Linksys EA9500 Gigabit Router Hardware Review

Linksys EA9500 Gigabit Router Hardware Review

Sep 30, 2016

I’m old school. I have made my peace with it.

Iconic occurrences of my youth are things kids today cannot fathom. Physical calendar portfolios. Soccer goalkeepers picking up back passes from own defenders. The Chicago Bulls first 3 Peat. All things these young’uns don’t get.

People, I did dialup with Juno and NetZero. AOL was a way of life.

When I first stumbled on wireless internet connectivity, I thought it was a myth. I still have my first router. Compared to the Linksys EA9500, those are dinosaurs.

This router strikes a formidable pose, all in black, with a bank and eight adjustable antennas on its perimeter.

So yes, on its own, the router is a fairly impressive piece of hardware. In testing, it was especially easy to set up, and it proved to be pretty reliable so far. Still, there is another element that really extends its overall functionality: the companion Linksys Smart Wi-Fi application.

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Now, this application is what really opens up the app to true everyday management. It bears a simple design, bathed in blue hues, and from within, it is possible to run all sorts of router-related operations, like password management, guest access, parental controls, and a bit more.

It is possible to see how many devices are connected to the network at any given time, and it also notifies the user if the router goes offline. The app indeed creates a full-fledged, portable network manager that can be replicated on several devices if need be.

Of particular interest to this dad is the device prioritization. From the app, I was able to block sites, or simply block the entire device. More advanced operations of this type have to be done on a full terminal, but it is a great tool to have in a pinch. If anything, the companion app expands the functionality of the core hardware in many ways.

Pretty nifty.

DatVault Password Manager Gets an Update

DatVault Password Manager Gets an Update

Sep 30, 2016

Cross-platform password safe DataVault is getting a fresh build.

Per Google Play, this one brings fixed permissions and smoothing out of a memory issue, among other things; more details can be found on the Google Play page.

DataVault Password Manager is $9.99 on Google Play; there is also a free build available.

Video Discovery App ‘MightyTV’ Launches on Google Play

Video Discovery App ‘MightyTV’ Launches on Google Play

Sep 30, 2016

Great news: MightyTV is coming over from iOS to Android devices.

The app, which is described as the “Tinder of television discovery,” allows folks to swipe through lists of shows and movies to find enjoyable content.

And by content, there is a lot: more than 30,000 popular titles from services like Crackle, Showtime, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon and more; shows can be saved or cast to compatible devices.

MightyTV chief Brian Adams loves that Android users not have access. “Our goal with MightyTV has always been to create a new kind of video discovery experience that helps bring back the fun of finding something good,” he says. “We’ve had tremendous feedback from users since our debut, and it’s great to be able to take what we’ve learned and make continuous improvements to our recommendation engine. Now millions of Android users can enjoy the same benefits of our discovery platform, with some fun twists, which eliminates the hassle of searching so you spend more time streaming and watching videos you’ll love.”

MightyTV is free on Google Play.

ZPLAY and 1Button Set to Bring MR Jump to Android

ZPLAY and 1Button Set to Bring MR Jump to Android

Sep 30, 2016

Former iOS-exclusive Mr. Jump is due out on Android,courtesy of 1Button and ZPLAY.

Mr. Jump is an infuriating game that is presented as an auto-runner. Word on the street is that though many have tried, precious few have made it to the end.

ANd when is the date? October 13th!

What? You’re Not Rooting?!!! (Pt 2)

What? You’re Not Rooting?!!! (Pt 2)

Sep 30, 2016

First, it might make sense to get into the specific reasons that I root. A major one is the ability to really customize the look and feel of my device. For example, one thing I liked was the ability to create an “invisible lockscreen” on my phone. Hidden icons and latent access that made my phone fairly unusable without a formal lockscreen. I can still do a lot of that with Nova.

Another thing rooting worked for me is/was to was allow me to expand on Google Now functionality. With specific tools, I could add the number of keyword-driven actions I could perform. With Commandr for Google Now, a few commands do require root, but not a lot; as such, I figure a stock device wouldn’t hurt me too bad with regards to this.

