Thursday, May 16, 2013

Movie Review: Star Trek: Into Darkness

I want to preface this review with the fact that i spent six months of my life passionately watching everything ever created in the legitimate Star Trek canon. As such, i guess i can be considered as an extreme fanboy. Truth be told, i'm going to try and be as unbiased as possible, but chances are a lot of my nit-pickings are not going to matter to anyone else lol.

Star Trek: Into Darkness is the second in what i hope is going to be at least a trilogy of films that reimage the entire Star Trek original series from the late 1960's by the use of a handy little thing called an alternate timeline. I know there's a lot of controversy surrounding whether the new movies are a true alternate timeline or whether it's just a specific point in time that was altered and everything else in the history of ever still remains the same. In my mind, this movie pretty much settles those arguments and makes it pretty cut and dry that it is a true alternate timeline (not necessarily an alternate universe, but definitely an alternate timeline). That's all i'll say about that.

As for the actual movie itself, it stands on it's own two legs just fine from the first movie, Aside from having to know who is who, if someone with no star trek knowledge were to walk into the movie theater and sit down, they would be able to pick up this movie and dine upon it's fruit without any confusion. Events that happen in the beginning of the movie are pretty much the only events that are mentioned with the exception of a certain admiral giving a certain something to a certain captain. (those of you who have seen the first movie will wonder why i'm being so blatantly vague). The special effects are as always amazing, and Benedict Cumberbatch does an amazing job at his roll as the anti-hero. They let him on to be a samaritan at the beginning of the movie, only to turn that good deed around into something so horrifically sinister that you feel horrible for ever feeling warm about him.

The journey of the crew leads them straight to the Klingon homeworld in which we finally get our first glimpse of the re-imaged klingons. this has to be my only major beef. The klingons were very well covered in the original canon, explaining that their entire body was filled with double and triple redundancies so that klingons can take inordinate amounts of internal and external damage and still be strong enough to stand and fight. Their ridges were a sign of how pure their klingon blood was. The taller your ridges the more noble your blood essentially. But without revealing too much, the klingons in this movie look like the Persians from 300 only with v-shaped gold studs in their foreheads. it's kind of a grotesque sight (as if the original ridges weren't... i know) and they didn't come off as proud and war mongering like the original species. I digress though, this is an alternate timeline, something may very well have happened somewhere that caused the to behave differently in face to face confrontation.

lastly i'd like to discuss the dialog. Aside from punching in the token catch phrases of every crew member, the dialog was pretty much amazing. very well written, very well thought out. Only one line, belonging to Uhura, was really cheesy in the sense that they made it a hair too dramatic. And of course those of you who have seen the original 6 motion pictures will surely be looking forward to the words "Second star to the right, and straight on till morning." But please, don't get your hopes up like i did. it's not coming.

Have you seen Star Trek: Into Darkness? what was your take? I'd love to see what some non-giga-geeks like me think haha.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Importance of Backing Up

I'm sure all of you have heard it preached before by dozens of people the importance of backing up. If you're anything like me, you tend to just nod these things away and go through the motions of acknowledging what the people are saying, while in your head, you're secretly telling yourself "The chances of anything happening to me are so slim, it's almost not even worth it to back up your work and files." or even simpler "that'll never happen to me..."

Well i'm here to tell you, while backing up everything you possibly own might be a little excessive, because if you've never made any tech savvy enemies, chances are you're not going to have some douchebag hack your system, steal all of your information then corrupt your hard drives (this is outside the obvious of stop scrolling the unsafe, free porn websites and you won't have any russian superhackers selling your personal information on the black market by monday. However, backing up specific pieces of information, and maybe not even so much that as it is important to keep rock solid records and hold off on deleting certain critical files for a period of time.

