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Can’t Wait To Play:
The Division

by toddkelley on October 25, 2014

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Can’t Wait To See:
Avengers: Age of Ultron

by toddkelley on October 24, 2014

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First Impressions:
iPhone 6 Plus

by toddkelley on October 13, 2014

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After 3 great years with the iPhone 4s, it was finally time to upgrade to the next big thing. I always knew that my next phone would be a larger screen. I was hoping that Apple would come out with a ‘phablet’ sooner than later. Unfortunately it was later. I’ve been eyeing the Galaxy Note and HTC One for over a year and came close to jumping to Android– all for the bigger screen experience.

Luckily, 2014 was THE YEAR. In September, Apple announced the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus for September 12th release. Myself and Kitchen Rebel knew it would be a big hit to our bank account, but we both use our phones in every aspect of our lives. And the iPhone 4s was on it’s last legs. So we put in our order at midnight on September 12th, and in about 3 weeks, we got our shiny new 5.5″ screens in the mail.

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The Bad Stuff: Upgrading Woes 

Upgrading to the new phones were a bit of a pain. There was no information telling you how to do it, so I had to hunt around the web to do so. Turns out I had to call in. After being on hold for 20 minutes, we got our accounts transferred to the new phones. Unfortunately, I had to dump my grandfathered unlimited data plan for a shared 6GB plan. Don’t know how that’s gonna affect my mobile life yet.

The next morning on my commute to work, I realized my phone didn’t have internet. Turns out the new data plan didn’t get activated on the new phones. So I had to call in (again) and get that taken care of. But tech support was great. I had to talk to a separate person for each phone, but they had both phones up and running with data inside of 5 minutes.

The next obstacle was content. My iCloud account did a great job with transferring my apps, mail, passwords and contacts over seamlessly. But my music was another story. I now had 128GB of storage (twice what I had on the iPhone 4s), so I wanted to get a ton of music moved over. iTunes had serious sync issues. And even when it said it copied 7000 songs over, they wouldn’t play. I had to go online and try a few tricks (ex. turning off Find My Phone, deselecting ‘manage only check songs and videos’, etc.). Eventually I got music and videos upload and was ready to go!

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The Good Stuff: Life After Upgrading

First off, let me put this out there. The iPhone 6 Plus is an incredible device. Full disclosure, I don’t really talk on the phone that much. And iPhone is more a full featured communication and information device than at phone for me. I’m constantly on the go and doing something, so i need a way to stay in touch (personally and professionally) while i’m in motion. The 6 Plus is that perfect device.

The 5.5″ larger screen is the perfect sweet spot for folks who need a tablet that makes phone calls. I expected it to be great for videos and games. What i didn’t expect was the optimal size for reading books. It would seem to be a little small for that sort of thing, but the gorgeous retina HD screen makes text in iBooks and the Kindle app crisp and easy to read.

All the essential social apps look great upscaled to the larger size. Games look awesome. I spend a lot of time playing XCOM, Civilization Revolution 2, Madden Mobile and Marvel Puzzle Quest. The speed and screen increase (from the 4s) seems similar to jumping to a next generation console. For video, I spend a lot of time on the NFL Now app, looking at game stats and highlights. Somehow the phone’s larger form-factor makes it easier for using it as a remote for XBMC, Plex and Xbox One, as well as streaming content to DLNA devices and Google Chromecast. Also, using it as a second screen device is just as good as an iPad mini.

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Afterthoughts: 

After living with the iPhone 6 Plus for 5 days, I can say that it’s the best phone/mobile device i’ve ever owned. There is no ‘Bend-gate’ issues. My pants are normal-sized and I put the 6 Plus in my front pocket all the time. There’s no bulge issues at all.

The only issue I think I have with it, is.. it’s slippery (lol). I laughed when a lot of reviewers talked about it’s slipperiness. But after trying to pick it up, I dropped it twice on the first day. I’m a lot better now, but it took some getting use to. The phone fits perfect in my hand. I can use it for most things single-handedly, but it took some getting use to. Battery life is awesome. As it stands I’ve had to recharge it every other day (with extremely heavy use).

The iPhone 6 Plus might not be for everyone. The “6” version is smaller (but slightly larger than the 5s). If you’re a Mac person and looking for the perfect digital lifestyle device, the iPhone 6 Plus is worth the small fortune you’ll probably have to pay.

