Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is a new addition to the series available on iOS and Android devices. After playing other versions of Animal Crossing on the DS, I enjoyed the concept establishing a town on your own while decorating the place you will be living in. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is different from the other versions in a way where how you will be looking at the game.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp will not be like the other games where you will be the Mayor of your own town which you can name on your own and you will build your own house to live in and decorate it for your friends and other players when they visit it. Instead, in Pocket Camp you will be the manager of your own campsite and you will be building and decorating your camp or campervan. One way of decorating it is by catching fishes and bugs you may find along the way with a net anda  fishing rod. Along the way of doing just that, you may come across some problems with getting certain items or just feel that you are doing it too slowly and have no way of going faster. Thankfully, you will have an in-game currency known as leaf tickets to help you get just what you need for your camp or campervan. Unlike the other Animal Crossing games, the players in Pocket Camp will have a player ID which can be shared to others so that others can visit your camp.

Nintendo has announced its release in late November this year.

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DJI Phantom 4 Pro

The DJI Phantom 4 Pro is another drone for photographers to use. The DJI Phantom 4 Pro almost seems like it was made for that exact purpose with automated camera functions, robust controls, and a max speed of  72kph (45mph).

Specifications:

  • 1388g (3.06 pounds)
  • 350mm diagonally (13.7 inches)
  • Approx 28 minutes flight time
  • Controller with flight and camera controls (optional touchscreen)
  • 72kph (45mph)
  • Front and rear collision detection

The automated camera functions means that you do not need to control the camera on your own to do the same things over and over again. The 28 minutes flight time would mean that you do not have to constantly land your drone and recharge it and can continuously take a series of photographs. Having a controller with flight and camera controls to control the drone would be like playing a video game on your phone. Collision sensors on the sides would allow you to know when your drone bumps into something. The one on the bottom would allow for safer landings and the infrared sensors would allow it to know where it is in a confined space.

The return-to-home function has a range of 300 meters. The function allows the drone to go back to a specific location that you can set as long as that location is within the range. That is where the infrared sensors come in handy as you can get it to go into confined spaces like your house. The drone, using the infrared sensors, would be able to navigate through the area on its own when returning home.

The chunky controller has not changed from the DJI Phantom 4. Of course the price is more expensive due to the additional Pro features.

Now onto the drone itself. It has a carry case which as the name suggests can carry items in it. The propellers can be easily removed and clipped on for the ease of setup.

Camera Specifications:

  • 4K video at 60fps
  • Max video bitrate 100Mbps
  • 128GB MicroSD
  • 20-megapixel, 1-inch CMOS sensor
  • Mechanical shutter
  • Aperture control f2.8-f11

The specifications are what you would usually find in a camera drone.

2 of the drone functions include ActiveTrack and Tapfly mode. ActiveTrack allows the drone to follow a subject by flying sideways or backwards. Tapfly mode, which works backwards now, allows the drone to fly to a location which you will determine by tapping on the screen and you can rotate the drone or tilt the camera without changing its path. The software can handle the gimbal’s smooth sweeps and tracking better than you can, and that is what’s worth the price for interested photographers.

The drone comes with a beginners mode where it restricts the top seed and steering. Once you are more comfortable with flying it, you can always remove the beginner mode anytime you feel like.

I personally feel that the price is worth it for the wide variety of functions and the complexity of each function. The functions are easy to use and can easily help one out in sticky situations.

The DJI Phantom 4 Pro costs on an average of $1,500USD.

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Token Ring

Ever wanted to have something like a hand print scanner in your home? Maybe even make payments without taking out your wallet? Well then the Token Ring would be the perfect products for you.

The Token Ring is the first product that Token made. Token Ring is simply put, an accessory to access items that usually require you to input a password. Let it be like an account where you can access your computer, car door, and maybe even your house door(if you have a lock made by Token).

The way Token Ring works is rather simple. It’s fingerprint sensor on the underside which will allow the owner to use it’s fingerprint to unlock the items with locks that have Near field communication(NFC). Since not all locks have NFC, Token Ring is considering adding Bluetooth to it as another way to ‘communicate’ with the lock. Taking the Token Ring off will require a swipe before activating it again. A rainbow-colored LED pulse shows it recognizes the fingerprint, but a red flash means it was rejected.

Token is already working with Microsoft to support Windows 10 and together with Visa and Mastercard to make contactless payments.

Token Ring comes with 2 prices- $249 and $299. The one that comes at $249 comes with a brushed stainless steel finish. While the one that costs $299 comes in black rhodium and 14k rose gold finishes.

