Technology Gifts | Top Christmas Tech Toys

Top Tech Toys for Christmas 2011

Christmas is just around the corner and if you are serious about offering something brilliant and great this Yuletide season especially for the kids, you need to know what’s hot and what’s not in toys. You can go traditional with your gift giving or go on a budget spending to be more practical but for those who like to feel generous and have enough money to spend on good toys, then here is a list of the top 10 technology gifts to offer kids this Christmas.

Angry Birds Toys

1. Angry Birds Plush Toys

The popularity of the mobile game angry birds has spurred the release of a huge collection of toys for both kids and angry birds addicts! There are tons of cute plushies available, some with sounds from the game.

2. Leapfrog’s LeapPad Explorer

Think of this device as an iPad but for kids. If you are concerned that your kids will have more hands on use of your high end tablet, then give them something equally fun but at half the price. This device is amazing since it has a camera and video recording tool and there are games as well as apps that you can add.

3. Fijjit Friends

These are very cute robot toys that are not only look nice, they respond to you. They are interactive toys with built in 150 phrases on its system. This robot can recognize 30 words and based on the words, they can tell a joke, play music or simply dance. I guess you could call it the Furbie of this generation.

4. Chopper with Spy Cam

Imagine having your own surveillance system in the sky as a kid!  This remote control, totally functional toy chopper with an adjustable camera with built in gyroscope so camera capture isn’t shaky. It may seem a bit creepy at first but it teaches kids a lot about aerodynamics and engineering (in addition to being really fun!)

5. Air Swimmers

These are probably some of the coolest (and wierdest) tech toys available this christmas season. You can choose helium filled fish like a shark or a clown fish to navigate through the air using an infrared remote. It’s like an RC helicopter but much more interesting and with no breakable or swallowable parts.

6. Nerf Vortex Nitron Gun

This brilliantly engineered toy is a massive fully automatic nerf gun. It has a tracking scope that lights up and the removable ammo clip can stock 20 pieces. Foam disks can be used as ammo for this Nerf gun and this will definitely be a great gift for the boys and maybe some girls.

Technology Gifts

7. Remote control car a la Lightning McQueen

If you or your kids are fan’s of Disney “Cars” then you will appreciate this toy. It’s a remote control car replica of the main character, Lightning McQueen complete with the details from the movie. It is a nice, simple and fun tech toy for those who prefer a more traditional option for a gift this Christmas.

8. My Keepon

The toy was initially designed by two scientists who aimed to study autism but it became something else; a perfect gift for kids. This toy is so cute and beyond that, it can create up to 50 unique sounds and can even dance to music. It’s close to the Fijit friends but a bit more gender neutral.

9. Appblaster

This is a pretty neat augmented reality toy that requires an iphone or itouch device. It’s a white plasitc gun with a mount for your mobile device on it’s barrel. When the mobile device is engaged, it turns into a viewfinder with aliens super imposed over a camera display of your surroundings. You aim using the mobile device and blast using the gun!

10. Vtech Kiddizoom Twist

If your kids like photography and would like to do some work while you do your own on your SLR, you can depend on this kid proof device. This one has a camera that can be rotated with has a 4x zoom as well as a voice recorder and light image manipulation software built in. This is easy to hold with the rubber case and durable enough to protect the unit inside.

All these amazing new tech toys for Christmas utilize technology in a whole new way. With innovations such as these, it can be quite difficult to choose the perfect one. Nonetheless, it is very interesting what your kids will like the best since they themselves will have a hard time identifying the options most suitable for them. A lot of these toys are brilliant for kids who are just starting out with their journey towards high tech gaming.

 

Megaupload Down – January 19 2011

January 19 2011

Megaupload has been taken down by FBI, the below workarounds will not work. More info here.

Anonymous has retaliated by taking down the US Department of Justice and Universal Music Websites and “more is coming”. More information here.

megaupload down
Megaupload.com, the file repository website has been down for some since November 28 at 4:50PM EST for some. Megaupload is one of the largest upload sites on the internet and the source of content for dozens of online video link indexers like Icefilms.info and Ceuvana video.

November 29 1:40PM EST

Some parts of the world are still experiencing DNS problems and Megaupload down times this morning. There has been no official announcement about the service outages from the company.

There’s been a lot of chatter about the Megaupload domain being seized by various American governmental units and that it has something to do with this initiative. This doesn’t sound correct as the ICE initiative is targeting counterfeit consumer goods and also Megaupload is still available from its domain name in many countries.

