Sunday, September 29, 2013

Members of Redmond church participate in day of service

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Members of the Redmond Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-day Saints lay gravel down along the Powerline Trail in Redmond.

- image credit: Courtesy Photo

Members of the Redmond Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently participated in a day of service in which more than 100 people participated.

The first project was along the Powerline Trail through Farell-McWhirter park, where 45 volunteers working with City of Redmond arborist Chris Tolonen laid gravel along a half mile of the trail.

The next project was at the Friendly Village mobile home park. Two weeks prior to the day of service, a boy working on his Eagle Scout badge re-painted the white address rectangles on the cement. On the day of service, more than 100 participants - over the course of three hours - painted the numbers back on using stencils. Once that was complete volunteers began weeding and washing windows.

Source: Redmond-reporter

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Princess Punt, An Angry Birds-Like Game, Is Getting A Ragnarok Odyssey Ace Giant


By Spencer . August 27, 2013 . 1:30am

Ragnarok Odyssey Ace has collaborations with over a dozen games. That's why Ragnarok Odyssey Ace has Gravity Rush costumes in it, but not all of the crossovers are within Ragnarok Odyssey Ace.

This video shows a Domovoi, one of the monsters from Ragnarok Odyssey Ace, in Emil Chronicle Online, an online RPG from GungHo. Princess Punt is kind of like an Angry Birds style game and it will have a special Ragnarok Odyssey Ace level where players can kick knights at Hrungnir, one of the giants in the PlayStation Vita game. Hrungnir will also show up in Puzzle & Dragons as a boss character for players to fight in the smartphone game.

Source: Siliconera

Summary: UPDATED. The newly re-designed iPhone Defender case from OtterBox is less bulky, but it is still as protective as before?

Editor's note: This article has been updated from the previous version to reflect corrected copy and a new video.

This weekend, I was lucky enough to be one of the few that was able to secure a iPhone 5s and needed a new case to put on it. But as with any new device coming out of Cupertino, the issue of adequate protection versus how much aesthetics one is willing to compromise comes into play.

I've always been a big fan of OtterBox's Defender Series cases, regardless of which OEM device I happen to be using. In my opinion they are the gold standard of device protection, with their polycarbonate clamshell, permanent screen protector and rubber anti-shock covering.

Their products have saved me headache and heartache on multiple occasions when I've had a "whoops" moment due to an accidental slip or drop. Even with accidental damage coverage such as AppleCare+ or Asurion plans offered at carriers such as Verizon, device repair and replacement can take days and the process is aggravating as well as potentially costly due to the temporary interruption of business that occurs between replacement of the device.

Additionally, such plans, particularly AppleCare+, still involve a per-incident repair cost. So having a protective case is still a very good idea.

The new Defender Series, as well as the Commuter Series, completely re-designed for the iPhone 5s and 5c are both good cases, but I have some concerns (albeit relatively small) that the products are no longer as protective as the were previously.

Plans, such as AppleCare+, still involve a per-incident repair cost. Having a protective case is therefore still a very good idea.

In both the the Defender and the Commuter OtterBox has forgone the ugly, bulky design of previous products (a design choice which I felt was necessary to preserve its protective qualities) in favor of a thinner, more aesthetically pleasing design that more closely matches the actual industrial design characteristics of the iPhone.

The new Defender and the Commuter has the same polycarbonate clamshell and rubber coating, but the thickness of the polycarbonate and the rubber appears to have been reduced in certain impact-prone areas, and in order to accomodate the new fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 5s, a cut-out has been made in the permanent screen protector.

While the Commuter has always been the less protective option between the two products, the Defender case for the 5s now has far less bezel protection on the home button area than in the previous design for the iPhone 5. In fact the home button area has no bezel at all. If you're not looking carefully, the Commuter can be easily confused with the Defender in the new 5s and 5c designs, a mistake I actually made in an earlier version of this review.

Truthfully, if you are going to put a big plastic black case on your iPhone, you might as well go with the Defender to get the extra protection. I'm not seeing a huge aesthetic difference between the two products in this iteration.

The evaluation sample(s) of the Defender that was sent to me in the standard black on black color, which sells for $49.95. Other more aesthetically pleasing color combinations can also be ordered directly form OtterBox for approximately $59.95.

