Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Black Swan (Drama 2010)

Well this movie was certainly nutty. I'm not a fan of chicks going crazy but I got to give this one props for doing it in an artsy way. Yeah it's weird knowing that there are probably some peeps in this world who are obsessed with one thing and one thing only.

Anyway as a film it was good and complete. One thing that I'm still wondering is if Portman's character would've been the way she was if her mom had been normal and not a nutter.
Rating - A

Monday, December 27, 2010

Four Lions (Foreign British Black Comedy 2010)

I didn't really want to watch this movie at first just because British comedy is usually a miss with me. This one was OK but I still did not laugh as much as I would think a Brit would.

The movie is a black comedy about a group of pretty dense bombers and their antics while planning a bombing. The chuckle factor comes from some of the characters and their lack of intelligence. The situation is pretty real so that's why it shouldn't be funny but yeah some parts were worth a laugh.
Rating - C

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See (Book 2010)

If I didn't know any better I would've thought that Lisa See was a full-blown Chinese female, but to my surprise that was not the case. She has some Chinese blood in her, but yeah, pretty much white as they come just by looking at a pic.

This book was good; let's just get that out of the way. The story was very real and believable up to the point when you read on the cover that it's only a novel. I swear the cultural details and little mannerisms that the author injects into the characters are so very Chinese and accurate. She sure did a lot of research in order to gather up so much detail for her fictional characters. She is definitely a quality writer with talent up her sleeve.
Rating - High

Saturday, December 25, 2010

AT&T Samsung Captivate Galaxy S


So after going back to having a simple phone after the Vibrant fiasco, I could not help but want another touchscreen smartphone. So after browsing around CL and Ebay forever I finally got a captivate through Ebay. The chick on the other end kinda misrepresented the condition of the phone so I managed to get $100 off my bid price which turned out to be less than market. Go me! So yeah after a few months of ownership here is my review of the device.

Hardware-wise the phone is pretty good. The GPS is very flaky so it has been suggested that this is a hardware issue which I believe, but the screen, sound, and overall feel of the phone is still good to go. It doesn't have a front-facing camera so that sucks when compared to the iPhone 4.

Software is where everything falls apart. Android is supposed to be an open platform that is made by Google, so one would think that the programming was OK; it isn't. For one reason or another Google OSes are tweaked with by manufacturers and made more shitty with different keyboards or different front-ends. Why couldn't it just be a Vanilla Google OS? So yeah your options as an android user are to use an antiquated ROM that is never updated or to try to root your phone and use a multitude of different ROMs that Joe Nobody in some random basement coded from a leaked ROM. The official stock ROM sucks and custom ROMs are hit or miss depending on if the developer is smart or not. It's just so frustrating to have only these two options at hand.

In comparison, the Apple iOS is pretty stable and updates come regularly. This is one thing that Apple has over Android and it's beginning to be more important. At the end of the day the device is a cell phone and there are certain expectations that need to be met:
  1. Simple
  2. Works
  3. Bugs are fixed
Currently Android has none of these expectations met.

So what is annoying about this phone/OS? A lot. First off the updates are few and far between. There have been many on-line arguments about if it is Google's fault or Samsung's. Most have said that it is Samsung's. It's very lame that the cell phone community has to depend on XDA programmers to tweak with leaked ROMs in order to get them to work on various cell phones. I don't see why Samsung does not invest some of their resources to do what they are supposed to do. The reasoning posed has been because of money and the fact that it is not in their best interest to support new OS versions like Froyo and Gingerbread on older phones. People will eventually just buy new phones with newer native OSes already installed. Pretty fucked up if you ask me. Why does the OS even need to be configured? Isn't it really just a small computer?

Anyway, what else...yeah the "system sound" settings will reset 80% of time time after you power off the phone meaning that whenever it boots back up it'll play this annoying Galaxy S tune at full blast. Another thing is that menu clicks will either lag or not detect so you are forced to click a bunch of more times. The Youtube app will also not sync up with your real account meaning that if I login on both the computer and the phone, and if I watched one a video from a subscription, the computer or phone will not know that the video has already been watched. WTF. Isn't this was logging in is all about? The phone also crashes apps quite often and occasionally the whole OS will crash and you'll have to take the battery out. So in comparison Android phones are very much like a PC whereas the iPhones are very similar to Apple's OSs. Yeah does it mean it is better? Yes, in many places concerning stability, but not everywhere. For example Android phone apps are almost always free and they are very functional as a free program whereas Apple apps are not so. But iPhones are a lot more stable and they "just work".

For cases I was cheap and tried to buy a $2 hard case off of Ebay from HK. It turned out that the case was only good the first time you put in on. Subsequent times that you put it on then off, it would be harder to get it to snap back into place. After a few times it just wouldn't snap anymore and that was it. I also found out later that the case itself scratched up the phone in 3 locations on the actual plastic so yeah... bullocks to that. I then ordered some cheapo-silicone case from HK and that one has been doing better than the hard case. The most annoying part is that the rubber totally sticks to your pockets so it's harder to get in and out. Next I'll try some "TPU" material although I don't really know what it is...maybe it's just another fancy word for rubber.

