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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Prometheus (2012) Movie Review

Before I begin with the synopsis, let me say that this movie left me dumbfounded in a bad way.

This story is actually a prequel to the popular movie Alien starring Sigourney Weaver. It was set way way way way before the Alien movie setting and even after the movie, it's not even close to the Alien storyline yet. There's suppose to be another follow up movie after this should the movie be a hit then only it links more towards the Alien story.



A group of explorers that were hired by Weyland Corporation were instructed to embark on a journey on an insanely expensive spacecraft to a distance planet. The majority of them were not informed on the objective of their journey nor their purpose so most of them are in the dark. During their arrival to their intended destination, they were finally enlightened on why they were summoned.

In 2089, the archaeologist couple Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway discovered ancient hieroglyphs in a cave which contains some common pictograms that is from other ancient civilization as well which they interpret it as star map. That pictogram led them to find out a very distant planet that could be where the maker of human life may be. And that's what the purpose of this voyage is, to find the "Engineers" as they so called them and answers to the questions of life and how it came about.

So they all landed to a strange looking structure that's definitely made by intelligent life and soon discovered many horrible truths, many horrible creatures, many strange happenings and many died in the course of this discovery.

This movie outrages me. It left me in a huff and I feel that I've wasted my time watching this. The whole movie was confusing until almost the end they started to reveal something and even after the movie ended, it still means nothing. There's still many unanswered questions and a lot of poorly plotted scenarios. If I knew the movie was over 2 hours long, I would've walked out 1 hour after into the movie but I was hoping that it was like the movie Piranha 3DD which although suck, it's short enough so that I don't feel so tortured. But no, it just goes on and on and on and I regretted sticking till the end. It has left me scarred fearing to watch another movie at the cinemas when I've already predicted that it will suck. One of the worst movies I've ever watched in my life.



But I heard some fans of the Alien series loved it because it sheds some light on how the Alien movie came about. But to me, although I loved the classic Alien, Aliens and even Alien 3, this movie is a monstrous waste of time. I rate this 0.5 stars out of 5. Ya, less than Piranha 3DD because that movie has one thing good....it's short.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

APAC Venture Glitz & Glam Bloggers Party

Avast! Antivirus released it's new and improved version 7 into Malaysian shores and there was a party held in conjunction with this at Velvet Underground, Zouk Club, KL on the 20th of June, 2012. Entitled Glitz & Glam bloggers party, there were more than 200 bloggers with local celebrities and members of the media present and it's also in collaboration with China's largest internet service provider, Tencent, to launch it's social app named WeChat as well.

Before it all started, there was a brief introduction and Q&A session for Tencent's Deputy GM, Norman Tam with regards to the WeChat app.



During the short session, he did mentioned about WeChat having about more than 100 million users as at March 2012 but however, only a small percentage make up of the English speaking users as mostly are users from China.

A little more about WeChat and a preview on how it is later, but first, a glimpse of what happened during the event.
Once the guests and VIPs has arrived:



It is time to start with the event. As I'm fully engrossed in the company of many friends that evening, my picture taking was few and hence, I did not manage to take a picture of the host of the night, Leng Yein.
But I did manage to take a picture of these two pretty ladies, though. LOL.



So after some dance performance:



and speeches from their respective representative of Avast! and WeChat, dinner and games soon followed while I check out on some functions of WeChat:



WeChat

A little bit of background, WeChat is a free mobile platform that's developed by Tencent. It's main functions include communication tools, social activity plug-ins and content sharing application to cater for the ever increasing needs of SOLOMO (Social, Location, Mobile) for mobile users. It started off as a Chinese program called WeiXin and has now been re-branded as WeChat in English to penetrate into the international market due to it's highly successful times with Weixin.

