Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mobile app of the Month (March)

This month's (March) mobile app is "Words With Friends". The game is free and available for both iPhone and Android. One cool feature that this app does is it allows users iPhone and users Android to play each other in the game. The game is based off of the board game, Scrabble, and has the same basic rules. The difference is in how players play the game. First, after installing the app, you make a username. Then, you give your username to a friend you wish to play against. Once you start a game, the first player lays down his or her word. The app communicates with a server which tells the other player that it is their turn. The game plays as fast or as slow as the players respond to the notices that it is their turn to play. The real fun begins when you have multiple games going on with different people. I do not know if you can have a three player game, because I've never tried, but if I can find two other people willing to try, we can take a look. Now, I'm handing out my Words with Friends username, but if I get spam from you people, then I will be forced to stop using the app. I'm interested in people who are willing and actually wanting to play the game. My username is "pat4102"

Monday, March 14, 2011

Computer mice

I found myself buying another mouse today. I purchased a mouse about 6 months ago, but the wireless USB plug-in was damaged when my apartment flooded. I have the replacement part coming from China, but I may not have it until May. I needed a mouse before then, so I was off to Office Depot. First I will briefly explain the features of modern mice, and for my conclusion, I will tell you guys what mouse I ended up purchasing. 

Now, let's talk about different kinds of mice on the market. The three features that define a mouse are: number of buttons, type of optics used to sense motion, and kind of connection between the computer and the mouse. Let's talk about the first feature. I commonly see three different options on the market today. They are: red LED, blue LED, red LASER. Most mice on the market are the red LED variety, but most high end mice are red laser variety. Microsoft is selling a blue LED brand, the blue color is supposedly better at reflecting off surfaces on which the red light from other products do not work correctly.

Let's talk about buttons. I like a left and right click button, with a scroll wheel, and what I call the 'go back' button. They are usually on the side of the mouse and allow you to return to the former screen without clicking on the "undo" or "go back" buttons. You can buy mice with  8 to 10 buttons that can be mapped to all sorts of commands. I have never owned one of these mice, however, because they are kind of expensive. The last feature to look for is how the mouse talks to the computer. Nearly all new mice use USB, but from there, you can go in many different directions.  Some options out there are: 2.4 GHz wireless, Bluetooth wireless, USB cord, and Infra Red.  

So...I ended up buying the Microsoft blue LED, so I will report back on how well they work in a few weeks.  I have a computer table that I have had trouble with mice being able to reflect enough light to work well. This new mouse works fine on it, so that's an early vote of confidence.