Gadchick's Game of the Year for 2012

With no hyperbole, the games of 2012 demonstrated what the medium is capable of and the changing needs of players. Looking over the votes for our Game of the Year poll, all of the votes were for games that provided both a fun experience, but also an emotionally resonate one. However, despite all of the amazing games this year, only one can be claimed the victor of the hearts and minds of Gadchick readers.


The Best Video Games of 2012

As 2012 is wrapping up and we're busy scanning end of year sales for the best deals, let's take the time to vote on the video games that blew our mind, stole our time, and reconfirmed why we'll be buying the next-gen consoles.

We'll be wrapping up our readers' choices and choices from your Gadchick editors on 12/31, so make sure to get your vote in!


Mass Mentions Show Us Your Favorite Geeky Holiday Decor

For our Mass Mentions this week, we asked our Instagram friends what their favorite geeky holiday decor was.

amileighton- "Still no ornaments... But we gotta tree topper! a #cthulhu #christmas! That's traditional, right?"
forthedistractd- "Hi @gadchick my favourite ornament is my camera one, of course"
fireworkdelune- "We're sharing geeky holiday decor for this week's #massmentions over on @gadchick! Love @runningboard's and my fun new monogrammed 8-bit stockings!"
campfirechic- "My fave geeky decoration is our spider-man tree topper! #massmentions"

Holiday 2012 Mass Mentions

We normally participate Mass Mentions on Twitter, but it was fun on Instagram, what's your favorite geeky decor?


Women 3.0: Rachel Haot

Name: Rachel Haot

Short biography: Rachel Haot (née Sterne) was born in 1983 and grew up in Dobbs Ferry, New York. She received her bachelor’s degree in history from New York University in 20051 and soon founded GroundReport, an online news site that “provides amateur, apprentice and professional journalists with the digital tools required to reach a local or global audience;”2 Haot was CEO when she left the company is 2010. From March 2011 to June 2011, Haot was an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Columbia Business School, where she taught a class on social media and entrepreneurship.3 In 2011, Haot also became the Chief Digital Officer for the City of New York.1 Haot married Maxime Haot in July 2012; her husband is a founder and CEO of Livestream.4 The couple lives in Brooklyn.


Gadchick Gift Picks

Rhianne, contributor for Gadchick magazine and author of our e-book, The Android Photographer, is a photographer and camera geek. We asked her what gadgets would make her craft easier, and she shared with us a great list!

1. Lomography Belair X 6-12 Jetsetter

This is one gorgeous looking film camera! With 3 different setting, panoramic, normal and square, there might be nothing that this photo couldn't make look amazing.

2. Jo Tots Georgia Nautical Bag

For carrying all my camera kit – I already have a Jo Totes bag and I really think they are great, two wouldn’t hurt.

3. Epson Perfection V600 High Resolution Scanner

Perfect for scanning all my film negatives (I have a lot) and turning my analogue photos into digital.

4. Olympus Pen ELP-5

The more photos that I take, the more I want to take and sometimes film can be very restrictive, but I don’t want to be carrying around a huge DSLR camera, so this camera fits nicely in between with its interchangeable lens allowing for more control, but also being a handy size to carry around.

5. Pro Flickr Account

I love my Flickr account, so this would be a perfect present for someone to buy me, I upload photos all the time and it’s a great way to see other peoples photos quickly too. A must have for any photographer.

6. Photo app keyboard skins. [photo from Photojojo]

I never remember the short cut keys for Photoshop, so this would be amazing for editing!

Thanks for sharing, Rhianne! Check out the other Gadchick's wishlists here.


Five Times Hollywood Got It Right - Great Movies about Technology and Science

As we saw in my last post, Hollywood isn’t always dedicated to realism in their movies. But this doesn’t mean that they always get it wrong or that everyone failed their science courses. Many movies, such as the five I highlight below, use science and technology to drive plot and discussion in realistic and thought-provoking ways.


Friday Night Movie - Indie Game: The Movie

If you weren’t already familiar with Indie Game: The Movie, it is one of those documentaries you stumble across on Netflix and consider watching based on the “cover” alone. The blue is eye-catching and the solo controller down the middle will get any gamer’s (casual or professional) heart skipping a beat. That’s what happened to me last weekend. I was originally looking for a movie that did not require me to pay attention, I just wanted noise…instead I fell in love with a boy made of meat, I wanted to start sporting a red bowtie, and I considered downloading Minecraft on my iPad in order to get my pixel fix. So much for not needing to pay attention.

Indie Game: The Movie is a 96 minute Sundance award-winning documentary by Lisanne Pajot & James Swirsky and music by Jim Guthrie that hit theaters in May 2012. The documentary follows the development of three games: Braid, Super Meat Boy, and Fez, and the teams behind those games. You may recognize the premise of this documentary from Kickstarter, it was one of the earliest movies funded by the crowd sourcing site.

Like I said earlier, this movie had my full attention. What Gadchick wouldn’t melt a little at a game where a boy made of meat (aptly named Super Meat Boy) tries to save his girlfriend, who is made of bandages, from evil?? Or what about a preppy looking guy named Tim who just wants to save the princess and (unlike in Mario Bros.) you can rewind at any part in case Tim is about to die or get impossibly stuck? Too cool, even Soldja Boy thought Braid was neat. And lastly, be still, my pixel heart: Fez. Just a little dude (who wears a fez) who is living his little 2D life only to find out he’s living in a pretty big 3D world and he needs to go around collecting pieces to something called a Hexahedron.

