Solbot Energy Rush

Solbot Energy Rush is a mobile game where you collect orbs to create renewable energy. It is , at least, a game which focuses on 21st Century energy issues. There is information accessible from within the game to give you tips and ideas for creating a more sustainable planet. To be a true educational game I’d like that information to be coming up as I play. The little robot changes colour as you go through the game levels and you collect the energy orbs which match the colour of the robot. It’s a drop down and collect game and then you need the navigational skills to be able to avoid the energy balls you don’t want to collect.

It’s a good game to have on your phone to fill in time if you are having to wait for something. It didn’t work so well on my iPad Air which I have had since 2015. It kept hanging. That might not be the game’s problem. I am on an Australian nbn connection which can drift in and out at times and then create lag on some apps. We are still putting in the infrastructure for our nbn and these sorts of things cause band width problems.

On my phone Solbot Energy Rush has worked perfectly fine and has been advantageous to me to build up my thumb skills. I don’t naturally use my thumbs on my phone as some people do. One of the advantages of playing different games is they get you good at screen skills. There are times when the robot moves of its own accord and I have been blown up by bad energy. That doesn’t bother me because its’ part of the repetitious learning in games to enhance your skills.

I quite like the graphics. I think they are well designed for a phone screen which has such a small screen real estate. Everything stands out well and is placed appropriately. You don’t make inadvertent clicks because the graphics are in the wrong place. I haven’t minded the adverts either. There have been things I have seen which have interested me and I have already downloaded one of the games which was advertised. For me  it’s good because I won’t naturally go looking for that type of information.

My favourite phone game is Bejewelled Blitz and I find Solbot Energy Rush to be another good option. It’s a Unity built game by Freakout games.  They  have a Facebook page  and are on Twitter @freakoutgames. They are pleasant and polite to deal with. They were keen to resolve my iPad issues with the game so they take user experience seriously. There’s another review of this game on XNVR. In the end, you find the games which suit your needs but this one is worth a try.

You can get the Apple version for iPad and iPhone from the App Store here and the android version  for  other tablets and phones  from the Google Play store here.

 

 

Puzzle Craft 2

Puzzle Craft 2Last time I blogged about Puzzle Craft 2 was 5th May and I said then it would take me the rest of the year to collect all the thousands of resources to achieve the next castle upgrade. 6000 of this, 8000 of that. Drudgery at its finest and a massive challenge. I’ve done it , though. I collected all those countless thousands of salt and water and who knows what. I was so over it. I got my castle upgrade and the game was kind enough to give me an easy upgrade for which I already had all the resources and now I am on a reasonable upgrade which I have nearly finished. On the other side of that huge amount of resource collection I am wiser, I do not like the game any less and I have been able to complete those next upgrades comfortably. I had to keep myself going through all that drudgery. Collecting coins and runes became important. I had to use coins to buy resources to bulk up my own collections which were pretty paltry. I had to use the runes to initially buy more coins to then buy more resources but about half way through I started buying more workers to increase the resource and assets output of the game. I have since celebrated my big achievement by paying cash to get 10 workers to invest in the game.

The game is very fair in that sense. It is not a game which bullies you for money. It is not a game which bullies you into a certain way of playing. It is not a game which will stop your progress because you don’t have cash to invest in it. It’s not a game which limits you. It pushes you into situations which force you to think your way out. You have to concentrate on strategy and deployment of game technique. There are no easy outs and no artificial ways of playing. You have to do your homework on  the game and work out how to best manage any given situation. It is important to change game play to suit what you are trying to achieve. Sometimes I was playing all the villages to get what I needed. Other times I am playing the last three villages to get the best returns. Currently I am back to playing all the villages to get access to the treasure chests. I have run down coins, runes and experience points with the castle upgrades. I need to build those up as well as collect what I need for the next castle upgrade.

Then there is the first seaboard village with the unattainable mandrake. As I blogged before , the official site tells you the mandrake is not available. So why have it? You can never use that village to get experience points is what it means. You can use it , though, to get resources and built up runes and coins. For me , it’s always been a good village to go to as well when I just want to play and be left alone and away from the frustration of the game. Everything can be done in an uncomplicated, satisfying way and then when I have had a break I go back into the thick of it. There is a lot to think about, to manage and then there are all sorts of boards to play. They all play out differently and that’s one of the reasons I don’t tire of the game.  Besides, I want to see where this all ends up…

Working on your privacy

Two things you can do without going any further are switching off bluetooth unless you need it and turning off location if you  don’t need it. Location is still detected via Google but  you  do not need to go out of your way to tell everyone where you are. Turn location on when you really need it. For some reason my Linux Mint 17.2 has bluetooth on by default. For privacy’s sake it should be the other way around.

