Need Dinner for Halloween? Try Spaghetti and Oozing Eyeballs!

The Mrs. dug this one up and was kind enough to send it shambling towards my inbox of no return. Just cut a 1/4th of a piece of string cheese and mold your meatball arount it with the cheese sticking out on the top. Stick a piece of black olive on top and bake as normal. Voilà! Dinner too disgusting to eat!

I’ve been filling my meatballs with mozzarella for a couple years now and it is delicious!
You can get the official recipe from Kraft Foods.

Hello Kitty All Dolled Up for Halloween

Never one to miss an excuse to launch a new product line, Sanrio has unveiled that Hello Kitty Monster collection. Gaze in horror as Hello Kitty dons the costumes of Frankenstein, The Mummy, a skeleton, and 2 different ghosts. These adorably terrifying keychains are available from Strapya World for $12.50.hello kitty monsters

FEAR 3 DRM Fail Captured Live via OnLive

What you see below is dozens of gamers collectively yelling “WTF?!” at their televisions and computer monitors as Warner Brothers’ always online DRM servers go down.

FEAR 3 DRM failAs part of their Halloween promotion cloud gaming service OnLive offered free 3 day rentals on a number of titles, one of which being F.E.A.R. 3. Sunday night at around 7:15 PM EDT, every game of WB’s horror shooter on the service came to a screeching halt as gamers were dropped back to the title screen with a message “No connection to matchmaking server”. Competitive, co-op, and, shockingly, solo gamers alike were left hanging.

The above screenshot was captured using OnLive’s Arena mode which allows spectating of games in progress. In this case, it also allows spectating of draconian copy protection measures that hurt their customers, even the ones playing an uncopyable version of their product.

The outage lasted a mere 20 minutes, but the messages is clear: “Do not adjust you television sets. We are in control”.

The Scariest Story Ever Told (in Psychonauts)

To help get you in the spirit for Halloween tomorrow, I submit to you this tale of horror from master wordsmith Clem and the cast of Psychonauts. Enjoy!

Exoplanet Habitable Zone Around Red Dwarf Stars Extended 30%!

Ahh, the habitable zone.  Where everything is warm but not too warm, where water is free to be a liquid, where life can feel free to procreate without danger or freezing of boiling.  This is the most important place for a planet to be if the planet wants little things crawling around and breathing on it.  Recent studies on Red Dwarf type stars (Class M stars) by Manoh Joshi and Robert Haberle, have shown that, due to the type of light emitted by these stars, their planets can exist in a habitable zone 10% to 30% farther from their star than previously thought possible.  This is extremely important because up to 80% of the main sequence of stars are Red Dwarf type stars.  Red Dwarf stars are extremely common stars that are smaller then our own Sun, because of their size they also have a longer lifespan (100 to 1000 times the life of our Sun) and a red color.  Our closest star neighbor, Proxima Centauri is a Red Dwarf type star, as well as 20 of the nearest 30 stars.  Unfortunately due to their small size and low luminosity, no Red Dwarf type stars can be seen without the use of a telescope.

CDC Zombies Return in Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic

Read the Zombie novella, for an accessible PDF version, click the link below this image.After initally piquing our interested with Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse and supplying e-swag in the form of posters and ecards, the U.S. Government’s Centers for Disease Control is back once again to synergize disaster preparation with pop culture media. The CDC’s latest offering in zombie preparedness? A free comic book!

Just in time for Halloween, Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic is a free PDF available directly from CDC.gov. It also includes an emergency kit checklist.

Anyone placing bets on how long it is before the CDC Zombies have their own HBO mini-series?

Onlive Halloweekend Offer: Free 3 Day Rental of Orcs Must Die, Metro 2033, Fear 3, and Amnesia

Onlive is having a Halloweekend promotion where you can play scary fare such as Fear 3, Metro 2033, Amnesia, and the all new Orcs Must Die for free.

Onlive is free to sign up for with no strings attached should you not already have an account. More than that, I’ll work on any ol’ clunker PC or Mac you’ve got lying around. Just make sure you’ve got a decent internet connection.


