Posted on May 21, 2013
Well the Xbox launch event has come and gone. We here at RepairLabs got to admit, we were pleasantly surprised. For the past month, everybody has been throwing around rumors and speculation, and frankly, I’ve been a bit underwhelmed by the whole process. As much as I love my Xbox 360, my PlayStation 3 has received quite a bit more playtime. Not only because it has a Blu-Ray drive and a lot more quality exclusive titles, but also because it supports 7.1 HD Audio and is free to use online, plus we won't even get into the Red Ring of Death.
When the Xbox launch started up, and Microsoft came out instantly talking about, and showcasing the console, I became extremely interested. First thing’s first, the name of the new Xbox is the Xbox One... I find it a bit confusing and even contradicting. It is, after all, the third Xbox console, but I understand what they’re going for – one console to rule them all! Anyways, from a design perspective, the new console is really going for that HTPC look, which I really dig. Nice clean lines and the look of a glossy and matte black body. Now if it’s made from aluminum, or some form of light metal, I will be completely sold on the design.
With no word on pricing or release date, (Coming Later This Year) the specs are really the biggest thing we have to go off of. Looking at them, I can tell that Microsoft wants to compete with Sony, and the pieces are in place to do so – I’m just not sure if going with DDR3 memory was the best course of action. If you recall, I did a piece awhile back on the differences between GDD3 and GDDR5, and why it’s a worthy investment for console developers.
What it may lack in processing bandwidth via the memory, it will more than make up for with its eight-core CPU – twice as many as what’s in the PlayStation 4. The inclusion of a Blu-Ray Drive, HDMI Out AND In, as well voice and gesture controls made possible by the brand-new Kinect Sensor, and USB 3.0, 4K Video, and Cloud-Based support, Microsoft is really building the Xbox One with the future in mind. At this time, there aren’t many games or tech that can fully utilize eight-cores or 4K video, but when they become industry standards somewhere down the road, the Xbox One will be ready to go, instead of falling behind the times like the Xbox 360 with its measly 512mb of RAM.
Xbox One Specifications
Sadly the event lacked much in the way of gameplay for upcoming titles. It did, however give us a rather in-depth look at the new Kinect, and I have to say that I was thoroughly impressed, and that’s hard to do!
Now I have a Kinect at home – and like most of you, I never use it. With the new Kinect offering up a sensor that completely blows its predecessor away in every way imaginable, I cannot wait to get my hands on it. Sure, I’ll probably tear it apart and see what makes it tick, but I’m sure before I do that, I’ll yell at my TV and flail my arms like a dummy for a while first.
Seriously, the hand gestures, voice control, responsiveness, and intuitiveness of the entire system makes me excited! I think the redesign of the controller is cool, but the new functionality of the Kinect will make the controller unnecessary when utilizing the system outside of gaming. I only hope that the Kinect sensor doesn’t need to dial itself back in often like the previous iteration does to be at its best.
If you’re like me though, the power and functionality of the system are great, but I want to know what games are going to be like on the system, I want to see Fable 4 and Halo 5 (yeah, right) in action on this baby, but alas we’re going to have to wait until E3 to get a glimpse of some in-game footage. The only true action we got was the Call of Duty: Ghosts world-first footage, which looked brilliant, but doesn’t have the same effect as seeing an Xbox-Exclusive title on the system.
What did you think of the event? Did Microsoft hit all of the necessary highs and avoid the lows? Personally, I think the only way the event could’ve been better was if there was some Fable 4 footage shown. A few things that I think would've been nice to get more info on is if it'll be able to play used games, and if it requires being online all the time. The announcement by The Verge that it will not be backwards compatible is sad news though. Other than that, they gave us the console, controller, specs, and announced some exciting things like 15 exclusive titles in the works, with eight being entirely new franchises!
