My Experience Buying A Playstation 4 In The US & Shipping To Australia

It is no secret that buying games, software, online services and electrical goods overseas in the US can cost considerably less than it does if you purchase in Australia. However there are some misconceptions about doing so.

Is the Playstation 4 region locked?

First things first, the Playstation 4 console is NOT region locked. This means games from anywhere in the world will work on the Playstation 4 regardless of where you bought your console or games. This is however not the case for movies which are sometimes region locked, but who seriously buys physical forms of movies anyway?

Can I plug a US bought Playstation 4 into an Australian wall socked?

Yes. Most electronic devices these days have multi-voltage power supplies, the Playstation 4 is no exception. The only difference between worldwide Playstation 4 consoles is the cord. It would not make economical sense for a company to have multiple variants of one power supply.

The first thing you will want to do is replace the power cord with that of an Australian adaptor figure–8 or shotgun connector cable. This is the kind of cable that you probably already have lying about for a set-top box, camera charger or a million other devices. In-fact if you own a Slim/Super Slim PS3 or PS Vita, the cord will work on your Playstation 4.

Can I play Australian bought games on a US bought Playstation 4?

Yes. Always check the disc box to ensure the game is not region locked (most games are not, but I have heard cases where a developer has locked the region). There is however a DLC catch which is explained next…

How does DLC work for purchased games?

There is a slight caveat with purchasing DLC for your games. The DLC purchased for the game must be done so through the store for the country you bought the game in. This is because DLC is mostly always region locked. Confused?

If you bought Battlefield 4 from the USA for your console for example, when EA releases DLC for Battlefield 4, you need to have a US Playstation Network account to buy the DLC for the game. An Australian PSN account will NOT allow you to buy DLC for a US bought game (or so in my experience).

Playstation Network accounts

If you choose to setup a US PSN account, there is another caveat. Most Australian credit cards will NOT work on a US PSN account. You have to weigh up if cheaper games and earlier DLC appeal to you. That said, there is no disadvantage of having a US PSN account in Australia.

To top up you can purchase codes off of Amazon to circumvent the geolocking issue of needing a US issued credit card and address to match which is what most people do.

Warranty

You have to weigh up if forgoing any kind of warranty is a problem for you. For me, I figured a year after the PS4 was released, my chances are quite low of actually running into issues and on the rare occasion something happens, I will have to pay to ship it back.

The benefit of buying in Australia and paying $100 more (after conversion at current rates it is most likely a saving of around $60) is that we have some of the best consumer rights laws in the world. If it breaks, you are entitled to a replacement or refund within the first two years. Some would argue the warranty is worth the extra $60 or so.

Conclusion

Overall there is not much else to say about the experience. The Playstation 4 being region free means you can buy one from anywhere, the PSN account issue can be annoying, but it is hardly a deal breaker.

Chrome For Mac OS X In 64bit Glory

Mac users who use Google Chrome today will receive a special treat. Chrome for Mac OS is now 64bit in the version 39 update which was pushed to the stable channel today.

Along with a whole bunch of security fixes and performance improvements, the new 64bit only version will allow for greater stability, performance and above all better security going forward.

Those who have been using the beta/alpha versions of Chrome have had 64bit support for sometime now and during testing it was reported most people saw noticeable improvements (especially when it came to video performance).

Google Announces “Mobile Friendly” Testing Tool/Result Tweaks

In a move signalling that Google is well and truly dedicated to improving the user experience of the web, they have announced a new tool that checks if your site is mobile friendly, as well as changes to their search results.

The tool can be found here. Fortunately all of my sites I tested were mobile friendly (including this blog).

Not only that, but Google will also be showing alongside the search results of a page whether or not it is mobile friendly as well. While it is too early to say so, whether this has an effect on the search engine rankings of websites who are and are not mobile friendly remains to be seen.

Now might be a good time to test your own sites and if they are not mobile friendly, fix them up before it starts to mean something and affects your search engine rankings with Google.

Either way, this is a welcome change. If search rankings are affected by lack of mobile friendly site, is that such a bad thing? Traffic on handheld and mobile devices is easily 2:1 that of desktop Internet traffic (expected to double again by 2020).

I Refuse To Fund Misogyny: Goodbye Uber

I am a longtime Uber lover and user. Without fail any trip I have taken to the United States has involved the use of Uber for getting around over hiring a car or catching a taxi.

I am currently in the US on a three month trip and for the last two months I have been using Uber almost on a daily basis. In-fact, I have racked up more Uber rides the last two months than I have in the last two years combined (which is a lot).

But after the recent remarks from SVP (senior vice president) of Business for Uber, Emil Michael making threatening comments about journalist Sarah Lacy of Pando Daily because he felt like Uber was being targeted, it is at that point I realised I have been too tolerant of Uber and its questionable business ethics and attitudes towards women and its customers. We all have.

This sadly is not Uber’s first controversial time in the spotlight. The company has had more scandals and controversies than a lead actor in a soap opera in the last two years. Remember the time that it was revealed Uber had a playbook of sorts for sabotaging their competitor Lyft?