Our pick for this collection is Amnesia: The Dark Descent. With a 85 Metacritic score, this indie darling is every bit as terrifying and taxing as you’ve heard. If you have ever enjoyed a horror game in the past, don’t miss it.

5 Scary Good Games for Halloween You Never Heard of

bloody pumpkinLists. Everyone loves a good holiday list. The problem is that a lot of them all look the same. Take the Halloween gaming list: Console kiddies run to Silent Hill and Resident Evil; Old PC farts have their Undying and System Shock 2; Even the Indie hipsters can immediately point to Penumbra or Amnesia. Boooring!

Here are GUO we wanted to get off the beaten path and show you some stuff you may not be familiar with of to get your scare on this Halloween. October isn’t just a great time for horror themed gaming, its your last chance to try something different before the winter rush of AAA game sequels keeps our fingers tied up until next March.

Fist of the North Star Full Scale Figure Bedazzled With $130k of Crystals

“You are already fabulous!”

bedazzled fist north starComic Zenon is Japan has commissioned a true to life scale figure of Hokuto no Ken’s (AKA Fist of the North Star) brooding, super macho, understated wasteland hero Kenshiro. Created by figure maker Kaiyodo and standing just over six feet tall, the giant collectable was unveiled at Tokyo's Ginza Hakuhikan store and will be auctioned off for charity. Awesome, right?

Then they went too far.

Proving that awesome sauce on awesomeness is not always tasty, the statue was inlaid with 500,000 Swarovski crystals worth approximately $130,000. The end results turns one of anime’s oldest and toughest manly men into an Elvis impersonator fresh off the Vegas strip.
More pics of this fashion faux pas of the man with seven wounds can be found at mantan-web.jp

Tips, Cheats, and Strategies for Wasteland Empires on Facebook

game_WE_headerWe took a look at CrowdStar’s newest Facebook and, lemme tell ya, it sure ain’t no Happy Aquarium! Wasteland Empires is now in open beta testing (and we DO mean beta!) on Facebook and both the Mrs. and I have been have a blast stomping raider scum and Facebooker alike. After playing far too much, we staggered back out of the wasteland of this post-apocalyptic city builder/RTS with some of our favorites strategies.

Madoka Magica Game? There’s an App for That. Several Free Ones, in Fact!

Mami's Heart-Pounding Tiro Finale madoka iosIn support of their upcoming Madoka themed PSP dungeon crawler, Namco Bandai has released a free smartphone game entitled Mami no Dokidoki Tiro Finale or Mami's Heart-Pounding Tiro Finale (humorously translated by Google as “Mami pounding finale of security logs”).

While the app is free for both iOS and Android, you will need an account with a Japanese billing address. It’s not an insurmountable problem, but for those who like to keep things simple we took a look at some hassle free ways to get your Puella Magi on.

Fancy Designing Our New Blog Banner?

I’ve been thinking about a new blog banner for a while now. I’d like a character that is unique to Growing Up Otaku. After several tries I’ve only confirmed what I already knew: Me not so good wif artsy things. Crowdsourcing to the rescue?

DIY Taser Gloves Inspired by Fallout


The Techno-Holics (Jeffie and Evil Pat) have created something that we all wish that we had at one point or another – Taser Gloves.  By using capacitors from discarded disposable cameras, AA batteries, rubber gloves, a switch, and some wire and solder you can make these too.  A video of these in action can be found here.  It’s yet to be seen if there have the power to do anything other than make someone really mad, as a spark and a continuing charge are not the same, but I’m sure that it wouldn’t feel pleasant.  The makers are already working on version 2.0 of the gloves that don’t need a button held down to charge the capacitors and possibly something better than Altoids tins to hold the electronics. 

