Movie: Blade Runner 2049

FREEKING AWESOME!  It’s really a shame that this movie is not doing better in the theaters.  I know it is not every ones cup of tea but as Sci-Fi goes, it is a heck of a movie; and when it comes to Sci-Fi I have found quality can vary wildly in that respect.

The movie keeps the similar sort of zen like feel of the first movie and still, I didn’t feel any pacing was off.  The visuals are outstanding.  Ryan does well in his role.  A co-worker commenting that his sort of robotic acting worked to the role’s benefit.

There is room for follow up movies.  I just hope they take the same attention to detail and flavor as the did with this movie.  This is Sci-Fi.  Loved it, well worth the $15+ it costs to watch movies now a days.

I think I will opt for the 4K UHD Bluray when it comes out.  Which means I will have to pony up for a UHD BluRay player as well.

LG G4 Repaired…

Sent my unlocked LG G4 phone in for repair. The problem with the phone was a boot loop error common with LG G4s and LG extended the warranty (from date of manufacturing, not date of purchase) because of the issue. Unfortunately mine was outside this extended warranty.
 
FutureTel in Markham On., who does the repairs in Canada, initially asked if I wanted to pay $420 to fix the issue. Ah… No. From what I’ve read the repaired units can still suffer from the boot loop issue.  So I wasn’t going to pay more on this phone only to get it back and still not trust it.  Plus, $420!  There are some pretty good replacement phones you can get for that much.
 
They then asked me to phone up LG canada for a CNN#. I get one, give it to FutureTel and luckily they end up fixing it for free anyway. Yay!  Free fix!  But BOO to them for trying to get money from me initially. In my opinion, they should have done this themselves instead of bothering me with trying to get a CNN#.  Customer service apparently not one of their strong suits.  I guess it could have still gone the other way with me still having to pay for the repair which I wasn’t planning to do.
 
I now have my phone back. They apparently just swapped in a new board. Plug in my sim and… F$#*&(@(!!! It’s locked again! So I still can’t used my phone. My unlock code I used before doesn’t work either. Ugh…
 
I hesitate to say this is still a nice phone… My wife’s Nexus 4 which was LG made as well had no problems other than the battery is at the end of it’s life; it is difficult to install a new one yourself. But it seems their flag ship products are not the same robustness. I do not recommend LG.  This experience was more annoying than I expected from an expensive product.

LG G4… Live’s (not so) Good!

Ugh…  This WAS a wonderful phone.  Until just a few minutes ago.  The phone is now and ex-phone.  It has ceased to be!  Montey Python’s dead parrot skit is now running around in my head.

Battery is fine.  100% charge.  Apparently this is a hardware issue and a common one, google bootloop LG G4.  LG doesn’t seem to want to step up to the plate and admit to the issue.

For me, the phone brings up the LG screen and then eventually black/blank screen. I can’t even get to safe mode or to factory reset the phone like some videos show.

I bought the phone in end of November 2015 from Wind.  Unlocked it so I could use it on Fido.  I don’t think I have a warranty on it any more and from what I heard, repairs will only end up being a temporary fix for the problem.  In general, consensus is, get a different phone.

This makes me sad and angry.  Tech wise the phone was great.  Shame that it is now an expensive piece of tech junk.  Thankfully I’m not without a phone.  Recently I bought my wife a new Google Pixel to replace a Google Nexus 4 which seemed to be starting to act up.  She hasn’t yet moved to the new phone so looks like it will be my new phone and she’ll get a different one later when she finally gets fed up with the Nexus 4’s frustrations.  Rather pathetic lifespan.  Didn’t want to or need to upgrade the phone yet.

Sort of miss the rock solidness of my super simple Nokia ‘un-smart’ phone.  Hell my ACER Liquide was better except it needed a new battery.

Movie: Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 + Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

If you haven’t seen GotG yet, go.  It’s more comedy than action and it’s brilliant.  The opening sequence with little Groot doing his own thing among the chaos is the best opening credits I’ve seen for a movie in a long time.  Plus he steals the show a few more times in the movie.

The movie isn’t deep by any means and a bit predictable but it will not disappoint as a popcorn flick.  Drax is surprisingly funny too, which I wasn’t totally expecting.

