What is Ubuntu One?

19 10 2010

Canonical, creator and developer of Ubuntu and Ubuntu One, have offered it’s Linux users a valuable cloud computing service with Ubuntu One. Currently in public beta form, Ubuntu one is a full suite of cloud computing software that you can use to integrate your OS and your cloud with Evolution Mail for contacts or Tomboy for notes, as well as any other arbitrary files you find valuable.  Granted Canonical has been taking some heat due to the fact that as of yet, there is no Kubuntu Support for this product, and the closed source-code for the server-side of Ubuntu One, but most of all, the fact that you are paying for this service.  A very out of character decision by Canonical, who traditionally offer everything for free, and under the GNU License open-source agreement.

Ubuntu One starts off with a basic package, which allows you to have 2GB of free storage space.  There is also a paid Ubuntu One service which gives you 20GB extra for $2.99 a month.  You can add as much space as you want, always in increments of 20GB for $2.99 a pop.  Really, not a bad deal.  Especially when you take into account just how much ease of access and quality of service Ubuntu is offering with the Ubuntu One service.  The seamless integration with Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx is just amazing.

There is also a DRM free mp3 music store integrated with Ubuntu One, where you can purchase your music, and listen from almost anywhere.  This is where the mobile plan comes into play.  For $3.99 a month, or $39.99 for the year, you can enjoy a mobile Ubuntu One experience with unlimited music streaming from your Cloud to your Android device or iPhone.  Once you activate your account, search for the application in your App Marketplace, download and install.  There is also immediate contact synchronization for most any phone on the market today, not just Android or iPhone.  Right now Canonical is offering the mobile platform for a 30-day free trial.

Fortunately there is a Windows Beta coming soon for all of you dual-booters out there as well.  This is where Ubuntu one becomes the most valuable of services is because so many Linux Users will dual boot their computers with a copy of both Linux and Windows.  Now you will be able to rather seamlessly adjust files from one OS to the other with as little legwork as possible.  Something that a lot of newbies making the bridge over to linux will find rather convenient, rather than regularly finding you have to restart your computer to gain access to that file again.

Overall, Ubuntu One seems to possess a whole lot of potential.  Although it will definitely take some heat due to the fact that it does come with some cost to really use the services full potential, it is just that, a service.  The best part is, you don’t have to pay if you don’t want to. Just head on over to the site and try the free 2GB package they are offering, and start forming your cloud today!


Amazing Backgrounds

18 10 2010

Here’s a brief selection of some of the best backgrounds I have found.



Wacom Bamboo Pen Review

7 10 2010

The Wacom Bamboo Pen Tablet is, for the money, a great little tablet.  I picked mine up off of Amazon.com for just over $60.00 to help with my web design, and have not regretted my purchase one bit.  With a modest 5.8″ x 3.6″ active writing surface, it is rather responsive.  The matte area has a similar feeling to writing on actual paper, which will help with the authenticity of your documents.  That doesn’t mean that if you are not accustomed to using tablets, there will be a bit of an adjustment period before you can write legible sentences if you like to have fun with Windows Journal.

The Pen that comes with the tablet is a bit light, but still fits rather ergonomically in your hand.  The two buttons that reflect you mouse are not very intrusive of your comfort, and can begin to feel pretty natural after some regular use.  The action of tapping your tablet twice rather than good ‘ol double click is fun as well.  With a price tag of $79.99 on Wacom.com, this is an entry level tablet, for people who are either interested in using a tablet for mediocre tasks, or those of us who just don’t have a spare $300-$500 to drop on a more industry standard tablet.  When you keep that in mind, you will get just what you expect from this product.

My Bamboo came with Corel Painter Essentials, which is an excellent program for getting an idea of just what you can accomplish.  When you move into the more advanced programs, a.k.a Photoshop, or my preferred GIMP, you may notice a bit of a lag from the tablet due to hardware constraints and software usage.  You definitely will not receive a perfectly clean air-brush motion when working on some of your larger files.  This is due to the lack of sensors that come with the Entry Level Pen tablet.

Based on sheer looks the Pen Tablet will make a sexy addition to most desk set ups, and many people who aren’t accustomed to seeing them will comment.  College students will like the option of being able to take notes in class, on your laptop screen, and save them for a later date without the fear of lost torn or crumpled pages.  Or you could just doodle during class as well, whatever your into.  It has a nice shiny trim around the writing surface which can easily collect dust if you don’t wipe it regularly.  It weighs a measly 1.8 pounds, so you won’t really notice the weight in your backpack or briefcase.  The pen itself does not require batteries to run, which is a relief, and comes with two spare tips to replace the original when it gets worn.