I personally feel that the Token Ring would be extremely useful to people who have a lot items in their bag or pocket and those who often leave their keys at home or forget to take it after a meal. The Token Ring should be made water-resistant so that it will still work when you spill coffee over it or you forget to bring your umbrella on a rainy day.

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Last Day on Earth: Zombie Survival

Last Day on Earth: Zombie Survival is a survival game like the name suggests and there would be different types of zombies trying to kill you along with other players from around the world.

Once you spawn in your selected server which you can decide upon installing and loading the game, you will be given a Cleaver and no resources at all and the plot of land you spawn into will be where your home will be built. The plot of land would offer you valuable resources required for you to craft tools and build a simple shelter. However, zombies will roam everywhere on your plot on land and others as you explore the map. Mining, chopping trees, gathering resources, and killing zombies, players, or animals (wolfs and deer) would grant you Experience Points (XP) which would allow you to level up and get skill points which you can spend in the crafting menu to learn the recipes to craft different items which can aid your survival. More items can be unlocked by reaching a certain required level.

To travel to other areas, one must travel out of the plot of land they are in to access the world map where from there, one can select the area he/she wants to go. Travelling takes time and one can travel to an area within seconds by spending energy to run there. There are different areas and different indications on each area. There are other player bases which will be indicated with their in-game name beneath a house.

There will be 3 military bunkers available for players to explore and each of them will require their own access card to enter. There will be a vault in it which will require a password to enter which has not been found out or discovered yet. The other areas will be areas to gather resources.

There will be 2 types of area to gather resources from, Limestone Ridge and Pine Bushes, each having more of their own resource (Limestone Ridge having more ores and Limestone and Pine Bushes having more pine trees and berry bushes). Other players would be able to access those areas as well so do not be surprised when you bump into one.

Players would have to protect their own bases buy building walls around their base and sustain on their own, having to get water and food. Getting water and food can be difficult to some and easy to others. You can get water by using a Rain Catcher to get water. You can get food by growing your own or killing deer. There is hunger and thirst to manage and you can die from it. Cooking food restores more health and hunger. There will be vehicles and other modes of transport excluding a train. Which means you can explore other areas outside your map vision. Build a radio tower to expand your map vision and go to a antenna tower to join a clan or guild. Crafting a vehicle quickens the pace of travelling from place to place.

There are special events like a supply drop and a airplane crash site which will appear occasionally for a short period of time. Every 24 hours, a zombie horde will move through your plot of land, destroying the walls of your shelter if not properly upgraded or defended.

Overall, I have only been playing this game for a month and have been enjoying the game-play so far. The game is available on IOS and Android free for all players.

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Google Home

Seems like Amazon Echo has a competition.

Since the release of Google Home, it has grown a lot as a not so portable of ‘Siri’. It acts as a personal assistant of some sort. You can tell it to do things just like Siri. It can do a wide variety of things it can do like respond to what you or others say. It is has a voice recognition so it can learn how to respond to individuals which you can add through the app that controls it which can be found on iOS and Android devices. The Google Home can also play music through its speakers using Bluetooth

With the home, you can basically talk to it and get it to do things you normally would with a phone or computer like remind you of events, play the news, set and snooze an alarm and so on. The way that that happens is that it gets information from your Google account so Apple fans are going to have to make a Google account to use it. The Google Home seems to have a personality of some sort as it contains Easter Eggs that Google added such as saying “I am your father” which is a Star Wars reference. In order to have several users on the same Google Home, each user has to be added through the main user and has to install their own Google Home app. The Google Home voice recognition system can be easily fooled if you sound alike to a person that is registered to it so that is why Google have not used it to do things that is very personal such as payments and unlocking things.

Google Home can be activated by a phrase or something that you say a lot to it or by tapping the top of it. To stop audio, alarms, timers, and responses from playing, just tap the top of the Google Home once. To change the volume of the audio playing, just swipe on the Google Home clockwise to increase the volume and anticlockwise to lower it. Long press to activate it and pressing the mute button will deactivate it.

I personally feel that the Google Home is going to come very handy when we are in a rush or are short in time as it can allow us to do things without even taking our phone out from our pockets especially when it is made available at $114.

Photo courtesy of: https://thenextweb.com/google/2016/05/18/google-home-official-amazon-echo-worried/#.tnw_qfozAw9o

Pokemon Sun & Moon

Pokemon Sun and Moon is newly released on November 2016 to commemorate the Pokemon franchise’s 20th anniversary.

