Speculative Fiction Saturday: Spectre

SpectreI believe that this is the first time that I have reviewed a James Bond film, and this is probably cheating. James Bond films are not science-fiction, unless you count Moonraker. However, I recently wrote about how James Bond could be relevant in today’s age, and there are some themes in Spectre that have been explored in speculative fiction works, and is a commentary on today’s technology.

I probably should briefly discuss James Bond, but even my son has heard of him, and he has never seen a single one of the many movies. The reboot that occurred when Daniel Craig took the role was probably the best thing that could happen to James Bond. It was a way of taking him back to his roots and introducing him to a post 9/11 world. I recently watched Casino Royale, and I believe it is one of the better Bond films, and it would be the best if not for the iconic nature of Goldfinger.

For some reason, James Bond has this really annoying habit of going rogue in every movie he is in from now on. Now, there has been some events in the last movie, Skyfall, that have dovetailed into this film. The female M, played by Judi Dench, died in the last film, but she left a posthumous message asking Bond to kill someone and “not miss the funeral”.

This is one thing that I’m not really liking about James Bond, as these most recent films have emphasized Bond as an assassin. Now, I understand that he has a license to kill, which never made sense to me. I mean, this guy has a permission slip to break one of the Ten Commandments! Personally, Bond is a spy, which means he will have to be the fly in the ointment in order to topple dictatorships. He isn’t just a trigger, but a problem-solver, and the guy you call when you have to get your hands dirty.

The film opens with Bond killing this man, who would have actually killed a whole stadium full of people. So that’s okay, right? Yeah, the morality of Bond is pretty questionable. Anyway, Bond really made a public spectacle out of killing this guy in a helicopter in Mexico on the Day of the Dead. It is actually a big action setpiece, and one of many in this film that sadly get worse as they progress.

This guy that Bond kills has a ring with a 7 armed octopus. Then it goes into the title sequences full of babes and bullets that the films are so well known for. There is also this scene where an octopus attacks a naked woman which is really sick hentai porn stuff. I have to give the film negative points for that, because I just don’t see a reason for that. Yeah, this isn’t a good review.

Anyway, apparently Bond is in trouble with the current M played by the great Ralph Fiennes. Bond is grounded, but Q, a classic Bond character that was finally brought into the rebooted Bond universe for Skyfall, tracks Bond with some microchips in his blood. Yeah, this is kind of speculative fiction tech.

At this point, there is a weird subplot about how MI6 is going to be merged into some new organization, and drones will replace the double O program. There is this guy who plays Moriarty on Sherlock who Bond calls C who represents this new ideal, and he’s a jerk.

Apparently, the late M told Bond not to miss the funeral of the guy he killed, so he sees this guy’s widow. He even stops assassins from killing this lady, and they have sex. Yeah, Bond also has a license to woo any woman, regardless of circumstances. I mean, her husband just died…and I really don’t want to get into this.

Bond soon discovers that there is a meeting going on with some really evil organization that is also ultra-secret. This is why this woman was killed because if you join Spectre, then your wife dies if you do. What is also odd is the set-up of this place, with a few guys sitting at a table, and other guys just standing around. Was there a shortage of chairs?

Before I answer that, I’m going to say that there are spoilers ahead, so don’t read any more if you don’t want the ending.

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OTTO Designworks Tuning System 10 and 11 Speed Cassette

OTS_beautyOkay, as many of you know, I receive a lot of stuff to review, and I will have you know that when I opened the product, I had no idea what it is. Seriously, I get a lot of stuff to review, and sometimes I just forget who even sends it to me. I’ll be honest and say that unless you know what this is, these products are a big question mark.

Fortunately, as a writer, I feel a need to do research. This is the Tuning System 2.0, and it is the first voice-guided iPhone vision tool and application that can check the adjustments in under 60 seconds.

Otto DesignworksAs you might have guessed, this is made for serious cyclists, and it provides a “thorough assessment of your shifting and derailleur angles in approximately 30 seconds”. All you got to use the iPHones’ camera as well as a set of engineered gauges to check the shifting alignment, and even has verbal prompts to lead the users through any needed adjustments.

Yes, this is an application that is free, and has levels of functionality of “Check” and “Tune”, with a multi bike profile feature. The end result is a better and smoother ride.

