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The five top technological trends at CES 2012

Posted by admin on Jan 29, 2012 in lists, news, opinion, technology, Television

The year 2011 was all about the tablet computer, we saw the first ever affordable (and good) Android options launch, and people went gaga over the idea of 4G and LTE and the BlackBerry PlayBook. This year, the atmosphere was a little different on the show floor. Yes, we did have a lot of new products coming out, but the main points seemed to be more about the long term trends than any particular product per se. I found this new way of assessing technology pretty interesting however as ways in which the average consumer could integrate some of the trends slowly started to emerge. Here’s my overview of the top five tech trends at CES 2012- let’s see if any of these make it into your home or work this year.

The year of the connected TV

We’ve heard mumblings about connected TVs for some time now (and you can read my article on future predictions here) but there generally have been two barriers to them going mainstream. One has been the pricepoint as most people simply aren’t ready to invest in a new LCD TV so soon, and the second barrier has been confusion over the services offered and the many complex buttons on the remote controls. This year is a little different, as not only were all the big names (SHARP, LG, and SAMSUNG) offering up web ready televisions but they’d also started integrating some pretty helpful features.

I’m talking about TVs that come with an integrated forward facing camera installed, TV’s that feature an upgradeable card slot so that you don’t need to replace the hardware and TV’s that offer remote assistance where the helpdesk can actually program your TV for you if you’re struggling (Sharp Aquos is offering this service). We’re also seeing super slim bezels on offer from a lot of brands, with some a mere 3mm thick- very gasp worthy. One of the new TV areas I’m intrigued by is the increase in peripheral devices, as these allow you to upgrade your TV without buying a new one- such as snap on cameras for Skypeing. Read more…

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Why Bridesmaids the Movie does not deserve five stars

Posted by admin on Jun 29, 2011 in Celebrity, opinion, Television

 

‘Bridesmaids is brilliant!’, said Zoe Williams from The Guardian . ‘Its set-piece scenes retain a charming spontaneity far from the usual contrivances of studio comedies,’ said Jason Solomons (also for The Guardian). ‘Bridesmaids is a terrifically funny, smart and tender ensemble comedy ‘, says Peter Bradshaw, in a full hat trick for The Guardian and the David Edwards from The Mirror echoes this with ‘Beg, steal or borrow, just make sure you get to see this film.’ Either it was an incredibly slow week at The Guardian head office, or all three writers genuinely loved the film and thought it was worth adding their tuppence to the film section.

Even taking a fairly jaded view of all the sources (the Times agrees, but it sits behind a paywall) I figured the film should still be quite fun. Taking it as an an archetypal ‘Hangover for her’ jaunt (their words, not mine), I figured I’d get some laughs, some sweetness and an overall sense of female bonding and friendship. I love a good chick flick, and with praise oozing from every broadsheet in Britain I thought that Bridesmaids would have to be something fairly special. It failed however- failed rather spectacularly.

The majority of chick flicks have fairly shaky premises- awkward girl likes unsuitable guy, gets good guy after she grows and realizes they’re better- cue awkward contrived situations to that effect anyways. The movie Bridesmaids was meant to shake up this traditional formula, and take a feminist step forward, a refreshing view where women were happy flying solo, and where friendship was valued above all.

To be fair, so some extent this did occur, with the frazzled Annie hysterical over her best friends nuptials and acting out because of the presumed loss. There was high jinks, there was comedy moments, there was absolutely unfucking unbelievable moments of toddler style behaviour from the adults, that would justifiable get Annie banned from that wedding and any wedding ever. Like, no forgiveness, no sweet reconciliation scene, just lawyers, a big bill and restraining order.  This mental behaviour was blamed on the jealousy Annie felt towards Lillian’s new friend Helen- who is richer, prettier, oozing glamour and confidence (think stereotypical country club girl with pearls and a line in bodycon workwear).

Naturally Annie decided to hate her, and Helen’s competitive friendship one-upness didn’t help their relationship. Destroying the cake at the wedding shower and throwing things over was not the best or sanest way to demonstrate Annie’s hatred, but this public display of insanity and cruelty (doing this at her friends wedding shower!) was sort of shrugged away– oh isn’t she kooky/cute. Read more…

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Five terrific TV shows you probably haven’t heard of

Posted by admin on Jun 3, 2011 in Television

I adore a good TV show, and as I’ve been having a fair bit of downtime lately have been watching a variety of them. I could harp on about great ones of yesteryear, but I figure you all know just how awesome Buffy/ Arrested Development/ My So Called Life are, so belabouring that point would just be fruitless. Instead I’ll draw your attention to some new (ish) TV shows that have been breaking new ground in terms of humour, originality and content. Put these on your Torrent list/Sky + box and prepare for some fun nights in on the sofa.

party-down-cast

Party Down

When you’re young, waitressing is something you do to make some cash till the real job comes along. What if that never happens and you end up 35 and still working silver service? Party Down is a show focused around the ‘Party Down’ catering company, which is staffed by wannabe writers, actors etc- people still all trying to make their big break. The cast has amazing chemistry, from the awkward romance between Adam Scott (Henry) and Lizzy Caplan( Casey), to the now famous Jane Lynch from Glee! Look at the credits and you’ll be extra impressed as Rob Thomas (Veronica Mars producer) was involved, and the show zips along from the start. Filmed in an oddly appealing documentary manner, the camera work gives you a feeling of being in the action and the hapless Ken Marino (Ron) is superb at playing the team leader, unhappily trying to motivate his crew of disenfranchised self serving reprobates. You’ll notice the odd cameo from famous people pop up, and there are two seasons to enjoy (2009, 2010).

United States of Tara

Using mental illness as the basis for a comedic series storyline is a risky premise and one that fortunately took off for United States of Tara. Tara (the amazing Toni Collete) suffers from D.I.D (dissociative personality disorder) more commonly known as Multiple Personality Disorder. She is not only a mum of two and an artist; but also a beer swilling man, a repressed forties housewife, an angry fifteen year old- and more. What’s amazing about this show is not the high profile mania she suffers from but the interpersonal relationships. Her eldest daughter, Kate (the feisty Brie Larson who is one to watch) deals with her Mum’s actions by being brash and outspoken whilst her youngest son battles with his sexuality and schooling. The husband is an interesting role, loving Tara relentlessly despite her actions and their love story supersedes all the craziness. There are extra characters in the selfish sister and alienated parents and the whole messy family infrastructure neatly captures how you don’t have to be ‘crazy’ to actually be crazy. It’s funny, heartwarming and you never quite know what will happen. Read more…

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ScentScape brings Smell-o-vision back to the TV

Posted by admin on Feb 2, 2011 in news, technology, Television

scentscape

The idea of engaging a third sense in the televisual world is a not a new one, but one which as never been done with any great degree of authority. My last memory of this type of integration harks back to 2003 when the Rugrats Go Wild Movie was released on the big screen, complete with scratch and sniff cards (called Odorama cards) that had to be used during the film. At various moments in the animated movie you were given visual cues (such as the number one) and then would scratch the corresponding number on your sheet and anything from strawberry lollipops or smelly socks would be inhaled. The idea is that adding smell to a movie will give you a richer all round experience, but I’ve yet to see anything that could cope with today’s demands. Read more…

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