Monday, September 15, 2014

SwiftKey - The Worst Virtual Keyboard

I had heard a few raves about this new virtual keyboard (some even touted it as the best virtual keyboard on Android). So I wasn't very surprised seeing people go a little crazy when SwiftKey announced a free version for android.
I took the dive and installed it right away, fearing the offer was not going to last long.  The initial setup looked kind of polished and very welcoming.  The UI was certainly a notch better than stock/Google/Sammy keyboard, with a some amazing color/visual customizations.  Cool!

But it had one FATAL flaw... right from the very first sentence I typed, it would misspell about every 3rd word!  No kidding, I had to erase the word over and over only to find myself giving up on 4th or 5th retry and typing one alphabet at a time rather than swiping (or like I like to call it, Swype'ing).  Total disaster ~~~sigh~~~.  I thought I was typing obscure words, I toned down my vocabulary but SwiftKey's accuracy didn't improve.  It didn't even remember or learn that I'm constantly correcting what was interpreted of my swipe, or what I had chosen the last time on the same swipe pattern.
And if I ever wanted to spell out non-English words, then the feeling was nothing short of having entered the gates of hell!  I'm not kidding or exaggerating.  It is indeed that bad.  More than once I felt I would rather prefer the T9 Predictive Text of older feature phones from last decade (which, for the record was amazing for the time on phones).  After raving about swipe'ing keyboard when it first came and showing it off to friends, I started feeling sheepish and embarrassed in front friends when had to correct over and over AND over.  Not to mention the horror of adding an apostrophe(') to any word, you have to fight hard against SwiftKey to NOT add a space, and if you go back it often, due to mind of its own, change the word, auto-(in)correct (tm)!

But I wasn't ready to give it up yet, the critical self inside of me questioned me, I thought it was probably my swiping, or my words, or my usage, or something in me that was horribly wrong, so I kept using it for good 3 months.. But one fine day my patience crossed its threshold (not to be confused with Windows Threshold! Bad joke!).  But seriously, I reached a point where I said just !@#$ it, I don't want to retype every 3rd word any time I type a sentence.  I didn't want to spend enormous amount of time correcting or updating SwiftKey's dictionary, esp. when I knew my last virtual keyboard was awesome.

So, that very instant, before steam would start coming out of my ears and nose, I switched back to my good'ol Swype (Google Play, official page)!  Boy did I miss you!  With tears in my eyes (of happiness, of course) I whispered into her caring ears, I missed you so bad, I really did!  Glad to have you back in my life! ~~~hugs and kisses~~~ (yes, I'm known to sometimes talk to inanimate objects in cases like this)!

I'm now re-experiencing the joy of fast and error-free typing, Swype'ing!! ~~~muah~~~
I highly doubt the claims that SwiftKey is the most popular virtual keyboard out there, in my opinion it's the worst virtual keyboard I have ever used. AdiĆ³s SwifyKey!  At this point, I don't feel like checking out the blogsphere as to why SwiftKey wasn't good for me, esp. because I know a perfectly great virtual keyboard is sitting right in front of me!  The rational part of my self is hating me for sticking with it for so long and wasting so much of precious time, but the un-rational(uhh? what?) part is happy I gave it a good shot.

If you haven't tried SwiftKey, then don't worry, you haven't missed a thing.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Movie Review: Transformers-Age of Extinction

It's been a while here... intense work coupled with good weather is keeping me away from blogging.
So I thought I will post a quick review on the something... something that was supposed to be a movie I saw a few days back... Transformers: Age of Extinction.
If you don't care to read my elaborate and detailed review of the movie, I'll offer you something that perfectly summarizes the whole movie in a single line and you can then decide what you want to do next...
 Watching Age of Extinction is like watching two drunk junkyards having wild-wild sex in the fit of love in your backyard.

Plot wise, if you can say one exists (which doesn't!), it is strikingly identical to all the other 3 movies in the series that preceded it:
  • Everyone searching for that one that thing, spark, seed, fruit, flower... that will tip the scale in Autobot wars, Check
  • An underdog (Mark Wahlberg), Check
  • Barely-Legal hot chick (Nicola Peltz) who, no matter what, always has a perfect makeup with pink luscious lipstick on, ALL the bejesus time, Check
  • Secret Government Organization, Check
  • A villain hiding in plain sight (Megatron aka Galvatron), Check
  • A hero hiding in plain sight (Optimus Prime), Check
  • Plain sight hiding in plain sight... WAIT! What?? That doesn't make sense! Check!
  • Lots of shaky shots, fire, destruction, mayhem, explosions... Check, check and Check!
  • Incoherent story line, Check
  • Predictable, Check
  • And it is unbearably long, Check
(For the record, the first original Transformers was enjoyable, with just the right amount of special effects and not unbearably long).
First off, it looks like the movie was made by someone (and FOR someone) who loves to masturbate to violent explosions and destruction of things.  And every iteration of the "act" then demands for a bigger and larger explosion to get the fix.
There are so many explosions in the movie that it makes all of the 4th of July fireworks combined (to date!) look like a mere spark from striking a matchstick.  If Michael Bay were ever looking for an alternate profession, I think he can really give even the most contemporary Pyrotechnians a run for their monies.
Age of Extinction basically is the exact same movie as the first one, just with more cheap and racist shots at humor, more noise (or the explosion), more robots (or car thingies, because you can't tell what's what anymore).  Once the autobots start fighting (or start making violent love, because no one can really discern what's happening!) you can't figure which are the good guys and which are the bad ones, which makes it orders of magnitude more annoying, because you want to root for the good guys, right?
To top it all off, the movie is incredibly long, 160 minutes, which is well over 2 and freakin' half hours!  2 freaking half hours of mind-numbing noise, mind-bending explosions, mind-@#$ing action and all this to no end, or the same "we must save humans(~~~imagine Prime's voice~~~)" sh!t.  That's torture, not entertainment.  If you want to exact a revenge on someone without him/her realizing it... take them to this movie, IN 3-freaking-D!
And most certainly NO, I haven't missed the juiciest part, Michael Bay's penchant for staring barely-legal female characters is only a notch higher in this version compared to previous movies.  While looking at the hot 20-something year old Nicola Peltz may make you overlook a few flaws in the movie, more than average flaws might I even add   ~~~wink wink~~~, even 100s of her in this movie cannot make you overlook the lameness of everything this film has thrown on the screen.
I believe I have now been permanently marred by this experience and I've decided to ban all future Michael Bay films from my life for good.  I wouldn't have watched this one either, had it not been for my buddy insisting on watching it.  At least he agreed to my one condition when I retaliated; I'm not going to watch it in 3D, even if you pay me a thousand dollars! (A lesson I learned the hard way from the experience of watching the last Transformer movie in 3D, Rise or Fall or Revenge of something).