RATING: ★★★★☆

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#Watching Homeland

by toddkelley on October 12, 2014

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#Watching
The Walking Dead,
Season 5

by toddkelley on October 12, 2014

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#Watching Intruders

by toddkelley on October 12, 2014

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#Watching Star Wars Rebels

by toddkelley on October 6, 2014

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#Watching Time Is Illmatic

by toddkelley on October 4, 2014

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August 17th, 2014 @ 03:50:58

#Playing Destiny

by toddkelley on September 29, 2014

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After the big waste of money that Titanfall was, I was a little apprehensive about getting ‘the next big game’. Another $60 on a FPS was not in my budget. But I really liked the commercial. Plus I really don’t like multiplayer-centric play. I enjoy a good single player story-mode. So I paid for the XBOX One digital download.

I’ve been playing Destiny off and on since the launch. Actually out of out of town on business when the game went live, so i didn’t really start playing until a week later. It hasn’t been an obsession like the Call of Duty games. I’ve only made it to level 10 so far. And it took a while for me to get use to the game play and all the different nuances.

The next big game I’m waiting for is WWE 2K15 (which has been pushed back to November 18th for the Xbox One). Until then (and in-between Madden 15), I’ll push to get into Destiny more.

Rating: ★★★⭐︎⭐︎

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#Watching Doctor Who, Season 8

by toddkelley on September 28, 2014

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#Watching Sleepy
Hollow Season 2

by toddkelley on September 28, 2014

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#Watching: The Driver

by toddkelley on September 23, 2014

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Coming Soon: Plex Streaming
Media Server for Xbox One

by toddkelley on September 22, 2014

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XBMC on my Mac Mini has been the center of my television experience for the past few years. After kicking cable to the curb in 2006, my life has been filled with ripping DVD’s to my computer and streaming it to the TV. XBMC was awesome. I could add and catalog all my local movies and tv shows, while still watching Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime directly through their XBMC apps.

But when I finally got an Xbox One, that all chanced. The X1 became less of a gaming system and more of the primary streaming box. XBMC apps were nice, but still were a bit clunky. Sometimes the services would update their technology and the apps would break. But on the Xbox One, the experience was seamless and (for the most part) always working.

Still, I missed being able to get to my local content effortlessly. True, it wasn’t THAT much of a hassle to switch inputs and grab a different remote for the Mac Mini. But it was still annoying. I’m still chasing that ONE DEVICE TO RULE THEM ALL. According to Microsoft and Plex, that may be happening pretty soon.

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Every month, Microsoft does a press release for the monthly updates they do to the Xbox Platform. They’re constantly tweaking the operating system and adding new apps. During the latest press release they announce a lot of new functionality to the system.. but for me, they buried the lead.

Apparently, Microsoft has approved a version of the Plex Streaming Server to be added to the Xbox App Store. This is a huge thing. That means there will finally be a native application that allows you to organize and stream your local content directly through the Xbox One. You can (sorta) do that now by plugging your current media center system into the HDMI passthrough port, but it’s not the same. It’s still treated like a separate device and there are a few display bugs that pop up from time to time. With a native app, it will allow me to control everything with the Xbox controller or the official remote (which works great).

I’m not sure if they’ll allow you to plug in and use USB drives and access the content there. I’m assuming copyright issues will crop up. But there will be built-in DLNA  support, so streaming from Network Access Servers will be enabled. I have an old Diskstation NAS that should work perfectly. I’m counting the days until this happen. If history had taught me anything, this solution will not be everything that i’m looking for. But it’ll be one step closer to media paradise. I can live with that.

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Bing-watching: Star Trek: DS9

by toddkelley on September 21, 2014

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Can’t Wait To See:
The Avengers: Age of Ultron

by toddkelley on September 21, 2014

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Just Pre-Ordered!!! :
Apple iPhone 6 Plus

by toddkelley on September 15, 2014

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So Kitchen Rebel and myself have been carrying around an iPhone 4s since it launched back in October of 2011. Since then, I’ve been waiting for Apple to do one thing with their phone upgrade.. make a phone with a bigger screen. Year after year, I watched the announcements, holding my breath. I even got a nice fake out with the iPhone 5’s taller screen.

There was more than a few times I was ready to pull the trigger and jump to Android. I had serious screen-envy for the Samsung Galaxy Notes and the (Apple-isc) HTC One. But my digital lifestyle revolves around the apple platform. I’d have to be a patient loyalist and wait the inevitable release of the Apple phablet.

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This past Friday we were rewarded with the iPhone 6 Plus! A redesigned (well.. more like streamlined) iPhone with a 5.5″ screen, an upgraded 8 megapixel camera and all the cool bells and whistles that comes with iOS 8.

Pre-orders would start at midnight on September 12th. I chose to order our phones through AT&T’s website instead of Apple. I thought it would make the process a little more easy and convenient.

I was wrong. After 50 minutes of refreshing and error messages trying to go through the phone ‘upgrade’ process, I finally got Kitchen Rebel’s gold iPhone 6 Plus ordered. It took another 25 minutes to go through the process and order mine, but in the end, we were all set up by 1am.