In the Fall semester of 2013, i was taking a class on the Assembly programming language, i was trucking through it just find and everything was going well for me until about 2 weeks before the end of the semester the instructor offered to show us our grades up to that date in confidence. Well when i went up to him, he told me as it stood there was no chance of me passing the class. This seriously confused me because i had turned in all of my work, i had received A's and B's in all of my assignments. It turns out that among the chaos of all his classes, he neglected anything that had anything to do with my grades or assignments and so his grade book was showing absolutely nothing turned in except for the first 2 of 4 quizzes.

I assured him for 20 minutes that i had turned in everything and he refused to believe me, i'm sure i looked like the stereotypical drop-out student who doesn't do a damn thing and then tries to weasel his way into a passing grade at the very last second. As such, he made a deal with me, that if i could find timestamped logs of my turn-ins as well as copies of the documents that had un-hampered created dates, he would give me the grades that i deserved on all my assignments, If i could just come up with the documents, regardless of the created date, he would give me points for the assignments, but with a deduction for turning them in late.

I scrambled around in a frenzy for a week trying to collect all of these assignments which became a problem because i didn't really back up any of my work or keep a sturdy email record. I ended up having to recreate several of the documents from scratch and i lost a huge amount of points in the class all because of his blunder combined with my epic fail of data retention.

So after barely passing a class that i should have aced, i learned the hard way that from that day forward, i was making immaculate records of all my transactions between all my contacts including backed up copies of all files transfered between people on an external hard drive that i kept with me at all times and purchased specifically for school. A sizable 500GB external with a decent transfer rate, to ensure that i would never ever run out of space until long after i was done with school for my entire life.

Well the next semester i signed up for a class on Database Design and Development, and on the day of the class, my teacher pulled out from the class and as luck would have it, that exact same teacher that screwed up my grade last semester picked up the class. This time i was prepared though. I wasn't about to let this teacher shove me around and cause me to bust my ass twice on work to get a barely passable grade. So, i started doing the same strategy, only this time, all of my correspondence was cataloged under his name in my gmail folders as well as externall backed up with all of my homework assignments, neatly organized and with additional copies of all original correspondence, timestamped in 3 different places and never touched again.

Sure enough, 3 weeks into the class, he was already losing my assignments again. Just as i had feared. This time as soon as i noticed it, i immediately emailed him an email with an attached copy of the original text in the body of the message, a copy of the original text in a log file, and the original assignment, all time stamped on the creation date of the files as well as the actual "Originally sent" date on the email itself. He responds, acknowledging the email and does nothing. This guy is becoming a problem. I send the email again a few weeks later he responds once more and again, does nothing about it. So not i'm approaching him in class a few weeks later and i'm sitting there in front of him with my email open, i pull up the tag in my inbox with him watching, he's just floored, then and only then does he consent to grading the paper right in front of me and punching in my grade right in front of me. So finally i have all my assignments in and my grade is just where it needs to be.

The moral of this story about my shitty experience with a shitty educator, is that you can't always trust other people with important documents. There's just no chance that nobody is going to lose something critical to something. So it falls upon you to cover your own ass. Back up critical pieces at the time of their creation that way you don't run into angst later down the line with some useless douchebag takes it upon himself to ruin your life and try to cheat you out of money.

Has anything like this ever happened to you? Leave your response in the comments.

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Psychology Behind Breaking Bad

I just recently finished watching all of the material that is currently available for Breaking Bad (which ends at Season 5 Episode 8). And i find it interesting now that i have a moment to reflect on the entire series to see how all of the characters have changed from Point A to Point B. In this post i'll be making some pretty general statements about the TV show as a whole but some people might consider them as spoilers, so if you're adamant about not having anything about the show ruined for you, i'd suggest taking a bow out of this post for now.

The entire TV series opens up with portraying Walter White as a little bit of a bitch. he's whipped by his wife, he's on the verge of being whipped by his students, and he's whipped by his boss at the car wash. He just kind of mopes around and takes it all too. Never bothers to put up a fight of any kind. Then to add insult to injury, he finds out he has cancer, so now he's whipped by his own heath. Enter Jesse Pinkman. With the introduction of Jesse, we find a young man who gave up on his education a few years too early and as a consequence he faced the dilemma that all high school dropouts face, which is the inability to get any form of high paying job what so ever. So, to counteract having to work 9 to 5 in some shit hole fast food restaurant for the rest of his life, he resorted to cooking meth (and subsequently getting addicted on his own product).

