Trailer for “Transformers: The Last Knight”

Trailers – This edition of the Transformer story mixes the legend of King Arthur with the modern sentient Transformer robots. The official synopsis is:

When all seems lost, a few brave souls can save everything we’ve ever known.

The Last Knight shatters the core myths of the Transformers franchise, and redefines what it means to be a hero. Humans and Transformers are at war, Optimus Prime is gone. The key to saving our future lies buried in the secrets of the past, in the hidden history of Transformers on Earth. Saving our world falls upon the shoulders of an unlikely alliance: Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg); Bumblebee; an English Lord (Sir Anthony Hopkins); and an Oxford Professor (Laura Haddock).

There comes a moment in everyone’s life when we are called upon to make a difference. In Transformers: The Last Knight, the hunted will become heroes. Heroes will become villains. Only one world will survive: theirs, or ours.

Will this be a good story or the same-old-same-old of the past few Transformer movies. It is hard to tell from this 2:44 clip, but there certainly looks to be plenty of action. We will know for sure when it opens June 28.

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macOS New App Release – BudgetWrangler 1.8

Product Announcement  – Sir Reel Pictures of Three Rivers, California has released version 1.8 of BudgetWrangler, its flagship personal budgeting and finance software for Mac and Windows. An alternative to mainstream financial apps, BudgetWrangler’s focus continues to be on simplicity, security, and giving the user ultimate control over their financial data. It uses a three-step process of importing records from the financial institution, categorizing each transaction, and providing powerful analysis tools so that the user can make educated decisions about their financial life.

Although BudgetWrangler is a full-featured financial management tool, it doesn’t allow complex features to get in the way of functionality. BudgetWrangler is designed to think about finances the way real people do and offers a workflow that provides the user with the information they need as effortlessly as possible.

For example users can:

  • See all of last month’s entries for a spending category with a single click
  • Find a monthly average for any spending category in 2 clicks
  • Make an Import Rule from a recurring transaction in 1 click.
  • Find out what payments are coming up in the next two weeks with 1 click
  • Compare last month’s totals to the budget in 2 clicks
  • See all of last month’s entries for a category with 1 click

Features:

  • Understand your finances at a glance.
  • Track every dollar.
  • Sort and analyze your records in flexible ways.
  • Set up a budget and track how you’re living up to it.
  • Create Goals and manage them as circumstances change.
  • Quickly answer the question “Can I afford this?”
  • Set up reminders of upcoming payments.
  • Print Reports for Tax Time

The latest version of BudgetWrangler boasts the use of multiple international currencies, as well as adds dozens of interface improvements.

System Requirements:

  • MacOS Yosemite or greater
  • Windows 7 or greater

For a limited time, BudgetWrangler 1.8 is only $49.95 (USD) and can be purchased from the website, and can be downloaded from its official website.

Trailer for “Enter the Warriors Gate”

Trailers – This film, “Enter the Warrior’s Gate” opened in China last year and will be seen here in the US next week. The official synopsis is:

Epic fantasy-adventure meets martial arts action in this thrilling film written by Luc Besson & Robert Mark Kamen. After a mysterious chest opens a gateway through time, teen gamer Jack (Uriah Shelton) is transported to an ancient empire terrorized by a cruel barbarian king (former WWE superstar Dave Bautista). Jack will need all of his gaming skills as he battles to defeat the barbarian, protect a beautiful princess, and somehow find his way back home.

So, this looks like a pure tongue-in-cheek, fun adventure movie. It is hard to say from this 2:05 trailer if it will be any good. I am sure most of the younger teenage gamer boys will want to see it.

Review of “Sherlock Holmes and the Eisendorf Enigma”

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Book Reviews – “Sherlock Holmes and the Eisendorf Enigma” eBook was published in 2017 and was written by Larry Millett (https://www.larrymillett.com/). Mr. Millett has published more than a dozen books and including several “Holmes Mysteries”.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘PG’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set mostly in the small town of Eisendorf, Minnesota, but some is spent in Munich, Germany as well.

As expected Sherlock Holmes is the primary character. It is 1920 and the 66 year old Holmes has mostly retired. He travels to Minnesota to visit the Mayo clinic seeking treatment of his growing breathing problems. While there he receives a cryptic message from a former foe, the “Monster of Munich”. The message invites Holmes to the small, remote town of Eisendorf.

Holmes had been unable to catch the Monster back in Munich of 1892. Now he both sees an opportunity to conclude that case as well as solve some unusual deaths in Eisendorf. Eisendorf proves to be a challenge. The town is tight lipped and the town and its inhabitants seem to harbor many secrets.

Holmes faces challenges as well as threats. Will he be able to identify the killer? Will he survive the encounter and his failing health?

