If you ever wanted to go on a coming of age adventure where you are going around with your friends just exploring the world, Final Fantasy XV the …Final Fantasy XV
Coffee Talk is a visual novel about listening to the troubles of people and helping them by serving a warm drink. It’s a game that portrays life as …Coffee Talk
In a world that is so dominated by men there is precious little more daunting in a journalist’s career than being a woman or non-binary person in tech. My background is in technology of all forms; mobiles, laptops and gaming. You may have already found me around the internet and on Twitter as @ThisIsSpecious and on websites like Big Boss Battle or Android Central.
As part of my new series on highlighting people who you need to know in the industry, I will talk to you about the women & non-binary people in technology who you should keep your eyes on!
There are a tremendous amount of women doing wonderful things in gaming journalism at the moment. So, when making these lists it is nearly always impossible to narrow them down to a top three. To bring new people to your attention, I’m making sure that in these listings these are the women who don’t have a huge following and whose work deserves more attention.
Amanda is one of those unique people in the industry who will have been behind a lot of your favourite sites and yet you may not have realised it. She has been a founder of her own discord where she helps young writers in their journey through journalism. She is an endlessly giving and nurturing person, and a phenomenal writer and editor. She is a determined person, dedicated to her team and to delivering precise and informative content.
You can find a link to all of Amanda work right here.
I will always have a soft spot for Reb as I have had the pleasure of working with her in other publications but that is for a great reason. Reb has a writing style that is just a pleasure to read and connect with. Now she has found a home with Gamesindustry.biz she has found a space where she deep dive into the heart of the gaming industries biggest issues and will take you with her for that journey.
You can find Reb and her work over at Gamesindustry.biz.
Director of I Need Diverse Games, Twitch Partner, Conference Speaker, Diversity Liaison for GaymerX, Tayna is someone who should need no introduction – but somehow still is one of the most underestimated women in the video games scene. You don’t have to look too far to realise that this woman is in everything that is worth having a name on; DnD streams, Logitech team. Tayna’s ambition in life is to make the gaming world a more inclusive one for everyone to enjoy.
You can find out all about Tayna and how to support her work here.
Commonly found chatting to me about anything and everything to do with Kingdom Hearts, you will also find her work over at Wired, and Weekend Editor over at @io9. Presently is ready to be snapped up by the best outlets out there. You can find her contact details over on her Twitter.
Mim is the wizard behind some of your most beloved gaming magazines being Operations Editor, @OPM_UK and @edgeonline. A wonderfully gifted and gentle human, who is just one of the most sincerely beautiful people I’ve ever met. When she’s got some down time from being the backbone of her work force she’s interested in all with a vintage, alternate reality or retro-futuristic theme. You can find her personal blog here.
Sam is the hugely talented producer of Glass House Games. Her work can be found through various places on the internet, seriously, everywhere. A hugely talented and capable human who is worthy of so much acclaim it’s silly. When she’s not busy doing that you can be assured she’s over on Twitter trying to squeeze as many gifs about Lightening from Final Fantasy 13 as is humanly possible.
You might know Sam best from her work as Global Editor-in-Chief for @GamesRadar. When she’s not busy running the show over at Games Radar she can be found being her very awesome self over on her twitter.
Some argue there aren’t a lot of women in mobile journalism. I’m here to debunk that myth and showcase some of the best and brightest that the tech scene has seen. By there being more women writing and talking about tech, we can unravel the complicated knot that is women in technology. There are lots of reasons women don’t get a predominant say in mobile technology. Much like games, they see us as being non-existent in the space, however there are many women being involved from all levels. I will introduce you to some of the best women in the mobile space you may never have heard of.
You may recognise Florence’s name from her Android Central days where she was one of the most influential writers on the platform. We can also find her work in PCWorld, Ars Technica to name but a few. If there was a major publication, I can guarantee you that Florence has written for them. A monolith in the tech world, she has now gone freelance with her own work. Bringing her unique style and flare to her new podcast All about Android.
