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Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths.

A DC Universe animated original movie.

Directed by Lauren Montgomery & Sam Liu.

Written by Dwayne McDuffie.

Starring the voice talents of:-

Mark Harmon as Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El.
Vanessa Marshall as Wonder Woman/Princess Diana.
James Woods as Owlman.
Chris Noth as Lex Luthor.
William Baldwin as Batman/Bruce Wayne.

Released on February 23, 2010.

Running time 75 minutes.
This animated feature is based in some ways on the grand Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline from DC. As is the case with any animated feature, it always takes liberty from the source work.  The main protagonist here is a heroic Lex Luthor from an alternate universe where the Justice League are evil.

As is earth is about to be overrun by evil, Lex Luthor comes to our earth’s Justice League for help.
Thus begins an epic battle of good version evil. The mouth-watering prospect is that we get to see an evil version of the Justice League, known as the Crime Syndicate.
The primary roster of the Justice League includes Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Martian Manhunter and the Green Lantern. Their Crime Syndicate counterparts,or simply put evil versions are Owlman, Ultraman, Superwoman, Johnny Quick, J’edd J’arkus and Power Ring. Both sides also have a supporting cast of lesser known DC heroes and villains.

The battle is between the good versus evil versions of all our favourite heroes.  We have always at some point asked ourselves what would happen if Superman used his unlimited power for  evil, the Dark Knight become one with the darkness and helped spread it. This is where we get to find out. Plus we get to see how our heroes would fare against themselves.

The first thing you will notice with the film is that the voice casting is bad. Kevin Conroy isn’t the Batman. Now that is a very big crime. Anyone who has ever watched a single Batman animated feature (cartoons or even the awesome game from last year, Arkham Asylum) knows that Batman voiced by anyone other than Conroy is unacceptable. They have boosted star power by adding Mark Harmon from NCIS as Superman, a move completely unnecessary but very common in direct to viedo animated features from DC. Using the core voice actors from the animated series would have been way better.

The movie is way too short in length, clocking at just 75 minutes. This makes the story line very forced and there is no character development. Prime characters like Batman are given way little time to exert themselves. Owlman also suffers the same fate as being one of the prime antagonists, he could have used some more screen time.

There is also a side storyline about The Martian Manhunter which I felt was not needed at all, having little to do with the main storyline. Had that story line been exclude, then that time could have been put to better use in story and character development.

Crisis on Two Earths is by far the best storyline with the Justice League in any animated feature. It is the closest we have come to getting an onscreen representation of Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline from the comics. This project has been in development hell for quite a while, being slated to come out during the Justice League Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited Animated Series.

This is a must for any DC comics fan.

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.web : Backup.

The site is back (if anyone noticed it being down, thanks for being so regular!). The problem was due to the inexperience of the new management at my hosting company, who are upgrading and migrating servers.  My site being down made me realise a very important thing. Backup.

The most important thing my brother taught me about life (and computers), is to always have backup. I remember it every single second. So should you.

It’s very common to see people not backing up their data. Always backup all of your important data. This includes class notes, documents, pictures, music, work stuff and even all the data on your website.
Backups should be preferably stored on an external medium, like an external hard disk or be burnt on a DVDs. Both these medium are very cheap and getting cheaper almost every month, especially hard drives. For weekly backups, keep them on your external hard drive or on a flash drive. For monthly or annual backups, burn them on a DVD. This is because external hard drives may crash. But once the DVD has been burnt and verified, it will work for a long time with proper usage and care.

Online data storage is starting to catch up. Online data storgae is backing up data online on storage sites like SkyDrive, Dropbox, etc. This is a very cheap method as the amount space they give for free is usually sufficient for documents. However, I usually do not recommend this method as your account may get compromised and your data may be stolen. Worse of all you may never know it.

Students, like myself, most of your university life will be spent doing assignments, projects, reports and all others of that sort. As you are doing this, keep regular backup of what you are working on every few hours. The preferred media for this are usb keys. Keep them plugged in while you work and regulary save and send a copy of your work into it. Nothing is worse than loosing all your hardwork because your hard drive crashed or data got deleted erroneouly.