I enjoyed the 7 hours I spent reading this 240 page Mystery. This Holmes is very much like Doyle’s original, though much older,  I thought that the plot was well played out and the solution was not obvious. I would certainly consider reading other of Millett’s Holmes novels. The cover art is OK, giving the impression of the dark, forested location of Eisendorf. I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

macOS New Resource – MacDeveloper

Product Announcement – Longtime Mac evangelist, GeekSuit LLC of Lake Dallas, Texas has announced MacDeveloper, a massive update to their popular networking and beta testing resource for Apple enthusiasts. MacDeveloper helps companies and individual software developers alike improve the quality of their products by providing a platform to have their applications properly tested from a well informed, and energetic Beta Pool.

MacDeveloper is a free, opt-in service for Apple enthusiasts who love what the Mac community offers. It is squarely aimed at providing Apple users around the globe a place to connect, build a strong sense of community. The platform also serves as an excellent compliment to bundled software avenues. Testers can register to try out the latest software releases and receive coupons for free software, or purchase software at huge discounts.

MacDeveloper for Testers:

  • Register and Test software absolutely free
  • Testers may choose only the Software Categories that interest them
  • Earn Points for Testing your favorite Software
  • Use points to purchase software for Free
  • Use points to purchase software for huge discounts
  • Earn valuable Star Ratings for being a Quality Tester

MacDeveloper’s sole mission is to connect willing and responsible beta testers to software developers. As an enhancement to software distribution, MacDeveloper believes that every business should have access to the state-of-the-art tools necessary to manage every aspect of their organization’s testing activities. No longer do developers have to spend time recruiting testers. MacDeveloper does all of this for them. Now, they can spend more time coding great software and taking care of their customers.

MacDeveloper for Developers:

  • Create Project Channels for only $12.50 (USD) a month
  • Project Channels are billed only as long as they are running
  • Developers may run their beta cycle as long as they wish
  • Upload as many binaries to Project Channels as necessary
  • Search the Beta Pool for Quality Testers
  • Developers may invite new Testers outside of the platform
  • Find Beta Testers who genuinely have a desire to test
  • Developers may leverage their own cart or third party system for licensing
  • Developers use Coupons for Testers to purchase their Applications for free or at a discount
  • Excellent platform for Customer Building

The platform was recently updated with an all-new user interface, built mobile friendly, and includes many new features based on user feedback. Project Channels now offer a forum (devForum) that is created on-the-fly to help Developers better engage with Subscribed Testers. There are subtle updates throughout the entire platform to enhance the overall experience for both Developers and Testers.

MacDeveloper is immediately available. In celebration of this launch, Developers will be given 4 credits which can be assigned to any single Project Channel, or spread across as many new Project Channels as they wish. That is four (4) months of free testing! Projects that run past a given grace period will be charged a low $12.50 (USD) fee, and only as long as the Project is live. This is equivalent to only .42 cents a day, roughly the cost of a pack of chewing gum.

macOS New App Release – AirBeamTV

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Product announcement – AirBeamTV of Naarden, Netherlands, a Mac software development company, has released the Mirror for Chromecast application on the Mac App Store and on their website. Screen Mirroring (sometimes called Screen Casting) allows you to see the screen of your Mac, or any external display connected to your Mac, on your TV. This makes it an ideal solution for watching videos on TV, or giving Powerpoint or Keynote presentations on a TV with a Chromecast connected to it.

The Mirror for Chromecast app works on Chromecast 1 and 2 and the new Chromecast Ultra. Because the connection between the Mac and the TV is based on Google Cast technology, the Mirror for Chromecast app also works on Smart TVs based on the Android TV operating system, such as the latest models from Sony and Philips.

Mirror for Chromecast is the latest in a family of popular screen mirroring apps from AirBeamTV. The first product, Mirror for Samsung TV, quickly raised to the top paid video apps on the Mac App Store in USA and other countries, and consistently stays within top 10 up to now. A free trial version of the software can be downloaded from the website.

Trailer for “The Osiris Child”

Trailer – This is an Australian Science Fiction film, so I am not sure when or if it will make it into theaters in the US. It looks interesting as far as this 1:54 trailer goes. The official synopsis of the movie is:

Set in the future in a time of interplanetary colonisation, Sy (Kellan Lutz), a mysterious drifter, meets Kane (Daniel MacPherson), a lieutenant working for an off-world military contractor, EXOR. The unlikely pair must work together to rescue Kane’s young daughter (Teagan Croft) and reach safety amid an impending global crisis which was brought on by EXOR itself. Teaming up with a pair of renegades (Luke Ford and Isabel Lucas), Kane and Sy clash with EXOR in an attempt to escape while battling the savage creatures that roam the barren planet.

