Sunday, January 13, 2019

Betty Wright

John Marine | 1/13/2019 06:53:00 PM | | Be the first to comment!
One of my mother's favorite singers is Betty Wright. So I decided to expand the "anything and everything" number of topics to include this singer. I actually wanted to feature Betty Wright in my blog for quite some time. Like a lot of my blog posts, though, I never got around to completing or starting them until they eventually get published. Anyhow, get ready for another post on "John's Blog Space!"

Off-Topic Note

Can you believe that I am nearing a unique milestone with this blog- 10 years of John's Blog Space? Ten years since my first ever post on this regularly-maintained blog will happen on January 23, 2019.






Betty Wright


This blog post is about singer Betty Wright.

Betty Wright Bessie Regina Norris
^ from: songkick.com - Get to know Betty Wright a bit with this blog post.

Betty Wright is an R&B singer born as Bessie Regina Norris. She was born on December 21, 1953 from Miami, Florida, USA. So Betty Wright is currently 65 as of the date of this initial blog post draft (January 13, 2019). Part of my motivation to blog about Betty Wright is because she is one of my mother's favorite artists. I do remember in my youth that my mother had one of her cassettes. Betty Wright would later create her own record label called Miss B Records back in 1985. One of the greatest accomplishments of her career is in being the first Black woman to go gold from her own record label.

I would say Betty Wright deserves some Hall of Fame recognition if not into any musical Hall of Fame.




Music of Betty Wright


Here are videos of Betty Wright and her singing. I would like to thank all the ones who allowed their videos to be embedded.


Clean Up Woman.

This is one of my mother's favorite songs. And to me, I like listening to it also. Never heard this song? Well here's your chance right here!


^ Clean Up Woman - Betty Wright (1971)


No Pain, (No Gain)

Once for "Monday Motivation" on Facebook, I posted this song. So if you like my post so far on Betty Wright, here's a very good song of hers:


^ Betty Wright - No Pain, (No Gain)


Tonight is the Night.

I don't know too many other Betty Wright songs, so I just picked one based on YouTube results. Sometimes, it's best to explore things for yourself and allow yourself to be surprised. Here is a little more Betty Wright for you in case you're liking this blog post. As a note, this song is a LIVE version:


^ Betty Wright-Tonight is the Night


What do you think about her music?




Betty Wright: Final Thoughts


I don't know as much as I would like to about Betty Wright, but I surely respect what she has accomplished in her musical career. "Clean Up Woman" and "No Pain, (No Gain)" are two songs I know best from her. You can hear more of Betty Wright's music if you look her up on YouTube. If Betty Wright isn't in any musical Hall of Fame, I think she deserves some Hall of Fame love.


Would I Want to Meet Betty Wright?

I would find it an honor to meet her, if given the chance.





This post is over. I hope I've provided some great reading for your eyes and brain, and I hope I've given your ears some great music to listen to. Make sure to Subscribe/Follow my blog(s) if you enjoy my content. You can do so by following the links in this closing section. That said, thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Monday, January 7, 2019

Remembering Whitney Houston

John Marine | 1/07/2019 02:11:00 PM | | | | | Be the first to comment!
While I was never crazy about her, Whitney Houston was one of the best singers ever. Her voice was powerful as well as sweet when singing. I can assure you someone may be doing karaoke with Whitney Houston as you read this. Unfortunately, Whitney Houston is longer with us. She died in 2012 from drug abuse. I don't intend this blog post to be a complete educational piece on Whitney Houston, but more like a look back at some of her music. I will even offer a few thoughts on some of my favorite songs of hers. If you are obliged, welcome to another post on "John's Blog Space!"

NOTE: This song contains several YouTube videos, and it may disrupt your performance viewing this blog post. You can view each video privately by clicking on the links below the videos.






Remembering Whitney Houston


Whitney Elizabeth Houston was born on August 6, 1963; and she died on February 11, 2012 at the age of 48. She was born in Newark, New Jersey, USA was one of the finest singers to ever live. Her music provided passion and power with such a fine singing voice. Whitney has even taken her talents to acting with movies such as "The Bodyguard" and "Waiting to Exhale" among her different actress roles. One of the most successful songs of all time money-wise was her classic "I Will Always Love You."


Substance Abuse and Drug Addiction.

Whitney Houston has had a number of issues with drug usage. Despite such a beautiful career with her beautiful voice, she had some ugly demons to battle- namely drug addiction and substance abuse. She was found dead at a hotel in Beverly Hills, CA, USA after taking in a lot of drugs and found unconscious submerged into a bath tub. Whitney Houston's death only fueled the importance to discuss addiction and drug abuse. Today's landscape surely is mindful of the effects of addiction.


Coming up is a look at her music. So get ready to hear Whitney Houston supply her amazing singing to the masses.




Whitney Houston Music


This part of the post pertains to some of Whitney Houston's music. Some of my favorites and ones I like will be featured here. Let's begin with a song a lot of people know Whitney Houston best for:


"I Will Always Love You."

If most people could choose one Whitney Houston song as their favorite, a lot of people would probably respond to "I Will Always Love You," and for good reason. Not only is this song from 1992 one of the best songs she's ever sung, but because of how powerful it is to sing. I even remembered hearing American Idol singers try to sing this song as the judges had their say. It is even a fairly complex song. Once the key changes to its powerful conclusion, good vocal depth and some good breathing is required to play the wonderful end of this song. No more words- just listen to this masterpiece of hers if you never heard it before:


^ Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You (Official Music Video)


"I Have Nothing."

