How to tell if an iPhone / iPad App is going to take too much time to enjoy

I’ve found a surprisingly easy way to tell if an app from iTunes for the iPhone or iPad is going to take too much time to play and won’t be any fun. Just check out the “Top In-App Purchases” levels. If the top tier is over $10, you’re not going to enjoy playing that game if you have a full-time 8 AM to 5 PM kind of job.

Take, for example, EA’s latest offering… Road Trippin’!

Looking at the app listing in iTunes, everything seems all Smurfy-Happy-Blue on top.


How to Tell an App isn't going to be fun - Exhibit A

How to Tell an App isn't going to be fun - Exhibit A


But if you look off to the left column, under the FREE APP button (or DOWNLOAD button if you’ve already grabbed the app before), there’s a section called “Top In-App Purchases”.

So looking at Road Trippin’s! top offering, I see to play the game with “everything”, I would need to spend…


How to Tell an App isn't going to be fun - Exhibit B

How to Tell an App isn't going to be fun - Exhibit B



$99 dollars and 99 cents. Almost half the price of a console system! Just so I can play with “everything” this “free” game offers.

You don’t have to be in iTunes to see this. You can also find this info under the iPhone and iPad section of the game app by clicking on the “Top In-App Purchases” banner….


How to Tell an App isn't going to be fun - Exhibit C

How to Tell an App isn't going to be fun - Exhibit C


…where you will see the same $99.99 foolishness.


How to Tell an App isn't going to be fun - Exhibit D

How to Tell an App isn't going to be fun - Exhibit D


“In-App Purchases” are just things you can buy while playing the game to move along faster, or just get those missing “propeller-for-the-damn-airplane” kinds of parts and those oh-so special “air-strike to get that pickle-faced rat bastich sniper that’s been nailing me for the last three days” kinds of options.

Do you need to make in-app purchases? No. You can slog through the game, playing hours and hours and hours and hours on end just to nickel and dime your way to nirvana. No more “sneaking-a-game-on-the-freeway”. No more hanging up on someone just because a pop-up from the game appeared.

But, in my experience, playing games like this take months to “win”.

The wheeeeeee-fun part ends around day 12. The Spirit of Piss, Vinegar and Vengeance kicks in around day 21.

The more iOS games I play like this, the more I realize most of the “In-App Purchase” games are basing themselves on the good old Las Vegas slot machine business model.

  1. Put some money in the system.
  2. Push some buttons.
  3. Watch the beep-boop flashing lights.
  4. Your money is gone!
  5. Repeat Step One.

When a game company has priced the top-tier of their In-App Purchases insanely high, in my opinion, they’ve made the game overly hard and time consuming on purpose to get you hooked and make a grab for your money.

I’ll stick to the games without the in-app purchases banner. If a game does have in-app purchases, I’ll only install it on my device if the top tier is $10 or less (or to unlock the full-version of the game).

Like the old Vegas motto says… the easiest way to win these $100 games is not to play ’em.

Surprise cat calming secret

So long story short, my gorgeous wife and I have been adopted by two cats. They’re charming and pretty as any of those storybook kitties, and we really are quite fond of them. The problem is that they’re brothers. Most of the time, they’re fine together. Peas in a Pod. Steak and Potatoes. Dairy and Queen. You get the idea.

But then, every so often, there’s a massive tremor in the force, and you can practically hear the “LEEEEEEETS GET READY TO RUUUUMMMBBLLLEEEEE” announcement.

The fight is ON, and they go At. It. Hard.

The dogs said to just kick both of their asses over the fence and be done with it, but I decided to look at a pet store and see if there was anything that could calm them down when they’re together.

Typical Cat Book

Typical Cat Book


Looking in the “holy crap how much is this?!?” isle of the pet store, I found this little green bottle. “Calm Down. Calms nerves and stressed cats.” it said right on the front. Sounds good, I thought!


Calm down Front

Calm down Front


So I flipped the bottle around to see what the magic ingredients were. Let’s see… Llex de Luthor… no, wait, it says in English off to the side “English Holly”. No idea. “Impatiens”. No idea. “Rock Rose”. No idea. “Star of Bethlehem”. That’s a med? Freaky. Aaaaannnd finally…..