The future is looking awfully bright for game consoles, and I can't help but feel that the Xbox One may be leading the pack when it's all said and done. Sony impressed me a few months back, but Microsoft and the Xbox One just took it to a whole new level, especially with their willingness to run through the demonstrations two or three times, showing that it's fully functional, which is key to their entire design.
Posted on May 10, 2013
Every geek needs a sidekick, and here at RepairLabs we have our own sidekicks: our pets. Just like Shaggy and Scooby, the Lone Ranger and Silver, and Dorothy and Toto, each of us has our own beloved pet, and our own unique superpower. (Okay, we wish we had our own superpowers. It would probably be more accurate to say we’re marginally skilled at our respective jobs.) But our critters do manage to make us at least feel like superheroes every day. When I walk through the door at night, my dog greets me like I have just single-handedly saved the world.
That’s why we here at RepairLabs, are delighted to announce our charitable partnership with Best Friends Animal Society, a national animal shelter and rescue mission. RepairLabs is proud to include Best Friends in our new donation-at-checkout program: Operation HERO.
Best Friends Animal Society coordinates efforts across the country to help homeless pets. They operate nationwide animal initiatives to bring about a future where no adoptable animals are destroyed in shelters. They are pioneers in the no-kill movement. And they’ve had amazing success: When they began work in the 1980s, every year 17 million animals were euthanized in shelters. Through continued and concentrated efforts that number has now dropped to 4 million. That’s 13 million animals every year who live and find loving homes, who otherwise would have been destroyed.
And they aren’t stopping there. They intend to reduce the number of destroyed animals to zero. The mission of Best Friends is to bring about a time when there are No More Homeless Pets. Best Friends also partners with local governments, shelters, and grassroots organizations to end the unnecessary killing of shelter pets. They feature several initiatives including positive pit bull PR programs, anti-puppy mill programs, and trap-neuter-and-return programs for free-roaming cats. Their Utah facility has grown from a rehabilitation sanctuary to be the largest no-kill animal sanctuary in the US. It began as stepping stone for “problem” pets slated for euthanasia to be rehabbed and placed into forever homes and has grown into a voice for animals all over the nation.
And we are deeply honored to be able to contribute to their mission. We have long been a pet-friendly office, with our dogs visiting during the day, and even appearing in Halloween Costumes. “Our pets really make the office a more relaxed and fun place to be,” says CEO and ‘dad’ to German Shepherd Axis, Sean Hennessy, “They really enrich our office. We are so excited to have the opportunity to give back by working with Best Friends.”
And the pets love to visit the office. (It’s always a fun field trip to go and help mom or dad at the office.) Most of our cats tend to prefer to stay at home, so it’s usually just the dogs who like to come along, but we’ve even had a visit from a bearded dragon! The wee beasties always inject a little humor and unconditional affection into the office. The point is that we believe that all types of companion creatures deserve the dignity of a loving forever home. We love pet pigs, birds, horses and cats just as much as we love our dogs and lizards. And Best Friends advocates for all of them.
The Office Crocodile and bumblebee. Can you tell which is which? (Axis and Madison on Halloween)
Best Friends spearheads adoption initiatives, funds educational resources, helps organizations across the country with their spray and neuter programs, and also helps individual animals to be adopted. They’ve even been known to fly an adopted pet to his new home, free of charge. They provide grants to select organizations that make a significant impact on shelter deaths in their communities. At the sanctuary each animal is treated with love and attention, and as an individual. Each animal receives top-of-the-line medical care as well; the animals can overcome past traumas and heal as they prepare for a new, forever home. Each animal is loved and cherished like a family pet the minute she comes through the gates.
We here at RepairLabs feel truly privileged to help raise funds for an organization that does such great work for pets across the country. You can make a donation to them at checkout if you are purchasing a repair, or you can donate directly to Best Friends here. We’re honored that we can do something to better the lives of animals. And that really does make us feel like we have superpowers. Remember, we can all make a difference in the lives of our new Best Friends.
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