Category Archives: Technology

7 Things I Like about Huawei’s Nexus 6P Android Smartphone

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Huawei. All opinions are 100% mine.

Before I dive deeper into my experiences with Huawei’s Nexus 6P device, you might wanna read what I’ve already written about the company. As much praise as Google’s biggest flagship smartphone is getting with techies, the company that created it deserves a bulk of the credit.

There are certainly an array of Android-driven experiences in the marketplace to accommodate a variety of users (which is the power of the platform), but this was my first experience with Huawei. I had been eyeballing it for quite some time, if only because I had been using an older product as my go-to Android gadget and had been wanting something with updated internals and a far more responsive screen.

The Nexus 6P did not disappoint.

  1. It shipped with the latest version of Android (currently 6.0, also known as Marshmallow). This is a welcome surprise. It will always be at the head of the pack for updates, too – given its status as a Nexus device. It’s as pure of an Android experience as you can get today.
  2. It looks good all around with clean edges constructed of metal and glass. Moreover, the front is all it needs to be with a screen and speakers – no design distractions (all logos are on the back of the device).
  3. The ability to record 4K video is currently a cutting-edge feature, fully available with the camera (and 1080p video in the front camera is also wonderful to have).
  4. The power button and volume rocker switch have different textures. This is a fine detail that really makes the device more usable (since you know which button you’re pressing without needing to look).
  5. The screen is bright and responsive. I felt that the animations and transitions were always smooth – always hitting around 60 frames per second without serious snags.
  6. The fingerprint sensor is blazing fast. I never had to rejigger my hold on the phone to get it to recognize my registered fingerprints, either.
  7. The software is running in parity with the hardware. I didn’t feel like I was dealing with an Android’ish experience – I felt like I was using a device that was designed with a singular vision.

These days, there are a smattering of smartphones from which to choose – but sacrificing quality for budget isn’t an absolute anymore. You can have premium products without necessarily paying a premium price, and that’s pretty much what Huawei has produced in the Nexus 6P. If you want to get one, you can go directly to Huawei and experience a level of customer service satisfaction that helps further set the company apart.

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How Cardboard Can Bring You $10,000 in Tech

This sponsored post was brought to you by LG.


The UltraWide Festival 2015 – “Dream Setup” is an online competition wherein participants introduce their computer setup ideas on YouTube (and throughout social).

Unless you dare not dream of a dream setup?

The finalists are getting a chance to build their dream PC Setup with a prize of US$10,000. That’s a lot of dough (and more valuable than real dough, unless you had US$10,000 worth of actual dough). 

The contest started in September, so (as you can imagine) this festival has attracted a good deal of interest from tech enthusiasts and those who love playing video games.

Though this specific competition is now closed, there are still a lot of interesting events in store for those who found out about the event too little too late. One such event is the “Cardboard Dream Setup.”

Instead of showing off your tech, feel free to demo your creativity by building your dream setup in cardboard. Ya know, that stuff which usually gets discarded and recycled? Three lucky ducks will be chosen and they will be given LG’s latest Ultralight laptop “gram” (along with a 34UC87C LG UltraWide Monitor).

Cardboard Dream Setup

And if you’re not a duck, you’re in luck – since ducks can’t qualify. Again, I was just being liberal with the lingo. No real dough, no real ducks – just you and an immense pile of value. 

LG will select the 20 semi-finalists based on the engagement around your original post (so, don’t try to take someone else’s idea). I sure hope you have a 

Even if you don’t consider yourself a geek, that’s okay – you can still qualify. Just don’t let the nerds know that it doesn’t take any amount of tech proficiency to appreciate what tech can do for anybody. Even if you’ve already applied to the Dream Setup competition, you can still take a shot. 

Great Grills Have Grates and Top Tech Tastes

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Char-Broil. All opinions are 100% mine.

They don’t tell you, but… when you officially become a father, your DNA reconfigures itself to transmogrify you into someone who enjoys flipping meat. You actually look forward to performing what would seem to be a mundane task. Regularly. Like, you’ll jump at the opportunity to do it.


“Honey, could you hand me that can on the counter?”

“Sure. Hey, while we’re on the subject… how about I go ahead and fire up the grill for breakfast steaks?”

