Blake Snow

content advisor, recognized journalist, bodacious writer-for-hire

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Incredible: Unread email actually waits for you on your computer!

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OREM, Utah — After four convenient but usually bad-habit forming years, I canceled my Blackberry email/data plan with T-Mobile last week. To my surprise, I was amazed that my email would actually wait for me on the computer, as opposed to following me around wherever I went. Now, if I’m away from my desk, my email will tell me how many unread messages I have upon my return, so as not to overlook anything. (Some fancy email programs even support audible alerts, such as “You’ve got mail!” Really neat stuff.)

In a flurry of discovery, and in search of more answers, I asked a representative of ARPANET, the inventor of email, for comment. “The great thing about email is that it’s free, provided you don’t give money to your cell phone provider for the same service,” the spokesman said. “And unlike the Post Office, you don’t have to put a hold on your mail if you’re away, say on nights and weekends. If it fits, it ships—which is all the time.”

Continue reading…

Top 5 best Powerade flavors

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For the first time in my life, I’ve become a sports drink junkie. I still guzzle water. But I like how the lightly flavored drink displaces the “workout” taste better than water. So I drink fluorescent colored super juice after heavy training.

Since Powerade (not Gatorade) was on sale last month, I stocked up on all eight flavors. And being the gentlemen that I am, I decided to review them for you. So the next time you reach for a 32 oz. bottle, remember the top 5 most refreshing Powerade flavors, expertly named by yours truly: Continue reading…

I believe I can fly: Top 5 Nike Air Jordans

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I’ve always admired Michael Jordan’s athleticism, style, and grace in the air. He was the greatest basketball player ever. And even though I only owned a single pair of his pricey Air Jordans (version IV, thanks Mom!), I’ve always like the form factor of his shoes, especially the earlier models. So stick your tongue out, poke your air pocket, and check out the top 5 Air Jordans all time: Continue reading…

Top 10 best Michael Jackson songs

mj.jpgMichael Jackson was undoubtedly the most disturbed musician of all time. He’s also the greatest R&B performer ever—both as a singer and a dancer—and a top 10 all-time artist, right next to Mozart, The Beatles, and Led Zeppelin. If you’ve forgotten how talented he was in the recording studio or on stage, I encourage you to listen to Thriller, the best-selling album of all time.

With the King of Pop’s new summer tour announcement recent death, I can’t think of a better time to list his best hits. There are 20 other songs equally worthy of the honor, but in terms of what gets me moving the most, these are the top 10 Michael Jackson songs of awesome: Continue reading…

Vinyl records sustain digital future

Author’s note: This is the piece I pitched to the Miami Herald and DJ Times after our stay in Fort Lauderdale. The Herald said it was too “trade specific” and the Times said it was too “Stanton specific,” so I’m publishing it here so it can see the light of day. Enjoy.

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HOLLYWOOD, Fl. — Despite three decades of newer technology, vinyl records are still crackling. In fact, vinyl sales grew last year, doubling to almost two million in the U.S., according to Nielsen Media Research—the highest they’ve been since 1991.

“Though vinyl’s popularity waned with the emergence of cassettes and CDs in the late 1980s, records continue to hold a niche in the music marketplace, especially among audiophiles and DJs,” says Joshua Friedlander, vice president of research for the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Helping to boost last year’s total is a growing number of teens who prefer the collectible nature and warmer sound of vinyl—comparable to listening to a “live” self-playing piano, as opposed to flat MP3s, which are often forgotten as quickly as they are downloaded.

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5 things I wish my BlackBerry could do

_image2.jpgI’ve been an avid BlackBerry user since 2006. I think they’re great if you can moderate their use. (You don’t want to be the loser in the room who plays with their phone all night, right?) But I would also like to see some changes for the better. And becoming an iPhone is not one of them.

  1. Multi-color LED alerts. One of the best features of the BlackBerry is the ability to glance at it from afar without activating the screen to see if you have an unread message. For example, the little LED in the upper right corner blinks red when I have a new message. But I wish I could set different types of messages to display different color alerts. For example, the Curve’s LED blinks blue when in Blue Tooth mode, and green when fully charged. Why not put those colors to good use?
  2. Continue reading…

All you ever need to know about employee appreciation

Originally published December 19, 2006.

Here’s stating the obvious: Most employee appreciation bonuses are lousy, exposing how cheap corporate America can be. Take for example my good friend Matt and his wife Susan. Both are honest working individuals that are extremely kind to those they come in contact with and extremely loyal to the companies they work for. Susan has worked close to 10 years for a local manufacturer. What did she get after working five years for the company? A small shelf clock. And Matt, having worked at a local credit union for five years, got a whopping $50 bonus for his tenure. Nothing says “we care” and “the biggest asset to our company is our employees” quite like skimping when it counts. That’s not to say Susan’s or Matt’s employers are shmoes, just that they suck when it comes to appreciation bonuses.

