Table Tennis (ping pong) is fun, but it’s not always easy to find someone to play against. A wall will sometimes fill that void but it aint got nothing on this awesome table tennis robot. Go robot go! Now imagine if all this was accomplished using Lego technic? Bonus video of a robot that can balance a table tennis ball while tapping it in the air.
I’m a Stephen King fan and I love short stories so I really enjoyed the book Skeleton Crew. My favorite short stories in the book include Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut, Word Processor of the Gods and The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands. The one story that really stands out however is Uncle Otto’s Truck.
The story is about Otto Schenck, a wealthy land owner in Maine. He and his partner George McCutcheon drive Otto’s truck around their land until it one day breaks down in a field when the engine blows. Otto murders George by crushing him under the truck and then starts to become obsessed with it. Otto is so interested in the truck that despite being a millionaire, he builds and later moves into a small one-room house with no bathroom a few yards from where the old truck sits. He insists that it’s slowly moving closer to him every day and that it’s going to kill him. The story is told by Otto’s nephew who later describes the day he found his uncle dead in bed with oil and a spark plug inside his mouth.
Overall it is a very well written story. It’s eerie to think that a man can dedicate a large part of his life to observing an old truck that sits in a field. I’d love to see it turned into a short film similar to the shorts you’ll find while watching the Creepshow series of movies.
Being a web developer, I’ve come across many types of fonts over the years but never have I seen one quite like this. French design studio Kerozen has released a font entitled “Human Type” and it’s quite fascinating. Each letter features amazingly accurate human like elements including wrinkles, hair, lashes saggy skin and eyeballs.
I read the article on how the font was made and first the letter models were from with clay. Next, pictures of them were taken and brought into Photoshop. Finally, skin textures were added along with the hair and eyes. I’m not sure what type of article or design that this particular font would be good for but I’m sure that someone will find a use for it. Even though it’s just a jpg image on the right, I keep seeing the eye on that R blink as I type this. It’s creepy. No word yet of if the font will be available in other races besides Caucasian but stay tuned. Read up on the human font and see more letter examples here.
The company I worked for at the time was giving away iPods as a raffle prize and it got me interested in what they were. I had exclusively used CD’s and my discman to listen to music with at the time. I did a little research and tried one out somewhere and ended up buying one at the Circuit City in Laurel, MD for around $350 nearly 10 years ago today. That same Circuit City location is now a restaurant called “Old Line Fine Wine, Spirits & Bistro” that still has the same red Circuit City plug looking entrance.
Anyway, the iPod I purchased was a 20GB 4th generation click wheel model with a black and white screen. I brought it home, hooked it into my computer and loaded it up with songs from my CD’s one by one. It took me days to finally get all my music on it but afterwards I just sat there holding it and skipping through songs and was amazed. It changed the way I listened to music. The thought of having thousands of songs in my hands was mind-boggling. It instantly rendered my CD collection nearly worthless and I say nearly because they would be good backups in case my iPod hard drive crashed which it did.
I think it had lasted me about 3 years before the hard drive crashed and I bought a new one that still works to this day. These days though I only use my iPhone for listening to music. Who needs two seperate devices when you can just have one? The iPod is an iconic piece of technology that will go down in history books. It was the Walkman on the Millennials and changed the way we purchased and listened to music.
I just recently found out about a new product that Sony released in November, 2013 in Japan called PlayStation Vita TV. PS Vita TV is a microconsole that you hook up to your TV via HDMI cable and lets you play Vita games using a DualShock 4 controller. You won’t need an actual Vita handheld gaming system because the microconsole has everything built inside of it. Some functions such as rear touchpad, microphone or camera won’t work as they would on an actual Vita. Another cool feature of the device is that you can stream PS4 games from your PS4 system to another TV that has the PS Vita TV hooked up to it. The microconsole is about the size of a pack of playing cards and in Japan it currently costs roughly $100 or $150 for a bundle with a Dual Shock 4 and 8GB memory card. No news yet on if the PS Vita TV will be coming out west.
