Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Shroud of the Avatar, Richard Garriott's new game!

  As of late I've neglected my website and some how still managed to get almost 700 views last month. Some of you may have wonder where I went off to. The simple answer is between life and Shroud of the Avatar I haven't given much time to the site. Now what is Shroud of the Avatar you might ask? Well it's an amazing spiritual successor to Ultima and Ultima Online! The game itself is a new genre that they are calling Selective Multiplayer Online.

  The concept behind this is that you can choose between various modes when you login to the game. Single Player Offline, Single Player Online, Friends Only Online, and Open Player Online (which is closer to an mmo style). The game features a unique overland map filled with hundreds if not thousands of hexes each of which is a large instanced area when you enter it. The game is currently in pre-alpha stages and is scheduled to release later this year around October.
You can buy the game right now by backing it with a pledge. There are several tier levels each with their own set of rewards so the more you pay into and support the game the more rewards you get! By backing the game early you’re able to play in the pre-alpha, alpha, and beta testing of the game. Currently there are monthly pre-alpha play periods at set times the next one being Release 5 which takes place between April 24th to April 27th 2014. Each test period has patches to the game and adds in new features and bug fixes. Although things are still rough around the edges, unpolished, and buggy each and every release has been amazing!
  Shroud of the Avatar will be a game for every time of gamer from crafting, role playing, fighting, and also questing. If you love story Tracy Hickman the author of the Dragonlance series is writing the story in conjunction with Richard Garriott. There is a prequel novel being written with chapters being released every week for those that buy the novel.

  So far my experience of Shroud of the Avatar has been amazing! It brings back memories from my days of playing Ultima Online. It also has an amazing community and developers. If you are a skilled person in art, music, modeling, writing, or possibly programming you can submit things you create to be part of the game and get paid to do so! Not only that but they improve what you submit and give it back to you and you maintain the rights to it and can sell it!

Shroud of the Avatar is looking to be an amazing game so I encourage you all to check it out! I’m the owner of the Shroud of the Avatar Google+ Community so I also encourage you to join us over there and participate in the fun!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Wireless Mobile is the way of the future.

     Technology has been moving at a very fast pace over the past few years. Just a generation ago smartphones and tablets were almost non-existent. Today almost every person has some sort of smart device. A smartphone, tablet, or laptop that they carry with them to work, school, or on trips. Slowly but surely these devices are becoming closer in functionality. It’s harder to distinguish between a smartphone and a tablet and between a tablet and a laptop. A prime example of this is the Asus PadFone. It’s a phone that converts into a tablet with a screen/battery dock and then into a laptop form factor with a laptop dock, all using the phone as the main processing unit. I have a prediction of the future based on many technologies that I have seen released and other technologies that are still being developed. There are two parts of technology, software and hardware, both progressing at fairly fast rates.


     Now let’s look at software for a second, for a very long time people have been using closed source software and their main operating system has been Microsoft Windows and for the most part that’s still true today. However open source Linux based operating systems have been growing at a high rate in the past few years. There are three main Linux based OSes that I have seen being used by consumers those are Android, Chrome OS, and Ubuntu. These three operating systems are very different from each other. Android is made mainly for mobile touchscreen devices such as tablets and smartphones however it has grown beyond that and is on everything from cars to fridges as well as smart TVs. The next Chrome OS is meant to be a cloud based system originally it didn’t even have a desktop interface and was simply Google Chrome with not much else but now with technologies such as Native Client and Packaged Apps it’s growing into a real platform with real programs you can use offline and online. Ubuntu is one of the most well known Linux distributions it’s very versatile for both average consumers as well as developers and high end users until recently however you weren't able to play many games on it but now with the introduction of steam to the platform this is beginning to change. You might be asking yourself why have I brought these Linux operating systems up? Well I think they are the future, even though I myself still use Windows as my primary OS I see myself using Google Chrome and cloud applications for almost everything on my laptop and for anything else on the go it’s Android all the way. There is a main problem with Android and Chrome OS both of them are very user friendly but they are are made for only one form factor. Ubuntu although a very powerful OS still has a lot of problems with being user friendly. Recently Sundar Pichai took over as Senior Vice President for both Android and Google Chrome. Although he has said at this point in time they won’t be merging I would have to say it’s going to happen eventually for multiple reasons. Google Chrome already runs on Android that was the first step but now what if Chrome OS’ desktop environment was merged into android for use on Laptop/Desktop form factors. This would at first have implications on existing Android Apps as well as existing Chrome apps. They would need to be modified to include a desktop UI in addition to the already existing smartphone and tablet UI to enable for smart transitioning between form factors. Basically how it would all work is similar to what we've seen with other products such as the WebTop and Ubuntu + Android. Both of these were awesome products but were ahead of their time and were too proprietary. In the future every phone will have the ability to connect wirelessly to first party and third party external devices and switch to whatever UI that the form factor requires for optimal use.


