Thursday, December 1, 2011

REVIEW: Steve Jobs (Book)

I never really idolized apple back when I was younger. Sure I loved my iPod and I mean I really loved it. It was my security blanket. Other then that I never really bought music from iTunes didn't own Macs even though I could fix one in seconds. But after getting an iPhone, iPad, Macbook Pro, and then an iMac, I've come to really love them and enjoy Apple as a whole, but I've always liked Steve. This book really delves into his life and it was somewhat of a shock about how misconstrued I was about him.

This book shed truth on him it showed him for what he was. He was irrational, a baby, and yes he was a smelly hippie with crazy ideas. I give Steve and Bill Gates a lot of respect though. I mean really they started an empire that has touched everyone one of us from garages. But if you thought Steve Job's was some tech geek who could code your wrong he couldn't write code, that was Woz's job (Steve Wozniak). Steve was successful because he was ambitious; he once called one of the CEO's of Hewlett Packard to get a part he needed. His ambition showmanship made him successful; Steve also had a "Reality Distortion Field". If someone told him it would take 6 months to complete a project, he would say have it for me next week and it worked. He also didn't like people being able to open things be it the Apple II or the iPod. Yes it is a pain but it's not a big deal for myself it is for you, don't buy Apple.

A lot of people want to hate on Apple but Steve made it work. Was he a big computer hacker? Coder? Nope. He was just a showman with amazing ideas. MP3's weren't created by Apple but they were perfected and no one was able to beat them even now. iTunes, Napster, Limewire-They essentially killed the record store. If you don't believe me try and find me a Tower Record store in Times Square or anywhere! From the iconic iPod silhouette commercials to the iPhone commercials coining the term "There's an app for that" Apple changed the way things worked for the better. Start up your iPhone and start up an android or any "dumb phone" I bet you the android phone is loaded with "crapware" carrier installed applications that CAN'T be deleted. Apple essentially cut the carrier out of the phone business besides providing service. I remember when Verizon got in trouble for locking GPS on their phones unless you used there GPS service. But alas Apple also has its downsides ex.Price. But I hope you've all learned a little here about the life of Steve from a tech standpoint. Go check the book out .

All in all I give Steve Jobs, an 8.5/10 the book can slightly drag especially in the beginning for people who are bored easily by tech jargon, but I do hope you read it and enjoy. As always friends Stay Hungry. If you have any questions feel free to send me a tweet. I always answer.

Written By: Derek
Twitter: @Derek712

The Truth About 4G

Before I go into 4G lets start by clarifying network Technology

GSM: (Global System for Mobile Communications).This is the global standard for cell phones. It has 3 Levels of cell service GPRS, EDGE (2G) and UMTS (3G) by its nature GSM offers faster data and also allows surfing the web whilst on a phone call (If on 3G, not EDGE) but is more likely to drop calls. Examples of GSM carriers: AT&T and T-Mobile.

CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) This is a less used concept around the world, but is way more efficient then GSM. It wont drop calls as much as a GSM network, but data will be much slower (Max speeds I could attain 1.5 MBPS) and another limitation is no simultaneous talk and surf

4G: Fourth generation cell phone networking the future is here and I like it. It allows speeds that rival those of some peoples home internet connections. But sadly some providers are touting 4G that simply isn’t “Real”.

The Myth: Take the Motorola Atrix 4G from AT&T for example its called 4G but in fact isn’t really, so it uses technology called HSPA+ which is the same technology used in AT&T’s 3G network. In essence, what AT&T and T-Mobile are advertising as real 4G is really just souped up 3G per say. In tests on the Atrix, Blackberry Torch 4G,and iPhone 4S which all use HSPA+ I got speed ranges at about 5-7 MBPS download and 1-3 upload. Not even close to 4G speeds ratified International Telecommunications union. So basically AT&T advertising 4G is a farce as of now, and T-Mobile really doesn't have real 4G at all technically speaking.

Sprint on the other hand uses 4G technology based on Wi-Max. Notice how it’s similar to in name to wifi? That’s because it’s based off of it. It uses the wifi 802.16 standard. Now sprint has had this technology for a while now and they had somewhat of an edge on their competition which they blew. The speeds on this network were about 3-4 MBPS down 1-2 up. This is probably why their ditching Clearwire the supplier of sprints Wimax network. What’s the point of having a 4G network slower then a GSM network?

LTE; Long Term Evolution, wasn’t considered 4G for a while it was really 3.9 G. Basically close but no cigar. Recently the Telecommunications union called all of the above technology 4G after pressure from carriers, but LTE is the closest and thus is the closest to 4G you will ever get. The speeds are amazing lightening fast 10 MBPS download I even hit 21 which is the same speeds I can get on my home internet. Which is kind of a shame to have all this power but having evil data caps.2GB caps will easily be blown through when you have this much power.
A lot of buzz has been going on about poor battery life. This is true but it’s more of a design sacrifice. This is due to the fact that there aren’t any integrated 3G/4G radios so basically you have 2 radios in your phone putting extra stress on your battery. This is the main reason why apple didn’t have an LTE iPhone. This is the design sacrifice they didn't want to make. Here is the ray of sunshine. Next year we will have integrated chips. So an LTE iPhone may arrive and new LTE phones will have drastically better battery life. Another coup d’├ętat of LTE is there is no voice protocol. Basically you can’t place a voice call over it yet. Verizon is said to be working on this and the cool part is, voice quality will be amazing, if you’re talking to another 4G LTE phone. Long Term Evolution is a GSM standard so basically Sprint and Verizon are moving toward a brand new standard allowing faster speeds and AT LAST simultaneous surf and talk. Let me tell I love this feature. When I was younger I would be on my old’ blackberry with my annoying girlfriend and I could be on ESPN.com or a radio shows message board Its something that CDMA subscribers will learn to love. And the big thing here is if your 4G phone is only HSPA+ or Wimax only capable you will be left out in the cold on this wonderful LTE world. And mark my words sprint is changing to LTE and will make your EVO’s worthless.

Even though the Telecommunications Board caved to carriers demands and called these standards 4G they really aren’t LTE is the most promising. Don’t get me wrong my iPhone 4S uses HSPA+ and its fast, but it isn’t 4G and it isn’t marketed as such. In my opinion and this all opinion LTE is the best investment once the integrated radio’s come out. As always guys Stay Hungry. If you have any questions, send me a tweet.

Written by: Derek
Twitter: @Derek712

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

REVIEW: Spotify

Music. Musica. Musik. Musique. I love music; there is never a time when my white earbuds won't be found in my ears. And now I've found the perfect service for me. Spotify has finally come to America. This service mixes iTunes with Netflix and Pandora. All services I enjoy. Now spotify has a client similar to iTunes that can be downloaded and used for free(ad supported).Now lets say you want to jam to some Johnny Cash? It's there to stream on your computer.

Hear comes the part people are wary about. In order to stream on your phone, tablet you need to pay 10 bucks a month. The good news that's because there aren't any Ads on their apps you get unlimited streaming no interruptions. So instead of a ton of music taking up space on my iPhone 4s I can stream the music I'd never put on my iDevice(or WP7 and Android too).So if you don't want people knowing you secretly love Kelly Clarkson this is a god place to be.

This app is also integrated with Facebook too. At Facebooks F8 conference they announced a partnership with Spotify to bring social networking to music. This didn't really shock me since Sean Parker invested in this fledgling service(Mr. Parker is involved in Facebook).So now not only will Spotify rate your favorite artists and tracks you can check out your Facebook friends stats and see who they're listening to. Also it will show who and what you're listening on the Facebook news feed. Social media mixed with music is excellent in my mind because it has and will allow myself and everyone else to discover new music new possibilities. Also if you sign up for an account with your Facebook you'll get 6 months free streaming and no ads.

All in all spotify is getting 9.5 out of 10. The main reason it didn't hit 10/10 is due to the fact that some artists, like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and others aren't on spotify but the fact is spotify has one mission music, which it executes beautifully with social media. This means that artist exposure can definitely see an uptick thanks to this integration. If you guys have any questions give me a follow on Twitter:@Derek712 I always tweet back. For more info on Spotify follow them on twitter: @Spotify and like them on Facebook: Search for Spotify. Happy listening guys as always, Stay Hungry

Written By: Derek
Twitter: @Derek712

Cloud Computing

The cloud and me?

