Eras End

"An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted." - Arthur Miller

Thursday, April 03, 2014

New Amazon Fire TV Announced with Demo Video

Yesterday Amazon has announced their next attempt to get into the daily use of homes with the Amazon Fire TV. The tiny quad-core powered smart TV box is their answer to the Roku, Chromecast and Apple TV. Available now, the $99 box comes with a bluetooth remote, wireless connectivity, voice commands and the ability to play Android games (modified for Fire TV) with either the remote or a separate game controller that costs $40.

Hit the links below for hands-on descriptions and videos. There is also an unboxing and detailed demo video below. Overall the first impressions of the device have been excellent, citing an easy to use controller that does not rely on line of sight, a very fast response time to loading videos and a lot of potential. The game controller turns it into an inexpensive video game console, useful for those that already enjoy many Android based games. Already there is a long list of games and channels that are available right from the start but its not clear if some of those channels require a corresponding cable subscription like they do on other devices (but I assume they do).

Hands-on: Gizmodo | The Verge | Engadget

Reviews: The Verge | Gizmodo

So just based on the descriptions, is it worth buying? If you already own some smart TV solution from the last year or two, I see little additional benefit from buying a second box unless just really love video games. However, if you are new to looking for one of these devices or just wanting to replace a current one, then it does seem superior to current offerings. The AppleTV could have been great but really if you don't live in the Apple ecosystem you are paying a whole lot of money to enjoy only 10% of what it can do. The $99 Roku is an alway recommend but this new box blows it out of the water in speed and potential, along with a user interface that doesn't appear out of date and clunky. Even though it is compared to the Chromecast, that is its own separate thing that is (to me) really designed to share and view tablet content on a TV and more in addition to a smart TV box solution rather than instead of one. As for Amazon Prime subscribers, its an easy choice. There is no reason to get any other box but this one.

Based on descriptions, initial hands-on write-ups and the potential that Amazon's market share brings to bear, if you are in the market to spend around $100 for a smart TV solution, then the Amazon Fire TV may quickly become the leader in the market, especially if Apple continues to limit the capabilities of their own hardware. If you are interested in getting one, the Amazon Fire TV is available now, the game controller accessory will be out on April 24th.

Monday, March 24, 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past Trailer #2

Today the second trailer was released for X-Men: Days of Future Past that unites the cast from the original X-Men trilogy with the cast of the relaunch that was set in 60s. The movie jumps to the 80s as Xavier is at his most depressed. Meanwhile, in the future the X-Men are fighting a losing battle against extinction and in a desperate gamble sends old Wolverine into the body of young Wolverine (in the 70s) to try and prevent that future from occurring. The movie is based on the early 1980s story of the same name that is considered one of the best X-Men stories ever written and has been frequently emulated in some form or fashion in comics, books and movies ever sense. Based on what is seen hear, this could be an amazing movie.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Comcast Doesn't Give a F**k

This video from Funny or Die pretty much summarizes why the merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable is a very bad idea. So of course once money and future job promises are completed, the FCC will happily approve it. The last major merger from Comcast was for NBC and its networks. Shortly after the approval one of the people that vote for and pushed for it left the FCC to work for the company. Considering how well that plan worked last time, I expected a repeat performance. I also think at least one of those that have a vote use to work as a high level executive for the company. The Justice Department also have to approve the merger so that might be a roadblock but only if Comcast does something foolish in the next six months or so (like try to block Google Fiber expansion).

Sunday, February 23, 2014

NBC Olympics Opening Intro and Closing Ceremony Montages from Years Past

I love watching the Olympics and the 2014 Sochi Games were no different. Sure the drama and individual stories are often exaggerated but really for me it really isn't about team and country. It is about the excitement, the drama, its pure unpredictableness. There are favorites to win but more often than not, the favorites seem to fall short for the simple fact it is the Olympics and nothing less than perfection is required on the day and no human is capable of being perfect on demand regardless of the training involved.

But what I really enjoy is the joy. Regardless of who wins or the country involved, for at least two weeks it doesn't matter. Instead we get to see that pure joy from an athlete achieving a dream, family and friends enjoying the success and fans around the world reveling in the moment. Joy in its purist form that has nothing to with lines on a map or political differences. It doesn't last long but its wonderful to see, if only because if you think about it, how often do you get to see real joy in your daily life? Not much, but for two weeks you get to see it over and over and over.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Best News Bloopers of 2013

A little year end funny with a bunch of news bloopers from the year edited together in two parts. Technically NSFW due to language and sexual references.