Friday, July 20, 2012

So You Want To Be A Gamer?

If you want to be an online gamer, there are a few "Tools of the Trade" you will need before you even get started on your Online Gaming Adventure.

The following are items you will need to begin or enhance your online gaming experience.

A Gaming Console

You will need to choose which console you prefer. The 3 consoles currently dominating the marketplace are the Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation and Nintendo Wii. You will need at least one of these.

I have the first two. However, I primarily play on my Xbox 360. Whatever you choose, this is simply the first step toward becoming an online gaming extraordinaire.

A Controller

You can't play without a controller. Heck, in some instances you can't even set up your online account without one. Any console you choose will come with a controller. It will be basic. It will work. However, if you plan on gaming a lot, you may want to invest in some additional "controller accessories". For example, I prefer to use a rechargeable battery pack with my Xbox controller. I also purchased additional battery packs and a charging cable just in case. There is nothing worse than lining an enemy up in your sites, getting ready to pull the trigger and then....nothing! Battery Fail. Don't say I didn't warn you.

An Online Account

Xbox Live, IMO is hands-down the best online gaming experience. After all, you get what you pay for.

Search the web for available deals. I have my XBL Family Account set to renew automatically, but I have a few friends who swear by searching amazon for deals. It can't hurt to look.

P.S. You could also use your FREE PlayStation Network Account. I just prefer my XBL account over PSN.

An Online Identity

This is probably one of the most important things. Choose your name wisely. This is what will represent you in the online gaming world. Think of things you enjoy. Maybe you love racing? "Racing Guy" may work for you. You may love pillow pets, but do you really want to be known as "PillowPetLuvr" online? Most times, the name you choose may not be available. This is when you must get creative. It is okay to substitute a 0 (zero) for the letter "O", however don't get carried away. Your name should be easily identifiable. A pet peeve of many gamers is when a person does any of the following to their name:

Using a long string of numbers anywhere in their name (ex. Sniper1918212)
Using any of the following the numbers "420", "666" or "69" anywhere in their name. Most of us really don't need to know if you are a street pharmacist, devil worshiper or what your favorite positions are.

Alternating lower and uppercase letters (ex. CaLiGuRlFoREvER)
Substituting a ton of numbers for letters (d3v1ld0g)
Probably the least offensive of this list - Using the letter "x" as a placeholder because your name was not available (ex. xxAngelsxxFan)

A Gaming Headset

You need a gaming headset to communicate with the other players in the game. You can use the standard headset if you choose. You can upgrade to a wireless one. I prefer to use a headset that lets me hear EVERYTHING. I want to be able to hear the other players as well as the in game sounds.

My gaming headset of choice has always been Turtle Beach. I have owned numerous models, but my latest set is hands-down my favorite.

Why? I heart my Turtle Beach Headset for multiple reasons:

  1. Dolby Surround Sound (you can literally hear the enemy walking from across the map.
  2. The ability to independently control game and chat volume is a must.
  3. They use Bluetooth technology, which means I can utilize the headset outside of the game (ie. listening to music, pairing with my mobile phone, etc.)
  4. They are one of the best gaming headsets available around the $200 - $300 price point.
  5. My husband can game, watch T.V. and Netflix as loud as he likes without bothering anyone else (this point makes the TB's worth the $$ price tag, alone). Just saying.
Other than occasional interference from other electronics in my house, the only other drawback of using a wireless headset (IMO) are the batteries. Purchase a rechargeable set or you will regret it. Trust me on this. Spend the extra money now, or you will wish you had.

What are you waiting for?
Now you have it. 
An organized and detailed list of the things every gamer uses.

Remember, practice online gaming etiquette. Just because the other players can't see you, doesn't give you the right to insult or treat others in a negative manner.

Especially girls.
Be nice to the girl gamers. :)
Happy Gaming!

Dear Microsoft, I think I want a divorce, but you make it so hard to leave.

In March of 2011 I decided to register a domain name:  It was something I had been considering for some time.  Admittedly, I didn't do too much (see: a couple of hours via the web) research on the best way to go about this.  I have a couple of "friends" (more like wanna-be-know-it-alls) who swear by GoDaddy.  Anyone who knows me, knows I tend to go against the grain when it comes to what's consider "popular".  For example, I read those Twilight & Hunger Games books (yep, all of them) wayyyyyy before it was "in-style" to do so.  That being said, I decided to register my domain with Microsoft.  It seemed like a great idea.  For $15.00 I was able to register my domain name, keep my personal information private, host my site and have up to 100 business email accounts ( was so calling my name) - all for an entire year!!  In addition, I was able to create a site with Microsoft's (semi) user friendly built-in site designer or, if I preferred (because you know I did), upload my own Dreamweaver created site.  I was so excited when I received this email from Microsoft:

"Dear Angela, 

Welcome to Microsoft Office Live Small Business. Your domain name is now active.
Thank you for subscribing to Microsoft Office Live Small Business.