A lot of buzz has been abound on the web about cloud computing. So what exactly does this mean for us as consumers? Amazon, Apple, Google are all clamoring about "shifting are digital hub from our computers to the CLOUD" as told by the late Steve Jobs. So what the hell does that mean? Basically the cloud is storage on a company's server that is accessed by our devices eg. Computer, Phone, Tablet etc, instead of it all being stored on our computers hard drives. Now this has been around for a while: gmail & carbonite, but this concept is different. It's about consumption of media and keeping it all in sync. Some of these services are iTunes Match, Google Music, and Amazon Cloud Player.

iTunes Match/iCloud:

You ever purchase a song on iTunes? I bet you have. It used to be a pain in the ass to have to then hook up all your devices to keep them in sync. Not anymore. With iCloud everything is kept in sync automatically. Take a photo on one "iDevice" it shows up on ones PC or Mac its automatic no work needed no wires and no HEADACHES.
Now iTunes match handles will take your music collection and keep it in the cloud and match your library to the 20 million songs in the itunes library. Have a large Billy Joel collection like me? Well now it matched and upgraded to a higher bit rate. Which means my 128 KB song will be upgraded to 256, making it sound better and crisper. Though if iTunes can't match it will be uploaded but not upgraded. Also iTunes Match will not change your metadata. So if your song info is wrong it WILL NOT fix it. Also, if a song has a higher bit rate it will not lower it.

To activate said service update iTunes to 10.5.1(http://itunes.com) on the left sidebar click on iTunes match then click subscribe. iTunes Match costs 24.99 per year. Which will
help you if you've "Stolen" your music, but I'm not here for a morality lesson so let's not get into that.

After subscribing it will scan and match your library so instead of uploading 25000 songs you're probably only going to have to upload a lot less. After it's all done your iTunes library will look more like this.

To activate on an iOS device make sure your running iOS 5 and then go to Settings

Google Music: Google isn't new to the cloud game. They haven't had the same issues that have plagued apple. MOBILE ME ANYONE? But now it seems Larry Page is ready to take on the monster that is iTunes with Google music. And with competition comes innovation. Google has launched a store for music and the cloud to keep it all in sync for all your Android Fans. Now music is available in one place on all your android devices, tablets phones etc. Though you will have to upload all your songs

The thing I love about Google music is its all in one place. You can buy all your music in the android market. It's personalized to your tastes too. There's nothing better then finding new music you'll love for years to come. Plus you can stream the music from your devices over an internet connection. No connection? Have evil tiered data caps or fears of throttling? No problem you can save the music to your device for offline enjoyment.http://music.google.com/about/.All this is available to you with no wires and no syncing either it all just works.

Amazon Cloud Drive: Not to be biased but this option is a little less desirable but still pretty neat. Amazon cloud drive gives you 5GB storage for ANY file including music, though any song purchased from Amazon is stored for free. Though if you have a lot of music like me you'll be able to purchase more space (1 dollar per GB 20 GB=20 USD a month. Amazon also touts unlimited access via computer, phone apps, etc.

iTunes Match: 8/10.Match is a great service it does a lot to alleviate the stress of having to upload thousands upon thousands of tracks. It also removes DRM and makes song tracks sound way better especially if you ripped a lot of CD's. On the downside it doesn't give you the option to clean up your meta-data and some of my explicit songs were replaced with censored versions.

Google Music: 7/10 Google makes an excellent foray into music. Much more happy with this then their video rental service via youtube. This service allows personalization streaming of your music which match does not support yet and integration with the Android Market. The downside is that you'll have to upload any music that wasn't purchased which can take hours or even days

Amazon Cloud Player: 2/10. The one nice thing I can say about Amazon is it actual will let you store what you want in your cloud space. But hey I have 50 GB free with Box.com. Amazon doesn't have match and its 5GB free storage just doesn't seem right for music storage. And 500 dollars for 500 GB of storage? You can easily get 4 times that amount of storage for way cheaper by simply buying an external hard drive.

Written By: Derek
Twitter: @Derek712

Monday, November 28, 2011

REVIEW: Call Of Duty - Modern Warfare 3 (Xbox 360)

Before I actually review anything, allow me to share with you quite possibly the coolest commercial for any game in history.

AC/DC makes anything badass

The game itself in the single player mode picks up right after where Modern Warfare 2 ended. World War III is upon us and it is your job to help take down the terrorist known as Markarov

Yeah, this guy

The first stage is right in the middle of downtown New York City. Immediately you are thrown into action all while looking at the fine detail of lower Manhattan. I can't begin to describe the detail Infinity Ward & Sledgehammer have given to this game. The graphics are fantastic.

The campaign mode isn't as great as Modern Warfare 2 was, but it has one "man-tear" moment I won't share with you. A longtime character meets his end, that is all I'm sharing. Other than that emotional moment, the only really big moment in the campaign is the final confrontation with Makarov. I honestly wasn't as impressed with the single player mode as I was in previous versions. I will however say I had a lot of fun and the ending was a satisfying conclusion to the story.

What everyone wants to talk about is the multiplayer mode. Playing this game online can be both exciting and fun, yet piss you off and make you contemplate quitting the game.

Allow me to explain. There is no easy way of saying this without looking like a noob so I'll just say it, I'm not really that good at online play. My level right now is 45, and even with advanced weapon upgrades, scopes and Bouncing Betty mines (AWESOME ways to kill someone), I still find myself getting killed quite often. Sometimes when I respawn, I pop up right in the middle of gunfire and am killed almost instantly. People also stalk the respawn points with sniper riffles and shoot you immediately when you respawn. It is very annoying and I wish I could respawn in an area where I can see the map for a second before I'm killed.

Also, my biggest complaint with this online play is it doesn't sort out noobs from experienced players. When I first started as a level 1 with only 3 choices in weapons, I was put in matches with level 70+ players with advanced weapons, scopes and grenades. One round I got maybe 3 kills and I died 28 times. Eventually, I am asked to leave the party because I am costing my team the win because I die all of the time. Now I may sound like a whining noob, but a lot of players have this same complaint. The way games are sorted out should be by your kill/death ratio. It isn't even sorted by the level of your character.

Other than those 2 complaints about online play, Modern Warfare 3 is fun as hell and I highly recommend it. However if you want a more fair online play, stick with Black Ops or Modern Warfare 2. Add me at BrainstuHammy on Xbox live and let's play. Chances are you will kill me a million times.

SUMMARY: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is a visually stunning game with a campaign mode that has 2 climatic moments. It also has an online multiplayer mode that, if you're good at it, can be fun as hell. However if like me you have a few bad rounds, it will piss you off and make you want to quit. I recommend this game if you have friends to play with and you don't care about being killed if you're a noob. For advanced players, this is a great way to build experience. I also beg Infinity Ward to redesign the multiplayer menu so the bad players get sorted into matches with bad players and vise versa with good players. That way, online experience can be more fun for every level of player.

RATING: I give this game 7.5 smashed controllers from anger out of 10

Written by: Hammy
Twitter: @BrainstuHammy

Android Vs. iPhone: From A Basic Point Of View

Phone geeks everywhere constantly debate with each other in comments sections of various websites about which phone is best. So, which phone REALLY is the best? The answer is simple: None. Every new smartphone, no matter how awesome it might be, has flaws.

I'm an iPhone 4 user with AT&T. When I first got my iPhone, it was my first smartphone upgrade. Before the iPhone, the fanciest thing my phone could do is send a picture message (something previous versions of the iPhone couldn't do). I was instantly hooked with this amazing technology in the palm of my hands. Then I wondered why so many people complain about their phones and the tiny little differences between the best devices on the market. I started to play around with other devices in stores. Before I got my iPhone, I checked every store, every phone, every provider to find the best deal for the best product. When I'm dedicating 2 years to a device, I want it to work perfectly for me. I had Sprint and was going to upgrade to the EVO, but after the demo phone in the store had almost half of the battery drained in 2 hours, I skipped the EVO. I then went for the Droid Incredible with Verizon. Like the EVO, the Incredible was a battery drainer. If you couldn't tell by now, battery life is a MUST for me. If I have an amazing device that can do these amazing things, it must last more than a few hours without needing a charge. The iPhone 4 with it's very good battery life (2-3 days per charge), incredibly easy to handle operating system and size, I went iPhone. Also, since I pay nearly half of what I would have paid if I went with Verizon, it is also a money saver. When I upgraded, Android devices were JUST getting to the point where they can be declared "better" than iPhones. Now in Fall of 2011, I can firmly say there are some Android devices out there that are without a doubt better than my iPhone 4. Because I'm now borderline obsessed with new phones and technology, I've been testing a lot of the new smartphones out there in stores.

I've had my iPhone 4 for just over a year now, and while I still love the fact I can surf the web, post on Twitter and Facebook and do just about anything I want, I now understand why phone geeks constantly compare phones. I now know why "Vs." videos on Youtube get thousands of hits. I've been trying out new Android phones. More specifically, the Samsung Galaxy SII

I've been trying the Galaxy SII on Sprint (which calls the device the "Epic 4G Touch") and I absolutely love it. I thought I wouldn't like a big screen on a phone (one of the reasons I didn't upgrade to the EVO), but the Galaxy SII has changed my mind about big screens. The screen itself is 4.52 inches of beauty. I didn't think my iPhone 4's screen could be topped. I was wrong. Not only is the Galaxy SII's screen clearer, but the processor speed, memory, web browsing speed are all better. Every single thing about the Galaxy SII is better than my iPhone 4, and just last year the iPhone 4 was voted as the best smartphone. Also, the fact that the Galaxy SII has a bigger screen and bigger frame than my iPhone 4, yet is lighter in weight and has a better battery life is stunning. Plus, Sprint has an excellent network and now with 4G and being the last true "unlimited" provider, the Galaxy SII with Sprint is, IMO, the best device and value on the market today.

