Archive by Author

Why I Cancelled my Oculus Rift Pre-Order

18 Apr

I made a video discussing the Oculus Rift delays and why I cancelled my pre-order.  Some people said it was childish, or that I was whining and spoiled.  Other people gave reasons why they thought the Rift was a better system and was much more comfortable, and that Touch would be far superior than Vive’s controllers when it’s released. Below is my response to one of these comments, and I thought I did a good job of clarifying my reasons for cancelling my pre-order.  So I’ve decided to just post it here below.

I am not disagreeing on the ergonomics, as the Vive is indeed uncomfortable for long play sessions, and every person I hear says the Rift is extremely comfortable. I’m not saying I will never buy the rift, and there are multiple reasons that I cancelled, this was just the last straw. The first reason is that I already have a DK2 which as far as I can tell can play every game the Rift can, just less ergonomic, lower refresh rate, lower resolution, etc. So if I really want to play an Oculus game, I will have that. I just imagined having the Rift and didn’t really think the incremental benefit of upgrading to the Rift from the DK2 was worth $600. I have not tried the Rift, but I did try Crescent Bay, so I’m considering that as well. When Touch comes out, it will be a different story, and I will be much more willing to pay an even higher price for what I consider a full VR package. The fact that I already have DK2 is probably the biggest reason why I was hesitant to spend so much on the Rift. With the Vive, I have had very little tracking issues, I believe mostly because I have a non-ideal setup for the base stations (I’m about to move so I didn’t want to mount them to the walls, instead putting them in non-ideal parts of the room on tripods). The Vive was also a pain to set up. That being said, I think the Vive is infinitely more fun than the Rift is right now, simply because of the room scale and hand controllers. Despite it’s shortcomings, I think it’s a no-brainer that this is the superior overall experience; there’s just nothing like it.

My other concern is that Oculus is splitting the player base, à la Kinect which was a disaster. Hopefully that will not be the case for the Rift, but we’ll see. With the Vive, at least developers will know that all players will have hand controllers. With Touch, even if it is indeed a better experience, developers won’t make games for it if there aren’t enough players for it. Because of this, it’s possible that even if Touch is better, better games will be on the Vive since developers are more willing to make games for it, and spend more money on development because of less risk and higher potential for a return on investment. For this reason as well, I decided it’s probably better for me to wait and see if I even want a Rift. The only reason I was going to pay for one this early was to get a good review out, which the delay ruined, so my only reason to keep the pre-order was gone. On the other hand, I pre-ordered a Vive because I actually was excited to play it and wanted one. I guess I overplayed the “voting with my dollar” notion, but in the end I cancelled my Rift pre-order simply because I didn’t even want it anymore.


How to Verify That an Email From Me is Genuine

01 Jan

Over the years, I’ve found people who have attempted to impersonate me via fake email addresses to scam companies out of free products.  This short tutorial will help you ensure that an email that appears to be from me is genuine.  You should be aware that it is entirely possible for someone to spoof the “From” field in an email, but I have set up my email system through Google Apps in such a way that it should be virtually impossible for someone to successfully spoof my email.

At the very least, after reading this article, you will be able to identify a spoofed or genuine email from me. This information may not apply to others who have not set up their email in the same way.  Of course, you can always send an email directly to my posted email address to verify.

Step 0: The ‘From’ Field

If the ‘From’ field does not say, you can be assured that it is fake.  Please forward me any scam emails you receive that claim to be me.  If it does appear to originate from my domain, but you have reason to believe the email is suspicious, follow the next steps.


Step 1: Find the Email Headers

Email headers contain the “raw” data that the computer sees in an email that gives it all sorts of information about who sent the email, how it was sent, and other useful info.  Every email program will have the ability to view the raw headers, but the process will be different for each program (such as Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo, etc).  This website has guides for almost every email software out there, so go here to find the process specific to your inbox software:


Step 2: Use Google’s Header Analyzer Tool

Google has a very useful tool for analyzing headers, which can be found here:

Copy the entire header text you found from the email in question, then on the page linked above, paste it into the box and click “Analyze the Header Above”.

Optional: Use Gmail / Google Apps Built in Header Analyzer
If you use Gmail or Google Apps, you can open any email and click the drop down arrow (next to the reply button), and click “Show Original.”  This will save you from having to copy and pasting the headers.


