4K HDR TV’s

I’m looking at buying an HDR TV ready for when I buy an Xbox one X (previously Project Scorpio.) It soon dawned on me that there are a lot of things to consider that aren’t obvious when reading the average TV sellers website.

The ‘right’ HDR

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. In real terms it means that the black will be black the whites will be whiter, yellows will be yellower and so on and so forth. If you are looking to buy a 4K TV, this is something that you should be making sure it has.

It turns out that HDR comes in different standards. Although I haven’t managed to find a good guide online as to how the standards rank against each other, if you are buying an Xbox One S, Xbox one X, or PS4 pro, you should be looking to get ‘HDR 10’ as that is what the consoles put out anything less than that and you won’t be seeing the full benefit. Anything more and you will effectively be wasting your money for the time being.

Input Lag

I’m going to describe this using an anecdote. A friend of mine – a few years ago – brought a brand new 4K tv. It was a fairly high end and offered image processing to improve the picture quality for non-4K images. This is really great for upscaling, I don’t know, Barbara Windsor’s hair on Eastenders.

The problem is in the way that it works. The software that is used to improve the image takes time. It’s a fraction of a second in real terms and that will never pose an issue when watching something pre-filmed. It will, however, have a significant impact if you are playing on a games console. my friend hates his tv as when he presses a button, it has a little delay before the screen shows it. Many TV’s have a ‘Game’ setting that deactivates this, but many do not. It is worth while checking this before committing to a purchase.

All TV’s suffer from input lag of some description as it will always take time for the signal to travel along the wires etc. As this stat isn’t really recognised in the technical specs, I am using the following website to check. Take a look: hdtvtest.co.uk

Recommendation

Sadly, there is no standout TV at the moment. Last years Samsung 8000 series was certainly the one to get but has recently gone out of stock in favour of this year’s more expensive version.  If you can find one you should pick it up though.

#Slack and culture change

With the announcement of Destiny 2 this past week, and their increased focus on clan activities, I have decided it is passed time for Handsome Bills (the informal name for my group of friends) to expand. More players means more rewards, and effectivly more people to attend the meals we meet for.

Background

At work recently I have been looking at new ways of working and the digital tools that can help to support teams. Because of the nature of the huge complicated teams that go into running and improving multiple websites, my company has opted to use a comprehnsive system run by Microsoft name Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS). This has many strangths for that working environment, pivoting or the way in which work can developand progress.

As the number of people in my group grows, complexities of managing the group increases. In the past we have had a small team member count, and its been feasable to run the conversations through a facebook chat thread. As more people join and the needs change, it makes sense to re-analyse our options. Can we improve?

The solution?

I have chosen to Give #Slack a go. It works as a private forrum. Allowing my team mates to start threads if they pick up a new game, as well as tag each other in comments and attachments. I just need to convince my team to join me there now.

If anyone has any expereince using Slack for any projects, let me know in the comments. Are there any pitfalls or limitations I should be looking to avoid?

2017 in Films

I wrote this post at the beginning of the year, but wasn’t sold on the films I had picked to highlight. It turns out that they were all good calls. I can’t speak for the first one as I didn’t find the motivation to see it, but my movie I recommend watching the most of those that have come out so far has to be Logan.

Batman

LEGO Batman

After the overwhelmingly positive response that was received by the Lego movie, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they have been working on a sequel. I need to come clean and say that I thought that the last movie was just ‘alright.’ If you like that film, though, then the chances are that you will enjoy watching this

Release Date: 10/2/17

Logan

Logan

Hugh Jackman has one last Wolverine picture in him, and that last film is coming in 2017. Telling a story set in the future where mutants are all but extinct, and Logan and Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) live in hiding. It’s not a lot to go on, but with the two most successful components of the last film’s success in play, it’s hard not to be excited that they’ll be sending Wolverine off with a bang.

SPOILER? : In the comics, wolverine was cloned but the procedure went a little askew. The clone came out female and is many years young (for reasons of… errr… time?) Watching this trailer with that in mind makes me think it will be following that plot line.

Release Date: 3/3/17

Kong: Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island

I am perhaps not as excited about this as I should be. It looks like a high budget, well-produced film, but I am not as invested in it as I am with some of the other films on this list. I will update with more information as more trailers get released…

Release Date: 10/3/17

Beauty & The Beast

After fans flocked to see Cinderella and The Jungle Book,  Beauty And The Beast seems ready to replicate that success in 2017. Emma Watson stars, and I’m sure this will play to the same

Release Date: 17/03/17

Furious

The Fate of the Furious

There was legitimate doubt that we’d even get a Fast 8, especially after the fitting ending Paul Walker’s character was given at the end of Furious 7. With his character’s finale looking like it doubled as a series finale, fans thought they’d never see Dom and the rest of the crew back in action. Thankfully, Vin Diesel himself confirmed that The Fate of the Furious is fueling up for another go in the same slot it filled this year. The twist? Vin Diesel’s Dom is turning to the Dark Side, funded by new villain Charlize Theron. Can the rest of Dom’s family rally to bring their leader down? Find out in April.

Release Date: 14/04/17

Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2

Admit it, you miss Rocket Raccoon already. There’s only so many times you can watch your Guardians Of The Galaxy Blu-ray before you go mad over having to wait so long for the sequel. Still, the sequel is almost here, and James Gunn promises the father of all conflicts in this next one. No, literally, it’s all about the dads in this one – he said it himself. With the entire crew back among the stars, the trouble they could get into is as limitless as Star Lord’s ego. Whatever it is, though, it just might lead to some complications for The Avengers down the road. Couldn’t it?

