Look at today’s date. I mean really look at it. March 10th. Rather: MAR10. Remind you of anything?
If you’ve played Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros, New Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Land, New Super Mario Bros 2, Mario Paint, Mario’s Time Machine, Hotel Mario, Mario’s Game Gallery, Mario Clash, Luigi’s Mansion, Mario Pinball Land, Super Princess Peach, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon…
…Mario Kart, Mario Party, Mario Artist, Super Mario All-Stars, or any other number of Nintendo games I’ve forgotten, you know of this leaping little Italian plumber and his colorful family and friends who have been entertaining us since the early ’80s.
Here are a few ways we honor the resilient, albeit pixelated spirit of Mario:
Slaying dragons, questing for priceless treasures, and uncovering arcane secrets? That’s the name of the game in this CPU! Actually, Adventure is the name of the game, and it’s one of my favorite vintage offerings from the Atari 2600 I had when I was a kid. Now we can play it on our tablets and telephones! What a world. Watch here!:
Here’s a list of everything featured in this video:
The National Day of Unplugging isn’t about permanently renouncing all of your electronics and becoming a tech-smashing Luddite. It’s seizing the opportunity to step back and appreciate the simpler things in life that many of us take for granted.
Does your family fall into the trap of having more devices in the house than minutes spent per day in conversation with one another? Step away from the tablets and smartphones and play a board or card game! Is your nephew spending too much time indoors playing games on that state-of-the-art console you got him for Christmas? Get him outside and show him how a model rocket works!
Read a book! Go for a long drive, walk, or bike ride. Learn to draw or pick up a craft (or get back to creating cool stuff if you already know how). Solve a puzzle. Assemble a set of LEGO bricks. Stop kowtowing to your electronic overlords, human: the day is yours!
And forget what some say: if you’re reading this now, it’s not too late to observe the National Day of Unplugging! Here are some of the ways that we’ve found to do so:
Haven’t I said many times that I’m not really much of a gamer? Somehow, this doesn’t apply to the vintage Atari 2600 games that I grew up with. They’re in my blood — which, I assume, is very pixelated!
Activision put out some amazing titles on the Atari 2600, and one of my favorites was Megamania. In this CPU, I revisit this old technology with the assistance of some new technology. Take a look!:
Here’s a list of everything featured in this video:
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Ozobot for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.
Don’t get me wrong: I love people. But robots? Well, let’s just say that they occupy a special place in my technocentric memory banks brain. To me, C-3P0 and R2-D2 are as valid an embodiment of the buddy duo dynamic as Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, Batman and Robin, Laverne and Shirley, Cheech and Chong, Cagney and Lacey, Penn and Teller, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Hall and Oates, Holmes and Watson, Ren and Stimpy, and Chan and Tucker! Sure, droids have a difficult time as perpetually put-upon, second-class citizens in the sprawling, star-lit expanse of the Star Wars galaxy, but at least these two have each other.
Now I’m not going to declare myself as worthy of such friendship with the artificially intelligent, but I’m certainly not above extending my hand at an attempt to bridge our respective species and come to an understanding somewhere in the middle. I think we each have a unique perspective of the universe we share; and if I’m wrong, your average robot is polite enough not to make a scene about it. Then again, at this point in the game, I suppose it all depends on how it’s been programmed. Robots on 21st century Earth aren’t quite as advanced as the droids from Star Wars (never mind that they were built and programmed “a long time ago” and might still be out there somewhere for all we know); still, I think the time is now for us to forge a healthy, mutually benevolent relationship with our automated creations that may, one day, be our overlords.
I just hope they’re nice overlords. Maybe that’s why I believe in showing robots respect. Mostly because it’s kind, but also… just in case.
I’ve kept this in mind while playing around with the Ozobot, a spherical little (1″ x 1″ x 1″) robot who fits, ever so adorably, in the palm of my hand. Sure, it (we’re not acquainted well enough for me to assume Ozobot’s gender) may be a tiny package, but it’s got big ambitions. Billed as “the world’s smallest SMART robot,” Ozobot uses free iOS and Android apps to play along with the humans in its life. It can run on two-dimensional tracks (either the ones you’ll find in the box when you unpack Ozobot or ones you create yourself — as demonstrated in the video above) like a sophisticated, hobo-free train. These tracks can be very simple, or they can be color-coded to instruct Ozobot to behave in a certain way when it discovers them in its travels. They can be scrawled on paper if you’re some kind of wasteful, tree-clobbering neanderthal, or elegantly traced along the surface of your tablet — your choice! Ozobot doesn’t judge.
I can see this spirited little robot as a good way for a child — or even a beginning programmer — to wrap their brains around machines and how they process logic. But even if you get one with no educational aims in mind, at the very least, you’ll never be one of those sad sacks who sits around the dive bar all day and laments to anyone within unlucky earshot that they never had fun with a robot.
And while I admittedly haven’t tried running Ozobot’s battery down to point of failure (forcing it to endure the robotic equivalent of starvation and exhaustion seems counter to the aforementioned ideal of “showing respect”), I’m told that it can run for 60 full minutes on a physical surface or twice as long on a digital surface before requiring a recharge — which makes Ozobot more like me than I realized.
As yet, Ozobot hasn’t locked me out of any pod bay doors, so I’m optimistic about our future together.
If you’d like to enter Ozobot’s #Lucky7 giveaway for a chance at valuable treasures like a Polaroid 300 instant camera PIC-300L and Polaroid 300 film 10 pack (PIF-300); a GoPro Hero; an Apple iPhone 6 (space gray, 16 GB); a Crosley CR8005A-TU Cruiser portable turntable (turquoise); Beats by Dre Solo 2 on- ear headphones (black); a Nabi 24″ tablet; or an iPad Air, go to the entry page here (on Facebook via Rafflecopter) and follow the instructions:
1. If you use Twitter, tweet out a pre-drafted message that includes @Ozobot and announces your entry to your followers. Example: “I just entered @Ozobot’s #Lucky7 giveaway! Prizes include an #iPhone6, a #GoPro, #BeatsbyDre and more! Enter today!”
As the biggest gift-giving holiday of the year quickly approaches, many of us are still left with the question of what to get the geek (or geeks) left on the shopping list. Sure, you might know exactly what they want, but how do you summon the means (or will) to cough up the money it would take to purchase the kind of gadgets that would truly make them happy?
Contrary to popular belief, you can make a geek very happy with a gift that doesn’t require batteries, an outlet, or any other external power source. There are plenty of creative gift ideas that can put a smile on even the most critical geek’s face without breaking the bank. Believe it or not, some of the best gift ideas can be found for under $40.