So in conclusion I hate Apple as much as any PC person does but I do feel torn when it comes to cell phones. A phone is supposed to work...all the time. When I'm able to officially upgrade phones in March it'll be a hard decision of what to do. The Nexus S recently got released but of course it does not support AT&T's 3G frequency; so yeah, even though it has Gingerbread and a front-facing camera, what's the use if the speed is piss poor? Will the iPhone 4 be the only AT&T option at that time? I hope not, but yeah that thing just works even though it is a crappy Apple product.

The Princess and the Frog (Animated Family 2009)

So this was a pretty good Disney flick. I still don't like the new-style of animation though...reminds of Hercules too much any not enough of the old school style.

Either way storytelling was on-par with an average Disney flick as were the songs and characters. Perhaps the kids will enjoy it when they get a tad older.
Rating - B

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Countdown to Zero (Documentary 2010)

In documentary-land this one wasn't very good. It was all about nuclear proliferation and how getting all countries down to zero nuclear weapons would be the best for everyone. Yeah good idea and all but they didn't bring into context the fact that many countries have nuclear weapons as a deterrent for invasion. That and how countries like the US and Russia enjoy their superpower status and have no intention of allowing themselves to fall.

Either way, one thing I didn't like about the film was that they pretty much told you how to get bomb materials and how to sneak it into the US. I mean I guess in the world of terrorism and such maybe all that information is common knowledge but for me I didn't know that you could sneak stuff in with kitty litter.

Overall this movie didn't educate me any more than an average documentary. They just had a bunch of big whigs saying that nukes are bad. We all already know that...that and no country will really give them up fully unless they don't mind getting stepped on.
Rating - C

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Devil (Suspense Horror 2010)

You know this wasn't a half-bad movie. This totally goes against the MO of M. Night Shyamalan and the rest of the God-awful films that he usually produces. Why people still give him money is totally beyond me.

So yea, as stated this movie was OK. The basis for the story was good, the acting was believable, yeah the ending did not suck. What a change hu? It won't win any special awards, but I'd consider that a win for the director as he has put out some really patented crap ever since his one hit wonder.
Rating - B

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (Animated Fantasy 2010)

This animated film was better than the last one I just saw. The animation was pretty good and the story was a little less kiddie. Yeah the film got dark pretty fast so that was an odd twist for the younger demographic.

It did have a Land Before Time feel to it so it was adventuresome in that way. Overall it was not too shabby.
Rating - B

Despicable Me (Animated Family 2010)

This one was OK; at least it had a few scenes that made me chuckle. Overall though I'm much too old to be actually watching films made for youngins. I can appreciate a well made film though, and even though this one isn't one of those, it wasn't all that bad either.

But for the much younger demographic, it works. A little bit of humor here and there, some neat side-characters, and there you have it, just don't expect too much.
Rating - C

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Expendables (Action 2010)

As predicted, this one was pretty bad. In some other review it did mention that a lot of the big names only had cameo appearances and that was indeed the case.

There was no story and the action scenes were a mix of Rambo-like invincibility coupled with the fast pace of The Transporter films. So yeah...pretty dull overall. All of the dialog scenes should've just been deleted; it might've turned out better that way.
Rating - D

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Sorcerer's Apprentice (Action 2010)

Yeah this one was a typical Disney action flick. You have a weak protagonist who has a hidden, badass ability who ends up saving the world and getting the girl. Besides the occasional animated film and "sport" movie, this type of movie is what Disney does best.

It was not very memorable at all but it wasn't a bad movie either; just very predictable. Special effects were OK but nothing too new. The main character was played by Jay Baruchel, the guy who voiced the character of Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon. So at least some good memories came from that.
Rating - C

Monday, November 22, 2010

The American (Drama 2010)

Well this movie was slow and boring. It's one thing to take a Clooney movie and have it be long as well as good, but it's completely something different to make a long-ass movie and have it abruptly end without no real conclusion.

Yeah the film did all this build-up and then it just flopped and gave up. Other films like Michael Clayton also did the same build-up but there was a purpose behind it all. God-fucking-awful waste of time here.
Rating - D

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Google Voice

Google Voice (GV) has been released for a while now, and around the same time I upgraded to an Android phone so I was able to test out the service. Here is a short version of what it's all about.

First thing is that you can get a real phone number of your choosing. Some area codes like Manhattan have all been taken, but almost everything else is still available. I took a 202 DC number just because I heard that it was a coveted area code. Anyway, let's move on. On the phone-level Google Voice can take over VM service, texting service, and dialing.

Dialing
You can dial out with your GV number displayed by caller ID either from your computer or from your cell phone. The computer method is OK...it's more/less like Skype, but with the cell phone method there is a very noticeable lag while speaking. I used this service for a week but then I switched back to my regular number through at&t. For now GV calls from your computer to any US or Canadian number is free. I don't know if this is indefinite or if it'll change. I remember reading something about how it was only temporary.