Release Date: 28/04/17

Wonder Woman

The DCEU continues to expand, following Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, with a Wonder Woman film slated for June 2017. Gal Gadot has obviously been working her ass off to get into shape as the titular Amazonian, and with Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice introducing her character properly, we’ll be ready to see her take centre stage by the time the release window rolls around. Which is a very good thing, considering her standalone adventure will probably be the catalyst for another important DC film that comes a couple of months after this one. Chris Pine co-stars as Steve Trevor, and we’re hearing the villain in this one may be Earth-shattering. Stay tuned for more details as we get closer to release.

Release Date: 02/06/17

Spider-Man Homecoming

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man is heading home to Marvel Studios for the first time! Spider-Man: Homecoming is the movie that will bring us back to Peter Parker’s (Tom Holland) high school days, and will continue the threads we saw formed during his initial appearance in Captain America: Civil War. We know that Michael Keaton is playing The Vulture in this solo adventure and that both Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) are along for the ride. But it’s Tom Holland’s show as Spidey, so let’s see what he has in store.

Release Date: 07/07/17

Caesar

War For The Planet Of The Apes Sequel

With Humanity and The Apes properly divided, and the military assumed to be heading to the ruins of San Francisco, the sequel to Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes looks like it will be one of diplomacy and/or war games. Matt Reeves’ 2014 sequel blew the doors off of a saga that was once known for its vastly diminished returns between sequels, yet in this case, the complete opposite is true. The series is as strong as ever, and the third frame in Caesar’s rise to world domination promises to be as nuanced and brutal as the last.

Release Date: 14/07/17

Thor

Thor: Ragnarok

From the looks and sounds of The Avengers: Age Of Ultron, it seems as if Thor is going to be put through the ringer. He’d have to be in order to go back to Asgard, which will probably make him even more enraged when he finds out that his delinquent adopted brother has taken over their homeland. All we need to hear is those sentences above, and we’re already looking forward to Thor: Ragnarok. Our fingers are crossed that the third time is a charm and that Chris Hemsworth will finally get to shine in a Marvel movie that makes us forget the enjoyable, if not weak predecessors in the Thor line of films. All snark aside, the set up for the third flick sounds pretty bad-asset, with Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk playing a key role. It will be here soon.

Release Date:3/11/17
Justice

Justice League

With DC’s building blocks already in play, it looks like we’re going to see the darkest, grittiest version of the Justice League we’ve seen since… well, since ever. The fact that we’re even getting a Justice League film is exciting enough, considering we’ve been teased so many times in the past. While it still needs to win us over with all that happens before it, Justice League still has a spot on our list – and in our hearts – because it’s the stuff that geeks are made of.

Release Date:17/11/17

Troopers

Star Wars: Episode VIII

If there’s any Star Wars announcement that excited the fan base more than J.J. Abrams being announced as the director, it most certainly has to be the announcement that Rian Johnson would be taking over for the middle instalment of the continuing trilogy. With his work on such dark masterpieces as Brick and Looper, Johnson’s sensibilities are cut out for the phase in the Star Wars trilogy that usually is reserved for somber and brooding uncertainty. Considering that The First Order will more than likely be just getting started with their villainous ways and that Darth Vader helmet still requiring an explanation, Star Wars: Episode VIII is going to be a hell of a follow-up to The Force Awakens.

Release Date: 15/12/17

Refresh

I realised that I have not been posting on this site very regularly.

I realised this when I got an email from WordPress (the platform that I post on this site from) letting me know that the subscription had expired. For a little while, I had committed to the decision not to continue publishing my thoughts.

I have recently been relocated at work. Where I used to work 10 minutes walk from my home, I now have to undertake a 1-hour 45-minute train ride. That’s not the best work change I’ve ever undergone, but I may discuss that in a post later.

The point is, I now have a little more time each day to dedicate to this site.

I intend to post something every other day, and hopefully ill take a look at added some new widgets to the pages. Something to explore. Maybe embed some interesting code. We’ll see how it goes.

If anyone has any topics you want to hear about or discuss, put them in the comments or message me.

For now though, I may be making some subtle changes.

Cold brew coffee

A little while ago whilst using ‘Stumbleupon’ I came across a site talking about cold brew coffee. Some people call this Danish coffee but the basic idea behind it is to brew a cup of coffee using cold water. Apparently, it can also be called ‘Danish coffee’ due to its popularity amongst the Danish.

If you are anything like me you will already know that you shouldn’t be making coffee with boiling water. I’ve been told over and over by what I previously thought of as coffee snobs that doing so will give it a burnt taste and make it generally unpleasant. And that is as far as I can describe the thought process behind cold brew coffee.


3sets_590


There are a few different methods in a similar theme that are commonly used to make it. In the basic sense cold water is placed at the top and slowly dripped through ground coffee over a long period of time down into an awaiting container.

But why do it?

What results is a batch of coffee — which can be served iced or heated — that’s much less bitter than coffee brewed the traditional way. Cold-brewed coffee contains about 65 percent less acidity than coffee brewed in hot water.

When you brew with cold water over a longer period of time, you extract the fruity and chocolaty notes as well as the caffeine, but you don’t extract the bitter notes.” says Terry Darcy

All of that information about flavour and acidity all sounds great, but I would be lying if I said that the main reason I’m going to be attempting this is so that I can make a huge batch of coffee and just pour myself a shot in the morning when my brain is still sluggish.

It’s on my Christmas list anyway, so I’ll update this post in the new year if it proves to be a good move for me. 🙂