A HANDY GUIDE FULL OF HOW-TO TIPS AND SAGE ADVICE FROM GRANDFATHERS
As members of the Greatest Generation, our grandfathers were not only defined by the Depression but also by their heroic service to the country in World War II. Courageous, responsible, and involved, they understand sacrifice, hard work, and how to do whatever is necessary to take care of their loved ones. They also know how to have a rollicking good time.
Sensible, fun, and inspiring, How to Build a Fire offers a rare glimpse into the hearts and minds of grandfathers near and far by sharing their practical skills and sweet stories on how to be stronger, smarter, richer, and happier. Inside are more than one hundred essential step-by-step tips for fixing, leading, prospering, playing, and hosting, including how to
• buck up and be brave in the face of adversity • play hard and break in a baseball mitt • bait a hook and catch a big fish • look dapper and tie a perfect tie • get a raise and earn more • write a love letter and kindle romance • change a flat tire and save the day • stand up and give a sparkling toast • play the harmonica and make your own music
Loaded with charming illustrations, good humor, and warm nostalgia, How to Build a Fire is the perfect handbook for guys or gals of any age. The first of its kind, this collection of our grandfathers’ hard-earned wisdom will help you build confidence and get back to what’s really important in life.
* * * #1 Best-Seller with More Than 52 Five Star Reviews! * * *
In his Ground-Breaking, Best-Selling book Bradford Sullivan reveals…
* Compelling evidence that selling products on Amazon may be the best home-based business opportunity ever created
* The Simple Profit Blueprint – How to Make $1,000 Per Day Clear Profit on Amazon with One Single $35 Product You Choose
* The biggest obstacle in your way of achieving that goal and how I will help you overcome it (Hint: It’s all in your head)
* What selling products on Amazon is all about
* The common misconceptions about selling products on Amazon
* The powerful advantages to selling on Amazon as opposed to trying to sell products online on your own
* The PRICELESS benefits to “Partnering” with Amazon
* The basics of selling products on Amazon
* The basics of finding profitable products to sell on Amazon
* The two distinctly different methods to find the products you’ll be selling on Amazon
* The “Retail Arbitrage” method of sourcing products to sell on Amazon
* The “Private Label” method of sourcing products to sell on Amazon
* Two distinctly different methods of Private Labeling products to sell on Amazon
* Two distinctly different ways to sell your products on Amazon
* Our (my partner and I) experience in our first year as Amazon sellers, exactly how much money we made and what it taught us
* Retail Arbitrage vs. Private Label
* The two major obstacles to making really big money with Retail Arbitrage
* How to sign-up as an Amazon seller today for free and why you’ll soon want to pay $39.99 per month to go “Pro”
* You’re creating “AZ Money Machines” (AMMs instead of ATMs)
* How Amazon pays you and the breakdown of the check Amazon would be sending you every two weeks (or depositing directly into your bank account)
* How the blueprint creates a self-perpetuating NET annual income of $360,720
* Why you should NOT make your goal $1,000 per day
* How to become a cash millionaire in 3 simple steps
* How building an enormously successful Amazon business is a simple step-by-step process
* How to earn insanely high annualized returns on your product investments
* How you can “fail” your way to success
* The “Beyond Amazon” Bonus
* How to scale your business up with three simple steps to where you are a bona fide cash millionaire
* Can you really make more money in one week than you’ve ever made on your old job in one year? (Simple answer – YES!)
* Where to get 100% of the money you need to grow your Amazon business as large as you want – at 0% interest
* Where to find MORE money to build your business
* Your Free* Training
* Your Shortcut to the BIG Money
* Your action steps to get started today
* Chart your success to $1,000 per day – and more
* The “Secret Sauce” that will supercharge your motivation and determination to succeed in this business
Tags: Amazon Private Label FBA, FBA, Private Label FBA, Amazon FBA, Amazon FBA Secrets, Sell on Amazon, Retail Arbitrage, Physical Products, Private Label, FBA, Private Label, Home-Based Business, Amazing Selling Machine, Fulfillment by Amazon, Private Label FBA, Selling on Amazon, Mail Order Small Business, Exports & Imports, Private Label Marketing and Private Labeling, retail arbitrage, make money with Amazon, selling on Amazon, sell on Amazon, selling on eBay, sell on eBay, work from home, home-based businesses, affiliate marketing, wholesaling, importing and exporting, Alibaba, make money on the Internet, Advertising, Marketing, Consulting, Entrepreneurship, Franchises, New Business Enterprises, Nonprofit Organizations & Charities, Consulting, Auctions and Small Business, Online Trading, Public Finance, Mail Order, Business & Money, Industries, Purchasing & Buying, Processes & Infrastructure
Mouse knew that the future was going to be hard. He knew that the happy-ever-after is rarely what it cracks up to be, but still; fresh out of prison and with all of the promises of a new life ahead of him; you could say he had everything to look forward to. The only problem was that the world ended shortly after that. In the days, weeks, and years that follow, Mouse has to learn how to survive in a post-apocalyptic world that is quickly crumbling into chaos around him. He has to learn how to navigate mad cultists, slavers, and even more importantly; the hazards of friendship.
‘How to Live at the End of the World’ is a story about loyalty, society, and about courage. It is a tale of one man’s past, and what it takes to be redeemed from it. Through the course of this book in six exciting parts, Mouse is forced to decide what are the guiding principles to live by, in a world that is seemingly at its end. Highly speculative, ‘How to Live’ puts real people in unbelievable situations, offering the reader different visions of the future; some apocalyptic, and some utopian. How to Live pictures a world driven by events beyond its capacity to bear: from catastrophic climate change to social upheaval and technological collapse.
What will Mouse risk to save his friends?
What does it take to start over?
When all else is taken away, what rules would you live by?
Introducing the all-new Kindle Paperwhite—Featuring our highest resolution display, hand-crafted font Bookerly, and a new typesetting engine for even more beautiful rendering of pages. Our best-selling Kindle is now even better.
Highest resolution e-reader display
New—With twice as many pixels as the previous generation, the all-new Kindle Paperwhite has an improved high-resolution 300 ppi display for crisp, laser quality text. No other e-reader offers a higher resolution display.
Next-generation reading experience
New—The all-new Kindle Paperwhite now offers Bookerly, an exclusive font crafted from the ground up for reading on digital screens. Warm and contemporary, Bookerly is inspired by the artistry of the best fonts in modern print books, but is hand-crafted for great readability at any font size.
Coming soon—All-new typesetting engine lays out words just as the author intended for beautiful rendering of pages. With improved character spacing and the addition of hyphenation, justification, kerning, ligatures, and drop cap support, our best-in-class typography helps you read faster with less eyestrain.
Enjoy reading with larger font sizes without compromising your reading experience. Page layout and margins automatically adapt to work well at even the largest font sizes. The new typography and layout improvements are available on over half a million books, including many best sellers, with thousands more being added every week.
