About geelw

Gamer, Writer, Artist, Idea Guy, Mild Curmudgeon With A Long List Of Hidden Talents

CE Week Best of (# 2 of 3) Get Me Security!

CE Week Sure, there were plenty of cool and expensive tech products at this year’s CE Week, but this time out, I’ll scribble a bit about two of the more important ones you may want to look into picking up. Well, one is an absolute must if you use a PC or know someone who uses one and is always griping about things running slowly. The other is recommended if you’re looking for a home security system that’s affordable and allows you to keep an eye on your space even when you’re away. Let’s take a look at both below…

sm_screenshots_overview_largeIf you own a PC, you NEED iolo’s System Mechanic ($39.95) humming away on it, period. While it’s been around for 15 years, I’d actually never used it until I got a trial code at the show and decided to take it for a spin to see how well it worked. Less than a week after installing and firing it up, I was removing a few different programs that do what this one product does and I don’t think I’ll be going back anytime soon. Between the system start up being MUCH faster, the more thorough registry cleaning and a few other niceties, I’ve noticed things running a lot better overall.

Even better, the newest update enhances the LiveBoost technology for instant fixes when you fire up more system intensive programs (gamers, you absolutely can use this feature!) and lets you know what it’s doing as it happens. PowerSense™, Ultra Performance and Endurance Modes all keep your computer optimized and will actually help programs run better and with noticeable improvements over a system without SM installed. Of course, you’ll be too busy playing or creating to be paying attention to all that behind the scenes magic, but it’s great to know your PC is being protected and you can take a mostly hands-off approach to care other than checking in every so often to see what the program recommends you take a peek at. Anyway, I’ll shut up now and let you get to checking System Mechanic out – you can thank me later, of course… Continue reading

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SDCC 2014: Hey, Lego! Why Can’t We ALL Have Nice Things?

SDCC 2014 Batmobile

Photo: LEGO

Well, I guess this post goes out to all the companies giving away or selling convention exclusives like this. It’s Batman’s 75th birthday and of course, the number of cool stuff from all over ranges from easy to nab (public libraries all over gave away Batman-related goodies yesterday) to “Unless you’re at the convention or pay a fortune on eBay when you cave in and throw your wallet at the screen” goodies like that awesome classic Batmobile above and that SUPER rare Batman of Zur-En-Arrh below. While the Batmobile will be on sale at the show (and people are already “pre-selling” it for over $200 on eBay (even though they probably don’t have one yet – caveat emptor!), that oddball Batman minifigure will be a totally RANDOM giveaway based on scanned convention badges to pick winners.

SDCC 2014 Batman of Zur-En-Arrh

Photo: LEGO

Photo: LEGO

Photo: LEGO

Of course, I’m not asking for a massive mass production of these figures to the point where they’re stocked to the rafters at your local retailer. It would just be nice to see some of these cool toys pop up in some stores without the SDCC logo and perhaps stamped somewhere that they aren’t “exclusive” to that event. No company producing any of these giveaways of for sale items makes a penny off the secondary sales market, but they certainly can brag that “Figure X” has sold for up to $—-” to some collectors” at future media events if someone at one of these companies keeps track of that stuff.

Now, I’m not complaining at all, kids. Heck, I avoid conventions these days because the dopes who run them have made it rough for smaller sites like mine to cover them (despite me having NO trouble getting a media pass previously for a few years running AND even working at a friend’s booth). If I were to complain at all, it would be with certain con organizers who treat the smaller press like cattle, forcing us to pile in with the public (which is HELL for making appointments on time). That and I just got tired of the mob scene, some really stinky people and that infamous “convention flu” crap a lot of folks take home from so many people crammed together, not all of whom are healthy.

Eh, maybe I won’t miss that Batmobile after all. I can just buy a bunch of Lego sets and look up plans online to make a custom one, I guess. That way, Lego will still get some of my money (and probably more than the $39.99 that convention exclusive costs) and everyone’s happy at the end of the day…

FREE GAME! Bundle Stars and PC Gamer Magazine Want A Million Of You On The Road!

