Ready Player One Quick Review (08/10)

Ready Player One is a sci-fi adventure taking place 50ish years in the future. The setting is a dystopian future after civilization has fallen to the usual culprits. So most people live in poverty.

The main hero of the story, Wade, lives in a trailer park in Columbus, OH with his Aunt. His parents died and his Aunt does her best, but she has poor taste and men which often results in bad outcomes for her and Wade.

However, everyone has access to supercool virtual reality version of the Internet called the Oasis. Think 3D games meets Amazon and Wikipedia. People do business, play games, and even go to school on the Oasis.

The main plot revolves around the founder of the Oasis. He died a view years back, but rather than passing his trillion dollar wealth to a relative, he left puzzles in the Oasis for users to solve. Essentially, if you are the first to solve all the puzzles, you gain control of the Oasis and become fabulously wealthy.

The movie is very true to the books. Lots of changes have been made to simplify the story. This results in some storylines are swapped between characters. But the story is still very good and the special effects are amazing. Nice acting job by the cast who split there time between the real and green screen.

I can’t give the movie a perfect score because of some of the changes swap pop culture references into the movie rather the nerd culture references in the book. So the movie is the same celebration of nerd culture that the book is. If you have not read the book, you probably don’t care. lol.

Highly recommended.

Ready Player One

Rating: 8/10
Maturity Rating: PG13

  • Fine for most kids.
  • Some violence in the film.

Altered Carbon Quick Review (10/10)

Altered Carbon is a 10 episode science fiction series on Netflix and one of the best pieces of sci-fi I have seen in a long time. The story takes place hundreds of years into the future. Humanity has moved to the stars. They have also invented technology that can copy your consciousness to a chip. Giving humanity immortality, if you can afford it. The rich (called Meths after Methuselah) can make clones of themselves and some are 500 years old. The poor can maybe afford maybe a new body (called a sleeve) or two, but the experience is less than smooth without clones.

The story is about Takeshi Kovacs, a former freedom fighter/terrorist (depending on your perspective) from 250 years ago who is freed from jail to solve a murder. Of course his body (sleeve) is long since dead and he wakes up in a different body to perform his task.

This is a gritty cyberpunk adventure which explores the ramifications of this technology while still telling a good story. The acting and writing are great leaving little to nothing for this picky reviewer to complain about. In the end, it is a story about love, friendship, and betrayal in a very interesting setting.

Highly recommended.

Altered Carbon

Rating: 10/10
Maturity Rating: Hard R

  • For nudity, adult situations, and violence
  • Not for the young ones.

BladeRunner 2049 Quick Review (7/10)

Blade Runner 2049 is the sequel to the 1982 file Blade Runner. The main character is a policeman named K (Ryan Gosling) whose job it is to hunt down and kill rogue androids. This is troubling since K himself is an android and knows it. Talk about a sucky job.

The movies’ plot center’s around two things. First, K’s last case results in the discovery of a few mysteries. The deeper he digs into the case, the more dangerous life becomes for him. Second, the relationship between K and and his girlfiend Joi (Ana de Armas) grows as the story unfolds. This is probably the best part of the movie.

The movie is definitely worth seeing and I’m giving it a 7/10. The score is not higher because of some of the issues I have with the movie. Some of which has to do with the original movie that I am a big fan of. My reasoning shall follow in the spoiler section.

Also, Warner Bros made three shorts to help explain what happened between the two movies.

Spoilers follow stop here if you have not seen the movie!!!!

Spoilers: Dislikes

The Soundtrack

The original soundtrack by Vangelis is one of the greatest movie soundtracks of all time. The electronic sounds adds a sense of wonderment and beauty to what is a somewhat bleak setting. Clearly a tough act to follow.

The new soundtrack is sort of a bad homage to the original with really loud fog horns thrown in. The music is loud and distracting, the opposite of what a good soundtrack should be.

The Villan

Wallace (Jared Leto) is the new genius who took over the Tyrell corporation. In the first movie, Eldon Tyrell felt like a brilliant genius business man, charismatic but a little odd. However, Wallace sounds like a teenage stoner reading fortune cookie messages. Everything, Wallace says is supposed to sound “smart”, but just sounds lame and two dimensional to me. I really wish the character had been written better so Jared Leto has more to work with.

Dystopian Discontinuity

In the original film, the world was dystopian because so many people had left earth. J. F. Sebastian had the entire floor of an apartment building to himself. Things were falling apart because it felt like no one was left to fix them.

The new movie makes it seem like overcrowding is the issue. That hardly makes any sense given the short time span between the movies (30 yrs). Very annoying.

Everyone a racist?

