Post #E32019: Top 10 Indie Games Picks For The Upcoming Season

By Jazzmin “BunnieBlue” Windom | @HunnieBunz12:45 PM EST, Fri. July 19, 2019
With the hype from E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) still lingering in the minds of many gamers, all the big name AAA titles seemed to be taking all of the spotlight back in June. Little do some know that every now and then, less-known games pop up and catch the eyes of many through the independent, also known as Indie, genre. Below are my top 10 Indie games post E3:
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RECAP — The 5 Most Notable Announcements of the Pre-E3 2019 Press Conferences

By Paul “Tru1P” Holston | @Tru1P3:10 PM EST, Thurs. June 13, 2019

The future of gaming continues to evolve for the next generation. There’s no better place for gaming in the middle of June than at the Los Angeles Convention Center during the world’s premier event for computer and video games that is the 2019 Electronic Entertainment Expo. Prior to the official kickoff of #E32019 this week, millions of gamers from around the world got to witness the video game industry’s top companies showcase their newest games and a few surprises that many have anticipated prior to E3.
Continue reading “RECAP — The 5 Most Notable Announcements of the Pre-E3 2019 Press Conferences”

PERSPECTIVE — QuirkCon Gave Me Life At My First-Ever Gaming Convention

By Bianca “Anca” House | @ancaxec5:30 PM EST, Weds. Jun. 12, 2019

Greetings everyone! It’s your favorite Anca, huehuehue.
Anyway, I had a little something to say that I wanted to share with everyone. Well, I have between a little and a lot to say, and it’s about none other than…QuirkCon!

(Credit: www.QuirkCon.com)

Two weekends ago, I embarked on a trip to my first-ever convention (at least in the gaming world, that is). I had no idea what to expect, where I was actually going, who I was going to meet (except for fellow Cookout member Lila, in which, she’s the one who convinced me to go), so I was just out here living my best life and trying new things. So, I hopped in my car and drove from Greensboro, N.C. to Durham, N.C. ready to take on the weekend.
The con was three days long (which I’m assuming most cons are…?), and I have to say: I have never felt more comfortable around so many people. There were people like myself, people who share my culture, my hobbies and so much more! My favorite part, aside from hanging out with the illustrious #CookoutFam, was my stroll through the Vendor Hall. I know there are talented people out there, but I mean there’s some REALLY talented people out there in my own community that I had no idea existed! It was a paradise for People of Color content creators.
One thing that I really liked the most about QuirkCon was its intimacy. It wasn’t too small, and it wasn’t too big, and I didn’t feel overwhelmed at all. I enjoyed every minute while I was there so much so, that my sister (which I also convinced to go to the con, huehuehue) and I stayed out as long as we possibly could, just so we could experience it all.
I know I briefly mentioned hanging out with Cookout Fam, so I shall expound on it more now: I knew these people were dope, but I mean they are genuine and all around wonderful. I mentioned this in a post on Instagram, but I truly and honestly felt as if I’d known the ones that I met all my life. You know how sometimes you have that uncertainty when meeting people in person for the first time after only talking online? That uncertainty was nonexistent. Unfamiliarity, nonexistent. The Cookout is a family that I’m soooo grateful to have found in my search for a place of belonging.

There were some tears at the end, but they were happy tears because I definitely made some friendships that I needed in my life. I’m grateful to God that I was able to experience something like this.
Kudos to the team that made QuirkCon a realization and a dream come true!

_______
With a love for all things IT, Art and Adventure, Bianca “Anca” House is a harmlessly silly & eccentric creative/gaming streamer and the founder of AncaLogy, her graphic design business. Anca possesses a Ph.D in Laughology, earned from the University of Life in 1995. You can learn more about her at www.anca-logy.com, her site that contains links to all her creative & gaming activities. You can find her streaming at twitch.tv/anca_xec.
 

REVIEW — 2018 iPad Pro: A Good Get If You Know What You're Getting Into

By Marcus “MajorLinux” Summers | @MajorLinux | 5:30 PM EST, Thurs. May 16, 2019

Eleven years.
It’s been 11 years since I first set foot into the modern Apple ecosystem, better known as the “Walled Garden.” Back then, I wouldn’t have considered myself a part of that walled garden. I made great strides in avoiding that label. I got really heavy into Linux. I bought, exclusively, Android devices. Then, in 2013, things changed. In the span of six years, I’ve done the following:

  • Bought an iPad Mini 2
  • Bought my wife an iPhone
  • Bought two Apple TVs
  • Bought my own iPhone
  • Bought a MacBook Pro
  • Bought an Apple Watch
  • Took a job that gave me another MacBook Pro
  • Upgraded all the iPhones

All of this has led up to this moment. Because both my iPad Mini 2 and personal MacBook Pro was starting to show their age, I figured it was time to upgrade. But, instead of upgrading both devices separately, I remember there was one device that had the amazing size and portability of a tablet with the computing powerful of a small laptop.That device is the iPad Pro.

