Super Smash Bros saves the Wii U

Posted Posted by Brent in Comments 0 comments

After years of development, the fourth installment in the wildly popular Super Smash Bros franchise is available for purchase! The title has already been available for Nintendo's handheld 3DS for a few months, but the game released just two weeks ago for Nintendo's Wii U console. 
Grab some friends!  It's Smash Bros time!

The timely release of this game for the holiday season is incredible news for the company. Although the Wii U released in late 2012, the console has caused Nintendo to operate at a financial loss for the past few years. For the fiscal year of 2013, for instance, Nintendo lost $456 million. The main problems with the Wii U thus far have been a lack of games to purchase, weaker processing power compared to the PS4 and Xbox One, a lack of advertising, and general confusion about the system's unique game-pad component.

However, things are starting to shape up for the console. With the release of Mario Kart 8 this summer, customers purchased 2.82 million Wii U's in the span of just one month. This doubled the rate at which Wii U consoles were selling, and since more people around the globe owned Nintendo's console, software sales began to increase as well.
Wii U sales analysis for Apr - Sept 2014. Hardware and software sales are up by 200%!

The Wii U officially became profitable in October. There have been 7 million Wii U's shipped world wide, which is behind Sony's 10 million PS4's, but ahead of Microsoft's 5 million Xbox One's. This was a crucial step for the company - now that the Wii U is turning a profit, Nintendo stands to earn a fortune on Super Smash Bros 4 sales. Historically, Super Smash Bros has been in the top 10 highest-selling games list for each console, earning 5 million on the N64, 7 million on the Gamecube, and 12 million on the Wii.

Nintendo estimates that, just as Mario Kart 8 doubled Wii U sales this summer, Super Smash Bros sales will double console sales again this holiday season. If this is true, Wii U sales will climb to 14 million worldwide. Depending on how well the PS4 and Xbox One sell this Christmas, this may mean Wii U becomes the highest selling console of this generation!

Regardless of which company sells the most consoles, it is great to see another video game company turn profitable. Many business analysts have expressed concerns that video game consoles may be coming to an end very soon, thanks to the success of mobile gaming on smart phones. Last generation, the Nintendo Wii was wildly successful thanks to its cheap price and accessibility to "casual" gamers - people who do not play video games very often. To put this in perspective, the Nintendo Wii sold over 80 million copies worldwide, which is more than triple the amount of Wii U's, PS4's, and Xbox One's sold combined!
The birth of smart phones. The death of gaming consoles?

With the introduction of smartphones in 2007, however, the appeal of video game consoles to casual gamers evaporated. Why pay hundreds of dollars per console and $60 per game when I can play games for free on the phone I already own? This very real problem has made it much more difficult for Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo to turn a profit.

However, now that Nintendo stands to earn some serious profit with Smash Bros, video game consoles may yet live on another generation. Even though smart phones may have rendered the industry less lucrative than it once was, console gaming is still a profitable venture - for now. With any luck, this ailing form of entertainment will remain relevant and live on for future generations.

Make sure to do your part and pick up a copy of Super Smash Bros for Wii U this Christmas!

Have a Merry Christmas!

Posted Posted by Josh Ledbetter in , , Comments 0 comments

(Silent Night)
Silent Windows 8,
Holy Windows 8.

(The First Noel)
The First Laptop
The angels did say
Was to certain poor shepherds
In fields as they lay.

(Little Drummer Boy)
'Mac', they told me,
Pa-rum-pum-pum pum.

(The 12 Days of Christmas)
On the second day of Christmas,
My Facebook gave to me,
Two turtle doves,
And an add to my family tree!

(Merry Christmas Everybody)
So here it is, merry Christmas,
Everybody's having fun.
Look to the DormNet now,
It's only just begun.

(God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen)
With true love and Internet
Each other now embrace.

(We Wish You A Merry Christmas)
Good tidings we bring
To you and your Anti-Virus.

Merry Christmas from all of us at DormNet! We hope that these songs have brightened your day, and that you have a wonderful Christmas break!

I'm Dreaming of a Tech Christmas

Posted Posted by Brennan Thomason in Comments 0 comments

Merry Christmas from DormNet!  Every Christmas, there's always the problem of knowing what gifts to give to people who are tech-savvy.  A lot of the technology they want to get their hands on is a bit on the pricey side and can be out of a lot of people's budgets (especially for college students).  There are some techie gifts that you can get on a budget, however, that will make all of your tech-savvy friends and family smile.

Most smartphone users experience the frustration of running out of battery too early in the day.  A portable battery pack such as the one above is a great stocking stuffer and a great all-around gift.  There are lots of options when picking one of these, but the important thing to look at is the milliamp-hour (mAh) rating of the battery.  The more mAh's you have, the more "juice" the battery stores and can deliver to your phone.  A typical value is 2200 mAh, which allows you to have a few more hours of use, but again, the higher the mAh capacity rating, the more you can charge your phone.  There are lots of different options in terms of sizes and shapes, and even outputs.  There are some portable batteries that allow you to charge multiple devices at once, like the one below.  These devices can be found online at vendors like or eBay, or can be purchased at a local business like WalMart or Target and can range anywhere from $8 and up, depending on the features of the battery and the brand.

