The New Microsoft (New logo, Outlook.com and SkyDrive.com) – Microsoft is making some serious moves this year and for the first time actually getting my attention with the continued use of their Metro Modern UI design. For their new logo I especially love the connection of the colors to their main divisions of blue for Windows, red for Office, green for Xbox and yellow for Bing. It definitely ties things together and is a theme I hope they continue to build on.
Google Fiber – They did with e-mail, and now they are going for the jugular with internet access. Being restricted to Kansas City only makes me want it more. Come on Bay Area!
Watch It – I have cut the cord from Netflix discs, but am now faced with incomplete queues spread around Amazon, Hulu and everyone else. In my search came across this service and have been pleasantly surprised. They also just launched their iPhone app, I am expecting big things.
Furby - I’ve never owned one and barely used the original but am seriously interested now. Only time will tell how well these can adapt to new situations, especially since the originals showed their limits pretty fast. I am most interested in the interaction with smartphones and tablets, which is sure to create lots of interesting ways to expand uses for the toy and its functionally. This thing is just begging to be hacked.
Google Nexus 7 – Price wars always create some great (or terrible) devices. This device definitely seems to fall on the great side though. I am completely fine with the 7″ form factor and hope there are any many more Nexus tablets to come. Plus, it should get Apple to drop their price on a potential iPad mini.
Amazing Alex (iOS/Android) - Calling all Incredible Machine fans, you should probably download this. Occasionally aggravating, often clever, it is an overall pretty well crafted puzzle game. Not sure what I think about Rovio just buying the previous company, but the result isn’t bad and being able to create levels is a blast.
Nifty Mini Drive (again) – Support support support. They are past their goal, but just want everyone to be aware of this cool device.
Dark Knight Rises Z+ – While I may never be able to shake the thought of Bane’s walrus voice, this app is a great way to get back into the world of The Dark Knight Rises. I was a big fan of the previous scores for Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, so this has been a very interesting way to experience this new soundtrack. The score itself hasn’t sold me yet, but the app definitely has.
I previously mentioned the Nifty MiniDrive in my Things I Like article from May when it was being offered on Indiegogo. Unforunutely they didn’t end up meeting their goal and have now re-launched on Kickstarter with the addition of a MacBook Pro version, new colors and a lower price. Other than being a backer of the original project I have no connection to these guys, but really would like to see this project succeed. Also check it out on Fancy, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter!
Apple @ WWDC – Tim Cook can deliver. Despite an extremely high price tag, the new Macbook Pro with Retina Display is definitely Steve Jobs-level drool-worthy. In terms of iOS 6 I’m not totally sold on their new Maps app (please Google, make a new iOS version of yours), but the notifications and sleep modes definitely look great.
Microsoft Surface – Interesting device and really looking forward to checking it out in person. If they took one thing away from Apple however it probably should have been “instant availability.” Despite years of playing the budget game Microsoft appears to be ceding that market to Google and focusing on higher end devices like Apple (of course price TBA).
Fab – Ordered the Gunnar sunglasses I previously InstaReview‘d from here. Interesting concept, but browsing the site can be a challenge at times. It can be annoying to see an item you want to buy and it not being on sale yet (yay social shopping). They obviously want you to keep coming back to the site, but only offering certain items for sale seems like a bit of a tease at times.
Fancy – Been using Fancy a fair amount recently and really love the single column design compared to Pinterest’s scatter shot approach. They also have so far appeared to avoid the overabundance of meme images that have taken over Pinterest. They also take the Fab approach of being able to sell items, which is usually a plus but can result in some bait and switch tactics of the image not matching the product.
Song Pop – Completely and totally addicting game. The new Draw Something for music.
Amazon Cloud Player for iPhone – I can’t believe this is finally real. I have been waiting for something like it for well over a year. While my entire collection isn’t on Cloud Player yet, it is a huge benefit to be able to listen to music I have purchased from Amazon MP3 right away on my device without syncing. It also helps that Amazon doesn’t put restrictions on the size of your library like Apple and Google. That makes them pretty much the only cloud music service I can use, but I have no complaints.
Wreck-It Ralph – Wasn’t sure about this movie (and still not 100%) but looks too clever to pass-up.
I had seen normal Gunnar “yellow” glasses at various events like PAX for awhile now, but never really messed around with them. The original versions were really only meant for indoors, particularly to prevent headache and fatigue from extended gaming or computer-viewing sessions. Recently they introduced a sunglass version that is supposed to provide the same screen-viewing benefits with the addition of blocking excess sun rays. Apparently those benefits don’t come cheap though, as these normally go for a slightly spendy $100+ price tag. I was able to score a pretty good deal on a pair of the ‘Groove’ model with ‘ash gray’ lenses from Fab.com however, despite not having much experience with Gunnar beforehand. I really have no need for dedicated gaming glasses, but I use electronics out in the sun often enough that I was intrigued by the idea of glasses that could make screens easier to read.
New month now over half over and plenty of new things to like.
The Nifty MiniDrive - I have wanted a flush microSD adapter for my Macbook Air for a long time and this looks like the perfect solution. With microSDXC reaching up 2TB this could work pretty well for adding future storage.
Google Drive – More competition in the “cloud” market is always great. While I am more of a Dropbox user, Google is definitely doing some good things, especially with the integration of Google Docs.
Plex – I attempted to become a cord-cutter this month, but seems Comcast has kept me in its grasp for the time being due to a current contract. I was able to cut the cord briefly in Seattle however and this software makes it about as easy as possible. Great way to receive information for shows, watch streaming video and stream any media I have directly to my iPhone. The new Plex app for Roku makes this a great combination as well.
Included below are a few links and news items I either remembered happened this month or left some sort of lasting impression on me.
Kickstarter has been catching my attention a lot over the last couple months, but April really saw an explosion of activity for things I am interested in.
Epic Mario - Kickstarter really seemed to start off with more of these art projects and music videos, but this is one I actually like. Legos and Mario is about the perfect combination, only made better by the sheet size of it. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like they will reach their goal, but hopefully everything else doesn’t push projects like these off Kickstarter.
Adventure games seem to be what has really taken off. It started with the Double Fine Adventure and Wasteland 2, but now Leisure Suit Larry was able to get successfully funded. It will be interesting to see how all of these projects go forward. As many have mentioned, lots of “funded” games will probably go vaporware pretty soon.
Pebble – Didn’t back this one, but looks to be a really cool device and something I am sure will be ripped off in no time. The use of the phone screen for interfacing with the device makes it look amazing.
PAX – Was able to successfully buy tickets despite server issues. I would strongly recommend purchasing tickets if you are in the Seattle area or want to go there when the servers go live again. Have been in years past and it is always awesome.
DrawSomething has been an app that has taken up far too much of my spare time. Like any new game it was really not surprising to see Zynga purchase it. Makes for a nice way to break-up the usual Angry Birds/Words with Friends routine.
And that is all I can remember for the end of this month (heavy gaming focus it seems). Stay thirsty my friends.