When our two main characters meet up and do their first cook, you see more of the same from Jesse, he's an addict whom has no regard what-so-ever for the process in which to cook or for the product itself. But for Walter, we see a genius spring into action. We begin to see that this guy is much too qualified than your average high school teacher. Then when they run into the first speed bump in their business, we see that Jesse has a complex for obeying orders. he refuses to do anything of the sort which causes several problems for the duo. We also see Walter struggling within himself to hold onto a small piece of his morality, only to throw it out of the window in exchange for his own limited survival.

Season 2 brings a new Walter to the scene. Walter becomes much more assertive. He becomes cold to the dirty work involved with the business, but he's still determined to only make what he needs to give his family enough to live off of when he passes away. Jesse finds love and has a reason to live besides the cook. Walter attempts to get out of the business for a short while when he has enough money but finds himself wanting for more. This is also the point where we begin to see that it's no longer about the money for walter.

Season 3 shows us  Walter continuing to slide down the slippery slope. Jesse loses love, goes into rehab, comes out clean and almost immediately starts selling again without walter. Season 4 Walter becomes so addicted to being in a place of power with his ability to make the most chemically perfect crystal in the world that he is willing to set up extremely intricate schemes to eliminate anyone in his path so he instantly skyrockets to the top of the world. Jesse, on the other hand, manages to find love once again, stays clean, becomes independent, and confident.

Lastly where we land, Walter begins to realize that his reach has exceeded his grasp, and he starts to really collect who he is once again. But by this time, he has already become the antagonist when he started as the protagonist (a very unlikable one at that but still the intended protagonist). Jesse has become the Protagonist now. Completely pulling out of the business and living the life of a hermit after breaking up with his second love to protect her and her child.

The reason i cover this all is to show you the power of dynamic characters. Even in my all-time favorite TV show, Battlestar Galactica (2004), sure the characters were dynamic, but they were never this dynamic. They evolved from Point A to Point B, but what Breaking Bad takes 2 seasons to do, BSG took 4 (6 if you want to count 2.5 and 4.5 as their own, independently standing seasons).

But this isn't just about Hollywood writing, it really is about the human psyhe. A man who was merely a timid shell of a person almost his entire life, finds a rush of adrenaline in an activity he is reluctant to do and becomes addicted to that rush. He begins to take on the mentality of doing whatever it takes to get that rush the same way as he did that first time. Walter is the worst possible epitomization of that addiction because he feeds it. He changes who he is dramatically, he lets himself learn to be okay with things that are as far from okay as they possibly could be, and all just to get that rush again.

On the flipside of the coin, Jesse is a kid who had that rush as a daily component of his life for as long as he can remember. so by the end of the journey, he finally realized that he was tired of being pushed around, and the rush had lost it's zeal. He just wanted to be left alone and not have to think about the rush for that matter.

This all applies in everyday situations too. Say you get into skydiving and you love the rush of it, chances are, you're going to have a few close calls if you keep at it, and then you'll call it quits. it costs too much to get up in the air, it's too dangerous jumping out, there's too many variables that can go wrong, and the thrill is gone, it's just going through the motions now. Everyone will get to that point, it's just a matter of people who start sooner will probably get there sooner.

Sorry for the long rant, but it is in the web address of the blog. What do you think about the psychological development in Breaking Bad? Maybe not even just within Walter and Jesse, all of the characters. The only 2 static characters on the regular cast if you ask me are Walter Jr. and Marie.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Enderverse and It's Movie

I've been spending an awful lot of time reading recently. For some of you, i'm sure that sentence doesn't even compute, for me an awful lot of reading is anything more than one book a year, but after finding out that there was a Movie component to Ender's Game coming out, i felt compelled to read the series. Still i didn't actually have any of the books and i wasn't about to go illegally download a book i might not enjoy. So i went talking to a few friends and finally found one that was willing to loan me their copy of Ender's Game.

