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Review: Gunnar Eyewear

A couple days back I wrote about If Gunnar Eyewear and how I was interested in giving them a shot.  So the next day I dropped by Best Buy and picked up a pair.  I tried them out and I have to say, they do seem to help!  I am going to break down why you might want a pair of these bad boys now.

Would You Want These?

The reason I ask is because these glasses might not be for everyone.  For example, one of my roommates only play games and uses his computer occasionally, so he wouldnt want to invest in these glasses, but I can give a quick outline of reasons you might want these glasses.

  • You play games often (2+ hours a day)
  • You use the computer for extended periods of time (2+ hours)
  • You are in front of a screen for multiple hours a day.

These really do help with relaxing and keeping your eyes fresh while long sessions of gaming or programming (in my case).

I also wondered how the yellow tint on the glasses would work out and it is actually not noticible after just a few minutes of wearing them.  Of course if you don’t wear glasses normally it might feel strange to wear them for a while, but because of their light weight I find that I forget I am even wearing them.

Of course if you don’t fall under the reasons I listed before, you might not want to invest in these because they are kind of expensive to just sit there and look pretty.

My Recommendation

 I would recommend these glasses to anyone like me who sits in front of a screen entirely too long!

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PlayStation SimulView

About a month ago I was sitting on the couch playing Black Ops with my sister and she was totally screen looking.  Of course it drove me crazy and if she ever got a kill I blamed it on the fact that I was playing on half the screen size that I usually do and exclaimed “Why can’t we just play on one screen but not see the other player!”  While I was thinking more along the lines of taping a piece of cardboard to the tv and making here sit below it and me stand up, Sony had a slightly better idea.  I saw this ad and it blew my mind:


This is the answer to all the problems!  What a simple, beautiful idea.  Sadly this will cost you a small fortune for the television and glasses,  but if you are a person who enjoys playing games with others in the same room it might be a great investment.  One thing that is a little hard to tell in the ad is the size of the television.  As it shows, it is about the size of a large computer monitor, so if you are trying to replace your living room television you might want to consider other choices.  Otherwise this would make a great television for a room or dorm room setting!  The other thing I would like to comment on is that I tried out the glasses and they are pretty lightweight and fit comfortably over glasses if you already wear them.  Anyways, hats off to Sony for coming out with such a cool way to play on the same couch.

Edit: The one downside I did realize is that while this would be amazing for 2 players, it takes anyone else who wants to watch out of the game.  That kind of stinks!

Stepping Onto the Battlefield: Modern Warfare 3 Multiplayer First Impressions

Dropping into the middle of a firefight with no idea which way the enemy is coming can be quite the experience.  And it is one I live for!  I am always excited to get into a new game, at least new to me.  With school constraints this past semester I wasn’t able to hop into Modern Warfare 3 as soon as it came out but I was able to pick it up yesterday for the first time.  Let me tell you something, when the game has been live for a little over a month and a half…you get worked the first few matches.  So I am going to talk about some of the stuff you can expect in the next installation of Modern Warfare.

Maps

The maps in this game feel a lot smaller than previous versions.  I have yet to find my favorite map, which is strange because I usually find it within the first couple hours.  For example, Overgrown and Crash were two of my favorites in Call of Duty 4.  Sadly there are no standout maps for me this time around, maybe after a few more hours of play I will come to love one.  I hope.

They all fell really small, compact, and fast paced though.  I think this helps a lot with camping issues, and keeps the match on a players toes.  The other upside to these smaller maps is less chance to get sniped.  The downside is of course if you are a huge fan of sniping.  Don’t get me wrong, there have been many times I have been sniped, but it is considerably less than in previous version of the game.  The other downside of having such a small map is that I found myself getting stuck on other players, that resulted in me getting killed because I couldn’t get to cover.  I think making players be able to move through friendlies would help with the quality of game play in the long run.

Guns

The usual cast makes it appearance.  You choose from Assault Rifles, SMGs, Shotguns, Sniper Rifles and of course the Riot Shield.  There has been some rearranging of the gun unlocks, with some new future weapons included in the list.  Most notable being the Barrett .50 Cal as a starting Sniper Rifle.  Something new this time around is gun leveling.  So far it doesn’t take to much to level a gun up and get attachments and camouflage/special sights.  I actually prefer this method of unlocking new items for a gun, because all it requires you to do is use it.  Every gun has its own level, so you will need to level each one individually.  I am keeping my eyes open for a gun to get my first gold camouflage for at the higher gun levels!

Perks and Kill Streaks

There isn’t to much difference in the perks category.  it is mostly the same.  I will point out one new perk though: Stalker.  It allows the user to run faster while looking down the sights, and its pro version delays the detonation of things such as a Claymore.  The entire list can be found here.  The kill streaks are actually quite interesting this time around.  Each class setup gets its own kill streak setup.  You unlock new kill streaks by playing with your set up.  The more you play with it the more unlocks you get, naturally.  But there are also three different kill streak modes: Assault, Support and Specialist.  You might be wondering why there are three, and I will tell you why!