But, in all fairness, the ideal audience for this movie is not the demographic of USA, but it is other parts of the world, parts where the movie industry just doesn't have the technical know-how of creating such mayhem of special effects.  Let alone being able to afford monetary expenses of creating one.
So, I said it in the beginning and I'll say it again...
 Watching Age of Extinction is like watching two drunk junkyards having wild-wild sex in the fit of love in your backyard.
Other notable disappointments have been Man of Steel and the latest Spiderman (the name of which I refuse to Google), 300-Rise of an Empire (my review here).  And I'm sure I'm missing a movie or two.
~~~sigh~~~  Good movies are so hard to come by these days.  Until last week, I was pinning my hopes on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  As a kid I adored that cartoon series, but I heard even TMNT-2014 is rated as drearily dull, even at its best.  But I might still watch it, just for the sake of it.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Movie Review: 300-Rise of an Empire

300-Rise of an Empire, or in simple terms, 300 Part-2...
One of those other weekends, I had nothing better to do (in retrospect, I was so wrong!) so I went to catch up on a movie with a buddy, it had been a really long time since I last watched a movie in theater.  To say that the movie was boring, would be a gross understatement, cinematography was good, but only at times and only to a certain extent.
And here's my take, the movie, surprisingly can be very accurately summarized in mere 3 short words/phrases:
  1. Water! Lots of it! In fact it wouldn't hurt to blame California's water shortage entirely on this movie!
  2. Blood! Even more plentiful than water!  Take that Mel Gibson for Apocalypto or even Quentin Tarantino for Kill Bill(s)
  3. One lousy half-a$$ s3x scene (s3x scenes are quintessential part of _every_ American movie)
  4. Slow Motion (ok, I lied, there are 4 items, not 3).
The movie is nothing more than a hodge-podge of dismemberment of body parts (hands, legs, head, anything) that fly everywhere with blood splattering all around in extreme slow motion under a gloomy-n-internally overcast semi-black-and-white environment.  When nobody's hacking bodies, the dialogues in the movie are banal, at best.
Compared to the original 300 (my review here), this movie is almost entirely shot in slow motion. I was afraid even the dialogues would now start appearing in ssslllooowwww mmmoootttiiiooonnn and to tell you the truth, I wouldn't have been surprised if that had actually happened! So much so, that if we played the movie at normal rate then the entire movie would be over in 15 minutes flat!  The time part is a bit of an over statement, but you get the idea.
Good Thing: The only silver lining, watching it in 3D didn't induce a head-ache (and that's only because of the movie being in slo-mo), unlike Superman-Man of Steel, which gave me a splitting headache after I watched it in 3D, TW-freaking-ICE!

Life could only be better if you skip this one.
See Also:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Spring Is Here

Long time no see???  Well, been sunk in life's shitty boring problems knee deep too long now.  Not a good excuse to not post, but hey, that's the best I've got :(
Anyway, I thought posting some beautiful photos would be a good way to say "hello" to a few fellow readers I have left...

Lately, work-life has gotten a tad boring, mostly as I don't have my discuss-everything-under-the-sun lunches with buddies at work anymore; instead have chosen to watch Youtube videos while I gobble down food at my desk, at wildly irregular times.  But all's not lost, or so it feels...
Sun was out for two straight days and skies were clear bright blue, almost made me feel lucky for being alive and be able to see this day (note: this is not an exaggeration when you live in Seattle)!  But my skepticism that Spring is upon me, didn't budge.  That is only until I cared to look around my office while I parked my car and walked towards my building: Cherry Blossom buds opening up!  So the very next day I brought along my camera (luckily it was sunny again!) and went on a stroll after lunch to shoot some pictures around the campus.  And here's the result: Spring is upon us guys!
Time to break out of winter clothes!  Gear up for some hiking, photography and camping!

Yes, if you let her have it her way, Nature does have a way of uplifting your mood on occasion, trying hard to make you re-believe that life is indeed beautiful.
These are just a few shots from around the campus, full album here on flickr: Spring 2014!

    Body-Canon EOS 6D (full frame)
    Lenses-Canon 100mm F2.8 Macro Lens & Canon 70-200mm IS F4L

Note: Weather turned sucky the very day after I took pictures and went only southwards for even worse on the weekend.  You know, that's the typical Seattle weather, awesome and great while I'm holed up in my little office but crappy on weekends when I have time to explore the outdoors ~~~sigh~~~ That's the finicky Pacific North West weather we all love so much :-)

Full album with many more photos here on flickr: Spring 2014!