Archive for October, 2010

Writing on the IPod Touch

2010-10-26

A touch screen device is not the optimal environment for text input; however, typing on the iPod touch is not as bad as you may think. Because I use my iPod touch as a portable computer, I write on it often. I have tested several of the free writing applications and I’ve come up with a list of those I think are the best.

Notes

The notes application that comes with the iPod touch is not feature rich, but for basic text input it works. Once you become accustomed to the keyboard, writing can be done quickly and even with one hand. The keyboard is small but you don’t have to accurately hit each key to enter a word. If you make a mistake the iPod guesses what you meant to input using the device’s dictionary. The great thing about the dictionary is that it automatically learns new words as you type them. Notes only lets you type in portrait mode which is the smaller of the two keyboards. I actually prefer the portrait keyboard and make more mistakes typing in landscape mode.

WritingPad

WritingPad is a free writing app that allows you to input text by tracing a path over the letters of a word. When you lift your finger after the last letter of a word, WritingPad guesses what word you intended to write and lists other possible words. It is easy to scroll through the list to select the right word or go back to a previously inputted word and correct it. WritingPad uses its own dictionary but you can add words manually by typing out each letter using the keyboard.

I like the idea behind WritingPad and I find it absolutely usable. It is not my favorite writing app because I have become accostomed to the normal way of text input and I make more mistakes with WritingPad than I do with an app like Notes.

EasyWriter

EasyWriter is an application for composing email. What distiguishes EasyWriter from other writing apps is that you can write in landscape mode for a larger keyboard. Another interesting feature of this app is the resizing of text using the pinch and zoom gestures. EasyWriter automatically saves what you are writing if you exit the application before sending it to email. I like EasyWriter for writing the first drafts of my articles because of the zoom feature. The only downside I’ve found to this app is not being able to work on more than one email at a time.

TextEditor (Honorable Mention)

In theory the TextEditor app allows you to sync your Google Docs text files with your iPod touch. It does this, but in the process the formatting of the document gets messed up. Spaces and carriage returns don’t always make it through to the iPod. Having to fix formatting before I sync makes this app not worth my time. I hope the developers can fix this problem with an update because TextEditor would be my favorite text input app if it could properly execute what it is meant to do. It also gives you the option of writing in landscape mode, if that’s what you’re into.

WritingPad, EasyWriter, and TextEditor are my top picks for free writing apps on the iPod touch but the naive app Notes remains my favorite. The most I do with text input on the iPod touch is write first drafts of documents or articles and Notes works well enough for me to do that.

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15 Things I’d Rather Do with $600 Than Purchase an IPhone

2010-10-21

Let me start out by saying that the new Apple iPhone appears to be phenomenal product. I’ve read many rave reviews and I have heard personal accounts of its brilliance and I do not doubt it. Everyone knows that the Apple brand means innovation, quality and the hippest of the hip accessories. I do understand why people are scrambling to get one. I do understand why it is in contention to beat the Smartphone, the Blackberry, the Treo and a number of other devices out there as the current best thing. Really, its lovely. This is not an editorial to argue otherwise. I’m writing this for one simple reason. The best selling model of the iPhone retails for $600.

Regardless of how great it is, I already have a cellphone that works well and a great plan to accompany it. I already have a computer. I have an Mp3 player. I have an organizer and a camera and all manners of functional devices and ways of organizing my life and they are all working, more or less, just fine. I know that I could replace several of those with one really neat little streamlined device, but at this point, that would be wasteful and I don’t happen to have an extra $600 (plus the cost of activation fees).

So this got me to thinking. I’m doing fine without one, but if I had an extra $600 right now, would I be tempted to pick one up?

