So I was working on an idea for a post about the Ouya, somewhat because of some news that developed yesterday because of it and also to tie in with E3 coverage (since it is a gaming console) but I have some news worth sharing and some additional stuff to write about so I’m lumping it all together in this post and you all can read about whatever is relevant to your interests.
I’ll put the important stuff first and the rest as I see fit after.
LastPass was hacked! Please change your master password.
All the info you need can be seen at my friendly notice on it.
The long and short of it though is that nothing really bad happened, but LastPass is recommending you change your Master Password to login to their service just to play it safe. You can do so via this link.
DoubleTwist announces CloudPlayer
DoubleTwist is a company who makes some interesting products for Android, namely their music player and an alarm app and now they’re adding one more to the lineup. CloudPlayer, which is a music player that only plays music you’ve uploaded to various cloud storage providers/services.
They’re launching this as of today and announced it via their blog.
Today we are launching a major new app called CloudPlayer™.
With CloudPlayer, anyone can turn their favorite cloud service into a giant personal jukebox. We are launching on Android first and will support Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Drive out of the box.
We created CloudPlayer to provide an alternative to crippled, proprietary cloud music lockers that impose painful restrictions on what you can do with the music you own. These user-hostile terms are usually hidden in the fine print of cloud music offerings by major corporations and impose arbitrary limits on the number of “authorized devices”, restrict the number of times you can download your music, and penalize music enthusiasts who own multiple gadgets or frequently upgrade their phones and firmware.
CloudPlayer is a next-generation music player that can manage and stream your personal music collection no matter where it’s stored. It supports hi-fidelity lossless audio, and universal casting to Chromecast and AirPlay devices. For example, you can stream a song from your OneDrive or Dropbox to your Apple TV or Chromecast. You can even link multiple cloud services, which comes in handy when you have a large music library or wish to listen to music uploaded by another family member.
Our philosophy at doubleTwist has always been to break down walls that large corporate entities build around their platforms to lock you down and we believe CloudPlayer achieves this.
CloudPlayer features a snappy material design UI, premium sound, lossless audio, bass boost, 10-band EQ, ability to select songs and playlists for offline playback, and built-in AirPlay and Chromecast support.
Get it now from the Play Store and take back control of your music.
Honestly, I’m going to have to say pass on this. It doesn’t look bad, but the fact that it’s a trial and requires an in-app purchase (with no amount being given up front) kinda puts a damper on the whole app. That’s also ignoring one important thing.
Google Play Music allows you to upload up to 50,000 of your own songs via the web interface (or an app for your desktop). So you can upload your own music and then listen to it via the Google Play Music app on your phone. All of that is available to anyone who has a Gmail account, you do not have to be an All Access subscriber to take advantage of that.
Telltale Games announces The Walking Dead: Michonne
Not much info has been revealed as of yet, but we do know that the game will explore her “journey during the time between issues #126 and #139”. Color me intrigued.
The game is set to debut sometime this fall across all the consoles and devices and operating systems imaginable. There is one catch, you’ll need at least the first episode of The Walking Dead: Season Two in order to play The Walking Dead: Michonne”.
Beyond that the plot will play out over three “episodes” of the game. If history is anything to go by then you know this will be very interesting and well worth whatever the price is. Telltale Games has yet to let me down as far as giving me the most satisfaction for giving up some of my (not so) hard earned cash. I can never recommend their games enough.
Fallout Shelter by Bethesda is coming to Android
Honestly, I can’t write much about this because I have no idea what it is beyond “I assume it’s related to those Fallout games people seem to be talking about lately”. Don’t kill me, I’m just not a big gamer anymore. I am familiar with franchise names but beyond that I know next to nothing about most games.
Image borrowed from Android Police
All I know is that it will be free to play and is basically a companion game to what I assume isFallout 4. Again, don’t quote me on any of that and don’t kill me for knowing not very much.
Have some gameplay video(?) to make up for my shortcomings on everything related to this game!
At present the game isn’t available on Android, but it’s coming.
Google Maps now warns you if a place will close before you arrive there while navigating
Note that is not a screenshot from my personal device, I couldn’t live with the clutter you see in the status bar at the top there. It makes me want to cry to see so much going on there. Why?!