Step 3: Look at the Results

Hopefully, the results will look something like this. Notice that all three authentication tests (SPF, DKIM, DMARC) all pass.

Google’s header analyzer tool results:


Authentic email passes SPF, DKIM, and DMARC


Gmail / Google Apps built in “Show Original” analyzer:

Gmail's built in analyzer will also show passed tests

Gmail’s built in analyzer will also show passed tests

Hololens at E3: Just as I Had Hoped

19 Jun

When I arrived at E3, I knew that if I did nothing else, I would want to try Hololens. At the beginning of each day, the crowd rushed to the Hololens line for the Halo 5 Experience just to be able to wait several hours.  Hololens-w-logoWith my trusty media badge, I thought I might be able to skip the line. I was right, but it wasn’t as easy as I anticipated. Turns out every other reported wanted to try it as well (who would have thought?).  Eventually I talked to the people at the Xbox press office and they generously fit me into one of the demo groups on the last day: Thursday at 3:40 pm.  Turns out these Hololens demos were harder to get than I thought, since when I showed up and told them I was here for the 3:40, the girl looked surprised and said, “Oh that’s the special one.”  For that slot, it was just me and three other reporters in the group from the media.

They take you to the front of the line and measure your IPD (Interpupillary Distance) using a gadget, and write it down on a lanyard card to show to the staff doing the demo.  This is to make sure the holograms are displayed correctly. We get inside and sit in what looks like a Halo ship, with about 10 people total. We sit against a wall in two groups, with two benches in front of us where they put on the Hololens and fit it for each person. When it was my turn, I sat down on the bench, and they put the Hololens on my head and allowed me to adjust it using a dial on the back of the device. You look forward and there’s what looks like a flat rectangular projection on the wall with a little Halo-type logo and four dots in the corners. If you can see all four dots at the same time, you’re good to go (it’s just to make sure your device isn’t too far from your face I suppose).

You’re told to stand up, step forward onto the metal walkway, turn left, and walk towards “the waypoint.”  I did as I was told, and holy sh*t, there was a waypoint.  Maybe about 30-40 feet in front of me was a diamond-shaped hologram that looked exactly like a waypoint might look in a video game, floating in mid air. If you looked away from it and out of the Hololens field of view, an arrow would stick within the square boundary and point towards where you should look. It was very intuitive, and I just started walking towards the waypoint automatically. At this point, the device is also talking at you through speakers on the sides, but it almost sounds like it’s within your head. I had not noticed the voice talking to the other people who had gone before me, so it seems good at isolating the audio to just the wearer.

After you reach the waypoint, you are greeted by a staff guide who instructs you to look through “the hatch window.” It’s not a real window, but it looks like one. The fake window behaves exactly how one would in the real world, where if you move around, your view through the window changes, as opposed to just a flat static image sticking to the wall.  If you move closer, you can see more of the scene in side, and if you back up, you see less. You can look around the edges of the window to see more of the left, right, etc. The scene inside was a ship hanger, with all sorts of ships flying around and taking off. The hologram was really good, in the sense that I could not see through it to the surface behind it. Also, the tracking was incredible. There was no latency that I noticed, or at least it wasn’t significant enough to destroy the illusion.  The most significant part of this in my opinion, is that all the tracking is done within the headset itself, so there are no external trackers.  The device uses outward tracking and knows where you are, where the window should be, and how the scene should look based on the relation of the two. That is incredible.

After the hatch closes you walk into a room with the other testers and stand around a futuristic console to hear a briefing. Basically, it explains a Halo 5 multiplayer map and gametype we played after the demo.  A hologram rises out of the table like a sci-fi movie and Cortana starts talking.  You see holograms of Halo 5 characters, the map, and markers to show important points on the map. The resolution was pretty high, which meant there was great detail in the holograms.  Seeing the holograms rise out of this table was exactly what I expected a real life hologram to be, and I think Microsoft knew that was the case for most people. They knew people wanted a “futuristic” device and proved that it was capable of delivering just that.  After the briefing, you get to take a little USB drive with some Halo 5 footage on it, which was a nice touch.