If this is something that you, as a biker, that you can get behind, head on over to the Otto Designworks site and lay down $39.00 for it. You can get the 10 and 11 speed cassette or the 9 speed cassette.

Black and Decker SMARTECH 20V MAX Lithium Drill/Driver

Black and Decker SmarttechI had a chance to try out the 12V Max Cordless Lithium Drill from Black and Decker, and I have to say that this SMARTECH 20V MAX Lithium Drill/Driver is a step up, made for the mobile age.

The 20V MAX Lithium Drill/Driver is a connected tool, which uses its SMARTECH batteries to locate, lock, and monitor tools. It uses a SMARTECH application for iOS and Android for Bluetooth controls in order to remote battery locking and unlocking.

It also has one of those battery locate functions, because we all need our smartphones to find our things now. Seriously, I have reviewed three products this year that help you find your keys, and I’m too lazy to put the hyperlinks here.

Also, you know how you use your cordless drill, and there usually isn’t an indicator of how much juice is actually really in the battery? Yeah, you know that is a problem. However, the smartphone app will give you the battery indicator.

So yes, this is a terrific product and it is a keyless chuck for easy removing of bits. Oh, and I don’t know if this is stealing a page form Apple’s playbook, but there is “One More Thing”.

This battery for the drill can also be a battery for devices. Just connect a USB cord to it, and you can get some extra juice for your smartphone, MP3 player, and more. Oh my gosh, this is great.

My gosh, this is good! You can get it on sites like Amazon for $74.99.

ExoLens Brings ZEISS Lenses to the iPhones

Exolens-iPhone-6-Hero-Image-reduced1It is really interesting how most people are taking pictures with their smartphones, and how companies like Olloclip are finding ways to put lenses. There is another company known as ExoLens, and they are putting ZEISS lenses on iPhones.

In fact, they are making the first aspherical lenses for mobile photographers to raise the standard of mobile photos and videos. They will have a series that includes wide-angle, telephoto, and macro, and they are normally made for DSLR cameras.

I am hoping that I will have a chance to try out these particular lenses, and I really like the way they look attached to an iPhone. I’m hoping that they will make a universal model for all phones.

ExoLens with Optics by ZEISS wide-angle lens kits are available today for $199.99 at Apple® retail stores and Apple.com for the iPhone® 6/6s and iPhone® 6 Plus/6s Plus.

Helix Dock for the Apple Watch from Standzout

Helix-Main_790a0529-0347-4d2a-80bc-f8270afefeebIt has been a while since I reviewed a Standzout product, at least three years. As for an Apple Watch product, it has been about three days.

The Standzout Helix is one of the best ways to charge an Apple Watch. You just plug it into the wall, and lay it on top. It has a compact housing that stores up to two meters of the Apple Watch charging cable, which allows for reducing cable clutter.

It is quite a decent product, and will recommend it for your Apple Watch needs. I can be purchased on the Standzout site for a now reduced price of $19.99, and available in colors of white, clear, black, and glow-in-the-dark.

Our Review of “Crimson Room Decade”

Crimson Room DecadeWhen I sent information about this game, I knew that I had to review it. Crimson Room Decade is about a man who wakes up in a locked room, and he has to find a way out. Considering that I have written a book called The Labyrinth House which deals with a man trapped in a mansion that he cannot escape.

So I have a personal interest. The issue is, this game is much harder than the world I created for my protagonist Bradley Jensen, and it takes a lot of perseverance.

This is one of those games that is a puzzle solver, which means that you have to look at everything in order to figure out the puzzle. This would sound simple because you are in a room that only has a set of drawers, a curtained window, and a bed. The thing is that I have practically tried everything that I can try in this room. I say “practically” because I’m sure there are things that I haven’t tried, otherwise the game would be solved.

It took me a few hours before I made a breakthrough, but it has been a while since I made another one. I definitely don’t want to commit puzzle video game mortal sin by finding some online hint. When I start doing that, it’s like cheating.

Much of the images that I saw of this game are in the same room, so I have no idea if this game ever just leaves it. This is not to say that you can’t have a good game with just one room, but you need to ask yourself if the $9.99 price is worth it on Steam. I’m going to recommend that you do, if you like puzzles, and I feel weird as a puzzle-book writer not being able to solve it…yet.

Speculative Fiction Saturday: Zootopia

zootopia (1)I actually just got around to seeing this film a few weeks ago, even though it was released a few months ago. This is easily one of the best films of this year, and probably one of the greatest animated films of all time.

