Archive for March, 2013

PostHeaderIcon Razer Edge Review




It sounded good on paper…

The Razer Edge sounds fantastic: a Windows 8 tablet, notebook, and portable gaming system in one. But in actual use, the Edge is a letdown. 

The Edge starts at $1,000, with the Pro (reviewed here) climbing up to $1,450. That may be pricey for a “tablet,” but it comes with an Intel Core i7-3517U, Nvidia GT 640M LE, 8GB of DDR3/1600, and a 256GB SSD. While it’s supposed to be the happy love-child of a portable tablet and a powerful PC, the end result is a compromised monstrosity. 

Razer Edge review

The Razer Edge is quite thick and heavy

The first thing you’ll notice about the Edge is its bulk. Measuring 10.9x7x.8 inches and weighing two pounds, 2.1 ounces, it’s big, thick, and heavy for a tablet, basically requiring you to rest it on your body for support. This in turn muffles the otherwise excellent speakers due to their placement on the bottom edge. And flipping the Edge upside down isn’t a great solution, as you might accidentally trigger the power button on the opposite edge.

Other external controls and ports include a volume rocker, auto-rotate lock, a virtual keyboard button, in addition to a USB 3.0 port and headphone jack. The intake and exhaust vents are quite large and often noisy, as you’ll hear the fans revving even when just web browsing.

Razer Edge Pro

The controller peripheral is too heavy and expensive to make this gaming tablet a game changer.

The Edge’s IPS panel screen offers fantastic viewing angles. While the glossy five-point touch display features just a 1366×768 resolution, its 10.1-inch screen still offers a decent 155.1-pixel-per-inch (PPI) density. Our MSI GT60’s 15.6-inch screen has a 141.2 PPI, for example. We weren’t fans of the thick one-inch bezel however, as it made us wish we had Stretch Armstrong’s thumbs.

Our biggest issue with the Edge, however, is that it lacks a physical keyboard. While Windows 8 might be better with touch, it sucks with only touch. Navigating through desktop mode was a headache because a lot of the tiny icons were clearly designed for the precision of a mouse/trackpad. Even if you were to hook up a Bluetooth keyboard/mouse, you still can’t effectively use the Edge as a proper desktop PC because it doesn’t have a stand. (An optional dock with additional ports could serve as a stand, at the added cost of $100.)

Razer Edge dock

The $100 console dock is a necessity with its stand and additional USB ports 

The Edge also had connectivity issues with our Linksys E1200 router, often disconnecting or running terribly slow, and Razer acknowledged problems with Linksys routers in general. Belkin and D-Link routers fared better, but the download speeds were often a quarter of our zero-point’s sitting a foot away.

The Edge didn’t fare any better in our standard performance benchmarks. The closest it got to our zero-point in CPU-intensive tests was in ProShow, where the Edge’s 1.9GHz-clocked CPU lagged just 22 percent. In our multithread-hungry x264 benchmark, it got crushed by 54 percent. In our GPU tests, it fell 14 percent behind in STALKER, and got severely beaten down in 3DMark 11. The Edge couldn’t even keep up in the battery department!

At the end of the day, you shouldn’t expect a tablet to perform on par with a beefy gaming notebook. The Edge was designed to run games on medium settings, and for the most part, it succeeds. We played Borderlands 2, an Unreal Engine game, and got a consistent 40fps. The Edge was actually able to max out Portal 2, a Source Engine game, with frame rates in the high 80s. On the more graphically demanding Far Cry 3, however, we saw a 31fps average, which suggests settings should be lowered.

Razer Edge keyboard

The Edges is begging for a keyboard, but the official one won’t be out until Q3 2013. 

If you’re looking to play these games with the Edge’s optional controller peripheral, you shouldn’t, as the Edge ends up weighing four pounds, which is much too heavy. It’s also overpriced at $250. The much-needed keyboard add-on also isn’t available yet, nor is its price known. The dock mentioned above, meanwhile, is a necessity. For its $100 you’ll get three USB ports, an HDMI-out, and a much-needed stand, but it lacks an Ethernet port.

