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Compliment a Techie Today

Let’s compliment a Techie today. They’re the ones doing the hard work of creating and maintaining technology. Today we give them their due celebration!

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Let’s compliment a Techie today. They’re the ones doing the hard work of creating and maintaining technology. And technology is great unti It stpp wrk… Let’s try that again. Technology is great… until it stops working. That’s when we stop to notice it. And not in a good way. We’re usually looking for why it went wrong. We’re not gawking over the design, the sophistication of the engineering that went into the thing that is now part of our everyday lives. Nope. We just want it to do what it’s supposed to do. And that’s when we go looking for a techie.

Techies

It’d be easy to talk about techies as if this were a nature special. Fade into a Steve Irwin impersonator talking about the “majestic and reclusive techie…” And other biologist-related puns and in-jokes. We forget that these are real people doing real work. And we only care to notice them when something goes wrong. Most of the time, we forget, the technology is working the way that it’s supposed to. It’s designed to perform some task in a shorter amount of time than we can. Or, if we can’t do said task, then we get this technology to do it for us. The technology usually makes it easier and more cost-efficient than paying a person to do it. I like to think of my crockpot at moments like this. I cut and season the required ingredients, add them to the pot, and set the timer. You see!? Technology has made it easier for me to prepare a meal for my family without having to risk burning down my house. Well, the risk of fire is still there. That’s why I read the manual and move the crockpot away from any flammable items. I realize the crockpot isn’t going to strike awe into the mind of the reader here. It’s a simple kitchen appliance. The design and functionality of it are basic and there’s really not much to improve upon there. It’s antiquated technology. Now, when it comes to my home computer, well, that’s a different story. That thing is slow. Absurdly slow and I want nothing more than to put my fist through it as I have to wait for a file to open. Now, when I was younger, it could have been considered a “lightning fast” computer. “4 Gigabytes of random-access-memory” was not available in Macintosh’s Apple II. And despite my frustrations with it, the machine was designed well and is doing the job it’s supposed to do. With the technology available to it. The problem with this equation is the person who bought it- me. Sigh. I have only myself to blame here.

The Unsung Heroes

In the case of my god-awful home computer, it was still designed by a team of trained professionals. The details of it, even the slight bevel around the edges of the screen, was designed by a person who knew the exact angle that bevel should be set at. And thus, the pieces came together, and the computer was born. I don’t know the names of anyone who designed the thing, but I’m thankful they know what they’re doing. And as for my crockpot, it’s still a work of art. Despite the “outdated” technology, someone still had to design the look of it and to incorporate all the parts. The wiring within needs to be calibrated. A regulator of some type is installed to make sure the heating coils inside don’t burn too hot and too fast. Each turn of the knob needs to correspond with the right amount of temperature delivered over a set amount of time. And the fact that it does this so reliably makes my life easier. Not to mention adding a few inches to my waistline. But that’s another issue for another post. And while I named off “coils, regulator, and wiring,” I’m not entirely sure those are the accurate terms for such a thing. I’m just a writer and not much of a techie myself. To all the techies reading this, I apologize for my ignorance.

A little bit of Techie in all of Us

When it comes to video games, all of us are gamers to some degree. This is true when it comes to technology. Someone may call themselves “technologically challenged.” But in truth, they lack confidence in their technology skills. Most of the population are techies of the lowest order- they have a smartphone, cell phone, or just a crockpot at home. Knowing how to operate the basic functions of these gadgets makes them a techie. And then there are the techies who know a lot about a specific type of technology and not others. For example; my father-in-law is quite familiar with how to operate his home theater system. He set it up. He knows all the remotes and how to navigate to the proper input to watch his blu-rays. I’m familiar with my own home theater system. Therefore, when my father-in-law comes over, one of the first things he does is ask for me to turn on the Cowboys game. The differences in our two home theater systems aren’t terribly extreme. But the nuances between them is enough that one wrong button push will cause disaster. And by disaster, I mean missing the Cowboys game. Part of the reason I’m able to do this is I’ve been able to find the best internet deals and packages available in my area. Make sure you do the same so you can at least save a few bucks while you watch your favorite team play this Sunday. It’s up to me to turn on the tv and navigate to the right input so he can watch his precious Cowboys. After all, we all know how to run. But those who train and practice it become track stars. Does this mean we’re all inept at running? Absolutely not. Some are just more avid about their running than others. This is what separates basic tech skills from techies. It’s the techies who can pick up a broken smartphone and know how to fix it.

To Each Their Own Skill

techieThanks to techies, we get to watch our Sunday football, catch up on emails, and watch YouTube Clips on our phones. And while we have awards for athletes, authors, and soldiers, we don’t spend time celebrating the techies. It’s these techies who facilitate the connecting of information that allows us to watch football, read and listen to books by authors and keep vigil over our dedicated civil servants and armed forces personnel. Thank you, Techies. Today we stop to recognize you not because something is broken. We recognize you for all your hard work despite the technology not always working right!

