Monday, November 14, 2016

Refocusing

Th last few months life has been up and down for me. There are many private things that have happened that I will not post about in public. Through all of that I have discovered that when my mind get cluttered I have a hard time writing. So then I don't write and before i realize it I have gone two weeks without even opening up Word to even think about writing. Then whether I realize it or not I get into a depressed state. I did not even realize until this morning that it has been three months since I posted here.

All of that needs to change and I am the only one that can change it. I am starting back small. A goal of two hours of working on writing a day. If I get more awesome, but at least two hours each weekday. I am in a much better emotional place when I write. I need to get back there again. I also need to blog about whats on my mind. I like to run my mouth. This way I can just put it out there and maybe someone will read it, or maybe not.

So, I'm back. Now I just need to stay back.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Star Wars and Bowling. A teaching tool?

Do the plots of the Star Wars movies belong in the classroom? An award-winning teacher in Washington State thinks so, and philanthropist Bill Gates (an admitted Star Wars fan) agrees.

Gates met Nate Bowling, a high school teacher in Tacoma, Wash. who is the Washington State Teacher of The Year for 2016. Bowling explained to Gates how he uses the original trilogy of Star Wars movies to teach three key moments in the U.S. civil rights movement.

Gates wrote about Bowling and his use of Star Wars on his Gates Notes blog in a new post published today, and included a video in which Bowling explains the ties between the movie plots and civil rights.

The philanthropist’s larger point, which he wrote about in a separate post, is the crucial role that great teachers play in the development of our society. There is a “New Majority” in schools today, and it needs reversing.  This majority, explained Gates, is that more than half the students in American public schools today live in poverty.

“Most of the New Majority do not graduate from high school ready for college or a high-paying job,” Gates wrote. “So what happens at diverse, high-poverty schools like Lincoln [where Bowling teaches in Tacoma] matters a lot for the future of the country.”

What Bowling and his colleagues are doing at Tacoma’s Lincoln High School is impressive. The graduation rate is 80% (which Gates pointed out is above the average for Washington schools like Lincoln, where 70% of students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch), and 40% of students take Advanced Placement courses.

Bowling attracted attention for a post he wrote in January called “The Conversation I’m Tired of Not Having,” which Gates describes as “a blunt look at the racial divide in America’s public schools.” It’s well worth reading.  The post got more than a million views and was reprinted in major newspapers. Gates said that he agrees with a lot of it.

Gates also perked up when he learned that Bowling jokingly calls himself a “nerd farmer.”  “I’m trying to cultivate a kind of scholarship in students, and a passion for learning. So I bring passion to the classroom, and they see that and rise to the occasion,” Bowling told Gates.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has funded education in the U.S. at least since 2001, focusing on different targets over the years. At one point the Foundation backed smaller schools, believing that size was related to a better education. It’s no longer pursuing that strategy. More recently, the Foundation has focused on how to train teachers to be the most effective.

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/kerryadolan/2016/08/22/new-from-bill-gates-how-star-wars-can-get-kids-excited-to-learn/#15261cea4524



Monday, August 22, 2016

Updated PS4 model coming soon.

Sony Corp. plans to introduce a new PlayStation 4 standard model alongside a high-end version next month, people familiar with the matter said, in an effort to maintain demand for the best-selling videogame console.

With the release of the two models, Sony hopes to attract hard-core fans and more casual users to its videogame platform, analysts said. The company has been trying to build a community of users so that it can earn consistent revenue from subscriptions and software downloads.

Sony has said that it would hold a news conference at the PlayStation Theater in New York on Sept. 7. A Sony spokesman said the company would talk about the PlayStation 4 business at the news conference.

A man plays on the new Sony VR headset at the company’s PlayStation 4 E3 event in Los Angeles earlier this year. The new PlayStation 4 consoles are part of a larger push to accelerate the business that includes the introduction of virtual-reality headset, said one analyst. ENLARGE
A man plays on the new Sony VR headset at the company’s PlayStation 4 E3 event in Los Angeles earlier this year. The new PlayStation 4 consoles are part of a larger push to accelerate the business that includes the introduction of virtual-reality headset, said one analyst. PHOTO: REUTERS
Sony said in June that it planned to introduce a high-end version of PlayStation 4 with enhanced graphics capabilities, but it hasn’t publicly discussed plans to refresh its standard model.