If it is truly any good it will eventually turn up somewhere we can watch it.

macOS New App Release – Indigo 7

Product Announcement – Indigo Domotics of Dallas, Texas, the leading provider of Mac-based smart home software, announces the immediate availability of Indigo 7, an update to the company’s intelligent smart home server for macOS. With Indigo, users can easily monitor and control lights, appliances, thermostats, locks, lawn sprinklers and dozens of other items found in the home, thereby enhancing comfort, convenience and security while helping to reduce energy usage.

Included in this release is support for over 65 additional Z-Wave devices, including locks, thermostats, sensors, and lighting controllers. These devices represent a broad selection of devices available worldwide from a large number of vendors and brings the total number of supported and tested Z-Wave devices to over 230. Along with this new device support, Indigo now supports Z-Wave Network Wide Inclusion (NWI) for simplification of the inclusion process, encrypted communication to allow direct lock control, and a new network optimization feature to help maintain Z-Wave routing information across the network.

To facilitate faster support of new Z-Wave devices, Indigo 7 now includes low-level plugin hooks for Z-Wave communication. These new APIs allow 3rd party plugins to add Z-Wave specific enhancements, including support for new devices that aren’t yet available in Indigo’s built-in Z-Wave implementation. “The new Z-Wave APIs in Indigo 7 are a huge addition to Indigo’s extensibility framework,” said Peter Howarth, an Indigo plugin developer. “Two of the most popular Z-Wave feature requests on the forums were advanced integration for locks and scene controllers. The new API enabled me to write plugins for both of these features within hours of them being released – a testament to their simplicity and power.”

Indigo 7 also includes significant improvements to its 3rd party developer APIs and tools, including debugging and integration into popular development IDEs. This has spurred a 30% increase in 3rd party plugins and increased the number of 3rd party Indigo developers. These new plugins support a range of the most popular smart home devices from LIFX, Nest, Philips Hue, and Sonos, to home theater components from Onkyo, Samsung, and Yamaha. Even the Amazon Echo and Harmony Remotes now have integration into Indigo. With these new integrations there are now nearly 200 3rd party plugins available that extend the Indigo ecosystem to different connected devices.

Plugin support isn’t limited to just adding new smart home devices – many plugins extend Indigo in other ways, such as: simplifying logic and scene creation, adding useful data like weather and energy usage, adding virtual devices to simplify and automate complex logic, and expanding on the reporting of data through the various Indigo clients. Indigo 7 is more extendable than ever and the new 3rd party contributions continue to add powerful new functionality and integration to the Indigo platform.

Many of these new plugins were possible because of developer improvements in Indigo 7. “Indigo not only supports the most popular scripting language, Python, but we now offer the best development tools for our plugin developers. With Indigo 7, we directly integrated two standard Python debuggers (pdb and pudb) and added integration with PyCharm, the de facto standard Python IDE with full interactive debugging,” said Mr. Bendiksen. “These tools, taken together with a slew of new APIs and enhanced logging, give developers of Indigo plugins an advantage over other systems in both ease of use and development lifecycle support.”

Indigo 7 is available now for $249.95 (USD) through the Indigo Domotics website. Owners of some previous versions of Indigo are eligible for an upgrade discount. Also available online is a 30 day trial copy of Indigo 7. Indigo runs on macOS 10.7 or greater.

Trailer for “Thor: Ragnarok”

Trailers – I’m not much of a comics person, but I have enjoyed the worlds that Marvel has taken us to in their movies. This film, “Thor:Ragnarok”, takes us back to the Avengers Universe and to Thor.

While not much is shown in this trailer, Thor seems to have a hard time ahead. We catch a glimpse of Loki, but it is hard to tell how much of a part he plays. Also seen are Hela and even, strangely, The Incredible Hulk.

This looks to be a good addition to Marvel’s Universe. I’m looking forward to the film when it premiers November 3.

Review of “Jerusalem Fire”

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Book Reviews – “Jerusalum Fire” eBook was published in 2016 (the paper edition was originally published in 1986) and was written by R. M. Meluch (http://rmmeluch.com). Ms. Meluch has published over a dozen novels.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set in the far future. The Na’id Empire is conquering all of human space and has no concern what so ever for alien species, whether or not they are sapient. The main character is Alihahd, who has sided with the rebels and has been harassing the Na’id.

Alihahd finds himself stranded on the planet Iry. A place of myth. He survives there, taken in by the Itiri. The Itiri Warrior Priests are nearly invincible, yet only a thing of myth in the Na’id Empire. The Itiri spurn the outside world, willing to let the humans battle with themselves.

Alihahd is a troubled soul, wishing to die, but unwilling to take his own life. Over the course of the novel Alihahd struggles with his life.

I was glad when I completed the 9.5 hours needed to finish this 378 page science fiction novel. I thought more than once on calling a Rule of 50, and in hind site I wish I had. Though well written, for the most part I found this novel dull and boring. The cover art one small event in the novel and is not a good representation of the whole. I give this novel a 3 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).