Does Jessica Jones Season 2 Just Suck? (Spoilers Ahead)

So far, Marvel’s Cinematic Universe (MCU) seems to be getting better, as they have been taking ideas that seem weak like Ant-Man or Black Panther and milking billions out of them. A few years ago, when Daredevil hit Netflix, it was proof that this more mature and darker branch of the MCU could be just as successful.

Marvel’s Jessica Jones

Daredevil‘s Season 1 was a huge hit, and Jessica Jones Season 1 was an even better step up (in my humble opinion). The reason Jessica Jones was so successful is because Season 1 ignored the conventions of superheroes, as it spent very little time on heroic origin stories or dressing up in a costume. Instead, Jessica Jones first season story was about how she was victimized by a mind-controller known as Kilgrave, and how she rose from this. It was a more character-driven story that still had plenty of action and introduced the audience to interesting characters like Trish Walker, Jeri Hogarth, and even Luke Cage (before he got his own decent series).

Jessica Jones Season 1 just sucked me in, but Season 2 had the opposite effect on me. There were scenes in this season that just made me say: “man, this is terrible”. Instead of interesting characters and story, Jessica Jones Season 2 made these characters a mockery and had very lame plot elements. Even though an attempt at a story-length season was made, it still felt like things were just happening during each individual episode.

I’m going to bring some spoilers here, so don’t hit the jump unless you want to see Jessica Jones Season 2 for yourself to see if you thought it was as bad as I thought it was. What is interesting is how Rotten Tomatoes gives Jessica Jones Season 1 a 92 percent, while Jessica Jones Season 2 is given an 86. That is not much of a decrease, but I would given it a decrease of double digits.

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Final Space and the Difficulty of Science Fiction Epics

The thing about science-fiction epics on television is that it is starting to be done more successfully, but this is only a recent development. It was a quarter-century ago when Babylon 5 was released, an epic science-fiction series that had a definite beginning and end in mind. It lasted five years, but it was a gamble back then as TV audiences were not very committed to programs for the long-term. This was the days before streaming TV, so each TV show was planned to exist for the casual viewer.

If you aren’t familiar with Final Space, it is a new animated science-fiction series on TBS that is pretty imaginative and appears to have one giant storyline in mind. The difference between it and the aforementioned Babylon 5 is that Final Space is made to be a half-hour comedy show.

I should probably get this out of the way and say that it feels like Final Space was made to fill in the gap between seasons of Rick and Morty. The animation looks similar, even though it has a brighter color palette, and the show even had a cameo appearance from Rick’s saucer ship. Something tells me that was how the show was pitched, and fans of both science fiction and animation will be drawn to this show like a magnet.

The show is created by Olan Rogers, a name that I was not familiar with, but it is very apparent that he is giving his heart to this work. Olan plays Gary, a man who is serving a five-year prison sentence in space. Gary’s crime is that he blew up a lot of stuff in a vain attempt to impress a girl. Gary has gone nuts during his space solitary confinement, but he has this incredible spirit of optimism that seems to come out of nowhere. He is such a great character that he could probably carry the show on his own.

On the first episode, it is revealed that Gary’s sentence is almost over, but then a cute small alien comes into his life. Gary calls this alien Mooncake, because it reminds him of a pet bug that he had once as a child. Mooncake is followed by a group of bounty hunters, who know that Mooncake is a planet-killer capable of launching much energy out of his eyes. The first episode consists of Gary escaping from the bounty hunters, but one of them, a cat-man named Avocado, becomes Gary’s partner.

As you might have guessed, this show takes place in some future world with faster-than-light spaceships, aliens, and all other sorts of science fiction machinery. There is no shortage of voice talent here with Tom Kenny as HUE, Gary’s ship’s computer, Fred Armisen as KVN, Gary’s annoying robot sidekick, and David Tennant as Lord Commander, who appears to be the main villain on the show. Lord Commander’s name is pretty weak (not to mention redundant), and the character itself doesn’t appear to be anything more than a funnier version of the Emperor from Star Wars. What is really odd is how Olan Rogers’ name is third-billed, because he is the creator of the show and the main character.

So, is the show good? Honestly, I was pretty surprised by it, as there are genuine great levels of action and comedy. There are even moments of extreme drama, as it is clear Gary has some daddy separation issues. Avocado also has a missing son that tears him apart as well.

