Sep 28 2016

Another one?

Adel Gabot

8:20AM

It’s been less than a whole week since Apple released the first beta test of macOS Sierra 10.12, which itself was released not two days after the official release of Sierra to users, and this morning they release 10.12.1 Beta 2.

What the hell?

What gives, Apple?

The worst part of it is they never say what’s new or what’s changed. Only that the “macOS Sierra 10.12.1 update improves the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac.”

Since time immemorial, it’s been like that.

What did you fix or add or change or improve or remove that’s so urgent and important that you had to release a new beta right away? We all don’t have the extra hour ot two it takes to download and upgrade to your damned betas.

Yeah, I signed up to be a beta tester, so I guess I gotta swallow my objections and take the betas as they come. As you deal them out. Which, I’m starting to realize after all this time, is whenever you please.

But man.


Sep 26 2016

Do we really need an Exorcist TV series?

Adel Gabot

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11:04AM

Catching up on my TV backlog, I just watched the series premiere of The Exorcist.

Now, I’m the biggest fan of William Friedkin’s original 1973 movie. I was only 11 when it was first released, yet I insisted on watching it at the earliest possible opportunity, and I haven’t looked back since. It aged well and bears repeated viewings up to today, 43 years later, and still holds up and gives me the same horrified fascination it had when I first watched it all those years ago. The hype was well deserved.

Later, I caught The Exorcist II and was sorely disappointed by it, so much so I didn’t bother to watch The Exorcist III when it came out. But in a lazy moment one afternoon a couple of years later, I picked up the DVD of III on a whim, watched it and was pleasantly surprised by how good it was. Astounded, actually. Much much better than the second, it remains a favorite. Can’t say the same for the succeeding retreads though.

Which brings me to the 2016 TV series follow-up. Seriously, do we really need another rehash/retread/remake/do-over?

Well, apparently we do.

Like The Exorcist III, I was pleasantly surprised by the series, at least with the premiere. I was fully expecting to be disappointed and found that, despite my jaded self, I grudgingly… liked it. I hope it keeps it up.

I found it professionally done, with just the right gravitas and seriousness that an update like this deserves. And it has just the extra added grit and horror that makes this one to watch. The old saw about the young priest Father Tomas (Alfonso Herrera) feeling serious doubts about his calling and the older, rebellious old veteran Father Marcus (Ben Daniels) is there, but there is enough new stuff in it to make it worth your weekly hour.

Father Tomas’s help is sought by a successful mother-who-owns-her-own business (Geena Davis, who has aged rather gracefully) when she suspects something’s amiss with one of their two daughters (Brianne Howey). In turn, Father Tomas seeks the help of Father Marcus, whom he doesn’t know but he’s been having nightmares about, which makes a nice flashback device wherein we explore Marcus’s history as an exorcist.

Great cinematography, excellent acting, well paced, it’s The Exorcist for a more modern time. Not that the original movie really needed the update, mind you.

In a nice twist towards the end (which I should have seen coming but didn’t) it’s revealed that it’s actually the other daughter, the seemingly nice and normal one (Hannah Kasulka) who’s the actual possess-ee, and not the odd and sulky one, who’s apparently just naturally weird.

There is also one nice nod to the series lineage—Father Tomas is leafing through case files of previous exorcisms and comes across an article referring to the original Regan McNeil case in Georgetown. Brief, but it’s there.

Yes, this looks pretty promising. One to watch out for every week. Fingers crossed.

 

 

 


Sep 23 2016

New macOS beta—what?

Adel Gabot

6:31AM

Apple released the macOS 10.12.1 beta this morning to testers.

This, after the official release of macOS 10.12 just two days ago.

Man, can’t we enjoy an honest-to-goodness official release for just at least a week or maybe just a few days before you release a new beta?

Of course I already updated.

Dammit.


Sep 21 2016

Overwatch: A much-delayed short review

Adel Gabot

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6:06AM

It’s been over a week since I bought a store copy of the full Overwatch game for my PS4, and so far I’m having a blast. What took me so long?

In that week, I tried to get my rank up to 25, the level which opens up competitive multiplay, but I’ve only gotten it up to Level 23. Man, it’s tough playing against people who have a four-month head start; I’m envious of those who are in the 80s or 90s. But I’m getting there.

It’s been over a week since Blizzard opened up the game to players for free for an entire weekend to players not yet won over to the shoot-’em-up. It worked, at least on me.

I had been resisting it since it was released late last May, (correctly) assuming it was just another in a long, tired tradition of First Person Shooters like the Call of Duty or the Battlefield series. But somehow they’ve injected new life into the FPS genre, and there’s something about it I can’t resist.

Blizzard has had a stellar record of releasing wonderful MMORPGs, and with Overwatch it branched out into FPSes for the first time and apparently (although I didn’t think so at the time) it’s come up with another hit again.

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There’s something about the clean, bright graphics, the stellar, arresting gameplay, varied, interesting maps and the smooth animation. More importantly, Blizzard has managed to create a roster of 22 unique characters with different and distinct personalites and abilities that makes playing each one a pleasure and gives longevity to the game. There are six each in offense and defense modes, and five each in tank and support roles.

I quickly settled on a favorite, the robot Bastion, who can convert from a rampaging blaster-equipped fighter to an immovable, formidable turret with a gatling gun. I made it a practice to scope out the maps and find distinct, unassailable positions where I can settle down with my back to a wall and open up on my enemies from a distance.

After a few days though, I tried out the other characters and found each of them very capable and useful each in their own way. Some of them, like Mercy, are strictly for support and have limited assault capabilities, but can heal and make teammates temporarily invincible. (Another one of them, ice queen Mei, looks uncannily like a friend of mine named Stef, which makes her interesting to play.)

screenshot_249

One niggle though is the long wait times to get on a game: some days it takes less than a minute for the program to find an online game for you to play on, but on other days it can take up to 30 minutes to almost an hour before they locate a game for you. And there are instances when you’re “reinstanced” (which I don’t really understand) and thrown out in the middle or towards the end of a game and are put back on the game queue. Eh?

And I’ve noticed a pattern in playing too. If you play a game, the next one starts the pre-game process and says its “waiting for other players,” but (almost always) bumps you back out to the game queue to wait again. It’s damned irritating, but what can you do?

This isn’t really a comprehensive look at the game, and there’s more to the game than this kinda-sorta review indicates, but I’m just giving you my initial impressions. And those impressions are largely favorable, at least for now.

We’ll see.


Sep 20 2016

RIP Space Ghost voice actor

Adel Gabot

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3:40PM

Clay Martin Croker, longtime voice actor for, and animator of The Cartoon Network‘s Space Ghost: Coast to Coast on Adult Swim died yesterday of undisclosed causes.

He was 54.

I’m 54.

Christ.

Does the waiting start now?

God, I’m so old.