You can keep an eye on Florence and all of her work over at https://florenceion.com
One half of the Newegg Livestream crew, Trish is one of those women who can put her hand to anything she touches. A talented Youtuber, she dissects everything you need to know about tech, gaming and everything in-between. As an avid PC fan, she can bring her unique perspective to the Newegg family to talk about the best and worst of mobile and PC hardware. If you haven’t looked at her content and you are a PC person – you are missing out.
You can catch Trisha over at Newegg.com or at her personal YouTube.
Lory is the powerhouse behind iMore. As managing editor for iMore she runs a tight ship with getting the cutting edge of Apple content out for you all to read. All this hard work can often come under acknowledged given she is the gears behind the machine. If there is a post on iMore, you can be certain that she has had something to do with it. Be it; editing, scheduling, she’d had a hand in making that site work as streamlined as it is. So will throw her a follow and tell her that Spec sent you.
You can find Lory and all of her work over at iMore.
Ara Wagoner is a Writer at Android Central. Chromebook ifficiando and force of good. When she’s not writing help and how-to’s, she’s off dreaming about Disney and singing show tunes. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.
You can find her gushing about Chromebooks and all of her more recent work right here.
While I know that there are plenty of people who I’ve missed, who are the people who you think deserve recognition? Let me know in the comments down below with their twitter handles or articles so we can all share the great work that’s created by women in the industry.
If were growing up like me, you might have experienced Mom Hid My Game’s base scenario. Your Mom has stolen your game console, as the name of the game would imply, and you have to navigate an ever more elaborate way to get your game boy back to in order to play.
The puzzles were often intuitive. Checking the game boy behind a bookcase, or distracting your mom on the couch so you can get the game boy back. But often they were equally bewildering; cultural signals such as looking under a cushion that would be used to sit on were for someone who could be dealing with someone who wouldn’t be so in tune with other cultures.
One aspect that was credit to Mom Stole my Game was the fact that all the levels are short in nature. For each puzzle the rooms are the same (by in large) so you get a sense of where things are easily placed. Every time the game makes it clear what the threat to your success is, and it has very straightforward clues to your success.
Failure states are always quick and if you don’t find the right answer the first time around, it’s easy to leap back into action.
The only downpoint I can say about it is for accessibility.
This can become one of the biggest frustrations of the game, as these have been hard to time, even for someone who is ablebodied. And there was no way to make it any easier! Ruling out some of the final act of Mom Stole My Game
Not to get spoilers-as it ‘s not worth spoiling this ending. I would encourage players to see Mom Stole My Game ‘s journey through to its end, however. In the final act, there is a marvelous piece of game design and narrative direction that brings the players through a journey of connection to technology and how it affects your relationship with those near you.
When I was planning on myself and Splinters honeymoon this year, there was something that I was adamant about, and that was that I was going to be as tech-free as possible. I was not going to take my smartphone with me (at least, not my daily driver) and I was going to take a hiatus from all forms of social media and internet dependency.
This leads to a couple of issues while travelling; firstly how were you going to get from place to place if you couldn’t book a Lyft to the airport, and when you get to the airport how were you going to get through security without your boarding pass? These were all challenges I was going to have to face without having a handset on hand to do all of these tasks for me that I would have just taken for granted. What I learned is that I certainly do take these things for granted, my iPad served as a grading surrogate for a lot of these unusual tasks. However, it all got done, and our honeymoon went relatively unhindered as a result.
For the honeymoon, myself and Splintor went travelling a fair bit of it. We went to New York to see some of the Pocketnow crew for a few days, then we went to Orlando for five days to go and look at the parks and finally a week in Cancun to rest from all of the running around of the week prior. It leads to a fundamental problem – how am I going to call people or arrange to meet people while I’m over there? If myself and Mark are going to book a reservation for a restaurant, how are we meant to do that completely phone free? Turns out that bit, we can’t.
So, we had to come to some arrangement. How could we remain connected and disconnected at the same time? The solution to that question came in the form of the LG B470, a dumb phone surviving in 2017.
As an AT&T exclusive, it’s not got the highest specs in the world, nor does it have the best camera.