This seems to be the first time that the idea of a “Zap Glove” from Fallout is being tried out in real life.  In Fallout the glove includes a pressure plate on the knuckles that, when struck, releases the zap of the glove.  The Techno-Holics glove uses electrodes mounted on the middle finger and the thumb that release a charge when a circuit is formed but the resemblance is uncanny.  There’s no plans to sell these at this time and it could be quite a while before they become legal so you will have to get out your electronics books (or go to the library) and make a pair of your own if you want some. 

Disclaimer:  This is probably illegal and definitely dangerous so don't mess with this stuff.  OK?

Review: 9mm (iPhone/iPad/Android): Protect and Serve by Shooting People in Slow Motion

9mm gameloft iosCreating a console-like gaming experience on touch screen devices is a tricky proposition. Traditional shooters in particular face an uphill battle. It is a genre where sales are made and lost based on graphics. Split second timing necessitates the need of knowing where the control buttons are at all times. It can be argued that such genres are simply unfit for a platform such as tablets and that game designers will need to reinvent the old mechanics of control completely or (gasp!) try something new. Epic’s Infinity Blade is a perfect example of reinventing the classic action game for this new interface.

But reinvention is not what Gameloft does. Catering to the outspoken ‘Hardcore’ crowd, Gameloft seeks to take those experiences you’ve already played on other systems and shoehorn them onto smartphones. And they are getting very good at it.

Thailand Flooding Washes Away Hard Drive Supplies

Thailand floods to lead to hard drive shortages for months | ZDNet: "Floods in Thailand have rattled the hard drive supply chain from component suppliers to giants like Western Digital and ultimately PC and server makers will be affected, say analysts. Thailand’s disaster has shut down 14,000 factories, flooded hundreds of thousands of homes and put more than 660,000 out of work.

Last week, the impact of the flooding in Thailand played out very differently for hard drive giants Western Digital and Seagate, but shortages will loom into 2012, say executives."

Dust - A Deadly Hazard in Space And On Earth Has Finally Met It’s Match


Space technology has now given us the most wonderful gift: a cleaner floor.  Yes, Heinrich Iglseder is an Austrian scientist who has worked on a new technique to study dust in space.  His research has yielded dust detectors that have flown on three space missions for the U.S., Japan, and Germany.  Dust in space can be deadly because it can be traveling at tens of thousands of miles per hour and at this speed it can damage or destroy necessary parts or spacecraft such as solar cells.  Spacecraft with dust detectors can take steps to protect themselves like folding in solar sails or maneuvering out of the dust.  Recently, spacecraft studying comets have found large wakes of dust trailing behind them that were previously not known about because of use of this type of dust detector. 

How does this information make a house cleaner?  Dr. Iglseder has modified his space dust detector for use in a normal vacuum cleaner.  This is known as the Allergotec sensor and it actively detects dust in the air flow.  The sensor is attached to a light that changes color based on the amount of dust that is present.  This colored light can range from Red, Yellow, White to Green or just Red and Green depending on the model with Green indicating a clean floor.  The benefits of having a dust free floor can be essential to those suffering from dust allergies and asthma.  For the first time we have an objective assessment of how clean a floor is and it’s all thanks to space technology. 

This technology is currently being used in the German based Miele Medicair family of vacuum cleaners and is not currently available in the U.S.  I’ve seen demonstrations of this product and the dust sensor really does know when it’s going over a dirty patch of floor.  To assist in making sure that all of the dust is coming off the floor, Miele has given this vacuum a 2,200 Watt electric motor – as powerful as motors used in forklifts, concrete mixers, and electric saws.  Also included are HEPA air filtration, 5 layer reinforced bags, and dust-proof seals on the canister.  Unfortunately all of this high tech will cost you at $679.00 on Amazon.com but it will get you the best vacuum currently on the market.  The next time someone asks what space funding has done for their lives, you can tell them to “Suck It!” with the Miele S5280 vacuum. 

Newest Naruto Movie Streaming This Weekend Before You Can Buy It!

naruto bondsNow through October 23rd, Viz Media and Hulu will be streaming the latest Naruto movie, Bonds, to promote the upcoming DVD and Blu-ray release on October 25th. In addition to Naruto Shippuden The Movie: Bonds, all 4 of the previously released Naruto films are available for your free streaming pleasure as well. Believe it!