No glare in bright sunlight
Unlike reflective tablet and smartphone screens, the latest Kindle Paperwhite reads like paper.
Won’t tire your eyes in the dark
Kindle Paperwhite guides light toward the surface of the display with its built-in front light—so you can read comfortably without eyestrain. Adjust your screen’s brightness for great reading in any light.
Charge monthly, not daily
Kindle Paperwhite won’t leave you tethered to an outlet. A single charge can last up to six weeks (based on a half hour of reading per day with wireless turned off and the light setting at ten).
Read comfortably with one hand
Lighter than a paperback, comfortably hold Kindle Paperwhite in one hand for those times when you can’t put the book down.
Lose yourself in a book
By design, Kindle Paperwhite is purpose-built for reading and creates a sanctuary so you can lose yourself in a book. Unlike tablets and phones, Kindle doesn’t distract you with social media, emails, and text messages.
Take and share notes
Add margin notes that you can edit, delete, or even export from your device to your computer. Share highlighted sections and meaningful quotes on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads, and see passages frequently highlighted by other Kindle readers.
Look it up instantly without leaving your page
Smart Lookup integrates entries from The New Oxford American Dictionary with information from X-Ray and Wikipedia, so you can access definitions, characters, settings, and more without losing your place.
Read more challenging books
Word Wise makes it easier to enjoy and quickly understand more challenging books. Short and simple definitions automatically appear above difficult words, so you can keep reading with fewer interruptions. Tap on a word to bring up a simple card with definitions, synonyms, and more. Available on many popular English language titles.
Build your vocabulary
Words looked up in the dictionary are automatically added to Vocabulary Builder to expand your knowledge and reinforce retention. Swipe through your vocabulary words, quiz yourself with flashcards, and instantly see those words in context.
Share your library
With Family Library, you and your family can access and easily share not only your own Kindle books, but also books from the linked Amazon account of a spouse or partner.
Lowest book prices, massive selection
Over a million titles are priced at $2.99 or less. Over 2 million titles are $9.99 or less.
Set goals and celebrate with achievement badges
Kids can read books in a simple, fun, and safe environment designed specifically for them with Kindle FreeTime. Kids are rewarded with achievement badges when they reach their reading milestones. A progress report keeps parents updated on total time spent reading, number of words looked up, badges earned, and books read.
Now available in black or white
New, higher resolution display (300 ppi)-now with twice as many pixels
Built-in adjustable light-read day and night
No screen glare, even in bright sunlight, unlike tablets
A single battery charge lasts weeks, not hours
Massive selection, lowest prices-over a million titles $2.99 or less
Lighter than a paperback, holds thousands of books
Exclusive features help build your vocabulary, learn about characters, and connect with like-minded readers-all without leaving the page
Try Kindle Unlimited free for 30 days-choose from over 800,000 titles
An elite group of industry leaders from an assortment of technology-related fields gather together here to speculate about the implications of the technology for business, entertainment, science, engineering and education after 2020, when computers will be everywhere and almost completely invisible, These futurists focus on exploring how information technology will be reshaping our world. What will business and society be like when technology has completely saturated the events of everyday life? The relationship between man and machine, man and information, and information and machine is going to have radical consequences (both positive and negative) on future generations. This title consists of essays by 11 visionaries, derived from the March 2001 Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) conference. The book offers strategic direction on the future of our world saturated with computers and networks.
P2P Technology This technology is made for easy setup process by using your own ID and Password to monitor live view and recorded video over the Internet on your PC, tablet, or smartphone devices. It helps you setup your devices easily and simply within few minutes.
WiFi Pan & Tilt indoor Camera – Clear VGA(640X480) Resolution – Viewing angle: 60 degrees – 2 way Audio – 10 pcs IR LEDs / Built-in IR-Cut Filter – Pan & Tilt (355° Pan & 90° Tilt) – Ultra low-light high sensitivity CMOS image sensor – Support up to 32GB SDHC Micro SD Card Class 10 – Operating Temper: 0 ° – 55 ° C (14 ° F-122 ° F) – Specification: DC 5V / 2.5A 1.5 meter – Power Consumption: 5 Watts – Product Dimension: 3.7″ x 3.9″ x 4.9″ – Product Weight: <1 lbs
Package Includes – 2 pcs Indoor 10 LED IR Security WiFi Pan & Tilt Camera – 2 pcs Ethernet Cable for Camera initial setup – 2 pcs Camera mount – 2 pcs Mounting Screw set – CD and Quick Setup Guide
Remote Video Streaming to Smartphone, Tablet and PC
Motion Alert Notification on Apps and via Email Letting You Know if Something Happens When You’re Away.
Indoor Use Only | Requires Internet Access and Power Outlet
Video Recording on Micro SD Card, CMS / Smartphone Recording
One of the fastest paths to success is starting a new project like a business, blog, book or some other creative endeavor. Side projects can result in extra income, greater fulfillment and even a more enjoyable career. If you aren’t creating something in your spare time, you aren’t reaching your full potential.
Unfortunately, most people can’t find the time, energy or correct life priorities to start and complete creative side projects. They keep putting off planning these projects, never finding out what they could have accomplished if they’d only created something.
Author Bryan Cohen is no stranger to creative productivity. He’s earned more than $35,000 in the past few years from his side business, Build Creative Writing Ideas. His 30 books, all of which were written in the past few years, have sold more than 20,000 copies. He achieved this success through the life-enriching tips he learned by reading dozens of books, attending multiple conferences and through his own trial and error.
He’s put in hundreds of hours of refining his creativity techniques so that you don’t have to. By using Cohen’s tips and tricks, you’ll start planning your business, book, blog or course in the next few days with optimized time, renewed energy and an improved balance in your life.
For purchasing this concise 16,000-word book, you’ll get an added bonus: 75% off access to Cohen’s online video course on the education platform Udemy.
It’s time to create your side project. Buy this book today!
This imaginative ‘how to’ book explores whimsical ways of doing a host of different tasks, including ‘how to wonder’, ‘how to see the breeze’, and ‘how to be brave’. With text and images by award-winning illustrator Julie Morstad, this book will be beloved by all ages. How to read this book? That is up to you!
The first monograph, design manual, and manifesto by Michael Bierut, one of the world’s most renowned graphic designers—a career retrospective that showcases more than thirty-five of his most noteworthy projects for clients as the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Yale School of Architecture, the New York Times, Saks Fifth Avenue, and the New York Jets, and reflects eclectic enthusiasm and accessibility that has been the hallmark of his career.
Protégé of design legend Massimo Vignelli and partner in the New York office of the international design firm Pentagram, Michael Bierut has had one of the most varied and successful careers of any living graphic designer, serving a broad spectrum of clients as diverse as Saks Fifth Avenue, Harley-Davidson, the Atlantic Monthly, the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation, Billboard, Princeton University, the New York Jets, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the Morgan Library.