The teams behind the games really make the movie. Instead of thousands of people working together to put together a game with seemingly endless funding and instant name recognition, these teams of maybe two people each are working for hours on end to create equally awesome indie games. You’ll follow the teams as they hit milestones, fall behind on deadlines, and face the impossible…it’s quite the ride.

Check out Indie Game: The Movie the next time you’re looking for something to watch while leveling up your mage or if you’re itching for an underdog story that will get you pumped up for your next project.


Women 3.0: Gina Trapani

Name: Gina Trapani

Short biography: Gina Trapani was born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1975.1 Thirty years later, Trapani launched Lifehacker, the Gawker lifestyle and tech blog; Trapani was the lead editor until January 2009 when she transitioned to feature writer. Since then, Trapani’s gone on to a variety of other online ventures and creation of mobile apps, including a (now defunct) blog at the Harvard Business Review, the app ThinkUp: Social, the app Todo.txt and Narrow the Gapp, “a U.S. Department of Labor data-based website about the gender wage gap.”2 Trapani is also the author of multiple tech/lifestyle books. She currently lives in San Diego, Calif.1


Suspending Your Belief Part 2 – 5 More Technologically Challenged Movies

After last week's tour of some of Hollywood's best attempts and subsequent failures, let's take another look at what happens when screenwriters pretend to understand computers.
6. “Live Free or Die Hard


“Live Free or Die Hard” took the John McClain formula I loved (Christmas Time+Terrorists) and instead decided to explore a well worn path of the omniscient hacker. Traffic light system? We can hack it. Government computer system? No problem. A widespread, simultaneous hack on several systems at once to stop Bruce Willis? Child’s play.

I would suggest checking out Farewell to Arms  by John Carlin which helped inspire the movie to see a more realistic view of the potential for cyberwarfare and the difficulties facing the government.


Gadchick Gift Picks

I'm really excited to share my wish list for Gadchick. After discovering my love for shiny gadgets, I've also discovered they lose their shine even quicker today since technology moves so fast. Instead of most novelty items (remember the nano watch? yep, it's just sitting in my desk now, for example), I wanted things that would last, and I wouldn't regret it if a new version came out shortly after (I'm giving you the stink eye, Apple).

1. 1Password
This is one app that would really make my life easier. It would save time, and most importantly save me from stress by trying to remember every password for every log in, including email, social media, shopping sites. It's the most expensive app I'd ever seen, but worth it!

2. Sony DSC-RX100
I've always wanted a digital Leica (my analog Leica is a dream come true to own), but after reading the specs on the surprisingly powerful Sony, I'm trading in dreaming for something that really works. It's not bulky like a DSLR but an upgrade from my iPhone camera.

3. Nest
Not only does Nest save energy, but it automatically learns what your house needs. After learning that 20% of my energy bills are being wasted by just lack of control of the thermostat, this device will help. Plus, it looks so much cooler than my outdated early 90's bulky box.

4. The Sims Freeplay Experience and Life Points
I'm addicted to Sims Free Play, it's almost therapeutic. Even though it's free, it's not really free. The player ends up buying more "life" and "experience" points rather than spending weeks earning them. It's a silly thing to spend money on but it's much cheaper than a therapist in the long run (maybe not the best justification to spend money on a game :P ).

5. Subscription to Popular Mechanics
Once a nerd, always a nerd. I remember reading this magazine as a kid highlighting mostly the auto industry but over the years it's changed. If you're a tech girl at heart, you will love this magazine. The magazine doesn't just feature cool gadgets, they actually tell you how and why they work, and great concepts in technology and software.

6. Jawbone BIG BOX Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
i'm an 80's kid and I remember the days when speakers were as tall as I am now. The idea that a speaker can fill a room unlike my speakers on my tablet or iPhone, is unreal. There's no wires, just a Bluetooth on your tablet or phone and some good music required. Plus the geometric inspired pattern on the speakers are cool enough to not hide behind your couch.

Check out the other wish lists here.


Gadchick Gift Picks

If you haven't found the right gift yet, then Gadchick has a few more gift guides from the team. Don't let the heels and sparkle fool you with Aline- she'll easily beat you in most video games and she's my go-to tutor for any and all PC coding.

1. I love the dark wood floors in my home, but I hate the constant cleaning. Whoever said that you shouldn't give a woman a vacuum for Christmas is crazy.. I'd love to get my hands on this Roomba!

2. I have been pining over this Kate Spade Great Gatsby clutch that pays homage to my favorite book for years now! Lucky for us, it has been reissued (There's a super cute Kindle version too)

3. The 7970 by XFX has a GPU core that's ready to overclock beyond it's factory 1GHz! Imagine Skyrim at 4096 x 2160 resolutions! Games in silky smooth stereoscopic 3D! Max settings with max fps! This video card excites me!

4. Every single time I go to visit the LEGO store, I pause to admire everyone's favorite droid, R2D2. I'd love to put him on my bookshelf.

5. I have a love affair with my Samsung Galaxy Nexus and I'm in the market for a new point and shoot so naturally I have my eye on this camera

6. I love to cook and this Dell Touchscreen Desktop is my dream kitchen companion. I'd love to have all of my recipes (and movies to distract me while I'm waiting for water to boil) just one touch away.