Screen Size 2.2 inches
Screen Resolution 220 x 176 pixels
Battery Capacity 950 mAh
Camera Resolution 1.3 MP
Other Features Text & Multimedia Messaging, Mobile Web, Text to Speech
Though, as laughable as the concept may be for $25 per handset including the prepaid credit that was already on the phone it served our needs perfectly. We could make calls, tell the time, (an unexpected hindrance of continually being attached to a smartwatch. When you don’t bring the smartphone, you tend not to bring the smartwatch either!) and text people were required.
I remember trying to walk out of Best Buy to text Jules to see which Starbucks near Central Park we were meant to meet and struggling tremendously with the concept of T9. Stopping in the middle of the shop, swearing under my breath as this was something I hadn’t done since my early teens and it had escaped me. I felt like I’d blasted to some point in the future when technology will at some stage get away from my grasp, and I had the confusion I see in my elders. It hit me with the full force of that knowledge, and I was angry that I’d lost that part of my ability. I remember being able to text without looking under my desk in class (Sorry, Mam) and being able to write perfect messages because I had everything down to muscle memory.
It slowly came back, like riding a bike, and over those few days, I discussed with my tech friends the concept of reverting to something like this for the two-week process. People were curious how were we going to document our experiences without something there always at hand for us to use. There was a sense of nostalgia looking at a flip phone like this and lamenting for a simpler time.
I don’t think that lamentation is misplaced, and it is a simpler place to be. A simpler place to sit. A simpler place to just exist. I found myself not wanting to be anywhere else except where I was. It gave me an opportunity to be present and with the people who were around me. That’s not something that I get to feel in everyday life; there is some much that is around us that calls for our attention regularly. So, for me at least it was a beautiful gift to give not just to myself but for the people around me. It was what I hoped to get from spending my time being disconnected from the digital world for a bit.
I would highly recommend it, even just for a little while. To force yourself to tune out and turn off. Give yourself and the people you love the time just to be. It just goes to show that sometimes, going a few steps back can push you a few steps forward.
A short time with my Bose Q35’s
When you think about high-quality headphones with a solid reputation for both build quality and sound fidelity, it’s possible the brand Bose would be one that would pop into mind. Bose is a brand that is synonymous with best in class noise cancelling and has a reputation for producing high-quality headphones.
My Bose QC35’s were not my first experience with the brand, as I’d picked up a set of
beautiful mint green/blue SoundTrue on-ear headphones a few Christmases ago. They were a set of headphones that I used them daily until they eventually succumbed to the inevitable pressure of time. I’d purchased them during a flash sale when I just happened to be in the shop at the right time.
Splintor was always someone who was obsessed with there QuietComfort Range. Even for someone who doesn’t have to travel regularly he always loved the idea of just getting lost in the silence or the beat of the music without consideration for the noise of the outside world. I’ve never had such longings; I’m a bit of a headphone snob, so I change them regularly once the nuance of a set of headphones loses its wonder. I also have tinnitus and other sorts of audio processing issues. So, the noise cancelling settings on the QC35’s always made my ears feel like they were going to explode. Which, as the Bose Reps assured me, is not meant to happen.
So why buy them? I’m not a noise-cancelling fan and if I go through headphones quite regularly, why bother dropping €375 on them?
Well, I received them as a gift for my wedding. Someone very generously gave the QC35’s as a gift, given how much travel I’ve had to do of late. So, there is no excuse not to give these headphones with a good run through and see what is what!
I wanted to like them, I did. But, I don’t. I’ve used these headphones on and off for the last six months, and I can’t convince myself to use them regularly or even at all. There are several reasons why, and part of me is curious about the fact that I may just have received a dodgy unit. However, in saying that, it hasn’t prompted me to try and return them. I don’t think even if I did that I’d be willing to give them a second chance.
I’m aware this is an unpopular opinion. There are plenty of my tech friends who do nothing but rave about these headphones. For a fun review of the more positive elements of these headphones, I’d encourage you to go and check out Mr Mobiles Review. Michael loved these headphones so much he bought them twice which is a testament to just how good these headphones can be with the proper appreciation.
I guess proper appreciation might be a little unfair to my overall opinion of them. I do however think that there is something for everyone and this may just not be for me. My main complaints can be summarised quite easily.