How to, Bierut’s first career retrospective, is a landmark work in the field. Featuring more than thirty-five of his projects, it reveals his philosophy of graphic design—how to use it to sell things, explain things, make things look better, make people laugh, make people cry, and (every once in a while) change the world. Specially chosen to illustrate the breadth and reach of graphic design today, each entry demonstrates Bierut’s eclectic approach. In his entertaining voice, the artist walks us through each from start to finish, mixing historic images, preliminary drawings (including full-size reproductions of the notebooks he has maintained for more than thirty-five years), working models and rejected alternatives, as well as the finished work. Throughout, he provides insights into the creative process, his working life, his relationship with clients, and the struggles that any design professional faces in bringing innovative ideas to the world.
Offering insight and inspiration for artists, designers, students, and anyone interested in how words, images, and ideas can be put together, How to provides insight to the design process of one of this century’s most renowned creative minds.
Anker® Premium Auxiliary Audio Cable Plug in and play your sound.
Connect ANY Device Phones, tablets, iPods, CD & cassette players (remember those). Link just about anything to your home or car stereo via its 3.5mm aux port.
Highest Quality Audio Our cables are built to the exact same standards as leading headphone brands. 24 carat gold-plated contacts ensure the purest possible sound experience.
Incredibly Durable We bent this cable over 10000 times and saw no damage or change in performance. Premium metal housing makes it extra durable.
Perfect Fit Each aux jack has been slightly extended to enable use with pretty much any phone or tablet case (unlike most other aux cables).
World Famous Warranty At Anker, we believe in our products. That’s why we back them all with an 18-month warranty and provide friendly, easy-to-reach support.
Compatible With: • iPhone, iPod, iPad, other smartphones, tablets, laptops, MP3 players, Walkman, Discman and all other audio-playing devices with a 3.5mm aux port from brands including Sony, SanDisk, Samsung, HTC, Motorola, Nexus, Nokia, LG, Blackberry and many more. • Beats and other brands of headphone, Hi-Fi stereo sound systems, car stereos, radios, portable bluetooth speakers and wireless audio receivers with a 3.5mm aux port.
Universal Compatibility: Play audio from any phone, tablet, iPod, laptop or other media-playing device on your headphones, Hi-Fi or car stereo (fits standard 3.5mm aux ports).
Best Sound Quality: Built with the same grade materials as premium headphone brands. 24K gold-plated contacts ensure the cleanest sound experience possible.
Incredibly Durable: With a 10000+ bend lifespan several times longer than original audio cables, premium metal housing and four feet of durable, flexible cord, this cable really is made to last.
Perfect Fit: Ultra slim extensions to the aux jacks enable use with pretty much any phone or tablet case (unlike standard aux cables). No need to remove cases during use.
What You Get: Anker® Premium Auxiliary Audio Cable, our fan-favorite 18-month warranty and friendly customer service.
82103 Size: Medium, Color: White Features: -Crew Socks Socks.-Material: Polyester/Lycra.-Use for unisex.-Sold as pairs.-Casual Socks.-Ankle, Crew.-Elastic band-free tops prevent annoying indentations on the legs.-Seamless, non-binding, unique heel design.-Knit with moisture wicking fibers.-Conditions: Sensory Integration. Options: -Available in Small, Medium, Large, X-Large and 2X-Large sizes.-Available in Several colors. Dimensions: -Overall dimensions: 7” H x 3.25”-4” W x 1” D. Warranty: -30 Day limited warranty.
Keep an eye on what is most important to you thanks to this Do-It-Yourself home monitoring system from Panasonic.
The Panasonic Home Surveillance System is designed to monitor two interior areas or one area from two different angles, the wireless, do-it-yourself video surveillance kit includes a DECT-enabled hub unit, and two indoor cameras to cover entrances, the baby’s room, family room, or other key interior locations. The two interior cameras can be hidden away on a shelf, mounted to the wall, or discretely placed to keep an eye on the things that matter most to you, and synced to the system’s hub unit within seconds.
Monitor remotely and record real-time video. The indoor cameras provide clear coverage. Each is equipped with sound and video motion detectors that, when activated, send an immediate alert to your smartphone and or tablet. In the same instant, motion-activated audio and video are recorded automatically to a high-capacity MicroSD (32GB max) card (not included) in the hub unit. To view video, simply remove the MicroSD card from the hub unit and insert into your laptop or desktop PC. The DIY surveillance camera kit takes full advantage of the DECT technology that allows the system to maintain a clear, secure and long-range signal throughout the home. You can configure, install and control the system yourself. Plus, there’s never a monthly fee to pay.
Hub Unit (KX-HNB600)
Hub unit controls connected home system. Syncs with system cameras, sensors, smart plug and handset. Sends alerts to your smartphone/table. Records video from system cameras to MicroSD card (not included)
Smartphone Monitoring and Alerts
Easily monitor system activity from inside your home or remotely from via your smartphone and tablet. Receive alerts on your smartphone and table, or via the system’s cordless handset (not included).
Easy DIY Installation and One-Touch Set-up
Download Panasonic App. Connect hub unit to your WiFi router with the touch of a button. Add and pair system components with one-touch convenience.
Check connected home system status with LED status indicator light (green, yellow, red) on hub unit.
Indoor Camera with Two-Way Communication (KX-HNC200)
Monitor indoor rooms and spaces. Initiate two-way communication with built-in microphone and speaker.
Record Video and Trigger Other Actions
Record video to Micro SD Card (not included) and view on your PC or smartphone. Use visual sensor and infrared motion sensor to trigger other actions (start recording, turn on light).
Arm, Disarm and Monitor Via Smartphone and Tablet
Arm, disarm and monitor system activity from inside your home or remotely via your smartphone and tablet. Receive alerts on your smartphone and tablet, or via the system’s cordless handset (not included).
Easy DIY Installation and One-Touch Set-Up
Simple DIY installation and one-touch pairing with hub unit.
Panasonic Hub Unit (KX-HNB600)
WiFi IEEE 802.11b/g/n
One Push Pairing Button
MicroSD Card Slot
Expandable, Component-Based System
Secure DECT Technology
Easy DIY Installation
0.3 Megapixel CMOS
Video Compression H.264
Camera Power Source – AC (120V/60Hz)
Monitor Via Smartphone or Tablet
No Monthly Fees
Panasonic Camera (KX-HNC200)
Hub unit controls connected home system
Easily monitor system activity from inside your home or remotely via phone/tablet
Initiate two-way communication with built-in microphone and speaker
Visual sensor and infrared motion sensor
Simple DIY installation and one-touch paring with hub unit
The Practice of Network Security Monitoring: Understanding Incident Detection and Response
Network security is not simply about building impenetrable walls — determined attackers will eventually overcome traditional defenses. The most effective computer security strategies integrate network security monitoring (NSM): the collection and analysis of data to help you detect and respond to intrusions.
