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Shawn T

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Shawn T last won the day on December 21 2016

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About Shawn T

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  1. I'm completely on the other side of the spectrum! I enjoy what I saw of it, but didn't get to finish the show because DirectTV's DVR isn't smart enough to time shift due to major league sports running late (I miss Cable!) That said, I'm not big enough of a Trek fan to PAY to watch the rest of the season so I guess I'll never know what happens...
  2. Welcome! FYI We are getting ready to relaunch our sister site, SciFiReviews.net net week
  3. Agreed, and maybe make it more of a serious sci fi movie this time
  4. Thanks for the recommendation Kiron!
  5. In the first season of Colony we find mankind living on an Earth where an Alien race has imposed a sort of marshal law. There's a curfew, limitations on travel, and law enforcement agencies have been replaced with "red hat" collaborators who show little mercy and are backed up by alien drones. All of this is already in place when Season 1 began, so when I realized that the Season 2 premiere was mostly focused on the the hours leading up to the aliens arrival I was quite intrigued. In retrospect, I have to say it was it was quite satisfying to learn the back stories of so man characters and sequence of events only hinted at in the original season, however I was left with little to know understanding of where season 2 is going. Hopefully, the next few episodes (which have already aired) will move the story forward and answer some of the questions like why the Aliens are here and what are they mining. That said, I wondering if anyone else is watching this show, and what do you think? Shawn T.
  6. I watched The Expanse's Season 2 Premiere last night and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. While I felt the last season started a little slow, and ended a confusing mess, this new season's pilot makes the state of the system clear: Someone found Alien biological material/virus, and someone or some group is trying to get Earth and Mars to go to war. As for the effects and stages, I have to say the were for the most part very well done. All in all, I enjoyed the premiere and I'm looking forward to this season with the hope it doesn't get bogged down and keeps moving at good pace What did you think?
  7. Science Fiction is becoming Science Fact! As someone who owns an Oculus Rift, I can confidently say I believe we are likely only one ot two hardware generations away from a VR solution for the masses. While the Oculus and other platforms work well, they have a few shortcomings that seem to be holding them back. The first is price. The Vive is $800, and the Rift is $600, and both require a fairly beefy PC. In fact, Playstation VR is the most affordable at $500, but only the future will tell if the PS4 will be able to run any "killer" VR apps. The next issue is one of resolution. Sometimes "in game" on today's models you will notice a screen door effect which is caused by having the "less than 1080p" screens close enough that you can make out individual pixels. This resolution issue also sometimes makes objects far away seem a little pixelated or jaggy. And finally, the lower resolution means less field of view, which also results in a blurry effect if you are no looking straight ahead. Basically, if you want to look at something and not see it blurry you need to tun your head to look at it straight on, and not just look in it's direction with your eyes. And the final issue is one of comfort. Of the current gen of VR HMD (head mounted displays) the PSVR is said to be the most comfortable. I'm not sure if this is because of it's design, or because some of the hardware (and weight) was removed to a separate box. That said, for VR to ever be accepted by the masses the headsets will need to be comfy, light, and allow nearsighted people to keep their glasses on without having to order a special "narrow" set of frames. ------------------------------------------------------ So what do you think? Are we only one or two generations of hardware away from the future of mass adoption of VR? Please feel free to post your thoughts below, Shawn T, Fan of Science, Technology, and Sci Fi
  8. This is our planet, and while we might not currently be taking good care of it I think we will get much better at it in the near future. So while aliens are welcome to visit in small groups after going through interplanetary customs, they can't have our planet as it's ours
  9. Reading the news stories from CES 2017, it dawned on me that very soon real life is going to catch up with Science Fiction in the area of total voice control of our homes and devices. And I'm not just talking about asking your phone or smart speaker to look up information on the internet, or play a song for you. You'll soon be able to pre-heat your oven, check if there's any milk left in your fridge, and even request your favorite refreshment be brought to you, all using voice commands from the comfort of your easy chair. The Road to Total Voice Control: While speech recognition voice control has been around almost as long as electronics and personal computers, in most cases it was limited to dictation and controlling the software applications installed on your PC. And while many high end cars like my 2011 Dodge Charger came with voice control of the entertainment center and Bluetooth connected cell phones, it seems like Smart Phones was where voice control seemed to find its first foothold with the masses. Most would credit the release of Siri (in Beta) and the Apple iPhone 4S in late 2011 as the first iteration of this trend. Unlike many previous attempts at voice recognition and control which either had a very limited number of commands or required a long period of training the software to recognize your speech patterns, Siri used its persistent connection to the internet to offload this work to the server farms back at Apple. And the fact that Siri didn't work without a connection to the internet wasn't a major concern for most users since most of their requests involved asking Siri to look up information on the internet. The success of Siri in 2012 wasn't missed by other tech companies, and many began to bring their own voice control product to market. In our home, the next voice control product landed in 2013 in the form of the Kinect 2 enabled XBOX One. Being able to turn a gaming console on and off with voice commands was nice, but being able to record a clip to share on your XBOX activity stream (like a Facebook wall for the XBOX) and start and stop Twitch streams verbally without stopping gameplay, was a much used and welcomed feature. Then came the Amazon Echo, aka Alexa, in 2014. As a Prime member I got a chance to pre-order the unit before it was released to the public, and even though I didn't