“That’s great, but… it’s three in the morning.”

“Oh, I know. I’m just saying… we’re better off beating the four o’clock rush, ya know?”

“What are you talking about?”

Char Broil Commercial Series 3 burner

I’m talking about a father’s day gift that keeps giving. Granted, this things doesn’t actually produce the food you’ll prepare on it – but it’s a grill that has a patented TRU-Infrared cooking system which cooks food evenly across the entire cooking surface and without flare-ups.

And, in case you’re with someone who doesn’t appreciate when any kind of excess gas is passed, you should also know that it uses 30% less fuel than a traditional gas grill. 

It. Them. Char-Broil Commercial Series Grills!

Now, before you suggest that my approach to this topic is terribly dry, might I also note that the infrared system in one of these grills produces juicier food compared to a traditional gas grill.

Because nobody asks for a dry steak. Nobody. 

Well, there’s that one guy who wants a dry steak, but he also wants to be a fire truck when he grows up (so, you should take his opinion with a grain of salt – and some Maytag blue cheese crumbles to complement). 

World s Biggest Burger

Did you know that infrared grills are used in high-end steak houses? They are, and if you’ve been looking for restaurant-quality meat meals without having to put up with waiters who don’t refill your breadstick bowl frequently enough… well, then… now you know this life is within your grasp. 

Char-Broil recognizes that your significant other loves to crank the thermostat in the opposite direction from your temperature preference. While it cannot help you win this never-ending battle over domicile climate control, the grill can sear as well as it can cook low-and-slow. Everybody will be happy. So long as nobody touches the thermostat again. 

Bacon Meat Roll

My propane salesman is awesome (his name’s Hank – tell him I sent you). The problem is: sometimes, I don’t know if I’m about to run out of propane before I start the grilling process. And guys just can’t stop grilling mid-stream. This grill has a gauge on the tank that measures fuel level – because it’s smart, and guys love gauges. 

At this point, I should also point out that it’s perfectly normal for non-guys to love grilling, too. You could be full-on female and still love to twirl tongs over a tool engineered for performance. 

And I’m also not suggesting that meat is the only thing you could throw at it, either. I’ve yet to meat a vegetable that doesn’t taste great when it’s been grilled – except for peas, which are insanely difficult to balance on the grates. I don’t like peas, though (so I don’t run into that problem frequently). 

This is a rugged grill. You could haul it up to the campground if you wanted to do so (though I wouldn’t recommend doing that, really). You will look more rugged standing next to it in any case. In any backyard. On any deck. Over the river. Through the woods.

Learn more about Char-Broil’s infrared technology!

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Using eBay to Remember the Geeky ’80s

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of eBay for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Five Ways Geeks Remember the '80sYou might think of eBay as the go-to place for picking up the knick knacks of yesteryear — and it is that — but it’s so much more. If you’re in the mood for something a little more shiny than a boxed up Speak & Spell from the ’80s, for instance, eBay has plenty of 21st century deals on electronics and technology right here.

I like shiny and new stuff, too, but I won’t deny that I get a little nostalgic for things I collected when I was a kid. I’m not really sure if I’m more of a child of the ’70s or a child of the ’80s. Maybe I occupy a space that astrologers would call “the cusp,” since I feel like I have a foot planted firmly in each decade, shoed in the trappings of both.

My love for Star Wars and general technology, for instance, originated in the ’70s, but it was shaped more definitively in the ’80s (and certainly didn’t end there — by this point, it’s safe to say it won’t end in my lifetime). If you follow anything I do, you probably know that I’m even more of a collector today than when I was as a kid; a nearly collapsing shelf of Darth Vader memorabilia bears witness to this fact. It makes sense, really: my mom had to enforce strict storage regulations in our full house growing up. As a result, a lot of my cherished keepsakes couldn’t make the passage from boyhood to… second boyhood (who wants to grow up? Not this kidult!).

eBay Deals

I could scour the local thrift stores and flea markets to try and track replacements down, but I’m a bit of an indoorsman (it sounds cooler to me than homebody). So my first instinct is to go online to see what I can find. And what’s the first place I always look? eBay. Why? It’s the most likely place to find anything I’m looking for — from old trinkets to new novelties — and it’s been around since 1995. A convenient rating system lets me know, at a glance, if I’m buying from a seller who’s been deemed trustworthy by the community or has a few dings from deals gone bad that might deserve a second look before money changes hands.

