ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Hits the World of Video Games

The strange viral phenomenon of posting videos of yourself dumping a bucket of ice water over your head to spread awareness of ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, formerly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) has stretched beyond the realms of reality and into the worlds of our favorite digital playthings.
GUO’s own Unpaid Intern spotted Warframe’s “greedy milk” Corpus baddies getting doused first.

Gearbox was quick to respond by offering up David Eddings, the IRL voice of the most annoying robot ever created, to the bucket.

Finally, Bungie took up the challenge, and cashed in on their own little viral in-joke, with That Bucket Came From the Moon.

I’m sure we can look forward to many more of our fantasy friends getting wet for this great cause in the weeks to come.

To date, the Ice Bucket Challenge has raised some $13 million in support of ALS. You can find out more or donate at ALSA.org.

2013 Gamer Demographics: Chicks Over Dudes and The Sims Over All

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) have just released their annual report detailing the trends of the trade for video gaming. You can grab the full PDF, complete with handsome charts, fluffy ‘expert’ quotes, and silly, useless stats direct from the ESA here.

Here are a few of the fun facts I found interesting in the data the ESA collected from retailers, game publishers, and advertising companies:

Old women now outnumber young guys

Thanks to mobile adoption (addiction?), females aged 18 or more now make up 36% of the game playing population. Males under the age of 18 account for a mere 17%. The average age of someone buying a game at retail is 35. You can look forward to many more Kim Kardashian games in the future. Lucky you!

PC gamers are smarter. Console gamers are faster.

The top selling genres for console games are, unsurprisingly, Action and Shooter (32% and 20% respectively). PC gamers fancy Strategy and Casual/Puzzle games (38.4%  and 28%). There are more RPG fans on PC than console (12.3% vs 7%) so maybe Bioware can stop coking up Dragon Age now.

Call of Duty: Ghosts was NOT a flop

Despite to click-bait editorials coming out of the gaming media, CoD is doing just fine. The 2013 release of Ghosts was the second best selling console game of 2013, eclipsed only by the record setting success of Grand Theft Auto V. Also flying in the face of popular belief, Disney Infinity actually outsold Skylanders Swap Force.

The Sims dominates PC retail

While Valve still keeps its sales numbers for Steam, suspected to be the biggest PC game store in the world, under wraps, The Sims 3 and its various expansions claimed 7 out of the top 20 best selling ranks. Only Sim City (#2) and the Starcraft II expansion Heart of the Swarm (#1) outsold The Sims 3: University Life. Curiously, Age of Empires II, the RTS from 1999, weighed in at #18.

Retail game sales peaked? You bet!

The Mrs. and I have been making the same joke about the video game industry for the past couple years: “NoMoarVideoGameMonies.com”. The number of games being sold at retail hit a record low in 2013. Interestingly enough, the amount of money spent on games was up slightly from 2012 indicating that those still purchasing titles are paying more for them. A lot more. Collector’s editions FTW!

Game sales have been on the decline since 2009. That said, consumers still spent $21.53 billion on video games.

Sharks vs Internet | Caught on Video

From Popular Science:

“Shark bites are a real threat to undersea fiber-optic cables. No, really. Google actually goes so far as to wrap its wires in a Kevlar-like material to prevent damage from sharks, a company spokesperson recently disclosed. As you can see in the video below, the animals have been known to bite cables. “

Some believe that these deep-sea eating machines are attracted to both the electric and magnetic fields emitted by underwater cables and mistakenly detect them as prey. Others simply shrug off this explanation as ‘sharks will be sharks’ and the ferocious fish would attack any ol’ chuck of plastic they find.

After previous bills from shark attack related repairs, modern cables are wrapped in a Kevlar-like material to protect them. Now if we can just get similar armoring to protect our household electronics cables from household pets.

Video Compilation showcases all 135 Space Shuttle Launches

Gone but not forgotten, NASA’s space shuttle program easily ranks as one of the crowning achievements of mankind.  Relieve all the majesty of this monumental program from STS-1 to STS-135 with YouTuber lunarmodule5’s fantastic video montage from 1981 to 2011.

2014 Anti-Virus Software Test Results

Being the family tech support guy, people often ask my option on which anti-virus software to use. I usually shrug, rattle off 3 or 4 options, and remind them that only suckers pay for anti-malware software. Its always a hard question to answer as your never really know if you’re A/V program of choice is working or not until the worst happens. Also, new malware is going to skip right through all A/V detection algorithms regardless of which program your using.

Fortunately, the fine folks over at AV-Test.org have been so kind as to compile their results from the past 10 months of torture testing.

AV-Test put 17 anti-malware packages, both free and paid, up against a variety of harmful computer creepy-crawlies and scored them based on detection and removal.

In the end, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free topped the list with 100% in system repair. The paid apps Bitdefender Internet Security 2014 came close in second with a score of 99.4%, and F-Secure Internet Security 2014 tied with Kaspersky Internet Security 2014 at 97.8%. The next best scores for free applications came from AVG AntiVirus Free 2014 and Avast! Free Antivirus 9.0.

Just to add my own anecdotal evidence to the results, we recently had a laptop here that came down with a case of digital cooties. Home page hijacks, pop-ups, the usual. In our little battle for computer health, Avast didn’t even detect the malware, AVG found but could not clean it, and Malwarebytes fixed everything.

In case you were wondering, here’s the link to Malwarebytes.

The only drawback to Malwarebytes’ free app is that it does not include real-time scanning. My personal recommendation would be to use another free virus scanner (such as AVG or Avast (I still like Avast due to how lightweight it is on system performance with very few false positives. Obnoxious, overzealous A/V software has caused me more problems than malware lately)), and do a manual scan with Malwarebytes once a month.

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…