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25 status updates you should never make on Facebook

ifacebookedyourmom.gifIf you’re a Facebook user, you know how fun status updates can be. The good ones give you specific insight into what your friends are doing, how they are feeling, and what they really think. The bad ones are vague, cryptic, menial (you just checked into some hotel — no one cares), and wouldn’t know wit if it punched them in the baby maker.

These, on the other hand, are much worse — 25 status updates you should never make on Facebook. Continue reading…

Video games ain’t what they used to be, and that’s a good thing

Quick: What’s the most popular type of video game? If you answered “shooters,” “sports,” or “casual games,” you’re wrong.

It’s actually “action” games, according to the NPD group, the official tracker of U.S. video games sales. And you might be surprised to learn that the most popular genres can change with the tide of release calendars.

“Genres move up and down the ranks largely on the shoulders of one or two big games in any particular year,” explains NPD analyst Anita Frazier. “In 2008, that game was Grand Theft Auto IV.” (see graph)

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Some genres, like the aforementioned action, are easier to classify than others. You’re either engaged in a Hollywood-style plot and getting into fisticuffs or you’re not. But other top genres aren’t as easy to define, and many of the games boosting their popularity are titles that seasoned players take least seriously. Think you know what constitutes a “sports,” “strategy,” or “adventure” game? Think again. Continue reading…

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Top 5 pro wrestlers from the 80s

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I used to watch a lot of wrestling when I was in elementary school. Saturday mornings with my buddy Chris and a box of Fruit Rollups was always a good time. My interest for macho soap operas later waned in middle school, but I briefly rekindled my love for pro wrestling as a sophomore and junior in high school when WCW was at its peak. Call it a guilty pleasure. I haven’t watched it since.

While “the sport” is pure trash now (in the 80s it was only part trash), I still have fond memories of those fake-baked, bad actors with muscles and lots of fluorescent tights. Here are my favorites. Do share yours. Continue reading…

My proven guide to dumping and avoiding fake friends

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Lindsey and I have been blessed with many genuine friends — ones that make us laugh, can celebrate our accomplishments, and extend considerate help.

This week, while visiting one such family, we discovered that they’ve been dealing with some “friends” that reputedly became envious and judgmental of our friends’ recent good fortune. For shame — time is too precious to waste on such superficial friends.

With that in mind, here’s my proven guide to ditching and avoiding fake friends, so you can better enjoy your days in the sun. Continue reading…

Crispy Gamer: Some Like It Short (Why Gamers Don’t Finish the Job)

Earth is under attack. Your favorite football team is waiting to win their division. There are more than 60 remaining stars to collect. And yet the gamers charged with overcoming the odds couldn’t care less.

They rarely finish their games, it seems.

According to an investigative Crispy Gamer survey of 2,000 players conducted this month, less than 25 percent of games are played to completion (i.e. the rolling of credits). What’s more, an alarming number of the same percentile say they finish less than 10 percent of their games, purchased, rented, or otherwise.

Continue reading at Crispy Gamer…

Video games in good company since 1958

As with all things in life, video games are best when shared with others. But despite the medium’s rich history and current resurgence of multiplayer games, a tired stigma remains:

Video games are played in isolation, and thus perpetuate social retards.

“There is still this mindset that video games are lone wolf activities for like-minded groups of nerds,” says Troy Goodfellow, a freelance critic for nearly a decade. “But on the contrary, they build connections better than a lot of people think.”

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A geek’s guide to avoiding buyer’s remorse

img3.jpgI consider myself a thrifty individual. I don’t shop at garage sales or anything, and have been known to purchase select high-end products, but I love getting a deal. And I hate feeling buyer’s remorse after spending money on something I don’t need or know I won’t use.

So here are five preventative measures I follow to avoid buyer’s remorse:

1. Use Amazon.com’s “save for later” feature. The number one rule for avoiding buyers remorse is don’t buy on impulse. Amazon’s “save for later” feature ensures that you don’t buy on impulse, yet it provides a quick and easy way to purchase things later with just a couple of clicks. I currently have 14 items in my “save for later” box. I will eventually buy maybe 1-2 (I just recently deleted about 20 itmes after deciding I really didn’t need them). Is there a better way to plan ahead? I think not.

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Why waste good technology on science and medicine?

For any interested, here is a handful of my recently published video game works after my visit to Baton Rouge two weeks ago.

The 10 Most Underrated Consoles (GamePro) — The road to modern video games is littered with the corpses of noble game consoles who flew too high to the sun. Here are the 10 best under-achievers of all-time.

Not Every Politician Hates Video games (Crispy Gamer) — At a VIP game developer event in a secluded upstairs San Francisco lounge, a well-dressed man in his 50s is making the rounds. “Hello, I’m the mayor of Baton Rouge.” “Do you just walk around calling yourself a mayor?” asks one doubting attendee. “No, I’m really the mayor of of Baton Rouge…” Continue reading…