The Greatest Case, a Kickstarter project that needs to live up to its name

The Greatest CaseYes, I have reviewed a lot of cases on this blog, and I think it is interesting that someone has made one known as The Greatest Case. So what can I say, is it really? Well, it has lot of competition with Otterbox, Lifeproof, and other names associated with protecting ones mobile devices. Perhaps what makes it interesting is why it is the Greatest Case.

Here’s a clue: it is the grip. Considering how big phones are getting with the iPhone 6 Plus and the Galaxy Note series, this is going to keep them out of our pocket and into our hand. Hands are slippery tools, so it is probably good that the Greatest Case has so many ways to grab it so it will not slip. When you boil it down, it is a case with a pretty “hole-y” back so the chances of it slipping are slimmer than those with a backside of one surface.

Anyway, The Greatest Case has exceeded its Kickstarter goals, which means that it will probably be out very soon. The creators have stated on their Kickstarter site that “a survey will be sent out to determine which model phone you need case for”. The case is meant to be made for the iPhone 6 Plus, Nokia 1520, as well as the Galaxy Note 3 and Note 4.

Source

Christians in the Arts Issue 1: Violence, Nudity, and Profanity in TV, movies, books, etc.

In case you are wondering, I started this blog to really discuss technological issues and how they intersect with Christian thinking. Lately, I have wanted to discuss certain elements of them in this five-part series.

This is an obvious “elephant in the room” issue when it comes to how Christians can view secular works. It is pretty apparent that much of what is accepted in the world contains violent scenes, overt sexuality, or profanity in some manner. I can understand why Christian people would not want to taint their spirituality by watching something that has this.

Of course, I can’t help but think of the alternative. A lot of Christian films and books tend to use violence and sexuality sparingly, with minimal swear words, if any. The end result looks like something from the mid-fifties, or something made only for children to watch. I can’t believe that I am saying this, but I want to see more violence, more sexuality, and more profanity in Christian works.

Think of the opening of Saving Private Ryan, where soldiers storm the beaches of Normandy only to be chopped down in a massacre of bullets form the enemy side. The scene did not hold back on showing blood and gore, and it should not have. The scene would simply not be as effective with a G, PG, or PG-13 rating. There is no doubt that the scene is uncomfortable, and this is the point! It makes you think about war. Every time you vote on war, you approve of this. I’m not trying to say that all war is wrong and we must have peace at any cost, but in this context of this film, this is what the main characters are experiencing.

I hear very few Christians complain about Saving Private Ryan, and most respect the idea of someone dying to save someone else. There were absolutely no complaints when Mel Gibson gave the world The Passion of the Christ, and I have seen other passion plays that seem to want to show violence. You cannot approve of that and boycott a slasher film at the same time, unless you have a reason to show such violence.

I can see why some Christians might not have a problem with violence on the media, because there are times when showing violence is necessary to prove a point, provided it isn’t real. I suppose that it is easier for Christians to watch a violent scene then a nude scene, or something. That’s good enough a transition to talk about nudity in film.

I personally don’t think that Christians should have any problem with nudity, and I understand why they might not to see it. We are all naked without clothes, but it really isn’t my business to see it. We live in a world where wardrobes are getting less modest, and this shouldn’t be a problem if Christians were not tempted to leer. Like violence, there are probably good reasons to show both nudity and sexuality in the media.

Personally, I have watched films that have X-ratings but have points that I think everyone needs to see. For example, Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange is about a young rapist who is conditioned to be something better than what he is. The scene contains an infamous scene where the main character Alex and his gang rape a woman while singing “Singing in the Rain”. This scene apparently inspired a real-life rape of a Dutch girl in Lancashire. My only response to that is this: Those rapists were stupid.

A Clockwork Orange has scenes of nudity that I think are unnecessary, but when it comes to dealing with the dark subject matter of this film, it addresses it dead-on. The film doesn’t really answer the question as to what causes a person to have deviant behavior, but it does address the issue of tampering with someone’s free will to achieve “good” results, and this is what makes the film shine. The films asks several questions of: “Should we tamper with criminal’s minds?” “What makes a criminal a criminal in the first place?”

Watching a film with nudity and sexuality is different from pornography, or at least it should be. Pornography is about showing gratuitous sex scenes for the sake of arousing the audience. The plots of most pornographic films are just sex scenes with a very weak plot threads in between, and it pretty much knows this. My advice is if you are watching a movie to see sex scenes, then you probably shouldn’t be watching it.