One of the complaints most people have is the field of view. Indeed, it is not great, and only borderline good. I would say it’s “workable.” It gets the job done, but you have to be sufficiently far from the hologram if it’s large to see the whole thing.  However, everything else about it is amazing. The tracking is crazy good with little latency, even without external tracking device.  I do think the FOV should be improved, but you really have to consider the whole picture. Hololens is an absolutely amazing device that delivers what we’ve always wanted: “real” holograms.  This type of device is completely brand new; there has never been another augmented reality device ever, yet people are still complaining. Well I’m not complaining – I’m going to get one as soon as it’s released.

The above video is more or less the same account, perhaps a bit more animated. If you enjoy video, my channel might be for you. Let me know what you guys think about this whole new con-founded gadget.

LG G4 Full Review and Unboxing

27 May

I was recently sent an LG G4 to review as part of their “LG G4 Trial” program.  I finished my full review which you can watch below.  The video contains much more detail and cool shots of the phone, so I’ll just talk about some of my favorite features here.

First of all, the battery life is great. I don’t use my phone very heavily, but I do use it all day. I’ve never had it die on me, and the phone lasts longer than anything else I’ve used. Coming from my Nexus 5, the battery was a massive change, because my Nexus 5 almost seemed to have no battery at all.  Next, the G4’s camera is really good for a phone, and that’s the main thing LG was pushing as a main feature. I took some test photos in the video, and you can see that the low light performance is reasonable for a small sensor. I like that you can shoot raw, which is important for getting the best image quality possible out of a photo.  The screen is also great – it’s bright and the colors are vivid. The QuadHD (4x 720p) makes it super sharp, and this is coming from a Nexus 5 (1080p) which I already thought was sharp.

Before I did the review, I did an unboxing which you might like.  It’s not totally accurate and I did make a few mistakes. For example, what I called the “spectrum analyzer” is actually a laser focus assist, and what I thought was a second flash is the actual spectrum analyzer. Still, that wasn’t the point of the video, so hopefully you can forgive me.

YouTube to Announces Subscription Fee to Get Rid of Ads

13 Apr

YouTube has always been a free platform, and they aren’t going to change that any time soon. We’ve seen a few experiments by Google to further monetize the site such as Paid Channels, but none of these have really been successful. The latest attempt is to get people to pay a fee ($5 /mo) which would remove ads from the site. They haven’t specified and additional features, but I personally think they’ll need to do better than that to get people to pay up. Though, the fee would not just go to YouTube; a portion would go to content creators that the paying viewer watches. The split is expected to be calculated based on watch time, so if the viewer spends exactly half the time watching two different creators, each creator would get 50% of the cut after YouTube’s.

On one hand, I’m really excited about this new feature because it could make it easier for creators to make a living off their videos. But on the other hand, I don’t anyone is going to sign up for this if an ad-free site is the only incentive.  Most people already use adblock, and if they don’t already, they certainly will when they find out their $5/mo feature can be replaced for free with browser extension.  I think YouTube is going to need to introduce more features to make it worth while to pay the monthly fee, and I’m sure they know that tool. I can’t speculate on what these features will be, but I can hope. We see sites like Twitch that have a pay model where viewers can pay $5/mo to subscribe to each specific streamer, and that streamer gets a 50% cut (the site gets the other half).  For this, the viewer gets a special badge recognizing their contribution, and exclusive and unique subscriber-only emoticons (created by the streamer) that they can use across the entire site. This creates huge incentive, since it allows the viewer to belong to an exclusive club, as well as promote their streamer even in other streams via the emoticons.

I went into detail on this topic in my latest video, which you can watch below. I’d love to hear what you guys think, and particularly about what features you think YouTube would need to add to make it worth while.

Top 5 Cool Free Programs (You Haven’t Heard of)

22 Mar

There are a few programs that I think everyone should check out for one reason or another. You may have heard of some of these, but I’m willing to bet there’s at least a couple that you don’t know about.

1. F.lux

It’s widely known that staring at a computer screen makes it hard to fall asleep, but in this day and age it’s pretty unavoidable.  Flux is a program that changes the color temperature (tint) of your screen based on the time of day (sunset), eliminating the color wavelengths of light that are the culprits. These wavelengths are mostly in the blue range, and flux turns your monitor more of an orange and dims it a bit. You might think it would be annoying to look at an orange screen, but the thing is you don’t notice. Our eyes are really good at white-balancing, so even though the screen is pretty orange, it will look almost totally normal. In fact, when you disable flux in the middle of the night, you’ll be pretty much blinded, and wonder how you ever used a computer at night at such an obnoxious brightness.