Women 3.0: Jessica Kahn

Name: Jessica Kahn

Short biography: Before venturing into the tech sector, Jessica Kahn attended Dartmouth College from 1993 to 1997 and graduated with a degree in Psychology. After graduating, Kahn worked in quality assurance and software engineering at a few small companies, then moved on to a not-so-small company—Apple—where she worked as a software engineer and engineering manager from 1999-2008.1


Suspending Your Belief - 5 Technologically Challenged Movies

Hollywood’s goals may include high profits and entertaining movies, but ensuring the factual realism of their screenplays may never factor into the final product. While in most movies it is easy to suspend belief or to wish that we could have the same cell phone as Batman, in some movies focused on technology and science, it can be difficult to separate ourselves from the vision the studio had when creating the work.
Some of these movies didn’t age well and some of these movies didn’t really understand their topic to begin with. But all of these movies put aside reality when it comes to technology.


Women 3.0: Andrea Jung

Name: Andrea Jung

Short biography: Andrea Jung was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1959. The daughter of an amateur pianist and an architect, Jung was raised in Wellesley, Mass., (her father taught at MIT)1 and she graduated from Princeton University in 1979.2 Since then, Jung has worked at Bloomingdales; was the senior vice president, general merchandising manager if I. Magnin (a San Francisco-based luxury department store); and was the executive vice president of Neiman Marcus. Her ex-husband, Michael Gould, is the CEO of Bloomingdales.1 Jung is the mother of two.


Gadchick Reviews: Isis Mobile Wallet


A few weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to beta-test a new app—Isis Mobile Wallet—for AT&T. Because the app is currently only available for Android phones, I was also given a brand-new Samsung Galaxy SIII to do my testing on. Being a life-long Apple product user—literally, my Mom worked at Apple when I was born—I had a bit of a learning curve with both the app and the phone.


Gadchick Gift Picks

Bethany Cramer, our editor and writer, wants to have a geeky holidays (like the rest of us, right?) These (like the rest of the lists) will make a woman's life easier (and nerdier!)

1. Sonic Screwdriver Remote Control

I think it is important on every holiday to ensure that some gifts are utterly silly. While I may own several sonic screwdrivers already, I can’t help but picture the sheer joy I would get by using one to change the television channel. This is the perfect funny gift for the Whovian in your life.

2. Roku

While my cord-cutting is still going great, one of the biggest struggles is finding great content providers outside of the cable company. Roku offers you plug and play ease with a huge library of media with no monthly fee.

3.Home Planetarium

In looking at the other gift guides so far, I can see that Gadchick writers really like space. But while I would love the telescope that Marisa featured, I would also love the chance to see the stars in the middle of the city. This home planetarium would let me bring the outdoors in.

4. A new scarf from ShadowPlayNYC

Everyone has that perfect piece of clothing, maybe the shoes that make your legs look great or the sweater that you want to wear constantly. For me, my infinity scarf from ShadowPlayNYC is that item and for this year, I want to expand out into another. Made with designs straight from the Hubble telescope, they are unique, warm, and an item you will want to keep forever.

5. A nerdy skirt from GoChaseRabbits

Completing my nerdy ensemble would be one of the great skirts from GoChaseRabbits. From video game designs to skirts made with photos from the surface of Mars, these skirts are super cute and would even make my Mass Effect 3 multiplayer gaming nights a little more stylish.

6.  A subscription to Marvel Unlimited

For some comic book fans, our weekly pull list at our local shop has become weekly reminders to download your latest issue onto your iPad. Building on this new accessibility, I would love the chance to explore Marvel’s archives and expand my comic trivia for next Comic-Con.

7. XBox Live, Steam, or PSN gift cards

This fall so far has had amazing games like Halo 4 and Assassin’s Creed 3, and, living in a multi-console household, I would like all of them. But this year, I suggest giving the gamer in your life the chance to experience some of the awesome indie games released this year.

I would love the chance to try “Thomas Was Alone” or “Hotline Miami” on Steam, or give “Fez” a shot on XBox Christmas morning.


Gadchick Gift Picks

Mandy Curtis, editor and writer, is my go-to for nerd culture every Thursday with her Nerd News feature. She has a great geeky blog at Chocolate and Cream Cake.

1. Dragon Age

I’ve been looking for a while for a game that fills the void left behind by the end of Mass Effect. I’m not a huge gamer, but I do love me some story-driven action. I hope that Dragon Age—developed by the same company as ME, Bioware—can quell my cravings.

2. Wacom Bamboo Create Pen and Touch Tablet

Am I an illustrator that needs a way to digitally draw things? Not in the slightest. But I absolutely love the idea of having a way to write and draw “on screen.” And perhaps having a tablet would lead me to become an illustrator? (One can dream …)

3. Kikkerland Grass Charging Station

I am constantly looking around our apartment for the spare charging cords. (They’re never where I’ve left them!) This would be a great way to keep those cords handy, and it’s totally amusing to boot. Also, I’ve long wanted a planter full of wheatgrass on my counter, but have a notoriously black thumb. This station would do double duty as functional and fabulous (decor).

4. Makita Cordless Driver/Drill

Although this isn’t the most gadgety of gadgets, I definitely need a new driver/drill. My currently one—a hand-me-down from a family member—is heavy, old, and the batteries I have for it hold a charge for about 5 minutes max.

5. Keurig Single-Serve Coffee Maker

I’ve been debating the pros and cons (with myself) of a single-serve coffee maker for years. My husband doesn’t drink coffee, so having the ability to make a cup, of pretty much whatever I want, would be ideal … but what happens when we have company that drinks coffee, too? The Keurig B70 seems to be the best option in the single-serve market and the one I’m leaning toward wanting (although I am curious about Starbucks’ new Verisimo machine), even considering the frequency with which these machines seem to crap out.

6. iFontMaker

I have a massive love affair with typography, and the ability to create a font of my own—a good one, that is—without spending loads on online font makers, has long since been something I’ve wanted to do. This app makes it look easy, and for only $7, the price can’t be beat. I mean, you can even make your own wingdings! Sold.

