John Foster was a longtime PR executive for Bender Helper Impact, one of the most respect agencies in the business. He started as an account executive and finished his career at Bender as vice president. He moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in writing, but got sidetracked by the wonderful and wacky world of videogames.
Jon Robinson was a longtime editor for numerous videogame publications. Many GamePro fans know him as “Jonny Ballgame,” while many IGN fans know him as the editor for IGN Sports.
Both of these guys have become award-winning authors.
Good Job Brain showrunner Karen Chu and co-host Chris Kohler are the latest guests on RPadTV 3000! I was lucky enough to know these cats when I lived in San Francisco and we were all part of the games media. At the time, Karen was at 1Up and Chris was at Wired. I respected them as peers and enjoyed their company as friends. One of their favorite leisure activities was pub trivia and they were able to parlay their love of trivia into the ultra-successful podcast Good Job Brain.
In addition to sharing the story of Good Job Brain and how the podcast has evolved, Karen Chu and Chris Kohler talk to me about:
Millions of GameTrailers fans know Marcus Beer as the Annoyed Gamer. Thousands of people in the videogame business know Marcus Beer as “that angry yet dashing PR fellow.” I know him as my excellent friend Marcus, an intelligent and charming rogue that’s outstanding to have drinks with and even better for intensely nerdy conversation. You can be part of his nerdy conversations in his all-new, all-different Twitch stream, I Am Beer.
There are many reasons why you should tune in and watch Marcus Beer stream on Twitch, but if you need more convincing then keep on reading.
My home’s smart devices have been managed with a Wink 2 Hub since December 2017. Prior to that, they were connected to a Nexia hub. While all the devices that came with the house worked perfectly with the Nexia hub and the one-year complimentary subscription was a great way to get used to the functionality, the $9 monthly subscription was excessive.
After my complimentary subscription expired, I researched smart home hubs and settled on the Wink 2. While it didn’t work as seamlessly as the Nexia hub, it had broader and more powerful capabilities. Most importantly, it didn’t charge a monthly subscription fee…until now.
The drone section of CES 2017 was one of the coolest areas of the show and DJI was king of the drones (as opposed to DaKingInDaNorf). The company showed off its latest and greatest, including the Mavic Pro and Phantom 4 Pro. Since my brother is a freelance drone photographer in addition to being a fine musician, I checked out the latest DJI models on his behalf…and also because drones are pretty cool.
The DJI Mavic Pro was especially fascinating. In addition to being a full-featured drone, it’s foldable. It can break down to 83 x 83 x 198 centimeters, making it perfect for travel. Here’s the official press blurb, along with some photos I snapped.
Bartesian is an upcoming home appliance that aims to bring extreme ease-of-use to mixology. In many ways, it’s like the alcoholic-beverage equivalent of the popular Keurig coffeemaker. The base unit has four reservoirs that hold the liquors of your choice, while pods are inserted into the machine to make a tasty mixed cocktail. Forget about shaking, stirring, measuring the proper amounts, etc. Bartesian will make the drink you desire in seconds. It’s frickin’ genius!
The Bartesian hardware is quite handsome. It reminds me of several exotic coffeemakers that I’ve spied. It’s sure to spruce up the looks of any kitchen or wet bar it’s in. While the appliance looks great, the real magic is with the pods.
I recently received my first Amazon Prime Now order and was mostly delighted by the experience. For those of you not familiar with the service (only available in select cities), Prime Now is a mobile shopping service that offers delivery in two hours or less. The company claims that tens of thousands of goods are available though the service, including groceries, electronics, media, household supplies, and more. The products in my initial order were priced comparably to what they’d cost at Target or my local grocery store. With a stellar combination of speed and convenience, Amazon Prime Now is the future of shopping.
The Prime Now experience starts with an app, available for Android and iOS. Shopping with the app is okay — easily the weakest part of the Prime Now experience. The search features and grouping weren’t the best. The challenge of making thousands of items easy to find in an elegant app is tough and Amazon hasn’t quite figured it out. I would have preferred being able to shop on a full-featured site on my laptop and have my order sync with the app.
My first Prime Now order was for five six-packs of Zevia soda, three boxes of protein bars, and two large containers of yogurt. As I mentioned earlier, the prices were inline with local brick-and-mortar stores. In addition to the price of the goods, you have the option to tip the driver.The cool and nerdy part about Prime Now is that you’re able to track the progress of your order via GPS. The app notifies you when your order has left and you can see the driver’s progress on the in-app map. It’s similar to tracking an Uber driver or a friend that has given you an ETA via Waze.
As expected, Amazon’s packaging was very good. The soda and protein bars arrived in brown paper bags, while the driver kept the yogurt in an insulated bag while the order was en route. Everything arrived in great condition and the driver was very cheerful (he was geeking out about Prime Now too).
While the pricing was great for the products I ordered, it does pay to do some comparison shopping. Coupon cutters and shoppers that revere weekly grocery circulars will, of course, still want to hit up the local market to take advantage of sales. That said, I hate most brick-and-mortar retail experiences and love the convenience of Prime Now.
Hopefully the service continues to grow. I remember being enamored with online grocery services like Kozmo and Webvan when I was living in San Francisco…and having my heart broken when those companies went out of business. Amazon, of course, has much more money than those two companies and can afford to ride out any growing pains. Amazon also offers a much wider variety of goods, which should help Prime Now appeal to more shoppers.