2. Rainmeter

Rainmeter is a powerful desktop theme and customization program that lets you add widget-like tools to your desktop. For example, I have a clock widget, weather, computer resource monitor and others. Now that windows no longer includes the “gadgets” feature, you might be interested in this software.  Creating your own widget is pretty difficult, but luckily there are sites that have pre-made ones for basically every purpose.

3. Puush

Have you ever wanted to quickly share what you see on the screen with a friend, or save a screenshot instantly? Puush is a program that allows you to quickly select a portion of your screen, and it automatically uploads the image and copies the link to your clipboard. This allows you to send screenshots to people faster than any other program I know of.  You can also use it to upload other types of files too, such as music, videos, anything. The behavior is the same for any file type: it automatically uploads and puts the link to your clipboard. You can delete previous uploads through the icon in the taskbar or on the site itself.

4. Universal Media Server

I like to watch content on my Xbox because I can sit on the couch instead of my computer chair. However, it’s a pain to have to put files on a thumb drive and carry it over to the xbox. Sure, windows supports streaming videos from your computer to the Xbox, but only if it’s the right file format. For example, mkv files are one of the most popular downloadable video formats you’ll come across, but can’t be played on the xbox or streamed with windows. However, UMS does allow you to stream these files because it can transcode them. So no matter what type of video file you have, you can stream it to your Xbox as long as you have the codec on your computer.

5. WinDirStat

Have you ever seen your hard drive space slowly shrink, and not know why? WinDirStat is a program that will analyse your hard drive, and visually represent the space on your Hard Drive using boxes. The larger the box, the bigger the file, so it will be immediately obvious if you have any huge unknown files taking up all your space.  It also color codes them based on location and file type, so if there’s a certain folder or group of files taking up a bunch of space, that will be obvious too.

New YouTube Feature: Interactivity Cards

27 Feb
I noticed that I just got this feature recently. I think I got it at the same time my channel was enabled for Fan Funding.  You can have the card pop up a link to fan funding, a fundraising site (like Patreon,, kickstarter, indiegogo, and several others), and a merchendise site like Spreadshirt.  A full list is available in the google help article titled “Link to fundraising sites through annotations” which I can’t link to.
Personally I think this is really cool and I’ll definitely be using it in my videos. It’s much better looking than a regular annotation. For a live example you can find the video on my channel, but again I can’t link to it.
This pops up when you go to edit settings in a video:
Here’s what the interactivity tab looks like. You can add multiple cards that expand at different times in the video:
What the card looks like, it shows up at the top left of your video:
Hovering over the card expands it. It also expands for a few seconds at the time you pick in the settings:
Here are what the cards look like. Clicking on the icon when there are multiple cards will show them both, but one is highlighted in the middle.

The Funniest Dream I’ve Ever Had

30 Dec

My dreams are usually pretty absurd, assuming I can even remember them. But last night I had probably one of the funniest dreams I can remember.  Now as a quick backstory, my dreams usually incorporate some extremely small detail or event that took place the day before. In this case, the day before my dream I had bought the video game “DMC: Devil May Cry” during a Steam sale.  I hadn’t even played it, I just bought it and forgot about it; a totally forgettable event. However, by brain remembered it.

Now have you ever heard of the old school hip hop group “Run D.M.C.”?  If they don’t come to mind, you’ve almost certainly heard one of their songs before (such as “It’s Tricky” or “Walk This Way”).

You may have guessed where this is headed already.  So in my dream it was apparently several decades in the past, because the computers were pretty old school.  In the dream, in order to run video games on the computer, you had had to type “run” in the proper command into DOS or the command prompt.  In this case, I wanted to play, you guessed it, DMC: Devil May Cry.  I remember being in my dream and realizing “Hey, that’s how Run D.M.C. got their name! Because when you go to play Devil May Cry, you have to type in ‘Run DMC’ “.

Obviously, Devil May Cry wasn’t even around when Run DMC was started, but when I woke up I found it absolutely hilarious that my brain was able to construct such a both logical and absurd situation from nothing. So that’s basically the end of the story, it was a rather quick dream.  Though, I can’t help but laugh.

