Privacy Review: TutaNota

Tutanota is one of the “up-and-coming” encrypted email providers. What I like about Tutanota is the ability to send emails to anyone – regardless of if they have the encryption keys or not. As the video shows, you can send messages to anyone with a predefined password. You will of course need to communicate with those folks to give them the “secure” password. Tutanota is free right now and has a wonderful app (and is one of the few encrypted services that does). There is a soft spot in my heart for TutaNota – simply because it was one of the first Zero-Knowledge providers that I began to work with. For a free service, they cannot be beat – organization of emails is easy, creating emails is simple, and the app is streamlined. They are missing two very important things: Drafts and PGP Support.

Privacy Review: SpiderOak

SpiderOak is one of my favorite Zero-Knowledge companies. A few months ago, I was sent a promotion on “Supporting internet Privacy” and a locked price “Unlimited” storage amount on SpiderOak. Up until that point, I had not even heard of the company – or Zero-Knowledge for that matter. I jumped in to see what it was like, while I still sorted out my 1Tb Google Drive.

Privacy Review: Silent Circle

That is a great question! I had not heard of the Circle until I started researching how to make the internet free. When you do that research (and you should), you will come across several important names: Edward Snowden (the notorious whistle-blower), Julian Assange (founder of Wikileaks), Sir Tim Burners Lee (widely credited with creating the internet), and usually Phil Zimmerman. Phil Zimmerman created a program known as PGP – or pretty good privacy. When he created it in 1990, he was arrested by the US Government for distributing encryption systems across borders. After winning his court case in 1996, Phil has worked tirelessly to create systems that ensure privacy on the internet. His most recent project is the Silent Circle.

Game Review: Dead Trigger 2

Dead Trigger is one of my favorite iOS franchises. Even though it has been in my Pocket since I first owned an iPhone 3, I have never taken the time to review a game in the franchise. When the first game came out, I spent hours leveling my character so that I could smoke a couple of zombies with the crossbow and golden gun. Dead Trigger had everything you wanted: waves of endless zombies, creative weapons, and an engaging storyline. Dead Trigger 2 has been out for some time now and it takes the mold made by Dead Trigger and creates a more engaging story and improves upon its own gameplay mechanics.

Game of the Week: Eclipse New Dawn for the Galaxy

Eclipse is an epic board game. I have not had the pleasure of trying the physical game, but I have seen it played in videos. What an intense game!

Eclipse for the iPad is also a significant undertaking. If you have never seen the game before, think of it as a mixture of Carcassonne and Risk. Each player uses a turn to expand (placing tiles), build armies and fleets, or grow their economic might. As the game evolves, it becomes more and more difficult. Players change the physical board in each round, making more opportunities and removing play options each turn. I have seen strategies range from Isolationist to Scientific to Conquest. In my world, Eclipse fills a critical gaming niche: Hardcore SciFi Strategy.

Game of the Week: European War 2

This game is old, for the app store, but is a fantastic game that I have not had a chance to review yet.

When I was in college, say 10 years ago, my friends and I would play board games. I very clearly remember the first time we played Axis and Allies. It is a game about managing resources, waging war, and making strategic alliances. The only games that have ever come close to that on the iPad are the European War Series.

A few months ago, I wrote about the more recent game in the European War Series, the Napoleon Wars. In that game, you can control the forces of the American and French revolutions. In European War 2, you explore a different, more recent, and more publicized war, World War 2.

Game Review: Wolf 3D

Wolfenstein 3D for iPad. Do I really need to say anything else?…

… I guess I do. This is a classic game, and that is about the only reason to get it. If you want the nostalgia of playing Wolf 3D on your iPad, more power to you. I played the game a lot when I was a kid, and after a few minutes of playing on the iPad, I was ready to move on. I suspect that the shelf life will be short for this game, and this kind of port in general.

Game of the Week: Monsu

If Rovio had done Angry Birds Transformers correctly, this would be it! Monsu is a great side scrolling platformer/endless runner.

You control Monsu, a green ogre who is chasing some gnomes who carry a chest full of gold. Along the way, you will pass a large number of defenses and try to not fall to your death. As you progress, you find that this is actually a Deck Building game! You collect cards to earn companions and special powers on the battlefield. This game is immediately playable and has a great tutorial to familiarize you with the controls. Even though it is easy to get started, the challenges and leveling becomes increasingly difficult, keeping you engaged and working to progress.

This is a great game, and it will certainly last a long time on my iPad before I move on to other games in a similar vein.

Game of the Week: Angry Birds Transformers

This app, despite all of the hype, transformed into a flop.

I have been a big fan of the Rovio games, and enjoyed the starwars subset tremendously. The most recent venture into the side scrolling Transformers, makes me a bit confused and annoyed. The game is entirely different, and is now a “Click to win” game rather than involving any skill or strategy.

Transformers has you run across the field (from left to right) and fire on the Decepti-pigs. You get points for killing them and having blocks fall and kill them. When you win you progress through the standard “Angry Birds” 3 star campaign system unlocking more perks along the way.

In my book, Angry Birds Transformers is a disappointment, and a game that I will promptly remove from my iPad.