Zootopia is one of those Disney films that is really good for kids to watch, but its moral can really be appreciated by those who are older. This is a film that is, at its heart, about prejudice, and how difficult it is to overcome a bad history.

At first, it seems like Zootopia would be a cute animal film in an anthropomorphic world. The trailers showed a lot of jokes based on animals, and I’ll get to why some of them don’t work later. I thought this film was going to succeed in theaters, but would gain a lot of hatred later, like Disney’s Chicken Little. Instead, I believe that this film will pass the test of time, and the story could have been told in any time.

The film opens up with Jenny Hopps, a young rabbit. She is in a play that tells how Zootopia is the big city in this world, and this alternate universe has a history of predator and prey species living like the ones in our world. Apparently, the world has evolved past this point, and predator and prey species live together, but the relationship is strained.

Jenny Hopps wants to be a police officer when she grows up, but her parents don’t really approve. There is a very badly written scene where they want her to give up on her dreams, and the statement is a little too on the nose. We then see a scene where Jenny stands up to a gang of predators, and she then becomes a police officer in a quick montage. Apparently, her parents didn’t stop her.

Officer Hopps has a difficult time fitting in the world of police, who are mostly predator species. They stick her on meter maid duty, and for the most part, this plotline feels like every kids’ film ever made.

What saves Zootopia is the fact that the world is simply beautiful. The city of Zootopia has cold regions, jungle regions, and I honestly wish that I could visit it. It is a world that has individual neighborhoods for the small and the large animals, and each species has ways of adapting. For example, the train has three different sizes of doors.

While on the job, Hopps meets a fox named Nicolas Wilde, who is a con man. As it so happens, he is a witness to a big case of 14 missing animals, so the two of them have to work together in what is essentially a buddy-cop film.

It feels like this film has nothing original to show, and yet is something that audiences really need right now. Once Hopps and Wilde have teamed up, they go from scene to scene in order to solve a mystery. I’m going to spoil this one after the jump, as there is a lot to talk about with this film once you know it all.

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Nomad Stand for the Apple Watch

Nomad StandThis is one of those products from Nomad, a company that I will always recommend. Their products are usually chargers and batteries, but these practical products are well-made and stylish. In the case of the Stand for the Apple Watch, this is as “simple as possible”.

Go ahead and look at the design for the stand. It is just a cord with a strip, with the strip bent at a slight angle so the Apple Watch can rest very naturally while it charges. The stand is made of aircraft grade aluminum, which means that it is strong and has a rubber footing to keep that watch there.

If this is something that you want for an Apple Watch, then this means that you have an Apple Watch. I’m told that a lot of people have it, but I kinda don’t. Anyway, you can get it on the Nomad site for a low price of $29.99.

The Wistiki Volia!

Wistiki VoliaToday, I received something in the mail that was from France. I receive a few things every week, and this one had Voila on it. It was fitting, as this box was from France, and I was pleased to review the Wistiki Voila.

The Voila is one of those devices that you put on your keys or something else that you don’t want to lose. All you need to do is download the Wistiki app and pair the device with the smartphone. It is very similar to two products that I have revealed with the Chipolo and the TrackR Bravo.

These particular devices are starting to become very common, and I am not certain what they are called, but if you are in a habit of losing your keys or something, then this works well. It has a minimalist design with a good battery life of up to 3 years, and powerful ring of 90 decibels which should help you find what you are looking for. By the way, it is waterproof that can resist rain and can be submerged.

If this is something that you want to get, the Voila can be purchased for about $49 on the Wistiki site.

Magic Leap Patent Filed?

magic leapThere is a secretive company known as Magic Leap which is supposed to be valued at $4.5 billion, and yet the company has not revealed its product. I’m not even certain what it is, but it looks like some kind of virtual reality or augmented reality headset.

This is a design patent given for Magic Leap, and it looks like some kind of bike helmet, doesn’t it? That, or Space Ranger’s helmet. You know, I almost don’t feel like explaining the reference to a DC science fiction hero, but it is a sign that we are living in an age of science fiction that has become science fact.

There is apparently a design patent that you see here, but it is not set in stone. In fact, my Source says that this isn’t the first time a Magic Leap patent has surfaced, so whether or not this is true remains to be seen.