Sign Up for World of Warcraft’s Annual Pass and Diablo 3 is Free

Sign Up for the World of Warcraft Annual Pass and Get Diablo III FreeBlizzard has just dropped a bombshell for users of its time sucking MMO RPG World of Warcraft. Owners of WoW now have to option of purchasing an annual subscription to the game (billable at the confusingly normal rate of $14.99 per month). What’s more, annual pass members will receive a free mount, Tyrael’s Charger, access to beta test next WoW expansion, and a full digital copy of Diablo III. And, yes, that copy of Diablo III is yours to keep forever once you complete your one year agreement.

A free game and flying horsey for that subscription you were gonna pay for anyway? No brainer!

For all the details and to sign up, visit Battle.net.

Deal: Sign Up for Free OnLive Gaming Service, Get Any Game for $1

Get Your First Game For Only $1OnLive is running a sale where if you sign up you’ll get a coupon code that will net you any game on their service for just $1. This deal is even good on new releases such as Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Orcs Must Die, and Space Marine.
OnLive’s innovative cloud gaming service let’s you run high end PC games on any ol’ system, Windows or Mac. All you need is an Internet connection and you’re set to go.

To get in on this deal, visit OnLive.

For more information and real world tests using OnLive, check out GUO’s video feature Onlive Online Gaming with a $150 Netbook (amongst others). After seeing it in action, we’re big fans!

Stuxnet Variant Duqu Found Spying On European Industry. Prelude To CyberWar?


We’ve heard about the malware Stuxnet being responsible for single handedly shutting down the Iranian nuclear program .  Now a variant of Stuxnet has been found in undisclosed European industrial sites.  This variant is known as Duqu and it’s thought to be a precursor to a cyber attack.  Duqu apparently spies on the processes of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems so that when launched, a Stuxnet type attack can specifically attack certain systems.  It’s definitely not a good thing that this is being found in European systems.  The menace that Stuxnet and the new Duqu represent is real and shows a very real threat can come from the use of these programs.

Duqu used a digital certificate to gain entry as a valid driver file.  The digital certificate that was found was from a Taiwan based company called C-Media Electronics and was invalidated soon after it’s discovery.  Although it has been discovered and possibly shut down, it seems that Duqu has been in use since Dec 2010.  This is only 5 months after Stuxnet was active in Iran.  What makes it even harder to detect is the fact that Duqu deletes itself after 36 days.  There could have been many infections that have not been detected.   All this from only 300 kilobytes of data, about the same size as a quality digital picture.  No one is even sure how the Duqu program is transmitted at this point, so it’s unlikely that measures can be taken to stop infection from this spy software. 

This could be a predecessor to a global cyber war.  If you are going to make a sudden digital attack with something like Stuxnet, you would want to know exactly what systems to target for the greatest effect.  No other reason for infecting these systems in this way is apparent, other than some sort of digital blackmail.  The U.S. Pentagon has declared that any attacks by this type of malicious software may constitute and act of war including a very real military response.  That’s because the Pentagon knows exactly how deadly and effective the use of cyber attacks can be. Especially since it's thought that they may have had a role in creating Stuxnet in the first place.   This is yet another escalation in the cyber warfare that is part of the new front lines of warfare for the 21st century. 

Purify Your Water Anywhere with SteriPEN Pocket Sized UV Light

SteriPEN is a UV light designed for disinfecting drinking water anywhere you go. Simply put the flash drive shaped device into your drinking glass, press a button, and stir for a minute (48 seconds, actually). A green LED will light up to tell you when the treatment process is complete. SteriPEN claims to “destroys over 99.9% of bacteria, viruses and protozoa such as giardia and cryptosporidium.” This is a great tool for globe trotters looking to avoid the trots! It even charges via a micro USB port and goes 40 uses between charges. SteriPEN Freedom is $120.

Older models (sans USB port) can be found on Amazon for even less.

