The Sims 2 Ultimate Collection and Peggle are Free via Origin.com

We’re all big fans of Maxis’ little computer people here at the GUO homestead. Despite this fact, most of us kinda bounced right off of the third iteration of The Sims. Good news then that EA is offering a digital version of our favorite version of this groundbreaking franchise, complete with eight giant expansion packs, for free until July 31st.

Interested in grabbing your own copy The Sims 2 Ultimate edition? Head on over to Origin.com, create or login with a free account, select My Account/Redeem Product Code. Enter the code “I-LOVE-THE-SIMS”.

Afterwards you’ll need to download and install the Origin app. Once Origin is installed you should be prompted to add a complementary copy of Peggle to your library.

Shinjuku Kabukicho Robot Restaurant | Weekend Watchlist

Have you ever wondered what a Medieval Times style dinner-n-show restaurant might look like in Japan? I bet you’re wondering about it now. Guess what? Your imagination sucks. It’s about to get seventeen different flavors of weird up in here!

Deep in the red-light district of Tokyo’s Shinjuku ward lies the not-so-humble dinner theater known simply as Robot Restaurant. And… Well, you just gotta see this.

Oh, and before we begin, I‘m not sure if ladies in bikinis driving power armor shaped like ladies in bikinis warrants a NSFW warning, but… Well, there you go.

Without further ado: Ladies! Tanks! Robots! Let’s go Robot Restaurant!

Now I don’t want to say that you haven’t seen anything yet because, well, you’ve probably already seen more crazy than one person should but… There’s more. A lot more. We haven’t even gotten to Cutie Honey Captain America and King Godzilla yet!  Oh yes, there will be Gangnam Style.

The GUO Homestead has Cut the Cord!

Two years ago I proposed a radical plan to the Mrs: Let’s cancel cable television.

Our contract was up and Version had just started offering new plans for faster Internet speeds that I just couldn’t wait to get my ethernet cable on. She hemmed and hawed and ultimately decided to sleep on it. The next morning she awoke and enthusiastically agreed that we should kick the converter boxes to the curb. With great reluctance (and fear for my own life) I sheepishly admitted that I had already renewed our contract with Version, including the television service. BUT, I had dropped the movie channels and used the savings to add a spiffy new 75mbps Internet pipe.

I mean, come on, you read this blog. Would you have actually expected me to wait 12 hours when I knew I could triple my daily dose of Internetty goodness to our wickedly wired world? Of course not!

Upon leaving my chiropractic appointment to unkink my back from sleeping on the couch, we reluctantly accepted our fate as a good thing. It would be a dry run at “cutting the cord”. We would have a real chance to see exactly how much cable television we were still consuming in this age of home theater PCs, podcasting, media servers, and online streaming sites while still having the same-old-same-old service at our fingertips to fall back on. The experiment was on (and, more importantly, I was off the hook)!

At first nothing changed. Our viewing habits had already been curbed by our unexpected stewardship of Baby Girl and there were only a handful of shows we still watched. Eventually even these favorites met their narrative conclusion or fell victim to a television exec’s axe. The last network not online we cared about, the BBC, finally began streaming to America. Video services like Amazon Instant and Google Play began offering UHF quality drek at cutthroat prices whenever one of us felt the need to indulge in a little boob-toobery. The Playstation 3 ended up pulling more viewing hours than the cable service. My PC connected to our living room television provided anything it couldn’t do for free. Increasingly our tablets took over the role of the blathering, idiot-box screen once central the the American household and our television, the largest screen in the house, fell silent, only awoken for special occasions and only ever displaying content we actually cared about.

It was a new age. A quieter age. A more thoughtful age. An age free of screaming car salesmen and nonsensical commercials for jeans .An age free of fads, reality television, celebrity gossip, and psychologically exploitative marketing schemes designed to make us feel guilty about not keeping up with the mythical Joneses.

