Vlog #2: Geeky About Fan Art.

The latest Geekery Converged vlog is up and this one is all about the wonderful world fan art.

What is your opinion on fan art? Are your walls covered with prints you picked up from artist booths at conventions? Let us know and if you have any, share your own fan art!

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Geekery Converged is Now a YouTube Channel!

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Review: Break and Enter

Break and Enter
Break and Enter by Rachel Haimowitz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While browsing the many Gay genre lists on Goodreads, I came across this title and took a shot (for less than $3, I figured if it sucked then I wouldn’t have broken the bank). 2 days later and I find myself wanting more.

Break and Enter is a M/M Cyberpunk novella that’s fast-paced, exciting and plenty sexy. The bedroom scenes take a backseat to the real action (a corporate cyber conspiracy), which is just how I like my dirty, dirty gay books. Sex is great, but if the story is bad then who cares when, where and how long they bangulated?

Granted, there are plenty of holes in the plot (He hid the microchip where?! When the hell did that happen?!?!?!), but I’m willing to look past it; I enjoyed the book that much.

If you’re a M/M romance fan then you’ll love it. I’m not, so the fact that I’m recommending this means a lot. Take it to the bank, bitches.

View all my reviews

Moving On Part 2: The Nexus 4 and the Magenta Giant [T-Mobile]

By now I’m sure you’re up to speed on my Sprint and Samsung debacle. If not, go do that. I’ll wait. OK, good.

After my return from the weekend getaway that was anything but relaxing (for more reasons than just my shitty phone service, but I don’t know you well enough to tell that story), plans were set in motion to escape Sprint’s big yellow prison. The LG Nexus 4 had been release only a few weeks prior and it was getting rave reviews, and subsequently was impossible to get thanks to high demand on the Google Play store. T-Mobile had partnered with Google once again to offer the phone through their stores/website. I immediately pursued this option, but hit a brick wall when T-Mo wanted a $200 deposit before I could sign a contract. Hell naw.

Flash forward to the week before New Year’s. A Craigslist search showed multiple people in the Atlanta area selling unused Nexus 4s at a markup that was less of a screw than any in the state of Alabama. As it turned out, a friend and I had been considering the idea of ringing in New Year’s at some Atlanta hot spots. The fact that I could come back unshackled by Sprint cemented the idea.

nexus 4

The entire day seemed to be a work of serendipity. We checked into the Georgia Tech Hotel, walked across the street to the Barnes and Noble where the seller suggested we meet and, after the exchange and a very pleasant conversation with the Craigslist dude, sauntered across the opposite street corner and into the T-Mobile store, where I walked out with my new Nexus happily alive on a $30 a month prepaid plan with all the data and text I could devour. And for those who say that the Nexus 4 is crippled by lack of LTE support, let me tell you that my data speeds were topping out at just over 20Mbps, quite a bit faster than what my friend was getting on Verizon’s LTE at the same time. Yes, I agree that LTE is the future of cellular technology, but it’s still in the early stages of life, so I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything by not having it, especially since Verizon is the only carrier so far to have major deployment.

The phone itself is a gorgeous piece of work by LG, trumping anything Samsung has tossed out to the public in…EVER. I’m not going to go in-depth on the actual hardware; there are plenty of reviews out there that do a better job than I ever could. Just know that the phone definitely lives up to the hype.

On New Year’s Day we decided to spend a few hours at IKEA, inside which I had a full, super fast signal the whole time. I was even able to fire up Google Maps and use their indoor mapping feature because, you know, IKEA is one huge rat maze of awesome. That’s something I would have NEVER been able to do, not just with my Galaxy Nexus, but on the Sprint network in general.