This is a sweet song in its own right. The song flows very well and mixes in a lot of the power Whitney Houston brings to her singing. Here is a chance for you to hear her sing this song if you never heard it before...


^ Whitney Houston - I Have Nothing (Official Music Video)


"I Wanna Dance With Somebody."

This song is rather fun and happy. It is a feel good song with some good vibes being offered. The song plays on the same key and has the same overall flow as "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper. It is one of my personal favorite love songs of all time. Go ahead and have a listen to this feel good song if you never heard it before:


^ Whitney Houston - I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Official Music Video)


"I'm Every Woman."

Whitney Houston's rendition of Chaka Khan's "I'm Every Woman" was done masterfully and sweetly. This is another sort of feel-good kind of song. Have a listen:


^ Whitney Houston - I'm Every Woman (Official Video)


This is only as much as I want to share about her music. Hope you enjoyed it. I didn't intend on this or specifically wanted to choose songs this way, but every song I selected had "I or "I'm" in its title. Do you have any favorite Whitney Houston songs besides the ones I mentioned?




Whitney Houston: Final Thoughts


Whitney Houston's music and influence will live on forever. No single recording artist has been so accomplished and so successful as Whitney Houston. Sadly, her career was marred by her substance abuse and drug addiction. I never fully celebrated her or regarded her as a personal favorite, but I highly respect and admire her amazing entertainment work.


For More Information...

Please visit this official website for more about Whitney Houston: www.whitneyhouston.com.





I hope you enjoyed this blog post. If you want to discuss this topic...

What are your fondest memories of Whitney Houston? How will you remember Whitney Houston?

Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Sunday, December 23, 2018

Gender Reveal Parties

John Marine | 12/23/2018 05:43:00 PM | | | | Be the first to comment!
Having any reason to celebrate anything is common. Having parties to celebrate is also common. Almost anything can be a thing for partying- even including the gender of unborn children. Yes, gender reveal parties are a thing. It's a celebration of giving birth to either a boy, a girl, or perhaps multiple offspring. They are a thing, but what do I think about such parties? I am here to offer my thoughts in this blog post on gender reveal parties.






My Thoughts on Gender Reveal Parties


gender reveal parties
^ from: (Amazon) - What do you think about gender reveal parties? Does it matter the gender of unborn children?

Celebrating the gender of an unborn child is a thing. There are two dynamics to most gender reveal parties- (1) simply learning the gender of unborn children, and (2) making a gender reveal a guessing game. There are people whom even offered ideas for gender reveal parties. I will discuss gender reveal parties in two distinct talking points. So please consider the following...


Gender Reveal Parties: General Thoughts.

One of the biggest fallacies of gender reveal parties is simply the fact of simply having them. What is worth celebrating in regards to the gender of a child or children? I apologize for being old-fashioned and boring, but I don't get the point of having a party to reveal an unborn child/-ren's gender. These kinds of acts are somewhat counteractive in today's culture being more accepting of LGBT types can in past times. We live in a culture where we are either more mindful of gender or we better embrace gender neutrality. Having gender reveal parties work against today's modern thoughts and times.

People do try to make things less boring in determining the gender of an unborn child. For most people, simply having children is enough to feel happy about in becoming parents. However, you have people who want to make things more interesting by doing all kinds of stunts and making a not really big deal a big deal regardless. Parties are about celebrations of things. What message do you think you are sending by having some party just to celebrate the gender of unborn children? If you want to celebrate something while pregnant, reserve parties for baby showers or maybe if you have a birthday or an anniversary while pregnant.

Another fallacy is that perhaps later on in life, a child may experience feelings of gender dysphoria, maybe want to be transgender, or maybe consider himself gender neutral. So a child born as a boy may see pictures of his parents having some cute celebration to reveal the parents had a boy. This could possibly make the boy feel unhappy about himself and decide to want to be more feminine or even consider himself gender neutral. The boy may want to start wearing girly clothes, start wearing some makeup, all to feel a lot more different even born as a male. One very rare possibility of gender reveals is that a child may be born intersex or perhaps have a few chromosomes which puts the child in-between male and female.

One other possible negative to gender reveal parties is the fact that you are celebrating having a certain child/-ren of a certain gender. It somehow isn't enough for most people to simply be proud of being parents- they have to stretch things out to the point of having a party to reveal the gender of a child or children. Forget being proud to give birth; some people feel they have to do all these stunts and play these guessing games about the gender of unborn children. Speaking of guessing games...


Gender Reveal Parties: The "Guessing Game" Aspect."

Now on to the other aspect of gender reveal parties- having guests play a game of determining what gender one's unborn child/-ren will be. It is a nice way to get people in kind of a playful and fun mood; however, it can also be pretty stupid. It's like when I am on social media and people ask questions like, "when are you going to get married?" Either that or, "when are you going to have children?" What business do you have in wondering what gender a child will be? For example, is it important that a pregnant woman who gave birth to a baby boy has a girl instead of another boy? Is it also sad if that pregnant woman is unable to make a girl or another boy? If you're going to have something like this for gender reveals, it is pretty dumb to play a guessing game for what the child's gender will be.

I say simply enjoy becoming a parent in the first place instead of trying to make things fun by guessing what gender a child will be. If I was a pregnant woman, I'd be proud simply to be able to give birth to children instead of celebrating the gender of unborn children. I at least would want to know the gender of my unborn child/-ren rather than have a party focused on a gender reveal.


Now that you have read my thoughts on gender reveal parties, it is time to close this post with a complete summary of my thoughts on gender reveal parties.




