January 2015 archive

Adventures at PAX South 2015


Last weekend, I flew out to San Antonio, TX to attend the first annual PAX South! I went to PAX East last year, so it wasn’t an entirely brand new experience for me. However, there were some differences I wanted to point out!

Since PAX South was in its first year, it was a lot smaller than what I had seen before at PAX East. However, it was much easier to see everything and walk around. I don’t attend a lot of conventions, so I couldn’t really compare the size to anything else. Even though it was “small,” there were still a ton of things to do!


On Friday, I attended the panel, Where Did Multiplayer in MMOs Go? My co-host on The Republic, Larry Everett, was a guest on the panel, and he, along with the other panelists, talked about how some MMOs seem to be moving away from the social aspect by enabling players to be self-sufficient on their own without needing to communicate with other players. They mentioned Star Wars Galaxies quite a bit, and how it was an excellent MMO for social interaction, and they used garrisons from WoW as an example of how players sequester themselves from others.


Panel of Where Did Multiplayer in MMOs Go?


While I saw many different games at the convention, for some reason I enjoy going to booths that aren’t games, but gaming products. I liked seeing the different gaming keyboards, mice, and PC components, like those from Logitech, Klevv, Astro Gaming, and Intel, because I like to see different products that could make my gaming experience better. I entered to win an i7 processor from Intel all three days of the convention, but I didn’t win! I’m sure they went to people that needed the processor far more than I, so I’m not bummed at all.

I’m not interested in playing a new game, and am not one that buys new games all the time. I keep my gameplay to a handful of games that I know I already like, so I wasn’t really that interested in seeing anything that was there.

Despite this, I did play a few games! I tried out Elite Dangerous, which was a space flying game that you played with joysticks and the Oculus Rift (if you’re lucky). The odds of getting to play with the OR were 4/7 which sounded good, but ended up working out for neither me nor my boyfriend. They should’ve never told us the odds.

I also played Super Mario on the Super Nintendo! I don’t remember what the room was called, but there was a couch and television set up in a corner with the SNES, and we played through a few levels!


There was an arcade room that I enjoyed as well. I played this side-scrolling game that had crude language and feces flying through the air to damage your health. It was still fun, but eventually I somehow broke the computer because an AVG error message came up! Oops.

My boyfriend and I played some Dance Dance Revolution type game, and he shockingly beat me. I’m supposed to be good at this type of thing! One of the steps on my dance pad seemed like it wasn’t working, so perhaps I would’ve completely owned him if it did!

I would definitely attend PAX South again, but maybe not next year! Since I went to PAX East last year and PAX South this year, it’s time to travel back to Seattle for PAX Prime next year!

SWTOR Community Cantina: PAX South – San Antonio 2015

Community Manager Eric Musco

Community Manager Eric Musco and Redna

On Friday night, I attended the SWTOR Community Cantina at the first annual PAX South in San Antonio! I can imagine what you’re thinking—the community cantina was three days ago, and I am behind on reporting! Actually, I have quite a lot to write about for the blog this week, but I wanted to put this post out first, since I know it’s what many people are waiting for.

Flash Drive Files

First, if you are interested in the contents of the flash drive provided at the cantina, I have them at the very end of this post! However, nothing new or groundbreaking was included in the flash drive but I did like the images that you can use for Facebook covers or Twitter banners. The other images were items that have already been released in existing Cartel Packs, so nothing new. (My guildie Sleeth said he had everything that was pictured already!)

Q&A Session

Second, here’s the important information about what was mentioned at the cantina. Honestly though, I didn’t pay as much attention as I usually do, because I was much more interested in having fun and meeting and talking to friends I hadn’t seen for a while. Anyway, here are some of the new things we can expect from BioWare Austin this year for Star Wars: The Old Republic:

  • New planet: Ziost
  • Outfit Designer
  • New playable race: Togruta (this was known about for quite a while, but they are finally “officially” announcing it)
  • New stronghold
  • Story Arc continuing cliffhanger that ended Shadow of Revan expansion

I wasn’t paying a lot of attention to the Q&A (I was probably one or two beers in at this point already, and loudly said “Oh my God,” when someone asked if Pazaak would ever be in the game), but there was one question in particular that I wanted to mention here on the blog. Someone asked about the Contraband Slot Machines and why they were nerfed so hard. Basically, the answer from Community Manager Eric Musco was that players were correct that the cost to reward ratio from using the slot machines was way out of balance and that it would have serious long-term effects on the game economy. They saw that players were simply not running crew skills anymore because using the slot machines was better, and they could not have a huge segment of the game ignored because of this item.