It’s been nearly 2 months since I made the switch, and it’s like I’m living in another world. One where I’m unhindered by contracts and shit cell service. I suddenly find myself able to actually use my phone in the ways it was meant to be used. And amazingly enough, my friends say I’m much less frustrated all the time. It’s amazing what changing your mobile provider can do for your attitude. Though I guess that’s another point for the side that says smartphones are the new detriment of society. But screw it! Mobile data is my Prozac, man. And besides, Google Glass isn’t that far off.

Moving On Part 1: The Sprint and Samsung Fustercluck

Sprint_Galaxy_Nexus

Several months ago, driven by the love of Android 4.1+, I switched from my EVO 3D to the Sprint version of the Galaxy Nexus. I craved the latest Android OS to exist not just my wonderful Nexus 7 tablet but my phone as well. So I hopped on eBay, found the cheapest listing ($300) and a few days later my new Nexus was at my door.

The first few days were a mad love story. It was so thin! The unfettered Android experience was better than ever and the improvements in android 4.1 were a joy. Then after a week, the romance started to wane. I would unplug the device in the morning, go to work and 5 hours later my battery would be screaming for a recharge. What’s worse, the issues I had with Sprint’s services before were amplified. Having lived a year and a half with weak signals and slow data, the hardware in the Galaxy Nexus picked up cell signals even worse than they already were, killing the battery even faster as the phone desperately heated up while trying to capture a clear signal. What’s more, the WiFi antenna had a tendency to drop signal mere feet from any router. As it turned out, the GNex suffered from the exact same issues as the Nexus S (read: Samsung’s shitty build quality), something I’ve already documented some time ago.

How could this be possible? Had a year and a half really taught Samsung nothing about proper quality control? Obviously not.

The Galaxy Nexus’s battery issues are already well documented, and the inclusion of LTE on the Verizon and Sprint versions exacerbated the issue immensely. Sprint even went so far as to give free extended batteries to anyone who registered their GNex on their Sprint account. Guess what I did. And guess how much that fixed the issue (not at all).

For weeks I dealt with the issues, all to have the latest OS in my pocket, even going so far as to buy one of those Mophie travel battery chargers to give my Nexus a daily I.V. of extra life. My frustration grew in the face of Sprint’s horrifyingly slow data speeds. Months of speed tests in various locations in my region showed that I was lucky to ever net a download speed of 1Mbps, usually netting an average speed of 300kbps. That is egregiously BAD, Sprint, and inexcusable in the current mobile market.

The final nail in the coffin came after an impromptu trip to Atlanta for a weekend getaway. I was excited to finally experience an LTE service area, thinking that the experience would be so much better than my 3G woes that I would be given a boost of confidence big enough to wait out Sprint’s LTE rollout. I was so, so wrong.

At first, my phone connected to the LTE network just fine. I ran a quick speed test and averaged 3.4Mbps. Not at all the fastest when it comes to LTE carriers, but leagues better than what I was experiencing (for reference, I was with someone connected to Verizon’s LTE network, which has an average down speed of 14Mbps). Then the crap hit the fan. Not only did my phone drop it’s 4G signal, but it lost data altogether. Multiple times. Sometimes it would flat out drop all signal, both data and voice. For the rest of the weekend, my phone would latch on to a 4G signal for all of 30 seconds then revert to 3G and no amount of hard resets alleviated the issue. In short, my phone was rendered practically unusable and my battery averaged 3 hours per charge.

By the time we were headed back to Alabama that Sunday, Sprint and Samsung’s phones were dead to me forever more. I’ve given both companies more than their fair share of chances and been burned badly every time.

Where did all this lead me? Stay tuned for Part 2 to find out.

Review: Where You Are

Where You Are
Where You Are by J.H. Trumble
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Last year I wrote about what became one of my favorite books, not just for 2011, but of all time (so far). That book was J.H. Trumble’s Don’t Let Me Go, a fantastic work of gay YA fiction. This past December saw the release of her second book, Where You Are. And folks, J.H. has done it again.