Calm Down Back

Calm Down Back


Sweet Baby Buddha! Alcohol?!? 13% ALCOHOL?!?

Oh yeah! This is just effin’ PERFECT! Give the fighting cats some hooch! Slamming liquor always makes people calm down and talk out their problems!

Here’s what I see going down : Mr. Tinkles* puts the pimpalicious “where-my-money-at?” smack down on his brother when he’s drunk on this stuff. Eventually, he becomes a category 4P cat : Pickled, Purring, Pissy, and Punchy! Before he knows it, he’s on his back most of the day and night, giving full belly rubs to complete strangers for money to buy hooch! One day, the bitter irony of chugging MAD DOG 20/20 finally hits him like a ton of kitty litter. The formerly happy housecat finally joins the local chapter of HAAACK. (Hairball And Alcoholics Anonymous’ Cat Kingdom).

“Hello. I’m Mr. Tinkles.* And I’m an alcoholic.”

Sad times, indeed.

Plus, that little bottle was something like $20. (That’s probably the main reason I put it back come to think of it.) After all, a bottle of Jack is still around $15, right? I gotta save money where I can in this economy!

* NOTE : My cat’s name is NOT “Mr. Tinkles”. Just wanted to point that out for the record.

** NOTE #2 : No, I’m not going to give any of our cats Jack Daniels. That’s still too expensive. I just wanted to point that out for the record as well.

Don’t forget FEMA’s National Emergency Broadcast Test is Wed 11/09

I posted this before, but I thought it deserved its’ own standalone space.

FEMA announced they are going to have a nationwide simultaneous TV and Radio Emergency Broadcast test tomorrow (November the 9th) at 2 PM Eastern time.

This isn’t going to be a normal one-TV-station test where you can change the channel and something else is on another station. Every TV and radio station will have that screech alarm until the test is complete.

So don’t panic tomorrow when the TV and radio stations all have a FEMA EMERGENCY ALERT screen and that annoying screech!

Here’s the government website with info about it…

News stories the mainstream media missed : 11/05/11**

Here are some news stories from this week that I think the mainstream media completely missed out on. All links are from legitimate news sources and not the fringe / wacko sites.

* “A prominent UN agency has issued a warning that the globe is hurtling toward a long recession, a 40 million worldwide job shortage and an increase in large scale social unrest.” HA! Put that in your sandbox and dig it, you positive, good for nothing optimists!! Now excuse me while I go start to dig a large hole for myself in my backyard and fill it with canned beans and… whatever other stuff I might need to survive the apocalypse! I do own a shovel, right? Major freakout story at [PRISON PLANET] and a more socially acceptable freakout at [BLOOMBERG]

* There’s some great news for future horror movie plots this week! Scientific geniuses have figured out how to rejuvenate itty bitty mice cells and make them younger!! This is fantastic news… but, of course, there’s a catch. From what I understand, human cells can only divide so many times before they start to nosedive. This nosedive either means other nearby healthy cells get all funkified, or even worse, the CANCER part of CANCER SUCKS shows up. The “rejuvenation” these scientists have found is to kill cells before they reach the “use by” date. Wasn’t that “I Am Legend” movie based on a cancer cure gone bonkers wrong? Story at the [ECONOMIST] and again at [BBC] and a more “fweeeeeeee…. over my head” explanation at [DUR.AC.UK]

* Apparently that little discovery wasn’t major enough, as some other scientists went and made photons into paranoid schizophrenics! (Because we need to support the therapy industry with thousands of chargeless particles, dammit!) Long story short, it’s now possible to make a photon think it’s actually a crowd of photons! Oh, and it’s all about Quantum Mechanics, so leave your reality at the door, please. Story at [ARS TECHNIA]

* This just in! Black holes in outer space look nothing like whirlpools in a dirty-water sink! The Hubble Telecsope grabbed a pic of a black hole a long time ago in the center of another galaxy far far away. Pew-pew lasers and whoosh-by sound effects not included. Story at [PHYSORG]

* The saying “stop and smell the roses” leaves out those damn, dirty trees for a reason! Apparently there’s a tree out there that can cause instant migraines if you sniff it! OK, who was so damn bored they went from tree to tree to tree and sniffed every one for an effect? Geez! Anyhow, I betcha every blade of un-mowed grass in my yard that the military is going to weaponize this shrubbery by the end of the year. News at [SCIENCE NEWS]