In The Practice of Network Security Monitoring, Mandiant CSO Richard Bejtlich shows you how to use NSM to add a robust layer of protection around your networks — no prior experience required. To help you avoid costly and inflexible solutions, he teaches you how to deploy, build, and run an NSM operation using open source software and vendor-neutral tools.
You’ll learn how to:
Determine where to deploy NSM platforms, and size them for the monitored networks
Deploy stand-alone or distributed NSM installations
Use command line and graphical packet analysis tools, and NSM consoles
Interpret network evidence from server-side and client-side intrusions
Integrate threat intelligence into NSM software to identify sophisticated adversaries
There’s no foolproof way to keep attackers out of your network. But when they get in, you’ll be prepared. The Practice of Network Security Monitoring will show you how to build a security net to detect, contain, and control them. Attacks are inevitable, but losing sensitive data shouldn’t be.
Network Monitoring – When it comes to network monitoring, the thin line between legal monitoring and privacy bleaching gets more and more vague. However, if you are managing a network, monitoring is one thing you want to be doing at any time.
Network monitoring is like policing what is being accessed on the network and what network traffic is being transmitted across the network. This is something you want to be doing at any one time. Well-managed networks that have less downtime are ones that are regularly under surveillance. In a busy network environment, it can go a long way in determining the productivity of the team.
What are the signs and symptom of thyroid problems?
Reports suggest that there are at least 27 million Americans who have a thyroid condition, except that they may not be aware of it.
If your thyroid is affected it can alter your health, especially weight, depression and energy levels. Hypothyroidism is the most widespread thyroid condition, more commonly affecting women. If undiagnosed, it can noticeably boost your risk of obesity, heart illness, and depression. There are many signs and symptom of thyroid problems. You may not have all of the signs and symptom of thyroid problems, but be attentive of you notice either symptom or a combination of them.
Common signs and symptom of thyroid problems include muscle and joint pains, and carpal/tendonitis problems. Such pain and the propensity to increase carpal tunnel in the arms/hands, and tarsal tunnel in the legs should not be neglected. Another common sign and symptom of thyroid problems is neck discomfort/enlargement. This includes swelling, uneasiness with clothing around the neck, a croaky voice, or a noticeable and enlarged thyroid. Other signs and symptom of thyroid problems include hair / skin changes as they are rather susceptible to thyroid conditions. This could cause them to be coarse and brittle, apart from your hair falling frequently.
Signs and symptom of thyroid problems include bowel problems. Long-term constipation is connected with hypothyroidism and diarrhea is linked with hyperthyroidism. Other signs and symptom of thyroid problems include menstrual irregularities and fertility problems. Hypothyroid conditions prompt a heavy, more recurrent and painful periods, whereas shorter, lighter, or sporadic menstruation can be related with hyperthyroidism. Infertility may be linked with undiagnosed thyroid disorders.
Signs and symptom of thyroid problems should be given top priority if you have a family history of thyroid problems. This is because it heightens the possibility of you being affected by thyroid disorders.
Signs and symptom of thyroid problems include fatigue. This refers to a feeling of exhausted for no apparent reason and experiencing tiredness even when you have had ample sleep. Signs and symptom of thyroid problems include depression and anxiety. This refers to sudden panic attacks or depression, especially that which does not react to anti depressants.
Signs and symptom of thyroid problems include weight changes. This refers to a noticeable change in weight, either increasing or decreasing even though you do not change your daily routine, diet or food intake. Difficulty losing weight can also be seen as signs and symptom of thyroid problems. As such, even a low carb diet or exercise does not help lose weight.
If you work in or as part of a large corporate, chances are that you are involved in some way with the network infrastructure. Every large corporate organization in this knowledge economy uses an efficient network as the never centre of all operations. Whether you spend your time actively administering the network, or even sitting in front of the computer to check your email, the reliable performance of the network when you need it to perform can spell the difference between effective productivity and crippling inefficiency.
If you are a network administrator or you are interested in monitoring what people are doing on the network, then welcome to the world of network monitoring. With the proliferation of network monitoring tools and devices, you just cannot go wrong in keeping tabs on your network activities. In a network that requires monitoring intrusion threats from the outside, an intrusion detection system deployment is the recommended option. What if you simply want to monitor the status of your server, monitoring software will help you do that by sending what are called HTTP requests to keep tabs of the server environment. These status requests will either return a time-out or a successful ping. A network monitoring software has the advantage of measuring end to end response times accurately as well as alerting the user using various ways. An alarm may be sounded when a predefined limit is reached, when a certain condition is not met or when security is bleached. These alerts can even be configured to be sent via email to a remote user in real-time.
Knowing the status of your network can often prove to be immeasurably beneficial. When you have infrastructural crises, when your systems are not working as they should, when there is a security loophole that needs to be plugged immediately or even when you need access to inventory and data reports, you need effective network monitoring solutions. This is why network monitoring systems are all the rage in the corporate workplace. And the very reason why network monitoring companies are raking in big bucks.
Network monitoring also allows one to take note of failing or slowing systems. Without networking surveillance, it can be difficult to determine bottlenecks in a network. Perhaps a server is failing due to too many requests, perhaps memory on a server is full or it could be infected by some form of malware. Other problems include overloaded systems, crashed servers and power outages. Some network monitoring software take virtual snapshots of a network’s workflow. This allows for problem resolution even before a network failure occurs.
In the real world however, network monitoring does not have to be a complicated endeavor. It can be as simple as tracking the number of people logged in at any one time or the number of people using a certain resource on a network. When done right and with the right motive, then it can be a real time and money saver.
What is a network monitoring system? And how is it different from the numerous engineers and technicians you have on your rolls? Isn’t an automated network monitoring system nothing but a redundancy? And what makes a program or a system better at network monitoring than a bunch of professionals who are trained to react to strange and often unexpected downtime? These are all natural questions that need to be asked when network monitoring crops up. And an effective network monitoring system will answer all of them.
A network monitoring system is a program or process that ensures that a critical resource like your network infrastructure continues to work effectively, efficiently and reliably. It not only keeps track of all the network inventory information, it also monitors the utilization of your network resources, rapidly determines connectivity and cross connectivity across the network, monitors the uptime and reliable availability of shared network resources and even tracks and reports historical utilization patterns and uses the information to predict outages. It is an automated, and highly effective way to monitor your network infrastructure. Remember that a network monitoring system is not meant to replace your engineers and technicians. Rather, the network monitoring system you use will be a valuable tool that they can use to understand your networks better and provide apt service.
