Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Book of the Dead: Matt Kearns 2 by Greig Beck (Book 2014)

In this latest installment from Greig Beck, we follow around Professor Matt Kearns as he takes the lead in uncovering the source of numerous sinkholes that have opened up around the world.

The beginning of this book was pretty good in setting up the mystery and history behind the central plot. As the story moves along, we bump into a familiar face from a previous adventure Matt had with Alex Hunter. This addition adds enough spice to push the story along even further. The middle and end of the book is where things will attract some criticism. It ceased being a mildly plausible story to pure fiction. All of Greig's other books required some bending with regards to scientific rules and one's imagination, but they almost always remained in the world of possibility. It's a bit disappointing that this pattern didn't continue with this latest novel.

Overall the book was an engrossing read and a fun adventure. It was very well written kept me fully engaged, but I'll admit that I liked a few of his other books much better than this one.
Rating - Mid

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Purge of Babylon: A Novel of Survival (Purge of Babylon, Book 1) by Sam Sisavath (Book 2014)

It seems like recently as of late, any time I try to delve into a new book series, I always get some crap book that has just wasted my free month of Prime renting. This book was yet another one of those.

I thought it would be a regular zombie story, but it ended up being a zombie/vampire mix where the speed of the infection spread was similar to that of a zombie novel, but there was a command and control structure, much like how a vampire/thrall relationship would be. Do you know how lame it is to read such a story? Trust's quite lame. I'm all for authors trying to break away from the norm but if you do something like this you have to have a backstory of the vamp side...because if you don't it just gets way too boring to have a one-sided view of things.

On top of this, the main 2 SWAT/ex-soldier peeps are like indestructible Rambo types so it makes things more unrealistic. Yeah obviously I didn't like this book at all. The characters were blah, the story was blah, some of the adventures were OK, but yeah no thank you for the long haul.
Rating - Low

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Big Hero 6 (Disney Animated 2014)

Pretty good Disney flick. Solid story, funny characters, and everybody loves the robot.

Yeah one comic relief character was this stoner dude whom I thought would just be annoying, but oh man did he have some star moments that were outta control. The emotional scenes were well done, much like they were in Wreck-It Ralph. I like how Disney has seemingly revamped itself over the last few years. Anything is better than the late 90s crap like Hercules and Pocahontas. Hope there are many more of these better flicks to come.
Rating - A

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Life with a Mac

So ever since I sold my primary gaming laptop a few months back, I've been using my work Mac as my primary. Yeah you never really make the switch over until you don't have an alternative at home. I used this as my primary box at home and test box at work for around 3 months now; here are my parting thoughts:
  • The first obvious comment is that many parts of a Mac are very well designed. I liked the magnetic power cord, IPS screen, and battery life. I did find it interesting how after the battery got to around 40%, it quickly plummeted. I suppose some could compare it to a car's gas tank, but there's something very screwy going on with the graph...a strong exponential drop. 
  • The main plus was the kickass trackpad and how much smoother it was to just use a few fingers to browse around the web. It was a much nicer experience than on the PC, but of course the PC is still faster. The keyboard was decent. No flex, but still nothing compared to a Thinkpad.
  • Software-wise, all Office products kinda sucked on the Mac. I never got used to it. Outlook seemed clumsy and slow, while Word was just riddled with compatibility formatting problems whenever the same document was emailed to a PC user.
  • Some of the shortcut stuff was different as well. Because this Air didn't have dedicated keys for Page Up, Page Down, Home, End, and Backspace, there were all of these funky shortcuts that needed to be used. It worked but it does take some getting used to.
  • I did like the fact that you could totally be watching a video in full screen, then shortcut your way to another full screen, as the first program would be pushed to the side. It was again, a nicer experience vs Alt+Tab, only a bit slower.
  • All updates were very seamless and occurred quite frequently which is a good thing.
  • Out of the box I didn't find a notepad program to simplify all text to ASCII. Bad move Apple.
  • So yeah I guess I'm still shocked to see so many people go to a Mac as a primary. Even though I do have to give it props for some of its design and UI bonuses, a PC is still faster and gets stuff done easier. I did try to get used to all of the intricacies and shortcuts to make myself faster, but there were so many small things that slowed me down. Like lacking a full maximize button for example...the fuck?
  • I don't know how long, if ever, I would need to tinker around with a Mac in order to get it to function as well as I could on a PC. Yes, Windows 8.1 sucks a turd and they should get rid of the whole touchscreen/tablet UI metro shit, but still...with the regular Windows underbelly being what it is, I can get real work done whereas on a Mac, everything was smoother but much much slower.
  • The Mac experience was kinda like this: If your actions = what the Apple wants you to do, it's the best experience ever. Like having one website up and browsing around Craigslist. But if you are trying to multitask with many different windows up, remoting into various servers, and DLing stuff through a VM, boy does it all get clunky super fast.
So yeah I ended up following my own advice and buying another old faithful Thinkpad. Fully loaded and no tax for $630. Not too shabby. I do respect the Mac since it's a pretty well-thought out machine, but it just feels super restrictive to a person who has been on the other side for so long.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Interstellar (Sci-Fi 2014)

So I saw this movie opening night via IMAX. Crazy stuff. The sound was a bit too loud but it literally shook the seats during times when shaking was happening on screen so perhaps that was planned? Either way a nice experience.

This movie was one of those epic thinking ones. It was very Christopher Nolan-esque in that it had a similar styling to Inception, but in space. Yeah it will go down in the record books as a film that can spur a bunch of conversation and debate since not 100% of things is explained fully to the audience. Some of the science stuff went way over my head, but the parts that made sense were pretty cool.

I don't think I could even explain what happened in the movie because there was so much to tell and a lot of information did or did not match up. I'm sure physics and science geeks are having a field day. So yeah the story was crazy, but in a good way, sound was spot on, and cinematography was also very well done. This is not your average sci-fi film. It was a very well thought out story that brings to light many parts of humanity and science all into a swirling mass.
Rating - A+