All in all the Wacom Bamboo Pen Tablet is a great product for its target market.  Wacom is a trusted name in the industry, and the quality is noticed in the Pen Tablet.  If you are someone interested in toying with these fun tools, but don’t want to drop too much to experience it, go with this one.  You get your money’s worth, and then some!

Halo: Reach Review

7 10 2010

Ahhh, well just what we have all been waiting for. Another installment in the Halo Universe. All fans take a moment of silence to pay respects to those who have bestowed this moment upon us, and smile.

Now, with that out of the way, let us tour the fun and inviting world that Bungie has created for us in this, their last installment in the Halo Universe. This, of course, being due to the licensing issues with Bungie being owned by Activision now. (Can anyone say Bungie: Call of Duty: Future War?) The sense of parting that Bungie has left us with in this game can be felt in just about every nook and cranny. There are endless hours of entertainment with a fun and engrossing Campaign, addictive and competitive Multiplayer, relentless Firefight, and the grossly immersive Forge, Notably redesigned for Halo: Reach.

The Halo: Reach campaign starts out with your Squad, Noble Team, being assigned to locating some missing troopers in a nearby village. Your team will be airlifted in and shortly after find out that, just as with everything in the Halo Universe, the troopers are dead and the Covenant are behind it. What starts out in the first couple of missions as a bunch of small skirmishes, eventually plumes into all out war, with some very impressive scenes involving some very heavy duty action.

The AI has been impressively revamped for Reach, with some pretty noticeable enhancements. Many an Elite has made me learn that you can no longer run into a group of enemies and trust in melee. Their movements are swift, smooth, and rather intelligent. The heroic difficulty gave me more to work for in Reach than Halo 3 by far, and forget about Legendary. There is a 150GP award for completing legendary on your own, and justly so. You can expect to log around 10 to 12 hours into the campaign, depending what difficulty you play on.

Halo’s signature Multiplayer is there as well, in all of its glory, there to eat away at hours of your life, and frustrate you beyond all repair. The credit system used in Reach (cR’s) to enable you to rank up is a fun addition, with a lot of great rewards for your time and efforts. You earn cR’s in all game modes of Reach, plus the daily and weekly challenges sponsored by Bungie which assign you to different tasks in Reach to gain bonus cR’s, as well as keep you involved in the many different types of the game.

The scope of Halo: Reach was large, and Bungie did a great job of bringing their vision to life in the constraints that they faced. I feel as though the the graphics was a bit compromised to allow for more room in the game. The water effects are rather poor, and some of the scenes happening in the distance have a much different feel than other Halo games. When you zoom in on an enemy, sometimes it will look a bit like the enemy and the ground its on do not mesh how they should. This is the first time I have experienced this in a Halo game, and I attribute it to short comings in the hardware.

In order to keep this brief, I will close by saying that with everything Bungie lovingly packed into this game for us, this game is another winner that belongs on the shelf of any Halo fan out there. There are plenty of hours to be lost in this final installment of the Halo that we have come to know and love in the past decade (Halo Wars Excluded). Wrap your hands lovingly around your controller, and start fragging, cause before you know it, this game will be history.

iPad Uses

26 04 2010

iPad Uses

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 2 Multiplayer Tips

29 01 2010

When submersed in the fast-paced setting of Modern Warfare 2’s Online Multiplayer, there are some specific tactics that you will need to take into account to be an effective force on the battlefield. You have to think that the developers sat and chiseled out these amazing circumstances to play in, and in order to really succeed at MW:2 you have to try and understand what the developers were thinking when creating the game, and how to utilize the tools they have given you. There are a lot of implementations added to the gameplay that will make you accomplish some pretty amazing feats in MW:2 Online.

First and foremost you have to get in touch with speed. Call of Duty is one of the only games you will ever play in the modern online FPS universe that doesn’t implement a wait to respawn. The second you die, you press X and your right back in the action. On top of that, you are handed a kill-cam, that will show you precisely who killed you, from where, and with what. It completely solves the plague of camping, and keeps you on your toes after every kill. Talk about pressure for a sniper! You know that guy you just killed all the way across the map is now really wanting a piece of you, and knows exactly where to find you. The only way you as a player can counteract this is READ YOUR RADAR! Have knowledge of know where the enemies will be coming from to get you, and where your allies are sitting to cover your angles. Never have your back turned for too long. Too often when someone is walking into my cross hairs and I am just about to pull the trigger, I get shot from my left hand side, totally blindsided, and feeling very bitter.

