“Real” Gaming on Android/Mobile

There is no singular definition of real gaming. That being said there are a few things that tend to differentiate what most think of as a PC or console experience from a mobile one. The 3 things that tend to differentiate are Free 2 Play, Micro transactions and amount of content. While there is clearly a blurring of the lines these days there is still a clear delineation between the two experiences that most people can see and point to. So with that defined I’m on a quest to find the best experiences on Android that replicate that full game experience. Lets get started with my first pick.

Horn

by Phosphor Games StudioImage result for horn game

This game is an oldie but a goody. Released back in August 2012 for iOS and Android it is inspired by the likes of Zelda, Infinity Blade and Fable. This was one of the earliest games to use the Unreal Engine when it was ported for mobile. Continue reading ““Real” Gaming on Android/Mobile”

HP Chromebook 14 The Way A Chromebook Should Be

White Hp Chromebook 14Chromebooks are neat devices. I don’t call them laptops because they really aren’t. They can’t do a lot of the things you expect of a real laptop like playing the largest selection of video games out there or serious video production, though wevideo gets close. Of course Linux is always an option but then you might as well just buy a more capable laptop and this is a Chromebook review. Not everything about Chromebooks is bad. Most models do Internet very well and get great battery life which makes them an easy Internet on demand type of device. For many that’s all they need.

I previously owned a Samsung Chromebook 303c which is the cheap, small, ARM based model. The initial  neat factor wore off pretty fast as soon as anything “real” had to be done. Open more than 3 tabs and the 2GB of RAM and no swap file makes the device crushingly slow. The size while convenient for transport gets pretty uncomfortable pretty quickly. That means they’re only good for a very shot period of use. What Chromebooks needed was to prove they could really be useful as a serious laptop. What that means is that they needed to strike the balance between more laptop like features and the truly low price point that has made them so popular. I truly feel the HP Chromebook 14 has succeeded at this.

The first thing you notice when you pull the HP Chromebook 14 out of the box is it’s weight and size. It’s significantly larger than the 11″ models but not nearly as large as a 15.6″ laptop. Continue reading “HP Chromebook 14 The Way A Chromebook Should Be”

Cloud vs Local FIGHT!

cloud vs localIt seems to be very easy for journalists, web developers and SEO experts to expound upon the wonders of the network and the cloud. But then again those folks tend towards pushing text around. The harsh reality is that not everyone uses a computer the way they do. If you are a gamer or produce media then you know that the network and the cloud are far from there yet. Huge hard drives are still king as are fast processors and memory. Continue reading “Cloud vs Local FIGHT!”

LG Optimus L9 Review – Sweet Spot Mid-range Phone?

So what is the LG Optimus L9? Lets have a look at some specs and pics.

LG Optimus L9

GENERAL
2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G Network HSDPA 900 / 2100
SIM Mini-SIM
Announced 2012, August
Status Available. Released 2012, November
BODY
Dimensions 131.9 x 68.2 x 9.1 mm (5.19 x 2.69 x 0.36 in)
Weight 125 g (4.41 oz)
DISPLAY
Type IPS LCD, capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size 540 x 960 pixels, 4.7 inches (~234 ppi pixel density)
Multitouch Yes
MEMORY
Card slot microSD, up to 32 GB
Internal 4 GB, 1 GB RAM
FEATURES
OS Android OS, v4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich), upgradable to v4.1.2 (Jelly Bean)
Chipset TI OMAP 4430
CPU Dual-core 1 GHz Cortex-A9
GPU PowerVR SGX540

As you can see this phone isn’t half bad. Dual core at 1ghz isn’t breaking speed records but it’s also not the slowest thing on the market. For a phone at this price point 1GB of ram is pretty decent. Outside of the absolute newest phones anything that runs decent has a 1GB or more.

The one thing I was really worried about was the display not being 720p. IPS means good color and nice dark blacks so the sharpness was at question. I was pleased to find that the combination of display density at 234ppi plus the good quality of the panel results in a very nice looking image. I even compared it side by side with a friends Galaxy Nexus and speed was comparable and the image quality was as good or better.

My final point of concern was Ice Cream Sandwich. I know quite a few people ascribe to “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” but Jelly Bean does bring quite a few performance enhancements and new features. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the phone moves along very quickly and smoothly. This means if you root and re-rom to Jelly Bean you should be getting even better performance.

All around this is a large, sharp looking, fast and affordable phone that just works well. We’ll enough to satiate my gadget lust for an HTC One and rest assured that’s tough to do. Of course this is subjective.