Another great device to have is a Bluetooth audio receiver.  It is a small device that allows you to turn any set of headphones (3.5 mm jack) into a bluetooth-enabled headset with media controls and a microphone.  This particular model, the MOCREO Bluetooth Clipper can be found on Amazon for just $12.80.  This makes a great stocking stuffer for everyone in the family.  They're very easy to use, so even folks who aren't tech savvy can benefit from having one of these great devices.
Another brand of audio receiver is the iRainy NFC Bluetooth receiver that allows you to connect quickly to the device via NFC (can only be used with NFC-capable devices) by simply tapping the receiver and the smartphone together.  It has a digital optical audio port in addition to the typical 3.5 mm stereo jack, so it's compatible with many of the newest sound systems such as sound bars and other home audio devices that have high-quality digital optical cable ports.

While we're on the subject of audio, another great, inexpensive stocking stuffer is a simple audio splitter.  They can be just a 2-way splitter or more complicated like the 5-way splitter seen below.  Audio splitters allow people to share their music and watch videos and such together without having to blast the speakers out loud.  This is handy for long car and plane rides, for sharing your favorite study playlist with a few friends, or just enjoying the media you're sharing with a friend along with them.  These devices can be found just about anywhere electronics are sold, but they can get pricey if you're not careful.  Really, a $5 adapter is going to work just as well as a $10 adapter, so don't feel like you have to spend a whole lot to get a good one.

And last, but not least, is the Grid-It technology organizer by Cocoon.  It is a portfolio, of sorts, that allows disorganized tech users to keep things under wraps.  The bungee strap grid allows a highly-customizable layout that will suit the individual preferences of everyone on your list this Christmas.  It is highly adjustable to fit nearly any device and provides a simple, organized, clutter-free way to carry all those different cords and devices around with you for whenever you need them. 

This is a very short list of all the possible gadgets that exist out there, but hopefully this will have sparked some inspiration for finding the perfect gift for your tech-savvy loved ones this season.  So happy shopping, everyone!  May you appease those who sing, "Oh, bring us some techie gadgets and bring some right here!" this Christmas as you wrap up your holiday shopping.  We at DormNet want to wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year!


Posted Posted by Sam Tripp in , Comments 0 comments

Does the picture above look familiar? We are all fairly familiar with the frustrations by this type of security validation, known as CAPTCHA.  CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. Essentially, it is a way for websites to validate that the person trying to use their site is a human, and not a computer programmed to spam or do other malicious deeds. The most common type of CAPTCHA is called reCAPTCHA which uses distorted words or series of letters to determine the user's authenticity. The thought behind this is that humans are exceedingly more capable at recognizing distorted words and letters and so can easily validate that they are, in fact, human. However, this is not always the case. I (and many others I'm sure) have myself been foiled by this type of validation as I sometimes can't actually read the letters because they are so distorted. Not only that, but computers have gotten to the point where they can correctly solve even the most difficult reCAPTCHA with 99.8% accuracy - likely better than many humans! So, in response to this, Google has developed a new kind of CAPTCHA. But instead of making it more complicated to beat the computers, it is as simple as checking a box.

Recaptcha anchor@2x Meet Googles ambitious new CAPTCHA that makes it easier to prove youre human

Google has developed an API called No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA that websites can start using to improve both the ease of validation and the security of only humans passing the test. The actual clicking of the box isn't the most important part. Google actually looks at the behavior of the person clicking the box such as the movements of the mouse, the pauses and time it takes, etc. to determine whether you are human which is very hard for a computer to replicate. But what if the CAPTCHA determines you are not a human? Then you might see the more familiar reCAPTCHA word puzzles or a more advanced puzzle like the one below which has you matching similar images which computers are a long way from being able to do effectively. Websites such as Snapchat, WordPress and Humble Bundle have already begun using this service, and it won't be long before it is commonly used all over the internet.

cat captcha Meet Googles ambitious new CAPTCHA that makes it easier to prove youre human

Mac vs. PC

Posted Posted by Mack Foster in , Comments 0 comments

Its a battle as old as technology itself. Its a rivalry that can ruin friendships, bring down corporations and inspire some rather creative (and humorous) advertisements. But do we really know the fundamental differences between a Windows PC and Macintosh? This post will attempt to explain some of the basic differences between the PC and Mac. 

Hello I'm a Mac

Apple's line of computer hardware are called "Macs". Laptop variants are referred to as MacBooks, while the desktop variant is called an iMac. The operating system (OS) used by the Mac computers is called OS X. Currently, Macs use Apple's latest OS, OS X 10.10 "Yosemite".