The thing about sex scenes is that I have seen a lot of good movies slowed down by them. Oftentimes, they are just stuck there to show that two characters are “in love”, and there is much better ways of showing that with committal love rather than that.

Then let’s address the issue of profanity. I have recently written a book and I used swear words in it for the first time. I didn’t do that because I like to swear, I did it because I was putting characters in situations where I would probably swear. If you really think about it, someone who isn’t a Christian who has had their spirit broken isn’t going to say “darn it”. I have worked among many places to know that most people swear without even thinking about it, saying things that I would only say in fury to describe things that they are only mildly irritated with.

I feel like these issues with violence, nudity, and profanity should not be cut out of the media. If anything, literature and film offer us a chance to view the human race as an objective viewer, and we can make our own choices based on what is shown about what is right or wrong. Except for pornographic materials, I’ve never seen a film or read a book that praised the big three, and that is because it would only come off as propaganda that we would simply disregard. Can’t we simply look at works of film, literature, and whatever media and just ignore the things that might offend us for the sake of a possible better message.

Our Review of Grapple, a Puzzle Platformer Game

GrappleSome of the best video games are the simplest. This Grapple, a Puzzle Platformer developed by Tuesday Society and published by Midnight City, has no complex backstory, no big end-goal, just jumping from platform to platform.

The player of Grapple is this small ball of black goo. Yeah, I don’t know how to describe it any other way. Actually, I can. Take a piece of Scotch Tape and scrape all the sticky stuff on one side until it forms a ball shape, and then dip that in a bucket of ink.

Anyway, for some reason, there is this ball of dirty rubber cement that is in space, on these metallic platforms that just float there. The object is to get the blob to a portal on the other side, and there are 90 levels of this.

Now here’s the kicker, the ball can jump but it can also stick itself. It sort of shoots out luigis and they stick like those stickable hand things that you get from gumball machines. Again, this is hard to describe.

I will have to say that this game is simple in premise, but it is incredibly difficult in execution. Seriously, you have to WASD to move it, then use the mouse to adjust your view and then mouse click to spit that luigi. When the luigi attaches, you can swing to another platform. You can even use it like Tarzan. It is difficult, but it is very addicting.

In short, I recommend this game. It is available on Steam for about $7.99, but I have heard that it might be available for a limited time for $7.19. It would be a good deal even if it was $9.99.

The NomadKey, NomadClip, and NomadPlus from…Nomad!

NomadKeyI had a chance to try out three Nomad products from Nomad which includes the NomadKey, NomadClip, and the NomadPlus. I’ll go ahead and start with the NomadKey, even though I have done it before with the Nomad ChargeKey.

The ChargeKey is essentially a charging cord, but very, very short. It is made of “high-grade polycarbonate from Bayer and a stellar rubber elastomer from Dupont to make it flexible and durable”. It is called the NomadKey because it is a keychain.

Imagine being in a situation where you don’t have a charging cord, but you have your keys and there is a spare USB. And where isn’t there a spare USB these days? Just connect the NomadKey to the USB and then the other end to the mobile device.

You can get the NomadKey on the Nomad site for about $24.95 for the Lightning Cable and $19.95 for the Micro USB.

NomadClipA similar product to the NomadKey is the NomadClip. Yes, you can use it as a keychain, and it is has a USB plug as well as a connector for a micro USB and Lightning connector.

You might ask yourself why would Nomad make a Carabiner out of a charger. Well, some people like Carabiners to hold their keys, so why not make it into a charger? Yes, you just need to do that since there are people that would prefer a longer length of charger, even though it is just a little bit longer.

Of course, you can’t use it for climbing. How do I know that? Because I tried, and I fell…no…it has “not for climbing” engraved on it. If you want the NomadClip you can get it on Nomad site for the Lightning Connector and micro USB for the same price, $39.95.

NomadPlusThe NomadPlus is essentially “a charger for now and for later”. It is a product that I haven’t really seen before.

When I got it, I saw that there was a hole in it and you can plug in the plug-in charger that comes with an Apple product. So when you are charging your iDevice, the NomadPlus is charging as well. Best of all, it saves power within the NomadPlus so you can give your iDevice or any other device that is chargeable via USB.