Following the usual story line of almost all the Pokemon games, you will be a Pokemon trainer training Pokemons with your friends in the Alola region which is based on Hawaii. The objective of this game in the story is to defeat/stop the criminal organization, Team Skull, while battling other Pokemon trainers along the way.

The game introduced 81 new Pokemon species and includes new features such as Alolan forms of previous Pokemons, powerful moves called Z-Moves, powerful creatures known as Ultra Beasts, updated battle and training mechanics, and improved polygonal 3D graphics. The game also has Mega Evolution which evolves Pokemon into a better form. Just like Pokemon Omega Ruby and Pokemon Alpha Sapphire, Pokemon Sun and Moon has almost the same story plot.

Alike the other previous Pokemon games, it contains similar and more features like being able to customize your own character in Pokemon X and Y.

The game takes places in the Alola region which consists of mostly islands. You start off by moving in to the region and you meet Professor Kukui. Unfortunately, Professor Oak is not around (Professor in other Pokemon games) and instead his cousin Samson Oak will be taking his place and Professor Kukui being the leading scientist. You then continue on into the normal situation where you have to save someone from a Pokemon or witness someone getting saved from a Pokemon and from there you continue on with the story.

The game was very well received by people and critics and it even shipped over 10 million units worldwide within a week, becoming one of the fastest selling games in Nintendo’s history.

Pokemon Sun and Moon costs £32 and £35 respectively on Amazon and GAME. I personally feel it is worth it as the game is quite different from the usual game mechanics.

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Pokemon GO

The newest game, Pokemon GO has made a huge impact on not just gamers, but others who did not like games at first. To those, whose childhood are with pokemon, then this is the game that you would probable love for the rest of your life. Using the AR ( Augmented Reality) and GPS, the game requires you to move about in the world to catch pokemon. When one appears, it shows up in the real world and you would have to point your phone’s camera towards it and catch it through your phone. There are also PokeStops along the way that allows you to collect things that will help you in your journey to catch more pokemon.

While the game being a global hit, it has some minor server issues. During its publish, it had to stop as its server was overloading after it being released only at 4 countries.

Pokemon Go uses players GPS to play the game and catch Pokemon around their area and access PokeStops. Another game that uses the players GPS to play the game is Ingress which is also by Niantic.

Pokemon Go also has another thing besides PokeStops and Pokemon which are Gyms. It resembles the original gyms from the old Pokemon games. Once a player reaches level 5, he/she can join a team (Valor,Mystic or Instinct). Once a players joins a team he/she can battle gyms for their team and take them over. To battle a gym, one has to simply go within the range of it and tap on it.

You can power-up some of the Pokemon by using Stardust which can be obtained by capturing, evolving and hatching Pokemon from eggs and the type of Pokemon Candy for the certain type of its original evolution (Pidgy Candy for Pidgy, Pideotto, and Pidgeot). By powering up the Pokemon, it will raise its CP which stands for Combat Point. For evolving Pokemon, it requires Pokemon Candy to evolve it which will give you XP (needed to level up)  for each evolution a player did.

If the team currently occupying the gym is not the player’s one the the player can battle it using 6 of its Pokemon. When a player defeats a gym which is not his/her own by lowering its prestige to 0, it becomes neutral (white) then anybody can place his/her Pokemon in it to take it over for their team. There are some people who like to wait for others to take down the gym for them and then “steal” it by placing his/her Pokemon in it. When gym’s prestige is lowered down by 1 level, the lowest CP Pokemon in the gym gets “kicked” out which means that it returns to its trainer and will no longer be in the gym.

If it is a friendly gym (players’s own team) then the player can place his/her own Pokemon in it to help defend the gym. Players also can train the gym to raise its prestige. Players can only place the same amount of Pokemon in the gym as the gym level. Therefore by raising its prestige, a player can level up the gym and place his/her Pokemon in it. If a player were to place a Pokemon in the gym, he/she can claim the Defender Bonus once every 21 hours but the Defender Bonus cannot be claimed if your Pokemon got “kicked” out of the gym. The more amount of Pokemon a player places in the gym, the more amount of Defender Bonus one can claim (1 Pokemon in a gym grants 10 Pokecoins and 500 Stardust). However one cannot place more than 1 Pokemon in the same gym meaning that one has to travel to several friendly gyms and place their Pokemon in it.

There are several items in the game to help you advance (Lure Modules, Incense , More Egg Incubators, and Lucky Eggs).

Lucky Eggs

Lucky Eggs can be used whenever a player wishes to do so. However it is advised to use it only when one wants to evolve a lot of Pokemon at once as it doubles the XP one gets for 30 minutes.

