Battle Bands: Squishy And Bossy

Okay, so here's the backstory: This review has taken months and months to write. Last year, Senario -- the company that makes Zibits -- offered us their newest toy for review on the site. We jumped at the chance because we were so happy with the personal remote controlled robots, we thought we'd love their game Battle Bands, too.

Sadly this is not the case. They sent us a big pack of stuff in November, all part of their Battle Bands line, so Laura and I could cart it to Mid-Ohio Con and maybe find some kids who wanted to try it out. Battle Bands appeared to be taking advantage of children who liked Silly Bandz and also Fantasy adventures (because it involved rubbery bracelets shaped like mythical creatures.) It seemed straightforward enough, but when we opened the box and started reading the directions, we became hopelessly confused.

Here's an example:

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Motorola XOOM: For the Completist That Must Have Everything


This weekend I was able to test drive a Motorola 3G "XOOM."

Okay, kids, it's official: Momma doesn't understand your obsession with touch-y whatchamacallits.

Let me sum up: No, wait. There is too much. Let me explain:

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Update: This WAS the Droid I was looking for.

Awesome design via He Who Cannot Be Named

A few months ago, I bitched about my Droid2D2, which refused to hold a charge (or to charge at all) and was constantly, constantly, freezing up (the fix for which was the battery being removed and the device being completely restarted.) Since that post, I asked Verizon to replace my phone because it was still under warranty. The replacement phone works much, much better -- though, it does occasionally lock up, but that is usually in the mornings after it's been on the charger cradle all night. Since we all have trouble functioning at 100% after just waking up, I give my new Droid2D2 a pass on that one.

So, now that I have a Droid that won't crap out on me, I've been exploring my "app" options.

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I (g)love Technology!


Previously on the site, I reviewed my capacitive stylus, and mentioned the "Aglove" in passing when referring to option B, as far as the wintry weather and your touch-screen device is concerned. Well, Aglove decided to send me a Valentine's Day present. They ran a special where you could get a pair of their gloves, some Belgian chocolate, and a little love note all packaged up in a red organza bag for your sweetheart.

The best news is, I got to review the gloves for you guys to decide whether or not you want to get a stylus, fancy gloves, or just try and stick it out the rest of this winter without being able to use your phone out in the elements.

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Engrish Wednesday: Edition The Second

Photo from a Box of Botan Rice Candy. Check out The BRC Gallery for others.

It's Engrish Wednesday again! I honestly don't come across much Engrish in my daily travels, so I figured this themed entry wouldn't last past the first one.

But I was wrong!

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Star Wars Cookie Cutters IV: A New Set

For Christmas, I received the second set of Star Wars cookie cutters from Williams Sonoma, this one called the "vehicles" set. It includes the Death Star (which I think of less as a "vehicle" and more as a "holy shit killer space station!",) the Aluminium Millennium Falcon, a T.I.E. fighter, and an X-Wing with its wings sort of... un-exed.

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Lady, Just Give Me The Lipstick


Last summer we had news that MAC was going to be developing a Wonder Woman branded line of cosmetics. They occasionally put out licensed makeup sets, and it's always kind of pricey, but usually a lot of fun. Since Wonder Woman turns 75 this year, it only makes sense that DC would find creative ways to try and market the Amazon Princess for the occasion.

Last week, pictures and projected pricing information were released for the line, which is to premiere this Spring. The awesome part is that Mike Allred was commissioned to do several promo images for the line, and also the artwork that will adorn the outer packaging. Unfortunately, the press release leaves much to be desired. It appears a bunch of makeup executives copy and pasted words from comic book Wikipedia entries and randomly inserted said phrases in to their statement:

Just when the fate of the world is careening toward disaster, cue theme music! It’s Wonder Woman! She Kicks Sass! Her mission: Collaborate with M∙A∙C to fight the supervillains of the world – criminally outdated colour, evil, un-dimensional skin finish, the disasters that drain drama – with that famous spin, a double-cuff of her wicked wrist bracelets and shazam! M∙A∙C Spring Colour 2011 is the feminine force (with a dash of comic fun) that saves the day!

You can expect more pearl clutching and wailing after the jump.

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Hey, look! It's a Nook!*


*(I apologize for this title. It's all I could come up with. ~BK)

I often refer to myself as a techtard. My laptop is ancient, my phone only calls people and takes pictures, my television is not flat. But when both Barnes and Noble came out with the Nook… I knew I needed to own one, now.

And lo and behold, the greatest in-laws who ever lived got me one for Christmas after I threatened to go to B&N and lick the display one all, over so the store had to give it to me.

Tech specs are not my strong point, but here is why I give this device the highest rating I possibly can:

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The Galaxy Tab: Out of this world?


I'm interested in tablet pcs, but not necessarily in the price tag (or the iPad, so don't suggest it.) Mostly I'd like a reader with e-ink, like a Nook or a Kindle, but in color, so that I can digitally buy indie comics on a whim. An electronic comic book reader would be my main reason for getting a tablet-like computer, but I'd prefer not having to stare at an LCD screen in my free time, as I spend 10 to 11 hours a day staring at various LCD monitors at work.

