Thursday, June 30, 2011

Droid X2 Review

So I've had my X2 for about 2 months, so I thought I would review it.

The 2 in X2 of course stands for the second processor core that's been added inside here, the Tegra 2 running at 1GHz. As a pair those cores deliver good performance, starting with a quick boot time (it takes about 20 seconds on mine)  and extending all the way through every task you can throw at it in today's Android market. It's definitely a powerhouse, though at first I was hitting a lot of hiccups, in terms of freezing and random restarts.  To solve this i installed what i think to be an essential app, App Killer Pro.  after running this, performance was a lot smoother, with fewer bumps.

the features were all pretty great.  I was very pleased with the GPS.  I was successfully able to navigate myself through Boston using it.  it updates right on time, and locked on to my position within seconds of turning it on.  the wireless is nice, but I would have the occasional problems with it randomly resetting. 
The camera is great, I have yet to have any issues with it, and the features it comes with make it all the better.  making panorama shots are easy and rewarding.  

battery power is good, not great.  before this I had an old Motorola flip phone, so I was spoiled into having a battery life in terms of days, rather than hours.  If you are just using it solely as a phone, maybe checking emails or Facebook every once in a while.,  it will last the entire day .  anything more then that, such as listening to music, playing games, or using the GPS, will probably have you charging it midday.

Its a hefty phone weighing around 150g , but its worth the weight knowing the hardware, and the big 4.3inch LCD touch screen.  its big and sleek and worth the $200 price tag.  However, the lack of LTE connectivity just might be a turnoff. Sure, Verizon hasn't exactly managed to get us locked in coast-to-coast with its flavor of 4G, but enough places are already online to make LTE compatibility a desirable feature. That the X2 doesn't have it has to be seen as a shortcoming.

Still, with the X2 you're getting a slim phone with good battery life and extremely good build quality. For now, it's the best Android handset on Verizon for those who aren't quite ready to commit to the fourth G.

I've just recently started developing for android phones using the Android SDK on Eclipse.  Its fun and easy, and sometime i might put some of my code up.  


Monday, June 20, 2011

Still Alive: Ukulele Edition

Hey guys, come check out my friend Danny's rendition of  Still Alive on the Ukulele.
Yeah sure, hes a little late to the Portal party, but hey, I think it's worth your guys time to watch
And hey if you like it, leave a comment on youtube saying so!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Robin Hood is the most Immoral

I've been reading Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, and I've noticed that every chapter seems to contain one extended speech.  Not that its a bad thing, because the topics these speeches cover are fantastic, and Rand writes them beautifully.  
I've decided to go somewhere different today in my blog and post one of my favorites from the book., a speech by the Pirate Ragnar Danneskjold to Protagonist Hank Reardon:

"[Robin Hood] is not remembered as a champion of property, but as a champion of need, not as a defender of the robbed, but as a provider of the poor. He is held to be the first man who assumed a halo of virtue by practicing charity with wealth which he did not own, by giving away goods which he had not produced, by making others pay for the luxury of his pity. He is the man who became a symbol of the idea that need, not achievement, is the source of rights, that we don’t have to produce, only to want, that the earned does not belong to us, but the unearned does. He became a justification for every mediocrity who, unable to make his own living, had demanded the power to dispose of the property of his betters, by proclaiming his willingness to devote his life to his inferiors at the price of robbing his superiors. It is this foulest of creatures – the double-parasite who lives on the sores of the poor and the blood of the rich – whom men have come to regard as the moral idea." ". . . Do you wonder why the world is collapsing around us? That is what I am fighting, Mr. Rearden. Until men learn that of all human symbols, Robin Hood is the most immoral and the most contemptible, there will be no justice on earth and no way for mankind to survive."

This is just a glimpse of the speech, go check out the book if you want more.
What are you're guys thoughts on this speech, or Rand in general?  I know she might not be the most liked person today, but I don't think anyone can discredit how radically different her ideals were

I think Rand is gravely misunderstood in her views on Altruism.  Atlas Shrugged takes things to the extreme to try to get her points across.  Its like how fables have messages that are told through the grandest of ways.  Rand didn't have much of a problem with charity, her real problem is when the gov't or any organization forces charity.  For instance, she felt that something like foreign aid was a problem because it forced people out of there money to help those without it.  This is why she had such a problem with communism, as wealth is generated by need rather then skill. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Check this out: Kind of Bloop

After putting my iPod on shuffle recently, I came across something I hadn't thought of for awhile,  and I think its cool enough to share with you guys.  Today in my spotlight: Kind of Bloop.

Released about 2 years ago by Andy Baio, Kind of Bloop takes Miles Davis' Kind of Blue,  What many might consider to be the greatest Jazz album of all time, and throws it into the 8bit world.  Baio has gotten together some of the best Chiptune artists,  and they have masterfully redone Davis' album.  While most of the songs stay true, and almost exact replicas of their counterparts, some of the songs such as my favorite, Flamenco Sketches, take liberties, all for the better.  Gamers and Jazz fans alike will get a kick out of it (though I have talked to some Jazz 'snobs' who call it heresy), and for only five dollars on amazon, theres no reason not to pick this up.  As a huge jazz fan I can't get enough of it, and though I don't listen to much Chiptune, I find the simplistic sounds addicting.  Heres a clip someone put up on YouTube of All Blues.  Check it out!

Monday, June 13, 2011

X-men First Class Review

Lets get something out of the way: I've been a long time DC fan.  If I had to choose between  Batman or Iron-Man I would choose the Caped Crusader anyday.  That being said, Marvel has been on a hot streak lately, not only with me but with the whole film community.  So does First Class keep up Marvel's growing list of A-list movies?