Gender Reveal Parties: Final Thoughts


Celebrate that you are becoming a parent (or at least an uncle/aunt). Celebrate bringing a child into the world. However, having a celebration for identifying the gender of unborn children just sounds stupid and attention-grabbing to me. You are not a celebrity. It isn't like TMZ or somebody are following you around wondering what gender your unborn child/-ren will be. There is no need to stretch out a pregnancy like this. It is even sad there are party planners even offering gender reveal party items to this. I guess if it means making money, then anything will be tried.

If you are going to have children, it is enough to simply learn of the gender of a child or children. You don't need to have a celebration for whatever gender your children will be. It is not required for you to host a party simply on the merits of learning the gender of unborn children. I am not saying that you should not be proud of knowing if you have a boy or a girl or not- I am just suggesting you don't need to have any kind of cute/fancy party to honor the gender of unborn children.

At least to me, gender reveal parties are rather unnecessary and most importantly... not worth any kind of celebration. A gender reveal party is not a party worth celebrating. Save parties for things like birthdays, graduation, weddings, anniversaries, family reunions, and things of that nature. If you disagree with me and my thoughts in regards to gender reveal parties, and maybe you had some little party to celebrate the gender of an unborn child, that's perfectly fine. I am not here to tell people how to live their lives or make certain decisions. All I am saying is that gender reveal parties are silly and unnecessary.


Extra Perspectives.

I offered my thoughts, but what do others think? Here are more perspectives:

"'Gender Reveal' parties are real, and they sound awful (LGBTQ Nation)
Opinion | Why Are Gender Reveal Parties a Thing? (The New York Times)
Here's Why Gender-Reveal Parties Are the Worst (Phoenix New Times)
Gender reveal parties are getting way over the top (CNN)
in defense of gender-reveal parties (CafeMom)


One Omission to Make...

In researching this topic, I learned of one gender reveal party that got violent. There was one gender reveal party I learned of in which someone was shot and killed, and there were eight others injured. So there is another bit to add in regards to gender reveal parties.





That's the end of this post. Let's discuss!

What do you think about gender reveal parties? Have you been to or hosted a gender reveal party? What would you suggest to any future gender reveal parties?

Please help support my work any way you can. Subscribe/Follow this blog and my others to keep up with the latest posts when they become available. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Automation: The Car Company Tycoon Game Thoughts

John Marine | 12/11/2018 05:16:00 PM | | | | Be the first to comment!
Anyone can make a car. How many, though, can properly engineer a car from start to finish? What about the marketing aspects as well? #AutomationGame will challenge you on all of these aspects and then some. You can build any car you so desire, but you must learn to properly engineer your car(s) as well as handle the financial aspects to be the best car designer in the world. Because Automation is an Early Access game, this is not a proper review. Instead, it is a thoughts blog post based on impressions.

Before I Begin...

I had a tough time deciding between putting this blog post on "John's Blog Space" and "John's Race Space." There is no actual racing or driving you do in this game, so I put this into "John's Blog Space."






Automation: The Car Company Tycoon Game


"Automation: The Car Company Tycoon Game" was first released in 2015 on Steam. Its history, however, dates back to about 2012, when it won the award for Best Technical Innovation - Freeplay. It is a game developed and published by Camshaft Software, a New Zealand developer. This game gives gamers the opportunity to create automobiles to whatever specifications they so desire. The graphical experience was previously powered by the Kee Engine. However, later builds of Automation has this game running on the amazing Unreal Engine 4 for impressive graphical quality. What begins with a dream and a vision can turn into a true-to-life representation through a lot of hard work and a lot of tuning of specifications. Don't think of Automation much like a 3D modeling studio for making your own cars. Instead, think of it as being able to build your own hamburger or deli sandwich from two pieces of bread to any number of fixings to make your own dream meal. I hope you weren't hungry before reading that last sentence, but you get the idea. Automation is an automotive studio where you go from concept to completion using a handful of automobile bodies and configuring things ranging from engine, drivetrain, and more. The attention to detail actually makes you think about the automobiles you are building.

You can jump right into the Sandbox and build any vehicle of your dreams, or you can challenge yourself in a number of scenarios. The game even has some campaigns you can take part in, but I haven't been able to do any available campaigns as of the date of this initial blog post (December 11, 2018). When you're building your car, you can get a lot of information on how to construct your automobile. You even can get some pointers on car design by seeing the suggestions offered. Anything featured in yellow or (especially) red must be addressed immediately. Good luck building your vehicles!

By the way... you can download certain mods to allow for more tuning options. For example, there is a mod where you can build cars that have massive W16 engines (like the Bugatti Veyron).


Taking Your Creations Further.

Announced on July 13, 2018; "Automation" gamers can export their creations from Automation to the popular driving and crashing simulator "BeamNG Drive." This unique collaboration will allow gamers to drive (and even wreck) their Automation creations.

A look at "BeamNG Drive" will be provided in a future blog post on "John's Race Space," so stay tuned for more on this front.


Is This Game Similar in Some Respects?

To me, Automation reminds me a lot of the Carrozzeria mode in "SEGA GT," only MUCH more detailed.


A Car Builder Story.

The United States never got the Nissan Silvia S15. Back in the late 1990s or early 2000s, I dreamed that I brought the S15 Silvia to the United States under my own company, "Marine Motors." I had my own visions of being my own automaker. So a game like this kind of reminds me of being that vivid dreamer I am.


Further details now on Automation. Next section coming up...




Automation: The Car Company Tycoon Game - Details


I've talked a good bit about enhanced detail in Automation. HOW detailed, though? Here is a brief look at what you will be encountering when building your own automobiles. Most of this based on what I can immediately think of without having to load up the game. So it is very likely I will skip a lot of things. But of course... these are for you to find out on your own! Anyhow, let's do this!