Meeting and Greeting the Attendees

Honestly, I should’ve said something about this on the blog prior to the cantina, but I simply wanted to attend and have fun without “working” so hard on keeping track of the Q&A and asking hard-hitting questions to the BioWare staff. I think I accomplished my goal of doing that, but if you watched my Twitter, you can see I slightly tried to pay attention to what was going on!

Me and Larry Everett eating sandwiches

Me and Larry Everett eating sandwiches

I arrived about an hour before the cantina started with my friends from The Republic on Gamebreaker.tv, Larry Everett (Hyperspace Beacon, Massively) and Redna (OotiniCast, Twitch). For some reason as we were walking, I turned around, saw Lead Community Coordinator Courtney Woods with some other BioWare folks, and started a conversation! We spoke with them for a few minutes before heading toward the line, which had lengthened quite a bit while we were chatting.

I met up with my Despair guildie Sleeth, who I had gone out to dinner with along with his wife the day before at Texas de Brazil (and who I’ve written prior blog posts about which you can read about here and here). He had just come from work, but he had enough time to check out the PAX South exhibition floor prior to the cantina.

Also in the line, I immediately spotted Michael (Death & Taxes), who is not only very tall, but was wearing cowboy boots and a cowboy hat! I’ve also mentioned him before on the blog when I attended the EA Press Event in Redwood City.

Additionally, I met quite a few readers of the blog and Corellian Run Radio listeners and watchers of The Republic! I was so excited to meet people that enjoyed my work, and I’m very thankful and flattered that people recognized me.

At this cantina, Eric Musco and Lead Community Coordinator Courtney Woods were there as usual, like I mentioned earlier, but this time I was able to meet Community Production Coordinator Tait Watson as well! Before the cantina started, Courtney said to keep an eye on him since he tends to sneak away from people. This is absolutely true! After I tracked Tait down and spoke to him for a bit, he snuck away from me as expected. I did feel slightly like a creepy stalker “tracking Tait.” Here’s a picture of us together:


Me and Community Production Coordinator Tait Watson

Other BioWare employees that were “officially” there were Ben Irving, Matt Pucevich, and Jesse Sky. Later in the evening (and probably three or four beers down), Ben Irving, who I’d met at the Las Vegas Community Cantina, asked for some feedback about the cantina events and which ones I liked the best. I said I liked the Las Vegas cantina the best because there were a lot more tables and chairs to sit at. Also, servers came around to serve hors d’oeuvres in Las Vegas too. There was a noticeable lack of chairs and tables at the San Antonio cantina, which is why you see many people sprawling on the ground in front of the stage.


There were quite a lot of other BioWare employees there, past and present, though I can’t remember everyone’s names! My friends and I ended up at a table in the corner with BioWare Austin General Manager Jeff Hickman, who I saw at EA Redwood City, but I was too nervous to say anything to him!

I met Luther, who worked on the game pre-launch and pointed out to me the man that worked on Ilum (“The PvE part!” he assured me.). I also met Lead Narrative Designer Paul Marino (“I follow you on Twitter!” he said when I introduced myself.), who works on the cinematics of the game! I told him my favorite cinematics in-game were the end of the Imperial Corellia planetary storyline and another one which I cannot remember.

Larry Everett and Lead Writer Charles Boyd

Larry Everett and Lead Writer Charles Boyd

Former Community Coordinator Hillary Nicole AKA Pokket was also there and spoke for quite a while to Michael and me at our table about streaming, gaming, and post-cantina plans! I was able to get a picture with both of them as well:

Hillary (Pokket), Michael, and me

Hillary (Pokket), Michael, and me

Throughout all this meeting and greeting, I obtained a lot of free drink tickets and had enough to get enough beer for myself and a few glasses of wine for Redna! I tipped the friendly bartender after a while because I kept going back! I also really liked the Amber I was drinking, which had a Texas logo on it. I don’t remember the name.

