Author Archives: Courant Staff

United Technologies Updates Website

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Courant staff writer Brian Dowling reports:

Hartford-based United Technologies has launched a redesigned and updated website.

The internet home of the maker of Pratt & Whitney aircraft engines and Otis elevators,, has been remade into a more image-based site. United Technologies explains the change this way:

“UTC has gone through significant change and we wanted a website that more effectively communicates who we are today — our priorities, our values, and our focus on core aerospace and commercial building systems businesses. The new does that, while delivering an attractive user experience that’s clean, modern and easy to navigate,” said Debbie Sifuentes, UTC Director of Marketing.

The new website features intuitive navigation, more multimedia content, and a custom-built search engine. It is optimized for viewing on all platforms, including desktops, tablets and mobile devices. Tight integration with UTC’s social media platforms makes it easier for visitors to share content they find interesting and compelling.

The website redesign has already resulted in significantly higher site engagement for users, particularly those using mobile devices.

Here’s the before and after:

New Site


Old Site

PlayStation 4: Rumor & Reality

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by Jesse Tucker

Sony announced a wealth of information regarding their next generation console in February’s special press conference, but they also left us wondering on a few major things like a release date and price point.  Since then, rumors have been circulating all over the web trying to put together the missing pieces.  Here’s a handy guide to help you sort out what’s reality and what’s rumor.

Release Date

Sony has already announced that the PS4 release date is “Holiday 2013” for the USA.

The rumored, more specific release date is sometime in October.  In a recent interview, the creative director of the upcoming Ubisoft game Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag stated that the game will be launching in late October on all platforms simultaneously, which implies the PS4 will be out by that time.  Ubisoft has since said the interviewee was not referring to the game’s PS4 release, but only current generation consoles; however, many believe the company is just trying to cover for a slipped secret.  Skip about 5 minutes into this video and see what you think. Continue reading

Five Reasons To Cut The Cable TV Cord

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Getty Images

Getty Images

Cable television is expensive, and in today’s world it no longer makes much sense.  The fact is, almost everything that’s offered by cable TV is available online, and you’re already paying for your Internet, so why pay for both?  I’ve been cable TV-free for over six years now, and I can’t think of a single reason to go back.  I’ve found ways to watch essentially all programs I would have ever watched on TV, plus much more, and it only gets easier as streaming services expand and online video takes over.  If you’re on the fence about making the switch, here are five reasons why you should:

You won’t lose anything

With the wide selection of online streaming options available today, you will still have access to many of the shows you watch on television.  From sports and news to sitcoms and especially movies, it’s all available online.  Pre-recorded shows like sitcoms will typically show up one day after they air on TV, but news and sports games tend to stream live.  If you’re worried you won’t know where to find your shows, don’t be, because…

Making the switch is easy

If you’re looking for sitcoms, dramas, and other prerecorded shows, will have most of them the day after they air on TV.  If it’s not available on Hulu, try checking the network’s website.  For example, How I Met Your Mother is not available on Hulu, but can be streamed for free on

For news, always go to the news station’s website.  For example, FOX CT news can be streamed for free at

For sports, it varies, but you can find a great guide to sports streaming websites here.

If you’re looking for movies, Netflix is your best bet.  Netflix has a huge selection of old and new movies, as well as past seasons of TV shows, all commercial-free.  And just in case you’re worried that the big flat screen TV in your living room will go to waste getting all of your videos from the Internet, don’t be, because…

Continue reading

Choosing the Best Mobile Gaming Platform for You or Your Child

by Categorized: games Date:

By Jesse Tucker

Times have changed since the days when a Game Boy was your only option for mobile gaming. Today, we not only have portable gaming consoles, but also tablets, e-readers, and even our cell-phones, each offering a unique plethora of gaming goodness. Few of us can afford to buy them all, and even if you could, who would want to carry all that luggage around? So which device is best for you or your child’s gaming needs?


