Archive for March, 2013

iphone-5_large_verge_medium_landscapeShort answer: No.  99% of you have nothing to worry about. Here’s why and how to know if your safe.

Background
The US Librarian Of Congress choose that an a great exemption which allowed smart phones to be unlocked under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).  The DMCA makes it legal for you to copy digital content from a CD or DVD and use it in a digital form on the format of your choice – such as a phone or tablet.   It is also what makes it legal for you to unlock your iPhone (completely legally) and use it on the network of your choice – Because once you own the the device/content – the DMCA says that it is your right as a consumer to be able to use that device/content on other mediums (such as another network if you choose).  So that’s the background.

Bottom Line
Because they decided that an exemption to smart phones will no longer apply this now means that if you purchased your phone AFTER January 26, 2013 it is illegal for you to unlock your phone – Unless your wireless carrier gives you permission to do so (which wouldn’t be in their best interest.)  This mean’s that as long as you bought your phone on January 25 and before – it is perfectly legal for you to unlock you phone and use it on a different carrier (Which is often a great way to save money!)

So right now there is a small minority of people who can’t unlock their phone.  But – if you just bought your phone within the last few months – you wouldn’t want to unlock it to go to a different carrier anyway because you likely signed a 2 year contact with terrible penalties for canceling early.  But if your 2 year contract is up – you are in the clear to unlock and move to a different carrier like t-mobile.

I hope this article was helpful for all of you out there wondering if you can do this.  I am about to do it myself and switch to T-mobile.  Stay tuned to this site to see how easy it is to make the switch from ATT to t-mobile!

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IMG_1075Want to start Perler Beading as a hobby?  You’ve found it all right here!  I will walk you through all the supplies you will need – resources – etc for you to get started creating whatever you dream up!

If you’re new to 139hobbies.com welcome!  If you’re new to the site check out the side bar with a list of all the current hobbies I am involved in that I have written articles for.

Perler Beading – Who Does It?
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I’m thrilled your interested in perler beading!  People who perler bead come from all different walks of life.  Maybe your a “gamer” who saw some cool 8-bit art work made out of Perler Beads.  Maybe you’re a kid who has a friend that made a unicorn and you want to make one too.  Maybe you’re a mother who is trying to occupy her children some something other than turning on the TV.  Maybe you’re elderly who just wants to find something creative to do with your time.  If any of these people describes you Perler Beading would be great!

I’m a husband in my late 20’s with a young daughter and I love this hobby!  I was drawn to it because I could recreate 8-bit video game artwork of Mario and Sonic.  Check out my other pages to see some of my other perler beading art work.  So if a grown man enjoys this stuff – I’m confident anyone else will!

Is this an Expensive Hobby?
Not at all!  In fact if you would like to just give it a try before committing a lot of money to it.  You can just go to your local Walmart, Target, Micheal’s, or Joe Ann’s Fabric and pick up the “Perler Tray Of Beads” for around $10.00 That comes with 4000 color coded beads of 16 colors and an idea book as well.  That’s what I did.  I just wanted to make one thing then I ended up buying another pack… and another… Pretty soon I realized that the things I wanted to make required a larger range of color.  That’s when I committed $70 to about 40,000 beads numbering roughly 38 different shades… But that was a few months ago and I still haven’t run out of any color.

The reason I wanted to go ahead and get as many shades as I could was so that I could create more dynamic art.  The more color range you have the better you can give the illusion of shading and a 3D effect.  That’s what I decided would be good for ME. You may only want a few extra shades.  So Lets Walk Through What you’ll need.

Basic Supplies
Here are the absolute basic supplies you’ll need to get started.

  • I would recommend getting “Perler Tray Of Beads” for around $10.00 That comes with 4000 color coded beads of 16 colors and an idea book as well.
  • You will want to buy at least one square peg board (They sell them in a lot of different shapes but try to find the square ones because those are the only ones you will later be able to connect to other square board to create a larger canvas to work with.)
  • Wax Paper – this usually comes with either the large bead kit or the peg boards.
  • An Iron – The iron is how you “fuse” the beads together.
  • A Perler Graber – I don’t actually know the real name – but it is a green little tool for about 3 bucks that helps you pinch up the beads out of or onto the board when your fingers might not be able to reach it.  VERY useful for when a bead lands onto the wrong spot.

That’s it!  Once you have these supplies you’re ready to go!