Hey, for all I know, I’m rebuying stuff that my parents got rid of at a garage sale 30 years ago! But if it’s being sold on eBay at a reasonable price by someone who’s been positively endorsed by other eBayers, I’ll bid on it. We’ll call it a storage fee.

If you want to see some of the fun, geeky things from the ’80s that I’ve managed to track down, have a look at my Five Ways Geeks Remember the ’80s Guide at eBay.

You may be surprised to note the absence of Star Wars stuff — I could be avoiding the low-hanging fruit to give you something unexpected, but maybe I’m just saving it all for another list. Time will tell! Let me know what you’d like to see in future eBay guides!

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Top Five Things to Look for When Buying an HDTV

Since we talked about 4k screens the other day, it occurred to me that some people may not even know where to begin when trying to decide on a regular old HDTV purchase. It seemed like a perfect time to revisit the advice that Matt Smith (no, not Doctor #11, but The Matt Smith!) once shared. While this was written a few years ago and some of the details may be out of date, most of this excellent advice holds true today if you’re not yet committed to going 4k.

[$5+ patrons can read the rest of Top Five Things to Look for When Buying an HDTV here. Not a patron? Consider the benefits here!]

Five Audio Mistakes Made by Vloggers and Podcasters

Whether you’re doing a video or audio podcast (or vlog), the importance of good quality audio remains throughout. Your production value is absolutely determined by the ability of the audience to hear and understand the message conveyed in your content. Here are my top five audio mistakes frequently made by vloggers and podcasters…

[$5+ patrons can read the rest of Five Audio Mistakes Made by Vloggers and Podcasters here. Not a patron? Consider the benefits here!]

Analog VGA Vs. Digital HDMI and DVI Video Connections

VGA has been an active video standard for personal computers for a very long time. DVI and HDMI (along with the newer display port standard) are making a tough case for the aging analog port, though you might be surprised to find out that VGA is still superior in some ways…

[$5+ patrons can read the rest of Analog VGA Vs. Digital HDMI and DVI Video Connections here. Not a patron? Consider the benefits here!]

How Do You Search for Information?

Riquochet is a newer Patron who is curious about my search habits. You, too, can become a Patron and receive priority answers to your questions!

When you search the Internet for information, would you rather whip out your wallet and get your hands on what you’re looking for quickly, or spend time searching around for a ‘free’ answer? After all Time = Money.

If I want it, need it, and know it fits the bill… I’ll pay the bill.

I think it’s asinine to hear people whine about how they got their computer infected with malware because they downloaded a movie through less-than-proper channels.

That’s hilarious, really. People spend more by trying to avoid spending money.

Free doesn’t always mean totally free.

An hour of my time is worth more than minimum wage.

How Do You Search for Information?

Which Old Game Would You Bring Back?

AirWolf asked:

What PC game of old would you like to bring back from the grave, give a fresh start and re-release (or just be able to play!) – and why?

Oh, man… you just can’t replace the classics!

If I could do anything, I wouldn’t reboot or update a favorite game – but bring it back to its last “best” state.

I think a good game plays well forever, and that (too often) newer versions can destroy what made a game work so well for you in an earlier edition.

So, I just found out about JummMan Forever the other day – and I’m thrilled that it’s a project that’s actively shipping code to platforms (with more major platforms coming). I loved Jumpman Jr. on the Commodore 64, and have played it through emulators over the years.

The developer is doing a great job at bringing back what he loved, but while I appreciate some updated graphics coming down the pike… I wouldn’t mind seeing and playing with the “old graphics” either.

I am so grateful I was around for the classic home video games – because I think they’re all timeless. Not all simple, not all perfect, but they obviously worked well enough that I’m still playing a few of them to this day.

Which Old Game Would You Bring Back?

Does Technology Creep You Out?

ClosetFuturist asked via Facebook:

I’ve been trying to stay aware of trends that are arising in the technological revolution. I’ve been researching it through Documentaries, Keynotes, and even scientific papers. I see a number of discoveries and innovations that could have moral and ethical dilemmas attached under the current system. Some are already occurring. There’s also the reality of biological interfacing that is already happening. Are there any aspects of the tech revolution that has you concerned or even a little creeped out?