3 Reasons Cloud Gaming Will Be Awesome

Electronic Arts has revived the dream of cloud gaming with their Origin Access Premiere. Here's 3 reasons why it will be awesome!

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The promise of Cloud Gaming seemed to be a false promise. But now it appears Electronic Arts (EA) can revive that dream. Back in June 2018, EA demonstrated they were able to stream high-quality games via a high-speed connection. The person on the other end simply needed a controller to hook up to the television, computer, or laptop, and they could play the game. Just like Netflix brings movies and shows straight to the consumer, EA is working to launch their own game streaming service. All players will need is a controller, a high-speed internet connection on their device, and of course, a subscription. Then they’ll have access to a huge array of games to play with. This would have been nice if they’d come out with this technology a lot sooner.Cloud Gaming

That One Roommate

Before Cloud Gaming, before even Netflix streaming, I was a college student sharing a house with five other guys. The house, affectionately dubbed “The Shack,” should have been condemned. There were roaches living there, not to mention the squirrels and cats too. The squirrels left us alone, but the roaches were constantly inciting a turf war. The cats just used the place to procreate, and loudly. Rent was cheap though. Which was the point, I guess. To make the situation more livable, TV’s were brought in, DVD players, huge selections of DVDs, and games.Cloud Gaming One guy had an Xbox. Let’s call him Rick. While I did my fair share of movie watching, Rick played video games. Non. Stop. I shouldn’t judge, he turned out to be a great guy. And I did spend a few nights trying to beat Gears of War. I wasn’t totally immune. Yet, if you were to walk in there, 99 times out of ten, it wasn’t me on the Xbox trying to level up in the hottest game to come out that year- Halo 3. It would have been Rick. So the soundtrack of the house was a constant stream of explosions, gunfire, Rick shouting into his headset, and vulgar putdowns from other people playing the game as well. This was college. Since Rick played hours upon hours of Halo, he was good at the game. I wasn’t. I would be lucky to get five kills in a multi-player match. And Rick wouldn’t hesitate to point this out to me any time I picked up a controller. As if living in that cesspool wasn’t bad enough, I couldn’t prove myself in the last arena of true battle- online gaming. I graduated college, got married, and soon found online gaming really wasn’t the measure of a true man. But I digress. I didn’t own a game console. Thus, I wasn’t good at gaming. In hindsight, this wasn’t a bad thing. I did, after all, get into books. And I couldn’t be happier. Gaming, however, is going to change.Cloud Gaming As more and more games come out that only emphasize their online gaming mode and not their story mode, the video game companies will need a better way to market their games. Enter Cloud Gaming. It’s not all bad. And here are three reasons why.

No Consoles to Pay For

Part of the reason I never bought an Xbox or a PlayStation was the expensive price tag. And I was a poor college kid. My parents were also not big into gaming. So I can’t blame them for not shelling out the cash to buy me one that one time I put it on my Christmas list. With a streaming service, there’s no need to buy the console, or even the game itself. Just hook up the internet, plug in the controller, and away you go. A streaming game service was attempted back at the start of the 2010’s. Two companies, GoLive and Gaikai, each showed cloud gaming was a viable possibility. The only problem was the technology required to make it work was expensive and not as available as it was today. There was also the widely accepted belief that one buys games and does not stream them. Streaming was for movies and wasn’t seen as a stable method for delivering a high-quality gaming experience. EA has cracked that. Now all they need is enough subscribers to make it profitable.

Subscriptions

With Cloud Gaming, you'll only pay once a month, or once for the whole year. Paying once a month and getting games cheaper is better than having to pay for the console and the games too. At least, I would think so. I’m no expert here, but I do know what I like. And I’d much rather pay a little bit at a time than a lot all at once. It’s unclear if other game production companies will create their own subscription services like EA’s. But who am I kidding? Of course they will. Once EA proves this will work, other companies are going to launch their own subscription services to make it happen and compete. Soon the entertainment world will be one big subscription service, with subscription services to manage subscription services. At least the games will be cheaper.

Availability to More Players

Rick, though a good guy, was still hogging the Xbox most of the time.Cloud Gaming With a subscription service, this opens the door for even more people to plug in and play…so long as the internet speed is fast enough. There’s a way around that, just get the best internet bundles and you’ll be able to have multiple players, on multiple devices, all streaming their games at. The. Same. Time! If there are not enough ports for the controllers, then pull out a laptop, computer, or just another TV with an internet connection. Players would then be able to join in the game and no one would have to wait their turn to play. Cloud Gaming would make gaming accessible to a much wider audience.