Still, there is definitely something strange going on. The domain name server were switched to IPs owned by Google and the server names read n1.badwhoisshutdown.com and n2.badwhoisshutdown.com. This suggests that the domain name server was pointed away from megaupload by the domain name registrar for insufficient or false Who Is information. That is, the information associated with the domain megaupload.net was incorrect or missing. It could just be that the DNS switch is taking a while to propagate but the new domain name server adresses suggests the pointing was dont by a third party. Hopefully everything is ironed out soon. For now, follow the steps below (changing to Google’s public DNS) and it should resolve the issue for you no matter your geographic location

If you are running Windows 7 follow these steps to connect to the Google public DNS and fix Megaupload (thanks 360baller):

Start -> Control Panel -> Network and Internet -> Network and Sharing Center -> Change adapter settings -> Find the connection for which you are using (eg. Ethernet, Wireless) and right click it -> Select properties -> Might be prompted to type your admin password -> Select the Networking tab -> Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) or Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6) -> Properties -> Click Advanced and select the DNS tab
Enter preferred:8.8.4.4 --- alternative:8.8.8.8

Megaupload Fix for XP (thanks Alpro101):
control panel ->network connections ->local area connection>properties ->click internet protocol then click properties then enter this dns:
preferred: 208.67.222.222 --- alternate: 208.67.220.220 (open DNS)
or
preferred: 8.8.4.4 --- alternate: 8.8.8.8 (Google Public DNS)

Megaupload fix for Mac OS:
System Prefrences -> Network -> Advanced (close to bottom right of the window) -> DNS
Enter 8.8.4.4 and 8.8.8.8 in the left column

megaupload down

November 28 7:50PM EST
So the quickfix below will only get you as far as the download countdown screen as download link will try to reference it’s domain name. To get around this you have to add megavideo.com to your etc hosts file and point it to any of 174.140.154.20, 174.140.154.21, 174.140.154.22, 174.140.154.23, 174.140.154.24

November 28 6:40PM EST
This looks to be a localized domain name server problem as the site is accesible on American proxies. If you’re outside of the US you can still visit the site by going directly to it’s IP 174.140.154.12 although the site is delivering extremely high latency and connection timeouts when it tries to load resources. Again, if you are outside of the United States go directly to the site’s ip or use an American proxy to access your urls. You can also point the site to any of these ip’s 174.140.154.20, 174.140.154.21, 174.140.154.22, 174.140.154.23, 174.140.154.24 in your etc hosts it should work fine.

A quick fix if you have the string link to the file you’d like, for instance:
http://megaupload.com/?d=1P8RZQC1
You can simply append all URL after the root domain (megaupload.com) to the ip adress to access the file. Like this:
http://174.140.154.21/?d=1P8RZQC1

It looks like it’s sister site, Megavideo, is unaffected.

Down for Everyone or Just Me Ironically Down

The one of the most popular web-site downtime monitoring services downforerveryoneorjustme.com is ironically down tonight. Looks like the website was too successful for it’s own good and has garnered enough traffic to go over the server resource limit that was set by Google App engine.

The Google App engine provides it’s users with an easy to use SDK and scalable hosting for web application developers. If one site is consuming a disproportionally large amount of computational resources, Goggle will temporarily shut down server to that site in order to ensure other sites don’t suffer downtimes or slow service. The site has displayed this error message before but never for quite this long.

downforeveryoneorjustme down

This may have been brought on by Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The influx in shopping traffic seems to have brought down some e-commerce stores, which in turn has sent a flood of people to the down checker service. Time for a hosting upgrade!

Fear not, you can still check if a site is down or if you have just been messing with your etc hosts file too much on these services:

 

Top 25 Android Games | Best Android Games As Of September 2011

Here are the top 25 android games as of November 2011. We combined the usual factors of addictiveness, graphics, gameplay, learning curve, length. We’ll be updating the list weekly – let us know if we’ve missed any, and vote for your favorites in the poll below!

News

November 23 2011: Medieval for android has been released! this was probably my all time favorite game for my iPhone – I havent put so many hours into a mobile game since!
“Brisk Mobile is excited to announce that Medieval, our best-selling tower defence game for the iPhone and iPad, is now available for the Android Market. Featuring the same gorgeous graphics and addictive gameplay that made Medieval a #1 game worldwide with over 2 million downloads on iOS, Medieval is now set to top the charts at Google.”

The Top 25 Android Games

  1. Medieval 
  2. Cut the Ropecut the rope
  3. Shadow Gun
  4. Great Little War Gamegreat little war game
  5. Sim City Deluxe
  6. Fruit Ninja
  7. Reflexions
  8. X Construction
  9. Worms
  10. Need for Speed S
  11. Doodle Jump
  12. Bejeweled 2
  13. Minecraft Pocket Edition
  14. Robo Defense
  15. Sprinkle
  16. Riptide GB
  17. Duke Nukem 3D
  18. World Cruise Story
  19. Apparatus
  20. Uno
  21. Clowning Around
  22. Flick Golf
  23. The Sims 3
  24. Trial Xtreme 2
  25. Gave Dev Story
  26. The Moron Test
[poll id=”13″]

Find Actual Ranking in Google

Google’s search algorithm is one of the most complicated on the interent, factoring in a multitude of data about both the keyword you’re searching for as well as you the searcher. If you’re logged into your google account (gmail, youtube, ect.) then Google search will be able to read their own cookies to try to better personalize your search results. Even if you’re not signed into your Google account, Google search will still be able to gather search optimizing data from you based on what sites you’ve navigated to from Google in the recent past, your current location based on ip address, ect.

