Speculative Fiction Saturday: Transformers, Age of Extinction

Transformers 4Okay, this is the last time I’ll be reviewing a Transformers movie, at least this month. Personally, I still think this franchise has at least one good movie left in it, but they’ll probably make one good one, plus three bad cash-ins. When that happens, a decade from now, perhaps we will do Transformers month once again.

Okay, I honestly don’t think there was supposed to be a Transformers 4, and this film has the feeling of redeux all over it. Gone is Shia LeBeouf and whoever girl he’s wooing, as well as any military personae that appeared in the first three. Instead, we have…Marky Mark. Mark Wahlberg plays Cade Yeager, who plays an inventor who can’t seem to get seem to get the right inspiration until it falls on his lap in the form of Optimus Prime.

For some reason, Optimus Prime is in an abandoned movie theater, and some shrapnel lodged in him has kept him from transforming. Yeager frees Prime, and this begins an intense series of events equal to the first film.

Now, I will have to give props to the plot of this film, because it is somewhat creative. Apparently, after the big Chicago battle of the last film, humanity is just plain sick of having these giant robots on their planet that just fight and wreck things. So they hunt down each Transformer, the good ones, and this is how Prime got to his immobilized form. I don’t know why anyone would shoot Prime and then leave him in a theater, but we had to make him a plot point of attack somehow.

Now, as much as I think this might actually happen given this scenario, unlikely as it is, this other transformer gets into the mix. Apparently, the government has been working this this outsider named Lockdown who has an unknown agenda. Okay, now here’s the thing: if you were the government, and you wanted to get rid of big robots from space on your planet, and then another robot from space came by and told you he would do it, would you accept that deal? Okay, I realize that last sentence was all kinds of run-on, but this part just doesn’t make a lot of sense, really. Because no one would hire a strange hostile robot to get rid of robots who have proven non-hostile.

So yeah, that part doesn’t make a lot of sense. However, I do like what happens once the government takes out the last of the Transformers. They sell it to a private industrialist who is trying to use the Transformers technology to create some seriously cool shape-shifting stuff. Honestly, it feels like tech that we would want to have, even if we would have to destroy a race or two of alien robots to get it.

Now for the part I don’t like, Stanley Tucci is playing the industrialist, and he’s not as charismatic as he was in The Hunger Games. He plays some guy who is obviously modeled after Steve Jobs, and it is not complimentary at all. Now, Kelsey Grammer, who plays a ruthless government operative, is nailing his role. Too bad these two talented actors are in this film which has a good idea, but lousy execution.

In fact, the film has so many action scenes in it that it really slows down this film that is very, very long. This film decided to go to Hong Kong for its final, city-wrecking climax. Sadly, all of the big action and special effects are more drawn out than the ending of the second Hobbit movie.

So I would say this is the second-worst Transformers movie, but it is actually okay. There’s no reason why they won’t make another as the ending of Transformers 4 is open, and I am certain a fifth one is on the way, coming in 2016.

Review of Olloclip New Telephoto and Macro 3-in-1 Lens for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

OlloclipOne thing about Olloclip is that they have a way of putting out a new product every once in a while, and I am quite fortunate to review them. The last time was the 4-in-1 Photo Lens for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and I got a chance to review the Telephoto and Macro 3-in-1 Photo Lenses fro the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

One of the most terrific things about those lenses is how they both work for the either the regular or XL iPhone (or iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus). The frames can clip on whatever model you are sporting in just seconds, and it is made to hang around your neck conveniently when not in use. Also, there are three different colors of this frame that include black, blue, and green.

I’ll start with the Telephoto + Circular Polarizing Lens (CPL) and it allows for a 2X magnification optical lens, which is good for both photos and videos (see above). Not only will this lens get you twice as close to a subject, but the CPL will give you a more creative depth of field and richer colors to make a subject stand out in the backgrounds.

OlloclipThen there is the Macro 3-in-1 lens which is made for capturing close-up shots (seen here to the right). It is good for 7X, 14X, and 21X magnifications with some interchangeable lens action going on for more than 80x magnification with the iPhone’s digital zoom.

The Macro 3-in-1 lens allows for nicely diffused light and less pincushion distortion, and their Instafocus hoods are specifically designed to diffuse the light for good focus.

