Terminator: Salvation

May 24, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Media, Review, Tid Bits 

One Thumbs Up

TheJoe and I caught this on Friday. Amidst a very geeky summer of movies, another popular franchise is given another chance to captivate a new audience. Which it completely fails to do.

It’s a real shame because all the elements are there. McG does a very good job of directing and utilizing today’s technology to bring to life a man vs. machine war that could only be glimpsed in the previous movies. The action sequences are very well-done with some very excellent long one-shot sequences that give a very cool cinema verité quality to them.

The actors are all soild. Christian Bale takes on another iconic geek role as John Conner and plays him very well. Anton Yelchin (Chekov in the just released Star Trek) also admirably takes on a second sci-fi icon as Kyle Reese. I actually didn’t quite recognize him at first; a testament to his acting as well as to his skill at accents. Helena Bohnam Carter (Marla Singer in Fight Club, Beatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter series) give a good turn as Dr. Serena Kogan; a doctor whose fight to save her own life as well as humanity’s resonates into future more than she could imagine.

The story, which I find to be one of the weakest elements in a movie this deep in the sequels, is actually well done and quite cohesive, if a bit predictable (I think it’s thanks to the trailers and billboards that I could see twists through my plot telescope early on).

So all the elements are there, but it’s just not compelling. All these good elements didn’t add up to a good movie experience for me. I could follow the story, I could dig the action, but it just felt like business as usual. It didn’t really add anything new to the franchise. Man fights machine, machines develop new ways to fight man, John Conner is a prime target for Skynet… These plot points have all been covered before. It might even be less compelling since the novelty of time travel to the past to kill John has been taken away.

I can’t really recommend seeing this in the theater. It’s maybe worth a rental or download when it comes out that way. In the battle of the technique versus the soul of movie storytelling, in this case the machine have unfortunately won.

Does It Play On a Mac? – S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

Time for something more recent. I look at what it takes to get the Mac to run S.T.A.L.K.E.R., an open-world, first-person shooter from 2007.

Does It Play On a Mac? – Jedi Knight

This video finds out if the Mac can handle the first-person lightsaber action of Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight.

Does It Play On a Mac? – The Neverhood

In contrast to all the dark, bloody games I’ve covered previously, this installment attempts a bright, quirky, all-clay animated point-and-click adventure game from 1996. Can the Mac handle the over three tons of clay it took to create The Neverhood?

MSI Wind gets returned and my issues with “netbooks”

January 27, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Projects, Tid Bits 

I picked up an MSI Wind yesterday. These are one of those sub $500 “netbooks”. It’s going back this morning. I just don’t think these devices are ready for my regular use. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a great little device. I can see where for some people that it will be useful.

Let me start by talking about what I want a “netbook” or a smaller form factor portable computer. My main computer is a Macbook Pro 17″ and while for the size of it, it’s fairly light and quick to turn on and set up, at times, I don’t like pulling out such a beast for quick and dirty things I want to do. I am looking for a device that I can take with me almost anywhere, be fairly non-obtrusive, and be my quick window to the net. The MSI Wind was to be this device for me, NOT!

Again, spec wise it’s fair, I would go so far to say even better than fair. However, for me, it’s missing two key elements, touch screen capabilities and at least 1280×720 (or 800) resolution. For the technology we have today, these two elements MUST be in a small form factor PC or “netbook” for me.

The MSI Wind has a decent screen with 1024×600 resolution. I thought I could deal with this. With so many laptops with 1280×800+ screen resolutions, I do not believe GUI designers have set things up to accommodate the 600 pixel high space. It gets really frustrating when you can’t hit a dialog in something you are trying to do quickly. (remember, one of the purposes of having the machine)

The second thing is touch screen. It lacks one. It should have one. All “netbooks” should have some sort of touch capability on the screen. Again, for speed and ease of use. If there are kits showing up on e-bay for touch screen kits for these devices from $50 to $150, it should not be difficult to include one in the manufacturing process.

Sure, I know I can tweak the device to work with the resolution and add a touch screen. My point is, we have the technology and the ability to make devices at low cost that we don’t have to settle for. With my myriad of life projects going on and other hobbies, I don’t have time to mess with a machine to get these things in it. I want to buy an off the shelf product and just go. (well, maybe some minor mods, like putting OSX on it LOL)

The deal breaker on the Wind and most “netbooks” for me at the moment is the screen resolution. If this thing just had 1280×720/800 minimum, I’d be all over it.

Where oh where can I get one of these: Gigabyte M912V