Saturday, July 16, 2016

Pokeman Go Review - Overview of the Newest Hit Mobile Game

Pokeman Go is the latest mobile game sweeping the world. It has only been available for a short time but already it is the most downloaded and used app right now and it seems to be just about everywhere. I overheard someone talking about it last week and while I am not much of a gamer or an apps person, it sounded pretty interesting so I figured I would try it out.

The game is a free app developed by Niantic in partnership with Nintendo and is available for iPhone and Android phones. It uses real world map and GPS so the setting takes place wherever you are. The goal of the game is to capture Pokeman creatures by throwing a ball at them. The concept is similar to Geocaching in that you go around in the real world to find different items. There are many different Pokemon to collect and they are found in different locations.

While you are looking for Pokemon, there are also special stations that are located at public gathering spots and interesting landmarks where you can interact with them and get useful items. The game goes into more detail and there is quite a bit to learn that I have not gotten into yet but so far it has been pretty easy to get started.

After trying it out for about a week, I have been pretty impressed with the game. I like how it is integrated into the real world with the landmarks on the map. It will help you find interesting things in your neighborhood you may not have even known were there.

I was wondering how they developed this game with such detail on a local level. Apparently the company is in association with Google which helps with the mapping part. Also they have a previous game called Ingress which had a similar use of real world GPS so this infrastructure was integrated into the Pokeman game.

The game has had a positive effect on the community as it is a topic that is bringing people together. People are now more inspired to get out and explore while using the game and since there are so many other people participating, it is easy to find others who are playing and talk with them about it.

Right now the game has a huge following and it looks like it will only get bigger as it expands to more countries. It will be interesting to see if the interest continues over time or if people will start to get bored of it after a while. I think if they continue to update it, it will maintain popularity for some time.

So far, game play has been smooth and I have only had the app freeze up once. It is pretty easy to navigate and understand, but documentation could be better. To really have a detailed understanding of the game, you really have to seek out instructions and tips on other websites and forums.

For improvement, I would like to see the option to be able to customize your character at any time. It has some customizing options when you first start, but once you get in, there is no way to change it. I would also like to see more options to interact with other players.

Overall I definitely recommend checking out Pokemon Go if anything just to see what everyone is talking about. It is pretty fun and easy to play and has lots of potential if you really want to get involved with it. Pokemon Go is available now for download on iPhone and Android phones.

Update 7-19-16:
I noticed the game has been freezing up more lately which is understandable considering how many people are trying to play it at the same time. Also I noticed it uses up phone battery very quickly. I don't like my battery to run down fast so I may not be using it as much if it keeps using up the battery so quickly. 

Update 7-28-16: 
I noticed when walking around while the game is on, even when it is on battery save mode, the phone tends to get hot. I have read reports of others having this same issue. This may be a problem for certain features of the game that require you to walk around a lot.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Funniest Stories On Reddit

One of my favorite sites to visit each day is Reddit because there are always new and interesting posts and you never know what you are going to find. Over the years I have saved a few of my favorites so I figured I would share them here for everyone to enjoy. Here are 3 of the funniest stories on Reddit:

Guy enrages parents of girlfriend by pretending not to know what a potato is - In this story a guy explains what happened the first time he met his girlfriend's parents. He has the bright idea to try and be funny by pretending not to know what a potato is, but things do not turn out how he expected. The word structure and vocabulary used in this story make it particularly funny.

Guy farts on a misbehaving kid at a store - In response to a question: "What is your silent, unseen act of personal defiance?" redditor RubyRhod goes into detail about a time he farted on a a kid at Target who was misbehaving and being rude to his mother. The writing and details are great on this one as he paints the picture of what happened.

Guy tries to get out of eating a bad steak by throwing it out the window - A guy attends a dinner hosted by his wife's boss. Turns out he does not like the steak and tries a creative way to get out of having to eat it. Things do not go quite as planned.

What are your favorite stories or posts on Reddit? Feel free to share them comments below. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Best Buy Review - Experience Purchasing a New Computer

I recently purchased a new computer from Best Buy after visiting several different stores as well as doing much research online. I usually post reviews like this on Yelp, but since this experience covered several different stores and several elements of the shopping experience, I figured I would post about it here.