It’s pretty much as you laid out, there.

I’m concerned that while technology may be advancing at a rapid rate, the human condition is still operating in the dark ages.

No, seriously.

We have all these great tools around us that are here to make our respective lives better (and, for the most part, I’d say that the quality of life has improved thanks to advancements in high tech and Internet access outright).

But the same tools that can build can also destroy, and if we don’t accept responsibility for what we do with technology… it’ll destroy us altogether.

Let’s illustrate the problem with a simple tool: Twitter. It’s easy to send a tweet that uplifts, inspires, informs, entertains… but what else do people use Twitter for? To diminish, degrade, and derail. Same holds true for YouTube (or any social platform).

Or, worse yet? Some people woefully choose to designate their choice of a smartphone platform as a personal religion.

If that doesn’t illustrate just how disconnected humanity is from technology, nothing does.

We have tools to better connect us, but… some people have yet to develop the emotional maturity (and cultural awareness) that it’s going to take to let these tools build us up together rather than tear us apart.

A tool can often be only as good as its user.

Does Technology Creep You Out?

What Type of Games Should Kids Learn to Play?

Patron George Barrett is interested in kids and their early gaming years. You, too, can become a Patron and receive priority answers to your questions!

When you introduce your child to gaming, will you show him/her the classic games from the NES era, or let him/her discover them for his/herself if it develops as a personal interest whilst playing the current games?

This is actually an easy one to answer, George. I’m sure that at a very early age, Baby Pirillo will start being introduced to educational games. There are so many great ones out there that teach little ones everything from hand-eye coordination to counting to reading and back again.

Once s/he is old enough, our child will be allowed to choose their own path with most everything in life… including gaming. That’s not to say Diana and I won’t provide guidance, of course. It’s not like the child will be given free reign to do things that are simply not appropriate. But I would never “force” my child into doing things that I prefer instead of what they would choose.

Yes, of course I’ll show off the old-style games. I’ll also help him or her check out the latest MMORPG or FPS (at the right age) if that’s what they’re into. Heck… maybe the kid won’t be into games at all. Instead — Lord help me — my child could be a huge sports fanatic like my Dad and brothers. Maybe s/he will prefer to play instruments, or plant a garden with Mommy or want to cure cancer.

Whatever our child is interested in — be it games or sports or music — we will do our level best to nurture that passion and help it to grow.

What about all of you? How would you answer this question?

What Type of Games Should Kids Learn to Play?

What Do You Use the Internet For?

GadgetSuperHero asked:

What do you use the Internet for?

At first, I wasn’t going to answer this one. My initial reaction was that the answer should be obvious. However, I realize that there’s far more I do online than what all of you see. I’m sure that’s how you are, as well.

Obviously, I use the Internet to work. I stream live to video twice per day on weekdays, write blog posts, post to social media, answer emails and upload the vlogs. That’s definitely far from the sum total of what I “do” when online.

I listen to music through streaming services. I catch up on television shows the same way. I handle many of our household bills and finances online. I do research for shows and posts online. I shop. I read. I learn.

When you stop to think about it, we do so many different things online every single day that it would be hard – if not impossible – to go without it. Yes, impossible… because we rely so heavily on the Internet to get things done, we’d be at a complete loss/standstill if that connection were suddenly taken away.

What about you? What do YOU do online?

Image credit to Rodney Pike!

What Do You Use the Internet For?

Is Google Plus Dying?

Matthew Rappaport seems to be concerned about what’s going on within Google’s social sphere:

Is Google+ still alive and what do you hope to see announced for it at Google I/O?

It’s not dead – yet.

I have little patience for the typical jingoistic navelgazing that often seems to come with some of Google+’s most vocal supporters, though.

I don’t eat, sleep, or breathe any single social platform, though – nor does my life revolve around any single company apart from my own.

For Google I/O, I’d hope to hear more about how they’re going to continue to improve the Android experience – and, with just about every change they make, Google only reinforces my positions early on regarding their platform (despite me being perceived as persona non grata by many whose personal identity is tied into a piece of fucking software).

Is Google Plus Dying?