This is definitely one of those features where you don’t realize how useful it is until it’s implemented and then you can’t help but wonder how you ever lived without it.
Every single one among us has at one point or another in our lives run out to get somewhere only to arrive and realize the location was closed by the time we got there. It sucks when it happens and you feel like an idiot because you just wasted time, energy, gas, money, etc. to get there. Hopefully those days are long behind us, or will be soon, thanks to this new feature.
As someone who’s lunch was cut into just this past Friday because the engineer walked in at 11:45 and decided something needed to be dropped off after it was already 12 PM and made me wait in the office to confirm another office else
where was closed this would have been useful then. And seriously fuck any supervisor or boss or whoever who does things like that. You can’t roll in pretty much at noon and then cut into people’s lunch hours just because you suddenly decide something needs to go elsewhere. Most businesses have a set lunch hour at which they close (with the exception of retail locations and fast food places and the likes), that means 12-1 you can fuck right off. And sure enough, the place that the delivery needed to be made to was closed so you wasted almost 20 minutes of my lunch hour for nothing! /end rant
Things like this would be useful for my mom too. That lady never gets anywhere on time.
(U.S. only) Motorola has the Moto X discounted to $299 with a 30-day trial (limited time only)
Visit this page here for all the details and to start shopping.
I should note that they did the same thing last year with the first generation Moto X, which seems to coincide with the start of summer and a few months before the release of the next generation device.
I’ve written about the Moto X (2nd Generation) before and I think it is a phenomenal phone because of the little extra software features that Motorola bakes in to stock Android. I also know that a few other Odecks (crashedpc /sarcasm and Dr. Emilio Lizardo) have picked one up based on my recommendations or sharing promo codes I’ve collected here and there.
The phone itself has one additional thing going for it that I don’t believe I mentioned in my review. Actually a few things.
1. Lollipop is rolling out to the Pure Edition (aka Unlocked) version of the device. Namely Android Lollipop 5.1).
2. It supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0, which basically charges your phone faster the closer it is to dead. I’m talking a fifteen minute charge can get you an increase of at minimum 20% battery life. When you’re in a rush and suffering a low battery there is nothing that beats Quick Charger. They even make car chargers and external/portable battery packs that support the feature.
If you’d like to learn more about Quick Charge 2.0 be sure to read Android Police’s in-depth write-up on the feature (as well as explanations on the various charging “standards” out there). You’ll also find quite a few links to Quick Charge 2.0 certified chargers in the article available from Amazon. (I recommend buying from Anker for your wall socket needs and Aukey for your car charging needs and Aukey again for your external battery/charger needs. The prices respectively being $15.99, $16.99, and $29.99.)
TVMC is Kodi made simple
Kodi (previously known as XBMC) recently made it into the Play Store and I recently reviewed the Nexus Player and made mention of how much my brother loved having Kodi installed on it (and just how much of his life had gone to waste taking advantage of it).
Yesterday though, in a Kodi related post on reddit I discovered TVMC.
What is TVMC? Basically it’s Kodi but with the plugins you really want already included. No having to mess with repositories and figure out menus and settings or any of that. Just install and use. (It’s got Genesis, Icefilms, Movie4k, and so many more.)
Now, the legality of something like TVMC (and more particularly its plugins and where they get their sources from) is something of a grey area. Legal/illegal depending on what you’re doing/watching/where you live. I am a firm believer of “do what you feel like as long as it doesn’t affect anyone but yourself” though. I’m just sharing the info on this and what you do from there is your own thing, but suffice it to say you’ll get no judgement from me one way or another. (Unless you’re one of those insufferable people who wags their finger at others, youcan go fuck yourself if you are one such person.)
Visitng the TVMC link I included above will take you to a link where you can then find the version of TVMC for your Mac or Windows computer, as well as for your Android phone/tablet and even your Fire TV. That includes guides and downloads for how to set things up exactly. (But seriously, it’s “download and install and ‘tap here’ and ‘click okay’” level easy.)
If you own a device beyond one of the handful I mentioned you’re on your own. Download Kodiand get to figuring out how to add plugins and all that jazz. It’s not hard, but it’s also not “so easy my mom could do it entirely on her own without bothering me even once”.
And here are two quick screenshot I took just now on my phone of TVMC (although I have Kodi installed separately but setup to look the same).