Even with the book in hand and the desire to read it, it took a little building up steam for me to actually want to read it. I read the first 4 chapters in one sitting and then preoccupied myself with other matters for a few months. Finally around my 21st birthday, my father wanted to drive out to vegas which is an 8-ish hour drive for us. So i monopolized that driving time to continue reading this book that i kept telling myself i really needed to read.

Sure enough i was hooked quickly and now i can't stop reading the damned things. As the ender's series stands, in July there will officially be 14 books in the series and half as many short stories. All of them contributing weapons-grade awesome to the overall canon. As of last night i've finished my 6th book, and 3 short stories down. It's been a crazy last few months of my life but the entire collection is intensely gripping.

Being completely obsessed with the series and having read all of the 3 books that take place at the exact same time as the movie, i was of course leery about how they planned on executing the movie. I've never heard of the movie's director and i wasn't sure i could pin down who the screenwriter was, so naturally, like every other movie adaptation of a book, i was afraid they were going to butcher the book and stray away completely from the original plot. We've seen this happen with The Hunger Games series, the Lord of the Rings, and many others. Chances are, if you can name a book in which a movie has been made out of it. The book was disgraced by the movie piece.

It was only yesterday that i found out, through some very professional, P.I. grade google snooping that the author of the entire Enderverse, Orson Scott Card, is the writer of the screen play and i also discovered a quotation from him in interview about the movie adaptation where he explains the changes he made to the script and why. I don't know why this made me eccstatic, but it did. If you were to ask me now, after having read that, i would tell you that i firmly believe that all film adaptations of the movie should be prefaced with an interview from the screenplay writer. It doesn't have to be a video interview, it doesn't have to be an audio interview, it doesn't even have to be put in with the movie itself. Every movie has a fan page it seems like.It could be some terrible movie like Racist Assholes 5: The Quest for Hitler's Illegitimate Daughter. and at the end of it's terrible and terribly racist trailer there'd be a website link ""

So back to my argument about the interviews. Just post the transcription of said interview on the movie's website, and have the screenwriter explain where he went with the script in relation to the original work, and why he went there. If we can see some form of reasoning as to why things were left out or changed up even in the slightest, then we know what to expect, we're prepared to see something that is not verbatim with the book counterpart.

Either way, that's my rant about the Enderverse and it's upcoming movie slated to be released November of this year.

How do you feel about my idea of having the screenplay author do an interview as a sort of caveats to why the movie is different from it's book counterpart? What do you feel was the absolute worst movie adaptation of a book?

Monday, April 29, 2013

Movie Review: Oblivion (2013)

I'm just going to open this blog with a little forewarning. I'm a whore for great musical scores. And by great musical scores, i don't mean your generic Sex Pistols sound where your pounding on a guitar with a hammer and occasionally changing the tone by randomly detuning the strings. I mean, harmonious musical compositions that use, for lack of better words, the musical literary devices. I say literary devices because at it's most fundamental level, music is the universal language of the world. an 1-3-5 chord progression will communicate in the same ways to someone in the United States as they would in Uganda.

I say this because it plays a big part in the review of the new Tom Cruise movie Oblivion. Now that we have that understanding in place allow me to open up by saying that Oblivion appears to move slower than it actually is. Without revealing too much, the movie starts with the first half hour covering the day-to-day routine of Tom Cruise's character with only the subtlest of undertones about what exactly is happening. As a matter of fact, it was not until a specific pool scene around 45 minutes (if i had to make a guess) that the pieces of the puzzle were all fleshed out and the movie almost begs the viewers to begin speculating about what exactly is going on with the world it presents you with. And it's done so smoothly that you really don't even begin to think about it until it's too late and the speculation is made.