When it comes to network monitoring, the thin line between legal monitoring and privacy bleaching gets more and more vague. However, if you are managing a network, monitoring is one thing you want to be doing at any time. Network monitoring is like policing what is being accessed on the network and what network traffic is being transmitted across the network. This is something you want to be doing at any one time. Well-managed networks that have less downtime are ones that are regularly under surveillance. In a busy network environment, it can go a long way in determining the productivity of the team.
The best part is that most network monitoring systems today are built for seamless integration.
What this means is that even if you are not hunched in front of your computer 24/7 or are out of the office or even t country, the network monitoring system can send you real time messages about the status of your network. You can either visit a website where the reports are hosted for your information and action, or even receive an SMS on your mobile phone or an update to your handheld. So that you can use your time to act on issues rather than on full time network monitoring! And give your customers the value for the money that they deserve.
Rcpp is the glue that binds the power and versatility of R with the speed and efficiency of C++. With Rcpp, the transfer of data between R and C++ is nearly seamless, and high-performance statistical computing is finally accessible to most R users. Rcpp should be part of every statistician’s toolbox. — Michael Braun, MIT Sloan School of Management
“Seamless R and C++ integration with Rcpp” is simply a wonderful book. For anyone who uses C/C++ and R, it is an indispensable resource. The writing is outstanding. A huge bonus is the section on applications. This section covers the matrix packages Armadillo and Eigen and the GNU Scientific Library as well as RInside which enables you to use R inside C++. These applications are what most of us need to know to really do scientific programming with R and C++. I love this book. — Robert McCulloch, University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Rcpp is now considered an essential package for anybody doing serious computational research using R. Dirk’s book is an excellent companion and takes the reader from a gentle introduction to more advanced applications via numerous examples and efficiency enhancing gems. The book is packed with all you might have ever wanted to know about Rcpp, its cousins (RcppArmadillo, RcppEigen .etc.), modules, package development and sugar. Overall, this book is a must-have on your shelf. — Sanjog Misra, UCLA Anderson School of Management
The Rcpp package represents a major leap forward for scientific computations with R. With very few lines of C++ code, one has R’s data structures readily at hand for further computations in C++. Hence, high-level numerical programming can be made in C++ almost as easily as in R, but often with a substantial speed gain. Dirk is a crucial person in these developments, and his book takes the reader from the first fragile steps on to using the full Rcpp machinery. A very recommended book! — Søren Højsgaard, Department of Mathematical Sciences, Aalborg University, Denmark
“Seamless R and C ++ Integration with Rcpp” provides the first comprehensive introduction to Rcpp. Rcpp has become the most widely-used language extension for R, and is deployed by over one-hundred different CRAN and BioConductor packages. Rcpp permits users to pass scalars, vectors, matrices, list or entire R objects back and forth between R and C++ with ease. This brings the depth of the R analysis framework together with the power, speed, and efficiency of C++.
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Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber performs during his ”Believe” concert at the Olimpic Stadium in Santo Domingo October 22, 2013.
Credit: Reuters/Ricardo Rojas
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A police search of teen pop star Justin Bieber’s California home on Tuesday in a vandalism case linked to the singer, resulted in the arrest of a man after drugs were found in the house, the Los Angeles County Sheriff said.
Detectives raided Bieber’s home at about 8 a.m. after the “Boyfriend” singer was accused of pelting his neighbor’s home with eggs in an incident on January 9.
Bieber, 19, was detained at his Calabasas home, about 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles while a dozen deputies searched for evidence.
“He has not been arrested nor has been exonerated,” Sheriff’s Lt. David Thompson said at a news conference in nearby Malibu following the search.
“We were looking at things that would put him or anything else at the scene,” Thompson said, adding that Bieber’s attorneys were not present during the search and the singer was not questioned.
It was the latest in a string of incidents that have overshadowed Bieber’s music career in the last year as the Canadian star who shot to fame at age 15 transitions to adulthood.
Bieber’s representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The sheriff’s department said the investigation sought to collect any evidence in the alleged egg attack on the singer’s home video surveillance and other possible leads.
A unnamed person in Bieber’s home at the time of the search was arrested for narcotics possession when deputies found cocaine in plain view, Thompson said.
NOT ‘A MESSAGE’
Celebrity news website TMZ.com identified the man as aspiring 20-year-old rapper Lil Za, who is often photographed with Bieber. The website published photos and video of Lil Za, whose real name Xavier Smith, handcuffed and being led to a deputy’s car.
The rapper is being held on $20,000 bond, according to county records.
The vandalism case is being treated as a felony because it caused $20,000 in damages according to the homeowner, the sheriff’s department said.
“We didn’t do this search warrant to send a message, that’s not what we do,” Thompson said. “This has nothing to do with him being a celebrity. This is a felony crime.”
Thompson said the cost of damages was high because the exterior of Bieber’s neighbor’s home was made of imported wood and brick.
It is not known what triggered the alleged incident between Bieber and his neighbor, but the Canadian-born pop star has had several publicized run-ins with neighbors.
Last year, Bieber was accused of speeding through the neighborhood in a Ferrari sports car and also spitting on his neighbor during a confrontation over parties at the singer’s home. Prosecutors did not bring charges against Bieber in either case.
(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; editing Mary Milliken and Gunna Dickson)
MIAMI (Reuters) – A Florida man who won a contest to watch the finale of the drug-themed TV show “Breaking Bad” with its cast has been arrested on charges he ran an underground synthetic marijuana distribution operation, police said on Thursday.
In a possible case of life imitating art, Ryan Lee Carroll, 28, was arrested on New Year’s Eve and charged with manufacturing and shipping a synthetic marijuana known as “Spice” to distribution points across the country from his home in Fort Myers, in southwest Florida.
Two other suspects were arrested and their homes served as additional manufacturing and storage facilities for the illicit drug operation, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
“Ironically, Ryan Lee Carroll was a contest winner for the hit TV series ‘Breaking Bad'; a show about a chemistry teacher turned drug dealer,” the statement said.
It said more than 700 pounds (315 kg) of 79,000 individually packaged packets of synthetic marijuana were seized with an estimated street value of $1.25 million.
“The investigation has put a large dent in the availability of ‘Spice’ nationally,” the sheriff’s office said.
In addition to the synthetic marijuana and by-products of the substance seized at Carroll’s home, deputies said they had confiscated a souvenir Hazmat suit signed by “Breaking Bad” cast members.
A lawyer for Carroll could not immediately be reached for comment.
The suit was similar to the one worn by Walter White, the fictitious former high school teacher in the TV show who amasses a fortune by manufacturing a potent variety of meth or methamphetamine.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Cable network A&E said on Friday it was bringing back family patriarch Phil Robertson to the hit reality show “Duck Dynasty” after fans protested his suspension over anti-gay remarks and big-name corporate sponsors stuck by the series.
Robertson’s remarks to GQ magazine and his subsequent suspension by A&E sparked a nationwide debate over tolerance and religion, with conservative politicians and fans saying that Robertson’s beliefs were consistent with the Bible.
