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Why You Should Add Octavia E. Butler’s Science Fiction Novels to Your Summer Reading List

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If you’re in the process of creating that summer reading list, then you’d better pay attention. You probably saw that Google doodle of Octavia E. Butler on June 22nd, without even realizing who she was or why. How many of us actually take the time to stop and click on Google’s featured doodles? Octavia E. Butler, a science fiction writer, would have celebrated her 71st birthday on Friday, June 22nd. Google chose to honor this pioneering lady on her would-be birthday— and rightfully so. Butler was born in the city of Pasadena, California in the year 1947. She battled dyslexia, but she didn’t let that stop her from achieving her dream of becoming a writer. Why should you add some of Octavia E. Butler’s science fiction novels to your summer reading list? Because she was a game-changer!

Why Octavia E. Butler’s Science Fiction Novels Deserve Your Attention This Summer

Octavia E. Butler wasn’t a published novelist until 1976, with her work Patternmaster. This novel was the first of four in the Patternist series. Goodreads details the series as “a secret history continuing from the Ancient Egyptian period to the far future that involves telepathic mind control and an extraterrestrial plague.” However, Butler didn’t really gain the recognition that she deserved until she published her novel Kindred in 1979. The African American female protagonist is able to time travel back and forth between 1970s Los Angeles and a 19th-century Maryland plantation. Not only did Butler contribute to the genre of science fiction, but she personally pushed the boundaries of societal norms and offered a broader expanse of character perspectives. During Butler’s time, the genre of science fiction was dominated by white males. Luckily, Butler was able to extend the audience of science fiction by including African Americans, feminists, and general fans of science fiction. She’s just as important now as her contributions were then. Plus, you’ll love her dystopian themes.  Even though some years have passed, her literary works are still as relevant as they were when they were published.

Read the full article at Newsweek.

Read more Entertainment articles on ClicheMag.com
Why You Should Add Octavia E. Butler to Your Summer Reading List: Featured Photo Credit: The Washington Library.

The Benefits of Google Play Music

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There are a lot of music streaming choices to sort through these days: Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Rdio, and more if you factor in Internet radio services such as Pandora. If you’re like me and are very guarded about those thousands of outdated MP3 files sitting on your hard drive, there’s one music streaming service you need to use and it won’t cost you a penny: Google Play Music.
Someone out there is rolling there eyes or screaming, “music files are dead!” and I get that. Why collect MP3s anymore when there are a plethora of music streaming sites ready to pump out hundreds of thousands of hit songs? But what if they don’t have Jimi Hendrix Live At The Royal Albert Hall “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)?” That’s my favorite version of that song and I just can’t afford to live in a world without instant access to that tune.
Which is why the recent news of Apple Music subscribers losing songs in their library is so concerning to me. Apple is a multifaceted company good at many things: laptops, smartphones, software, and historically music, but what has become abundantly clear recently is it’s not good at collecting and keeping your data. There’s no foolproof substitute to backing up your files, but Google Play Music does make it easier and convenient.
Google’s music streaming service costs $9.99 a month if you want to pursue its catalog of music like you would in any competitor’s equivalent service, albeit in a less user friendly way. But, if you’re satisfied with your current music provider, there’s still use in Play Music as a cloud backup service.
Once you download the free music manager, you can synch it to your iTunes library (or Windows Media Player or directly from your music folder if you’re one of five people not using iTunes) and upload up to 50,000 songs into Google’s stellar cloud service. On average, it could take as much as a couple of days to upload everything depending on how big your library is. The time it takes is worth it though because you don’t want to lose those precious MP3 files you’ve spent the last 15 years or more collecting and ripping from your personal CD collection. In the long run, it will even save you time because any new files you upload to iTunes will automatically get uploaded to the cloud.
Anyone remember Songza? Well, Google bought that service back in 2014 and now those same fun radio stations created to fit your day, mood, or activity are available for free. They aren’t as good as the human curated stations of Apple Music, but they are worth a try nonetheless. A subscription to Play Music also gets you YouTube Music Key (or visa versa), which allows you to view music videos ad free and save them for offline mode.
The subscription service isn’t for everyone though. The app can be pretty buggy on iPhones and even on Android phones from time to time. You don’t get the exclusive track releases sought by other streaming services, or high fidelity sound quality or the taste making of Beats1 Radio (click here for a good break down of which music streaming service is best for you). But there’s no reason not to back up all that music onto Play Music — it’s free and easy.
Just please also go out and purchase an external hard drive. You’re going to need it.
Read more music articles at ClicheMag.com
Image courtesy of Phonearena.com 

Google Maps April Fools Prank

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So today is April 1st 2014, in the western world better known as April Fool’s Day! A day when all the pranksters come out to play, and pull jokes on their friends and family members. This year, Google decided to get in on the action a little early.  The company’s maps division announced in a video published yesterday, that it is currently seeking a Pokémon Master to join the team. To do this Google has developed a Pokémon Challenge that is what it calls “the most rigorous test known to man.” Within the latest version of the Google Maps app, Google has added hidden Pokémon, and to be deemed the Pokémon Master you have to catch them all.
To play, you must you have the most recent version of the Google Maps App. Open it and click the search bar, where you’ll see a Pokéball and a button that says “Press start.”
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From then on you will see Pokémon scattered all over your map, as well as Pokémon-style houses like the one seen in the picture below.
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Catching the Pokémon is very easy, all you have to do is simply click on them when you find them, but finding them is the real task since they are hidden all over the globe. The deadline to find all 150 Pokémon is April 2nd, 2014 at 2:00 PM, and according to the video released by Google, the  people who find all of the Pokémon in time will be invited to the Googleplex to participate in the final round of hiring. The winner supposedly will start his or her job as Pokémon Master on Sept. 1, 2014.
Sadly, this is almost certainly a Google Maps April Fools prank because the disclaimer in the Google Maps video says the role of Pokémon master is not yet available” and recommends you go to Google’s jobs page. Good job Google! This will most definitely go down in history as one of the most carefully devised April Fool’s pranks like ever. Although the Pokémon Master job is fake, everyone is still free to try and catch them all!
Photos Courtesy of (Huffington Post)
Featured Image Courtesy of (Youtube.com)