Two Dots: A Review
Jun17

Two Dots: A Review

When it comes to AlwaysCurrent, we have a love for a few things: new technology, updated technology, and the games and applications that you can put on certain technology. The one that can become near and dear to our hearts, however, is that of games. Every once in a while, a game comes along that captures the imagination and the free time of this author. A few months ago, I covered the release and rapid rise of THREES!, which, like Flappy Bird, was able to lure many people into playing and ultimately producing hundreds of copycat versions Yyes, I know who you are 2048, and I don’t like you). This time, the game is the successor to the popular app, Dots. Now, we have Two Dots. The objective of the game is simple. Connect the same colored dots to get them to disappear and achieve the objective set out at the beginning of the level. Simple, right? WRONG! See, while the concept is quite easy, the final product does not come without trials and tribulations. Trust me on this…you only get five lives and then have to wait 20 minutes to get one back. When this is the case, much like it is when you play Candy Crush (the devil’s app), you end up wanting more. As a freemium app, Two Dots does allow you to buy more lives and “bombs,” which would come in handy for some of the levels in the Frozen section, but not much more. This is what makes this app better than others. You don’t feel the pressure to purchase anything, and even if you accidentally click “buy more lives,” you are given the option to take it back and save your money. What makes Two Dots truly great though? It’s a puzzle. Sure, I have a little bit of soft spot for puzzle games, but I also love a game that makes you physically angry when you end up one or two moves away from winning, and then realize you’ve already lost. If you want to check the game out, it is unfortunately only for iOS devices at the moment, but they say they are working on an Android version. So go out and spend “free 99” on this app. With Two Dots, you won’t (shouldn’t) be...

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OneDrive Has Arrived
Feb19

OneDrive Has Arrived

It’s the moment that you’ve all been waiting for. Microsoft has released their new product (somewhat new, at least) to the world, and it actually looks better than its predecessor. Well, it really is the same thing, but it’s just a new name. If you’re wondering what exactly we’re talking about, it’s OneDrive. OneDrive, if you haven’t heard, is Microsoft’s SkyDrive, but with a new name. Two years ago, British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) went after Microsoft for copyright infringement when the SkyDrive service was first released. After a non-confrontational court battle, Microsoft rebranded their cloud-based storage service to what seems to be a move towards making everything “one”. If you’ve used SkyDrive before, you’ll already know that the service is pretty good. At first, it can be a bit tricky, especially if you’re sharing files between a company on SharePoint. But it all becomes simple and can be utilized directly from any Microsoft Office application. Aside from getting an updated look across all platforms with the exception of Windows 8.1 and Office 2013 apps, OneDrive users will now have the ability to earn more storage. With each referral, users can earn up to 8GB of extra storage on top of the 7GB you get for free. If that’s still not enough, OneDrive has monthly payment plans for additional storage. There are many choices in terms of cloud storage for either you, individually, or for your business. But OneDrive seems to be leading the charge for storing everything you create easily and seamlessly thanks to being integrated into all of the Office programs. So go check out OneDrive, or enjoy the free automatic update to it. You shouldn’t be...

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THREES: A Review
Feb11

THREES: A Review

The past few days have seen a lot of news coming out of the mobile application world, thanks in part to the rise (and ultimate removal) of Flappy Bird. What this did was cause other actually fun and not horribly infuriating apps to fall by the wayside with one in particular—or should I say three in particular? The game in question is called “THREES!” It’s a puzzle game, and a great one at that. It was first added about a week ago and has shot up the Apple App Store paid rankings to number 1. Now, as a biased user of this game (mainly because I play it ad nauseam), I have to say that this might be one of the best games this early into 2014. It’s clean, it’s simple, and if you can match pairs, then you will be set. With so much news about Flappy Bird being taken off of the App Store and Google Play, many have missed THREES! it seems. While  THREES! has shot up the rankings, there has been little talk about it besides a post on TechCrunch that came out this afternoon and a post on CNET, where I originally found out about it. It’s easy to understand why an app isn’t talked about though, mainly because it’s an app. It’s something that can easily be tossed aside after a day, never to be played or attempted again. But with over 1,700 reviews on the App Store (and a significant majority of those being five stars), it’s hard to believe that well-known blogs and tech sites haven’t picked up this game and played it until their eyes were at optimal Bob Costas redness. If I were to add my own review to the App Store, telling everyone how I feel about THREES!, it would go something like this: This game not only serves the purpose of being an intelligent, enduring, and entertaining puzzle game, but it also provides you with the mental stimulation that you would want out of an actual puzzle. You’re not thinking about your next move until it arrives because the board is changing in odd ways after every swipe. For $1.99 (plus tax), this game is worth every penny. If only I could get back the 10 hours of my life I seem to have lost somewhere around the 300th game… So, if you feel so inclined, go out and buy the game. For $1.99, you really are getting everything and more out of THREES!, even if you don’t expect...