Every human in the movie is a racist anti-replicant. Except for Deckard, who may or may not be human. Really? Everyone? Just seems over the top to me. If things were really that bad, humans would still be killing every replicant they could get their hands on.

Outside the City?

Any time a dystopian movie leaves a city, it seems clear to me that none of the movies creators have ever left the city, or lived outside a city. The orphanage, the memory lab, just seemed really silly. There is like 1 dude raising like 5000 orphans???? Really???? He would spend all his time shaving their heads. lol.


K and Joi

The K and Joi relationship was one of the best things about the movie. Well written and acted. The two characters really cared for each other. Towards the end of the movie when K encounters a giant ad for Joi, that was so heartbreaking. You could really feel his loss.

Robot Revolution

I could not quite figure out the whole replicant uprising underground thing. The implication seemed to be that the replicants were breeding? And were increasing their numbers for the eventual revolution? Or maybe they figured out how to manufacture new replicants themselves??? Didn’t quite understand that.

Good Ending

It was nice to explain and tie up the whole Rachael and Deckard thing. Well done. Also, K could still be alive even though they played the Tears in the Rain theme when he lied down on the steps.


Really good movie with a really great core story. My quibbles are really minor on the whole. If you haven’t seen the original go see it, you will be glad you did.

Java EE Support added to Oracle Application Container Cloud

layout: post title: Java EE Support added to Oracle Application Container Cloud description: New OBEs on Java EE support on ACC author: MikeW tags: oracle java javaee date: 2017-09-29 22:47:26 UTC — Duke Waving A new feature has been added to Oracle Application Container Cloud Service this month. Support for the Java EE 7 Web applications has been added as a container option. Therefore you can easily deploy your .war applications to the cloud.

We have added two OBEs explaining the new features.

First, this OBE should you how to deploy a sample application to Oracle Application Container Cloud Service.

Next, this OBE shows you how to connect a Java EE web application to Oracle Database Cloud Service.

Week of 6/25/2017

Haven’t been on for a few weeks. Here are some stories I found interesting in the last couple of weeks.

Narcos Quick Review (4/5)

Just finished season 2 of Narcos on Netflix. It is the story of Pablo Escobar and his drug cartel. If you haven’t seen, it watch it. It is well acted and super interesting. I never really understood the level of violence that occurred in Colombia once his empire started to crumble. Not for the feint of heart if dislike excessive violence.

Wonder Woman Quick Review (5/5)

DC finally made a awesome comic book movie. (Suicide Squad was good, but it could have been soooo much better.) Gal Gadot was perfect for Diana. When she was first tipped for the role, I had my doubts given her super model background. However, she was super athletic and was very believable as a character that trained 5 or 6 hours a day. The movie moves really well considering its length. Hopefully, Gal will make 3 or 4 more movies just as good.

Weekly Update for Week of 5/7/2017

Just a few links this week. Saw Guardians 2 on Friday. I give it a 4/5. The movie is a lot of fun, but felt a little predictable at times. The visuals are amazing. Not gonna say anything else as it would be easy to give away spoilers on this movie.

Iron Fist Quick Review

I just finished watching Iron Fist on Netflix and I have a few thoughts. A lot of sites have given the show some pretty negative reviews, pointing to the acting, and the story. To me the real issue is with the later and not the former.

The story centers around Danny Rand. An heir to a corporate dynasty. He and his family were lost in the Himalayas some 15 years ago and all presumed dead in a plane crash. However, Rand shows up in New York to reconnect with his past only to find no one believes him. Luckily for Danny he has mad Kung Fu skills which help navigate the big city and corporate politics.

The acting was just fine. Finn Jones made a good Danny Rand, given the material. Jessica Henwick was great as Colleen Wing. Rosario Dawson gave another good performance as Clair. Finally a special shout out to David Wenham as Harold Meacham. A nice job of making a creepy character seem likable and at times sympathetic. Not easy to do.

So the real issue with the show is the story. Way way way, too much time is spent on the Meachams and their relationships. The end result is that Danny Rand is never really developed. He kind of comes across as a spoiled naive 10 year old with delusions of grandeur, basically, an incompetent super hero.

Now if you trained with Shaolin monks for 15 years becoming a super ninja, you would have some serious skills. Not only physical skills, but mental skills as well. You would have discipline, patience, be able plan, have infiltration skills, and probably a bunch of other stuff. Other than breaking into his old house in the first episode, Danny shows a complete lack of such skills. Yes he can fight, but he is always reacting to his opponents. Never thinks things through and is mostly an emotional basket case. Bruce Lee would be disappointed.

