Archive for September, 2010

Barely making it on the intended release of third quarter of this year, the much anticipated latest addition to the RE/Biohazard 5 Video Game Masterpiece finally arrives.

Jill Valentine (BSAA Version)The 28-cm tall Jill Valentine (BSAA Version) collectible figure features a very detailed likeness of Jill Valentine as seen on the video game Resident Evil 5. With the hand-painted head sculpt comes the newly developed female True Type body that boasts more than 30 points of articulation. Along with the BSAA uniform of a blue shirt, grey pants, and leather-like grey and black boots comes a dark-blue cap, a black tactical vest and a slew of accessories and ammunition to complete the ensemble. Weapons include a handgun, two machine guns, a sniper, a knife and flash grenades. A stand with a nameplate comes standard.

The head sculpt was designed by Hayashi Hikori and painted by JC. Hong.

Naturally, I was psyched to finally get my hands on this figure. I had preordered the toy back in June and have been patiently waiting for HT to finally release it.

I do have a few misgivings about this figure though.

Right off the bat, I noticed that Jill’s head doesn’t sit perfectly on her neck. There is some portion of the back of her neck that protrudes even as you tilt the head. The head does tilt though, unlike the head of Jill’s partner, Chris Redfield’s. That part of the neck is mostly concealed anyway, so I won’t make too much of an issue about it.

Next, I had a problem with her shirt. It tends to lean to her left side because her left sleeve is so tight that it only goes so far if you try to adjust it, or else it will appear as if she had a dislocated left shoulder. Also, I didn’t like that there are strands visible on the front of the shirt.

The tactical vest is fine by itself, but I can’t get her radio to attach to it. The vest has got a small hole set in the left side where the radio pouch is supposed to sit. Unfortunately, that part of the radio pouch is too soft (plastic) that it bends whenever I try to fit it in the vest’s hole. After several failed attempts of putting it in, I decided to make do without. I’m contemplating cutting the wire from the earpiece to make it look like a wireless gadget.

The holsters were also a challenge to put up. The straps on those little pieces are held together poorly. Whatever HT uses to glue them together isn’t strong enough, and it is one area were HT can definitely improve on.

As it were, I had ripped the fragile strap of the pistol holster accidentally while strapping it on her thigh. I didn’t have anything to glue it back together so I left it alone. I still managed to put it tightly enough, but it shouldn’t be tinkered with else it will come off.

After the frustration of putting her accessories right into place, I still like how it turned out. As a matter of fact, here are a few more snapshots!

Jill Valentine

Jill Valentine/Chris Redfield

Jill Valentine

Next up, Prince Dastan, Iron Man Mark 4, and Iron Man Mark 6. Oh, I can’t wait for them to arrive!

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A few years ago, you cannot use Microsoft and quality software in the same sentence. XP had its problem, and vulnerabilities still haunt this legacy OS even to this day. Vista was a train wreck. It was half-baked, and with very limited driver support on its early years, it managed to alienate MS’ customers to the point that enterprises held back on upgrading. Not even the release of a stable version via Service Pack coupled with mature drivers could save the image of Vista.

But starting with its latest OS, Microsoft seemed to have had their heads in the right place for once. Windows 7, leveraging on the technology started with Vista, is a mature operating system. Even at its public beta stage, user feedback had been positive.

But there’s one arena that Microsoft still failed even with the release of Windows 7. The Web. MS released IE8 in time for Windows 7. Although a huge improvement over IE6 and IE7, it still falls short compared to modern browsers.

Mozilla Firefox gained grounds over the browser market share in the XP and Vista era. Back in the day, the only competing browser is Netscape’s Navigator. With IE bundled on Windows, it eventually won over Navigator. Having dominated the world of browsers, Microsoft has gotten lazy and did not innovate – for a very long time. Then along came Firefox. It’s early versions were fast, lean and feature-rich. Slowly, it took away from IE’s market share.

Still Microsoft did not update its browser, not until Vista came out. Then we had IE7.

Meanwhile, even Firefox, the once lean mean machine of a browser, was becoming bloated and slower with each new release. It was still faster by a long way compared to any IE, but the sluggishness is becoming apparent. A new player was overdue.

In comes Google with its Chrome browser. From its initial release two years ago, Chrome has come a long way, earning Google the third spot in global browser usage. Its minimalist approach seems to be working as it’s still gaining, slowly but surely.

