Can a Camera be Functional on a Smartwatch?

 

If you’re interested in the smartwatch scene, but not sure if the time is right to jump in, you might want to wait a little longer. The recent release of the Gear 2  kept the tradition of the original Samsung Galaxy Gear in that it kept the outward facing camera. Many have criticized the camera as being a gimmick and awkward, and I’d have to agree. So you may consider the other model of the Gear 2, the Gear 2 Neo which is basically the same device, just without the camera.

But what if there were some functional uses for that camera? What would convince the general public that they need the model with the camera? I think the answer is quite simple. The camera just needs a location adjustment. Instead of facing outward, you need to put the camera on the face of the watch, facing toward the user. Once this is done, the functionality of the camera becomes quite a bit more interesting.

The first and most interesting is that, the front facing camera would make video calling a snap.

Speaking of snap, Snapchat, nuff said.

Selfies.

Mirror.

Display brightness control.

More gesture controls.

From there the sky is the limit.

I’d be curious to know what tech people would like to see in a smart watch that would make the purchase more appetizing. So if you feel inspired by this article, leave a comment and be safe out there travelers!

So You Want to Build a Gaming PC

Doctor Bambi’s back with yet another tech tip to knocks your socks off and keep your toes warm.

So, you think you’re ready to enter the dark and mysterious world of PC gaming. You’ve had a laptop that’s gotten you through school, but you’ve never been able to seriously game on it. The world of Steam, Origin and other services are vast lands of untapped territories ripe with fresh gaming ideas. Gaming on PC really is a new frontier if you’ve been on consoles since you were in diapers.

I recently built my first gaming PC and the purpose of this post is to talk about all the things you’re going to need and some helpful pointers I wish I had known going into this process. So with that in mind here we go! Take notes and get ready to embark on a quest many console gamers will never take. The desert is far reaching, but the promise land is waiting on the other side!

Parts you’ll need: First things first

  1. Motherboard
    1. The foundation of any good pc. Everything branches out from the Motherboard.
    2. Keep in mind your case specs and your CPU format and brand.
  2. CPU/APU
    1. The brains of your pc. You’ll want to find something with a spec around 3.5 GHz for processing speed.
    2. An APU is a CPU and a graphics card integrated into one chip. This makes setup easy and space efficient at the cost of processing power.
  3. RAM
    1. Your computers ability to multitask. You’ll want no less than 8GB to keep up with the latest games.
  4. Graphics Card
    1. This will make your games look pretty. You’ll probably want, at least 1GB of VRAM. Expect to drop some money on this. I’d spend no less than $150 if you want to perform on par with the current generation of consoles.
  5. Cooling
    1. This one is going to take some research. You need to make sure you have, at least, one fan directly on your CPU (Your CPU will usually come with one) and two other fans somewhere in your case. One will pull air into the system, and the other will push air out of the system. Some cases come with fans already built in.
  6. Blu-ray/DVD Drive
    1. They may be on their way out, but you’ll still find a need for a good disk drive. And they’re not too expensive these days.
  7. Storage Drive
    1. For storage you have two options, HHD or SSD. HHD is cheaper but slower, SSD is faster but definitely more expensive.
    2. Make sure to get one SSD drive for your operating system. This will help keep your computer running smooth.
  8. Power Supply
    1. Gives your computer the ever needed life. I would find something with around 500 Watts. You want to make sure you have enough power to run everything smoothly.
  9. Case
    1. Pretty self explanatory. Make sure it matches your motherboard size. I would suggest getting a bigger case with lots of room for expanding.
  10. Operating System
    1. I would go with Windows 8, but you can also do Linux or Steam OS.
  11. Other Equipment you may already have.
    1. Monitor (keep in mind your TV can be a monitor)
    2. Keyboard
    3. Mouse
    4. Speakers

And that’s all you should need to get up and running! But here are some things I learned after building my machine.

There are basically two routes you can go, AMD or Intel. I personally feel that you get more bang for your buck going the AMD route. Go ahead and kill any concepts in your mind of building a compact desktop PC. I tried to do this and as a consequence, I have already run out of space for expanding my computer’s abilities. Custom built PCs are modular in nature and they’re are not space efficient. Chances are you can find a nice corner for it where it’ll be out of the way anyway. I went with an APU for my setup. I thought this would save me some money, but it ended up biting me in the butt. The integrated graphics are not enough to game on today’s level. Don’t be afraid to use HDDs. SSD are SUPER expensive. It is not feasible, at this point, to build a machine on only SSD, find a harmony between your SSD and HDD. You will run out of space faster than you realize. You can expect to spend about $800 to build a quality machine. Newegg.com is your best friend, get an account and sign up for their newsletters. They have deals all the time.

I think that about sums up this tech tip. Hope it’s been helpful for you. Leave a comment if I missed something. Stay safe travelers!