Now for some links which will help you to make some good decisions about privacy and know how to manage it:

Lifewire has 10 things for you to look at to help improve your privacy.

spreadprivacy has tips for iPad and iPhone users.

wired   has tips for managing privacy on android devices.

PC Mag has some good information to help you manage Google privacy.

The video gives you security information about Safari.

On websites and accounts you use, check your settings. Look at the privacy policy for the websites and accounts. None of this is perfect at the moment. Privacy and security are ongoing issues. You also need to be prepared to let key people know what you think are acceptable and unacceptable terms of privacy. If they don’t know they will do what they think is right.

 

 

Data Protection and Privacy

This video was prepared for the UNCTAD conference in 2016. UNCTAD stands for United Nations Trade and Development. It has been working on helping developing nations engage safely with global trade and development. Two years down the track and we all seem to be developing nations when it comes to data protection and privacy. The general consensus seems to be that it’s all out of hand and we are powerless in protecting our online information and profile. Our data doesn’t belong to us and that is the biggest bone of contention. This post serves as an introduction. The issues around data protection and privacy are many and varied. The video highlights some major concerns and things to look for. It will take a number of posts to look at all of this in more depth.

For me , it boils down to 3 things:

  1. Selling data for data mining is big business. People need a  lot of data so they can sell it and then people package it and make money out of selling it. Not unlike coal mining.
  2. We need huge quantities of data for artificial intelligence and developing humanoids/robots etc etc. AI is already serving some very good purposes. How can we help without putting our information at risk?
  3. Data is being ,and has been , collected from us and shared without our permission. What are our rights and how do we balance the need for data to further develop the technology we need and like and maintain integrity with regard to respect for individual privacy?

It has become clear to me that different people are concerned about privacy and data breaches in different ways and for different reasons. We need to have a decent conversation about all of this so we can benefit form data and information sharing .

Should babies use technology?

Until you are with a baby, you wouldn’t even think about how aware they are of technology from a very young age. Babies can engage with technology long before they can walk and talk . Is it because it is shiny? Maybe , but they are also very motivated to find out what technology is about. Should they be allowed? Yes. How much? Not a lot. Devices are connected to the internet and mobile carriers. They put out a certain amount of radiation and screens can be backlit which strains eyes. You cannot stop a baby from learning about its environment. As with everything else, there has to be adult supervision and guidance and a range of activities to help develop a little being. Babies born now are surrounded by technology. The best thing you can do as an adult it help them to learn safely.

I have spent a lot of time with my little grandson who turned one in August. From about 7 months he was desperate to know what mobile phones and iPads were about and what they could do. He could distinguish between all the notification sounds. He knew what you were supposed to do. He could mimic swiping and gesturing. With me he had clear rules. First one was phones and tablets don’t go on the floor. They are very special and you have to be gentle. Second rule was he could have 3 minutes on my phone and 5 minutes on my iPad. The rest of the time there were so many other things we could be doing which didn’t involve technology.

I was trying to show him how to press on an icon one day. He could swipe but not press. He understood because he picked my finger up and used that to press on the icon because he knew he couldn’t do it. I showed him how menus work so he started to look for menus and see if he could open them. I downloaded a paint program and he loved being able to draw lines on the screen.  I showed him games and he liked the animals in farm games, realised you could swipe for match 3 games and tried to bang bubbles in a falling bubbles game. Most of all ,though, he has liked exploring by himself. He learned quickly that his hands mustn’t be on the screen when I put in the passcode. He knows nothing will happen until I put in the passcode. He wanted to know how things got into the iPad and examined it from all angles trying to work out how it made a screen work. He worked out the case will shut the screen off and if he opens the case it is there again. I have downloaded him learning apps. One has a cat which he loves because he loves his own pet cat. That one teaches colours in all sorts of ways. He understands what the paintbrush does. The other one he likes has a monster and you pat his tummy and he breathes and comes up with ideas.  So, from around 7 months, this little boy has wanted to learn about technology. Not with me or his parents does he do it unsupervised  or for very long. We have made video calls to someone he knows and the first time baffled him but now he knows that the person on the screen is someone he can see in real life and he loves video calls. He tries to be a part of them.

Babies can learn all sorts of things and they should. Sensible use comes from being shown how to use something sensibly and no, phones and tablets are not for in your mouth!

Josefine Grimm-Blenk

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