And stay for the end credits

PotC:DMTNT is a bit lack luster.  Probably better as a rental or similar.  To me not enough craziness, comedy.  It started off promising but it seemed to me more serious than the other films.  I still liked it but not the caliber I was hoping for.

Wonder Woman is next on the list.  Apparently doing really well which I was surprised to see.  She’s not a character that, in my opinion, did really well in other films and series.

Rant: To the people who feel that taking their shoes off and placing their athletes foot stank near the back of my chair,  FFS!  Keep your rotting feet in your shoes!  Maybe partly the reason I felt the PotC seemed too real or serious.  God it smells in here.

President Trump…

I was sort of right.  If he became president there would be a lot of comedy coming from it.

The sad part is, it is really disturbing.

The good part is, Trump may actually be draining the swamp.  What?  Ok, not directly but by exposing the swamp to the voters so that hopefully the voters will be, ahem, smart enough to turf them from office the next time around.  I know I am asking a lot of the voting public in the US and there are always some who are very committed to the idea that Trump is a good thing; but then that is what happens with politics, religion and similar.  Some people stick to their beliefs and not even a flood of contrary true facts will sway them.  But let us hope the rest of the nation wises up.

Scammer, Phisher, whatever…

chriscrofts31@gmail.com

The above email owner is apparently a scammer/phisher. Probably got my cell number from hacking Kijiji where my ad is placed.

First got a cryptic text from

Text: +1 918-984-4356
Hello, Hope your TextBook still up for sale??reply to chriscrofts31@gmail.com pls no text email only…Trade Paperbacks, Graphic Novels, Single Issues

I thought a little weird although I know some software does behave poorly so I gave the benefit of the doubt and asked for clarification which books he was interested in the Kijiji ad.

Reply:
Can you assure me that i will not be disappointed with it. I’m ready to pay your asking price and to be honest the issue is that am currently out of town for my newly secure Job. So kindly get back to me with your PayPal email address so that i can proceed with the payment asap with your cell number so as for me to use it to text you immediately am done with the payment. I want you to know that i have arrange for a Pick up agent coming for the pick up after the payment clears into your account.

Um… Creepy and still didn’t answer my question on which books he wanted.  And seriously, “Pick up agent”? Some googling and I see this…

scam alert: interac email transfer reversal? personal info phishing? from Calgary

So end of conversation. Bit bucket he goes.

I still have some books left that I’m still trying to sell though.  :/

http://www.kijiji.ca/v-view-details.html?requestSource=b&adId=1204558364&siteLocale=en_CA

Trump…

A part of me wants Trump to win.  The part that is saying that the comedy from the comedians will be outstanding and that part that wants to see what method Trump will use next to shove is foot in his mouth.  However the rational side of me is melting inside on the sheer dread that this guy may be the next POTUS because of the complete unthinking, nonsense that is spewing from that same mouth that is occupied by which ever foot is currently being munched on.

Makes me wonder at what point will Trump followers realize that Trump is an utter embarrassment to the country.

I applaud the GOP representatives like Cruz who had the balls to not ‘endorse’ this buffoon.  The vilification from the rank and file to Cruz and others, the assertion that if you are republican you MUST support the chosen one no matter how much a fool he is, reminds me of the brain washing the Chinese did during Mao and similar communist regimes, or dare I go there, the Nazi regime.  It seems the political parties in the US; ok not just the US but it’s the US politics I’m talking about today; have forgotten about their freedom of speech.  Cruz and others have the right to voice dissent.

I hope people will eventually forgive Cruz and other and realize Cruz and others were actually right in their opinions.  Mind you, this is not saying I like Cruz and some of the others either.  They are crazy in their own way.

15% Foreign Buyer Tax…

Just recently BC instituted a 15% tax for foreign buyers of property purchases.  And now you have the predictable reaction from real estate agents that it has suddenly become much harder to sell.

For one, that might be true but it is way to early to tell what the long term effect of the change will be.  All the belly aching that is happening now is just a knee jerk reaction to the new situation.

I do agree that the ‘retroactive’ nature of the new tax is a bit of a dick move by the government.  Any deal that was in negotiation should have been grandfathered in.  For something that costs this much money, suddenly having to add 15% to your already stretched budget is not going to go over well.

