Futurist Educator

21 April 2014

How to Pick the Best TV in 2014

There are many types of TV from different manufacturers that it can be difficult to choose from even for the tech oriented. When shopping for your next television, a number of factors should contribute to your decision. While many people tend to buy the largest TV they can afford, many other characteristics are more important than size for high definition televisions. Which one would be best suited to you?



What are the different types of TV?

Thanks to the advances in display technology, there are now several kinds of video displays used in modern TV sets. The three most common types of flat screen TVs are Plasma, LED, and LCD. These types are explained as follows:
Plasma TVs create a picture by sending an electrical charge that is applied to a small sheet of tiny plasma cells.
LCD TVs are composed of liquid crystal compressed between two glass plates and backed by a fluorescent lamp. When you apply an electrical charge to the crystal, an image is created.
LED TVs are similar to LCDs, but instead of using the fluorescent lamp, they use hundreds of very evenly distributed LEDs.


What size should the TV be?

People tend to pick the size of their flat TV based on the amount of space they have for it, this isn't necessarily wise. Flat TVs take up much less space than you might think, so your new TV may end up a foot or two further away from your viewing position, making the picture appear smaller. Think about where your TV will go. Screen size alone, while an important factor, should not be the main priority when you pick a flat screen TV. Use your room size to dictate the size of screen you choose—the ideal viewing distance from the screen should be about twice the screen size.

What do different resolutions mean?

HD
There are two types of HD TVs. HD Ready means the TV resolution is at minimum 1,024 x 768-pixels and includes at least one HDMI port. On the other hand, full HD TVs have a higher resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels.
Ultra HD and 4K
The new Ultra HD TVs feature 3840 x 2160 - which is 4 times more than full HD. This means the picture quality is more detailed and works well with upscaling regular HD video. However, currently there are very few content with 4K.

According to DisplaySearch, a leading market research firm, Samsung LED TV is the top selling television worldwide.

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18 February 2014

Flappy Bird Alternative Games Online

Flappy Bird was created and developed by Dong Nguyen in the span of two days and originally released on 24th of May 2013, it gained remarkable success early this year. However, it was soon taken down by its creator for being too addictive and that he "cannot take this anymore." Don't worry though, just like Angry Birds, there are many free alternatives available online at gamevillage.com!

The closest that comes to the original is perhaps these HTML5 and Flash variations of it. The objective is the same: to direct a flying bird, which moves continuously to the right, between each oncoming set of pipes without colliding with them, which otherwise ends the game.






You can also play Flappy Bird with many other players online with this Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) version of the game. You can create your own party to play with your friends, and it also allows you to choose from 3 different visual themes, on FlapMMO.



While there are countless other clones, remakes and parodies of this game, the gameplay is more or less the same so they are not listed here. There are a couple of spinoffs that got my attention which are worth mentioning though. The first one brings a new twist to the already notoriously difficult game by making it like a typing tutor. Not only you need to watch out for the obstacles but also type the words correctly.



Finally, there is this brand new online game at cleopatra-slot.co.uk. Unlike most spin-offs, however, Flappy Space Program is more than just a reskinned clone of the game. All it shares with the original is a similar name, a simplistic concept, and frustratingly difficult, yet rewarding gameplay experience. The goal of the game is simple: repeatedly tap (or click your mouse) to launch a mechanical space bird into orbit. Once the bird is successfully orbiting the planet, you'll be given another bird ship which you have to launch. There's no winning, only launching more bird ships into orbit with the hope of achieving a new high score.

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26 July 2013

Games Against Humanity: How we Quit Work for Play

Jobs are boring - unless you're playing! What is play, really? The fact that there are many theories by prominent researchers like Jean Piaget, Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud are clear proof that the phenomenon is difficult to understand. Johan Huizinga defines play as "a free activity standing quite consciously outside 'ordinary' life as being 'not serious' but at the same time absorbing the player intensely and utterly." Play is most commonly associated with children and their juvenile-level activities, but play can also be a useful adult activity, and occurs among other higher-functioning animals as well. Kids tend to play with whatever they can find, pick up any household item and "fly" it through the air as to pretend that it is an airplane. However, when play is structured and goal-oriented, it becomes a game - with rules, challenges, and more importantly - a social interaction. When did we start pursuing voluntary, intrinsically motivated activities for enjoyment?



Games have been played in most cultures and societies throughout history; some even predate literacy skill development in the earliest civilizations. For instance, board games like backgammon can be traced back to 3000 BC in Persia. Ancient Egyptians used to play a board game similar to backgammon called "Senet" and was pictured in frescoes found in burial sites. What makes these games interesting is that it brings people together and promotes social interaction during gameplay. Modern findings in neuroscience suggest that gameplay promotes flexibility of mind, including adaptive practices such as discovering multiple ways to achieve a desired result, or creative ways to improve or reorganize a given situation.