* On a semi-serious note, the geniuses at FEMA are going to sound the AHHHHHH-OOOOOOO-GAHHHHHHH red alert nationwide test of the Emergency Broadcast System on November 9th at 2 PM Eastern Time. Yeah. Nationwide. Some people are gonna’ be freaked-the-nutty-fudge out when every TV channel and every radio station in the country is going AHHHHHH-OOOOOOO-GAHHHHHHH for 30+ seconds. Sooooo for the grand prize and a copy of the home game, the big final question is… why the test? Details at [FEMA].

* The CIA is watching everything we Tweet and Facebook? Not surprising. That they have agents called “ninja librarians” to do this? “Ninja Librarians”?! That’s! Freaking! Hilarious! What, do they say SHHHH before they fling a throwing-star at you? I have a feeling these “ninja librarians” got about 200 pounds more “doughnut-muscle” than the 6′ 11″ field agents who do the daily “excuse me, but does this rag smell like chloroform to you?” kind of work at the agency. And with that little snap, I bet I’m on their list. HI GUYS!!! YOU HIRING?! CALL ME!! SHHHH!! Story at [AP]

That’s all I got this week! Now I’m off to watch me some TIVO-ed Walking Dead and grab a cigar!

** Actually posted on 11/06 because doin’ nuthin’ on Saturday felt goooooood.

My latest ridiculous D-grade movie idea : NHCP and the 97%!

I made a reply post on a big social blog that sounded like a crap fringe movie idea. After thinkig about it, I decided to re-post it here with a little more bondo-level kinds of detail. This nutty “D-grade” movie idea of mine that has no basis in reality whatsoever. As a matter of fact, you might need some boots to wade through this drek.

Here’s the premise… suddenly, in the not so distant future, something like 97% of the United States population gets violently active in the reformation process. (Maybe 98%. Maybe 99%. I haven’t got that specific yet.)

Did I mention this is a really bad satire? And you may need some boot-like accessories to proceed?

Anyhow, the “surface” reason for this 97% uprising is that they’re demanding change, but the big surprise plot twist is that the origin of the movement is nothing but a massive old-school Soviet sleeper cell that got activated!


This plot twist is based on the presumption that all the “evils” of capitalism that happened (quite suddenly) in the previous decade leading up to the uprising were actually caused by former KGB-like stealth operatives who were under orders to rise to prominence inside the capitalist system and cause financial chaos when they reached a high enough position.

The core conflict in the movie is a country-level ongoing chess match between Mikhail Gorbachevisky and Vladimir Putins (I think that’s what I’ll call their characters. I haven’t got that specific yet).

See, when the deep-cover CIA operative Mikhail Gorbachevisky succeeded in collapsing the Soviet Union, the former head of the KGB-like agency Vladimir Putins swore revenge. Putins was hardcore Communist, and he also knew Gorbachevisky was CIA, but he didn’t have enough proof to nail him until the USSR was beyond the tipping point. Plus, since Gorbachevisky caused the reformation to become “organic” over time, Putins couldn’t bring himself to attack his own countrymen since they were just victims of Gorbachevisky’s plot.

Right before everything shut down, and feeling highly responsible for not ousting Gorbachev in time, Putins called a few hundred of his KGB-like agency together and gave them two last standing orders. First: Divide the billions in the Russian banks among themselves since it would be better to seed the money among the motherland’s last true patriots than lose it to the oncoming wave of capitalism. Second: Every agent is assigned a profession to master in the US and to go over as deep-cover “sleeper” agents. Once each agent rose to a high level-status in their chosen field, they were to cause financial or cultural chaos!!!

DUN DUN…..wait, I did that already.

Putins would stay behind, marshal his own forces to re-take the motherland very quietly, and prepare for the counter-attack.

When the sleeper operatives arrived in the US, some reached prominence in their profession faster then others. All were still focused on the goal of making the US population sick of capitalism through subtle (and not so subtle) maneuvers. Propaganda movies. Purposefully destroying parts of the economic system. Songs raging against the unfairness of a 200+ year old system. Stuff like that!