Thanks Mandy! Check out the other Holiday Gift Guides from the other Gadchick team members here.


Gadchick Gift Picks

Marisa Chaples is our Android-gamer loving writer. Her choice of wants this year for the Holiday Gift Guide are equally as nerdy and cool as she is (here at Gadchick "nerdy" couldn't get a better praise). She blogs gaming, craft, and lifestyle at A Parallel of Latitude.

1. Pre-order of Bioshock Infinite Songbird Edition for Xbox 360

It’s 1912 and you’re Booker DeWitt. You need to go to Columbia, the floating city in the sky, to rescue Elizabeth, a young woman who has been imprisoned since she was a child by a massive creature known as Songbird. Sounds pretty awesome, right? So the game doesn’t come out for a couple more months but that hasn’t stopped me from constantly looking online for any news released about it. This awesome Songbird Edition comes with a bunch of extras plus a statue of the giant evil machine bird because who doesn’t want that on their bookshelf?

2. AeroGarden Classic 7-Pod with Gourmet Herb Seed Kit

I like to cook, but don’t do it often enough so the fresh herbs I buy for one meal usually end up wilting away. Also, I pretty much have the opposite of a green thumb so growing herbs have never been an option for me... until now. After seeing this amazing piece of technology in my friends kitchen, I knew it would go on my wishlist. You can grow herbs in your kitchen without dirt or natural light. Cut off a sprig to toss into dinner and let the rest of the plant fill up my kitchen with it’s fresh aroma? Don’t mind if I do.

3. Mia2™ Skin Cleansing System

Growing up, as a joke, my dad used to always tell us kids to wash our teeth and brush our faces. Well, now you can actually brush your face and you won’t seem like a crazy person. This updated version of the original Clarisonic face cleanser is said to make your pores appear smaller, clean and exfoliate, and help moisturizers work better on your skin. If there is anything that will make me get excited about washing my face, it’s a cool gadget like this.

4. Star Wars R2D2 USB Hub

We all have a bunch of gadgets to plug into our computer so a USB hub is always a good idea. You can make it a great idea by making it something cute to look at since it will probably be sitting atop your desk. This R2D2 USB hub is as adorable as it useful.

5. Celestron FirstScope Telescope

I love all things having to do with the cosmos but I don’t know much about telescopes. Knowing I didn’t want anything too expensive or bulky and also wanting a telescope a beginner could use, I found the Celestron FirstScope fit the bill. With it, you can see Jupiter and it’s moons, Saturn, and the Orion nebula. I would love to take this out with me the next time I go camping to look at the clear, bright night sky.

6. Portal Wheatley LED Flashlight

This one is just for fun and would be a great stocking stuffer for most gamers. Portal is one of my favorite video games and Wheatley, from Portal 2, is arguably one of the funniest characters. Not only is this an officially licensed Portal 2 collectible from Valve, but it has a pretty bright LED light built in. Now you can have your very own Wheatley to keep you company through all your rigorous testing. Or errands. Whichever.


Gadchick Gift Picks

Emily Dismukes, contributing writer, adds her own twist to the Gadchick Holiday Gift Guide. She scrapbooks and writes at Oh! Emily Made That but her love for technology and gadgets makes her a great addition to the Gadchick team.

1. Nexus 7

My boyfriend got one of these when it was first released and it was love at first sight. The 7 inch size is perfect for both my small hands and my purse, and the pricing is great: a $200 tablet is a tablet I can afford. This wish may actually come true this Christmas; I’m highly considering buying one as a present for myself.

2. Silhouette Cameo

One of my newest hobbies (and my favorite at the moment) is scrapbooking. I have a small manual die-cut machine, but being able to add a Cameo, which is a multi-purpose electronic die-cutter that connects to a computer to cut any shape you can imagine, would please me greatly.
(Editor Note- I'm not familiar at all with what multi purpose die cutter was, so here's a video. It actually makes me want to scrapbook. Pretty cool!)

3. Nintendo 3DSXL

I’m still rocking my old-school silver brick original Nintendo DS. Many of the games I play are for the DS, I would love to upgrade to a newer version of the device soon. If I had my choice, I’d go for the newest version, the 3DSXL. I like the larger size (I’ve found many of the “regular size” DS handhelds just feel too small) and the fact that I can get it in pink!

4. Adobe CS6 Master Collection

This one is definitely just a wish: at almost $2,600 regular price, there’s no way this version of CS6 will be under my tree this year. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting it. Having taken several classes in high school in which I used Photoshop, InDesign, and Dreamweaver extensively, I will not be truly happy until I can call those programs (and others included in this set, like Illustrator) my own.

5. Scrivener 2 for Mac

As I write this list, I’m undertaking what could be called the king of all writing challenges, NaNoWriMo, so I’ve got writing on the brain. Scrivener is a specialized word processor meant for writing novels and stories, and I’ve heard good things about it both online and from a “real life” friend of mine who uses it. I would love to have it on my computer, especially as I delve deeper into my creative writing degree at school.

6. Timbuk2 Control Laptop TSA-Friendly Messenger

I’ve been looking for a messenger bag that’s small and stylish but large enough for my laptop and a few other items for awhile, and this one seems to fit the bill. It’s moderately priced (for a Timbuk2 bag), looks like a good size, and comes in a couple of great colorways (I think I’d go for the grey/blue version).

Thank you, Emily! 


