Tag Archives: Computer Joey

Christmas Gift Idea: Make a better NES Mini

The Nintendo Classic Mini has caught the world’s attention. This retro device from Nintendo allows buyers play 30 classic Nintendo games like Super Mario, Zelda, and Metroid.

Our friends from Japan did not anticipate the demand for these nostalgic devices.

If you have a need to show your kids these classic games, you don’t have to wait until retailers get them back in stock. With a little bit of time and elbow grease, you can build your own mini game system that does much more than the limited mini (even though that thing has great hardware).

What you need:

What you need to do:

I built a few of these devices over the last few months, and it has become so much easier to get them set up in the most recent 4.1 version. I should also warn you – you will need a USB keyboard to help with the first configuration.

You might be asking, where do I get the games? If you search the term “Nintendo Roms” you will find places to get them. Emulator ethics states that you should own the games in their original format before downloading a copy.

Photo: Wikipedia

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How-to: $1000 Gaming PC Build

I am seriously thinking about using this as a base for my next computer build…

Intel Core i5-4460: http://amzn.to/1vG09KX

EVGA GTX 970: http://amzn.to/11PxXbh

MSI H97 Guard Pro: http://amzn.to/1xtIhyG

8GB Corsair Vengeance RAM: http://amzn.to/1r2HQ1m

256GB Crucial MX100 SSD: http://amzn.to/1C5S9Xf

1TB Western Digital Blue Hard Drive: http://amzn.to/1zlbaPI

600W Corsair CX600 Power Supply: http://amzn.to/1pfN34Z

NZXT S340 Case: http://amzn.to/1HDn7Gj

Comparison: Spoon’s build.

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Computer Joey: GTD: Calendars

Getting things done, also referred to as GTD is a popular term on the internet. Most people want to be more organized and save time doing simple tasks. There is a massive amount of material and information available on the internet to help you become more efficient, and today I am going to show you my favorite GTD tool:

Google Calendar

Many of my readers (and friends) are probably already using this service, but for those of you that are not, let me walk you through some of the basics and why I like it so much.

Google Calendar (gCal) comes free with a standard gmail account (also free). Under the hood there are several little tools that come in handy when you are trying to manage a busy social calendar (or three people’s social calendar).

  1. Sharing: You can share your calendar with friends and family so they can see when you are available and what you are up to. This is awesome when you are trying to plan an evening out with busy people. It also helps when you are trying to figure out where the kids need to be a 6 PM tonight.
  2. Invitations: Don’t want to share? That’s fine, you can just invite your spouse, kids, or friends to an event on your calendar and all of the information will appear on their own personal calendar.
  3. Text Reminders: Don’t have a fancy smart phone? NO PROBLEM! You can easily set gCal to send you simple text reminders. I personally have all of my friend’s birthdays set to send a reminder a few days before their birthday so I don’t forget.

Everything in gCal is fairly simple to use and configure, but I took a few screen shots in order to show you how to share your calendar with a loved one:

STEP ONE: Go to calendar.google.com and sign in or sign up for a new account

This is the first screen you will see and you can put your mobile phone information in here so you can get your updates on the go (if you don’t have a smart phone). Add your information and follow the screens. When you are done, it will take you to the main calendar page.

STEP TWO: Go into Calendar Settings

Click on the GEAR icon and select the settings option.
When the next window opens, click on the calendar tab:

STEP THREE: Click on share this Calendar

STEP FOUR: Type the Google email of the person you want to share your calendar with (has to be another google account).

Follow the screens out and you are all set to share calendar invites with another person.

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Telecommuting: After Yahoo’s decision is it on the decline?

( @yahoo #telecommuting )


Image Credit: MadPrime

A few years ago I wrote a post about the benefits of telecommuting for both employers and employees. Since that time, things have changed for me; I don’t work from home very much. My employer hasn’t changed anything, in fact, they are even more comfortable with it. I made some life changes that required me to be closer to my office. That being said, I really appreciate the flexibility of remote work and the culture it has created.

If I need to work different hours because of my kid, nobody is complaining if I sign on at home and knock some stuff out when the little guy is asleep. This flexibility allows me to crush deadlines (keeping the bosses happy) and take care of my family (keeping me happy). This is why I was initially shocked to hear that Yahoo and then Best Buy are ending their work from home programs. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has drawn the ire of many working mothers first by coming back to work soon after giving birth and now eliminating remote work.

