Free Android Guide: Take Better Photos with Your Android Device

For a limited time, Google Play is offering for free a beginner’s guide to taking photos with an Android device.

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https://encrypted.google.com/books/images/frontcover/754ntJ-U7PYC?fife=w222

Peachpit Press is pleased to offer this book to Google Play customers for FREE for a limited time. Even though the price is $0.00, you will be prompted to complete the transaction with Google Wallet. This is necessary in order for the book to be delivered to your account. If you don’t have a credit card associated to your Google Wallet account, or if you don’t have a Google Wallet account at all, you’ll be prompted to add a new payment method upon first adding music or books from Google Play.

This invaluable guide on how to better use the camera on your Android phone will make all the difference in the world as you capture and share the world around you with others.

With Android Photography: Take Better Pictures with Your Android Phone by photographer Colby Brown, you’ll learn:

  • How to take a photo, including different grips for holding your phone
  • How to use all the controls and modes of the Android camera
  • Which third-party apps to use
  • Different photography styles and techniques for shooting portraits, travel, low-light, and wildlife
  • How to edit your photos with the stock Android app and third-party apps, including Snapseed
  • How to share your images
  • Some of the fun accessories available

Grab your Android phone, and start documenting your life today!

Google Play Offering

New DIY Kit Turns Household Items Into Drones (PopSci.com)

Your own evil empire is just within your grasp! Even as 3-D printing is working with liquid metals at room temp, you can now turn your old motherboards, keyboards, mice, and more into the unmanned vehicles you’ve always wanted thanks to Jasper van Loenen’s Vimeo video.

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This 3-D printing kit lets you transform any sufficiently light object into a flying quadrotor.

DIY Keyboard Drone
DIY Keyboard Drone Jasper van Loenen, via Vimeo

Really, why shouldn’t keyboards fly? A new suitcase-size kit by Dutch artist Jasper van Loenen lets you attach four rotors to almost any object so that you can fly it like a drone.

The kit includes instructions for 3-D printing four clamps that screw into the object and hold the mounts for propellers. You also need to 3-D print a body to house the electronics, which include a radio receiver, flight controller, bluetooth module, and four motors, each with an electronic speed controller.

The software for piloting the drone comes from OpenPilot, an open source autopilot and stabilization project. A full parts list can be found here, and the DIY drone even has an Instructables page.

In the video below, van Loenen drone-ifies a bicycle tire, a keyboard, a boogie board, a book, and an old landline phone. The possibilites are constrained almost entirely by physics—too heavy an object and the motors can’t lift it, too weirdly shaped and it won’t be able to fly straight. For now, there’s no camera included in the plans, so the pilot has to remain in sight of the drone.

DIY (Drone It Yourself) v1.0 from Jasper van Loenen on Vimeo.

GW2: Guide to Bazaar of the Four Winds (Spoiler-Free)

The folks over at ArenaNet have put together a “spoiler-free” guide to their new content, including several tips for each of the content locations! Definitely worth a look as this just launched. You can check out the original article over here.

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A Guide to Bazaar of the Four Winds

Welcome to our newest release, the Bazaar of the Four Winds! You may be wondering what there is to do and how to get around, so what follows is a short guide to point you in the right direction.

Spoiler-free guide

  • When you log in to Guild Wars 2, you’ll receive a mail detailing the current situation. Be sure to press the “Show me” button at the bottom of the mail to get pointed in the right direction.
  • To get to the Bazaar, head to Lion’s Arch and look for the Labyrinthine Cliffs Transport Facilitator. He is marked on the map with a gold star and is in the same spot that was used to boat players over to Southsun Cove before the asura portal was finished.
  • Once you arrive in the Labyrinthine Cliffs, you can travel through the Bazaar up to the cliff peaks to reach the Zephyr Sanctum. However, you will need to utilize the three Aspect skills that are available in the map to make it to the top. You can acquire these skills by collecting the Aspect Crystals located next to Sun, Wind, or Lightning Adepts or sprinkled throughout the map.