The Bluetooth connection was irregular at best, and that was a difference between moving from an LG G6 to a Samsung Galaxy Note 8. It would cut out randomly between songs depending on where I was. My daily commute to get in and out of town usually consists of a good 20 to 30-minute walk to get to my local bus stop then another hour on that bus to then have to walk for another 20 or 30 minutes to get to my final destination. I would have to resync the headphones regularly. Or they would randomly cut out mid-song. After a while, the process of just connecting and reconnecting would get annoying at best.
The battery life on the QC35 was great for the first week of commuting and then regularly after that the battery life would become equally as sporadic. Some weeks I’d get a regular commuting week out of them. Other weeks, I’d barely make it through a round trip before getting a low battery warning. While the QC35’s does come with a cable so that you can still use them wired to a standard 3.5 headphone jack, you lose that precious noise cancellation in the process, and that is where one of my biggest complaints would be.
The Noice Cancelation didn’t work consistently. Somedays it would be like the noise cancellation would either be on super low or would just cut in and out randomly throughout the day. This was causing me more usage issues than anything else, as I mentioned previously I don’t have a good history with the noise cancelling on the QuietComfort range not creating me some discomfort in the process of using them.
Now, before anyone mentions it in the comments; Yes, I did use the app, and I have done all of the firmware updates. But none of them made any considerable improvement in my overall experience and honestly I don’t know if there is much more to be said about it. I’ve had people who had bought them in a similar time frame to me who have had related issues and had had merely their headphones replaced. Something that is undoubtedly in Bose favour here is that their customer support team have always been steady and reliable, so I’ve no concerns about returning to them and getting a resolution to this issue.
However, I’m left with a sense of them that I don’t want to. Maybe the headphones aren’t the problem, but that it’s got more to do with me, perhaps these just aren’t my holy grail headphones. Ultimately, I think that’s ok with me too. They’ll find a home with Splintor for the time being until I can find a set of headphones to call my own.
Here is a list of people who are doing really awesome stuff that should be aware of!
I’ve had the privilege in the last while of being around some incredibly talented and wonderful people who I don’t get enough love. So, I’m going to do something to change that. If you’d like to get on this list, feel free to tweet at me what you’re doing or drop me a comment down below.
Needless to say, none of these is sponsored or in any way paid for. These are just some people and causes that I believe are worthy of your notice.
With that out of the way, let’s get to it!
Final Horizon – Terror Beyond the Stars
My friend and mentor Alan O’Dea have created a Patreon for his new game Final Horizon – Terror Beyond the Stars. Think of it as a cross between FTL + Darkest Dungeon had a twisted nightmare spawn child. Alan is someone who gives a lot of himself and a lot of his time to the Dublin community both regarding his presence with startups and his gaming and designs influence.
You can be guaranteed that something that comes from his brain will be well worth investing in.
The Bears Black Heart
Developed by Abban Dunne (one of my fellow members of ITC) in Unity with art by Bob created in Affinity Designer. This 2016 Wizard Jam game is slowly taking the indie world by storm, gaining the attention of big Youtubers like Markiplier. Needless to say, this story of a bear who is just trying to survive the winter is a roguelike that all ages can enjoy.
30 Things Every New Software Tester Should Learn: A Guide To Getting a Kick Start in Software Testing
Heather Reid is one of Ministry for Testings finest, her book is an excellent beginners guide to software testing. Software testers are always learning but they cannot always quantify it. It’s their combination of skills from learning abouta product to dealing with its stakeholders that makes this guide relevant and practical. At £1.99 on the Kindle Store, it’s a must have for those who are looking to getting into software testing.
Take Better Photos: Smartphone Photography for Noobs!
Juan Carlos Bagnell has been in the photography game for a long time. His expertise now ranges to giving Real Camera Reviews on Smartphones on PocketNow. So this is the guy you turn to when you want to make the most out of the camera of your smartphone. While it can be considered by some to be an essential guide, it goes through all the core elements of how to take good photos. So should definitely be looked out for to get you going, and at $3.93 on the Kindle store, its a no brainier!