Those of you who are photographers or take a lot of photos, with either your camera or phone, backup all your images. Originals and edits, both are important. Burn your files to DVDs and label them properly as well, preferably by location, event and date.

Musicians, all of you probably have external hard disk(s). Therefore your backing up will be preferably done on DVDs. Keep all demos, samples and performances. Who knows, when you get famous, you might release them as special unreleased tracks.

For all you webmasters out there, a special word of warning. Do not under any circumstances rely on your hosting company to backup your data for you. I almost lost my data because of this. Even if they promise regular backups, it is the smarter and more efficient thing to make your own database dumps.

Always keep in mind, data is important.  It’s your life’s work.

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Highly Recommended : Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Cast

George Clooney as Mr. Fox
Meryl Streep as Mrs. Felicity Fox
Bill Murray as Clive Badger
Willem Dafoe as Rat
Owen Wilson as Coach Skip

Directed by Wes Anderson.

Music by Alexandre Desplat.

Released on 13th November 2009 .

Roald Dahl was a man with a heck of an imagination. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory , James and the Giant Peach, to name a few, are all his creations. Only recent technology has allowed us to capture the essence of his work. Fantastic Mr. Fox is animated using stop-motion. That provides for a refreshing break from all the animated technology that you see everyday.

The interaction between the animals and humans is the core of the story. The wild nature of the animals and their dilemma of weather to suppress their instincts or to give in is the main theme of the film. It shows great interaction between different kinds of animals. Foxes, Badgers,

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Bangladesh Cricket: Tour of New Zealand 2010

Bangladesh is standing up. The real trials of any team are away tours. That has never been a strong point for us. 2009 was and will always be a great year for Bangladesh Cricket. The question was how great. Now, I believe we are seeing quite the answers. We are good enough to give any team a scare at any time in every match. The every match part is what’s new.

The question that everyone asked at the start of this year is whether the whitewashes over West Indies and Zimbabwe meant anything. Whether we would be able to play half as well with the “real” test playing countries. Well, as Virender Sehwag knows, we aren’t ordinary. Now Daniel Vettori knows what Sehwag had to be taught. Bangladesh isn’t ordinary.

Mahmudullah has been a revelation

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Highly Recommended : The Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day.

Everybody’s favourite Irish Saints from Boston are back. This time around, they are out for revenge.
Written and directed by The Boondock Saints creator Troy Duffy, starring Sean Patrick Flanery as Connor MacManus and Norman Reedus as Murphy MacManus, hence reprising their roles. Almost all the cast members return, giving it an authenticity and feeling of the original, even thou 10 years have gone by since the original.

Thou based in Boston, it was actually shot in Toronto. There seems to be some sort of delay issue with Boondock Saints. That was the issue with part one and the same with this. Supposed to be out before 2009, even now it has not got a wide release. But this is a cult film we are talking about. The movie has great dialogue and has classic Boondock Saints cinematic.

Boondock Saints 2 is just like the first movie. In fact, do not watch this if you by some chance have not seen the original. A lot of continuity is present. Just like the first one, this is all about the brothers and their killings of evil men. Like the first, it too is based in Boston. This time around thou, everyone is scared of them and their legend.  You see, they have been out of action, and were rusting away in their homeland of Ireland. But someone wants them back. We get a glimpse as how to Noah MacManus a.k.a. Il Deuce, the father MacManus, gets into/starts the family business of killing evils.

There are a few notable additions to the cast. Julie Benz as a Special Agent totally steals the show at some parts. She has so many great lines. Literally everything she says is gold. Romeo the Mexican, the new buddy of the MacManus brothers, is the constant comic relief of the film.  He takes over Rocco’s role from the first film, and does a great job. The movie has an ending that is simply unbelievable and leaves you waiting for more. Who knows how long it will be before Part 3?

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University Life: Survival of the Slickest.

There are a billion blogs offering a billion apparent working solutions to a billion problems. Not so many blogs about university kids trying to get a hang of things. This is such a blog. Unlike other blogs, these methods are not guaranteed but ones I have used and am using.

