Make Your Own Magazine (Well Sort Of)


Flipboard, the now infamous RSS and personal news aggregator has upgraded to version 2.0 of its software. Now, it is always a gamble when moving to version 2.0 of any software that has a strong following, especially considering that it might alienate the die hard or remove the features that users love the most. However, Flipboard looks to have gotten it right.

One of the complaints of many folks was the inability to share a craftily comprised collection of poignant or timely news sources. That concern has been taken care of via the ability of users to share their culled sources as a personal magazine. This means that if your have a group of horticulturists who have the same affinity for bug neutralizing fertilizers as you do, you could simply share out your news sources to those folks via the magazine feature.

Another feature that was added was the ability for individuals to quickly bookmark stories and sources that showed up in suggested feeds and news stories that originated through recommendations and suggestions via the Flipboard aggregator.

I know that I had quite a few uses for a feature like this when I would see interesting stories show up on the technology feed of Flipboard. I would have no way to add a new up-and-coming technology blog that wasn’t quite on my radar.

There are some other new features, like the ability to quickly add content to your Flipboard via the bookmarklet tool, integration with Etsy, a new content search, and some navigation logistics in the ribbon area.

The newest versions are out for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. There was no immediate indication of Android application changes or release dates.

Press 1 to Speak with a Representative about an Exciting New Opportunity…

Voter Information


We have all been there, picking up the phone after a long day of work, only to find that some swindler or politically-oriented campaign has decided to interrupt your evening with an attempt to get your time, money, or vote. It is the quintessential definition of annoying.

Like 220 million other Americans, you join the Do Not Call registry, but the slimy characters still seem to slip through. Their ability to circumvent the established safeguards can bring on stages of ire that can only be assuaged through anger management.
Continue reading “Press 1 to Speak with a Representative about an Exciting New Opportunity…”

What Do You Mean “I Look Like a Pile of Bouncing Rubber Tires When I Run”?

Fast man!

When we run, we all feel like we look like leopards, but in actuality it is probably more akin to the internet meme. That being said, most of us probably look like disheveled heaps of bouncing mass because we were never taught how to run right. Of course, that puts the onus on us all to find out how to actually do that. Well here comes the internet to help, saving you the time and expense of a running coach (for now).

Continue reading “What Do You Mean “I Look Like a Pile of Bouncing Rubber Tires When I Run”?”

It’s Running Season, So Let’s Get Serious About These 5K’s (but not too serious)


Over the next few months, there is an expectation that a number of folks will be hitching their wagons to at least one 5K (3.2 mile) run. So, if it’s your first, how do you prepare?

Well, luckily your friends at have put together a quick How-To on preparing for your first race day. It includes those basic “duh” tips that can help make your race day a success. And let’s not forget that the race is only part of the experience, a 5K can eat up a good portion of your day when you consider preparation, execution, and celebration.

Currently, though, a great trend has been developing: Fun 5Ks! Continue reading “It’s Running Season, So Let’s Get Serious About These 5K’s (but not too serious)”

If You Weren’t Convinced that the OUYA was Formidable, Consider the Emulator Possibilities

Code d'Armor Sandwich Tech 3

The story of the OUYA has been the amazing story of a little, hand-held game system with Kickstarter backing that might have enough clout to topple the big boys. Their concept is to bring the ubiquitous Android programming platform to a dedicated game system. The other advantages are its HD output and incredibly low $99 price tag (orders are supposed to start shipping tomorrow).

Well, a talented emulator developer, Robert Broglia, has announced, via OUYAForum, that he will be focusing his efforts on the device. The advantage is obvious, in that the wealth of nostalgic games will immediately expand the library right out of the gate.

Personally, I had only given the device a passing glance as a “cute trinket” that wouldn’t take up much space in an entertainment console, but this announcement, as well as the possibility of the thousands of other Android games that could be used on this device, got me thinking. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if the device steals some of the “mini game” business from the XBox 360 and PS3 platforms.

…and the Last Racehorse Crosses the Line (mic on the PS4 controller?)

