Gift Guide: Favorite Board Games For All Ages

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Back in the olden days, before the kids had their smartphones and their Nintendo tapes and their Tivo, families used to get together in a room, open a paper box, and remove a set of boards and pieces. By following a set of rules, families could play these “board games” together and have loads of fun until the candles burned out and someone died of dysentery.

You can relive those halcyon nights with these exciting boardgames that are great for the whole family (we play them all) and one that’s more fun at parties where adult beverages are being served. These are almost all play-tested by my family and peers and we all had a hoot.


Labyrinth – The best game for younger kids who can’t read good. To play, you put down a set of corridor tiles and draw “prize” cards. You move your piece – a wizard – along open corridors towards your prize. You can change the corridors by sliding a card into place to move things left, right, up, or down or even knock other wizards off the board. The winner collects the most prizes. It’s quite a bit of fun and quite inexpensive at $22.

Small World – This game is a bit more complex and requires more strategy, but there is little reading involved. You play a race of monsters or men trying to take control of a small world. You can destroy other pieces on the board by overrunning them and sometimes your race is destroyed and you have to pick a new one. Be warned: there are lots of small pieces and setup takes a while but it’s definitely worth it. Great for kids six and older and some adults. It’s available for $35 and is one of our family favorites.

Forbidden Island – This is a four-player cooperative game that pits you and your team against a collapsing island. In the game you hop from one of 24 island sections to the next and as the game progresses parts of the island “sink” and are uninhabitable. You play characters – a diver who can swim, a pilot who will eventually get you all off the island, a navigator who can move other players, and an explorer who can move diagonally. The goal is to grab four treasures and drag them to the landing where the pilot will get them off the island.

It seems a bit difficult at first, but with a bit of practice you can have a nice spot of cooperative fun. It’s also quite cheap at $13 and good for quiet gatherings or wakes.

Cards Against Humanity – What do you get when you put 550 horrible jokes in a box and make a bunch of people tell them to each other? About two hours of amazing fun. This board game is a lot like Apples and Oranges or Bubble Talk but the responses are just terrible. One player picks a card and offers up a phrase (“But before I kill you, Mr. Bond, I must show you ____”). The other players pick from a hand of responses that are too inappropriate to recount here. The game now costs a mere $25 (I paid over $60 a few months ago) and it’s a blast.

Google Updates YouTube for iOS App, Adds iPad, AirPlay, iPhone 5 Support

Google has updated the YouTube for iOS app, adding native support for the iPad and the iPhone 5, as well as full support for streaming videos via AirPlay, reports The Next Web.

NewImage

Google’s Horia Ciurdar says that more than 25 percent of all YouTube watching happens on mobile. Since the launch of the YouTube app back in September, Ciurdar says Google has “been hard at work to improve the app based on your feedback.”

Now the YouTube app will get ‘enhanced’ AirPlay support, letting you shoot your videos over to your Apple TV. Videos are also said to start faster and play more smoothly. Google has also improved VoiceOver support for those with visual impairments.

During the iOS 6 Beta, Apple removed the native YouTube app that had been included on every iOS device since the platform was introduced. Once iOS 6 was publicly announced, Google released a native YouTube app for the iPhone.

YouTube for iOS is available as a free download from the App Store. [Direct Link]

Maxine Waters elected ranking member of House financial panel

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – California Democrat Maxine Waters was elected to serve as ranking member of the House Financial Service Committee, according to an announcement from Waters’ office on Tuesday.

Amazon Adds X-Ray Searches with New Kindle for iOS Update [iOS Blog]

Amazon today updated its Kindle for iOS app to version 3.5, adding X-Ray for books. With X-Ray, users can see detailed information on plot ideas, characters, and locations within novels.


From the app description:

X-Ray for Books – see the “bones of the book.” X-Ray helps you learn more about notable characters, places, and phrases with descriptions from Shelfari.com and Wikipedia.

X-Ray, which is a major selling point of Amazon’s own Kindle devices, was previously introduced as a textbook-only feature with the 3.4 update for Kindle for iOS.

The feature is backed by Wikipedia and Shelfari, which is described as Amazon’s community-powered encyclopedia for book lovers. iOS 5 is required for the 3.5 update, which can be downloaded from the App Store.