Macquarie Securities analyst Damian Thong said that he believed the new standard model would be slimmer and less expensive than the current $350 device. He said it would mark a shift in strategy for Sony because the company previously stuck to releasing one console at a time and tried to sustain demand with regular price cuts.

In June, Microsoft Corp. announced a smaller version of its flagship Xbox One console, called the Xbox One S.

The PlayStation 4 console made its debut in 2013 and more than 40 million units have sold so far world-wide, according to Sony. That outpaces the Xbox One, which has sold an estimated 20 million units since its debut in 2013, according to analysts. Nintendo Co. says its Wii U has sold 13 million units since 2012.

Sony Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai has described the PlayStation business and related services as the leading engine of the company’s growth.

Ahead of the September news conference, Sony has cut production of PlayStation 4 to adjust inventory, people familiar with the matter said. Several major e-commerce websites in Japan, including Sony’s own e-commerce site, said the PlayStation 4 was out of stock.

PlayStation 4 sales have been weaker in Japan than in the U.S. Data from videogame magazine publisher Famitsu showed sales of the console in Japan have been declining slightly in recent weeks. Nevertheless, stocks of the device are likely to run out as the company limits production.

Visitors play on Sony PlayStation 4 games consoles at the IFA Consumer Electronics Show in Berlin. Sony said in June that it planned to introduce a high-end version of PlayStation 4 with enhanced graphics capabilities. ENLARGE
Visitors play on Sony PlayStation 4 games consoles at the IFA Consumer Electronics Show in Berlin. Sony said in June that it planned to introduce a high-end version of PlayStation 4 with enhanced graphics capabilities. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG NEWS
“The white model was gone two weeks ago and we just sold our last black model in stock,” said the chief of the videogame floor at a major electronics store in Tokyo. “Our central purchasing department warned us we wouldn’t get any for now because the item is simply not in distribution channels.”

Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Research Institute, said the soon-to-be unveiled PlayStation 4 consoles are part of a larger push to accelerate the business that includes the October introduction of virtual-reality headset PlayStation VR. Sony has been trying to lure a wider audience to its PlayStation network by adding nongame content, such as the PlayStation Vue cloud-based TV streaming service.


Sony has said it plans to ship more than 20 million PlayStation 4 units in the year ending March 2017, up from 17.7 million in the previous year.

Source: http://www.wsj.com/articles/sony-to-sell-updated-model-of-standard-playstation-4-1471833069

Monday, August 8, 2016

200 Million and still can't fix tracking

"Pokemon Go" has raked in $200 million in net revenue globally on the App Store and Google Play in its first month, beating other top-earning games such as "Candy Crush" and "Clash Royale", according to the latest research.

App intelligence firm Sensor Tower crunched the numbers on the first 30 days of the viral game where players have to hit the streeets and catch Pokemon.

Sensor Tower found that at the point when the game was launched in Japan on July 22, revenue growth accelerated significantly.

As a comparison, "Clash Royale", which was released in early March, earned just under $125 million in its first 30 days. "Clash Royale" was made by Supercell, the company behind "Clash of Clans" which was recently bought by Chinese internet giant Tencent for $8.6 billion.

"Pokemon Go" also earned more than seven times as much net revenue in its first month as "Candy Crush Soda Saga", the viral hit which was released in 2014.

Sensor Tower also notes that "Pokemon Go" was the fastest mobile game to reach 10 million downloads worldwide and users are spending around 26 minutes a day on average playing.

The game is free to download but offers in-app purchases where users can buy additional items. Niantic, the game's creator, also struck a deal withMcDonald's in Japan which has turned 3,000 of the fast food chain's restaurants into "gyms" where players can battle each other. This sponsored location model is expected to be something Niantic continues with and could help it drive further revenues.

It's unclear how much of this money Nintendo will see. Last month, the Japanese gaming giant said that "Pokemon Go" will have a "limited" impact on income and that it won't modify its financial forecasts. It clarified that it in fact does not make the game. It owns 32 percent of the "voting power of The Pokemon Company ", which holds the ownership rights to the fictional monsters. And the game is distributed and made by Niantic, which is a separate company. Nintendo does however have a small stake in Niantic.

"Pokemon Go" is still being rolled out into new territories while Niantic is still trying to iron out problems that have angered fans. However, the game has been banned in Iran where authorities cited "security concerns" over the game as players are encouraged to visit real life spaces.