Bodies.

Automation begins with you selecting a body to help you begin to create your own vehicle. You have many different basic bodies to choose from as well a handful of body types to choose from. So you can make any kind of car ranging from an economical city car to the most exclusive of exotic cars. Don't like cars? No problem- build yourself a pickup truck, a sport utility vehicle (SUV), or even (don't laugh) a mini van. You could even make a commercial vehicle. Your choices can be whittled down to specific decades of automobile. So if you don't want a fancy-looking postmodern vehicle from the 2010s, you can make curve-happy 1990s car or go old school cool with a 1970s car. The options can even be subdivided into vehicles that can separated by what kind of engine layout you fancy for your automobile. You can choose to restrict your choices to front-engine bodies or try some cars not suited for front-engine placement.


Chassis.

Once you have come up with the base for your automobile, the next step is to build the chassis. This is where you begin to build the car from its chassis to the different performance bits. Think about the structure of your car as well as the different materials used to build your automobile. After thinking about the vehicle's body composition, you will then think about suspension setup among other things.

More importantly, this menu includes the various fixtures you can apply to your car. Don't like the body style you chose? You can morph certain parts of the car as close to be as close to the body style you dreamed of for your automobile. You can even paint up your car with any number of colors ranging from base colors to more interesting car paint styles. You may elect (for example) to have your car paint with lots of flakes. You can choose even some kind of color-shifting paint as well. You obviously want to add things like lights, door handles, grills, mufflers, and more. Everything is up to you to customize. Oh, and in case you're wondering- certain components to your car's design actually affect its performance (such as aerodynamic bits like spoilers and wings). So think carefully with each part you install onto your vehicle.


Engine.

Are you a talented engine builder? If you answered "no," then this section can challenge your thinking in terms of building a solid engine to power your automobile. Think about things such as engine construction, materials, engine type, performance builds, compression, ignition timing, engine aspiration, and more. Adjust a handful of options to better engineer your engine. Only you can build up your engine to the specifications you choose.

Once you complete your engine, you have the opportunity to test your engine to properly engineer it for your automobile. You may notice your engine may knock early on. No worries- you can always go back and adjust options to make your engine properly work.


Performance and Testing.

When you complete your vehicle in Automation, you can test it in a number of situations. The biggest test you can give your automobile is to take it to the Automation Test Track. Even though you can not see your vehicle in the flesh on a 3D track, the game simulates your vehicle around a track. Use this as an opportunity to further refine your automobile.


Marketing and Segments.

You have some decisions to make here. Is your car economical enough to meet the needs of the greater public-at-large? Do you prefer making automobiles only a select few can own and have performance characteristics no normal car can equal or better? Know your audience and build to your heart's content. Or just don't give a crap about your audience and just make something as bonkers as bonkers can get.


These sections give you a basic idea of what to expect in "Automation: The Car Tycoon Game." Now let me give you some thoughts of mine on this game from playing it.




Automation: The Car Company Tycoon Game - My Impressions


Let me tell you right now- this game will make you think! This game is not going to punish you for not being any kind of master automotive engineer. If anything, it can actually educate you in making a proper automobile. You will begin to appreciate designing proper automobiles by simply playing this game. The video tutorials can even assist you in making sure you are making the right choices in building your automobile from start to finish. Never before have I actually tried to envision designing a vehicle while also making sure it is practical and realistic. Then again, never before have there been a game where I could actually envision a potentially bonkers machine and actually make it work. Even your wildest fantasy automobiles can be built to if they were even remotely practical. This game has helped me to better appreciate the aspects of actually making an automobile and designing it all to be as practical (or maybe impractical) as possible. It gives you a different appreciation of automobiles if you previously have not had such appreciation.

I toned down a lot of the graphics options in "Automation: The Car Tycoon Game" just to make sure it plays well on my PC. The game does tend to crash a lot. Remember that Automation is an Early Access game as of the time of this initial blog post. These hopefully will be ironed out so that the game is more efficient.

The fact that a unique collaboration between "Automation: The Car Tycoon Game" and "BeamNG Drive" offers one of the most satisfying experiences of bringing your automotive creations to life. Having both programs can produce one of the greatest racing/driving experiences in all of gaming. The ability to export cars into "BeamNG.Drive" even allows you to race a proper 3D representation of the Automation Test Track rather than the simulated version in Automation! Even if you never actually become an automaker or even an automotive engineer, "Automation: The Car Tycoon Game" will allow you to live out some of your wildest automotive engineering fantasies. So go build that dream automobile of yours in Automation!


Video Preview.

Let the video below give you an idea of what all "Automation: The Car Tycoon Game" has to offer:


^ Automation Car & Engine Design Trailer

...and let this video get you excited about exporting your creations to "BeamNG Drive" to be driven (and crashed):


^ Automation + BeamNG: Exporter Update Release


For More Information...

If you would like to learn more about "Automation: The Car Company Tycoon Game," please visit www.automationgame.com.


I hope I helped sway your interest some regarding this game. When my blog post on "BeamNG.Drive" is complete, find it on my "John's Race Space" blog. I may or may not update this blog post to include a link to my BeamNG.drive post on JRS.





I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Feel free to add this game to your game collection if you enjoyed this look at the game. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Monday, November 12, 2018

Xiaomi Mi Box S

John Marine | 11/12/2018 05:35:00 PM | | | | Be the first to comment!
The Xiaomi Mi Box S is a set-top Android TV box powered by Android 8.1 "Oreo." This device from the Chinese manufacturer is an evolution of the Mi Box offering 4K streaming, Google Assistant, Google Chromecast, and more. It aims to be an all-in-one you can be proud of. After using it for a few days, I will let you know my thoughts on the Xiaomi Mi Box S. So therefore, welcome to another post of "John's Blog Space!"