IMG_1098Organization is Key! 
When you are dealing with such tiny beads it is important to be organized.  If you get the starter set it is easy enough to keep them all in their little spots.  Resist the urge you or little ones may have to dump them all out into a single bucket for whatever reason pops into your mind.  When I got the extra 38 shades of color (1000 bead packs each for about 1.99 or 1.69 per pack.)  I knew I wasn’t going to be able to use them straight from their bags.  So I went to find some containers.  I went to walmart first thinking I would find something cheap there.  I paid 20 bucks for a decent sized plastic box with different draws and had something like 25 spaces to put beads in.  Then I went to Micheal’s and hit the jackpot!  Micheal’s has these bead boxes with 17 compartments but only $2.00 each!  So I bought 8 boxes of them and now all but one of them are filled with beads.

How to “Fuse” your beads together
This can take some practice – as well as some trial and error.  These beads are plastic and are respond quickly when heat is directly applied to them.  This is where the wax paper comes in.  Here are the basic steps.

  1. IMG_0753Plug in your iron and let it heat up for 2 minutes.  Set it to medium heat.  If it is too low the beads won’t melt and fuse.  If it is too high you risk burning the paper.  Medium is perfect for almost all irons.
  2. Set your finished bead pictures (still on the peg board you crafted it on) on a hard flat surface.
  3. Put the wax paper over the beads
  4. Set the iron on top of the paper and slowly slide the paper in both a clock wise and counter clock wise motion – this will help the small amount of plastic fuse together more easily.
  5. Do this for about 30 seconds without removing the heat.
  6. Take off the iron and very carefully pull off the wax paper from one end to see if the beads have fused together.  If you lift the paper off but see a bead or two that has not stuck to the picture – reapply hear in that area or the whole picture for another 15 – 20 seconds.
  7. Once it is one piece – CAREFULLY take the beaded picture off the peg board and turn it over onto a hard surface and repeat the process.  If you don’t fuse both sides it will break very easily.

The first time will be a little nerve wrecking – so i suggest you do something small that didn’t take long to get the hang of it.

IMG_0715It is possible to fuse the picture so much that no holes are present leaving a smooth surface.  This is a great for coasters like I have posted here.  This process takes a little longer – but not much.  Heat time will vary but for me it took between 60 – 120 seconds to get a completely flat surface.  I also was applying a little more pressure as I tried to smooth it out and get all the little holes to go away

A word of warning – if you are trying to achive a surface with no holes a few things to remember

  1. IMG_1103Don’t press too hard.  The harder you press the more likely you will actually melt the beads shorter – which will cause the pegs they are resting on to stick up and poke holes in your picture – because the plastic is melting down due to the presure.  This creates holes which you will be un able to fix.  Take your time.
  2. Don’t move the wax paper if you don’t have to.  If you keep lifting it up – each time you take up the wax paper it may leave indents in your melting plastic.
  3. Don’t do too large of an image.  I created an epic nintendo sign which took something like 2,500 beads and 2 days to finish.  I wanted to get a perfectly smooth image but because I had to melt it a section at a time the picture got very warped.  Pegs started popping through – and now the biggest creation I have made sits in my closet… ashamed… lol.

I’ve included the Nintendo sign I made here showing what I mean.

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Getting/Stealing some great ideas!

Don’t try to come out of the gates creating stuff on your own.  Find something someone else has already done online and follow their picture peg for peg.  This will help train your eye for how to do this particular kind of art work.  If you try to do something yourself – you may get frustrated very quickly.  Everything I have created so far is pretty much peg for peg off of someone else’s picture I’ve found online.  It is still immensely satisfying because I created it with my own hands.

If your kids are the main ones using this – try to give them direction – if they are really small just tell them to make different shapes.  If they are a little older tell them to make SIMPLE objects like a tree – a spoon – a bat – or something along those lines.  If you tell them to make a person (or they try to) without having something to follow they will likely be disappointment with what they created and determine this is too hard.  It’s not too hard – people just have to adjust to the medium of the art work, that’s all.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this “Getting Started” Article on perler beading.  Please lead a comment or follow me on facebook and I will be sure to reply with any questions.

To see my other creations please check out the link on the left side column titled “#25 Perler Beading”

20130302-213938.jpgIs the AMC version of The Walking Dead board game any good?  Yes… Oh yes it is!  And here is my full review!

Overall rating 91/100 (Outstanding!)

Who Would Enjoy this game?
Obviously if your even reading this article your one of three people.  Either you’ve read the comic books and wanted to give this version of  the board game a try.  Or You’re a huge fan the AMC show and want to take your fanboy status to the next level.  Or your a Zombie fan looking for a good zombie game.  If your any of these three – there isn’t a chance you won’t love this game.  In fact people who don’t even know anything about “TWD” really enjoy this game because the game play elements are fantastic.