Finally, I wanted to mention that Redna got nachos, and I thought the “green stuff” was relish so I didn’t want to eat it. It turns out it was actually salsa verde, or “green salsa” in English, which I am actually extremely familiar with. I’m really not sure why the first thing I thought of was relish. It must’ve been the booze.

I would highly recommend attending a SWTOR Community Cantina if you are a fan of the game, because they are a lot of fun! You have a chance to personally make your voice heard to BioWare staff and meet those who are working on the game you play. I also think that the BioWare staff made a conscious effort to provide more information about upcoming plans for the game at the beginning of the Q&A, and I think in the future they will continue getting better at connecting with players at these in-person events.

Continue reading to see the files from the cantina flash drive!


The Romantically Challenged Man: How To Prepare For a Date

Man Crates is a new company that ships awesome gifts for men! The cool thing about their wooden crates is that you have to open them with a crowbar! Very manly, indeed.

I have recently been introduced to their “date crate” project! In this post, I’m going to write about items one would need to prepare for a date with ME that could go into a date crate. However, I’m very similar to plenty of girls, so this may still be pretty useful! With Valentine’s Day coming up in less than a month, I’m sure some of you could use all the help you can get with your date.

Here are a few things you could do and some items you could use (possibly in a new “date crate” from Man Crates!) to prepare for a date!

  1. Personal hygiene/grooming items: soap, deodorant, toothpaste, etc.

I’m actually shocked that this is not obvious, but I have been unfortunate enough to have been on dates where hygiene was an issue! First impressions mean a lot, and if your date thinks you smell or have bad breath at the beginning of the date, it’ll probably take a miracle to get a good night hug/kiss at the end of the night.

Regarding cologne: A little is good, but too much is overwhelming, and you may not know if your date will even like the scent. Take it easy the first time, or wear none at all! Also, wearing cologne is not an excuse to not shower or bathe!

Regarding facial hair: This really depends on your date. Some women like beards, some don’t, and some don’t care either way. I can say that, while I like how beards look, they are very scratchy on my face when kissing, so that may be something you want to think about when you decide whether or not to shave for your date. For those that shave, here is the very premium “Clean Shave Crate” from Man Crates, which includes some impressive shaving items! (On the very optimistic, hopeful side, your date may be impressed if she sees how cool your shaving kit is back at your place!)

Man Crates The Clean Shave Crate

  1. Choose a restaurant and make dinner reservations!

This may just be me, but I don’t like to be asked where I want to go if my date is the one taking me out. I know that seems like a stressful decision to pick somewhere your date will like, but if your choice makes her happy and comfortable, I think it’s worth it. She might like a high-end seafood restaurant, but she might also like going to a food truck at a street festival. Again, learn something about your date so you have a guide on what to pick and what she’d like. (And hopefully she tells you right away if she’s vegan.)

If it is a special date and you are going out to dinner, absolutely, positively make a reservation if you can. Especially if it is Valentine’s Day, you don’t want to be rejected from fully reserved restaurants or have to eat dinner at 10pm. Additionally, I get a little grouchy when I’m hungry, so I’m sure plenty of other women do as well. If it is one of your first dates, having to wait for a table could be absolutely awkward and disappointing.

Here are a few websites that can help you choose somewhere to eat and make a reservation!

Urban Spoon
Open Table

  1. Learn something about your date beforehand so you can engage in interesting conversation.

With the prevalence of social media, it’s easy to look someone up and get a feel for what kind of things they like. And if you’ve managed to get a date, you probably know at least a little bit about the person! I recommend doing your homework beforehand and being able to talk about something your date enjoys. Additionally, if you can ask intelligent questions, she will appreciate that you’re interested in what she has to say. However, do not pretend to know more than you actually do, because you may come off as fake or pompous! (Example: Do not say that her favorite band is your favorite band if you can’t name any of their songs.)

If you’d like to know something about me: I like video games. Perhaps, if somehow you read this blog and don’t like video games and need some help connecting with me on that level, may I suggest the Super Retro Gamer Crate? My favorite console ever was the Super Nintendo, and this particular crate includes a couple of Super Nintendo games along with some sweets!

