Month: November 2016

I just picked up an Amazon Fire Stick the other day, and have finally had an opportunity to see what all the fuss is about. Here’s the thing, I have a smart TV in my living room that has access to the internet and has its own interface of applications, so there was no benefit to plugging the Fire Stick into that TV. The TV in our bedroom however, is not a smart TV but does have HDMI ports. So up until this past weekend, we’ve been using the Google Chromecast device, which is great because it allows you to stream Netflix and other apps from your phone to the TV. So while the Chromecast is neat, it’s not always convenient. There are often connectivity issues that happen at complete random, which keeps us from being able to watch anything some nights. The other problem, is that it’s tedious to use when you’re tired and ready to throw something on TV before drifting off to sleep. And if you want to switch episodes or shows, it becomes an even bigger problem because sometimes it just gets stuck.

With the Amazon Fire Stick however, you get access to all the apps; Netflix, HBO GO, Showtime Go, Fox Sports Go, and more. And all with the click of a button. No fiddling around with your phone, waiting for it to connect to the television (if you’re lucky). I’ve been able to easily fast forward, rewind, and switch shows or episodes with no issues or problems. The remote that it comes with as well is also a nice touch. It’s a smart remote with Alexa voice command, so not only does it look sexy, but you can tell it what to do as well (No Sexism inteded). I won’t be switching back to the Google Chromecast anytime soon. It was a great idea but Amazon really created a better product with a better idea.…

For the last year I have been commuting to work- five days a week, in peak rush hour traffic, 40 miles each way to and from the office. There have been numerous instances over the last year when the drive was so stressful and cut-throat that I have seriously considered giving up. I have imagined myself pulling over on the side of the major interstate I travel on and just waiting for the traffic to subside and the maniac drivers to return to their homes. Every morning I would type the office address into Apple Maps and hope that on that particular day I would be accurately directed towards the most efficient and least stressful route. Unfortunately three out of ten mornings I would be lead astray by Apple Maps into gridlock traffic, construction zone delays, and sheer stress. After sharing my frustration with a fellow commuter, I was urged to download the Waze app and she promised that it would change my driving experience completely. Simply stated, it has.

The Waze app calculates, with incredible accuracy, the quickest route to your destination. The app gives real time traffic updates by utilizing a social network of drivers who are, “Outsmarting traffic. Together.” Wazers are able to send traffic reports along the way: tag a road hazard, report a hidden patrol car, send an accident alert, among others. When another Wazer subsequently drives passed the point where the alert was sent, they can either like the alert or denote that the alert is inaccurate. You can search an extensive database for your destination by typing in the location or using the voice command feature. The app will allow you to store your home, work, and other favorite addresses. Simply tap home and you’re on your way. Once you have your destination set, Waze will automatically calculate the quickest route and your ETA as well as provide you with alternate routes and their associated ETA’s. During your drive, the app will voice navigate you as well as alert you of upcoming heavy traffic, patrol cars, and vehicles stopped on the side of the road. You can even spot nearby Wazers and the speed they are traveling on the map.

The Waze app, believe it or not, has made driving and commuting more enjoyable. You get points and are incentivized for participating with the application. Having the app has really made me feel like I get to be a part of something bigger, as corny as that might sound. Us Wazers, get to work together as a community to spot driving hazards, speed traps, and accidents and then show our appreciation to one another. If you want a more accurate navigation app that has a lot of interactive features and the most up to date traffic patterns, download Waze app. If you’re afraid of change and like sitting in traffic, don’t. But even my Handyman uses Waze to locate his customers. And if an old school Handyman can use it, so can you.…

There are several schools of thought when it comes to First Person Shooter games. In the realm of my limited friendships, I have found Three opinions pervading above all others. Those opinions are, at opposite sides of the spectrum to say the least. That being said, this can’t be counted as a big data aggregated poling survey since my friend base is not that large and thus can not be projected as a realistic sample size without bias. Nonetheless, I find the difference in opinions interesting.

I have several friends that love First Person Shooter games. Prying my buddy Jake away from Call of Duty is similar to the zoo keepers trying to get the Silverback Gorilla Harambe away from the child at the zoo. Nearly impossible without causing irreparable harm. On the other end of the spectrum lies what I like to call the go getters or doo’rs in life. These go getter friends of mine absolutely hate video games, and feel fairly strongly about it. They do not consider it a good time to sit in their room and play imaginary. This also manifests in to the school of thought that these video games will change your mind and thought process. When a mass shooting occurs or someone is acting strangely the go getters are always the first to lay blame on video games and first person shooter games.

After doing so library research I found that in fact there is a third viewpoint. Cognitive researcher Daphne Bavalier has a great you tube video about how video games can help us learn, focus and even develop multitasking abilities. The Youtube video that I found in Rochester Library is very fascinating. Her arguments are very strong and scientifically based.

So I pose the question, do first person shooter games have the ability to alter the perception and reality of the obsessive gamer? Is this a real thing or is it just an excuse that meatheads use to justify their anti-gaming sentiment? Maybe there is a middle ground outside of my small albeit opinionated friendship circle. Maybe video games can actually be helpful for cognitive development as Daphne Bavalier argues.

Please leave your comments below!…

I was pretty skeptical about an app that said you could transfer money between friends just by linking your debit or credit card, and all for no cost or fees. My first thought, probably like anyone else, is it safe? And why is it free? What is the catch? Well, two weeks and many transactions later, I can tell you with little uncertainty that there is not catch, there is no fee, and it is in fact safe.

All I had to do was download the app from the app store, type in my debit card information, and I was sending and receiving money like a champ. What’s cool too, is that you can see your friends’ transactions on the home page in the app. Like, ‘Charles Schwab paid Daffy Duck for sushi.’

What else is cool, is that I’ve even been able to use it with a few local businesses. I had a sweet guy from Epoxy Fort Lauderdale come out and do some work for me and like the doofus I sometimes am…. I forgot my wallet. Luckily they were able to just accept my payment via Venmo.

In a world where no one has cash anymore, and not everyone carries around a square, apps like Venmo and Cash app are a must have. The biggest question looming is, ‘will it always be free?’ And that’s tough to say, they might just be building up their subscriber base before they start tacking on fees to every transaction, which is what most startups do. If that day comes, I’m sure I will move on. But until then, this app and others like it are a must have in today’s society.…