Another device I tried out, recommended by Maryanne, the HTC Rezound from Verizon.

Maryanne has bought this device and has said nothing but great things about it (more in-depth review coming soon). I decided to try it out myself at a Verizon store and I can concur with Maryanne that the Rezound is fantastic. The camera quality (along with the Galaxy SII) are much better than my iPhone 4. Although using 4G it drains the battery pretty quickly, the speed of this device when web browsing is stunning. This phone on Verizons 4G LTE is faster than my laptop at home. If speed is very important to you, the Rezound is the fastest phone I've tested. The Galaxy SII is maybe a second or two slower when loading up web pages. The overall size of the Rezound is smaller than the Galaxy SII, but bigger than the iPhone 4, so it is a great mid point with people who didn't like the small iPhone screen and the large screens on the Galaxy SII and EVO. Verizon now has data plans, so if you're a heavy data user, stay with Sprint. However, if you were "Grandfathered" into unlimited data with Verizon, the Rezound is highly recommended.

I am an iPhone user, so what do I think about the new 4S?

What Apple was trying to do with this new device is make it into a smaller frame with a bigger screen, but since they couldn't figure out how to do it, the put the new hardware upgrades that were SUPPOSED to be in the iPhone 5 in this new 4S. The new A5 processor is a good increase in speed and performance, the camera quality is excellent and SIRI, the 4S's biggest selling point, is pretty fun to mess with, although not that innovative. SIRI is a voice recognition software that allows you to basically communicate with your 4S. What Apple is mainly selling this SIRI feature is "it's not what you want it to do, but how you say it". For instance, most new phones have voice commands, but you have to say specific words so your device can perform said command. With SIRI, all you have to do is talk to it, like for instance, "Will it snow today?". Saying "Will it snow today?" or "Does the weather look bad today?" or "Do I need a sweater?" all will give you the forecast. SIRI is not innovative and not original by any means. However, what SIRI does is perfect the voice command system in smartphones. The camera was another upgrade I was really impressed with. The Rezound and Galaxy SII take great photos themselves, but the 4S IMO takes the best photos in almost any situation. Apple can take something good and make it great. Hate on Apple all you want, but they know how to make a great product. As far as speed goes, the Galaxy SII and HTC Rezound blow the 4S away in terms of web browsing and app downloading speed. The 4S isn't even that much faster than my 4 now. Very disappointing with that. I was very excited when Apple compared the speed of the 4S to competitors. However, the 4S is still a pretty fast device and with Sprint now carrying the iPhone, the 4S with Sprints unlimited plan looks pretty good if you're a first time smartphone buyer.

What about Windows Phone?

Nothing a Windows phone can do is something my iPhone 4 already can't do. Sure, Windows Phone is incredibly easy to use, but like the iPhone, you need Windows products to make the experience with Windows Phone more enjoyable. Don't get Windows Phone if you're a MAC user. At least with Droids, you can still use an Android device even with a MAC. I'm sure there are Windows Phone users out there that absolutely love their device and are happy with that. Great! Windows Phone just wasn't for me. Although I really did like the simplicity of the device. The live updates with your social media was neat as well. Windows Phone is something you either will like or not like. I just happen to be on the "not like" side.

So what exactly do you do if you're looking to buy a smartphone? All smartphones can browse the web, download apps that can do cool things, check your email, take great photos all while fitting in your pocket. We live in a world where you can have your entire life on a device in your pocket, and for that I'm thankful for. I love technology today. That's why I didn't go into anal details about processor speeds, RAM, memory, etc. because so many people argue like crazy over .2 MB of memory and how that .2 MB of memory makes their device so much better. It's annoying. Here are the simple Black/White differences with Android Vs. iPhone.



- Flash with web browsing (for now)
- Can customize virtually anything on your device
- Most devices you can actually take out the battery
- 4G
- Most apps that you would have to pay for on iPhone are free in the Android market
- Screen sizes on some devices are bigger and easier to see than on iPhone
- Can be turned into a mini computer and run software you'd find on your home computer


- Customizing home screens, 4G and most in-app notifications drain battery
- Battery lasts at most 1 & 1/2 days
- Lot's of customization and settings can confuse new smartphone users
- Some devices are too big to fit in pocket comfortably



- Simple & very easy to setup and use
- Click & drag your music, videos, podcasts, etc in iTunes to your iPhone and it is automatically sorted
- Over 500,000 apps so your device can virtually do anything
- Great battery life that lasts 2-3 days depending on data usage
- Picture quality is excellent
- Can fit in your pocket comfortably


- No flash for web browsing
- Can't change the battery without replacing the device
- Software upgrades erase memory
- Most useful apps cost $
- Screen size not as big as competitors
- Unless Apple approves or you jailbreak your device, you're stuck with what the iPhone has
- No talk/text unless you use SIRI. If you don't have a 4S, you have to type everything by hand.

The bottom line: If you want a simple, easy to use device that you know will work for you and will do anything basic you would want, go iPhone. If you want a more customizable, complex device that can do anything your home computer can, go Android.

I'm a happy iPhone 4 user and I've loved my iPhone, but when I can upgrade, I'm going Android and with the Galaxy SII for Sprint.

Written By: Hammy
Twitter: @BrainstuHammy

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Occupy Wall Street: Why I Can't Support The Protesters

I'm sure you have seen photos and videos of these people. For the past 2 months, people nation wide and even now the world have "occupied" public spaces in protest of greed, corruption and tyranny. While I find that great, there is one small problem I have with this movement, and that's the protesters themselves. I live 30 minutes outside of New York City, so all of the time on my local news I see new footage of Occupy Wall Street every day. The other day I was debating (me making a point and being called a Nazi, a zionist shill and straw man) with some protesters. Not only were my arguments immediately shut down, but I was insulted and the protesters became very hostile. The protesters have lovely catch phrases and even put swastika's on the American flag.

Look, an outrageous comparison to try and get your point across. It's cute...

Our argument was about the recent ruling passed by a Judge not allowing the protesters to camp overnight in Zuccotti Park. Of course, like children who just had candy taken away from them, these protesters were up in arms complaining. The problem is, they are lucky Brookfield Properties has been so patient with them. Why does Brookfield Properties matter? Brookfield just happens to own the land Zuccotti Park is on. They control that land and have allowed the protesters to use their land to protest. Brookfield has had no problems with the protesters (and still don't) until they started to read and watch the news. What they read is the same things I've read: spreading illnesses, STD's, rise in crime, unhealthy sanitation conditions, horrendous smells and lot's of noise caused by drumming. Not to mention numerous complaints from the people that live and work in that neighborhood. They have had enough and mailed Mayor Bloomberg this letter...

Zuccotti Park is operated as a public park. However, it is still owned by Brookfield, which means they can (and have) called the NYPD to clean up the mess that was on their land. You think this movement would have lasted even a day in Central Park? The reason why these protesters are obsessed with Zuccotti Park is because they can't go anywhere else. If they go to an actual public park in New York, the NYPD will arrest them on spot. The reason the NYPD hasn't raided Zuccotti Park until now is because it is not a New York City public park, therefor the Police don't have authority. This is one thing I give the protesters credit for. They aren't that stupid. You can go to the official website for the New York Public Parks System and check it out yourself. Zuccotti Park is not listed. The NYPD removed the tents later that night when Brookfield sent that letter to the Mayor's office. What more proof do you need that Zuccotti Park is a private piece of land? I could buy a 10 acre piece of land and build a playground on it and use it as a public park, but it is still my land. Zuccotti Park is a "Privately-Owned-Public-Space", meaning that public park rules apply (which means they shouldn't have been camping in the first place), but that doesn't change the fact that it is still a privately owned piece of land.

Holy shit! A big time company that owns a piece of land and just let's the public use it for recreation?! Say it isn't so!

Now that the NYPD took the protesters tents, computers and now their "Peoples Library" out, they can actually have a real protest. All you need is signs and a voice. You want to socialize with friends while reading books and typing away at a computer? There is a place called the New York Public Library.

When I argued these points with the protesters, I was called a zionist shill, a nazi, a straw man, fascist, an agent to the Republican Party and a blind zombie.

Calling me a zionist, yet claiming to be peaceful and tolerant of other cultures makes you an anti-semitic hypocrite. When you call me a zionist, you're calling me a power hungry Jew that is only out to help other Jews. I'm also not Jewish. So you're also an idiot. If someone were to attempt to insult me at me "low level lack of education" level and just simply call me a stupid fat fuck, I wouldn't be offended anyway.

Anyone that knows me knows that I see what is there right now. I see what is going on in the moment. I am also very black/white and very rarely have gray areas when it comes to forming an opinion. It either is or isn't.

I see people protesting the 1%, the CEO's of corporations. I see people protesting the colleges charging 30K a year for college. I see people protesting millionaires. What I don't see are people taking responsibility for their actions.

Oh, and lot's of these as well...

Now I will agree with OWS on one thing, and that is I have the same anger towards our government for giving CEO's our tax money in a bailout and these CEO's buying private jets. Not all CEO's did, but the media only talks about the 2-3 CEO's that did.

Now on the other side, the CEO's drove their business to the point of bankruptcy. Credit card companies that make money on interest baited stupid people into charging credit cards for things they couldn't afford. Shame on them. What the protesters also fail to do is yell shame to the people who got themselves into debt. You should also yell shame to the people who fell for Obamas ridiculous Cash For Clunkers plan, trading in their perfectly good cars for new cars they couldn't afford. You should yell shame at the people who don't take personal responsibility for their actions. Not the mega rich who just sell products. You have the right and freedom to make choices. It is not the law that you go to school, take loans and get credit cards.

Yes. That means YOU too...

Demanding our government use our tax dollars to better ourselves as a nation and take our troops out of places they shouldn't be is something I completely agree with. What I don't understand are the "non official" list of demands on OWS's website saying that all debt should be forgiven and all college should be free.

Do people not understand that tuition helps pay to keep the school running, professors salary, new books, new equipment, sports field maintenance, etc?

This guy wants free college education, because that's "what he wants". You don't just demand free things. There is something called WORK that pays you something called MONEY that you SAVE by putting it in a BANK. That is how you work towards a college education. That, or just be incredibly smart or an athlete and hope for a scholarship.

When I see people protesting the 1% of these corporations, yet they are posting on Facebook, Twitter and other blogs with computers, cell phones and taking pictures with cameras made by the very corporations they are protesting against, all I see is a giant ball of hypocrisy. I believe if you really want to make a statement to the corporations, take every product you own made by a corporation and burn/smash it in the street in defiance. Nothing makes a statement to a corporation like their products being smashed and you refusing to buy/use their products.

They HATE the rich and corporations, right?

While I generally agree with some things the OWS protesters (the ones that actually can keep a conversation) are protesting, the protesters themselves are making me hate this cause and the movement. Besides the hypocrisy of using products made by corporations they are protesting against, the people are very rude. If someone even remotely disagreed with them, they get yelled at and called a nazi, agent to the republican party and some people chanted "instigator" and "shame".

I love this video. "We are angry! We just don't know why!". Sure this was in Sacramento, California, but this affects the movement as a whole. When the media just asks you a question as simple as "Why are you here?" and you can't provide an answer, your movement has no grounds.

Gregg "Opie" Hughes is a comedy talk radio host that went down to Zuccotti Park to film the protesters in hopes of finding the freakiest of them all (and for that I'm very thankful. Quite entertaining). However, cameras don't lie. The one gentleman actually thinks taxing the rich 90% will solve the problem. They are drumming in circles wearing V For Vendetta masks and almost everyone Mr. Hughes talked to appeared stoned out of their minds. This was taped in the epicenter of the whole movement! What does that say to us, the public, about your cause?

One thing I've noticed too with the news footage and home movies uploaded to Youtube, the protesters love free speech, but don't like it when someone disagrees with them. If you even remotely disagree with them, they will gang up and attack you instead of discussing the issues like adults.

I read stories about the people spreading disease, STD's, other illnesses and people getting yelled at because they simply disagreed with the protesters beliefs. Mix those with the incredibly loud and annoying drum circles and that made me wonder just how can anybody support this? I feel like every rotten smelly stoner from my High School has now gathered in Manhattan.

The protesters also have the audacity to compare OWS to the Civil Rights Movement and the US government to Nazi Germany and ancient power hungry empires. When you do this, it makes your arguments and your entire group look like a bunch of whining, spoiled children. There is a HUGE difference between the civil rights movement and OWS. You can first off drink at the same fountains as anyone else. You can eat at the same restaurants. You're not being sprayed with fire hoses and you're certainly not being forced to sit at the back of the bus. Not to mention being called "nigger" "spook" "monkey" and other racial slurs. You only have to worry about being called "hippies". Black people were treated like shit because they were black, not because they are protesting in lower Manhattan. Nazi Germany exterminated millions of innocent people because Hitler believed the Germans were the superior race. You don't see OWS protesters being driven to death camps where they are starved, tortured and killed. Ancient Rome and other ancient empires took over other lands because they were hungry with power. Defy them, you were killed.

I clearly see the similarities now. "Americas future" alright...

Also, it is not wise to welcome celebrity endorsements like Michael Moore, who is worth millions (the rumor is 50 million, which wouldn't surprise me). If Michael Moore really wants to help, he should donate every penny he makes that is above middle class standards. He shows up in sweat pants and gains your trust, then takes his sweaty hypocritical ass right back to his huge house. Russell Simmons, who owns a record label,worth millions and oh, DOESN'T PAY TAXES. He said on national TV that he doesn't pay taxes because he "doesn't want to support the war machine". All these celebrities are doing is making an appearance to look good for their public relations. Michael Moore doesn't give a shit about you. All he cares about is being seen video taped and photographed with you people so he can make another documentary or write a book about this movement and make even more money off of you, who predictably will go see it. Michael Moore is the biggest hypocrite in this entire movement. He should be ashamed of himself. He's the same guy that called Capitalism EVIL! He made an entire documentary about how Capitalism is evil and should be destroyed. I bet he sure as hell doesn't hate those millions he's made in a capitalist system though. Hypocrite. He's no dummy though. He knows he's gonna get a big pay day from you people who now love him.

Note how immediately the protesters yell "shame" and "instigator" at someone who disagrees with them...

I also love the class these protesters have. In New York, they are calling the NYPD (same people that helped save thousands of lives on 9/11) "thugs" and Mayor Bloomberg a nazi. You Occupy protesters are voluntarily protesting the US government knowing that you might be arrested and treated as a common criminal. All of the "thug" beatings from the NYPD wouldn't happen if you simply stayed home. People in Africa are starving and have hardly any help. People are violently killing each other in the Middle East and families are being destroyed because of war and violence. Americans have it so good, yet you people still choose to complain and demand more from the government. They sound like spoiled children and are no better to me than 9/11 truthers. I dare ANY protester to go to Saudi Arabia or Iran with this self righteous entitled attitude they have. You'll be shot or beheaded within a day or two. That is why I have such a negative view towards the protesters.

Ok, so enough of your bitching, Chris. How can we fix this? Do YOU have any positive solutions?

I firmly believe that 80% of what people are protesting can be solved by education on the value of saving and writing a budget. You don't need a college education to add and subtract, so you can balance a checkbook. I dropped out of school to go to a trade school for radio/tv production. Just last year I paid off the 10K loan I took to go to this school. Up until just this past June when I finally landed my dream job as an audio engineer, I worked every dead end job you can think of. While I was working security, the company that hired my security company to patrol their building canceled the contract. Because I showed that I am a value asset, this company hired me as an employee with better pay, better health benefits and a 401K plan. I honestly do feel for the people who's departments are outsourced. Instead of buying a new TV, computer, clothes and other things you want, make a list of "needs" and write a very strict cash budget (combined me and my GF take home less than 40K, so don't tell me it can't be done). Save enough so you have 8 months of living expenses covered. If you get a less paying job after losing your first job, budget to fit that income. I don't care if you can't play Call Of Duty online anymore, cancel Xbox, Netflix and w/e you need to cancel to make your budget work.

Personal responsibility is something most Americans don't have and that scares me more than any war could.

Yeah, it would be nice to go to school, get that job and live in a big house with no financial worries. Unfortunately we live in a world where not everyone has a happy ending. It would have been nice to afford the best Cancer treatment for my Grandparents instead of what we could afford. Unfortunately a world like that doesn't exist and will never exist. Sometimes people get the shit end. No protests and no laws can make a perfect world. This isn't The Matrix and we are not machines that never make a mistake. No government is perfect and no justice system is perfect. I don't know why these protesters are so unhappy with the US when they live in the greatest country on Earth. They could have it so much worse than they think. That's what makes us human. You can't just take the rich's money and give it to people who don't deserve it. That wouldn't make me want to work if I knew I was gonna get a living wage and some assholes money that he actually worked for. Don't you see how silly that "spread the wealth" argument is?

Americans are dumb. All we care about is how the Kardashians are doing. The media isn't clouding our minds with this garbage as a distraction. They are simply giving DUMB Americans what the dumb Americans want to see.

Taking away the annoying, entitled, attention seeking protesters. What about the common man? What's the real story behind this movement? What do us as spoiled Americans need to be told? Here is what I think Americans need to "get".

Talking about student loans, mortgages and consumer (stupid) debt. If you can't pay cash for it, you shouldn't buy it. You got accepted to NYU. Great! Do you want to put yourself (and your parents if they co-sign the loans) through years of debt and pay almost 100K (200K at least by the time you pay it off with interest) of bills? Community colleges cost a fraction of a big school, they are local & you can work and pay it off without the distractions of frat parties and getting wasted. You can also transfer your credits to NYU when you saved up enough money to go, or get a Bachelors from the community college.

As far as credit cards go, I'm not trying to tell you how to live, but credit card debt will only cause problems. Interest is how these companies make money. That's why they bait college kids into getting cards. Even if the student doesn't pay it off, collection agencies will buy the debt and the card companies still make money. While I think it's a crime that these companies bait college students into debt, the real crime is the kid not being educated on the value of saving and debt and not taking responsibility for their financial decisions.

The banks are not evil. You signed the mortgage, so it is your responsibility. It is not the banks fault you didn't read the contract.

OK, so what about foreclosing? "The evil bank took my home, man!"

My grandparents racked up 200K of debt and eventually were forced out of their home from the bank. Speaking as someone who personally went through a foreclosure, anyone that say's "banks are evil greedy goblins that make sure you need them!" don't know what they are talking about. Can't pay your mortgage? The bank will work with you to refinance your mortgage so you can have lighter payments. The banks are businesses. They need to make money. You paying them back with interest makes them that money. If they loan you 250,000 dollars, they are gonna work with you so they can get their money back. However, if they simply run out of patience trying to work it out with you, they can (and will, legally) take back the home that is still technically theirs. Banks lose a lot of money in a foreclosure, so foreclosing your home is the last thing they want to do. Even if they do foreclose your home, it will be months, maybe even a year before they decide to foreclose. When they foreclose, they won't kick you out overnight, they will give you a very large window to move out, sending countless letters reminding you to leave. When you pay off a mortgage, that is now YOUR home. YOU own that home outright. Mortgages work jut like car loans. The bank "owns" you because you bought a house with THEIR MONEY!

You signed up for the credit card, you are responsible for any debt you may or may not accumulate. You took student loans, you're responsible for paying it off. Instead of blaming the rich, blame yourself for your lack of education. Yes, our economy is the worst it's been since the depression, but the economy always gets better. It's like a pendulum. In time it will be fixed and the jobs will all come back. It won't fix the issue long-term, but if you take some time and budget your income, you will at least have an easier life at home. If my friend and his wife (who combined make 48K) and me and my girlfriend (on less than 40K a year combined) can budget and be able to go on vacation every year while living in the New York area, you can too.

Now what about children? Children are expensive and could cost a whole lot more if they have medical issues. So let me ask this harsh question: Why on Earth did you have children if you can't afford one? Why does a family on welfare have 4 kids and are pregnant with a 5th? Why do unemployed High School kids have children of their own? Some are honest mistakes. Some are stupid choices because "love will get us through it". I refuse to have children until I'm confident I can afford one. Children are a blessing, but can also be the death of you financially if you don't prepare.

The same problem at home with people spending money they don't have on shit they can't afford is what's going on in DC. We as a nation are 15 trillion dollars in debt. That is a number we will never bring back down. How about we not give nations that hate us money? How about we take care of our own problems before we worry about other nations? How about actually saying "no" to the special interest groups that want government funding instead of just writing checks? You as a US citizen have the power to vote people out of office. It's sad that Americans forgot DC works for us. It's also more sad that Americans vote for the popular candidate instead of the right candidate.

The REAL people in need will do everything they can to work their ass off to provide for their families. They won't drum in circles and demand free things they haven't worked for with a selfish attitude.

What about the people who just have everything bad going for them? No job, no job market, not enough money to move to a place where jobs are, health problems, etc. and you REALLY have no options (this should eliminate millions of people who actually do get benefits)? Each case of unemployment and government financial benefits should be looked at by someone. That's a lot of work, but we need jobs in this country, don't we? I would gladly give more tax dollars if I knew they were going towards a program that gave the people that really need them the right benefits and the freeloaders who are too lazy to look for a job not a dime. McDonald's and movie theaters are always hiring. Swallow your pride and your ego and apply for work there. 8$ an hour is better than 0$ an hour.

With that, I leave you all with some Five Finger Death Punch, just because they kick ass.

Written by: Hammy
Email: Chris@brainstumedia.com

Friday, September 16, 2011

I Should Be Doing Laundry: "Target Treated Us Like Common Criminals"

Target Treated Us Like Common Criminals

Today my husband and I went shopping at Target in Plainville Ma to get some things for our kids/house. As we were shopping, my husband found an item that was marked down on clearance. It was a "Red Fire Hose Nozzle with a Wand Sprayer" originally 24.99, marked down to 4.98. After we checked out (we spent 230.00 mind you) we noticed that it showed as the original price. We went to customer service to have them correct the mistake.

We explained the situation to the woman behind the desk, who's name was Dianne. She right away said "some people come in, change the tags, and come back later to purchase it".  Well, fine, but we didn't.  My husband asked her to scan the clearance tag to see what came up. Guess what...it came up "Red Fire Hose Nozzle". She began to argue with us, stating that it wasn't the same item and someone switched the tags. She was very rude and accusing when she said this. I asked to see a manager right away. A "manager" (I say this term loosely because the woman only had a name badge with "Jane" on it, no manager accreditation on it) came over and we tried to explain our situation. We didn't care about the item, it was the fact that Dianne was accusing us of switching tags. At this point, we're going back and forth with both of them, just discussing our side of the story. All of a sudden Dianne calls "security" and a bunch of numbers after it. Before we know it, security is there, watching our every move. Are you kidding me??? If that wasn't bad enough, Dianne calls the security desk, telling them to REVIEW TAPES, to see if my husband switched tags!!!!! We tried to tell them that it would be very coincidental that someone would have a Target price tag gun, know the codes, to make it look like it was supposed to be that item. They almost matched in description to a T. My husband said "Are you accusing me of switching tags? Why would I do something like that for a 25 dollar item when I've spent over 200.00 already???"

At this point I can feel my blood boiling. They're accusing us of stealing. I ask to speak to the supervisor, and Jane says "I'm it. There's no one above me so you're going to have to deal with me" My reply: "Oh yeah, we'll see about that. I'm calling your corporate office and submitting a complaint against the both of you" She replies "Go ahead!" We again told them we didn't care about the item, that we were offended that we were treated as common criminals and accused of something we would never imagine doing.

They gave us our money back, we left and I immediately called Target Corporate offices and complained. I am absolutely disgusted and APPALLED at the way my husband and I were treated today. All of you that truly know me personally know that neither I nor my husband would ever do something like this. I ask all that read this to PLEASE SHARE THIS with everyone you know, from your Twitter, Facebook, Google+, everywhere. It would be greatly appreciated. 

Much love to all of you.

Monday, July 18, 2011

REVIEW: Google+

Just in case you've been living under a rock, Google+ is a new social network outlet. Its in its beta phase and the only way to join as of now is to get an invite from someone who is already on it.

I have to admit, when I first joined I wasn't very impressed. To me, it seemed as if it was a dumb downed version of Facebook. After playing with it for a while, I have come to really enjoy it. This is what it would look like if Facebook and Twitter had a baby.

Right now the only features Google+ offers are:

  • Status updates-share whats on your mind with your friends, they have the option to comment on it, share it or +1 it (+1 is like "liking" someone's status on Facebook)
  • Photo/Video sharing-(you can also upload pics/videos to Cloud without public publishing)
  • Grouping your friends in "Circles". Don't want Aunt Millie seeing you say "It's 4:20! Smoke 'em if ya got 'em!" You can use the option of sharing it with a certain circle. No one else except those people in that circle is able to see that status.
  • Some sites have added a +1 button, that when you click on it, it shows up on your Google+ wall, sharing it with friends as well as listed as a site you +1'd under your +1 tab.
  • Hangout: A multi-user video chat. This feature seems pretty cool. You can have up to 10 people in a huddle at one time. It shows whoever the person that is talking at the time's on cam.
  • Huddle: A multi-user chat room. This is similar to PingChat. What's better about this is the fact that, unlike Pingchat, who allows only up to 14 people per thread, Huddle's is unlimited. 
  • Tune into a YouTube video in real time with friends (within Hangouts) Anyone in the hangout has access to the controls (play, pause, etc) When the video starts, the group chat mutes by default but there is a button labeled "push to talk" that overrides it.
  • Sparks: View curated content based on interests. It points you toward content that you want to find and explore.
  • Make a typo in your status? You can edit posts after you published them.
Coming soon to Google+:
  • Free SMS service
  • Private Messaging System
  • Hangout feature on Google+ Android application (No Hangout on iOS devices) 

I'm sure I missed some of the features but hopefully you'll get the picture. If you have an Android device, there's a Google+ app in the marketplace waiting for you to download. You can also take advantage of Huddle in the Google+ app. All in all I think Google+ definitely has some potential to be the future Facebook. Only time and added features will tell.

If you're interested in checking it out, send me a tweet and I'll hook you up!

Written By: Maryanne
Twitter: @BostonBombshell

I Should Be Doing Laundry: My Mind Tells Me One Thing, My Heart, Another

My Mind Tells Me One Thing, My Heart, Another...

I have trust issues...there, I said it. I've been burned too many times to trust easily so when I open up and trust someone, it's a big deal. I'm not saying I'm this "holier than thou" or "consider yourself lucky if I trust you" kind of person, I'm just saying when I trust you, it's a big deal to ME.

Recently, a friend with whom I've trusted with all my heart hurt me pretty badly emotionally. I had considered this person near and dear to my heart, someone who I could feel comfortable enough to tell them anything and everything that was on my mind and they would be non judgmental towards me. Without getting into details, this person pretty much broke not only my trust, but my heart as well. Do I still love and care about this person? Of course. We all make mistakes. BUT, we must also recognize and admit those mistakes in order to move forward in our relationships/friendships. Apologize for what you did, not for the hurt that was brought upon from your actions.

This friend has done just that. Apologized that I was hurt by their actions, not for doing something to me that was wrong. Refuses to accept the fact that they were wrong and out of line with what they did. I know it shouldn't let it bother me, but it does. I've been made a fool of in front of others unjustly. Would a true friend do this to someone? Friendship to me is about trust, love, respect, honesty and loyalty among many other attributes. This friend has pretty much broken all of them.

My mind tells me to distance myself and let the wounds heal, my heart tells me to forgive and move forward. Given the small amount of details above, what would you do? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to post them below.

Oh, and I almost forgot! Be sure and tune in for for Lust N Love Radio on 92X - Everything that rocks! this Saturday night at 10pm EST and as always, Monday nights at 9pm EST on EdgeFM.net - The place where talk lives!

Friday, July 15, 2011

REVIEW: Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows - Part 2

Daniel Radcliffe - Harry Potter
Rupert Grint - Ron Weasley
Emma Watson - Hermione Granger
Ralph Fiennes - Lord Voldemort
Michael Gambon - Professor Albus Dumbledore
Alan Rickman - Professor Severus Snape
Evanna Lynch - Luna Lovegood
Helena Bonham Carter - Bellatrix Lestrange
Bonnie Wright - Ginny Weasley
Maggie Smith - Professor Minerva McGonagall

This is a film I personally have been waiting to see for 4 years. I have been reading the Potter books since the first one was released in the late 90's. After I read the first book, I wondered just how the story would all end. You can perhaps say I've been waiting to see this film for almost 10 years then. After I read the "Deathly Hallows" book, I knew the final film would be HUGE. Not just in the size of the battles, but the size of the movie. The US version of the book has over 700 pages! It was necessary to split the final book into two films. While the first film I thought was a giant tease building up to this film, it set the course of what will be the final confrontation. Like most fans, I was annoyed that we had to wait this long for part 2, simply because I wanted to see "Part 2" immediately! With that, let's take a quick look back at all of the Potter films.

Most of you reading this already know the story and what is going on and what happens. Some of you only have watched the movies and don't know what will happen, so I will try not to reveal anything. From the trailers and the fact there are no more books, you know this is it. This is the final battle between Harry, Ron, Hermione and the students of Hogwarts taking on Voldemort and his Death Eaters. Many characters die in an epic final battle on the Hogwarts grounds and friendships will be put to the test.

Think of "Part 2" as a 2 hour long final confrontation, while "Part 1" was the build up. Continuing the story from "Part 1", Harry, Ron and Hermione are searching for the last remaining horcruxes so they can finally kill Voldemort. In case you don't know by now, after destroying the horcruxes that contain pieces of Voldemorts soul, Voldemort becomes mortal once all pieces are destroyed. While they are searching for the horcruxes, Voldemort and his army are planning an assault on Hogwarts. Voldemorts goal is simple, conquer the wizard world and the Muggle world. Only Harry can stop him.

Here is honestly the best way to go into this film. Think of the third Matrix movie. The plot was already there. You know the characters, the story, the mission of both sides and what needs to happen. "The Matrix" introduced us to all of the characters and an innovative and amazing plot. "Reloaded" was building up to the final confrontation and in "Revolutions", You just sat back and watched everything come together. "Deathly Hallows Part 2" was not the best plot driven Potter film. However, it is certainly the most exciting and heart racing of all of the films and it leads to what we all wanted to see for 8 films: Harry Vs. Voldemort.

The film is a marvelous visual effort. The special effects are spot on and the acting performances from all of the cast was excellent as well. The way Daniel Radcliffe acted as Harry was more special than the others. Even though he knows he is the only one that can stop Voldemort, he is still terrified of death and what he must do in order to finally defeat Voldemort. The way Daniel Radcliffe portrayed this confident, yet scared hero was amazing. Rupert Grint and Emma Watson as Ron and Hermione respectively were both excellent. I say Emma is excellent, but she could just stare at a camera for 2 hours and I would love it.

The person that I felt for the most, just like in the book, was Snape. If you read the book, you know what I'm talking about. The way his story unfolds in front of Harry's eyes was portrayed brilliantly. It even got a few of the people in the theater choked up.

Neville Longbottom was probably my favorite character as far as how his role was in the film. When he comes from nowhere and helps Ron and Hermione when they need it most, the guy sitting next to me starting chanting "MVP! MVP!". Neville kicked ass.

The Good

- YOU WILL NOT BE BORED WITH THIS FILM. Like I said before, all of "Part 1" was a build up to this and you have been waiting for years to see the final confrontation. No, the entire film is not one giant battle. You actually see plot lines unfold. You will walk away very satisfied.

- The visual effects are spectacular. They are worth at least a consideration from The Academy to nominate this film for visual effects.

- The acting was spot on and what these actors did is make you feel like their life's are in danger and bring you into their world.

- The end of this film is a very satisfying conclusion to the franchise and does the book justice.

- Bellatrix Lestrange's death. That got a HUGE applause from the audience.

- The score and background music gives you a rush. That is just me being a fan of movie scores though.

The Bad (AKA "Nitpicks")

Let me reassure you one thing: The following are really nitpicks. I loved this film. However, as a writer for this site it is my responsibility to let you guys know what flaws are in the film also.

- Like all films adapted from books and in previous Potter films, there are some minor plot changes in the movie that are different from the book.

- Voldemort, while evil as hell, has some stereotypical "movie bad guy" quotes. Like his "Only I can live forever!" line in the trailers. He also seemed a bit more... human. In the previous films he appeared in, he was this insane, psychopathic madman. In this final film, he seemed vulnerable. Although he is nervous because his horcruxes are being destroyed, he shows it just a little too much sometimes.

- I had no problem with it, but I heard people commenting on the appearance of aged Harry, Ron and Hermione at the very end at the train station. While the scene was almost identical to the book and I personally had no problem with the make up work, some audience members commented saying it wasn't realistic enough.

- The length of the film was a little shorter than what I was expecting. Give the movie just 10 more minutes and a tad bit more fighting and it would have been better. However, for what is in these 130 minutes, it is VERY satisfying. These "complaints" are really just me nitpicking.

In closing, "Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Part 2" is the epic finale we all knew what was going to be. The film exceeds every and all expectations and concludes the Harry Potter story in a 2 hour long epic finale. Great visual effects, great acting, great film. What more can you ask for? Well worth the money. I've been a Harry Potter fan since I was 12. Now at almost 25 years old, watching this film brought me right back to my 12 year old self. A very satisfying conclusion to a part of my childhood.


Written By: Hammy
Twitter: @BrainstuHammy

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

REVIEW: Transformers - Dark Of The Moon

Sam Witwicky: Shia LaBeouf
Carly Spencer: Rosie Huntington-Whiteley
Lt. Col. William Lennox: Josh Duhamel
Dylan Gould: Patrick Dempsey
Charlotte Mearing: Frances McDormand
Seymour Simmons: John Turturro
Dutch: Alan Tudyk
Bruce Brazos: John Malkovich
Robert Epps: Tyrese Gibson
Jerry Wang: Ken Jeong
Ron Witwicky: Kevin Dunn
Judy Witwicky: Julie White
Optimus Prime: Peter Cullen (voice)
Sentinel Prime: Leonard Nimoy (voice)
Megatron: Hugo Weaving (voice)

Transformers: Dark Of The Moon is what a Transformers movie SHOULD be, and what the first 2 films should have been. My problem with the first film, it took half the movie for the Autobots to appear. My problem with the second film, everything. Michael Bay finally listened to the fans and gave us the movie we all wanted. Let me first start out by saying if you're looking for great acting, character development, fantastic plot, etc. then don't see this movie. However, if like me you grew up with the cartoons, toys & comics and wanted to see the true essence of these characters brought to life, then this is it.

"But Hammy, Michael Bay just uses explosions and mindless CGI effects! He sucks!". Let's check Michael Bays reputation: Big explosions, CGI, great shots of hot women all with some slight character development. The majority of the audience for this film is men in their late 20's to early 30's who grew up watching the cartoons, played with the toys, love women, love seeing things blow up and understand the characters and the plot. You don't need to introduce a new plot. It's already there! Decepticons are bad and want to take over the world. Autobots are the good guys and stand for justice. All you need to do is just replace how the Decepticons are going to take over the world and the location of the final fight. Mix in some fighting, big explosions and you got yourself a movie. It isn't that complicated and it quite frankly annoys me when critics and fans shit on the movies because they expected fantastic acting and character development. The first film was a great introduction to the characters for a new audience. The second film, if not for the constant sexual/racist jokes, Sam's annoying parents and the humiliation of watching Devastator be turned into a mindless Godzilla villain with those awful wrecking balls as a scrotum, should have been a good movie. This third film took every single bad thing about the first two films (not enough robot fighting, too much sexual jokes, too much human fighting, Sam's annoying parents, those stupid racist twin bots, slowed down shots of Megan Fox running just to have shots of her running in slow motion, etc.) and corrected them.

Now, the film itself. The Ark, an Autobot ship escaped Cybertron during one of the final battles that ultimately destroyed the planet. It crash landed on our Moon in 1961, therefor fueling the space race between the USA and Russia. The Apollo 11 mission was to check out the wreck, where Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin discovered the remains of Sentinel Prime and his crew. Fast forward years later, Optimus Prime and the Autobots are now helping nations from destroying themselves and starting wars. They later encounter Shockwave on one of their missions and discover the humans haven't been fully honest with them and realize that the wrecked ship on the Moon has the power to help rebuild Cyberton. That is all I'm going to say about the plot because I don't want to spoil anything for you guys.

Let's start with the bad news about this film. First, there is not enough Shockwave and Megatron action.

The trailers have you believe that Shockwave is a big villain and he's there to lead the Decepticons. Nope. The movie doesn't even explain where Shockwave came from. He's just... there. Megatron, still damaged from the previous film, is now a huge truck.

Megatron is supposed to be fearful and the leader of the Decepticons. He just isn't in this film. It almost all of the time focuses on Sentinel Prime. While that's ok and all, I just would have liked some more action from Megatron and Shockwave. You see Shockwave in maybe 3-4 scenes tops and Megatron doesn't fight at all until the very end. Shockwave also doesn't speak that much. He say's 2-3 lines, fires his gun and growls a lot. *SPOILER ALERT!* You know that large worm looking thing that eats through the building in the trailer? That's a monster controlled by Shockwave. Only spoiler I'm giving.

Second, why does Rosie Huntington Whiteley have such a major role in this film? She shouldn't have had as much screen time as she did. Also, what is the deal with her running around in heels during the final confrontation?

She does look good though...

Now let's get to the good news. First, Sam's annoying parents have hardly any screen time! I don't know about you, but I couldn't stand those characters.

Second, TONS of robot fighting and the humans assist the robots. Unlike in the previous films where it seemed like the robots assisted the humans. All of you who complained "Not enough robot fighting! FAIL!!!" will be happy. While I'm on the subject of robot fighting, I was in awe of just how much ass Optimus Prime kicks in this movie. Oh, Optimus FINALLY has his trailer that is filled with weapons, which is awesome.

Third, Sam isn't that much of a pussy as he was in the previous films. He actually grew a pair and takes charge during his confrontations with Dylan Gould, Carly's douche of a boss.

Fourth, the space bridge. Yes, they actually call it the space bridge just like in the cartoons. What the plan is for this device I won't reveal, but it is a key point in the movie.

Finally, the movie isn't filled with hot women running in slow motion just to have hot women running in slow motion. While hot women running in slow motion Baywatch style isn't bad, for a movie about fighting robots, it's not necessary. There is one blatant shot of Rosie Huntington Whiteley in nothing but her underwear in the beginning of the film. She is a Victoria's Secret model, so really, you can't complain about that.

This film is everything you can ask for in a Transformers film. I strongly suggest you check this out. As long as you go into this film expecting a movie about fighting robots and explosions and not about deep plots and deep character development, you will be fine.

SUMMARY: Transformers: Dark Of The Moon is the Transformers movie we have wanted and have been waiting for. It took the essence of the characters and eliminated all of the flaws from the previous two films. Yes, there are lots of explosions. Yes, if you're new to the Transformers story, you probably won't understand what's going on. Yes, Michael Bay is the same old Michael Bay as far as he directs the film. However, this time, it actually works. If you go into this movie expecting brilliant acting and deep character development and plot, you will be disappointed. However, if like me you grew up watching the Transformers cartoons, played with the toys and read the comics, you will absolutely love this film. If you expect to see the Transformers cartoons brought to life the way they should have been, this is the film for you. Ignore the bad things you read about this movie. This movie kicks ass. Thank you Michael Bay for finally giving me the Transformers film I've wanted for years.

RATING: 8/10

Written By: Hammy
Twitter: @BrainstuHammy

REVIEW: Windows Phone - Samsung Focus

I always want to be the first to have the newest toy (cell phone) when it comes out, so it's no surprise I picked up the Samsung Focus for AT&T the first day it was released. I'm known as the guy that has a new phone every other week, but this one has impressed me, and I've been holding onto it a lot longer since I picked it up.

I've owned Palms, Androids, Apples, and Blackberries all within the past 2 years. I read up on, and know a lot about the ins and outs of all the major operating systems, upgrades, software, and hardware. Though, it's still in its infancy, the new Windows Phone OS is pretty chock full of plenty of goodies.

For one, it's definitely the smoothest and fastest phone I have ever owned. Not a new concept, but the way Windows integrated social networking into their phones, and along with the regularly updated live tiles, it makes using the phone to connect to the social world more enjoyable.

Back to the "smoothness." Scrolling through this phone, and selecting applications has been nearly flawless, and very fast. Animations, are not buggy whatsoever, when in to comparison to Androids and Blackberries I have used. I have not had a single freeze, or crash on this phone since I've been using the device for months.

Even though it's still young, the Marketplace has already surpassed 25,000 apps, which include all the major names you come to expect like every major social network app, tons of news and RSS readers, sports apps, weather apps, navigation apps, and popular games, such as Angry Birds and Need For Speed. The games are a plus, due to its integration with the XBOX Live Network.

For business owners, Microsoft has implemented its Microsoft Office business suite to the device. It comes equipped with One Note which I use daily for note taking, and writing short documents, Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Microsoft Excel...all which allow editing and starting new documents.

We cannot forget the built in Zune HD, and Zune Marketplace. Sync your phone with Zune to watch movies and music videos, or listen to your favorite music and subscribed podcasts.

Oh yeah! It's a phone too! Believe me, the phone works great, and the radio signal is nothing to complain about. The keyboard is the best I've ever used. You can sync your phone book contacts with your Google, Hotmail, Live, Yahoo, other email accounts, or Microsoft Exchange for quick and easy access to your friends, family, and business partners. The display is beautiful, and sound quality is above par.

Like all phones I've owned, none are perfect. I do have my gripes with certain areas. For one, copy and past just recently arrived to the device after a nearly half-year wait. The phone does not have true "multitasking" functionality. It's not the worst thing, but sometimes when you want to switch back and forth between applications, it could get frustrating. Also, I'd like to be able top listen to online streaming of my favorite live radio shows in the background. That is not possible. There's no custom ring tones, and colors available to change the themes are limited to a few. With that said, there is a major OS update set to be released this Fall. That's around the same time Apple's IOS5 update is being released, and I have to admit, that's a pretty impressive one as well. Check the video below for just a small sampling of what to expect from the new Windows Phone 7 update, titled "Mango."

Written By: Sal Traina
Twitter: @EdgeFMSal

REVIEW: Doctor Who - Good Man Goes to War

Note possible spoilers…

I’m pretty sure this episode of Doctor Who will go down as one of the best. There were so many amazing things rolled into this one hour that there is nothing to say about the episode other than epic!

We learned who River Song is…but before we get to that big moment, lets start with The Doctor and his army. We met some old enemies that became new friends and were reminded how awesome and dangerous The Doctor can be. Amy, locked away in a place called Demon’s Run with the creepy eye patch woman, about to give birth, has now had the baby.

The opening speech is both heartbreaking and uplifting as well as perfectly narrated over Rory being badass. Yes, Rory is a badass in this episode and The Last Centurion makes his greatest of appearances.

