Thursday, May 30, 2013

Apple Unveils 16 GB 5th Gen iPod Touch

Screenshot from 2013-05-30 23:22:49Ummmmmm wut. I know what you're thinking... a new iPod?! Why now? Well, WWDC is coming up soon. Also, the old 4th Gen 16 GB model was getting a tad bit stale. Apple apparently realized this too (apparently unlike the rest of us) and decided that the time came to roll out a younger brother to the 32 GB and 64 GB iPod touch 5th gen models. However, this iPod isn't like all other iPods. Namely, the new 16 GB model does NOT feature a back camera. It does however feature the same sleek design, same dual-core A5 processing unit, and the same gorgeous 4 inch retina display that made its older siblings look dashing. The new device costs $229- the same old price of the 16 GB iPod touch 4th gen when it was all the rage over a year ago. Check it out, if you want it, in the link below.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Predicting iOS 7: What Can We Expect

iOS-7So, WWDC is coming up in a couple of weeks, Tim Cook just laid down the law at D11, and I gotta say- I'm getting pretty psyched for iOS 7. So, what exactly can we, the users, expect with iOS 7? Will it be the earth-shattering update we have been waiting for since iOS 4 broke through a few years ago, or will it be more of the same? Here are some of MY predictions for iOS 7. If you don't like them, you can go away. But please don't, I like you. We're still friends right? Okay, let's get started.

Among everything else I will mention, I really want a new interface. iOS's current everything-looks-like-it-must-feel design is getting old... very old. The new look, or rather, the Apple look, is sleeker and cleaner than that. I'm really hoping that iOS 7 brings some of that cleanliness to the table, preferably with a completely overhauled design that, although still true to the original, really leaves me satisfied with a user interface. I have not been satisfied with anything since iOS 4 and I need to be happy dammit.

I would really like to see deeper integration with social services in iOS 7. Namely, I'm looking to be able to do MORE than just tweet and post stuff to facebook when I'm bored on my iPod/iPhone/iPad. Please, Apple, give me some deeper integration.

It would be nice if Apple could allow more third-party API access to the OS. I'm getting sick and tired of getting a different experience in every app, and not having the tight integration of things like Chrome and the Gmail app with iOS. I know Apple and Google are in a little four year old girl sissy fight, but the customer comes first, and it's time I get what I want. I am important ya know.

Finally, something really simple, I want iOS 7 to be faster. Some of us aren't using the latest and greats Apple technologies (until I get an iPhone I'm rocking a 4th Gen iPod touch with iOS 6) and want to feel supported. I almost feel left out not having the speed that others do. Perhaps the simplification of iOS will lead to this. But we can only hope.

Alright folks, that was my wishlist for iOS 7. If you liked it, drop a comment below. If you didn't, try to. If you just wanna say hey to your buddy Max who writes you all this cool stuff, tweet at me @thetechtile or drop a comment on my FB page.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Game of the Week: Quinn for OS X

Screen Shot 2013-05-28 at 8.13.12 PM

Do you like playing games? Do you like Tetris? Do you like to play games such as Tetris? Don't you wish Tetris was easily accessible on OS X without the need for Adobe Flash? Well have I got something cool for you. It's called Quinn. It's a really customizable game of Tetris. You play with the keystroke combination you want. You can play at varying speeds. You can play with friends online or around the world. It's free. What isn't there to love? Quinn is cool because it launches with relative speed on OS X, takes up very little space, and isn't annoyingly controlled by the Mac App Store which I hate more than anything else. If anything, it's just a Tetris clone for OS X. And that is all it should be anyway. Something easy, fast, and fun to use. So give it a whirl in the link below. You'll be happy you did.


Monday, May 27, 2013

App of the Week: All2MP3 for Mac OS X

Screen Shot 2013-05-27 at 4.01.56 PM

Do you download a lot of music? Do you download a lot of your music in methods that are rather... unorthodox? I'm sure you do, you are a human on the internet after all. Well, if you can admit to the first part, I'm sure this second thing has been haunting you: you're always stuck with file formats that just won't f@%$&ng work in iTunes. And it drives you INSANE, right? Well, kid, have I got THE solution for you... it's called All2MP3 for OS X. You simply drag and drop yer shit into the lil' black box that tells you so, you press a button, and BOOM, converted. You can even choose to dump the old FLAC files, or m4a files or whatever you're converting from. And best of all, it's totally free. As in free beer. Check it out in the link below. Thank me later. Or now. I don't really care.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

My New Favorite Thing: Klout

Klout is so cool. And so empowering too. For those of you who aren't aware, the beta service Klout is able to rank your outreach on the internet. What I mean by this is, it ranks your online social influence. My current Klout score is 52. But how does the service calculate this number? Well, they take the number of people you influence plus how much you influence them plus how influential they themselves are. This score is usually taken from Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and so many other services. Klout also gets you noticed by other influential people who will then connect with you so that they can influence you and you in turn can influence them. Audiences are shared, and more people are more connected in an ever-connecting society. But it gets better. Klout also gives you freebies, or as it calls them, perks. Perks allow you to receive awesome free stuff based on how much activity you produce on Klout. The more the better. For more information follow THIS link.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Game System* Of the Week: The Xbox One

*Instead of the usual Game of the Week, I've taken to making today dedicated to talking about Microsoft's new Xbox One.  

