PSA: Earn free Google Play credit with Google Opinion Rewards

 

Google Opinion Rewards

Google Opinion Rewards is now available in Canada. It’s a neat little app that allows you to earn free credits in the play store simply by answering some short surveys. You can’t do all the surveys you want however, you’ll occasionally be notified that a new survey is available about once a week. I don’t know about you all but I frequently find myself with time to kill on the bus or train etc and wouldn’t mind answering a few short questions to start building up some credit.

Google Opinion rewards is available to android users here

Amazon Fire TV Set Top Box

Amazon Fire TV: Amazon enters the set top box market

Amazon Fire TV

Amazon Fire TV

 

With the growing amount of focus Amazon is putting into their video streaming service (Instant Video / Prime) we knew it was probably only a matter of time until Amazon came out with a set top box of their own. After all, the strategy of releasing hardware to push their own ecosystem has paid huge dividends with the Kindle e-readers. That being said, personally I’m not too sure if we need another set box in a market already crowded by the Roku, WD TV, Chromecast, Apple TV, Boxee, various XBMX/Flex media centers etc. As always the consumers will vote with their wallets so we’ll see which of these products will survive and thrive. Boxee wasn’t exactly a roaring success before being purchased by Samsung and personally I don’t think the WD TV is going to be able to survive much longer either but time will tell.

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What Happened to Ubuntu Desktop for Android?

 

Ubuntu for Android

Ubuntu for Android

 

Remember the huge hubbub a couple years ago when Ubuntu announced that they could make your android phone run a fully-fledged desktop version of Ubuntu? In case you don’t, the concept was simple: plug your phone in to a dock connected to a keyboard and monitor then bam, you’ve got an Ubuntu desktop up and running for word processing, web browsing etc. With phones becoming more and more powerful (quad core or even 8 core processors, 2gigs of RAM etc) they certainly have the better specs than desktop computers did not too long ago. So why should we run a separate desktop at home and use our phone on the go?

Since the announcement and subsequent impressive demonstrations everything has been very quiet: not a single phone has been released with this feature. Maybe the performance of these phones was deemed not yet good enough for mass release or maybe work is still being done behind the scenes that we aren’t hearing about. Personally I think the idea sounds very appealing unless you’re planning to do a lot of desktop gaming. Heck, you could even still send/receive text messages while in desktop mode.

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Roku Streaming Stick vs Chromecast

Roku Streaming Stick

Roku Streaming Stick

 

The market of set top boxes seems to be slowly migrating to USB dongles for their simplicity, portability and small footprint in the living room. First we had the Chromecast from Google and now the makers of the popular Roku set top boxes have jumped in with their own streaming USB dongle.

The first and most obvious advantage the Roku streaming stick has over Chromecast is the included remote. I know you can do a lot with a phone remote these days but to me having an actual remote with physical buttons is always a plus. That being said, the streaming stick will also work with a remote app on your phone for when your physical remote inevitably gets lost or broken. I have a feeling the decision to include a physical remote has a lot to do with the price bump between the Chromecast and the more expensive Roku but if you use your streaming stick a lot then it is well worth it, especially if other members of the household want to use the device but don’t have a smartphone of their own.

Another point in the favour of the Roku is the very nice and intuitive user interface displayed by the software. In my opinion the navigation and the way content is displayed on the Roku is nicer than both Chromecast and Apple TV.

The functionality with the Roku Streaming Stick is quite similar to what you get with their set top boxes: access to various streaming services such as Netfilx, Youtube, HBO Go, Pandora etc. Unfortunately if you have your own digital media on a network pc or server you’ll still be out of luck playing that content, you’re looking at strictly online only. However with the rise of so many only streaming services and sites, this is becoming less and less of an issue.

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The Child Thief Book Review

The Child Thief

 

Like many young boys I used to love Peter Pan, after all what isn’t to like about fairies, swordfights, pirates, adventure and never getting old? However it was with some trepidation that I picked up this newest adaption of the classic story. It promised to be darker, grittier, morally grey and much more adult in tone. I had my doubts that this type of style would mesh well with the tale that we all know and love. Boy was I ever wrong.

The Blurb:

Peter is quick, daring, and full of mischief—and like all boys, he loves to play, though his games often end in blood. His eyes are sparkling gold, and when he graces you with his smile you are his friend for life, but his promised land is not Neverland.

Fourteen-year-old Nick would have been murdered by the drug dealers preying on his family had Peter not saved him. Now the irresistibly charismatic wild boy wants Nick to follow him to a secret place of great adventure, where magic is alive and you never grow old. Even though he is wary of Peter’s crazy talk of faeries and monsters, Nick agrees. After all, New York City is no longer safe for him, and what more could he possibly lose?

There is always more to lose.

Accompanying Peter to a gray and ravished island that was once a lush, enchanted paradise, Nick finds himself unwittingly recruited for a war that has raged for centuries—one where he must learn to fight or die among the “Devils,” Peter’s savage tribe of lost and stolen children.

There, Peter’s dark past is revealed: left to wolves as an infant, despised and hunted, Peter moves restlessly between the worlds of faerie and man. The Child Thief is a leader of bloodthirsty children, a brave friend, and a creature driven to do whatever he must to stop the “Flesh-eaters” and save the last, wild magic in this dying land

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