Speed Up Your Surfing . . . serious this time.

I’ve always been leary about those “speed up your connection” software schemes. I mean, even my feeble logic seemed to say my net connection was going to be only as fast as my provider let it be. Well, I recently found out about OpenDNS. This is a service that speeds up your browsing by giving you an optimized DNS (Domain Name Service) for the web. To explain, when you type in a domain, www.mooresites.com for example, that is transated into an IP (Internet Protocol) address where the website resided (it’s easier to remember the name than all those numbers!). Well, an index of sorts is kept by your local internet provider. The idea is that Open DNS does a better job at managing this and is, thus, faster.

 I’m a believer. I’ve been fooling around tonight with different websites and the lag time between typing in an address is noticeably faster than before. Usually, I would type in an address, press enter, and wait 5 or so seconds for the website to resolve (then start loading). Now, it’s more like 2 seconds maximum . . .

 You’ll just have to try it for yourself. Why not, it’s free. Head to www.opendns.com to try it out.

 I’ll try to update later . . . there’s a management system where you can block certain sites from the network . . . with personalized error messages. Not a problem since my kids aren’t surfing anything but Nickjr.com, but should come in handy once they want to explore further on the web.

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Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!

And there you have it. Nintendo’s latest video game system is, well, all it’s cracked up to be in my opinion. We’ve had it about 2 months and it really is “fun for the whole family”. Want to guess who the most active player is? Yep, my wife. She’s reached pro status (quickly) and can’t stop bowling. Here are a few things I’ve taken away from the system:

  • Sportsmania – The Wii Sports game bundled with the system makes it almost worth buying and not getting another game (until Wii Sports II!). I read all the reviews about sub-par graphics, but it REALLY is about gameplay. Tennis works just like you’d expect (my favorite game, by the way). Bowling is superb in that a turn of the wrist makes the ball act differently. Boxing is a true workout. Baseball is not fully functional (you can’t field balls and such), but it is a satisfying experience to hear the crack of the back and that small vibration when you knock it out of the park! Golf, I haven’t gotten into (as much as Jake, my 3 year old), but it has it’s value as well.
  • Backward Compatability – So, I’ve played the game Zelda: Ocarina of Time (best game ever, by the way) all the way through about 4 or 5 times with my son Jake. He absolutely LOVES it. Well, the Wii has Zelda: Twilight Princess (yes, I know you think I’m a super nerd at this point). However, to my knowledge, that version of Zelda doesn’t follow the awesome storyline of “Ocarina”. But, the Zelda: Windwaker game is a sequel. It’s for the previous system, the Nintendo GameCube (which I don’t have). No worries! I found it for $15 on Ebay, bought a controller for the GameCube and now we’re playing another awesome game. I’ve dug through the best of lists for GameCube. There are some very solid games there, so I might find some steals! I think that was a very good move by Nintendo to keep GameCube alive on the Wii.
  • Archived Downloadable Titles – I played one of my all time favorites, Super Mario Brothers 2 . . . on the Wii! That’s right, you can download almost all of Nintendo’s catalogue of games right to your Wii . . . for $5 to $10 depending on the system. I’m debating grabbing classic games like Paper Mario and such . . . just the right price in my opinion.
  • News and Weather –  I arguably spend half my time on the system reviewing weather forcasts and news headlines. The Wii has a “news channel” that will pull tons of news from the Associated Press right to your TV. And not, just once a day . . . every few hours! Sometimes I see news before it even gets going. I’m amazed at the immediacy of it all. And, the weather channel on Wii . . . that’s just too convenient.
  • Internet Browsing – I’ve tried hooking my laptop up to my TV. Even hooked to my LCD, the images and text were just too small and far away to view easily. Looks like the Wii fixed that. The zooming feature keeps text smooth on the screen. It’s very readable. Entering text with the motion remote isn’t the best option (I hear you can plug in a USB keyboard), but it’ll do for light browsing.

So, with that said, if you’re looking to get a next generation gaming system and you have small children, you pretty much can’t miss with this. Don’t expect a powerhouse on graphics, but they’re nothing to frown about (think better-than-original-XBox, but not nearly Playstation 3 graphics).

 It’s good to see Nintendo still has some power left in the industry.