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#EsuranceSave30: Esurance is the Undeniable “Winner”
Feb10

#EsuranceSave30: Esurance is the Undeniable “Winner”

Having a commercial play during the NFL’s biggest game of the year can set your company back a few dollars—a few million, to be exact. Many companies opt out of trying to snag one of the coveted spots while others put most of their marketing budget toward this day of the year. One company, however, decided that taking the first spot after the game would suit them better, and from the looks of it, it did. Esurance, the popular online insurance company, chose not to advertise during this year’s game but directly after instead. What they did in the process was save 30% of the money that it would have cost them to have prime real estate on national television during the game. They figured that it came out to be about $1.5 million. A good chunk of money, especially for a company that’s all about saving the customer a good chunk as well. So instead of putting that money back into the company or into another commercial, Esurance decided to give it to the people they love most: the customer. With the help of Esurance’s voice, John Krasinski, they put out an open call for everyone to tweet #esurancesave30 in hopes of winning the $1.5 million. Within a minute, Esurance saw 200,000 unique tweets with the hashtag coming their way. It wasn’t going to stop there. With two days to “enter” the contest, people were tweeting #esurancesave30 at almost any chance they had. It was so simple to do. Send a short tweet. It’s not like you weren’t the only one of your followers doing so either. After two days, Esurance had seen a spike in both mentions and followers, gaining 200,000 of those as well. When the winner was announced on Wednesday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, millions of hopes were dashed, but Esurance was still leading the way on Twitter. Sure, there wasn’t a blackout at this year’s game and one cookie company didn’t have the chance to take over social media for a few days. But an online insurance company took a chance, and lo and behold, it worked. Extra Links: CNET,...

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Bauer Ups Its Game Prior To The Olympics
Jan29

Bauer Ups Its Game Prior To The Olympics

When people think of hockey, they think of two brands: Reebok and Bauer. These two companies have long been at the front of the field, in terms of the best gear for hockey players, while also leading the charge in bettering the equipment that players use everyday. Now, with the Winter Olympics only two weeks away, Bauer is outfitting six of its biggest athletes with a new technology that is designed to keep them safer longer. So what’s the name of this new tech? OD1N. (Pronounced oh-din) As they tell you on their site, OD1N is named after the mythological Norse god of wisdom, and comes from the Russian word meaning “one.” While the name alone makes the product sound like something more than just a flash in the pan, OD1N is created using the newest technology. With 3D scans of the six athletes (who will be named below), Bauer can create specific pads and skates to their exact specifications. This type of fitting provides these athletes with the best fitting padding on the market. Now, many people may be thinking, “These guys have done without this for so long. What makes this so good?” The answer, from our standpoint, is this… If you have ever played any type of sport that involves wearing pads (e.g., football, lacrosse, hockey), you know that having pads that are too big, too small, or too bulky can be both uncomfortable and annoying. When it comes to a professional sport, making sure that these guys are not only comfortable but also safe from the rigors of an 82-game regular season is important. By fitting their athletes with OD1N, Bauer is very quickly getting ahead of the safety curve without giving up durability or adding more weight. Sure, these pads may not be commercially available for a while, and of course, they won’t run very cheap. Nevertheless, they will do what they are supposed to do: keep athletes safe while providing an advantage, thanks to the lightweight design. Bauer sees this new technology as their form of a “concept car”. They understand that this type of thing isn’t going to catch on right away, if at all. But bringing it to the national, better yet, GLOBAL stage, will do a lot for this young idea in the long run. Each player might now win the Gold medal at next month’s Olympic games, but Bauer is certainly going to win over a lot of critics if OD1N starts to become a household name. NHL Players Wearing OD1N: Jonathan Toews** (Chicago Blackhawks/Team Canada), Patrick Kane** (Chicago Blackhawks/Team USA), Nicklas Backstrom** (Washington Captials/Team Sweden), Henrik Lundqvist** (New York...

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