People are worried that this will become a trend. It won’t. Both Yahoo and Best Buy are currently struggling. Something needs to change, and Mayer’s “all hands on deck” mentality may be the short term solution that the company needs to get better footing. Most companies are not as agile as Silicon Valley tech firms… telecommuting strategies take time and money. Every trend document I read points to companies investing heavily in remote tools and collaborative technologies in order to reduce real estate costs and pull from a greater talent pool.

Many companies have 3-5 year plans to roll out both technology and HR policies at the same time they reduce their physical footprints to maximize cost savings. Yahoo and Best Buy’s policy change will probably do little to impact these long-term decisions. I would also like to point out that considering both companies market positions, signaling the end of a telecommuting program could now be viewed as a sign of desperation and weakness on the street.

Sometimes a company needs to make a major cultural change, which should start with staff. Think about where Mayer comes from. Google is constantly viewed as a great place to work: they give you free food, their campus is awesome, they do your laundry, they have pods where you can take a nap…

Google does all of this awesome stuff because they don’t want you to leave the building. They take care of all of the stuff you worry about that distracts you from your job so you keep doing more work for them. It is a brilliant strategy when you employ programmers and other workers who do better in teams and clusters. Will it work for every business model? Probably not.

Working from home isn’t going to go anywhere, but Yahoo may go away if Marrisa Mayer can’t turn the ship around. Give her some time to see if the changes she is making will work or fail. Most companies don’t have the ability to offer the perks both Google and Yahoo (Mayer has been making many Google-like changes on Yahoo’s main campus) and they also don’t have the unique real estate overhead, so I don’t think the benefit of telecommuting is going to disappear for normal healthy organizations any times soon.

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Computer Joey: Android Tablet Reviews

( #nexus7 #kindlefire )

I did a video review of 3 different android-based tablets that I currently own:
Asus Nexus 7
Kindle Fire
Toshiba Thrive

My intent was to point out the positive features in each rather than expose tons of flaws. If you are in the market for a new tablet, I hope this helps you make a decision.

PS: I have been beta testing more videos on the site the last few weeks, let me know if you like the new media/content.

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Summary: Control your information sources

This week I wrote a few posts on how to manage and share your favorite news sources with friends.  Here are quick links to the entire series:

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Computer Joey: Social Reading (ver 2.0)

Earlier in the week, I told you how to have a much better social reading experience for you and your friends. While researching that article, I came across some next level techniques for more advanced users.

In this article, I will teach you how to use Tumblr to share information across all of your social media accounts. I will also discuss how to use your own custom URL shorten-er with all of these services.

A few things you need to do before we start:

  • You need to read the first article because I am piggy-backing off of stuff I already documented.
  • Get a Tumblr account/blog.
  • Optional: Get a bitly account.
  • Optional: Get a twitterfeed account.

1. Add Tumblr to your share options in Google Reader:

The first article in the series covers how to set up RSS feeds in Google Reader, and the second will tell you what to click on to add various services like Twitter and Facebook. One of the other options is Tumblr. Instead of choosing Facebook or Twitter, pick Tumblr in the options (like the picture above).

Tumblr is more robust than Twitter but still designed to make simple and short posts. It is a great services that allows customization. Here is a quick tutorial on setting up an account:

As mentioned in the earlier post, at the bottom of each article in Google Reader, there will be a share button. When you click on it, the social media options you selected will appear:

When you click on Tumblr, this screen will appear:

You can mess around with more formatting or adding extra information, or you can just click on create post. The screen will wait a few seconds and then close itself.

2. Connecting to your social media accounts:

There are two ways to do this, one simple and one more complicated (but with more metrics).

Simple Method:

If you don’t have a custom URL shorten-er and you don’t care about how many clicks and shares you are getting, you can connect your Tumblr account with Facebook and Twitter:

a. Sign into your tumblr account and go to your news feed blog. Click on “Blog Settings” on the right:

b. Then scroll down to the Facebook and Twitter sections. Click on the check-boxes and then click on the buttons to link your social media accounts and follow the screen instructions:

Your posts to Tumblr (which are fed via your RSS Reader) will now post to social media accounts.

The Complicated Method:

When you create a Tumblr blog, there is a link somewhere on the page for a RSS Feed:

The RSS feed is usually your tumblr blog url with “/rss” at the end.
Example: “http://example.tumblr.com/rss”

a. Once you have your RSS feed url, go to twitterfeed and create a new feed (top right corner). Put your RSS feed in the box:

b. If you want to track your traffic or add your own custom url shorten-er, click on advanced settings in step one:

A few notes on this step:

c. Click “Continue to Step 2”

d. On this screen you can link your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts to Twitterfeed. As soon as you post something to Tumblr, it will automatically post that link to your social media sites. When you are done authenticating the services you want to use, click “all done”

Conclusion:

I know that was a long post, but once you get this set up, it is really easy to share information with your friends. The added benefits are that they don’t have to share any information about themselves to read your articles, you can see if your posts are actually being read, and you have a repository of all of your shared posts moving forward.

