Latest Happenings and Musings:
Oh busy days, oh busy days. How quick you make my holiday go by. Oh busy days, oh busy days. How quickly you, make my holiday break go by. *imagine I’m singing that to the tune of Oh Christmas days* I haven’t done much worth talking about here other than chat with friends, work on the blog, laze around the apartment and go to work for the past couple of days. Keeps me busy, well, far too busy to do everything I want to do this month. I just wish I had more time to do all this stuff. Other good news is that Newegg did get my Motherboard today. According to the website, as I write this post, they are packaging it up right now. So it might just ship out tomorrow. If I get that lucky. If I get even luckier it might arrive on Saturday. Let’s be realistic though, it’ll likely show up on Monday/Tuesday. Which is still good because that gives me plenty of time to build the machine. If it doesn’t arrive on Monday, I’m going to have to shift my plans around for next week. So many things I want to do, so very little time to do it. So very little time. Between the blog, my other projects and my job its just been non-stop. But hey, I like it that way. It keeps me occupied.
Wrote up my review of Waking Mars today which I think turned out rather well. Just like the FTL one, this one took a little longer than I planned but I’m still on “schedule” so no biggie. I won’t say what the next post is as it could be two different things depending on how the writing for the first one goes.
Tech and Gaming News To Read:
Google has certainly been a busy boy before the Christmas holidays are fully upon us. First up, YouTube has seen a major UI redesign on its home page mostly. Seems YouTube was inspired by the Google+ UI team and basically brought it over to YouTube along with a bunch of other new features. Chief among them is the updated “YouTube Guide”. This guide is supposed to to show all new vids from channels that you’re subscribed to, recommend new vids based on your viewing habits and basically put channels front and center in the YouTube experience. They also updated the mobile apps, (which also brought AirPlay streaming) brought YouTube for iOS up to date for the iPad and updated the mobile web versions to be on the same page now. The update also streamlines and cleans up the UI all over the website which I really like.
I can understand what YouTube is trying to attempt here. The emphasis on channels is to encourage users to seek out channels much like they do on cable networks. I can certainly appreciate this kind of move because I’d like to not ever deal with cable networks ever. If YouTube ultimately becomes my “cable subscription” then I’m fine with that. (It very nearly is). Whether it actually works in the long run remains to be seen. I’ll give YouTube this much, its long been overdue that the desktop and mobile versions of YouTube be on the same page. I also like that the “watched” mark that covers videos you’ve previous watched seems to work well now (its always been buggy for me). However, I’m not really keen on the whole social thing that they are trying to encourage with the “All activity” streams. It feels like you could easily miss videos uploaded to a channel and not even know it. Also, the “Home Feed” or “What to Watch” feed is really odd with how it displays channel activity. Sometimes it’ll post activity from 5 days ago and then show a video uploaded from a couple hours ago. Its just random and awkward with how it handles itself. Its true that there is a uploads-only feed on the desktop but there isn’t one for mobile devices. That or I missed it which is entirely possible.
I’ve been using Google Reader for a while now to manage my YouTube subscriptions because, quite frankly, YouTube has been doing a very poor job of managing subscriptions. There have been reports of people losing lots of subscriptions to channels, among other problems. And while this update to YouTube certainly does some things right, it does some things wrong. While channels are front and center for once, there is still a lot of noise that shows up in the main feed. Mobile apps don’t have a “uploads only” feed which would be great to have. I also worry that videos from channels may not show up in my feed at all, something that this update does nothing to assure that it will not happen. It would also be great if YouTube would allow us to block videos/channels that we do not wish to see in the recommendations or search engine. I also don’t like how everything is shifted to the left of the screen leaving a bunch of white space available, but that’s my problem with not being able to cope with wasted space on screens. Still, at the end of the day, YouTube is about playing videos and they’ve been doing that pretty darn well. They just can’t seem to figure out what they want to do with the front page and I have a feeling it’ll get another overhaul in 2013.
Google Maps is now available again for iOS 5 & 6 users. Currently optimized only for the iPhone variant, this maps app features a newly updated UI, voice guided turn-by-turn navigation (that is not restricted based on your device), search sync with your desktop and many other features. The main reason you’ll want to use this app is because its accurate, it has public transit information, it won’t lead you into the middle of a lake, street view, business view, a better search engine and oh, did I mention that its accurate? Apple Maps is the biggest black eye in the face of the Apple company that its had in a while. Its so bad that police from Australia are warning people not to use it, public warnings in the UK not to use it due to the many issues it has had. Heck, I’m telling you not to use it. But if you don’t like Google much either, you can use Mapquest’s app which is fairly reliable from what I’ve used of it. There are other apps that are free but I haven’t tried them yet so hard to say how good they are. Still, its good to have GMaps back on my iDevice with voice guided turn-by-turn navigation. I’ve been wanting that for sooooo long and relying on Mapquest wasn’t my favorite thing to do. The UI is a tich laggy on my iPhone 4 but other than that it works fine from the limited amount of testing I was able to put into it. The UI is also very clean and well done and no doubt is similar to what Android users have been using for months now. I’ll have to ask my friends on that. I’ll try it out more when I head out to my family later this month.
Audio of Note:
If your interested in some electronic holiday music, this might just interest you:
Some Silent Hill from the Synthetic Orchestra. Nice and creepy, in time for the holidays ;).
Photos To See:
Poofy tailed cat
Those Christmas trees are going up everywhere I go.
Interesting Videos To Watch:
TotalBiscuit takes a look at Dr. Who: The Eternity Clock. This looks like a competent platformer…ish. I’m a bit iffy on the voice acting but otherwise it looks decent enough.
Also, my friend Ukgareth316 just announced he’s going to do the Dr. Who Eternity Clock game on his YouTube channel. It had nothing to do with me suggesting the game to Gareth at all. None whatsoever. *whistles innocently*. What? Don’t give me that look. I’m completely innocent. Anyway…moving along…
I don’t typically show videos like these on the blog but I’ll make an exception for this one. This is a video with Bane’s “outtakes”…and I’ll let the video speak for itself. It had me roflmaoing the entire video.
And until next time…