Telstra’s 5G Network Test Just Smashed NBN Speeds

While the roll-out of the NBN (National Broadband Network) continues slowly, Telstra has just ran a test of it’s future 5G network with two mobile phones and achieved download speeds upwards of 20Gbps. For the record, that is almost 200 times faster than the fastest 100Mbps speeds on the NBN.

Of course, there are variables which will be involved once the network launches in 2020, and 5Gbps speeds are a theoretical maximum which will vary depending on network congestion and of course wireless networks are more prone to drop outs than fixed connections, but it does show how that by the time the NBN is finally completed, it will already be obsolete.

Litchi App Is Excellent, When It Works

One of the things I like to do my spare time among other pursuits is to fly my Phantom drone around getting some nice videos and shots. Currently the drone uses the basic, yet quite functional DJI GO app for control. I find it quite stable and easy to use in getting the shots that I want, but sometimes I do wish It had just a few more features to make capturing images a bit easier. Enter the third party app, Litchi.

After dropping $30 on the google play store a few days ago and attempting my hardest to make use of the app, I find myself more than a little frustrated with Litchi. I can see so much potential and benefit in the app over using the stock DJI GO app and the one time it worked successfully was a revelation but the implementation frustrates massively. I’ve used the app, or should I say, tried to use the app on three different devices with my Phantom. First was the Nexus 5x running Android 7. I knew running Litchi on such a new OS would have compatibility issues and it did, but the one time it did work without crashing worked superbly well. The other device, an 8 inch Samsung tablet fared much worse, frequent crashes and connection issues meant I couldn’t fly at all on this device. The third device, a 7 inch Lenovo tablet didn’t fare much better with similar crashes and connection issues as well. If Litchi can sort out compatibility issues with their app, they are onto a winner here, but as it stands currently, $30 Australian is just too much for an app this buggy.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Since Disney took over the Star Wars franchise several years ago, they have made it their mission to churn out a new Star Wars films like sausages at a sausage factory. 2015’s “The Force Awakens” was a nice return to the Star Wars universe, even if it did seem like it was very similar to the original film. Of course if i’d just spend $4 billion dollars on something, I’d play it safe too.

While we wait for Episode VIII of the trilogy in 2017, we have a stand alone story to enjoy and thankfully it looks both original and good. Hopefully Disney continue to play things a little less safe with the franchise moving forward.

Suicide Squad Is A Narrative Mess

Growing up, Batman was, and still is, my favorite superhero character. I grew up loving films like Tim Burton’s Batman and even more recently Christopher Nolan’s interpretation of The Dark Knight trilogy. Superhero films are now the big studios cash cow when it comes to big budget blockbusters.

Over the last several years I have enjoyed Marvel extended universe series of films which has been built up slowly over numerous films, albeit with slowly diminishing returns but on the whole the films have been enjoyable

Sadly the same can’t be said for Warner Bros. extended universe. Since the completion of the Nolanverse films, it appears that Warner Bros. DC universe films appear to be nothing more than an out of control ship without a captain.

2013’s Man Of Steel to me was a dour bastardization of the Superman character that felt more like style over substance. Earlier this year, the sequel Batman Vs.Superman: Dawn Of Justice, was a slight improvement over Man Of Steel, but still was a style over substance exercise with no real characterization. I like the fact that DC are using a darker tone in their universe, but what I don’t like are films with all spectacle and no real coherent story.

So with massively lowered expectations, I went out last night to see Warner Bros. latest entry in their DC Comics universe, Suicide Squad. At thirty-nine, I find that I’m getting to an age where a constant barrage of noise and effects combined with a minimal plot is really becoming a bore on my cinema going journeys, which is why I find myself enjoying more moderate budget character based films that would have been considered big budget films twenty years ago.

Suicide Squad is a new low in Warner Bros. franchise. Apart from an moderately entertaining opening twenty minutes of character introductions, the film descends quickly into a noisy mess that makes as much sense as Chinese algebra with a villain who is possibly the most laughably awful villain I’ve seen in any film in a long time.