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Computer Joey: Social Reading Done Right

Have you noticed your friends posting news articles on Facebook recently? Have you clicked on said news article and found yourself suddenly asked to give an application access to your personal information? And have you noticed that when you do click yes, every time you read an article about Snookie’s new underwear choices it is plastered all over your facebook wall?

If you haven’t experienced this (or don’t use facebook), good for you. If you are a facebook or social media user and have been trapped in this invasion of privacy, I have a cool alternative. It takes a few steps to set up, but once you do, I honestly think it is WAY better and more functional.

A little background: Personally, I read a ton of news articles in a given week and I like to share the best with friends and followers. I don’t flood my feeds, but there may be three or four items in a given day that I think are worthy of attention. I don’t engage my friends via facebook’s social reader, instead I use a few tools that all talk to each other. Here is how to do it.

1. Gather your news via Google Reader:

I have detailed instructions on how to set up Google Reader, so read that first (and get a gmail account if you don’t have one).

You can populate your RSS Reader with just about any popular new source (including this blog). These are the articles you will share with your audience.

2. Connect Google Reader with Twitter:

a. In Google Reader, look at the upper right corner, you will see a gear icon. Click on the icon and a “Reader Settings” option will be available:

b. At the top of the next screen, there is a tab “Send To”, click on it to select different social media accounts:

c. At this point, you have a few options. If you use both Twitter and Facebook, click on just the twitter check-box. If you only use Facebook, click on that check-box and hit the return to reader link at the top.

NOTE: If you are using only facebook, you are pretty much done. If you want to make automatic posts to both twitter and facebook, keep reading.

d. In your reader, you will now see a “Send To” option at the bottom of each post:


NOTE: I added both Facebook and Twitter, but if you want to use both, you only need twitter here.

e. If you click on the twitter button, a twitter box will open with your post:

You need to do one more thing to make this all work…

3. Connect your Twitter account with your Facebook Account:

a. Go to this link to sync your two accounts: https://apps.facebook.com/twitter/
b. Click on the button that takes you to your account settings.
c. At the bottom of your twitter settings, there is a button that allows you to connect the two services. Push the button and follow the on-screen prompts:

You should be all set! Now you can share posts that you read (without any requests for information via RSS). I know there is a little bit of work up front, but once you get all of this set up, it is a much better way to read, save, and share news that is important to you.

UPDATE: During the writing of this post, I may have come up with a next level method that can allow for metrics and some other custom tweaks. Check back for that post.

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GooglePlus Review

( #GooglePlus, #SocialMedia )


Image Credit: Paul Vedar

Last night the good people over at Lifehacker offered invites to the new Google+ service. I jumped at the chance to get one because I have been looking at a way to do multiple people video chats for months. Skype offers it for a few bucks a month, which I was considering, but I don’t like that I have to install software to video chat when Google does it in the browser.

Google calls the feature “hangouts” and even in beta, it works pretty damn well. Actually checkout the Lifehacker crew’s video:

Google seems to have built this service around security and privacy. This sounds like an odd thing for Google, but it comes from the public scorn they got from rolling out Buzz (which automatically shared private info like email addresses) and also as a response to Facebook. Even though Facebook has privacy features, I feel that they always trying to get you to share more public data (and their updates always change settings to make that happen). In order to compete, Google is focusing security groups (called Circles) so you can share certain things with certain people much easier.

I am sure Big G isn’t completely saintly in this service, but since they have the Government breathing down their necks and face fierce competition with Facebook, I think the Google+ service is as legit as it can be. Since I am a google guy to start, I am hoping the service takes off because it will be much easier for me to manage my social circle with the plus service than with Facebook since I already have a hands off attitude towards it.

I was going to offer invites to readers, but it looks like Google shut down invitations already. But drop me a note, and if they turn it back on, I will try to get you in.

UPDATE: A blogger buddy (and current Keypulp founder) Joss Ross already found a security issue. Even if you choose a select group to see your post, someone could share it with everyone. Google has a fix, there is a drop down in the right corner that disables sharing. I think it should be defaulted that way, but for now, be aware and don’t share!

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