University is no cake walk. Take it from me, as someone who continues to struggle with academics on a regular basis and barely makes through as far as grades are concerned. University life is without a doubt the most interesting and dare I say maybe even important time of one’s life. It is the final educational obstacle to overcome before becoming a full-fledged corporate robot (or otherwise, if you are the few that stick to being the one that is different).

University life has many different components. Some are very essential, while some are more recreational. There are components in my university life that may not be important to you at all and vice versa. I don’t drink or smoke or do any of the related crap. So my experience is vastly difference for what you are normally accustomed to hearing about (or have experienced in) University.

The first thing you need to do in university is decide what you want to be and what you are willing to do to get there.  University isn’t a place where the smartest or most popular necessarily win. It’s a place where the slickest survive longer and better. It takes a combination of skills to get through, not just any one skill. University can help make you into the person you want and need to be. But first you have to decide what you want to be. After you are done with university it may be too late or you may have become something you had no intention of being.

Being slick means making the best of your given and acquired resources. That involves not being a crybaby about what you do not have or being arrogant about what you do have. Finishing assignments on time, attending classes and labs, giving exams are all parts of being slick. I myself am guilty of not being among the slickest even now.  We shall focus on the different topics later. This is just an introduction.

It may well happen to be that like myself, you are not slick enough, or just aren’t getting it done or getting what you want. No worries, like the elders always tell me. We have time to work on things and we shall.

For now, list down what you are, what you want to be, what you have, don’t have and need. We will be working on them. Stick around.

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Jamming and Lessons from Dream Theater’s Jordan Rudess.

Jordan Rudess is a rarity. A rockstar virtuoso who happens to be a keyboardist. Not just an ordinary one but one for a band called Dream Theater.

Dream Theater are the kings of progressive rock.  They have a stellar line up which includes James LaBrie on Vocals, John Myung on Bass,  John Petrucci on Guitars and Mike Portnoy on Drums. Any other keyboardist would just be a dot compared to these guys. But Jordan Rudess is a special case. He is quite simply a magician with his fingers on the keys.

Jordan Rudess has been giving lessons for quite a while now. Even thou he offers keyboard lessons and I am a guitarist, I can clearly see now why he is so highly rated.

Jamplay and Jordan Rudess teamed up to offer lessons on Jamplay. I was lucky enough to attend one of these online sessions. The sessions involved us students posting question to Jordan, which he would answer back by video conferencing. Seeing Jordan Rudess play is seeing a master at work. This guy has the gear and the talent. For someone as good as he is, he is very humble and nice as well. He is a great teacher, explain everything in a very simple and precise way.

Jordan was playing on his Korg OASYS, which let me tell you, is a magnificent beast. That thing has a 2.8 GHz Pentium 4 CPU and up till 2GB of RAM.

I was lucky enough to have my question answered by Jordan, which was incidentally the first question he answered.  I asked him about practice routines. He replied that was a very good question. He went on to say that practice was very important and gave some tips on practicing.

After that we had a little jam session where Jordan would play notes on his keyboard and we at home jammed along. Quite not your average jam session, but with video conferencing, the sky is the limit.
Even thou we only heard what we and Jordan played, it was simply unbelievable.

Its not often that you get to meet your heroes who inspire you to do what you do. Far less, that your hero is even bigger than you dreamed.

Jordan Rudess is far far bigger than you can ever imagine.

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Apple iPad? No thanks.

Apple iPad. Really? So that’s the best name Jobs and co. can come up with? For a device nearly a decade in the making, it is truly uninspiring and quite frankly useless.  Even thou there was unbelievable hype around this device, it offers nothing new or necessary at all.

The iPad is an overgrown iPhone at best. The data entry system is not revolutionary at all, but rather quite plain and dull. As for being a ground-breaking device as it was claimed to be, it is quite the opposite.  Simply put, it is an ebook reader with net surfing support.