Unfortunately for me, it's not available to my Symbian phone yet and strangely enough, didn't mentioned WeChat being available to Blackberry users at all much to the dismay of Blackberry users:


Nonetheless, I still manage to experience the WeChat program through other means.
WeChat integrates through Facebook connect as well so you can start adding friends on WeChat those that are on your Facebook friends list instead of the tedious task of adding friends one by one. Well, it's still adding friends one by one but you'll get an idea on who you want to add straight away and who to invite:



I installed the app through the Facebook app:



Once installed there's a phone Address Book Matching option that allows you on whether to include your phone contacts for WeChat:



So after a short introduction through a series of images, you're good to go in using the program:



The home screen looks something like this:



With your chat history, WeChat team and recommendation of who to add on the main screen. Top right contains a group chat button for your group chat needs.
The bottom contains 4 navigation buttons as you can see from the picture above, from left to right,
1) WeChat, which is the main screen,
2) Contacts, the button to view people who's in your WeChat contact list and if want to, initiate messaging to them,
3) Social, probably the most interesting thing that's unique to this chat program which is a few interactive social application and
4) Settings, self explanatory.
The chat function has a little bit of uniqueness to it. In addition to typing your text message to the person, you can also record a voice message to the person where you press and hold it to record your message and once done, release the button to send the message to the intended person or group:



However, if for some reason you don't want to send your message and has already press and hold the record button, just slide your finger upwards and you'll have a round X button where moving it there will cancel the message.

But probably the most interesting part is the unique features at the social section.
Over there, it contains these menus (click to enlarge):



Moments are just picture sharing, add a friend is well, adding new contacts, that you know but the look around feature will locate your current location and will find you whoever's a WeChat user and is near you. With that, you can choose to interact with the person by adding them and messaging them.



Here's something fun. It's called shake.



By shaking your phone, it will search for other WeChat users who's also shaking their phone:



and list them down where you can add them as your WeChat contact. A simple way of adding people (or total strangers who's also using WeChat and shaking their phones. Of course, it's not recommended to add total strangers as friends as mama always say, never talk to strangers? LOL.)



Another great social feature, drift bottle.
This is the equivalent of putting written messages in a bottle and throwing it to the sea, only it's done virtually and more environmentally friendly:



Once you've recorded or written your message after selecting the throw,







It will show an animation where the message being put in a bottle and being thrown at sea:





.....and it's gone.
Message has to be at least five words long. Of course, if it's a voice message that you're recording, that limit is not there.



You can also pick a bottle from the ocean to view their message:



Course, most WeChat users are from China and hence, for the time being, you're more than likely to get a Chinese message:



Which unfortunately for me, I can't read.
Well, that's just about the features that I'm highlighting about WeChat.

If you have a compatible phone for it, you can download and install it on your phone at www.wechatapp.com

Avast! Pro Antivirus

So I was provided with the Avast! Pro Antivirus Home & Student Edition to evaluate:



Inside the box contains the Installation CD and installation instruction. That's just it.
Having stuck with AVG for a long, long while, this provides an opportunity for me to see how Avast! fare with other Antivirus.

The installation screen:



As an IT professional (ahem, ahem), I of course chose "Custom install" to show what a smart ass I am...........and also to find out what other options it presents if people were to take the custom route.
As most installation file does, you can specify the location for it to be installed in:



You then am presented to either evaluate it as a trial version:



I'm of course trying out the license version and hence need to provide an activation code:



Looks like the difference between the typical and the minimal is the typical includes installing the Avast! Remote Assistance as well, which is a new feature from Version 7.



A wee bit more and it's done.

The Avast! comes with the WebRep function as well, which is protection when you browse. Hence, opening my Firefox once more pops up on whether to allow that feature to be added in:



This feature also shows how much is that particular website you're browsing rates from other users:



In the end, after installation, you'll find the Avast! icon at the clock section of the taskbar. It's a rounded orange circle with what seems to be a small 'a' in it, the Avast! symbol:



The menu when you right click on the icon:



The silent/gaming mode is to actually turn off notification which could disrupt something that you're doing. You can either turn off notification completely or for just when you're doing something in full screen mode if you decide to enable silent/gaming mode:



By the way, notifications are not only pop-ups, but a voice indicating the action that has been done can be heard as well:



Here are the type of real-time protections provided by Avast!:



Probably one of the feature that I like the most which unfortunately wasn't able to test it out due to not knowing anybody else who's installed Avast! at the time of writing is also a new feature in Avast! called the Remote Desktop:



Like Teamviewer and LogMeIn, it allows your helper friend or you as the helper to remote access to the PC that needs fixing (that has Internet connection or some sort of connection between the two PCs, of course) and this can greatly save me time and earn me more money.

