Speculative Fiction Saturday: Devil’s Advocate

Devils AdvocateLast week, I told you that I enjoyed the Keanu Reeves movie of Constantine, a story filled with angels and demons, even if they are not necessarily biblical in their depiction. While I am comfortable watching a film where spiritual warfare takes a very physical form, I just found that I had a hard time believing in the basic concept behind this film.

Before I get to talking about what this film is about, I have to ask: “What do you think a film called Devil’s Advocate would be about?” If you said: “I don’t know something about a devil and a lawyer”, you would be correct. It was like someone started with that idea, and somewhere along the line, they could figure out how to sustain it.

It begins in a courtroom, where Keanu Reeves plays Kevin Lomax, who is playing a lawyer, with some Southern accent. He does as good as a job as you might think, and it looks like he did at least some research before or after he took the role. Lomax is defending some teacher charged with sexual harassment, and it looks like he is going to lose as the key witness has a story that sounds genuine. Lomax takes a recess, and then goes and wins the case.

Lomax is then given an offer to work at a prestigious law firm in New York City, and it is quite a package. He and his wife, Mary Ann, (who is played by Charlize Theron before she became a serious A-List star) are given an apartment, and everyone who works at this law firm works lives there.

The head man is John Milton, played by Al Pacino. Yes, his name is the same as the writer of Paradise Lost, which is an epic poem about the devil’s fall from heaven. In all honesty, I don’t believe that story about the devil being in heaven originally, but I don’t want to get into that. The point is that John Milton is the devil, in case that apparently symbolic name didn’t give you a clue.

Lomax has a mother who doesn’t like her son embracing such “worldly” things, and that is probably as accurate a description as I can say. At the same time, Mary Ann Lomax is attempting to embrace this life of luxury, but there is this part of her telling her that it isn’t right. As a result, she breaks down mentally over what seems to be the smallest thing: the color of her apartment.

Mixed in with this is, Lomax has to take on a new client named Alexander Cullen (no relation to the family in Twilight) who has been accused of stabbing his wife. Cullen is played by Craig T. Nelson, but he’s not figured into the story much. Lomax doesn’t seem to want to take the time to take care of his wife’s health, but seems determined to solve the case.

Now, here’s what is interesting. There is a scene where Lomax insists that he can win the case, and then deal with his wife. It is John Milton, the devil character that tries to talk him out of it. You heard me, the devil actually wanted Lomax to do the right thing.

Now, up to this point, this film actually has some interesting ideas, and I thought that perhaps this would be an interesting morality tale about resisting the broad and narrow path. Then at some point, this film just goes a little crazy, as does Mary Ann. At this point, I’m going to spoil this film, because it would be better to read my description that to see this film.

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Lynktec Reeljuice, a mobile battery with a four-foot retractable cord

Reel JuiceThis was another product that I found at CES 2016 and was glad that I had a chance to try out. I have to say that the Reeljuice from Lynktec is a mobile battery, which I have reviewed many times in the past.

This Reeljuice could beat them all, with uniqueness alone. You see in the illustrations how it separates into three pieces, and I’ll talk about the biggest one first.

This is the battery part of the apparatus, and can operate independent of the other two parts if you just want to take it with you. It has a four-foot cord that is retractable cord which is good for charging anything that has a micro USB. Even though the retractable cord is a big enough selling point, it is good enough to charge a phone about three to five times.

If you have an Apple device, it has a special Lightning connector adapter. Then there is also the attachment of a USB cable that plugs in at the bottom via micro USB. If you have an Android charging cable, it works.

It should be known that the Reeljuice 3X costs $99.99 and the 5X is $119.99, all at the Lynktec site.

UAG Part 2: Magma Folio Case for the iPad 2 and Cobalt Case for the Surface Pro 4

UAG Magma Folio CaseOkay, today we are back with Under Armor Gear (UAG) once again, and this time we are reviewing two products: The Magma for the iPad Air 2 and the Cobalt for the Surface Pro 4.

We’ll start with the Apple product with a feather-light construction, as well as a soft core. Unlike the hard plastic case that I reviewed in Part 1, this one feels soft all over. It is soft everywhere but on the corners, so it looks like it can take a lot of hits. I believe that it is called Frogskin Technology grip, and that isn’t all.

This is a Folio case, which means that you can stand it up for watching videos, but only in landscape mode. It has a magnetic strap that holds it closed.

In other words, it has the quality that you would expect for a UAG product. It can be purchased on the UAG site for about $49.95.

UAG Surface Pro 4As for the Cobalt Case for the Surface Pro 4, I have to admit that even though it is made by the same company, it feels like a completely different animal. Instead of something that is soft to the touch, this feels pretty hard.

Part of it is the stand, which is completely metal and can go into 5 angular positions, and it can even work with a portrait view if you like. It also has a place to store the Surface Pen, and it is compatible with the Microsoft Type Cover Keyboard with multiple keyboard positions.

