Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Ultimate 3D Home Theater PC

The biggest problem with this article by Maximum PC is their suggestion to buy a $95 video card. Friends, there is very little 3D movie and TV content available and you'll probably pay a ton of money for it. Why not spring for a 3D video game PC instead? NVIDIA's 3D Vision will retrofit most of your existing games to 3D. For that you'll need at least a $350 GeForce GTX 470, because 3D mode cuts the framerate in half or worse.

At my place we already have the ultimate budget 3D home theatre system. We got a PJD6531w which is probably the lousiest 3D projector on the market (with e.g. its lower brightness in 120Hz mode), but it cost just $800 (plus over $300 for 2 pairs of glasses including the NVidia 3D kit). Sit 5 feet away from your 100-inch screen, Crank up the field of view of your game to 100 degrees, play around with the "advanced" hotkeys to make objects pop out of the screen, and it's nothing like what you've played before!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Caprica review

My take after the first 9 episodes: simply put, Caprica sucks.

As a fan of Battlestar, I found Caprica to be huge disappointment from the pilot onward, certainly worse than BSG's final season. BSG, I thought, started great but took a turn for the worse in season 3 and got still worse in season 4. It went uber-dark, characters became increasingly dysfunctional, and the main plot never really came together. Caprica is a couple of notches below BSG Season 4 in every possible way.

Scientifically, the show demonstrates a shocking ignorance of all the science, technology and biology it is based on; any educated person should be offended. It starts with angry teenager Zoe Graystone creating a seemingly perfect replica of herself in cyberspace using little more than various computer records and videos of herself. The absurdity gets worse after Zoe dies, when her father Daniel finds out what Zoe had done and, in just a day or two, builds a completely convincing intelligent being (Tamara Adama) with an accurate and seemingly complete personality and memory, based on nothing more than whatever random database records he could find about this dead person. And that's just the beginning. The show just goes on and on and on with asinine "syfy" that is blissfully unaware of how face-palmingly stupid its technical aspects are.

So the human race developed hyper-intelligent AI using... nothing more than a couple days work from Daniel and a maybe a year of her dead terrorist daughter's free time? Really? That's their explanation for the origin of the Cylons? The same cylons that try to exterminate the human race for no clear reason? Surely backstories don't get dumber than this. This show craps on the memory of BSG, friends.

All the main characters are flawed, unethical to some degree, not all that likable, somewhat bland, and not well developed, so that none of them really stands out from the others. The few meaningful relationships between characters are dysfunctional to the point of being annoying, like Daniel Graystone's passing familiarity with his wife. The plot moves almost glacially slowly, as if they just can't think of anywhere to go with it.

On the plus side, the acting is good and there's enough drama to keep one from falling asleep. But I hate to see a great show like BSG leaving behind nothing but a turd like this.