You should be able to purchase the NomadPlus for about $39.95 on the Nomad site, and it really is a good product. In fact, they are all terrific products and I would recommend them.

Speculative Fiction Saturday: Psycho-Pass

Psycho PassSince I have been writing about television shows this past month, I thought I would continue to watch them and write about them for the rest of the month. Fortunately, a Netflix subscription gives you access to shows that I never heard of, so it behooves me to watch them.

I could a chance on Psycho-Pass, and I am glad that I did. I am not a big fan of anime series, even though I did that whole Hayao Miyazaki series a few months ago. A lot anime shows are very complicated in their storylines, and I glad that I can watch these from the first episode.

Psycho-Pass is pretty easy to follow. It takes place in a dystopian future where a program known as the Sibyl system can scan your mental state, to see if you have any criminal tendencies. The Sibyl system has scanners in every place, so unless you have a clean Psycho-Pass, you will be arrested by the Public Safety Bureau’s Criminal Investigation Division. If you come quietly, you will be taken in for mandatory therapy until your criminal coefficient turns the proper color. If you can’t get your criminal coefficient down, you have the option of becoming an Enforcer who stops potential or actual criminals.

That sounds pretty complicated, but I was sold on it after a few episodes. The world that it creates seems realistic to me, and reminds me of Minority Report. That is, a world so afraid of crimes that it attempts to stop them before they occur, even though freedom is sacrificed. What is strange is how this Sibyl system has been put into place for so long that no one really questions it anymore.

The main character is Akane Tsunemori, who is a new Inspector. She works with an Enforcer named Shinya Kogami, who she kind of has a thing for, but that doesn’t really get developed much. These two work with other Inspectors and have a big case when then take on Shogo Makishima.

I will have to say that this one of the reasons that I have a hard time following anime is that I can’t remember the names. Yeah, that’s me and my misunderstanding of Japanese culture, and I really need to just learn how that works.

It is very clear that Psycho-Pass is inspired by the works of Phillip K. Dick, and the author is actually mentioned by one of the characters. That character is Makishima, and he is one of the coolest villains ever because he is just so emotionally detached.

Anyway, if you like or don’t like anime, give it a shot.

KiiTAG Bluetooth 4.0 Item Finder

CaptureIf you’re anything like me, this item from Life n Soul would be a gadget that would come in handy. The KiiTAG Bluetooth 4.0 Item Finder promises to help you to never lose your item!

We received the item finder to review a couple of weeks ago. Even though it said on the package that it was only compatible with iPhones, the app was recently made available in the Google Play Store, and the KiiTag does, in fact, work on my Samsung GalaxyS4.

When I set up the App on my phone, my daughter and I played a couple of games of hide-and-seek with my keys. The signal got stronger as we were closer to the keys, but it was still not very easy to locate the precise position of them. I would prefer something with noise like a metal detector when I get close to the object, that it would buzz or beep really loud. Even a flashing light on the fob would improve it greatly.

CaptureThe app features an alarm that will go off(can be disabled) if the item goes out of range from your phone. It will show you the last place your item was seen- again, not down to the nitty gritty spot, but you can see if your item was last seen at home, or at your local coffee shop. You can assign up to 10 items with their own KiiTags on one phone. You might be out of luck if you lose your phone, though.

If you lose an item, you can report it missing, and others in your community can help you look for it(assuming they have the app. Unless you report your item missing, no one will have access to your KiiTag. Once you register your KiiTag, it will only be able to be used by you.

There are other add-ons like a camera remote($3.99), auto message sender($4.99), and phone finder(99 cents). These are all purchased through the KiiTAG shop within the app. KiiTAG can be purchased for $19.99 a piece on the LifenSoul website.

Magic Leap could be real, and it is real awesome!

I have seen a lot of interesting interactive scenarios that allow video games to be played off of the screen. I don’t know how else to describe this, but you can see some interesting examples of RoomAlive and IllumiRoom. This time, I want to talk about the Magic Leap.

My Source reveals that they are not certain whether or not this is true. I have to admit that I doubt it myself, but the video claims it is from Magic Leap and Weta Digita, who I believe is the same special effects company that worked on Lord of the Rings.

Don’t quote me on that, though. Also, don’t quote me on a came where your ceiling opens up to let in robots that you must shoot using cool retro-futuristic guns. I am guessing that some wearable is required to make this work, but darn, I really want this to work.