I believe the service is great and while I have not had any overly bad experience using the service itself, I refuse to fund a company so morally bankrupt and misogynistically driven. It seems Uber has a problem that extends right down to its roots: the executives tasked with steering the ship that is Uber.

Things need to change. It is obvious there is undoubtedly a culture of misogyny and outdated attitude towards women in Silicon Valley. The Uber board and its investors need to take a stand, Emil Michael needs to be held accountable for his statements, whether they were on or off the record.

Uber have just lost themselves a customer and from now on I will be using their competitors offerings instead. I tried out Lyft for the first time the other day and I must say, I was impressed with their application, service and ability to tip drivers (handy when you want to tip for a driver helping with your luggage and have no cash on you).

Finally: Netflix To Launch In Australia & New Zealand March 2015

Well, it is official: Netflix are set to launch in Australia and New Zealand in March, 2015. As rumoured a few months ago, Netflix have been quietly partnering with agencies to prepare for the launch for a few months now.

The questions on everyone’s lips are…

What Content will Netflix Australia & New Zealand have?
As someone who has used Netflix in the United States, Britain and Canada, I can say with utmost certainty Australians will not get access to everything US Netflix has or other countries.

This is not to say that Netflix in Australia will not have a decent catalogue, who knows, things could be different. Having said that, it is a welcome foot in the door in any case.

What will Foxtel do about Netflix arriving in Australia?
Besides crapping their pants, expect Foxtel to finally get off its butt and offer a competitive offering with the same, if not, better sized catalogue than Netflix offers.

If Netflix can offer a competitive offering that rivals what Foxtel currently offers in their expensive cable packages, it could seriously hurt Foxtel’s business quite substantially. If Spotify is anything to go on, it will be taken up by many Australians and Kiwis.

How much will Netflix in Australia & New Zealand cost?
While the company has not released pricing information, expect it to cost a few dollars more than the US version as a result of the higher costs of doing business in Australia, around the $15 mark would be a pretty close guesstimate.

Will Netflix launching in Australia reduce piracy?
It might help a little bit. Depending on the size of the catalogue and freshness of content, Netflix has a great opportunity to prove that a lot of Australians pirate because of lack of choice like their US counterparts.

Do not expect Foxtel to give up access to its prized content like The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones without a big fight. And do not expect to see it in Netflix’s catalogue at launch. This most likely means piracy rates will go unchanged for now.

Let us reserve final judgement for when Netflix finally arrives to our shores. I am just happy that it is finally happening, Australia is finally being treated like a first-world country.

Navicat Premium vs Sequel Pro For Mac OSX

Deciding between whether or not to buy Navicat Premium for Mac at a cost of $70 or using Sequel Pro which is free, was a difficult decision believe it or not. I use Navicat on my Windows PC, but have been using Sequel Pro on my MacBook Pro.

Paid vs free: should be an easy decision to make, right? Well, not exactly.

Navicat Premium allows you to work with most database types: Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite and even Oracle. Sequel Pro from my understanding is really only for MySQL at this point in time, but other databases are planned I think.

On top of that, the interface for managing the creation of tables and databases is a lot more feature-packed than that of Sequel Pro. Managing and creating things like Stored Procedures is also a lot easier and helped with autocompleting your query code as well.

So which one should you buy?

You have to assess your needs. If you’re just working on small WordPress websites and simple web applications, then Navicat is probably overkill. Navicat is more aimed at professionals and database administrators looking to use power features of databases like MySQL and PostgreSQL.

Sequel Pro is aimed at light database users and those who mostly deal with simple databases and need features like import and export, as well as simple query generation and writing tools.

I use Navicat because I build web applications and need to manage things like foreign keys, stored procedures and like to manage my database tables in a more visual way. I don’t always use the power features of the likes of MySQL, but it is nice to know if I do, Navicat will be there waiting.

ReactJS: Props vs State

Developers new to ReactJS seem to get confused as to what the difference between props and state are inside of components. After all, they do both work similarly but there are some differences.

Props aka Properties

The easiest way to think of the role of “props” is to use an example. If you want to put a password field into a form you would do something like the following:

<input type="password" name="password">

The input itself is the component and “type” and “name” are components of the component, they are the equivalent of configuration options provided onload.

As far as the component is concerned they are immutable and can not be changed from the component itself. Meaning you can not change what has already been provided after the fact.

State

This is where you will see the difference. While a component can have default values supplied to it when a component is initialised, this is where things differ from that of props.

A state suffers from mutations usually as a result of a user action, such as a state value that keeps track of whether or not the user has clicked on a button or pressed the enter key twice.

A state is a private snapshot in time of a component that can not be modified by any other component, like a child component. It is private to that one component only. Unlike props which can be passed down to child components from a parent component, state cannot be passed, at least not directly.

