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Game Review: Heart and Slash

Heart and SlashI have to admit that Heart and Slash is an unsual title for a game, but there is something outright unusual about Heart and Slash.

The game is about a robot named Heart who is essentially an eighties computer monitor with robot arms, torso, and legs. I decided to do the tutorial, and it actually gives some backstory on the game. Apparently, some scientist named Dr. Sympathy created a robot with some kind of emotions.

After you learn to fight and move stuff, you are told that the Robotlution has taken place. Yeah, you know my spell-checker didn’t recognize that word, but do I need to explain what that is? I mean, how many science-fiction films have done that idea of machines getting so smart, that they decide that the humans need to be taken down a few pegs?

Anyway, the game opens with Heart learning that there are no humans anymore, and he must hack and slash his way through many levels. Oh, he can also use guns, but that comes later. You know how video games like RPGs allow the player to get bigger and better weaponry? Yeah, I didn’t play all the way through this game, but you do that.

Now, I will say one thing for this game: a lot of work is spent on the robot adversaries. They look very cool, and attacking them is kind of fun too.

In fact, the game has a lot of jump moves with attacks that don’t seem to do much damage unless you upgrade them. You need to defeat enemies to get parts/money for upgrades, and it ain’t easy to get.

Seriously, you have six hearts, but these enemies can take a lot of them, and hearts are hard to find at first. Attacks are about offense as well as defense, and when I played it on the PS4, the circle button allowed for a dodge. Yeah, there must be video game players that are good at defensive attacks, but I am not one of them.

Heart and Slash is available on Steam for about $24.99.

Posted by on June 24th, 2016 No Comments

IK Multimedia Announces iKlip A/V

ik_multimedia_iklip_avThis next product reminds me of the Steadicam Smoothee from Tiffen, and IK Multimedia has a product known as the iKlip A/V which helps you do the same thing. In case you need a reminder, click on the link.

But if you are too lazy to click and read, here’s the thing. It is a way of taking a smartphone and turning it into a steadicam. Why? Because you need one for your video channel. You do have a video channel, don’t you? Yeah, I should probably get to work on that.

It has a high-quality XLR mic preamp with phantom power and built-in wireless receiver support. It uses 48 V phantom power with two AA batteries, and it holds any iPhone or Android device from 3.5 to 6 inches.

Now, you can find out more information about it here. However, this won’t be the last time we report on this, and you should look forward to a hands-on review of it.

Posted by on June 23rd, 2016 No Comments

Game Review: Tick Tock Bang Bang

Tick Tock Bang BangThere seems to be a trend these days for breaking the rules of time. For example, the video game Quantum Break allows the player to stop time, and then there is this awesome scene in X-Men: Apocalypse where the speedster Quicksilver rescues people from a building that is about to explode. Tick Tock Bang Bang takes that Matrix effect of slow time and makes a game out of it.

This game is an FPS that allows the player to intensely slow down time. The first opening levels allow for some intriguing sequences where cars careen out of control, and you have to get past them without getting hit. I am assuming that in spite of the cars slow-moving speed, some weird rule of momentum applies as just touching them will kill you.

The first levels are all about getting from point A to point B without getting hit by objects C. Then there is some shooting involved, and, why is this happening again?

Apparently, the main character is apparently a stuntman or stuntwoman, from the sound of her voice. Apparently, there is some kind of movie being filmed, and she is doing the stunts for it. Yeah, I really don’t think that the goal of the game is to be in a movie, especially when there are like pedestrians getting hit. They must be the secondary stuntpeople or something.

Well, it actually is a pretty cool concept for a game, and you can get it on the Steam Store for $9.99.

Posted by on June 23rd, 2016 No Comments

Our Review of the HTC 10

HTC 10As someone who has used and enjoyed the HTC One M9, I was very pleased that I got an upgrade with the HTC 10. In case you are wondering, HTC’s newest flagship has a more simplified name, and the change is a complete redesign.