know what I was going to use it for I jumped at the chance to get early access to one. In many ways Alexa was like Siri, but a standalone speaker version. And as a long time Amazon and Audible customer, the fact that Alexa had instant access to my substantial music and audio book library made using Alexa to listen to that library as simple ask just verbalizing the request. Not to be left out, Microsoft jumped in by releasing its own "build-in" version of voice control for Windows 10 PCs in 2014. Dubbed "Cortana," its release brought the friendly voice control features most people first because aware with Siri back in 2012 to the PC free off charge through Microsoft's no-cost Windows 10 upgrades. Total Voice Control: Coming soon... With that short history of voice control in mind, it seems to me that Amazon's foresight to license Alexa to be used in nearly anything is going to pay off. I say this because so many products at this year's CES were shown with Alexa integration it's kind of hard to keep count. From refrigerators with built-in LCD displays and cameras, to personal "Robot" assistants, to Ford vehicles, it seems like everything is getting voice control, and it is being made by the seemingly easy integration of Amazon's voice control technology. If you want to see it for yourself, check out the below article which details many of the new products which will soon be releasing with voice control https://www.cnet.com/news/whats-alexa-up-to-at-ces-heres-a-running-list-ces-2017/ And if you have an option about the future of voice control, please feel free to post them as a response to this post! Sincerely, Shawn T
  10. Has anyone else watched "Stranger Things" It started out a little slow for me, but I enjoyed how it ramped up towards the end. Also, most of the kids in the show just look, arkward! And I'm not sure the very final clip made me want to come back for season two though... seems like they may retread the season one? What do you think?
  11. Man Of War (M.R. Forbes) Great new series, but a couple things didn't make sense NOTE: You can read my review of the book here: http://scifireviews.net/man-of-war/ I just finished Man of War and have to say I did really enjoy it! That said, four things at the end didn't make sense to me... 1) Why didn't they give Gabriel the alien fabric? With all the discussion earlier about how the fabric was so unique, and maybe even alive, why didn't they give a sample to Gabe along with the plasma gun? 2) Why transition to FTL going through the earth - why not go FTL through the satellite defense grid. Maybe I missed something, but I don't remember any issues with getting up to FTL speeds before hitting the defense satellites... so why not just fly through them? 3) Ehri set up Donovan to enter the Alien ship? Huh? I don't think this is plausible. The trip down the pipe to the water collection area was too crazy to be sure anyone would try it. 4) Gabriel's mom was the Alien leader’s best friend? Hard to believe she could do that Ok, this is the worse one because no one who was as passionate about human life could befriend, never mind bestie the alien in charge of wiping it out of existence. Just saying. That said, I still really enjoyed the book and look forward to reading the next one in the series! Peace out, Shawn
  12. Envisioning FTL I thought it would be cool to list the many ways different "faster than light" has been envisioned. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Star Trek's Warp Drive In Star Trek lore, the warp drive uses a matter/antimatter reactor to create plasma, and by sending this plasma through warp coils, creates a warp bubble which moves a craft into subspace, thus allowing it to exceed the speed of light. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Star Wars Hyperspace In the Star Wars movies and books FTL is accomplished using "Hyperspace," an alternate dimension enabling starships to travel faster than light through "hyperspace lanes" When entering hyperspace, a starship takes advantage of the wrinkles in the fabric of realspace to reduce journey time, "jumping" from one point to another without having to travel directly between them. However, large objects in realspace also cast "mass shadows" in hyperspace, so hyperspace jumps necessitated very precise calculations, and there are also many predetermined "safe" hyperspace routes. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Please feel free to post your thoughts, and I'll occasionally update this first post list.
  13. So I've been reading a lot of space operas lately, and couldn't help comparing Captains and thought it might make for a good forum discussion. I'll start with The Slaver Wars, and out of all the ship Captains and Admirals, I would have to say Admiral Hedon Streth (sp?) is the strongest by far, and a very strong contender for the strongest space opera spaceship Captain of the decade. I mean some have compared him to Adama from Battlestar Galactica, but this guy is so much more. Plus, he's lucky... or maybe not lucky but a little clairvoyant. However he might have his age and rank going against him... Some may try and make a case for Jeremy Strom from The Slaver Wars, and while he is probably one of the most like-able Captains of modern Space Opera's, he not the strongest. Maybe it's his compassion, or youth, or likability, but I just can't count him as the strongest, even though he's a favorite. Next we have the indomitable Captain Maddox from The Lost Starship series. This guy is strong and a survivor while still being human enough to care. The only questions is, is it because he is half New-Man? If he wasn't, I would say he would definitely be in the running for strongest Space Opera Captain of the decade, but there's definitely a case to be made that his strength is just from modified genetics... Captain Timothy Granger from The Legacy Fleet is definitely a contender. He brought "going down with the ship" to new and heroic heights. However he starts the series off as nearly washed up, so I don't know if you can come back from that to be the strongest Captain of the decade? A real contender is Captain Daniel Marshall of the Battlecruiser Alamo series. He's not only strong, but daring. While some might disagree, I also think he's very lucky that his daring attempts to do what's right almost always work out in the end. I mean, this is the guy who flew his battlecruiser though the atmosphere of a planet to avoid satellite defenses to rescue downed shipmates! And then there was that time he was captured behind enemy lines... Well, that's my list so far... do you have a vote for the strongest Space Opera Captain of the decade? Post a reply below with your thoughts! Shawn
  14. Some of my favorite new series are: Battlecruiser Alamo The Frontiers Saga Moon Wreck: The Slaver Wars The first few pages of each "book 1" had me wondering, but I quickly began a huge fan of each series...
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