indie development is really going to take off in a way that supplants and replaces the current need for high budget studios. But even if both of these consoles end up on the shelf next to my Virtual Boy, as a rare collectible in geek history, I’m going to be very proud to know that I was there, and an active supporter of something new.

Apps Gone Free

Apps Gone Free is an app for iOS, which is extremely obvious. It highlights apps that have experienced recent price drops. It reminds me of AppShopper, but in this case they get nearly exclusive promotions. Obviously, the apps will be on the app store no matter what app you use to find them, but Apps Gone Free will often create partnership deals. Apps Gone Free works with developers to promote the application, through a ‘bumping’ process which, from what I gather, allows users to vote on apps they want to become free, so that the Apps Gone Free folks can work with other app developers.

It’s very convenient, and you can even scroll through several days worth of items that went free. Several of the deals may have expired and prices gone back up, but you can still what the deals were. And scrolling back is still worth it, because some items may stay at their reduced price for a few days. So go ahead and install Apps Gone Free for your iPhone or iPad and see what deal you can find!

How to download Office 2013 64-bit

Another one of Microsoft’s little messes. It’s the year 2013, and Microsoft is still so afraid of jumping head first into 64-bit computing that, by default, Office 2013 users who need to download their installer will download the 32-bit client. As if it’s impossible for Microsoft to run a script on the web page to identify what version of your OS is loaded on your computer? It’s just another one of those SNAFU’s that you get used to, I guess.

First you buy a license at a store like Best Buy, or Amazon. Then you have a product key, nothing more. You have to enter your product key to download the software. But don’t start the download right away! After you click the “get started” button as pictured above, you need to look for (I wish I screenshot of this, sorry, I don’t have one right now) “Language and Install Options.” Then there will be another link that says “Additional Install Options.” There you will find your 64-bit installer.

Perfectly logical, right?

2012 – Flatfoot 56 – Toil

So yesterday was St. Paddy’s day. The jukebox at your local bar cant hold another dollar, you’ve played every Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys song at least three times each. You’ve gone far enough to play a bunch of House of Pain songs. Enter Flatfoot 56.

Flatfoot 56 exists in a similar genre as our favorite Irish rockers. A hint of punk, and a dash of bagpipes makes for an enjoyable sound. They are also a Christian Rock band – which, I know, will imemediately turn some people off. But when 90% of people say “I don’t listen to the lyrics,” I don’t know why they suddenly do when it’s Christian music?? The complaint never made sense to me.

Anyway, the good news is the Flatfoot 56 isn’t one of those bands who wanted to jump on the bandwagon. The band formed in 2003. The first note of the first track of their first album begins with bagpipes. They knew what they wanted to be and went straight for it. The downside? After listening to Rumble Of 56, The Sounds of the Midway EP, and Toil, I haven’t found tracks that jumped out at me. The music is good… but none of it is great. Nothing made me go back and listen to that one song again, right away. With a lot of albums, I like to listen all the way through before hearing any song a second time. And that’s okay – but when a song really grabs your attention so much that you immediately want to hear it again? That’s a good sign. Nothing from Flatfoot 56 really had that.

So today’s recommendation comes with, honestly, a little bit of a “it might not wow you” warning, but that’s okay. The point is it’s something different, and still enjoyable. Give Flatfoot 56 a listen! You can start with their latest release, Toil.