VoiceMail (VM)
The highlight of the VM system is that it tries to transcribe messages and emails them to you. While using it I didn't really notice much of any bonus vs that of regular VM. The only time I can see that this would be useful is if you were out of the country and you still wanted to hear messages assuming that you had an Internet connection.

Text Messaging (TXT)
This feature is the only feature that I still currently use. In a word: it's free. Yup assuming that you have unlimited data on your cell service, you can send unlimited free texts from your phone using the app or from your computer. The only downside is that you have to tell your friends to only txt you on your GV number. So now it's sorta weird how I can receive calls on both numbers but I can only receive txts via my GV number. I canceled my $5 for 200 messages feature and am now riding free.

So yeah GV is a nice addition to the world, but it'll only benefit some. It would totally benefit those who had no cell phone service and only a laptop though... Most people are already used to their service and GV does not have enough bonuses to convince a regular person to make the "switch". Perhaps if VM service cost extra or something then maybe.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

True Legend (Foreign Chinese Action 2010)

Yeah so this movie was about the Kung-Fu master who developed the art of Drunken Boxing. This, unfortunately, was one of the crappier Chinese films I've seen of late. Usually they are OK but this one was not very good at all.

Some of the special effects were OK but nothing too impressive. Michelle Yeoh only made a cameo appearance and was barely in it. I never liked this style of Kung-Fu...it always seemed way too concentrated in the whole acting drunk thing and not enough on the actual fighting.
Rating - D

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Red (Action 2010)

Well this movie started out OK, but then towards the middle and through to the end, it became a pseudo-slapstick comedy action that had an odd place in the movie world.

Yeah the beginning had potentional but that was about it. Everything after the intro of Bruce Willis' character went downhill. It wasn't a bad movie per se, but it really wasn't that good either. I wouldn't rent it but would watch it at a friend's house for free.
Rating - C

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Kokoda (Foreign Australian War Drama 2006)

I think I've watched 2 or 3 Australian films in my life and each time I came away unimpressed. With this latest film, I guess it wasn't worth trying to break the cycle.

Yup, this movie I guess tried to be a war flick but it failed miserably. The acting was stale, the special effects were a decade or so old, and yeah the story wasn't very interesting at all. It mildly reminded me of how HBO's The Pacific turned out to be a disappointed when compared to Band of Brothers. So yeah this one is definitely not worth watching.
Rating - D

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Toy Story 3 (Animated Comedy 2010)

I think this was the last one in the Toy Story series, but I got to say that this one had a great ending. Props to Pixar again. Yeah sad how I'll never be able to work for this great company...

Anyway, the movie was just like the other two in the series except that it was a lot darker. I can't think of any really dark antagonists from Pixar's other movies but yeah the purple bear was quite the bastard in this one. Everything was great in the film so it kept up with the status quo of the company's past history. Again, the ending was very solid and the rest of the movie did not disappoint in the least. I would've liked to have seen more character development with some of the other new toys but since it was the last one, I guess there wouldn't have been much of a point to do that.
Rating - A

Monday, October 18, 2010

Century Arms Polish Milled 1960 AK-47 Rifle

So after selling off the Saiga, I wanted to go back to the 7.62x39 round. Of course the catalyst for this change was the fact that I had a Tipton cleaning rod that only fit inside of .30 Cal bores and the 5.45x39 was a .22 cal one. Yes a dumb reason for switching out a rifle but that just annoyed the hell out of me. Another reason was because I really wanted the opportunity to refinish wood and to see how that process went.

So yeah I picked this rifle because it was milled and I've never gotten to experience a milled AK before. Honestly it wasn't all that. It did feel heavier and was more sturdy overall, but a stamped receiver would've been just fine for shooting. I didn't like the fact that it was a Century Arms rifle, but I took a chance. Unfortunately the front sight was canted 1-2 degrees as can be seen in the picture below. It didn't effect the shooting of the rifle as the sights more/less lined up, but I knew that it would be something that would keep on eating at me. Anyway those were my first impressions.


The wood refinish was pretty fun. After looking at how other people did it online, I tweaked with a few examples and created my own.
  • Field-stripped
  • Removed all metal parts from the wood
  • Sprayed 3 wood pieces down with paint stripper
  • Used water to wash off the stripper
  • Washed the wood with dish soap and hot water
  • Did a 2nd round with the stripper
  • Let it fully dry (1 day)
  • Rubbed on a light coat of Minwax Wood Finish Red Mahogany Colored Stain
  • Let it fully dry (1 day)
  • 5 coats of Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane Clear Gloss (Apply gloss, dry (8 hrs), 000 steel wool, wipe down with paper towel, repeat)
Yeah I was a little too excited when I started the wood refinishing so I didn't take any "before" pictures, but this is how everything turned out in the end.

Yeah so after I had completed making the rifle look all new and fancy, I took it out shooting. It preformed fine with fairly tight groups, no feeding issues, and it had a great mag hold with all of the new steel Bulgarian ones I got from AIM.

