The Fireflies Audio Wireless Earbuds

I will be covering another one of these Kickstarter projects today, and this one I feel is going to be a standard-setter. As you can see by the video, it is about wireless earbuds, and I am not certain whether these Fireflies are the first of their type.

The issue is that I believe that I saw two companies that have created some wireless earbuds. It is a product that I’m pretty certain it is a product and its time has come. I mean, if you want wireless earbuds, you have to have this wire in between them to join them wirelessly with Bluetooth.

Now, you have two separate earbuds that are joined with Bluetooth. What is funny is that you can’t even tell that they are there. I mean, they have no wire, so you will look like a real crazy guy singing along to your music on your wireless device.

In case you are wondering how these are powered, there is some kind of charging pod where you just put them on and they juice up. Not bad.

Well, this is a Kickstarter project that you can donate to. You can find out more information here for a preview, but it won’t go live until July 5th.


There Might Be a New Dungeons and Dragons Film, But Will The Church Stop It?

I’m going to be honest with you and say that I’m using this source about a new Dungeons and Dragons movie to talk about something else. I honestly don’t really care about a new Dungeons and Dragons film, but you can read the Source here if you do. I’ll go ahead and spoil it and say that Warner Brother seems really interested in it, for some odd reason.

The reason why I am bringing this up is I am using it as an excuse to talk about something: how the church can be…off. Yeah, I have been a Christian for over 25 years, but it has been very recently that I haven’t questioned God or Jesus, but the supposed values of Christians. I’m going to bring up the issue of Dungeons and Dragons, which I have not heard hardly anything about in the past decade.

If you are not family with Dungeons and Dragons, it is a role-playing game that allows players to imagine themselves as characters in a fantasy universe. There has to be a Dungeon Master who sets the scene so the characters can have some direction, and this Dungeon Master has to adapt to whatever the characters do.

I was told when I went to church in the nineties that this game is some kind of gateway drug into satanism. I believe that most of this is related to cases of suicide, and it was found that some victims play Dungeons and Dragons. There was even an after-school special called Mazes and Monsters where a player of the title game (an obvious rip-off of the popular role-playing game) became insane after playing the game. It actually starred Tom Hanks in one of his first roles, and I remember watching it and not thinking it had some agenda.

However, the church somehow adopted an agenda in the eighties and nineties, saying these RPGs were just evil. I admit that I joined in this mindset, and one of the first short stories that I ever wrote was anti-RPG propaganda. I have reversed my point of views, and my logic in the theme of this story is mistaken.

The truth is that these RPG games are no more harmful than sports. Yes, the characters use magic and kill enemies, but honestly, it isn’t real. Yes, there are probably people who have gotten into them in an unhealthy manner, but I can’t think of anything that can’t be abused. I’ll go ahead and segue into how I feel about Christianity.

Recently, I have seen how some Christian views are mistaken, and their attempts to save people have resulted in people just feeling bad about themselves. Two decades ago, it was considered not Christian to play these role-playing games, but a recent search on Google has shown practically nothing about it. Also, World of Warcraft became huge, and I never heard any Christian organization condemn it. Maybe they did, but who knows why I didn’t hear about it.

The church did the same thing with Harry Potter, and I never hear about that anymore. I think it is good that the church has changed, and I hope it gets more-Christ-like, really. That is, a bit more acceptable of things like RPGs, that don’t harm anyone. I understand about spreading the Word, and wanting to stop sin, but these RPGs don’t fall under that category.

Skinit Waterproof Case for iPhone 6/6S

skinitI have reviewed a lot of interesting waterproof cases in the past, and I will have to say that this one from Skinit is more affordable than something from Lifeproof.

The Skinit has an impact-resistant shell case that will protect from drops, bumps and falls. Yes, any case will do that, and aren’t cases required for iPhones since that iPhone 4 problem? Yeah, I don’t hear about that anymore.

This one has a hard shell case to make it one hundred percent waterproof. It is waterproof up to a depth of 20 feet, and allows for all kinds of things like e-mail, text, and looks great for beaches and other summertime activities.

In case you are wondering whether or not you have to get the cool American flag on the cover, you don’t. You can create your own cover for your case on the Skinit site, and that goes for Mugs, Canvas, Bumper Stickers and more.

The case in question is about $39.95.