BotFW-guide-01

What are Aspect skills?

  • The citizens of the Zephyr Sanctum (“Zephyrites,” as they call themselves) have developed a unique understanding of wind, lightning, and the sun. They have learned how to utilize these Aspects in their daily lives. By imbuing crystals with the energy of the Aspects, the Zephyrites are able to share a taste of this knowledge with others.
  • In order to ease the paths of weary travelers, the Zephyrites have scattered these Aspect Crystals throughout the Labyrinthine Cliffs while they are docked to trade goods at the Bazaar of the Four Winds. Walking over an Aspect Crystal will grant you 10 charges of a movement skill associate with that aspect.
  • Wind Crystals have a blue glow and allow you to leap to new heights! Sun Crystals glow orange and grant bursts of speed. Lightning Crystals are purple and allow you to launch yourself across wide gaps and leap with precision.

A few tips:

  • Using the Sun and Wind Aspect skills together allows you to perform a leaping dash. Players who master this technique will discover many shortcuts and beautiful views along the cliffside.
  • When you gain the Aspect of Lightning, the skill is ground targetable. However, as you traverse the cliffs, you may notice purple tether points along the way. Using the Lightning skill near these will automatically launch you to a matching tether point with no additional targeting required.
  • The Zephyrites have thoughtfully painted symbols on the rocks and walkways to provide hints regarding what Aspect must be used to overcome nearby obstacles.

What can I do at the bazaar?

  • Lessons from the Sky
    • The Zephyrites have scattered Sky Crystals amongst the rocky nooks and crannies of the Labyrinthine Cliffs. Players can utilize the three Aspect skills to reach these locations and prove that they are as nimble as any Zephyrite.

    A few tips:

    • The Zephyrites have placed over 50 Sky Crystals in the area, but you need to find only 40 to earn your reward.
    • If you have not activated a Sky Crystal, its name will be visible if you press your Control key. Once you have activated one, the name will no longer be visible. Use this to quickly scan an area for new crystals or to remember if you have gotten a crystal before.
    • Players can earn a model of the Zephyr Sanctum by completing the Lessons from the Sky achievement. When you double-click the item in your inventory, the model will appear. You can then interact with it to view a cinematic of the Zephyr Sanctum. Please note that you can only use this item in cities.

    BotFW-guide-02

  • Sanctum Sprint
    • Sanctum Sprint, a new racing activity that takes place in the crags and crevices near the Labyrinthine Cliffs, is now available. This activity will only be available for this release, but may return in the future.
    • Players must use the three Aspect skills to complete the course and reach the top. There are also offensive and defensive boosts to be found and used against your opponents.
    • To enter the activity, you must talk to the Aspect Master, who is standing near the entrance to Zephyr Sanctum at the top of the Labyrinthine cliffs.

    A few tips:

    • In the Sanctum Sprint, your Aspect movement skills can be empowered by running over Aspect Crystals. You will often need the powered-up version to access the quickest route through the track.
    • Scattered about the track are blue crystals that boost endurance as well as red crystals that grant swiftness and vigor.
    • Don’t be discouraged if you don’t finish first. Everyone who crosses the finish line before the time limit will earn a chance to win a tradable Aspect Back Item from the chest that appears!
  • Belcher’s Bluff
    • Stop by the tavern on your way to the top of the Bazaar and you’ll meet Poyaqui, leader of the mysterious Order of Om – a group of competitive drinkers whose drink of choice is Omnomberry juice.
    • Any chef worth their salt knows that cooking Omnomberries removes the vile taste as well as nearly all harmful effects, but these drinkers actually chill the stuff so they can find out who can drink the most in a new permanent activity called Belcher’s Bluff.
    • In order to challenge Poyaqui to a game of Belcher’s Bluff, you must first defeat the 5 other members of the Order of Om. Poyaqui will send you a mail detailing their exact locations if you attempt to challenge him.
    • The nearby Bartender also sells Belcher’s Bluff kits, which allow you to challenge other players to drinking matches. In fact, all bartenders in Tyria should now offer these kits to interested parties.