Anyway, one has gotta hope that in future series Marvel builds the character up a bit. A hero that does not act like one simply won’t work. Especially in a martial arts based universe.

Let’s hope the Defenders has more butt kicking and less crying.

Java Microservices MOOC

I just wanted to thank everyone who attended the Java Microservices MOOC that ran over the past 3 weeks at the Oracle Learning Library. It was fun doing the class.

And thanks to everyone at Oracle who helped me get the class done.

JDK 9 Early Access Docs Updated and Available

JDK 9 early access docs have been updated and are available. For more information check out this link:

JDK 9 EA Docs

Blue Sky Workshop Weekly post 3/19/17

Animista: CSS Animation Examples - A library of CSS animation examples. Looks cool.

Practical Color Theory for Coders - The page talks you through creating your own color schemes using CSS functions. Looks fairly complete and useful.

Windows Adding Ads to File Explorer and had to remove them - Ugh, more ads for Windows 10. Very annoying. I need to work hard at migrating myself to Linux desktops and laptops.

Windows Central: USB 3.0 Hubs - A good overview of what’s out there.

Plex launches cloud based Media - From what I can glean from this, you can store your MP4 video files on Google Drive or Dropbox, and then stream them to Plex. The biggest issue would be uploading all of your movies and TV shows. Most of our upload speeds are still pretty slow. But once, you got it done, your files are in the cloud. That provides you with a lot of flexibility.

Firefox 52 Adds Web Assembly Features - The idea is to be able to load graphic intensive games from a browser. If the browser companies can get this stuff right, you could run other types of apps too.

Easy Java JSON parsing with Jsonifier - This looks like a cool library for JSON stuff.

Blue Sky Workshop Links of Week Ending 02/12

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has made pictures of its collection available online for free.

Totally awesome if you would like to make wallpapers for your system. Lots of impressionist stuff.

Lenovo Launches $299 Yoga A12 Tablet

A $299 android tablet with a a built in keyboard touch screen. Very interesting. Will we see some cheap laptops soon?

Rust Rants: My Next Mac Mini

Another example of a Mac geek switching from OS X to Windows or Linux. Lots of folks making the switch since there is no inexpensive option for OS X (MacOS).

For me, it was a Intel Skull Canyon NUC with Windows 10 and an Ubuntu Linux VM. At some point, I’d like to go 100% Linux, but I’m not ready yet.

US Media Publications R

Want to know which US media sites get the most traffic? Well here are the facts.

Learn TensorFlow and deep learning, without a Ph.D.

Become an AI expert in just 3 hours! :)

Blue Sky Workshop Notes for Week of 1/8

Here are links to the stories and tools I found interesting this week and a few weeks back. The plan is to post once a week moving forward. Hope you enjoy it.

Bloomberg: GitHub Is Building a Coder’s Paradise. It’s Not Coming Cheap

  • Maybe they wouldn’t be losing money if they hadn’t rented all that office space in San Franscisco. lol.

jq a command line tool for searching json

  • Nice command line tool.

Jakob Nielsen: The Distribution of Users’ Computer Skills: Worse Than You Think

  • This does not surprise me. My experience with non-geeks is most have a very limited understanding of the devices and technology they use. But honestly, they shouldn’t have to be geeks to use a phone or a computer. Most of our systems could be a heck of a lot easier to use.

Blade Runner 2049’s Practical Sets ‘Overwhelmed’ Ryan Gosling

  • This sequel sounds more and more interesting.

Leonardo Da Vinci’s To Do List (Circa 1490) Is Much Cooler Than Yours

  • Check out Leonardo Da Vinci’s To Do list from 1490.

Setup Apache on Mac OS X for Multiple Sites

I have actually been working on this tip for quite a while but only today actually wrote it up. This shows you how to create a multi-site Apache 2 configuration on Mac OS X. This is great for testing as you can setup as many sites as you want.

Setup Apache 2 on Mac OS X to support Multiple Web Sites

A Couple of Quick Atom Tips

I ran across a couple of quick tips today for the editor. I have been having trouble seeing the mouse pointer on my Mac wheen I use the Cobalt syntax theme. The mouse pointer stays black and sort of blends in. Turns out, if you use the Kobalt theme for your code, the mouse pointer turns white. Very helpful.

Also, the less-than-slash package adds the ability to automatically close HTML tags when you have open ones. A feature I really like.

And finally, I recently have been using the Seti UI theme. It really makes the editor look cool. Definitely worth checking out.

Suicide Squad Quick Review

Rating (3/5)

Suicide Squad is a DC comics movie about coercing bad people into doing something good. You get a bunch of criminals, inject a bomb in their neck, and then make them do what you want. Probably the most highly promoted movie to come along in some time.

