Some new Kickstarter projects to check out

Battle Worlds: Kronos is a turn-based strategy game that is a little less frantic than your typical RTS, but it looks fun nonetheless.

Worlds of Magic, a Master of Magic (MOM) successor 4X fantasy game. Uses the D20 tactical combat system.

Shroud of the Avatar, Lord British’s new game is no longer available on Kickstarter, but you can still pledge money as a backer until sometime next week on its website shroudoftheavatar.com. Hurry while you still can.

 

 

Argo

I read a lot of complaining after watching this movie about the lack of historical accuracy. Be that as it may, besides some ridiculous Hollywood forced drama at the end of the movie, it was pretty good. There were some good characters (Alan Arkin and John Goodman gave good performances) and it played out as a good drama. Just don’t go into this movie expecting the facts to be accurate and you might enjoy this movie as a dramatic portrayal of an undercover escape from a hostile country. There is some real tension with the people who are trapped living day-to-day in danger of being caught. Also some crazy government schemes to get them out are debunked by Ben Affleck’s character. It comes across as one guy fighting hard to rescue 6 people from a dangerous situation against government bureaucracy and with time running out. Knowing the ending spoils it a bit, but watching events unfold was very interesting.

The Dark Knight Rises

I found time to watch this long movie last week. I think it was about 2 hours 45 minutes. I enjoyed it though. It never was boring or slow, even when there wasn’t any action. I remember reading people complaining about the lack of Batman, that he only appears twice in the whole movie. But this movie was more about Bruce Wayne and him giving up being Batman. I think that was established early on in the movie.

There were a lot of twists and turns in the movie, one at the end I should have seen a mile away, especially since I am familiar with R’as Al Ghul (whose name they continue to mispronounce) from the comics and Batman cartoon. I did enjoy the story coming around full circle from Batman Begins. There were many appearances by individuals from the different movies. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was good in the movie and the ending is a nice setup for a sequel. I also noticed many characters besides Bruce Wayne did not have as many scenes in the movie as you would expect. There was a lot going on, but it was a good movie.

I always check the credit to see if I missed anyone, and I did; I didn’t notice Matthew Modine as the officer who questions Gordon, then realizes he is right by the end. I guess these actors I grew up with are just getting older.

This movie wasn’t as good as Batman Begins or The Dark Knight (my favorite of the three, you just can’t beat the Joker). But it was still a good movie, if different because it has less action and more story. If you can live without fights and explosions every few minutes, you might like this movie. At least give it a shot.

Don’t forget about Twitter Posts

As I mentioned a few months ago, I try to tweet things like game sales and quick info I run across because it’s easier and faster than writing a blog post. I’m @bradsernst if you want to follow my tweets. I just tweeted earlier about Origin having an up to 70% off sale on many games until 3/26/13 at 10 AM PDT. Check it out.

Box.com

I recently discovered this cloud-based storage site. I had played around with Skydrive before this and thought about Google Drive, but I am pretty happy with Box. What I like about it is the diversity of client support (Windows, Mac, IOS, Android) and the apps available to use with it (I’ve only tried Box for Office which allows you to open from and save to Box from inside of Office apps, but it sure slows down the apps).

Of course Box includes a sync program (Box Sync) that creates a My Box Files folder that syncs files and folders inside of it across multiple computers and devices. I love being able to open and save files from my desktop, laptop, or phone as needed. Box Sync also allows you to open your Box website with a click and move your “My Box Files” location easily. This is a vast improvement over Skydrive which makes you unlink your computer then link it again to move the Skydrive folder. I don’t have any experience with other services to compare their implementation of this.

Box has a free 5 GB account for personal use and paid personal storage up to 50 GB. For more they offer business accounts with up to 1 TB of storage and from 3 – 500 users at $15 per month per user. Enterprise customers have unlimited users and storage (and probably pay a lot more for it).

Anyway, check out Box at Box.com as another cloud storage alternative and see what you think.

Donating Computers but Don’t Have the Original Discs

I have been donating some computers again trying to clean out some old systems that are no longer good enough for the office. Some of these were given to me because the hard drive failed and the owner just bought a new computer or I no longer have the discs that came with the computer. I don’t like to donate something that won’t work because anyone who buys it may not have the skill to get it up and running. So I turn to Linux, in particular Fedora Core.

