Pokémon Go

The whole world goes crazy for something almost every year. Things have always been that way for as long as I can even remember. From Teddy Ruxbin to Beanie Babies. Tamagotchi to Furbies. Tickle-me-Elmo. Cabbage Patch Kids. The list of crazes is long and grows constantly. Now with new technology crazes can come on your phone and before you know it everyone you know is becoming a fake celebrity with Kim Kardashian or trying to keep a seemingly drunk bird from crashing into the pipes from Mario Bros.

It’s hard to tell what’s going to be a fad when it comes to casual Smartphone games but Niantic seems to have stumbled into the formula with the release of Pokémon Go, the glitchy app that reignites your 10 year old desire to be a Pokémon Trainer.

On paper the idea seems ridiculous, but the more you think about it the more it makes sense. You play it like you would any other Pokémon game; starting off as a trainer with the desire to catch ‘em all, you get hired by Professor Willow to go out in the world to live your dream of being the very best while gathering scientific information on the Pokémon you catch. Unlike the previous games, instead of laying in your room with your Gameboy dangled precariously over your face, you actually have to go outside to catch these.

(Also unlike the previous games, Professor Willow makes you catch your first Pokémon instead of gifting it to you, which works as a gameplay tutorial but makes Professor Willow seem like kind of a jerk.)

The games Augmented Reality (AR) elements quickly became a meme on the internet with people sharing photos of Pokémon they’ve caught at the grocery store, in actual gyms or even in very creepy abandoned buildings. While those memes are fun, I think I’ve found my joy from the game elsewhere.

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Apparently my love of puns and hip-hop music have caused me to carve my own niche in these games. Aside from the regular game mechanics, I’m having way too much fun naming these little guys.

So if you haven’t already, go out and catch Pokémon and have fun!

I Have A New Toy!

Over the Christmas break, I went and got myself a gift. I’d been looking at the Nexus 9 for awhile now and decided to finally go out and buy myself one. I’d never had a 9 inch tablet before, so the first thing I noticed while using it was that it was too big for my hands. My tweets and tumblr posts for the past week have been an unintelligible mess and I thought that the best way for me to fix it (and keep from scratching up my tablet) would be the Keyboard Folio from the Google Play store.

The Keyboard Folio looks fairly nice, however it doesn’t actually hold the tablet in it. Instead it sticks to the back of the Nexus 9 by a magnet. While I don’t doubt the magnet’s ability to stick to the tablet under normal circumstances, I happen to be a very clumsy individual. So the keyboard folio would not work for me.

Luckily, someone who understands my clumsiness suggested that I buy a regular case and get a separate Bluetooth keyboard. That same someone then gifted me with the Logitech K480 keyboard.

I’ve been elated with the thing ever since I got it. It’s sized small enough that it isn’t too much of a hassle to bring along with me (it’s only slightly bigger than my Nexus 9), but it’s big enough for me to type comfortably on it. It’s buttons are raised, which helps prevent mistyping and it can be paired up with up to three devices which are easily connected to the keyboard. It also has a dial that makes switching between your devices easy. It also functions like a regular keyboard would. Most of the PC and Apple key commands can be used with the tablet.

If you have a tablet and do a lot of writing on the go, I’d suggest picking one up for about $50 on Amazon. Trust me, it’s worth the money.

Pre-Blocking for Personal Health

I’m on Twitter a lot. Like it or not, Twitter is one of the best sources of breaking news. If used properly, you can find first hand information as it happens instead of waiting for news outlets, which though they say they aren’t, tend to be biased in some of their interpretations of events. Twitter can be educational, fun and also help friends who live far away from one another keep in touch. Unfortunately, despite all of the good Twitter can do, it can also be used for evil.

You may or may not know it (let’s be real here, you know), but Twitter has issues with harassment. Anyone who’s participated in a trending topic knows about the Egg Icon’d accounts that pop up to say all manner of mean things, but sometimes there’s a picture, or a full profile and identifiable person behind those threats and abuse. When you’re bothered by these trolls, they could be at it for hours and it can range from mildly annoying to extremely triggering and scary. Just ask anyone who participated in the #GamerGate hashtag in the past few months.

I’ve dealt with enough trolls in my time on the internet, and am constantly trying to figure out how to make the places I frequent safe spaces for me without having to go entirely private. Luckily a friend told me about his method of keeping trolls away. He pre-blocks. Pre-blocking is easy. Normally when  friend on twitter gets into an argument with an obvious troll I just open the trolls profile and block them (or mark them as spam, depend on how fake it looks or how offensive they are). Then I just wipe my hands and walk away. That’s it. It keeps those trolls away from my profile long before they have a chance to bother me.

That’s not the only method of pre-blocking people, there are many apps on the internet that will do the work for or with you. Another method I use is The Block Bot, which has been a tremendous help because it has tiers you can subscribe to and the lists are compiled by people and if necessary, subscribers can request a troll be added.

These are just two of the methods you can use to make Twitter comfortable for you, and hopefully they’ve been helpful. If you know of any other methods or apps to use, share them below!