There was no debate when our next contract renewal came around. We had turned on the television a grand total of one time in the past year. That occasion was to watch the parade and dog show on Thanksgiving, a tradition among the Mrs.’ family (also easily viewable via our local network affiliate station using an antenna). We had already cut the cord in our hearts. We were counting the days until we could make it official. The only question that remained was…

How much more bandwidth can I get with all the money I’m saving by canceling cable television? I can double our already ludicrous Internet speed to 150mbps?! Alert my chiropractor!

She’s Finally Back! The All New ‘Sailor Moon Crystal’ is Now on Hulu

sailor-moon-crystal-2

And, really, what more is there to say. After a ridiculously long absence, the legendary magical girls that inspired a generation of otaku and cosplayers is back in this new series based on the original manga! Yes folks, the heroic heroine that showed audiences around the world how even clumsy girls with bad test scores can become princesses (And not just ‘damsel in distress’ princesses, but magical, butt-kicking princesses!) from twenty years ago has returned.

Premiering July 5, 2014 and continuing to air the first and third Saturday of each month, you can catch Sailor Moon Crystal streaming on Hulu. I’ve embedded the first episode below for your convenience. Note that this initial premiere is in Japanese with English subtitles. A dubbed version is slated to be released in the future.

Know that I did have to disable my ad blocker to watch Hulu. Oh, and that high-pitched sound in the background? That’s just the Mrs. squealing with delight.

On the off chance you don’t know what all the hubbub is about, check out Wired’s surprisingly heartfelt Sailor Moon FAQ.

PSA: It’s Hot! Clean Your Computers and Household Electronics

dusty-computer-4It’s July 3rd and man, oh man, is it warm out there! So before you head out to blow stuff up tomorrow, it might be a good idea to make sure nothing is going to overheat and blow up on the ol’ home font.

That’s right folks, it’s time for the cast and crew of GUO to nag y’all about cleaning all those heat generating electronic doo-dads that power our digital lives. Get out the canned air, vacuum cleaner, tiny brushes, and, if you’re feeling adventurous, screwdrivers. Let’s evict those dust bunnies sheltering within your favorite computers, video game consoles, televisions, a/v receivers, and cable boxes. Don’t forget to wipe down that keyboard and mouse!

Afraid of working without directions? Let me Google that for you. Now you’re all out of excuses Winking smile

And while were sprucing up our stuff, don’t forget about that scrungy, smudgy smartphone and tablet! While I’m of the ‘Just whack it with a Lysol/Clorox wipe’ opinion (Been doing it for years. Works great unless you use a screen protector), here’s a more by-the-book guide.

Ah, feels good to clean up, eh? You know what feels better? Moar cleaning! Do a clean sweep on your digital life! Go ahead and unsubscribe from all that spam filling up your inbox every day! Defrag your hard drive (Unless it’s an SSD. *Never* defrag SSDs). Run a full virus scan.

Alight, things look great! Now, about that microwave of yours…

World of Tanks Blitz | I Played That

Game Profile: World of Tanks Blitz

  • Genre: Slow Motion Multiplayer Team Deathmatch Arena (Online 3rd person shooter)
  • Developer: Wargaming.net
  • Publisher: Wargaming.net
  • Service Requirements: Online connection, Game Center or Wargaming.net account
  • Available For: iOS
  • ESRB Rating: Not rated. No blood (or even people) are present. No swearing.
  • Price: Free
  • Amount Completed: 8 hours. Tier III for all nations.
  • Played On: iPad 2

 

Personal Bias:


Played a bit of World of Tanks on PC. Didn’t like it, but I could appreciate the game.

 

In a Nutshell:

World of Tanks (WoT), the slowest online deathmatch arena in the world, beloved by old men, Russians, and old Russian men, comes to mobile. The Blitz variant of WoT scales down the action to smaller (yet still large) maps, 7-man teams, and a single capture point in brisk, seven minute matches.

 

Defiance: Free-to-Play | I Played That

Game Profile: Defiance

  • Genre: Borderlands MMO. Or Firefall if it worked and had content (3rd-person shooter MMO)
  • Developer: Trion Worlds
  • Publisher: Trion Worlds
  • Service Requirements: Online connection, Trion Glyph account
  • Available For: PC, PS3 (goes free July15), Xb360 (free date TBA)
  • ESRB Rating: M for Blood, Drug Reference, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Violence
  • Amount Completed: About 30 hours. EGO level 500ish.
  • Played On: PC 

     

    Personal Bias:

    None. I don’t know the show this is based on. I’m not familiar with Trion Worlds.

