The Esoteric Techie

Gowalla and Location-Based Social Networking

Posted by in Technology

Gowalla is a fun, location-based social networking game for your iPhone or other mobile device. With Gowalla, users can check in at each location they visit. This lets friends know where you are and also earns points towards pins which you can earn for both shear volume of check-ins or for visiting specific locations. The service can be connected to both Twitter and Facebook accounts. Whenever users check in they can also post status updates to their social networking service. Gowalla offers a limited number of developer created “trips” or…read more

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Putting Surround Sound In Its Place.

Posted by in Technology

Since I program custom home automation and A/V systems for a living I am around some really nice, high-end audio equipment all day, every day. This being said, what I am about to say might come as a surprise. Surround sound is WAY overrated. People have bought into the sales pitch that has been going on for years. Don’t take this the wrong way, I do believe there is a great place in the world for surround sound, but I don’t think it is the best format for everything. Movies…read more

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Twitter + Talking = Twalkin

Posted by in Technology

It seems there is no end to Twitter integration applications. As such Twalkin (http://twalk.in/) should come as little surprise. Twalkin allows users to schedule and moderate ?Twalks? or Twitter integrated teleconferencing. Complete with an iPhone application and an Android version soon to come, Twalkin has several practical uses. 1.Host a private Twalk: This allows you to have chats with only a select few users. It’s a neat feature, but honestly I can’t see what advantages it might have over a typical conference call. 2.Host a public Twalk: This is the…read more

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Classic NES Memories

Posted by in Technology

I have owned many video game consoles in my life. The original Nintendo Entertainment System was not my first video game console, nor the last. But like so many gamers who have continued to carry on with childish things into adulthood, this is the system that cemented, for all time, my love of the medium. No other system is remembered with the nostalgia of this one. Emulators abound on the intrawebs for die-hards that, twenty years later, still can’t get enough of Ninja Gaiden or Metroid. I dare anyone to…read more

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Planning for the future, HTML 5 or The Flash Platform?

Posted by in Technology

Being a Flash Platform developer, I often have amusing conversations with front-end developers about when and where to use The Flash Platform in lieu of a more native approach like JavaScript. It always happens the same way. I say something mean about HTML, they say something mean about The Flash Platform, and then ultimately we Kumite to decide which approach to take. Lately however, the battle has become personal. Now, instead of being told how “non-search-engine-friendly” The Flash Platform is, I’m being told how I should just move on from…read more

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Android, It’s Here To Stay

Posted by in Technology

Attention Steve Jobs and all Apple fanboys! The Android platform is not going away. With the release of the new Motorola Droid and version 2.0 of the Android OS, Google has proven that it’s not going to be bullied by the iPhone anymore. What’s more, the number of Android options available in the market makes it easy to find the phone that fits you. So I thought it might be handy to give a quick rundown of the Android devices that are currently available in the States. These are all…read more

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Found Content is Good for You

Posted by in Technology

Two things I really enjoy doing on Saturday and Sunday mornings are reading the newspaper and listening to NPR’s Weekend Edition (Saturday and Sunday editions). I’m a a bit of news junkie, and I check a variety of sources online during the week. The reason I look forward to newspapers and the radio on the weekend is because of the stories I come across that I would never have gone looking for on my own. With a newspaper, as I flip from page to page though the broad range of…read more

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Star Trek

Posted by in Technology

***Spoiler Alert*** As you will see, I am very hard to please. This is a review I wrote back when Star Trek was originally released. The more I think about it, the more I realize this is as much about one movie so much as it is about JJ Abrams. I’m just not a fan. Don’t get me wrong, he’s very good at what he does (hey, a mystery/shiny thing! … time passes, stuff happens … So what exactly is going on here? Never mind, LOOK! – a new mystery/shiny…read more

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Saving Network Neutrality

Posted by in Technology

I honestly don’t believe it is an overstatement to say that the Internet has been the single greatest achievement in the advancement of information and communication since the invention of the printing press. We are still only beginning to understand how this technology will change the world. Unfortunately, the freedom we enjoy on the Internet is threatened constantly and must be guarded in order to ensure it’s continued availability. Network Neutrality is often regulated to the background of political discussion. It’s something left for debate by the guys in the…read more

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FarmVille Madness – The Curse of Facebook Games

Posted by in Technology

Lately my Facebook news feed seems to be choked with status updates. Most of the time I use these updates to keep up with my friends and what’s going on in their lives. But that has become increasingly difficult because of a plague that is ravaging the social media community. Yes, I’m talking about Facebook games. First it was just the occasional Mafia Wars update that I would casually ignore, but now I’m inundated with updates from Restaurant City, Know-It-All Trivia, Zynga Poker, Bejeweled Blitz, YoVille, Fish World and the…read more

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Uncharted 2: Among Thieves – Playstation 3

Posted by in Technology

Expectations were high for this Playstation exclusive sequel and the developers at Naughty Dog did not disappoint. The game sports both excellent game play and a superb storyline. And, unlike most games with such in-depth single player action, Among Thieves has a rich multi-player offering as well. Now, I know there are some of you out there that just can?t picture yourself playing a third-person perspective game in a multi-player mode, but don?t dismiss this game without giving it a whirl. The ten-player death match is easy to pick up,…read more

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Google Sidewiki – Control is Illusion

Posted by in Technology

On September 23rd, 2009 Google released an update to Google toolbar, which can be installed as a plug-in for you browser. Part of that update was a new feature called Sidewiki, which allows users to post comments and feedback on a small tab that is attached to individual websites. It displays as a small arrow tab on the left side of the browser and once clicked expands to reveal comments left by other users of the Google Toolbar and presents the user with a form field to enter comments of…read more

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The Incredible Chess Playing Automaton

Posted by in Technology

In 1997 a computer designed by IBM and nicknamed Deep Blue defeated reigning World Champion Garry Kasparov in a six-game chess match. The loss was a milestone in the world of computer science. The number of legal positions in chess is estimated to be between 1043 and 1050, with a game-tree complexity of approximately 10123. Only since the advent of micro processing can machines approach the logic necessary to compete with world-class chess players. Interestingly it was a machine constructed in the late 18th century that first deigned to pit…read more

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Bluetrek Duo Stereo Bluetooth Headset

Posted by in Technology

For those of you looking to pick up a set of Bluetooth headphones The Bluetrek headset is available at a very reasonable price. Just keep in mind that most of the time you get what you pay for. In this case what you pay for is the Bluetooth receiver and the 3.5mm jack. If you have a great pair of earbuds ready to plug in and don?t mind tossing the included headphones in the junk drawer, then you won?t be disappointed. On the other hand, if you are more interested…read more

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To Jailbreak Or Not To Jailbreak?

Posted by in Technology

Most everyone who has an iPhone loves it. But human nature compels us to wish for more. There are some very specific applications and functionality lacking in the native OS. Apple would have us believe that jailbreaking your iPhone makes you a bad person. Personally, I believe that once I purchase a piece of hardware I am entitled to do whatever I want with it. However, part of what makes apple products so unique is the way software and hardware works together in such harmony. So the question remains, is…read more

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