I’ve got a bit of a long commute. Usually it’s an hour long, but I’ve had days where it’s bettween one and a half hours to two hours. Once, it took me three hours to get to the office. I would have been better off working from home. I live in New York, and I, like every other New Yorker, am a victim of the MTA, cursed to spend hours in tunnels without cell service. I’d read news articles I saved with Pocket, play games that I’ve played 100 times, but I wanted something different. I wanted to play the sort of Nintendo games I grew up with: Mario Kart, Super Mario Bros, Legend of Zelda, Super Smash Bros. Most of all, I wanted to play the Metroid 2 remake coming out next month. Metroid: Samus Returns. The only reason I buy Nintendo hardware is if they release a Metroid game for it. That’s why I didn’t get a Wii U.
With all of that in mind, it seemed a good idea to buy the New Nintendo 3DS XL. But I didn’t want to pay $200 for the 3D feature I’d never use (I like not having headaches, thank you very much), and the 2DS looked like it would be uncomfortable to use and carry around. Plus, it didn’t have the C stick or second L/R buttons. Nintendo had the answer for me though, in the New Nintendo 2DS XL. It’s been keeping me company on long train rides, though the longest I was stuck in a tunnel recently, it was out of battery. How do I like it when I can actually play it? Quite a bit!
|Backwards compatible with DS games
||2D in a 3D world means some games are more difficult
|Great big screens
||Only one color option
|Large catalog of great games
||Feels built for small hands, despite size
||Shorter than expected battery life in sleep mode
Rating and more info below!
The other day I was sitting at my desk, pouring over some code. I had on my Gunnar glasses with amber lenses. I always use computer glasses at work, to protect my vision, keep my sleep schedule in check, and prevent eye strain (all about how that works below). The frames aren’t too bad looking, but the lenses are an obviously yellow color, and it definitely stands out in a bad way. A friend walked by and said “Hey, Danielle, heading to shop class?” It took me a moment before I remembered the yellow tinted goggles of shop class and laughed. These yellow computer glasses do look a little silly, and have a reputation for only being worn by huge nerds. Facebook advertisements for Felix Gray computer eyewear caught my eye. These are glasses that promise all the benefits of other computer glasses such as Gunnars, but without looking silly. They have no obvious yellow tint to them, but you can tell they filter out blue light. To look at them, they look just like normal glasses. You can even get a pair without magnification of any kind, unlike some other brands, which means you can wear them all the time. I wanted glasses that could protect my vision, keep me from getting headaches, and look stylish enough to look like any other pair of glasses so I could wear them anytime I was looking at a screen. Felix Gray seemed to have the perfect solution for me, so I bought a pair.
I’ve since spent every day over the past week using them whenever I’ve been looking at a screen, which is quite some time. As a computer programmer by day, news junkie by night, NYC subway commuter, and as someone capable of binging an entire show in a few days, I spend a lot of time staring at screens. This is my third pair of computer glasses, the first two being two generations of the fantastic Gunnar lenses, and, if I’m being honest, these might be my favorite pair yet.
For a few months now, I tossed aside my trusty Magic Trackpad, and picked up a MOBA gaming mouse. It was the perfect mouse to replace my Magic Trackpad at work. Let me explain. For a while now, I had been feeling a pain in my wrist. I used to play tennis often, and between that at working at a desk all day, I had strained my right wrist. I began to wonder if it was actually due to the Magic Trackpad I used, if I should perhaps be using something more ergonomic (Apple’s keyboards, mice, and trackpads are known for terrible ergonomics). But how could I replace my trackpad? I had been using Apple’s gestures along with gestures from BetterTouchTool to make it a vital part of my workflow. Certain actions like looking up a word, copy and pasting, going to a method’s definition in Eclipse, were custom, and couldn’t be replaced by a standard 3 button mouse (including the mouse wheel). To me, the perfect solution was an MMO or MOBA gaming mouse. These have many buttons for in-game macros that can instead be used for day-to-day interaction. Switching spaces, activating Mission Control, opening up notifications, switching apps, looking up words, going to method definitions, or keyboard macros can all be assigned to the plethora of mouse buttons. Plus, some gaming mice can even be customized with their appearance and haptic feedback. I found one such mouse that not only had its buttons in a setup that made them quick and easy to access with a series of finger flicks and movements, but it also was highly customizable within macOS, including appearance adjustments. I picked up the 15 button SteelSeries Rival 500, a MOBA gaming mouse, and I haven’t used a better mouse for work yet.
