Sunday, 23 August 2015

What Under the Dome Can Learn From Prison Break



Prison Break was originally conceived as a two- season TV series about a group of incarcerated guys that broke out of a high security prison. Unfortunately, the series eventually ran for 4 seasons with each of the last two seasons being really terrible. Why did it happen? One word: greed. The network (Fox) got greedy and chose to extend the show. without a concrete or properly fleshed-out plan for a good story.. Never mind that the series is making a comeback in what seems to be another poorly-conceived attempt at story telling.  What does all this have to do with Under the Dome? Quite a lot.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Terminator Genisys Review


I just watched Terminator Genisys last weekend. Yes I know it has been out for quite some time. I’ve been occupied. Even after reading James Cameron's endorsement, I went in with an open mind. And while I am mostly against reboots and unnecessary sequels, I have always had a soft spot for Terminator: Judgment Day (1991). To me, unnecessary reboots and sequels portray laziness, an unwillingness to try something new/different, averseness to change, and of course, greed. The latest examples are Fast and Furious 7 and Jurassic World. God rest Paul Walkers's soul but Furious 7 was SSDD. Jurassic World is good but it's not for we that were around when Jurassic Park and The Lost World were released. For us, it's the same movie all over again. It would be fun for those aged 15 and below. And I think Chris Pratt was cast just to capitalize on his new found stardom/fame. Not that Guardians of the Galaxy was a good movie but I digress. Terminator Genisys is an excellent movie and is proof that reboots can be done right. It is not a remix of the first two movies; it is an entirely different film.

Genisys is a reboot not just for the newer/younger generation but for fans of the first two movies. I am rather glad that the third and fourth movies were disregarded. Rise of the Machines was rubbish and Salvation wasn't memorable.

Truth be told, I was worried when the fifth movie was announced and that Arnold was reprising his role as a T800. My reaction was 'here we go again! Isn't he too old to convincingly portray a terminator?' Alas, his aged appearance was brilliantly addressed in the movie. More so, his performance here is superlative and enough to redeem his last outing in the third movie.
Though a reboot might contain familiar characters and elements, it should bring something new to the table and the T1000 did just that; not with the shape shifting and not with the GPS tracker bit, but with something else. – removing part of its body and then shape-shifting that part to have a pointed edge and then lobbing it as spear. Also, the T800 now runs. I don't recall Arnie running in Judgment Day. That said, the lines "Come with me if you want to live" and "I'll be back" shouldn't have been used. The movie would be just as fine without them.

Some have complained about the confusing nature of the different timelines but I think that's part of what makes Genisys great. Though not all genres can, a good movie should stimulate thought and conversation long after the movie has ended. And this movie does that. I'm still trying to figure out how Sarah Connor knew certain things since the timeline was different. It could turn out to be a flaw/goof. I'll have to watch it again to be sure. I'm also unclear as to what actually caused the different timeline. I don't think the film is confusing. It simply requires some thought and isn't for simpletons. If you want a confusing movie, watch Cloud Atlas.
The tone of the undeserved poor reviews have convinced me that those critics are nothing more than disciples of Simon Cowell’s brand of traumatising insults masked as critiques.
I watch Judgment Day every couple of years just to get my terminator fix. With Genisys, I have a new favourite. The only thing T2 has over Genisys is the score. Genisys has a good score but I don't think it's as good as that of T2. That said, Genisys has a good collection of actual songs.
My advice to the writers, the Director, the studio and everyone involved in making this film is this: Though Genisys doesn't have a stellar box office performance, that doesn't mean it isn't a great movie. A classic example is The Shawshank Redemption. If the planned sequels don't happen, so be it. It can serve as a good conclusion. This movie accomplished the seemingly impossible task of properly reopening an already concluded story. However, if you do make a sequel, please don't give away plot twists and reveals in the trailers.

The good guys at HonestTrailers would probably ask, why did Skynet bother sending a T800 and a T1000 back to 1984 when it could have easily sent an altered John Connor (T3000)? That would have ensured success. Now for the most important question of all: Who sent the T800 back to 1973 to protect young Sarah Connor?

Saturday, 4 July 2015

4GB of RAM Should Be the Minimum for Windows 10




Windows 10 Desktop


When Microsoft announced that any PC capable of booting Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 would be sufficient to boot Windows 10, many PC manufacturers and retailers were irked because it meant many users wouldn't be upgrading their hardware which in turn meant lower sales for them. Keeping the requirements for Windows 10 the same as those for Windows 7 and 8 makes a lot of sense because it means more people will upgrade to the new OS. - something Microsoft desperately needs and wants.  But Microsoft may have done itself (and Windows 10) a disservice by allowing 2GB of RAM as a sufficient minimum. That's because there's a difference between booting Windows and running Windows.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Preliminary Review of the 2016 BMW 7-Series




 
The New 2016 BMW 7-Series was unveiled recently. As I am yet to see the car in the flesh, I will be relying on the official videos. On the exterior, its strong and definitive beltline give it a defined stance which in turn makes the whole vehicle look athletic. This is a good thing because compared to its archrival, the Mercedes S Class which (in its current generation) is bland, the exterior of the new 7-Series has got character.
It has a few tricks too. It can park itself by driving into and reverse out of a garage or parking space. This is done with the aid of its key; a display key (a slightly larger key fob with a colour touchscreen display).

