Archive for September, 2008

Review: MSI Wind U100

Monday, September 29th, 2008

Yup, as a hardcore geek, I just couldn’t let it go. Even though I had a somewhat disappointing ultra mobile pc (or alternatively named, netbook) already, I just had to go for the superior MSI Wind.
While the screen has a lower resolution (HP’s 1280×768 vs MSI’s 1024×600) the screen is bigger by a full inch.something, and whoever designed full reflective screen (HP’s, but Toshiba also employs it in their whole range) must’ve bumped their heads on the way down a bungee jump once too many. I have yet to come upon a human being who feels seeing themselves in mirror image, plus light sources behind them comfortable while reading a screen. So, not only is MSI’s screen more readable because it’s screen size, it’s also because is has a more sensible anti-glare screen. It’s not as bright though, and colors seem oversatured. (On this picture, MSI’s screen looks better, but in real life, it’s slightly less good than HP’s)

MSI Wind

On the technical side, the MSI clearly feels more responsive with it’s 1.6 GHz Intel Atom then HP’s sluggish 1.0 GHz Via C7. But feelings aside, while benchmarks gives the MSI about a factor 2 advantage, a simple DVD authoring session shows it finishing a whopping 9 times faster (just benchmarking though, remember these things don’t have optical drives) ! Even the HP refitted with Ubuntu will sluggishly play divx/xvid tv episodes, so don’t even try full HD downloads. As a side note, MSI also throws in bluetooth, expanding the connectivity option besides network and wireless network (while also adding one more USB port).
On the bad sides, are the keyboard, and only one key is responsible for it. While touch typing, the pinky will reach for the period (“.”), but with MSI keyboard, you will consistently hit the “/” key due to a whole row of downsized keys. The cursor keys are downsized too much too.
Another bad thing is the tinny speakers, with the HP blaring its speakers without much strain. Too be honest, even small mobile phone speakers or those in my iPAQ are better.
Battery life seems only a tad better, but not by more than 20 minutes.
All in all, for general purpose, it’s still okay (in my case, emergency use when at customer site on support cases). For media, it displays nice, but carrying a pair of good headphones would be a good idea to keep in mind. It beats the HP down by a KO, though picking up on those two negative points would make the 400 euro price point a must have. Now it’s only recommended for nerds and geeks.

Dead again

Friday, September 26th, 2008

I can’t seem to be able to keep plants alive, be it a supposedly human lifespan outgroing Bonzai, or now this nice herby Koriander (a highly underrated taste explosion for your own prepared food).
At only a measly 2 weeks since I brought it over from Germany, it’s wilted and showing brown spots.
Is it a curse ? Or it just doesn’t like my tap water ?

Review: Y.P.F.

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

Low budget independent film that comically chapterises 5 unrelated sexual encounters. It provides nothing new in the screenplay, touching predictable topics, but with the unknown actors and quickly paced dialogue, it’s mildly entertaining. While the full title (abbreviation of Young People F***ing) might make you suspect a full frontal hard porno flick, but it’s all decent and the most outrageous thing on screen just be a pleasurising appliance.7.

Review: Deception

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Thriller pits Ewan McGregor against Hugh Jackman in a cat and mouse game, where things are too obvious, revealed too soon, and doesn’t hold the intensity. Absolutely no surprises if you keep your eyes open, and think of all the contrived story points, because the writer didn’t bother throwing in any misleading clues. Sure it’s consistent, but it doesn’t leave any thrills and results in a softy movie.6-.

Review: Wanted

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Russian director Timur Bekmambetov gets a break from his low budget Matrix copies, and gives it a try in Hollywood. It results in an entertaining pop-corn movie, where a mindless office drone (James McAvoy paired with vixen Angelina Jolie) also gets a break from his routine to do some cool action stuff. There’s not too much thinking involved, and the narrative isn’t mindbendingly sharp, but it sure is a break from reality. Pacing and quickly edited action sequences finish off the most surprisingly brainless entertainment on the brink of this summer.7½.

Review: Bangkok Dangerous

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

The title reads like it’s made up by an illiterate, but the movie seems like it’s made by twin amateurs. The story seems laughable when you see the B story develop, and the actions by the main character (Nicolas Cage) leaves a lot of room for head scratching. Furthermore, it’s full devoid of emotional resonance, as much as they try to fill it with cliche dramatic turns. Cinematography is irritatingly dark (even daylight scenes have dark grey filters over them) and action is shoddy with coarse extreme color contrast substituting as style.
Even hardcore Cage fans will have to leave this one be ! Let me warn you one more time, Bangkok Boring.4-.