Another awesome feature that has made MW:2 Multiplayer so innovative is the Perk system. Utilizing player enhancements in different categories and styles, you can fashion yourself into a specific soldier on the field. The possibilities are really quite remarkable. If you fashion yourself a fan of quick Recon and lots of slashing, add the Marathon, Lightweight, and Commando perks to your player and just watch the melees pile up. Or if you fancy yourself more of a guns blazing type of person try Bling or One Man army for Perk 1 and Stopping Power or Danger close for Perk 2. Danger close is a great fan of anyone who loves the Grenade Launcher. The perk system will balance out rather well, not giving any one person too much power, but allows you as the player to accentuate certain strengths and weaknesses that fit how you like to play.

One serious element that plays a major role in the battle at ground level is Air Superiority. A couple of good Air Strikes or Helicopter approaches could drastically change the tide of the fight. As a soldier you really only have one line of defense against these flying predators. That is your stinger or javelin missile systems. Have a Custom Class with one of these equipped at all times, so you can have the confidence of knowing you can reign on the parade of some jolly-go-lucky guy tearing it up in the attack helicopter. To take away a teams Air Superiority can make them impotent for the rest of the match and give your team the upper hand it needs to hold down B till the end of the round, or diffuse that bomb when you need to. Granted, you too have to be on the lookout when you get behind the trigger of an AC-130, but all you can do then is reign down as much as you can, and hope you have what it takes to keep them pinned down long enough to rack up a nice amount of kills.

These are three solid tips to help you gather a grasp on what it means to play Call of Duty:Modern Warfare 2 Online Multiplayer. Practice keeping these thoughts and ideas in your head and you will hold a strategic advantage above the average competition. Its really up to you the player getting comfortable with the weapons and their specific limitations, as well as utilizing the perks to create your own personal soldier. This is how you can really become a force to be reckoned with on the digital battlefield. Once you get comfortable in your skin, come find me on Xbox Live(WyReD55), and well do some serious damage together. Next episode we will cover some more in depth tactics to really help you dominate the online battlefield. Happy hunting!

Theatre, the Lost Interest

29 12 2009

Few moments can compare to the anticipation of going out to the theaters, waiting to see the next big movie of the year. You know, the one you have been anticipating for the last month. The one that makes you giddy when a television commercial comes on and you have to point to the screen so everyone knows you want to go see it. Then, Making it out on release night, standing there with like minded people who only wish to enjoy the same experience. The shared joy and anticipation that could only relate to Christmas morning. Even the ‘bit too long’ previews that ensue before your feature presentation, that only help to urge the suspense.

Do you have an acne faced teenager dressed in a funny little suit selling you your popcorn in your kitchen? Do you possess studio seating in your living room? Do you hold DVD release party’s for friends and family that only work to egg on the fun that is our Entertainment? Probably not. In today’s day and age it is becoming increasingly easier for people to fill their homes with premium audio and video equipment to make an enhanced experience that is closer to the real thing. And yes, some fortunate people possess full movie theaters in their homes. Yet even with all of these things, people are still missing out on the true golden nugget that is going out to see a film in the theaters. The whole of the experience is what makes that movie so memorable, and lasting. Seeing The Matrix for the first time with all of my middle school friends. Sitting in the IMAX and watching the first fight scene of 300 unfold in front of me. Watching the world crumble in front of my eyes during 2012. These moments have stuck with me, and will for many years. Not to mention the disappointment of then watching those same films on my home system and being a little disappointed because it could in no way compare to the experience I had the night I went to go see it.

That’s just what makes the movies so enriching. Going out, doing something different rather than the usual stay in and watch a movie. You make a night out of it. Go to a dinner and movie with some friends, or a special someone, and then enjoy the conversation on the way home critiquing what you just experienced. Was your mind expanded, or were you drastically let down? Was that A list actor a bit too over the top with their performance?

Then again, if going out and being social just isn’t for you, then sure there are tons of options to keep you home. Thankfully enough there are now options to bring home that experience that is closer and closer to the real thing, but it still is not the same. Your home theater doesn’t force you to sit next to a stranger, then leave with an underlying connection because you just shared an experience. If your home theater does do this, then please call me, because the prices are getting a bit out of control, but still worth it, in my mind, to share the memories.