    Now this brings me to the next part of technology which is Hardware. There are several new technologies that will enable us to completely remove the need for any wires and by that I mean no more charge cables, HDMI, USB, or any wires at all. The first technology is called WiGig and it’s a standard that combines Wi-Fi, Wireless Display, Wireless HDMI, Bluetooth, and Wireless USB as well as other technologies. WiGig is suppose to have speeds up to 7 Gbps that’s 7x faster than Google Fiber! WiGig is already in a few devices including a Dell Laptop with a completely wireless docking station. So the next technology is called WiPower which is a wireless charging standard it’s still being developed but it’s already looking very promising in the future we’ll be able to charge our phones and other mobile devices from inside our bags and pockets just by being next to a WiPower hotspot it’ll work similar to a Wi-Fi hotspot except for charging instead of internet. With these two technologies combined you now have a phone that can wirelessly connect to any accessory and wirelessly charge while in a building or a car. Imagine walking into your work office you have a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and printer none of which have any wires your phone uses a combination of sensors to know it’s in the office and automatically connects to them all. You no longer have to worry about forgetting that project at work, home, or on the go. One of the biggest problem with devices lately isn't that they aren't powerful enough but that they don’t do everything and that they don't have long enough battery life. This solution allows you to have a tablet/laptop that is simply a screen and massive battery so they can last you for a lot longer than they would otherwise. Now any place you go you can have everything all in one place with a unified interface without connecting any wires or worrying about your device every dieing! I know it’s going to be a while before this future becomes a reality but we are already well on our way to this future and I can't wait to see what other amazing innovations are coming in the near future.

Android -
Chrome OS -
Ubuntu -
PadFone -
WiGig -
WiPower -
Google Fiber -
Dell WiGig Laptop -

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Shroud of the Avatar the new RPG from Richard Garriot aka Lord British!

So I've talked about Ultima Online in a few of my articles on here. I just wanted to share this great news with you guys that Richard Garriot is making a new game called Shroud of the Avatar that is the spiritual successor of Ultima Online. It is both a single player offline game as well as a full blown online game depending on what settings you choose. It's going to have a lot of things from the Ultima single player games as well as Ultima Online. It's going to be an open sand box type world but also have an amazing story to go along with it! Anyways I'm super excited you can find the game on the website don't forget to back it so you can get in the beta and receive other perks depending on how much you're willing to back! I look forward to seeing you guys in the beta!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

6 Reasons why you shouldn't hate the Windows 8.

     A lot of people have told me :"If I get Windows 8 I will most likely disable Metro. I am probably going to hate it." I talked about in my last article, before I started using the final version of Windows 8 Pro, I used to hate metro, it was very unintuitive. The scroll wheel on my mouse didn't move down the menu like I expected it to and I had to hold the bar at the bottom and drag it over, painfully. Now, however, the Start Screen works with the scroll wheel as well as various touchpad gestures on laptops making it much more non-touch friendly. Although I wish I had a touchscreen on my laptop, I'm able to enjoy my Windows 8 experience just fine with a mouse and keyboard. The first thing you’ll notice, that is a little hard to get used to, is the fact that Apps from the Windows Store are full screen as opposed to windowed desktop apps, which are also available in Windows 8 (there are various multitasking features built into Windows 8 to make up for this). Once you learn the simple gestures and shortcuts that have been implemented into the operating system things are easier to manage.

1. Windows Store Apps:

  One of the great new features of Windows 8 is the Windows Store, in which you can find both Windows 8 Apps as well as Desktop style applications. So far desktop application listings simply direct you to the publishers website, Windows 8 Apps however download and automatically update directly from the store. There has always been a need for a one place fits all type store in Windows and now we have it. So far my favorite apps from store are Netflix and pretty much all the games Microsoft has published. Some of the classics have been given a much needed update, including Minesweeper which now includes an "Indiana Jones" type adventure mode.