    In a Nutshell:

    Online open world run-n-gun shooter full of random folks wielding randomly generated guns in a constant stream of spontaneous events.

    Released in 2013 as a retail MMO product with no subscription as a marketing tie-in to the SyFy television show of the same name, it debuted with the problems typical to online game launches such as an aimless design and a dearth of content. Fast forward two years and Defiance jam packed full of missions, public quests, co-op/competitive instances, and drops the price tag to boot.

  • Is Amazon’s Fire Phone The Biggest Personal Data Harvesting Machine Yet?

    So Amazon's new smartphone seems quite exciting what with it’s simulated 3D, new-ish operating system, 13mp camera, universal identification system, and Amazon Prime’s video, audio, and e-book services. Yet is there a dark side to this marvelous new piece of always online tech capable of watching, listening, locating, and recording every aspect of your daily life?

    Enter Mike Elgan, current host of Tech News Today. He’s got a heaping helping of food for thought about that new Fire Phone, not the least of being “Why won’t Amazon say what they will/won’t do with all that data of yours.”

    Just to lend some perspective to those unfamiliar with Mr. Elgan, I can assure you that in the past several months since he took over TNT it’s been pretty rare to see him exhibit many signs of life, let alone get so fired up on a topic. When such a mild-mannered newsman gets on his soapbox for 10 minutes, it’s probably a good idea to sit up and listen.

    Microsoft Won’t Read Your Email Anymore But You’re Now Responsible for Your Kids Behavior

    Microsoft is previewing changes to it’s new privacy policy set to go live on July 31, 2014. In an email sent out to holders of MS accounts, one interesting change is highlighted:

    As part of our ongoing commitment to respecting your privacy, we won't use your documents, photos or other personal files or what you say in email, chat, video calls or voice mail to target advertising to you.

    These changes come, unsurprisingly, hot on the heels of leaked NSA documents that described Skype as “vital” to their spying efforts. Although this change does absolutely nothing to actually fix the the broken cryptography used by Skype, it is a welcome change that flies in the face of traditional ‘Read and record everything’ policies invented by Google and employed by most online service providers today (You DO read your EULAs (End User License Agreements), rightWinking smile).

    I know that some of the GUO staff here have become quite disillusioned with Google of late. The Big G has lost its luster between the constant snooping, obfuscation of activities within the so-called transparency report, forced Google+ adoption, and cancelation of beloved services. While choosing between Google and Microsoft is akin to choosing between the baby-kicking devil and the puppy-eating devil, every move towards giving you some rights versus taking you data makes ‘em seem a little less gross.

    Another notable upcoming change to the Microsoft policy involves your kids.

    We updated our Code of Conduct so you can better understand the types of behaviors that could affect your account, and added language that parents are responsible for minor children's use of Microsoft account and services, including purchases.

    This is in response to incidents Apple has encountered where you hand the kids your phone and the little monsters buy that $100 “Best Value” pack of Smurfberries. It is currently unknown if the ol’ “The dog bought it,” excuse will still work or not. Technically, this also puts parent on the hook for all the horrible things their kids are saying on Xbox Live. So, if you’re not already doing so, this might be a good time to turn off the TV and stuff a bar of soap into the mouth of your household’s loudest Halo fan.

    Microsoft’s surprisingly readable privacy policy is available online here.

    Five Fun Trailers from E3 2014

    E3 week, the most wonderful time of the year! A time to lay aside out rational expectations and embrace the wonder that may (or may not) show up in our digital toys of tomorrow. In honor of this spirit we are discarding all expectations of real gameplay and picking out five game trailers that were simply fun to watch. Enjoy!

    5) Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

    Barely making our list is the least entertaining Borderlands trailer yet. Still, to say that this is the least entertaining Borderlands trailer is like saying that a T-bone is the least tasty steak. It’s still yummy, yummy beef!