Monthly Archives :

January 2015

Video Game Console Tech Specs

rhecht
Source: gotgame.com

Source: gotgame.com

A video game console is essentially a computer has traditionally been designed to do one thing- play video games from cartridges. Today this has evolved into online gameplay, downloadable games via WiFi, and more. Since they’re computers, what’s under the hood? That’s one of the things a video game manufacturer fails to specify, and most people are complacent.

Here I lay out the “skinny” on video game consoles. Have fun!

 X-Box 360Nintendo WiiNintendo Wii-UPlaystation 4
System RAM:N/A 88 MB 2048 MB8 GB
Drive Capacity:4 GB 512 MB8 GB500 GB
CPU Speed:N/A 729 MHzN/AN/A
CPU Cores:N/A 1N/A8
Disc Capacity: 8.5 GB 8.5 GB8.5 GB8.5 GB
Disc loading type:Slot loadingSlot loadingSlot loadingSlot loading
Video outputs:Component, HDMI (v1.4) Component, RCA / composite, S-Video Component, HDMI (v1.4), RCA / composite, S-VideoHDMI
Video Formats:1080p, 1080i, 720p 576i, 480p, 480i1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p, 480i2160p [4K UHDTV], 1080p, 1080i, 720p
Released:August 3, 2010November 19, 2006November 18, 2012November 15, 2013
Source:http://www.engadget.com/products/microsoft/xbox/360/specs/http://www.engadget.com/products/nintendo/wii/console/specs/http://www.engadget.com/products/nintendo/wii/u/specs/http://www.engadget.com/products/sony/playstation/4/specs/

The Skinny On the OnePlus One Phone in Canada – How Much Does It Cost, and How Long Does it Take?

rhecht
Courtesy of oneplus.net

Courtesy of oneplus.net

I recently ordered and am looking forward to the OnePlus One phone, which has great reviews and can replace my semi-functional iPhone 5. The “hook” is that at $350 for a 64 GB model, the phone costs less than half the cost of a regular phone, and there’s no plan you need to be tied into. Sounds great, right? I’d like to think so.

The pricing in Canada, though, is a bit more than the $350 price tag would lead you to believe. In Canada I purchased the phone at $350 base price. In addition there’s the shipping. With shipping there are two options, one at $28 and one at $37. The one at $28 doesn’t provide tracking and is not Canada Post, therefore, the only real option is the $37 one. That brings it up to $387. Then there’s payment through Paypal. Paypal in my case converted $387 as $462. Fine, though we’re already at more than $100 over. Lastly, there’s the inevitable duties I will need to pay for it which is over $50. That brings the phone to over $500!

Also, there’s getting the necessary accessories such as the plastic screen protector, case, and backup charger, which amount to another $36.

Live and learn I guess. Hopefully though this phone will last me a good couple of years so I can justify the investment.

Internet Data Usage (Bell v.s. Rogers): Is That How They Calculate It On Your Bill?

rhecht
uptime-downtime

Photo courtesy of play.google.com

This is nothing new. Over the last 6-7 years big Canadian phone/data/ISP providers like Bell and Rogers have set a bandwidth cap for users paying for their internet service. They would charge a certain amount, and then have a cap. How accurate is this cap though?

A friend of mine that presently owns his own private ISP company recently informed me that it’s impossible for these ISP companies to accurately tell you how much data you’re using: it’s impossible. With Rogers, what they do is take a survey of all users around a block, then average this amount. With Bell, they take the username of your Modem and charge any bandwidth from that username, which is relatively more accurate.

How Rogers Does It

I found this out the hard way on two occasions. We originally started out with Rogers internet in 2007. Back then, Rogers didn’t have the bandwidth cap they have now. We ended up switching to a different internet provider once we saw that our overage charges ended up making our internet bill double what it should have been. We later found out that rhere’s a “black box” between what Rogers says one is using and what one actually is using. Bottom-line, Rogers takes an average of the whole block you are on and charges each person the same data. Apparently, one or more people were using too much bandwidth and we were getting hit with a way-too-high average for the block!