But due to the unavailability of another person to allow me to Remote Access in as at time of writing, I'm unable to test it out in comparison to Teamviewer and Remote Desktop. Ah, well. Perhaps another time.

All in all, so far, I'm finding Avast! Pro version 7 lighter than AVG and Trend-Micro and definitely against Norton, and is on par with NOD32. Detection rate seems pretty decent after testing it with a few viruses that has caused me a fair bit of hassle in the past and another good thing is it doesn't slow down my PC too much while scanning and playing some games at the same time. I don't quite like the startup scan though. It takes way too long on my PC and I find it only necessary to do so should my PC be infected with a virus where I can't even boot into safe mode. Other than that, all seems appealing enough for me to use it.

Avast! has a free version too which has the Remote Access as well! The Pro version which I'm having just have the addition of Sandbox and SafeZone feature.

If you're interested to get the antivirus, head on to their website at www.avast.com

Monday, June 18, 2012

New Zealand Natural Ice Cream

With the hot, dry spell weather sapping our energies away in Malaysia, we need something refreshing and cold to keep our spirits alive. And ice cream seems to be a perfect candidate to do so.

A while back (ya, it's been a while. Shame on me. >.<), I was delighted to be one of the 1st few to try out the new Pecan Praline Crunch flavor at New Zealand Natural before it was released to the public's enjoyment:



The new flavor is filled with chunky pecan nuts on irresistible swirls of caramel fudge and there are 2 unique desserts that feature the flavor where I get to savor.

The first one is called the Pecan Praline Crunch Cookie Sundae:



A nice creamy scoop of the Pecan Praline Crunch ice cream on top of a double crunchy chunky chocolate cookie and as you can see from the picture above, stuck with a delicious wafer on the side of it with also a strawberry and the ice cream topped with chocolate syrup and a side of whipped cream. A rich mixture of flavor. I do love the way it was presented and how it tasted in my mouth but surely cursed the hot weather for melting it quick and not enough time for me to enjoy it slowly. The Pecan Praline Crunch Cookie Sundae costs at RM12.90

The next unique dessert that the Pecan Praline Crunch flavor comes in is called the Pecan Praline Crunch Affogato:



As the name implies, it's an Affogato, so it comes with a shot of espresso coffee for you to mix it in with the ice cream:



With similar ingredients to the Pecan Praline Crunch Cookie Sundae, it's with chocolate syrup splashed on top of the Pecan Praline Crunch ice cream, and with whipped cream and strawberry too. There's also a chunk of biscuit to munch together with it. Coffee lovers will definitely love this. This dessert is priced at RM13.90.

The two desserts were made available starting of June 11, 2012 and hurry, because it's for a limited time only. Make your way to any New Zealand Natural outlet, either KLCC, KL Convention Centre, the Curve (which is where I had mine), Centro Klang, Sunway Pyramid, The Waterfront at Desa Parkcity and there's even one available in Penang at Sunway Carnival to try it out:



There's also tons of other ice cream flavors as well in addition to sorbets and frozen yoghurts. There's Boysenberry Dream, Cafe Espresso, Chocolate Ecstasy, Chocolate Fudge Brownies, Cookies and Cream, Creme de Coconut, Durian Divine and many more!





For more information on New Zealand Natural's ice cream or even their Sundaes or 100% fresh pure fruit juices head on to http://www.nzn.com.my

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Piranha 3DD (2012) Movie Review

The movie's story? What story??? It's irrelevant! Okay, if you insist.

This is a sequel to the 2010 movie Piranha 3D. The original movie was made in 1978 which had a sequel and later on had two other versions.
A new theme park was opening called "Big Wet" and in order to attract attention, Chet the owner decides to make it come with an adult-themed section. His step daughter, Maddy, returned to her hometown here and catch up with all her friends that she grew up with. There's her ex-boyfriend policeman Kyle, her friend Barry who has a crush on her way back till now, her close friends Ashley and Shelby and their boyfriends.