Xiaomi Mi Box S


Let me show you the device I will be discussing here...

Xiaomi Mi Box S
^ from: banggood.com (best I could find) - The Xiaomi Mi Box S delivers an Android TV home entertainment experience and a gaming experience from a solid set-top box.

The Xiaomi Mi Box S is another attempt at Google providing a quality Android TV experience. It is a set-top box able to handle the duties of providing media consumption and even gaming. The Mi Box S runs on Android 8.1 "Oreo." The device has a sleek profile, though not as sleek as its previous iteration. It has a better Wi-Fi performance than its predecessor, and it is powered by a 2 GHz processor. The device comes with 8 GB of storage. It has Dolby and DTS sound quality. It utilizes Bluetooth 4.2 for your various Bluetooth devices. Most of all, it has a USB port that can be put in for other USB devices or even a USB hub. Just note that the Mi Box S has a 2.0 USB hub, so don't even think about putting in your USB 3.0 devices into it. The Mi Box S supports both wired and Wi-Fi connections. However, you may need to get a USB-powered dongle if you want to connect this device with an Ethernet cable. You can use Google Chromecast with it. If you have a Google Home device as well, you can use that in conjunction with the Mi Box S and its Google Assistant feature. Most importantly, you have access to all Google services and be part of the full Google/Android ecosystem.

Included in the package are the Xiaomi Mi Box S, an AC adapter, an HDMI cable, and a remote control. The remote control for the Mi Box S has a power button, a Google Speaking microphone, a four-way control with the enter button, an app button, back button, Home button, Netflix button, Live Channels button, and volume controls. You can speak into the remote control for voice searches or other voice features. The device also comes with a 3.5 mm audio jack. You can use the audio jack for private listening, but I haven't been successful using it for private listening unless I mute the TV. The headphone jack is not like one of the better Roku devices that have a remote control that you can hook in your headphones to.

The Mi Box S costs roughly $60 USD. Wal-Mart has a deal going on where you can pick up the Mi Box S along with Google Home Mini all in one bundle. This deal bundle costs about $80 USD.


My Story and Thoughts.

For me personally, this continues sort of a long story. I have used the Google Nexus Player for years before it was discontinued. I was looking at other options and came across the Xiaomi Mi Box. I ordered one online earlier this year, only to find it with crumpled up paperwork and worst of all- the actual Mi Box and its accessories missing! I got my money back after such poor packaging of the old Mi Box. Then when I learned of Xiaomi [quietly] unveiling the Mi Box S this past September, I went ahead and pre-ordered my Mi Box S from Wal-Mart online. Once I finally got my Mi Box S, I was ready to move on from my aging, yet still effective Google Nexus Player.

Most of my wanting to get a newer and better set top box was because of what the Mi Box had to offer apart from the ASUS-made Google Nexus Player. The Nexus Player didn't believe at all in external storage or other features without the need for an OTG cable. So to have the USB functionality built into the Mi Box S was a welcome sight. The Mi Box S just has so much that I wished the Nexus Player had. Its Bluetooth remote is a lot more responsive and snappy than the Nexus Player's remote. I liked that I could adjust the volume of the Mi Box S, unlike not being able to with the Nexus Player.

If you want a premium Android gaming experience, get the nVidia Shield. Otherwise, the Mi Box S still does a noble job of gaming for the most part. I haven't done too much gaming on the Mi Box S to question whether it is good for gaming or not. A problem I couldn't seem to get around was that I was unable to get my Mi Box S to pair with the ASUS game controller I had from my Nexus Player. I am not sure of this, but I think Xiaomi has its own dedicated Bluetooth game pad you can buy separately.

One last thing... this is my first-ever Xiaomi product I have used.


Now on to my Final Thoughts regarding this device.




Xiaomi Mi Box S: Final Thoughts


If you ask me, I am very pleased purchasing the Xiaomi Mi Box S. I am probably disappointed that I didn't get a Mi Box in proper packaging before learning of the Mi Box S. It does so much more than the Google Nexus Player I originally have used and enjoyed. You can not really go wrong in any such way by getting yourself the Mi Box S. Have you a Google Home Mini, you can have control of not only your media but also other connected devices in your house. Needless to say, you can't do much wrong by picking up a Mi Box S for your media consumption and even your gaming.

The Xiaomi Mi Box S is not a bad way to spend about $60 USD for a solid Android TV experience. If you get a Google Home Mini or some other Google device along with the Mi Box S, your set-top Android TV box can also serve as your fancy home network. Ease of use and not totally expensive- the Mi Box S is a winner in my book! It may not be the flashiest or most in-your-face Android TV experience, but it is certainly a worthy device to be in the Google ecosystem. Especially if you have used the Google Nexus Player before, think of the Mi Box S as a much improved Nexus Player. Don't let the fact this is exclusively sold through Wal-Mart deter you from thinking this is a great product. I say it's worth it to get one of these.


For More Information...

If you want to learn more about the Xiaomi Mi Box S, please visit the US Xiaomi Mi Box S page for more information. Or from Android's website, there is this page on the Mi Box S: Xiaomi Mi Box S on android.com.