So let’s see how it stacks up in a couple of synthetic tests Antutu and Quadrant.
Continue reading “LG Optimus L9 Review – Sweet Spot Mid-range Phone?”

Samsung Chromebook Series 3(arm) Two Weeks And Counting

Chromebook Macbook Air ComparisonI just started a new job in a new town that was quite a long ways away. It seemed to me that minimizing the amount of stuff I have to move would be a good idea. With this in mind I parred down my devices and almost all of my housing stuffs. I gave my brother my desktop PC and had previously sold my laptop. I’ve wanted to play with a Chromebook for quite a while so now, when I need to travel and need a small light machine with great battery life used primarily for communication, seemed to be the ideal time for it. So I bought my Dad’s Samsung Chromebook Series 3, the ARM based Chromebook, at a family discount. He had picked it up to study for his Google Apps for Education certification.

I’ve nearly completed my move 2 weeks later. I’m in my new apartment. I have internet hooked up and I’m just waiting on my follow on load of house furnishings. My experience has been a mixed bag that seems to have followed the timeline pretty closely. That is week one was pretty good and week two has been a little frustrating. That’s how I’m going to approach this.

Week one was comprised largely of travel and transition and this seemed to be where the device shined. Looking at the parts and components the Samsung Chromebook is a cell phone wedged in to something slightly larger than a netbook and designed to replicate the Macbook Air. The hardware experience is second to none. The device is small and light and solid and comfortable to mouse and type on. It’s easy to throw in a bag or backpack and go and it’s got enough battery life to keep you running when a wall outlet isn’t immediately available. On the software side it’s literally just a browser with a keyboard. The fact that chat and video and all these things are available on the web really makes it work. Being able to quickly whip out the device and communicate in a form longer than a text message or tweet was priceless. Being able to fill out all the forms and fields required to get business done to find housing, communicate with my new employer and handle things back in Iowa was beautiful. These are things I probably could have done on my phone or tablet but not as efficiently, or comfortably, on a touch keyboard vs a real physical keyboard.

Week two is where the experience begins to fall apart. As I mentioned I sold most of my hardware and it’s going to take a paycheck or two before I can afford to rebuild my gaming rig and buy a new laptop or setup any home servers. This means I’m still relying on the Chromebook but now I’m stationary. I’m finding myself wanting to do stationary computing things. I want to game. I want to run an SSH server so I can get at things back home from work or while I’m out and about. I want to watch longer form online web video(Hulu web only, WTF?). The only way to get my SSH server was to get Linux running on the Chromebook. Due to UEFI and locked bootloaders the only options are hacks of Linux sitting on top of the signed ChromeOS kernel. Needless to say most implementations are hacks and pretty rough. I got it working eventually. Gaming is especially sparse on the ARM based Chromebook due to the difference in architecture. Right now Arcane Legends from Spacetime Studios is the only extensive game experience I could find that actually worked. Lastly long form video. The Linux ports do not have hardware accelerated graphics so most games are out for Linux. I do have a TV and the Chromebook does have an HDMI port but trying to run flash based video on a high resolution television results in a rather low frame rate experience. Watching Hulu on a tablet or phone would have been a smoother experience but the idea is to watch it on a larger more comfortable screen.

The take away seems to be that you need to think of the Chromebook as a travel companion. Essentially a phone with a keyboard in order to get the optimum experience. It’s a beautiful thing when you can whip it out quickly and jump on hotel wifi and author a fairly long form e-mail and then throw it back in your backpack and go with out worrying so much about battery life. Just don’t mistake this device for a real laptop. If you want a device that works in nearly every situation save the extra $100 over the Chromebook’s $250 base price and get an AMD A series based laptop with a reasonably decent video card. But if you plan to travel frequently the Chromebook is probably for you.

I’ll be hanging on to my Chromebook for those situations where long travel with limited space may present itself.

Ainol Novo 7 Flame/Fire Review

Ainol Next To Nexus 7
Nexus 7 and Ainol Novo 7 Flame/Fire

So here’s my Ainol Novo 7 Flame/Fire review. Warning, it’s long. If you’re over 65 don’t bother you’ll be gone before you reach the end.