Man Crates Super Retro Gamer Crate

  1. Bring a gift.

Now hold your horses! I’m not saying bring a diamond bracelet from Tiffany’s to your first date! However, it is appreciated if you bring some sort of gift, and you can use your own judgment on how much to spend. Flowers on a first date is always appreciated, but even if you can’t, or don’t, want to spend money on a gift, it’s the thought that counts! How about folding an origami cat, since she loves cats? Or a handwritten poem of your creation? Or a drawing of her favorite animal?


SWTOR Cartel Coins, Ganz Grumpy Cat, Chloe & Isabel Bouquet Rouge Drop Earrings & Trésors Key to My Heart Charm

Perhaps if your relationship is a little further along, or if you don’t mind spending more money right away, you could bring one of these gifts! I love stuffed animals and jewelry, but depending on your date, she might be ecstatic if you give her some SWTOR Cartel Coins from Target (it comes with an exclusive in-game pet also!). If you personalize the gift to something you know she likes, it doesn’t matter how much you spend, because she will love it. If she doesn’t, then you may want to proceed with caution!

  1. Be confident!

It’s very easy to like and be attracted to someone that doesn’t seem “afraid” of me, who talks, laughs, and is comfortable in my presence. I’ve been on dates before where the guy is a nervous wreck and can barely make the first move. It is not a requirement to be confident (as I’ve had enough confidence for both me and my date in the past), but it really helps with first impressions. If you’re not confident showing someone how you feel, and closing up like a clam, your date might think you’re uninterested, which doesn’t do you any favors.

If you need extra help with this, here are some items that could help! You could read a book about confidence, watch a DVD, or practice talking to your mirror or with your friends and family.

Hopefully my advice and recommendations will help you in the near future, and I wish you luck! I will be writing a more detailed post about gifting jewelry soon, so look out for that!

Disclaimer: I have not been compensated in any way, either monetarily or through merchandise by Man Crates to write this post.

Corellian Run Radio Episode 136: PvP Philosophy With Drew

Corellian Run Radio

Episode 136 of Corellian Run Radio has been released!

I think this is a great episode in which Jason and I talk about a lot of PvP in SWTOR with Drew aka Geldarion, who runs TheFanaticalSwordsman.com and is a contributor to Corellian Run Radio in the past and present. We also have a great Guild Ready Check/Streamer Spotlight Segment with Michael of Death and Taxes, who I’ve mentioned before on the blog when I visited EA Redwood Studios.

Click here to listen on Corellian Run Radio’s website, but otherwise I have the video embedded here on the blog post. You can also download the episode via iTunes or the podcast app of your choice!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYOLIcomcOc&w=560&h=315%5D


Let me know what you think! Leave a comment on the post or tweet me @Heather_PLS!

Despair’s Conquest Winning Secrets


I know, I totally click baited you. There aren’t really any secrets. I can tell you that my guildies play the content that they enjoy, with just a little prodding from our guildmaster to earn points!

Last night we had a very close run against Ghost Infantry on the Harbinger server for Conqueror of The Black Hole! We had to make an extra effort since this particular “planet” has many PvP-centric conquest rewards, and Despair is not as focused on ground PvP as it is on PvE and GSF content. On the other hand, Ghost Infantry is one of the best PvP guilds on the server, in my opinion!

I participated by doing some of the flashpoints and operations that offered conquest points and crafting, which I don’t really like to do. I know a lot of our members did do more ground PvP than normal, but we had many of our troops running Galactic Starfighter matches all day and night!

I’m happy to see that we still won #1! Today is our day of rest, and we will prepare for taking over one of the new planets, either Rishi or Yavin 4 next!


My Hair Stylist is a WoW Raider

New hairstyle 1-10Last weekend I went to the salon and got a few inches of my long hair trimmed and also had the layers shaped. This time around I decided to go to a different salon that was much closer to my house than the one I usually go to, so I called the salon and was scheduled with a random stylist.

When I arrived at my appointment I met my stylist, a young lady around my age named Sam. She was nice enough, but usually at spa or salon appointments I prefer not to partake in small talk unless it’s regarding what they are doing. I feel like talking with them distracts from their task, and they do a better job if I don’t say anything, but I could be completely wrong about this! However, I’m still polite enough to answer questions, and she began to ask about my personal life: where I worked, if I lived in the area, if I had any kids or a boyfriend.