The post has concluded. That concludes this look at the Xiaomi Mi Box S. I hope I have spurred your interest some if you are interested in getting a Xiaomi Mi Box S. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Thursday, November 8, 2018

10 Years on YouTube!

John Marine | 11/08/2018 11:23:00 PM | | Be the first to comment!
(UPDATED: November 15, 2018)

On November 8, 2008; "JohnMarineTube" was born on YouTube. I made my debut on YouTube on that day, then posted my first video of any kind a week later. It has been a long journey. For the longest, I wanted to make a return to YouTube, but never found the courage or came up with a proper video to show I'm back and haven't forgotten my YouTube audience. For this blog post, I want to offer thoughts on my 10th Anniversary on YouTube.


LATEST UPDATE(S)/REVISION(S)

NOV 15 2018 - added my first video on YouTube; edited post





My YouTube Journey.

I joined YouTube on November 8, 2008. A week later, I would post my first video, and you can see that video here:


^ "Introducing Myself"

For one thing, YouTube is a lot of work to make quality material consistently. I began mostly with a Creative webcam at 320x200 resolution videos and using a USB headset to offer audio. I later would go to pick up a Logitech webcam at about the same resolution. I really did not begin to feel in control until I got the Logitech QuickCam Pro 900- which was at the time, one of the best webcams to use. I later went from doing 320x200 videos to 640x480 videos. Windows Movie Maker used to be what I used to edit my videos. That is, until I bought Sony Vegas Movie Studio. I had a bit more control and even could create videos that didn't tax my computer's hard drive. I felt that I needed something better if I wanted to make videos away from my PC. And so therefore, I was looking for my first video camera. My first video camera was the Sony Bloggie. The Bloggie served me well in taking pictures and in the occasional video. I loved using it. The next step was a more proper camcorder. In that regard, I got myself an Insignia camcorder capable of HD-quality video. I don't think I ever successfully created a video 720p or greater with it and released it online. When I wanted something a bit better, I looked at the budget-friendly Samsung HMX-F90. Besides that, I went with a newer version of Sony Vegas Movie Studio (Version 13), and I even used Corel VideoStudio Pro X6. Even once, I made videos for YouTube using VSDC Free Video Editor as well as OBS Studio.

All the while, I tried all kinds of software and all kinds of tricks to try to expand my array of videos and video topics. I have been fairly pleased with my work.


Dealing With the Audience.

Even before I joined YouTube, I knew what I was getting into. I would deal with loads of people who have interests and personalities different from what I would consider normal. I knew I would encounter trolls, racists, homophobes, and people like that. I knew I wasn't going to be any kind of superstar, but I hated to be on the receiving end of somebody's hate.

Two things I learned: (1) be careful posting any video regarding government, ethnicity, religion, or anything like that; and (2) don't make current event videos. Case in point for my first point: I made a video about black college football. The whole thing was taken out of context, and I ended up with some pathetic comments. The second point regards making a video shortly after certain current events. I can't feel too bad about this because one of those current event videos ended up being one of my most-viewed. I posted a video about KanYe West interrupting Taylor Swift at the MTV Video Music Awards once. The video got up to 4,000 views in just two days. Then sadly, it would reach 5,000 views nine months later. I got the attention, but it was never enough to be one of the most popular videos around the time I posted it.

If something keeps me away from YouTube at times, it is dealing with a fickle audience on YouTube. Like I want to try to be more popular than I already am; but I have to deal consistently with people who just think I'm some big-lipped, robot-sounding person from Houston, Texas, USA. There was a time where the popular YouTuber "Rooster Teeth" died. Some commenters said that the lady who got emotional at this tragedy was crying fake tears. That just made me feel horrible that I am among this crowd trying to make my own videos.


Memorable Moments.

There was one YouTuber who wanted to set up a podcast or something to interview certain YouTubers. I had the honor of being one of those individuals. Me and this individual had about a 45-minute Skype chat. Unfortunately, the podcaster didn't save the material. We still had a great chat. I won't disclose names, but I wanted to offer that as Honorable Mention in my YouTube career.

Another cool moment to me was when "Inside Sim Racing" saw one of my videos and commented. It was nice to know some small-time YouTuber can get a decent comment from a major channel.

At one point, I asked a former YouTuber if she would entertain the thought of returning to YouTube. And as she returned, this lady even shouted out to me and thanked me for getting back on YouTube even if only briefly. I want to honor this lady if she's reading this. This is a lady named Candy. So thanks for adding to my YouTube career, Candy! :)


Plans for the Future.

"JohnMarineTube" has 430+ subscribers in the 10 years I've been on YouTube. I posted a few videos of different topics and styles. I have planned a return for the longest. However, I never got around to doing anything of interest. Once I find the strength to make something interesting, I will return to the YouTube circuit as if I never left.


Never Been to My YouTube Channel?

"JohnMarineTube" is my YouTube channel. To begin your journey into my YouTube realm, click on the link below:

JohnMarineTube

Thank all of you on YouTube who support my work and have supported my work.





This concludes my blog post about my YouTube channel. However here, I am still banging out solid blog posts. So be sure to Follow/Subscribe in some capacity if you enjoy my work. Following can go from you bookmarking my blogs to even Following using FeedBurner or Bloglovin. So PLEASE show your support any way you can! Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Thursday, October 25, 2018

Kiyomi

John Marine | 10/25/2018 10:35:00 PM | | | Be the first to comment!
I encountered @kiyomimusic on Myspace long ago. Kiyomi Hawley is a recording artist from New York City, New York, USA. She defines her music as "finding the magic in life, through word and song." Kiyomi is Japanese for "pure beauty." Considering her music career began in 2011, she surely is pure beauty in singing and personality. This sweet-faced recording artist has a fine singing voice and really delivers heart-felt passion and power in her singing voice. A big part of Kiyomi's life is that she was born and raised in a cult. Even still, music has shaped her life for the better.

