Awesome iOS games — Monument Valley & Space Age

I don’t game as much as I used to. I own a PS4 essentially to play NHL with my friends, though I do have the GTA pre-ordered. And when it comes to iOS gaming, I typically only latch on to certain trends and binge play when I happen to be traveling.

I’ve tried to change that recently, however, especially with the quality of games that have been created. Most notably are two very awesome iOS games — Monument Valley and Space Age.

From Monument Valley:

Monument Valley is a surreal exploration through fantastical architecture and impossible geometry. Guide the silent Princess Ida through mysterious monuments, uncovering hidden paths, taking advantage of optical illusions and outsmarting the enigmatic Crow People. Inspired by the art of M.C. Escher, Japanese prints and minimalist 3D design, each level is a unique, hand-crafted combination of puzzle, graphic design and architecture. Like listening to an album or walking through a museum for the first time, Monument Valley is about discovery, perception and meaningful beauty.

From Space Age:

Space Age is a game of cosmic adventure. Set in the retro-futuristic sci-fi world of 1976, it follows a small but determined band of intergalactic explorers who land on a seemingly uninhabited planet, Kepler-16. They soon discover there’s something both strange and familiar about this alien place…

Space Age is a graphic adventure in the vein of 1990s classics, reimagined for the new millennium and its amazing mobile devices. Told in grand cinematic style, orchestrally scored, and filled with drama, humor, and nostalgia, it’s a golden-age science-fiction story come to immersive life.

These are great games that are beautifully designed. Growing up, I would have paid around $40 for games like this. Nowadays, I’m paying $60 for PS4 titles and more on top of that for the privilege to play online. It baffles me that I can get quality games like this now for less than a cup of coffee.

It baffles me even more people complain about paying that small amount and leave one-star ratings in the App Store. Please, go buy these games. Add the extra levels in Monument Valley for a couple more bucks. Then do the developers a favor by giving the games an honest review.

Superpower Chrome’s address bar

Lifehacker has a list of secret powers that Chrome’s address bar possesses. If you spend time within the Chrome browser, it’s worth it to familiarize yourself with these.

The most effective for me has always been using custom search engines via keywords. I use them to search for everything from items to purchase on Amazon to baseball player stats on Baseball-Reference.

I cannot begin to fathom the amount of time that simple hack has saved me over the years.

Write! – a dynamic Windows text editor

I’ve been a Mac user for a while now, and it a big perk of that is the amazing software that is always available thanks to many great developers.

I keep a Windows desktop to run as a media and backup server at home, and I try to keep up with anything new that comes Microsoft’s way on it while it serves those initial purposes. I’m not the first to notice how far behind Windows has gotten when it comes to innovative software — even among simple things like text editors.

Enter Write! — a truly dynamic Windows text editor.

Thanks to Lifehacker, I became familiar with Write! today and have had fun playing around with it. Its interface offers a new take, especially for Windows, on the text editor, featuring a custom rendering engine, markdown support and much more.

If you have a Windows machine lying around, give Write! a shot. It’s distraction-free writing at its best on the platform with tons of features to enjoy.

On creation without consumption

Brett Terpstra describes his way of learning:

“My entire life I’ve been “bad” at school. I can’t sit through lectures, and I can’t concentrate on reading assignments. I can read, and I can comprehend, but it takes great effort to focus on what is being said and to block out my own thought patterns. I learn by doing, and I only learn things that are of interest or immediately applicable to me.”

…loved this specific thought from Brett. My mind has worked the same in these settings.

Windows 10 — I’m just not sure anymore

Microsoft took some time this week to show off an early version of its next flagship operating system — Windows 10. Right, 10. You know — the number that comes after 8.

All jokes aside, Redditors are calling out an even better reason as to why ‘9’ may have been skipped:

Microsoft dev here, the internal rumours are that early testing revealed just how many third party products that had code of the form:

if(version.StartsWith(“Windows 9″))
{ /* 95 and 98 */ }
else {

and that this was the pragmatic solution to avoid that.

Too good. Anyways, back to what Windows 10 actually is. Some linkage:

If you read the links, you’ll see that it appears Windows is taking a step back. It’s taking the good things of Windows 8 (or 8.1) and trying to stuff them into Windows 7 — a more strictly standard desktop OS that most of the world already used and knew.

It’s probably best for Microsoft’s current customers, but does little to convince anyone moving forward that its product is where you should invest your time. I wonder how sudden the desktop OS crash of Microsoft will hit, and who will deliver that ultimate blow (maybe a combined punch of Apple and Google’s Chrome OS?).

For me, I already have limited use of Windows. That use consists of a sole desktop that serves as a server/backup machine. I haven’t installed Office on a computer in years, as all my work is done in Google Docs. And I tend to keep Microsoft off my OSX installs.

I like the thought of Microsoft doing unique things, but that just doesn’t seem like it will really happen anymore. What a shame.