Microsoft has a magical way of surprising everyone with a lot of information in a small stretch of time. At least, I feel like this has always been the case. Today, the big M revealed their long awaited successor to the Xbox 360, the best selling console of its generation, and its name isn't too far from its brother. They call it Xbox One.

The new platform is significant as it mixes together everything that a user wants. Be it live TV, amazing gaming titles, browsing the web, or enjoying movies and music. It's all there on the Xbox One. The console features an all new redesign, including a reimagined Microsoft Kinect and a refreshed controller with triggers that vibrate. It is also very important to note that the console OS bears a striking resemblance to Windows 8. Microsoft has also taken to adding even more things to love to Xbox Live, namely the new multiplayer matchmaking system that will be rolled out with the new console.

Among other things, Microsoft also announced that the next Call of Duty title will come out exclusively first on the Xbox One, as well as fourteen other hotly-anticipated titles such as a brand new Forza Motorsport title, a blend of gaming and live TV with Quantum Break, Madden NFL 25, NBA Live 14, and EA Sports UFC. More games will be rolling out, but these are definitely the highlights.

Perhaps the coolest new thing is that you will be able to Skype in your living room on the big screen with the Kinect unit that will ship with every Xbox One. That's right, every single console will ship with a brand new Kinect.

Of course there are some sad parts to this. First of all, the console will NOT be backwards compatible with the Xbox 360. However, Microsoft is sure that the market for the 360 will still exist and people will still want the older console. I call bullshit, but whatever, that's just me. Also, the console comes with a locked-in and rather paltry 500 GB of hard-drive space. The reason this is so bad (yes I know, 500 GB is typically amazing) is that it simply won't be enough for serious entertainment and gaming aficionados. I would like to see a 500 GB and 1 TB option as well. Just saying.

Also, 343 Industries and Steven Speilberg are teaming up to produce a live-action Halo television series (uniquely named Halo: The Television Series). 

Overall, Microsoft's new Xbox One has a lot to offer. As we get closer to release (end of this year) we'll see just what the price is, and what more the console has to offer. This is definitely still developing. Stay tuned for more.

Monday, May 20, 2013

App of the Week: Scan for iOS and Android

Part of my new series of specialized articles for every day of the week. These articles must be <150 words in length and include full but quick reviews of whatever topic I am dealing with. The schedule is as follows...

Monday- App of the Week

Tuesday- Game of the Week

Wednesday- My New Favorite Thing

Thursday- Tech I Want

Friday- Coolest Toys

Saturday- OP-ED

Sunday- NOTHING, I get a day off

So, for the app of the week, I have selected Scan for iOS and Android. Scan is really cool because it is the easiest and fastest (contributing to the ease of use) way to interact with all those QR codes you are always seeing everywhere. All you have to do is focus the little boxed area on a QR code blocky thingy, and... BOOM website. BOOM app download. BOOM awesome picture. You get the idea. What is especially great about the app is that it keeps a long list (as long as you want, babe) of QR's you already scanned. Talk about a time saver!  Scan is FREE on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, so how can you possibly go wrong?

Get it HERE:

Apple App Store: CLICK HERE

Google Play Store: CLICK ME I'M PRETTY

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Google Play Music All Access: The iTunes, Rdio, Spotify, iRadio Murderer

Imagine being able to listen to just about anything you want to. Everything from your library, from the internet, from existence. All there, all the time and for practically nothing. Yeah, you know you want it. Google Play Music All Access is just that, and it only costs $9.99 a month. And if you start the trial by June 30th, your monthly subscription will be grandfathered in at $7.99 a month. You'd honestly have to either be crazy or an idiot not to invest in this.

Google's Play Music All Access, which I'm now abbreviating GPMAA, is Google's super answer to what is probably every competitor in the industry. That's right. You heard it here first. Google has the power to outright annihilate Apple, Spotify, Rdio, iRadio, and everything in between. Just give it time, and it will happen.