Margot Robbie is the one highlight in her characterization of Harley Quinn, so it’s just a shame that David Ayer has lowered the character to nothing more than an overly sexualized object. The less said about the Joker, the better. Jared Leto’s version of the Joker is the worst version of the character I’ve seen put on film.

Deadshot, the Will Smith character makes a wry comment about a massive trash pile swirling around downtown. A pile of trash pretty much sums up my feelings about the film as well.

The New Kong Film Looks Impressive

With this years Comic-Con, studios have again brought out their big guns to show ravenous nerds their latest creations. Among all the Marvel and DC reveals, Warner Bros. revealed the latest trailer from one of their other franchises, Kong: Skull Island.

While I’ve always taken trailers for big budget films with a large pinch of salt, due them only delivering on the rare occasion. This trailer for Kong: Skull Island looks genuinely impressive with it’s 1970’s Apocalypse Now feel. The only downside I can see to this is Samuel L. Jackson playing the same role he’s played in every other filmhe’s been in. Roll on 2017.

The World Seems To Be Going Backwards


Today I read with great disappointment that funding for the Arecibo Observatory dish is yet again in doubt with a possible closure on the cards. This is very sad to me. While there have been many advances in telescope technology and there are now other, more advanced telescope sites around the world, Arecibo is still one of the few telescopes that can find gravitational waves due to it’s hefty 300 metre size.

It seems to me that the only advancement we appear to be doing as a species today is when it comes to technology in our hands, rather than advancement that comes from actual exploration and advancement of our species. The world was once a place of achieving great things, now all we seem to be is preoccupied with celebrity and vapid technology with built in obsolescence so big business can make bigger and bigger sales every twelve months. That is very sad to me.

Here’s hoping logic and funds prevail.

A Much Better Star Trek Beyond Trailer

Several months ago Paramount released a very underwhelming teaser trailer for the new Star Trek film. Thankfully, the second trailer is the complete opposite which now has me excited to see this new film again. Hopefully the film lives up to it’s this second trailer.

We’re Being Saved From A Lot Of Commercials.

Over the last decade my viewing habits have changed. First it was my general avoidance of commercial television in favor of pay television due to the lack of original scripted television an overload of reality nonsense and multitude of commercials.

Of course times change, and while I still have my pay TV subscription for things like sport, films and premium drama, I find that streaming services like Netflix and Stan are getting more and more of my viewing time. Based on subscription numbers, a lot of other people are too.

An interesting article has been presented over at cord cutters which has done some basic math and worked out that Netflix viewers are missing out on 160 hours of commercials per year. That’s a lot of worthless viewing we can put towards watching something more worthwhile. No wonder commercial television is struggling.




Australia’s Pathetic Excuse For Pirating.

Australia may only have a population of around twenty-three million people, but there is one figure where we as a nation bat above our weight and that is sadly when it comes to pirating. Before I continue with my article, I will disclose that in the past I have torrented certain shows, in my case it was Formula 1 races because when channel 10 had the rights to the Formula 1, the coverage was thoroughly lacking. I also downloaded many Top Gear episodes as the time between British broadcast and Australian broadcast was sometimes months apart. On the whole though, I always purchase all my blurays and DVD’s and subscribe to Foxtel, Stan and Netflix because I am a huge film enthusiast and believe that if something is worth watching, it’s worth paying for.

Recently it was announced that Australia was once again at the top of the pirating list for the number of illegal downloads for the latest season of Game Of Thrones. It seems though, that HBO is starting to get proactive about fighting this by recently sending out copyright infringement notices via anti piracy company IP Echelon as mentioned on torrent freak recently. This will probably have minimal impact here in Australia based on previous events in the Dallas Buyers Club case though.

While this is nothing new in the scheme of things, it does raise an interesting point about content distribution here in Australia. Unlike in the United States, rights to various studios content is very fragmented among many copyright holders in comparison to the U.S. which makes it a minefield when it comes to availability of certain programs in Australia.. That said it is not impossible to watch multiple programs, it just means we may have to subscribe to several different platforms in order to watch them. This for many people is part of the problem. But the problem appears not so much in the subscription.

