Speculative Fiction Saturday: The Fountain

The FountainWell, I suppose that our weird independent films month is over. I myself am currently at a gamer’s conventino in Seattle known as PAXPrime, which I will spend all of next week talking about.

I figured I would spend time talking about our 4 i’s films with our old friend Darren Aronofsky. Some of you might remember when I talked about Aronofsky before with my review of his monochromatic Pi. This director has been facing some serious bible thumping from Christians with his interpretation of Noah, but I totally respect his films like The Wrestler and Black Swan.

I get the feeling that The Fountain isn’t really independent, as it seems backed by Warner Brothers. I suppose that any film that has our old Wolvie friend Hugh Jackman and our old Mummy friend Rachel Weisz just has to be good, right. My answer to that is…maybe.

At this point in my life, I never rent any movies unless I can get some deal on Redbox. This means that I can only rent some recent videos, and whatever I can find at my local library or on Netflix. Since I wasn’t able to find The Fountain online for free or anywhere else, I am going to have to go from memory from when I saw this film back in 2006.

So, here’s what I remember. This film is actually three films. One of them takes place in 1500, as a queen commissions a knight to find the Tree of Life. Not related to the film I reviewed a few weeks ago. Oh wait, this story isn’t real, it is a story that Rachel Weisz’s character is writing in the year 2000. She is actually Izzi, a woman dying of cancer. Her husband, Tom, is trying to find a cure, and in the future. Tom is played by Hugh Jackman, who also plays some space traveler in the year 2500.

So, what is this film about? I have no blinking idea. I suppose that the true test of a good film is whether you remember it over 5 years later, and there isn’t much I remember about this. I don’t think that my vague memory of this film proves that it was forgettable. The takeaway that I remember getting from this film is how death is as fleeting as life. Yeah, that is kind of vague, but I think this is the film’s point. That, or maybe it shows how we the living see the dying. Man, I’m getting really vague with this review.

Tell you what. If you can find it, go see it. I suppose that I could say that for any movie that I talk about here, but since I can’t say that this film absolutely sucks, this is enough to tell you to give it a try. Now if you will excuse me, I’ve got to figure out next month’s theme, or if I just don’t want to do themes anymore.

We’re here at PAX Prime 2014 in Seattle!

PAX PrimeShould I say anything more? Well, for those who don’t know, PAX Prime is a big Gamers convention in Seattle. There are more of them, like PAX East, PAX South, PAX Aus, and PAX Dev, all at different locations, but I don’t really know much about the last one.

Unlike some gaming conventions, this one is not made for the gaming industry. PAX began in Seattle, and it was started by two guys who wrote a web-comic known as Penny Arcade. I realize that Penny Arcade Expo should abbreviate to PAE, but I’m not complaining.

I’ll be pretty busy on Friday and over the weekend, but I will be giving you constant coverage of what I will learn at this awesome conference all of next week. Then its a big busride on Sunday.

Leap Motion to bring more to the Oculus Rift

Leap MotionI’ve said several times that I believe that Oculus Rift will change the world. I’ve mentioned too many times to even bother to put a link here to a related article. This would be the first time that I mention the Leap Motion, which takes the Oculus Rift one step further.

The Leap Motion is intended to “put your hands in” the Oculus Rift. Just putting this Leap Motion on the Oculus Rift allows the user to have gesture controls like a computer. Somehow it is able to recognize your hands.

I believe that it costs about $20, which is good for an accessory price. Yeah, I always love products like this, and I can’t figure out what else will show up. Instead of writing more about this, I think I’ll just post this video of it instead.

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Rubik’s Cube comes in X-Shape

rubik X cubeWe all know about the Rubik’s Cube and how some people have been trying to solve it for decades. Now imagine that Rubik’s Cube in the shape of an X.

Yes, that does sound like a nightmare. This X-Cube has 52 moving parts and 102 colored stickers. According to my Source, that is 125,486,757,308,950,508,983,252,156,416,000,000 combinations, and I would be quite surprised if that number fit on this line. By the way, that number is two quadrillion times more combinations of the original Rubik’s Cube.

It costs about $42, and I have no idea if it is worth it. Maybe you are a genius and can figure out how to solve this, and if this is what you need to prove it, check it out.


Meet Clockety, the World’s First Smartphone Projection Clock

clocketyThe image that you see here isn’t really a good representation of what Clockety is about. I will attempt to explain what the World’s First Smartphone Project Clock is.