One annoying thing with the rifle was that the safely had 2 locations that it would lock down when in the fire mode. It could go below the notch it was supposed to be in and was only stopped by this odd metal cylinder part that stuck out. When I was not shooting and maintaining good trigger safety, my index finder would be right in the metal nub; very annoying and uncomfortable. The Saiga safety was much better in that regard.

Their wasn't really anything wrong with the rifle, but I just didn't feel like keeping it. Maybe my time with guns is winding down and I'll be off to another hobby. I ended up selling the rifle on a forum and got me an XD9 when Cabelas was having a $100 off $500 sale. Yeah I find it ironic how an XD9 was my first pistol and now it would be my last one...unless of course I suck at it or I find something very annoying about it where then I might switch to a Glock 17 or 19.

Either way though...if you're in the market for a good quality AK, this one would be it. Much better than a WASR but heavy and expensive.

Pros
Milled = sturdier feeling
Wood = refinishing project
Wood Hand Guards = Better ventilation
7.62x39 round again = Nice, big hole
Magazine Fit = Very little wobble

Cons
Heavy
Canted sight
More expensive

Saturday, October 16, 2010

71: Into the Fire 포화속으로 (Foreign Korean War Action 2010)

So this movie wasn't half bad for a Korean military war flick. It was about a group of 71 students who were asked to defend a school as the North Korean army was flooding in towards the South. They story was good, the characters' acting was a little blah, but the music was fantastic, especially at the end; very well done. Yeah I'll look for the OST someday.
Rating - B

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

30 Days of Night: Dark Days (Horror 2010)

As I recall the first film wasn't that bad but oh man this one blew ass. Total B movie with very low-funding. Everything was bad...story, acting, actors, stage props, everything. The main chick makes a lot of bad choices, but what's worse is that she is ugly so you just don't care about what happens to her. So yeah this movie was so not worth even glancing at.
Rating - F

Sunday, October 10, 2010

T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant Update

OK so I tried to install the newest JI6 patch that was released for the Vibrant and it did NOT improve GPS functionality at all. And of course many people on the forums said that theirs have improved immensely. Well, I'm a big advocate for signs and this is one big sign that says to me that this phone can go eat a nut and it's getting sold. I'm thinking this is a Samsung issue but since other vids on Youtube seem OK it might just be that the CL bastard sold me a defective one. Bad thing is that there are no other Android phones that are good and will work on AT&T.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Resident Evil: Afterlife (Action 2010)

I don't even know which number this movie is in the Resident Evil series. I swear the first one was good and since then it has just plummeted downhill. This film caters to that pattern as well...

So yeah Milla is at it again, but this time there is no plot. There is no background, no real story, and just a bunch of slow-mo scenes with throwaway characters who are literally that...throwaway. They are there to exist and then to die.

Yeah it really wasn't good at all...I would even say that it isn't worth watching just to watch another movie in this series. They should really have a movie of peeps surviving day to day in the zombie-infested world as opposed to peeps just endlessly fighting the Umbrella Corporation without any explanation as to where the main characters found lunch that day. I'm sure only Twinkies survive that long.
Rating - D

Machete (Action 2010)

Oh man this movie was so awful. It was tacky in the beginning but then it just got way too silly and over the top. Bad thing was that it wasn't entertaining. Yeah there is some gore but that's not enough to make up for a shittacular story and pretty bad acting too. Not worth wasting your time for.
Rating - F

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant

So I recently jumped on the Smartphone bandwagon and got me an Android phone. From the comparative reviews I read the Samsung Galaxy S was the device to get and the T-Mobile branded Vibrant was a tad better than the AT&T Captivate.

The story of how I got it is actually quite humorous, but we'll save that for another time. Ebay market price was around $350 or so, so I went onto the local Craigslist and coaxed a guy down to $240. After a shady-like meeting in a Wal-Mart parking lot, cash and phone was exchanged and I had my Vibrant.

The previous owner barely used it so it was essentially like-new. He had installed some program called SGS Unlock which provided me with the necessary unlock code for it to work with AT&T. After putting in my SIM we were good to go.

I am still in the process of playing with the device but I'll share out a few tidbits of information pertaining to it when compared to my work iPhone 3G and wifey's iPhone 4.

The Vibrant is thinner and lighter than any of the iPhones. The screen is better than the 3G and 3Gs but I believe the iPhone 4's retina display is better than the Galaxy S. The OSs are exactly different in terms of performance, usability, and stability as an Apple is to a PC. The 3G was slow and laggy but the iPhone 4 had none of this. Performance has been top notch with the 4 and is in-line with the Vibrant...I'd even venture to say that the Android is a bit faster. But with the OS speed comes the stability factor.

Every now and then WiFi won't work correctly and I have to reboot the Vibrant. I don't believe the iPhone 4 has this problem. Also the Vibrant will blink on every now and then with no reason at all...it's annoying and makes it seem like a flaky, ghost phone. Also the GPS on all of the Galaxy S phones are fucked and Samsung is taking their sweet time coming out with a fix. The Apple's GPS is supposedly good but you usually have to purchase some app. Now it gets to the software part.