Fast-forward to modern age, you can see that the fundamental of social gaming is the same today as what it was 5,000 years ago. Role-playing games (RPGs) like Dungeons & Dragons, in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting, became very popular in the 70s. The game arrived to bring people together and encourage them to use their imaginations to greater levels. Together, the players collaborate on a story involving their characters; create, develop, and explore the setting. In other words, players experience an adventure outside the bounds of everyday life with their friends. With the onset of the Information Age, computers carried gameplay into virtual spaces and video games were born. Some of the earliest known video games were two-player games, including sports games like Tennis For Two (1958) and Pong (1972), shooter games like Spacewar! (1962), and racing games like Astro Race (1973). As processing power and connectivity increased, new genres were developed to form massively multi-player games based around real time networking.






Games have always used whatever technology was current: modems before the Internet, terminals before modems, and cardboards before screens. The expansion of online gaming has reflected the overall expansion of computer networks from small local networks to the internet and the growth of internet access itself. Its rise enabled video game player to come together and compete over servers, but the participation in the late 90s was largely limited only to the very enthusiastic. Facebook would bring it to the masses not long after launching in 2004. The huge growth of Facebook attracted great interest in the platform, from users and developers alike. Zynga was one of the early developers to seize upon the opportunity for social media gaming, with the 2009 launch of Farmville.



New forms of social gaming are emerging every month, and it is all thanks to the continual development of new technological devices, like mobile phones, joining in on the action. The gaming industry is beginning to embrace the value of social gaming, as seen by many sites incorporating social media functions into their online games, especially for games that appeal to demographic groups that otherwise play very few video games (like the elderly who play on mobile bingo sites from their smartphones, for example www.bingoonmobile.co.uk). Thus, the online gaming market expanded exponentially over the past decade, making online games a form of social activity beyond offline limits, and it seems like the future of social media gaming is shooting for infinity.


Image credit: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Sponsored post.

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14 May 2012

Over 500 Free Form Templates

form templates Regular readers of my blog already know I'm a big fan of JotForm, a free service that lets you create your website forms with its easy to use drag and drop interface. Designers like me and front-end developers love how much time is saved by creating mobile friendly forms using this site, and you don't even need an account to start creating. What's more, they have recently announced that their wide range of ready forms now include over 500 form templates to save you even more time! Check it out, you won't regret it.

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07 May 2012

Forever Alone Like A Boss

I took the time to think deep about this and here is my conclusion: We are always alone. Born alone in a mother's womb, "raised" alone in school, and when you grow up to have a partner, you are once again left alone when one of the two dies. The only "person" who is with you this whole time is your inner voice. Sure it's nice to have people come and go in your life but this, to me, feels like the cold harsh truth. Might as well accept life as it is and deal with it.

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28 February 2012

Free MMO RTS on your browser!

For those who are not familiar, MMO stands for Massively Multiplayer Online game and RTS is Real Time Stategy. Combining these two in a single game has been quite a challenge because of the dynamics involved, but now there is a game to change it all: Ministry of War (Türkçe) - ok, and South Park.  



Instantly when you load the game site, you are greeted with excellent visuals that set an epic ancient battle atmosphere. Once you login, you select one of 4 races: Romans, Chinese, Persians, and Egyptians. Each race has unique units, bonuses and race feature. Once you choose your hero and city name, there is a brief story trailer which you can skip. You start with building your city with the help of a step by step tutorial under the name of ‘quests’. At first, you feel like it is similar to Travian or Ikariam but you soon realise that as you can set your buildings anywhere you please like a RTS game.


After creating the elemental buildings, you are now ready to equip your hero, add troops to your party and ready for battle. When you select your army and send them to battle, you can actually see your troops moving across the map towards the enemy. Once reached the destination, you can select whether you would like to control the battle manually or choose automatic. If you choose manual, you enter the battle field where you can control your hero and units in true RTS style, which is quite impressive for a browser game. When you win battles, you gain points which you could later distribute among XP, MP, Power and Intelligence as with similar hero systems.


The game also requires you to collect resources to build your army before you take on the World. You build farms, forests, mines, etc. on the outskirt of your city. At this point you have learnt all the basics to get you going and the game starts you on your first 1 on 1 battle with another player. The system matches you with another online player of the same level and you begin battle as before (once again you can choose to take control with manual battle mode or let the computer do the work with automatic mode). After this battle, the quick tutorial is pretty much over and you can freely begin to explore the interface to find out more. When you dig deeper into the game by clicking on the quests icon, you find out that you can improve on your empire with research and as you do, your empire advances through the ages like in Sid Meier's Civilization and Age of Empire games.


The game features 3 views of command: city, outskirts and world map. The city is where you have your main buildings, outskirts for resources and world map is where you can see other players on the server. You also find out that on this map you can expand your city and occupy new land. There is also a map icon on the interface which shows you the full map of the entire server and it’s vastness just took my breath away. It really gives the player the urge to build and conquer it all!