I told her I had a boyfriend, which was the truth. She then asked where I met him, and so I mumbled something about video games, which she was very excited about!

She said she used to spend hours raiding in World of Warcraft, but lately she hasn’t had as much time to play because she works full-time. I agreed that I also have less time to spend in-game in SWTOR because I work as well.

Before she told me that she played WoW, I was less comfortable and more guarded about answering questions about myself. However, after that, it was much easier to talk to her because we had something huge in common. Usually, I don’t meet women or people in real life that play MMOs, so I was very happy to have met her.

I guess the moral of the story is not to hide or be embarrassed about your hobbies or things that you like to do (unless they are illegal and/or absolutely socially unacceptable), because you never know who you will interact with that may share that interest with you. Sam did a great job on my hair, and from now on I will go back to see her so I can chat about gaming while she cuts and styles my hair.

Working Out at the Gym is Like Playing an MMO

Working out at the gym is like playing an MMO–to me anyway! The other day in the midst of a group fitness class at my gym, I was thinking about the game (which I do a lot!). I was thinking about how much I enjoyed the group classes versus working out alone on the weight or cardio machines, and I thought this was similar to how I play an MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic.

I go to a very large, busy gym, and there are people working out there 24 hours a day, just like there are tons of people playing on a server at all hours. Like in-game, sometimes you have to fight or run quickly towards a gym machine/mission objective!

There are many people that choose to simply play or work out solo. There are others that like to work out or run content with a couple friends. Finally, there are people that like to do group fitness classes or run raids/operations. I’m one of these people.

When I’m in-game, the majority of the time I’m doing group content, unless I’m trying to level a character up. In that case, I usually level alone because I don’t like making anyone wait while I listen to cut scenes or having people buzz in my ear on voice communications. However, it is a rarity for me to be leveling, since I only like playing one character anyway. Most of the time I’m playing with my guildies doing either flashpoints or operations.

I personally don’t like doing dailies. I know it’s a good way to earn credits in-game, but it’s boring and unchallenging. This is how I feel about hopping on a treadmill. You spend however long “grinding” on a machine, and it procures results. However, going to a group fitness class or doing an 8-man operation in-game is so much more fun for me, and I still get results.

Everyone likes to do things differently, and I do periodically run dailies or get on a cardio machine. However, my favorite thing to do is to play/workout with others, which seems strange to me since I really like to be left alone a lot of the time!

Do you find a correlation between how you like to work out and how you like playing an MMO?  I’m sure not everyone likes going to classes like I do! Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @Heather_PLS.

Why I Wear Glasses + Warby Parker’s 2015 Spring Collection

Warby Parker Spring Collection

Last week Warby Parker, an eyeglass brand, approached me to announce their new Spring Collection, which will come out today! I’d like to tell you a little bit about my own reasons for wearing glasses and my thoughts about their collection as well.

One of the biggest passions in my life is gaming, though you could arguably say I love writing as well! Both of those activities, along with what I do at work and school, require me to stare at computer screens for long periods of time, which sometimes causes computer eye strain. To prevent headaches and computer eye strain, I wear glasses whenever I’m using a computer, though my vision is actually good enough to avoid a prescription, because my glasses have an anti-reflective coating that prevents reflection and glare from the computer screen. This keeps my eyes from being tired after long hours of working and gaming. If you frequently have tired eyes after gaming, working, or whatever you do on the computer, you may want to check out this article written by two optometrists regarding 10 Tips for Computer Eye Strain Relief.

Warby Parker’s 2015 Spring Collection

Warby Parker Eyeglasses - Carnaby Blue Coral

Currently I wear a cute, black pair with cat-eye frames that have anti-reflective coating on the lenses! However, I’ve recently been able to preview Warby Parker’s 2015 Spring Collection of eyeglasses, and they are pretty nice! I like the style of the new collection because it is very classic, but it has subtle details in the coloring that look like they were taken from a snapshot at the beach! Some of the colors in the new collection include: Blue Coral, Striped Beach, and Aurelia Tortoise. They make me wish the weather was warm enough to visit the beach again, but I’ll have to go much further south if I want to do that! The best part is that these glasses also have anti-reflective coating, and you don’t necessarily need to buy them with a prescription in the lenses.