You can totally tell that the market for free Android apps is huge. You can find many of the same type of app for the Android and it is all free, again, just like the PC software market. This vastness doesn't exist with the Apple. The iPhones usually have more stable apps but you have to pay for them or use a free version that is quite neutered. Additionally, having to use iTunes to do anything is hella annoying vs. that of an Android phone where it becomes a mass storage device where you can just move movies or songs in and out.

Hardware wise, I don't like the bottom 4 buttons on the Vibrant or the side "main" button. It reminds me too much of a crappy design and a Blackberry. I guess I got too used to the solitary button for the iPhone.

Input-wise the Vibrant has this thing called a Swype keyboard...it's nutty fun to use as opposed to finger pecking with your index finger with an iPhone. If they find a way to port this KB over...

So yeah I have done a good bit of customization on the Vibrant and I like how it looks. If the GPS worked I would've been more pleased but I am still happy that I have it. Compared to the 4 though....the 4 might be better because of the stability and the Facetime feature. Time will tell. I'll be able to "upgrade" in March so I'll see if I still like having this Vibrant or if I'd be willing to just go get a 4.

When thinking of the phone and such you really just have to factor in:
  • List what apps are useful. Then see which phone has more of these.
  • Usability-wise, which one would you prefer to interface with?
And that is pretty much it. You gotta remember that is a phone...a phone that has small software packages that make it more useful but still a phone. So even though I love Google and everything they produce, the 4 does seem like a more slick device.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Iron Man 2 (Action 2010)

This one was certainly a fun ride. It had the same tact and humor as the first but it wasn't as good as the first. Oh well. As a summer action flick this had to be one of the better ones though.

The bad guy in this one was some Russian dude and it totally felt like his existance was misplaced. What does this mean? It means that he was not a good bad-guy. Him and his elecrtified whips was a very odd type of weaponry. The story said that he was some physicist but that did not explain how he also became some super strong killer-badass too. Most PhDs I've run into would not be considered 'athletic' if you know what I mean. Either way...

So yeah this film was worth a watch...the bickering between Gwyneth and Downey was very entertaining too.
Rating - B

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fuck Charter

So I come home to no Internet and a very weird orange blinking light on my cable modem. After speaking with India on 2 calls, I wandered outside to see if something was up with that junction box where the coaxial cables go into. Low and behold there is a tag on my doorknob that said that there was some audit and some asshole Charter tech came by and shut off my service because he was under the impression that I was getting TV service unpaid. Well...I've never had Charter TV service, only Internet so I don't know what gave them that idea. I then had to call India back again and yell at one bitch so that she could transfer me to her manager who had some accent from somewhere but spoke English well enough. I explained the issue to him and yeah now I get to waste tomorrow's lunchtime to come back home and camp out to make sure the Charter tech fuck can set my shit back up. I really don't know how some people have self control when they find out about these things because I am quite sure that if there was a Charter tech somewhere in the vicinity, there would've been an altercation involving sticks, rocks, and his car. Either way...fuck Charter...fuck them to hell and back...but I'm not going to downgrade to DSL or Clearwire either so yeah...no choice right?

Update: So a tech arrived on time today and was very cool in setting me back up. He stated that there was a roaming band of audit peeps who screw with peoples' connections all the time. Sometimes they grab baddies who are stealing cable but other times, like in my situation, they fuck over paying customers. Either way I'm more calm now that I'm using real Internet and not some slow-ass USB Verizon data card that I had to borrow from work last night...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Predators (Action 2010)

Although some may disagree, I got to say that this wasn't a half-bad Predator movie. It was hella better than Aliens vs Predator - Requiem, that's for damn sure.

The movie was a lot like the original movie, and while some peeps might be hawking about that, I thought it was a nice compliment to the series of sorts. Action was good, guns were good, story was fair, and yeah what's not to like? Adrien Brody was an interesting lead...not the best choice but not too bad either. He had that same odd, deep voice that Christian Bale had in The Dark Knight, so that seemed artificial but other than that nothing to complain about. It's definitely worth a rent.
Rating - B

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Lebanon (War Drama 2009)

What is up with all these shitty movies lately? I think I've had 3 or 4 in a row now. This movie adds to the crap pile. It all takes place within an Israeli tank during some war in the early 80s. From the drama shown all I could make out was that: war sucks, collateral damage is high against the local population, some soldiers are pussies, sometimes you got to fight for yourself to save your own life instead of following orders.

Yeah other than those few things I don't really know what the purpose of this film was. I've seen much better war dramas in my day; foreign ones too.
Rating - D

Friday, September 17, 2010

Windows 7

So after having a few months to mess around with this OS at work, I'd have to say that Microsoft actually pulled through with this product. After this dismal failure of Vista it was hard to see that they could recover, but they did. Unfortunately the new file structure of Vista is also apparent in 7. I still don't like it but it seems as though nothing can be done about that.

