Yearly Archives: 2012

Resident Evil Retribution (2012)

Do you like video games? Do you like first person shooters? Do you like to watch someone else play a first person shooter video game, and never be allowed to play yourself? If the answer to all of those is yes, you will love to sit through this movie…maybe. Cause the entire movie to designed around this feeling, that you are forced to watch someone else play a first person shooter video game, right down to the scene changes, level changes, and narration.

This is the third, fourth, maybe fifteenth (who cares) episode in the Resident Evil series. There have been better, but likely won’t be many worse. But good and bad in the Resident Evil franchise is perhaps relative.

If you love action movies, you have to just love Milla Jovovich. She’s drop dead pretty, a good actress, excellent in fight scenes and unlike most action stars, she can play the whole range of emotions. She’s always a treat to watch. I wish I could say the same for Resident Evil Retribution. But it simply is not a lot of fun to watch.



Dredd (2012)

Dredd is a remake of the Sylvester Stallone movie in 1995, which was based on a British Sci-Fi comic book where future police become the judge and jury.

Part of this story’s shtick is that Judge Dredd never takes off his helmet. So we never see the hero’s face, not once. I’m not even sure we should call Dredd the hero, as he’s kind of an ass. Perhaps he’s better classified as the lead. It’s hard enough in many cookie cutter films these days to care about the leads, but to cover his face for the entire movie makes this stinker even more boring than it would be otherwise. And what’s worse is the guy in the helmet is hot, it’s Karl Urban, but you’ll never know he’s hot, cause he’s wearing an abundance of fake armour and the comic book goofy helmet the whole time. But they leave the helmet off the female co-lead with some bad excuse she lost it. And on top of that, she is one absolutely horrible actress. She needs a permanent helmet on her acting career, so we can’t see it.

If you don’t fall a sleep from the boring predictable action or the drone of Dredd’s “Batman voice”, or annoyed by the endless slow motion scenes intended to show off the 3D effects, you’ll be glad when this movie is finally over.



Savages (2012)

Two good looking young guys that openly share the same girlfriend, happen to be major players in the quality marijuana business in California. Their focus being on sales and not on self preservation, they become prime targets for a Mexican drug cartel that is looking to expand into the U.S.

The movie is somewhat disturbing. Disturbing in that there is graphic violence, and most of the characters tend to have a complete disregard for human life. That combined with being a well told storey that draws us in and feels personable, makes it uncomfortable and disturbing at times.

Narration at the end of the film, making a lame attempt at explaining the movie’s title, was the only thing about the movie I didn’t like. If you can’t see the correlation between torture and mass murder, and the word savages, you are simply too dumb to appreciate this movie. I don’t think we needed to have it explained to us, doing so is annoying and insulting.

Well told, well acted, unique, and with some unexpected twists, it will keep you focused on the screen.



CyanogenMod 10 on Optimus 2X Update

Several weeks ago I posted my bad experience attempting to update my LG Optimus 2X (P990) Android cell phone from CyanogenMod 7.2.x to 10.x. It ran incredibly poorly, and was a bad experience, so I went back to CM7.2.x.

I have now managed to get it running much better. The trick being two fold, I waited for a newer and better build with less bugs, and doing a factory wipe as well as a dalvik cache wipe. I may not have done the factory wipe before the original attempt, something important to do when moving to a completely new ROM version.

This time round it was a better user experience. It ran smoothly and didn’t crash, plus made and answered calls. But at this point, on this phone model, there are still several things left to be desired. Mostly battery life. Version 10 burns through battery usage fast enough to see it happen while using the phone for even a few minutes. The battery dies at least twice as fast as with CM7, with the same apps, the same settings and same sensors turned on. And on top of that, CM10 will charge so slow that it will take a full day to charge completely, unless you reboot the phone with the power plugged in. The last noticeable and painful thing is that the in-call phone screen will not rotate. Now I believe this in-call screen rotate to landscape issue is an Android problem, and may not be a CyanogenMod problem. I know for a fact it was on Android 2.x. I know many factory Android phones have this same dumb issue. Google seems to leave it to the manufacturer to “fix” this. CM7 was modified to rotate this screen in later builds. Google tends to suck on consistent finishing touches.

CM10 is prettier, shinier and flashier, and it looks like the OS in my Asus Transformer Prime. Fonts look nicer in the OS, and you feel like you have a new phone again. So if that does it for you no matter what, then a current build of CM10 on the Optimus 2X will do it for you. But apps will look the same when they are running (no matter what version of Android you are using) you will run out of battery power long before the day is done, and remember to reboot your phone after you plug it in to charge it up twice a day. Oh ya, and if you use a landscape car-kit mount in your car, turn your head when you want to see your in-call screen and press the buttons.