 

Take a look at the specifications:-

Hardware

Color display               9.7 inches (25 cm) LED backlit in-plane switching LCD

Processor                    1 GHz Apple A4 system-on-a-chip

Graphics                     1024×768 pixel (XGA resolution), 20cm × 15cm, 132ppi

Storage                        16, 32 or 64 GB flash memory

Wireless                       Integrated 802.11a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR

3G Internet                7.2 Mbps HSDPA using micro-SIM card tray (3G model only)

Operating system        iPhone OS

Battery                       Built-in lithium-polymer 25 W·h (10 h usage, 1 month standby)

Weight                        1.5 pounds (680 g), 1.6 pounds (730 g) (3G Model)

Dimensions                9.56 inches (24.3 cm) x 7.47 inches (19.0 cm) x 0.5 inches (1.3 cm)

Very unimpressive  specifications as you can see.

It does come with data plans, being a 3G device, under coverage of AT&T.

  • 250MB monthly data limit for $14.99
  • Unlimited data for $29.99The device will have accessories released by Apple, namely a keyboard and a docking port.

 

Being native to the App Store is not necessarily a good thing. The App Store is a closed ecosystem governed by the Kingdom of Apple. Hence there is still no support for voice apps like Skype and Google Voice.

This device has no camera. Therefore no videoconferencing or taking photos. That’s actually worse than an iPhone.

No USB/Firewire ports, hence no connectivity for devices for syncing or file transferring. That is plain awful. How can a device not have any USB ports? Well this an Apple device, and they aren’t very USB friendly at all.

No video outputs and widescreen support, so much for being a full featured multimedia device.  However, you can add a docking port to output to a monitor.

As we have come to expect from Apple, there is no Adobe Flash support. That is a huge disappoint as many sites withy streaming video will not be viewable. I do wonder how iPhone users can do without that.

Lack of multitasking has always been an Apple issue, but that has never bothered their fans before, so I doubt it will bother them now.

The iPad will be available in two months for the WiFi only version and in three months the time the WiFi and 3G version will be out. the pricing will be:-

  • 16GB WiFi only $499, WiFi + 3G $629
  • 32GB WiFi only $599, WiFi + 3G $729
  • 64GB WiFi only $699, WiFi + 3G $829

At the end of the day, Apple fans will always buy an Apple product, regardless of how useless it it. So for those people, any review is meaningless.

For people like myself for whom specifications and features do matter, I say
No thanks.
No thanks at all.

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Help Haiti Now. PLEASE.

Of course by now everyone knows what has happened in Haiti.
The entire country literally lies in ruins.
At a time like this, we all have to join together and help(if we haven’t already).

There are many fundraising activates going on.
By far the one that caught my attention the most is the one undertaken by Linkin Park and their Music For Relief foundation. They released an album called Download To Donate Haiti.

Download To Donate Haiti Features Linkin Park, Dave Matthews Band, Peter Gabriel,  Alanis Morissette, Slash, The All-American Rejects, Hoobastank, Kenna, Enrique Iglesias and Lupe Fiasco.
An album lineup does not get any better than this. All the artists mentioned have contributed unreleased tracks. The best thing about the album is that you pay whatever you can and you can download it first and pay later. Unheard off. That is a great digital sales model.

All proceeds from the album go directly to aid Haiti.

Checkout, http://www.musicforrelief.org/ .

For other ways to donate, checkout.

https://www.wfp.org/donate/haiti
https://www.habitat.org/cd/giving/donate.aspx?link=227
http://www.thehungersite.com/clickToGive/home.faces?siteId=1

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Windows 7 GodMode

Windows 7 is a piece of art. A classic. An OS like no other. I finally got around to installing my copy of Windows 7 Professional 64 bit yesterday.
Today I discovered something far far magnificant than imaginable.
GodMode.

Recently discovered by Windows 7 users, GodMode allows you to view the ultimate control panel of all your settings.
Setting up GodMode is very easy. All you have to do is create a new folder and rename it to
GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}
That’s it. The icon of the folder will change and opening the folder you will see all your settings and customizable options.

How cool is that?