HTML for Babies Proves There are Bigger Geeks Than Me

HTML for Babies bookHere’s an inspiring bit of geekdom for your tiny tot to chew on. HTML for Babies is the first in a series of three(!) board books created by web designer John C. Vandel-Heuvel Sr. to teach his child the basics of HTML. Can you imagine the technological changes in coding in the next ten years? It’s like getting your child ready for high school grammar by teaching them to speak Latin!
HTML for Babies (Web Design for Babies, Volume 1)

UnReview: Mafia Wars 2 (Facebook)–Shaken Down in 7 Minutes

mafia wars 2 1I’ll admit to being a n00b on the Facebook gaming scene but I got da l33t sk1llz when it comes to games and getting a taste of something new for free is a lure that the digital monkey on my back just won’t shut up about. Some days I don’t have the time to sink myself into a glorious piece of virtual art like Assassin’s Creed or Deus Ex. Like any otaku worth his gamertag, I’m just killing time for Skyrim anyway. I’ve enjoyed my time with Heroes of Neverwinter and the Mrs. is one heck of a Gardens of Time addict. Facebook games are like a big bag of candy: Just a little piece now and again as a treat. Gorge yourself and you’ll get sick. Thus it was that I found myself logging into the biggest, baddest bag of candy on Facebook: Zynga’s newly minted Mafia Wars 2.

Buckle up, folks! This rambler’s in drive and it’s gonna be one of those posts.

Children Under the Age of 2 Should NOT Watch TV Latest Research Shows

child tv riskEver since I began researching child care one fact has met with STRONG resistance from, literally, everyone. For reasons I still cannot fathom parents everywhere turn up their nose at the idea that watching television has no benefit for babies less than two years old and should be tightly restricted over the age of two. To this day, I still have never met anyone who simply did not scoff at the decade scientific research. It boggled my mind that people who would blindly adjust their personal diets based on a 30 second CNN blurb would wantonly laugh in the face of multiple medical and psychological publications.

Well, today it is Wired’s turn to be ignored by parents everywhere. Armed with the latest data from American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Communications and Media Executive Committee, they have written an article about the latest results of the research into this surprisingly controversial issue:

“Media, whether playing in the background or designed explicitly as an infant educational tool, “have potentially negative effects and no known positive effects for children younger than 2 years,” concluded the AAP’s report, released Oct. 18 at the Academy’s annual meeting in Boston and scheduled for November publication in the journalPediatrics. “Although infant/toddler programming might be entertaining, it should not be marketed as or presumed by parents to be educational.””

I’m proud to have made the sacrifice of video entertainment for BG. It’s a lot easier than you might think. If you have young children, please read the full article and try to keep an open mind for the good of both you and your kids.

Medical Prostheses Reach A New Milestone With An Artificial Touch

Monkeys have been controlling robots with only the use of their brain for several years. This is accomplished by implanting electrodes into the motor cortex of the brain. Now researchers at Duke University have also implanted electrodes into the somatosensory cortex of the monkey’s brain so that the monkey can feel different sensations during testing. This type of research should eventually allow prosthetic limbs to become much easier to use due to the tactile feedback. This new type of research is opening up new possibilities not only for the use of prosthetic limbs, but also for the use of robotic exoskeletons. There certainly many possibilities for this type of research and as we map the human brain and it’s functions we will uncover new opportunities that we have never imagined before.

While some prosthesis are robotic and some have even been tested with humans only using their brain to control them, they limit the user’s ability to effectively use them due to the lack of sensitivity involved. A typical problem might be with grasping a fruit. If the user of a prosthetic can’t feel the fruit, they can’t be sure it’s properly holding it without looking at it and they may drop it. Another problem would be that they grasp the fruit too hard, thus crushing it and making it useless. Only by adding the tactile sense feedback to the prosthetic can the functionality of the prosthetic be increased in such a dramatic way. This recent test used virtual reality, but real sensors can be made to provide tactile sensations based upon different electrical signals to the brain. We aren’t likely to figure out exactly the right signals to send for bumpy or soft, but if sensors can detect these conditions then the human brain will be able to eventually adapt to the new inputs.