Pros
The good parts are that x64 version + 4GB of memory + a good video card = a great gaming experience. DX10 is pretty nice even though I barely game anymore. The OS seems more responsive. Even with a sick machine with XP SP3 there would be places that were still slow even though there was no reason why it should be. Deleting recently opened items via the start menu is one case and point. 7 also has a snipping program that totally does what this program called Snag-It does. It allows you to highlight an area and make it into a jpg. It also has a better version of Paint where you can do everything you really need to like lower res, rotate, select & crop, etc. Those two programs were like extra bonuses.

Cons
It is much harder to pir@te it. I guess these days it's probably more cost-efficient to just get a laptop with 7 on it, but for system builders it is certainly a downer. There were 2 programs out there that removed the whole authentication portion of 7 but of course MS caught up with it and the notifications of activation kept on appearing and spitting out errors. I'm not sure what patch caused this but it was not the service pack. Another downer is hijackthis does not work properly on it. That or spyware and viruses use a different avenue to install itself. I haven't had to fix a system with 7 that has been compromised yet but yeah...some dumbass will figure out a way to get their laptop hosed.

If you get a Dell laptop, OS installations are pie since the OEM license is integrated and the media only looks to see if the BIOS is a Dell one. Bad thing is that I haven't seen a model that has an equivalently kick-ass keyboard as a Lenovo T-series. Yeah even though I still like my current Asus lappy, the keyboard still annoys me to death. That is why I'm typing on an external at the moment.

So yeah...7 is good to go. It'll definitely be mass replacing XP soon enough. I haven't run into any compatibility or stability issues at all and in a Domain network environment it humms along just fine. It will be annoying to go through the Firewall and all of the new security to figure out a definite approach to disabling all of that and sharing files but yeah I'm sure we all have a good number of years before MS decides to pull another flagship changer on us.

Eclipse (Drama 2010)

Well this one went downhill; not the it ever began uphill either though... Yeah this movie was odd it had a bunch of misplaced scenes where the vamp guy was all talking about love and marriage and not fucking prior to getting married and such. It was very out of place...but the worst part of it all was that it wan't just one scene with this crappy dialog in it...I counted at least three. Very odd.

The whole fight scene that they showed in the trailers was quite anticlimactic, as was the story. If this series ever had a head start on anything, they sure as hell lost it with this one. The only welcoming thing was that the audience wasn't forced to watch Kristen Stewart standing there with her mouth half-open.
Rating - D

Robin Hood (War Drama 2010)

Yeah how about no. This movie started out with a nice Gladiator feel to it...in that everything was dark and muddy in terms of scenery. After a bit longer it kept on feeling as if I saw this before. Even though I can't say that it was a copy of another film, it definitely brought nothing new to the table at all.

In all honesty it was a very boring flick. Story-wise they had enough of a plot but I dunno...perhaps it was the pace that everything flowed which was way too slow. I almost fell asleep, seriously.
Rating - D

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Salt (Action 2010)

This movie wasn't half bad for an action flick. You only really had one character throughout the whole thing, Jolie; but even with that, it didn't seem to be too mundane.

Yeah this movie was all about moving action. There wasn't a lot of dialog, it had some plot, and little by little more about the main character's past came to light. I thought it was a decent ride.
Rating - B

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (Action 2010)

Well this movie was "as expected". It has all the traits of a Disney action movie which equals pretty ass acting, lots of special effects, a quick plot, and a chick.

I'm sure I'm not the first to say that Gyllenhaal was totally the wrong guy for the job. He's white, he's white, oh yeah..and he's white. The setting and story was supposed to be in Persia so that just added to the odd placement of our main actor. He also had this horrible British accent which further pushed the believability off a cliff.

The story was very quick and I barely got to know any of the other characters other than Gyllenhaal and the main chick, Gemma Arterton. She was ok but yeah...nothing great in terms of acting. Not the prettiest girl either.

I'm glad I didn't pay money for this, so let's just leave it at that.
Rating - C

Monday, August 23, 2010

Go Costco!

So I got an automated phone call from Costco stating that some eggs we bought a while back were part of the recall list. We took the remaining (10 or so) eggs back to the warehouse and they gave us a full refund. Now that's service! It's also one of the first times I've seen IT utilized appropriately.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Taipei Exchanges (Foreign Chinese Drama 2010)

Talk about a slow movie. This film putted along like an old person walking up a hill. It was one of those movies that tried to be artsy, but like all artsy films, they always take too much time and end up a disapointment.

The movie followed around a chick and her sister as the older one opened up a coffee shop. The younger one decides to make the shop an exchange venue where items could be exchanged for other items. After that I don't understand what happens....some dialog sequences take place and before you know it the main chick wants to travel the world.

The move will put you to sleep...very boring with absolutely zero plot.
Rating - D

Black Death (Action Drama 2010)

So I thought that this movie would just be some action film set in medieval times, but it turned into this weird religious flick.

Yeah this movie was set in England when the Bubonic Plague was killing off loads of peeps. Some Christians were sent to some village where nobody was dying and there they discovered a bunch of nutty heretics. Yeah there was a bunch of shit happening in terms of "turning" people and forcing peeps to renounce their religion. I don't know if it was supposed to be about morality or the strength of a person's actual belief system on threat of pain and death but yeah...