All in all, it has some serious Frogskin exterior non-slip grip, and meets the military drop standards as well. All in all, there is so much to like about this UAG product. I kind of wish some of this technology would be on the aforementioned iPad Air 2 case.

You can get this particular case on the UAG site for about $69.95.

Tunebelt AB88 and AB89

Tunebelt AB89iP6OBDef_1409__92339.1412709542.480.480It has been a while since I reviewed a Tunebelt product. Today, I’m going to do two with what the company sent me with the AB89 and the AB88.

Even thought this is out of order, I’ll start with the AB89. This particular sport armband is for iPhone 6/6S, and it will fit it if you have one of those Otterbox cases, or maybe one from UAG (you know, something similar). That is good news, as some smartphones with a case on them don’t fit.

Then there are all the bonuses like a neoprene armband, a way of storing the earphone cord, and just a good way of keeping the iPhone proofed against the weather. Oh yeah, it is quite good, and I recommend it for anyone who wants some jogging or whatever protection they want.

It can be purchased at the Tunebelt site for $24.95.

Tunebelt A88So, here’s an interesting case for the Galaxy Note 3 and Note 2 without a case, and it is also good enough for the Galaxy S4 and S3. That means it can hold those old Samsung phablets and the newer Samsung smartphones. This is the AB88.

Everything else about the AB88 is pretty much the same as the AB89. Seriously, I have the two armbands in front of me, and if it wasn’t for the ID numbers on the back, I wouldn’t have been able to tell them apart. One is for Apple, one is for Samsung, and they both work well for accessing the respective smartphones with their touchscreens.

This is available on the Tunebelt website for about $24.95.

UAG Part 1: Trooper for the iPhone 6 and ICE HTC One M9 Case

UAG IPH6S_Card_Case_BLK_PT05-2Okay, today is the day where we are going to review two UAG products, one of them is for the iPhone 6/6S and the other for the HTC One M9, my current personal smartphone. If you aren’t familiar with UAG, it stands for Under Armor Gear, and it is great protection.

The Trooper for the iPhone 6 might be named because it holds things, like a trooper. The things it can hold include four credit cards, as there is a lid on the back that can flip to hold them.

The Trooper is a hard case, but it also has some rubberized edges so it goes all around. It also has some good protection for the buttons, so it is nice on many accounts. The inside has an impact resistant core, and it is completely light.

You should be able to get the Trooper on the UAG site for about $39.95.

UAG HTCM9_ICE_PT01_3000Now that I am finished talking about the Trooper, I’ll go with the ICE case for the HTC One M9. I own this brand of smartphone, and I have to admit that whenever I review cases, the companies that make them don’t usually make them for this phone.

The HTC One M9 is a thin phone, so the addition of the ICE case doesn’t add much real estate to it, surprisingly. It also doesn’t add too much weight, and its shape adds some good grip points on the phone.

The fact that the phone has a clear transparent shell also adds to the list of pluses, and it I would recommend it if you have this phone. You should be able to purchase it on the UAG site for $34.95.

Boomstick by Boomcloud 360

BoomstickIn case you are wondering, I am really having a hard time not saying: “All right, you primitive screw-heads, this is my Boomstick”. In addition to the reference to Ash from Army of Darkness, this is quite a good product from Boomcloud 360.

So let’s go with my second intro: in my review of the Monster Clarity HD earbuds, I talk about how the company declared war against the crappy earbud, like the ones that come with the iPhone. The Boomstick is designed to correct the problem and give you some good sound.

Now, I have seen products like this in the past, where it says that it improves it, but I don’t really hear the difference. Fortunately, you do hear it. In fact, after the Boomstick is completely charged, there is a button so you can turn its functions on and off.

In other words, Boomstick really wants you to hear the difference, and it is there. I was given this product to test out at CES 2016, and I am so glad that I did. I happen to use a pair of crappy earbuds on my smartphone and laptop, and they integrated quite well.

Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to obtain this item right now, but it is available for pre-order here for $99.00.

Belkin NetCam HD+ Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision

Belkin NetcamI have reviewed many Belkin products and they really have a huge diversity for what they make. This particular product reminds me of the Dropcam, another product that I have reviewed in the past.

This NetCam allows for streaming video just about anywhere to your smartphone and tablet, and there is no computer required, just connect it to your home’s Wi-Fi router. It is as simple as downloading the Netcam App, plug in the Netcam HD+, connect to the camera, and launch the application. It is designed to work with the WeMo family of products from Belkin.

It is able to capture video at 720p HD, which can be seen on a smartphone or tablet touchscreen. It also comes with a wide-angle video format for “big shots”.

In addition to getting video, you can keep it as well, thanks to the power of Cloud+ Premium Services. You can store videos in the cloud to watch them later, and it is also possible to receive notifications on a mobile device when the camera’s motion sensor is triggered.

belkin-dogIt is also possible to communicate with whoever is on screen with the push-to-talk function. This can be used to scold a pet, like in a place where the Chocolate Lab is ready to devour a chocolate cake, like the one in this picture. I personally think that is pretty hilarious.