“As a global media content company, A&E Networks’ core values are centered around creativity, inclusion and mutual respect,” A&E said in a statement released late Friday in the midst of the holiday season.
“We believe it is a privilege for our brands to be invited into people’s homes and we operate with a strong sense of integrity and deep commitment to these principles.”
It was a quick reversal for the network that is jointly owned by Walt Disney Co. and privately held Hearst Corp, but the move was not entirely surprising, given the financial commitment at stake. The controversy was also seen as a test for the entertainment industry’s appeal to audiences in the heartland of America.
“Duck Dynasty” ranks among the most-watched cable television programs and averages about 8 million viewers per episode. Its fifth season is slated to begin on January 15. The show’s fourth season debuted in August to 11.8 million viewers, a record for a cable nonfiction series, according to the network.
“Duck Dynasty” sponsors and retailers selling branded merchandise, such as Target and Walmart, also stuck with the show, although they did not pick sides in the public debate.
Restaurant chain Cracker Barrel notably bowed to customer pressure last weekend and restocked its Phil Robertson-themed merchandise after initially pulling it from shelves.
“Duck Dynasty” merchandise, which ranges from sporting goods and apparel to camouflage furniture, has brought in some $400 million in sales, according to Forbes magazine.
By lifting Robertson’s suspension after nine days, A&E assures that the 67-year-old will not miss production of the series’ sixth season and staves off any potential mutiny by the remainder of the family if he were to be kept off the show.
Robertson, the leader of the backwater Louisiana clan on the reality show about hunting, fishing and domestic squabbles, was put on indefinite “hiatus” on December 18 by A&E for his remarks to GQ characterizing homosexuality as sinful behavior.
“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph from there,” Robertson said when asked what is sinful. “Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.”
A&E said it would also air a national public service campaign “promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people” on all its affiliated networks, which include the History Channel and Lifetime among others.
Although Robertson never apologized for his comments, his family did say they regretted his “coarse language,” which included graphic descriptions of male and female anatomy.
The family also said it would not continue with the show without its patriarch and was in talks with the network.
A&E said at the time it was disappointed after reading Robertson’s remarks, which it added were his personal views and did not reflect those of the network.
The network’s quick move to suspend Robertson hours after the GQ story appeared online also stood in contrast to fellow cable networks The Food Network and MSNBC, which both waited days before recently parting with Southern food doyen Paula Deen and actor Alec Baldwin, respectively, after they both admitted to using slurs.
Vocal opposition from “Duck Dynasty” fans was swift in coming and an online petition started by Faith Driven Consumer, a group that connects Christian shoppers with faith-compatible companies, gained more than 260,000 signatures since Robertson’s suspension began.
Robertson’s suspension also elicited strong reaction from across the political spectrum, with conservative politicians defending Robertson as a victim of political correctness.
Early in the controversy, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal lent his support to Robertson and his family, who turned their animal-call company Duck Commander into a hunting industry leader and helped boost tourism to the state.
“I’m glad to hear that A&E came to its senses & recognized that tolerance of religious views is more important than political correctness,” he said on Twitter.
“Back on,” Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz tweeted in reference to Robertson.
Gay equality group GLAAD condemned Robertson’s comments, saying he knows nothing about gay people.
“Phil’s decision to push vile and extreme stereotypes is a stain on A&E and his sponsors, who now need to reexamine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families,” GLAAD said in a statement at the time.
At the end of May, the Chicago Sun-Times laid off all its staff photographers. The paper would instead use newswires, freelancers, and reporters armed with iPhones. It was not the first time traditional media turned to untrained photojournalists—consider the Instagram photos NBC published after the Boston Marathon bombing or CNN’s iReport—but it was the first time any outlet made a policy of doing so.
As one might expect, the Sun-Times’ decision has met with criticism. It’s been called “shortsighted” and “idiotic.” There’s even a Tumblr of head-to-head comparisons between the Sun-Times and the still-photo-staffed Chicago Tribune. But the change does have its logic. First, it’s cheap. And, in theory, it will give the Sun-Times even more reach, by leveraging the cameras already in place at news events.
For the strategy to pay off, however, cameraphone technology needs to support it in ways it currently doesn’t. Cameraphones have improved dramatically in the last few years—the Nokia PureView sensor has 41 megapixels, and HTC’s newest sensor has larger pixels that grab more light—but they still suffer from one great shortfall: inadequate lenses.
About a year ago, engineers began to address the issue by putting cellular radios inside cameras, rather than attempting to cram cameras inside phones. The 16.3-megapixel Samsung Galaxy Camera has a 4G radio and a 21-times zoom lens. And the newer 20.3-megapixel Galaxy NX has an interchangeable lens mount. The Sony QX100, the newest offering in the lot, is the most extreme example. The device is just a lens, sensor, and image processor, and users attach their smartphone as a viewfinder.
Editors will need software that selects the best images—not just the ones from the right place at the right time. Connected cameras may improve the overall quality of crowdsourced images, but they will do little for the editors whose job it is to sort through them. Current services provide a temporary solution. With Scoopshot, a Helsinki software start-up, publishers can send photo assignments to the service’s network of 300,000-plus mobile users. Stringwire, which NBC acquired in August, lets video producers request an uplink from anyone who has tweeted near an event of interest. But to assure quality, editors will need software that automatically selects the best images—not just the ones taken in the right place at the right time. That type of computer vision already exists on a small scale. A recent update to Google+ analyzes groups of pictures for blurriness, aesthetics, landmarks, and exposure to pick out the most shareable ones. The Sun-Times to benefit from that type of machine vision, the software will need to process larger image batches from multiple sources. In time, those pieces may come together, proving that the Sun-Times decision wasn’t foolish—it was just a bit before its time.
This article originally appeared in the November 2013 issue of Popular Science.
I wouldn’t say a lost my temper with the Xbox One. Because I actually, for the most part, enjoyed the experience. But I did raise my voice. And for that I apologize.
Everything about Microsoft’s new game console, its first in eight years, is designed to make you do as little as possible. That means running multiple apps at the same time, a “snap” function to plop stuff on-screen into a picture-in-picture style, and–eek–a reliance on voice controls.
I share the blame, Xbox One. I do. I am a mumbler. I have difficulty expressing myself at times. I rushed too quickly to say Xbox One, get it together, to which you pulled up the “weather” option. (Ha! Defusing the situation. You are too funny, Xbox One.)
We should let it go. Because I liked you, Xbox One. We should talk more. Later, though. Now’s a bad time.