Examples: iPad, Nexus 10, Kindle Fire HD 8.9”

Price Range: $300 and up

Recommended Age Range: 2 and up


These are the priciest option initially, but also offer the cheapest games (many for $5 or less) and largest library, not to mention the widest range of functions outside gaming. The only problem with a tablet other than price is that it lacks buttons and joysticks, which the 3DS and PS Vita both offer in addition to their touch screens. As a result, the tablet games tend to be more shallow, so older gamers may quickly grow bored of them. This is a plus when dealing with very young kids between 2 and 6 years old, however, because the simplicity of the games, paired with the intuitive nature of a tablet’s touch screen controls, makes them easier to understand and enjoy. Tablets also offer a wide range or learning tools and educational games perfect for young kids.



Mini-Tablets and E-Readers

Examples: iPad Mini, Nexus 7, Kindle Fire, Nook

Price Range: $159 and up

Recommended Age Range: 2 and up


These are very similar to tablets, just smaller and less expensive. Many of the same games and features available on standard tablets are also available here, but e-readers like the Kindle Fire and Nook have a noticeably smaller library of games, and often needing their own specific versions that come out months later according to CNET. I wouldn’t recommend an e-reader to fill your gaming needs, but it you’re looking for an affordable media device that also has a decent selection of cheap and simple games (and you don’t already own a smart phone), it’s a good choice.



Nintendo 3DS

Price Range: $170 – $200

Recommended Age Range: 6 and up


The 3DS has a great selection of games for slightly older kids as well as adults, and it’s one of the best options for pure gaming. Nintendo offers extra features like a camera and web browser, but they are far inferior to those of a tablet like Apple’s iPad. The games are more expensive ($30-$40 new), but I find them to also be much more involving and longer lasting than most tablet games, and it’s also worth mentioning that the 3DS can play all games from the original DS console, most of which can now be purchased at a heavy discount. The console itself is much more affordable than a tablet, costing about $170 for a classic 3DS and $200 for the larger 3DS XL. The extra money for the XL is advised if smaller screens hurt your eyes, but be aware the console will likely no longer fit in a standard pocket.



Sony Playstation Vita

Price Range: $250 – $300

Recommended Age Range: 10 and up


The PS Vita is just as good an option as the 3DS for pure gaming, but says it’s targeted to a more mature audience. I find the games tend to be more complicated and/or violent and also cost a little more than 3DS games (about $40 new). The graphics are superior to most 3DS gamesaccording to, but this is not likely something a child under 10 will notice or care much about. The console itself costs somewhere between a 3DS and a tablet, offering features similar to both. It functions better as a media device than the 3DS, but still nowhere near as well as a tablet, so I recommend mainly buying this for gaming.



Some Recommended Tablet Games

Angry Birds

Slingshot birds across the screen to knock down structures built by evil pigs. It may sound weird, but this is always a popular choice with kids, and the addictive gameplay can entrance adults as well.


Fruit Ninja

Slide your finger across the screen to slice up flying pieces of fruit. Another addictive game popular among younger and older gamers alike.


Cut the Rope

Use your finger to cut different ropes in an effort to feed candy to an adorable monster. This is a physics puzzle game that offers plenty of challenges.



Some Recommended Nintendo 3DS Games

New Super Mario Bros. 2

Pretty much any Mario game will usually offer a good time for players of all ages. This newest game offers a pleasant mix of new and old Mario charm, and even has multi-player co-op support for playing with friends.


Pokémon Black Version 2 or Pokémon White Version 2

Collect, train, and battle hundreds of different types of monsters in a quest to be the best. The Pokémon games are always popular and offer near-endless hour of fun for all ages.


Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask

The Professor Layton games are puzzle and brain-teaser collections that usually revolve around solving some sort of mystery. The puzzles can get pretty tough, but they’re great for building thinking and problem-solving skills. This game is better suited to the 8+ age range.



Some Recommended Playstation Vita Games

Metal Gear Solid HD Collection

A collection of 2 classics from the Metal Gear Solid series of stealth action games. This bundle is a great deal that just about any PS Vita owner will appreciate.


Uncharted: Golden Abyss

An action-adventure game full of exciting movie-like gun fights and plenty of explosions. The Uncharted franchise is among the best-selling on the Playstation 3, and this portable version brings all the fun and excitement into the palm of your hand.


LittleBigPlanet PS Vita

A fun side-scrolling and creation game that’s more kid-friendly than many of the Vita’s other offerings, though it remains immensely enjoyable for older players as well. This is also one of the better options for multiplayer on the Vita.