Source: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/08/08/pokemon-go-earns-200-million-in-first-month-beating-candy-crush.html

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Why I write.

I have never been asked why I write. People just say nice things but never ask why I do it. It is actually a question I have never asked myself until I saw an article about the subject. So I thought I would write a post about it.

While thinking about the subject I searched the web for reasons other people may write. The answers ranged from calming emotions to just needing something to do. The number of reasons were spread across the spectrum. Then It came back to me. Why do I write?

I have been a stay at home day for a number of years. There were things going on that needed my attention and after losing a job we decided that it would be ok for me to not look for a job right away and to deal with the issue that needed my attention. Well that lasted longer than we thought. Over a decade later and I have still not worked a regular job. The thing is I have always had an imagination that I had a hard time controlling. By that I mean when I lay down at night or I’m driving in the car, my mind day dreams to the next level. Never simple things. Always things that are a fantasy in our world. So one day I sat down and began to write. I felt better about myself. I felt like I had a purpose in the world once again. I am not a great writer by any means. I know that and I do not try to fool myself into thinking anything else. I do believe I am getting better and that maybe with the project I am currently writing on that I can find an agent that believes in the work once I am done and sell it to a traditional publisher.

I could go the self-publish route. I have done that with my first few books. All of which I would consider are me learning to write. I just suck at promotion. I would like to have help in that department from a traditional publisher. So my fingers will be crossed. I hope to be ready to submit to agents by Christmas of this year.


So that is why I write.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Kevin Feige comments on Captain Marvel

Marvel has provided updates on the progress of the third Avengers movie and confirmed the release of the movie "Captain Marvel" in the recent Comic-Con in San Diego to the delight of fans. 

However, there are reports and rumors that Captain Marvel may not be a part of "Avengers: Infinity War Part 1."

According to Ecumenical News, Marvel has confirmed at the recent Comic-Con that the release date of the movie is set on March 8, 2019. It was also revealed alongside the release date that Brie Larson will take on the role of the female superhero.

The release date of "Captain Marvel" is set a year after the release of the third "Avengers" movie, which led to speculation that Captain Marvel will not be a part of the movie. Also according to Chatt Sports Net (CSN), Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige announced in May that Captain Marvel will not be part of any MCU film until her standalone movie has been released.  Feige, however, also hinted later that she may still be a part of "Avengers: Infinity War Part 1" which is sure to excite fans of Carole Danvers A.K.A. Captain Marvel.

Feige also provided an update regarding "Avengers: Infinity War Part 1" in Comic-Con, stating that the movie is the culmination of all material they have been working on since 2006. Feige also stated that the team is hard at work and will start shooting the movie at the end of the year. The movie is set to release on May 4, 2018.



Read more: http://www.asiastarz.com/articles/5722/20160731/avengers-infinity-war-captain-marvel-marvel-brie-larson-kevin-feige.htm#ixzz4G5EZ2IXT

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Captain Marvel has been chosen

Los Angeles Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson will play the lead role in the upcoming superhero film Captain Marvel, Marvel has announced.

The studio, in an announcement at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday, said Larson would play the title character Carol Danvers, also known as Captain Marvel, reports aceshowbiz.com.

The 26-year-old, who won an Oscar award for her role in Room earlier this year, surprised the crowd by showing up on the stage with Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige as well as the cast of "Doctor Strange", "Black Panther", "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" and "Spider-Man: Homecoming" for a group photograph.

Captain Marvel marks the first Marvel film with a woman in the lead role. The character debuted in the comics in 1968 as a human companion to the original Captain Marvel (the space alien Mar-Vell). She developed super powers of her own in a mid-1970s storyline and was initially called Ms. Marvel. She was given the title Captain Marvel in 2012 in tribute to the original, who was killed off via cancer in 1982.

Captain Marvel is slated for release on March 8, 2019.


Source: http://www.news18.com/news/movies/brie-larson-all-set-to-enter-marvel-universe-as-captain-marvel-1273644.html

I am looking forward to seeing how this turns out. I know the Marvel fanboys, myself included, will be enough to make the film a success as far as making a profit, but I would love to see it do as well as the male lead solo films.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

DeepMind saves Google money

Google's DeepMind has reduced its power consumption thanks to artificial intelligence

Google is using the firm's artificial intelligence system to control parts of its data centers, DeepMind cofounder Demis Hassabis told Bloomberg on Tuesday. DeepMind, which Google acquired in 2014, is using its AI engine to change how data center servers and cooling systems work to reduce power consumption.

