Category: Arts & Entertainment (Page 1 of 3)

OCTOBER 22: INTL CAPS LOCK DAY

TYPING IN THIS MANNER OFTEN SIGNIFIES I’M SHOUTING
MOST OF YOU DO KNOW ME WELL AND THIS WILL LEAVE YOU DOUBTING
INDULGE ME JUST A TINY BIT AND PLEASE DECIDE TO STAY
LONG ENOUGH TO CELEBRATE THIS WONDROUS CAPS LOCK DAY

FEEL FREE TO TYPE ALL TEXT IN CAPS FOR THIS GRAND HOLIDAY
AND ALSO ON JUNE 28TH, TO HONOR BILLY MAYS
IF ANYONE REGARDS YOUR TYPING AS IRRATIONAL
REMIND THEM CAPS LOCK DAY IS TRULY INTERNATIONAL

IF YOU OWN A CHROMEBOOK YOU MAY FEEL A BIT LEFT OUT
YOUR KEYBOARD LACKS A CAPS LOCK KEY, BUT THERE’S NO NEED TO POUT
I HAVE A HANDY TIP FOR YOU BEFORE THIS RHYME IS DONE
PRESS ALT + SEARCH ON YOUR KEYBOARD AND YOU CAN JOIN THE FUN

Finding the Best Prices on Video Games

Back as the pandemic began, I blogged about CheapShark, a great site for finding your best prices on video games. But since then, other similar sites have been launched. If you’re a frequent gamer, there are a lot of ways for you to save money on your hobby/habit!

GGDeals is the first I should mention, because it may match what CheapShark does. And GGDeals covers a different range of game vendors, so you may want to review both in turn to find your best deals.

PsPrices is more for console game players. Here you can find game pricing tools for Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft game systems, as well as the Epic Store and Apple App Store.

DekuDeals is for Nintendo Switch games only. But you may find it more pleasant to find your deals here than by combing through the Nintendo Store.

And there are plenty more niche sites that will help you save money on hard-to-find games or bundle purchases, as well as review pricing history for the games you want. Some runner-up mentions are:

GOG

Fanatical

IsThereAnyDEAL

DLCompare

Steam Calculator

If you’re a gamer, you surely know about and patronize Steam, the biggest platform for video game sales. A 3rd-party website, SteamDB, has a clever tool called the Steam Calculator you might use on your Steam account.

Steam Calculator

If you input your SteamID on that site, it will quickly gives you lots of statistics about your Steam gaming. You’ll see stats like

  • Account value of all the games you purchased
  • Hours of gaming on record
  • Average price per hour

If you use this on your own account, you may be proud or dismayed to see how much time and money you’ve spent on gaming. It’s OK, no judgment here! But you might also use this on your child’s account, to monitor how they’re spending their resources.

Finding Secondhand Books

“Used books,” as if someone else has had the best of them and you get the sere husk, or the lees, as if a book isn’t the one thing, the one product, that is forever new. There’s no such thing as a used book. Or there’s no such thing as a book if it’s not being used.”

Deborah Meyler, The Bookstore

If you’re seeking a hard-to-find or out-of-print book, you may already know the websites eager to help you:

(Got another favorite book-selling website? Leave a comment and I may add it to the list!)

And there’s many other resources for finding that dead tree edition you need, like Amazon, eBay and Barnes & Noble. But when you’re searching for that one elusive tome that no one on the internet seems to have in stock, try this site and make it a little easier on yourself:

Bookfinder.com

Bookfinder will comb almost all of the book-selling websites out there for you. Search Bookfinder.com for your title and it’ll return all of your buying options and prices!

I apologize in advance if this contributes to anyone’s tsundoku.

The NewProfilePic App

There are always new mobile apps for you to discover, and it looks like NewProfilePic is this month’s all-star. This freebie, available through the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store, will transform a selfie photo into something stylized and eye-catching.

All you have to do is upload any photo file((of a single, close-up of a human face. Sorry, no pets!)) you have access to from your mobile device, and dodge a few pop-up ads along the way. The app does the rest, giving you a few different photo filters to try out. And they claim you can check back each week for new filters and tweaks.

As this app took off in popularity, some websites started sounding an alarm about its safety. Claims of data-sharing with Russia are being passed around, but I don’t see any truth to that. It looks to me like these rumors are not based on hard facts, and only being reported on clickbait and junk news sites (nothing mainstream).

In other words, whatever info-collection this app is doing, it’s certainly less invasive than, say, Facebook or Google. If you want to try out this app, feel free and have fun!

JustWatch – The Streaming Guide

If you use various streaming services, JustWatch is a useful tool to consider. Search for any movie or show, and JustWatch will tell you where you might stream it. You can see all of your Rent and Buy options, as well as prices, and click through to any provider you want to patronize.

If you create a free account, then you may also create watchlists and receive recommendations, but I think it’s useful for streamers even without signing up.

VLC Media Player

If you’re looking to play a DVD movie on your Windows computer, chances are it won’t work. When you insert the DVD, your machine will spin and hum and eventually tell you, “Couldn’t open file” or some other frustratingly vague error. In any case, Windows 10 and 11 no longer have the necessary files (codecs) to make a commercial DVD run properly.

What you need for this situation is VLC Media Player. Download it for free, install it and then you’ll be able to play virtually any movie DVD, audio CD and other multimedia file that you’re having a challenge with.

You may find other DVD-viewing suggestions in the Microsoft Store, but they will either cost you money or turn out to be advertising lures. I can vouch for VLC Media Player being both free and legitimate. Oh, and it’s also available for Windows, MacOS and Linux!

National Day Calendar

Did you know today (December 17) is National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day? It’s also National Maple Syrup Day and National Underdog Day.

With only 366 days in the year, every day is a recognized day to celebrate or remember something serious or silly. Or many things, depending on the day. Check out the National Day Calendar website to see what’s special about today!

Experiments with Google

You should check out the Experiments by Google website! Programmers and coders everywhere have been submitting their projects to Google, and many of them are shared here, free for all to use.

But if you go to the main Experiments page I linked above, it may seem like too much to browse through. There’s over 1600 “experiments” out there! So the Collections menu or page may help you narrow it down to more relevant and interesting items.

Personally, I’m finding the most enjoyable offerings under Play with Arts & Culture, Experiments for Learning, Creatability, Arts & Culture Experiments, and Chrome Experiments. You’ll encounter information tools suitable for homeschooling, fun games & puzzles that you can share over the internet, and so much more.

I’ll specifically call out:

3D Periodic Table

Puzzle Party

Autodraw

Song Maker

Art Coloring Book

Typing Trainer (Learn Morse Code)

Bookmark anything you love, to avoid the challenge of finding it again later!

Windows 10 Gaming Performance Fix

Since March 2021, some gamers have had some real problems on their Windows 10 computers. The problem was not with your casual games, like Solitaire and Mahjongg, but with more demanding games, like CS: GO and GTAV. Many players could not resolve issues with stuttering and low frame rates, and it all traced back to Microsoft as the culprit.

Microsoft has finally developed a fix. And while the fix is included in a larger update next month, Microsoft has gone the extra mile and released the gaming fix now, as an optional update. If you’ve been suffering under this problem, go get the download now:

Click Start, go to Settings, then Update & Security. You should see the update in question (KB5004296 ), under the heading “Optional quality update available”:

Click “Download and install”, wait out the update process, and reboot when it appears finished. I hope this improves your future games!

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