I've tried the service this weekend, and let me tell you: it's fast. So fast. So usable. So amazing. It's sad we never had anything like this before. It has the massive selection of Spotify combined with the simplicity and organization of iTunes, but without any unnecessary clutter. Google has truly done it. And they did it right the first time.

Do yourself a favor, try it out. If you don't like it, don't use it ever again. You can opt out after the 30 days if you so choose. But trust me, you won't ever opt out. You'd be at a total disadvantage if you did. Seriously.

I am in NO WAY affiliated with Google. I am a happy customer looking to spread some love and good advice. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

How Damaging Will Google Glass be to Human Communication?

Google Glass is supposed to be the top-notch futuristic way to communicate in the land of tomorrow. It allows you to carry out many functions that are arguably very useful; such as a built-in GPS to help you get around, Google search everywhere, the ability to make calls and texts hands-free, and the ability to capture every moment you desire in the form of pictures or video.

Folks, I think this is going to be a very bad thing for humans... especially with my generation. We grew up with these technologies, and they have been a part of us since the get-go. We have always had a lot of information available to us instantly, and the amount of information we are expected to know by the end of high school is crazy to even think about. Sure, we're smart. But we simply aren't able to keep focused on multiple tasks at hand. None of us are. And what is even more problematic is the reality that we all have very short attention spans. We are all very easily distracted. It isn't our faults, exactly... we were raised this way after all. But the fact remains, something like Google Glass is probably nothing but bad for society.

I understand that there are many positive aspects to Google Glass. I definitely want my own pair. I can't even imagine how many amazing things I will be able to do once I have one in my hands. But the problem remains- Google Glass is going to be a 24/7 distraction on every persons face. Everyone you know will buy one of these. Just like they did a smartphone. It isn't the accessory many of us are expecting it to be. It's going to be instead a whole new category of device by itself. And if Google is anywhere close to its goals, this device will be able to replace any and all other computing devices you have on the go with you.

We don't know how damaging Glass will be to human communication yet. We can only predict. But I have to say, if we already have issues multitasking and focusing with our cellphones, what the hell do people think will happen with Glass? It is ALWAYS there. ALWAYS active. ALWAYS on and ALWAYS on your face. You can't put Google Glass away easily. Especially not if Glass is built into optical lenses like Google intends.

Then comes the issue of privacy. Will people go crazy recording and taking pictures of every thing they see? Google doesn't think it will be an issue. One recent Verge article delved into this issue, quoting Google Glass Project Developer Steve Lee:
"Privacy was top of mind as we designed the product... you'll know when someone with Glass is paying attention to you," Lee said. "If you're looking at Glass, you're looking up."

Google claims that these privacy issues will simply merge into issues of common courtesy, that if someone stares at you and they're wearing glass, you'll know that they're either being a creep and staring at you or being a mega creep and recording the shit out of your face. Either way, Google thinks you'll know when it's appropriate to get "the hell out of there."

This really doesn't seem like enough. Google should find a more obvious way to allow someone to record them. Perhaps one of the voice commands we have all seen in recent released demos of the product. Either way, we'll see what happens with Glass and privacy. As of right now, the device is extremely hackable and easy to load up with experimental apps by Explorers. Whether or not someone will find an extra-special way to be creepy is up to them.

All in all, I'm not sure how I feel about Google Glass. I'm not sure this is the type of progression we need. I just really hope that we don't turn into the technologically-dependent creatures depicted in Disney-Pixar's Wall-E.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Upcoming Rant Warning

ALERT ALERT ALERT!!! I'm probably going to post a lil' rant sometime this weekend on why Google Glass is actually a bad thing. No, this is NOT a joke. But this is a lil' warning for all of you. I hope you will all still like me after this. Heh.

Like This New Look?

You better. Because I'm not changing it. Look, every time you scroll down, you see a little pixel Max! Don't you just LOVE the lil' pixel Max? He's so adorable. Look at him! Awwwwwwwwww...

April Showers Bring May Announcements

After a lot of thinking, a lot of writing, and a lot of consideration, I have decided to write a novel that will probably total around 150-200 pages. I have written (and never published anywhere) a lot of short stories, poetry, and articles since I began high school in 201-. This time, I'm looking to finish a full-length novel between now and spring of 2014. I have thought about doing something like this for a very long time, and I think that with the summer coming up, as well as a lot of motivation to do so, this is something I can have in the hands of my readers (I want to release this as a kindle book) by fall of 2014. It will be a lot of work, and I'm not exactly sure (although I have many manuscripts lying around on my laptop) what the content will entail. I've developed what I consider to be a very Hemingway-like writing style that I have used throughout the last three years, and I'm very excited to put it into book-length.