The company didn't say how much it's saving Google. Hassabis tipped a 15 percent improvement in power efficiency since Google launched the program this year, which he said is a "huge savings in terms of cost."

The average electricity price in the US can range from $25 to $40 per megawatt hour, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. At a 15 percent savings, it's possible Google, which operates massive data centers, is recouping millions in energy costs simply by relying upon DeepMind.

Hassabis said Google was "astounded" by what his company's technology could do, and has been surprised by how many "variables" in data centers it could address.

"It controls about 120 variables in the data centers. The fans and the cooling systems and so on, and windows and other things," Hassabis said. "They were pretty astounded."

Source: http://www.pcmag.com/news/346288/google-is-using-ai-to-cut-its-power-bill

Monday, July 18, 2016

Star Wars

This past weekend Star Wars Celebration took place. It was Europe’s turn to host the event. Unlike last year, I was not able to watch the live stream. I did however watch a number of the panels as they were put up on YouTube. I’m still going through them, but what I have seen so far was enjoyable.

I am a Star Wars fan and I always will be. They would have to do something tremendously bad for me to stop loving this franchise. When the new ownership took over I knew they push the money machine that is Star Wars. I am happy with what I have seen so far. Rebooting the EU was a bit worrisome, but I understood why it was needed. I am currently reading Aftermath: Life Debt. Good book so far.


To all my fellow Star Wars fans, enjoy the time we live in. At one time I never thought I would see another Star Wars movie come out. Now they may go on long after I am gone.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Exercise is good

The last few days has been a change of pace in a good way. My wife and I have been working on being more active for the last year and a half. We have had up and down results. Our spurts of daily activity usually end up being interrupted by other events that demand our attention more. Since Sunday evening we have been at the park every evening. Yes, we are catching pokemon. I was surprised Sunday when I saw how many people were downtown walking around. We have talked to strangers that we normally would never have a reason to speak to. It has been fun. Next week her work kicks off their yearly fitness challenge. Our fitbit data should be interesting with all the walking we will be doing.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Pokemon Go

Oh yes, I am playing as well. My daughter downloaded it first. I have a few friends that are playing also. I decided to try it out. Got my wife to download it too. She loves any type of virtual creature games that has a collection mechanic. So the last 3 days we have been out to the park 3 times and my fitbit has been hitting my 10k step goal with ease. Went downtown last night and the people out playing was awesome. That was the most people i have ever seen at the park when there wasn't an event going on.

May stay in tonight though, my legs are worn out.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Wonderful Game coming to PS4

"Kerbal Space Program" is set to launch on the PlayStation 4 on July 12.

"Kerbal Space Program," also known as KSP, is a space simulator game, which features fictional humanoid characters on a seemingly Earth-like planet. Players are set to venture on a journey much like how people perceive how NASA operates, Engadget reported.

The Kerbal development team first revealed the plan to bring the game to the PS4 during this year's E3 event. Although no release date was announced during the gaming conference, but PlayStation had recently made the announcement that the space simulator game would come to the console on July 12.

KSP had displayed a lot of potential during its beta version, and it has become a fan favorite in just short notice. The alpha version has been on Steam for quite a while now, and it has garnered a 97 percent positive rating on the online store.

"Kerbal Space Program" offers a lot other than space simulation. Players can develop designs building rockets, as well as planes; both space-bound or conventional planes, according to the PlayStation blog.

The game features a relatively complex physics engine with a lot of creative freedom allowed for the players, but it also caters to casual gamers, as well. The developers had created a balance between technical accuracy and fun mechanics.

Players can choose between three game modes to best suit one's playing preference. Game modes can range from Sandbox, whereas the player has complete freedom over the game mechanics without any distractions from mission objectives, Venture Beat reported.

In Science mode, players have the objective to perform scientific experiments wherein one could collect credits to purchase more equipment, eventually progressing in the game. The last of which is the Career mode, where players take on a full journey that "Kerbal Space Program" has to offer.

The developers revealed that the PS4 version of the game utilizes the DualShock 4 controller with a new control map for a more precision.

