Thursday, August 29, 2013

Android 4.2.2 Comes To The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2

My Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 has finally gotten the Android 4.2.2. update this morning. The update package appeared to be about 900mb in size. A number of improvements to the interface are included in the Android 4.2.2 update. Many of them are very subtle, so, you might be asking yourself what the big deal is.

Improvements In Android 4.2

  • Dedicated customizable notifications panel in the status bar

  • New lockscreen widgets

  • Support for multiple user accounts

  • Better accessibility, 

  • Daydreams screensaver mode

  • New widgets and launcher from the Galaxy S4. 

  • Improvements in performance and battery life.

For me, the biggest draw for Android 4.2 is the support for multiple user accounts. It's nice to be able to set up a "Guest" user in case someone wants to borrow my tablet.

How To Add Users In Android 4.2

  1. Go to your Settings 
  2. Tap User Profiles
  3. Tap Add User (might be in the upper-right hand corner)
  4. Tap OK to confirm that you want to add a user
  5. Tap Set Up Now in the pop-up menu to confirm that the person for whom you’re creating a profile is close by.
  6. Enter the new user’s Gmail address and click OK
  7. After you click OK, it will take a bit to sync up the new account.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Age Of Ultron Is Upon Us

Ever since the announcement that the sequel to "Marvel's The Avengers" would be titled "The Avengers: Age Of Ultron", speculation has been running rampant about how Ultron will come into existence. For those of you who don't already know, Ultron is one of the Avengers' greatest enemies. He was an artificial intelligence experiment that had gone horribly wrong. Hard core comic book fans already know that Ultron was originally the creation of Hank Pym, the Avenger known as Ant-Man (and Giant Man, Goliath, Yellow Jacket, The Wasp, etc etc etc). But, as Hank Pym wont be introduced until Phase 3, there's really only one possible creator for Ultron: Tony Stark.

That's the obvious conclusion, mainly because Tony Stark has already created a sophisticated artificial intelligence: J.A.R.V.I.S. (who was a mere human butler in the comics). In Iron Man 3, Stark was able to have J.A.R.V.I.S. control multiple suits of armor, which, while cool, raises a huge problem. If the Iron Man armor can be controlled via remote, then why do we need Tony Stark? Ultimately, having some aspect of J.A.R.V.I.S. evolve into Ultron solves the iron army problem created in Iron Man 3. Stark then needs to get back into the suit because he can't trust an A.I. to run it.

Still, birthing Ultron out of a currupted J.A.R.V.I.S. seems too obvious and lazy. There has to be another route. Remember that robotic arm that Tony constantly refers to as "Dummy" and "Butterfingers"? Maybe, just maybe, Tony gives it an upgrade and it gets tired of taking Tony's abuse. Whatever the circumstances of Ultron's creation, I'm hoping that we'll get some hints of Ultron in the next few Phase 2 movies. I'd really hate to have Avengers 2 open up with Tony Stark tinkering around, creating Ultron and then calling the rest of the team to help him defeat him. That's just uninspired. I liked how we got hints of a greater threat all throughout Phase 1 which was then revealed in the Avengers movie. Let's hope the go that route again. Then again, maybe we've been getting hints of Ultron since the first Iron Man movie. 

On a side note, I find it odd that the folks in charge are choosing to name the second Avengers movie after one of the worst comic book events in recent memory. The comic book version of Age of Ultron was basically a post-apocalyptic story that featured a time-traveling Wolverine while showing very little of Ultron. I understand the need for name recognition, but you'd think that the folks in charge would have gone with something that was a little better received. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Gen Con 2013 Pictures

IMG951825IMG95294920130817_121457IMG_0906IMG_0905Geeks Of Steel
Gen Con 2013, a set on Flickr.
Even though I only spent one day at Gen Con this year, I still was able to take quite a few pictures of people wearing some pretty awesome costumes. Have a look for yourself. Maybe you'll see someone you recognize.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Walking Around As Steve At Gen Con

I went to Gen Con 2013 with Jason and Gene this weekend. In the past, it has been a four day trip for all of us, but, this year, due to everyone being so busy we decided to just go on Saturday. Since it was a last minute decision to go, we didn't sign up for any events. Also, I thought it would be fun to wear a simple costume this year, so I dressed up as Steve from Minecraft. I bought all of the costume items from which included a "Minecraft Union" shirt, a cardboard Steve head and a Minecraft foam pickaxe (stone). I spent around $65 putting the costume together, but the result was worth it. I was barely out of the car before someone came running up to me asking if they could have their picture taken with me. With so many people either calling out "Hey Steve!" after me or outright stopping me for a picture, I felt like I was quite the celebrity.

On the other hand, walking around with my head in a small cardboard box had its share of problems. My peripheral vision was shot, so I had to rely on following Jason and Gene in order to make my way through the crowds without bumping into anyone. My hearing was limited, so it was tough for people to get my attention. And, re-breathing much of my own air tended to make me a little lightheaded. Still, it was a lot of fun walking around in costume and, if I go again next year, I might just drag the costume out once more. And maybe I can get Jason and Gene to follow suit.