A real big one for me is the use of Tasker. I use this quite a lot, and would miss it a lot too. With Tasker, I can automate a lot of tasks, like running backups and creating group events (like tapping on Google Maps invokes Launch GPS – Increase Screen Brightness sequence.) Or, using Google Now to create tasks in Toodledo. Now, some of this can be replicated in other ways, but hey.

When it’s all said and done, the truth is that Android continues to get better. Yes, device manufacturers and the telcos don’t make it easy to root, but it might be the maturity of the OS that ends up reducing the rooting minority. In any case, there are easy-to-root devices that thrive.

There will always probably be a rooting community that pushes the boundaries, and don’t see myself stopping tinkering permanently. I just really like the fact that it doesn’t feel mandatory any more.

Rooting is becoming more of a pastime than an ownership ritual, and that’s a GREAT thing.

Time Flux Review

Time Flux Review

Sep 30, 2016

A developer challenge, you say? Score 10?

Time Flux’s creator is laying down the gauntlet.

Visually, it doesn’t try to do too much; simplicity is the key, and is reflected in the subtly changing backgrounds and digital graphics. It plays in portrait, and the main visual tool is a simple 2D clock that occupies most of the viewing area.tf3

The clock has the requisite hour numbers, and a simple hour hand.

The imagery flows naturally into the game play. SImple stuff, really: the player taps the screen, game screen flashes a time and the basic hour hand starts moving; now, the main idea is to tap the screen at the exact hour requested. One has to be pretty exact, because tapping the screen to stop the hour hand a bit too quickly or too late ends the run.

Simple.

Yea, right. Not so fast. Stopping the hand on a dime is interesting enough, but as soon as one stops it, the screen calls out a new time, and the hand starts moving in the opposite direction simultaneously. One then has to stop it on the new time, and then, if one is successful, the clock starts in the opposite direction again, and continues, till one mis-hits.

For every correct tap that prolongs the gameplay, the player gets a point. Of course, more points equal more bragging rights.

It’s challenging without being overly difficult; the innate challenge of looking at two different spots (and reacting via taps) doesn’t get old too quickly. Not knowing what time will be posted, plus the clockwise/anti-clockwise dichotomy works well.

In the end, Time Flux mostly manages to be an easy-to-like impossible game that doesn’t infuriate too much. It does provide a challenge, and the developer’s cheeky challenge only adds to its allure.

When it comes to time wasters, his one definitely holds its own.

Endless Ducker Review

Endless Ducker Review

Sep 30, 2016

When it comes to the Dude Perfect crew, crazy is a way of life. One gets the feeling that Endless Ducker is tailor-made for them.

The main control system involves tapping on either side of the screen; tapping to the left invokes a forward slide, while tapping on the right makes our runner jump. This gives an idea as to the type of action involved.

Right off the bat, the action starts, with an incorporated tutorial. Almost immediately, one has to leap over stuff and the duck, and definitely not always in order. The obstacles are everyday interior objects, like toys, doorways and the like, so it mostly feels a bit natural.

Every avoided object scores a point; as one progresses, the challenge ratchets up somewhat. Timing is everything; I found that getting past a moving object is a bit different that handling a stationary one. The spacing between obstacles affects action, and I did hit the wrong side (like jumping instead of sliding) more than once.

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One element is to go so far (and get enough points) so as to open up a new “scene.” Now, there are different types of obstacles that fit the theme — watch out for the humongous linebacker on the football field — and quicker actions are needed. Then, combo actions can be performed, like invoking a slide while one is jumping.

Heady stuff.

And the game goes on and as such. It’s not rocket science, but is able to provide a bit of a challenge, since the right/left tapping mechanism to jump or slide can be a bit tricky, especially as one goes further on in the game.

The lack of complexity can be becoming or disconcerting depending on the individual playing the game; it does feel like a lot of the same. That need not be a negative though, because Endless Ducker does well in a pinch.

Submarine Dash Review

Submarine Dash Review

Sep 30, 2016

Epic mobile sagas are always of interest, but every now and then, this mobile gamer prefers something a bit simpler. Feel me? Something that I can hit while in line at the grocery store, or waiting at the doctor. Zero to playing in 3 seconds or less.