Q.I. – A Refreshing Blend of Comedy and Education

08 Aug

It seems like every year TV shows get dumber and dumber. Eventually we might be in the world of Fahrenheit 451 or Idiocracy where people’s entire lives revolve around soul sucking TV shows. Reality shows were just the first step.

However, I think there are still some great shows on TV. I Tivo mostly everything, since it seems like unless what’s on is my favorite show, it’s utter rubbish.  Then I have to download some great foreign shows like Q.I., which if you’ve never heard of it, I feel very bad for you and very excited at the same time. The first time you watch it you’ll wonder why you had never heard of such an amazing show. Basically they take famous comedians and turn it into a type of quiz-show, but the combination leaves you “Quite Interested” and entertained.

One of my favorite and most memorable (and quotable) segments was the famous “They say of the acropolis…” episode. I really can’t do it justice by typing out what happens, so I think you should just watch it yourself. You owe yourself that.

I don’t think there’s anything else for me to say, except to congratulate you on a hilarious catch phrase / song you’ll be singing all day, but none of your friends will understand.

Death Threats? YouTube Doesn’t Care

06 Aug

So earlier today I got a pretty disturbing PM from a guy in my inbox basically saying he’s going to “hack my ip”, find me and kill me. Now I didn’t find the threat particularly credible, but I decided to report the abuse anyway just because of it’s severity.  I get angry commenters all the time, but when someone takes it to the level of threatening to kill me, I definitely feel I should report it no matter how non-credible I think the threat is. And you should too; if there’s one thing the internet taught me, is there are a lot of crazy mutants out there.

Murder Threat PM

       The guy also left a comment on my video basically saying the same thing. Apparently he deleted it, so I couldn’t select it using the report tool, but as of this writing it is still CLEARLY shows up on his profile history. You can see where he told me “You Wasting My Time I Hack your ip Find you And Kill You Son Of a [B*****]”. I mentioned in the report where they could see this comment on his profile. I took screenshots of the PM as well as the comment on his profile, and I attached it in the report.

Murder Threat Comment

       However, I just got an email from YouTube that says, “We’re unable to identify a violation of our Community Guidelines within your recent report to our Safety and Abuse Tool.” Interestingly enough, the subject of the canned email was “Action Taken.” Though I couldn’t find any evidence of whatever action they were referring to and this violent and obviously disturbed individual faced no consequences.

No Action Taken


Internet threats are commonplace, but that doesn’t mean they’re OK.  Anonymity brings out the worst in people, and it reminds me of the quote by Oscar Wilde, “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”   Now I’m not saying anonymity is always a bad thing, and it’s really shaped the internet into what it is today. I’m almost certain it won’t be like that forever, and I’m somewhat looking forward to it.  The day that people’s online actions stop being inconsequential will certainly be interesting. Until then, YouTube should take reports like these seriously.  The person reviewing the report obviously did not even look at the threats or investigate at all, despite it all being laid out in front of him. Come on YouTube, you claim:

“We want to ensure that Youtube is a safe place for our users while allowing for a vibrant community to flourish. While some content may be insulting or offensive please note that we will only remove serious threats.

I guess a death threat just isn’t serious enough, YouTube?  What a joke. I can’t even imagine what happens to all the other reports by people who received less severe yet still disturbing threats. Quite honestly, I can’t even be sure the report was reviewed by a human at all. How are we to know if an algorithm doesn’t search through the reports and determine which ones are “serious” enough for human review?  I guess that’s what you can expect from a massive corporation that doesn’t even have customer support email.

That’s the end of my rant, but I think something really needs to be done about this.  Law enforcement is not equipped to deal with internet threats, nor do they have the time.  Until they do, we just have to hope people aren’t as crazy in real life as they are on the internet.


ADDENDUM: I think I should clarify that I understand why YouTube would not accept screenshots as evidence, since they are extremely easy to fake. However, I want to specify what I believe are the two biggest problems with YouTube’s system for reporting abuse.

  1. You can’t report PMs. This is huge, since if someone is targeting someone else specifically, they will be likely to use PMs. The fact that you can only use comments as evidence, which the other person can delete any time, is stupid.
  2. YouTube obviously does not spend a lot of time reviewing these reports and/or doesn’t take them seriously. If they had taken two seconds to look at the guy’s profile, they would have surely seen the comment I was referring to.

This article isn’t about me. It’s about YouTube.