Review: The Love Guru

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

Mike Meyers creates a new character for a new comedy, but there’s nothing new to be seen. Not nearly as outrageous as Austin Powers, but more smart or subtle humor it ain’t either. So it’s some kinda weak carbon copy that just goes through its normal way to the end without any surprises or laugh fests. Having Jessica Alba as eye candy is a life saver, but I still can’t sell this movie with my full support.6-.

Review: The Forbidding Kingdom

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

Having both Jet Li and Jackie Chan opposite each other in one movie should have been a milestone. Save for one head to head battle, it’s the story and acting that’s bringing this movie down.
Story wise, it’s a copy and paste of so many cliche dialogues, it doesn’t even make sense anymore.
For the rest, it’s just mediocre, the jokes, the effects and some of the directing. Between the fights, it’s just too much of nothing, and it will kind of bore you. So beware.5½.

Review: Elegy

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

A slow simmering study of an elder man (Ben Kingsly) and his life, treading between sexual lust (this time the object being Penopele Cruz) and love. For the first half, it only focuses on the lust part, but slowly more elements are developed over time. In the end, it’s still a bit too slow, and the end might be a bit off-putting, but drama-wise, it’s a one thumb up.7-.

Chrome, not Gold or Platinum.

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

Sure, the new Google Chrome browser is fast and lean, but it didn’t hit a home run. The main browser for me is still Opera. (Geert, please update to Opera 9.52, because your 9.02 version is reaaaaallly old).
Security-wise it might also be at the top, but Opera ain’t no slouch either. And small extra features like Inspect Element look cool.

But, here are the things that will keep me from using Chrome as the main browser (as well as any other, actually):

No integrated mail.
No mouse gestures or click+roll enhancement.
No handy toolbars with things like Find on page, Find Next, Fit to Width, Zoom percentage dropdown menu.
Handling of tabs still easier in Opera (Shift+Click to close, Duplicate opens new tab, not new windows like Chrome).
Browsing logic. In paged documents, pressing space repeatedly will drop you down until the end END after another space, you will move to the next page. No other browser will do this.
Blocking content per site.

Greatest achievement….EVARRrr!!!

Monday, September 1st, 2008

It’s been over 2 months, and no picture update to be seen. Well, here’s on full page of pictures to enjoy from Taiwan. Let’s start with one of the biggest achievements I’ve made in my years. Many other Taiwanese haven’t done it yet, but I’ve been on top of the biggest mountain nearby Taipei (not of Taiwan, of course). Click here for a picture report.

TV Summer season

Monday, September 1st, 2008

It’s already over. It’s September, and new shows are ready to premiere. So how was this summer’s TV season ?

Well, as usual, half a season of Monk and Psych are always nice. Weeds was up to par also. The Closer remains mildly entertaining, and Last Comic Standing was funny now and then too.
But for the newcomers, it was somewhat disappointing.

The Cleaner: Sappy drama (one of the few originals from A&E Television Networks) about addiction, in the long run, all the episodes are somewhat the same. And while Benjamin Bratt is a good actor, it’s seeing more of Grace Park (during her Battlestar Galactica downtime) that makes it more bearable.

Flashpoint: All flashy, no depth. An elite group of police officers called the SRU (Strategic Response Unit), defuse a hostage situation every week. Blablabla. Seen it all, been there, done that. Not to mention how predictable these story lines unfold.

Generation Kill: HBO’s mini-series is actually about nothing. There’s no real action, and most of the time it’s just soldiers either talking in military slang, or they’re talking bullshit about nothing for hours and hours. With so many testosterone and weapons, it’s really a miracle how it gets to be so dull.

As you can see, not much happened on TV this summer. Boy, was I lucky I got to go on vacation.

Review: The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Monday, September 1st, 2008

Finishing the summer movie season, is an utterly non-surprising sequel, to a literally dying franchise. While non of the sequels where that interesting, the pace and the action keeps it mildly entertaining, and this one is no different. Character wise, it’s the same as all the others. No real depth, with big quickly cut action scenes alternating punch lines. The special effects are also as before, sometimes too obviously computer generated.
Having Jet Li as the main bad guy doesn’t add any gracious kick ass moves either, it could’ve been any one else. If seeing the same movie again, but only with a slightly different setting, this one is for you. For all the others, just go see the only summer hit this year again (The Dark Knight).6½.