By the way, the camera has some infrared night vision function with a Day/Night filter to improve the picture on the device for some good images, even in dark settings.

If this is something that you are interested in, head on over to the Belkin site and pay about $129.99 for it.

Our Review of the Keurig Kold Drinkmaker

Keurig KOLD drinkmaker - WhiteAt CES 2016, my wife and I had a great time trying out gadgets, and we were grateful to discover that Keurig was willing to send a Keurig KOLD Drinkmaker to us for testing out for this article. I will have to say that we our reviews of it are…mixed. I will explain that it is more than just a pun.

In case you can’t tell by the name, The Keurig KOLD Drinkmaker is made to make cold drinks on the spot. I must say that the box that this device came in was big, and it was heavy. This means that it also takes up a lot of countertop space as well.

You know how most fast food restaurants have that fountain drink, where you can get unlimited refills for a low price? Some people say that soda tastes better from one of these, and I am in that club. I remember when I worked a pizza restaurant, and discovered that fountain soda comes from the combination of seltzer water with a dash of syrup.

Keurig KOLD Wire CarouselIn the case of the Keurig KOLD, the water comes right from your tap, but it must be flavored with these little flavor pods. All that is required to do is put in a small flavor pod that is the shape of…you know those gumball machines in front of grocery stores that will give you a toy when you put a quarter in? You remember the shape of those plastic things that the toy would come in? The Flavor Pods are that shape, but flat on both ends. I think that is the best description of it that I could possibly give.

Anyway, we took out the Keurig KOLD Drinkmaker out of the box, and it required two hours of cooling down plugged in the wall before you could get it to work. There is this bar of an indicator to let you know when it is ready. Then you had to use a purple thing to cleanse it, so it can fill an empty glass with water. One of the sides detaches so you can fill it with water, and it good for six cups as the indicator light then goes from purple to blue.

Then you can put in a flavor pod, and it will fill with authentic soda from brands like Dr. Pepper, Coke, Sprite, and much more. It starts with the water, and then it adds the color and the fizz. It sounds a little funny, but it works. I have to admit that even without ice, the soda tastes pretty darn authentic.

So what are pluses? Well, if you want an authentic fountain drink in your home, this is the way to go. I actually think that a restaurant soda fountain would cost more and take up a lot more room.

The minuses might outweigh the pluses. Those flavor pods cost a lot, and it is just easier to just buy six-packs or cases. You can get 20 of these for $20.99, and that is good enough for 20 individual 8 ounce drinks. In comparison, it would be cheaper to buy it by the case at 75 cents per can.

I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether or not the price for fountain soda is worth it. If you do, you can go to Keurig’s site and pay about $369.99 with a discount applied to the cart. It comes with 2 glasses, but packets are sold separately.

Olloclip Studio helps iPhone 6/6S photographers

OlloclipOh yes, we are reviewing another Olloclip product today, and if you are thinking it will be another lens for the camera, you would be wrong. This particular Studio is made to help those that want to photograph with the iPhone, but in a different way.

I’m not certain if I can describe how this works, but you can see an interesting black line on the back of the case. The reason that this black line is here was for mounting stuff, and you will like what you can mount here. To mount the accessories, it is simple as putting them on and sliding them, but you can’t slide them too far or they will fall off. That makes sense if you try it.

One of the things is a finger grip which allows the user to put the iPhone in between two fingers, and then film or taking pictures, switching from portrait to landscape on the fly. There also two “cold shoe adapters” allowing the user to attach some accessories like a microphone or light, and it offsets the iPhone directly along the centerline.

Olloclip 2Then there are two clips designed to attach a tripod, with a threaded hole designed for that screw thing on most accessories. One of these accessories is good for portrait, and another is for landscapes. The last is a kickstand, which allows the iPhone to be used as a display for watching TV content.

I’m hoping that the other illustration that I have provided here will show how these accessories are mounted, and it really works. The two-finger one is pretty cool, and the tripod mounts are pretty great as well. You should be able to get the Olloclip Studio on the Olloclip site for $89.99.

Master Lock Bluetooth Smart Padlock

Master LockI’m sure that you’re probably familiar with Master Lock, because they make great…locks. Sure it just makes sense to put a padlock with Bluetooth, and it might not be the first to do so.

I don’t really know who put Bluetooth on a padlock, but it uses a smartphone to open a lock with a free Master Lock vault eLocks application. So, if you forget your smartphone, it is possible to use a backup access with directional code on a lock keypad.

By the way, you can share access with others, either temporary or permanent, so if you want someone to open your padlock for any reason, you had better make sure that you trust them. For those are nervous about their lock, there is the possibility of getting some tamper alerts.

The application also tell you when the battery is about to expire, and replacing it with a CR2450. There is even a battery jump allowing for temporary access should the battery die.

So, if you want this, it will cost $49.99, and it will have a Limited Lifetime 1 Year Limited Warenty.