While the Edge is much more usable if you purchase the right accessories, that drives up the price and limits the portability. You’re better off purchasing a laptop to satiate your gaming needs and a Nexus 7 to get your portability fix—which you can do for about the same price of the Edge with all the peripherals it needs to be useful.

We really wanted to like the Edge, but the design limitations currently make this a better idea on paper. At present, this is one dull Edge. 

Benchmarks

razer benchmarks

Our zero-point notebook is an MSI GT60 with a 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-3610QM, 12GB DDR3/1600, two 500GB Seagate 7,200rpm hard drives, a GeForce GTX 670M, and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. STALKER CoP tested at 1920×1080 with Ultra settings, Tessellation, and contact hardening.  

Specs

Razer Edge specs

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PostHeaderIcon Barnacle Reviews on Google+ Local



Posted by David Mihm

Since Google+ Local was released last May, it’s safe to say that everyone in the local search community — business owners and agencies alike — has been waiting with bated breath for the launch of Google’s rumored “Business Builder” dashboard. For whatever reason, it still isn’t out yet, but while you’re waiting, there’s no reason you can’t take advantage of the most underrated feature of Google+: the ability to interact on Google+ as a business page. And in particular, to leave reviews of other businesses as your business page.

Why leave reviews as a page?

Business owners, if this concept doesn’t immediately make sense to you, think of it like this: you probably go to networking events with your local chamber of commerce, Rotary club, or your industry trade group all the time. When you go to these events, you’re likely wearing your “business owner” hat, rather than your "weekend warrior" or "soccer mom" hat.

That’s essentially what this feature allows you to do: network socially with your “business owner” hat on, rather than your personal hat. Just like you would refer business to other business owners you trust and admire in these networking environments, the idea behind page-to-page recommendations on social networking sites works the same way.

Facebook gave its page users this functionality years ago, and many of you are likely accustomed to leaving comments on other Facebook pages and generally interacting with their community as their page rather than an individual profile. You may not have known, though, that you can do the same thing on Google+.

Why "Barnacle" reviews?

As far as I know, Search Influence's Will Scott was the pioneer of this concept in local search, which he defined as:

"Attaching oneself to a large fixed object and waiting for the customers to float by in the current."

As most of you would probably admit, it's hard work to optimize a local business website/Plus page/etc. So why not leverage pages that are already visible in your markets for your own visibility? That's the idea behind Barnacle SEO.

Will's original concept applied to link building to prominent Internet Yellow Pages profiles like Yelp business pages or Yahoo Local listings to increase the rankings of those profiles. As Facebook became more popular, he also applied the idea to Facebook conversations on popular pages in a given community (such as the home of your local newspaper or major/minor league sports team).

The problem is that with's Facebook's Timeline interface, comments and conversations drop "below the fold" awfully quickly, especially on popular pages with lots of conversations.

The results on Google+ Local pages, when done well, can yield much "stickier" results.

Getting started: using Google+ as your page

This part is pretty easy. Simply go to http://plus.google.com and log in with the Google Account under which you claimed your page. At the top righthand side, you'll see a dropdown that shows the pages on which you're an admin. Simply select the name of your page. Google will then take you to that page, and when it does, you should see the icon of the page show up at the top righthand side (rather than your personal profile photo).

You're now using Google+ as your business!

Getting your feet wet: reviewing friendly businesses

Going back to the Rotary club analogy, you probably already have a network of existing businesses that you refer friends and clients to in the offline world — pay it forward and put your speech about why you would refer people to them out there for the entire Internet to see.

Chances are, when they Google themselves, they'll see your business' review right at the top of the list and might even leave YOU a review once they notice it.

Here's an example of this in action with my friend Mike Ramsey's business. You'll see, because he doesn't have that many reviews for his newspaper site, my face-for-radio shows up publicly right at the top of his list.

Kicking it up a notch: finding popular businesses

OK, that was simple enough. But most of your friends aren't likely to run tremendously popular businesses that are getting a lot of traffic from search, let alone organic activity on Google+. You want to identify who the most popular businesses are in your market. You probably have some idea of what they are already, but here are some algorithmically-influenced ways to find them.