The end was just as blah as the middle. I'm sure there was some weird purpose to it all but I sure didn't care to know more.
Rating - D

Friday, August 20, 2010

Centurion (Action 2010)

Eh, this was a very blah movie. The beginning was OK and felt a bit like Gladiator, but the rest was just like The Last Legion or King Arthur...both of which sucked.

Action was nice...very bloody...but the story was just not there. The majority of it was watching a few soldiers booking it and evading capture. I find it funny how some Russian chick was in the film and she couldn't talk because the story said she got her tongue cut out. Yeah that or she can't hide her Russian accent, right?

It might be worth a rent if there is really nothing else out there...but it barely made it to that level.
Rating - C

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Beyond Exile: Day by Day Armageddon by J.L. Bourne (Book 2010)

This book is the sequel to the first Day by Day book. It was a great read with an as-engaging story as the first. My only complaint would be that it's a tad too short. Funny how I never thought that I would say that about a 277 page book. See, reading can actually be better than a movie sometimes. It's all about finding things that are worth your time reading, not those SAT-recommended stuff from HS.

If you've read the first book, you'll have to get this to continue on with the story. The next book should be pretty good too. I wonder how many there will be. God I wish this was made into a movie...I actually think it would make money as long as they didn't get a crappy screenwriter.
Rating - High

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Aftershocks (Foreign Chinese Drama 2010)

This was an OK foreign flick. It was about a fictional family who survived through a large Earthquake in North-East China back in the 70s. Lots of drama took place after the event so the plot followed around the characters as they went on with their lives.

It was a good movie for a Chinese one, but they still don't have the music down. The acting and emotional scenes were pretty good, but yeah for the rest they still have a way to go.

One scene was set in the time frame of the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake. It was kinda false in that it showed a bunch of helicopters flying in to help out with the situation. BS. When that earthquake first happened I never saw any hint of helicopters on TV or in any pics while in-country. It took forever and a day for them to get peeps out there. Aid and rescue workers flew in and went over land by foot or bus. The country did not have a robust-enough airforce in place to handle the situation. So that whole addition just added to the patriotic nature of the film.
Rating - B

Monday, August 09, 2010

I.O.U.S.A. (Documentary 2008)

As you may have guessed, this documentary is about the US debt and how it is on track to screw us over in the future. A lot of the more technical economic portions of the film went over my head but what I get is that we have borrowed a ton of cash and that it doesn't look like we'll be able to pay it back. All this means is that the country is much like a person who is underwater on their mortgage.

Of course this is very one-sided but I would like to see what other peeps think as a solution to this problem. The film mentioned that Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are the entitlement programs that have the greatest chances of screwing over the system. It'll be interesting to see if this is right and what Congress will do about it at a later date.

Yeah with my luck it will be my generation who will be the ones who will take it for the team when these programs are axed out and everyone will be on their own. Are these policies and programs screwing over socialist European countries as well since they have things like free healthcare and the like?

All in all the film presented a mathematical problem of debt and how the future looks really bleak. As I recall they didn't have a solution so yeah dunno what to say. Hopefully the dollar does not plummet which would cause my savings account will be worth nill. That would be the worst-case scenario and boy would that suck ass.
Rating - B

Saturday, August 07, 2010

The Lost Fleet: Dauntless by Jack Campbell (Book 2007)

I was looking for a new series to get my hands on and I ran across this one. The reviews were good overall and it being a science fiction military-themed one gave me enough convincing to buy the first in the series.

The sample that I DLed was good, but as the plot thickened it showed itself to be a pretty weak book. First off there were way too much politics involved with all of the ship captains and such. The next thing was the all of the other captains seemed to be dumbasses with no strategic sense at all. And the last thing was that there was this hella annoying civilian politician female who was also a primary character. I hated this character, so every time she came along and was not thrown out an airlock, I went away disappointed.

The book started out reminding me a lot of Battlestar Galactica as it was a fleet on the run, but then it got bogged down by the lameness of all of the characters besides the main one. I know how the author stretched this series out into 6-sum books, but I'm not interested in how it all ends. I can make a few guesses, read a few one-line descriptions about each book, and pretty much know the whole story while also knowing that I have not missed anything in regards to plot or character development.
Rating - Low

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Starcraft 2 (RTS PC Game 2010)

So at long last it is here. This is one the last games that I was looking forward to since PC-gaming in general has gradually deteriorated in quality and selection over the years. Luckily, Blizzard still cares, as they produced a squeal that met and greatly exceeded expectations.

SC2 kicked ass. The story was great, cinematic cut-scenes were terrific, and the campaign missions were both different and challenging. I still don't like "Timed" missions but I guess it goes along with the storyline. There were a lot of 'em though... I don't know how long I spent in the campaign but it only took 2 evenings to clear it on mostly-hard mode. You were mostly able to play Terran, and for a few missions, Protoss, but no Zerg with this episode. The next two should be real fun if Wings of Liberty is any such benchmark.

