Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 2 “The House of Black and White” Review

The jury was out with the first episode of the season, but the beginning of the second episode really picked up from an action standpoint.  In true Game of Thrones style though the consequences or discussion of the cliffhanger with Jon Snow was left until the viewer was halfway through episode really.

Ayra Stark stood outside the Mystery Temple

There will be spoilers in this review.

The action was brought on by Brienne of Tarth and Podrick stumbling on Sansa Stark with Littlefinger in a tavern, the problem becomes when Sansa and Littlefinger refuse her services.  In true Game of Thrones style Brienne doesn’t take kindly to the refusal and after all the commotion it left me wondering what it had actually achieved, I am guessing it was a distraction to force Littlefinger and Sansa to be on the move and allow Brienne to follow them.  While a good plan it also begged the question of why couldn’t Brienne just wait outside and follow them from a safe distance.

The consequence for Jon Snow was actually quite strange because they weren’t any sort of negative consequences in the slightest. Stannis actually asked him if he would become Jon Stark and become the Lord of Winterfell mainly because Stannis knows that if he has a chance at the throne he needs someone who can control the North and in order to do that he needs a northerner. Jon as a problem though even though its everything he ever wanted he knows that he has taken an oath to the Wall and while Stannis offers the opportunity to become Lord it has been decided that a new Commander is needed on the wall and Jon has been elected to the highest role at the Wall, so the big question is which one is he gone to take?

The other huge development is Jamie and Cersi Lannister and the secret mission, you see Cersi up to her old tricks of blackmail and manipulation, in order to get Jamie to do her will. The other thing you see how she is trying to take control of the situation being the mother of the king that is too young really to rule with no hand she is trying to take that role. The problem is her gender and also that she although managing to manipulate some members of the small council her Uncle was not to be budged and has decided to go back to Casterly Rock.

Ayra Stark is also surrounded by mystery going to some strange temple and not really understanding what is in there or why she’s there, so going to be leaving that alone for the time being as it’s going to be featured further. Daenerys also had a tough time of it this episode because she is trying to rule groups of people with a democracy that aren’t really ready for it and you see her lose control and as she thinks things can’t get any worse, her dragon appears that was missing but flies off as if she has no control over it.

Overall this episode was quite fast-moving with some real twists and developments. Feel free to share what you thought of the latest episode of Game of Thrones.

Better Call Saul – Season 1 Episode 1 “Uno” Review

Better Call Saul is the spin-off of Breaking Bad, that focuses on the life of the dodgy lawyer that came good in the end for Walter White.  Spin offs can be worrying due to the fact that they never live up to the success of the original show.

Better Call Saul

Possible Spoilers

The show starts off with some sort of flashback because you see Saul working in a coffee shop feeling seemingly nervous about everything and then he goes back to his place and watches an old commercial of himself as a lawyer, although there was nothing to tell you it was a flashback and to be honest it left the viewer for the entire episode wondering about the timing of the show.  The reason for this is there was no writing on the screen to what time it was whether when the show cut from the black and white scenes and to him as a lawyer whether time had moved, the show seemingly left it up to the viewer.

During the episode you see Saul go from doing the lower ends of criminal work as in representing people with no legal representation to a high-end lawyer in his own right and neither of them really going in the way he would want.  You do get the sense that Saul is driven by money and the fact that he has none would suggest that it is set before Breaking Bad due to the fact he seemed a lot more together in that show.  Even though all these cases and the opening scene seem a bit disjointed the cases themselves he deals with during the episode kind of gives you an idea of why he turned so bent.

After doing the legal aid he is subject to a con attempt and to be fair to the acting you really do believe that his day has gone from bad to worse.  The con was a skateboarder running straight into his car in order to get an insurance scam, but what is interesting although he sniffs them out towards the end of the episode he sorts out their help in a scheme.

Overall the episode felt slow and clunky but redeemed itself at the end with a cliffhanger, at the moment the jury is out to whether its watch worthy with that said though, for me breaking bad was a slow started.  The problem I feel is you know something about the character already and although he shows the same tendencies in both programs the transition is just difficult in this episode.

Daredevil Season 1 Presented by Netflix Review

Daredevil is the latest offering from Marvel Studios and a Netflix Original production.  Daredevil is a character from the Marvel Universe that hasn’t had a huge push in recent years as he isn’t part of The Avengers one would think.  He is a blind character that uses his heightened senses in order to take on the honest residents of New York City and what adds more to the character is he is a lawyer.

There is a chance of spoilers in this review.

There has been a movie that was made using the Daredevil starring Ben Afleck but in most cases it didn’t receive the best reviews, but this TV Show just might change it around for the character.  It starts off with Matt (Daredevil) as a youngster and explaining the accident that caused him to go blind, and while the TV series moves on there are flashbacks that show the other events that lead him to want to become a good force for the city and Hell’s Kitchen.  The focus in these flashbacks are mainly to do with the relationship of his father and how for better or worse his father instilled in him that you must not give up and no matter how hard you’re hit you have to keep getting up and fighting back.

The stand out point to this TV Show was how conflicted the villain and hero was, it really added another dimension to the superhero genre I think.  While the show continued through the season you saw how both Matt and Fisk questioned themselves and where they stood, at one point Fisk the villain had the viewer realising that he thought he was doing the right thing.  The problem mainly with Fisk although at this point you saw his intentions were good, it was the way in which he was trying to achieve these goals maintained on the wrong side of the law.  Matt on the other hand, found himself with the issues that he was pushing his friends away trying to keep them safe and also the thought that he might have to kill someone in order to get justice and he was sat there wondering whether the law could actually bring someone so corrupt down.  This is an obvious one for some people, what is so bad with the hero killing the villain?  The problem was asked then though Matt up until this point hadn’t killed anyone and if he did would it change him?  It was crossing that line and he was trying to distinguish whether he was really better than Fisk and the people he was fighting against.