Let’s talk about a few changes that were made to the HTC 10. First of all, the charging port is not a micro USB, but the USB 3.1 Type-C. This is certainly an improvement to the speed of the charging, and it is welcome, even though all the micro USB cables that I have lying around are no longer compatible.

Speaking of charging, I am told that this is good for 2 days without a charge. Of course, I usually just charge mine whenever it goes below 50 percent. I am told that there is some new app known as HTC Boost+ that monitors app use and can dynamically allocate CPU and memory as required, and maximize the battery life. I’m also told that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor is the latest and greatest.

Also, the headphone jack, which used to be located on the bottom of the phone with the charging port, has now been moved to the top. I’m not certain why that change was made, and the only inconvenience is when I want to watch videos while charging, as there are cords in both ends of the phone when I’m using headphones.

The HTC One M9 used to brag that their speakers were on the front of the phone, and there has been an adjustment for that. There is now one Boomsound speaker on the front, and another on the side. Considering that I don’t use my phone without headphones, I don’t see this as a step backward. I’m told that the HTC 10 has been catered for audiophiles, but not being an audiophile, I can’t really testify to that.

One thing that was really great is that the power button is textured, which makes it different from the volume control buttons. These buttons are very close to each other, which has led to confusion on my part. In the past with my HTC One M9, I would attempt to turn the volume up and hit the power button. The textured feeling allows my finger to know I hit the right button before I actually push it.

The screen is an enlargement at 5.2-inches as opposed to the 5.0 that the HTC One M9 had. The resolution also has been upgraded to 1440 x 2560 with QHD resolution. Video now looks better than ever.

So, then there is a fingerprint sensor made for some extra security, and this is kind of a standard for phones now. I suppose that we are really getting to the point where we need this type of security, and this is a standard feature on most new smartphones. This one works in 0.2 seconds.
There was only one problem that I kept having is that my finger would often hit the button that allows for Android multitasking. On my HTC One M9, that button would put all apps in use on tiles. On the HTC 10, it puts the apps in use on something like a file cabinet to sift through. It’s probably part of the Marshmallow upgrade with HTC’s own Sense.

IMAG0069The HTC 10 has a metal curved body, and it can get pretty hot when in use or charged up. Speaking of temperatures, I am told that this phone has been subjected to a lot of serious hot and cold weather as well as tests for bumps and scratches, along with corrosion.

One of the biggest things is that has been upgraded is that the SD card can hold up to 2 TB worth of excess storage. That is going to be a lot.

So, let’s talk about the camera, it has the world’s first-dual OIS, 12 Megapixel Ultra Pixel sensor, with a faster laser focus and much more. This OIS is on the front and back, and there is a larger UltraPixel sensor and a bright f/1.8 lens for up to 135 percent more light in every shot. I’ve tried out the camera, and you can see some of the results. By the way, taking photos is very easy with a lot of modes and one-button touch.

What I really like is the video, which combines with 4K video combined with the world’s first stereo 24-bit Hi-Res audio recording. All in all, I am pretty pleased with my new HTC experience. I honestly hope that these HTC Android phones will sell as good the ones from Samsung, because they are just as good.

Posted by on June 22nd, 2016 No Comments

Bodyguardz Pure Glass for Samsung Galaxy S7 Active

bodyguardz-pure-tempered-glass-screen-protector-galaxy-s7-active-hero-webIt has been a while since I reviewed a Bodyguardz product, and the last time it was for the iPhone 5. Yeah, that is way too long, so I managed to review the Samsung Galaxy S7 Active Bodyguardz Pure Premium Glass Screen Protector.

This is one of those products made to prevent the 30 percent of owners who break their phone within 12 months. By the way, the damage is 10 times more common than loss or theft, and Americans have this habit of spending $5.9 billion of repairing their phones.

One of the best parts about screen protectors, particularly ones from Bodyguardz, is that you don’t know that it is there. I’ve had screen protectors that I was pleased with, and not only does this provide protection, but some clarity. That means that you have an anti-glare screen.