Well, pretty much the storyline is each and everyone of them discovers that the piranhas are back either in a gory way or they live to tell the tale.
Maddy, based on a Youtube clip that Barry found went in search of Carl Goodman along with Kyle since he's the expert who has research the piranha species. Goodman reveals his findings that the piranhas may be moving from the sewer pipes and underground rivers between lakes. But they soon discovered that there were no connection from the lakes towards the water park.

Little did Maddy and Barry know, Kyle has been accepting bribes from Chet to keep it a secret that Chet is actually pumping water from the underground river to the water park.

Maddy soon discovers this but it was already too late. The water park already started it's 1st day of business and although Maddy has shut down the pump, she was prevented from shutting down the park by Chet and his cronies and pretty soon the massacre ensued with the piranhas swarming in. It was then a fight between man and piranhas.



This show is a waste of time and with the many censorship done to the movie here in Malaysia, I wonder why they even bother screening it. Unlike the classic 1978 version and it's sequel after that which was such a hit, this one is a total disaster. They try to make it into a parody like how the "Scary Movie" franchise was, but this totally bombed. And they tried to make it gory like how the "Saw" series were but it's so fake and retarded that you don't even feel anything at all except disgust on how distasteful it was unlike how the "Saw" series did it, like a work of art. And they tried to make it like soft porn with big breasted females in swimsuits around, what female? I didn't see much. Must've censored it all out in Malaysian cinemas.

The only good thing about the movie, is that it's short so you don't waste too much time watching this crap. I rate this movie 1 star out of 5.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Dark Shadows (2012) Movie Review

Before it was taken down from cinemas, I managed to catch the movie Dark Shadows thanks to Warner Bros. pictures.

This is another Tim Burton creation starring Johnny Depp as the main actor. In the 1760s, Joshua and Naomi Collins sailed from Liverpool to North America and set up a fishing port where it was named Collinsport after them. Barnabas Collins is the son of the two and they were a very wealthy family but he rejected the advances of Angelique Bouchard who then was their servant who's also a witch. After the heartbreak occasion, Angelique killed Barnabas' parents and cast a spell on his lover, Josette which causes her to jump off a cliff to kill herself. Barnabas, unable to cope with the misery, jumps after Josette to kill himself too but Angelique turns him into a vampire before he hits the bottom turning him immortal. Later on, Angelique got the townspeople to entrap Barnabas since he's now a vampire and bury him alive in a coffin that was chained so he won't escape.



Come 1972, a girl who resembles Josette name Maggie Evans who changes her name to Vicky to forget her past responds to a want ad to be the governess at the Collins' mansion. Over at Collins' household lives a family of 5 including Dr. Julia Hoffman who's the psychiatrist for the son of the Collins' household. Unlike the rich family the Collins were known as, they're now not as well to do but still lives in the big mansion. Angelique on the other hand, has changed through many persona to maintain as the fishing tycoon throughout the years so that she will remain undetected as a supernatural being from the local folks.



Meanwhile, a group of construction workers stumbled upon Barnabas' coffin that he's entrapped in and unwittingly released him when they cut the chains around the coffin. Barnabas, now free, returns back to the mansion he belongs but find many things rather odd since many things had changed ever since he was locked away. He convinces Elizabeth the mother of the household that he's really Barnabas Collins and a vampire by unveiling the many secret passages throughout the entire place to reveal hidden treasures where he agrees to Elizabeth's terms of keeping that a secret. With the discovered wealth that the family possess, Barnabas intends to rebuild the Collins fishing empire in rivalry with Angelique's established business.

This is a comedy that warrants a few laughs. Tim Burton's creation though are usually bleak and dark but somehow, this movie has mellowed down on his usual style of creation. Nevertheless, his elements still can be seen in the movie and it was definitely a noteworthy watch to me. I rate this movie 3.5 stars out of 5.