Koko was started as a PhD Students dissertation in MIT Media Lab it is a support network for people using a Twitter DM to the bot. Where they detail out their particular situation and then have to give their most positive thought and negative thought about a situation. This is a discrete way of getting support anonymously through a community of people who offer support through the same system. So, you are never going to get a response by a bot but a member of the community. For full disclosure, I’m a member of the Koko Pro team. What being a member of the Pro team means is there is always a few of us to answer a message every day or two, and it helps the community run smoother. So, for those who are looking for a little bit of support, you can find it here.
The Happiness Planner
I have used the hardback editions of The Happiness Planner for years now. For me, it is an excellent way to keep focused on the positives in life. The Happiness Planner® is a calendar & to-do list app designed to help you cultivate happiness by embracing the power of positive thinking, mindfulness, gratitude, and personal development. Now that there is a digital edition of it I’d encourage you to have a look at it and see if a subscription would be worth the investment for you.
Should you care about Smartwatches in 2017?
To buy or not to buy?
The world of smartwatches is a treacherous place right now, you only need to check the news to tell you that. Fitbit is buying everything or that projections for the future are grim. There is a lot of variety with smartwatches & even more confusion about what it will do to enhance your life.
It just happened that my very first watch The Sony Smartwatch. It was something that I loved, and while I was working as CEA for an Online company and being full time in college, it became an essential asset for me to keep on top of everything. It enabled me to be able to get away from my phone or laptop and gave me the ability to find time. However there were compromises with the unit, and now that many years have passed since its release and indeed, that particular watch is already on its third rendition – has the technology changed enough to get you into the game?
What would you want it to do?
- Give you some time back from a busy day – so notify you appropriately if there is like an emergency meeting on Skype. Or if an urgent phone call is coming through.
- Limited response features on the device itself – you may like the ability to be able to send an automated message to people calling me to tell them I’m in class or unable to take a call by a touch of a button and not have to stress about missing the call.
- Selection of apps – If you want to start using a Bluetooth headset you may want to be able to control the music and volume with it.
- You may want it to be both Andriod & IOS compatible – herein seems to lie the majority of the difficulty.
Can anybody find me, somebody, to love?
Easily the most expensive option out of all of them is the Apple Watch. Prices ranging from £299 – £15k (€472) makes it a heavy hitter regarding finances. There was a lot of hype about the watch, and none of it enticed me about it except the built quality. It looks significantly more respectable and mature than some of its Andriod rivals. My biggest gripe about it except from the price point is that average usage is cited as being a day at best. While I have no issues with charging my gadgets nightly, I’d have to have a good enough reason to be sure that it is an “I can’t function properly without this device.” before spending that level of cash on something that I could put down and not bother with. Your mileage may vary of course, but if you don’t like to charge your phone nightly, then you may want to skip on this as an option.
Pebble had been a company I’ve been taking an active interest in for a while. Their original Pebble was a fantastic success and something that I had initially dismissed as being a bit crappy with its plastic build and obnoxious buttons. It took me a long time to realise the pure ingenuity behind having something so simple. At a time when the device was €99, it was an enticing prospect for anyone looking to get into the smartwatch game, who didn’t mind the geek-chic that the watch had to offer. One of the biggest things that the Pebble time had to offer was the 7-day battery life. Which would be the main reason why a lot of consumers would be interested in it with the ability to swap between IOS and Andriod the formula is was set to be a winner. Right now, since its acquisition by Fitbit taking it up as a newer investment wouldn’t be wise. However, it’ll be fascinating to see the results of what will rise from the ashes.
Yes, before you ask. Razer is in the smart watch movement – sorta. They presently have two devices. Only one is available as the Nabu, and it is something that maintains to be actually rather difficult to get a hold of. Razer says that they’re doing something about demand but time will tell whether or not the peripherals company will manage to pull anything else out of their hat. The Nabu has some unique features, like the ability to swap contact details when you shake hands with someone who also has a Nabu. I can imagine for Gaming conferences like PAX or DreamHack that this would be super useful. It’s also more discrete than traditional smartwatches, with the screen on the inner wrist side it makes for more subtle notification delivery. However, if the Nabu is unavailable, the only option available is the Nabu X, and that isn’t a bad thing. I personally prefer the design of the Nabu X and at the price point of €59 with free delivery makes it a no-brainer for those who are looking for something to keep them going. The three dot display isn’t for everyone, and apps are limited – could be a reason as to why the Nabu X isn’t selling as well as the first Nabu. This does give someone an option who already is brand loyal a way of keeping connected.