How Bell Does It

We later on switched to Bell’s internet service. A Bell salesman was going from apartment to apartment on our block selling plans at a very reduced rate for the first six months. We signed up, as did many others. After the six month deal ended, we saw that not only did our rates go up, but Bell upped the rates every so often. What caused us to end up switching providers was when we saw how much bandwidth we were “using” and knew ourselves that we could not have possibly have passed the bandwidth mark (which was capped at 265 GB). The fact that Bell was making such a claim that we were starting to go over made us suspicious.

We later on found out Bells’ methodology. Bell takes the username associated with the modem/router they give you and calculates data, which is a more accurate metric. The only problem there is in the modem Bell gives each customer. Bell gives a modem/wireless router combo that has a poor signal. Get this: the Wireless router portion of each modem is not very secure at all. Even if you set a secure password, there are still ways for one to hack it. And once its hacked, Bell charges your router indiscriminately. There’s no way for them to determine what was “invalid” data usage and what wasn’t. We ended up leaving Bell’s internet, but not before getting hit with an $80 overage charge on data. Never again.

Colosseum Internet

As far as I know, Colosseum Online is the only “truly unlimited” internet provider, charging nothing extra. I’ve been using them so far and am happy.

4 Must-Haves to Fully Benefit from Google Chromecasts’ Service

rhecht

Chromecast_dongleWhen Google came out with Chromecast in July 2013, many people likely did not know what to do with it. The whole idea seemed foreign: a cast a browser tab from Google Chrome and pay $40-50 for that.

After receiving it as a gift recently, I’ve since been using it and found it to be indispensable. Here are the items you need in order to get the most benefit from this device.

1. A Chromecast Device

This one is obvious. Without it there’s no point to this post.

2. TV with an HDMI port slot and USB

lg-tvIn order to view the Chromecast, you need a TV with HDMI capabilities. HDMI as a technology came out in 2002-2003, and only really started being mainstream in TVs since 2008. While that doesn’t seem so long ago, if your TV doesn’t have HDMI it’s likely at least 7-8 years old. At the low cost of HDMI flat-screen TVs, this is a must.

Even newer TV’s have a USB port. This isn’t necessary but is a huge help. Without the USB port, your Chromecast will need to be charged using an outlet, which can be a pain. The USB essentially “powers” the Chromecast while it’s doing its job.

3. Specific Devices with WiFi Capability

Courtesy: v3.co.uk

Courtesy: v3.co.uk

Once you have Chomecast set up on your TV, you need a device to “cast” it to. This can be done from a Mac/PC or a phone/tablet with iOS or Android utilizing WiFi capabilities. If you have a desktop that doesn’t have WiFi, it won’t work. Tried that. Alternatively if you’re a tech geek running Ubuntu with Chrome, it should work as Chrome apps like “Google Cast” should be installable regardless of the system.

If you have a tablet that’s not running iOS or specific Android systems, it won’t work. This is a shame as high-end devices like the Kindle Fire don’t have the capacity to have Chromecast installed where it can properly integrate with apps like Google Cast and place the option in its own version of Netflix and YouTube.

4. Netflix/YouTube

This is also a must for TV junkies. With Netflix/YouTube you can cast these videos from any tablet or phone. From a Mac/PC there are ways to cast a video straight from the Chrome Browser. For file types that are not MP4 or FLV there is an extension called “Videostream for Google Chromecast” which pretty much streams any filetype.

5. Wireless Gigabit Router with High-Speed Internet (optional)

While this is optional, if you want optimal viewing performance without hogging everyone else’s internet usage, invest in the Gigabit router over an ethernet router. Most Gigabit routers today are optimized for Netflix/YouTube streaming, though you should first check if this is specified. The WiFi difference between 54 MbPS and 300 MbPs is very significant.

The high-speed option is for the same reason. If you can find an internet provider that offers competitive flat rates without overage charges, go with that. It’s worth it as you don’t need to pay “through the roof” for a quality internet experience.