As with previous Defender products the new 5s version also comes with an optional holster clip which can be used to completely cover the screen face when being carried. I find this adds a nice added layer of security when the phone is in my pocket or it is being tucked in a peice of carry on luggage and the potential for being bounced around along with other objects that can potentially scratch or damage the screen is high.

While I happen to like the new OtterBox Defender and Commuter for the 5s and 5c and applaud the company's initiative to make their products less bulky for the majority of consumers that want to preserve the aesthetic properties of their iPhone as much as possible, I'd still like to see them release a an Armor Series for the 5s and 5c for those of us that want that extra piece of mind.

Are you planning to pick up the new OtterBox for you new iPhone? Talk Back and Let Me Know.

Source: Zdnet


A limited number of home playoff game tickets went on sale Friday morning for dodgers Twitter followers and other fans lined up early outside the Dodger Stadium ticket office.

The first fan in line arrived at about 4 a.m. Tickets to the first two postseason games sold out before noon.

At 9 a.m., followers of the @Dodgers account received a code to buy a limited number of tickets available before they go on sale to those not following the Dodgers.

"We obviously want to reward our best fans -- not just season ticket holders -- but people that follow us all year on Twitter or Facebook," Dodgers Vice-President for Ticket Sales, David Siegel told KPCC.

He did not specify the number of pre-sale tickets, all of which were sold.

Tickets for the National League Division Series were available at the Dodgers web site, starting at 10 a.m. The tickets are priced from $36 to $166.

The series is scheduled to begin Oct. 3. Schedule details might not be available until the end of the regular season on Sept. 29.

The Dodgers earned their first NL West Division title since 2009 by defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks Thursday in Phoenix.

More Southern California Stories:

Source: Nbclosangeles

Saturday, September 21, 2013


If you didn't get enough mobile news during the week, not to worry, because we've opened the firehose for the truly hardcore. This week brought additional details of the upcoming Jolla smartphone, along with an unusual showing of cooperation between Verizon and T-Mobile. These stories and more await. So buy the ticket and take the ride as we explore all that's happening in the mobile world for this week of September 16th, 2013.

Jolla reveals qHD display for upcoming phone

Jolla was unusually coy when it revealed its first smartphone, but in the buildup to its release, the manufacturer has now revealed a few important details. First and foremost, we now know the Sailfish device will pack a 4.5-inch, qHD display -- rather mundane by modern standards -- and a 1.4GHz dual-core Snapdragon SoC (unknown generation) from Qualcomm. The previously known 8-megapixel rear camera will be joined by a 2MP shooter on the front, and the phone will also pack 1GB of RAM. Meanwhile, NFC capabilities will be available through an optional smart cover. [ PocketNow]

AT&T reportedly mulling sale of cell towers

A recent report from Bloomberg suggests that AT&T is actively trying to sell its roughly 10,000 cellular towers to a third-party operator, and it's reportedly seeking $5 billion for the assets. Research analysts currently peg AT&T's towers as generating $326 million annually, but it's thought that a third-party group such as American Tower or Crown Castle could squeeze more profits from the tower sites by leasing space to multiple carriers. A successful sale on AT&T's part would be part of a trend, as T-Mobile leased 7,200 towers to Crown Castle for $2.4 billion just one year ago. Meanwhile, Bloomberg suggests the sale would allow AT&T to focus on more profitable areas of its business while also helping finance its $14 billion outlay in network upgrades. Everything is very hush, hush at the moment, however, as AT&T has yet to confirm these dealings. [ Bloomberg]

T-Mobile and Verizon find common ground for upcoming 600MHz auction

In an odd showing of unity, T-Mobile and Verizon have joined together to persuade the FCC to adopt a series of technical principles regarding the upcoming 600MHz spectrum auction. The two carriers are arguing for a 35x35MHz FDD pairing, which they believe would maximize the amount of paired spectrum available. What's more, the carriers suggest this implementation would need only a single 3GPP band class, which could facilitate handset interoperability across all paired blocks of the 600MHz band. The two carriers may disagree about how the spectrum is actually auctioned off, but it seems they have a rather compelling argument for the FCC to consider. [ FierceWireless]