Oblivion is a Science Fiction movie based somewhere around 2068 where the entire world is in ruins. Partly because an alien race tried to glass the surface of the planet, and partly because that same alien race shattered the moon causing tidal distress and severe earth quakes along all the fault lines of the world. It is supposedly 60-ish years after the events that left the world the way it is, and now the human species lives on Titan, one of Jupiter's moons and a space station shaped like a pyramid that is in orbit of the planet. Tom Cruise plays a maintenance man with some insane firearms and flight training who is tasked with repairing security drones.

Diverting from the plot-line before i say too much, i just want to go on record stating that the scenery in this movie is compelling. I would even be so bold as to say it's breath taking. The characters are surprisingly well developed, even though some of them only have a short screen life, and the music really seals the deal. The music to me was a nice, inspiring mixture between what Daft Punk made for Tron: Legacy and some of the exploratory music of EvE Online. Combine that with some of the eerily calm yet desolate scenery the movie provides with you, and the very powerful plot twist that will take all of that speculation it invited you to make and throw it out the window without a care, i would give this movie a very strong recommendation and suggest that anyone who wants scenery that will blow you away just like the world of Tron or the Lord of the Rings, definitely go and see Oblivion, the next chance you get.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Youtube Partnership 3: Breaking 1,000 subscribers

So, you've created your YouTube page and you've got a constant stream of content coming out on a schedule set by you recorded by you preferable sometime earlier than when they're being released. Depending on your content, things might be picking up quickly, or they could slowly building speed and size like a snowball rolling down the alpines.

Regardless of how quickly your content grows your following, and have no illusions, it is your content that grows your following, not you. You merely grow the content. Your page is going to hit a wall where subscriptions are going to slow down, views per day might become stagnant or go down in numbers, and your monthly earnings might stand still at a specific number. Depending on where that stops, it might seem easy to just toss in the towel and retire from making YouTube videos, or it might seem easy to become content with what you're doing and do nothing to prevent the stagnation.

The sad fact of the matter is: You've got to put in work to get paid. Nothing in this world is free and the sooner you accept that and view your profile page with that set of eyes, you can begin to grow your content and following to new levels.

I've seen a lot of people on YouTube doing the what I like to call the raffle gimmick. Where once they've reached that wall in their subscriber base, they start doing raffles for certain valuable items that they either buy out of pocket, or some corporate sponsor, somewhere gives to them to promote awareness for their business and their products. This doesn't always work. You get short-term subscribers that don't really care about your content, and really only care about the prize at hand. Most if not all of them will not win the raffle, and most of them will unsubscribe after they get tired of seeing your new videos on their home page when they have no interest in your content.

The best way to grow your subscriber base, is the same way you built it up in the first place with a twist. In order to get the subscriber base you currently hold, you created a format. This format carried you only so far, but like a car, even if you buy it new, it's eventually going to break down beyond reasonable repair and need to be replaced. So using that logic, it's time to update your image. By now, you should have some checks flowing in from your YouTube partnership, Regardless of the frequency. I can't state how much mine are for, but I can tell you that as it stands right now, I get one about every other month.

If you take some of that money and re-apply it to your content, whether it be going to some of those sound clip websites and buying sound bytes, buying the rights to someone's music to use as an intro song, or paying a 2D or 3D Artist to make you a new, professional looking opening animation according to the image you have in your head. Don't be afraid to take pointers from some of the YouTube greats. Freddie Wong, Corridor Digital, Smosh, Julian Smith, and the Nice Peter/Epic Lloyd duo that is Epic Rap Battles of History all have the right idea, they're redoing the outros to their videos to advertise their second channels which is usually fully of behind the scenes footage, other videos inside the series if it's not exactly a linear series, and having some very smooth captioning work on their videos.

Some of these ideas won't work for everyone, but you can at least write down some of these prominent ideas on how to make better videos, write them down on a piece of paper and just do some old fashioned brainstorming. "How can I implement these practices into my videos?" "How much longer in production time are we looking at to implement them?" "How will my existing subscriber base respond to the revisions I make?" and most importantly: "What do my current subscribers have to say about my existing videos?"