Source

Lego is working with Warner Brothers Interactive for some new toys

LegoIf you are not into Minecraft or some kind of construction toy, then you might want to see what Lego is doing with their interactive toys. They already have Fusion, which is where the Lego creator makes something that they can make come alive in the virtual world.

Yes, I wish I had written about Fusion, but from what my Source tells me, Warner Brothers Interactive is working together with Lego in order to produce an interactive toy and game that will work similar to Activision’s Skylanders, Nintendo’s Amiibos, as well as the Disney Infinity series.

So, what are we looking at here? Some video game where we put a Lego minifigure on a thing and it is in the game? I hope not, because that is getting old. What if we could put some structure on a scanner and there it would be in the game? That, or we could just build a structure in the game.

Okay, I think there is an issue here. I’m not certain how necessary it is to have to this kind of thing on a game. Perhaps it is just easier not to have this transition, but just build a toy in a virtual world or with building bricks.

You know, I thought this post would go one way, but I thought I would be more positive toward this thing. I guess I’m just too susceptible to Lego.

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Hands-on with the Otterbox Agility Tablet System

OtterboxI had a chance to check out the Agility Tablet System from Otterbox at CES 2015, and I was very glad to try out the system for myself. I have a ton of it that I need to review, and it includes the Agility Tablet System Shell, 10-inch Portfolio, Dock, and Wall-Mount.

I’ll see if I can explain the Agility Tablet System. You know how there are portfolios, docks, mounts, for tablets? The Agility is essentially a system in place for all kinds of tablets, to make it easier on the user.

The Shell is essentially that, a shell. It protects the back of the tablet, and that circular hole isn’t there to show off a tablet fruit logo, but it is a magnetic circle. That circle is the secret of the Agility Tablet System. I’ll discuss that more later, but right now, let me give you a price for the iPad Air as it can be purchase here for $39.95.

OtterboxNow, let’s talk about the Portfolio. If you have enough experience with tablets, then you know that Portfolio cases are a way of protecting your tablet like a folder. Some of them have a keyboard, but this does not.

What it does have is the magnetic circle to lock on the Shell so you can view your tablet. By the way, you can easily disconnect and rotate your tablet in portrait and landscape mode.

Man, this Agility Tablet System with the Shell and Portfolio sure is handy. You can get the Black Leather 10 inch Portfolio for the iPad for about $69.95 on the Otterbox site.

OtterboxNow let’s talk Dock. That is, the Tablet System Dock. This one is really excellent as a way of holding your tablet. This is a more permanent place, and it holds the tablet solid.

What is great is it isn’t like a portfolio so there isn’t just a few angles, but pretty much any angle. The angle is pretty solid, so it won’t be slipping any time soon. Like the Portfolio, it can also spin into portrait and landscape mode quickly.

Now, unlike the last two Agility Tablet System products that I described, the Dock is pretty much good for any size of Portfolio or Shell. Again, the secret is in the magnetic circle. It can be purchased on the Otterbox site for $49.95.

OtterboxI mentioned earlier how the Dock is a permanent place, but the Wall Mount is practically the most permanent thing you can get. Seriously, there is a 3M adhesive so you can put it on just about anything, and then just put your tablet with its Shell on that place on the wall.

Yes, I have seen products like this before, which is what makes it all the more useful. After all, our tablets are starting to be our link with a lot of things. Why not keep them on the wall? You can get that 360 degree viewing as well. You should be able to acquire the Wall Mount on the Otterbox site for $29.95.

All in all, Otterbox gets a gold medal for usefulness and usability when it comes to the Agility Tablet System.

The Otterbox Resurgence Power Case for the iPhone 6

OtterboxOkay, I’ve reviewed enough Otterbox products to know that they are some of the best out there, let me tell you. It is good to see another fine product from them, and the Resurgence is a battery/case for the iPhone 6.

I suppose that we should talk about how much power and protection it can give you. First, it can double your battery life, and the best part is the built-in 2,600 mAh battery which has an auto-stop charge. This means that it will stop charging when the phone is full, instead of other products of this type that tend to keep charging and drain that secondary battery that you so need. It is a high speed charge, too.

So let’s talk protection. Well, it is military-rated drop protection. You can also sync up your data wirelessly without taking off the case. It has an included micro USB cable for high-speed case charging.

You should be able to get the Resurgence for the iPhone 6 on the Otterbox site for $99.95. This will help you out, believe me.