I started going into the first store without knowing too much about the tech specs and details of the most recent computers. I consider myself pretty tech savvy but it had been a while since I studied up on the latest processors and such so I was in need of some help. At the first store I was greeted by one of the sales staff in the computer department. I gave him an idea of what I was looking for and he was very helpful in recommending a few different models and explaining all about each one. He did a great job and did not try to pressure me into buying anything before I was ready.

I did some more research and a few days later I decided to check out another Best Buy to see if they had a different selection in stock. This one was a little different but had pretty much the same selection. Interestingly at this one I was not approached to see if I needed help. I walked around the computer department and tested out a few different models but during the time, no one came up to see if I needed help. I didn't mind, but it would have been nice in case I did have a question.

I went back home and continued to do more research. Finally I decided on a computer and found it in stock at a 3rd location. I went there and was helped by one of the sales staff. I told him which computer I was looking for and he was able to help me get it quickly. I was also able to get a price match for a lower price found online at one of the competitors. Overall the buying process was pretty easy and I was able to check out without any issues.

After trying out the computer and monitor for about a week, I decided the monitor was too big and I would need to make a return to get a smaller monitor. I wanted to order the 2nd monitor first to compare them and make sure the smaller monitor would work better. For this one, I purchased online and did a store pick up. This process was surprisingly easy and the monitor was ready to pick up earlier than expected.

After trying the new monitor, it worked great so I decided to return the original monitor. I repacked it carefully in the original box and took it back for the return. Again the process was fast and painless. The customer service was very friendly and there were no issues.

About a week into using the new computer, I noticed the price of the monitor dropped $20 on the website. Since they had a price match guarantee during this time, I gave them a call to see if they would give a credit for the difference. They were very friendly again and were able to give the refund of $20 back to my account!

Overall I was very impressed with the entire process from in store research to online purchasing, to returns and even a price match. I even got some rewards credits for making the purchase so I will be able to go back again soon to use the credits on something else! If you are in the market for a new computer or any kind of electronics, I highly recommend checking out Best Buy based on this experience.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

What to do about guns and gun violence in the US

I usually do not write about the big issues or controversial topics like gun control, but after recent events I decided it was time to discuss this issue. The amount of gun violence leading to injury and death in the US is getting out of hand. It seems every time you put on the news, the top story is about someone who was shot or about some shooting that has taken place. It happens so often, we don't even think twice about it unless it is someone we know or some place near by.

Personally I do not own any guns nor do I have any intention to purchase a gun. I know there are a lot of people who are in support of having guns and many who are against it. Maybe it is the environment I live in which is suburban but in my opinion, guns are way too dangerous for people to be owning and carrying around and most of the time lead to unnecessary violence and tragedy.

One argument those in support of guns might make, is that it is our right as Americans to bear arms. This policy was put into place about 225 years ago when the United States was a very different place. Things have changed tremendously since then. Our population alone has grown dramatically from about 4,000,000 at that time to over 323,000,000 in 2016. We are now a modernized civilized society and there is no reason for everyday people to be owning or using guns in these times.

Another argument is that people should have guns for self defense. It is a good argument but according to the statistics of last year, only about 3% of gun related injuries and deaths were because of self defense. This is a very small percentage and not enough to support this reasoning.

My first proposed solution was that all guns be recalled by the government and that citizens be offered a fair market value for their guns. The problem I found with this is that there are too many guns out there (estimated over 300,000,000) so it would be much too expensive to reimburse something like this. Maybe something like a tax credit could be offered instead of a reimbursement, but it would still cost the US a lot of money to do this.

I think the solution has to be more of a social change within the citizens of the country to make the effort to either get rid of their guns or use them more responsibly. There is not much that can be done about the guns that are already out there, but changes can be made to restrict the future purchases of guns so they do not end up in the wrong hands. This as well as education on gun safety may be the way to start making a change on this issue.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Strawberry Cheerios Review

While shopping recently I saw a special stand that had a new flavor of Cheerios. It was a strawberry flavor which looked interesting but I decided to hold off on buying it. It was still on my mind later that week when I was at a couple other stores but they did not have this flavor in stock. Luckily the next week I returned to the original store and they still had them available so I picked up a box.

