Thanks, Electronic Arts

By on May 12, 2015 | 0 comments

I seriously never thought I would say that, but EA has awoken the casual gamer in me again. Recently I decided to move my Xbox One out of my living room and into another location in my house, the Den (as it is labeled in my Sonos system). The den is where my computer is located as well as a 42″ TV. Obviously, the 55″ in the living room plus surround sound gives a greater overall experience, but I realized I didn’t necessarily want all of that. All i really need is my leather recliner (also in the den) and a nice HD TV. 10-15 years ago I was much more into gaming. I had all of the consoles, and was an avid PC gamer. (I’ll blame Unreal Tournament for that.) and since then my console playing has dwindled. I have an Xbox 360 in the closet which hasn’t been turned on for 4+ years, and my PS3 which I used to play fairly often hasn’t even been taken out of the box I moved it in when I bought my new house in 2013. I’ve had the Xbox One since launch, but I’ve rarely played it. I have a handful of games, and they are great, but I know spending $60 each is not worth it for me. I just don’t play it enough anymore. This is where EA comes in. EA Access… what can i say? For those of you who aren’t aware of what it is, EA Access is a monthly service which allows you to play games from their “vault”.  The vault has recently been updated with all of the ’15 sports games, and has a few others as well. This service for under $30 a year allows me to download a bunch of games I wouldn’t have purchased for $60 each, because as i said before I just don’t play them enough. Not only that, but if I decide I want to buy any other EA games, I as an Access member, will get a 10% discount. I have to admit, I didn’t realize how much I missed playing some of these games. NHL 15 for example has been a blast. I haven’t played a hockey game in easily 5+ years. On a side note, I laughed when I saw an NHL 94 control scheme available in the options. I thought to myself, “wow i loved that game”.  I didn’t use that scheme though by the way. EA is definitely not the most liked company out there, any gamer knows that. But recently they seem to have changed their image slightly. Their stocks are going up, and people seem generally pleased with this new EA Access offering (which I should point out is exclusive to the Xbox One right now). I know I am very happy with what EA is doing, so as the title states, thanks EA.  I intend on using my console for the occasional gaming session much more frequently...

Review: Kodak Playsport

By on Mar 26, 2010 | 3 comments

A few weeks ago I posted some unboxing shots of the newly released Kodak Playsport. I think I have used it long enough now to write a fair review of the product. Features I will begin first discussing some of the features of the Playsport. It is capable of 4 video modes, WVGA, 720p, 720p 60fps and 1080p. It is also capable of one still photo setting of 5mp. I am sure the 1080p quality level of recording is a huge selling point, but I tend to use 720p for the most part. The size/quality ratio just seems to be better for 720p. I feel that if I use 1080p for most videos, it is basically overkill and will just fill my card much faster than necessary. The 720p 60fps mode uses the same storage space as a 1080p video, but when there is a lot of motion this mode is clearly the best. It is very smooth with little to no motion blur when recording at 60fps. It is great. Truely. Unlike the Kodak Zi8, the Playsport does not have an external mic jack or a macro mode. But, the focusing distance on the Playsport is fairly short so the macro mode isn’t really a big deal. Also, like many other pocket video cameras the Playsport does not have an optical zoom, only digital. Digital zoom in my opinion is practically useless, but others might care to use it. Build Quality The best part about this pocket video camera is the build quality. As soon as I originally took it out of the box I knew it was built well. It has a nice weight to it and is very sturdy. It has a rubberized coating to make it very easy to grip. The rubber grip is needed for easy handling while the camera is wet, because after all the Playsport is completely waterproof up to 10ft. Video/Photo quality The video quality of the Playsport is great considering it’s price tag and general size. In low light, still photos and videos are fairly grainy, but I totally expected that to be honest. The video filesizes are fairly large, but once again, it’s expected when you are dealing with high resolution video files. Below is one short sample video I recorded in daylight. This is not the best sample, because Flickr reencodes the videos, but it gives you a general idea of the clarity, and the EIS (electronic image stabilization). Also are 2 sample still photos. One was taken in sunlight, the other at night. Sound Quality The sound quality on the Playsport is average. It contains a built in mono condenser microphone. It picks up sound from a fairly decent distance, but if you are in any sort of wind forget about getting usable audio. Indoors it works fairly well because there shouldn’t be much wind, at least we hope so right? Other Comments and Issues Getting the files off of the Playsport on my iMac is fairly simple. All you do is connect the device via the included USB cable and it mounts just like an SD card reader would. There is one major bug though. When you remove the files from the device, it starts using the same filenames over again. This is a major problem if you want to put all of your videos and photos in the same folders, you might accidentally overwrite one of your older files. I hope a firmware update is released to fix this issue quickly. Conclusion Overall I am happy with my purchase of the Playsport. I also purchased an 8gb class 6 SDHC card to go with it. 8gb will get about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours of recording time depending on the quality setting you are using. If you need more storage, it supports up to a 32gb SDHC card, but remember the battery will most likely die before you run out of storage if you have larger than an 8gb card. Fortunately, the battery is easily replaceable, so you can buy extra one for about $20 if you need more recording...