SPRING2015_Product_1Here are a few of my favorite frames from the new collection, along with some matching outfits I put together that are typical of what I would normally wear at work or while hanging out with family and friends! (I also threw in the picture of the new Dell XPS 13 that I blogged about the other day, because I think the glasses and the laptop complement each other very well!)

Outfit #1: Finch – Striped Molasses

Finch, Striped Molasses

Finch, Striped Molasses

Finch Striped Molasses Outfit

Outfit #2: Daisy – Aurelia Tortoise

Daisy - Aurelia Tortoise

Daisy, Aurelia Tortoise


Daisy Aurelia Tortoise Outfit

Outfit #3: Archie – Citron

Archie, Citron

Archie, Citron

Archie Citron Outfit

Home Try-On Program

Warby Parker does offer a way to try out these glasses if you don’t live near one of their retail locations (which I don’t), which is their Home Try-On Program. How this works is that they ship out five pairs of frames of your choice to you to try on for five days for free. I will have to do this, because I think another pair of glasses in either blue or brown would look really good with my hair color and skin tone!

Buy a Pair, Give a Pair

Buy a Pair, Give a Pair

Additionally, for every pair sold, Warby Parker donates a pair of glasses to someone in need (over one million pairs so far), because a population that can see clearly is more productive, produces more income, and this creates a significant economic impact to people and places in need.

Hopefully in the near future I can show you some pictures of me in Warby Parker’s Spring Collection! After all, I can try them on for free, but I could always use more accessories in my wardrobe and alternate pairs to wear when I’m working, or even when I’m hosting The Republic or streaming on Twitch!

Disclaimer: All links to http://www.WarbyParker.com are affiliate links, however I have not been paid or compensated monetarily or through merchandise to write a review and introduction of the collection. All opinions are my own.

I Bought the 2015 Dell XPS 13!

2015 5th Gen Dell XPS 13

I purchased the new 5th Generation Dell XPS 13 that was announced at CES here in Las Vegas last week (and won a CES Innovation Award), and I am so excited about it, that I delayed a blog post about another one of my passions (jewelry) to post this one! Here’s a link to a great article about the laptop, but I would like to tell you about my short journey of purchasing the laptop myself.

I’ve recently been looking for a laptop to use for school and for traveling (I’m not blogging about another SWTOR Community Cantina or PAX on my iPhone). I was doing quite a bit of research, but since there are so many options and so many different levels of computer specs, I wasn’t sure what to get. My main priorities for the laptop were:

What I Needed From a Laptop

  • Portability (thin and light)
    • I wanted to be able to carry it easily in my purse.
  • Battery life
    • My iPhone uses a lot of battery. I want a device that will last for hours without worrying about charging.
  • Word processing/keyboard
    • I’m a blogger. I want something on which I can easily use Microsoft Word with a sturdy keyboard.
  • Webcam
    • In the off-chance I ever want to make videos or video-chat with friends on Skype/Google Hangouts.

Not complicated, right? I didn’t want to get a gaming laptop because they are pretty heavy, and the more portable ones are very expensive. Additionally, I have a pretty nice custom PC desktop, and I won’t be doing hardcore gameplay while I’m out and about.

I asked for some suggestions on Twitter, and one of my followers, @awesmdiver, mentioned the new, 2015 Dell XPS 13. I clicked the link, and I was ready to buy! It cost slightly more than I was wanting to spend, but at 2.6 pounds, 13-inches, 15 hours of battery life, and a beautiful “infinity” screen, I absolutely loved it. It was also priced fairly at $799 for the base model using an i3 processor, which was more than sufficient for what I needed it for. Unfortunately, it wasn’t shipping online until the beginning of February, and I wanted a laptop sooner than that for classes and traveling in two weeks.

My Microsoft Store Experience

Microsoft Store image

I decided after a few people recommended the Microsoft Surface Pro 3, I would go check it out in person to see how I really feel about it. I didn’t like it because it was a tablet. I was uninterested in a touchscreen, and I wanted a keyboard that I didn’t have to worry about taking off and on. I also didn’t like the kickstand because it seemed less convenient and comfortable to have in my lap. However, I went to the Microsoft Store here in Las Vegas located at the Fashion Show Mall to try it out in person and to see if I still didn’t like it. The weight and thinness of the Surface Pro 3 were attractive enough for me to give it a chance.

