Typing Heaven with Qwerkywriter for my MacBook?

I don’t have one of these typewriters, but I WANT ONE!!!

Qwerkywriter Bluetooth Keyboard

Qwerkywriter Bluetooth Keyboard

I’m a huge fan of mechanical keyboards. I love the extended throw of the keys, the solid tactile feedback of the click…yet I’m writing this on Apple’s diametrically opposed zero-throw keyboard on the newish MacBook. The MacBook is, arguably, the perfect writing machine. No fan, super light, amazing battery life, but the keyboard, with it’s almost non-existent throw, completely turned me off for the longest time.

2015_MacBook_keyboard_thumbBut I read article after article about how Apple didn’t capriciously create a shallow keyboard just to make the MacBook thinner – they did actual research and make a case that their MacBook keyboard will actually improve your typing speed. Out of curiosity, I went into an Apple store and did a few typing speed tests on a MacBook Air (my previous writing platform) and the new MacBook. To my surprise, I averaged about 5 words per minute better on the MacBook. I bought it almost immediately.

But I still miss my long throw mechanical keyboard…$349 is a LOT of money for a keyboard, but I’m nonetheless dreaming about the Qwerkywriter and it’s delightful steampunk aesthetic. Maybe for my birthday…

Google Nexus Player Review

Received my Nexus Player Friday and spent the weekend messing with it. My first take on it: the Nexus Player gets an F. Want to know why?

Hardware Setup

Google Nexus Player

Google Nexus Player

First let me say I probably had a unique experience as I’ve not seen anyone with a similar write-up, but unique or not, getting this box going was a trial.

First, it just wouldn’t start up. The box, or “puck” as Google would prefer, was stuck on the loading animation. It took 30 minutes of searching to even find a help article, then I had to go through a very consumer-unfriendly wipe and reboot process. On restart, it finally got past the animation, but then I had to download an Android update. Which took an hour. This box quite literally just came out and it needs an update?

Using It

I finally got the box running and authenticated with my various streaming services. That actually wasn’t too bad. Of the four boxes in my house, though, the setup for a Nexus Player ranks 4 out 4. The real issue with using the Player is that there are virtually no apps for it, and the apps I have invested in on the Play store won’t install. Not because they can’t run – I know for a fact these apps work just fine on devices without a touch interface – but because Google has essentially established a secondary Play store just for Android TV blessed apps. I understand the rationale for it, but Google and Android are the anti-Apple, right? So why pursue an Apple like approach to app content?

Amazon Fire TV

Amazon Fire TV

Like the Fire TV, the Nexus Player’s app store has games available for download, although the launch line-up was weak, and had nothing as impressive as the Fire TV launch game Sev Zero. Two of the best games are the ubiquitous Badlands and Riptide GP2. Also like the Fire TV, there is an optional game controller available for the Nexus Player, although most of the launch games play just fine with the remote.

The Player does have some nice features. Voice input mostly works (although not as well as the Fire TV) and the connectivity is good, although I question the decision not to have an Ethernet jack. If you like to “cast” from your Android device to the TV, that feature is carried over from ChromeCast.

So…

Apple TV

Apple TV

Given a choice, and I do have one, I’m not likely to use the Google box. The Apple TV still has the best user interface, especially for browsing Netflix and Hulu, and the best video app content selection (judging by quality.) Roku and Fire TV tie for second for different reasons. Roku for depth of video channels, Fire TV for its ability to play non-video apps. Google comes in a distant last. The test for me is always, “could my mom use it? And would she like it?” The answer is: yes, so long as she didn’t have to go through the launch process I did, and no, because it just isn’t that consumer friendly.

Batman: The Box Set

I’ve been watching a great bootleg set of Batman DVDs for five or six years, but have been pining for a good transfer. Warner Brothers finally announced an official box set for release later this year and I am ecstatic!

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Now all I need to junk my bootleg collection is Green Hornet, Cliffhangers, and the rest of the Muppets!

For the Old School Typist in You

If you are of a certain age you learned to type on a typewriter. A Selectric, perhaps. And if you’re like me, you may even feel a touch of wistfulness for the days when a writer had to bang out a novel or news paper story on a trusty Underwood typewriter, the long time companion of writers the world over. But the reality is, no modern writer wants to give up the creativity offered by the word processor, especially if you write in Scrivener.

Enter USBTypewriter. They convert vintage machines into USB keyboards you can plug into any Mac or oc. Want to write the great American novel while hearing the clattering of keys while starting at an LCD screen? Well now you can.

The Underwood Portable

The return of the Commodore 64! Awesome man!

The NEW C64

The memories of my youth are mostly defined by Star Wars figures, Micronauts, Buck Rogers, Battlestar Galactica, Wonder Woman (TV show), Tang, my Atari 2600, the Apple IIe and the Commodore 64.

I’ve already paid homage to the toys of my youth on BugEyedMonster, but as much as I loved my computers, I never really felt compelled to write about them. Until now.

I just read that Commodore USA is relaunching the Commodore 64. The venerable computational device and game machine that I recall so fondly is making a comeback with all new PC hardware capable of running the latest Windows OS. While I am no fan of any Windows OS, this is still soooo cool. I want one for absolutely no reason at all. I’m sure I could come up with some reason to get it, but lets face it, the real reason would be to have a new C64.

I doubt that Commodore USA will be releasing a tape drive like accessory, but that doesn’t make me want this computer any less.

Taking a look at the specs, the new C64 looks pretty awesome. The system is powered by an Intel Atom D525 1.8 GHz chip and an Nvidia ION Graphics Processor drives the video, so it’s not going to be a gaming power house, but it would be great for casual games, emulating some classic Commodore 64 games, or perhaps more importantly, setting it up as a media center.

C64 - Now with HDMI!

Why a media center you ask? Because this box comes with an HDMI port, making it the perfect computer to plug into a TV. Just like the original C64! I can totally see playing some Load Runner on this baby with it hooked up to the plasma. The incongruity of it all is just so delightful.

Pricing is a tiered system. Box only for $250 for the build it yourself crowd. For non-do it yourselfers, a good set up with built in WiFi, 2GB of memory, a 160GB drive and DVD player is $695. Unfortunately, that puts it above the cost of a Mac Mini, my media center box of choice.

Commodore USA does say if you buy the box, you will be mailed a Commodore OS and Games Pack…hmmm.

If I win the lottery or my book gets optioned for a movie or something like that, I can see the new C64 becoming a celebratory gift to myself.