However, will this 15% tax really have that much an effect?  Maybe.  Hard to say at the moment.  Until other provinces adopt the same sort of tax Vancouver may see a decline in housing prices.  The problem is, is 15% loss in money a big enough deterrent for these buyers.  Vancouver is hugely Asian so there is still quite an attraction to owning here for that foreign market.  We will lose some sales to Toronto but I think we will still be influenced by the Asian market even with the new tax.  They will just factor the new tax into their pricing and we still end up with a spiraling market again.

A lot of these buyers are trying to put their wealth offshore, out of reach from their local government.  They are already losing some of that capital in our market before the tax, so buying in our market after the tax is just a different sort or loss.

My guess is that the prices here may drop to less than 15% from other markets.  Then at least the benefits of buying here versus there are about the same.  The loses will be about the same.

So a place that used to cost 1,000,000 here before the tax may sell now for 850,000 instead.  Which is still utterly out of reach for a lot of people.  However I figure that if Toronto had a similar place for 1,000,000 then the place in Vancouver would still fetch over 900,000 for the same buyer due to Vancouver’s higher attraction for said buyer.

Will this change things?  A lot of people are hoping it will.  I am one of them but the pessimist in me is saying do not count on it.

Automatic billing…

I find automatic billing to be annoying.  Yes there are services that I find that automatic billing is important.  My internet connection, my phone, stuff that I use everyday for years on end.  I will call these ‘non-optional’ services.  But when it comes to optional services, services that I do not need or will not use 365 days a year, it does not make sense.

Some time ago my company has asked us to start taking courses, whether it be online or from some university or college.  Ok, fine, lets leave out the fact that it has to be done on ‘our’ personal unpaid time and not done on work time, which is another gripe.  So I have been looking around at some of the sites.

I have actually taken a few courses at Coursera.org.  So far it has been generally positive.  The courses are free unless you want some certificate of completion and then you pay for the course.  You pay per course.  Brilliant!  I like that model.  Pay for what I want.  I will be continuing paying for courses with them.  The courses are not that cheap but it looks like the instructors do make an effort.  Coursera.org has been hit and miss though.  One course was incredibly poorly run where the instructor was not even following his own course timeline.  I felt bad berating him to keep him honest.  There were many students who were missing deadlines and getting zeros because of it.  The software has been changing a lot as well.  Some growing pains in all.  Their customer support seems to be pretty good.

At work a manager suggested Pluralsight.com.  Pay a subscription fee for unlimited access to all course material.  Sounds like a deal except that you will be automatically billed every month if you use the service or not.  Hrm…  The cost is way more per month than Netflix and if I was subscribing to Netflix I suspect I would use it way more than Pluralsight.  The good news with Pluralsight is that with an MSDN subscription at work I get free access to 30 ‘tutorials’ (I hesitate in calling them courses since all a course is, is a collection of videos) for about 30 days or a year.  Conflicting information.  No need for adding my credit card information and such.  So this trial is giving me an insight on how good the tutorials really are at Pluralsight.  They are pretty good the ones that I have seen so far.  The interface is a bit annoying.  In order to get to the free courses via MSDN I have to go to my account settings to find them.

Another option I am getting in my email is Lynda.com which is related to Linkedin.com.  “Try a 30 day free trial!”  Ok, sign up, get to step three which is asking for my credit card information…  WHY?  “So we can bill you after the free trial is over.”  They warn you but this but I still find this dishonest.  It is not exactly free.  You have to give up your payment information before you have a chance to evaluate whether or not they are deserving of that information.

Plus, who has ever signed up for a trial period with the reasonable expectation of not continuing with the service.  Meaning, you signed up to evaluate whether or not the service is going to be good for you.  I have, and as you may expect, I forgot when it was to expire and got dinged for it.  Usually with little or no warning by the service that, “hey, your trial will be up in X days.  Make a decision before then!”  Lynda.com.  Take your ‘free’ offer and shove it.  Seriously.  Be nice and not shaft people when they forget.  Just offer the free trial without billing information and just lock out the user until they are willing to pay.  It should not be that hard to program that up.

I will never sign up to an ‘optional’ service that auto renews a subscription.  Never.  Most magazines do not do that, although some have the option, it is ‘opt in’ not ‘opt out’ as in the case of Lynda.com and Pluralsight.com.