However, I've lately come to realize that the color e-ink reader probably isn't going to happen. Since the iPad's debut, there have been a number of non-Apple tablets that have come on to the market to compete. Recently I had the chance to try out a Samsung Galaxy Tab.

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Touch-A, Touch-A, Touch Me


If you're like me and you're constantly injuring yourself (mostly your hands), or you live in the midwest or northeast, you know how frakkin' hard it is to use your touch-screen phone in the winter... or, at all. I'll admit, even without my bandaged fingertips, I've had a lot of problems navigating the menus on my Droid 2. (Though, a lot of the "freezing up" issues have been corrected since this post, because my replacement phone is working loads better.)

There are several new solutions to this problem. The latest invention is a special set of gloves that work with your capacitive screened-phone. Recently I tried "e-gloves" like these from the North Face, which are kind of silly looking. They do work nicely, though... the only problem is that most stores, even online, don't have the gloves in stock.

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The Worst Geek Purchases of This or Any Decade

(I referenced this comic to Paul Tobin's Twitter earlier this month and couldn't find it then, but here it is now. From Medium Large.)

I don't even know how to gracefully segue in to this post. I am just mad as hell about the following things, and I think you should have to experience a slice of my hatred. There are two things I got this year -- two geeky little electronic doo-dads that should have filled me with joy -- that I absolutely wound up regretting like you wouldn't believe.

The Wacom Intuos4: The second most infuriating purchase wasn't even made by me. My husband, being a good kind man, went out last-minute and bought me the Intuos4 from Wacom, even though he'd already spend a lot of money on other Christmas presents for me. You see, the Intuos3 he bought me a few years ago has seen better days. The cord looks like it's been through a war zone, with the cord casing worn away in spots, exposing the bare wires. This is a result of the computer chair rolling over it repeatedly and tiny puppy teeth going through an "EAT CORDS NOW!" phase. The pen nib I like to use (the felt tip one) was completely worn down. That could've all been fixed with a replacement nib set and some electrical tape.

The real problem was that for no reason, at complete random, the tablet would stop cooperating with Photoshop. The pen would lose the eraser setting or its pressure sensitivity. The drivers would have to be reinstalled, or Photoshop restarted, or a complete system restart would be needed to get everything working correctly. This became a huge annoyance, and as a result, I got the Intuos4 for Christmas.

But GUESS WHAT? The Intuos4 has the exact same "bug", for which there is no fix. Worse, the 4 didn't start working correctly again with a driver re-install or a computer restart. After two hours of internet research, I found out that it's a problem lots of people have with their tablets, and Wacom still hasn't addressed the issue. Since my Intuos4 wasn't any bigger than my Intuos3, and it clearly wasn't better, I had my husband return it. I broke out the electrical tape and bought a replacement nib set for $25 on Amazon.

What was the #1 worst purchase?

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These Were A Few of Our Favorite Things

I don't have Oprah money, so I can't say at the end of this post you're going to find a rocket ship or a pony under your seat. What I can say is, this year was filled with awesome things, some of which we bought for ourselves, and are about to share with you... in the informational sense only. I wish I could give everyone reading this a set of Star Wars cookie cutters. Heck, I even tried to give everyone commenting here Star Wars cookies! But at the end of the day, you'll just have to look over what we have to say and then find yourself a sugar daddy or cougar to get you this stuff, if you're so inclined.

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Marvel Superhero Squad!

(Click to Embiggen)

Yes. That is Red Skull as Captain America. Yes, it's pretty awesome. Yes, you get to see it if you buy Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet. The game goes on sale November 16th (tomorrow.) It's available for Wii, XBox, Playstation, and Nintendo DS. We got a chance to play it at New York Comic Con this year, and by we I mean Rania (the only one of us that has any real "gaming" experience.) Since she plays Xbox, that's the platform she tried out.

I should note here that I shot video of this event, as well as a cool interview with one of the game's creators, but I'm an idiot and didn't have the microphone on or my filter to the right setting. So everything was blurry and silent. HOWEVER, I will state that not only is it hilarious to hear a tiny cute Hulk scream "SMASH!" every thirty seconds, it was also extremely amusing to watch Rania try and figure out how to make Iron Man fly. That is... when she remembers that Iron Man can fly. (First, he had to fall down a hole about 10 times before she was gently reminded by one of the "game handlers" that Iron Man can fly.)

But enough picking on Rania. If you'd like to see the trailer for the game (which is actually kind of funny, too,) more stills, and a brief review of game play, hit the jump link. And make sure to check out the game yourself.

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Ten Things On Etsy I Would Fight You For

(Click to embiggen)

I think Etsy's sole purpose is to bankrupt me. There are so many cool things there that are usually one-of-a-kind, so if I don't buy it ZOMG SOMEONE ELSE WILL, and I can never buy it again. This also means these things are usually pretty expensive.