I am currently on Gen 4 of my YouTube page, Every time I'm completely finished with a tutorial series, I review the input posted in the comments about it, and work on how to seriously overhaul my series to improve it for people. My Gen. 1 phase were some excruciating low quality videos with me fooling around with the idea of doing instruction for my page. People received the practices well, and liked my teaching methods but didn't like how unsure I sounded of the content and didn't like the quality. Gen 2 was going high definition and trying to become more confident in my content. I started releasing videos in 720p, reduced the "ums" and "uhs" in my videos. Then people started pointing out that I was really monotone. I sounded really boring and I kept finishing my videos in an annoying way to a lot of people. Gen. 3 was fixing those issues. Started sounding more enthusiastic during my opening, and soon as I got to the content, I got serious. I also shortened the way I ended my videos. Then Gen. 4 I felt it was time to have an opening clip for my videos. So I downloaded a trial version of After Effects, slaved away at the technical side of the program, so I had enough knowledge to be dangerous with the program, and then I created a simple 5 second intro that I put at the front of every one of my videos now. My responses are positive and I've recently sky-rocketed past 1000 subscribers.

 Every time I did a revision it seemed like my subscriber base wasn't really going anywhere any more. My page became stagnant. Between Gen 3 and Gen 4, my subscriber base was stuck at about 350 subscribers. And now in the 4 months of Gen 4 that I've been working through, My subscribers have sky-rocketed past 1000 and I'm now currently sitting at about 1200 subscribers now. So if you're experiencing some of the woes of subscriber stagnation and you're doing everything right, don't just sit idly and watch it sit still. Work towards some positive revisions to the presentation of your content to bring yourself a little further into the future. That in itself will give back to the community enough to get more people coming in.

People want a consistent source of entertainment and to provide that your channel and presentation of content needs to be constantly evolving to give them a new and exciting experience. What they don't want is free stuff, because if they don't win, they don't care anymore. You'll shoot yourself in the foot if you try to do a quick fix.

How many of you have a YouTube partnership now? How are you doing popularity wise? Do you have any input for people who are looking to spread their roots a little further?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Movie Review: Evil Dead (2013)

I know it's a bit late in the game to be doing a review of the reboot of Evil Dead, but I figured I wanted to chip in my two cents about the movie.

For those of you who don't know, the original Evil Dead movie was released in the year 1981, starred the king of B movies, Bruce Campbell, and was kind of cheesy. The basic plot was that 5 friends traveled to a cabin in the middle of the woods, and somehow accidentally release demons possessing the corpses of the dead. The movie was best known for Bruce Campbell's Chainsaw for a hand.

As for the new boot of the movie the plot is generally speaking, the same. 5 friends go to a cabin in the middle of the woods for a drug intervention and to help one of them go cold turkey on some hardcore shit, and they somehow accidentally release a demon that possess people and feeds off their souls to release satan back on the world. All fine and good, a lot of the appeal to this movie was for the nostalgia of the original movie that the directors and producers seemed bent to avoid at all costs.

It was a generic slasher flick where the horror is brief and usually consists of Idiot A goes off by themselves, Demon B magically appears unexpectedly and feasts on Idiot A like a fat kid at a HoHo factory. The redeeming factors was that it lacked that nostalgia factor from the original movie which in my mind showed that it was trying to be it's own movie instead of trying to be some retarded prequel or some even more retarded and much to late sequel. That and the special effects were good. Something tells me that for the most part the movie producers went old school and avoided CG as much as possible as a lot of the really gory stuff looked pretty real.

The plot is predictable, you can easily pick out who is going to live and who is going to die within the first 3 minutes of the movie, you can expect almost everything that happens 30 second before it happens which ends up making all the scary stuff comical.