Carousel-Image-GTR-EVO So, it’s the final week of Bundle Stars and PC Gamer.com HUGE giveaway (five million game codes over five weeks) and this last one’s a doozy if you’re into racing simulations and haven’t played GTR Evolution, Race 07 and RaceRoom Racing Experience yet. Granted, that latter title is a free to play game that to date, only has a solo play component and I know some folks don’t like the idea of a la carte gaming despite its popularity. But the great thing about this FREE deal is you can avoid any game you wish in the deal or try it out and if you don’t like your unpaid-for gift, you can simply delete it from your hard drive and go do something else with that free time. If you want that code, just click on the image below and grab it.

Week5-PCGamer-Campaign

Act FAST, though – free stuff doesn’t last very long if you’re too slow in claiming it!

The Humble Transformers Bundle Will Change You Into A Charity-Giving Digital Comics Reader…

Transformers Classics

I’m not the world’s biggest Transformers fan, but this is one of those cool deals I have to let those of you who are know all about. Hop on over to the Humble Bundle site and pay what you want for four volumes (48 issues) of IDW’s classic Transformers reprints and feel free to boost your contribution up a few tiers for even MORE classic Transformers reads. You’ll also be supporting the Hasbro Children’s Fund and yes, just about anything you can read something digital on can be used to peruse whatever you buy.

You may want to step on it, though. This deal only lasts two weeks before it vanishes, so make like an educated raccoon and go get yourself some comics to keep you busy on some hot summer days, I say…

The Boxtrolls Didn’t Have Me Intrigued At First. The Trailer Changed My Mind…

Okay, I’d been ignoring Focus Features’ upcoming animated film The Boxtrolls for a little while (because the name did nothing for me other than make me think of a generic new kid-friendly IP) until someone pointed out to me that it’s based on the Alan Snow book Here There Be Monsters!, is stop motion animated from Laika, the folks who made Coraline and ParaNorman. I decided to look up a few trailers and yes, I’m glad I did. Despite the light electrocution, ugly but cute monsters and a bit of weird hand-licking going on, this seems to be not as dark as the two aforementioned films. Of course, I tend to like my modern animation creative and slightly darker in tone, but this isn’t turning me off at all and you can’t beat the craft that goes into making films like this.

This one hits theaters September 26, 2014 in standard and Real 3D formats and given the current state of the box office this year, I’m actually wondering if we’ll see a holiday home video release just to make up for slow ticket sales. Eh, we’ll see what happens, I suppose. It’s almost always guaranteed that a film like this isn’t going to destroy anything coming out around the same time in terms of tickets sold…

Boring Life Update: ID, Phase Two! Alllllmost There…

(thanks, sugasugaki!) 

Hokay, the trip to the DMV was done this morning and it took a lot less time than I thought. There nothing like a nice walk bright and early in the morning to either wake you up or make you tired, depending on how productive that walk ends up being. Temporary ID get! Actual ID arrives in two weeks (and Phase Two complete!). Part the thirds SHOULD be easier, but my call to the post office to ask am few questions before I make an appointment was a bit odd. It’s FAR easier to walk into a place and SHOW someone something, ask questions and get answers in person over doing it all on the phone or online. Sometimes, a personal touch makes things much more… human at the end of the day. Anyway, back later this afternoon with some actual site updates. I think I need a short nap before I pop out to the library to write (hey, I woke up at 5:27am for some crazy reason!)…

Taking Tuesday Off? Not Really…

(thanks, aero84!) 

I just have some more ID stuff to tackle, but it will be easier than last week’s craziness. Hopefully, this won’t take longer to process than the two weeks promised on the DMV website. After that’s done, I’ve one more to tackle, but that part is interesting because I’m gathering from my poking about a few places that I’m a special case that doesn’t easily fall under some of the crazy rules set by some agencies. Anyway, the laws about expired documents need to be changed because they’re DUMB. If you get run over by a runaway bus steps from the passport office and EMS comes to retrieve your corpse, they’re NOT going to look at that old ID in your wallet or purse and say “Oh, this isn’t him/her – their ID isn’t current!”