Needless to say after 1 day of use, I restored from backup and went back to the last build of CM7 available.


Pitch Perfect (2012)

Pitch Perfect is a satire on the TV show Glee, with enough differences to not be accused of being a complete rip-off.

This movie is a lot of fun. Watching Fat Amy and her friends compete for Sectionals, and the hijinks along the way. If it wasn’t for the immature over-played vomit comedy a couple of times (yes I said vomit comedy) this movie could be rated a 10. The cartoon like vomit scenes bring the quality of the movie down to the level of a Jackass movie. Fortunately the rest of the movie stays at a certain comic relief level above fart jokes and puking. Other than that, Glee fans will find this funny, witty and fun.


“…it’s just god punishing you cause you’re a ginger.”

The Bourne Legacy (2012)

A spy action thriller movie from the Jason Bourne series, but without Jason Bourne. We have a new character, another super spy from a secret study that they decided to make disappear. New guy, similar concept, I can’t even remember the character’s name the next day.

Legacy has a distinct low-budget B-movie feel to it. It’s often slow and tedious. And unfortunately our lead (Jeremy Renner) simply doesn’t have the star quality needed to pull this one off. You want to like this guy, but there is something missing from him being a big time action star. Voice isn’t deep enough, seems like a nice guy that is just overly angry at times. He has two looks in this film, stone faced or angry faced. He makes a great supporting actor, but doesn’t do it for me as the lead. Seeing him on Saturday Night Live a few weeks ago made me want to like this movie more, but it didn’t help.

The chronically helpless and totally dependant female lead becomes annoying as well. In this day and age, we don’t typically see the female lead as the endlessly traumatized victim that is constantly saved, she generally fights back some. But not here, she is completely helpless, and you just want to reach out and shake her. Grab a pair honey, and shoot the guy, it’s an action movie, you aren’t a rape victim in an 80’s TV movie.

The Bourne Legacy is okay, but there are better action movies out there to watch, even ones with seemingly lower budgets than this.



Total Recall (2012)

I totally recall the original movie starring big Arnold Schwarzenegger. And I totally forgot that Sharon Stone was in it, till I looked on IMDB to get the spelling of Schwarzenegger’s name. I have fond memories of the original Total Recall from 1990. It was an excellent movie at the time, great action, state of the art effects, a lot of fun to watch. Now it appears dated. And the modern theme in Sci-Fi is to make things look more realistic and dark like Blade Runner, and less clean and stylish like in 2001 A Space Odyssey.

This 2012 version takes the general plot of the original movie, and puts it into the world and scenery we are familiar with in Blade Runner. Add the flying car action scenes we found exciting in The Fifth Element. And finish with the robot design from, I Robot. So if you steal from those 4 outstanding movies, you end up with this. Nothing original here at all, just a great Sci-Fi action movie that is really well done. Well it’s not 100%, the last few minutes are a bit confusing and in return disappointing. Otherwise we’d have a 10.



Cell Phone Fines While Driving Hypocrisy

Most of us in North America are familiar with the endless hype over the danger of cell phone use in a moving vehicle, and the fines involved. Most intelligent and informed people realize that for many years now, most countries have had laws that allow police to pull you over and fine you for distracted driving. Distracted driving for any reason. Yet we have these new laws that focus on cell phone use. There is no reason for a specific law, other than perhaps to make it easier to enforce fines for a city (or municipal) cash cow.

But what about all the other distracting things people do in a car? Eating, drinking coffee, using the sound system, helping the children, getting something out of the back seat or glove box, talking to passengers, putting make-up on, brushing teeth, etc. Who hasn’t watched all these things in another car, and more. Yet no one gets pulled over for any of these.

This past Saturday morning, we are driving down Portage Avenue in Winnipeg, heading out for breakfast. And in front of us we see a Winnipeg Police car, driven by a single female police officer, and she is swerving back and forth in the lane. We pull up along side and look down into the car from the higher truck we are in. And she is busy typing on the car’s laptop while she is driving, and being the only officer in the car, I suppose she felt the need to do so while driving. Completely focused on the laptop and typing, she is looking down and to the side for long periods at a time, while driving in normal traffic.

So I will ask the obvious question, is typing and reading a laptop in a car safer than holding a cell phone in one hand? Or is typing on a laptop with one or two hands plus reading the detail on the screen safer? Not to mention the ridiculous hypocrisy of a person who’s sole job is to protect citizens, doing something far more distracting than holding a cell phone, something she likely gives fines for countless times a day.

