A year ago today, Bryan Chaffin wrote about Pixel Press, a Kickstarter project that allows you to draw your own video game. Now it’s finally available! Pixel Press Floors is a fantastic iPad app that is currently free and can be used to create levels of a platform-style game just by drawing them. You don't draw? It don't matter! You only need to manage to draw symbols like X and +, and the app translates, filling in spikes and moving platforms and coins among other things). You can draw on paper, or you can draw within the app itself to make these levels come to life, then you can play those levels or share them with others. For lots of kids (like, oh, let's just say me) who played platformers growing up and when they weren't playing games, were drawing what their dream games would be, this is an awesome opportunity to realize a dream. For today's kids, there's a great opportunity to learn about game mechanics and testing and iteration. Check out the app in action in the video below.
You may remember Topher Grace from That 70’s Show, or from one of his variety of film roles. He decided to experiment with editing film, so he took Star Wars Episodes 1-3 and condensed them into a single film. He held a screening of that single movie in his home, and released a trailer as the invite to said screening. Vimeo user Double Digit has run with the trailer’s story, which turns the prequels into mostly the story of Anakin and Amidala’s relationship and Vader’s origins. Sometime George Lucas is cool with fan stuff like this, but now that Princess Leia is officially a Disney Princess, I don’t know how long this movie will be available so go check it out while you can.error
If you’ve ever wished for the control center from your iPhone to appear on your Mac, you are now in luck. There’s a US $10 app from Cindori Software called, well, Control Center for Mac that gives you just what it says on the tin. Not only can you control iTunes or Spotify and toggle wifi or bluetooth, you get a timer, a lightweight checklist, and a system monitor. There’s a free seven day trial available on the site, and the $10 purchase is handled directly by the website. So far the trial is pretty nifty, I like having a nice way to switch Bluetooth and the window is a perfect utility style window: always there when I need it and unobtrusive the rest of the time. Thanks to Reddit for the heads up.
Good.iWare's brand new GoodReader 4 builds on an already essential tool for the iPhone and iPad by going Universal, meaning the same app runs with native interfaces on both devices. The new version also includes more PDF editing features such as the ability to rotate and rearrange pages, add or delete pages, and combine PDFs into a single document. The app continues to include support for accessing a long list of online storage services, making it a kind of Babble Fish for remote file access. GoodReader 4 is priced at US$2.99 and is available at Apple's iTunes-based App Store.
So…there’s this video below. It’s four guys dressed as Tibetan monks (or actually are Tibetan monks) who fully break it down to a Beastie Boys song. It is amazing to watch, especially when you realize the kind of moves they’re busting in those robes. In the interest of full disclosure, it’s a video from an agency, and their client was MCA Day, an organization celebrating the life of Adam Yauch, Beastie Boys founding member and Buddhist who passed away on May 4, 2012 after a battle with cancer. I know it’s "advertising," but it is awesome, and not advertising a product, so I’m OK with passing it on. As a bonus to today's Beastie-themed CSF, if you didn’t get a chance to see the most adorable video tribute to MCA when it was released two years ago, I give you the pint-size remake of Sabotage.
It is reasonably well known that I am a fan of Neil Patrick Harris. So when I came across Neil’s Puppet Dreams on the Nerdist YouTube channel, I had to watch them all, then watch them again, then start telling people how great they are. Even if you watch all of them it’s still only 39 minutes. Not to mention the guest appearance by Nathan Fillion! At a minimum these tend to be PG videos, and they spend a fair amount of time in PG-13 land, so you might not wanna gather the kids around before you get a chance to screen them yourself. Here’s “To Catch A Puppeteer,” which somehow is both sort of creepy and very funny. I also recommend "Bollywood."
Harper Collins announced last Monday that Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird will (finally) become an e-book, all official like, released this coming July. This announcement coincided with author Harper Lee’s 88th birthday, and the release of the digital edition is timed to the book’s 54th birthday. There will be digital audio as part of the release as well, read by Sissy Spacek. Clearly this calls for that most literary of cocktails, the Tequila Mockingbird. If Catcher in the Rye ever gets an e-book edition, it's Old Fashioneds for everyone! The publisher hasn't yet announced which ebook retailers will carry the title.
One of my favorite holidays is coming. Sunday is Star Wars Day! This is a wonderful holiday for two reasons: First, STAR WARS. Second, it came about from a terrible pun: May the Fourth…be with you. See? Well it’s gotten bigger every year, and this year it was announced that some minor league MLB teams are going to sport themed jerseys in honor of the “holiday.” There are a few deals and specials on Star Wars goodies, and LEGO has already kicked off a weekend of nerdy treats with a sale and some new sets debuting over the weekend. There are rumors of a CollegeHumor video featuring auditions for the Cantina Band (Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes), but I can’t find it just yet.
The L.E.D. Portable Charger is a Kickstarter project, a high-capacity, Lithium-ion 5200 mAh charger for all your smartphones and tablets. It weighs just 154 grams. As a battery charger, it can charge your iPhone several times over with its 5V, 2A output. It also has three levels of low-heat LED illumination. Used that way, is has a 100 hour battery life. Included are two USB charging stations so you can have, say, one at home and one at work. Two microUSB cables are included. Besides having a good battery capacity, the three LED lights could also be used as a signal lantern or close quarters lighting. The Kickstarter project has eight days to go and needs just a few more backers to reach its goal.
LEGO has released a series of Simpsons minifigs in the “blind box” format, where the packaging completely obscures the figure inside and it’s a surprise which figure you actually receive. I think the accessories are a nice touch: Ned’s “I (heart) Southpaws” mug, Grandpa’s newspaper with the headline “Old Man Yells At Cloud,” and Ralph Wiggum’s valentine card are clever references to the show. What I can find about the minifigs says they’ll be available at “all mass toy retailers,” so if you don’t have a LEGO store in your area it shouldn’t prevent you from being able to go squeeze packages looking for Bart’s skateboard or Lisa’s saxophone. If you're excited about the coming LEGO Simpsons episode (trailer below), you'll want to check out the minifigs too.
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