So how will this benefit us with intact limbs? DARPA has been funding research for a few years now on robotic exoskeletons. Last year Raytheon came out their the EXO 2 exoskeleon (named TIME magazine’s Most Awesomest Invention of 2010) which allows a user to exert 17 times the force that they normally would be able to through the use of hydraulic actuators. While devices like these are still in experimental stages, it’s easy to see how an exoskeleton could enhance a user’s abilities. A major drawback to these systems is the lack of feedback. If you are using a robotic hand that’s 20 times as strong as a human, how do you know how much force to exert when performing a task? With this new research a person would know exactly how much pressure to exert because they would actually feel through sensors linked directly to their brain. Industrial robots have already advanced because of the use of this type of Force / Torque sensor and when humans are able to directly feel robotic limbs, a new age of robotically assisted humans will be able to accomplish things never before possible.

Review: Scribblenauts Remix (iPhone/iPad): Wet Stinky Angry Birds vs Lazy Zombie Robot Ninjas

Scribblenauts ipad 5Long time readers of GUO know just how enamored I am with the Scibblenauts franchise. Posts would frequently begin and end with a “Scribblenauts!” sign off just like these. I even brought out the game during a dinner party so all our guests could play together, taking turns brainstorming the most insane way to feed a caveman or transport a sheep. Its unique mix of word play and puzzle solving, with just a sprinkle of platforming, truly made Scribblenauts a game everyone could enjoy and learn from. Scribblenauts Remix now arrives for iOS systems. Does one of the most clever video game titles ever created still have the chops it had on the Nintendo DS?

The X-37C Is The New Space Shuttle Under Development By Boeing


With the retirement of the Space Shuttle, many have felt that a gap has been left in America’s space program.  Boeing is developing plans to fill this gap with the X-37C.  This shuttle is a variant of the X-37B, which has successful unmanned space flights flown by the U.S. Air Force Space Command.  The X-37C would be a larger version of the X-37B that would be able to carry 6 astronauts, slightly less that the 7 that the Space Shuttle had the capability to carry.  While the X-37C would most likely be computer controlled like the X-37B, there would exist the ability for the crew to pilot the spacecraft if needed.  While other types of spacecraft are under development for use in low-Earth and intra-solar areas, this shuttle would require little development due to the fact that it is based upon an already successful design. 

The U.S. Air Force has flown two successful missions with the X-37B launched atop an Atlas V rocket.  These missions have set a new record for unmanned reusable spacecraft at 244 days.  This ability allows the U.S. Air Force to be able to place classified material into orbit for long durations, adjust the orbit when needed, and then return the material with a soft 1.5G landing.  This is an ability that no other nation currently has or will have within the near future.  The only major difference between the X-37 series and the Space Shuttle is the size involved.  Two X-37B’s could fit into the payload bay of the Space Shuttle.  To be able to support humans the X-37C would be scaled up 160 to 180 percent of the smaller X-37B.  This would still be smaller than the Space Shuttle, but would allow for extended space flight in a space plane that most likely would have the capability to dock with the I.S.S.

The Space Shuttle was cancelled for several reasons.  It was old technology designed in the 70’s, the cost of launching a Shuttle was prohibitively high, and there were dangers involved such as the foam damaging the thermal tiles on takeoff.  The X-37’s are modern and have taken the lessons learned from the Space Shuttle to make a better space plane.  Modern materials and design allow for lower cost for launch, higher safety, and better avionics.  We all know that safety for the astronauts is a big concern as well. So who better to ensure that than Boeing, who has safely flown thousands of people all around the world everyday for decades.  Even the Atlas V rocket that would be used in launch has a perfect launch record.  If we are looking for the capabilities of a re-usable space plane, the X-37 seems to be the best alternative.  Many are truly searching for something to replace the Space Shuttle with and we finally have a viable option in the X-37C.