I would like to add that what you see above is not as it normally appears. I’ve installed and made use of the Mimic skin, which is apparently the best skin you can use on smaller touchscreen devices. (The menus are basically bigger and easier to press.)
Razer has bought Ouya
Those who had been keeping up with Ouya related news might remember that fairly recently Alibaba had invested in the company, but that it was floundering and all but demanding that someone smother it with a pillow at this point.
Every single thing that could go wrong with the Kickstarter success story of bring Android to console gaming did in fact go wrong. It was Murphy’s Law incarnate.
Which brings me to the final item of this post.
The history of the Ouya gaming console
The Ouya is one of those things you didn’t consider wanting in your life until someone mentioned it and painted it as being something you could have at almost no cost to yourself and guaranteeing you’d love it.
It hit all the right notes early on. It ran on Android, which means if you could install it on your phone then you could do the same on the Ouya. It was small, the console itself was no bigger than the controller. It was beyond affordable, $99 via Kickstarter guaranteed you one and eventually the same price could get you one from Target and other retailers. It was a dream that would dissipate the moment you woke up and actually gave it some serious thought.
There was no way the Ouya could deliver. It was everything everyone wanted and then some and because of that it was doomed for failure. The hype was just too much to live up to and that is something that as time went on would become very apparent.
The original Kickstarter goal of the project (started on July 10th, 2012) was listed as $950,000, before the end of the first day it’d hit that mark bringing in just shy of $1 million. By the end of the Kickstarter drive (August 9th, 2012) it had received pledges totaling just over $8.5 million. Surpassing even the Pebble smartwatch as the greatest Kickstarter success to date.
Keep in mind all of this happened back in July 2012, for context there was no competition or even offering at all that brought Android to televisions around the world. We are completely ignoring Google TV for the sake of argument, that was just bad and we don’t want to be even sadder than we currently are.
In almost no time flat (we’re talking within weeks of hitting its Day 1 funding goal) developers were lining up to make deals with Ouya and bring their games and software to the device. Square Enix, Namco Banda, XBMC, etc.
Within months (October 32, 2012 to be exact) the necessary components were being developed and put together in preparation for shipment to early Kickstarter adopters.
By March 28, 2013 Ouya consoles were finally starting to go out to funders. Although initial reviews left a lot to be desired, it should be noted that the early software on the device was not without its quirks and far too many “professional” reviewers and tech sites were discussing the device and software on it as if it was a consumer ready and final version. It wasn’t. Sadly this left a sour taste in quite a few people’s mouths, shoddy reporting did nothing to alleviate concerns about the Ouya. I personally felt at the time that it was the death blow the console sorely didn’t need. It was knocked before it was fully ready.
By June 2013 the console went on sale for $99 to the general public through various retailers (Target and the like) and while initial intrigue (namely cause of its hugely successful Kickstarter) did cause far more than were expected to go out and buy it there were still numerous issues with the console itself. It did not in fact have the Play Store as was strongly rumored to eventually appear. What apps and games there were for it were sorely lacking, i.e. there weren’t many and what there was wasn’t exactly great. All of that was on top of the fact that the Ouya was available via retail channels and there were shockingly high number of funders who’d yet to receive their unit. (I won’t name names but I know of at least one prominent tech journalist who I greatly admire who didn’t get hers until maybe a month after it was available to the general public.)
And things just got worse and worse from there, nothing of note happened to be honest and that says a lot more for the underdog we all hoped would come out on top than anything else. The cards had long been dealt and it just looked like no one wanted to admit what everyone had long figured.
By January of this year Ouya was on its last legs desperately searching for an influx of cash to try and salvage its reputation and give it one last opportunity to redeem itself. A $10 million investment from Alibaba was made with the hopes that it would breathe life to the all but dead company.
In April it came out that the company was going to be sold due to be unable to renegotiate what debt it had accumulated since inception.
And now we have Razer buying it in what seems like an attempt to salvage the reputation of their Forge TV Android TV device. Although how buying Ouya will help them on that front is beyond me.
And that is all
Because damn was that a seriously long post to write and one that wasn’t entirely focused on only one thing and frankly now I want to do nothing for the remainder of the day. Although in this case “do nothing” means “finish watching the latest season of Orange is the New Black”.