Category Archives: Reviews

Wacky Wednesday: Our Favorite Computer Movies

“I’m in!” and “Hack into the back door” are some key phrases needed in any computer movie, and where would we be without those computer geniuses at age 16? Without them, we wouldn’t be able to hack into the Pentagon, create a model AI beauty nor see the truth in the matrix. Here is a list of our favorite computer movies:

5. The Matrix-1999

An obvious one, we know, but for good reason! This movie was released on the cusp of the millennium, making the fear of Y2K and the takeover of the machines even more likely. And while some will argue Keanu Reeves’s best role was in ‘Bill & Ted’s Most Excellent Adventure,” he did pretty well in this, too. The film itself is revolutionary with the life-like CGI and crazy philosophical ideals and definitely deserves a spot on the list.

4. Minority Report-2002

This Tom Cruise classic has some awesome, futuristic technology that isn’t very far into the future. There’s AR and VR, recognition software and good detective work! The precogs would be good to have this decade, especially for Cruise to know he’d leave Scientology, if the tabloid minority reports are true.

3.The Net-1995

Maybe one of the best female computer programmers in a movie predating Trinity (who kind of cheated in achieving her Master Hacker status, but that’s a whole other story). Sandra Bullock plays Angela Bennett, a programmer who gets caught up in a high-stake, fast-paced espionage heist. Cases of mistaken and stolen identity and floppy disks make you sit on the edge of your seat with anticipation and worry; can Bennett solve the mystery? Will she still be mistaken for a criminal? Who are Praetorians? And you have to love the movie’s tagline: “This summer, Sandra Bullock is caught… in the Net!”

2. WarGames-1983

So deliciously 80s, this movie brought us the thrills and dangers of computer-ing; it was early enough that people didn’t know what firewalls were, but at a time where hacking your GPA had been established aspiration of many teenage computer owners. Ally Sheedy plays an impressed Jennifer who is eager to watch computer boy-genius David (Matthew Broderick) play a modern Risk-like game that is actual thermonuclear warfare. Who wouldn’t want to get caught up in governing bodies and their vast array of nukes?

1. Weird Science-1985

This sexist version of the Frankenstein story is every nerdy high school boy’s dream come true. Gary Wallace (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt Donnelly (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) make their dream lady (including a C-cup, Einstein’s brain and Houdini’s magical powers) from Wyatt’s computer by hacking into the city’s power grid for an extra surge of electricity (which is totally thing). Lisa is created, much like Frankenstein’s monster, and learn that having the perfect woman or best party doesn’t make them popular, but their personalities do, and shouldn’t that be the message for all these computer movies?

Oculus Touch

Oculus Rift is leveling up the gaming experience

Oculus Rift announced yesterday it is bringing out hand-held controls called Oculus Touch. There are two controllers, which are both handheld and look like an Xbox One controller cut in half with the YX buttons and joystick on one and the AB buttons and second joystick on the other.

The two controllers allow users to “pick up” items in games, such as weapons, and utilize them the same way you would in real life (you can hold up and aim a gun in VR the same way you would in real life). The controllers also vibrate when you pick something up, making it seem heavy in your hand, like you’re actually pick something up.

The controllers are definitely an up-step in the world of handhelds, and could lead to further opportunities for VR outside of gaming. For now, this tech will make Halo a lot more realistic.

ar_man

PacMan AR: The Ghosts Are Real

Playing Pac-Man was always fun, whether the machine was at an arcade or just an app on your phone. But it was missing that realness to it of actually being chased by ghosts and eating those oh-so nutritional pellets. Rather than going to a haunted house or making the upcoming Pixels movie a reality, Epson has created an augmented reality version called AR-Man.

AR-Man will be available on Epson’s Moverio BT-200, binocular-like AR headset in the Moverio ar_manapp store. Unlike the original Pac-Man that was an aerial view, AR-Man puts you in the maze, so knowing where the ghosts are is impossible until they’re right in front of you.

You don’t need a large space to run around in, however. Running in place is sufficient to dodge the ghosts and get those pellets and cherries.

AR-Man is expected to be in the Moverio app store next week, so keep you eyes peeled for Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde!

Camping with Augmented Reality

Camping and hiking are all fun and games until someone gets lost. You can try to find your way by calling a friend, but they can’t necessarily navigate you back to your tent without knowing exactly where you are. Enter Spyglass, an app for iOS that has a multitude of compasses for your navigation needs as well as finding designated waypoints.

There is a compass available on the app that uses Augmented Reality with GPS capabilities. YouAR Spyglass can look at your phone to navigate and a compass will overlay what you see in front of you. This compass is also enabled when you are trying to find your way back to your camp using the Find Waypoint feature.

You can also navigate via the stars using this app. It utilizes the stars spyglassconstellations, moon and sun to help you find your way.

The app also has an angular calculator and inclinometer allowing you to measure the height of mountains and the distance to them.

At $3.99 on the App Store, it’s a pretty cheap way to not get lost.