Ian Hoar – Passion for Technology – Geeking Out - Technology, Web, Toys, Games, Design, Entertainment, Gadgets, & Geeking Out

Boxee Box, my new favourite toy

Boxee BoxI’ve had a Boxee Box for several months now, and since I haven’t done a review in ages, I feel it’s time to sing its praises. This great little device is a Home theater PC (HTPC) or also called a Media Centre. Before I bought the device I did a crazy amount of research and I just couldn’t find the right solution for me. My criteria was simple, I wanted something affordable, I didn’t want to build my own HTPC, and I didn’t want to be locked down. The Boxee fit the bill on all of these, but when it was first released it was lacking many features and early reviews said it quite buggy. Fast forward almost a year and the Boxee team refocuses their efforts entirely on set-top boxes and mobile devices bringing in much more favourable reviews. I can say that I’m glad I waited, and the Boxee Box is definitely now ready for prime time.

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My newest website

ThemePassionOver the past few months I have been working on a new project. I really wanted to try something different, something I personally enjoy. I find writing about anything you are not actually passionate about can be a real drag, so with that in mind, I picked a topic I knew I could write well for, get excited about and stay motivated for. With that said it’s time to reveal my newest website ThemePassion.

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15 Awesome web design & development sites you should know about

Top SitesThis is a small list of invaluable websites I use to further my knowledge of everything web and to help out with inspiration, tools, resources and tutorials. It’s a list not aimed at any one facet of web design and development, but the many facets and processes that make a website possible.

It is becoming more and more important to at least have a basic understanding of all the information that goes into making a fantastic website. Knowing limitations and pushing those limits makes web design and development fun, interesting, and challenging. If you work in this field you probably already know that web work is all about constantly learning new technologies, tools, tips and tricks.

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The iPhone review: a year and a half later

So it’s been about a year and a half since I bought my iPhone 3G. The novelty has fully worn off, the back is full of scratches and there’s even a few dust specs under the glass, but does it still stand up to the hype? I think I can sum the iPhone up in three words.

Awesome and frustrating

The iPhone has changed how I do many things. It’s changed:

  • how, when and where I check email
  • what I read and where I read
  • how I play games
  • what I expect from other small displays
  • how I surf the web
  • how I judge the quality of other gadgets
  • how I view my stocks
  • how I listen to music
  • how I watch video
  • how I get my weather
  • how I access things like Facebook and Twitter
  • what I do when I’m lost or need to find a coffee shop
  • how I find what movies are playing today and at what theater

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Zombieland, quite possibly the best movie of the year

ZombielandSo be prepared for a pretty biased review of Zombieland. I am a huge fan of the Zombie genre as anyone who knows me will tell you. I also own the soon to be “Zombie awesomeness” domain name thezombiejournal.com. That said I still recognize the fact that a lot of Zombie movies are pretty crappy, in fact, a lot of them are just downright awful. I had a feeling from the start that Zombieland would be different. I mean first it’s got Zombies (always good for a zombie movie), and second it’s got Woody Harrelson, what could possibly go wrong? I still had a tiny fear that it might still suck though, and I wanted this movie to be good, I wanted it to be the next Shawn of the Dead or even better, and I’m happy to say that it completely blew my expectations away.

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Galcon Labs: The sequel to Galcon and the next must have iPhone game

Galcon LabsPhil Hassey, the creator of the incredibly popular and addictive multi-player game Galcon, for the iPhone and iPod Touch has surprised us with a new game today, Galcon Labs. The game is still really Galcon at it’s core, but there are four new game types, new music, and loads of polish on this baby. The original Galcon is arguably one of the best Multi-player games available on the iPhone.

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Flight Control, another great little iPhone game

I’ve come to the conclusion that the best iPhone games are the ones that meet two criteria. First they are extremely simple to learn and second they lend themselves well or are specifically designed for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Case in point, Flight Control by Firemint. This game meets both these criteria and it’s super addictive. With a price point of 1 dollar (soon to be 3 dollars) you really can’t go wrong.

Flight Control Screenshot 1

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One of the most addictive iPhone games to date?

The Apple app store seems to be full of so called killer iPhone apps, but it’s usually not until you download and try them that you realize the longevity you thought existed does not. The same goes for iPhone games; I’ve downloaded both free and paid iPhone games only to find that the ones I thought would have longevity just didn’t, while others turned out to be real winners. One such app is a game for the iPhone called Galcon. When I downloaded the lite version of this a month ago it was the last game I thought I would become addicted too.

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World of Goo will blow you away


Today I happened to run across an article on a DRM free game called World of Goo and how even though it has no piracy protection it is being pirated at about the same rate as games with protection. Nothing new here, people have been saying that for years. Anyway, the screen shots perked my interest so I decided to download the demo. I knew that less than half way through the demo I would be purchasing this game. First it’s an independent game and I like that. Second the developers don’t believe in punishing their legitimate customers with stupid copy protection that only annoys the end user who paid for the game. And third, the game is freakin fantastic and totally original, so lets get on with the freakin fantastic part.

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2008 year of the smartphone

This year has been without a doubt, the year of the smartphone and Apple has led the charge with it’s iPhone. Touch technology seems to be all the rage now, and of course Apple introduced it’s first smartphone last year, but their second phone reached a far greater audience with more countries and recently announced sales of 6.9 Million iPhones.

I of course jumped on the iPhone bandwagon, but before I did I spent a lot of time researching many of the smartphones out there. At the time just before the second iPhone was launched there were a lot of great smartphones on the way, but none were out yet. Now that the iPhone has been out for a few months a lot of new devices have emerged. One of the reasons I bought the iPhone was because Apple was ahead of the curve, now a lot of the other manufacturers have similar offerings, but are any of them really iPhone killers? I decided to do a quick smartphone round up to see what’s currently out there.

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