    A few tips:

    • Each member of the Order of Om uses a unique signature skill that they have developed. By defeating them, you can learn these extra skills, which may give you just the edge you need against Poyaqui or other players.
    • Icons will also appear above the heads of players indicating what action they took. Also pay attention to your opponent’s health bar – whether it rises, falls or stays the same should indicate which skills they are using, allowing you to predict what they are going to do next.
  • Trade opportunities!
    • Merchants have trekked many miles to bring bulk orders of cooking ingredients from all over Tyria to the bazaar. It’s a one-stop cooking shop!
    • The Zephyrites are looking to stock up on supplies that can’t be found while flying around in their Sanctum. You can find them near the repair merchant on your map. They are willing to take various resources (such as ore, wood, candy and more) in trade for Zephyr Sanctum supply boxes. These supply boxes contain new items including recipes for weapons and armor with a new stat combination.
    • Also located by the repair merchant is a Fortune Scrap Vendor, who will trade Fortune Scraps for unique Zephyrite items, including Zephyrite Aspect Helms and Zephyrite Aspect Backpacks.

    BotFW-guide-03

    A few tips:

    • Fortune Scraps can be found in Kite Fortunes, which will drop off all creatures in the game. Each Kite Fortune yields at least one fortune scrap and also provides a 10 minute random buff that stacks duration. Kite Fortunes are also being sold in bulk through the Black Lion Trading Company.

What can I do in the open world?

  • Kite Baskets
    • The Zephyrites are launching numerous kite baskets, and they are landing nearly everywhere in Tyria! Find these kite baskets in all explorable areas (except for Orr) for a chance at quartz (a new resource used for crafting), new armor and weapon recipes and kite fortunes.

    A few tips:

    • Each kite basket will yield two supply bags that everyone can interact with. However you will only be able to grab supplies from a specific location once per day. Plan a route through Tyria to make the most of your basket hunt!
    • You can also find Quartz nodes in the Labyrinthine cliffs, and completing the Meta achievement will allow you to receive a personal quartz node in your home instance, so you will never run dry, even after the Sanctum departs.
  • Stolen Kite Baskets
    • Thieving skritt have pilfered a handful of Kite Baskets from the Sanctum. Players can locate these at the top of several jumping puzzles throughout Tyria and open them for extra rewards.

GW2: Optimized Pinata/Firework Route (GuildWars2Hub.com)

Xerin over at GW2Hub has posted an excellent guide on how to most quickly collect all of the pinatas and fireworks you need during the Dragon Bash celebration. He even included a video. Good stuff!

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Guild Wars 2 Optimised Pinata/Firework Route

In this guide we provide you with an optimized route for collecting Pinata’s and Fireworks in Lion’s Arch. In addition, we’ve also presented a video below to show you the route in action as well as a few sneaky tips.

GW2Hub would like to thank Cold2 for this excellent contribution, while you can view all our  Dragon Bash content by hitting the Waypoint below!

Original GuildWars2Hub.com Article

Scrolls: Tips & Tricks

I have recently started to play Scrolls, the new CCG from Mojang – the guys behind Minecraft. I have got to say I’m loving it! I sank a good 20 hours into it this past weekend and I believe I will stream a few matches later on this week and discuss several things I have discovered helps me immensely and maybe even do some theorycrafting.

Be sure to check out the trailer at the end of this article!

Here are some tips from the redditor csharpist that will help any new Scrolls player.

1. Scrolls is not MTG; don’t get frustrated when you fail. It can be quite annoying and humbling coming from MTG and doing rather poorly in Scrolls; especially to someone (like the Easy AI) who “plays like a newb”. Remember, you’re the newbie now, at least for a little bit.