Heroes of Neverwinter Serves Up Treats and Tricks for Halloween

neverwinter halloweenFacebook’s strategic RPG Dungeon & Dragons: Heroes of Neverwinter is handing out treats for gamers this Haloween. The town has been decorated with all manner of spooky decorations as players find themselves doing their shopping at night. Three new quests have been added for the occasion and you’ll find a very special treat in your Chest of Wonders: An Underdark Cookie that will add a permanent +1 hit point to the snacking character.

The trick seems to be that with these changes also comes an update to the game that features smaller graphics and a much longer recharge time for energy. Just after we posted out Top 12 Strategies for Neverwinter article. Go figure…

10 Tips, Cheats, and Strategies for Heroes of Neverwinter

heroes_neverwinter_logo

D&D has arrived on Facebook with Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes of Neverwinter! This strategy RPG reimagines AOL’s classic online experience based on the beloved ‘Gold Box’ games of yesteryear and updates it to the new 4th edition rule set. We here at Growing Up Otaku have collected some of our favorite tips for getting the most out of your dungeon plunge.

Repeat quests with an XP reward: Neverdeath, The Kobold Menace, and Goblins in the Woods are easy, low level quests that serve up an extra 100xp when completed. Every time.

Use character slots: You begin with 2 available character slots. Utilizing both will not only give you another character to play while your energy recharges but your daily stipend for logging in totals the levels of all your characters.

Crossbows for all: Everyone can use a crossbow. There is no excuse not to carry at least the cheapest one for when your character comes up a square to two short of its target. Except for mages who can Magic Missile at will.

Pick on the little guy: That critter with 1hp can still do damage every turn, be buffed by magic users, and provide stronger enemies with a combat advantage bonus. Take out weak enemies first.

Move Then Attack: Don't just click on the enemy and pick a melee attack from across the room. Position your character first to gain the most from cover, combat advantage, and to leave room for more characters to surround the opposition.

Heal between encounters: While healing in combat is great, you can only do it once per combat encounter and sometimes you just won't need it. Once you've cleared a room use the end turn button to cycle to your cleric and use your available heal spells to top off any characters who are a few points low. Use it or loose it! You also have free use of your feats and spells in empty rooms. Use them to freshen up before a fight or save it and return to the room later after exploring a side path.

Move-Fire-Move: A well placed shot can change the course of battle. If you need to get in a crucial spell or ranged attack but can't afford to leave your character exposed afterwards, use movement feats like Fey Step or Dash after attacking to get them back behind cover.

Take advantage: Even if a character has just polished off his opponent, move him adjacent to another. Look at the initiative bar at the bottom of the screen to see who is going to be acting next. Properly timed, even a doomed character can give your rogue the extra oomph needed for a killing blow.

Stunned but not out: Some personal abilities, such as Fey Step, work even when stunned.

Stare at your chest: Rewards for achievements go to the Chest of Wonders in your house. While gold and Astral Diamonds are universal across all characters, equipable items are not. Make sure you are logged in as the proper character before taking item rewards.

What does bloodied mean? Bloodied means that the character is below 50% of its total HP. This odd term is important for a number of skills and not explained in the game.

Atari’s official forum for Dungeons & Dragons: Heroes of Neverwinter.

A post about ability scores, stats, and combat algorithms is here.

Have a tip or trick of your own? Share it in the comments!

How to Tell if a iPhone 4 Case Will Fit a iPhone 4S

Another year, another iPhone, another new batch of accessories. But what about all those great old iPhone 4 cases? Is it compatible? Well, some of them are and most can be hacked to fit. Strapya World has been kind enough to put out the following notice:iPhone 4S case compatible

Got a case you love? This is nothing a knife and a little sandpaper can’t fix!