Other random tidbits

  • Nexus 7 shoppers will now find that Google is selling a version of the 7-inch tablet that comes bundled with an AT&T SIM card. Likewise, now through December 31st, the carrier is offering a $100 bill credit to all those who sign a two-year agreement for the new tablet. [Android Central]
  • Sprint activated 34 additional LTE markets this month -- nearly a third of them in Texas -- which allows the Now Network to boast of 185 LTE markets total. [Business Wire]
  • The 6.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Mega is now available at US Cellular, where you'll find it for $150 on a two-year contract. [US Cellular]
  • C Spire is welcoming the BlackBerry Q10 into its lineup, but the carrier has yet to reveal pricing or a release date. [Business Wire]
  • AT&T made it known that the Samsung Galaxy S III Mini would hit store shelves on September 27th for $1 on a two-year contract. [AT&T]
  • Sprint is expanding its existing retail partnership with Costco, which will bring Now Network phones to an additional 100 Costco warehouse locations. [Sprint]
  • SoftBank has increased its ownership of Sprint to over 80 percent (as opposed to the initial 78 percent), which was reportedly done for tax purposes. [FierceWireless]

Must-read mobile stories

[Mobile Miscellany photo credit: Thristian / Flickr]

Source: Engadget

This ongoing debate about evolution - a false one, scientifically - coincides with growing demands that Texas students need to be better educated in the sciences, technology and mathematics to remain competitive globally. To fear one's inner monkey is to undermine that worthy educational goal.

Seven science textbooks await the 15-member State Board of Education's consideration. Board members are expected to choose the winners in November. We encourage them to leave the science in the textbooks undiluted by things unscientific.

There are more than 5 million public school students in Texas. Because Texas school districts buy more textbooks than most other states, publishers have followed Texas standards in the past rather than publish multiple versions of the same textbook. Thus Texas' education standards and the textbooks written to support them have become, by default, the standards in other states.

But Texas' influence over public school textbooks outside the state is waning as traditional textbooks disappear from classrooms and technology makes them more flexible. The State Board of Education's influence on Texas public school districts also has waned a bit.

The board has not always been a model of learned enlightenment. This was particularly true when it revisited the state's science curriculum in 2009 and social studies curriculum in 2010.

Those debates made Texas education the butt of national jokes and prompted lawmakers to pass a law in 2011 giving school districts the authority to choose their own textbooks and classroom materials independent of the board's selections. The catch is districts are required to follow the state's curriculum, and because the board selects textbooks based on the curriculum, few districts probably will bother to select their own.

Social conservatives no longer firmly control the board, but their influence remains strong enough. They were able to place their allies on citizen review committees assigned to review the proposed new science textbooks. Some of these citizen reviewers are making familiar challenges about the way the textbooks teach evolution.

Republican Barbara Cargill of The Woodlands, who chairs the State Board of Education, told lawmakers during a hearing this year on the CSCOPE curriculum tool that the board's intent when it revised the science standards "was to teach all sides of scientific explanation. . I couldn't find anything (on the CSCOPE website) that might be seen as another side to the theory of evolution. Every link, every lesson, everything, was taught as: 'This is how the origin of life happened. This is what the fossil record proves.' And all that's fine. But that is only one side."

It also happens to be the scientific side.

The most common criticism of evolution is that it is "just a theory." This criticism does not highlight a perceived weakness of evolution but instead reveals a critic's misunderstanding - or willful ignorance, perhaps. A scientific theory is not a hunch or conjecture but, as the American Association for the Advancement of Science explains on its website,, "a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment. Such fact-supported theories are not 'guesses' but reliable accounts of the real world."

One such reliable account is germ theory, which explains that microorganisms cause many diseases. Or atomic theory, which describes the existence of matter. Or Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity, which helps explain how objects with mass attract one another. We don't anticipate any textbook challenges to these theories.

Like gravity, science accepts evolution as a fact - species change over time. After more than 150 years, Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection still describes evolution fairly well.

Critics of the proposed textbooks also attack the way climate change is taught, denying that human activity has influenced global warming or that climate change threatens a significant percentage of the world's species.

"Observations that cannot be verified or replicated cannot count as evidence in scientific inquiry," a biology textbook published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt says. "Some phenomena, such as supernatural phenomena, may never be testable or scientific."

Simple enough. But not when the debate is about things that have nothing to do with science.

Austin American-Statesman

Source: Oaoa