While not a sequel to DLMG, Where You Are picks up shortly after the events of that book and are connected by one of the minor characters, Luke (for those interested, the yet-to-be-released third book looks to bridge DLMG and WYA together with his story).

We first meet Andrew, a 24 year old high school math teacher facing all the trials of being an educator and father to a 2 year old, and Robert, his senior student dealing with his unaffectionate boyfriend and the impending death of the father he resents, thanks to the brain cancer that has left him all but a vegetable. It is through the strain on Robert’s family life brought on by the dying father who may never have loved him that he forms a bond with Andrew, his not-so-secretly gay math teacher. But their innocent friendship doesn’t stay that way long and the two find themselves in a dangerous game of romance and potentially perilous scandal.

Where You Are weaves a beautiful tale of love in the face of adversity from all sides, whether it’s in the form of Andrew’s deceptive ex-wife, Robert’s meddlesome aunts, students with a vendetta or the constant threat of a public shaming and imprisonment should Andrew be found out.
While at it’s core a love story, WYA is also a cautionary tale of what can happen when the sacred roles of student and teacher are broken and passion takes over. In the eyes of society there can never been a reason good enough for a person to break the role of educator and become romantically involved with a student, no matter their age or level of consent and J.H. does a fantastic job conveying that fear of discovery to the reader. Though we root for Andrew and Robert to be together, the fear that they may be found out lurks around every (page) turn. Could someone have seen them? Do the other teachers know? If the people they trust found out, would they expose the two? It’s that desire for their love to succeed and the worry that it will all fall apart that kept me turning the page well past my bedtime night after night.

Where You Are is without a doubt the best book I’ve read in quite some time, and the first in months to keep me so enthralled that I couldn’t help but finish it (my lack of updates and miserable failure at reaching my 2012 reading goal is proof enough of that). While I’m not in love with this book as much I am with Don’t Let Me Go, it was still a fantastic read and one which I wish I had committed to sooner (my usual song and dance), especially since my friend Joshua Ardon over at The Get Under Guy reviewed an advance copy and my friend Rob won copies of both books weeks before I had a chance to start it. Although, Rob did make it up to me by giving me the best Christmas gifts: autographed copies of both DLMG and WYA. (Thanks Rob and J.H.!)

Where You Are now takes its place among my top recommended reading list with a solid 4 out of 5, where I hope it will soon be joined by Trumble’s third novel, Just Between Us. Don’t keep us waiting long, publisher!

View all my reviews

The Nexus 4 or How Google Wised Up and Dropped Samsung

If you’re a Android fanatic like I am, then you’re probably aware that Monday was the long-awaited announcement of the new line of Nexus devices from Google, namely the LG Nexus 4 (though other Nexus devices were announced).

For the past 2 years, if you wanted the newest Nexus phone you had to suffer with one of Samsung’s toddler-grade products. It’s no secret that I despised the Nexus S and got rid of it after 2 weeks. And though I haven’t chronicled it as much, I have a bipolar love/hate relationship with the Galaxy Nexus (read shitty Wifi/cell antennas). But it looks like that might change once the Nexus 4 is released.

Featuring a nice bump in specs (view the full rundown here) and first to run Android 4.2, the 4 will first be available in the Google Play store in 8 and 16 gigabyte flavors starting November 13. For geeks like me, that’s a little disappointing since the Galaxy Nexus features a robust 32GB of space, which is easy enough to fill with your Spotify or Google Music downloads. But I guess that’s what the cloud is for…if you’re not on Sprint’s painfully slow 3G network.

As of right now, the only announced carrier that will offer the phone on contract is T-Mobile, though it’s possible Verizon or at least Sprint will get a variant for their CDMA/LTE networks. If you’re an AT&T prisoner subscriber then you can pick one up off-contract in the Play store, which is a good way to go since it won’t cost that much more than contract price and you won’t have to lock yourself in for another 2 years.

Me? I might consider jumping the Sprint ship for T-Mo, but that’s another post.