Friday, April 29, 2011

Movies & TV Extravaganza

I like movies. And I like tv. But most movies are weak, derivative or poorly-done and tv is about the same but on a weekly/daily basis. But some movies are good and some tv is also good. How can you know what's good though? I can help.

Hop was okay but kind of dumb so unless your tastes are similar to Kathy's, don't go. Source Code was good but maybe you saw it under several other names over the last few years. Derivative.

Battle: LA was also good but more of an empty-headed summer flick. When will aliens learn that direct invasion and warfare isn't as good as using a virus or sterilization agent in our water? Or maybe just find a planet without nukes to take over? (Same problem with V, The Event and others). Wouldn't terraforming be cheaper than intergalactic invasion?

Rango? Just plain fun and not at all like any of other talking lizard in the wild west movies I've seen lately. There were a lot we didn't get to see since they seem to like to release 5 good movies in one week, then wait 2 months before releasing another, thus making you pick 2 good movies followed by several weeks of junk.

TV? You didn't ask but I like Rules of Engagement, Big Bang Theory and Justified. I really like Justified, it's like very violent poetry with a southern accent. Nearly everything we watch is from the DVR or hard drive, mostly the hard drive in my case. Or Netflix where I'm watching Dresden Files yet again, wishing it was better (more like the books) and hadn't been on quick-to-cancel-SyFy. And Game of Thrones on HBO!!! Based very closely on the novels by George RR Martin it's the best tv fantasy series ever with amazing production values. There's been nudity in every ep so far so be warned but even worse the author is very tough on his favorite characters so don't get too attached to any of the Stark family if you do watch GoT.

Well, I'll try again to get Kathy to blog but so far she's refused.

Monday, March 14, 2011

March and Spring are here

It's been awhile but it's finally getting warmer, not global warming though. Just in this hemisphere.

I found a new iPad app that's great for videos called Azul. Just install it and then when you use iTunes select the app on your iPod and drag videos into the app. So far it's played every format and codec I've tried without re-encoding which makes things easier. The controls are adequate but not as extensive as video LAN for the pc. Definitely worth the app cost.

After some consideration I'm hanging onto the 1st gen iPad as the new model just doesn't offer anything I have to have.Yeah it would be nice to have a much thinner and slightly lighter toy but it still is heavy and big enough I'd use the stand anyway so it's a moot point to me. Dual cameras are nice if I skyped much but I don't so another feature I don't really need. It's faster but I doubt any developer is going to abandon the 15 million original iPads anytime soon. What does that leave? White instead of black? I already have a case much better than the new slipcase. If it had a micro-sd card or USB port I'd probably want this enough to trade up but it lacks both. I'll wait for the next gen.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Life with an iPad

It's big and heavy. It has a great screen that has been magnetized to attract fingerprints and smears. It's great for gaming and streaming movies/tv over the home network or watching Netflix. It's only so-so for reading ebooks even though the screen is great - it's just too heavy to hold for too long and despite the capacitive screen it often misses taps for page turns. Overall, it's 9/10 for videos, 5/10 for music (the built-in speaker is mono and not impressive) so I use my Nano instead, 8/10 for books but I have to use the stand that's built into my case.

Accessories I've bought include the great Scosche leather case with built-in stand and a mirror-finish screen protector. The case is 10/10 and I couldn't be happier with it. The mirror was a mistake as it makes it very hard to see the screen as it becomes so reflective. When the screen is off it's ideal for looking at yourself but in my case that is not a plus. When it's on fingerprints show up even more and it's hard to do anything with the iPad. I took it off the first day. I also picked up a spare charger since it needs more amps than the standard iPod charger delivers.

It only plays two video codecs and even they are pick so the settings must be perfect. But if you stream over wifi with the Air Video app that doesn't matter as it transcodes on the fly and you can stream nearly any format without a hiccup. This is a great app! It will be great for trips but I still use my Sony 600 to read books most of the time. The iPad is great for reading comics but I'm not a huge comic fan other than Pearls Before Swine and Calvin. XComics works fine for this. It's a tie between the Kindle app, Stanza or iBooks for reading books but iBooks is shiny and nice. It's easy to add any book with all three apps. The main drawback to iBooks is it's limited choices of fonts, sizes, colors and backgrounds. Kindle and Stanza are better but as Stanza has been bought out by Amazon it doesn't get bug fixes now and it's starting to show.

Kathy got my old MID (the Witstech A81) for trips but she hasn't used it yet. I did get Android 2.1 to work on it but couldn't find many apps that didn't require hardware buttons so it's gone back to Wince 6.0. My sister got the Archos 605 and she thinks it's the most amazing thing which was true when I originally got it but it's a bit too heavy, thick and limited today. Good for surfing or watching video, not much good for anything else. My only old unused gadgets now are my Tapwave Zodiacs and my GP2X game handheld and a few MP3 players that are really old.