When I got to the Microsoft Store, I saw the shiny new 5th Generation Dell XPS 13 (which was just announced at CES here in Las Vegas on Wednesday) sitting on an adjacent table from the Surface Pro 3! I beelined for the petite laptop, picked it up, and marveled at the size, shape, weight, and screen. Also, it had a sturdy keyboard, which is exactly what I wanted.

But, I was there to see the Surface Pro 3. I went to the other table, picked up the device and immediately tested to see how easy it was for me to take the attachable keyboard off. It was way too floppy and flimsy and unattractive (weird, colorful plastic not in-line with the device) for my taste. On top of my dislike of the hardware, the Surface Pro 3 if purchased with the keyboard was more costly ($799.99 + 129.99 = $929.99) than the Dell XPS 13, which had better specs anyway. The XPS 13 at the store was $899.99 with an upgraded i5 processor (the i3 was unavailable), which was more powerful than the Surface Pro 3 that cost more.

I like getting good deals, and this was definitely one of them. I asked about junkware (of which the laptop has none) and the return policy (30 days), and after I was satisfied with the sales associate’s answers, I swiftly purchased the laptop. It was probably the quickest commission he made in his life, but I like to shop prepared and with a mission. I knew what I was buying. Because I also purchased the item at the Microsoft Store, I was able to utilize a student discount of 10%, which made the deal even sweeter!

What I Thought about Windows 8.1 Without a Touchscreen


When I got home and tried out the laptop myself, I was very impressed. It doesn’t make any noise! After hearing so many bad things about Windows 8.1, I thought that I would hate it and think it was cumbersome. I have only tried the new OS briefly, so I didn’t have a lot of experience with it. However, when I tried it, I thought it was totally easy to use, even without a touchscreen or mouse, and completely customizable. I spent yesterday afternoon pinning apps to the Start menu and organizing them to be aesthetically pleasing. I thought the Health & Fitness app was fantastic, and added a few more free apps from the store, including calendar, news, social media, and entertainment apps.

The Dell XPS 13 is lighter and cheaper than the similarly sized MacBook Air, and it runs Windows. It has a sturdy keyboard and isn’t a pesky touchscreen (they get dirty and I don’t like it), unlike the Surface Pro 3. I don’t anticipate playing or even need it to play SWTOR because that was not the reason I purchased it, but I have no doubt I would be able to run the game if I really needed to.

I also like that while the hard drive space is “small,” I can automatically set it to save documents on my One Drive, which I can access also from my desktop PC .This will be great for blogging and transferring photos and files from one device to another.

While others may have different tastes and needs, this was absolutely a perfect purchase for me and I’m excited to put it to some good use!

My Dell XPS 13 Specs

Processor: 5th Generation Intel Core ™ i5-5200U CPU @ 2.20 GHz (Broadwell-U)

Operating System: Windows 8.1 64-bit

RAM: 4.00 GB

Hard Drive: 128 GB Solid State Drive

Video Card: Intel ® HD Graphics 550

Display: 13.3 inch FHD (1920×1080) Infinity display

See more on Dell’s page about the laptop here.

New Episodes of Corellian Run Radio & The Republic

Corellian Run Radio

Hello SWTOR community! This week I recorded episodes for Corellian Run Radio (podcast) and The Republic (Gamebreaker), which are both out and available to watch and/or listen! Here are links and videos and little descriptions about each episode:

Corellian Run Radio Episode 135: Predictions for SWTOR 2015

In this episode Jason and I talk about our predictions for SWTOR this year and the upcoming San Antonio Community Cantina! You’ll also hear me mention megaserver theories and “ewok genocide!”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJFB2G4i8mM&w=560&h=315%5D


The Republic Episode 196: SWTOR Sploits

Larry gathers Redna and I to talk about the exploit that has been “going around” as well as new features in the latest SWTOR Player Test Server!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxoJ2Nszka0&w=560&h=315%5D


Hopefully next time Corellian Run Radio (next live recording Sunday 1/18 at about 2:00pm Pacific) and The Republic (TBA)  record live, I’ll see you in the chatroom!

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