With Chrome gaining popularity, Microsoft and Mozilla scramble to catch up with performance. Firefox 4, like IE9, is in beta. Both are following suit with the minimalist approach and offer one thing Chrome doesn’t. The ability to take advantage of the GPU in rendering pages.

IE9 beta was released on September 15 for public testing. Prior to its release, Preview versions have been regularly released to demonstrate the improvement Microsoft has made on the core engine of its browser. The previews saw a steady improvement in performance and adherence to web standards, both areas where MS has drawn flak over the years.

IE9 Preview

As seen on the left, Microsoft has taken on the minimalist approach, doing away with the menu altogether and consolidating other items in three icons to the right. The address bar, as with Google Chrome, now also serves as a search box. Tabs are on the same row as the address bar. This makes it tricky, as there is little screen real-estate for tabs and the address bar to share and could prove to be a problem if you have a lot of tabs open.

IE9 Beta has a lot of UI features that take advantage of the technology in Windows 7 – Aero glass, Aero peek, jump lists, and exclusive to IE9 on Windows 7, the ability to pin individual websites on the taskbar, as if they are individual apps.

The classic Command bar, Favorites, and the Status bar can be displayed if the user so chooses.

Because this version of IE uses a technology not in XP, namely the Direct2D API, it will only be available to Vista and later OSs.

Performance-wise, the beta boasts a significant boost in speed. Launching web pages is at par with what you would expect from a modern browser. The new page-rendering technology seems to be a huge factor. Although it still doesn’t touch the speed the Chrome currently offers, based on early tests, it does prove that Microsoft can do things right. It may even have a lead over Firefox 4!

To learn more about IE9 Beta, visit http://www.beautyoftheweb.com/.

Back in the day, high school (and even college) students would ditch classes and run to the local mall to play some arcade games, among them, the classic Marvel vs. Capcom.

With the advent of the PlayStation, these games were ported and were a staple for those who owned the console. No longer did players need to sweat it out in a noise-polluted, kid-infested game arena to battle it out with their beloved characters. They can do it right there in their own living rooms.

It has been a while since we last saw a refresh of the Marvel Vs. Capcom franchise. A decade more or less. But fret not! News is that the third version is rolling out spring of next year. For us living in the Tropics, that means late March or April.

In the mean time, enjoy the teaser trailer. One note, Chris Redfield from Resident Evil/Biohazard 5 has made it to the roster, and definitely kicks superhero ass!

Marvel Vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds

 

Here’s what the official site, http://marvelvscapcom3.com, says:

After a decade of waiting, the biggest names from the Marvel Universe will clash head on with the combined might of Capcom’s best known and most feared roster of gaming characters. Powered by the mighty MT Framework engine, MARVEL VS. CAPCOM 3 will deliver the best ever match up of legendary fighters and no holds barred fighting action. Get set for the ultimate faceoff when MARVEL™ VS. CAPCOM® 3: Fate of Two Worlds hits the Xbox 360® and PlayStation 3® in Spring 2011.

Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 Gameplay

A lot of fans were disappointed with the revelation of the fourth of Hot Toys’ DX line of figures. Up until it was revealed that DX04 is going to be the late Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon, the world of one-sixth was hopeful it would be the greatest superhero the world has known. Now don’t get me wrong. There’s no shortage of hobbyists who are more than happy owning a Bruce Lee figure. But it would have made a lot more of us happy had it been Christopher Reeve as Superman.

Perhaps realizing that it’s best not to disappoint their fanbase, Hot Toys, in a surprising turn, announced through its official newsletter that they are indeed going for the Man of Steel for the fifth DX figure.

Here’s the excerpt from Hot Toys’ August 30 newsletter:

“SUPERMAN is coming this winter & Master Arnie Kim’s joining!”

“Our dear fans, this Winter Hot Toys will be bringing you surprise from the highly anticipated SUPERMAN (1978) movie license! Long-awaited by fans from all over the world, we’ll launch the first-of-his-kind 1/6th scale collectible figure of this American superhero acted by notable artist Christopher Reeve!
Announcing this together is another great news, also much expected by our fans! We now proudly announce our new Korean extraordinary artist Master Arnie Kim to join the Hot Toys family! Taking the lead is the long-awaiting SUPERMAN project! We hope this unprecedented project and collaboration will bring to fans great excitement and anticipation! More exciting projects with outstanding characters will be coming soon! So please stay tuned with us for update!”

This is gonna be one helluva 1:6 figure. I can’t wait to order one of these babies. In fact, sign me up for two! Winking smile