A Short Review of Person of Interest: Season 4


The fourth season of our favourite show wrapped up about a month ago. Ergo, this review is a bit belated. On the whole, Season 4 was a disappointment. It was supposed to be The Machine vs Samiritan. Instead, what we got was The Machine playing a defensive game mostly by hiding. Also, there were way too many filler episodes. It seems the writers and producers had a good idea but just didn’t know how to execute it properly. There were a lot of inconsistencies.  So I guess trimming the upcoming fifth season to just thirteen episodes is a welcome development. If it will be the final season is unknown at this point. Here’s a quick rundown of the major problems with Season 4.

(i)        Shaw’s character has been built-up and portrayed as a cold and precise killer. I would call her the grown up version of Hit Girl in KickAss. So I found it odd that she couldn’t successful shoot Martine at the beauty parlour (despite the superior firepower that she was packing).

(ii)       All of a sudden, Root is now an exponent of hand to hand combat. Where did that come from? Meanwhile, Martine who has sometimes been portrayed as a kind of black ops agent couldn’t do better than to engage in a girly fight with Root. The writers even went further to portray Root as an expert of sorts with the ease with which she snapped Martine’s neck. This is all very inconsistent.

(iii)      The Machine’s dialog at the end came across as very awkward and completely out of character. A Machine that had hitherto refused to (or accepted not to) talk with Harold is now calling him father. I’m not sure what to make of that but certainly, I was neither impressed nor amused.

(iv)      The episode with Carter was in my opinion, one of the worst. It served no real purpose. It neither added to nor moved the plot forward in any way. It seems the writers just wanted to cash in on Taraji P. Henson’s fame on Empire.

(v)       Also, I have to wonder why Samaritan didn’t fix the blindspots / deadzones in the city’s surveillance.

(vi)      Fusco has heard a Machine being mentioned twice now. It’s becoming unrealistic that he hasn’t asked what it is. – First in the Season finale of Season 3 during the blackout after he steps out of the anti-riot vehicle. The second time is in If Then Else episode of Season 4.

I shall miss Elias, excellently played by Enrico Collantoni. He was one of the very good characters, much akin to Gus Fring of Breaking Bad. Scarface Anthony also got some well-deserved character development. Even Reese commented that he never knew his name.

And let’s not forget where Season 4 ended: Finch, Root, and (a probably wounded) Reese were literally walking towards and shooting at Samirtan agents. A situation where the trio were both outnumbered and outgunned. I’m wondering how this will be resolved.
The season definitely had some great episodes though. I think many people would agree that the best was If The Else. If Shaw’s character had been killed off here, it would have been a glorious and befitting exit. Dominic got schooled by Elias. Despite his knowledge of strategy and big talk, he fell for a cheap ruse. I shall miss both characters though. I would have preferred their conflict to endure another season or two.  My favourite episodes:

(i)            Episode 1: Panopticon
(ii)          Episode 3: Wingman
(iii)         Episode 4: Brotherhood
(iv)         Episode 6: Pretenders
(v)          Episode 8: Point of Origin
(vi)         Episode 9: The Devil You Know
(vii)        Episode 11: If-Then-Else
(viii)      Episode 12: Control-Alt-Delete

And to Jonathan Nolan, CBS, Varese Sarabande and Ramin Djawadi: PLEEEEEAAAAAAAASSSEEEEEEEE, release the soundtrack (score) already. Both for Seasons 3 and 4. We need something to tide us over till the next season debuts. And whilst on the subject of musical scores, it would be better if the scores/soundtrack compilation for any TV series is released within a month after the end of each Season.

Peace.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

WhatsApp With Rich Text Support

This is a concept illustrating the integration of Rich Text Support into WhatsApp. Rich Text Formatting (RTF) in instant messaging (IM) existed in the early 2000s but the feature was eventually dropped. However, with the present popularity of emoji and stickers, I think RTF should enjoy a renaissance. To me, RTF is of greater utility than stickers because it allows for better expressivity.

I am currently working on a complete redesign of the entire WhatsApp user interface. Stay tuned.

1. Chat Window: The "A" to the left of the emoji icon is the RTF icon


Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Windows Phone 9 Concept



This is a concept user interface for Microsoft Windows Phone.  I have retained the “Phone” in the title because Microsoft’s plan to brand the software of their phones, tablets and PCs as Windows might end up causing the same confusion that they are trying to correct. 

This concept is an evolution of a previous concept started in 2010. Screenshots of Version 1 can be found on Twitter and on Nokia Ideas Project. Version 2 can be found here. This version, 4.6, represents what I believe to be the way forward for Microsoft’s One Windows strategy. From all indications, the One Windows plan is meant to harmonise the code base between the various types of Windows OS. However, I reckon that harmonisation of the code base represents only one side of the coin. The user interface (UI) must also be harmonized. While there is some similarity on the Metro Modern side of things, the traditional desktop side creates a chasm. This concept is an attempt to create a consistent and uniform user interface across all form factors whilst avoiding the dichotomy between Modern UI and the desktop.