The mouse was clunky, the keyboard was huge and the screen was grey-scale but it was one of the most classic and iconic personal computing. The original Macintosh was released exactly 30 years ago yesterday. It cost $2,495 which would be at least double that with inflation if purchased today. The computer was introduced with the famous 1984 Ridley Scott Super Bowl commercial. In just 4 months after release, 70,000 units were sold. Here are some of the specs:
- Release Date: January 24, 1984
- Price: $2,495
- Processor Speed: 8 MHz
- Standard RAM: 128k
- Built-in Display: 9″ Monochrome
- Native Resolution: 512×342
- Standard Hard Drive: None
- 3.5-inch floppy disk
When I was growing up, there were two sets of baseball games on the NES. There was R.B.I Baseball that featured a MLBPA license, excellent gameplay, music and graphics and then there were all the other baseball games. R.B.I. baseball was always the game to have. These days all baseball games feature real players, stats, and great graphics so we’ve become a little spoiled. Still, some exciting news that I recently found out about is that R.B.I. Baseball 14 is being released for current and next gen consoles as well as phones and tablets, later this spring. Details are hard to come buy right now and the only thing we have is a screenshot of the logo but it’s still exciting news for video game baseball fans.
I used to be a huge Simpsons fan in the 90′s. Today, I’m honestly surprised that it’s still on the air but there is definitely some nostalgia there. Lego announced a Simpsons set that features The Simpsons house complete with garage and their famous pink car. Inside the two-floor home, items include a piano, kitchen appliances, bedroom sets with posters, and the TV in the living room where the famous shows intro is shown. The garage is filled with tools and features a working garage door. The house opens up on hinges similar to a doll house so you can move the figures around inside. The minifigs include Homes, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie and next-door neighbor Ned Flanders. The set is scheduled to come out on February 1 and will cost roughly $200.
Fans of the original Dr. Mario for NES will remember how addictive the gameplay was. It was Nintendo’s answer to Tetris and one of Nintendo’s best puzzle games ever. But 23 years after its release, the “Year of Luigi” is upon us and Nintendo has decided to release a game called Dr. Luigi. The game is an eShop only title and you will get four modes; Retro Remedy, Operation L, Virus Buster, and Online Battle. Retro Remedy is the same as the original Dr. Mario but the other three are completely new game modes. I haven’t had a chance to purchase this game yet but am interested in it. The only thing about it is that at $14.99, Dr Luigi has real doctor prices. I expected the game to be $9.99 or less and I will be waiting for an eShop sale because of that.
Nintendo announced a new stage for Sonic Lost World, Yoshi’s Island Zone. I didn’t have much interest in purchasing Sonic Lost World but I kinda want it just to play this level. Who would have thought they’d see Sonic running through a Nintendo themed level someday. The content is available to download from the Wii U eShop for free right now! A second Nintendo themed DLC level based on The Legend of Zelda will also be available for the Sonic Lost World early next year. Check out the video to see how much fun it looks.
Not having played Wii Sports in at least a couple of years, I was curious to try out Wii Sports Club for Wii U. I used to spend countless hours playing Wii Sports for Wii and I was curious as to how Nintendo’s latest iteration of the game stacked up against the original. Wii Sports Club is basically just Wii Sports in HD with online play. You choose from different ‘clubs’ to join based on the region or state of where you are located. Currently there are just two sports available, tennis and bowling but the other three (maybe more?) will be released later on. Wii Sports Club is available free to play as a trial for 24 hours. After that, to continue playing you need to decide between the $1.99 / day or $9.99 lifetime membership per sport.
After downloading the game, I began my free trial and dove right in with a tennis match. My opponent was very good and beat me by a lot. I felt defeated and decided to try bowling. Bowling was so much fun! You can decide between 10-pin and 100-pin games. I played a game of each and won first place in both. During gameplay while you wait for the other players to bowl you can hit left, up or right on the wiimote to say things like “good job”, “I did it” or “so close”. Each game seemed to last about 20 minutes. The reason it took longer than I thought it would is because after every bowl there are replays. Only the current bowler can choose to skip the replay if they want to. The HD graphics look really good. My Mii looks very clean and crisp on my 32″ HD TV and the background in the bowling alley had a lot of detail.
Overall the game is a lot of fun and I think I’m going to purchase the lifetime membership for bowling but skip tennis for now. We’ll see what happens when the other sports are opened up but something tells me I may want baseball or golf.
I recently bought a Wii U and have really been enjoying the experience so far. Here are the 5 P’s of why I think the Wii U Is currently the best console that your money can buy.