One of many issues you’ll find with the service.
I’m a pretty loyal Amazon customer. Amazon Prime has me hooked, and I do enjoy my Prime Video subscription on occasion. Amazon sent me an offer I decided to try out: a 30 day free trial of Amazon Fresh, and $25 off my first order. How could I refuse? I often cringe when buying groceries, so $25 could help ease that sinking feeling at the checkout line where I wonder how I could literally be eating so much of my paycheck. I also hate the act of going to the grocery store. I hate walking there, carrying groceries, trying to navigate the narrow isles, finding out they don’t have something I want or forgetting something, and then lugging those heavy groceries back to my apartment only to realize that I jostled the bags and my eggs broke. Surely there’s a better way. So, I decided to try Amazon Fresh. I prefer online shopping for other products, being able to compare prices, shop for the best product, and read reviews, so why not try the same for food?
It’s an incredible idea, but when it comes to Amazon Fresh, it’s unfortunately half-baked.
Consumer Reports has reverse an earlier decision to withhold their recommendation from the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. To recap, Consumer Reports ran their standardized battery life test using Safari on the new MacBook Pros. Their test loads the same webpages stopped locally on their servers repeatedly until the battery dies. In their testing of the 2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, they saw the wildest difference between test runs that they’ve ever encountered. It seems the battery life of the MacBook Pro varied wildly from test to test due to a bug in Safari, not a problem with the MacBook Pro’s battery. After re-testing the new MacBooks, they now recommend it.
No one has ever completed that maze.
The last original RollerCoaster Tycoon game for iOS, RollerCoaster Tycoon 4 Mobile, was a disaster
. It was ruined by freemium pricing tactics taken to an extreme. The game was almost unplayable, and certainly no fun. Fortunately, the series wasn’t completely lost, as the original publisher created a port
of RollerCoaster Tycoon 3. This was a full port of the original Mac/PC game, and was available for a single price with no in-app purchases. It’s a great game, and I still play it on occasion. However, it made me miss the game I grew up with. I remember taking turns with my brother to play the original RollerCoaster Tycoon on our computer. The first game was a masterpiece, and the original creator, Chris Sawyer, was a mad genius. In order to cram the most features he could into the limited size of the game, he coded it in pure assembly code. There’s not a person alive who likes assembly code, but everyone loved what he created. RollerCoaster Tycoon was a blast, and RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 added some great features to the original. It’s frequently called the best RollerCoaster Tycoon game by fans of the series. Now Atari has an original game based off of RollerCoaster Tycoon 1 and 2, and the final creation, RollerCoaster Tycoon Classic
, has everything we loved about the original, in part because Chris Sawyer came back to work on the game. Best of all, Atari abandoned their freemium pricing model for a much more traditional one.
When Pebble finally announced that the Pebble Time 2 would never be released and the company was shutting down, being acquired by Fitbit, I’ll admit I felt a small twinge of relief. Make no mistake, I loved my Pebbles, but they had begun to feel too limited, too dated. The Apple Watch had caught my eye. Sure, it didn’t have a 7 day battery life like the Pebble, but everything else I own has to be charged nightly anyway, so why not my watch? The Apple Watch’s screen may not always be on, but I had to give the Pebble a good flick to turn the backlight on in most situations anyway. And, while the Pebble Time 2 looked quite attractive, the Apple Watch still felt like it had just a little more class. Maybe it’s the curved glass and curved edges. Maybe it’s the high resolution full color display. As long as I had my Pebble though, I saw no need to buy the Apple Watch. But now Pebble’s going away, which means Pebble updates (including one to fix a crash I’m seeing), speech recognition, SMS services, and app store were all going away. My smart watch wasn’t going to be so smart anymore. It seemed like the perfect time to switch to an Apple Watch, especially with the holiday coming up. So that’s how a Pebble user became an Apple Watch user. You know what? With apologies to Pebble, I’m really glad I did.