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As you can see, we are doing a bit of a companion review, one on Amazon Cloud player, and one on Google Music. Before we start, let me warn you that I mainly use Google Music on my Android phone, so most of the review is based on that. I have not used the computer version heavily since Google Music was still in beta. Also note that Google Music is now part of the “Play” suite that Google has changed everything to, but I will still refer to it as Google Music.
Now onto the review-
Similar to Amazon Cloud player, when you buy music in the Play store on an Android device, the music is automatically added to your Google Music library. You can then access it from your phone, tablet, or computer. You can also then go on to download your music onto your device for offline listening. This is a wonderful convenience for people like me who like to buy music and have everything done on the phone. There is currently a 20,000 song limit on your music library, with a maximum of 250 Mb per song.
For the computer version of Google Music, there is a program that will automatically update your Google Music library by syncing it with a specified folder or set of folders on your computer. The first time you sync, it will likely take hours, but after that, assuming you haven’t added large quantities of music, the syncing takes almost no time at all. The program also works in reverse, you can back up your entire Google Music library (including purchases) onto a computer.
The Android app is great, I actually prefer it over the standard music player in Android, though it does have some flaws. I honestly do not like the way the shuffle and queue features work. Basically when you tell a song to play, and then set it to shuffle, the app then arranges all the songs randomly into a queue, and the song you start off with often ends up being in the middle of the queue. Because of this, I have songs in my library that I don’t hear. Also if you decide to play the same song again, the queue is not cleared, so you just get the same songs, in the same order as before. There is a way to fix this, you press the “Settings” button on the phone and hit “Clear Queue”. This solves the problem, but I feel like a new queue should be generated each time a new song is played.
Overall, I love Google Music. It’s great for me because I go on the Play store, buy an album, and suddenly its available for me to listen and download! Its also great because sometimes they have ridiculous deals (example: I just bought 50 classical music songs for $2). Its pretty easy to use, though it does have its bugs. Its a great program, and I would recommend it to anyone with an Android device.
Though if you don’t want to take my word for it, you can look at the companion Amazon Cloud Player review.
I just watched the GT TV reveal for Star Wars 1313, the new Star Wars game franchise from LucasArts. I must say, from the little I saw, I was rather impressed. The game is a third person shooter (I would assume, though they never specified) where you play as an as of yet undisclosed bounty hunter in what looks like the Rise of the Empire era (between Episodes III and IV). The idea of playing as a bounty hunter is very appealing to me, and I hope LucasArts can pull of a good game for a change. More footage and details will be released at E3 next week!
What are your thoughts? Tell us in the comments!
Kony 2012 is an Internet movement to bring attention and justice to a Ugandan warlord named Joseph Kony. Kony has been forcing children into his army, the LRA, which then terrorizes other parts of Central Africa. His crimes include rapes, killings, and other crimes against humanity. The movement is an attempt to get people to know what is going on, and so far it has gone viral.
The campaign is run by an organization called Invisible Children, which was formed by 3 California film makers to stop human rights abuses not only in Uganda, but also in other parts of the world. For the campaign, they produced a 30-minute documentary, posted it on social media sites, and viral marketing took over from there. The video was posted on March 5, 2012. As of today, March 8th, the video has over 27 million views.
There has been some backlash, but the majority of the complaints I personally have seen don’t have too much logical backing.
Why should the U.S. get involved? We have problems enough already!
- The U.S. already has 100 advisers in Uganda helping the Ugandan military to find Kony. The movement isn’t asking for anything more than that, it just wants to ensure that the advisers stay in the country. The movement is NOT looking at a full-scale military intervention, all the movement wants to do is keep the advisers in the country to assist the Ugandan military.
Only 30% of my donation goes to the Ugandan people!
-Your donation is to help the movement, so it will not all go to relief efforts. As of 2011 it was 37% of spending went towards relief programs, but the financials of the organization are on their website, you can see where every dollar goes. 25% of their spending was used on awareness campaigns, while only 16% is used to pay employees. The financials are available here.
Its just a fad that will fade, there’s no point for me to join this bandwagon.
-Yes, humans do have a tendency to jump on bandwagons to feel included, but this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. This guy has been in power for 26 years. That’s 26 years of rapes, killings, and kidnappings. Something needs to be done, regardless of whether or not it is a “fad”
Invisible Children has addressed more concerns that people have on their website, found here
Visit Kony2012.com or Invisible Children if you want to find out more. You can purchase posters to hang up around to spread the word, or watch the video on the site. Lets do what we can to find this guy!
