Quick Bytes; Back-to-School Ideas

Quick Bytes; Back-to-School Ideas

Credit: Mimoco, Inc

Quick Bytes; Back-to-School Ideas

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by TRACY-MARK GORGAS / Special contributor to NWCN.com

NWCN.com

Posted on August 28, 2013 at 8:07 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 28 at 8:07 PM

It’s that time of the year when kids look forward to the time they stop lounging around the house and head back to school.  OK so getting back into reading, writing and arithmetic may not be on every kids mind, but back to school shopping probably is.  These days’ school supplies are a lot more tech heavy than when most of us were growing up.  With that in mind here are a few quick reviews of some items you may need to add to your back to school shopping.

Mimobot USB Flash Drives

Whether their homework is done on a Mac or PC they are going to need a place to store it and take it with them.  You could go out and get a boring USB flash drive or you could get a Mimobot USB flash drive.  Mimobot takes the idea of collectable vinyl figures and made them functional.  Each collectable Mimobot flash drive is roughly the same shaped, but each is painted as a different character from Einstein to R2D2.  They work well and come in 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB sizes.  They even light up when in use.
 
For more information Mimobot USB Flash Drives and to see their huge (and I mean HUGE) selection check out the Mimoco.com web site.

Powerocks Portable Power

Our kids carry a lot of electronics in todays world, so it isn’t to far fetched to find them stuck with a dying battery and no place to recharge.  Portable rechargers are a great solution and Powerocks has multiple styles.  I was able to test out the Magicstick and Magic Cube.  Both come in a variety of colors and are encased in aluminum.  I like the aluminum casing because it keeps the temperature down as they recharge.  The Magicstick is small enough to fit into your pocket and great for charging smartphones, media players, and other small electronics.  The Magic Cube also charges those, but is powerful enough to charge tablets.  Additionally the Magic Cube has the benefit of built in USB and micro-USB cables for charging.

For more information see the Powerocks web site.

Take On Mars

For those with curious minds, how about a game that challenges them to create and explore.  Take On Mars is a new game by Bohemia Interactive Studios, the same creators of the very realistic military shooter series Arma.  Currently Take On Mars has been released as an “Early Access” game on Steam.  This means the game is not finished but is playable.  At this time it’s very limited in the campaign mode and scenarios, but Bohemia Interactive has stated that as they finish additional game sections they will be added to the game.

The game is a space simulation; you can use a pre-made or build your own platforms and rovers to explore Mars.  Each mission you complete adds money to your account so you can improve your available technology.  The first mission starts you off with a stationary platform that allows you to land on Mars, take pictures of the edge of Victoria Crater, and take a sample of the atmosphere.

My first try at this mission was a complete disaster.  The tutorials are not yet complete, so certain aspects of how to land on Mars are unknown.  When the mission started the screen was very dark (I realized later I was landing at night) and I had some controls pop up.  Manipulating the controls made me crash somehow, I assume upside down because none of the cameras on my platform worked, though I could hear something moving as I manipulated the camera controls.  So I scrapped the whole thing and started over.  This time I let it automatically land on its own.  Once it was done I was able to complete the main mission of sampling the atmosphere and the optional missions of taking pictures of the crater edge.
 
It’s a slow game that takes time to build, but worth it for curious minds who want to know what it is like to be a NASA “rocket scientist.”

Take On Mars is available now on Steam.  For more information see the Take On Mars web site.
 

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