Would it change my life radically for the better? Would it be something that I look back on and say “Wow. I’m so glad I spent that $600 on this little iPhone instead of all the other things I could do with $600?” Odds are, no it wouldn’t. Why? Besides the fact that I’m a forgetful klutz and I’m terrified that I would lose it or trip and have it crash to the pavement – it wouldn’t because I can think of so many other things that I would rather do with $600. Here are just 15 of those things, just off the top of my head:

15 things I’d rather do with a spare $600 than purchase an iPhone

Fly to Europe this fall.
Good news for world travelers or wannabes. Off-peak tickets to Europe are already appearing slashed with drastic sales and they will continue to drop as the off-peak season approaches. If you go on any of the mainstream travel booking websites – Orbitz, Travelocity, Expedia, you can see that a round-trip ticket to several major European cities from the USA is available for below $600 if you are booking for October or November. Those fares are often good until March 31st. I ask you, on your deathbed, would you rather look back on life and say “I never was able to travel to Europe.” or “I wish I had gotten a chance to see Barcelona” (or Rome or Paris). What if your dying words were “I guess I would have been able to afford that plane ticket in 2007, if I didn’t buy that iPhone.”

Or take advantage of last-minute travel deals like packages at resorts, long weekend specials and even cruises.
In addition to the travel websites mentioned above, you can subscribe to weekly travel deal emails on websites such as Travelzoo and Sherman’s Travel. They will send you a list of the hottest deals they can find every week. This week, there were 4-night Caribbean cruises starting at $399 per person (which would be under $600 even with taxes and that’s all-inclusive) and deals for many resorts, discounted hotels and car rentals. You could put together an entire vacation for yourself, easily under $600, especially if you split some expenses with friends, families or your significant other.

Buy all the “Harry Potter” LEGO sets. Or as many as I could buy with $600.
Alright. I admit this is silly. But there are several silly and geeky things I would enjoy more than an iPhone. Mock all you want. The iPhone can provide countless hours of entertainment, but only if I pay for additional things to entertain me. I could call people, but that costs extra for activation and a plan. And I already have a cellphone. I could watch movies, but I would have to pay to download the movies from iTunes. I already have a dvd player and a subscription to Netflix. I could play games and I’m sure some are included, but eventually those would get boring and then I would need to pay for more games. And I already have a playstation. But I don’t have any LEGO sets. So at this point in my life. YES. I would like to buy LEGO sets more than an iPhone. Especially those neat Harry Potter sets! LEGOs guarantee an endless supply of amusement and all you need to do is buy the LEGO sets. No activation fees. No downloads. Just LEGOs! Harry Potter LEGOs simply exponentially multiply the fun – because you can play with them as Harry Potter characters and scenes or just build your own things. You can buy Star Wars and Batman sets too and then get all kinds of geeky. I would bet money that if I went through with this, someone would be calling me on their iPhone, asking to come over and play with my LEGOs.

Take a helicopter tour over Manhattan.
What does it feel like to be hovering in a helicopter over one of the most famous skylines in America? I wouldn’t know, but do a quick Google search for “NYC helicopter tours” and a myriad of websites come up advertising tours that start at $59 for about five minutes and then increase by time. I would want to be up there for a while, but even the longer tours that I could find online cost well under the price of the iPhone.

Invest in a great turntable and superior set of speakers.
Vinyl produces superior sound to anything that digital players or cds can put out. Investing in good turntable and a pair of speakers is definitely the way to go if you are serious about collecting music and not just downloading tracks. Putting on a great record fills a room with an entirely different experience. And its an experience I can enjoy over and over and over.

Expand my record collection.
Along with the last one, if I were to already have a state-of-the-art turntable and sound system, I would happily spend $600 on records. All of it. Especially if I could get some rare recordings or originals, now that many records are being re-released.

Get married in Central Park.
Wedding permits are $400 to hold your ceremony in the Conservatory Garden in Central Park. Its even less for several other locations and there are additional fees for photography permits. There is perhaps no more romantic spot in NYC to get hitched. You can round off the beautiful day by holding your reception at Tavern on the Green and arriving by horse and carriage, but I’m afraid that would cost you a bit more than the price of the iPhone. Maybe it could work if instead of purchasing iPhones, you get everyone you are inviting to pitch in to your wedding fund. A girl can dream.