Egg Incubators

Egg Incubators allows a player to incubate a egg as the name suggests. To hatch the egg, players must walk the required distance to hatch it. The further the player has to walk, the better the Pokemon the player gets. Having more Egg Incubators mean that a player can hatch multiple eggs at once, thus being more efficient. However, extra incubators that a player gets can only be used to hatch 3 eggs.

Lure Modules

Lure Modules can be used on PokeStops and benefits everyone around it. It lures Pokemon to its area and lasts for 30 minutes.

Incense

Incense benefits the only player who uses it and can be used anywhere. It lures Pokemon to the player and a Pokemon appears every 200m a player moves or every 5 minutes. It also lasts for 30 minutes. However, some players have altered the time on their device to reset the timer or get more time using the Incense and Lucky Egg as it depends on the time on your device.

With the new update, Niantic added the second generation of Pokemon into the game and a few new features like being able to see which Pokestop is the nearest to a certain Pokemon on your nearby list just by clicking on the Pokemon you want to ‘track’.

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Clash Royale

One of the most recent game that came out is Clash Royale. It is another game from the Clash of Clans creator, Supercell.

Having played the game for a while, in my opinion, it is quite addictive. Despite it being a new game, there are already players in the game who literally maxed out most of the troops.

Some characters in the game are copied from Clash of Clans with some add-ons to the old characters and introducing many new characters. There are different arenas in the game, each with its own type of troop to unlock and get. Just like the leagues in Clash of Clans, Clash Royale also uses trophies to allow you to move on to the next arena. When battling, players will start off with just 4 cards in their hand. Deploying a troop on the battlefield requires elixir which is a in-game currency in Clash of Clans. The elixir is being generated overtime and each player can hold a maximum of 10 elixir per match. At the last minute, the production of elixir will double, that is when things start to get tense, players can deploy better troops faster. Each victory is determined by the number of crowns you get in a certain battle-destroying the towers on the side grants you 1 crown, while destroying the tower at the back destroys all the towers, granting you 3 crowns( if the side towers are not destroyed).

After each battle, if you win, you will receive a chest. The chest contains different amounts of coins which will be used to buy more troops and upgrade them and it also contains different troop cards. However the chest does take time to open. By getting troop cards, you can upgrade you troops once you get a certain amount of the same type of troop card. The troop cards come in 3 different rarities: common, rare, and epic.

Just like Clash of Clans, you can join clans. While in a clan, you can donate and request for a certain type of troop card which you own and even have friendly matches between you clanmates.

There are also replays of the battles between some of the top players, where you can learn some strategy from their battle or from them.

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AlphaGo

The Google DeepMind is a developer of the AI (Artificial Intelligence) AlphaGo  in playing games against humans. It first made history this year during January by beating a master of the ancient game of Go. Just in case you have not heard of Go, it is largely played in China, Korea and Japan, the ancient board game requires two players taking alternate turns to place black and white tiles on a grid, jockeying to occupy more of the board than their opponent.
DeepMind was founded by Demis Hassabis, Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman in 2010. However, Google announced that it had agreed to takeover DeepMind which was successful. Google then renamed it as Google DeepMind.
The AI, AlphaGo, beat the European Go champion in October 2015 which was the first time an AI defeated a professional player. Today, DeepMind is playing its second match of Go. AlphaGo was programmed to win at board games. AlphaGo’s 19×19 grid offers nearly uncountable variations of moves and branching outcomes, ruling out typical AI brute-force logic.
DeepMind claimed that AlphaGo was not pre-programmed and it learns from experience, using only raw pixels as data input.
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Bionic fingertip

The bionic fingertip, a device made by neuroengineer Silvestro Micera and his team at Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne and Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, allowed the wearer to distinguish texture of different surfaces.

The bionic fingertip interests with the nerves of the wearer. It can be tested without it being planted into an amputee’s finger or hand which requires surgery by piercing needles into ones arms. This would mean that they can develop the fingertip faster by allowing those non-amputees to wear it and enabling the developer to see how fast the wearer’s brain reacts to the fingertip and their own hand which the results are that it shows the same level of brain activity. This bionic fingertip is the first to detect both pressure and the difference between smooth and rough.

“This study merges fundamental sciences and applied engineering: it provides additional evidence that research in neuroprosthetics can contribute to the neuroscience debate, specifically about the neuronal mechanisms of the human sense of touch,” said Calogero Oddo of the BioRobotics Institute of SSSA.
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