Assault plays the way it normally has with up to 3 kill streaks chosen.  If you die the kills reset and you have to regain the kill streak.  Support on the other hand has more defensive perks, with things such as upgraded UAV (like the old blackbird) and kills dont reset on death.  Yeah, you read that right.  Kills don’t reset on death.  This is great if kill streaks are not your strong suit or if you are more of a defensive player.  But its not all defensive, stealth bombing is one of the perks under this category.  Finally, specialist follows the rule of Assault and resets the kill streak upon death.  But rather than giving the player UAVs, Crates and Planes the specialist gives the user perks.  Pretty much every perk in the game is available, but it allows the player to switch perks mid life.  While this might not be optimal for most players, it gives an interesting min/max effect to the call of duty series that has not been seen before.  If used right, this can be a deadly kill streak system.

Ranks

In Modern Warfare 3 the ranks go from 1-80.  Of course there is prestiging in this.  It wouldnt be a Call of Duty without it!  This time there are 10 levels, but there is a new addition to this as well.  After prestiging the first time, you unlock the prestige shop, where you can customize what you get.  You can get new titles and emblems, double XP for 2 hours, another class, or anything else on the list with 1 prestige token.  You get the token for prestiging of course.  And if you prestiged in any other CoD, you get a maximum of 1 token per game.  This is an interesting way to help out and give players an incentive to prestige.  I spent my token from Black Ops for double XP and that was a really nice boost when I started out!

Conclusion

This is going to be another really solid online experience that myself, and many other will sink hours of their time.  Just be ready for small, action packed maps.  Aside from my few map complaint, I can’t wait to get back into the fight.  I have many more hours before I retire this game to the shelf!

Site Review: Khan Academy

The internet is a wonderful place!  There is so much information just waiting to be learned and shared with others.  The only problem is that it can be hard to find reliable, useful information.  This is where Khan Academy comes into play.  Struggling with Calculus?  Wanting to learn a little bit more about Economics?  Look no further!

Intro

The premise of this site is to allow users to listen to the instructors, do exercises when applicable, and learn.  It is pretty much strait forward.  Yet, I can’t stop going back!  I first heard of it in my campuses Computer Club meeting when a professor suggested it for some of the freshmen who were struggling in their intro Computer Science (CS) classes.  So I stopped by to see what they had in terms of CS.  While it was pretty small in that department, I realized that there were massive amounts of videos focused on math at all levels.  I went to the Calculus section and watched at the point where my class was teaching.  To my surprise I was able to solidify my knowledge in sequences and series through the use of this tool.

When you first access the site

The site is nice a clean, and quite easy to navigate.  You can log into the site using an existing Google or Facebook account, or make a site specific account.  While the site does not require you to log in to access the videos, I will show you why you might be interested in joining.   If you are setting up the article for your child, or if you are working on some basic algebra or other math skills the first reason is to keep track of your progress in the practice portion!  Choosing the Practice tab at the top right of the page will bring you to a tree of exercises that you can do.  Starting with easy addition and subtraction and going all the way to Calculus I topics such as derivatives and the chain rule.  Of course you don’t have to start with the basic arithmetic if you are well beyond that, but it is still fun!

Once you click on the Practice tab, lots of topics!

Track Progress

If you are anything like me, I love to see where I have been and where I am going.  It is nice to see progress is in fact being made.  And maybe it is just the fact that I am a statistics nerd, but numbers about progress fascinate me.  I think this is a contributing factor to why I keep coming back.  If you noticed in the last screenshot the number in blue and the other numbers next to my name, those are the stats I was talking about.  The number in the blue are a users “energy points”.  What are they used for?  While there is nothing built into the website for energy point use, I like to use it to give myself breaks, or rewards.  For example, I would watch a video and study until I got 5,000 more points.  It is a great way to measure progress rather than time.   The other numbers refer to the number of times I have received a level of a badge.  There are Meteorite, Moon, Earth, Sun, and Black Hole badges.  The difficult of obtaining these badges go from very easy (Meteorite) to very hard (Black Hole).  I will let you all discover what types of challenges these offer if you decide to give this site a try!  Clicking on your name does give you some general stats though as well, with a nice graph and other stats scattered around the page.

Here are some of my stats!

Conclusion

If you are looking for a way to productively learn about a new topic, or review a topic, Khan Academy might be the place for you!  It has a really nice and neat layout, with a fun meta game to keep you going.  The videos are well produced, and I believe it helped me get a good grade in Calculus II even though I struggled during class.  The strongest point that I cannot stress enough is that this site is clean and easy to navigate!  This site is easily one of the best learning centers on the web.  Hopefully see you there in the future!