Jul 16, 2012 - Books    No Comments

And the road goes ever on…

Last weekend I went up into the attic to find some outdoor lights at my wife’s request and came back down with Tolkien paperbacks from youth. These were the early 80s run from Ballentine printing run that I had treasured as a teen.

With ‘The Hobbit’ hitting theaters this December, I’ve been showing my kids the earlier film trilogy by Peter Jackson. Next step is to read them ‘The Hobbit’ leading up to the film premiere. I hope my 30-year-old paperback holds up.

Jul 12, 2012 - Blogging    No Comments

Tecca-bound and full steam ahead

Much has changed since I last updated the blog 15 months ago. I have left the world of television promotion after 14 years and taken a full-time position as Editor-in-Chief at Tecca. I am reunited with many of fine people I used to work with at AOL’s Joystiq gaming sites, including Barb Dybwad, Elizabeth Harper, Adam Holisky, Mike Gray, Randy Nelson, Sam Axon, and Shawn Schuster. As you can imagine, we talk a lot about video games all day, but it’s for work purposes dammit.

I had to leave behind all my other various freelance gigs to focus on this start-up site. I had to say goodbye to WoW Insider, Massively, G4, Sprout Social Insights, and my mobile game site, Danomatic. WoW Insider was the hardest to leave after having spent 4-1/2 years with the site, first as a writer, then as an editor and, for the last year, Editor-in-Chief. I am extremely proud of the team we built and was happy that my final days with the site were spent overseeing the WoW Insider BlizzCon 2012 Reader Meetup. A couple thousand people showed up for a night of friendships, drinks, free swag, pool dunks and Felicia Day sightings. So many partiers arrived, the Fire Department had to limit entry for a few hours. I call that a success. I also call it mini-BlizzCon. Shh, don’t tell Blizzard I said that.

Since then I’ve been working full-time helping Tecca build its reach, voice, and presence. We have an amazingly talented team of writers and editors working to keep the world on top of the all the gadgets in their lives. Our work is syndicated to other sites such as Yahoo, Time, USA Today, Mashable and MSNBC. Our original video appears in McDonalds’ stores, on T-Mobile handsets, across AOL’s video network and many other places. The word is getting out on what we do and I couldn’t be happier to be part of the team. And we have even bigger plans in the works. I really hope those plans involve me. Otherwise, that would be awkward.

I won’t lie. It was scary changing careers three days shy of 42nd birthday. But it’s been a great adventure so far. Plus, everyone I now work with tolerates my obsession with lolcats. What more could one ask for?

Of RIFTs, the Nintendo 3DS and the future of gaming journalism

It’s been relatively quiet at WoW Insider. As Editor-in-Chief I do more planning and less writing than I used to. March was largely coordinating coverage of the latest World of Warcraft content patch currently on the testing realms. Also focused on ramping up our social media presence. We’ve always had a healthy Twitter and Facebook community, but we can definitely make those outlets more compelling and useful for our readers.

At Tecca, I continue to write the Tech For Parents column. The great thing about this column for me is that I get to draw from my real life experience as a father of two to pick and research topics. Recent columns include basketball tech for little hoopsters, astronomy tech for kids and an overview of the new Ninentedo 3DS to help parents decide if the new handheld gaming device is right for their children. MSNBC’s Today Show picked up on the 3DS piece and republished it on their site as well. I also got to mix my love of tech and massively multiplayer online games in a short news post on Tecca about RIFT‘s intergration of Twitter into the game.

Over at G4TV’s video game blog, The Feed, I’ve been continuing writing a weekly MMO column as well as reviews. I’ve been playing A LOT of the new fantasy MMORPG RIFT and was able to turn that into a column explaining the RIFT class system, an overview of the first month of the game and an official review of the title. I also wrote a round up of MMO news that came out of PAX 2011 which I hope one day to attend.

I’m also gearing up on transforming my Danomatic.com video game news aggregation site into a moblie gaming app news and review site. I strongly believe that gaming apps are the future of gaming and thus the future of gaming journalism. Plus, I can’t stop playing them, so I might as well write about them.

Feb 16, 2011 - Blogging, Writing    No Comments

New Tech for Parents column spotlighted on NBC’s Today Show site

Last week I stared writing a weekly column for the consumer-friendly gadget site, Tecca. Tech For Parents covers mobile apps, websites and gadgets that helps families achieve their goals and grow closer together. Having a six-year old, an eight-year old, two PCs, a Mac, an Android phone, an iPod, an iPhone, an iPad, a Wii and an Xbox, I figured writing this column could help me as well.

My first column, Educational Tech for 1st Graders, was published last week and I’ve since learned that MSNBC’s Today Show picked it up and syndicated it on their own site. Nice way to kick off a column!

New gig at G4TV.com’s The Feed

G4TV's The Feed website reports on video games, tv, film, comics and other geeky related stuff. I've started writing a weekly column for them covering news in the massively multiplayer online (MMO) video game genre. The first three are already live:

I've also started writing reviews for them of various games.

It's an interesting challenge to write for a broader audience who may not be familiar with the material I'm covering, but it's a challenge I'm enjoying immensely.

