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Camping Along With Your Portable Gadgets

One of my favorite summer activities is camping. If you’re like me, it can be difficult to detach yourself from your connected lifestyle. But thanks to portable gadgets such as netbooks, smartphones and handheld gaming consoles, it’s easier for one to leave the confines of his (or her) digital hub while enjoying a semi-disconnected sabbatical.

Protecting your devices from the elements is one of the most important things one must consider. Purchasing a waterproof case might be the ideal solution, but it might not be the most cost efficient option. If you already own a protective case for your gadget, why not invest in a $5 box of Ziploc Freezer bags. A well sealed Ziploc freezer bag will provide you with extra protection against the harmful effects of humidity.

Keeping your device powered might also be an issue while vacationing outdoors. Mind you, most campgrounds offer electricity as an option, this privilege is not available to those who choose to camp in the wilderness. If electricity is available, it would be wise to bring along a surge protector to avoid any damages due to voltage spikes. A $20 purchase might save you a few headaches down the road.

If electricity isn’t an option, investing in a car adapter (which plugs into your car lighter socket) or purchasing an inexpensive portable solar charger can be an excellent alternative for keeping your devices powered. A car adapter can be purchased for as low as $9.99, while a portable solar charger will set you back approximately $49.99 if you shop around.

If you desperately need to stay connected, accessing the Internet from your wireless handset might not be the most cost effective way to do so. Cellphone roaming costs could easily result in higher than expected usage charges. With this in mind, disabling your phone’s data roaming capabilities, and using public Wi-Fi hotspots to fuel your connected needs would be the ideal solution. These days, many campgrounds have free Wi-Fi access as an incentive to using their facilities. Local cafes might also offer Wi-Fi access as part of their service. A site, such as http://www.wifi.com will assist you in finding a hotspot in which ever area you are visiting.

These are just a few simple tips for using your favorite devices while vacationing. The most important tip of them all is to simply have fun, while knowing when to leave the gadgets behind. As much as you might enjoy the notion of having access to some of your preferred gadgets, keep in mind that those around you might simply prefer that you disconnect yourself temporarily from your digital routine. Always remember that vacation is defined as a period of suspension of work, study or other customary activities, so make sure your take the time to relax and enjoy yourself.

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Who are you going to call… Ghostbusters?

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Obviously, the biggest title hitting store shelves this week is Atari’sGhostbusters: The Video Game“, which will be available on all major platforms. As you probably already know, this game is a sequel of sorts in which gamers get to play through moments from the first two movies.

I’m personally going to pickup the Xbox 360 version, but I’m also interested in seeing what the motion controls on the Wii have to offer. We’ve all dreamt of using on of those photon beam.

The game will be available on the PS2, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PC and DS and will start appearing in stores on June 16.

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The Check In

This week I’ve been once again trying to get used to another shift change at my current employer (yes, I need to pay the bills and freelancing had been pretty dry as of late), so I haven’t had that much time to dedicate to gaming. Most games I’ve been playing these days have been on the iPod Touch and Nintendo DS.

My favorite game of late has been “Retro Game Challenge” on the DS. Having an Atari 2600 and an NES on the 80s, this game just hit home with familiar refrences and themes. A very enjoyable title.

I’ve also spent time with “Zombieville” on the iPod. The game is decent and is an excellent time waster when waiting for a meeting or for a class to start. Sure it’s a simple premise, but it still manages to keep the interest going. Reminds me of the simplicity of 8-bit gaming.

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Getting Neo Geo Wii Virtual Console Titles to Work

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While attempting to play “King of Fighters ’94” on the Wii Virtual Console recently, I learned that the title (if not all Neo Geo games) does not work in 480p. This baffles me, as 24 year-old 8-bit NES games have no issues running in 480p.

After searching around, I’ve learned of a workaround that involves a combination of button presses. If you’re stuck in a game that doesn’t work in 480p, press the home button on your Wii’mote and go into the “Operations Guide”. When in the guide, use your Wii’mote (with a nunchuck plugged in) and press “A”, “2” and “Z” buttons simultaneously. If done correctly, you will hear a sound indicating that the game has been forced in 480i mode. Next time you boot into the game, the Wii will remember that the game is to be rendered in 480i.

Sure, this issue has been around since the launch of the Wii in 2006, and will only affect users who use component cables. But the issue doesn’t seem well documented, and many gamers will probably be left scratching their heads wondering what’s going on when they make the switch from 480i to 480p.

Hopefully an official patch will be offered shortly, but in the meantime, I guess this workaround will do.

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The Check In – No More Heroes a Wii Gem?

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I know I’m a little behind with the times here, but I finally got to purchasing a copy of Suda51’s “No More Heroes” for the Wii (which came out a little over a year ago). I haven’t played through much of the game, but I am really enjoying No More Heroes‘ (NMH) style and gameplay elements. The game might not look as good as a “Ninja Gaiden” or “Devil May Cry” title, but the art style is what makes NMH unique.

I’ve owned a Wii since launch, and I haven’t been really excited about that many titles on the console. Sure a gem creeps up once and awhile and surprises us, but for the most part Wii games are extremely bland and don’t offer anything for hardcore gamers such as myself.

I am always happy when I am able to find a game like NMH for the Wii. It makes me realize that with a little effort, developers can actually make interesting titles for Nintendo’s latest console. If you own a Wii and find the whole gaming experience pretty lackluster thus far, do yourself a favor and pickup No More Heroes. It might make you start believing that the console might one day be for hardcore gamers.

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Previous News

Peggle on iPhone OS Available for $0.99

The iPhone OS version PopCap Games‘ highly addictive “Peggle” is available for $0.99 through the iTunes App Store. The catch is that you have until midnight on June 14 to make the purchase. Be warned though, you might have a hard time doing anything else but play Peggle on your iPhone/iPod Touch.

All Your Entertainment in One… Xbox

On June 1, 2009, Microsoft announced several entertainment focused add-ons to its Xbox Live Service during the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California. Following the keynote, one thing seemed clear, the Redmond Software giant is poised to push its Xbox 360 platform as the media-centric device for your living room. “Our goal has been […]

Zune Marketplace Post on Decabled.com

Visit Decabled.com to view a post of mine that was published pertaining to the recent Xbox Live Entertainment announcements. Click here to go directly to the article.

E3 2009

E3 kicks off in a few days. I’m interested in seeing what will be brought to the table. Surely there will be alot to talk about in the next few days.

Fallout 3: The Pitt Now Available

This one’s for those looking for some extra “Fallout 3” playtime. The Xbox only downloadable content, “The Pitt” is available for purchase through the Xbox Live Marketplace for 800 Microsoft points and weighs in at 492MB . Below is a blurb taken from the XBLA Marketplace: “Pittsburgh was once the industrial center of the pre-war […]

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