The Previous Generation
I don’t know if you remember this little console called the Wii that came out about 5 years ago and its pretty nice lineup of games but yeah, they are all backwards compatible on Wii U. That includes games like Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2, Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort, Kirby: Return to Dreamland, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Wii Fit, and many more awesome games. I’m finding myself playing my Wii games almost as much as my Wii U games. Xbox One and PS4 are both not backwards comparable at all.
At first I didn’t think that the gimmicky GamePad controller had a point. Why would I need to view a screen on the GamePad when I could just see the game on the TV. But the Gamepad does come in handy. For example in the morning while my wife is still sleeping, I can just turn on the GamePad and play a quick game of Earthbound or Super Mario World without bothering her with the brightness of the big TV. I do prefer playing most newer games on the big screen though because they’re more enjoyable in HD.
I’ve seen some of the games on Xbox One and PS4 and honestly I’m not that impressed with the graphics jump from the last gen to the current. I know the systems just came out but I expected a bigger upgrade. Wii U graphics look much better than Wii because this is Nintendo’s first HD game system. And the lineup so far is pretty impressive. New Super Mario Wii U, New Super Luigi U, Super Mario 3D World (Amazing game!), Pikimin 3, Zombie U and an entire library of NES, SNES and N64 games to download.
So the Xbox One is $500 which to me just seems like too much considering you need to buy XBOX Live with it every month. At $400, the PS4 seems more reasonable but to play online you need to now buy PSN every month too. The Wii U Deluxe bundle is currently $300 and includes two pretty awesome games: New Super Mario Bros Wii U and Super Luigi Wii U. All of the online features are free on the Wii U. The GamePad having a screen in a way gives you a free portable system which makes the price seem even more attractive.
Remember when 3DS came out and everyone thought it was junk? Today it pretty much owns the handheld gaming market. The Wii U has been off to somewhat of a rough start but the potential for this system in the next few years is great. I’m looking forward to many of the games scheduled to come out including Mario Kart, Smash Bros, and Donkey Kong: Tropical Breeze. I’m also curious to see how developers take advantage of the second screen on the GamePad in games.
Yesterday I needed to find a way to fix an issue where participants who were signing up for an enewsletter were getting an unfriendly error if they didn’t fill out a valid email in the email field before they submitted the form. The unfriendly notification actually took them to a new webpage from our email campaign company. It looked sloppy and wasn’t a seamless user experience. I thought about a way to fix this and came up with a simple solution. Instead of just trying to figure out a way to get the user to stay on our site, I figured with email validation the user would stay on our site and get reminded that they input an invalid email address. The code I found was located on w3schools and looks like this:
<form name="myForm" action="demo_form.asp" onsubmit="return validateForm();" method="post"> Email: <input type="text" name="email"> <input type="submit" value="Submit"> </form>
After I implemented the code on the page and tested with a non-valid email address, I got a nice friendly pop up error telling me that I needed to enter a valid email address. No more awkward site visits to our email campaign company.
You’ve probably never heard of the 1994 movie Getting In but it may be one of the most underrated movies of all time. It’s obvious that this low budget flick may not have the best storyline but listen to this cast: Andrew McCarthy, Kristy Swanson, Calista Flockhart, Matthew Perry, Christine Baranski & Dave Chappelle. The movie centers around a character named Gabriel Higgs (Stephen Mailer), a young man that was waitlisted to Johns Hopskins. Because his parents are very content on him getting in, Gabriel goes through extraordinary measures to bribe the five people ahead of him on the wait list to drop out so that he can move up the list and attend the school. Things don’t go according to plan when he finds out someone is killing all the people ahead of him and trying to frame Gabriel. I’m not sure if the movie was a commercial success or not but it wasn’t even released on DVD.
I don’t have a Wii U but one of the more interesting games I’m reading about is Super Mario 3D World. I already have Super Mario 3D Land for my 3DS which is a truly amazing game and really takes advantage of the 3D experience on the 3DS. I’d be curious to see why they call it Super Mario 3D World when the game is on the Wii U which isn’t a true 3D experience like the 3DS is. The reason that I’m so interested in 3D World is because of all od the new elements of gameplay that have been added. First of all you get to play as one of four characters, Princess Peach, Mario, Luigi or Toad. And similar to Super Mario Bros. 2, each character has unique special abilities. Even cooler than that is with the right power-up, your character can now do things like have a clone, transform into a cat, and shoot cannonball at enemies.
I’ve posted some of my favorite screens from the game below. Man, I really want a Wii U just so I can play this game.