Steve Upgrades His Sword

Monday, August 12, 2013

Calgon Take Me Away

I see a lot of people on my Facebook news feed posting "Calgon, Take Me Away!" as a status message meant to indicate that they've got some frustration going on in their lives. The funny thing about many of the people who post that phrase is that so few of them are old enough to know where that phrase originated from. They just see "Calgon, Take Me Away!" as a means to express frustration. 

My response is often along the lines of:

I think that few people truly understand the repercussions of asking Calgon to take you away. Calgon took my mother away once. It was the mid-80s and her work pressures on top of her school pressures as well as having to deal with five rambunctious children had gotten the best of her. So, one day, she just exclaimed "Calgon, take me away!". And that was it. Calgon took her away. We spent months searching for her, trekking through dense jungles and navigating treacherous ocean currents in an attempt to find her. Months later, a number of leads finally panned out and we tracked her to the back room of an Asian laundromat located in the heart of America's largest cities. We asked her captor, Mr. Lee, what he had done to her. "Ancient Chinese secret!" was his cryptic response. And my mother was never the same afterward. So be careful what you wish for. I don't want you to end up calgone.

In all seriousness, for those of you out there who aren't old enough to remember, Calgon (short for "Calcium Gone") ran a successful ad campaign for their bath and beauty products where a woman endures a chaotic scenario, and, by virtue of exclaiming the magic phrase, "Calgon, take me away", is transported to a relaxing bath in a quiet room. Of course, Calgon didn't just make bath and beauty products. They also made Calgon Water Softener and scored yet more commercial gold with their commercial depicting an Laundromat owner claiming that he got the laundry so clean because of an ancient Chinese secret but is soon outed when his wife tells him they need more Calgon. 

Apparently, Calgon bathing products are still available. You can buy Calgon bath beads which feature a number of different scents. And Calgon Water Softener is still out there as well, although I think everyone is in on the ancient Chinese secret at this point.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Jolene Sugarbaker Wishes TommyMac A Happy 40th Birthday

The tribute videos continue to pour in from folks wanting to wish me a happy 40th birthday. This particular one is from Jolene Sugarbaker, the Trailer Park Queen and owner of the most magical refrigerator in all of the South.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

TommyMac Turns 40

As of early this morning, rumors have been circulating that today is my 40th birthday. The breaking news segment below does indeed confirm those rumors. What you'll see in the newscast is a breaking news announcement, a reporter on location in Chicago, a press conference, and a number of tribute videos sent in to celebrate the historic occasion of TommyMac turning 40 today.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Solving "Upload Failed" Message On Vine

If, like me, you're constantly getting an upload failed message when you're using Vine on your Android device, I believe I may have a solution for you.

How To Fix An Upload Failed Message On Vine

  1. Go to your phone settings
  2. Pick Accounts
  3. Go to Vine
  4. Remove all accounts listed under Vine
  5. Open up the Vine app
  6. Add your accounts back. 

This worked for me and I haven't gotten an upload failed message for about 48 hours. I don't know if you'll have to do this every time Vine updates, though.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Fish Boil At The White Gull Inn

Last night, I attended a traditional Door County fish boil at the White Gull Inn in Fish Creek. The tradition came about as an easy way to feed large groups of
hungry lumberjacks back in the late 1800s. This means of cooking fish soon filtered out to the local population and fish boils have been a staple of the Door County experience ever since.

The mere mention of boiled fish has never sounded appealing to me. And, when I found out how the fish was cooked, I was even less enthusiastic. Lake Michigan white fish is cut up into chunks and thrown into a kettle of salt water with red potatoes and set atop a blazing bonfire. Generally, restaurants that host fish boils ask you to make an appointment for the boil and then have you arrive a half hour early so that you can witness the elaborate presentation that encompasses the boiling process. The boil master at The White Gull Inn is quite the showman and it was fun to watch him conduct the boil while everyone sat back, had a few drinks and watched intently.

If you haven't attended a fish boil before and your server offers to show you how to de-bone your fish steak, make sure you accept. With just a little instruction, I able to easily fillet the meat. The White Gull Inn has some great tartar sauce to go with the fish, but the real winner is their butter sauce. For a moment, I actually thought I had been eating lobster. Most fish boils are "all you can eat" affairs, and I decided to go for seconds. Our server remarked "The great thing about going for seconds is that you get to eat fish tails!". I was almost afraid to ask if thirds would include fish heads.

There's a reason why fish boils at The White Gull Inn are one of the most popular in Door County. It's a class act all the way, from the ambiance of the restaurant (including classical guitarist) to the friendliness of the servers to the showmanship of the boilmaster. And, while I was very skeptical of eating boiled fish, it turns out that it actually tastes really good. Just make sure you save some room for cherry pie a la mode.

On a side note, I have heard from many people in the area that The White Gull Inn also offers the best breakfast in Door County. I might just have to try it and judge for myself.