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L3ED's blog

5:59 PM on 07.30.2012

Apple Vs. Google: A Neutral Approach

In the modern world of today, we are surrounded by technology. We check our Twitter feeds on our smartphones, read the newspaper on our tablets, and get our daily dose of information on our computers. It's fantastic when done in moderation, and I can't imagine life without my iPhone by my side, ready for me to check into foursquare. I can bet that you, the reader, love technology. Everyone on the Internet does, or so I hope.

Lately, I've seen a lot of threads in which one guy says, "OMG, guiz. Apple fucking sucks. What have they ever done for the benefit of technology?" and then a response that goes like, "WTF, dude? Apple is the best! Google is the one that sucks ass." and those two comments sadden me greatly. Why are so many people this biased? Why do I find that their opinion is false? Well, I found the answer.

It seems like with the greatness of technology, that one can only enjoy a single company's products, and no one else's. Well, honestly, that's utter bullshit. Why can I only like one company? Why aren't I allowed to enjoy the products of more than one company? Is it so wrong to admit that I like the competitor's designs?

You can go onto any tech forum, and post a thread that either says, "I love Apple" or "I love Google", and the Internet will come swooping in to tell you that you're wrong, and that you should die. You'll see comments very similar to the ones that I posted above. Now, in their very basic form, those comments are merely opinions stated. But, those extremely biased opinions are clouding up the thoughts and actions of the poster. You see, both Apple AND Google are amazing companies, run by amazing people. They make wonderful products, and you know it.

For starters, Apple has made extreme innovations to the technology world. They revolutionized the computer, music, phone, and tablet industries. You cannot deny that. You know you can't. The iPhone was the first smartphone to say, "Hey, I can do more than basic web and email!". The Mac, iPod and iPad said similar things. Apple is a wonderful company, and even if you don't agree with their "patent-everything" style, you can still admit that the world would be an incredibly different place without them. And not in a good way. I'll admit that Apple should be a little less aggressive when it comes to patents, and that suing isn't everything, but I don't run the company.

A second thing about Apple that I hate hearing is that they never upgrade their products fast enough. People always say that Android phones are always more feature-packed than iPhones. But guess what? Apple does that on purpose. I hate it, but it's a brilliant move. They know that if they do upgrades in slow, yearly bits, people will be compelled to buy their latest product, because it's better than the last. Look at the iPhone 4S. I have one, and I love it, but it's not really a new phone. It's a simple spec upgrade made to the iPhone 4. But tons of people still bought it, loved it, and will upgrade to the next iPhone. Android manufacturers slam the latest stuff into their phones, which results in a lot of similar phones.

Now it's time for Google's pros and cons. I love Google. It's the search engine I use daily. It's my source for the best viral videos through YouTube. And it'll soon be my home Internet and TV provider with the newly announced Google Fiber. Have you seen Google Glass?! It's incredible!

It seems like Google does everything with the consumer in mind, and that's something that has led to their stunning success. They have an open source phone OS with limitless possibilities. That same OS, Android, will soon be powering our Ouya's, which hopes to revolutionize consoles. I feel like Google could own any market in goes into, and that's pretty awesome.

But there are a couple things about Google that piss me off. They want my information. They want to know everything about me to make my experience more "personal". Ads catered to my likes and interests, being found easier on Google+, etc. Google wants to manage our daily lives entirely, and while that's fine on paper, I find it incredibly scary knowing that they want my credit card for a NFC-based payment option is kind of scary. NFC is still new to phones, and getting into it might be easier than one thinks. Google needs to back down just a bit when it comes to my life. The only other thing I hate about Google has to do with Android. Due to the fact that there are multiple companies who make Android phones, there are obviously a lot of Android models around. You can buy the latest and greatest Android phone, but the scary thing is, you'll never know if you're going to get the latest update. People say if you always want an upgrade, buy a Galaxy Nexus. I shouldn't have to worry about getting an update, though. I should be guaranteed it. Yes, Google can't do much about it, but it still makes me mad.

I hope you can see why I love both Apple and Google now. I also hope you understand why hating on another company only because you love their competitor's stuff is stupid. And lastly, I hope you understand that both are incredibly amazing, albeit flawed, groups.

