Monday, September 27, 2010

What 2 Hear: Volume One

Welcome to yet another completely non-ground breaking, but new, Byte Down feature we've punnily (new word alert) named "What 2 Hear". In each volume of "What 2 Hear", we will recommend two podcasts for your listening pleasure. One podcast will be tech/gadget/video game orientated and the other will be of a different category. As the internet is quickly becoming the new conduit for audio and video entertainment, we want you to experience the very best. And if you don't mind us saying, we know what's best for you. Don't make us find that belt. 

Tech Related

Tech News Today
Podcast RSS Feed (Not available, but you can get to the find the episode guide here)
Website (See link above)
Approx. Running Time Per Episode: 30-45 minutes
'Tech News Today' is hosted by tech journalist Tom Merritt, who you may or may not know from CNET's 'Buzz Out Loud' or from various areas of TechTV before it was destroyed and devoured by Comcast's G4 network. This podcast is an excellent source of daily tech news; covering everything from iPads and digital cameras to technology in politics and tech related news stories. The podcast is recorded every day, so you can be sure that you are getting the most recent news stories. Lots of information, fun conversation, and it's only 45 minutes long. A must listen for the tech enthusiast. 

Non-tech related

The Retroist Podcast 
Podcast archive
Approx. Running Time Per Episode: 20-35 minutes

This is probably our favorite podcast and one of the reasons this feature was created. Hosted by The Retroist himself (his identity is a secret, like Bruce Banner/Incredible Hulk), listeners are taken on a audible journey through our recent past. Topics covered include retro video games, classic TV shows, and even products and marketing ideas that no longer have a place in today's pop culture. Each episode is packed full of personal antidotes from The Retroist's own childhood, sound clips, and history. The show is definitely targeted toward the 25-40 age range, but younger listeners who have a yearning for learning about their pop culture ancestry will no doubt enjoy what is offered. A quality experience that is not to  be missed if nostalgia is your thing. 

Thanks for checking out What 2 Hear. Got a favorite podcast? We'd love to take a listen! Chime in below in the comments section or drop us a line at

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Time For Someone to Google Themselves a New Job

It seems that Google just can't catch a break when it comes to stories involving horrific acts of privacy violations. If their not taking pictures of your home while you are dancing nude in your window, they are going through the personal emails and voice accounts of minors. The latter is just such the case for now former Google employee David Barksdale. 

Nerd Jesus is not only jobless,
 but he's also single, ladies.
Google fired Barksdale from his engineering job this past July for, as Google's press release states, "breaking [Google's] strict internal privacy policies". The reason sounds pretty vanilla on paper. In reality, what is really behind his firing is amazing (but mostly creepy and pathetic). Apparently, the bright white skinned computer whiz's position at the base of the most powerful force on the internet went to his pointy little head and made him do some things that'll probably make your skin crawl a bit. Or at least make you change your passwords a few times. 

When not writing the screenplay to the next Matrix film whilst sipping flavored coffee in the back of his local Denny's establishment (assumption, of course), David enjoyed befriending 15 year old boys and girls in a popular Washington based tech chat room.Twenty seven year old David became so attached to his new brethren that he, on four separate occasions, thought it proper to use his mystical Google powers to hack into his young friend's Google email accounts, chat logs, and even their Google Voice accounts. If you were to de-friend David on a particular service, he was known to hack his way into your account and reverse the de-friending. 

In one particularly creepy instance, David became upset when one of his 15 year old e-friends refused to give the name of his new girlfriend. Not one to be denied such information, Barksdale snooped through the boy's various accounts, got the young lady's phone number, and threatened to call her. The boy went to his parents for help with the aggressively creepy internet god, who then contacted Google. Several other parent-to-Google phone calls eventually led to the eventual  termination of Barksdale's employment (and his World of Warcraft budget, we're afraid).  

It's also reported that David would invite his young buddies to meet up and catch a movie.
While none of the incidents seemed to be worthy of Dateline's 'To Catch a Predator', it's enough to make any Google user a little weary of how much and with whom they trust their personal information. And it certainly makes you wonder who your kids, or perhaps youself, are talking to in those instances where the name comes before the face here on the world wide creepy web. 

Good luck to you in your search for employment, David Barksdale. We understand Facebook is always looking for people who share similar respect toward piracy. Just don't expect us to accept that ominous friend request. Then again, we just might be a little out of your age range.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Unfermented Deal: Final Fantasy XIII for $20!

Today's Unfermented Deal is going to be short and quick, unlike the the video game of which the deal is on. How clever are we!

For an unknown amount of time, is selling Final Fantasy XIII for $19.99 (shipping will be extra). The only caveat is that it's only for the Playstation 3 version of the game.

If you love the Final Fantasy series, you probably already own the game, thus making this deal useless. If you've been curious about the game but just didn't want to shell out the $59.99 retail upon release, now is your time to buy.

The PS3 version of the game garnered a Metacritic rating of 83, which is like akin to a high "C" grade if one were in grade school. The game lasts most players over 45 hours which comes out to about $.44 per hour of game play. Ha!  Take that, forth grade math class!

As always, clicky the linky for quicky's belowy. Sorry.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Use a 360 Controller to Play PS3 Games! (kinda)

Microsoft burned you twice this week, you say? You aren't too keen on the upcoming $10 increase to Xbox Live! and you feel betrayed by the software giant for their expecting you to buy a new and improved Xbox 360 controller for $64.99? Are you one of the enraged gamers threatening to ditch "Micro$oft" once and for all and make your gaming bed in the Sony camp? Well, Nyko is trying to make the transition a bit easier for you.

Nyko, maker gaming peripherals such as the Nyko Intercooler, knows that the reason some gamers prefer the Xbox 360 controller over the PS3 controller is the all important comfort factor. Like the Blackberry thumb before it, PS3 gamers often complain about thumb strain after hours of gaming do to the placement of the Dualshock 3's analog sticks. That's what they claim, at least. Sinners.

Doesn't hurt that it also looks like a Bat-a-rang.
Nyko claims that, besides looking like an ancient rune of evil, the controller will boast a bunch of features that gamers actually care about. 

  • Layout similar to that of the Xbox 360's controller 
  • 25 hours of Lithium-Ion battery life (charged by mini-USB)
  • 25 foot wireless range (with use of wireless USB dongle receiver)
  • "Soft" coating for comfort
  • Rumble support for all of your rumble needs 
  • Tilt controls (think Sixaxis......not too loud or Sony will sue)
  • Easy to use tilted/angled triggers
For under $35, you could probably do worse. You could try to stuff a PS3 controller's innards into a 360 controller's shell. But trust us, it's not as easy as you'd think. If we may speak farm to you for a moment, picture the outcome of trying to mate a pig with a goat. Seems like a good idea, but in the end, it's a hideous bastard of misalignment.

It's available until the end of the month (August 31). If you want to give it a whirl, we've included a link below to set you on your way.