Engadget PS4 Controller picOkay, I must be a dullard or losing my extremely uncanny powers of intrusive observation. Somehow, I never noticed the little headphone jack on the bottom of the Playstation 4 controller. However, while perusing Engadgets pics, I saw it clear as day. I have to assume it is a headphone jack based on the tiny raised image of a microphone above the port. The left side of it looks to be micro-USB connection while the right appears to be a simple microphone-sized input orifice. The image links to the original image, so others can make their own equally non-informed guesses.

Metal Gear Solid IIIII is Coming, Time to Finally Finish Metal Gear Solid IV

mg5So the somewhat twisted mind of Hideo Kojima has made a teaser trailer for Metal Gear Solid V available for the masses. The setting looks to be entirely within the ICU at a poorly staffed hospital, and later in an aquarium filled with gasoline (even the developer’s whale is on fire). Additionally, it would appear that Solid Snake will keep losing bones, organs, and appendages until he is either the invisible android from Metal Gear Solid 3 or actually becomes his literal name. Either way, the lighting effects were interesting. And wait till you see what these guys do with soiled rags, ferns, and horses in conference rooms!

I have no doubts that the game is probably masterfully put together, but Kojima’s intense stories as well as cryptic back and side stories are exactly the stuff the writers of Lost tried to emulate. I have the whole collection, but I feel like an ADHD sufferer trying to track it all.

An RPG in Excel is Superior to a Boss Switch Every Time

Arena xlsm

In a move that shows exactly how an ingenious mind and ingenuity can stretch the limits of our mundane office applications, Cary Walkin, a Canadian accountant in Toronto, Canada has created a full-functioning role-playing game within Microsoft Excel. Just so the gravity of this accomplishment is clear, the game features:

  • Over 2000 possible random enemies with different AI abilities
  • An interesting story with 4 different endings, depending on how the player has played the game.
  • 8 boss encounters, each with their own tactics.
  • 31 spells
  • 15 Unique items – each having special properties – can only drop from specific enemies
  • 4 pre-programmed arenas followed by procedurally generated arenas, ensuring that each play-through has its own challenges.

It’s pretty impressive stuff and definitely deserves a play through. Kudos, Cary!

Oh, and for those of you unfamiliar with boss-switches, here is a good example.

iPhone 5 Coming to T-Mobile (Guess That AT&T Merger Wasn’t Necessary?)

iPhone 5After years on the market, T-Mobile will finally be getting the latest iteration of Cupertino’s little “engine that could”. The bigger surprise move is the shift away from a subsidized plan. However, all is not as it seems.

Typically with a carrier, the cost of these complex and costly smartphones is encumbered through the contractual agreement with the consumer. With T-Mobile’s plan, the device’s initial cost will be $99, which is essentially a down payment. The remaining cost of the phone is picked up through a contractual arrangement where the buyer pays $20 over a period of 24 months. The difference is that once that 24 months is up, the consumer’s monthly costs go down. With most other wireless carriers, the subsidy costs continue throughout the lifetime of service.

I know some folks are excited about the prospect of additional carrier options for a 4G LTE device that is near the cutting edge, so I will be curious to see how many adopters and carrier-switchers T-Mobile can pick up when the phone becomes available on April 12, 2013 (pre-orders will begin on April 4, 2013).

Researchers Get Data to Approach the Speed of Light, but that Constant May Be a Princess in Another Castle

Austin xmas tree at capitol
Ryan Gallagher

In a story that will probably get latency junkies hurriedly excited, it was announced through a research paper that a fiber network was created that allowed for the transmission of data that traveled at 99.7% of the speed of light. The team of researchers at the University of Southampton in England did so by creating air-filled fiber optic cables. The data they sent through these cables did so at a mind-blowing bandwidth of 10 terabytes per second.

That’s almost fast enough to stop my Hulu playback on my Playstation 3 to stop stuttering when I watch episodes of Family Guy or The Office

In the ExtremeTech article, they mention the fact that “the speed of light in a vacuum is 299,792,458 meters per second, or 186,282 miles per second”. However, that may not be true.

In an unrelated article that was published today, universities in both Germany and France have begun to question whether the speed of light is as constant as Einstein and pioneers before him thought it was. In the research by the two universities, a better understanding of vacuums indicate that some of the long-standing beliefs about their characteristics may be disputable. This is due to the presence and absence of particles on a quantum level.

Of course, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the original mechanisms and methods used to measure the speed of light in the first place