Imagine a device that you can put on your smartphone that will project the time on your ceiling. Why would you want that? Well, why should you have to turn on your phone every time you wake up and want to know what time it is?

Okay, that might seem like something that you might need, but I miss the days of old clock radios when you could just wake up and just look at the time in bright LED lights. All you have to do is just tap the table, and the special projector/adaptor will blast the time on the ceiling, provided you have the Clockety app.

I suppose that if you want it, you can get to its Kickstarter page and see if you can’t get in early on this.


Casio Exilim EX-FR10 Action Camera

Casio cameraI think that we all know that the camera biz got shaken up with the age of the smartphone as well as the dawn of the GoPro. The Casio EXILIM EX-FR10 is definitely a step in a new direction when it comes to cameras.

The EX-FR10 has one extremely interesting feature as it is the only camera that I know that can detach its lens from its touchscreen. You can also join the camera up together so it looks…normal, if that is what you want. You can even hinge it in such a way for taking some interesting selfie pics or something.

The lens is an f2.8 lens and contrast-based auto-focus and multifocus modes. It does 14 Megapixel photos and 1080p resolution for video. In case you are wondering what the maximum range of the lens and viewfinder it, it is about 5 m3ters. As for the battery life, it is good for 75 minutes of video and much more if you are just doing stills.

When it comes time to share your photos or videos, you can pair this camera via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. You should be able to get it soon for about $480.


Spheree, a 3D Interactive Spherical Scalable Display

I saw a picture of the Spheree on my Source, and I thought it was some kind of crystal ball, but with holograms. Seriously, wouldn’t you pay good money for something that? After all, who wouldn’t want some way to communicate with their friend as a 3-D floating head?

Unfortunately, this is not what the Spheree is. It is essentially a ball-shaped screen where you can work on 3-D graphics. If you don’t think this is important, then you clearly worked with 3-D graphics before on a 2-D screen.

Now, this is 3-D effect is not created with holograms, but an interesting optical illusion. It uses multiple mini-projectors in order to shine the images on the interior surface of the sphere. The user wears a specialized headband that has some motion-tracking software so that a user can just walk around the Spheree and see their creation.

You can watch the video and see people creating 3D things and then using gesture-based interface. It is perfect for when you want to mold something with 3-D clay in a digital world.

Something tells me that we’ll be seeing more technologies like this in the near future. I am still holding out for those 3-D Crystal Ball Displays and/or communicators.


Amazon acquires Twitch

twitch-streamingI have reported a lot about giant companies acquiring big companies before. Remember when Facebook bought Instagram? Today, I am hearing a lot of about Amazon acquiring Twitch.

If you aren’t familiar with Twitch, think of it as a place where video gamers can go to post their gaming. It is a lot of fun, and it has a lot of hits. There was apparently some rumors that Google might buy this company, but it looks like Amazon beat them to the punch with $1 billion.

So, what does Amazon intend to do with this company? I don’t know. It is the world’s biggest bookstore, so why not this popular video-game related site. Yeah, I don’t know what they will do. I wonder if they have any buyer’s remorse over this one. Well, we’ll see.


The QBracelet, a bracelet that can charge a mobile device!

Q BraceletAs many of you know, I have reviewed many mobile batteries made specifically so mobile devices don’t run out of power when we need them the most. Usually, these mobile batteries are these bricks that are often thicker and heavier than the mobile phone even tablet that you want to charge. A new standard could be set with the QBracelet.

The QBracelet is a battery that the user wears on his or her wrist. It is about 1.8 ounces, and it can hold a charge that is good for charging 60 percent of a smartphone. That might not be much, but if you have something that just needs a little juice, it is all that you need.

Now the QBracelet will be available in small, medium, and large in colors of matte silver, polished gold, and brushed or matte black. It is also available with micro-USB or Apple Lightning connectors, each of them for about $79 for pre-order here.


Press “Buy” to purchase on Twitter?

twitter-crime buyersI realize that Amazon has that one-click purchase, but I don’t think some users think it is fast enough. Generally, there is a confirmation click after that.

Okay, so you saw the headline, and you can see that the microblogging company is interested in making a “Buy” button. They want to do this with a company known as Stripe, a payments startup. This means that if you want to tweet about what are selling, I suppose that you can do that.

Yeah, I am not certain how I feel about that. I suppose that I could criticize clicking on Twitter to get stuff or sell it, but in all honesty, I think we may have sold out a long time ago. By the way, I have a book coming out this October. Click here to purchase. No, there’s nothing there to click, but I think that you see my point. I suppose that this point has been made before.