Moving up, moving on and moving in

Much has happened in the last four months. First, I was promoted in September to the position of Editor-in-Chief at WoW Insider, the unofficial World of Warcraft news site I've been a part of for the past three and a half years. I now oversee the five editors and twenty plus writers that make us one of the top news sites for the MMORPG. I spent most of my first four months as EiC planning the WoW Insider reader meet up at BlizzCon 2010 in October that topped over 2,000 in attendance and coordinating our extensive coverage of the gaming convention. After that was organizing a very large number of contest giveaways for the site. Also, I oversaw our URL changeover as well as our extensive coverage of the launch of the 3rd WoW expansion, Cataclysm, in early December. My focus for the new year, however, is to return to actively writing for the site and finding new ways to grow our readership.

As a result of my increased responsibilities on WoW Insider, I have stepped down from my involvement on our sister site, Massively, that I helped launch in October 2007. I had a great deal of fun working on the site, including attending many conventions and meeting the people behind the game, but I'm happy to say the current management team there has things well in hand. The interest game companies have shown in working with the site for beta key giveaways and exclusive interviews is a testament to how well regarded it has become.

In August this year I also set up an offline edit bay in my house and now work part-time at home as a write/producer/editor for my main on-air promo client, ABC Family. Working from home has its usual benefits and drawbacks, but I get to see my kids more and that makes it worthwhile. And the tax deductions don't hurt either.

Finally, Christmas came a bit early and I was given an iPad as a gift this week. It was quite unexpected and I have been enjoying it more than I thought. I've found quite a few apps for both me and my kids to play. I was under no delusion about how long I would be able to hold on to it until my kids got their hands on it. Expect some posts on iPad apps soon.

May 10, 2010 - Blogging, Gaming Journalism    No Comments

Facebook MMO column debuts at Massively

Last week I rolled out my new Mobile MMO column. This week I debut the new bi-monthly Facebook MMO column at Massively. I was going to kick off Facebook MMOgraphy with the vampire MMO City of Eternals, but SOE surprised us with a Facebook MMO based on their upcoming spy-themed MMORPG, The Agency. I got a look at The Agency two years ago at E3 and have been waiting for the roll out of the game. This new gaming app is a great way to tide me over until SOE is ready with the bigger title.

The Agency: Covert Ops combines some Farmville, some Mafia Wars and a lot of mini-games to draw people into their James Bond world. The Facebook gaming application isn't an MMO itself as there is no real time interaction among players, but if you like Facebook games, you'll enjoy this slick, entertaining app. You can read my first impressions piece at Massively.

Big shout out to my old boss at Massively, Barb Dybwad over at Mashable who got the exclusive on this story.

Mobile MMO gaming app column debut

Today over at Massively, a site dedicated to news coverage of massively multiplayer online games, I debuted a new bi-monthly column covering Mobile MMOs called Massively Mobile. The first column covers the recent updates to the excellent action 3-D MMO Pocket Legends. Upcoming columns will look into other MMOs in the emerging mobile gaming app field including Anrufen Online, IMO and Outer Empires.

The other two weeks out of the month will see another new column I'm starting there, Facebook MMOgraphy. This will cover MMOs showing up on Facebook. This one is a harder call as to what constitutes an MMO since all Facebook games are social and multiplayer. I'm starting with City of Eternals from ohai for the debut of this column. Yes, I'm getting paid to play a vampire MMO. On Facebook. Don't hate.

Mar 1, 2010 - Books, iPhone    No Comments

Butcher and Kindles and Hobbits, oh my

Perusing some blogs dedicated to Lord of the Rings Online, I came across mention of "The Hobbit" available as an iPhone app. I'm not a fan of reading books electronically, but have been dismayed at my slow down in book consumption the last few years and bought the inexpensive app. The translation from print to electronic format was horrible. Lots of strange characters, garbled text, missing sentences. Clearly this wasn't an authorized edition.

About this time I heard there was a free Kindle iPhone app. Armed with an Amazon gift card and staring down the long barrel of boredom inducing impending jury service, I downloaded "The Hobbit" and Jim Butcher's "Furies of Calderon" novel. Butcher's Dresden detective series has been the only books I've been reading more or less the last few years and I was hoping for the same level of adrenaline-inducing writing in his fantasy series. I was not disappointed.

I've already downloaded the next book in the Codex Alera series and am looking forward to chewing through all six in short order. But better than that, I have found a way to indulge in book reading again in a way that I haven't been able to pull off in many years. I would never have thought I would enjoy the book reading experience on a screen as small as my iPhone, but the convenience of having a book in my pocket is something I have forgotten about until now. And I'm thrilled I have rediscovered it again. The type was large on the Kindle app and I was able to change the look of the "page" to be a warmer sepia tone.

For anyone interested in how Jim Butcher weaves his particular brand of fiction writing magic, he has written a series of blog posts on how he approaches novel writing.

Mar 1, 2010 - Games, iPhone    No Comments

Plants vs Zombies has eaten my braaaaiiinnnsss!

Plants vs. Zombies is a Tower Defense style game that just came out as an iPhone app. Though it was released last year for the PC and Mac, I hadn't heard of it until now. And I can't stop playing the damn thing. I downloaded it to get me through a long day of jury service and played every day since. I'm sure I'll get over it soon. Just in time for Pop Cap to whip up a sequel since this first one is breaking download records.