I’d never heard of the Chinese company Rock before. Through some recommendations, I bought a pair of their Rock Zircon earbuds and was blown away by the sound.
The company Rock isn’t known much outside of China. However, through different webshops, you can easily import these cheap headphones yourself. That’s what I did and as I wrote before you won’t be disappointed.
The earbuds are delivered in a small but good looking cardboard packaging. The Rock Zircon comes with 3 different sizes rubber tips that are quite different than the ones from other brands. Beware if you are prone to losing your tips, as they are not easily replaceable.
The headset itself is made of Zircon, hence the name. According to the manufacturer, the material enhances the sound quality. The set sports 8 mm neodymium drivers with a heavy lean towards bass. The Rock Zircon also sports an angled 3.5mm mini-jack plug and a braided cable right up to where the cable splits. There you’ll find a remote with just the one button and an included microphone.
The sound signature of these earbuds can best be described as, well… A chihuahua. Overjoyed, barking all the time but just extremely fun to listen too. Don’t go looking for anything remotely like a ‘reference’ quality in these Rock buds. Just don’t. They are made to have fun with and nothing else.
The reason why I say this is the incredibly fun bass sound signature that Rock has but into this headset. It just makes you grin like the joker. The headset is extremely bass heavy and sports a nice sub-bass sound that you might need to tweak a bit in the equalizer. This means however that something in the sound has to suffer because of the heavy leaning signature. That would be the mids. The highs, however, are clear and about as good as that kicking bass. All in all, we’re talking about a headset that will make you smile but will in no way give you a reference sound.
Rock Zircon Build quality
That brings us to a rather big problem with this headset. The Rock Zircon has good sound, a braided cable, and an angled plug. However, the durability of these headsets isn’t quite the best. The earplugs themselves consist of two parts, glued together. And that glue tends to come loose after some time. You can just simply reassemble them yourself but it just not what you’d want.
It’s a shame of the production quality of the Rock Zircon because I would be raving about them if they didn’t fall apart so easily. However, if you treat them right you will get a year’s worth of use out of them. Dropping them, knocking them or anything else might simply break them off you’ll need to put them back together.
That being said, if you are careful you get a quite impressive sound quality out of these earbuds. Given that they are regularly on sale for around $9-12 you could do way worse for the price. And that sound signature will just simply put a smile on your face every single time you use them.
Sound Quality 8
Bought for $12
After a year of qualifiers, the Hearthstone Championship Tour 2017 has finally finished. This weekend in Amsterdam the 16 best Hearthstone players of the world faced off. The winner Tom managed to come back from 2-0 and beat Frozen 3-2 in the end. It looked like Frozen would win in a 3-0 streak but halfway through the match, his hot streak ended. Tom managed to win three games straight with Frozen not able to get any lucky draws the way he did in the first few matches.
The final day of the Hearthstone World Championship Tour was filled with Hearthstone royalty. Ben Brode, ThijsNL, and all the contestants were in Amsterdam. Especially for ThijsNL this was a home field advantage and he was constantly being talked to and photographed when he was around. Of course, Thijs is the Dutch European Hearthstone Champion from 2015. He, unfortunately, didn’t qualify for the tournament. That didn’t make any difference for his popularity at the tournament.
At the second stage, near the deserted food court, Ben Brode and the other Blizzard devs were talking. They shared their personal story about the way they ended up at Hearthstone and the video game company they all work for. As always, especially Ben Brode is a crowd favorite.
As it turned out the main stage was only opening quite a few hours into the event. That made sure that there was an enormous line of people waiting to get into the main stage area. Getting seated was by no means a guarantee and a lot of people had to resort to a giant screen in the next room.
The event was on a grand scale with a professional broadcasting team running the show. This meant a large boom camera in the middle of the hall and a lot of walkie-talkies that all yelled “big applause guys, big applause” every time the twitch stream came back from commercials.
About that Twitch stream: during the final match between Tom and Frozen the counter was at a 150 thousand viewers. Just so you don’t think that the entire audience was in the main hall ;-). It must have been audible on the stream that the audience was actually quite well informed. Most people in the audience were avid players of Hearthstone themselves. This meant that the oohs and aahs of the audience were often faster than the analysis of the casters.
It shows that the audience was right there with the players. Constantly commenting on the next move that players could or should make. As it turns out the audience knew quite well when a game was over. Even if it was two or three turns away. It’s a testament to the community around this game that they have such dedicated and knowledgeable fans. It also makes for fun watching when you are more of a casual watcher. Because of the outspoken nature of the Hearthstone community, it turns out that you have not two but two hundred casters in the main hall.
Watching a game of Hearthstone might be the single most relaxing experience in esports. Good thing that there are usually a ton of streams you can watch. But this weekend is different. The Hearthstone World Championship is in Amsterdam and a massive amount of pro matches will be live on stream all weekend.
Want to watch the matches? Twitch will help you have a fun weekend.
The winner will go home with a grand prize of 250 thousand dollars.
As computer games become more popular, so does the cultural influence of this epic form of entertainment. It was not that long ago that games and gaming was something frowned upon. ‘Go play soccer’ or ‘video games are for kids’ are common phrases among the old of heart ;-).
But by now the games industry has eclipsed the revenue of Hollywood. So it’s safe to say that games are a big part of popular culture. There are several great documentaries that describe how games have become such a large part of our culture these days. So if you’re not up for playing a game, why not watch how they came into existence in the first place?
Video Games: The Movie
Man vs Snake
All Work All Play
Indie Game : The Movie
World of Warcraft: Looking for Group
AI is the future. Well, it’s sort of now and sort of in the future. Today what you might call AI is machine learning. Machine learning is not the android like Data in Star Trek but a computer that learns for itself.
So rather than being an intelligence all on its own, it’s rather more a machine that can learn from a large body of data like classical music. After learning Mozart and Bach, you can give it tasks like making predictions based on those compositions.
Now, I wouldn’t be telling you all this if there wasn’t an incredible Youtube-video to go along with it. At CES, Nvidia showed that it has taught a computer to compose. It knows everything about classical music basically. Now just imagine what happened when they fed it (specific) John Williams music:
For those of you who are fans of Willams, the music actually sounds like the master himself. Sort of. One of the pieces they fed the AI was clearly Rey’s Theme from The Force Awakens. But still, a computer being able to ‘predict’ how John Williams would compose is pretty epic.