When Is The Future?

EA’s Origin Access Premiere is still in its infancy. There will still be some kinks to work out, but as of right now, it seems to be working well. This is good news for EA as they continue their domination of the video game industry. For those who don’t enjoy video games, or don’t object to EA on principle, there are always books to read. As for me, I don’t see myself getting involved with video games beyond the few apps I have on my phone. Maybe when I’m older and my life slows down just a little bit I’ll have some time to just waste on a game. But I doubt that will happen any time soon. Rick, my old roomie, did give up gaming. I’m not sure when, but it must have been some time after he got married and started working a real job. Then he had kids. Last I spoke with him he was getting his masters and taking care of yet another baby. How he manages kids and masters level courses, I don’t know. I barely made it through my masters’ level course with one child. A few weeks ago I was near my alma mater and thought, just briefly, if that god-forsaken Shack was still there. Low and behold, it was. Some other poor sap decided they’d live with the roaches, the squirrels, and the cats, in that confined space. Hopefully, they have fast, reliable internet, and a streaming service.

The 1 Way to Succeed on Twitch and YouTube

Monetizing a live stream is seen as a legitimate career. Simply set up an account and just be yourself. It’s…not that easy. Here's one way to make it work!

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Monetizing a live-stream is seen as a legitimate career these days. Simply set up an account on Twitch, YouTube, or both, and just be yourself. It’s…not that easy. For those who assume acting is easy, simply ask any aspiring actor if they think acting can be done by anyone. Hopefully, they’re not offended and will just laugh at you. The same with comedy. To quote the great Robin Williams’ “Of course you have to know comedy. Because if you tell a joke and they don’t laugh, then you know tragedy.”Live-stream Streaming content is the newest version of creating entertainment. The upside is that it’s easy to get into. The downside is that this creates a saturated market. Voices are easily lost in a market that’s brimming with people trying to get attention. To get those coveted followers it takes a lot of time and effort. Without a direction, however, even time and effort can be wasted.

Know Your Topic

I’ll admit, I have no skills when it comes to playing online games. The last time I touched a Halo game I barely scored one kill. When it comes to researching, organizing, and telling a story, that’s where my real abilities lie. Thus, I’ve given up on video games and instead have focused on reading books, reading about writing, writing, talking with other writers, editing, and writing some more. The upside of all this is that I’ve now landed a job where someone pays me to do this all day. It’s still a challenge. Putting words on the screen every day requires hard work and discipline. Working through horrible drafts is just part of the process of getting to the right one. Now let’s replace writing with live-streaming. The same advice applies; keep working at it. You’ll also learn some surprising things about yourself. For example; my boss asked me how long it would take to complete an article consisting of 800 words. I ballparked it at four hours. He blinked at me and said, “You’re the first person to use a number.” And I got the job. You don’t have to be an expert, you just need to know more than the average person.

Create Genuine Connections

This one has always proved difficult for me. Since I’m good with writing and rewriting, and editing, and rewriting, talking to people face-to-face can be daunting. It may seem obvious, but making friends wasn’t my forte as a child. When I worked to make people like me, I came across as a fake. And worse, desperate. No one wants to be friends, or do business with, a desperate person. And those that do are going to take advantage of you. Instead, working to find a personae or a particular schtick helped make it easier to interact and relate to strangers. It was subtle at first, and at times overblown. With time I honed it. It’s not as difficult as it used to be and I still work on it from time-to-time. By being genuine you create genuine relationships. Genuine relationships lead to a solid fan base.

Do Your Research

Once you’ve discovered what works for you, hone it, develop it, work on it.Live-stream This means, as bad as it sounds, that you much do research. Yes, research. Looking for relevant information and data that are relevant to your topic takes time. If you’re at least interested in the topic, then researching it will seem less arduous. In fact, it may even be fun. I enjoy reading books not just for the stories, but to see how the author tells them. Soon I plan on taking Malcolm Gladwell’s Masterclass on writing. If you neglect research, you run the risk of losing your audience. This links back to the “being a fake” mentioned earlier. The best comedians still do it. Jerry Seinfeld, when his hit sitcom ended, went back to doing standup. It helped him figure out new material, find what worked for him, and as he says, get back to his roots.

