Nerdism at its best

February 16, 2014

My Mobile Gaming

Over the years gaming has always been part of my life. it all started when my parents brought home that NES. Some of my earliest memories is from playing that thing with my dad. I remember we would sit there and play a game until we beat and with most NES games there was no save points so you either let it sit paused or you started all over from the beginning. A few years later you Nintendo introduced a platform that meant you were no longer limited to sitting in your living room you could take your games with you.

Nintendo_Gameboy

Nintendo gave us the Game Boy. Today, a whole generation of kids will grow up with nary a clue about what the Game Boy is and how it affected our lives. Today, a whole generation of kids will grow up with nary a clue about what the Game Boy is and how it affected our lives. When the Game Boy was first released, the video game industry was much different. There were fewer developers, less growth, and some doubt about the viability of video games in the consumer market. The Game Boy changed all that and became a significant contributing factor to the success the industry enjoys today. And that’s why we loved the Game Boy. It rebuffed the wisdom of the day and brought gaming back to its basic goal: fun.

I can still remember the first time I laid my hands on a Game Boy. I played Tetris, which came bundled with the original systems. It wasn’t sophisticated like some of the games I was playing on Nintendo’s home system the NES. It didn’t have color, and the screen was small, but I sat there for hours arranging those falling boxes just because it was so darn fun.

I was one of many that felt the Game Boy was different, special. We all needed to have one. We all wanted to have the latest games. And though I always enjoyed the handheld’s Mario games and playing Zelda titles, it was always Tetris on that old monochrome display that held a special place in my memories. And what memories they are.

After the success of the game boy then came the Game Boy Pocket. The pocket edition was simply the same thing only smaller in design larger screen and took AAA batteries. However is was the next handheld that I took to the Game Boy Color. With it we were able to view our 8-bit wonderlands of games…in COLOR! The Gameboy Color basically gave Nintendo full control over the handheld market for nearly a decade. With its multiple color designs, many bundles, excellent and large abundance of games, the Gameboy Color was a force to reckon with. Let’s not forget Nintendo’s Link Cables, allowing for multiplayer even through handhelds! From Pokémon to SNES ports, the Game Boy Color was a great system.

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But great doesn’t always mean perfect system. The Game Boy Color still ran on batteries and let’s face it…it was impossible to play in the dark with no backlight. I owned one GBC game that was Mario Tennis. I would run several sets of batteries dead playing this game hours on end. This game was just fun and never got old for me I can’t explain it. Now I don’t play tennis, but I absolutely love the sport. Tennis is probably the only sport I do enjoy.

Game-Boy-Advance-SP-Mk1-Blue

Down the road there came the Game Boy Advanced. I never did buy the original GBA I hopped on board with the GBA: SP. The real changes to Gameboy came in 2003 when the Gameboy Advance SP came out. Now, we had a backlight, now we had a rechargeable battery. The GBA SP not only was a more advanced redesign, but it made the carrying of your system much easier, as it folded up into a smaller square…er cube. This handheld got me through college for the most part.

I was able to get a lot of the old games I use to play not only on my NES but also on my SNES from back in the day. Having a portable version of Super Mario Bros 3; what more could you ask for? But alas I lost my GBA: SP somewhere in a move and not sure where it went to. A year later came the Nintendo DS and the end of the Game Boy label.

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When I first picked up my DS Phat, I bought the only game worth owning at the time: Super Mario 64 DS. Still a student in college, I quickly bought up more games to satisfy my gaming hunger Animal Crossing: Wild World & Mario Kart DS were added to my collection. I fell in love with dual-screen gaming, quickly learning how to manage both screens and at the same time asking how did I ever game before without this extra screen holding vital information needed for the game I was playing! Also with the DS it ended having to lug around all my consoles I was able to play my GBA games on my DS. Then the DS lite came on I didn’t see the need to get a Lite I has my phat and it did everything I needed. Then came the release of the limited edition golden ds the Legend of Zelda edition.