Kodak Playsport Unboxing

By on Mar 10, 2010 | 1 comment

Like I stated in an earlier post, the black Kodak Playsport was released early by Amazon.com, and I received it today. Below are unboxing photos along with one sample photo taken by the Playsport itself. I will write a review on the product in a few days, but here are my initial impressions for now… At first touch, I noticed the build quality of the Playsport is great. It feels very sturdy and actually weighs more than I thought it would. The initial turn on time is much shorter than I anticipated also. I am currently charging it because the battery was almost completely empty when I turned it on, but the initial boot up of the device was less than 4 seconds. The menus are very simple to navigate. I was able to set the date and time with no problems, and like most people I didn’t bother looking at the book. Changing the video quality, or to still camera is very simple. You just press the left or right arrow buttons and it brings up a menu to select the quality or function. Here are the unboxing photos I took with my iPhone. They are fairly low quality, but I will take higher quality shots when I write the full review. Also below is a sample photo. It is very overcast today, so this is the best I can do for now. Click the 6th image in the gallery for full size....

Kodak Playsport, Coming Very Soon

By on Mar 5, 2010 | 3 comments

The Kodak Playsport HD camera caught my attention back in January when it was debuted. It is basically an update to the Kodak Zi8, a very popular 1080p HD video camera. Unlike the Zi8, it has a more rugged casing and is waterproof up to 10 ft. Originally, it was scheduled to be released in April but today I received an email stating that Amazon would have them in stock much earlier. Not only does it record 1080p (and 720p at 60fps) video, but it takes 5mp 16:9 digital photos. Here is the promotional paragraph regarding the Playsport… Heads up, adrenaline junkies. The Kodak Playsport has as much appetite for adventure as you do. And it’s not afraid to get wet. This audacious little camera can plunge up to 10 feet under water and capture the entire experience in full 1080p HD. And you don’t need to worry about blurry footage when things get a little shaky. With built-in image stabilization, the Kodak Playsport will stay steady as a rock. From the waves, to the slopes, to the mud-soaked trails, this baby was made for the extremes. Not only does this camera have a much better build quality, but it is actually cheaper than the very popular Zi8. Many places sell the Zi8 for between $179.99 and $200. The Playsport HD retails for only $149. For $149 you get “Everything you need to shoot, watch, and share 1080p HD video” which includes: KODAK PLAYSPORT Video Camera KODAK Li-Ion Rechargeable Digital Camera Battery KLIC-7004 HDMI and AV cables Wrist strap User Guide ARCSOFT MEDIA IMPRESSION Software for Kodak (PC only) As you can see, this is an amazing price for this type of camera and it’s accessories. These compact HD cameras are great quality for general use, just remember that these are really only made to have fun. Don’t expect broadcast quality HD at this price range, though the video quality is rather impressive. Once I receive the camera I will write a full review. I can’t wait to try it...

FiOS 1.7.1 Update

By on Feb 19, 2010 | 2 comments

Luckily (or not) the Pittsburgh area was one of the first areas to receive the latest FiOS Firmware update of 1.7.1. After a few attempts over the last few days, the roll out here seems to be complete. The firmware was released, then rolled back, and now released again. If you recall, in a recent chat with Verizon Tech support, I was told that the issues with my HD boxes weren’t truely issues, but not to my preference. As we all know, that was completely untrue. And this firmware update proves it. The 7xxx series boxes now have the 4:3 guide once again. The current show information and the guide itself is no longer stretched. I wish there was a way to talk to “Anthony” again directly. I don’t appreciate being lied to by support staff. Maybe in the future, companies and employees will admit to doing something wrong. In the long run, it will hurt the company less. Customers are not stupid and I don’t appreciate my intelligence being questioned. If you take a look back at my prior blog post regarding the issues I faced, you will see why Verizon and their staff have lost some of my...

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