Once enough propaganda was out in the mainstream, it was just a matter of time before the US reached a tipping point, just like Russia did under Gorbachevisky’s plan!

Once the 97% (or 98% or 99%) of the population got up in arms, and Putins secured his base of power in the motherland, the move to the conversion to communism begins! People rise up “organically”, and some random KGB-like agent “checks in” when the riots are in progress to make sure things move along as planned!

Lots of violence. Michael Bay slow-mo explodey stuff. “Hunt for Red October” swoon music. Expensive hijinks ensue!

The day after parts of the US votes pinko, Putins will then “officially” assume power in the motherland, go full-stabby on any remaining capitalist resistance, and announce the formation of NHCP – the Northern Hemisphere’s Communist Party! China, Russia, Cuba, North Korea and the US would all be on the same team. The payback is now complete!

DUN DUN… dammit, I did it again.

Extra cheeseball ending! The movie closes with Gorbachevisky laughing in a dark room while watching the news of the NHCP. He walks through a stadium-sized warehouse full of computers and thousands of people while lighting a cigar. As Gorbachevisky opens a door outside, you can see a massive “Russian Victory Day Parade” collection of military vehicles and CGI “that ain’t real” armored tech. The flag of India is flying in the background.

“My turn!” he says.

DUN DUN…. ahhh forget it.

Like I said, “D” grade material. Completely nuts. No basis in reality whatsoever. Completely missing the big picture. Mocking the contributions of thousands for a quick buck. Trivializing a serious movement for personal financial gain.

I sound like a screenwriter already!

Call me Hollywood!

UPDATE: OK, this is from a big-time RW website, but the there’s photos of someone stealing my idea!!! (Click to jump there.)

When you're Marchin' in Memphis!

When you're Marchin' in Memphis!


And in Oakland? Ginormous banners? No! Not yet! I haven’t finished my first draft!


Wave your flag in the air like you just don't care

Wave your flag in the air like you just don't care

And there’s a website?! An official communist website that supports a 97%-like thing?!?!? Inconceivable!!

And now New York Post reporters are stealing my idea!! Unreal!

Et tu, Yahoo? Dammit!

@RT_com, a Russian news agency on twitter, is the best source of the #occupy and #OWS movement? And all of their retweets are from female-only reporters, some of whom just happen to be in the US? Nuts! I hadn’t thought of that!

Wait, some of the protesters actually conference with supporters in Northern Afghanistan? Oh come on!! No one is going to believe something that….. oh, there’s photos?

OWS standing by!

OWS standing by!


To top it off, now there’s news about my idea on newsbusters??

That’s it. I’m suing everyone!

I can sue for something I haven’t written yet, right?


UPDATE #2: Publicly replying to some recent direct-to-me comments in no particular order :

  1. Yes, I’m actually very aware some serious changes need to be made to the US government. But Communism? No. Hell no. Hell’s rotten busted bells no.
  2. Yes, I know the 99% has real issues and concerns. I do think they need to be a lot more coherent and focused, though. I think if they get a “for dummies” message out, more people will take them seriously. Right now, no clear message means the mainstream mom-and-pop kind in BFE do not know what this massive group of angry people want aside from what they are told by their local media. I think that is going to continue polarizing people in the non-occupied cities as time goes on, and won’t end well (long term) if it continues on that path.
  3. Yes, I know the 99% isn’t secretly managed by communists. They’re a real group. I do think they are occasionally occupied themselves with a few members of the loony-tunes brigade. I’m also well aware there’s card carrying members of the neighborhood asylum on the both left and the right of the political spectrum.
  4. You dislike the movement? Fine. But I think everyone should give major, major respect to the occupy movement for their non-violent resistance regardless of whether you agree with their protest/viewpoints or not.
  5. Yes, I know these photos and news articles are only a minority of what the Occupy movement is. I added them to give weight to my crap movie idea.
  6. Did I say I disagreed or agreed with the occupy movement? Nope. Neither. I’m a hardcore political centrist. No labels for me. I’ll make fun of everyone I think is acting a fool. And I think both parties need a massive kick in the ass.
  7. Yes, I know it’s a horrible movie idea. I went maximum-cheese on purpose. Seriously.