What’s in the box?
Everyone wants to know if the price tag is worth it, right?  If you go to Barns and Nobles you can pick up this game for 39.99 (Like i did) or you can pick it up for cheaper if you don’t mind a wait from amazon for about 31.99.  I can’t tell you how impressed I was with the materials of this game.  The most outstanding feature which I have never actually seen before is the board it’s self.  The board is a large mat (same material that mouse pads are made from) that rolls out.  There is a protective coating on the top of it to prevent scuffs from happening.  This is the greatest idea I have ever seen in board games.  You just roll it out, then roll it back up.  No more carefully folding some board out or in trying to prevent the inevitable rips in the seems of the board.  My hat off to the Cryptozoic company that made this game.  The playing cards are large and have a real playing card feel to them.  They won’t rip easy.  The other parts of the game are all made from thick, thick cardboard.  It would take some serious carelessness to bend one of these things in half.  The durability of this game I would rate a 10 out of 10.

20130302-213632.jpgGame Play
For the purpose of this article I won’t dive too deep into the mechanics of the game – rather give you the over all feel and style.  The game can be played 1 – 4 players.  (That’s right – this board game you can play by yourself! WIN!)  This is currently the only board game I own at the moment that can be played solo.  Nice feature!  Just now I played with my wife.

The goal of the game is to get supplies from 4 different locations on the four corners of the map and make it back to camp before dying.  It sounds simple enough.  Each player is on their own – we can travel together or in different directions.  You get “Ally” tokens representing more people in your individual player party.  As you fight zombies along your jounrey – but lose – you will lose an “Ally” token.  That Ally dies and doesn’t come back.  Lose all your Ally tokens and get bit by a zombie and your dead… for a turn… then you come back as a zombie and try to kill other players!  TWIST!
There are a limited number of supplies in the whole game.  Once the supply deck runs out – its out.  Just like in the real world they don’t self renew – so you must use each card wisely.

My wife and I thought this would be easy to do.  But right during the first turn she had to choose between using two of her precious weapons or take a chance and lose an Ally – she sat there for 10 minutes trying to decide what would be the best thing to do.  We got really really into this!  Each turn was a fight for our lives as the supplies were running low.  Both of us made a few minor mistakes which eventually cost her, her life.  Sadly when she came back as a zombie she was in the last area I was trying to get to and I kept having to fight her without any success.  I was low on supplies and out of Allies… Dead.  SO MUCH FUN!

What are the Negatives?
Virtually none.

  1. The only thing I kept thing was that this board game was created during Season 1.  So all the characters and objectives are based off of season 1.  I do wish that had released a newer version by now that included more locations from the other two seasons.  Or more characters from the other seasons – no Daryle was a bummer.
  2. The game only goes up to 4 players.  This seems like a great game for 6 – 8 players.  I hope they release an expansion soon!

Please note these negatives are trivial at best.  Other games I will be reviewing in the future I will have a mouth full to say about this section.

20130302-213909.jpgShould I buy this version vs. the comic book version of the game?
So just to be clear there are TWO walking dead board games.  One based on the comic book, and this one based on the TV series… which is based on the comic.  Just to be clear – I read the comics first, then watched the show.  I love both – but… the comics are better lol.  That is not to take anything away from the show, because the show is very well done.  Just a fact.  So for me to tell you to skip the comic book version of the board game and pick up the TV show version says a lot.  The comic book version, (from what I’ve read – not played myself) is slow and boring.  But read up on it yourself if your still not sure.

Final Thoughts
I am a huge board gamer.  Ticket to Ride, Munchkin, MTG, Risk, etc.  I like to play anything that’s not by Hasbro – which has had a monopoly (No pun intended) on board games in stores for a while.   So please understand the weight behind this statement even if you have not read the comics or seen any of the episodes of AMC’s The Walking Dead – but simply want to play a survival game – don’t look any further.  I cannot wait to get another two people with us so that we can do the 4 player mode!

Final Scoring.
Physical Parts of Game = 10
Game Play Balance = 9
Immersion Into Game = 10
Re-playability = 9
Learning Curve = 8 (Can learn to play in 15 minutes or less)
Overall Score (not an avarage) = 91% (Outstanding!)

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On the road right now, but I wanted to throw up a Perler bead I did of super Mario world spring. Pretty sweet. I hope to make an entire scene out of these beads one day but it will be one object at a time. This is a great hobby to kill some time and let your creative juice flow. Great for adults or kids. Pretty sure it’s suppose to be FOR kids, but I don’t want to grow up. Cheers!