Similar to other science fiction series, Final Space is off to an awkward start, but something like this has never really been done before, and that goes for its beautiful animation. I’m personally anxious to see where this show is going, and I’m hoping that when this show is over, I can look back at it and say it is one of the best space sagas ever.

A Review of the Halo Bluetooth speaker from Creative Labs

We’ve reviewed many a bluetooth speaker on the GeekChurch, and here is another from Creative Labs- a company we’ve been able to do some other¬†reviews for lately. This speaker is called the Halo, and if you are an augophile or chromatophile, you might enjoy it greatly.

The Halo is a portable Bluetooth speaker- with dimensions of 6.9 x 2.8 x 4.3 inches and weighing a little over a pound. It also has a nice little carrying handle on the side.

The top has a rubberized panel with raised symbols to power it on, turn the volume up and down, take calls, and control the lights. The rest of the speaker is covered in a cloth material- with the exception of the mirror ring around the front, and the black plastic type ring on the back.

All-in-all, it has a pretty great look to it. Speaking of look- did I mention the mirror on the front? So if you are vain and want to get a look at yourself, you could. There is the downfall of fingerprints on the mirror surface, but what is really great is when you get the lights going on it, and it looks like you can see forever into the back.

If you have a favorite color, you can leave it on that particular color. You have the option of 16.8 million colors when you download the iOS or Android app.

The app,Creative Xpectra, allows you to change the effects and colors shown on the speaker.

The light effects do tend to drain the battery- which is said to last 8 hours, but doesn’t last nearly that long with the light show. Also, the volume will effect the battery life as well. If you want a long lasting light show (more than two hours), you might want to bring along the charging cable. A small USB cable for charging is included. It’s only about a meter long, though.

The sound is about what you might expect for a small bluetooth speaker of this price. It’s definitely not for the audiophiles, but it is a fun speaker, nonetheless, and a good sounding one for this price range, which is $69.99 on the Creative website.

Disclaimer- Creative sent us this product for free to review. No other sponsorship has been given in exchange for our unbiased and fair review.

X-Doria Defense Lux and Defense Shield for the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+

It’s nice that we can review another X-Doria product again, and not have to wait so much time. This time, we get to review a case for the new Galaxy S9 and S9+, and in case you are thinking it, we will be reviewing more of them in the near future (like next week). We’ll start with the Defense Shield.

The Defense Shield is aptly named, as it has military-grade protection. It is good for drops of 9.9 feet or 3 meters, on concrete. It has a rubber bumper around the perimeter, as well as an over-sized raised lip for protecting the screen from drops as well as surface scratches.

What is interesting is not only does the Defense provide protection, but it somehow has some integrated sound channel to amplify the bottom speaker and redirect sound to the front. I am not certain how it does that, but I think that it is odd that no one has addressed this for the new S9 and S9+.

You can get the Defense Shield on the X-Doria website for $29.99 for the Samsung Galaxy S9, and the same price of $29.99 for the Galaxy S9+.

As far as the difference between the X-Doria Defense and the X-Doria Defense Lux, there seems to be some kind of texturing going on with the front. I mean, there is a Black Fiber and Ballistic Nylon, and I suppose this has been made for a better grip?

Yeah, this seems to be the point. It has the same measurement of protection with 10 feet (3 meters) of dropping. Oh, it also has that special ability that can project sound to the front, and I am really to have to see if this is one of those features that every Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ case has.

Well, they are some really cool cases, and I’m glad we got to try them out. Yes, X-Doria sent these for an unbiased review, and if you want to get in on the Defense Lux, it costs $34.99 for the Galaxy S9 and $39.99 for the Galaxy S9+

Creative Labs SoundBlasterX Siege M04 Precision Gaming Mouse

I might as well say that the Seige M04 Precision Gaming Mouse feels like some kind of sidekick to the SoundBlasterX Vanguard K08 keyboard that I reviewed earlier. It has the P.R.E. (Perceive, React, and Execute) features of that keyboard, and it is a product of some serious hard work.

So let’s start with its features. We are talking a gaming grade PMW3360 IR LED sensor with 32-bit high speed MCU with low lift-off distance. It also has 7 fully programmable buttons full of internal memory, as well as 3 level DPI cycle button for on-the-fly DPI switching. The Siege M04 also can’t help but feel good in the palm of your hand thanks to its comfortable right-handed design for palm and grip.