First a run down of features:
AMLogic AML8726-MX Dual Core Arm Cortex A9 at 1.5Ghz
Mali 400 GPU
1GB DDR3
16GB Storage
1280×800 Super IPS display
2MP Front Camera
5MP Rear Camera
Mini HDMI port
MicroSD card slot
Micro USB port
Bluetooth
Headphone Jack
Power connector for fast wall charging
5000mAH battery(non-user replaceable)

I’m going to do a lot of comparison to the Nexus 7 as that is the tablet I currently own and is among one of the most popular. So if you love something else…buy a Novo 7 Flame and do your own review. Pics of and from the device can be found here. https://plus.google.com/u/0/115872604535305832370/posts/9GPQAWowYA7

Well lets jump in shall we? The device is very presentable. It’s got a nice brushed aluminum back and the tablet standard black plastic bezel around the screen. It appears to be designed to be used primarily in landscape mode because it has a top(landscape) or right(portrait) orientation for both the front and rear cameras. So basically to ensure you are right side up during hangouts you will have to use the tablet in landscape orientation. Over all the build quality feels solid. Continue reading “Ainol Novo 7 Flame/Fire Review”

Backup!

THIS IS A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT!

Back up your data!

If it’s your PC back it up to an external drive. If you can move that drive off site all the better. Give it to a relative or put it in a safe deposit box. In this day and age of “cloud” there are also numerous internet backup solutions you could use as well.

Backups aren’t just limited to your PC. Your phone, tablet and your video game consoles need to be backed up too.

If your phone has a microSD card slot go pick up an extra card just for keeping a backup. There is no doubt an app for your phone/tablet platform of choice to save a backup to that card. Do the same as before and store it some place safe preferably away from where the data is normally used.

Last but not least and some might be surprised to hear this your video game console can be backed up too. If you have a PS3 go find a USB hard drive that is equal to or larger than the drive in your console and under the Settings > System Settings you’ll find a backup utility. Be warned it compresses your data so it takes a while to run. And then go make sure you sync your trophies.

If you have an Xbox you’re consigned to USB drives no larger than, correct me if I’m wrong, 32GB. I also believe this will be changing in the near future(or has all ready?) so you can plug in any drive. Plug in your drive and go to Settings > System > Storage > Transfer Content and select the items you want to backup. Make sure if you didn’t backup save games that they are at least syncing to online storage.

For a home user I would say do this at minimum once a month to ensure you are never out all your data. Thank you for your time and attention!

Fix The Nexus 7 Warping Creaking Problem

Just fixed my creaky, warping, Nexus 7. Now it appears better than new. Here’s what I did.

First off let me say I am not responsible if you try this and something goes horribly wrong. Practice safe sex, don’t do drugs, stay in school, and keep your table trays in the upright and locked positions, make peace and not war and what ever else I gotta say to stay off the hook when you break your device. Now, on to the fun stuff.

Got a flat hard clean surface. I got the smallest flat head screw driver I could find. Gently wedged it between the plastic edge and the rubber backing at the bottom next to the usb port. This caused the back to pop open. Then I used the most gentle tool I had(in this case a collar stay) and gently wedged around the edge of the device till I could use my hands to get it the rest of the way open.

Now that you have it open lay the device screen down on the flat hard surface. Some folks said they used a hard cover book. I used an art paper pad turned face down on the coffee table. Carefully loosen all the screws around the outside edge of the device. There are a few screws at the bottom of the device in a black cover and a few others that look like they are holding small devices in place. You can leave those alone. Now, starting from the left side of the device tighten all of the screws going clockwise around the device. Once you get around go around a second time just to make sure they are good and snug. Be careful as over tightening may strip screws or possibly damage your screen.

That’s all there is to it. Place the back on the device and starting at one corner start to snap it back on. It doesn’t take much pressure to get it to snap back on so if you encounter resistance gently remove the back and try again from a different corner.

After doing this repaired I noticed that my screen is more flush to the plastic edges and the left side of my device feels solid and doesn’t creak. I noticed it most when the heat from the proc, ram or video processor would heat the left side of the device and cause warping. I played approx 15mins of Shadowgun, watched some videos and have been browsing and so far the problem has not returned!

#nexus7 #diy #norma

The Teknami Posts

The following is yet another archive of older writings. Not ancient like the last post. Just little over a year ago. These writings were for a website called Teknami operated by a friend of mine. Sadly the site did not gain traction and he found gainful employment else where, as did I, but I am thankful to him for the opportunity to write. The site was focused on technology with a heavy slant towards mobile. With out further a due here are some snippets from March 2011.

Doc format unfortunately.

And The Mobile Leadership Award Goes To…!
at&t Tablet Pricing Plans
Introduction to Intel App Up
Introduction to Thunderbolt
WIP – Android Patterns for UI Devs

I hope you found this little peek back at recent history entertaining!

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