Gadchick Gift Picks

Gadchick has an eclectic team of women who have an equally eclectic taste in their wish list. This year we are excited to share what we want for the holidays. I hope these lists will be helpful to shop for your own Gadchick.
Up first is Kam, contributing writer. Behind the hiking, crafting, yoga, and scrapbooking is one of the most productive and efficient bloggers you'll read at Campfire Chic. Just reading one of her productivity posts, makes my to-do list shiver.

1. Lifeproof iPhone Case 

If Santa can't swing the Coolpix AW100 this winter, hopefully a Lifeproof iPhone Case will make its way into my stocking. With this case, I won't be afraid to drop my phone into a stream while hiking or my chalk bag while in the climbing gym as the case is waterproof, shockproof, and dustproof. The best part? The slim profile, multiple color choices (yes, even pink), and that the price is manageable.

2. BioLite CampStove

This open flame campstove will capture the imagination of any outdoorsey Gadchick! Not only is this a woodburning campstove, it will also charge your gadgets (like phone, camera, or lights) via USB. This campstove can boil a liter of water in about four and a half minutes while also charging one electronic device via USB. This item is also great for your disaster kit, you'll be able to charge your phone to contact help. As an adventurous Gadchick, this is one purchase I can get behind!

3. Yurbuds Ironmand Inspire Duro Performance Fit Sport Earphones 

I cannot stand using the earbuds/phones that come with products because they hurt my ears or fall out...or worse, both. I currently use these over-the-ear headphones while I work at home, but what does a Gadchick need to do to get a pair of earbuds that fit well while she's working out? These Yurbuds are sweatproof and water resistant, won't fall out of your ears, and they come in some great colors (my favorite is the white).

4. Nike Fuel Band

The Nike Fuel Band tracks your activity and syncs with an online account to help you reach your fitness goals throughout the day (be it steps, calories burned, or milestones achieved). As a cubicle-dweller, I try to get up and walk around the office throughout the day, but would love to be able to track my progress in a sleek way...because a pedometer doesn't look very cubicle-chic, does it? With this band, I'll be able to know when I hit my goal of 10,000 steps for the day when a simple light on the band turns green. Easy and easy to pair with a cardigan.

This extra-cool personal beacon is designed for pilots, anglers, and those in the backcountry. Even a short trip to the backcountry could leave me in need of help from Search and Rescue, and this personal beacon is toward the top of my wishlist...not only will it send my coordinates to rescuers, it has a strobe light for night rescues, and lets rescuers know who I am. I'm sure that will calm my mother down.

6. Nikon COOLPIX AW100

I wouldn't be afraid to go backpacking or rafting with this camera by my side. I currently shoot most of my outdoor activities with my iPhone, which is super risky on my part. This 16MP Coolpix AW100 is waterproof, shockproof, and freezeproof plus shoots HD video and has GPS tagging for photos in case I forget where I traveled. I can't say the same about my phone, now can I?

7. Skyrim for PS3

I'm not very good a 1st person types of games, but I have to make an exception for Skyrim. I borrowed it from a coworker who knew I flirted with World of Warcraft while in college, and I'm hooked. I love how similar it is to WoW without being too similar...if that makes sense? Anyway, this game is for those Gadchicks like me who like a story with their game, enjoy an open world, and working on skills/going on quests. While I can sit and play this game for hours, it is also the kind of game I'm able to set aside two hours to play and feel okay about it.

Learn more about Kam at Campfire Chic. 


My Favorite Women in Video Games: Cortana

Games she appeared in:  Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2-4, Halo ReachIs she being rescued/saved as a key plot point: Cortana is the one who will discover the deus ex machina to save the day or protect anyone under her care.

For our video game BFF date, we would: I would prefer her to appear on my iPhone and give me helpful hints and motivate about my day, but Master Chief needs her more.


Women 3.0: Carly Fiorina

Name: Carly Fiorina

Short biography: Carly Fiorina (born Cara Carlton Sneed) was born in Austin, TX, in 1954. She attended the private Channing School for Girls in London until her senior year in high school, when her family moved to North Carolina; for her senior year, she attended Charles E. Jordan High School in Durham. Fiorina received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and medieval arts from Stanford in 1976 and attended the UCLA School of Law for one semester, worked as a receptionist for six months and then moved to Italy to teach English. Her MBA, which she received in 1980, is in marketing and from the University of Maryland—College Park. She also has a master’s in management from the MIT Sloan School of Management.1


What Should I Try? – Gaming Recommendations

Baffled by all of the choices at Gamestop? Confused by whether you like action or puzzle games on the iPhone store? Unsure about your options for your gaming system and just want something fun to play?

Don’t fret, Gadchick has arrived again with some great suggestions for video games to try and some guidance on what game might best match your mood.


Gadchick Reviews; The Windows Surface

Don't judge but I’m a Mac girl. I have been since the G3 days (remember the all-in-one monitors that came in multiple colors)? I use PCs when I have to, but it’s always a bit of a task—they’re boxy, ugly, problematic and they just aren’t fun. How do you make a gadget not fun?

So when Microsoft showed off the Windows Surface over the summer, I was intrigued—but also ready to be disappointed. It is Windows, after all—the same people that brought us the Zune, Windows Me, Kin Phone, Microsoft Bob (seriously, look Bob up if you’ve never heard of him)—in short, Microsoft had let me all down plenty of times before.

I've tried out the Windows Surface for a few days and here is the weird thing—it actually doesn’t suck. No joke. Forget Android—Windows RT (RT is the software version for PC tablets) is the first real threat to iPad ever. It’s a tablet for people who don’t just want to want to watch videos and play games—it’s a tablet for people who actually want to do work.

