Loominoodle: Let There Be (Ambient) Light

reese fowler

“Hey, kids! Take care of your eyes… OR ELSE!”

loominoodleAs someone who’s done plenty of TV viewing and gaming at night for ages in near dark to pitch black rooms, I’m at that ripe older age where a few things needed to change. For one, a bit of ambient lighting was something I’d looked at for a while on and off, but never quite committed to in that “Oh, I’ll check this out more later” manner us professional procrastinators do so well. Well, not getting any younger and a nice email out of the blue from the PR guy from Power Practical got a Luminoodle Bias Lighting strip sent my way to try out. Before you even ask if it works, yes indeed it does and my eyes are now happier when camped out in front of the TV these days.

The basic Loominoodle ($9.99) comes in white and is fairly simple to install within about three to five minutes (not counting if you need to move your TV off a mounting to dust off the rear panel first or need to remove a few things close to it like a game console or three so you can turn your TV around). All your HDTV needs is a rear USB port to connect to and you’re golden. Note to pet owners: you’ll absolutely want to gently escort them from the room your TV is in into a closed one for a few minutes  before you install the strip. Hey, you try to explain to a over-eager dog or cat that the thing you’re unrolling isn’t a new toy. Notice they aren’t giving a hoot as they try and ruin your installation process?

Anyway, all you do is turn your TV on, look down at the instruction sheet, plug the Loominoodle into the rear USB slot and get to rolling out the strip according to the pattern you’ve chosen. It’s got a very sticky 3M double-sided tape backing that adheres to your set yet is flexible enough for you to overlap edges in order to make perfect corners. Once you’re all done, get that flat screen back in place and get ready to see the difference a little ambient light can bring. In short, my eyes are in love with my Loominoodle and I’d say the rest of me is pleased as well. There’s also a Luminoodle Color Bias Lighting strip ($19.99) that comes with a remote control unit and allows for a number of customization options, so I’m putting that down as a gift suggestion for a few folks I know could use a little extra (ambient) light in their lives.

-GW

Review unit courtesy Power Practical (thanks, Ben!)

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Take A Good Look Coming to DVD in October

Take A Good Look DVD Ooh, this one’s been a long time coming, but if you like to laugh it up significantly and like old TV (or hey, just want to see something more fun than the usual modern reality junk), well here you go. Okay, so you have to wait until October, but that’s not too far away, right? Right.

Ernie Kovacs: Take A Good Look – The Definitive Collection is now up for pre-order on Shout Factory with the first 1000 copies getting an exclusive bonus disc, Ernie Kovacs: Private Eye, Private Eye. If you’re new to Kovac’s work, you’re in for a real treat. The man did so much to elevate comedy that it’s astounding he only did about ten years worth of work before his untimely death in 1962.

Hmmm… I smell a short press release… it’s minty!
 

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Take A Good Look – The Definitive Collection is now set for release on October 17! This DVD set is the third box set of Ernie Kovacs amazing body of television work (1952 -1962) to be released over the better part of this decade. All 49 existing episodes of Kovacs cockeyed and offbeat gameshow are presented here, fully restored and digitized by the Library of Congress.

Take A Good Look hosted an eclectic mix of guest stars, such as my mom (!), performer Edie Adams, writer/director Carl Reiner, the glamorous Zsa Zsa Gabor, comedian Mort Sahl, Our Gang’s Jean Darling, chess world champion Bobby Fischer, Major League Baseball’s Rogers Hornsby, White House Butler Alonzo Fields, Los Angeles Dodgers Chuck Essegian and Don Drysdale, Hawaiian Congressman Daniel Inouye, Miss America 1959 Mary Ann Mobley, several Olympic athletes, and many mor

-GW

Super NES Classic Edition: You’ll Never Get One If You Don’t Work Hard

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So yep, there will be a Super NES Classic Edition coming in a few months. Even though Nintendo says they’ll beef up shipments for this thing, good luck getting one at retail come September 29. You know the drill: even with increased stock, scalpers are already putting aside funds to grab as many as they can to turn a profit on auction sites or classifieds. Yes, many of you will luck out and be able to wait on a line somewhere to buy one (or more if possible) as gifts or for your own use. But I’m betting a penny that too many folks will delegate themselves to complaining online incessantly about how “impossible” the SNES mini is to find without driving X number of miles or being similarly inconvenienced.

Guess what? If those scalpers are going to beat you at this game constantly, it’s partly because you’re letting them. Starting today, maybe make a few friends at the nearest game shop, mall, or other location you know this thing may turn up at and be as nice as you can to all your new friends without being a stalker. Be 100% straightforward in your request and yep, let them know you want that new Mini and see what happens. Translation: be prepared to work it good and hard if you want to grab one of these things at a decent price. The less you hang out on some message board forum griping about inflated prices based on speculators doing their thing in the usual unchecked manner, the better the chance of getting one sooner than later.

As for me? Yeah, I want one as well, but my finances suck for the next chunk of months and if worse comes to worse, I can emulate stuff I own in a pinch. I’ve no illusions about walking into Nintendo World NYC in a few months and getting one just like that and nope, Nintendo doesn’t send out review product to anyone who asks (although, to be fair, any review I’d write would be pretty boring compared to what you’d see on a video-based channel with millions of subscribers).

Eh, whatever. It’s not as if I don’t have more urgent stuff to tackle. The first of a few follow-up medical appointments is tomorrow, so that’s occupying my mind at the current time.