So all in all, I'd recommend waiting for this movie to come out on Red Box, Netflix, the 5-dollar bin at Walmart, or your local dollar store. Because in all seriousness, the dog is the best actor in the whole movie.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tech Review: Droid 4 - 14 month benchmark

In my last review which was only about 3 months after I had gotten the phone I pointed out some of the specs regarding the Motorola Droid 4, and went over some of the pros and cons that I had found at the time. Now that I have owned it for 14 months, and I've seen the phone go full cycle with some of my friends as watched how it handled the tests of time and abuse from me, I figured now was as good a time as any to make a quick review of exactly what has happened with the phone.

In my last review the only beef I had, if I remember correctly, was that the headphone jack was a little wonky and the back plate was a pain in the ass to remove. Well since then I have discovered exactly how unnecessary it is to remove the back plate, so that has become so much less of a nuisance. Not to mention that the tab holding the back plate in can be pressed down and the back plate removed (in the same painful and rather inconvenient way as mentioned before) with just about any writing utensil and not just the stupid looking key they provide you with the phone. The headphone jack, while a bit touchy has stayed just about the same, no further issues have arisen from that whether it be further sound loss or more frequent dead spots in the socket. It pretty much stayed right at the condition it was in when I got it. I also found that the best way to fix any issues you might have with that socket is to first try twisting the headphone jack a little in 1 direction and see if that fixes it, if not, then just pull the jack out, and re-seat it. This will fix any sound loss 99% of the time.

Another chief concern I had walking out of the Verizon store with this phone was the power button, it looks flimsy, because it kind of is. not in the sense that it snapped clean in half after 3 uses or the switch below it gunked up and gave out 12 months in, but in the sense that it's a tiny piece of plastic with a tab on either long-wise edge, and it just kind of teeters on the awkwardly placed switch for the power button. This button, however, has held up surprisingly well given the unintentional abuse that all of my phones tend to get. Some of the metallic paint has rubbed off from the excessive use but other than that the button is still sound, still pops pretty damn close to as clean as it did when it came off the shelf and into my hands.

The Keyboard for the phone has held up well. Part of the reason I got rid of my old Droid 1 was that the buttons on my keyboard literally started peeling off the phone. the droid 1's keyboard was glued onto the phone's switches with some pretty weak rubber cement like stuff, however it looks like the Droid 4's keyboard is 1 solid piece of plastic that wraps under the circuit board?(I'm not 100% sure on this but that keyboard is not coming off) This is a beautiful thing because even though the paint is starting to rub off on the buttons, the actual keyboard itself still clicks and functions as well as it did on day 1.

The Gorilla Glass on the phone has held up well, there's not a single scratch on my screen despite being dropped several times, but that much cannot be said about the silver framing of the screen and the keyboard/body. It's made out of some very thinly painted and very flimsy plastic which has many dings and dents in it. The plus side to this, is that the plastic of that framing is so malleable that it hasn't actually cracked open or anything it just dents up, loses it's paint and becomes coarse.

Lastly, the charger port and the camera. I never had the opportunity of using the ultra-super-duper-sub-micro HDMI port on the phone because I don't record too much video, as such it's a little dusty, the charger port however has held up the test of time elegantly. I've had phones where the charger port is the first thing to go. Sometimes it's just not soldered in well enough and after about 20 months of just plugging and unplugging the power cord, it literally just recedes back into the body of the phone, making the charging process a little laborious. I also never used the front facing camera because I'm not too big on the whole "selfies" trend, so one can only assume that the front-facing camera has held up the test of time immaculately. The rear-facing camera however is incredibly grainy. I don't know if I just didn't notice this when I first got it, or if it's been worsening over time but that camera is seriously grainy for a 8MP camera. I've recently gotten into the hobby of painting miniature war gaming miniatures, I like to take photos of all my completed work and after the first photo shoot with my phones 8MP camera which should have been sufficient to take some decent high-depth photos, I never did it again. I propped the phone up so it wouldn't move in the slightest, put it on a timer then stepped far away from it till the photo took and it was still so grainy that viewed at maximum resolution it was so shitty, it was embarrassing.