Best regards,

Your Microsoft Office Live Team"

AngeeBees had arrived.  Yeah, I thought I was styling.  I now had an entire "team" of people at Microsoft dedicated to helping ME?  All of those other people actually paying a monthly fee to host their site or hasseling with re-directing their domains to a "free", filled-with-ads-galore-site?!  Not me.  No, Sir. 

The part I didn't know was that Microsoft was planning on making some HUGE changes.

Fast forward to January 31, 2012:


On April 30, 2012, we are discontinuing Office Live Small Business. We would like to offer you an opportunity to self-transition to Microsoft® Office 365 for professionals and small businesses."

To be fair, they also offered  "an exclusive
6 month free trial, of Office 365 for professionals and small businesses and Office Professional Plus".  I could read between the lines.  Microsoft was looking to get ME and OTHERS to switch over to Office 365" and then after the "free" 6 months, they would charge us.  I considered it.  I checked prices.  In order to get what I was already paying for, I would need to upgrade to a plan that would cost $12 per month.  Hmmm.  Going from $15 to $144 per year was a serious stretch for me.  No way was I interested.

SELF TRANSITION?  Talk about leaving people in the dark.  Their "self-transition guide" was anything but helpful.  They made it that way for a reason.  The simple thing would have been to take them up on their offer.  But, we already know that is NOT how I roll.

anyone who has taken the time to create their own website knows how much time can go into it.  No way was I ready to mess with all of that again.  Some of those free hosting sites do not allow you to upload your own CSS code.  For this reason alone, I decided to wait until my contract was up and then I would deal with where I would re-register and who I would use to host my site.  Problem was my site auto renewed on March 20, 2012.   Microsoft was already in the process of selling my domain (and others) to a place called Melbourne IT.  Did I mention they are located in Australia?  Nice, right?  Unless you are there for the tourism, not so much. Microsoft sent out emails stating any sites not transferred somewhere else for hosting would no longer be active as of April 30, 2012.

So, I had two choices:

  1. Take the free 6 months, ultimately paying far more than what I signed up for or at the very least, be faced with the same problem re hosting at the end of the 6 months.
  2. Accept the transfer to Melbourne IT and take over the management of my domain; then find a hosting site.
I went with number 2.  I accepted their terms, logged in and then found out in order to keep the personal information associated with my domain registration private (as it had been with Microsoft for my $15 a year) I would need to pay an additional fee of $16.00 per year.  Also, my business email accounts no longer existed.  Not to mention the Melbourne IT site is NOT user-friendly.  I can't imagine what computer illiterate people have done in order to maintain their site(s).  Oh, wait.  I have an idea:  they are posting questions in forums all over.  People are confused.  People don't know how to maintain their sites.  People don't know how to re-direct their domain names.  I have read numerous forum postings discussing the Microsoft/Melbourne IT debacle.  The consensus is the same all over: People are upset.

I have always been a Microsoft user.  I run Windows on desktops and laptops.  I use Microsoft Office Professional.  I use Microsoft Expression.  I own (3) Xbox consoles AND pay for (4) Xbox Live Accounts.  I have been doing ALL of this for many years.

Considering the way I have been treated (along with many others), I am seriously reconsidering my relationship with Microsoft.
  The problem is - I don't know HOW I would begin to live without their products.  I literally use them every single day.

To Microsoft, I say:  Get it Together.  I am simply a small voice in a large crowd, however I am not the only person who feels this way.

As always, please leave a comment.  Thanks for Reading! :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I have moved to Weebly

I know, I know, it has been one heck of a hot second since I have posted ANYTHING on here.  I have followed a ton of new people, but have not blogged anything.  I have a ton of "ideas" to blog about....just ask the "To Do" list on my phone.

I am in what some would call "a pickle".  (What does that EVEN mean, really?)  Recently, I re-directed my domain to Weebly and they offer an in house blog.  I really love the look of  my blog site on Blogger (I mean, come on!  I spent hours upon hours choosing a background and widgets for this thing.  I love the colors, the feel - pretty much everything), but am not sure how I should go about this.  My website is completely different in regard to the Design of it.  The look & feel are totally opposite from my "Zen-like" Blogger space.  What should I do??  Copy my blog to both places?  That seems like a lot more work than I am willing to deal with.  I mean I will do it - if I have to.  I guess.  I wish there were a way to incorporate the Google Friend Connect within Weebly.  It's not as if I have a ton of readers on here - or there for that matter.  I am just getting started (again).

Check it out and let me know what you think.
My New Weebly Blog

As always, thanks for reading.

**August 2012 - Update:  Just Kidding!  Or something....I am back on Blogger.**