Oh yes, and let us not forget about the Aurora Reactive Lighting System, good for 16.8 million colors. I’ve sort of gone into detail on that when discussing the Vanguard K08 keyboard, so I’ll touch on the 32-bit high speed microcontroller good for a polling rate of 1000 Hz, 12,000 native DPI, and low 2mm lift-off distance.

All of that adds up to a gaming mouse you want to keep around the house. Yeah, that is a pretty lame slogan, but hey, it is good enough for a recommendation with the other gaming mice.

It is available for $64.99 on the Creative Labs website, and this is as good of a time to say that the SoundBlasterX Siege M04 was given to us for an unbiased review.

Omron Healthcare Product Reviews: the Evolv and TENS

As I sit here typing, I’m enjoying the benefits of one of the healthcare related products I’m going to review today. It’s delivering electronic pulses right now. Thanks to Omron, we get to review two fabulous medical tools that you can use at home- the Evolv wireless blood pressure monitor, and the Avail wireless dual channel TENS device.

photo credit-Omron

As luck would have it, or maybe not, I tweaked my back the other day, and I was in tons of pain. Now, we just recently reviewed a device that used electromagnetic therapy to help ease pain. Unfortunately, this device didn’t even touch the pain that I was in. We just got the Omron Avail TENS device, and I decided this would be a very good time to test it out.

Many years ago, I had knee surgery, and in physical therapy, they attached little electrodes to my knee to help work the muscles so they wouldn’t atrophy. This handy home device made me reminiscent of that time.

I unboxed the Avail, and immediately downloaded the app (available for iOS and Android) to my phone. The app walked me through set-up (which was simple) the precharged device attaches easily to the pad, the device synced to my phone through Bluetooth very quickly. I removed the plastic from the sticky backing, and placed it in the area directed by the app. I was asked to pick what kind of therapy I wanted- TENS or microcurrent therapy.

I chose TENS. You can do this type of therapy up to 3 times a day. The app will give a list of what kinds of treatment modes you can choose from. The one I selected was suggested for lower back pain. Then you can choose how long your treatment lasts. Once it starts, you can turn up the intensity of electronic pulses. My therapy started with some tapping, and changed to kneading with some varying pulses throughout. You can add a session to your favorites- allowing quick access to programs.

When you are finished, the devices and their pads fit nicely in the provided case. A charging dock also is included. You’ll have to charge them after about 3 hrs- which is 6 uses if you are going for half hour sessions.

The great thing about this device is that it’s wireless, and really, you can wear it while doing everyday activities, although I found it weird to walk around while it was working. It comes with two devices and two different pads, so you can do treatments on different areas of your body simultaneously.

Cons? You’ll have to buy new pads after about 3 months of use, but they’re not too bad. About $15 for each pad. You’ll spend more on physical therapy and other doctor’s treatments- that’s for sure.

I have not tried other TENS devices, and there are cheaper ones out there, but I can’t say if they work any better than this OMRON one, which is on sale for $159.99.

photo credit-OMRON

The other unit, we were sent to review is the wireless Evolv blood pressure monitor. Many people are concerned about blood pressure levels. I know that I have to check mine frequently. My levels usually rise when I’m at the doctor’s office for some reason. This is an easy way I can check my blood pressure at home.

This monitor can be used with or without an app. With the iOS and Android compatible apps, you can wirelessly transmit readings and track trends in blood pressure. It’s also easy just to take your blood pressure and get the read-out right there on the LED screen.

It doesn’t have a charging cable, but does require 4 AAA batteries- which are included. A carrying case would be nice, but this model doesn’t seem to include one.

The monitor holds up to 100 readings, and then will re-write after that, so you will need to make sure to sync your results every now and then if you want a history of your readings. User reviews seem to all say the app needs a re-working, and we think that would be good of OMRON to do. Otherwise, it seems to be a decent monitor that could literally be life-saving. It comes at a price of $99.99 on their website, but Wal-Mart’s website is carrying them for $62.20.

This is another unbiased and fair review of products that OMRON sent us for free to review. No other compensation has been paid to us.