Speculative Fiction Saturday: X-Men Apocalypse

X-menI have to admit, I came into X-Men Apocalypse, not expecting to like it. I mean, I didn’t think it would suck, but this is the sixth film in the series, so I guess I am wondering how much life is in this series.

In fact, I could compare the X-Men series with another popular series that 20th Century used to own with Star Wars. The original X-Men was a hit, and it opened the door to more superhero movies, kind of like the original 1977 Star Wars movie opened the door to science fiction films. X2 was even a bigger hit, like how The Empire Strikes Back worked for Star Wars. Some will say that Return of the Jedi was disappointing, and I will say that X-Men: The Last Stand was terribly disappointing.

This has led to a prequel series for X-Men that began with First Class, which could be compared to The Phantom Menace. Yeah, I didn’t think that Episode 1 was all bad, and that was what I thought about the first X-Men prequel. Days of Future Past was an improvement like Attack of the Clones. Now, along comes X-Men Apocalypse, which can be compared to Revenge of the Sith.

Sadly, this last X-Men film is not really gaining a big following with 48 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. I can see why, as this film has some flaws, but a lot of what is in it eclipses the bad. So, this is a good film, but it might not be a great film.

I’m going to get to the biggest flaw in this film, and that is the villain. I realize that Apocalypse is considered one of the X-Men’s greatest foes, and back when I was collecting comics, I remember him and thought he was pretty cool, for a villain. The issue is that this movie series has interesting villains who have motives that you can understand, even though they are skewed, like Magneto and Stryker. The issue with Apocalypse is he comes off as someone like the Emperor, Agent Smith, Sauron, or any Disney villain. That is, he is kind of evil for the sake of being evil.

Apocalypse is apparently the first mutant, and since he can take powers from other mutants, he can do pretty much anything that the script demands. You know, like grow wings of metal or turn a person’s hair white. He can also teleport with the help of spherical Jello. I’m just going to let you see the film before I detail the context of those scenes.

Yeah, this feels like lazy writing, and a little bit of established backstory could show how Apocalypse was somehow venerated as a god in ancient Egypt. How is it that mutants can be so feared in the modern world yet just the opposite in the ancient one?

I mean, is this the point? Yeah, this film doesn’t seem to have a good point, even though it has a lot of great fights, great effects, and some very great scenes. The film takes place in 1983, a decade after the events from the last film. Yeah, these X-Men prequel films take place a decade apart, which is odd.

In case you are not aware, the X-Men series got a huge reboot shot in the arm because of some time travel stuff in Days of Future Past. In fact, it was established that the events in X-Men: The Last Stand didn’t happen, and I couldn’t be happier. These new X-Men movies don’t seem to care about continuity much, and they are doing things that seriously alter the timeline. Like in this movie, they meet Nightcrawler, who didn’t originally show up until X2, but he’s making an early appearance.

Then there are times when the series just says: “screw it”. For example, the character of Angel appeared in X-Men: The Last Stand, as a teenager, and I assumed that this took place in whatever present era that the original X-Men trilogy took place, which is in the last decade, or the “not to distant future”, I’m not sure. However, Angel is here in the eighties, at the same age.

Now, the thing about Apocalypse in the comics is that he has this belief that he must abolish the weak in order for the strong to rise up. It’s pretty Darwinian, that’s for sure, and why he believes this really should be established a whole lot better.

Let’s talk about the good. There is a scene where Magneto is discovered by the police in Poland. Apparently, Magneto has married and had a daughter, but he is still a fugitive. When the cops come with bows and arrows to arrest Magneto, his daughter and wife are killed. Sadly, this scene is not well set-up, but the reaction afterwards is just great.

There is another great scene with Quicksilver, as he has to run into a building that is exploding and rescue everyone in it. It has this slowmo almost Matrix quality and has the perfect choice of music with “Sweet Dreams Are Made of This” by the Eurythmics. It is worth the price of admission just for that scene alone.

This is one of those films that probably should have focused on characters and developing these characters rather than big action scenes. So much so, that I didn’t really care about the big action scene at the end, no matter how many special effects they threw at me.

So, I’m going to say that this film is worth seeing, so check it out if you are an X-Men fan. I’m guessing that the fandom didn’t save this one, and I’m not certain how many X-Men films they can or should do.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.