Apple has been and continues to produce both software and hardware, often in synergy with another. Apple typically couples the release of an updated OS with an updated product. New versions of iOS for iPhones and iPads are typically released during the launch of a new iPhone or iPad. Similarly, new OS X updates are released the same time new Macs are launched.

What this means is that Apple produces both the hardware and the software for that hardware.This effectively allows Apple to "optimize and protect" its products. Since Apple's OS X will only be compatible with its own line Mac computers, Apple can make presumptions about what hardware it will be functioning on because Apple can extensively test its OS with every piece of hardware it releases.

However, since Apple manufactures both the hardware and the software of its products, you'll only ever need one machine. This can lead to inflated prices in upwards of $1,000. In fact, the entry level Macbook Air 13" is priced at $999. A $1,099 iMac is actually seen as a bargain!

In addition, iOS and OS X have been lambasted for being closed off to customization as compared to other mobile and desktop operating systems, such as Windows and Android. Apple trades extensive customization for security and simplicity.

Hello I'm a PC

Microsoft is historically a software company, known for producing the widely popular OS called "Windows." Microsoft has also produced a mobile OS of the same name for its line of Nokia smartphones, and a modified version of its desktop OS for tablets called "Windows RT." Currently, Windows 8.1 is the current  version available, with Windows 10 in production.

As mentioned above, Microsoft has been known to ship software rather than hardware, as opposed to Apple. The only exception to this the recently released line of Surface tablets. The Surface tablets are the first pieces of hardware manufactured by Microsoft in a long time. While Microsoft only ships operation systems, several manufactures produce hardware for the Windows OS. Essentially, Windows can run on several computers not manufactured by Microsoft. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage.

On one hand, Microsoft's Windows is not limited to only a few lines of hardware and can be dispersed amongst several variants produced by several manufactures. This allows for Windows to be widely distributed and thus leads to lower priced computers. Typically PCs can range for $300 to $800.

One the other hand, Microsoft cannot optimize its Windows OS for specific hardware. Thus, the use of device drivers comes into play in order to establish compatibility with certain products and applications. However, not all applications and products are compatible with all hardware models.

Pick a side

Are you a Mac? Or a PC?

Microsoft Office Gone Mobile

Posted Posted by Jenna Hayes in Comments 0 comments

Microsoft Office is now available for iPhone, iPad, and Android... FOR FREE!

In an effort to keep customers hooked on Word, PowerPoint, an Excel, the software giant made this surprise move in the beginning of November. Microsoft just recently announced its new strategic partnership with Dropbox to incorporate the cloud storage system into office on all desktops, mobile phones, and web services. You'll no longer need an Office 365 subscription to store documents in the cloud or make edits. Users can now download office for your smart mobile device and store all documents in the cloud using Dropbox without spending a penny. Yay!

"We're taking that same user experience we provide online to the native apps of iOS and Android. We want to make sure that our customers can be productive across all the devices they have" explains Microsoft's head of Office marketing Michael Atalla. Since they already offer free web apps on desktop, their goal was just to extend their strategy by offering the apps on mobile devices as well.

As the population continues to shift more towards smart phone usage, Microsoft's goal is to stay relevant by offering Office for those who work on the go. The key here seems to be a strategic move to keep competition out of the mobile space and Microsoft up on top. There are many other apps out there that are offered for free and are easy to use. The nightmare for Microsoft is that we, as consumers, would realize that we don't need Office to prepare our documents, so why would be pay for it on our mobile devices? Thus, the reason we get it for free. Having Microsoft on our smart devices will also allow us to easily switch over from device to device without disruption.

Thanks Microsoft!

Office iPad screenshot

Facebook Messenger! Friend or Foe?

Posted Posted by Drew Locke in , Comments 0 comments

I'm sure most everyone reading this post has seen the picture above and if you are anything like me you don't like being told what to do or pushed around. But Facebook did just that by making it required for customers with the Facebook app to download a separate app just for messaging. This inflexible change set off an explosion of complaints from Facebook users. The greatest of these complaints involved the blunt terms of service allowing Facebook to have access to information and control multiple apps on your phone. Facebook has refuted by saying that the wording just sounds worse than it actually is. I thought that I would provide you with all of the questionable items contained in the agreement and let you choose if you want to take the risk!

  1. Allows the app to call phone numbers without your intervention. 
  2. Allows the app to send SMS messages. This may result in unexpected charges. 
  3. Allows the app to record audio at any time without your confirmation.
  4. Allows the app to use the camera at any time without your confirmation.
  5. Allows the app to read you phone's call log, including data about incoming and outgoing calls.
  6. Allows the app to read data about your contacts stored on your phone, including the frequency with which you've called, emailed, or communicated in other ways with specific individuals.
  7. Allows the app to read personal profile information stored on your device, such as your name and contact information.
  8. Allows the app to get a list of accounts known by the phone.
Those are the items that struck out to me! I would think twice before I give that much permission to an app. 

Plus having that little bubble bugging me whenever I have a message is way to invasive and annoying!