So please, bare with me with this site. I will be posting here periodically more as I get closer to summer break. However, this will never be the "professional" venture I once tried to make it back in 2011.

Also, for those of you who follow my life, you probably wonder what this silly High School Junior who has been running a website about consumer electronics and is writing a book is looking to do. I once wanted to be an engineer. Maybe even a programmer. But now, after so many people telling me not to, and despite an outlook that nobody can predict, I'm almost certain I want to enter college in 2014 for Secondary Education in Physical Science. That's right. I'm not looking to be an english major or a journalist. I want to be a teacher. A science teacher. I'm pretty excited for the future, and my last year of high school.

I just wanted to share that, and thank you all. This website never stayed the same. My goals always changed, and a lot of this site has become my personal blog. Well, it is. This is my place to share what I think is cool. It isn't a consumer electronics news site anymore. TheTechTile, is, and will forever remain, the personal website and archive of Max Bleich. I hope to keep it that way.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Newt Gingrich 'really puzzled' by Smartphones

I know, I know. It sounds like a children's game. Newt Gingrich wants YOU, the American Internet presence, to solve a huge puzzle he's been banging his head over about: what the hell do we call these here bricks of technology in our pockets? Is it a phone anymore? Not to Newt. Is it a smartphone? Who the hell knows? Do you? Great. Maybe you should tell Newt. 'Cause he's not too sure about anything anymore.

All jokes aside, should we have a new classification for these things that were once phones? I mean, you BARELY use it to call people anymore. In fact, most people use it for everything BUT calling. So really, what is this thing? Is it a smartphone, or is it some central computing device that we humans use to communicate?

The world may never know. But Newt is gonna find out. Help him by leaving a comment under the linked-to YouTube video. And remember, when in doubt, just call it a smartphone. Because really, what else could it possibly be?

Source Newt Gingrich on the Internetz

Saturday, May 11, 2013

My Musical Recommendation of the Week: Pharoah Sanders, Journey to the One


I listen to what I think is a lot of good stuff, and although I'm nothing like my friend The Daily Guru (yes, this is a link, click on it!), I would like to share with my readers what I've been digging lately. So check this out, trust me, you can't go wrong!


Friday, May 10, 2013

What is the Future of Consumer Electronics? My Own Views, Here.

So, I've been thinking a lot lately about a tech future. And this is in no way not related to Google Glass. The concept behind Google's newest and coolest accessory to our phones is so much more than just an accessory: It's a totally new way to interact with information. I mean, sure, we've had the ability to use voice-control and swipe gestures... but to have those things both on the side of your head with a mounted display that is only there when needed- that my friends, is the future.

Google is trying to find a way to bring us away from our phones, while at the same time bringing us closer to them and allowing us to be more productive with them. It's hard to pay attention to two things at once. Humans are NOT meant to multitask. It's been proven time and time again. However, Google Glass wants you to break from your natural tendencies, and instead opt for multitasking with a catch. You interact by seeing in the background. This basically means that you can do what you need to do, but with a tiny distraction in the upper right corner of your right cornea. That's it. Nothing more. You know Master Chief's HUD (heads up display) that shows you his remaining life and a bullet count? It's the same damned thing. Only this time, you aren't heavily reliant on the status of bullets in your weapon (at least I really hope not).

But the thing is, Google Glass forces us to adapt to the Jetsonian (is that a word now?) concept that technology is really meant to be EVERYWHERE, on EVERYONE, and in EVERYTHING. But Google Glass doesn't want to get in your way, either. It wants to help you when you need it too. You aren't supposed to use Glass all the time... or else you'd go mad. Instead, you use Glass as your personal assistant. If this concept still hurts to think about, consider the following. A secretary is nice to have, gets the job done when you ask, and stays in the background, doing things for you and becoming available when necessary  Glass is your secretary. And Google wants to give you one.

But see, this is it! This is what we as a society, no, as a human race, has been looking for for decades since we made computers a thing. We use them because they make us faster, more productive, and thus more efficient. We can do more in less time. We progress more. And that's all Glass asks of you: to allow you to do more, without really having to think about it.

So for a moment please, think. THINK. Is it REALLY THAT BAD if Glass enters your lives and the lives of others? What is so bad about being able to get more done, and then being able to live more of your life? I don't think there's anything bad about that. Jake Barnes from The Sun Also Rises once said that "enjoying living was learning to get your money's worth and knowing when you had it." If you opt into this new futuristic technology, you not only live more and get your money's worth, but you also get the assurance you aren't buying into something that will yet again control your life. Think about it. Let it all in. And when Google dumps a Glass at your door, take it out, and embrace it. That's all a man can do, after all.