Verusoft’s Submarine Dash feels like it could be that type of game, what with the easy-to-understand gameplay and endearing graphics. I mean, who doesn’t love a ship with facial expressions?sd3

The game plays out like a three-laned runner… set under water, obviously. You take command of the friendly seafarer, and guide it (he/she?) through a seascape that has a lot of dangers and plenty of goodies.

As one starts the game, the interactive tutorial helps guide the player through the basic operations. Control is effected by intuitive gestures — a gesture up, left, right or down make the sub move one “step” in the corresponding direction. One also gets a view of the scenery here: 3D imagery, and an abbreviated top down view that allows one to see the view upfront.

There are several subs to pick from, and the use of themes

The sub moves on its own, and one element is to avoid all the obstacles that pop up… landmines, rising jellyfish, rocky outcroppings and the like. On the opposite side of the spectrum, there are a lot of goodies that line the travelways too, and, as is usually the case, one needs to weigh the risk of picking them up or playing it safe. The game also gets interesting, as a change in perspective (is that a great white creeping up from behind?) helps keep the gameplay somewhat fresh.

As the game goes on, it gets more challenging. Collectibles can be used to extend runs, improve the crafts and unlock new sea paths. The game even manages to squeeze in bosses to keep thing popping.

All in all, Submarine Dash is easy fun.

Micro Machines Review

Micro Machines Review

Sep 30, 2016

We always have time for a game like Micro Machines.

It’s a fun game with an old-school look and feel, which shouldn’t be too surprising given its roots. It packs in an admirably toy-ish ambience with plenty of smooth animations.

At launch, one is invited into the tabletop worlds, and gets some basics.

Next, it’s time to assemble the car using the provided parts; this isn’t too complex, as it involves dragging the components into their logical place. Then it’s time to race.

Racing is definitely where the fun is at. As a player, your car gets dropped onto one of the aforementioned tabletop tracks, and the biggest objective is steering. This is done with the virtual buttons on either side of the screen, which take a touch or two to get used to (be careful; don’t oversteer!), but is effective. There are several ways to sabatoge oneself, so it pays to be careful.

There are three modes to pick from: random, race and battle. The first race I got into was basic: player vs 3 game UI cars, make it to the finish line first. Nitro, gold coins and gems to collect.

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After the initial race (and earning some valuable gems), you can then procure a pack, which contains car parts and a mystery prize. Extra pieces become spares which are good for future trades.

After that first, get-your-feet race, the action ratchets up even further. One can choose do do some battle, taking on opponents with weapons, kind of like a demolition derby. Eventually, better virtual hardware might be needed — hence the packs — and one can use the collected coins to improve the attributes of the vehicle, with gems having the ability too speed things up. Then, after a car has been improved, one can then add mods to be more effective in battle.

The game incorporates league play for bragging rights; there is a rent-a-car system, boosts and more — keep a lookout for some interesting Hasbro nods further on

Micro Machines is a bit more than just a blast from the past, even if it does that very well. It manages to be fun and challenging at the same time, melding battling with straight racing. It doesn’t get overly complex, and the multiplayer function makes it a whole lot easier to get addicted to.

Looty Dungeon Review

Looty Dungeon Review

Sep 30, 2016

Yep, we’ve been waiting a bit for Yodo1’s latest output, and finally — finally! — Looty Dungeon is here. Good for us, because we have really wanted to take it for a spin.

Now’s the time.

It is an interesting dungeon crawler with a twist; it proceeds in leveled fashion, and the main idea, really, is to take our crawling character from Point A to Point B. ld2

Looks-wise, this game is definitely inviting, with bright coloration that highlights the 3D presentation. It shows up and is played in portrait, and the entire production has an old school feel to it. There are a lot of animations, and the tricks and gimmicks are represented well enough to hopefully keep folks focused on the game.

Altogether, it looks and sounds quite enjoyable.