Spend a long weekend in a houseboat on the Seine.
A recent search of several “vacation rental” websites confirmed that you can actually rent a houseboat for 3 nights, docked on the Seine in central Paris for a total of less than $600! They often charge per day, not per person. Boats can sleep up to six people sometimes. So, if you travel with five people, your share could be so low that you would be able to afford an entire week! You can find rentals such as these on Craigslist, however, for safety and guaranteed transactions, there are several verified travel exchange websites that are run through companies and brokers. You can pull up a whole list of them with a Google search. The price of this rivals the cost of hotel rooms in Paris. Its no contest. You would also save money this way because most boats have a kitchen, so you could store groceries and not have to go out to restaurants for all three meals. What an experience! Who wants to climb six flights of stairs to a cramped hotel room when you can sit on the deck of your privately rented boat and gaze at the Louvre, Notre Dame or the Eiffel Tower? Not me. But you can call me with your iPhone from the cramped hotel room and I might let you come sit on my boat.

Go skydiving. Many many times.
The average charge for a beginner diver to jump tandem (attached to a trained professional)can range from $140 – $200. There are often discounts for future jumps after that or you can purchase packages. If you go through a training program (which ranges from $200 – $500) it can be very affordable to take jumps after you are certified. Then, jumping may only cost fuel, reservation fees, or sometimes even just the cost of renting a parachute if you become a member of a specific skydiving center.

Work on becoming bilingual.
I’ve always dreamt of becoming bilingual or even fluent in several languages. However, I’ve worried about having the money to keep up with several semesters or intensive course levels. In New York City, I found a few places to take classes, with the average cost per level of around $300. With the cost of the iPhone, that means I could take two levels and be well on my way to reigniting my early training of High School French or beginning a new love affair with Italian (or Japanese or German.)

Get tattooed. In more places.
It is said that tattoos are addictive and I think it must be true, because I have three and I have no intention of stopping any time soon. My tattoos have ranged in cost from $125 – $400. So I could get an even BIGGER one for $600. Or two smaller tattoos. Or possibly four very small tattoos. I like these options.

Volunteer to rebuild homes in areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
Two years later, there are still so many people in the New Orleans area without homes. Habitat for Humanity has an active chapter down there and you can contact them to volunteer at a site. With $600, I could probably pay for a hotel, a rental car and food expenses for about three or four days. Most likely even more if I stayed in a really cheap hotel or found a great deal using one of the aforementioned travel websites. I have limited carpentry skills, but I could put in four days of solid work on some houses and explore a city that I’ve never been to, while supporting local tourism to go out at night. That would definitely be worth my $600!

Become a member of a New York City art museum… or all of them.
A yearly membership for most of the acclaimed art museums of NYC costs between $55 and $75. So pick your favorite one and become a member for the next ten years. Or mix and match. I added up the cost of memberships to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), The Whitney, The Guggenheim, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the total cost of all five was $340. What a steal! Especially considering that the MOMA admission alone is $20! All of these memberships also come with perks, such as invitations to special opening receptions, films, discounts in gift shops and restaurants and parties that are closed to the public. If you are a city dweller anywhere across the US or live near one, you could do this too! America has some amazing collections of world-renowned art!

See six Broadway shows from decent seats. Or several Off-Broadway shows. Or a ton of local underground or indie theatre productions.
The average cost of an orchestra or front mezzanine seat on Broadway is $100. Yes there are ways to get cheaper tickets and deals and discounts, but often those include standing in long lines, sitting in crappy seats way in the back or having an obstructed view. I wouldn’t mind seeing a few Tony Award winning plays or musicals from a great seat in the center of the orchestra. In fact, I would even love to buy sixty $10 tickets to see some local up-and-coming great productions or thirty $20 tickets. Many cities also have great theatre companies that offer memberships. For example, I could subscribe to get priority tickets for the entire season at New York Theatre Workshop for $220. This doesn’t need to be New York specific, I would support local theatre anywhere.

Spend it all in a good bookstore. Buy and donate some books to schools and libraries in need.
Give me a few hours in a good bookstore like The Strand in New York, and I will walk out with bags and bags of books. I’ve probably already spent $600 on books in my lifetime and read many more than that, since libraries are free. Collecting books is an investment to expand your reality. There is seriously nothing that could replace this for me and I couldn’t live without them. I believe no one else should live without them, especially children. There are several in impoverished communities. There are libraries in New Orleans that have been completely destroyed and several other communities that are too poor to build them in the first place. Buy books. Read books. And then pass them on to people who need books.