Windows 8 takes some getting used to, but it really doesn’t deserve the negative press it’s been getting. It looks different, but pretty much everything from Windows 7 is still there—only in different places. It’s an operating system that seems built to be touched and not clicked with a mouse, which may be why so many upgraders might be turned off pretty quickly.

Out of the box, the Windows Surface looks and feels great. It’s sleek, light, and quiet—you’d never know it’s a Microsoft product. Unlike the Kindle Fire, which feels like a toy and acts like a commercial, the Surface is a curious device that makes you want to get stuff done.

It has Office built right into—so you don’t have to pay extra if you want to the productivity suite (like you do on the iPad); if you are planning on using it for work, make sure and pick up the keyboard, which will set you back about $120. The keyboard is a work of art in itself. When I saw pictures of it, I didn’t quite believe it—it looked like a gimmick. It’s not. It works. Really well. It feels weird at first, and it isn’t perfect in your lap—it works best on a flat surface. After about a minute of typing, you’ll be fine.

The only drawback is it’s running RT. What does that mean? It means you can’t install normal programs like you could any other computers. Everything you install has to come from the App Store. And the App Store is really lacking—Twitter and Facebook don’t even have apps! I suspect by Christmas, the app store will be plentiful.

If you are looking for a high-end tablet, then I give this a very strong recommendation. If you can’t afford it, then there’s always the Nexus (just don’t get the Kindle Fire).


Women 3.0: Carol Bartz

Name: Carol Bartz

Short biography: Born in Winona, Minn., in 1948, Carol Bartz attended high school in Alma, Wis.—where she both excelled in math and was homecoming queen. In 1971, she received a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Wisconsin—Madison. After graduating, Bartz worked for companies such as 3M, Digital Equipment Corporation and Sun Microsystems. From 1992—2006, Bartz was the CEO of Autodesk, a company that produced 3D software for architectural design purposes, and from 2009—2011, she was the CEO of Yahoo. (Our first Woman 3.0, Marissa Mayer, succeeded Bartz in the position.) Bartz is married with three children and currently lives in California.1


My Favorite Women in Video Games: American McGee’s Alice

Games she appeared in:  American McGee’s Alice, Alice: Madness Returns

Is she being rescued/saved as a key plot point: Alice is traveling back into Wonderland in order to save herself.

For our video game BFF date, we would: I’m not sure I would want to go anywhere Alice likes to, she tends to run with a creepy crowd.


Gadchick Reviews; The Google Chromebook

I’m an early adopter to Google Docs (way back to the Writely days), and love just about anything Google makes. From the Nexus tablet (hands down the best tablet for the money), to the ability to mod your phone with Android, and who doesn’t love YouTube. So when Google announced that they were working on their very own computer OS, I was thrilled; and when they showed off the first line of Chromebooks last year, I was all over that as well....until I saw the price! It would cost almost the same as netbook running Windows.

Last week Google made their first attempt at producing a laptop people may buy. When they came out with the newest Samsung model, which is a mere $250, I didn’t pause to pre-order it. Was it worth it?

The first thing you need to understand about Chrome OS has what I like to call a Cloud OS--which is to say it works best when you have an Internet connection or 3G. You can perform tasks offline, but it’s limited at best.

The second thing you need to know is Chromebooks are not powerful computers--nor do they need to be; Chromebooks are best used as secondary computers--a lightweight device that you travel with or use on the couch; it does normal web tasks beautifully and can do basic Word Processing and Spreadsheets like a champ. But it stops there. In short, it’s everything I imagined it would be for an easy notebook.

If you use the Chrome browser on your PC or Mac then Chrome OS isn’t very different; the biggest difference is the task bar on the bottom.

If you are looking for a computer for your kids, you really can’t go wrong. It’s not going to run some graphic intensive video game (although you can download game apps from the app store). If you’re a broke college student, a Google fangirl, then this is the laptop to get.

If you’ve never used Google Docs, give it a try; it’s not a Office Word killer, but it’s free, so you can’t complain about the price; what it does do better than Word, is allows multiple users work on a document at the same time; it’s perfect for collaboration and sharing a netbook in a family.

This is the one feature I was particularly fond of was the ability to have multiple users; it’s ridiculously easy to set up; once it’s there anyone with a Google Account can set up an account on the Chromebook. Once they do, it automatically syncs all the other Chrome accounts they have--so if they happened to be browsing a page on Chrome for iPad, they can get that same page opened on their Chromebook. It also has a great battery life; my first use got well over 5 hours using the brightest screen settings; and, unlike my Mac Air, the battery life on the Chromebook didn't start heating up that I could hardly put it in my lap.

SO is it worth it? I still think the price could be lower, but it’s a solid laptop for somewhat looking for a secondary computer. Unlike a normal computer, it’s pretty foolproof; you can’t delete a file and corrupt your computer. There’s also hardly any learning curve. As an added bonus, Chromebook comes with 12 passes to Gogo (which let’s you access the Internet aboard most airplanes domestically) and 100 GB of Google Drive storage--both of those things are worth a little more than $200, so if you use those services, then Chromebooks are a remarkable deal. For 16GB, and weighing under 3 lbs, it is a great deal. It has one SD card slot, and 1 USB port but don't expect much more with a light notebook. It also has one HDMI out for plugging into your big screen.

The holidays are around the corner, so if you are thinking about putting one under the Christmas tree, you can order one here. Order early--they seem to be selling rather quick.

