The Pros and Cons of Pokémon Go

Entertainment phenomenons don’t die; they merely rest until awoken or reborn. In the nineties the Japanese Gameboy game Pokémon became a global media obsession spawning television series, films, books and trading cards. Toyshops were lined with yellow Pikachus and sports were put aside as children traded and battled with their Pokémon cards in the playground. Then technology moved on and the franchise got left behind unable to compete with the 3D gaming consoles such as the N64 and PlayStation. This year, we saw the Pokémon franchise once again  and it took over the entertainment industry with its new game Pokémon Go.

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PC Mag reported how the game has smashed Apple’s App Store records for IOS downloads in the first week. The game has taken the world by storm and has been heralded as a gaming triumph and disaster. Thus, this post will look at both sides of the argument.

With the development of smartphones mobile gaming has advanced considerably in recent years, which has certainly helped Pokémon Go’s success. Gaming Realms, the online gaming developer behind popular titles such as Spin City: NRVNA, states that mobile technology has ensured that a platform can take all kinds of gaming content and publish it anyway. Pokémon Go is now available in most countries across the world- meaning that traveling Pokémon lovers will be able to continue playing even while traveling and across a myriad of different platforms.

Pokémon Go has been a celebrated phenomenon for introducing a whole new generation to the great outdoors. The thrill of the game is in finding and collecting all 150 Pokémon and Forbes reports you won’t get far by not moving around. The game has an inbuilt special GPS that alerts users to nearby Pokémon. One of the games biggest features is hatching Pokémon eggs, which require the player to walk anywhere between 2 km and 5 km to make the eggs hatch. Pokémon Go is making an entire generation healthier.

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Alongside the physical health benefits are the mental benefits for children suffering with conditions such as autism and anxiety disorders. Friendship Circle writes about the social benefits of the game for children with autism. Pokémon Go encourages social interaction with other players to reap the full benefits of the game. Across the globe large crowds of fellow Pokémon lovers are creating events where they search for Pokémon together. The game has created a large friendly community that people who usually steer away from human contact feel safe in.

Pokémon Go is not only being used to help people but also help society in general. The Huffington Post reports that the game is being used by police to lure criminals to police stations. A police station in Manchester, England discovered that a rare Pokémon was located in their station and created a list of people who were invited to come and catch it. The catch was that everybody on the list was featured in the department’s top 500 most wanted criminals. Nobody was arrested but it demonstrates the unusual ways the game is being used.

Unfortunately, it is not only the police who are using the game. The Guardian suggests that armed robbers are using the game to lure players into traps. Police stated that the robbers were able to use the geolocation feature to anticipate where Pokémon players would go. The game also features a way to create a beacon to attract more players. Police have warned players to be careful when looking for Pokémon in less populated areas such as car parks.

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The game creates Pokestops and gyms at landmarks to make it easier for players to meet up. The Calgary Herald claims that memorials such as the U.S Holocaust Museum have become hotspots for players to gather. Many memorial centers have banned players from using the game on the sensitive sites. It has been seen as disrespectful and insulting to the memory of the dead mourned at these sites.

Pokémon Go is also having a negative affect on people’s health and concentration levels. The New York Post suggest players have hurt themselves while playing the game. While the game encourages people to get outside it also forces them to stare at the screen while moving. One of the most dangerous places people are using the game is inside their cars. Pokémon regularly pop upon car dashboards.

The Perks of Online Shopping

I love online shopping. It is very convenient.  All you have to do is sit comfortably in your own home and let the your fingers do some shopping.  There are so many nice things to choose from. Plus, you can compare prices and choose the better deal. It is easy to just charge it to your credit card. In a few days, the items are already on your doorstep. It is an ideal way to shop especially in this day and age where people live busy lives and the crowd at the mall can already cause undue stress.

Online shopping is also energy and cost efficient. Going to the mall means you have to drive to get there and that means spending for gas. That is not the only thing you are going to spend for. You will surely go hungry after shopping. We all know eating out can be expensive.