In Guatemala, software guru McAfee to seek asylum: lawyer

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) – U.S. anti-virus software guru John McAfee, who is on the run from police in Belize seeking to question him in a murder probe, has crossed into Guatemala and will seek political asylum there, his lawyer said on Tuesday.

Apple Updates Pages, Numbers and Keynote for Mac and iOS

Apple has released updates for both the iOS and Mac versions of iWork. The iOS versions of Pages, Numbers and Keynote have experienced more significant updates, while the Mac versions have been updated mainly to support the iOS changes.

Pages 1.7:

In this release Pages for iOS is updated for improved compatibility with Microsoft Word and Pages for Mac.

• Use Change Tracking to track changes to body text in a document
• Accept and reject individual changes as you review a document
• Import Pages and Microsoft Word documents with change tracking and continue to track changes to body text
• Preserve tracked changes in documents exported in Microsoft Word or Pages format
• Preserve calculations in tables when importing from and exporting to Pages for Mac
• Add reflections to shapes
• Lock and unlock objects

Numbers 1.7:

In this release Numbers for iOS is updated for improved compatibility with Microsoft Excel and Numbers for Mac.

• Hide and unhide rows and columns
• Import and export Numbers for Mac spreadsheets with filters, and turn filters on and off
• Preserve rich text in tables when importing and exporting
• Add reflections to shapes
• Lock and unlock objects

Keynote 1.7:

In this release Keynote for iOS is updated for improved compatibility with Microsoft PowerPoint and Keynote for Mac.

• Import and export all Microsoft PowerPoint and Keynote for Mac slide sizes
• Import and export presentation themes, complete with master slides and preset styles
• Play back all Keynote action builds including Move, Rotate, Scale, and Opacity
• Add new slide transitions including Shimmer and Sparkle
• Preserve calculations in tables when importing from and exporting to Keynote for Mac
• Add reflections to shapes
• New print layouts include options to print with presenter notes, with builds, and without backgrounds
• Lock and unlock objects

About iWork 9.3 for Mac

iWork Update 9.3 adds support for iWork for iOS 1.7 apps.

This update is recommended for users of iWork 9.0 and later.

For detailed information on this update and individual application changes, please visit this site: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5534.

Updates for the Mac iWork apps are available via the Mac App Store for purchases made via the Store, or via Software Update for customers who originally purchased iWork in a box.

iOS updates can, as always, be downloaded via the App Store.

Pages [Mac App Store, iOS App Store]

Numbers [Mac App Store, iOS App Store]

Keynote [Mac App Store, iOS App Store]

Gift Guide: Hands-On With Lytro’s Latest Features, Perspective Shift And Living Filters

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Short Version

Lytro promised that its unique camera was only the beginning. The system allows the user to change focus of the picture after it’s taken, and the data contained in a single digital image taken with a camera is completely new and different from the data we’re used to seeing with more traditional technology. It’s uncharted territory and the company is still experimenting. Now, using the camera, you can shift perspective after the picture’s been taken.

To add a little Instagram-like fun into the mix, Lytro has also added Living Filters (which alter the color balance of the shot or add cool effects) to photos before they are shared on the web, via email, or on Facebook.

Long Version

Features:

  • Light field sensor
  • 1.52-inch LCD display
  • Constant f/2 lens
  • 8x optical zoom

Info:

  • 5 colors
  • 8GB or 16GB
  • MSRP: $399 for 8GB, $499 for 16GB
  • Product Page

The Lytro Camera is…

… a brand new type of technology that takes photos by capturing an entire plane of light rather than capturing a single moment from a point of light. The new design and the light field sensor allow the user to change photos after they’ve already been taken, allowing you to change focus from the foreground to the background with a single click. Lytro recently added Living Filters and Perspective shift to the mix, too.

Buy the Lytro Camera for…

… anyone who enjoys pictures. This camera is a treat to almost any demographic that enjoys taking and sharing pictures, from professional photographers to camera enthusiasts to Instagram addicts. The brilliance is that the technology is high-tech enough to get the experts excited and simple enough to get the novice creating and sharing dynamic photos online. It’s a pricey gift but it’s well worth it for the photo buff on your list.

Because…

… Lytro recently released accessories, broadened distribution, and added manual controls to the camera. This keeps photographers experimental and creative with their shots. On the other side, nifty tidbits like Perspective Shift and Living Filters make sharing on the web even more fun for Instagram-addicted teenagers, etc.

Check out the photos below: