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Apple TV 2nd Generation

Posted by Ub3rG33k on Oct 4, 2010 in Apple, Films, Tech

So today my Apple TV (2nd Generation) turned up, and I have to say I’m pretty impressed.

Anybody who knows me or has been reading these my post, will know that over the last couple of years, I’ve become an Apple fan boy I’ve gradually replaced my MP3 player, my phone, my PCs and even my entire network with Apple products, and as time has gone by, I’ve organised my entire music collection to be “iTunes friendly”.

I’ve been toying with the idea of an Apple TV for a while now, and very nearly bought one of the 1 generation ones about 2 months ago.

I’ve been using a piece of software on my MacMini called MediaLink, to stream my iTunes content to my PS3, which to be honest has been working pretty well, apart from the fact that it won’t play DRM media.

So the announcement was made early in September that a new Apple TV would be out shortly, so me being me ordered one.

So what’s it like ?

Now this is the first time I’ve used an Apple TV, so some of the features I’m raving about, might have been in the first generation.

First of all, it’s size, this thing is tiny, it literally fits in the palm of my hand.

The device has a very small white light on the front, the flashes with the remote press. The rear has a USB port, a HDMI port, power port and an optical output.

Setup, as with any Apple product was painless, plugged it in, selected my language, added my apple ID and that was it, good to go.

So what is an Apple TV ?

Basically, it’s a device which allows you to stream content from the web, and a PC or Mac which is running iTunes home sharing (please note, you have to have iTunes 10 installed for it to be picked up)

The main menu gives you a few options.

Movies, and then the sub menu of Top Movies, Genres, Search and in Theaters.

The movie collection is huge, and everything I searched for came back with a result (kinda like the movie selection in iTunes)

The “in Theaters” option was essentially what you get on Apples trailer site, all the trailers for whats in the cinema right now.

The next tab is Internet, with the option of YouTube, Podcasts, MobileMe, Flickr and Radio.

The Youtube option will allow you to sign in and see your subscriptions.

The podcast option does what it says on the tin, it opens up the content as found in the iTunes store and splits them into Audio, Video or all. You can then “add to favourites”, which will let you know how many unwatched episodes you have, it also remembers your position which I thought was a good feature.

I don’t have a MobileMe account, but assume if I had, I would be able to stream from this.

The Flickr allows you to subscribe to public users and view their content. I can’t see a way of signing in, as this would be perfect as I’m a Flickr pro subscriber and have my entire photo collection hidden online, it would be nice to be able to access these.

Finally there’s the radio, which is the same content as the Radio tab in iTunes.

The next tab is Computers. Basically any machine that you have iTunes on (version 10 or above) with Home Sharing enabled, you can stream all you content from them.

Finally you have the settings tab, which you can…..well change the settings 🙂

2 interesting features in the settings are the AirPlay, and Remotes.

The Airplay allows you to use the Apple TV as an Airport Express, and the Remote option allows you to use you iPhone as a remote control. As your probably aware, the iPhone remote app has recently been upgraded to support the Apple TV. The app works with gesture controls, swipe left and right for fast forward and backward, tap to pause and play, and the godsend was being able to type in when searching. There is also flick up to get to chapter, and 2 finger left swipe to roll back 10 seconds, you can even move the onscreen content using this !

The AirPlay is pretty cool too, now granted, to play media from my Mac by selecting Computers > Mac Mini > Music > Album > Play or I also have the option to connect to my MacMini via the Apple Remote app, select the Album > Play > select the Apple TV as the speakers. This will not only output the audio to the Apple TV, but it will also display the album art and ID tag of the track being played.

Now I subscribe to a lot of podcasts, and it’s nice to see that if I’m looking at my Computers library, I then watch or listen to a podcast, this syncs back to the library. There was nothing more annoying than watching something using MediaLink, then having to Screenshare onto my MacMini to mark them as watched. This seems to be the same for Movies and TV too.

So far I’ve very happy with this device, and I guess I’ll be spending the next couple of months converting all my DVD’s to mp4 format and adding these to my iTunes library.

For anyone who uses iTunes for their media content, and if you have a spare £99, I suggest getting one of these.

As always, unboxing photos are below.

Apple TV Unboxing

Apple TV Unboxing

Apple TV Unboxing

Apple TV Unboxing

Apple TV Unboxing

Apple TV Unboxing

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Ninjas Vs Zombies

Posted by Ub3rG33k on Feb 14, 2010 in Films

Well, I’m honored to say, that I have finally seen the one of my most anticipated films of this year. This film is brought to you by the guys over at the Suckcast podcast. Just a little history before we start on the film, I was made aware of the Suckcast podcast when they tweeted the RedDwarfForum twitter account saying they were liking the ScutterCast podcast, back then we were getting quite a lot of flak due to poor editing, poor preparation, and just generally doing a poor podcast. I initially assumed that it was somebody else taking the piss out of us, especially with the name of Suckcast, and our podcast being called Scuttercast (there was method in my madness).

After doing a little bit of googling, I found that they also did a podcast, named “The Suckcast“, and decided to give it a listen, What a podcast !….I’ve downloaded every episode since and each episode makes me laugh out loud, a number of times.

The podcasts hosts are Man Guy (Dan Guy), The Herman (William Stendeback) and Cory (Cory Eskkridge Okouchi), each week they discuss their week, and discuss a movie they have watched that week and just generally have a laugh while doing it, you can tell by their synergy, they enjoy each others company, and enjoy doing the podcast.

At the beginning and end of each podcast they mention their sponsors, Ninjas Vs Zombies. Again after a little googling, I found that the movie is their own baby ! How awesome !, unfortunately they are still waiting for a publisher to take them on, so the chances of me ever getting to see their creation was starting to look bleak. Out of the blue a couple of episodes ago, Cory said that if anybody wanted a copy of the movie, to email in and he’s try to sort something out, so obviously I emailed in.

Anyway that’s the back story out of the way, now lets get to the film itself !

Is this film going to win any Oscars ? Nope.

Does this film have mindblowing visuals that make Avatar look like the first episode of the Simpsons ? Nope.

Does this film have martial arts that would show Bruce Lee a thing or two ? Nope.

Is this a fun, easy watching, laddish film ? Hell Yeah !!!

How do I know ? Because my other half sat playing on her Blackberry all the way through it, asking how long it had left, because she was bored 🙂

The basic movie plot is that Randall (Dan Guy), is interrupted while attempting to bring his brother Eric (PJ Megaw) back from the dead by Herman (William Stendeback), who is banging on the comic book stores (assume that Randall works their), as he’s want to play their weekly game of Dungeons and Dragons. This results in a botched resurrection that does brings back his brother, however he suck the souls of the living to survive. Each person he sucks a soul from, turns into a flesh eating zombie.

As the film goes on, Eric gets a taste for the soul sucking, hence resulting in an army of flesh eating zombie terrorizing the neighbourhood. With no way, and no hope of defeating Eric and the zombies, Cole (Cory Eskridge Okouchi), Kyle (Daniel Ross), Fitz (Daniel Mascarello), and Randell are granted super ninja powers to help defeat Eric, and rid the world of the zombies.

From this point on, (and without spoiling the film for anyone) it’s essentially a fight between Ninjas and Zombie !

So how was it ?…well it was a fun movie, when I initially saw the trailer, the first thing that came to my head was one of Peter Jacksons first films “Bad Taste“, an overly gory film with just so much heart and soul, it’s one of those films you just don’t get bored of. I’m glad to say that Ninjas Vs Zombies didn’t disappoint, the film had a decent story, decent acting, and to be honest really good special effects as this seems to have been made on a shoe string budget. The “soul sucking” scenes, and the fireballs that Randell can conjure really wouldn’t look out of place in a Hollywood blockbuster !

Was the film predictable ?…well it was a good guys vs bad guy film, and there are very few where the good guys lose 🙂

I have to say, the homages to the great films out there were amazing, it felt like a little game after a while, every few minutes I was turning to the missus and saying “ooooo, look, that’s the Turtles”, or one of the other films they paid homage too. I’m not 100%, but I seem to remember thinking a lot of the fighting moves were either from Mortal Kombat, or Street Fighter…I may be totally wrong, but that what they reminded me of.

Did it have any nudity ?…Yeah, but only for a split second, if anybody has listened to the Suckcast, you’ll know why I was a little shocked to only see a split second of nudity 🙂

Would I watch it again ? Already have, and it gets more enjoyable with each watch, it’s going to be one of “those films” I think ?

Would I have changed anything ? No, not really, there were a few points in the film where the comedy timing was a little out, apart from that much fighting, much gore, loved it.

All in all a great movie, if your looking for Hollywood blockbuster, with great depth and millions of pounds of special effects, then this movie isn’t for you, if you are looking for a low budget, gory, fun moving, then this is the film for you.

I think the current score on IMDB of 6.7/10 is totally justified, I just hope a publisher takes them on, so the rest of the world can see this great movie.

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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Posted by Ub3rG33k on Feb 17, 2009 in Films

Anybody that knows me, knows I’m a MASSIVE fan of transformers, I was brought out on them.

Transformers: The Movie was, and still is probably one of the best films ever made, however looking at the trailer of the 2nd, this could be as good 🙂

Official site is here

and HD versions are here

UK Release Date date 26th June 2009

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