Being a Zelda fan for life I needed this console but at the time I was not in a financial setting to get it so it passed me by and just settled in to own the DS phat. Until one day I went into a game stop store and was looking at used systems and there lo and behold a DS lite … a unit cast in gold with the triforce printed on the cover all for 100 bucks knowing I couldn’t let it go. I bought it and you can tell it had been used, however to me that makes it all the more special. To the life of me I will never understand why anyone would let that version go.

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That handheld has gone through a lot with me over the years it lived through the DSi release and the DSi XL and through the 1st gen release of the Nintendo 3DS. There has not been much released over the years that I felt I needed also I had been falling out over the handheld gaming community maybe I’m getting older and that’s why, but no I believe the fun has been the factor. Games started to get dull and I was losing interest. Last week I started looking for a new RPG to play. One that would be fun like the old turn based RPGs that you might of played on the NES, SNES, and the PlayStation.

You cannot find any. It seems that with the latest gen of consoles the days of turn base play style are over. Then I came across a list and GIANT list of RPGs available for the 3DS and so I started researching. By research I mean search YouTube for gameplay videos. I soon came to realize I had missed out on and entire library of games. Considering it has been almost 8 years since I bought a handheld or even and handheld game. I decided it was time to upgrade and by this time I’m already 2 years behind on the release of the 3DS XL but as I am looking what do I see but the limited addition Zelda one.

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I looked at the release date of that handheld Nov 3013. Its only February and the stock is still high. I picked it up and I must say to date it is probably the best handheld I have owned. I have only gotten to play with it very little because I am in the middle of a move, but I plan on playing more portable games though.

all my surviving handhelds

all my surviving handhelds

February 9, 2014

Remastering of an Old Radio Show Aircheck

music

have a listen Anything and Everything

Back in college I did a radio show for the on campus radio station KFHS. I named it the Anything and Everything show. I would play any genre of music. i would have a rock block of song followed up with a foreign block, and then a country or hip-hop block. I love music; all of it. there are certain genres I like better than others, but that is just me. i love having these old recording around becouse(and this may sound weird) I enjoy listening to myself talk. I know a lot of people that will say just the opposite they hate listening to their recorded voices. I on the other hand enjoying listening not just to my self but other people. I enjoy listening to others talk; not really listening to their words, but the the tone and sound of their voice.  To me that is a type of music.

Music can be a form of entertainment and, more importantly, a medium of communication. Music is the air we breathe, the liquid we drink, the beat of our hearts. There is a song for every emotion, a song for every day. Music is the accompaniment to every one’s life story. Through music we can connect to people and their culture without physical or language boundaries.

Music is a universal interest, but at the same time expresses so much individuality between the different types of people that enjoy a variety of musical styles. Music is an outlet. Music allows you to find yourself at your darkest times. The music interest each person has can tell a story about them even they may not realize. If you were to go through someone’s music, you will learn about them. Music allows oneself to be free. Music can build a connection with a person like no other.

Without music this world would be dull.

February 7, 2014

Jar Lanterns

I have been working on a project for quite some time now. A jar lantern. I was looking for a project to do that required some soldering and i was souring the internet and I kept coming across the temporary LED jar lantern where you tape an LED to a coin battery and then attach it to the jar lid. this is great if you don’t ever want to turn them off and let the battery burn out so i have set to add a switch and make a better lantern. here was my first attempt:

rocker switch

lit up

that was my first version. I didn’t like the color so I replaced it with a blue LED. The problem I had was that the LEDs were not diffuse and only lit up where the LED was pointing. so I put the project on hold until I could figure out my problem. Couple of weeks ago I came across a Diffused LED. as you see here in version 2.0

push button

powered on

in Version 2.0 I switched out the rocker switch for a push button and a larger jar and so far I like this version better.

February 6, 2014

Changing Your Habits Online

Another good example of how the Blackhats are steps ahead of the Whitehats, looks like we might start to see another huge increase in fake av and other similar malware. The TDL-4 botnet is quite advanced using boot sector to launch its self before the OS to keep its self hidden from av and malware detections and also allows it to re download malware on to the computer over and over again.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13506_3-20075725-17/tdl-4-the-indestructible-botnet/

http://www.securelist.com/en/analysis/204792180/TDL4_Top_Bot

Now you might be asking how you can stay protected against such attacks, well first of all change your browsing habits. I’ve found that when I say “change your browsing habits” many people have no idea what I’m talking about. This is an unfortunate truth in our world, and by writing this post that I can help to educate some of you. The internet is full of viruses, trojans, malware, and spyware. Whether you are using a Mac or PC, updating your operating system is very important. Updates are released on a regular basis to help protect your computer and to keep it running smoothly.