Creative Labs SoundBlasterX Vanguard K08 Gaming Keyboard

All right, it looks like we are reviewing another fine product from Creative Labs, and this time, it is the SoundBlasterX Vanguard K08, a gaming keyboard. Well, if you are familiar with any keyboard reviews that I have done in the past, then you know that I am going to type my report using the product.

So how does it fare? It feels like I can type a lot faster on this guy. Part of it is that its design with OMRON, PRES (Perceive-React-Execute Switches) which allows for rapid-fire keystrokes. Yeah, there is a diagram showing how fast a typical key gets pressed versus one from the SoundBlasterX Vanguard K08. The shaving of a few seconds really makes it faster, by about 25 percent.

Let’s talk about the keys, and not just the speed. There are 109 fully programmable keys on this guy, with five of them on the left side as M1-M5. This is really designed to up your game, and the game it seems designed for is Final Fantasy XV (the Windows version).

Since this is a gaming keyboard, then you know what that means, a lot of pretty lights on the keys. It has this Aurora reactive technology which gives it the power of a lot of colors similar to the northern lights themselves with 16.8 million colors.

It is because of this wonderful glow that comes with two USB plug-ins to make it work. I’m grateful that my computer recognized it right away, but I had to wonder why the cables were so darn thick.

It’s quite something, and I’m not even finished writing about the benefits. It has some buttons made for media playing, and this really cool rotary volume control. I forgot to mention the detachable wrist rest.

Before I forget, Creative Labs sent us the SoundBlasterX Vanguard K08 for an unbiased review. I am going to say that it is a good gaming keyboard and give it a good recommendation. It is available on the Creative Labs website for $139.99.

Two Different and Useful Means of Scanning by IRIScan

I found an article from five years ago where TechnoMark talked about how he would like to get his hands on a scanner that was a computer mouse. Well, thanks to IRIScan, he’s getting his wish with this IRIScan Mouse Wifi, as well as another type of scanner they sent called the IRIScan Book.

credit- Iris

The IRIScan Mouse Wifi works with both Windows and Mac, and is great for scanning documents on the go. It’s really simple to scan- with just a click of the button, and swiping the mouse over things you want to scan. After that, you can convert your scan into whatever output format you need- i.e. JPG, PNG, PDF, etc.

You have the ability to scan text in foreign language, and Google Translate connector will read them out loud to you as long as you have internet connection.

Included in the package is a special mouse pad with a clear cover you can lift to insert small cards in to hold them in place in order to scan. Once a business card is scanned in, CardIris, the provided business card recognition software, will convert the scan to digital contact information you can use in g-mail, Outlook, and the like. It’s also really easy to share pictures to Dropbox, Facebook, etc.

This great little device retails for $129.

Another great scanner by IRIScan is the Book 5. This device comes with an SD card, a USB cable, and even a pouch to put it in. This 11 x 1 1/2 inch wand fits easily into your hand, and allows for quick scanning- faster than running things through a normal scanner. You can scan a page of a book or magazine in as fast as 1 second for black and white, low quality resolution. It takes about 4 seconds for high quality color resolution.

This video shows more about this product.

For $20 more, you can buy the wi-fi edition of the product, which eliminates the need for the USB cord connection.

The Book 5 is valued at $129 as well. 

So which should you get? Well, if you want to scan a lot of pages of books, the Book 5 is probably the best. If you have a lot of little things like business cards and want to have your scanner handy in your mouse, then that would be the way to go. Maybe you want one of each!

IRIS does not sponsor the GeekChurch, but they did send us these products to review for free. As always, these reviews are done without bias.

Review of The Station, a Sci-Fi Video Game!

As you might have noticed, we have been recently flooded with product reviews, and it has been a while since we have done a video game review. If there is one thing that takes up a lot of time, it is playing an in-depth video game. I’ll talk about that more when I discuss The Legend of Zelda: Meth of the Wild. (I didn’t misspell that in the title). Okay, enough of that tangent, let’s discuss The Station.

The Station is one of those games that doesn’t take long to play, and it is very in-depth. I’ll cut to the chase an give you the premise. The game begins when this one corporation discovers a planet that has a civilization, but this civilization is engaged in a huge, planet-wide civil war. This corporation, AXIOM, sends a space station to investigate the newfound planet, and it goes out of contact with AXIOM. AXIOM suspects the worst, because this titular station was supposed to be stealthy, so you play the astronaut who investigates it.