Women 3.0: Sandy Lerner

Name: Sandy Lerner

Short biography: Sandra “Sandy” Lerner was born in 1955. After attending school—in 1975, she received a bachelor’s degree in political science from California State University (CSU), Chico; in 1977, she received a master's degree in econometrics from Claremont Graduate School; and in 1981, she received another master's degree in statistics and computer science from Stanford University—she went on to co-found Cisco Systems, Inc., one of the world’s foremost networking technology companies, in 1984. And in 1995, she founded makeup company Urban Decay.1


New York Comic Con Recap – Cosplay Popularity Contest

One of the top questions I’m asked when people find out that I attend comic conventions is, “Do you wear a costume?” As often the most visible attendees and the people always chosen for the local media interview, cosplayers stick out to people who have never been as the most common attendee.

While I personally don’t wear a costume (I dress for conventions as a fashionable geek) and costumed attendees are still outnumbered by the unadorned, cosplayers are one of my favorite parts of any convention. The innovation and care seen in every costume astound and surprise me. Plus the childlike joy of seeing someone dressed in full costume from your favorite movies, television shows, and games never goes away.

This year for New York Comic Con, I took a look around the exhibition floor to see who attendees chose to dress as and how this reflects on the popularity of different video games. Video game cosplayers may not have been as plentiful as Doctor Who cosplayers, but what I did learn reflected some games people are excited to play and the continued influence of indie games.


Mass Mentions: What was your first screen name?

This week we asked, "Do you remember your first screen name? What did you use it for? #massmentions."
@MacgirlsAdv: When I was 14 and had an online journal, before they were called blogs! It was 'purple rose' #massmentions
@abandy: AllieBundy13-- for AIM. I was-- you guessed it-- 13 years old
@FireworkDeLune: hanako66 circa 1992 I think? Carried me through chatrooms for almost a decade
@eeelishalynn: LynnSMB42 circa 1998 for PurpleMoon (so old!), Livejournal, and AIM
@CampfireChic: Antifasion for AOL. Back when you were limited to 10 characters for your sn.
@JenniferMabe: angelbaby1073 and I used it for aol about 14 years ago
@bethfury: behappy52 on aol, used it throughout high school
@DaisyatHome: I have used so many names I can't remember the first. One of the earliest was Crickett_19 circa 1995, 19 was my birthday, not age.
@ourcitylights: Mine had "grrrl" in it, but # of r's unknown
@AGirl_InTransit: my first ones were plaidchicka and prelilangel
@srslyliz: “Egurl2003” hahahah
Follow us @Gadchick to find out next week’s M@ss Mention question and join in the conversation! Don’t forget to find us on Instagram (@gadchick)! Happy #FollowFriday and have a wonderful weekend!


How To Host A Successful LAN Party

One LAN, or local area network, party that we had earlier this year sticks out to all who attended as “the best” that they had ever been to. Besides the obvious; invite hilarious people that get along, make sure you have a venue large enough to accommodate everyone, desk area/seating for each computer, and time (usually a whole day - this LAN lasted from 10AM ‘til 5AM), there are other things that need to be taken into consideration. I am going to break down the elements of what made this particular LAN so successful.
-Planning: The night before, agree on a “setlist” of heavy hitter games. It also helps if everyone defrags their drives and has a few gigs of free space to install any new games. Remind everyone to update their games too. Some LAN parties start with a wasted hour or two of downloading and installing.

-The Games: There are heavy hitter games such as L4D, Counter-strike, WoW, etc etc.. the-more-the-merrier games that can continue all night. The next tier of games could be good 2 to four player games, such as Portal 2. League of Legends, Starcraft 2, etc. The “Low Tier LAN” games are, well, non-PC. Nothing like a break from the keyboard to do a little Mariokart 3DS, or a quick Xbox Call of Duty session, so feel free to bust out the consoles. It's always fun to throw in a couple of games that guarantee laughs too like Team Fortress 2, Mount and Blade, Bloody Good Time, or Air Buccaneers.
-Extra Cables To Bring: powerstrips, DVI/HDMI (LCD screen cables), regular black power cord cables, CAT-5 network cables.
-Network type: Although wifi is now at fast speeds (dual-band routers, N-type adapters, etc), it’s still recommended to link up in good ol’ fashioned Cat-5. Nothing beats physical cable, as wifi can become complicated with signal strengths when spreading out. Modern wifi routers can probably handle a few computers, but any party over 8 people and it’s time to bring a switch/router with enough ports for Cat-5.

-Location: Depending on the size of your party, space may be an issue. Nothing beats a classic garage or basement LAN, as the average room can heat up with 4+ computers. Another thing to consider is power. If all 4 outlets in a room have multiple power strips, you may trip the circuit breaker if too much power is being drawn to one circuit. ***A good tip is to have a few computers use extension cords that connect to outlets in opposite sides of the building.*** (we managed to have only one power outage during the 9-person LAN shown above)
-Gamer fuel: Marisa’s healthy snacks are a good option if you have time to prepare them. I usually will throw any current dietary concerns out the window during a LAN party and go for ordering pizza, copious amounts of Mountain Dew (to help with reflexes at 5AM), a variety of chips, and various movie size candy concoctions.

Have fun!


Women 3.0: Adele Goldberg


Name: Adele Goldberg

Short biography: Adele Goldberg was born in Cleveland in 1945 and lived here until she was 11; she and her family then moved to Chicago. Goldberg attended—and received a bachelor’s degree in math from—the University of Michigan. In 1973, she earned a Ph. D. in information science. Since then, Goldberg has worked for Xerox, System Concepts Laboratory, ParcPlace Systems and other programming companies.1


New York Comic Con Recap - Unveiling New Comic Book Technology

Comic and pop culture conventions are often a great place to learn about upcoming and new movies, television shows, or books. However, many companies are choosing to use these events to launch new technology or celebrate new capabilities with existing tools to further drive innovation in that existing media.