So who is Kiyomi? She would be this lady:

Kiyomi Hawley
^ from: (Amazon) - Kiyomi Hawley, recording artist. Isn't she adorable? :)


Singing Preview.

To showcase Kiyomi, allow me to showcase her latest song, called "Meet You There." Have a listen:


^ "Kiyomi Hawley - Meet You There"

I must say "Meet You There" is a beautiful song. Perhaps you enjoyed hearing Kiyomi with this example I provided.


What I Would Tell Kiyomi (if she read this)?

I have respected you and your music for quite some time. I can only wish you continued success with your music and your life. I only want the best for you in all aspects of life.


Would I Want to Meet Kiyomi?

From the times I've communicated with her, Kiyomi is very humble and sweet. I surely would want to meet her.


For More Information...

To learn more about Kiyomi Hawley and her music, please visit kiyomimusic.com. From there, you can further connect with Kiyomi and her music through her social media platforms.





A variety of topics and a lot of opinion is what drives this blog. Did you enjoy my work? If you did, please don't forget to Follow or Subscribe in some capacity. Or at least add my blog(s) to your Bookmarks. Just support me any way you can! Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Cord Cutting

John Marine | 10/23/2018 11:55:00 PM | | | | Be the first to comment!
If television is boring or pricey, you want something to watch instead. These "cord cutters" are looking to things like Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Roku and more for TV consumption. People want away with cable. Regardless, there are a number of different ways to enjoy television without being bound to a contract with Dish, DirecTV, and other providers. Even various series and such are shown exclusively on platforms like Netflix. This is a brief post regarding cord cutting.


cord cutting cable satellite TV
^ from: (The Montreal Gazette) - Care to get rid of Cable TV? There are many "cord cutting" options available to you.


Why Cord Cut?

To some people, people want better ways to enjoy television media. So people sometimes look to something like YouTube or Twitch. Some people who love sports but are dissatisfied with regular TV often look to live streams or highlights online. Some people even want a broader variety of content to view. A lot can be available online for viewing pleasures and catering to different entertainment tastes.

My parents have had Dish for 16 years before going to something else. We did Sling TV, and that was like... 30 second to almost a minute's delay with not as many channels to choose from. Then later, we went to XFINITY X1. I do like the XFINITY XI experience. Most of it, though, is to see my Houston Rockets and Houston Astros play on AT&T Sportsnet. Having lots of channels from Dish was something I missed. XFINITY X1 still gets the job done for me and my family, though. But even I look for something to watch on Android TV and my Android set top TV.


Should You Cord Cut?

You should probably consider cord cutting if you want to enjoy television without having to stick with the modern culture of television. Certainly if you're the binge-watcher, definitely enjoy the likes of Netflix and Hulu. While I don't watch television too much, I do admit I watch Twitch and YouTube for when nothing is really on regular TV. So I have my options for TV media consumption. If you want something different to watch from regular TV (and especially from a service provider), then check out the many cord cutting options available to you to enjoy television in a different way and with different sources.


(Some) Cord Cutting Options.

Care to cord cut? Here are some options for you all:

Netflix
Hulu
VUDU
Roku
Android TV (more an operating system than some service)
Apple TV
PlayStation Vue
KODI (formerly XBMC)

There are plenty more to choose from, but this will get you started.





Thank you for visiting my blog! Care to discuss? Here's my question to you:

Would you consider cord cutting? Could you enjoy television without having cable or satellite TV?

Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Monday, September 17, 2018

Blake Stone: Planet Strike

John Marine | 9/17/2018 01:36:00 AM | | | Be the first to comment!
Blake Stone returns in "Blake Stone: Planet Strike!". Released a year after "Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold," this game offers a somewhat different experience in the continuation of the story. This blog post reviews the sequel to Aliens of Gold.






Blake Stone: Planet Strike


In "Blake Stone: Planet Strike," you are chasing down Dr. Pyrus W. Goldfire to various installations of Goldfire where his lethal creations are still developed. You were able to destroy the many minions of Dr. Goldfire through the first Blake Stone game. You are now looking to eliminate both Dr. Goldfire and his other creations once and for all. There are 20 different areas to explore. Rather than go to one location with multiple floors, you are instead investigating 20 different areas going from teleporter to teleporter. When you get to Area 20, there is no Security Cube to destroy. This is where you will face Dr. Goldfire one-on-one!

This game is not terribly unique compared to its previous title. Really, most of this game has some retouched and updated graphics compared to its previous title. You actually can see the weapon bob up and down as you go through the levels. This would be a feature of first-person shooters for some time to come. Different with this game is that the map of each stage is permanent in your heads-up display, and that display of the map rotates. You can now use your map to know where exactly you are without needing to use the Tab key. There are some certain perks to using this new system. Explained later, you can use certain features to find certain entities as well as secret walls in conjunction with your radar map.

Unlike "Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold," there was never any shareware version of "Blake Stone: Planet Strike" that I know of. So this was exclusively a retail title.


Gameplay.

Instead of six locations with nine floors each, you are instead going through 20 individual areas where Goldfire's creations are still being developed. And rather than traversing by elevator, you are instead going from teleporter to teleporter. The goal of each stage is to destroy the Security Cube in each area to access the next of the different installations. To destroy the Security Cube, you must first find the Fission Detonator. The Fission Detonator is a red barrel you must place by the Security Cube to destroy it. Once the Security Cube is destroyed, you must find the the teleporter you entered the area in and go to the next installation until all of the installations have been defeated.