Most peeps love the muliplayer aspect of the SC series. Although it's OK, it is way too strategic for my tastes. Counters are too distinct so if the opponent knows what units you are creating in mass, they can just counter you and lay waste to your base. That direct type of counter is much too annoying. Sometimes I get a noob who sucks and I can easily take'em out....but other times you get these super-nutty players who will just crush you. I don't like losing so yeah...

All in all I purchased this for the single-player and I think I got my money's worth. Although I will play online with friends here and there, I doubt MP will keep my interest for too long. Sadly the key is hooked into a Battle.net account so no reselling of the game is possible. I wish more developers would create good games like this for a change, but yeah besides Diablo III and The Old Republic, I don't see anything else on the horizon.
Rating - High

Friday, July 30, 2010

Starcraft 2 Time

Yeah there probably won't be updates for a while here. Starcraft 2 got released earlier this week and I have been having a grand time playing it. Sooo much fun and definitely worth the 12-year wait.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Inception (Action Drama 2010)

If you want to see the brainfuck movie of the year, this one will be it. The story kinda made sense most of the time, but then many little details sprang up which totally did not click which makes you question the story some more. The writer/director Christopher Nolan, is either a genius, nuts, or a little of both. I don't know how a person could think of a concept this confusing and then manage to pump it out on screen. But then again he did The Prestige which I loved and also Memento which I hated.

Either way the movie was all over the place with dreams, time, reality, and the mind's interpretations of it all. My brain was working overtime to decipher it all but there were still a lot of holes that didn't make sense. It reminded me a lot of the computer science concept of recursion. I remember getting an assignment relating to recursion and knowing that it was a concept where my brain could just not handle. As for this film I'm sure I'll have to discuss it with peeps to get their take.

Nobody can't dispute the fact that it was very well done and well acted, so for that I'll rate it high, but it doesn't mean that I understood the whole thing.
Rating - A

Friday, July 23, 2010

iPhone 4 Quick Look

So I was generous enough to let wifey have my reduced-price upgrade to an iPhone 4 and now we have one in the fam. My first thoughts are that it is a pretty nice device. The squareish as opposed to a rounded one is better on the hands. I'm not sure why either. The display is a night/day difference between my work iPhone 3G. Very crisp and very clear. You can also tell that it has a faster processor because everything from typing to jumping around to different apps produces zero hiccups from what I've seen. The front LED for pictures is very bright too so that is definitely a plus. Taking pictures is noticeably faster on the 4 also.

I'm still very anti-apple, so I probably won't get one for myself, but it is a neat toy to look at.

Update: Last night we tested out the Facetime feature with a good friend of mine in NYC. Wow is all I can say...very impressive. If an Android phone doesn't come out with that same capability by the time I can use our 2nd number's upgrade, I may have to rethink things.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik (Book 2008)

Just cleared this 5th book. Pretty exciting even though the main protagonists were now seen as criminals. Yeah it doesn't have the same feel of rooting for the good guys even though that goody-goody dragon caused all sorts of problems during the end of the 4th book.

I think I cleared this in 2 days...a new best if I do say so myself. Now there is only the 6th book left but it is $9.99 and I am not going to pay that much so yeah I'll most likely have to wait a long while until the price on this one drops. Maybe I'll re-read some books in the mean time...I'm certainly not known to do that though.
Rating - High

Monday, July 19, 2010

Repo Men (Action 2010)

This movie was blah. I liked the whole futuristic part of it, kinda like I, Robot, but the rest of it wasn't too interesting. Not even Jude Law could save this flick.
The thing that got me was that this company sold organs to people and the people could not pay thus these Repo Men came to get the organs back which thus killed the person in the process. How could the company make money in this sort of gig? It is like having a bank dole out mortgages that are purposely too expensive so that they can take the house back when the buyers foreclose on it. The banks are losing in this process as seen in the real world of the US economy. It is in the best money-making interest of the banks to continue making money off of the interest of the loan.
So yeah while watching this movie I kept on thinking to myself how weird it was for a company to be doing this...there didn't seem to be any profit in it whatsoever.
Rating - C

Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik (Book 2007)

Just cleared the 4th book here. Soon I'll run out of 'em I'm sure. The story for this one was better during the beginning, but towards the end the book it seemed to purposely "start drama" mainly because the main dragon character, Temeraire, turned out to be too much of a goody-goody. He was a better character by just being a normal guy...not some humanitarian.

Anyway the story for this one did not seem as good as the others....but the writing was still good.
Rating - Mid

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Black Powder War by Naomi Novik (Book 2006)

I've definitely been busting through these books at a fairly speedy rate, for this 3rd one in the series is now cleared. It was more exciting than the 2nd book and was more in-line with the dialogue and speed of the 1st.

The story took the crew overland from China, through the Middle-East, and over to the Eastern front of the European War. There was a good amount of skirmishes, a few old characters were reintroduced, and of course the story was fantastic. The end of this book wasn't a cliffhanger by any means, but there were still many unanswered questions in the plot that would convince any reader to continue onto the next book.
Rating - High