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Sam Cook

Okay, Android peeps, I have a question. When my phone is just going in and out of my pocket during the day, there's no real reason to have a pattern unlock set. But if I'm putting my phone down for a while, say on a table at a party, I do want it locked. So is there any easy way (without root access) to create a shortcut that locks the phone with a pattern or PIN for when I need it?

Video Game Orchestra has a Kickstarter to create an album of their upcoming concert. I've seen them at PAX the last two years, and they do really great arrangements of video game music. Check out this video to hear more about the concert, and keep watching to see their incredible Bastion performance. For a $10 pledge, you'll get a digital copy of the finished album.

The Kickstarter is here:

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Short fan film based on Penny Arcade's Automata series.
Remember when I was talking about that thing that Penny Arcade fans would like? Well, my good buddy Travis finally let the beast out in to the world!

Recently I got fed up with the stock keyboard on my Droid Incredible 2, and decided to look into alternatives. My first thought was that +Ryan Whitwam, tech writer and Android enthusiast, probably had some suggestions, so I dug up a post of his that recommended Swiftkey.

I liked Swiftkey immediately, and within a few days I knew I'd be purchasing the full version. But last night I discovered that the app isn't just useful, it's also incredibly funny and entertaining.

How can a software keyboard be so amusing? Well, first there are three things you need to understand about Swiftkey:
1. Swiftkey's autocomplete has a "best guess" choice that shows up in green, right in the middle of the options.
2. If you want to, you can have Swiftkey draw those autocomplete choices from your Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, and text messages.
3. Swiftkey starts predicting your next word before you even start typing it. So if you're composing an email and type "I'm" followed by a space, it will immediately "best guess" a word to go next.

And that means, as I discovered last night, that you can just type in a starter word and then repeatedly tap the "best guess" option, letting Swiftkey compose the rest of the sentence. The end result is a highly personalized string of madness; although the overall message sounds like it was translated into Japanese and then back into English, you'll definitely notice words and phrases pulled from your communication history. Here are a few examples. In each case, I only provided the first word of the sentence, the rest was all Swiftkey. Where you see the same sentence twice in a row, the "best guess" options were looping.

"Hello, I think I'll be back in the world. If you have a good time to time. I am a beautiful person. I am a beautiful person. This is a good idea to have a snack at home, then barberito's after tkd. When you get the best way to get the house. Someday... Let's see if you are not the intended recipient, you can stop by the way, I think I'll be back in the world. Tomorrow is the best way to get the house. Go to the Walmart)"

(Barberito's is a local burrito chain, tkd is my shorthand for my "Tae Kwon Do" school, and my house is about a mile from a Walmart, so I frequently use it as a landmark when giving directions. I have no idea why "I am a beautiful person." is in there.)

"Hey, I think I'll be back in the world. Video games, and I hope you enjoy your stay. George Washington University in the world. While I was wondering if you'd be interested in coming to the event, dates, and I hope you enjoy your stay. My wife, and I hope you enjoy your stay. Need to know about billing, and I hope you enjoy your stay."

(Recently I've been helping to organize a local dance event, and checking with instructors to see if they're available. "Need to know about billing" is pulled from working at, since I'd often have to discuss feature post rates with my editor there.)

I don't know what to call this little meta-game (an alternate "Damn You Autocorrect," so maybe "WTF Swiftkey"?) but it's definitely fun. It's rare I can recommend an app both for its functionality and it's quirks.

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At last one of the best parts of Chrome OS is available to everyone using Chrome!
Google's chat extension is really elegant if you're a Chrome user. I've been using it for awhile on my CR-48 and missed the functionality on my Win7 workstation. Now it's no worries!
Chat for Google
Chat for Google

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Penny Arcade's new game journalism outlet looks pretty cool. I love having curated lists of good reads.

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I don't normally get into political stuff, but a burn is a burn. +Gary Whitta, seems like something you'd enjoy.

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This is technical writing itself.


Samsung you're doing it right. More and more companies need to do this.

First watch this:

And then watch this:
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