Turns out they are a limited edition flavor that is only expected to be available during Spring and Summer. So I got them home and tried them out. Overall they have a familiar and sweet flavor. I found them to be pretty good especially if you like the original Cheerios but are looking for something with a more sweet flavor. Nutrition wise, they do have corn syrup added which may be giving most of this sweetness but it also has strawberry puree for flavor.

I wouldn't rush back to buy them again, but if they were on sale for a good deal, I would probably get another box if I was looking for a sweet cereal to add to the lineup. Definitely worth a try if you are a fan of Cheerios!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Using Reusable Bags vs Plastic Bags

For years, when I would go to the grocery store, I would always get the usual plastic bags at checkout. I knew the reusable bags were better for the environment, but I tend to find good use for the plastic bags so I like to get them. Also I recycle the plastic bags at the store when I collect too many.

Recently I started to take an interest in reusable bags. I saw they had some available at the store so I decided to try them out. They cost about $1 each but they are durable and it makes it easier to carry groceries. They can hold a lot more compared to the usual plastic bags.

Also a big plus, I found that stores automatically give you a discount when you bring the reusable bags. I didn't even know this until I checked the receipt after shopping at a few stores and saw the discount of $.10 for using reusable bags. It is not much, but for someone who goes shopping several times a week, this can add up over time!

It is a little bit of an adjustment to remember to bring the reusable bags with you to the store, but I figure this is something that will develop a habit pretty quick. I have only been using these new bags for a short time but already I like them better than plastic. Even walking out of a store, it makes you feel kind of special when you have your own bags instead of the regular plastic bags.

If I am ever running low on plastic bags, I might check out with the plastic bag option once in a while, but for now, I will be using the reusable bags! I recommend trying it out especially considering they give you a discount!

Monday, June 6, 2016

ViewSonic VX2270SMH LED IPS Monitor Review

Recently I was looking for a new computer monitor to go with my Lenovo H50 desktop. Originally I wanted a monitor that would be big enough for dual screen without having to use a 2nd monitor. After comparing many different monitors in store, I first decided on a 27inch AOC. The AOC was huge, but the problem was the resolution was still 1920 X 1080. This is full HD resolution but spread out over 27 inches it really just makes everything bigger and does not actually give you more room. I found it was too large for single screen and too small for dual screen so I ended up returning the AOC.

While searching for a replacement, I decided I would go with the same resolution but with a smaller monitor. The ViewSonic VX2270SMH caught my eye. It is a 22inch (21.5 viewable) IPS monitor with built in speakers. I really liked the design of this monitor and the fact that it was HDMI compatible and even came with the HDMI cable included. It can also be hooked up by the included VGA cable or by DVI connection.

I was not able to find any local stores that had it in stock so I took a chance and ordered it online without having seen it in person. As soon as it arrived, I was excited! Upon opening it, I could already tell I loved it even before turning it on. Attaching the base was very easy and does not require any tools. It has a sturdy base and a tilt feature that makes it easy to adjust the angle. 

I hooked it up to my computer with the HDMI cable and turned it on. As soon as the background image came up, all I could say was “Wow!” It looked so clear and realistic. Compared to the 27in AOC, the ViewSonic picture seemed a lot more crisp and had a better color balance. Video playback was smooth and clear as well.

I tried out the built in image adjustments and made a few tweaks to the brightness but overall the picture looked great right from the start. The adjustment buttons are on the base of the monitor and are touch sensitive. They can be kind of hard to reach because they are down low so you kind of have to duck down to see them.

The sound did not work right away, but I installed the drivers that came with and selected the right audio output and then they were good to go. The sound is pretty good for monitor speakers. It has SRS software which helps optimize the sound for best performance. It also has audio in out ports to plug in headphones or speakers. I tested it with headphones and found there to be a little white noise present, so I ended up plugging the headphone directly to the computer for best sound quality.

So far I have been using the monitor for a couple weeks now and have been very pleased with it. It is stable, has a great picture, and has an attractive design. I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for a full HD IPS monitor that does not take up too much room and has built in speakers and is HDMI compatible.