You can always return to a previous level to improve your score, restock health, or restock weapons. Getting 400K points will give you an Extra Life. It is a one-time deal. Get a MEGA SCORE to get free full health and full ammo. Find all possible points, keep all Informants alive (if any), and defeat every enemy to earn 50K bonus points for each accomplishment. If you want to challenge yourself in this game, try to play this game on Veteran difficulty and earn all bonuses for each area (even in the Secret areas)!

A word of warning: try not to forget where the main teleporter is. This game doesn't indicate where the main teleporter is on the map, unlike finding the flashing blue dot on the map in "Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold." One thing you can do is make a separate save file when you start each level so you can gain an idea of where the main teleporter is.

Another word of warning: the game can be pretty dark at times. So you may want to disable lighting if you can't see around the levels.


Items and Weapons.

A lot of the same dynamics and elements from "Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold" appear again in "Blake Stone: Planet Strike." However, there are two new items to collect- Magnification Energy and the Anti-Plasma Cannon. The Magnification Energy can be applied The previously-mentioned Fission Detonator is also new, but you can not use it as a normal weapon. The Anti-Plasma Cannon delivers the destructive power of the Plasma Discharge Unit, but in mostly rocket launcher-style form. The Magnification Energy is used when you zoom in with your map radar. Zoom down to 2x to see visible actors and entities. Zoom down to 4x to find secret walls indicated by cyan dots. The longer you are in either zoom mode, the more your magnification energy is depleted. So use this feature wisely and be sure to pick up Magnification Energy where you can.

Be very careful using both the Plasma Discharge Unit and the Anti-Plasma Cannon! The blast impact from both weapons can destroy Energy Packs and even attack anything in radius- even including Informants who may be in the blast range. You also could take damage from the blast radius from the Anti-Plasma Cannon.


Enemies.

Many of the same enemies from "Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold" return but with some new artwork. You even will be fighting against the Guardian enemies from "Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold," such as the Spider Mutant from the first mission of "BSAOG." Many of the same offensive strategies from "Aliens of Gold" apply towards defeating the various enemies in "Planet Strike." There are a few new enemies, however. These include some basic enemies as well as some newer boss-type enemies.

Just like in "Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold," if you see a Bio-Tech, remember to talk to them before you shoot them. Any stage that does not have Informants means you are free to kill the Bio-Techs without penalty. You know if a stage doesn't have Informants in them if you see "N/A" in the "Informants Alive" stats.

About every five or so areas, you will encounter a unique boss character. A lot of them may be guarding Security Cubes or important areas. Area 20 has no Security Cube- you will instead be ready to face Dr. Goldfire one-on-one once you find him!


Now that I have given you a general idea on this game, let me offer you my thoughts on it.




Blake Stone: Planet Strike! - Final Thoughts


"Blake Stone: Planet Strike" doesn't offer too much to the table, nor does it offer too much that the previous game provided. This game is actually a bit more frustrating than the previous title, "Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold." A few things make Planet Strike not as enjoyable as the previous title. The game still remains intense and stressing. If you enjoyed the first Blake Stone game, this one is going to be just as entertaining. Just be ready for a somewhat more frustrating experience. The music is great in this game. I found it a bit annoying that the game has to keep warning me to find the Security Cube once I have the Fission Detonaor. I could be trying to find push walls or something, and the interface will remind me that I have to find the Security Cube.

"Blake Stone: Planet Strike" game has its annoyances, but it is otherwise an intense first-person shooter.


Video Preview.

Let me give you a video look at "Blake Stone: Planet Strike." Take a look at this video and see if this game interests you:


^ Blake Stone: Planet Strike - Playthrough - Area 1


If you like this game, you can buy it on GOG.com and get some extra goodies to enhance the experience.





I am pleased you could make it out to see my latest blog post. Subscribe/Follow if you enjoy my work. Get social with me on social media to keep up with my work further. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Mondello Park

John Marine | 9/12/2018 01:22:00 AM | | | Be the first to comment!
The only Irish international motor racing circuit is Mondello Park International Racing Circuit. Mondello Park is Ireland's premier racing facility. Situated in Kildare (or Caragh?), Ireland; this 2.268-mile (3.503-kilometer) race course features 13 corners along with a pretty nice flow overall to it. I will be sure to mention this racing track in further context with this blog post.

NOTES: This a blog post I first created in 2014, but I never finished the post until now in 2018. So this post was mostly four years in the making! I also found out this is the first time I blogged about a race track in over three years! What is old is new again!






Mondello Park International Racing Circuit


Here is a look at Mondello Park (picture may change if I am unable to use it for copyright reasons):

Mondello Park International Racing Circuit
^ from: (Motor Sport Magazine; best I could find and use) - Mondello Park in Ireland.

Mondello Park was established in 1968. Many gamers may have first played this track in "ToCA Race Driver 3." There are a good amount of elevation changes on a rather twisty track. The layout I know of best is the Mondello Park International layout. It has played host to a number of motorsport disciplines. Among others, it has hosted touring car racing, single-seater formula racing, motorcycle racing, and even drifting.

If you ask me, Mondello Park is a pretty tough course. Its layouts have a competitive flow that will keep you honest all lap long. This is a lot more of a technical course than any high-speed battleground. You folks over in Ireland have a very solid race track in Mondello Park.


Video Preview.

Here is a video lap of this challenging course:


^ Mondello International - Qualy Lap


For More Information...

To learn more about Mondello Park, please visit their official website at: www.mondellopark.ie.





I love all of my readers and visitors worldwide. Maybe some of you Irish folks can appreciate me talking about your country's fine motor racing facility. Be sure to Subscribe/Follow in some capacity if you enjoy my work. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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