The fight wasn’t that long but there were some great twists during it. However, once again the show proves it can lull you in with a false sense of security. Narration can sometimes take away from a show but the narration in this episode proved essential and became a character of the episode itself. The poem spoken by River Song is both haunting and perfect over the actions of the characters in their scenes.

Even if there were some throwaway characters, they were used for the right reasons, and they were necessary for the moments that made the episode. I give this episode a solid 10, because I saw no flaws, nothing that took away from the episode and nothing that didn’t make this episode perfect.

I’ve known for a while now that Doctor Who hires the right people and the acting in this episode is top notch. If you don’t feel awful for Amy by the end of it, you are officially dead inside. Matt Smith has grown into his role as The Doctor and this is the episode that proves it. I know Tennant is the favorite and I loved him but Smith is my doctor and this is the episode that sealed the deal.

Moffat proves that he knows what he wants to do with the characters and shows us all that he’s had a plan all along ever since he introduced us to River Song in season 4. Because yes, this is when we learned her identity and while some may have guessed it early on it doesn’t matter, the build up and ultimate pay off of the reveal is in the acting and the moments between the characters, not the truth of who she is.

The scene is memorable because of The Doctor’s anger and his sudden and hilarious reaction when she shows him the truth. This is a mid-season finale, and it cleared up the previous cliffhanger and resolved the current predicament while still giving everyone more to chew on until the show returns.

What should also be noted is the hilarious title of the return episode and it’s perfect placement after the reveal.

Let’s Kill Hitler…I can’t stop laughing, the fall can’t come soon enough.

Written By: Ariel Schmiedhauser
Twitter: @SchmidHappens48

REVIEW: Doctor Who - The Rebel Flesh / The Almost People

Note possible spoilers…

As you’ve probably noticed I’m reviewing certain episodes of season 6 and when the second half of the season premieres I’ll review every episode. Now lets get to the review shall we?

The Rebel Flesh began as a typical monster-ish episode where we were taught that everyone deserves to live, and it picked up with a war going to ensue between doppelgangers and their human counterparts. Now while I enjoyed the Rebel Flesh for what it was, it’s the Almost People, the second part of this two parter, that will go down in history, mostly for that ending.

The Rebel Flesh begins with the Doctor, Amy, and Rory, going to an island inhabited by workers who use living flesh to create ‘gangers’ of themselves to work with the dangerous equipment. If one dies, they just create a new one. But a solar storm causes everything to go awry, as per usual on Doctor Who.

The gangers just want to live and so on and so forth, and while the episode is certainly enjoyable, I always favor the second parts of the two parters for the payoff and boy was there a payoff in The Almost People.

With the Doctor encountering his own ‘ganger,’ at the end of The Rebel Flesh, it was time for some antics with the two Doctors and to teach Amy a lesson about how the flesh is still human. With some characters deaths, and the problem solved by the end of The Almost People it was time to go back to the TARDIS. However, there was one last twist that no one saw coming.

Throughout the season Amy has been seeing a woman with an eye patch pop up every so often and no one else can see her. The Doctor reveals the shocking truth, the reason they had to come to the island, and why Amy was suddenly in labor when she didn’t look pregnant. Its this ending, an ending that would make the Lost writers cry because they couldn’t write something this awesome, that makes The Almost People a historical episode.

You react physically when you see the truth, when you watch the scene unfold and you realize all along that you’ve been fooled. Your jaw drops and you utter one gasp as The Doctor explains it. The acting on the show has always been top notch and you feel every word and its that ending that makes the wait for the next episode unbearable.

Written By: Ariel Schmiedhauser
Twitter: @SchmidHappens48

REVIEW: Doctor Who - The Impossible Astronaut / Day of the Moon - Series 6 Premiere

Note possible spoilers…

After leaving off last season, or series if you live in the U.K., The Doctor is back and better than ever. The opening is funny and a bit cute which should be a warning because what comes next is anything but cute.

The real story begins with Amy, Rory, and River Song reuniting with The Doctor in Utah. With the ominous words that he’s been running way too long, the tone shifts and there is an immediate sense of dread. That sense however disappears rather quickly, luring you back in, something the show uses masterfully, before the shock comes.

Within the first ten minutes, your jaw will drop, I don’t want to ruin it, but it’s good. There is drama that unfolds afterwards before it all disappears in one hilarious moment. Again this is something the show does very well and uses it to its advantage.

Now its time to get to the real story, 1969 America, where our trio, and River Song, will have to solve a mystery. There’s a mysterious child stuck in a space suit and something called the silence, a continuation from series 5.

Part one, The Impossible Astronaut, begins with the shocking opener and concludes in much the same way. We also learn there is a dark day approaching, one that involves River Song and The Doctor. The Impossible Astronaut is the tip of the iceberg and the conclusion in Day of the Moon is as rewarding as it should be.

Day of the Moon begins strongly and doesn’t let up throughout the entire episode. We learn Amy didn’t kill the child in the space suit, thankfully, and that they know the silence exists. The silence, by the way, is forgotten once it is no longer visible.

The conclusion on how to fight the silence is clever and traditionally Who, because the episode isn’t really about the silence, it’s about the child. Because as much as the silence will be the antagonist this season, and I’m sure they will be back, seeing the ending of Day of the Moon creates more questions and more agonizing theories.

I rate the two parter as one episode, because neither can be watched without the over and it is a solid 9. The episode is dramatic, funny, scary, and loaded with the charm that all the fans of Doctor Who have come to love, myself included.

Written By: Ariel Schmiedhauser
Twitter: @SchmidHappens48

Thursday, June 23, 2011

REVIEW: Nikita (The CW)

Nikita: The Show You Should Be Watching...

Maggie Q - Nikita
Shane West - Michael
Lyndsy Fonseca - Alex
Aaron Stanford - Seymour Birkhoff
Melinda Clarke - Amanda
Xander Berkeley - Percy
Tiffany Hines - Jaden
Ashton Holmes - Thom
Rob Stewart - Roan

In retrospect, the CW may not be the network that boasts the most diverse shows, they all tend to be about spoiled rich kids “struggling” with life. However, this past tv season, the channel took what I think is a big gamble in picking up Nikita.

The show doesn’t fit the mold as in it doesn’t target the same audience that most of the shows on the CW do. And for that reason, the show thrives and makes the network more than what it has become. Nikita doesn’t even fit into the old WB days, but for the same reason that its excellent for being different, its also fitting to be on the CW.

The show is based on the movie and original series La Femme Nikita, and the premise is simple. There is a secret organization within the government called Division, Nikita escaped and is now hell bent on stopping Division.

Each episode deals with a central issue but also folds into the overlying goal, which is to destroy this organization. Nikita and new recruit/mole Alex have differing stories but with similar results. They both live to fight another day.

The storytelling is smart and every episode ties together almost perfectly. Nearly every question you find yourself asking is answered almost immediately. And while the show began as a mission of the week type situation, it quickly grew into a well thought out action series.

The turning point has to be the episode “Resistance,” which dealt with Nikita learning more about the entire operation of Division and Alex in a test of will that was both intense and disturbing. The flashbacks within this episode also revealed very important pieces to an already unraveling puzzle.

The acting on the show is top notch which is also something of a rarity in a CW show, I’m looking at you One Tree Hill. Maggie Q as Nikita and Lyndsy Fonseca as Alex are so well cast and so perfect for their roles, you’ll find yourself worrying for their characters from the Pilot. The supporting cast is also excellent, Melinda Clarke as Amanda makes anything Emma Frost ever did in the X-men comics look tame. She’s probably more of a terrifying villain than Xander Berkeley’s Percy, who is a calculating and smart villain, as only the best kinds are. Percy is a calm villain, he doesn’t scream and he rarely becomes unhinged, the same can be said for Amanda, except to a larger degree. She is always calm and she gets all the information she needs from you, whether you live through it or not.

There are multiple villains that were introduced throughout the season, such as alternate organizations to Division and a back story for Alex that leads into bigger things for her future. There are wins and there are losses and the heroes don’t always destroy the villains. Sometimes they settle for a grey area and sometimes that’s all that’s the only solution.

As stated earlier the fact that the show is such a break from the general format of the CW, barring Supernatural of course, is what makes it special. And for that very reason, being on the CW, makes me like it more. There is a certain style to it that makes Nikita, to put it bluntly, awesome.

The creators and the writing staff know what they want to do, they know where they want to take the story, and executives at the CW network should let them. It doesn’t need sappy romance, though there is some of that, and even the romance is handled smartly. Everything has a purpose, and each episode can take the viewer on a whirlwind of emotions. The endings on mid season episodes alone are shocking enough to bring you back for more. The stories are smart and the characters are smart, and overall I would rate the season an 8 out of 10. If only for the fact that CW execs, tried to input some of their usual format into the show, but it dissolved quickly and thank God it did.

Trust me on this, when season one comes out on dvd, buy it, don’t hesitate just get it. Watch this show, its well worth the time, and bring on season 2.

Written By: Ariel Schmiedhauser