PSA: Don’t Forget to Claim Your Free PSN Games

Here’s a friendly reminder that you have until midnight July 3, 2011 to claim your free PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable games as part of Sony’s “Welcome Back” program. Don’t let these freebies slip through your fingers! Out of curiosity, what games did you pick? I went with inFamous and Super Stardust HD for PS3. For PSP I went with LittleBigPlanet and ModNation Racers.

Coffee Talk #371: You Digging Google’s New Design Efforts?

After more than a decade of releasing excellent products that were almost always on the ugly side, Google is on a mission to improve its design and UI. The tenets of Google’s design philosophy are focus, elasticity…

Welcome to Coffee Talk! Let’s start off the day by discussing whatever is on your (nerd chic) mind. Every morning I’ll kick off a discussion and I’m counting on you to participate in it. If you’re not feelin’ my topic, feel free to start a chat with your fellow readers and see where it takes you. Whether you’re talking about videogames, Canada Day, RIM’s employees writing letters to rise above, or whether Roger Federer will win another grand slam tournament, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.

After more than a decade of releasing excellent products that were almost always on the ugly side, Google is on a mission to improve its design and UI. The tenets of Google’s design philosophy are focus, elasticity, and effortlessness. You can see the new design elements in, Google+, and Google Calendar. The new design is coming to Gmail in the near future. What do you ladies and gents think of Google’s new design philosophy?

As for me, I absolutely love it. Using Google+ is almost shocking. I don’t think a Google product has ever been more elegant and intuitive. I was 50/50 on Google Calendar at first, but after changing the background image I was able to appreciate its leaner design. The new Gmail design looks fantastic and I can’t wait to use it. Overall I’m super impressed with Google’s new design efforts and totally not surprised that one of the original Apple Macintosh designers (Andy Hertzfeld) is behind it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on Google’s new design. Love it? Hate it? Gotta have it (think Aziz Ansari)?!?

Today’s Poll: Which Comment System Do You Want?

After seven attempts, the IntenseDebate comment system is finally implemented across all of! It appears to be working mostly well. The only two problems I see are 1) the mobile version can’t display comment counts and 2) the links in the “recent comments” tab on the right don’t go directly to the comment. Disqus also has the first problem, but doesn’t have the second issue. I can also use the “top commenters” function of Disqus too.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Most of the features are the same. IntenseDebate is owned by the WordPress people, so perhaps there’s some extra stability there.
  • RPadholic smartguy noted that IntenseDebate scales better for mobile use.
  • Disqus has a few more social features that are cool. I like being able to see when people link a story on Twitter.
  • Disqus seems to be more popular, so if you comment on a lot of other sites it’s nice to see all your activity in one place.
  • A few of you really enjoyed the picture functionality of Disqus.

So what do you think?!? Do you like IntenseDebate? Or do you prefer Disqus? Perhaps you want to go back to the standard WordPress comments? Please, please, please let me know. I will go with the system that you guys and gals want. After learning about Disqus and IntenseDebate, I’m confident that I can make them both (mostly) work for the site. If you want me to change system, should I do it this weekend while traffic is slow? Please keep in mind that I’m flying to Hawaii on the 4th. It should be a smooth transition, but there’s always a chance that it’ll break and I’ll have to fly off before I can fix it.

Please take the poll and give me some reasons for your choice. I’ll look at the poll results, but also pay very close attention to compelling arguments made in the comments section. Like Captain Planet always said, “The power is yours!”

[poll id=”123″]

What Are You Playing This Weekend?

Anyone playing anything patriotic for Fourth of July weekend? After battling comment system issues, I’m looking forward to getting back into Dungeon Siege III. Some hacking, slashing, and looting is just what the doctor ordered. And really, what’s more American than looting and violence?!? Oh wait, that’s more of a Canadian thing, as Vancouver Canucks fans recently showed. Ha! After that, I need to figure out what portable devices and games I’m going to bring to Hawaii. Wheels up on Monday!

How about you? What’s on your weekend playlist?