I believe that in a crazy way, Google and Apple coexist, and thrive off one another. Compare Google's tablet, the Nexus 7, with the iPad, and you'll see a lot of similar ideas, both in the hardware and software. I love that. They might not, but as a tech junkie, I do.

Thanks for reading that rant. I seriously needed to get that off my chest.   read

8:15 PM on 07.15.2012

Gaming Confessions

In my introductory blog, I had a section where I confessed my "gaming sins". These were things like not ever playing a JRPG or any Half-Life games. So, I thought I'd expand that section into a full post.

For starters, I have never played Ocarina of Time or Majora's Mask. That may not seem huge, but I used to play my N64 non-stop, so not having those games is a pretty big deal. Now, I have played Ocarina of Time 3D, which I loved to pieces. I've also never played a single Mega Man game, which everyone else probably has, and therefore I feel tiny.

I never enjoyed Borderlands. I don't know why, which is the worst thing about it. Maybe it's that I feel that RPG's and FPS' should stay separate. I want to like it, but I just can't. I also never enjoyed the Mass Effect series. Yes, Mass Effect. There is something about the tone of the game that I just hate. It's not comical. At all. I have never played a single part of any Mass Effect game without feeling utterly depressed. Sure, the story is a serious one, and the gameplay reflects that, but I have never found a cheery moment in the series. The one time where I guess I did feel a bit good was at one of the Extended Cut's endings. I think it was called Control or something like that. The ending of Control was where I felt a tiny bit happy.

I love mobile games. I just recently upgraded to a smartphone, and before that, mobile games seemed like the evil growth on the foot that is the games industry. But once I turned my iPhone on and went to the App Store, all of that vanished. I consider myself a "hardcore" gamer (whatever that means anymore...), so being addicted to casual games is really weird.

I could seriously go on forever talking about my hideous confessions, but I won't because if I did, you'd all hate me. I would, however, like people to make their own gaming confessions. They can be whatever you're ashamed of when it comes to video games. The stuff that I confessed may not seem big, but I've seen them as some horrible crime that I've committed. And, also check out the linked introduction I made, if you want to see the rest of my confessions...

Cheers!   read

5:08 PM on 05.07.2012

My "I've been here for a while, time for an intro" introduction

(I'm not into BBcode [and I'm incredibly lazy], so photos will not be included in this blog) (Actually, scratch that. I'll be inserting red panda photos)

Hi there! My name is L3ED and you may have seen me around on this lovely site Destructoid. Although I've been on Dtoid for a bit, I didn't post my first blog until recently. Veteran community member Elsa suggested that I do an introduction, so, well, here you go.

I've been on this earth for 27 years and I am to some extent, a hipster. I have a beard, I wear plaid, and I do frequently use Instagram. Yeah, I am ashamed of that. Like, a lot. But that's who I am. So deal.

I am American and live in Maryland. Ah, Maryland. To be honest, the only reason I like Maryland is because Bethesda Softworks is located 5 minutes away from my living quarters. I enjoy dogs, running, and listening to alternative rock. My favorite band currently is Muse. You may have heard of them.

(Isn't that picture adorable?) Gaming has been in my life since the start. Well, it really started when my amazing brother gave me a Game Boy Color with one of the greatest games of all time, Pokemon Yellow. I was addicted to that game. I've sunk many hours into that game and I continue to today. Eventually I upgraded to a Nintendo 64, which housed three more of the greatest games ever, which were naturally Goldeneye, Star Fox 64, and Pokemon Snap. To this day, I do not understand why two of those games have been remade, but not Pokemon Snap.

I soon started playing our Nintendo Entertainment System, which helped my love for Nintendo grow. After that, I got an Xbox (original one, mind you), then a Xbox 360, and then a Wii. Those are all the home consoles I own. If you noticed that I've never owned a PlayStation, then you can guess that I really wish I had purchased one. But, I also really love portable gaming. In my life, I have owned a Game Boy Color, a Game Boy Advanced, a GBA SP, a DS, a DSiXL, and lastly, a 3DS. Yeah, I really love Nintendo's handhelds.

Some of my favorite games ever, besides the bits that I've mentioned, are Jet Set Radio Future, Call of Duty 4 (the one before CoD became what we know it as today), Battlefield: Bad Co. 2, LIMBO, all of the Super Smash Bro's, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and every Ace Attorney game ever.