How It Looks
Oof. All right, then. Let’s just get the worst thing out of the way. The Xbox One is a not-particularly-attractive behemoth of a game console. It’s the size of a small suitcase and heavy as one stuffed with sheet-metal. The shape is hard to describe beyond “box”–very few ridges, curves, or any other shapes to variate the monolithic design. It’s like a VCR that’s metastasized in your living room. I thought I had reserved ample room for any console, since that had been the case for any other console I’ve put there. That was not the case. If you are planning to travel with the Xbox One, remove those plans from your itinerary. Actually, whatever table or surface you place it on, be prepared to keep it there forever. Actually, just be prepared to die in whatever home/apartment/cavern you currently reside in. The Xbox One isn’t going anywhere.
There’s also a new controller. There are a list of changes Microsoft has been touting–like a vibrate function on the triggers, and a redesigned, less bulky spot for the batteries–and, yeah, it’s a little better. But the truth is in practice it doesn’t feel all that different, at least when stacked up to the more drastic changes Sony made to its controller for the new PlayStation 4. If you were a huge fan of the Xbox 360 controller, then fine, you’ll be happy with this. Otherwise, if you’re looking for huge changes in the console, you’ll have to find something elsewhere.
If you’ve set up any console in your life, the Xbox One set-up will be painless: connect the wire in back to the wall, the other wire to the TV, etc. There is one extra step, though, that I’d recommend taking the time to do: the new Xbox can also be wired through your cable-box through HDMI, allowing you to watch TV by selecting it on the Xbox’s main screen. (Same goes for the HDMI-friendly media streamer of your choice; I used a Roku.) More on that in a minute.
Here I should mention: I think but can’t readily confirm that I had a glitch with my Xbox. When I first booted up the console, it took me straight to the Xbox’s home screen, without the usual registration process. There, the controller wouldn’t function properly. I don’t know who, if anyone, will have this issue, but it was solved after a quick reset.
Here I should also mention: the reset process takes forever. You boot up, are brought to the big, green Xbox One load screen, and then you go grab a snack or take out the garbage or something while you wait it out. Unfortunate, since the Xbox One home screen actually looks pretty nice after it’s done loading. Microsoft’s tile system, which is now loaded on every one of its devices, is here again, and doesn’t look too different from the last Xbox incarnation. Things are little more organized, and the Xbox automatically moves the titles for apps and games you played most recently to the front of the screen, assuming that those are what you’ll most likely use again. Notifications pop up on the bottom of the screen in much the same way as last time around, and there are the same slots reserved for places where you can buy games, apps, and music. (An image of an angsty Eminem promoting some tunes has been permanently etched into my brain.) But there’s a greater focus on features besides games. Which brings us to…
Ryse: Son of Rome
Under The Hood
I said this in my PlayStation 4 review, but I’ll say it again: the specific technical details in a system aren’t as important as the functionality you get from those specs. That said, it has similar specs to the PlayStation 4: a combination of CPU and GPU processors meant to divide the work of processing graphics and other tasks. But the results are a little different: the biggest change behind the Xbox One–and the best one–is the ability to instantly stop playing a game with a single button and enter your home screen. No more save-and-quit, no more shutting off one thing to open up something else. The processors divert processing power to the game, and the rest goes to the ancillary apps. None of that affected the performance of either, in my experience. That’s a big deal. You can turn on a dime with the Xbox One, not feel stuck because you’re playing a game and suddenly realizing there was something else you wanted to do first. Then, once you’re done with your other task, you go back directly to the game, picking up exactly where you left off.
Now I can simply run my Roku through the Xbox instead of going directly through the TV.
There’s also a new Kinect, Microsoft’s motion-capturing camera that comes bundled with the new Xbox One. And it’s better, with a wider range of vision and better resolution–enough to scan your face to sign you in. (I’ll go on record, again, saying this still gives me the heebie-jeebies. But it’s also undoubtedly cool tech.) As much as I disdain voice controls, the commands I sent to the Kinect worked okay. Not great, just fine. Although since certain functions, like the otherwise great “snap” function, which lets you pull up a separate window to multi-task, rely wholly on the technology, it should be flawless, even at a whisper. (Update for clarification:You can manually select the snap function with a controller on the homescreen, but, obviously, to switch between functions when you’re already doing something, you’ll need to use voice control.)
But I do love the option of routing my cable box or media streamer through my Xbox. Between multiple game consoles and a Roku, I’m already taking up a lot of wire and wall space. Now I can simply run my Roku through the Xbox instead of going directly through the TV. After that, just select the TV option on the Xbox home screen, and you’re directed to your TV. Maybe that’s not life-changing, but it frees up a wire and a little time if I want to multi-task between gaming and TV-watching.
Here it is! Games! For the game console. The PlayStation 4 lineup turned out to be incredibly underwhelming, but the Xbox One lineup, oh man, let me tell you: it is also incredibly underwhelming.
I’ll start with the positive: Ryse: Son of Rome, a semi-melodramatic sword-and-sandals epic, probably takes too much glee in its eviscerations of barbarians, but looks like it could be one of the bright spots at launch, as one of the only truly original properties in the stable.
Now the bad: a digital title called Crimson Dragon is one of the worst games I have played in recent memory. You ride a space dragon that shoots, like, missiles at other space dragons. There’s some kind of government conspiracy. Or aliens? No, wait, you’re the alien. Maybe. I don’t know.
There’s another installment in the Forza racing game franchise that certainly looks nice on the new system, but doesn’t seem to offer much beyond the standard racing game fare. There are a few new sports games, the animal-management bureaucracy simulator Zoo Tycoon, and a slew of titles that have already appeared on the last system. As disappointing as Sony’s list of games turned out to be, you’re not going to find much on Microsoft’s end, either.
Should You Buy This?
No. Wait. You don’t need something to hook up through your TV right now, unless it has games to accompany it, and the Xbox One, as cool as some of its features are, has a dearth of games. You can wait. How long? That’s up to you: whenever there’s a sum of games that make it worthwhile to you, go for it. (That could theoretically be right now, but I’ll venture to say it isn’t, even for even the most die-hard gamers.)
Now comes the point where I tell you whether the Xbox One or PlayStation 4 is the King of the Console Generation. But I’m not going to do that–especially this early. I might sound overly diplomatic here, but there are reasons to root for both. I wasn’t a huge fan of the PS4, but at $400, it’s $100 cheaper than the Xbox One. The interface isn’t as forward-thinking, but maybe you want something that puts more focus on games. Maybe, too, you want something more mobile.
Regardless, though, the most important part of a system is still games. And it remains to be seen which console will make the biggest leaps in that field. You can wait to find out.
Remember: you don’t really love your PlayStation. You love the games, and the PlayStation–now on its fourth incarnation–is the boxy black vessel for those games. You don’t love the box any more than a toaster that plays Netflix.
This is important to remember, since the PlayStation 4 as a system feels so, so much like the generation before it. Imagine staring at both as they sit below your TV, then imagine Tommy Lee Jones sauntering in and Men In Black-style brain-wiping the last console out of your skull. You will not be able to determine The Future of Gaming and the soon-to-be obsolete.