1) Perform a search for "things to do" in your market

Google is showing more and more of these carousel-style results for these searches every day. The businesses and points of interest shown in this carousel tend to be the ones that get the most visibility on Google+.

2) See what businesses Google recommends at maps.google.com

Visit http://maps.google.com and see who Google shows to the left of the map — both in text and image format. Again, these are likely to be popular businesses with lots of visibility on Google's local products.

3) See where top reviewers are going 

Hat tip to my previously-mentioned friend Mike Ramsey of Nifty Marketing whose team authored this excellent piece earlier this week about how to find top reviewers on Google+ Local. Just follow the instructions in that post, and you'll get a screen like this. Chances are, most of the places visited by top reviewers are pretty popular.

4) See what places are popular on Foursquare

Visit foursquare.com and see what businesses are mentioned when you search for "best nearby." These places are going to have a lot of visibility among techies–good for a variety of reasons that I won't go into in this post.

Finishing things off: reviewing those businesses

So, the final step in the process is to leave a review of those top businesses. I don't have any earth-shattering tips for best practices when it comes to actually leaving a review, but I will point out that the more effort you put into leaving a killer review, the more likely it is that effort will be rewarded.  

Why is that? Google+ sorts reviews by "Most Helpful" by default. This means that the better your review is, the more likely it is to have staying power over time — which is the whole point of this exercise. You want people to gain real value from your review and have a positive experience when they see your brand for the first time.  

Just like no one wants to talk to an incessant glad-hander or self-promoter at a networking event, no one wants to read reviews that talk about how great their own business is. Just imagine that you're talking to people face-to-face at one of these events, except instead of a 1:1 interaction, it's more like a 1:100 or a 1:1000 interaction.  

Note that my business' review, though I left it over two weeks ago and haven't asked anyone to mark it as helpful, is still ranking second out of all reviews. Imagine the permanent "stickiness" of a review marked as helpful by even a handful of Google+ users.

Conclusion

Obviously, this technique works best for retail- or hospitality industry businesses, who are probably referring their guests to top attractions anyway, and are most likely to get traffic from out-of-town guests in the process of planning their trips.

But my guess is that (especially) in larger markets, even in-town residents are likely to do "recovery" searches on popular destinations — where Google is increasingly pushing searchers towards Knowledge Graph results and popular reviews from prominent Google+ users.  Make sure your business (or your clients' businesses) have a chance to gain this "barnacle" visibility.

In the comments, I'd love to hear if anyone has used this technique on their own, or on behalf of their clients, and what the results have been!

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Article Source: The Only Yard For The Internet Junkie
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PostHeaderIcon Valve Tricks Out Team Fortress 2 with Virtual Reality Mode




Oculus RiftTeam Fortress 2 now supports the Oculus Rift.

So you’ve played Team Fortress 2, but have you played it while wearing a virtual reality (VR) headset? It wouldn’t have made much sense to do so up until now, as Valve just announced a VR mode to the free-to-play title that it plans to release in the coming days. In doing so, Team Fortress 2 becomes the first game to officially support Oculus Rift, a VR headset that raised more than $2.4 million in funding on Kickstarter last summer.

Valve says anyone with an Oculus Rift Developer Kit will be able to use the headset to play every bit of Team Fortress 2 on the PC, including all game modes with support for all classes. The headset is available to pre-order for $300 and is expected to ship in May, 2013.

“When we first played an early version of Virtual Reality mode in Team Fortress we were blown away by the immersion we experienced.”, said Joe Ludwig at Valve. “VR is just getting started, but it is going to have a big impact on gaming. This update will let us share that experience with more of the Team Fortress community.”

Gamers may find the Oculus Rift prohibitively expensive, though if you do shell out for one, you’ll be granted a unique Oculus Rift in-game hat, Valve says.

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Article Source: The Only Yard For The Internet Junkie
If you like all this stuff here then you can buy me a pack of cigarettes.

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