Example of a Windows 8 App listing

Example of a Desktop App listing 

  There are many misconceptions about the Windows Store. First is that it will be bad for games, because of rating restrictions. This is untrue, games rated M and under are welcome in the store. The only exception is games with an Adult rating can not be in the store. A lot of the games in the Windows Store have heavy Xbox live integration and this is a great feature for multiplayer as well as showing off your scores to other people. Unlike Apple’s App store, open source applications are allowed in the Windows Store which means many free and open programs should be seen in the store. Others fear that Microsoft will limit what applications are in the app store, but this is simply not the case. The certification process is easy and automated, and the Windows App SDK allows you to make sure your app is certifiable. Most applications that exist will need very little changes in order to enter the Windows Store. A while ago I read a great article about someone taking Minecraft and proving how easily it was certified. You can read about that here.

2. Easier Uninstallation of Apps:

  I'm sure that if you're like me and you download various games and programs on your computer you find it annoying when you have to go uninstall them, having to find the uninstaller in the control panel and then click next 15 times and sometimes the installer doesn't even work. Well this problem is completely solved for Windows 8 Apps you right click the live tile and click uninstall and it's gone no clicking next or anything extra. Unfortunately the same process is not as easy for desktop applications if you click uninstall on a desktop app then it will simply open up the program manager in the control panel. I'm hoping in the future that this process will be fixed for desktop applications as well.

3. Multitasking with Windows 8 Apps:
Snapping Apps to left or right of screen.

A great feature in Windows 8 is the ability to snap apps to either side of the screen and use them while in another app or while using your desktop. You can continue to use your programs in the desktop while messaging someone on Facebook or another instant messaging service.

Resizing snapped apps.

    You can also slide the separating border between the apps you have snapped to either side either to take up 2/3rds or all of the screen. If you decide to take up the whole screen the other app or the desktop will hide on what I call the multitask bar until you decide to close it.

Multitask Bar

       The multitask bar appears when you move your mouse from the top left corner down the left side of the screen but, only when you have multiple apps open, for example your desktop and the messaging app. If you right click on any of the apps listed you are given more options but you can also drag and drop the application to snap to either side or drag it all the way down and let go to close it.

Dragging to snap an app to the left of the screen. 

Pulling the app down from the multitask bar and letting go to close it.

Closing a Windows 8 App.

     To close an app simply click and hold on the very top and drag down and let go. If you want to quickly switch between multiple apps just click the very top left corner without having to bring up the multitask bar and it will take you to the next app that's open or your desktop. Unfortunately to scroll through desktop applications you have to use the usual Atl+Tab shortcut. Windows Key + Tab does the same thing with the multitask bar.

4. Easy Searching and Sharing:

 Start Screen with Charm Bar showing.

   One of the key elements in Windows 8 is the Charm Bar this can be accessed at anytime by moving your mouse from the top right corner down the right side of the screen. The Charm Bar contains a Start Button, Search, Share, Devices, and Settings. It changes based on which app you're using at the time. For example on the desktop if you try and share there isn't anything to share from. If you try and share from in Sky Drive or another application with content it will let you share with Facebook via people as well as other apps you may have installed. The Settings and Search also change based on what application you're using.

A basic search from the Start Screen

     Searching for things on Windows 8 is very simple. You can either search through everything or search within the application you're currently running. If you want to search through every thing use the Windows key to get back to the start screen and simply type what you are looking for. You can then filter your search to a specific app or category. You can also search in certain applications in a similar manner like in the Windows Store. In some applications, like Netflix, you must press the search button located on the Charm Bar.

An example search in the Windows Store.

To search for something in the Windows Store, just like on the Start Screen, start typing what you’re looking for and it will automatically begin a search for you.
5. Improved navigation in Windows Explorer.

Basic Windows Explorer window.

   Windows Explorer has been an important part of the Windows Operating System since Windows 95. It's seen many changes, some good and some bad, but I would say that the newest version of Explorer has added some much needed features. The first thing you might notice is the tabbed setup of various available options. These tabs changed based on where you are. My Computer, Music, Pictures, and Documents all have different options that are displayed that help you complete tasks for those different areas of your computer. The options are also collapsible for when you want more space and don't need them. One of the smaller but very useful added features is the up arrow that you can use to navigate between folders.

CMD and PowerShell easily accessible in the file menu.

    For advanced users the added open command prompt and Windows PowerShell options are awesome. I use them on a regular basis. It even lets you open a command prompt directly as an administrator. Another thing that the new Explorer does is display options openly so that casual users will be able to do things they didn't even know there were options for, a lot of which were hidden before such as showing file extensions and hidden files.