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Tricky GoDaddy Sales Tactics or Smart Business?

I had an interesting and informative experience with GoDaddy today.

GoDaddy typically will offer you the a first year free privacy service with Domains By Proxy, on new domain name registrations. Then on the second year, when you go to renew your domain name with GoDaddy, you are locked in to purchase the privacy feature at about $10, with no way to disable this privacy purchase, and no explanation.

After research I learned that you have to log into their DomainsByProxy company and cancel this feature with them. Accept that you have to log in with a different user name account than what you used with GoDaddy, BUT with the same password you use with GoDaddy. So if you didn’t save the emails you received from DomainsByProxy when they first created an account for you, and still know your user name, you will have some trouble to get that user name to log in and cancel.

Once you cancel the “Private Domain Registration” with DomainsByProxy, it does not update and cancel on GoDaddy right away, it takes time, or so I thought. I had to call GoDaddy to see why it wasn’t cancelled. I explained to the GoDaddy sales rep that I had already cancelled the privacy feature on their company known as DomainsByProxy, explained the situation, asked she why it wasn’t removed. She seemed surprised I had made it that far in the privacy cancellation, in fact she specifically asked if I had actually logged into DomainsByProxy and done so. It didn’t take her long to tell me what was wrong, in fact it was incredibly fast, yet she claimed to want to make a mental note so she could help any other customer that might have the same problem, like I was the first to experience this.

It turns out that it remains locked on those accounts if you were in the process of placing an order with those domains in the Cart. So you or GoDaddy have to empty the cart (logging out will not help) and then they supposedly won’t force the purchase of the privacy feature. But then the GoDaddy person on the phone politely insisted on helping out and doing up the order for me for convenience, claiming she added the best discount available, which ended up being $2. My purchase was well over $100. So I pointed out the best discount might be the email they last sent out for 25% off, which ended up being more than $2, and she acted all surprised and happy for me, like she had never seen such a large discount for GoDaddy before.

So is this poorly thought out by GoDaddy, or incredibly clever? How many people would give up and simply pay the $10 per domain and be done with the hassle? I think most people would not go to the trouble I did.

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ownCloud 4.5 is Disappointing

Quite a while back I wrote a rant about how I don’t want to trust “cloud” services for my personal information, such as Google when it comes to the contacts info on my Android phone. I prefer to sync my contacts locally so as to keep them off Gmail Contacts. But that’s a whole other story.

Recently I came across an article on something called ownCloud, that was already on version 4.5, and was getting some notable tech press a week or 2 ago. I was pleasantly surprised to see an open source cloud product at such a high release number. I thought this might be what I’ve been waiting for! My main interest was contact management, but they bragged about calendar, files, and music syncing as well.

I’ve now spent a fair bit of time installing, testing, and trying to use ownCloud on a CentOS Linux server. Many hours in fact. And I’m quite disappointed. It does work reasonably well for doing basic file transfers back and forth from my Android phone while using their app connecting to my ownCloud server. And they have included some web based music and video players.

But when it comes to contact management, usability is terrible, and in my opinion is barely more than some random beta product. On the web side of contact management the data is displayed randomly on the screen, never in the same spot from one contact to the next, as it illogically places the fields based on the size of the data to display, large notes fields run off the screen with no way to scroll down to view them, if contact images are included you can’t delete them the contact, if note fields end in a line break you can’t delete them, no way to delete multiple contacts, and deleting all contacts means you delete the entire address book which is very time intensive. When I installed ownCloud there was supposed to be options to use a MySQL database, which I was never offered, and trying to do so manually didn’t work, so I had to settle for the default SQLite option.

I had to purchase an Android sync client called CardDAV-Sync, which works quite well. But to sync Outlook to OwnCloud was another story, I could only find one product that claims to do this, and it’s called WebDAV Collaborator, and it worked poorly for me. Luckily I didn’t buy it, and only used the evaluation version. But I found it buggy and not dependable. But at this point, and to be fair, it could be related to my many complaints about ownCloud contact management. For all I know WebDAV Collaborator could be a decent product and the sync problems mostly or all due to ownCloud.

My list of issues with the contact management in ownCloud can go on and on. For a version number of 4.5 I would expect a far better user experience. It appears to me that they have spent most of the code work on making the “Drop Box” like features and music and picture handling the priory. The glitzy trendy things that the average user will want to look at first.

If your cloud needs and interests revolve around replacing Drop Box or some product like that, this is something to possibly consider, though they haven’t worked out encryption if you want to share files with other users yet. But I will have to continue my search for a personal cloud based contact management system, cause this absolutely is not it!


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