-GW

Solo Rival Backpack: It’s In The Bag

Choosing a good laptop bag or backpack can be a tricky bit of business what with so many brands to choose from, assorted useful to not so useful features and price points that in some cases seem as if you’re paying for branding over quality. Having recently purchased a larger laptop, I’d initially automatically grabbed an relatively inexpensive bag off a certain popular online shopping site (almost) everyone uses worldwide. That turned out to be a good buy in terms of price, but a not so good of a purchase. While the bag looked good and was functional, it wasn’t as well-padded as I preferred and the shoulder strap wasn’t very well constructed. So, back it went and just as I resumed my hunt (upping what I wanted to spend to under $100), I got a nice note from Solo asking if I was interested in trying out one of their laptop backpacks.

Funny how that timing stuff works, isn’t it? Continue reading

Plantronics RIG 4VR: PlayStation VR Gets A Big Aural Plus

RIG Surround Package

One key element to a great Virtual Reality experience is immersive sound quality and out of the box, Sony’s PlayStation VR is somewhat lacking thanks to the budget-minded earbuds packed in with the unit. While far from terrible, it’s hard to feel fully dialed in with those teeny buds tickling your eardrums. Fortunately, the fine folks at Plantronics got on the case and have come up with a great solution with their great RIG 4VR headset (MSRP $69.99). Officially licensed, they match the PS VR perfectly, fit over the big headset with an adjustable headband, connect to your PS4 in one of a few ways and yes, sound absolutely great for the price point. Continue reading

Retro-Bit Generations In Action: Or, SOLD!


 

So, yeah. This thing’s getting bought before that NES Classic Mini for sure. Over three times as many games AND SD card support for the same low $59.99 price point? Yeah, that’s a sale and SHOULD be to any gamer no matter how loyal they are to the house that Mario built. Check out the new and complete list of games below:

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Yep, SOLD. Or sold out well before the holidays, I bet.

I’d write more, but I’m still wiped out from jury duty an even though I had today off, I woke up with a nasty scratchy throat and a cough that’s not gotten much better despite most of the day spent resting and treating. Damn courthouses are just as bad as conventions for catching buds, I say. Yuck. Okay, off to bed for me, as I need to drag myself back down to the halls of justice for what I hope is the final day of service. Good night, now!

-GW

Retro-Bit Generations Update: Getting Closer As Stiff Competition (And Then Some)


 

I’ve said this before, but after seeing this (too) brief teaser for the upcoming Retro-Bit Generations game console, I’ll say it again. While Nintendo clearly has brand recognition, a years longer and extremely loyal fan base, and an instant smash hit with its upcoming NES Classic Mini, the Retro-Bit may be a better fit for gamers looking to play more classic games, period.

Pre-orders are open and for that same MSRP, you get a more flexible system and over 60 more games including arcade, 8 and 16-bit classics. If the build quality and controllers on this are tight, I’ll be grabbing one of these first and going for that Mini once the frenzy over nostalgia beating sheer value dies down. These days, it just makes sense to go with value first. Well, at least in my book.

-GW

Retro-Bit Generations Games List (So Far): Better Than Expected Makes It A Better Deal

retro-bit list note

Click this. CLICK IT NOW!

 

While Nintendo isn’t quaking in their boots at all (this morning’s 3DS Direct was pretty magnificent), the fine folks at Retro-Bit.com have released the not quite final list of NES and SNES games appearing on their upcoming Retro-Bit Generations console and it’s a doozy:

 

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Bring the power and entertainment of an arcade to your living room with the Retro-Bit Generations – Plug and Play console. Since 2007, Retro-Bit® has been at the forefront of the retro gaming world, introducing innovative and exciting platforms to re-experience a treasured vintage gaming era. Continuing with that tradition, Retro-Bit Generations is packed with titles from world-renowned pioneer videogame developers.

 

Revisit and replay these classics on your own or with a friend with two retro-style six button controllers, for an authentic retro re-experience. Designed with a sleek user-friendly interface and an HDMI port, Retro-Bit Generations brings a new look for the old school gamer and delivers fun for all ages!

Features

Packed with popular retro games from world-renowned developers
2 USB Retro-style six button controllers
HDMI and AV Outputs
SD card slot to save and transfer game progress (SD card not included)
Sleek compact design
Intuitive user interface
Internal game save feature – Save your progress anywhere, any time!

 

Remember, this thing is supposed to retail for $59.99… and that games list isn’t even complete. If the RBG works as advertised and the controllers are solid, that already pre-sold out NES Classic mini may have a bit of competition. We’ll see, of course.

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Retro-Bit Generations Just May Give That NES Mini A Run For Its Money

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Remember that big news about the Nintendo-produced NES Classic Edition coming in November? Well, say hello to some actual competition. Gaming accessory manufacturer/distributor/sourcing agent Innex Inc. is planning to distribute a rather and looking quite essential cool mini console of its own called Retro-Bit Generations this year for the same $59.99 price point as Nintendo’s system, but with a much larger on board games lineup (100 titles!), two controllers, and a VERY handy SD card slot.

INNEX logoCheck out the details below the jump. I’d never heard of Innex before today, but they just cracked my radar screen with this news. Click away here to check out their other Retro-Bit consoles. Thanks, Mika!

Continue reading

Blu-Ray Review: Edgar Allan Poe’s Black Cats

EAP_Black Cats_AV024What’s black and red and giallo all over? Ha. If you’re still reading this, you’ve just survived a pun to the head without any ill effects. Anyway, arriving just in time for Halloween, Arrow Video’s Edgar Allan Poe’s Black Cats: Two Adaptations By Sergio Martino & Lucio Fulci makes for another fine Blu Ray/DVD set to add to your collection.

The two films, Sergio Martino’s sexy/scary Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (1972), and Lucio Fulci’s flat-out weird The Black Cat (1981) are two more variations of Poe’s popular horror tale that’s been the subject of a number of horror films and anthologies. The interesting thing about all the Black Cat films throughtout cinematic history is how different they all are and how each director takes the parts of the story they (or the screenwriters) felt worked for what they were attempting. Continue reading