I was very, very impressed by my first Prime Now experience. After some minor annoyances with the app’s search functions and sorting, it was a smooth experience. The speed and convenience were fantastic for me personally, while I love the disruptive nature of the service on a macro level. Certainly there are things that I still have to go to a proper grocery for (though Amazon is working with grocery chains in select regions), but Amazon Prime Now has everything else, as well as thousands of products that the grocery doesn’t have. I am absolutely sold on Prime Now.
Have any of you tried Amazon Prime Now? I’d love to hear about your experience with the service. If it’s not available to you yet, do you see yourself shopping this way when it does arrive to your area? Leave a comment and let me know (please!).
Earlier this year, several Bay Area friends tried to get me to buy into coffee naps. They swore that coffee naps are the most efficient way to refresh and recharge during the workday. To me, the practice sounded like the latest Silicon Valley trend — the kind of thing that employers love because it gets their underlings to work more and employees use to justify their overzealous efforts. I’m still unsure if coffee naps are truly effective or if they’re a placebo, so I thought I’d use today’s Coffee Talk to think out loud and get your opinion on the practice.
If you’re not familiar with coffee naps, the idea is to quickly drink a cup of coffee before taking a short rest. While you’re napping, the coffee is working its way through your system. By the time you’re done resting, the stimulants will have kicked in and you won’t feel sluggish when you awake.
Initially, I thought that coffee naps sounded ridiculous, but after reading about the relationship between caffeine and adenosine, I wondered if there might be something to the practice. While they’re hardly a proper substitute for getting a full night of sleep, there’s a chance that coffee naps could be effective for some people.
Unfortunately, I am not one of those people. I tried coffee naps and completely failed at them. My problem is that I’m slow (mentally, physically, etc.). With coffee naps, you want to drink your coffee quickly so that the caffeine doesn’t have time to kick in. As a slow person and a coffee nerd that enjoys the flavor of the beverage, it usually takes me 30 minutes to finish a 16-ounce cup of coffee. It just doesn’t feel right to down a good cup of Ethiopian Yirgacheffe because I want to nap more efficiently. The handful of times I attempted a coffee nap, the caffeine was already playing around in my brain and I couldn’t sleep.
Anyway, I wanted to get your opinion on coffee naps. Do you think that they’re useful or are they another silly Silicon Valley trend? Do you see yourself trying them out? Leave a comment and let me know (please!).
Last week, I made the decision to cut the cord and cancel my AT&T U-Verse TV service. The recent launch of HBO Now and the fairly recent launch of Sling TV precipitated the change. With those two streaming television services, I have access to Game of Thrones, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, ESPN, and the first few rounds of the NBA playoffs — vital parts of my TV consumption. My existing Netflix (comp account) and Amazon Prime subscriptions already provide a great selection of movie and television content. HBO Now and Sling TV give me even more to choose from — certainly more than I need. When you add up all the subs, it’s still cheaper than my monthly U-Verse TV package.
One week in and I’m a happy camper. The Game of Thrones premiere streamed without a hitch, I’ve got my weekly dose of John Oliver, my lunchtime break of Around the Horn and Pardon the Interruption continues, and I get to watch NBA games. While people had problems with Sling TV during March Madness and some people had issues with Game of Thrones on HBO Now last night, those services have been working flawlessly for me. I’m getting almost all the content I want and saving money!
Of course there are things that I’ll miss. Chief among them is live boxing. Unfortunately, HBO Now doesn’t feature the network’s live sports broadcasts. Showtime also has a bunch of live fights that I’d like to see. Since I’m no longer a U-Verse subscriber, I won’t have access to boxing pay-per-view events. Hopefully a solution will present itself in the future. For now, I’ll just have to go to bars or make drop-in visits to friends with cable in order to enjoy boxing. Keep in mind that all of this was expected. Being a hardcore boxing fan is really expensive. You need a cable or satellite subscription, premium networks, and pay-per-view to follow the sport live.
Cutting the cord has been liberating. It’s cheaper and (for the way I like to watch television) better. Yeah, I’ll be lumped in with those Silver Lake hipsters that love to brag about how they cut the cord years ago, but it only made sense for me now. Game of Thrones has been my favorite TV show for the last four years and there’s a bunch of other HBO content that I love (despite the presence of the wretched Olivia Munn). HBO Now gives me all of that. With baseball kicking off and the NBA playoffs starting, this is my favorite time of the year for sports. Sling TV has me covered. Watching TV solely through streaming services is less expensive and kind of cool in that “Hey, look at me! I’m a futurist!” way. For my television habits, Netflix and Amazon Prime were a great start, but HBO Now and Sling TV sealed the deal.
I know that RPadholic Smartguy has cut the cord. Care to give an update on how your experience is going? For you other guys and dolls, what would it take for you to cancel your traditional cable service and go full streaming? Leave a comment and let me know (please)!
The ludicrous sensations known as Black Friday and Cyber Monday are nearly here! For the next week or so, I’d love to hear all about your wishes and wants for this year’s shopping spectacular. As the deals pile up, please use the comments section to post any sweet deals you’ve snagged or that you recommend to your fellow RPadholics. If you’d be so kind as to keep an eye on Amazon’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals page, picking something up would really help out RPadTV (if you hit the link in this sentence before buying).
Sadly, I’m way too poor to buy much of anything this year. So I’m going to live vicariously through you guys and gals. Hopefully a bunch of you will enjoy some stellar deals so that I can feel a bit of joy and possibly bust out the following saying:
Ha! So let’s have it (please)! Share your Black Friday and Cyber Monday wishes and gets below (again, please).
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 the rocky career of RGKnee, Derrick Rose’s endless aches, or the extremely unfortunate breakup of Demi Lovato and Miley Cyrus, Coffee Talk is the place to do it.