Google's Made With Code initiative has unveiled its latest project, Holiday Lights. Made with Code is a project from Google to help encourage girls to explore coding and development, which is an initiative I have a well-documented soft spot for as well. This new project uses Blockly to create and animate a pattern for the lights seen during the National Christmas Tree Lighting this year. You can see the basics of the tree and how your choices of color and animation will look, then you can save your pattern. It's a fun way to learn a bit about code and maybe see your pattern used live! As a person who has spent more time than I care to admit on trying to program the lights at my house, my biggest concern here is how to get my hands on the code so I can do this in my front yard.
Angry Birds fans have even more pig-smashing to enjoy now that the latest Angry Birds Seasons levels are out. The 25 new levels take the launchable birds to Finland as they smash through Helsinki, the northern lights, and more. The game update introduces a new character, Tony, plus you'll learn facts about Finland from Professor Pig. The Angry Birds Seasons On Finn Ice levels are available as a free update.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens isn't due in theaters for about a year, but that shouldn't stop you from getting your Sci-Fi nerd on in a big way because you can see the movie's first trailer today. The minute and a half long trailer doesn't show any of the main characters — meaning no Luke, Leia, or Han — but it has plenty of stormtroopers, droids, X-winds, and the Millenium Falcon. Also, a triple-blade Sith lightsaber. That's right: a triple-blade Sith lightsaber. What's missing is Jar Jar Binks, which means there's a really good chance Episode 7 will be substantially better than all three prequel movies combined.
Black Friday is creeping up on you whether you like it or not. In fact, it's crept all the way into Tuesday for Best Buy, which is offering early access to Black Friday deals on its site. These are online only, but you can use free in-store pickup to get your hands on them if you want. Should avoiding the store entirely be more appealing, you get free shipping once you hit $35. So if you have a Mophie Juice Pack Air/Powerstation Duo ($40 off) or GoPro Hero 3+ ($185 off the bundle) on your gift list, now's your chance to save a foray into the madness and just buy one now. Well. You have until 11:59pm Central Time tonight, so if you want to pick up The Lego Movie on Blu-Ray, now's your $3.99 chance to do so.
Considering black seems to be Batman's favorite color, it's only fitting LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham launches on the Mac on Black Friday, November 28. The game sends Batman and his super hero friends on an adventure throughout the universe to stop Brainiac from shrinking Earth. Players can choose from over 150 different DC characters as they work through puzzles, fight super villains, and ultimately stop Brainiac's evil plans. You can jump into the new Batman LEGO adventure for US$29.99 through Apple's Mac App Store this Friday, and Dark Knight, Man of Steel, and Batman 75th Anniversary packs will be available as add-ons, too. LEGO Batman is always awesome. Now you know exactly how you'll be spending your Thanksgiving weekend.
Apple made Things for iPad from Culture Code free for a week starting now. Things is a task manager/todo organizer, and it's become quite popular since we gave it an Editors' Choice Award in 2009. Things for iPad 2.5 was recently released and brought a ton of new features. Apple liked it enough to make it the free app of the week, so grab it while you can. It's normally priced at $19.99.
OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG! It's here. It's finally here! Ironhide Studios released Kingdom Rush Origins. That sound you're hearing is my holiday week vanishing in a puff of extended iPad tapping. Seriously, the Kingdom Rush franchise are my favorite iPad games, and each addition gets better. Established as a prequel to Kingdom Rush and Kingdom Rush Frontiers, Kingdom Rush Origins is a tower defense game. With the help of a mobile hero, the player sets up towers to defend paths from an invading force. It's tons of fun, with new tower types, new heroes, new monsters, and assumedly a new final boss. The iPhone version is $2.99, while the "HD" iPad version is $4.99 (I recommend it on iPad). You can easily play without making any in-game purchases.
iTunes is the only option Apple gives us for loading media onto our iPhone, iPad or iPod touch from our Macs, and it limits the audio and video file formats we can upload. That's a thing of the past thanks to WALTR from Softorino. This awesome Mac app lets you upload a long list of file formats — such as MKV, AVI, MP4, CUE, FLAC, APE, ALAC, OGG, AAC, AIFF and WAV — to your iOS device without ever touching iTunes. Just fire up WALTR, connect your iPhone or iPad to your Mac via USB, and drag files to convert and upload them so you can watch or listen on the go. It really is drag-and-drop simple, and file transfers are surprisingly fast. You can try out WALTR for free and a license costs US$14.97.
If you are a woman who has ever purchased a pair of jeans, you know this process can be…fraught with peril. You have to guess at the random number that is allegedly your size, since it varies from year to year and designer to designer. Then you have to guess close enough that you don't get stuck in them in the dressing room, and you have to hope they aren't too long/short/wide/narrow/high-waisted/low-waisted/whatever. If you find a pair you don't hate, you purchase multiples on the spot, even at full price. You know. In Case. Well, Crystal Beasley decided enough was enough and launched a Kickstarter campaign to fix this. Called QCut (as in cut on cue), Crystal is designing jeans for you. And you. And you, too! They're all custom made, based on five measurements that include shoe size and bra size to help determine body type. This campaign has two weeks left as of today, and even though it's funded, you still may want to get in on it. Jeans that fit make an awesome Christmas gift! (Full disclosure: I know Crystal, and I am a woman who wears jeans.)
It's scientifically impossible to get too much Guardians of the Galaxy, which is a very good thing because it's now available for rent and purchase on on Apple's iTunes Store. For US$19.99, you get the movie in HD, plus extras like deleted scenes, bloopers, and behind-the-scenes details. Bonus: You also get an exclusive look at Marvel's upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron movie. If you saw GotG in the theater, you know why you need to buy it now. If you missed it, here's your chance to redeem yourself.
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