Short answer: yes. Hell yes. Oh god yes.  Not only is First-Class the best of the X-Men movies, but it ranks up there with The Dark Knight, Kick-Ass, and Watchmen as one of the best superhero movies ever made.  The action is great, the acting is superb, and the story is a great time-piece and will send you through an emotional ride.

OK so now for the long answer.  The X-men movie series has had a roller-coaster ride.  X1 was a solid movie.   Starring an a-list cast playing some of the most classic superheroes.  X2 stepped up even further.  focusing on one of the greatest anti-heroes of all time: Wolverine.  That's when things went downhill.  I remember enjoying The Last stand when I first saw it, but looking back it was baaaaad.  the plot was incoherent, and everything seemed half done.  Origins was even worse.  I could see the thought behind making it.  Who wouldn't want to see a movie about Wolverine?  Well, turning out the way it did, I wouldn't.  It was a 3rd rate action movie, that had some potential (Dead Pool and Gambit?) but didn't pull through and ended a garbled mess of a film.

So I had my worries about First Class,  and who could  blame me?  But Director Matthew Vaughn has pulled   a comic book adaption once again in a big way.  Michael Fassbender as Eric Lehnsherr, (Magneto), a holocaust survivor looking for the man who killed his mother, and James McAvoy as Professor Charles Xavier, a fresh out of Oxford, man looking to unite mutants and humans, steal the show.  Fassbender is pure screen candy in almost every scene.  You feel his pain and constantly root for him.  He's a Strong lead and I look forward to seeing more from him.   Kevin Bacon as main protagonist Sebastian Shaw is..well...Kevin Bacon... but don't worry that's a good thing.  The Secondary characters all shine too.   Raven/Mystique's (Jennifer laurance) relationship with Hank McCoy/Beast (Nicholas Hoult) is built nicely, but even better is its decomposition as Raven starts falling for Eric, and his philosophy.  The only week spot is January Jones as Emma Frost who falls a little flat.  But you won't mind, she wasn't cast for her acting skills.   

One of the highlights of the movie, is the two leads doomed relationship.  There's a bittersweet feeling to their relationship, as we know that it will only end in them becoming arch rivals.  while on oneside we want Eric to get his revenge against Shaw,  we want Xavier to keep him from turning.  But this film isn't all drama,  there's alot of good action scenes in it.  The last set piece, set on the coast of Cuba is Intense and gratifying..  We've seen everyone's powers up to this point, but now we actually see them put to use, and its done amazingly.  

The cornier moments in the film come in when it starts returning to its comic book roots.  the very last scene in the film, without giving any spoilers, will most likely have everyone but X-Men fans cringing. 

Oh yeah, this film probably has the best cameo  I've ever seen.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

3DS vs Vita

so with the closing of E3, Sony has left us with the pretty much final version of there new handheld, and I am left completely enthralled by it.  By no means am I a Sony fanboy, but slowly and surely they have been turning me into one.  Great products and great marketing (I find the Kevin Butler ad's awesome) combine to form a great company. 

At first I had my reservations.  The back facing touch screen seemed silly and awfully gimmicky.  But upon thinking about this there are so many applications.  While its probably not going to be used for anything involving precision the ability to have quick flicks presents many possibilites, whether it be for firing a gun or for some kind of quick time event.  that in combination with the front facing touch screen will allow for alot of playability.  I'm also glad with the decision to include two analog sticks, which will hopefully be better then the nub from the psp.  this will allow for a better playing experiance I would imageine for first person shooters, and third person adventure games, to allow for camera movement.  and thats just the tip of the iceburg on the Vita's features;  theres also the Camera, the OLED screen,  the Microphone, the SIXAXIS sensor, backwards compatipility, etc, etc.  there is so much packed into this little thing.  One thing I wasn't to crazy about was the LiveArea interface, but that's a small small complaint  And can i mention how GOOD it looks.  Demo's for LittleBigPlanet, Uncharted, and MSG all looks incredible, far surpassing the PS2, and closely coming to the PS3.  Oh the best part?  its only for $250...

But if for some odd reason you don't want to put your 250 down on this, you can always pay 250 for the 3DS.  OK, I'm not completely aghast by the 3DS but i am pretty disappointed by it.  Just getting this out of the way:  I HATE the 3d fad. I hate how its taking over movies, TV, and now games.  When i first played the 3DS though, I was kind of impressed.  not having the glasses was a huge plus, and i thought Pilot Wings looked pretty cool.  but soon the flaws began to present themselves. Sure the 3D is nice but It only works when you're holding the 3DS at a certain angle.  which not only makes you feel goofy looking at certain times, but it completely frustrating considering that this is supposed to be a MOBILE device.  the point of the ARG games is that you are constantly moving around.  Sure you can turn the 3D off, but that defeats the point!  In terms of graphics, they are nice but nowhere near the Vita's. Game's wise I think we can expect the usual Nintendo copy pastes, which will sell millions of copies, while any new original games will hardly sell at all. 

I'm not going to say the 3DS is terrible but it has alot of catching up to do.  I feel that the Vita beats it in both hardware and software.  What are your guy's thoughts?  I would love to hear a defense of the 3DS

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Sooo Nintendo has announced their new system the WiiU, and I have to say I'm kind of dissipointed.  Nintendo is promising to start making hardcore games again, but it seems like this is still going to be marketed towards casual gamers.  Yes, there have been some harder games that have been announced for it ie: Arkham City, but then again did you guys know that Modern warfare came out for the Wii?  and guess what: it sucks.

One of the more shown features of it is the ability to actually play the games on the controller screen itself (for those that don't know the controller is a mix of an iPad and gamecube controller).  while making games that combine both screens leaves alot of possibilites (a new fatal frame or Pokemon Snap?), it just seems unnecessary.  isn't this what a gameboy is for?

And don't even get me started on the 3DS,  I'll probably post on that later