Now onto the software side of things. When I got the Droid 4, it was running Android 2.3.5, then shortly after it's release (we're talking like 7-8 months) ICS (Android 4.0) came out for the phone. I had my phone rooted since day one in order to install Titanium Backup and save myself some time getting my phone back to where my last one was at. The root privileges prevented my phone from being able to even install ICS. So, I never went down that road with my phone even though it was one of the chief things I wanted when I was looking at a replacement for my last phone. Then only like a month and a half after ICS came out, all of my friends with Droid 4s started calling me with a long slew of problems that didn't exist until after they updated to ICS. Things like overheating issues, keyboards failing, phones magically shutting off whenever they felt like it. Battery life being slashed in half, the works. So all in all, I think that ICS was a bust for this phone. They released the phone with the intent of it running ICS, but they took too long releasing it in the end and it caused too many problems for the phone.

Lastly for this review i did want to point out one small issue, in the last few weeks, my physical keyboard will very occasionally just magically stop working. I'll type half a text and then they keyboard decides it's done working for the day kind of thing. I usually just switch to the touch screen keyboard to finish what I'm doing, restart my phone, and it's problem solved.

Do any of you own a Droid 4, and if so, do you have anything else that I didn't encounter to add to this review?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Nerd Pilgrimage

So back in January of 2012, a very close friend of mine told me about his experience with watching everything Star Trek in chronological order according to the Canon. This consisted of watching everything that has ever been released in the official canon in order of stardate from beginning to end. I didn't really think it was that big of a deal at first Considering that there's only been a few TV shows and of those TV shows i knew for a fact that 2 of them hadn't made it past their 4th season (The Original Series(TOS) and Enterprise(ENT)). He encouraged me to do it with him seeing as he wasn't too far into the journey. He had finished ENT, TOS, the first 6 Motion Pictures and the first couple seasons of The Next Generation (TNG).

So i started my search for someone on the internet who had compiled a list of the entire star trek canon in chronological order, i found one, wasn't satisfied with his work and modified it a little bit to become more accurate then began my journey. That was on January 27th, 2012. Now, February, 20th, 2013, i have officially finished my journey. I went from cover to cover on the current canon, accounting for all of the time travel in the series and have finally finished.

I am so proud of myself for sticking with this Arduous journey that i figured i'd write a blog about it as a matter of fact. My last journey was one through the entire Dragonball canon in which i only made it through Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z and half of the first season of GT. And that in itself was a significantly smaller undertaking than what i have now finished.

To put what i have done into perspective here are some stats:

The Dragon Ball canon had 3 TV shows(Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, and Dragon Ball GT) and about a dozen different movies. which when rounded up generously (i was too lazy to add the run times of all the movies) comes to about 15,220 minutes which translates to 10 days 13 hours and 40 minutes.

The Star Trek canon had 6 TV shows (ENT, TOS, The Animated Series, TNG, Deep Space 9 and Voyager) as well as 11 movies (not counting the 2013's Star Trek: Into Darkness). which comes out to exactly 33,533 minutes or 23 days, 6 hours and 48 minutes for those who are keeping score.

Anyways, the moral of the story is that it was a LOT of film to cover. resting comfortably at 733 individual episodes and movies until May of 2013, I have completed a life changing journey. I have noticed some of the lesser mentioned Star Trek cliche's, grown attached to 5 different crews, watched their lives evolve around me, and had all of their stories come to an abrupt halt. And each time it hurt, but then it felt good to have experienced their journey from point A to point B.

Anyways, i'm trying to keep this short. If you're interested in having a life changing experience and get some very worldly views from the 22nd/23rd/24th century. I would highly recommend undertaking this nerd pilgrimage. If i get enough responses in the comment section, i will post a direct link to my Excel file containing the entire chronological list so i can share this wonderful experience with as many people as possible. I'll post a "loremaster" blogpost later in regards to the entire star trek storyline.