This is highly useful for an average web surfer looking to find the most relevant content. For webmasters who want to see how their website is ranking on a certain keyword, this can be a bit annoying as you will ussually observe a search engine position that is inflated compared to everyone else’s results.

To fix this, what we have to do is first turn off Google instant search by changing it in your settings if your logged into your google account (gear in the top right hand corner), otherwise there should be an option to the right of the search bar.

Next search for the term you want to check rankings on. After Google populates it’s results, append &pws=0 to the end of URL. So if your search for ACN scam in google the origional url will be (with some extra paremeters added)
google.com/search?q=apple
Now just append the &pws=0 to the end like so:
google.com/search?q=apple&pws=0
and submit the URL. This should populate un-personally filtered search results for any keyword! You can also use Google webmaster tools to find aggregate average position for your site in Google search results.

4chan down | 4chan.org down November 16 2011

November 16 2011

12:56PM EST
4chan was up and running from about 10:20PM last night to about 12:20PM today. Though the attacks were tweeted as being over 10 hours ago, it looks like they have recommenced as some requests are timing out or they complete only after a long delay.

The attack was previously reported as a UDP packet flood on port 80, but the status blog have just revised the method of attack to TCP SYN flood. Again, we don’t conclusively know who is behind the attacks but the most mentioned suspects are Lulzsec, Tumblr and 7chan.

On the 13th, a pastebin entry claimed that Lulzsec “was back” and took credit for taking down 4chan.org. We’re not sure if this is legitimately from Lulsec as the links to their website in the message footer are dead and there has been no activity on the twitter account. Also,most of the members of Lulzsec have been jailed for previous online plunders.

TUMBLR was in a big feud with 4chan last year centered around that each of the website’s members thought the other one was copying too much content from them. 4chan threatened to take down Tumblr (with a DoS attack) on November 15th 2011, this prompted a pre-emptive attack on 4chan on November 13th 2011. Both sides managed to deny service to the other’s website for at least a day. So many of the claims that Tumblr attacked 4chan this year are those that believe that the anniversary of the takedown is being observed by Tumblr or are simply basing it on bad reporting.

The last suspect, and least likely, is 7chan, a competing chan style message board site that hosts a fraction of 4chan’s user base. This site probably did not take down 4chan.org, it seems 4chan users just don’t really like 7chan and want to vent frustration from these attacks by DDoSing this site.

Lulz abound.

November 15 2011
8:02AM EST
Most of of the 4chan boards are now accessible but are prohibitively slow to load. 4chan.org is still under a DDos Attack “consisting of a UDP flood on port 80.”

12:45AM
4Chan is still fighting to stay up tonight as the distributed denial of service attack continues. The site is somewhat accessible some of the time for now, but admin are working to have it back up and running. Apparently, the status blog site is also under attack now, though it’s more resilient than the boards of 4chan.org .

We don’t know for certain who is behind the attacks but it looks like the most likely party is the Lulzsec hacking group. See below for more info.

November 14 2011
1:21PM EST
It looks like the imfamous hacking group, responsable for taking Visa offline and gaining access to Paypal records are the ones behind the DDoS attack that has brought 4chan down for almost 2 days. This on posted on pastebin below the usual Lulzsec header:

We are Lulz Security, and we’re back. Today, November 13 2011, is a big day for us. We successfully completed a DDoS attack on 4chan.org, one of the top 1000 most visited sites in the United States and the world!
This attack not only shows how strong the new Lulzsec is, but the capability we have. With a botnet that can take a site with so much bandwidth such as 4chan down, Lulzsec has so much potential for some epic lulz in the future. Stay tuned!

This of course may just be a hoax, the Lulzsec twitter account was not updated and the links on the pastebin entry led to a dead website.

11:04AM EST
4chan seems to be going up (but running very slowly) and down early today due again to a DDoS attack from a “fan.” Many people are blaming Tumblr as this was the 1 year anniversary that 4chan took down the Tumblr blogging service but that fued was mostly settled then. Others are pointing to hacktivist group lulzsec who declared war on 4chan.org and it’s users back in June of this year but this is unlikely aas many of their primary members were arrested in September.

There has been no new statements from the Administration since yesterday so right now all the finger pointing is just speculation.