If you want to have some of this protection on your Galaxy S7 Active, you can get it on the Bodyguardz site for $39.95.

Posted by on June 21st, 2016 No Comments

Our Review of Tick’s Tales

Ticks TalesAh, there is nothing like playing a classic 8-bit RPG, which I have loved since the eighties since my Sierra gaming days. Tick’s Tales: Up All Knight (get it?) is from Digital Bounce House and Phoenix Online, and it is kind of a satire of those old games.

Yes, there is a lot of moving around and solving puzzles in this game, which is pretty much everything that I love about video games. You might note that I said, kind of a satire, and the issue is it isn’t that funny. There are some jokes that are based on 8-bit games that work, like when Tick talks about how, in most games, something that should work doesn’t work.

Yes, this is a game that is self-aware, but this doesn’t really make it all that good. However, I will have to say that I had a difficult time with the puzzles, and that is always a good thing. Perhaps the judgment of a good game is how fun it is to solve, even if you can’t solve the puzzles.

I’m just going to recommend Tick’s Tales because I just love this type of games. You can get it on Steam for $7.99.

Posted by on June 20th, 2016 No Comments

Speculative Fiction Saturday: Spectre

SpectreI believe that this is the first time that I have reviewed a James Bond film, and this is probably cheating. James Bond films are not science-fiction, unless you count Moonraker. However, I recently wrote about how James Bond could be relevant in today’s age, and there are some themes in Spectre that have been explored in speculative fiction works, and is a commentary on today’s technology.

I probably should briefly discuss James Bond, but even my son has heard of him, and he has never seen a single one of the many movies. The reboot that occurred when Daniel Craig took the role was probably the best thing that could happen to James Bond. It was a way of taking him back to his roots and introducing him to a post 9/11 world. I recently watched Casino Royale, and I believe it is one of the better Bond films, and it would be the best if not for the iconic nature of Goldfinger.

For some reason, James Bond has this really annoying habit of going rogue in every movie he is in from now on. Now, there has been some events in the last movie, Skyfall, that have dovetailed into this film. The female M, played by Judi Dench, died in the last film, but she left a posthumous message asking Bond to kill someone and “not miss the funeral”.

This is one thing that I’m not really liking about James Bond, as these most recent films have emphasized Bond as an assassin. Now, I understand that he has a license to kill, which never made sense to me. I mean, this guy has a permission slip to break one of the Ten Commandments! Personally, Bond is a spy, which means he will have to be the fly in the ointment in order to topple dictatorships. He isn’t just a trigger, but a problem-solver, and the guy you call when you have to get your hands dirty.

The film opens with Bond killing this man, who would have actually killed a whole stadium full of people. So that’s okay, right? Yeah, the morality of Bond is pretty questionable. Anyway, Bond really made a public spectacle out of killing this guy in a helicopter in Mexico on the Day of the Dead. It is actually a big action setpiece, and one of many in this film that sadly get worse as they progress.

This guy that Bond kills has a ring with a 7 armed octopus. Then it goes into the title sequences full of babes and bullets that the films are so well known for. There is also this scene where an octopus attacks a naked woman which is really sick hentai porn stuff. I have to give the film negative points for that, because I just don’t see a reason for that. Yeah, this isn’t a good review.

Anyway, apparently Bond is in trouble with the current M played by the great Ralph Fiennes. Bond is grounded, but Q, a classic Bond character that was finally brought into the rebooted Bond universe for Skyfall, tracks Bond with some microchips in his blood. Yeah, this is kind of speculative fiction tech.

At this point, there is a weird subplot about how MI6 is going to be merged into some new organization, and drones will replace the double O program. There is this guy who plays Moriarty on Sherlock who Bond calls C who represents this new ideal, and he’s a jerk.

Apparently, the late M told Bond not to miss the funeral of the guy he killed, so he sees this guy’s widow. He even stops assassins from killing this lady, and they have sex. Yeah, Bond also has a license to woo any woman, regardless of circumstances. I mean, her husband just died…and I really don’t want to get into this.