Apple Finally Fix Yosemite Wifi Issues (For Some) In OS X Yosemite v10.10.1 Update

Finally. After the initial public release of Yosemite over a month ago on October 16th, 2014 Apple have released the first minor incremental update to address some issues that have plagued the OS since its release.

Although the latest update 10.10.1 specifically addresses fixes for wifi issues, tonnes of people on Twitter and the Internet as a whole are complaining it did not fix the issue for them.

Personally for me, the issues have been fixed, but understandably everyone is using a different Mac. I am using a late 2014 MacBook Pro with Retina Display and the wifi issues appear to have been fixed for me, my Internet is noticeably faster and more secure (so far anyway).

The other issue is Apple waiting almost a month to release a minor update that only addresses a few of the issues people are having (albeit not very well) when they should have released one in the first two weeks of its release. Perhaps testing was a factor, but either way, it should have been released soon.

Looks Like He Is Legend Are Confirmed To Play Soundwave Festival 2015

Absolutely stoked.

After posting my wishlist a little while ago, it appears as though He Is Legend are indeed playing Soundwave Festival 2015 as confirmed by front-man Schuylar Croom himself via Twitter, spoiler of festival line-ups.

schyular-croom-confirms-he-is-legend-for-soundwave-2015

The Tweet says:

Update. We’re alive. We’re playing Webster Hall on the 8th. Heading up to Canada. Planning moves. Let’s set up Sidewaves.

Digging through existing Tweets, as far as October 30th you can see some discussion between AJ Maddah He Is Legend and a fan below.

While nothing official has been announced just yet, the second Soundwave 2015 line-up is expected in just days now and He Is Legend appear to be on it.

10 Highly Useful Gulp.js Plugins For A Super Ninja Front-end Workflow

It is no secret that Gulp.js is one of the best task runners on the front-end block. Old man Grunt is still out and about, but it is only a matter of time before Gulp takes its place.

If you are new to Gulp or are not sure what plugins to use, this post highlights ten of the most useful plugins for streamlining your front-end development workflow like a nazi killing spy.

10. gulp-util

An official set of helper functions to use in your Gulp files. From functions that allow you to colour console output to logging and more. The logging functions alone can be helpful, the colouring functionality also helps you visually highlight different tasks and results as well.

9. gulp-uglify

A tried and tested plugin for minifying Javascript using UglifyJS2. This is one of those must have plugins to use in your Gulpfile (if you are working with Javascript that is).

8. gulp-concat

Minifying Javascript is one thing, but combining multiple files into one Javascript file, now that is a whole new level. Reduce network requests and speed up your application by concatenating. Use this in combination with gulp-sourcemaps and you have yourself minified and debuggable Javascript files.

7. gulp-sourcemaps

As Abraham Lincoln once profoundly said, “He who not uses source maps is either a fool or a coward, or both” – so honour his memory by automatically generating source maps for your minified Javascript files to debug them without having to use production versions. If you are not already using source maps, you should.

6. gulp-plumber

There is one annoying thing you will learn pretty quickly using Gulp, without using a proper error handler or plugin like Plumber, if something errors out, your build process stops. What Plumber does is catches errors and prevents the pipe from breaking. I always include this plugin in every variation of mu gulpfile.js.

5. gulp-minify-css

No web build process is complete without CSS magnification, right? Combine and minify your CSS files with a lot of different customisation options that make this plugin one of the must haves alongside Javascript minification.

4. gulp-iconfont

This genius plugin converts your SVG icons being used into a suite of icon fonts that work in Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and more without lifting a finger. Icon fonts reduce network requests and page weight. If you have not used this plugin before, you are missing out.

3. gulp-browser-sync

A fully-featured Gulp plugin for using BrowserSync which gives you; synchronised browsing across multiple devices, a LiveReload server, CSS injection and more. This is a great alternative to other implementations of LiveReload because you get additional features. Change a file locally and instead of having to refresh, your browser automatically refreshes or injects the changes.

2. Autoprefixer

This is an essential must have in your Gulp arsenal. What Autoprefixer does is allows you to write CSS without vendor prefixes and then will scan your CSS and add them in according to whatever you have configured and Caniuse.com usage statistics. This saves you having to use CSS libraries and writing multiple lines for things like Flexbox, etc.

1. gulp-load-plugins

Because Gulp.js uses Node, you include all of your Gulp plugins by requiring them. If you are using all plugins listed here, that is 10 lines of includes, there has to be a better way, right? Meet Gulp Load Plugins.

What this brilliant plugin does is loads all of our plugins in the one reference line like so:

var $ = require('gulp-load-plugins')();

gulp.task('sometask', function() {
    return gulp.src('./**/*.js')
        .pipe($.somePlugin())
        .pipe(gulp.dest('./dest'));
});

All plugins by default are loaded camelCase, and to use them simply use whatever variable you included the “gulp-load-plugins” plugin under and you have just saved yourself a lot line of code.

Conclusion

There you have it, ten useful Gulp plugins which will streamline your front-end development workflow. If you have any suggestions, feel free to add them into the comments below.