12:41AM EST
It looks like the infamous anonymous image board 4chan is down today. 4chan.org has been down for at least the last 8 hours.

According to the site’s status blog and twitter, the outage is only temporary. 4chan has been taken down due to a major DDOS attack. Admin are working to restore it and they’re hoping to have it back up and running “soon.”

We don’t know who is behind this wave of attacks just yet but we’ll let you know as more information becomes available.

4chan down

Worst Comments Ever

This is a guest post by Ty from Good Canadian Kid. Check out GCK for thought provoking and humorous reads like GCK’s Favourite Mac Utility Application , The Ultimate Badass: Bishnu Shrestha and Marketing and (Pseudo) Science

Online comments that reference blogs, podcasts, Youtube, memes, etc. can reveal a lot about the content in question. They give insight to the quality of the content and, in some circumstances, act as a microcosm that represents a larger community or fan base.

After watching a video, listening to a podcast or reading a blog, it is refreshing to view comments that are more telling then the original content it insinuates. On the contrary, it’s frustrating when the highest voted comment is one of the of the comments below.

Comments that claim that modern day music, movies and/or culture are Dead

Annoying Comments
Annoying Youtube Comment

I’ll be the first one to admit that mainstream popular culture, collectively, might not be at its best state (this is a topic that would take a lot more than a quick blog entry to discuss). With this said, it can be frustrating when the top rated comments have a fetish for nostalgia. This is probably because most of the users who publish and vote for these comments are teenagers that are upset with modern mainstream popular culture (sometimes I don’t blame them), and instead of digging deeper to find the quality content, they trash ‘modernism’, and try to live in (and sometimes overvalue) the past. I did the same thing when I was a kid – they’ll grow out of it. Quality music, movies, opinions are out there, the only thing that has changed is that you probably wont find it on MTV or FOX – you have to look it.

Comments that add zero value

Most Annoying Comment
Really Annoying Comments
Most Annoying Comments on the Internet
Video is best between X and y

I think the foundation of most of these comments are to provide a “camaraderie” feeling – I’m part of…“team I hate Justin Beiber”, “the ACDC legion’, “Oasis is the best brit-pop band team”’. I suppose, through creating and voting for these comments, people feel included in “something” – a movement, school of thought, team…whatever.

I’ll leave you to stew in this comment…

Worst comment ever

I was actually thinking about ‘liking’ this comment until the author dropped this astute personal survey on us; “The Music Industry is becoming more about marketing and less about musical quality”… Bleh

Do you have a most hated comment? Post it here in the comments or email your picture to firstsearchblue@gmail.com and we’ll throw it up!

Thunderbolt Peripherals | November 2011

thunderbolt peripherals logoThis page attempts to maintain an up-to-date list of Thunderbolt peripherals. As of November 2011 there is quite a small selection of thunderbolt devices on the market. Basically you’ve got the thunderbolt Apple Display and the Lacie Thunderbolt Hard Drive Enclosure. Now that Apple has been putting the thunderbolt port into their Macs for close to year, we can expect to start seeing this list of peripherals grow dramatically.

  1. The Apple Thunderbolt Display is the first Thunderbolt screen that has been brought to market. It’s $999 price tag is a little steepfor a 27″ Monitor, but the quality of Apple’s Cinema displays has always made them worth the price.thunderbolt display peripheral
  2. The Lacie Thunderbolt Harddrive Enclosure was the second peripheral released for the thunderbolt interface. The device gives users the lightning fast speeds we’ve achieved through solid state hard drives, delivered through a Thunderbolt cable. Along with the incredible speeds, you also get that daisy-chaining goodness made possible by the Thunderbolt interface. There are 2 configurations of the device sold on the apple site
    thunderbolt hard drive peripheral
  3. Promise – Pegasus Raid Storage Array Read more about the Pegasus and a few other Thunderbolt storage devices that Promise has released over the past year on their site here

Checkout out a few of these thunderbolt peripherals together in action in the video below:

Quick Silver Screen Down – November 3 2011

November 3 2011

It looks like the popular quick silver screen (qss divx) site is down, giving a timeout error when accessed. The forum is a hotspot for the newest video links from 3rd party hosted services.

The downtime is most likely related in some way to the community’s discontent with the Quick Silver Screen administration. The origional administration, who had let site fall into a state of somewhat disrepair, sold the site to a new party who was looking to capitolize on the efforts of many upaid volunteers. The community was offended and started a new community at Daily Flix.

A few disgruntled contributors of the QSS divx community began to wreak hovoc on the boards, flooding it with multiple accounts that would post rude and outragious comments about the owners of the site, as well as threatning to “hack it.” It looks like they may have succeeded as Quick Silver Screen has been rendered un-connectable for two days.