Sunday, November 30, 2014

Kicker’s KPW takes a beating and does not skip a key

Kicker has released its new portable Bluetooth speaker, the KPW, a durable water resistant speaker and a convenient design. Similar to the BoomBottle from Scosche, the KPW’s design allows it to fit easily in most any water bottle holder. Dune season has started so what better way to review a durable speaker than to put it in the cup holder of a RZR XP1000 and see if 1) it stays in the cup holder and 2) still worked after three days in the sand. Let’s see how the handheld speaker stood up to the torture. Three days out in the sand dunes, the KPW was placed in the cup holder by day and campfire by night. I did not expect this little speaker to be keep up as well as it did, I only had to charge it twice and it stayed in the cup holder while jumping and when hitting hard lines. The sound quality was better than most sharing the same size and the individual passive woofers made a noticeable difference as it took the place of the car stereo we usually used without worry of waking up to a dead battery. One end twists to control the volume and a button to take calls but my only gripe I noticed was the lack of ability to change tracks.The KPW is a miniature brute in that it is durable, small, loud, and stays where you place it. With sand virtually everywhere, the KPW kept going and now that I am back home and the speaker and I got a thorough cleaning, the beast still sounds like it did when it took it out of the box with the only casualty being the volume knob has a little grind to it. The closest comparison to the KPW that I have come across is Scosche's BOOMbottle, but Kicker's portable speaker outperforms it in every way and I am now a big fan of the individual passive radiators for additional depth. The Kicker KPW is available now in black or white for the price of  $179.95.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Destiny | A look back on the launch

We never reviewed Destiny, and was the case, a lot of other outlets had trouble getting reviews out on time based on a number of factors.  The launch was met with little to no reviews.  A new genre from a proven development house you'd think would be easy to get reviews online.  But instead, gamers were left trying it out on their own.  Mind you, the successful Alpha and Betas that were played out in June and August respectively gave us a taste of what was to come.

It's been over two months, and in a few weeks time, on the 3-month anniversary, Bungie will be dropping their first planned DLC, The Dark Below (Dec 9th).  We wanted to look back and discuss the highs and lows of the massively ambitious MMOFPS.

As of writing this, I have poured over 50 hours killing Hive, Dregs, Knights, and Templars.  I've raided the Vault twice.  I've played hundreds of games and looted caves, stairs, farmed some materials and participated in nightly and weekly strikes.  I've done this with current friends and have met new ones along the way.  I've danced in the tower, danced on top of an enemy and rode my sparrow across the large maps in search of chests, and chasing bounties for XP.  My cohorts have put in over 400 hours, and have created my first online Clan via Bungie's website.  I have never spent this much time on a single game and still just need to play each night.

Destiny is not perfect.  There's limited planets to explore (Earth, the Moon, Mars, Venus) and some repetitive areas.  There's limited loot (compared to a title like Diablo, or World of Warcraft); but those games have been around for years amassing a legacy to build upon.  I think Destiny is getting there.  It's self-proclaimed "10-year plan" I'm assuming will continue to build on the foundation that is Destiny.

The missions and bounties are somewhat repetitive, no doubt.  A lot of the game is lather, rinse, repeat.  There are glimpses of greatness found in pushing yourself as a player to try the weekly nightfall on level 28, with all the (non) perks to make it more challenging (juggler, angry, void burn, etc), or taking on the Vault of Glass with 5 others forcing you to find a rhythm and work together to defeat Atheon.  All the while hoping the gear you covet most drops so you can finally make it to level 30.

As I spend the next two weeks hoping to hit 30 before the DLC, I am encouraged by the community, and the overall approachfulness of those who are still at it, day after day.  I for one am looking forward to many more long nights.  Hopefully, we'll be able to bring you a review of the DLC shortly after it launches.  Stay tuned for more.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Domke releases Next Generation lineup, I go hands on with the Metro Messenger

Domke, a trusted brand in providing heady duty and functional satchels, courier, and messenger bags. My messenger, the Ruggedwear Military, is a spacious bag to carry the load. The bag’s design focuses on functionality using a patent pending organizational system to set up as you see fit all while knowing that it’s contents are protected. The main compartment is set up to hold camera and lenses, while the surrounding pockets not only carry a laptop and tablet. Now that I have this heavy-duty canvas messenger bag packed full and survived both my commute and road trip, let’s see how it did.
The bag is built for anything and just about everything you can throw at it or even in it. At one point I had my work computer, MacBook, point and click camera, two water bottles, DSLR, three lenses, chargers, and iPad mini. Sure it was heavy, but great to be able to toss everything needed for a business trip and knowing the camera is on hand with everything needed for editing in one place. The side pockets and two front pockets expand if additional storage is needed, but the zipper on top is what stole my heart. Unzip and I could access my camera and lenses without fiddling with the buckles to open the flap.There were a couple of things I would have liked to have seen added or improve, but not to worry, the list is a short one. My first suggestion that is my biggest complaint while commuting is the lack of a handle on the top of the bag, for the short distances in which the strap would be excessive. The only other item I would suggest is that Domke have provided better/stronger clip to hole the strap to the bag. The clips used are plastic and have come unhooked twice so far in my use.I have review a variety of camera bags from the minimal to the bulky, fashionable to the functional, and this has a bit of everything in place. It is a larger bag but still manageable to carry daily to work and is the best reason I have found to keep my camera on me and never have an excuse to miss a shot. The Metro Messenger is not only available in RuggedWear Military, but also available in RuggedWear Black, Cordura Black, and Cordura Tan. Domke knows bag owners are in for the long haul by providing refinishing wax for bringing your bag back to life after battling the elements.