Take, for instance, #1 on my list, the USB Typewriter. I have no real need for a USB typewriter. I have a perfectly functional keyboard. In fact, at work, I have two keyboards. But I feel, since I work in a newsroom bullpen, that one of these keyboards should go CLACKITY CLACK CLACK-A, like the newsrooms of yester-yore. Price: $599 - $699

After the jump, check out the nine other things you never knew you needed until you saw them on Etsy.

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Mimobots Turn 5!


Mimobot started selling their "designer" USB flash drives at San Diego Comic Con five years ago. Any convention they think is cool, they bring their show on the road. But if you have never seen them at a con, or can't make it to any of the major conventions, you can always check out their online store, or, check out MimoZine, their digital magazine that looks at pop culture, the environment, technology, and anything else they think is cool.

While at New York Comic Con, I got to talk to Alec Gross, who's a content producer for MimoZine. He showed me some of their more popular drives, and introduced me to The Original Villain Network -- friends of theirs who were spinning at the Mimobot booth all weekend. Among the licensed characters like Star Wars and Hello Kitty, there were original artist designed drives -- from Super Suck Lord of the Villains Network to illustrators like Gary Baseman and Dino Alberto.

After the jump check out my interview with Alec, a little of the Villain Network, and some of the Mimobots offered at NYCC. (I got a C3PO to match my new Droid2D2.)

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Review: Star Wars Cookie Cutters


Williams Sonoma has a set of $20 cookie cutters. These particular cookie cutters make Star Wars shapes. I didn't even hesitate before I bought them. I'd heard tale of them from a friend, and as soon as they went up on the W-S website, I bought them.

I have not been disappointed.


As you can see from this tasty product shot (via the W-S site), the set comes with a Yoda, a Darth Vader, a Boba Fett, and a Stormtrooper. "Why put Yoda together with the greatest Sith lord ever, his minions, and a bounty hunter?"

Because Yoda is a badass, that's why.

More pictures and review after the jump.

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Marshmellow Friday!


I wish it really was spelled marshmellow because they totally are my comfort food.

While at C2E2, I kept passing the Squibbles booth, because it was strategically positioned near the main entrance. There was a complete display of marshmallow-headed characters that I had trouble resisting. They were all painted differently, and together as a group it was an awesome sight. Unfortunately they were packaged "surprise!" style -- you didn't know which character you were going to get.

I solved this problem by examining the booth further on Saturday afternoon. Turns out, these little guys are all named Marshall Mashumaro -- a little boy who ate so many marshmallows he turned in to one! You can even friend him on Facebook, which of course I did. Right after I shelled out $15 for the special "toasty" version of Marshall (pictures after the jump.)

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Geektress Does Christmas

If you're fretting over what to get that certain weirdo someone for the holidays this year -- don't. Geektress has got you covered. Take, for instance, Brandon Bird's Nic Cage Adventure Set. I don't know if you ever played with Colorforms as a kid, but you sure as hell never played with them like this. Nine vinyl stickers on two re-usable backdrops -- ALL NICOLAS CAGE.

You see, although Nic Cage is sort of scary and bizarre, I like to think we can move past Ghost Rider and learn to appreciate Cage in the abstract. Like justice, or Cheetohs. And for just $10 (plus shipping), you can appreciate him... anywhere! In the car, in the bathroom, on an international treasure hunt for historic-type objects. You never know.

(Thanks to Jack for the tip.)

For more gift ideas, check out the full entry.

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I Heart Electronic Clutter


Last month, Netflix released a set-top box to accompany the "Watch Instantly" section of their website. It's called Netflix Roku... and it's awesome.

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Gibson Tries to Combat the Talentless


Guitar makers Gibson have got a major bug up their butt, and decided to sue the jeebus out of everyone and their brother this week. Those specified in various different lawsuits are the companies that make the game "Rock Band" -- Harmonix, MTV Networks and Electronic Arts -- in addition to Activision and Red Octane, for their "Guitar Hero" game. Gibson has also filed suit against retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart, Amazon.com, GameStop and Toys “R” Us for selling both Guitar Hero and Rock Band games.

And I thought I was the cranky one this week. I shouldn't have given up smoking crack for Lent.

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The Most Ridiculous Purchase Ever?


The R2D2 Trashcan, available from Think Geek for $99.99.

Three thoughts:

1. I must have this.
2. $100 is way too much to pay for a trashcan that can't talk light up carry secret plans for the rebellion empty itself.
3. I must steal this.

Coke Tested, Geek (sort of) Approved


So, Geektress very kindly invited me in for a guest posting, because I'm right on my uppers and I cannot write poetry as well as Ewan McTeagle.

This site tends more toward comics and science fiction than not. I love these subjects quite a lot, but not passionately enough to write knowledgeably about them.

However, Bren offered me some subjects to discuss, including "Gadgets We Don't Need But Want (You Know, Like Jump Drives Shaped As Sushi)."

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