All in all, I’m going to recommend the Olloclip products, because they are always good. You can get the Telephoto + CPL Lens for about $99.99 here on the Olloclip site, and the Macro 3-in-1 Lens for about $69.99 here.

Mobile World Congress 2015 will unveil many new phones: HTC One M9, Samsung Galaxy S6, Sony Xperia Z4, and Lenovo phone

Mobile World Congress 2015In case you are not aware, there is a a huge conference in Barcelona Spain that perhaps I will attend one day. There are going to be a lot of new phones on display there.

I’ll start with the one that I am probably going to get with the Samsung S6. Of course, I it is a sequel to Samsung S5, and I would imagine that the screen will be bigger and it might have a similar curved display of the Galaxy Edge. It will be very interesting to see where this goes.

Then there will be the HTC One M9, the next step from HTC’s flagship One M8. It was rumored that this would show up at CES 2015, but tradition has HTC unveiling the latest version of the One at MWC.

Samsung S6Then there is the Sony Xperia Z4, sequel to the Z3. It is possible that the Z4 could have a tablet brother as well.

These are the big three phones that will be at MWC 2015, and there is another one from Lenovo. In fact, there will be a lot of Lenovo phoens like the Vibe Max. The Vibe Max plans to have a 6 inch display with QHD resolution.

So, here’s what we can expect from MWC 2015, and I’m sure there will be more. I’ll see if I can’t report on them as they get announced next week.


Jakks Pacific RC Hulk Smash

Hulk toyAs we go into May, there will be more and more hype for Avengers: Age of Ultron. I have no idea if this toy from Jakks Pacific is supposed to represent some scene from the new movie, but it certainly is a very cool toy.

Seriously, not only is it remotely controlled, but it has the Hulk sitting on a Hummer for some wheels. There are stunts like wheelies and spins. In addition to the Hummer ride, the Hulk has some giant arms that can punch and hit with sound effects and the “HULK SMASH” catchphrase.

You should be able to get the RC Hulk Smash for about $70, and something tells me this has the potential to be the next Tickle Me Elmo. We’ll see around the holidays.


Life n Soul Mini Water Resistant Speaker

th This little gadget makes a big sound! If you want a portable bluetooth speaker to listen to your device’s music on the go, I think this would be a good investment! The bonus is that it is water resistant against splashing water from any angle! You can listen to your music while riding your bike in the rain!

Mark was introduced to Life n Soul before with other products like the MT 101 Bluetooth earbuds. They make other products, too, like other Bluetooth speakers, and headphones. I’ll be reviewing another product by them that will locate lost objects in a later post. I’ve enjoyed testing out this Bluetooth speaker they sent us to review.

The speaker is easy to set-up. There is a USB cable to charge it. Once charged, it paired up with my phone quickly and painlessly. There are no apps you have to download to get it to work. Once paired, my phone automatically brought up my music, and I was amazed at the sound quality that came out of it! It took me a minute to figure out after the volume controls on the speaker weren’t going any louder, that I just needed to adjust the volume on my phone. The bass is impressive for this tiny thing, and I like that that it glows and flashes when it is on. The BM101 comes in black, blue, pink, purple, or white. There’s a stretchable strap so you can attach it to your backpack, bike handles, or wear it on your wrist.

Life n Soul sells this product for $24.99 on their website, and can also be found on Amazon, or in stores like Best Buy, Wal-Mart, and Staples- to name a few.

Aduro Shatterguardz Screen Protector and U-SNAP Selfie Remote

shatterguardzIt has been a bit since I reviewed Aduro products, as I did the four products all at once. Today, I’m going to be two products, the Shatterguardz glass screen protector and the U-Snap SF 45 Universal Wireless Bluetooth Selfie Remote with Tripod.

Yes, I have reviewed a lot of screen protectors, and this specially processed glass that allows for protection against scratches, drops, and even fingerprints. It is very easy to install, and the Shatterguardz has Ultra Sensitive Touch Technology to freely navigate the device.

So, what are we looking at here? Well, it is a pretty inexpensive as it can be purchased on Amazon for $7.99, but I see it on the Aduro site for $49.99. Now, you should be able to get this for iPhones, and other versions of Galaxy devices.

Aduro U-SNAPNow, let’s look at the U-SNAP Wireless, a wireless Bluetooth Camera Remote Clicker Plus 360 Rotating Tripod. This is designed for an age of the selfie.