Using the Playstation Move Navigation Controller with a Mouse

Doctor Bambi here with another tech tip to knock your socks off.

So I’ve been a console gamer for most of my life, but recently, I’ve been getting into the PC scene and I have to say, aiming with a mouse is a lot more intuitive than an analog stick on a controller. Juxtaposed to that is the keyboard which feels like trying to ride a bicycle with square wheels. I have trouble getting my character to move how and where I want them to.

How could I get the best of both worlds without it being awkward as hell? Well, the other day, it hit me, the Playstation Move Navigation controller. No, not the one with the glowing ball on top, the counterpart to it. It has an analog stick, a bumper, a trigger, an x and o button along with a d-pad. I was shocked I didn’t think of it sooner. And it’s incredibly easy to set up on you PC. Note here, I didn’t try this on Mac, but it should work just fine, actually it’s probably a lot easier. But for us PCers, there is a process seeing as how PC does not natively support the playstation controller.

There are a lot of ways to go about this I’m sure, but this one seems to be the best I’ve seen. Just watch this video posted by Wilshire Tutorials https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpSaOJJIun8 but instead of hooking up your regular ps3 controller, hook in your Playstation Move Navigation controller. And… That’s it. Pretty simple assuming you make it through the tutorial without a hitch.

I tried out a few games to see how practical this set up would be and the results were…. mixed. First I tried Dishonored. After readjusting some mappings, I was up and running and it was great. The best way to play in my opinion. Next I tried Metro 2033 and this is where the set up fails, sadly. You see, it technically worked just fine, I just ran out of buttons for all of the actions I needed. This is, in part due to my mouse. I don’t have the fanciest mouse on the market. It has a left, right, and mouse wheel that clicks in. It also has two buttons on the side generally used for moving forward and backward between web pages. So I have 5 buttons to work with on that side, the move controller has the trigger, bumper, the analog stick clicks in like most modern controllers, x and o, and the d-pad for a total of 9. All together I have 14 buttons to work with. That seems like it would be plenty, but most games have a serious limitation. You can’t map the buttons on the controller. You might be able to choose between a few different preset mappings, but this will undoubtedly cause some overlap between the controls you set on the move controller and your mouse.

Where this controller set up really shines is when playing the Walking Dead by Telltale. Being able to move your character around with the analog stick while clicking on parts of the environment with the mouse is absolutely, hands down, the best way to play this game. It was almost as if they’d designed the game with this setup in mind. I’m interested to try out XCOM: Enemy Unknown next. So far it seems that when this setup works, it’s incredible to use, but when it fails, it’s to the point you won’t be able to play the game as it was intended.

Some last thoughts, if you are thinking about doing this set up, you will want to make sure your mouse has as least 5 buttons, and that really isn’t enough to play every game out there. There are all kinds of mouses out there with all different kinds of button layouts.

Anyways, hope this information has inspired you and stay safe travelers!

Surface 2 Gaming With Remote Desktop

 

Doctor Bambi here with a tech tip to knock your socks off. So you’re looking to buy a new computer. But kind what do you get? A laptop? A tablet? Desktop? Laptops work fine for normal pc activities, but they don’t have the processing power I need to play real games, unless I want to break the bank. A tablet? I love the portability, and versatility, but again, you can’t really play the latest and greatest coming out on Steam. And a desktop computer is just too constricting. I don’t want to be leashed to an outlet for the rest of my life.
I looked at these new tablet/laptop crossovers that are gaining popularity, but it all comes back to processing power.
I want the power of a desktop in the comfort and versatility of a tablet.
And thus, the Surface came into the picture for a few key reasons. One being, herp derp, it’s a tablet. Second reason is the full sized USB port on the side. I can hook up my mouse and key board and run this just like a laptop. I can also hook up an xbox 360 controller to this bad boy.
Okay, great I can use a mouse and keyboard on a tablet, so what, it’s still just a tablet, what’s the interesting part?
The interesting part is splashtop. Slashtop is a way to control your desktop computer using another piece of technology, whether that be your tablet, mobile phone, or other computer. It works across Mac and PC and it has some features like wirelessly extending your display. Really great stuff.
Go find the Splashtop app in your tablet’s store. Download and install on your Surface or your ipad or whatever tech you have. Then go to splashtop.com on your home PC, in the top right corner you’ll see a button labeled Download Streamer.
Download and install that. Once that has finished installing, launch it. From here you can create an account or log in if you’ve already set one up. Now launch the splashtop app on your mobile device and you’ll be ready to remote desktop into your pc.
Some things to note though: First off, splashtop can’t use full screen. So if you want to play a game on your PC, you’ll have to set it to windowed mode. Secondly, I have a Surface 2, which boasts a full HD display running at a resolution of 1080p. Running splashtop at this resolution made it extremely laggy. If you have issues with lag, I suggest turning the resolution on your tablet down if it will let you.
Hope this was informative and stay safe out there travelers!