Verizon Wireless Now Tracking All Users, Inspecting and Recording Data Usage

In one of the most outrageous invasions of online privacy seen yet, Verizon Wireless will be recording all of its customers location and usage data. Information Verizon is collecting includes, but is not limited to:

  • Addresses of websites you visit when using wireless service. These data strings (or URLs) may include search terms you have used
  • Location of your device
  • App and device feature usage
  • Information about your use of Verizon products and services (such as data and calling features, device type, and amount of use)
  • Demographic and interest categories provided to us by other companies, such as gender, age range, sports fan, frequent diner, or pet owner ("Demographics")

All customers are included by default. You have ability to opt out of the program by visiting www.vzw.com/myprivacy or calling 1-866-211-0874. You will receive mobile ads whether you participate or not. If you have a Family SharePlan or multi-line account, you must indicate your choice for each line.

You also have the right to change mobile phone service providers, write your congressperson and tell everyone you know.

Collecting this information requires data mining of ALL of your wireless transmissions. This means that Verizon will now be personally analyzing every bit you send on their network. Opting out will ONLY prevent your data from being used in marketing reports and targeted advertising, not from being harvested.

The war for private cellular communications just went hot.

Tickled Pink to Celebrate the 25th National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

tetsu-jin-28-pinksmall_web_logoNational Breast Cancer Awareness Month organization (NBCAM) is celebrating 25 years of nagging you to get a mammogram this year! GUO has decided to crash the party and give ‘em a hand. We’ve lit up our giant, fire breathing, robot baby overlord in a flattering shade of pink and bolted on some pretty ribbons for the month of October to help you remember to get your mammogram done and nag everyone you know to do the same.

Be sure to check out NBCAM.org for patient services, disease information and more. And get a mammogram. It is easier and takes less time than that hatchet job of a Photoshopping I did on the blog banner. Man, I hate the new versions of Photoshop. Everything’s in the wrong place! Think I’m going back to using Gimp. Huh? This thing still on? Aw, sh-

Mammogram! Get you some!

Comette Family Home Hit by Comet

Meteorite, technically. Still, what are the odd of this one? Bet they’re glad their last name isn’t Planette!

Comet_NEAT“French schoolboy Hugo Comette, 11, had the last laugh when of all the places, in all the countries on Earth, a piece of rock from outer space landed on his home.

An egg-sized meteorite believed to be 4.57bn years old smashed through the roof of the Comette family home on the outskirts of Paris some time over the summer when everyone was away on holiday.”

Read the full story on The Guardian

Google Hands Over Wikileaks User’s Email to U.S. Government Without Warrant

From ReadWriteWeb:

“The contacts list and IP address data of Jacob Appelbaum, a WikiLeaks volunteer and developer for Tor (ed. Tor is an “onion” routing system designed to hide personally identifiable information) was given to the U.S. government after they requested it using a secret court order enabled by a controversial 1986 law called the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, according to the Wall Street Journal. The law allows the government to demand information from ISPs not only without a warrant, but without ever notifying the user.”

Obviously the effects here are chilling not just for the the millions of Google Gmail users, but for the many international companies that utilize Gmail for their corporate communications.

This is hardly the first time Google has given up a user’s private data when requested a government. Google’s own transparency report shows that from July to December of 2010, The United States requested user data 4,601 times, more than twice the number of any other country. Google complied with 94% of those requests, also much higher than any other country. There has been no update to the number of government requests for 2011, although the transparency report shows updated traffic data monthly.

iOS5 Upgrade Incoming! This is a VERY Good Time to Backup Your iPhone or iPad!

The installation of a new operating system is a traumatic event for all devices. When said device contains your loved ones phone numbers, email address, birthdays, and Angry Birds high scores, the stakes are even higher. iOS 5 is scheduled to be released  on Wednesday, October 12th. Now is an excellent opportunity to make sure that your iDevice is synched and backed up should the worst happen.

itunes backupBy default, your device should backup every time it synchs. Simply connect it to a PC using iTunes and watch the status bar at the top. The first step should show “Backing up”. If you do not see your device backup, right click it in the left column and select backup.

You can check the date of your last backup by selecting Edit/Preferences, Devices tab.

itunes backup 2

If you have a jailbroken or modified device and a newer version of iTunes, you may not have the option to do backups at all (Thanks, Apple…). Check this article for a fix to re-enable backups.