Wednesday, July 31, 2013

First impression Google's Chromecast

I broke down and bought the Chromecast from Google about 2 hours after it was announced. I blame it on simple math, in case my wife is reading this. The $35 unit was only $11 after taking into account the included three free months of Netflix (which is no longer offered, by the way). As an early adopter, $11 is an easy sell, even though I certainly did not need another Netflix box. But is Chromcast more than that? Maybe. I bought it on the hunch that it would become the next "it" TV box. We'll see.

So, the tiny do-dad came in yesterday. My TV doesn't have a USB, so I had to attach a power strip to the back of the wall-mounted LCD. Not a show-stopper, but I'll make sure my replacement TV has a powered USB next time (you can't use the service USB that comes with some TVs). I attached it quickly and brought up my computer to connect it to the world. And that's where things broke down.

Maybe the three different wireless networks in my house is a bit overkill. But I've yet to find a way to get an adequate signal throughout the house without some wi-fi trickery. And I'm guessing that's what was at the root of my issue. After a few rounds of making sure my laptop was on the same network as what I could only guess the Chromecast was on, it finally connected. YES! The next few steps were simple: I added the Chrome plug-in on my laptop and the Chromecast app to my Android phone. From there, everything went as advertised. So how is it? In a word, pretty cool. Or, I guess, maybe in two words.

I started with YouTube.  I found a video in my playlist and hit the Cast button and VOILA! the video began to stream on my TV. One thing to remember is that the video is getting pulled from the cloud and not from my phone, which is important. I messed around for a few minutes with Netflix, which seemed a stable enough-- though not as easy as choosing movies from the Wii U's Touchpad. I also streamed a few 70's hits from Google's Music app, which sent my wife (a well-known 70's hater) into a small tizzy. But it worked.

And now I have another Netflix box. Just don't tell my wife.

Find the Chromecast HERE.

Another free day around the corner?

Details coming soon...

Friday, July 12, 2013

What a free day it was

Thanks to everyone for downloading Trebor on his free day. There were 320 of you from 5 countries! What a day!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Trebor's Time Machine -- Free!

Trebor's Time Machine will be free until midnight PST tonight. If you haven't already downloaded it, now's the time to do it.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Catching up on movies -- Monster's, Lone Ranger, and Zombies

Monster's and Rangers and Zombies...

It's been a very busy week here in the Clack house. The spousal and I celebrated our 10th anniversary by going out to see World War Z. Okay, it's not the movie I'd choose for a first date, but it's appropriate for a 521st date. Anyway, I never found the 20 minutes it takes to write a two-minute movie review...and then I went and saw a few more movies to add to the pile. So instead of trying to write three after-the-fact two-minute reviews, I'm going to write three one-minute reviews! Lucky day.

World War Z
Despite the issues this one had in going from book to screen -- including a massive rewrite and reshoot of the entire last 1/3 of the film -- this is a very good film. The zombies are not your typical straight-armed, shuffling mob in this one. They're quick. And that makes the chase scenes snap with immediacy.
If you haven't seen the film yet, pay attention to the scene were Brad Pitt's Gerry Lane boards a flight our of Israel. That's the point where the writers went back to work to create something completely different. Check out for a run down on how the flick originally ended.
The acting is top-notch, the effects are brilliant, the story is...engaging.
World War Z is rated PG13.

Monster's University
I remember wanting a Toy Story sequel immediately after leaving the theater. Another Cars seemed like a good idea too. But I never thought of Monster's Inc. as the type of movie that would spawn a sequel. And I was right; it spawned a prequel. And we should all be glad it did.
Monster's University is witty, funny, and almost as charming as it's predecessor. The story of how Mike and Sullivan became partners--and best friends--can't match Monster's Inc.'s sweetness, but it's plenty good to remind us that Pixar is still the king of the hill.
Monster's University is rated G.

The Lone Ranger
Wow. What do you say about a movie that's nearly good most of the time, pretty lame some of the time, and just awful on occasion? You call it a missed opportunity. The script runs like it was written by writers on their lunch breaks. Admittedly, the last 1/3 is better than the first, but you get the feeling these guys didn't have a good plan to start with.
The Lone Ranger is a movie I'm graciously giving a 5 of 10 to. I liked Johnny Depp's Tanto, though he is more conservative in this than you'll think he would be, but Armie Hammer's Lone Ranger is squeamish and timid in ways I never pictured the Lone Ranger being. For that reason I was never able to fully trust that he knew what was going on or how to save the day. And about those meat-eating rabbits...maybe someone can explain that to me.
The Lone Ranger is rated PG13