(Photo Credit: Major Linux)

The model I picked up (pictured above) is the 2018 11-inch iPad Pro. This model has 256 GB of internal storage and is LTE enabled. I picked this up through Verizon and was discounted almost $200 since I was updating my wife’s iPhone 7 to the iPhone XR. I picked up the Smart Keyboard Folio the next day. I also picked up the second generation Apple Pencil later on that week. Due to the time in which I picked up the Pencil, my thoughts won’t cover much of it (even though I delayed writing this to get some quick thoughts using it).
These past couple of weeks have been pretty good, but it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows. Let’s dive in, shall we?

The Good

The first thing you notice with this device is that it’s nearly all screen. Now, while it’s not an iPhone X, Samsung Galaxy S 10, or even the recently announced OnePlus 7 Pro, for an iPad (or any tablet currently available), it has the highest screen-to-bezel ratio of any tablet on the market. All the front facing cameras and sensors are hidden within the bezel and you might have a tough time finding them.
Speaking of the “hidden” sensors, because you may never know where they are, Face ID works in both landscape and portrait. Also, if you are trying to unlock the iPad Pro in landscape, your hand could possibly be covering the sensors. The iPad will let you know if that is the case, will point to where the sensor is and let you know that it is being obfuscated by something.
Once you’re logged in and ready to work, everything functions similar to an iPhone X in relation to navigating around. One of the best new additions to iOS 11 for iPads are the awesome multitasking features. I missed out on some of these features because they were not available for the iPad Mini 2. Of course, I’m talking about Slide Over, Split View, and Picture in Picture.
While I hardly use Slide Over and Picture in Picture, Split View has been the the absolute best. The second day I had it, I used it to do some routine maintenance on one of my servers while watching the stream pictured above. It was at that point that I wanted to see how far I could push it. Two days later, I sat down and deployed an entire website using nothing but the iPad Pro. In fact, I’m using Split View right now to write this review!

(Photo Credit: Major Linux)

Going back to the physical side of things, the iPad Pro is the second Apple product line and 1st iOS product line to use USB Type C. This was definitely super helpful as it finally gave me a reason to break out my old Nexus 6P cables and chargers. As an “owner” of a 2017 MacBook Pro, it’s nice that I’m able to share chargers with it. Also, this is the first iOS device that lets you charge other devices from it, which is very convenient.
Then, there are the accessories. In order to really get some work done on the iPad Pro, you’re gonna need a keyboard. You can pair any Bluetooth keyboard to it or you can get the Smart Keyboard Folio from Apple. It has a really good, keypress feel for a portable keyboard. It also adds PC shortcuts like Alt+Tab, Cmd+Space for Spotlight search, and Cmd+H to get quick access to the Home screen.
And, in my opinion, no iPad Pro can be complete without the Apple Pencil. The Pencil is now in its second generation and only works with the new iPad Pros. For the naked eye, the tracking is flawless. I’ve been using it while at work to take handwritten notes during some trainings and it works really well to capture my actual handwriting as if I was using pen and paper. Pairing and charging are also super simple. All you have to do is magnetically snap it to the side of the iPad Pro.
Now, I hear you all asking: “But it can’t be all sunshine and rainbows, right?”
(Photo Credit: Major Linux)

(Photo Credit: Major Linux)

The Bad

And you’d be absolutely right!
Let’s start off with the Apple Pencil. I’ve had some issues with it when writing. While it does track very well, it doesn’t do it 100 percent of the time. There are times when it glitches out and stops writing. I don’t know if this is a Notes app issue, but I found myself having to back out of the note I was writing in and coming back to a working Pencil.
Sticking with the Apple Pencil, you may want to pick up a carrying case for yours. While it does attach magnetically to the iPad Pro, it’s not a real permanent solution. I was able to shake the Pencil off the iPad, but I had to really shake it. However, the real issue is in transporting the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. I feel it would be really easy for the Pencil to come right off. So, you might want to invest in something like the Belkin Case + Stand.

(Photo Credit: Major Linux)

(Photo Credit: Major Linux)

Switching gears over to software: There are some big glaring omissions when it comes to iOS on it’s tablet side. The most glaring issue is the lack of mouse support, especially for the iPad Pro. For this to be their professional tablet, it’d be nice to see them add it.
For the hardware they do have, there seems to be some issues with it when combining it with the software. Some applications don’t “respect” the presence of the physical keyboard. There have been countless times where I open an app and the virtual keyboard just takes over a good chunk of the screen.
Then, there’s the UX, also known as the user experience. While I’ve become very familiar with the gestures on my iPhone X, these gestures combined with the gestures that were specific to iPads can become quite a nuisance. There are three different actions that happen when you swipe your finger from the bottom of the screen:

  • Pulls up the dock while in an app
  • Pulls up the multitasking view
  • Goes to the Home screen

This becomes an issue as you’d have to be near perfect in moving your finger (and only your finger, the Apple Pencil doesn’t work here) to get the desired effect.
Then, there’s the overall price. Now, I’m a big gamer, so I’m going to share this little meme to explain my point:

(Courtesy Photo: IMGFlip)

While still coming to grips that the base price for an iPad Pro starts off less than an iPhone XS ($799 (WiFi) or $949 (cellular) vs $999), it’s kind of an intriguing prospect. However, when you factor in the additional costs of a keyboard ($179) and Apple Pencil ($129), it starts to add up. And, no, you can’t use the cheaper Apple Pencil 1st Generation ($99) on the newer iPad Pros. You can do fine without these peripherals, but you can also pick up cheaper laptops with proper multitasking and mouse support.