However, the downside of online shopping is that it is so tempting to just click and charge to your credit card. Before you know it, you have already racked up a huge bill. Sometimes it takes lot of self-control  not to click that buy button.   Good thing, there is a way to shop smart. I have two words for it:  online vouchers.  It is always wise to check for voucher codes for the brands you are shopping for. These codes are not necessarily visible in the websites but, if you know how and where to look for them, your online shopping experience will be a lot better.  You must keep in mind that every product you are buying may have an online voucher somewhere. This is particularly helpful especially when there are holidays like Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas and special occasions like birthdays and weddings. These  are occasions when you need to buy different things at the same time and having online vouchers can definitely decrease your spending.

Shop smartly, everyone!

That Mini Heart Attack

Does this ever happen to you?

In the early years of personal computing (Whoa. Did I just say that? I feel ancient),  I have already acquainted myself with the “save as” button.   I also learned to email files to myself as a backup.  With cloud storage, it also possible to have a backup somewhere in the internet.  What usually causes a mini-heart attack for me is that moment when the computer bogs down. I only own one desktop- no iPad, no laptop or other mobile internet devices. Thus, I go through five stages of grief:  denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

It is the same five stages as this. 😀

In my past life (old job), I dealt with computer problems day-in/ day-out.  I only go through mini-heart attacks when my files get affected. However, I am pretty calm when dealing with other people’s machines.  😀  I learned how open the machines and look through the innards of a CPU.  I remember one time I was fixing my swivel chair at home. I was holding a screwdriver and the parts of the chair are all over the living room floor. My aunt was skeptical and asked, “Do you know what you are doing?”  I replied, “Hey, if can open up a computer system, how hard can this be?”  I flashed my pearly whites as beads of sweat trickled at the side of my face.  It was an easy task. I know the steps.  However, I realized  that it was hard to unscrew something that is attached to a wood.

My aunt must have remembered that incident that when her TV broke down, she asked me to fix it.  Ha!  I was exposed to electronic equipment but I have never dared to tinker with them. In my previous work, it was normal for me to see RF microwave components in the switch department’s work area but I never bothered to learn more about them. Although I told my aunt to call a technician, I did my own research and looked for equipment suppliers.  I landed on the Radiall website. The company just revamped their site and it is easy to navigate. They manufacture components that are widely used in industries including aerospace, defense and telecommunications.

My aunt’s TV was already fixed by a qualified technician.  As for me, I no longer have that mini-heart attack when my computer fails me.  I learned to let go.  Sometimes, I am more productive when I am away from the computer. 😀

My Secret Weapon: Photoscape

Ever since I got my digital camera, I have been interested in maximizing its features. I have a six-year-old Canon A510. It is only a 3.2 MP camera but it does the job for me. I have this rule that I only buy new things when the old ones break. Thus, getting a new camera anytime soon is not an option. This restriction does not deter me from finding ways to improve my photos. I always say that whatever I lack in photography equipment and skills, I make up for with some software magic.

Adobe Photoshop is the popular software to use when editing images.  When I started with tinkering my photos, it was the first application I used. However, my old computer had 256MB of RAM and this software hogged the computer memory. I often experienced freezing while editing some images.

An alternative is to look for a freeware that can do most of the editing I do in Photoshop. The best one I found is Photoscape. It is a light software and easy to use. Best of all, it is FREE!

Cool features

Except for masking, Photoscape can do most of the tasks I do in Photoshop.

It can add a little richness to a photo. With a simple tweak in the brightness, contrast, saturation and sharpness, a simple photograph can still be improved

Below are the before and after images I edited using Photoscape.

When a friend who lives overseas asked my help on a math problem, I turned to Photoscape to illustrate the solution to her. (I know! Nerd stuff. I am too lazy to check my solution. Let me know if there are errors. 😀 )

This is the feature I like best: Collage!

This is called Page in Photoscape. There are preset layout you can choose from and all you have to do is drag your photos into the boxes provided. I use this a lot on Facebook. I used to just upload every photo in my file. However, it can be time consuming for friends to look at each of my photo when some of them are quite repetitive.  You know, different poses same background.  (Yet I still want to show them!) Sometimes, I like to show movement in one frame. Photoscape is one cool tool for that.

Remember what I said about creating my own post card? I used Photoscape.

My secret is out.

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