Bond soon discovers that there is a meeting going on with some really evil organization that is also ultra-secret. This is why this woman was killed because if you join Spectre, then your wife dies if you do. What is also odd is the set-up of this place, with a few guys sitting at a table, and other guys just standing around. Was there a shortage of chairs?

Before I answer that, I’m going to say that there are spoilers ahead, so don’t read any more if you don’t want the ending.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by on June 18th, 2016 No Comments

OTTO Designworks Tuning System 10 and 11 Speed Cassette

OTS_beautyOkay, as many of you know, I receive a lot of stuff to review, and I will have you know that when I opened the product, I had no idea what it is. Seriously, I get a lot of stuff to review, and sometimes I just forget who even sends it to me. I’ll be honest and say that unless you know what this is, these products are a big question mark.

Fortunately, as a writer, I feel a need to do research. This is the Tuning System 2.0, and it is the first voice-guided iPhone vision tool and application that can check the adjustments in under 60 seconds.

Otto DesignworksAs you might have guessed, this is made for serious cyclists, and it provides a “thorough assessment of your shifting and derailleur angles in approximately 30 seconds”. All you got to use the iPHones’ camera as well as a set of engineered gauges to check the shifting alignment, and even has verbal prompts to lead the users through any needed adjustments.

Yes, this is an application that is free, and has levels of functionality of “Check” and “Tune”, with a multi bike profile feature. The end result is a better and smoother ride.

If this is something that you, as a biker, that you can get behind, head on over to the Otto Designworks site and lay down $39.00 for it. You can get the 10 and 11 speed cassette or the 9 speed cassette.

Posted by on June 17th, 2016 No Comments

Black and Decker SMARTECH 20V MAX Lithium Drill/Driver

Black and Decker SmarttechI had a chance to try out the 12V Max Cordless Lithium Drill from Black and Decker, and I have to say that this SMARTECH 20V MAX Lithium Drill/Driver is a step up, made for the mobile age.

The 20V MAX Lithium Drill/Driver is a connected tool, which uses its SMARTECH batteries to locate, lock, and monitor tools. It uses a SMARTECH application for iOS and Android for Bluetooth controls in order to remote battery locking and unlocking.

It also has one of those battery locate functions, because we all need our smartphones to find our things now. Seriously, I have reviewed three products this year that help you find your keys, and I’m too lazy to put the hyperlinks here.

Also, you know how you use your cordless drill, and there usually isn’t an indicator of how much juice is actually really in the battery? Yeah, you know that is a problem. However, the smartphone app will give you the battery indicator.

So yes, this is a terrific product and it is a keyless chuck for easy removing of bits. Oh, and I don’t know if this is stealing a page form Apple’s playbook, but there is “One More Thing”.

This battery for the drill can also be a battery for devices. Just connect a USB cord to it, and you can get some extra juice for your smartphone, MP3 player, and more. Oh my gosh, this is great.

My gosh, this is good! You can get it on sites like Amazon for $74.99.

Posted by on June 16th, 2016 No Comments

ExoLens Brings ZEISS Lenses to the iPhones

Exolens-iPhone-6-Hero-Image-reduced1It is really interesting how most people are taking pictures with their smartphones, and how companies like Olloclip are finding ways to put lenses. There is another company known as ExoLens, and they are putting ZEISS lenses on iPhones.

In fact, they are making the first aspherical lenses for mobile photographers to raise the standard of mobile photos and videos. They will have a series that includes wide-angle, telephoto, and macro, and they are normally made for DSLR cameras.

I am hoping that I will have a chance to try out these particular lenses, and I really like the way they look attached to an iPhone. I’m hoping that they will make a universal model for all phones.

ExoLens with Optics by ZEISS wide-angle lens kits are available today for $199.99 at Apple® retail stores and Apple.com for the iPhone® 6/6s and iPhone® 6 Plus/6s Plus.

Posted by on June 15th, 2016 No Comments