If you know anything about first-person puzzle-solving games, you can see where this is going. This is one of those games where you never see precisely who you are, as if you are invisible. It is also one of those games that you can interact with objects in the world, and they will float in front of you. In most games like this, you get objects, and then these objects help you solve puzzles later. In the case of The Station, there are only a few objects to get to solve the main puzzle of the game.

So the set-up itself may not be unique, but the way it is done really works. The game has a very dark atmosphere, and at first I thought their might have been something wrong with my television. I think that when the game started, my TV shifted into some HDR mode or something, but it didn’t seem to affect anything else that I wanted to do on the TV later. The game is all about exploring the hallways of this station, and I will give kudos to the graphics designer for making the darks really black. After all, space is a very dark place, and it makes sense that you wouldn’t see everything unless you had a lot of illumination.

This dark feeling gives the game a very scary atmosphere. I also believe that the lack of music helps, something that was a deliberate choice and not due to the game’s lack of budget. It looks like there has been a lot of time and love put in what was once a Kickstarter project, and I will have to say that it more than works. In fact, I had a difficult time playing this game at night alone, because it was rather unnerving.

Again, this unnerving feeling works to the game’s advantage. This is one of those games where you have to look all around you and find out what happened, and the main mission is to seek out the three people on the station. There are a lot of audio logs to help you out, and much of the game is just figuring out how to open the doors that will get you into the rooms to crack the mystery.

I was able to solve the game within a few hours, and I will say that is not time I regret using. In fact, the ending of the game has an incredible twist that I so want to spoil, but I think it is better that I don’t talk about.

You can play The Station for yourself on the PS4, Xbox One, and Steam. You can find out more information about it here.

Will the Oska Pulse Heal Your Pains?

TechnoMark ran into the Oska company at CES this year, where they unveiled their device that uses Pulsed ElectroMagnetic Fields(PEMF) to bring natural pain relief. This wearable device is called the Oska Pulse, and the company sent us a unit to review.

credit- OSKA

Now, I have chronic lower back pain, and I’m always interested in finding natural ways to relieve the pain without having to take pain reliever. This product promises to relieve everyday aches and pains, as well as reducing swelling.

The OSKA Pulse is simple to use. There is an included USB cord to charge it up. There is a button on top of the device to press, and you will hear a beep and a blue light will begin to pulse. The OSKA fits inside a little pocket in the stretchy compression wrap that comes in two sizes- one is big enough to wrap around a torso. The smaller wrap works for wrapping it around a leg or arm. The device is said to work within 8 inches of the injury, so you don’t have to strap it to you all the time if you would rather not.

It takes about 3 hours to charge the OSKA fully, but once charged, you can get about 15-20 sessions that last 30 minutes each.

It’s hard to tell if the device is working or not since there is no vibration, heat or any other indicator besides the glowing that tells you the device is working. Very different from devices like TENS machines that deliver pulses you can feel.

So it is suggested at first for long term pain that you use the OSKA four to six times a day during the first week and two to four times a day following that for the rest of the month. After that, it is suggested you use it 1 to 2 times a day. You’re also supposed to drink water to help the healing process along.

I’ve been using the device for about three weeks now, and my back does feel better when I’m using it, and for a short time after, but I’m not sure if it’s due to the pressure of the device in that spot, or if the electromagnetic pulses are really working. The company says there is a 90 percent customer satisfaction rate, and that you shouldn’t be discouraged if you don’t see results right away. It might take a while. Fortunately, there is a 90 day trial period with a money back guarantee. So, maybe it’s worth a try for you. There are plenty of testimonials that claim the product worked, and helped so much that the customers no longer rely on pain medication.

The Oska Pulse costs $399, which seems steep, but if it helps you avoid having to go to the doctor or massage therapist multiple times, it could be worth the money. If you buy it off their website, you can buy it in a 3 payment installation. Also, if you have an HSA or FSA, you could use these accounts to pay for it as well. The replacement compression wraps seem really expensive to me at $60 for the large and $40 for the smaller one. You could probably find something much cheaper to wrap it to you if the need ever arises for a new one.

While we received the product to review at no charge, we are not sponsored by Oska, and this is our fair and unbiased review.