The Internet Just Got More… International

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ICANN is no longer under the authority of the United States of America. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration has had control of domain names up until the first, but this service is officially independent and non-profit.

There are some that (bafflingly) think this will cause the internet to suddenly restrict Americans’ First Amdendment rights (freedom of speech, specifically), but it does appear to currently be a vocal minority.

What Stardew Valley Players Have Waited For

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That oft-fantasized 1.1 update for Stardew Valley has finally been released. It adds quite a bit, which you can read about here, and may be enough to finally make me go back and play it again. What I’m looking forward to most is the ability to specialize your farm into a special type. I didn’t really farm anyway, so being able to specialize into a fighting farm has me interested.

I’ll have my thoughts about it in a couple days.

Top 10 Must-Have Android Apps

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I’ve been through several android phones in my life and I always find something I’ve forgotten when I go to re-install my must-have apps. So – for me as much as it is for you – here is my list of must-have android apps (in no particular order)

 

aWallet Cloud Password Manager – Ever forget a password? With this app, all you have to do is remember one and the rest are at your fingertips. A free version is available, but I decided a long time ago to pay for the ability to save my passwords to my cloud storage.

QR Droid Code Scanner – This has become less important over time as the use of QR codes has lessened, but there are still many uses for this handy app. This will allow you to decode from your camera, from images saved onto your phone, create codes, and much more. Very useful for giving people your contact information quickly.

Google Keep – Keep is my life. Little notes to remind me of something, addresses, story ideas, shopping lists… everything.

Aqua Mail – the best multi-account email app out there. Add your Yahoo, Hotmail, Inbox, or Google account with your IMAP or POP accounts. Constant updates and UI refreshes.

Google Maps – Navigation & Traffic – This app just keeps getting better and better. I’m sure it’s pre-installed on most phones, but it’s worth taking a look at if you haven’t for a while. You can save your custom spots now and even download your home area while on WiFi so you don’t spend your data to get directions to that new restaurant.

ES File Explorer & File Manager – The easiest way to manage your files on your phone. Most file managers that come pre-installed are… just horrible. This one is full-throated.

Image Shrink Lite – Resize your images before uploading them. If you find yourself wanting to resize batch files, go for the paid version.

Alarm Clock Plus – This is the free version of the best alarm clock I’ve found. Set alarms for specific days, to repeat, to use music stored on your phone, etc… It’s unfortunate that the built-in Android alarm is so limited.

Smart Launcher 3 – It’s not the fanciest launcher out there, but it’s the one that I like the most. Adds some useful functionality to your base launcher and the ability to have different themes to suit your needs.

Authy 2-Factor Authentication – 2FA is what everything will be in the future, so you may as well start now. This revs up your security by adding another layer of protection. The nice thing about Authy is that it syncs to the Desktop app, so you don’t have to set up several different versions with all your codes.

Contacts + – Not only does it give you a nicer way to view your contacts, it also comes with caller id, an sms manager, and contacts/call log/sms backup abilities. Very nice.

Google Opinion Rewards – Get paid in the Play Store by answering polls. Free money, peeps. I can’t tell you how many comics, movie rentals, and apps I’ve paid for with this little gem.

British Advertising Regulator Officially “Looking Into” No Man’s Sky

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The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has opened an investigation into the oft-controversial No Man’s Sky. I don’t have a dog in this race because I stayed away from that whole debacle, but I know a lot of people who are on either side of the fence about No Man’s Sky.

I’ve never heard of the ASA, which makes sense since I’m an ignorant American, but I thought it was odd that a British group was looking into these claims when our own Federal Trade Commission wasn’t. I know that Hello Games, makers of No Man’s Sky, is a British company, but most articles on this subject refer to advertisements on the Steam page for No Man’s Sky. At the end of the day, I’d hope that this case is actually looked at very carefully instead of it being brushed aside because “the yanks didn’t do anything about it, so we won’t either.”

You may know that I’m pretty harsh when it comes to lies in gaming. You may also know that I tend to blame stupid consumers who allow these horrible things to happen without causing an uproar. Knowing those two things, you may be wondering where I stand on this whole shit show. Honestly, I couldn’t ever say it better than WhatCulture did in this video.

Gratuitous Space Battles 2 is Fun Yet Broken

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I finished up my time with Gratuitous Space Battles 2 the other days and posted my review. I felt bad, but I had to not recommend it. I try to save my negative reviews for the games that truly deserve them, and this game was right on the border of it.

After posting it, I decided to read the other reviews to see if I was in the minority with my disappointment; I was not. In fact, some mentioned that the developer had abandoned it and some even said he was somewhat abusive to people who had pre-ordered. I decided to see if I could find the posts they were talking about. My opinion of the dev from the few months of blogs I read was that he was kind of a jerk, but I didn’t see anything that was particularly abrasive. I don’t know him and I’m sure I’ll never talk to him, but he just seemed pedantic, like he was overly worried about sales and money. There’s nothing wrong with that, but why would you put specifics out about your sales and your thoughts on people who gave you money?

Regardless, I got it from a bundle (or it was crazy cheap somewhere) and can’t complain too much. My point in this is that I feel like the gaming community has hit a very important moment. Independent developers have more avenues to get funding for their games than ever before, and I feel that this is a good thing. What isn’t good is when people clearly abuse these avenues. When a game has pre-orders and is abandoned like this, it’s sad. Steam’s Early Access and Greenlight can be powerful tools to help honest people, but so many times it seems like it allows people to get money for promises where there is no penalty for failing to fulfill those promises. By the time word gets out about someone taking advantage of the system or their customers, it’s usually too late.

It’s clear that GSB2 is riddled with bugs and is an unfinished shell of what could have been. There is virtually no single-player campaign to speak of.

Times like this make me lose faith in pre-orders, paid early access, Greenlight, crowd-sourcing, and any programs of the like, which is extremely unfortunate. I like the feeling of funding a game and watching it progress. I like voting with my money and telling the system which games I want to see out there. When these programs are misused, I feel personally cheated, like I was taken in by a con man; that’s not a good feeling.

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