New York Comic Con this year saw tons of amazing announcements, but two in particular stand out to me as major developments that are bringing great changes to comic books for technology-loving comic book fans.


Women 3.0: Sandy Carter

Name: Sandy Carter

Short biography: Sandy Carter has a bachelor’s degree in math and computer science from Duke University and an MBA from Harvard. The author of books including The New Language of Business: SOA & Web 2.0 and The New Language of Marketing 2.0: Social Media, Carter is fluent in eight programming languages and a social media expert; she has been with IBM for more than 20 years. Carter is also the mother of two children.1


What Should I Try? - Gaming Recommendations

The earliest video game systems’ strengths were never the variety of games. From Pong to tennis to table tennis, developers focused on what was easy, understandable, and fun for consumers under some very specific themes. With the growth of technology, development of new systems, and expansion of the culture, your local gaming store can provide hundreds (if not thousands) of options that go way beyond our earliest options.
But for people new to gaming, these choices can be overwhelming and confusing. What is the difference between FPS and TPS, what does cross-genre mean, why are there so many “Games of the Year”?  While resources like r/gaming on Reddit, or sites like IGN provide reviews and suggestions, we’re still a while away from our own personal gaming genius ala ITunes to help us choose.  Luckily for you gentle reader, Gadchick is ready to provide you some guidance depending on your mood.


Mass Mentions: What was your first CD?

This week we asked, "Today the CD turns 30! Do you remember your first compact disc? #massmentions."
@ourcitylights: Green Day's Dookie.
@mandyannecurtis: Mine were Mariah Carey's Merry Christmas and Boyz II Men's Christmas Interpretations. #massmentions
@thetinysea: Brooks and Dunn's 'Brand New Man.' lmao :)
@Mopalicious1: mine was Salt n' Pepa! Haha I was like, 7!
@CampfireChic: my first CDs were The Wallflowers: bringing down he horse; Ace if Base: the bridge; & Mariah Carey: Daydream. #1995
@thedeadformat: Selena, Amor Prohibido. That's right.
@runningboard: my 1st CD ever was Linea 77's Too Much Happiness Makes Kids Paranoid, bought from Bionic Records in Fullerton. #RIPBionic
@vividot: my first cd was The Bodyguard soundtrack. It was a gift along w/ my first cd player (a jvc that lasted thru college)
@TishChambers: I still remember the day I got my very own CD player and my first CD- Spice Girls SPICEWORLD! (My brother got it, too! Ha!)
@iamemmamusic: Sarah Vaughan's The Divine One
@JenniferMabe: Daydream by Mariah Carey, I got a Best Buy gift certificate for my 11th birthday. The PC was my only way to play it.
@emilymayhem: It was some kind of "silly songs for kids" CD that included Purple People Eater and a song about meatballs. I think I was about 6.
@Drussy2: Michael Jackson's OFF THE WALL.
@cadiec: dookie was my first cd, I still have it...
@FireworkDeLune: The Simpsons Sing the Blues
Follow us @Gadchick to find out next week’s M@ss Mention question and join in the conversation! Don’t forget to find us on Instagram (@gadchick)! Happy #FollowFriday and have a wonderful weekend!


Women 3.0: Deborah Estrin

Name: Deborah Estrin

Short biography: Deborah Estrin was born in Los Angeles 1959. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1980, a master’s degree in technology policy from MIT in 1982, and a PhD in computer science (also from MIT) in 1985. In 1986, Estrin accepted a teaching position in the computer science department at the University of Southern California; she taught and conducted research there until 2000, when she started teaching in the computer science and electrical engineering departments at UCLA. Since 2002, she has been at the forefront of the study of a revolutionary technology called embedded networked sensing.1


Great Games On Demand

With the launch of video game system based marketplaces for XBox, PS3, and Wii, smaller developers and unique games have been able to grab an audience and give players new options without heading out to the store. However, sometimes sorting through the options can be overwhelming especially when you are just looking for something fun to try out.
If you’re looking for some great games that are showing the different risks developers are taking, try one of the games below:


Women 3.0: Padmasree Warrior

Name: Padmasree Warrior

Short biography: Warrior—who definitely has the best name in our Woman 3.0 series to date—was born and raised in Vijayawada in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, India. After attending the Children’s Montessori School and Maris Stella College in Vijayawada, Warrior received her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1982 from the Indian Institute of Technology. She also has a master’s degree in chemical engineering from Cornell University.


Conventions - Why Size May Not Matter

I went to my third Comic Convention of the year, Stan Lee’s Comikaze in Los Angeles, CA, and was reminded that sometimes…size may not matter…at least, when it comes to conventions.

After attending Comic-Con in Denver and San Diego, and Comikaze in Los Angeles this year, it really hit me…I am less stressed at the smaller conventions!

Yes, San Diego Comic-Con is the giant torch drawing fan-moths to its flames of awesomeness, but between getting jostled around in tight aisle and dreading never finding my way back to a specific booth, I couldn’t help but smile when I was able to walk from booth to booth without imagining I was Princess Leia in the garbage chute while at the smaller conventions.

Sure, major studios may not be at a smaller convention giving audiences who waited in line overnight a preview of a preview for a movie that is coming out months from that date, but maybe you’ll be able to see the indie companies with equally awesome things to share or attend a panel hosted by your favorite podcasters.

Crowds aside, I came up with a few reasons why you should check out a convention in your area.