I welcome comments from people regarding what they would rather spend $600 on, instead of purchasing an iPhone. Or if you wish to be contrary, tell my why your iPhone beats anything on my list for you, bring on your reasons and your life-altering iPhone experiences!

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Unlocked 3g iPhone

2010-10-18

The iPhone is a line of modern smartphones intended for multimedia and internet purposes besides the typical phone functions.The line started in January 2007 when the first iPhone was introduced.

The iPhone has three distinct functions:a mobile phone used for texting and calling(newer versions also include a video call option),an internet and browser-based device,which you can use for fast internet surfing,with the help of the implemented Wi-Fi technology,and last but not least,a multimedia manager that you can use to store,organize and play your favorite music files or videos,as well as viewing your favorite photos.The iPhone can execute a large number of special applications made for it,known in the Apple world as Apps.

These apps have to be approved by Apple itself in order for the device to be able to execute them.The only way to obtain such applications are by visiting the official Apple store(commonly known as AppStore).Diversity is not a problem as Apple currently has stored over 20.000 applications from several domains like games,social-networking,map tracking,entertainment,video,music,and many others,as well as some familiar names like YouTube,Twitter or FaceBook.

There are currently four version of the iPhone available,the first one being the 2007 released iPhone.The last model was launched in 2010 and is called iPhone 4.The other two models are the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS.Even tough every model brought something new and fresh,like the 3G video call ability that represents the iPhone 3G,they share a set of characteristics that have resisted through all transformations and are iconic for the device.Some of these characteristics are the screen size and the buttons.Button positioning,functions and number(of physical buttons)were not changed since 2007,except for the adding of the side volume keys.

The iPhone presents just two physical buttons(besides the volume keys).The first one is the awake/sleep button that is used to turn the iPhone on and off,and has some additional functions as well,such as changing to silent mode when pressed during an incoming call.The other button is called the Home button and it is named so because it closes all applications and redirects you to the home screen.

The iPhone user must be registered as a mobile phone in order to gain access to the internet and multimedia features as well.This practice is often met at the subsidized GSM phones but apposing them,the iPhone cannot be activated by introducing a code or serial number.On the 3rd of July 2007 however,a man named Jon Lech Johnson discovered a way to unlock the device with the help of some software programs and editing some data in the iTunes binary.

He then posted the necessary information on his blog.The iPhone 3G seemed to be much harder to unlock due to the new in-store activation measure implemented by Apple.Hackers found a way to unlock this model as well,by registering it from different networks,after(as Apple speculates)the iPhones were shipped over the sea.

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International iPhone 4 round-up

2010-10-15

iPhone 4 Review

The iPhone 4 has been popping up all around the work recently, So we thought we’d bring you a round up of all the International iPhone news and rumours.

UK

The Apple Online Store UK has reduced the ‘dispatch time’ to two weeks instead of three.
They’re also offering, 6 months interest free credit on a minimum order value of £450, which can include the iPhone 4, and any of the iPhone accessories.

Germany

As we reported, O2 and Vodafone will be adopting the iPhone 4 and 3GS in Germany, in the coming weeks. T-Mobile will lose its exclusivity, which it has had since 2007

US

After the countless rumours of a Verizon iPhone, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, have said that a CDMA Verizon iPhone will be coming early 2011.

Canada

Like the UK, Canada’s shipping time has been reduced to two weeks.

Kenya

Telkom Kenya (Orange Kenya) has retained their existing exclusivity deal with Apple, and have launched the iPhone 4 on their network.

India

According the the Wall Street Journal, Apple have been talking to Reliance Communications Ltd and Tata Teliservices Ltd to release a CDMA iPhone in India. It has been said that Tata have been in talks with Apple for four to five months.