 Source: http://www.universityherald.com/articles/33846/20160709/kerbal-space-program-set-launch-playstation-4-july-12-ksp.htm

Friday, July 8, 2016

No Man's Sky is finally coming

Colourful space simulator No Man's Sky has been tantalizing the community for a couple of years with its awesome looking universe. Finally the endless tease is coming to an end - No Man Sky has gone gold.
The creator of No Man's Sky, Sean Murray, tweeted a celebratory image of the development team standing behind a disc of the finished code. 
It must have been an emotional moment for Hello Games, a modestly-sized studio whose ambitious project has attracted the right kind of attention from all corners of the globe.

The game is set in a massive procedurally generated universe in which every planet is unique. Elite Dangerous plays a similar trick with its gargantuan galaxy map, but the worlds of No Man's Sky have stolen hearts because they're just so damned beautiful.
You too can chart a course to uncharted planets on August 10 when No Man's Sky will be crash landing on PS4 and PC.
It was originally scheduled for a June release, but was pushed back to allow for some more time for developmental polish. 
Or maybe it was because of that Sky TV lawsuit. Either way, bring on August 10.

Source: http://www.digitalspy.com/gaming/news/a800601/no-mans-sky-is-complete-at-last/

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Busy Times

Life gets busy, at least that is what I tell myself. I want to write and I try to make time. One week I do great, the next not so much. Then you throw in the last few months. My wife needed surgery and was out of work for six weeks. I took care of her and made sure she had what she needed during recovery. The problem is that when she is off work I can never find a writing groove. There were other family things thrown in there as well, but it is just life. I also keep telling myself to post on this blog more often. I mean too, but I get side tracked. That is a direct result of what I think is adult ADD. I can get side tracked very easily.

So, why am I posting today? Because I need to make it a habit. I have posted so many times that I need to post more often. I am setting myself a goal of at least one post a day. It may very well be a copy and paste news article that I found interesting. It may be something I write myself. Any way around it I want to make it a daily goal.


All this while I strive to put myself behind the keyboard for 4 hours a day working on my newest book project. I really want to get an agent with this one and a traditional publishing deal. Only time will tell if that dream comes true.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Posting and Overwatch

Why can I not seem to post on this blog on a regular basis?

That is what I have asked myself numerous times. Most of the time the answer is simply I don’t have anything new to say about the writing project I am working on. That I think is my problem. I tend to believe that I should only post about my personal stuff. Well I think I will try to post about whatever is on my mind that day. Some days that will be complete and utter nonsense. Other days It may be more worth wild. Hell who knows what it will be like. I only hope I can get in a regular pattern and post.

Today I will talk about Overwatch. Yes, the new FPS coming from Blizzard. I am a gamer at heart. Now due to age and carpal tunnel, I am not as good as I would like to be. Add into that some of the determination I had when I was younger has gone. I still like to be good at the games I play, but I want to enjoy myself more than anything anymore.

I am looking forward to the game releasing next week. I currently can’t seem to find a game that I can get into. I would love to play Uncharted 4, but I can’t see paying $60 for one week. Yeah I know the game wouldn’t go anywhere, but once Overwatch comes out I will play it during the majority of my gaming time. I will still get Uncharted 4, just when it goes on sale, or a used copy at Gamestop.

Blizzard seems to always put out a good product. I only played in the open beta, but I had a blast. I look forward to leveling up and getting my loot boxes once the game goes live.


Until next time………….Keep reading

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Trying to keep up

There are so many things on my plate at the moment that i feel like there is no way to keep up. The issue is that most of those things are not things I want to keep up with. My main goal for this year is to get back into my writing. It was the victim to numerous uncontrollable family issues that arose during the second half of 2015. While some of those issues are still ongoing with no hard date for resolution, I need to find a way to fit my interest back into everyday life.

I want to get my writing back on track. There are a few story ideas in my head I want to hash out. I have a project with my daughter that I would like to get moving forward. Find time to blog more. All things that have suffered due to stress and anxiety that resulted from dealing with other people issues. The major goal is to not be other peoples security blankets this year.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

New Year

So the last few months of 2015 were rough. There were numerous family things going on that pretty much sidelined me from doing anything productive with my writing. When I wasn't running I was just flat out to emotionally drained to write. Now with the start of 2016 things are beginning to settle down and hopefully I will find a good rhythm for writing most days.