6. Faster Boot and more memory for programs.
New and improved Task Manager.

Previous to Windows 8 booting your computer took forever! Every time I boot my computer into Windows 7 I wonder if there is something wrong with it because it takes so long. The boot sequence was completely rewritten to remove parts of it that were no longer needed or that could take place in the background once the computer was in a state where the person could use it. Of course if you are using an SSD booting will be almost instant. However my laptop that only has a regular hard drive boots at least 5 times faster than Windows 7 ever did.

    Windows has never been known for it's CPU and Memory usage. Vista being a prime example, using so much CPU and memory, there was almost nothing left for programs to run. Windows 8 has been optimized to use very little memory and CPU power so that your programs can be free to utilize your computer’s resources to their fullest.

    In conclusion I would just like to say Windows 8 isn't as terrible as people say it is. In the end it's preference of rather you like it or not. However, I hope that I have at least shown you a few good things about it so that you will give it a try and determine first hand if it's for you.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Windows 8 Release and my experience so far.

     I haven't posted anything for a while I've been pretty busy with school and what not. Now most of you probably know that Windows 8 was officially released on October 26th. I'm a Computer Science major at my college so in August I was able to download and install Windows 8 Pro before the official public release of the operating system. I must say that during the beta of Windows 8 I hated it and didn't like it and I thought "Metro" as it was called was horrible and not optimized for computers with mouse and keyboard. After using it full time I can tell you that I haven't gone back to Windows 7 since. The lack of start button seems odd, at first you find your self looking for it but, after a while the Start Screen seems so fluid and natural. I really like all the Metro apps that I have tried thus far especially the games. Now a lot of it was meant to be more touchscreen friendly but, I have found the final version of Windows 8 works quite well with mouse and keyboard. The key is to get used to it and learn all the different features and shortcuts of the Metro/Desktop hybrid interface that is Windows 8. I would say that overall the operating system is much faster it uses less than half the cpu/ram needed to run Windows 7 so you have more resources to run your many applications. Multi-tasking seems daunting at first but once you realize you can snap metro apps to either side and quickly flip between them it because fairly easy to multitask. I will say there are some aspects of Windows 8 that bother or annoy me and I hope they fix them. First of the fact that desktop applications don't show up as individual programs in the Metro style multitask sidebar while you're in a metro app is slightly bother some. Second it takes a while to find how to shut down and restart your computer it's kind of hidden in the Charm Bar. I easily corrected this by making a shut down shortcut on my Start Screen. Another thing is I really hope that some of the more major programs especially those that are free and open source start to show up in the Windows Store. I really love the Windows Store having one place to get programs for is awesome. I definitely recommend Windows 8 but it does have a bit of a learning curve but once you understand how it all works you won't go back to Windows 7. Anyways hope you enjoyed my little incite on Windows 8 and my experience with using it. I posted a really good article below about misconceptions about Windows 8 I really encourage you to read it if you feel like you have doubts about the os or just want to research a little more.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

HTC Thunderbolt 4G ICS Sense 3.6 Leak Released!

Going to keep this short and simple there has finally been a leak for the HTC Thunderbolt ICS Sense 3.6 Update you can find it at the link below! Thanks Team Bamf! More to be posted later!!

[ROM][ICS] LEAK for HTC MECHA 7.00.605.2 [4.0.3] 08/21/2012


Mirrors Curtesy of Randy Hoover:
MD5: 68c7c69553c6097ffd5cf36bd016938b

Friday, August 17, 2012

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with data released for HTC Thunderbolt 4G!

That's right you heard it here first we finally have ICS with working data on the HTC Thunderbolt 4G! Although it's not quite 4G LTE the reported "1x" is getting speeds over 1mb/s which is enough for most casual activities. Most likely 3G is getting reported as 1x based on speed tests by multiple users. While we are waiting on an Official Ice Cream Sandwich update with Sense 3.6 from HTC we have a new build of ICS built from source from the hard working members of the development community Liquid0624 and SP-Jester. It's been a long time to see this released and we all look forward to new bug fixes and feature updates on this rom. The links to the download and forum post are below.

XDA Forum Post and Download

Update: One of the users discovered if you switch it to EvDo only it will display 3G some people are reporting speeds as fast as 2.7mb/s download and over 3.5mb/s upload. We should have 4G LTE very soon with this new break through.

Update 2: It's been pretty well confirmed you can get 4G speeds on this although it will never say 4G or 3G it will always say 1x. It is in the process of getting fix and we should have a new build from source soon.