2. Do not hold on to scrolls in your hand unnecessarily, often discard (sacrifice) them for mana (resource) or draw two. Yeah, it’s tempting to hold on to “that awesome guy” scroll or “the killer spell that you can play in 2-3 turns,” but don’t do it. What you need this turn can very well be the last thing you need next turn.

3. Everything is played at sorcery speed. Yes, there are no counterspells, no ‘instants’. So remember to strategize properly during your turn, once it is the opponent’s turn you are not allowed to act. This related to the second tip in that you should not hold on to control cards “just in case” (see tip #4 as well).

4. Stop worrying about the graveyard. The graveyard is recycled back into the deck you draw from automatically (and behind the scenes). Your creatures keep dying? You keep casting your ‘good’ spells? Feel uneasy discarding your ‘awesome guy’ for mana? Hate to discard that boomerang that you know you’ll need just for two scrolls? Quit worrying. All of those scrolls will be reshuffled back into your library at some point and you’ll see them again. Play what you need to play for the turn. Discard freely for mana/scrolls.

5. Don’t get cozy with your mana (resource) pool. So you got 5, 6, or maybe even 7 resources and can play your highest casting cost scroll? Great, but don’t stop discarding for additional resources yet. The battlefield can change quickly and many times you will have to play several creatures/spells in a single turn to gain the advantage again or simply stay alive. Shorting yourself because you ‘had enough’ mana before will only cause you to lose when battles get dragged out.

6. Don’t immediately play what you draw out of desperation or excitement. You may be in a pinch and you draw a scroll that you know is going to help a good bit. Or maybe it’s your favorite ‘awesome guy’ scroll. Think carefully before playing it, especially late-game when you have a higher resource pool. That one scroll might be helpful, but what about sacrificing it for two even better ones? Unless that single scroll is going to win the game for you that turn, I’d recommend discarding it for two more. I’d be willing to say 80% of the time the two you draw are better together than the single one you drew at first. Even if only one of the two you draw is good, you have a spare to discard next turn to prevent being faced with the same dilemma again. Now if both are good, do play them and repeat the discard procedure (see tip #4). If you have bad luck with this, it’s probably more to do with your deck lacking consistency rather than your streak of luck.

7. There is no sideboard so make sure your deck has some situational scrolls. While there is no sideboarding, you should always take some scrolls that help with the ‘what-ifs’. Considering any scroll that is useless at the time is worth a mana (resource) or two more scrolls, it doesn’t hurt to pack some in. Now that said, don’t go overboard and water down your deck with every possible scenario. There’s no reason a deck should not have some removal, burn, control, or prevention if your type has it.

8. Build cohesive decks and keep your scroll count low. Unless you’re building a ‘funny deck’, keep it at a maximum of 60 scrolls. The minimum is 50 and the low-to-mid 50s won’t hurt either. The point is that your deck should start to ‘loop’ (once the graveyard is recycled) so that it is consistent. Having a variety of one-of-everything is only going to make your deck hit or miss (and probably more miss). Once you go over 60 you may start to see your deck perform worse in longer matches as it can’t recycle the graveyard yet.

9. Avoid ‘multi-colored’ decks until later. I know it may be tempting once you get some of the scrolls and detect the synergy between Order, Energy, and Growth… but just don’t. Let yourself get comfortable with the game, the play-style, and a good scroll library built up first. Multi-colored decks can be powerful but require a lot of balancing and the proper scrolls, don’t get ahead of yourself.

10. Utilize the benefits of your deck type. Each type (Order, Energy, Growth) have certain play-styles which maximize performance of the deck. For example, a few human units for Order will give attack/defense bonuses to the entire row of friendly units. They also have several units that are ‘spiky’ and make great front-line defenders. Between those two aspects, you can tell formations are very important and moving around is key in an Order-based deck.