The U-SNAP Wireless can fit all devices with 3.5 to 5.5 inch screens, and then there is a tripod to hold it steady. Then there is a Bluetooth connected shutter release so you can take your selfie without getting your arm in the shot.

By the way, the shutter release can fit on your keychain and it works from more than 30 feet away. The tripod and the shutter release button come in four colors including Black, Blue, Pink, and Purple.

This is another Aduro product that I’m getting a huge price decrease on Amazon with $11.99. The Aduro U-SNAP can be purchased on the Aduro site for about $39.99.

CastAR is picking up steam for Virtual Reality

It was about a year ago, we reported on the CastAR, a virtual reality system that had very high aspirations. As you can see by the above video, they are still hoping to get in on this new age of VR.

We are not yet living in the age of the Oculus Rift, but these glasses have a projection screen and use two teeny 720p projectors mounted on top of the glasses to send out the image. Then there are mounted LEDs for tracking head movement.

I think what capture my attention on this thing is its ability to do some excellent gaming. My Source says that the gaming thing is good, but the whole thing about what a building would look like with virtual building plans is not quite as good as the video would show.

You know what is weird about this video? After the whole family uses these CastAR goggles, the mom kind of steals them on the way out. This feels like the ending to a horror movie, or something. Also, can’t everyone in the family have one of these? It looks like the whole family was sharing.

The last time that I wrote about this, the CastAR was a Kickstarter project. I have no idea what stage it the CastAR is in, but I still can’t wait to try it out.


Google releases YouTube for Kids App for Android Devices

YouTube KidsWell, I think we all know that Google owns both Android and YouTube, so it stands to reason that they have created a YouTube app for Android devices, for kids! Oh wait, it also delivered this kid-friendly YouTube app for iOS devices too.

Considering that my kids spend a lot of time watching YouTube videos, it stands to reason why they would do this. It is full of age-appropriate videos, channels, and playlists. The application has big buttons for easy scrolling and one-touch fullscreen.

The videos included are for Sesame Street, Thomas and Friends, and Dreamworks. Many of them are educational with music, science, and so forth.

By the way, parents will like how they can quickly notify YouTube to see if there is anything questionable from the application. That is right, there are parental controls and all that.

Again, I have to question YouTube’s reason for creating a channel for kids, because I thought YouTube was supposed to screen out non kid-friendly stuff. In other words, one of its biggest audiences is getting some kind of specialty market.


Justin 2,200 mAh Power Stick and 4 Port Auto Power Strip from Innovative Technology

JustinOkay, after my review of the Justin 10,000 Power Bank from Innovative Technology, I was very glad to get my hands on another product from them. Actually, it is two with the 2,200 mAh Power Stick and the 4 Port Auto Power Strip.

I’ll go ahead and start with the 2,200 mAh Round Power Stick, which is the round version of that battery that I just reviewed. I’m not talking about the Weego, but that is another product that you can look at on my last review. Seriously, just lick on my last review and you’ll find it.

Not only it is round, but it has less power and more portability. It is a USB port ready for anything that can be charged via USB. You should be able to get it for about $19.99, and find out more information here.

Justin 4 Port Auto Power StripThen there is the 4 Port Auto Power Adaptor, which has two 12V and Two USB Auto Adaptors. At first I thought that I wouldn’t need one of these, but then I remembered: I have children.

All you need to have is that spare dash lighter thing. You know, I remember when that was just a cigarette lighter, and then we discovered that smoking was actually bad for us. I’m glad that we were able to turn that port into something useful for the mobile generation.

It has a 2 foot power cord, and it costs about $19.99, and you can get more information about it here.

Weego Rechargeable Battery Pack Compact

WeegoOkay, we are reviewing another mobile battery with the Weego Rechargeable Battery Pack! I’m beginning to think that we should change the name of this tech and gadget blog just to talk about it.

So by now you know the drill, I talk about how inconvenient it is to have your smartphone and tablet run out of power, and how you need some juice at a critical moment. So it is just a matter of how many mAh, which is 2600, which is enough for charging a smartphone one and a half times. Oh, it also has a 1A max. output to charge smartphones and other USB devices.

As you can see, it has your typical mobile battery look, and it is very pocket-sized at 3.3 inches with heavy-duty quality materials and components for durability. You should be able to get it on the Weego site for about $19.99.