Google Docs, for those of you who don’t know, is a cloud-based office suite that is free to use. In laymen’s terms, Microsoft Office online for free. Its awesome for students to use because it provides tons of accessibility, sharing features, and did I mention it is free?
Say I start an assignment on my home computer and I go somewhere else and find the free time to work on it again. All I have to do is get to a computer with internet access, log in, and work on it. Its also great if you’re like me and actually don’t own a printer. You can finish the assignment at home or somewhere else and go to a computer lab (or friend’s house), log in, and print it out! Another great feature is that Google Docs autosaves every minute or so! Even if your computer crashes, your assignment is still on Google Docs and you can get to it from another computer! Maybe you want to work on it from another computer without internet. No problem! Just download the file as a Word document or whatever format you want, stick it on a flash drive, and do it the old fashioned way!
Say you have a group assignment. You can make a document on Google Docs and share it with your group mates so you can all be working on the same exact file at the same time! You literally see the other people’s text typing as they do. I’ve done this on numerous occasions, it works very well! You could also share it to a friend if you want them to look over the document and proof-read, and your friend can leave comments on certain parts of the text to tell you what you should change.
Free is free, you don’t have to pay anything for it. But it being free does lead to the fact that there are some bugs and missing features that are present in other office suites. The page count on a document made by Google Docs is not the same as the same document opened up in Word (the document is a bit longer in Word). Printing directly from the browser also only works on Google Chrome, and sometimes leads to letters being closer together than normal. I would advise using Microsoft Office or Open Office for big papers where you are hitting the maximum page count.
Google Cloud Connect-
This is an add on for Microsoft Office that lets you work on your document in Office, but it saves it to Google Docs. It does not support sharing, and I don’t know how features present only in Office work out (I have only seen it used, I haven’t used it myself).
In a nutshell, Google Docs is an awesome tool for students. Check out more things you could be doing in the cloud at LockerGnome.
I ran across this on a forum that I visit regularly, and I felt like this was worth sharing. DAZ 3D, a 3D software company, is offering three of their commercial products ABSOLUTELY FREE The three products include
- Hexagon 3D, a 3D modeling program
- Bryce 7, a 3D terrain generation and rendering program
- DAZ Studio 4, an animation and rendering program
You’re probably thinking “There’s some catch to this”. Well there is. You have to sign up for the DAZ 3D e-mail newsletter. Oh the horrors! I’ve done it myself, and you literally don’t even have to submit a credit card number! Just make an account, and you can have nearly $900 USD of programs for free! I don’t know when this expires, so jump on it soon!
You’re probably wondering what these are capable of. I’ve played with both Bryce 7 and DAZ Studio and with a little bit of work and tutorial-watching, I’ve made some cool stuff with the presets. I’m not a great modeler unless its something I really want to do, so I don’t have anything for Hexagon, but it does offer a good environment to model in.
Bryce includes the capabilities to generate random height maps, black and white images that tell the computer how high a part on the terrain is. From this height map, Bryce creates a 3D model of the terrain. You can edit the sky, fog, and sun positions (among other things). Here’s something I whipped up in about half an hour with the height map generator set to “Mordor”
Pretty cool, eh?
DAZ Studio 4
DAZ Studio comes with many models and scenes already set up if you just want to mess with the camera and render cool things. Thats exactly what I did after I failed to figure out how to do really cool stuff on my own. Here’s the result, I imported the “Dragon Slayer” scene (something messed up with the guy)
I did add a yellow light inside the dragon’s mouth to make it appear like he was about to breathe fire on the poor knight trying to slay him.
DAZ Studio has some other interesting features, if you import one of their human models, you can modify it with sliders on the left hand side of the screen like you were creating a character in some RPG. Its pretty cool stuff, and allows for nice results with very little work. If you’re like me, and organic modeling isn’t your forte (at all), I would recommend DAZ Studio highly.
Anyway, DAZ’s products are pretty cool, though the navigation does take some time to get used to. In their store, you can also find many free models that you can easily use in DAZ scenes. There are also higher quality models that you can buy if you need to. DAZ’s products provide an easy environment to make some pretty awesome stuff.
I just want to say Hi! I’m a new writer for the site, I’ve been a bit of a consultant for the site for awhile (Usually a useless consultant, but never the less), and I recently edited one of the new articles and decided I’d like to be on board. Hint, I wrote the 7 things from CES article. Anyway, you’ll see new stuff from me every once and awhile, if there’s something specific you want me to write about, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d say that a lot of my articles will have to do with PC gaming, so be prepared! Have a good day!