Another thing that instantly strikes you with the interface it the global chat where you witness players getting social, discussing game tactics, trade items and form alliances to take on enemies together. As with all browser games, you need an internet connection to play and you are left behind when you are away. The game also rewards the players for sticking around 10, 30, and 60 minutes on end.


With just an hour of play, as a hardcore gamer I’m intrigued to find out more. This is a good sign, as I’m usually not a big fan of browser based games. While this game pushes the limits of the browser, it doesn’t feel too heavy as likely to crash it. The only disadvantage I found was that when you are exploring the world map with other players there are brief bursts of loading time. While this isn't really much of an inconvenience if you have a fast connection, it is a reminder that regardless of how you look at it, this is just a browser game.


Overall, Ministry of War is a brilliant example and well built game showing the full potential of what could be done on browsers. It is unlike anything I’ve seen with Flash technology before. The only thing I found that is lacking with this game is perhaps a desktop client. After all, if you are going to spend weeks and months on end to gather, build, and battle to conquer all, the little seconds of loading time will add up and might be critical in your strategy. No core gamer would want to lose due to ‘lag’

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19 January 2012

Do not ██ █ ████ to ██ this page!

Sopa


PROTECT-IP is a bill that has been introduced in the Senate and the House and is moving quickly through Congress. It gives the government and corporations the ability to censor the net, in the name of protecting "creativity". The law would let the government or corporations censor entire sites-- they just have to convince a judge that the site is "dedicated to copyright infringement."


PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future.



The government has already wrongly shut down sites without any recourse to the site owner. Under this bill, sharing a video with anything copyrighted in it, or what sites like Youtube and Twitter do, would be considered illegal behavior according to this bill. According to the Congressional Budget Office, this bill would cost us $47 million tax dollars a year — that's for a fix that won't work, disrupts the internet, stifles innovation, shuts out diverse voices, and censors the internet. This bill is bad for creativity and does not protect your rights.


STOP SOPA

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21 March 2011

JotForm Send Files Straight to your Dropbox

online file uploadJotForm, the first web-based WYSIWYG form builder, allows users to create and publish web forms using your browser... but that's just the start. Take this brand new feature just added to JotForm; you'll be glad you did!

As you may know, Dropbox is an online file synchronization service that comes in the form of a web interface and an application available for many different platforms (PC, Mac, Android and more). It's an easy way to share files between multiple devices and a good alternative to emailing stuff to yourself.

Now you can connect your JotForm forms to your Dropbox accounts. Here's how it works: each time someone fills out a form, the results get sent straight into a JotForm folder in your Dropbox so you don't have to download attachments from your email each time someone sends you a file.

It gets even better. Conveniently, this integration isn't limited to form attachments. The creative minds at JotForm have made it so that the form results (in a PDF file) are sent in as well. How great is that? You can now access your form responses quicker than ever before using your computer with Dropbox installed, or your phone with the Dropbox app.

JotForm has set up a dedicated Create a Dropbox Form page that will allow you to easily set up a sample form with Dropbox integration pre-installed. You can also enable Dropbox on your current forms by going into the Submissions page for your desired form, clicking the Preferences icon at the upper right, and selecting Send Submissions to Dropbox, like so:

DropBox setup in JotForm

For either choice you will be taken through a small wizard. Enter your Dropbox credentials and you're in. Now here's an example of what would happen if you follow the aforementioned procedure. Check out this example of a form I've set up with Dropbox integration. Someone has filled it out and attached some files:

Creating an Online Form

The sender clicks "Submit Form", and done! Dropbox reports that three new files have been added:

DropBox Notification icon

Your DropBox folder on your desktop

Now here's where JotForm's WYSIWYG nature kicks in. JotForm will organize responses for you, saving you time. It will put responses in a JotForm folder in your Dropbox and sort those responses by form name (in case you have multiple forms set up for Dropbox) and ID. You can also configure the integration so that it names response folders based on what the user typed for their Name or their Email instead of the ID, or even throw everything into the form folder without sorting. It's up to you!

How can users put JotForm to best use? We foresee using JotForm as making it easier for site managers to share user photos, for instance. Since such a site would have loads of uploads each day, having all of them downloaded automatically to your computer would definitely be quick and easy. Compare it to the current alternative: drilling through a bunch of emails and manually downloading each and every attachment your loyal users have sent you. Ugh!


This article was written by Rey M. Levenstein, a tech trend-watcher who
has previously written for Sync Blog and now manages WAFFLE.