Update your Web Browser

Your web browser is your gateway to the internet and is often times the entry point for computer viruses. It is therefore important that you frequently check for updates to your browser.

Internet Explorer – Updates are includes as part of your Windows updates
Mozilla Firefox

Go to http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/upgrade.html
Download the latest version and run the installer. This will not delete any bookmarks or personal settings
Safari
– Safari updates are included with Mac OS X updates.
Chrome – Updates its self in the background

General Browsing Habits

  1. Always check the address bar at the top of the screen to ensure you’re at the official website, and not a carbon copy of the website you think you’re at, hosted at a different address.
  2. Never click on pop-ups
  3. Always look for the little yellow padlock and the letters “https” rather than “http” when signing into an online account or making online purchases. This means that information you provide, such as your name, address, and credit card information, is being encrypted on it’s way to the web server that hosts the website you’re buying from. This is important because this information crosses many public devices before reaching its destination, and a man in the middle can access this data if it’s not encrypted.
  4. Avoid shady sites which promise offers too good to be true such as: free electronics, free software that you normally have to pay for, pirated software, nude celebrities, and the list goes on.
  5. Install Anti-Virus software. I prefer Avira, alongside malwarebytes anti-malware pro but there are other providers out there as well. It’s up to you to get the lowdown on each and make an informed decision as to which product to use.
  6. Always keep in mind that your Anti-Virus software is not a get out of jail free card to do whatever you like on the Internet and not get a virus. If you do not practice the safe browsing habits listed here, along with some good ole’ fashion common sense, in conjunction with your AV software, then you may do something which circumvents your AV software’s protection (such as downloading and installing a virus yourself).

E-mail Habits

  1. Don’t open e-mails from people you don’t know.
  2. Don’t open e-mail attachments from people you don’t know.
  3. Avoid using your e-mail address for random registrations. It is highly advisable to create a throwaway e-mail for programs/sites that require registration. View these Google search results for some Disposable Email services (Note: some sites disallow use of these accounts)
  4. Beware of e-mail attachments from people you do know. If the e-mail said nothing about an attachment or you weren’t expecting one, get in touch with the person through some medium other than e-mail and find out what’s in the attachment, and make sure they sent it.
  5. Never respond to Spam e-mails. If you don’t want to part with thousands of dollars of your own money, then trash those generic e-mails from random foreign guys, who needs an American citizen to set him up a bank account for whatever contrived reason, and will split the millions he makes by doing this with you, but somewhere along the line needs you to wire him a large cash sum. You’re not investing in your future; you’re giving your money to a con artist.

Social Networking Habits

  1. Be careful who you add as a friend to your social networking account. Day in and day out you probably post personal information such as names of people you know, where you work, where you’re currently at, what you’re doing, phone numbers, addresses, where you go to school, where you work, etc. This information can be used against you in many different ways.
  2. Keep a close eye on what applications you add. There are many applications on social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn, etc which enhance our social networking experience. What we often don’t consider is what kind of privileges we’re bestowing to the people who wrote the software. Just as programs you install on your computer or phones can do malicious things, apps you add to your profile can do malicious things as well, or in the very least unexpected things.
  3. Watch out for strange messages from your friends which are full of bad spelling and grammar, and contain links to external pages There are worms and other malware, a prime example being the Koobface worm, which spread fake messages asking you to check out a video in a link, or some other action. The link actually leads to an attack site where a script will try to install malware on your computer.

February 5, 2014

Geek V. Nerd and Why We Don’t Need to Have It

I am about to mount the podium. You’re all welcome to gather up front on the pew, to slink slyly to the rear of the sanctuary or to simply walk back out the double doors before I unleash my fire and brimstone. And I certainly won’t think less of you for choosing the latter.