Skype Adds Video Chat and SMS to Android Client

Skype has finally added some much-needed features to its Android client. The one that’s getting most of the attention is video chat. Android users will be able to use their phones to make Skype video calls. The receiver can be on a mobile phone or a PC. Unfortunately, this functionality is currently restricted to a handful of Android phones: the Google Nexus S, the HTC Desire S, the Sony Xperia neo, and the Sony Xperia pro.

The feature that I’m excited about is that finally — and I say that similar to how The Rock says, “Finally!” — the Android client gets SMS functionality. This is a huge addition for people that send international text messages. I send several every day and it’s so much cheaper on Skype than through a mobile phone.

Skype for Android is still a red-headed stepchild compared to its iOS counterpart, but I’m thrilled that the Google version is finally catching up to the Apple version.


Thursday Housekeeping: Good News and Bad News

It looks like the IntenseDebate comment system is mostly working. I’m still having a bitch of a time importing the old comments; I’m on attempt #6 and it has been stuck at 87% since 5:00AM. Hopefully that will get sorted today. Once that part is done, I’ll be able to fix the other settings so that the new comment system works on the mobile version too. I’m not positive about comment counts on the mobile site though. Now for a few tidbits:

– You’ll notice two new elements in the right sidebar. The first one is a new “recent comments” view. I think it’s pretty neat. Please let me know what you think.

– The other new element is the “top commenters” box. I’m hoping this will be a fun feature that will keep everyone engaged. The top spots are determined by the number of comments posted and the number of “thumbs up” ratings given. Please give each other props for comments that are entertaining, insightful, and fun. Please don’t give me any thumbs up ratings. I want this to be all about you guys.

– You’ll also notice that I’ve taken down the Amazon ads on the site. Unfortunately, California just passed a new Internet sales tax law and Amazon has decided to cut off all of its affiliates in California. This really sucks for me. I was finally getting to the point where Amazon was paying for my groceries. I wasn’t making enough money to live on, but it was helping. Now it’s gone. Hopefully I can find an adequate replacement. Perhaps Best Buy’s affiliate program will accept me…or one of you has discovered a rich uncle that wants to make a donation or purchase 1,000 t-shirts. Ha!

Activision Reveals Call of Duty XP 2011 Details

Activision has released details on its upcoming Call of Duty XP 2011 expo , which takes place on September 2 and 3, 2011 in Los Angeles, CA. It looks like a massive event that will keep rabid Call of Duty fans happy. It’s not all fun and games though. Activision was quick to point out that 100 percent of ticket sales benefit its Call of Duty Endowment charity, which helps soldiers with job placement and training after they’ve served the United States. That’s awesome!

As for the event itself, here are some details from the press release:

Total Call of Duty immersion is coming to a secure 12-acre compound in the urban confines of Los Angeles on Labor Day weekend, where more than 6,000 fans will be the first to witness the world premiere of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer. Attendees will be among the first to have the opportunity to get hands-on time with multiplayer and the new Spec Ops survival co-op mode. Also on display for the first time will be the full feature functionality of Call of Duty® Elite, the innovative new online service, built from the ground-up to support Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

Supporting this epic reveal is a series of real-world Call of Duty action-experiences and gaming competitions as well as an unprecedented $1 million Call of Duty tournament by Activision and the event’s lead sponsor, Xbox 360. Through Activision’s network of global partners, fans will have the opportunity to qualify for the tournament prior to the event by showcasing their skills in Call of Duty®: Black Ops multiplayer through regional promotions and competitions. For those unable to qualify in advance, there will be select, on-site/at-large qualifications, further expanding the opportunity to compete for cash prizes among some of the best Call of Duty players in the world. For anyone that can’t be on hand, but still wants to keep an eye on the action, fans from around the world can link up for a connected experience by watching a constant stream of high-production value videos that will be available through television and the web, as well as a constant stream of photos and status updates from the event via social media outlets, including Facebook and Twitter.

Be sure to check the official Call of Duty XP site for more details and ticket announcements. It sounds like an awesome event and I can’t wait to go. How about you guys and gals? Any of you thinking of making the trek to Los Angeles for an awesome Call of Duty show?