Conclusion

For someone who wasn’t really setting out to frolic in the “walled garden,” I’ve enjoyed my time with Apple and their products over the past few years. It’s not because I believe Apple is the best. They’re far from it, especially given my beliefs in Free and Open Source software and support for “Right to Repair” legislation. For me, Apple is a company of convenience at a time when I’m spending time supporting other people’s tech and working on big projects and don’t want to be hampered by the client devices I use to work on them.
I know what I’m getting into when I go the Apple route. I know my wallet sure does hate me for it from time to time. There are times I do get frustrated by it’s limitations. However, I know the devices, software and services Apple provides serve a particular purpose. It’s why I still run Linux servers and still game on a way more powerful Windows PC. It’s why I look to Android to assist in serving content in my office.
The iPad Pro is by no means a necessity item for those who won’t portable power. There are other devices for that. For me, it gave me the ability to consolidate some equipment and a new perspective on how I experience technology and the world around me.For its shortcomings, I’m glad I picked up the iPad Pro and am hoping this becomes my new daily computing driver.

_______
Marcus “MajorLinux” Summers is a Linux system administrator and part time content creator from Raleigh, NC. When not consulting on the technical end for The Cookout, he’s either gaming or staring intently in a Linux terminal. You can find him streaming at twitch.tv/MajorLinux.

#TheCookoutTurns2: Reflections From The Cookout Community

By Editorial Staff | 6:20 PM EST, Mon. May 13, 2019

On May 13, 2017, The Cookout was created on the foundation as a Black centered space that has evolved to being open to all People of Color as a safe space to connect, discuss various topics and to create [ABOUT US/HISTORY OF THE COOKOUT]. Two years later, we have evolved into a community of over 600 members and have continued to grow as both a community and organization. We realized that a group such of ourselves was needed in both the gaming and content creating industry and we look forward to continue to grow! On our second year anniversary, The Cookout collected reflections from respective members of The Cookout Fam answering the question: “What does The Cookout mean to you?”
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The Cookout Fam Podcast – Episode 4 (2nd YEAR ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL)

HAPPY 2nd YEAR ANNIVERSARY TO THE COOKOUT!!!

The Cookout is back with a SPECIAL episode (Episode 4) for The Cookout Fam Podcast format!
Join us as we talked to the “OGs” of The Cookout, DennyVonDoom (community manager) and TemptressTeelia (operations manager), about the journey to this point. Also, hear from other community administrators as they give their takes on where the community is and where they see it going in the future.
Also catch us on Spotify, Anchor, Apple Podcast and other awesome podcast platforms!

You can find the podcast audio on Radio Public, Pocket CastsBreakerSpotifyGoogle Podcasts (android only), Anchor

The Cookout Fam Podcast – Episode 3

The Cookout is back with a new episode (Episode 3) for The Cookout Fam Podcast format!
This episode features Temptress Teelia and Major Linux with topics including Ben and Jerry’s 4/20 Announcement and the UK Porn Age Authorization.
Episode 3 was published on Youtube on Saturday 27th April 2019.
Also catch us on Spotify, Anchor, Apple Podcast and other awesome podcast platforms!

You can find the podcast audio on Radio Public, Pocket CastsBreakerSpotifyGoogle Podcasts (android only), Anchor

The Cookout Fam Podcast – Episode 2

The Cookout is back with a new episode for The Cookout Fam Podcast format!
This episode Temptress Teelia, King Ether, Zerosuitboshi and Major Linux, are chopping it up on Woman’s History Month, “Blacks at Xbox”, Brexit and Google Stadia Announcement.
When the podcast drops we will premiere it on Our Youtube channel and then have a live show on twitch where you can voice your opinions.
Episode 2 was recorded on Sunday 24th Mar 2019 and will be aired on Youtube on Saturday 30th March at 12pm EST.
Also catch us on Spotify, Anchor, Apple Podcast and other awesome podcast platforms!
The Live show will follow immediately after at 2pm EST.

You can find the podcast audio on Radio Public,Pocket CastsBreakerSpotifyGoogle Podcasts (android only), Anchor

PERSPECTIVE — It’s More Than Just Gaming: My Time at Children’s Hospital Week

By Syphorce | @Syphorce | 1:00 PM EST, Tues., April 9, 2019

From Tuesday, March 23rd to Friday, March 26th, I had the pleasure of representing the Orlando chapter for the 5th Annual Extra Life United event during the Children’s Hospitals Week at Coronado Springs at Walt Disney World Resort (that was a mouthful). Short version: I got a chance to represent my city/hospital at a gaming tournament in the middle of Disney. It was dope…and here’s how it happened.
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