Apple Unveils iPhone 6

The emailed receipts said we have 14-21 days for shipment, so we won’t be getting our phones until late October (which has been the normal schedule). We’re both ready for phone upgrades. Kitchen Rebel has dropped her phone a few times and has a cracked screen. My battery seems to be on it’s last legs. 3 years with these iPhone 4s’ has been pretty nice. It’s been the most durable phones we’ve ever had. Now it’s time to enter the incredible world of LTE data speeds, retina screens and phones that won’t fit in your back pocket. Bring it on, Apple. BRING IT ON!!!

IPHONE62

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I Can’t Wait For
Supernatural: Season 10

by toddkelley on September 15, 2014

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I Can’t Wait For
Agents of SHIELD Season 2

by toddkelley on September 14, 2014

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#GuiltyPleasure: MasterChef

by toddkelley on September 9, 2014

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Can’t Wait To Play: Destiny

by toddkelley on September 8, 2014

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Can’t Wait To Play:
State of Decay: Year One
Survival Edition for Xbox One

by toddkelley on September 6, 2014

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#NowPlaying Madden 15

by toddkelley on August 31, 2014

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Every year I get the latest iteration of the same Madden game. Madden 15 is the second released for next generation systems. But it’s the really the first true next-gen version. Last year’s Madden 25 was nice, but it was more of a old version with a shiny new coat of paint. M-15 feels like a new game built from the ground up. And even though I still get my ass handed to me by pre-teen professional players online, it’s still enjoyable to command the Oakland Raiders to the Superbowl. Yes, I still have that dream..

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Can’t Wait To Read:
Avengers & X-Men: AXIS

by toddkelley on August 31, 2014

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The Red Skull has taken over Genosha and stands poised to plunge the planet into World War Hate! The Avengers and X-Men must team-up with each other and some of their greatest foes, but along the way, Inversion changes everything! Anything can happen in this nine-issue event written by Rick Remender with the art of Jim Cheung, Terry Dodson, Adam Kubert and Leinil Yu!

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The Leftovers: A Deceptively Excellent TV Show

by toddkelley on August 28, 2014

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I remember when I first started reading The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta. I expected this ‘end-time’ story of people being raptured to heaven. That was far from the truth. It was a slow-burning dramatization of the monotonicity of life as it goes on with no answers. I didn’t get past the third chapter. It was a well-written piece of fiction, but it wasn’t the story I was looking for. Still, that gnawing curiosity stayed with me. I still wanted answers, or at least and explanation of the event.

So when the HBO series based on the book debuted, I thought maybe this would give me what I wanted. Typically, television adaptations need to be ‘dumbed down’. You can’t string the audience as long as a book because the attention-span of a watcher has reduced dramatically. Maybe they’d alter the plot/premise. Maybe I’d get scenes of God’s might hand reaching down and pulling up souls to heaven.

Uh.. that was not the case.  Unfortunately, I was given that same feeling of disappointment. The fact that the series was being developed by Damon Lindelof (Lost), I should’ve known that there wouldn’t be any answers.. at least for the next few years. In the end, it was apparent that the rapture questions I had were never going to get answered.

2% of the world’s population simply vanished. Men, women and children, good people, bad people,religious zealots, atheists, murderers, Saints… There is no pattern to who was taken.

Two episodes in, and I was ready to write this show off. You could tell that Lindelof was going for the ‘slow burn’, similar to what he did on Lost. We were entering the story AFTER the summer blockbuster and peering into this world during that space before the next blockbuster sequel.

I didn’t notice that my episode 5, I was hooked. I was all in on these random story threads that seem to be traveling their own way, unrelated in anyway. But it didn’t matter. I was invested in the characters and their journeys. Police Chief Kevin Garvey trying to keep his family and his town together, but losing on both fronts. Reverend Matt Jamison and his quest to save the souls of the members of the fringe cult, The Guilty Remnant. The Prophet Wayne Gilchrest, who seems to have a supernatural ability to take away a person’s pain. Remnant leader Patti Levin deploying her followers throughout town like chest pieces.. she and her people ready to put some sinister plan in motion.

I’M ALL IN!!! I Don’t care about The Event anymore. I just want these stories.. these people to keep going so I can see them live their lives. I know tragedy is coming by the season finale. And now I hear that HBO has ordered a second season, this has become on of my favorite shows on television right now. I am now officially a Leftover.

 

The-Leftovers

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#Watching Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Atlanta Falcons

by toddkelley on August 23, 2014

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I’ve been watching Hard Knocks for the past eight years. This is the show that signals the beginning of football season.