Transformers : Dark of the Moon

It’s been a while since I’ve written a film review, so I felt now was the time to resurrect that old tradition 😉

Most of the Transformers movies have been pretty naff – lots of action and explosions and not much else. The third movie isn’t much different, but it is at least better than the second one.

The idea behind Dark of the Moon is that an Autobot ship, launched during the Cybertron war, crashed on the moon in 1961. This was detected on Earth and hence the entire moon landing was part of a mission to find out what it was about. Therefore Armstrong, et al, actually landed where they did because it was near the crashed ship. There they found very little and everything was kept Top Secret. Back to today and the information leaks out. Optimus Prime upon finding out explains that the ship contained a secret weapon that could have won the war for the Autobots and it’s imperative that they get to it before the Decepticons. They do, find the weapon but it soon ends up in the wrong hands.

All the characters from the first two films return, with the exception of Megan Fox who has been replaced by an English actress with even more bionic lips and even less acting ability. I wasn’t impressed. In some cases the characters added nothing – such as Sam’s parents.

Sam has left college and is looking for a job. He’s represented as being more adult by the fact that he gets angry a lot and tries to take charge. However, like the other films, he spends most of his time complaining.

The effects, as ever, are amazing. The best example of this is the collapsing building scene, in which Sidewinder (an excellently designed Decepticon which is like a giant rotating worm) tries to destroy it and the humans inside slide around, break glass, free fall and everything else they can to avoid it.

Having said all that, the CGI for me was ruined by a few elements that were just poor. After all the time and budget spent on effects why would obvious problems be left? Here are some examples…

  1. During the road chase scene a number of cars are pushed aside by the Transformers. However you can blatantly see smoking holes on the underside of the cars where the rams have been deployed to flip the cars.
  2. At the end Bumblebee, fresh from a massive fight, drives up and his yellow bodywork is immaculate. As soon as he transforms to his robotic self, though, the yellow paintwork is scorched and damaged.
  3. The less said about the CGI’s JFK the best. It was hideous – they should have used a double as they did later in the film with Obama.

And whilst I’m having a moan… those Star Trek references. Leonard Nimoy voice a new Prime and so Michael Bay, hardly known for subtlety, crow-barred in every Trek reference that he could. Annoying.

However, even after all the above, which are more minor issues, I enjoyed it. It won’t tax you and it won’t leave you feeling any different to how you did before you saw it. And even at 2 1/2 hours long I found it just right – as it was I felt the ending was a bit rushed.

[review]Great effects,  but notable flaws and annoying aside, this was an enjoyable action film. Don’t expect too much and you won’t be disappointed.[/review]


O2, your phone number and lost services

Yesterday PC Pro a story about how system administrator Lewis Peckover had discovered that O2 were transmitting customer’s mobile number when you visited a web page. Lewis even produced a web page where you could if your phone was doing this. However, by the afternoon O2 appeared to have back-peddled quickly and removed this functionality, as my phone was not displaying any information.

Why would O2 be doing this in the first place? Well, they’ve since given a few reasons but the most important, as far as I’m concerned, is so that their website can identify you. Unlike other networks who make it difficult for you to find your remaining balances, O2 give you a useful web link to visit – it reads your phone number from the web page header and then displays the information.

Sadly, now they’ve removed the phone number transmission, that site no longer works (see screenshot from my phone). Boo. Of course, I equally don’t want my phone number spread about the internet – would it have been too much to ask to have O2 encrypt it?


Waterstones are correct!

Big news today… Waterstones has dropped the apostrophe from its name <gasp>. From some responses you’d think the world was coming to an end (apt as it’s 2012 – cats and dogs living together, etc).

The chairman of the Apostrophe Society (I really can’t believe it exists) John Richards has condemned the change, calling it “just plain wrong” and “grammatically incorrect”.

But, is it?

The original Waterstone’s was named after its found, Tim Waterstone. Hence the ‘s on the end of the name indicates that it’s his shop. But it’s not now. It’s just a title. Hence, you can do whatever you want with it and it’s grammatically correct. Surely?


Blog review of 2011

It’s nearly the end of 2011, so I thought it was time to review what’s been most popular on this site this year.

First of all, let’s start with the top 5 posts that were new this year…

  1. Creative WP-300 Bluetooth Headphone review
  2. LG E2360V monitor review
  3. Creative ZiiO 7″ tablet review
  4. Dell UltraSharp U2311h monitor review
  5. Creative Zen Style M300 review

Yes, all 5 are reviews. The number of reviews on the site has certainly increased this year and this is a reflection of their popularity.

None-the-less the most popular posts, as viewed this year, are still older entries. So here are the top 5 posts from previous years, based on views this year…

  1. Tracking internet usage on Android
  2. Running Kubuntu under VirtualBox
  3. Running VirtualBox from a command line
  4. Adobe Acrobat Reader vs Foxit Reader (if you enjoy this, I’d also recommend Adobe Acrobat Reader Vs Foxit Reader revisited)
  5. Useful Netbook software (and, again, if you enj0y this I’d also recommend More Useful Netbook Software)

If you’ve missed any of these, they’re all well worth a read 🙂

Happy New Year!


Why I still don't like Chrome

Last year I made an attempt to move from Firefox to Chrome – as much as I love Firefox, Chrome is a lot quicker in use. However, after living with Chrome for a few days, I’ve moved back to Firefox again.

There was always the issue over searching. I love having a little search box in the corner so that I can do a quick Wikipedia or IMDB lookup. The Chrome equivalent is not as convenient.

However, that would never be make-or-break.

I like the fact that Chrome, when synchronising bookmarks, now looks up the favicons and populates them (it doesn’t synchronise them as Xmarks does, though).

No, what finished off Chrome for me is the total lack of control or visibility with synchronising. Chrome has synchronisation of bookmarks, etc, built in. I therefore imported them from Firefox on one PC to allow it to transfer over to my other installations Sadly, after a number of days it had only made a vague attempt to synchronise a few bookmarks and not much else. All Google offer is a line on your profile settings page to show how many it’s synchronising. No control. Nothing else. Why weren’t my bookmarks moving across? I’ll never know. The thing is, on each machine I could have imported them from Firefox. BUT how can I trust Chrome to correctly then keep them in sync with each other after that? Simply put, I can’t.

I also don’t like the fact that Chrome has no way of displaying separators in bookmark lists.

Maybe I’ll try again later next year. Until then, Firefox remains my browser of choice.