I have spent my three decades upon this Earth as an outsider, a nerd and yes as a geek. I am as nerdy as I wanna be. No more. No less. At this stage in my life I am self-aware enough to realize who I am, and I have made my peace with that. Another aspect, which I also attribute to age, is the fact that I am now too damn tired to care what other people think of me. Now this certainly doesn’t mean I don’t want others to like me, to respect and accept me. (This is ingrained well within human nature itself, and even we proud nerdlingers fall under its sway.)

 

today being a nerd is still a derogatory, stereotypical term, no one wants to be a nerd everyone wants to be a geek and if you identify yourself as a nerd you, my good people, are still a social outcast. you dont belong. if you are a geek you belong.

I call bulshit on that …

“geek” is no longer a relevant label of self-identification, but a brand. Geek is Twitter. Geek is Tumblr. Geek is exclusivity. Geek is pomposity. Except it’s not. “Geek” was supposed to be about refuting stereotypes and celebrating the things we love, but it ends up feeling like we’re trying to convince the Cool Kids that we’re really just like them.

A great number of us have begun espousing the belief that what we do, that what we are, is a culture rightfully unto itself, and we’ve done so by embracing the names that were used as weapons against us. We took back geek and nerd and dweeb, and we bent them to our own needs. We wore them like badges of honor. But at some point we experienced a schism. We began to add our own precise context to these nonsensical words with no legitimate definition or etymology, and use them to cloister what some saw as our own less desirable elements.

We split up the nerds – a Seussian word used adjacent to “Nerkle” and “Seersucker” – and the geeks – a carnie term for a performer who eats live animals – based on unqualifiable differences instead of uniting them under their obvious similarities. We, in short, became our own tormentors. We decided who would sit at our table and who would be relegated to the far side of the lunch room. We became that guy who shook you down and called you dweeb, a spaz, or that girl who defaced your gym locker and made you a laughingstock. We became our own worst enemy. we did it gladly.

Today, adults wear thick black glasses, long pants that are cuffed fashionably short with retro sneakers, and walk while looking down into an iPhone. Frequently into things.
These are geeks. But the difference is that theirs is a choice, a matter of style. They, unlike me, were not born this way.

Nerd is to tinker with tech; geek is to admire and acquire. Nerd is innate; geek is learned. But both are self-identified, associated with intelligence and along a continuum with frequent overlap, making external categorization virtually impossible.

Nerds love knowledge for the sake of knowledge; geeks love knowledge for the sake of unapologetically making you feel stupid for not having the same level of knowledge as they do. But one common thread emerges: geek is the current cool/hip/sexy term. And no one, ever, has said being a socially awkward, misfit, inwardly tech-focused nerd is cool. Except to other nerds.

This enduring “geek chic” that the mainstream media has become so fixated upon is key to spreading our message of hope, but it can also prove a destructive element if we lose site of the fact that we are all but defined by some of our most unsavory experiences and inclinations. Whether geek or nerd, we each spent a lengthy season being abused, neglected, isolated. We know what it’s like to be bullied and to be made to feel insignificant. We know what it’s like to be outsiders. But while this pain is certainly not ours alone, it is also a defining force that we must not lose sight of. The fact that we came through the fire and yet retained those things that made us targets — that is our strength.

Many of my friends and colleagues prefer to identify as geeks rather than nerds, and that is fine. Our culture is all about personal choice. But these social pop geeks looking down their noses at those insalubrious nerds is another matter entirely.

There is no entrance exam for being a nerd. You simply need to be yourself. Anyone is welcome to join us, whether or not they play D&D or can recite Coulton lyrics from memory or understand Python semantics. All you have to do is be yourself and afford us the opportunity to do the same. Whether you call yourself a nerd or a geek or a freak or a hacker or a gamer or a Trekker or a fanboy or a furry or a LARPer or an otaku is irrelevant. But don’t you dare try and paint yourself as better than someone who identifies by a different arbitrary label! We are nerds and we are geeks and we are wonderful and quirky and awkward, but we are no better or worse than anyone else. We are, while fully aware of our unique differences, the same.