Any other international iPhone 4 news this week we might have missed? Let us know in the comments below. Still don’t have an iPhone 4? What news are you waiting for?

by George Lim

International iPhone 4 round-up is a story by TiPb. This feed is sponsored by The iPhone Blog Store. TiPb – The #1 iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch Blog

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Google New: What’s new at Google

2010-10-14

Google New is not yet another product from Google, but is a place where you can see what is new at Google. Google releases products and features quite often and has several blogs to spread the news, If you are unable to keep pace with the Google new releases this is the place to visit to see what is happening in the Googland.
Google New default view shows the most exciting one on top of the page, now it is Google Instant, the rest of the new products are arranged in reverse chronological order. You can also customize the view by selecting the products you really care or use search feature to find what you are looking for.

Give it a try to Google New and see if you have missed anything from Google in the recent past.

Via Google Blog

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The Week’s New Content – Oct. 4, 2010

2010-10-11

New articles added to the site this week include:




How to Use iTunes Home Sharing
8 Best Thanksgiving Recipes from iPhone Cooking Apps
Customer Review: Ensquared iPhone Insurance
Customer Review: GoTronics iPhone Insurance
Customer Review: Safeware iPhone Insurance
Customer Review: SquareTrade iPhone Insurance
Customer Review: Worth Ave. Group iPhone Insurance
Customer Review: Asurion iPhone Insurance

Articles substantially updated this week include:




Where to Buy iPhone Insurance
How To Set Up Apple TV
Apple iPod Shuffle Manuals for Every Model
iPod nano Users Manual
iPhone Manual for iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS
Downloadable iPod Touch Manual
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RIM to launch Blackpad next week to challenge iPad

2010-10-11

If you are a gadget freak you might already know that RIM is working on a tablet to compete with Apple iPad. Wall Street Journal published a story on Blackpad suggesting that RIM may launch the device as early as next week at the company’s developer conference.
According to the WSJ story the Blackpad won’t come with the BlackBerry OS, but it uses a new OS from QNX, RIM acquired QNX earlier. Citing people familiar with RIM’s strategy journal writes that the new OS will also make its way in to BlackBerry phones.

The supposed Blackpad is a 7 inch touch screen tablet with one or two built-in cameras. It will have bluetooth and broadband connections but will only be able to connect to networks through BlackBerry smartphone.

Next week is the RIM developer conference, Blackpad will be launched at the event, and the availability of Blackpad is in November.

Via Wall Street Journal

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Home Media Center

2010-10-08


For some reasons, I haven’t made full use of my 40GB Apple TV in the last 2 years. Recently, I have more spare time to do so, and would like to use it in my living room with my wide screen TV to enjoy its functionality fully. It works fine to playback all the files I throw at it, but 40GB is too confining for all my photos and music, not to mention my movies and other video collection. To solve this problem, once I have to make my Mac Pro and iTunes running to stream all my data to the Apple TV. It seems a bit troublesome, I dislike it. So I look for a solution to expand the capacity of my Apple TV. Via Google, I’ve found some useful articles talking about this issue, and I followed them, and finally successfully upgrade the hard drive of the Apple TV lately. Here I’d like to document my process below, but before that, I’d like to show my gratitude to people who I’ve got useful info from their articles, even though I can not remember their exactly names now.

In summary, the process is relatively simple, a small 40GB hard drive can be freely replaced, thus becomes a DIY Apple TV.

Dismantle the Apple TV, remove the hard drive, and connect it to an Intel Mac Pro via WiebeTech Forensic DriveDock or other 2.5-inch hard drive FireWire bridge. Start the Mac, and you will see that hard drive partition of Apple TV is structured as follows:

/dev/disk5

#: type name size identifier

0: GUID_partition_scheme *37.3 GB disk5

1: EFI 34.0 MB disk5s1

2: 400.0 MB disk5s2

3: Apple_HFS OSBoot 900.0 MB disk5s3

4: Apple_HFS Media 36.0 GB disk5s4

400MB of space which could be used to store the system restore data. Extract overall image via CopyCatX, and recover them to a new hard drive which you want to change back. I found lots of people like using a Western Digital 120GB WD1200VE hard drive. Install the new hard drive to Apple TV, and in the test, you will find the system continues to recognize only 40GB of space, because the partition information is the same with the original 40GB hard drive. But in fact, there are more than 70GB of space not being used.

Remove the new hard drive to re-connect to the Mac, and allocate the unused more than 70GB space to the Media partition with the help of iPartition or other partitioning software. Be careful, not to change the EFI or the other 400MB partition.