11. Never gauge your deck’s performance against the Trial matches. Trust me, it’s hardly an accurate representation of a match. I still speculate that there are ‘rigged’ calculators and whatnot for these compared to normal matches. Point being, I have decks have been proven to be excellent both in single and multiplayer but are absolutely horrid in many of the Trials. Want to know how your deck fares? Play the AI or someone, don’t do a Trial.

12. Use the trade channel. At the heart of it all, it’s a trading card scroll game. Whether you like to trade for collecting/completion, competitiveness, or simply just as a social thing — do it. From my interactions it has been quite pleasurable. It’s very easy to find what you are looking for and just as easy to trade away what others are seeking. Don’t be afraid to trade using gold if nothing interests you or them, it’s the only way to buy new random cards/packs.

13. Sometimes, especially starting out, you lose because you lack the good scrolls. While player skill and strategy does play a huge part of the game, having access to the uncommon and rare scrolls doesn’t hurt. The starter decks do a pretty good job of giving you a place to begin, but there is always room for improvement. Also, having multiples of the more rare scrolls helps draw consistently. Fortunately, this phase doesn’t last too long once you start buying additional ones and trading around for the ones you need. This is another reason I mention tip #9 early out along with tip #12.

Original Reddit Post

Father’s Day: 5 Superbly Nerdy Gift Ideas

Father’s Day.

June 16th.

2013.

With only 10 days remaining, are you panicking to find a gift the father in your life might actually appreciate? I’m here to help! Here are five excellent gadgets and go-tos for the father in your life.

In no particular order….

1. Grill Alert Talking Remote Meat Thermometer

Main Product Image

Spend less time at the grill and more time enjoying the party.

  • Select meat type, choose preferred cooking temperature and close the grill—then walk away!
  • Stainless steel probe tracks meat temperature
  • Monitor features belt clip so you can step away from the grill while keeping an eye on your meat
  • Transmitter ranges 300’ and alerts you when your entrée is ready
  • Backlit digital screen displays meat type, preferred cooking temperature, current temperature and target temperature
  • Remote uses 2 AA batteries and transmitter uses 2 AAA batteries (not included)
  • For indoor and outdoor use

2. Age Your Own Whiskey Kit by Woodinville Whiskey Co.

The Age Your Own™ Whiskey Kit includes two 750 ml bottles of 110 proof White Dog un-aged whiskey, a 2 liter aging barrel, pouring funnel, two tasting glasses, and step-by-step instructions. Because of the small barrel size, the aging process is significantly accelerated with nicely aged whiskey available in 3-6 months (you be the judge!). Aging barrel can be refilled and reused 5+ times.

A lightweight, portable speaker that brings the party with you. The Beats Pill is wireless and Bluetooth enabled, so that you can play music from your device or take calls. Small enough to fit in your hand, the Beats Pill surprises with its powerful signature sound.

Just because you (or your dad) is nerdy doesn’t mean you can’t have great-looking, healthy skin. Kiehl’s has been a premiere men’s skin care company for over 160 years! Heck, they started as an apothecary in New York’s East Village neighborhood. (Nerdy, I know.) For only $42, you get all this:

A travel-perfect mix of essentials to keep him clean, energized and moisturized.

  • Ultimate Man Body Scrub Soap 3.2 oz
  • Facial Fuel Energizing Moisture Treatment 2.5 oz.
  • Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream – White Eagle 2.5 oz.
  • Facial Fuel Energizing Face Wash 2.5 oz.
  • Ultimate Strength Hand Salve 2.5 oz.

5. Jawbone by UP

Jawbone UP : Colors

A bracelet? For $129.99? What’s the catch?

The Jawbone by UP is the most tech-savvy bracelet on the planet. It tracks your health and fitness thoroughly via an awesome mobile app for iPhones and Android. Reviews have generally been positive and here are some of the best reasons to treat your Dad.

* Wide array of metric tracking
* Comfortable
* Fantastic apps
* Available in three sizes and eight colors
* Tracks activity, sleep habits, has a power nap switch, and vibration alarm reminding you not to schlep around the house

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