And here's the part of my introduction that I've been dreading to write: my gaming confessions. Let's see... Oh! I've never played any Half-Life games. Ever. In fact, it'd be really cool if someone gifted me the original Half-Life on Steam (my username is L3ED, and I'm trying to hint at anyone being kind enough to do that). You don't have to. I'm not like that. But, seriously. I want that game. Secondly, I've never touched a JRPG (Pokemon doesn't count). Now, those may seem like they're not that big, but it feels like everyone's played those.

I forgot to mention that my PC, and pardon my French, is utter shit. Like, 1.8 GHz Pentium, 2 GBs of RAM, integrated GPU. If your eyes are bleeding, I apologize. I didn't mean for you to read that. And the best part? My job heavily relies on Photoshop CS5 (CS6 is almost here, hnnnng), which can take quite a lot of power sometimes. Yet somehow, I deal with it.

I really wouldn't change a thing with my life. Things have gone the way I've wanted and I am happy with who I am. I really love Destructoid and I have never met a community who is as amazing as the one here. I've laughed with you, argued with you, and agreed with you. Here's hoping that we're all gonna be friends. (Insert White Stripes song)

Oh, and a parting gift, for reading the whole story of my wonderful life.


6:27 PM on 05.04.2012

Review: Skyrim Kinect Commands

(Please note that due to my excessive laziness, no photos will be included in this blog)

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has been out for several months now, and we've all gotten our fair share of play time. Serious players have logged in weeks into the epic RPG. When Skyrim initially released, critics praised it for its rich plot and content. But, after a while, Skyrim may have bored you and you probably left to play other games. With the newly announced Dawnguard DLC headed for Xbox 360's this Summer, we all have a fairly good reason to get back into the game. To prep Xbox owners for the awesomeness to come, Bethesda has added new Kinect Voice Commands to Skyrim. And, honestly, they're fantastic.

I have never used my Kinect the way I thought I would when it was first announced as Project Natal. I've played some lackluster tech demos and the occasional gem that dies off relatively fast. Yeah, I somewhat regret spending my money on that little sensor. But lately, I've gotten a kick out of using the Voice Commands in games like Mass Effect 3 and now, Skyrim.

Over 200 (!!) commands have been added for you to use in Skyrim. Whether it's shouting Fus Ro Dah at your TV like you've always wanted, or simply sorting your weapons by weight, you can pretty much do it all. There is also a nifty hotkey feature where you can assign items in your Favorites with names such as 'Fire' or 'Sword', which allows you to access it anytime you wish.

The commands make Skyrim a whole lot more easy to navigate. All item menus can be sorted by weight, value, or name. They also make combat a lot more accessible. Just by saying "Equip Sword", my character pulls out his Orcish Greatsword immediately. Commanding your allies is a breeze, and with a simple "Ally Wait", your friend will stop moving.

But, the coolest feature is easily the ability to use your Shouts. There are twenty Shouts in Skyrim, and equipping them can be a hassle. Chances are you don't like having to press the B button, sliding on over to Magic, scrolling to Shouts and equip/favorite them. Now, you can simply speak the Shout you wish to use. By default, the game recognizes the english name for each Shout. But, honestly, who wants to scream Whirlwind Sprint at their TV when they can just say Wuld Nah Kest? To use the dragonspeak version of the Shout, simply hold the RB button and speak. A little dragon indicator will replace the on-screen microphone to notify you that you are using dragonspeak. If you prefer the old-fashioned way of Shouting, just hold LB and press RB to use whatever Shout you have equipped.

To be honest, the only problem with the commands is that there is a slight input lag. When in the menus, this isn't much of a problem, but in combat, it can be frustrating. If you need to switch to your sword fast when being chased down, you'll have to say "Equip Sword" and wait about half of a second to equip it. In the time it takes to switch weapons, you might already be killed. I recommend mapping your favorite weapon to one of the D-Pad buttons just to be safe.

Input lag aside, the commands are flawless and they greatly improve the overall quality of Skyrim. They make it more enjoyable and I prefer using them over the traditional controls. If you own a Kinect, I advise you enable the commands. If you do not, well, you might want to pick one up, considering how many "core" games support it.

For the list of full Kinect Commands, click here.   read

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