Nope, not at all…

(Although, I’ll bet you a dollar that at least ONE of those folks who shows up to collect your corpse will say something disrespectfully amusing such as “Well, now he/she’s expired… just like this ID!”, before whipping out a pair of sunglasses and putting them on like Horatio Caine. YEAAAAAAAAAH!)

So Long, Jim- It Was A Nice Long Ride, Wasn’t It?

(thanks 11db11!)nbsp;

I can recall watching the pilot for The Rockford Files on NBC as a ten-year old kid and while not completely understanding everything that was going on, finding the show intriguing enough to come back week after week for almost the entire run of the series. Nothing lasts forever, and I was sad to see it vanish in 1980 (as far as original episodes went), but as with nearly any TV show that gains popularity and notoriety, reruns kept things going if I happened to be around to catch one. Of course, James Garner did much more memorable work in films before and since. Some of my favorite performances of his were in The Great Escape (1963), The Americanization of Emily (1964, the actor’s favorite role), Grand Prix (1966), Marlowe (1969) and Victor Victoria (1982). But, of course, since I was raised more on the tube, it’s Jim Rockford I’ll remember the best. I don’t have a favorite episode per se, but I absolutely recall rolling on the floor laughing at the episode where someone tries to bump off Rockford by sticking a canister of laughing gas in his car and hoping he’d have an accident:

(thanks 11db11!) 

This sequence makes me laugh harder today because it’s an homage of sorts to the scene in North By Northwest where a drunken Cary Grant (as Roger Thornhill) is put behind the wheel of a stolen Mercedes Benz and sent down a dark road towards certain doom off a cliff. Of course, he survives by taking the wheel and zig-zagging away from that cliff and down a highway until he brakes into the back of a patrol car. Jim got a wall tap to wake him out of his sunnier drive above. Anyway, another fallen star in another year too full of them. I’ll let TCM roll me out of this post with one of their tributes while I get ready for a slightly longer walk home tonight…

Funko Wants To Make Your SDCC Visit Memorable With Some Tasty HANNIBAL Giveaways!

funko logo 

Funko has a bunch of stuff to give away at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, but I’d say this HANNIBAL Pop! vinyl figure, custom made and signed by series creator Brian Fuller has to be one of the cooler items I’ve seen. Take a peek below:

Hannibal TV logo

Funko Fuller Hannibal 

Now, the ONLY way to get this one is to be AT the show! The figure will be on display at the Funko booth from Previews Night through Sunday. Stop by the booth and fill out an entry card – the big drawing will be on Sunday! One lucky winner will be selected and then that person had best hope he makes it out of the show in one piece, as I hear fans of that show can be pretty crazy (in a manner of speaking, of course!). In addition, Bryan Fuller and Hannibal actress Caroline Dhavernas will be signing at the Funko booth #5343 on Friday at 1pm AND there’s the chance for ONE more REALLY lucky fan to win an advanced set of the Hannibal Pop! figures. How? Well, one clue would be following @NBCHannibal and @OriginalFunko during the convention. I don’t think you need to be in attendance for the latter giveaway, but I’d gather chances may increase if you are out thataway. If you’re going or entering, as always… Good Luck!

Hannibal Adventure

IndieGala Monday Sale Brings You RPGs In A Few Forms, Plus…

IndieGala_7_21 

(thanks, Dice17!) 

From complete games to work-in-progress Steam Greenlight and Desura versions, this week’s IndieGala bundle is a great treat for genre fans looking to expand their horizons. Granted, not all of these six titles are role-playing games, but all fit the bill as fine indie games worth a look. The Tower is certainly a nice surprise, as it relies heavily on sound and your paying attention to said sounds in order to survive. I also like that the game is narrated by its protagonist as you play.

 
Block Story looks like an oddball Minecraft mod, but I like that it has a story and characters out of a RPG while allowing the crafting and such you’d get in Mojang’s game. Granted, the juxtaposition of block-based environments and realistic looking characters IS a bit jarring, but the game is fun to play and pretty simple to hop into. That and it allows you to play cross-platform on your PC and mobile device, which is a neat feature that makes me hope the developer has console plans for this one. As for the rest of the games in this deal (which is available for the next day at a mere $1.49 before the price increases), if you haven’t already clicked that link above, what are you waiting for?