Then You Can Think of Monetizing

Technology, though amazing, does lull us into this false belief that things will happen quickly. We stream movies and music instantly. Every time you tap an icon on your smartphone you get a little dopamine rush from completing a task and completing it quickly. Getting into writing has taken me years. There were times I considered quitting. Thankfully, I’d started, and quit, a lot of things before then. I'm tired of repeating that process. I’m also a father now and constantly “searching for myself” does not work well with trying to raise a child. It also helps that I enjoy telling and sharing stories. I’ve also been told I’m good at it. And now someone is paying me to do it. Took about three years to get here, but better late than never, right? So if you decide that a career as a streaming personality or entertainer is for you, then go for it. Be prepared for a long road filled with tough times. In the meantime, to ensure your connection is fast so you can stream uninterrupted, check out Spectrum internet bundle deals.   “You can start any ‘Monty Python’ routine and people finish it for you. Everyone knows it like shorthand.” —Robin Williams

The 8 Biggest Anti-Amazon Prime Day Contenders

Today is Amazon Prime Day if you haven’t noticed. If you don’t have a Prime Membership,there are plenty of other retailers with deals today. Who are they?

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Today is Amazon Prime Day if you haven’t noticed. What is Amazon Prime Day? It’s the day that Amazon opens its doors to all its Prime members to get deep discounts on select products, deals, and services. If you’re not a Prime member, you don’t get to enjoy Amazon’s version of “Black Friday in July.” Check out our previous post, 6 Steps to Finding the Best Deals for Amazon Prime Day to find out how you can get the most out of what’s left of this thirty-six hour day of sales. And even if you don’t have a Prime Membership, there are plenty of other retailers looking to take the wind out of Amazon’s sales by offering their own special deals on Amazon’s special day. Who are they? More importantly, how do you take advantage of these deals?

Massdrop

Massdrop is the online home for hobbyists and enthusiasts. From quilting to cooking to technology, Massdrop is geared towards finding and producing top quality products to help you get the most out of your hobby. It’s an online store that’s even more exclusive than Amazon. The good news is that you can join for free to get in on their Anti-Prime Day deals.

eBay

Unlike Amazon, an online retailer, eBay is an online marketplace for people to sell their goods and wares. It may be semantics, but everyone on eBay is a reseller. A very large community of indie stores has set up shop on eBay, more so that Amazon. eBay is free to shop, no special membership required to take advantage of their deals. Right on eBay’s homepage is the Daily Deals button to let you know who’s got sales going on and for how long. Don’t miss it!

GamestopAmazon Prime Day

Either in their physical stores or online, Gamestop has deals running throughout today and tomorrow. Check their weekly ad and the Deal’s section of their website to find out where the deals are and how to get the most out of them.

B&H Photo

Amazon Prime DayThis online retailer focuses on photography and video. This also means they branch out to computers, TVs, camcorders, lighting, and more. Click on their Specials tab to check out B&H’s deals and sales for today.

Google Store

Google, not wanting to be outdone by one of their biggest competitors in the virtual assistant market, has offered for this day as well. Check out their personal store to find their deals. They don’t have a centralized listing of them though, meaning you might have to guess which ones are discounted. It’s not very time efficient. Their products are also discounted in stores as well. To do this you’ll have to search each page individually, on your own internet browser. If you’ve managed to land one of the best internet deals, this shouldn’t be much of a problem.

Razer Game Store

This online game retailer allows you to buy physical copies of your favorite game or download it directly to your platform of choice. Razer has conveniently compiled all their deals and sales on their homepage for you. There’s more available, but the top ones are put on the homepage. There’s no need for a centralized list here!

Target

Some of the deals you’ll find with Target are at their physical stores, and some are online only. Simply visit Target’s homepage, click on the Weekly Ad tab and type in your zip code to find the deals available at your nearest Target store.

Microsoft

Similar to Google, Microsoft hasn’t put together a centralized list of their sales and deals for Amazon Prime Day. Again, you’ll have to search product by product to find out if there’s a deal going on or not.

Some Help

Thanks to sites like The Verge, CNET, PC Mag, and others, there are ongoing lists of deals both on and off Amazon that will help you find the best deals for this day. There are also a host of third-party sites that notify you of deals going on. Simply pick the one you feel most comfortable with and set up which products, or sellers, you want to watch for deals and sales. There’s Tech Bargains, Offers.com, Slickdeals, and much more!

Get a jump on Christmas

Amazon Prime DayIt may seem as though Amazon is trying to set up their own special shopping day in the middle of summer, but there are some positives to this whole thing too. For one, Amazon is simply clearing out merchandise for the coming holiday season. As more and more stores are trying to milk Christmas, you’ll start to see holiday selling season start earlier and earlier. Two, you’ll be able to take care of some holiday shopping. It’s a little absurd to be shopping for Christmas now, that’s understandable. Look at it another way, you’re able to take a little stress out of your holidays now by getting a few gifts or items purchased now. Lastly, with Amazon creating this artificial holiday in the middle of summer vacation, other stores are responding to it. This means they’re going to be offering deep discounts and deals to compete with Amazon. And with sellers compete on price, be Amazon, Google, or anyone else, you end up winning!