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17 January 2011

Not Enough Startups

lend a handEverything in life is like a tree. It all starts with a seed. Provided the right conditions, the seed sprouts and grows into a well rooted tree. However, all trees require constant attention, from pre-seed until maturity, so as to provide fruit and continue to mark a spot on Earth for centuries. Trees are our air. They are our homes. They give life, raw materials and fruits even in these times. Although the common perception is that these trees will never "run out" but if we continue our wasteful system, we will all perish.

Grow food without soil
Source: Indoor Gardening Hydroponics




Source: The Visual Dictionary (#infographic)

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07 January 2011

Angry Birds Alternative Games Online

Angry birds gameWith more than 50 million downloads across all platforms, the game has been named one of the most popular games out at the moment. Angry Birds has been exalted for its wonderful union of addictive gameplay, humorous style and cheap price. Its popularity has brought about offers to develop versions of Angry Birds for PCs and consoles, a market for goods combining its heroes and even long-term plans for a movie or TV series.

angry birds onlineThe goal is simple: Angry Birds must survive. Get revenge on the green pigs who stole the Birds’ eggs. Use the individual powers of the Angry Birds to destroy the pig’s castles. It has a challenging physics-based castle destruction and alot of replay value. Every level needs skill, logic, and brute force in order to vanquish the enemy.

The PC version for this game includes 195 levels -- that's hours of gameplay! Players can expect non-cost updates and extra levels in the game. Moreover there are individual enhancements available for the mobile version and free of charge. You can download this game (direct link 1 - direct link 2) or via the Intel App Up software. The Intel AppUp center allows you to skim through a range of applications for download to your netbook or other PC device.


Here are some of the latest alternative flash based physics games similar to the Angry Birds concept. It's not the same thing -- but hey, you can play them online. Let us know in the comments if you know more!

Bloons 2 – NinjaKiwi Games

Burst the desired amount of balloons for each level among 8 different worlds from the hit Bloons series.

Demolition Dude – Armor Games

Sling shot Demolition Dude into buildings but make sure not to get collateral damage. Hold down the first Mouse button and pull towards the direction you want sling shot Demolition Dude then let go.


Dummy Never Fails – Tanoku

Aim with the mouse and click to shoot the dummy. The distance from the canon determines the force. You have to impact the dummy against the goal object. The pain-o-meter shows how much pain the dummy is under and it should be as less as possible. Can you win all 52 levels?



Empire Island – Armor Games

Your island is under attack so build up your defences and control towers so as to destroy the approaching enemies.



Gravitee Wars – Kongregate

Launch missiles around planets to destroy the enemy before they destroy you! The arrow shows whos turn it is. Click and drag the unit to start aiming. The blue line shows where your shot will go. Release to fire. The gravity of the planets will attract your missiles. The bigger the planet, the more gravity it will have. The closer the missile is to a planet the more attracted to the planet it will be. Your missiles will take chunks out of the planets as the hit them. As planets get destroyed their gravity is reduced. Also you can use the keyboard controls. There is also a weapon shop for more weapons as you unlock them and section where you can upgrade your team members.

Paper Canon – Silver Games

The game of Paper Cannon is physics-based and you must shoot cannon balls that explode after a few seconds so as to destroy the one-eyed pink critters. Take control of the angle and power for the cannon with the mouse.


Vertigo: Gravity Llama – Oliver ‘Jindo ‘S-L

Travel through a collection of strange worlds, flipping gravity along the way in order to reach the star in each level. Use the spacebar for an anti-gravitational pull and use the keyboard arrow keys to direct your golden llama.


(13+) Destroy the Village – Spilgames

It takes a village to bring about a child, but it takes rockets to destroy a village. In order to play use the arrow keys to direct your rocket and destroy the village inhabitants as quick as possible, while also using few rockets.



(13+) Ricochet Kills 2 – Coolbuddy

Shoot with your gun and ricochet bullets off other obstacles to eliminate all the people in each level.




(13+) Gibbets – Notdoppler

Save the men hanging from the ropes because time is running out. To pull a bowstring press the mouse over the bow and holding the button move aside. Release the mouse button to shoot and try to aim on the rope the man in hanging on. To pass the level you have to save as many people as shown beside the person icon. The amount of arrows for each level is limited.

(13+) Gibbets 2 – Notdoppler

Save the innocent people on a noose by shooting their nooses with the bow and arrow. Try not to miss! This game is the same concept as Gibbets 1 however the features are more extensive.



crush castle(13+) Crush the Castle series - Armor Games

Crush the Castle games are perhaps some of the most addictive flash-based games since Angry Birds. It will be difficult to stop once you have started so make sure you have enough time to play.

The player controls a trebuchet and the aim is to knock down different castles for every level so as to kill all the dwellers. As you progress through these games you gain different ammunition for the trebuchet and use physics based technology to knock over the castles.

For these games you will need Flash Player 10.

1. Castle Clout - Return of the King

2. Crush the Castle - Armor Games

3. Crush the Castle 2 - Armor Games

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