Traditional Watch Brands
While the future may be perceived to be bleak, there are a lot of traditional watch makers who are getting in on the action. Most of these watches are running Andriod Wear, for instance, Casio has their own range of smartwatches geared towards the more outdoor activities. With built-in GPS they are watches that are geared towards hiking rather than anything more suburban. Fossil has offerings that are far more traditional in style but has the added benefit of being run on Andriod also. So it just goes to show that in the Andriod Wear space, there is an enormous amount of variety, so it’s very easy to find something that suits your style.
What do you think?
Do you have any suggestion? Is there any major player who I’ve missed out on? If you know of any, please feel to drop a comment down below! Keep an eye on Should You Care? YouTube for the video version of this blog!
A short blog on the purpose and application of USB-C
2017 has already seen an influx of new technology. The Nintendo Switch, the LG G6 and the Samsung S8 & S8+ all have USB C connectors. So why does this matter? Why do we have to change connections again from what has already been established? After all, I’m sure we all have accessories and adapters that we’ve had for ages that now we won’t be able to use now!
So what’s the difference?
Pictures speak a thousand words, so it’s best explained that one of the fundamental differences between USB-C is that there are pins on both sides of the adaptor. Which means that one of the most convenient things about USB-C is no more having the cable the wrong way around! It charges and transfers regardless of what way the cable is plugged in.
USB-C can also be used for displays too, so if you have monitors that take USB-C, you can use this as a direct connection to the laptop (so long as the monitor is plugged in!).
Handy Colour Coding
Now that USB 3.0/3.1 is a standard this means that it can transfer documents, or content at a faster speed. You’ll know if your USB cables are 2.0 or 3.0 by this handy colour coding.
Want to know more?
Feel free to check some more detailed BuildComputers.com article on the Differences between 2.0 or 3.0 and How to Geeks article on USB Type-C Explained. As always, keep an eye on the Should you Care? Youtube Channel for the video version of this blog.
With the new release of the Nintendo Switch on Friday the 3rd of March 2017. New owners revel in their new purchase! (Myself included) However, in the excitement, it is always likely to overlook one of the biggest features of the Switch. That is, its portability. If you have just spent €312 on a console that you intend on carrying with you on communities, you should really have a case to carry the thing in! So lets have a run down of the top Nintendo Cases that are available to purchase right now!
SF/Waterfield Design – Switch Case
SF/Waterfield Design are known for protecting they’re gaming kilt. Already having bags for mobile devices such as the 3DS and the Vita, it is no surprise that they’ve created a case for the Switch. Made from Leather, this bag has a stunning appeal in terms of its appearance. You would not mind carrying this pouch around with you in public. It just oozes of class. With room enough for cables, game cards, and headphones this pouch should definitely be a must see for those who are willing to spend a little bit more to get something exceptionally classy.
For those who are looking to move more than just their Switch and Joy-Con around. There is an option for a Multiplayer Pro Case. This can Carry everything from the dock to the Joy-Con Grips all in the typical classy design that you would expect!
Gamestop – Official Nintendo Switch Case
For those who are looking for the more official route. Gamestop Ireland are stocking the Official Nintendo Switch Accessory pack. This pack has the case itself, with the Nintendo Switch logo on the front and comes with a screen protector and kickstand/stand for the Switch included in the bundle. At €20 if you’re looking for the Nintendo solution to your carrying problem, this is a good case to look at!
HORI Switch Tough Case (Nintendo Switch)
For those who are looking for something a little bit more robust in terms of protection, but still are looking for something sleek. The Hori Switch Tough case will be a difficult one to beat. It’s hard shell, and focus on protection of the touchscreen built into the case itself makes this case a great alternative for those who don’t like the hassle of having to worry about screen protectors. (But please, put on screen protectors)
£29.99 at Amazon.co.uk
So what do you think? Are there any more cases I missed that you think should be on this list? What cases did you get for your Switch? Let me know in the comments below.
Remember to give this blog a share on your favourite social media, and don’t forget we have a Nintendo Switch Unboxing over at Should You Care? YouTube.