After install it back to the Apple TV, all the 107GB space will be recognized completely, you are done!

Now I’m able to store more photos, movies, music, and television shows on the Apple TV. But when it comes to video playback, Apple TV has strict formats limitation, it caused troubles again, and I have to convert all my videos to Apple TV formats .mp4 and .mov in advance. However, this does not the most important thing I’m concerned, because I have already have a video converter on my Mac Pro, and my most intention is to watch my Blu-ray on it. Fortunately, via Google again, I get an available Blu-ray to Apple TV Converter for Mac to meet my needs, which is able to run on Mac independently as long as you have an external BD drive. To keep HD quality as well as compress BD size, I usually select HD video as my output option. A great product, I like it. Besides this, it seems there are also another version developed for Windows user, attached this Blu-ray to Apple TV Converter here, maybe it’s your choice.

Well, by the way, Apple installed Fujitsu hard drives in original, and this could be due to their relatively small power and heat consumption, so when replacing the hard drive, you can also take this factor into account. In addition, the replacement of the hard disk will let you lost product warranty, please proceed with caution.

————————How to rip DVD to Apple TV with proper settings on Mac?Solution for watching Blu-ray movie with Apple TV on wide screen TV ?How to rip Blu-ray to iTunes for iPad, iPhone 4, iPod and Apple TV?How to rip Blu-ray to iTunes for iPad, iPhone 4, iPod and Apple TV?

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Razer to launch new suite of Naga Special Edition gaming mice

2010-10-06

There is nothing quite like injecting fresh interest into a particular hardware line by coming up with limited or special editions, and Nintendo has pulled that off to great effect with so many different design iterations of the Nintendo DS line, featuring different decals on the outside as well as a myriad of colors which appeal to a wide range of audience. Razer has taken a leaf out of Nintendo’s book, although Razer will not release that many special editions with their new suite of Razer Naga Special Edition gaming mice in the form of the Razer Naga Maelstrom Special Edition and the Razer Naga Molten Special Edition. We will take a closer look at them later in the extended post.

This move came about thanks to the phenomenal response which Razer received for the Razer Naga, according to the hardware manufacturer themselves. This has resulted in the creation of two collectible versions specially made for their fans, where they will boast the same functionality of full button remapping and macro capabilities of the original Razer Naga albeit with a rejuvenated and aesthetic design for a more immersive MMO gaming experience.

Razer’s Maelstrom Special Edition will enable MMO gamers to dive straight into the heart of the vortex, where it will sport a similar 17 MMO-optimized buttons with unprecedented macro functionality, boasting a whirlpool of entrancing blue light that emanates from its swirling core to further mesmerize whoever looks at it. As for the Molten Special Edition, it will instead glow in a wicked and fiery red hue, offering lava-red fissures that cuts a jagged path across the mouse.

Either way, they will still cost $79.99 a pop, and if you live across the pond, it will also retail for an equivalent amount except in Euros. This means you would be better off purchasing one Stateside as after going through the exchange rate, those in Europe will have to fork out more dough for it. Expect them to be out later this November.

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Razer announces a Tron-style gaming mouse

2010-10-02

Razer has made some gaming peripherals, most recently BlackWidow gaming keyboard. Now Razer is planning on coming out with a computer mouse that is based on Tron.

Yeah, Tron is probably going to make quite a splash with the release of Tron: Legacy this holiday season. Some of you might remember in the original 1982 film how the characters rode these light-cycles around that could somehow make a wall behind them.

This Tron-branded mouse can be used with a specific mousepad to create a light-trail on the pad itself. There is a video of it after the jump, and you can see it leave a light trail, but it doesn’t stay there for very long.

This is a good example of marketing your movie merchandise to the right audience. What geeky Tron fan wouldn’t enjoy a mouse and mousepad that resembles the light-cycles?

However, I got to give a hand to Tron, as the film certainly gave rise to geek-ness in general. From it we have a lot of better CG special effects, the word “user”, and Jeff Bridges. Personally, I think it is a little too late for a sequel for this cult-classic film, but I’m anxious to see what Disney will pull off.

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