I have been using Fedora since Red hat spun it off. It works well and is easy to install. I found the easiest method to use, especially on older computers, is the Network Install CD ISO. I was using a DVD burned from an ISO, but some older computers’ DVD drives wouldn’t recognize the disc. The Network Install is smaller so it fits on a CD which pretty much any computer can read. It downloads packages from the Internet during the install. I just do a basic desktop install and make the passwords “password”. I tape this information to the computer so when someone looks at it they know it has Linux and know the login information.

You can find different download formats at the Fedora website.

Total Recall (2012)

I just had a chance to watch this on DVD and I thought it was great. A lot of people dinged it because it wasn’t “funny” like the original or “as faithful” to the Philip K. Dick story (which I still have on my list so I can’t comment much there) as the 1990 movie. However, I thought the story was more believable (if you’ve seen the original, just think about how ridiculous the ending was), and the acting was much better (sure, cheesy Arnold lines were okay 20 years ago, but give me a serious sci-fi story any day). Of course, the FX were much better with today’s technology, and I thought Jessica Biel was much better than the original Melina actress. Referring to her and Kate Beckinsale as “eye candy” in many Netflix reviews is sexist and juvenile in my opinion. They both brought something to the movie, especially Kate (who definitely topped Sharon Stone, though she was good in the original movie, and Michael Ironside, who is always Michael Ironside). I’m sorry, but ever since Underworld, Kate has been kicking butt on screen, literally.

Colin Farrell was outstanding and much more believable than the buff Arnold in the Quaid / Hauser role. But surprisingly, Bryan Cranston was great as the villain Cohagen. Also Bill Nighy makes a brief appearance as Matthias the rebel leader.There were also some nice nods to the 1990 film with the three-breasted woman flash, but the better one was the woman at the terminal saying “two weeks.”

It seems like people either like this movie or hate it. If you like good sci-fi storytelling, you will like this movie. Go into it without any thought of or comparison to the 1990 movie and you’ll probably like it even more. The movie tells a good story and has good flow through it, and the ending is decent and conclusive.

Drive Erazer Ultra

I bought this a couple of months ago and finally had a chance to use it tonight. We end up with older computers from offices and I would like to donate them but make sure any data is securely erased first from the hard drives. This little device accomplishes that with IDE and SATA drives without the use of a computer. Also, software solutions are slower and sometimes can only be used a certain amount of times. With this device I left a hard drive in a computer, unhooked the data and power cables coming from the computer, hooked in the data and power cables from the Drive Erazer Ultra, and powered on the device. I could erase the hard drive without removing it from the computer.

The Drive Erazer Ultra has an LCD screen and buttons to control options like type of erase. Once you start erasing, the device tells you what percent is done and how long until it is finished.

The device isn’t cheap (it is more than $200) but it is simple to use and works on multiple drive types. Check out the Drive Erazer Ultra on Amazon. I highly recommend it.

The Bourne Legacy

I went into this movie with an open mind. I wasn’t looking for a continuation of the Bourne trilogy, but something similar and different. Jeremy Renner does a great job as the main character. His action scenes are good and his methods are believable. Rachel Weisz also is good in this movie as a doctor involved in a Treadstone-like project, but with no real knowledge of what the project’s purpose is.

The beginning of the movie is a little confusing, and the tie-ins to the Bourne Ultimatum don’t do much to pull you in, although they tie the plots together. I was expecting more from some of the big names from the last movie like Joan Allen, but her, Scott Glenn, and David Strathairn only have brief scenes in the movie. Maybe the inevitable sequel will provide them with more screen time.

The beginning and middle of the movie have the best action scenes in my opinion. A lot of people have complained that the final motorcycle chase is way too long. I also was disappointed with the way the super agent sent in to kill Renner and Weisz was disposed of. I would have liked to see some fighting between him and Renner like Bourne had in the previous movies with agents sent to kill him.

Edward Norton’s role was a bit confusing in the beginning, and he was definitely no David Strathairn on Bourne’s trail. I think this movie had a weak supporting cast, unlike the previous movies. There were some nice surprises throughout, but the ending was very weak: the end of the motorcycle chase as well as the final scene.

I enjoyed the movie overall, but it won’t be one I’ll be running to buy. The movie had a good cast, but I think the writing was too muddled and the suspense did not do enough to pull you in at times. Don’t go into it expecting one of the previous Bourne movies and you will probably enjoy it as a good action movie.