To play, one helps the intrepid explorer (you can pick from several types) roam the blocky mazes that make up the playing areas. Guiding one’s finger along the screen in short gestures allow the lead character to move one block in the corresponding direction, and here, one wants to be precise, because there are lots of ledges that even Indiana Jones would be proud of.

As noted earlier, the main idea is to get from the starting spot to the exit door at the “end” of the level. Of course, this is far from a straight shot, as there are usually several obstacles in the way of progress. One needs to get by these, and get to that exit. Simple concept.

But hey, it gets more interesting. As one goes on, the obstacles become trickier, and then one needs to contend with the area behind beginning to collapse. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place… one has a limited time to gauge the dangers behind before falling into nothingness.

Now, it’s that built-in time trial that adds to the games attractiveness. The levels progress in a reasonable manner, and it great when consumed in small-ish increments that can become bigger without one knowing. There are bosses to conquer, goodies to collect and more. Lives are not limitless, so be careful!

No shock here… another fun one from Yodo1.

What? You’re Not Rooting?!!! (Pt 1)

A few years back, I was listening to a podcast hosted by Android sage Phil Nickinson, and heard him say something that a lot of die-hard Android heads probably considered crazy.

Phil said he no longer roots his Android devices.

Okay, you have to see this in context. Nickinson is the editor of Android Central, one of the most renown tech sites in the world. Outside XDA, it probably is the biggest repository for rooting (getting administrative rights) information on the web. For a lot of Android users, AC is the source for everything Android modding.

So when Phil (as interpreted by me) said he had reached a point where he felt stock Android was good enough, it says a lot.

Quite a deal.

I tend to root my devices, and have done so with every main device I have used since I moved to Android moons ago. It has never been about celebrating geekhood — though I do admit to falling prey to an over-inflated sense of “why not?” — or getting round legalities. I like being able to have full control of my gadgets, and expanding upon the functionality of an OS is something that has been well worth the time. In many ways, I have continued to use Android because of the ability to root: I can do a lot, and cannot replicate it elsewhere. I tend not to upgrade every year anymore, and I avoid contracts, so having a rooted device helps keep me on track.

But with my latest acquisition — the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge — I might be leaning towards Phil’s madness.

Why?

Simple.

There may not be a need to any more. For my needs, at least. I could conceivably use this device without ever going S-Off, and actually intend to.

And the reasons aren’t that crazy.

JoyCity introduce the ladies of King of Fighters to Game of Dice in its latest update

Fantastic news for all of you Game of Dice addicts the world over – JoyCity have just released a brand new limited edition pack with the addition of two new characters from the world of King of Fighters.

For those of you who haven’t yet played this popular game, you’ll find it much easier to get the hang of than you might think.

Similar in premise to Monopoly, Game of Dice is a board-style anime game where you and your opponents take turns rolling a dice to move your characters around the board, buying up real estate as you go – with which you can then toll your opponents and send them into bankruptcy.

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Earlier this September, JoyCity brought us an unexpected crossover with The King of Fighters ’98 Ultimate Match introducing the characters of Kyo Kusanagi and Iori Yagami. But now it’s the ladies of KoF’s turn to jump in to the tile hopping world of Game of Dice.

The hugely popular Mai Shiranui and Athena Asamiya have both been added to Game of Dice’s new limited edition pack. And for an added bonus, when either character is drawn from your deck you will receive 1 million gold. Not too shabby.

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In a rather special event to celebrate this latest addition to Game of Dice, JoyCity are also giving you the opportunity to be one of 5 users that will receive a KOF XIV voucher code for the PS4 after purchasing the pack.

On top of that, another lucky 200 Users who purchase the KOF ’98 UM II Limited Edition pack will also be rewarded with special items such as 1 million gold, 500 luxury points and 2 EXPx10 Enforcer’s. You can see full details of the giveaway listed below:

Event Period: The 28th of September to the 6th of October 7:59 PDT
How to enter: Share this Facebook post and leave your Member Number
Event prize: 200 Gems for 50 entrants
Winner announcement and Prize distribution: 10/11 PDT (Date is subject to change)

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Game of Dice can be downloaded for free from Google Play and the App Store.

This article is sponsored as part of Steel Media Preferred Partner’s.