Australians by their nature are a very entitled nation, we complain heavily if things previously available free of charge all of a sudden become something we have to pay larger amounts of money for. For example, when government recently tried to pass through legislation which would have made us pay a small token fee to see the doctor, complaints came from everywhere and it was scrapped. Apparently it’s not okay to pay to make sure our own health is good, but paying $5 for a coffee or $30 for a packet of smokes is fine.

Recently there was an article published on Lifehacker entitled “Why I Refuse To Feel Guilty For Torrenting Game Of Thrones”, click here for the story. The simple crux of the article is this. “I tried using foxtel play, it had buffering issues, playback issues and it sucked in it’s delivery and it was only 480p in quality”. Well then, that sounds fair enough, I’m a “quality presentation” guy myself, but to use quality as an excuse to pirate a programme is being nothing more than a pathetic tight arse. Yes, foxtel should have a streaming service that can stream at 1080p, streaming services like Netflix or Stan provide this, but neither run third party, first run programs, only their first party programs and catalog third party programs.

An SD only stream is to me, still no reason to pirate something just because someone does not want to pay extra for the proper service. The writer opines that Australia has a distribution problem because certain programs are exclusive to pay tv over here, and in part I believe this is true, but things are similar in the U.S. when it comes to cable programs as well. If you want to watch a certain program, you still have to subscribe to a service to watch it be that streaming or with cable. In our case, foxtel were just smart enough to sign exclusive deals on popular content, because they realized that free to air television is only interested in reality tv, not quality tv.

If the original writer – who I believe isn’t actually Australian – was serious about his love of the show, he would have had proper foxtel installed to get the optimal quality.  Yes, proper foxtel costs more to run, and yes they should have a 1080p streaming service, but they don’t, this in my view does not condone pirating and as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for… Except in Australia apparently.

Australians have proven that they don’t mind paying a token sum for Stan Or Netflix as their take up is quite high with a small $10 admission fee but anything in the premium foxtel level is a no go though. It must be that tall poppy syndrome a lot of us have to cut down the big guys.

I am not a fan of Game Of Thrones and I have not watched past the first season, but I understand many, many people are and they enjoy the show immensely which is fair enough, but don’t you think that the people, or companies who work hard on what the people love so much should be rewarded for it?

After all, we all expect to be paid for the work we do, don’t we?

Revisiting “A Good Year”

Recently, I was given a generous google play gift card for a gift, so I thought I would buy a few films from their store. Normally, I don’t buy films via digital distribution as I prefer to buy higher quality editions on bluray as I am a stickler for presentation over convenience. Of course, the scale of economics being what they are in this modern world, more and more films are -sadly – being released on digital format with nary a physical release in sight.

This is of course, the future and I’m aware that one day this will be the only way I shall be able to consume films, until then, physical media, at least for me will rule supreme. With those thoughts in mind I decided that I would limit any movies that I purchase via digital distribution to films that weren’t available on bluray disc. Surprisingly, there were a lot of titles I would love to add to my collection that aren’t available on physical media.

Among the titles I decided to spend the very much appreciated gift card on was Ridley Scott’s  charming, yet critically and financially derided 2006 film “A Good Year”. I remember seeing this at the cinema upon release and enjoying it immensely. Now ten years have passed since my last experience with this film and I can categorically say that the film, for me at least, has aged very well.

While there is no doubt that that the film is twee and it borrows heavily from other films of the genre, it never fails to outstay its welcome and there is certainly nothing wrong with an overly sentimental film whose message is one of happiness. In the intervening ten years since “A Good Year” was released, the financial world has changed immensely, so in this jaded post GFC world we live in this is a wonderful departure. All in all I’m happy with this digital release, it looks quite good, but I most certainly upgrade to a bluray release if one is forthcoming from 20th Century Fox.