If you’re reading and comprehending this, you’re likely old enough to remember the PlayStation 3. And I’d guess you’ve changed a lot more in the past seven years than Sony has.
How It Looks
The PlayStation 4 is actually a radical departure in a few ways–it’s just debatable whether all of those ways are positive. On top, it looks half matte, half almost-laminated. A crack along the front contains all of the stuff, like the two USB ports where your controller can charge. To play a game on a disc, you insert it into the PlayStation 4’s gaping maw, like a sacrifice to the gods. The crack glows blue while it’s on, and orange when it’s in standby mode, waiting for your next commands. The whole thing is slanted in front, like it got stuck in a wind tunnel for an hour.
Here’s the weird part: there are no buttons on the console. Like, at all. Not even a fake power sign you put your thumb over. You touch the top half of the crack to turn it on, and the bottom to eject the game disc. This is fine when you figure it out, but isn’t immediately apparent. I spent the better part of 10 minutes poking it like a Space Odyssey chimp at the obelisk.
There’s also a new controller. Stacked up to the last generation’s controller, it definitely looks sleeker–a little less angular than its predecessor, which, when viewed from the side, looks like an uncomfortable high-heeled shoe by comparison. There’s a “share” button on this generation, which, when pressed, lets players share a screenshot or video clip (the PlayStation 4 automatically records the last 15 minutes of play, just in case something happens that you have to show around). A lot of real estate in front is given to a touchpad. There’s a little mini-game loaded on to each PlayStation that uses this, but I haven’t quite figured out why it exists besides that.
Also: the controller-to-TV sensor on the front glows different colors. I like this. I do not understand why.
After you’ve cracked the mystery of How to Turn on the PlayStation, Nancy Drew, and added all of your information–Wi-Fi password, email address, etc.–you will be directed to the home screen. (Sold separately: the PlayStation Camera, which scans your face and detects when you’re around, and can be used to identify you automatically. For those worried the era of constant surveillance we’re living in hasn’t gone quite far enough yet.)
If you have a PlayStation 3, you will immediately understand almost everything about the navigation screen, because disappointingly little about it has changed, at least on the main screen. You click on the same cartoonish little icons to navigate: a smiling house-shaped box for your profile, two smiling squares to see the friends you’ve added. (The best one: a “messages” icon that features both an envelope and a speech bubble. Either would’ve done, but here you get two-for-one.) Tiles with real images on them also appear to take you to announcements about new games, info about games you’ve played, a web browser, and a feature where you can stream what you’re playing over the service Twitch and invite other people to watch.
You can also check out what your friends are doing, in a feature that, for better or worse, looks like a social network. See what your friends have been playing, what they’ve accomplished in their games, and so on. This isn’t a particularly beautiful interface, either: it’s a stream of faces and text-snippets floating down for as long as you feel like scrolling. (I’ve just previewed this last part–it wasn’t fully available for review.)
I was really hoping Sony would do away with the wavy blue background on the interface that makes you feel like you’re getting seasick on the digital ocean, but alas, it makes its return.
All in all, you can’t help but feel that a regular-old-update to the PlayStation 3 could’ve given us nearly the same interface, which is a bummer.
Killzone: Shadow Fall
Under The Hood
You’re probably either the type of person who cares about every spec in your machine, or you don’t care about them at all unless they translate into practical applications. Personally, I’m in the latter category. But in short: the PS4 is faster, able to render images better, and, yes, has some practical bonuses because of that.
In short, there’s a combination CPU/GPU system that splits up some of the work in the PS4. What does that mean? Mostly, that’s how we’ve got features like faster video processing. Also, the PlayStation 4 has an option for background downloads. Rather than sit and wait for a download to finish before you can start playing the game, you can hop right in after a certain percentage of it is finished. It’s like video buffering: you start watching before the entire video is really ready to be watched.
Also on board are two USB 3.0 ports. Here’s the biggie with those. The PlayStation 3, in some kind of egregious oversight, didn’t allow controllers to charge while the PlayStation 3 was turned off. Here that’s remedied. Even better: the battery life on the controller looks like it got an upgrade. I’m still waiting for mine to kick hours after a minimal charge.
There’s also a voice-control option in the PlayStation Camera you can use to start games or other features. Say, “PlayStation,” then the name of the game or certain functions and it’ll pop up. I’m not sure I totally understand the point of features like this. The last thing I want to do is exercise my vocal cords to select a game, especially when it’s a mere push of the control stick away. But there it is.
Games! Games. The most important part of any game console. The selection of titles available at launch is… pretty sparse, honestly. They’re almost exclusively sequels or games that are also appearing on the PlayStation 3.
The selection of titles available at launch is sparse.
Sony made a big deal at its announcement about the imminent arrival of the PlayStation 4-exclusive game Killzone: Shadow Fall, a new installment in the popular sci-fi shoot-’em-up franchise Killzone. Now it’s pretty apparent why: it’s the best representation right now of what the PS4 can do. The figures and landscapes on-screen are sharp, fully etched-out, even if it’s not as dramatic of a leap as PlayStation users saw between the PS2 and PS3. It just looks like a really lovely PS3 game. (I won’t go into too much depth on these, but especially not on this one, since the gameplay isn’t as breath-taking as the graphics. “Press R2 to kill him!”)
On the other end of the spectrum is a PS exclusive called Knack, which looks like something inspired by Pixar. You control a smart-mouthed monster called Knack. Knack punches out robots. It is fun. But also, definitely a game that could’ve easily appeared on the PS3 with very little lost. The characters and gameplay are like a high-quality animated movie, and no one would bat an eye seeing it on a past console.
Rounding out the launch-day lineup is the reliable B-list of gaming. You will find:
Madden 25: the 25th (!) installment in the football game franchise
Battlefield 4: the fourth installment in another shooty franchise
Need For Speed: Rivals: the umpteenth installment in the racing game franchise
And my personal favorite: Just Dance 2014, where people just dance to very recent pop hits, judged by the PlayStation’s Eye of Sauron. The newest songs include hits by Psy, of “Gangnam Style” fame, and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” Send this game to Mars. For one, it will no longer return to haunt us, and two, it will give future Martian settlers an exact idea of what life was like today.
One great thing Sony is doing now, though, is selling all titles as digital downloads the same day they sell them as discs. The future!
Should You Buy This?
Unless you are desperately jonesing to play a game like the new Killzone, then no, or, at least, you should wait as long as you can. This doesn’t feel like a step forward; it feels like a step sideways. A nearly identical interface, a slew of sequels, and a design that’s not all there. (I was more fond of the Wii U, which turned out to be a complete commercial disaster, because it at least felt like something different.)
At some point, if you’re regular gamer, you’ll probably have to bite the bullet. A game will come out that you’ll have to play, and you’ll buy the console to play it. But remember: you’ll be doing it for the game, not the console.