So thoughts. I think the movie is good, but not great. I will elaborate in a second. The acting was very good and the casting choices were excellent. All the actors really fit their roles well. Special effects are good and the action scenes didn’t go on too long.

So what are the issues? There are a few.

  • The film’s edit is a mess. There are a number of timing and continuity issues and two slow/boring sections in the middle of the movie. Attempts at humor seemed off. Normally, I would blame the script, but not this time. Two examples stand out.
    • One of the squads helicopters gets shot down. But you never see who was shooting at the copter.
    • A big baddie in the film gets blown up with explosives. But earlier in the film, physical attacks have no effect on this God like badass. In addition, the whole process to make the attack happen is convoluted and silly.
  • There are too many squad members. The film needs about 2 or 3 characters removed from the squad. There is not enough character development or interaction. This leads to a distinct lack of witty banter.
  • Not enough Joker. The movie promoted the heck out of the Joker being in this film. But he hardly appears. Bad move by DC. Frustrating. Seemed like so much potential there.

To sum up, I think this could have been a great movie. But now it’s just an example of a wasted opportunity, but what’s left is still enjoyable.

Brave Browser from the Folks that Brought you JavaScript

Brenden Eich, creator JavaScript and Mozilla alumni is creating a privacy focused browser called Brave. The idea is to provide a faster and better browsing experience. Also, Brave is looking to include a micropayment system to provide income to content creators.

Sounds great. This is a browser I am definitely gonna try out.

A $49 Handheld Linux Machine PocketChip

PCWorld has this story on a $49 Linux hand held machine for just $49 each. This is a Raspberry PI like kick starter project. The web site make this thing look pretty interesting. I ordered one, so we will see.

Warcraft Movie Quick Review


Warcraft is a movie based on the game World of Warcraft (WOW). The story follows the lore contained in early versions of the game. The peaceful world of Azeroth is invaded by large green humanoid creatures called Orcs. The orcs arrive via magical means and immediately begin attacking human communities. With that as the backdrop, the movie explores the main characters involved in these events.

The portrayal of the orcs is quite good. The actors are able to convey a lot of emotion through all that CGI. In addition, they have a lot of really good dialog throughout the movie. And if you play the game for the Horde side I think you will really like this part of the movie. My only complaint would be the Orcs seem a little too tall, large. They aren’t giants in the game, just more muscular.

My main complaint about the movie would be the geography of the fighting. It doesn’t really make much sense. The humans seems to just ride outside the castle and then suddenly they are fighting orcs. It would have been better if the writers had simply selected a town as the base for the orcs. Then you could clearly see where the humans were attacking and where the orcs were defending.

From a game players perspective I was a little disappointed there weren’t more WOW classes in the game. Basically, they just had the warrior class and a few mages. That was it. There is a lot more magical stuff in the game and I would have like to see that in the movie. Also, almost no dwarves or elves in the movie.

Overall a good movie worth seeing. I think most folks will be able to follow the story without playing the game. Hopefully there will be more movies because the back story for the game is really good.

Opera Browser gets some Cool Stuff

Remember the Opera Browser? It used to be that odd little browser that was really fast, but was kinda weird. Well, the company has made a lot of improvements recently that make the browser worth another look. The changes include:

  • Switched to the WebKit engine for rendering. This is the same engine that is in iOS and Mac Safari. So no more rending weirdness.
  • Ad blocker support at a standard similar to iOS. Turn this feature on and no more nasty ads. At all!
  • New mobile battery saving features. For example, the Chrome browser works great on a desktop, but when it comes to battery life, it is a pig. Safari on the Mac already has these features, but now you have a browser that can do the same on Windows or Linux.

Why install an extra browser? Here is my use case. When do you need ad blocking the most? When you search of course. Because you have no idea where you will be sent. And a lot of these no name sites have the most browser slowing crap. So when I research something, I fire up Opera and search.

I can configure Chrome or Safari to let a few ads through on my favorite sites.

Opera is free. You should check it out.

Blogging Again - Updates to Blog Software

Sorry for the 6 months off. The blog needed some work and I was busy with my real job. So I kind of fell out of practice.

Anyway, over the Memorial Day holiday, I took some time to start fixing things up. So here are the results. The main thing was to make fixes to the the CSS. The site didn’t work right on iOS or Android. So I had to really dig in to figure things out. This is what I learned.

  • Be careful what you include in a page. I was using a third party CSS feed reader to display links of interest. Turns out that was messing up my CSS.
  • Android and Chrome do not like wide <pre> tags. You have to set both white-space and word-wrap values to get things to work right.

Anyway, the site should look much better on phones now. Enjoy!