Daredevil Poster from Netflix

The balance of drama and action in this show was just right, it had slow times and probably wasn’t as fast as The Flash moving but I found that the drama sections that slowed up the episodes and season was well placed and added more to the story.  The drama added more dimension to the characters and allowed the viewer to show empathy for all characters even the ones that they were suppose to hate.  The action was well done and the martial arts view of the character was also really well put together but interestingly enough towards the end Matt turned to his roots of his father and showed more of a boxing style of fighting.  Would this show get a recommendation it definitely would however if you’re looking for a fast past superhero show this might not necessarily be the one for you, but Daredevil gets a very well deserved 8/10.  Interestingly enough it has been left with the possibility of continue or ending which was interesting due to the fact TV Shows turned to leave the season wide open or slammed shut depending on what their plans for it was however this one was different, it could go either way.

Feel free to comment below and share your reaction to the show.

 

Norton Security 2015 Review

Symantec the parent company of Norton is one of the market leaders in Internet Security and has been a very up and down relationship with its customers, due to the fact up until the 2009 version of its software was very heavy on the system.  That all changed though and it has slowly become one of the lightest suites available on the market but still has the stigma of its previous negative reputation.

Norton Security’s Resource Usage

Norton is one of the major security companies that haven’t actually adopted the H.I.P.S (Host Intrusion Prevention System) method of detecting zero day malware and have opted to stay with behavior blocker with the use of its cloud system.  This means that although if something isn’t in its definitions that it will monitor its behaviour and check it against its cloud system in order to determine what sort of file it is.  This isn’t necessarily the safest way of doing things because HIPS will just say you’re an unknown file and will block it from making any system level changes.  Which is better is still open to interpretation due to the fact that HIPS could stop a safe program from running before it has analysed it because it’s not taking into account its behavior on the other side behavior blockers could take some time to determine the file is up to no good-by that point they file could have infected the system.  Obviously there are some grey areas to both and this isn’t the best explanation of the two systems so that everyone can kind of understand the difference.  Norton runs something called Download Insight however which means that every file you download gets sent for analysis in its cloud to determined whether its safe and this for me is enough to make up for the lack of HIPS.  The reason for this is we are honest the most common place we get our software and files now are internet based so therefore this layer of protection is going to make Symantec know what is being downloaded and able to give the go ahead to whether you can run the file safely, this is huge for the non tech savvy of us, as HIPS can be complicated.

Norton Security’s Interface

Norton has detected everything that has been thrown at the test system however others have found that it’s detection to non-internet based threats i.e. from a pen drive, has been less than encouraging due to the way they have layered the security I would have thought.  That said it comes to personal preference in most cases because these tests are taking it to the extreme and Norton has continued to score well in third-party testing such as AV-Comparatives.  The other thing to note is Norton have streamed lined their products this year and made it so that you’ve got the choice of Norton Security or Norton Security and Backup.  What does that mean to the real world?  It means that they are now offering only Norton 360 with and without the backup functionality.

While reading the PCMag review of the product mainly to see others reaction to it, quite a few of the comments where more to do with the business decision to streamline their product line rather than the product performance.  The users and people who commented was annoyed at the fact that Norton was going to offer them a free upgrade from Norton Internet Security or Norton 360 as examples to Norton Security.  This was mainly because people were taking advantage of the free upgrades as long as you have a license so where buying outdated ones and then upgrading.  This new move might stop people from doing that or it could allow them to do it after the first year, only Symantec know the answer to that.  The one thing that could be added to this Norton should really send out emails to its customers to let them know that they are discontinuing their products in exchange for the new one so people know that they need to cancel their auto-renewals in order to take out the new product for the people who are happy to pay full price for the software.

Norton Security’s 30 Day Report

Norton Security 2015 has given the test system no issues to not recommend the latest offering and to top it off it only uses about 20 megs of RAM at all times obviously you might get a few spikes when scanning, however other than that it has been really low on resource usage.  The system feels responsive and allows the user to feel secure because while the system is idle it will do a range of tasks in order to keep the system running smoothly.  For this reason Norton Security will be the pick of the year and get 10/10.

PC Mag article: http://uk.pcmag.com/symantec-norton-security/36250/review/symantec-norton-security

Bitdefender Review 2015

This review is going to be a little weird as it will join two products from the same company due to the fact that if I am honest both of their product lines that was tested was a little bit of letdown in different respects.

Bitdefender Free Interface

Bitdefender Free was the first product that was tried because of 360 Total Security taking up such a huge amount of memory on the system.  Bitdefender had always seemly scored quite high in the detection rates for third-party test and for that reason Bitdefender free was loaded onto the system to see how it performed.  The positives for this product was it was extremely lightweight and it was a breath of fresh air compared to 360’s previous offering, maxing out at about 50 megs of RAM when scanning and being as low as 10 meg when not.  The other thing that really caught your eye was how simple it was, it took all the features out and just allowed you to have the bog standard anti-malware product that is needed now a days, but the nail in the coffin was when Farming Simulator was loaded.  While loading Farming Simulator 2015 was loaded it crashed Bitdefender Free and although it wasn’t classifying Farming Simulator as a virus or doing this with any other program.  If it could be crashed for me it was time to move on because if something like a simple game could crash your security no matter how could the definitions and detection is if it’s not run it can’t catch anything.

Bitdefender Internet Security 2015 Interface

After having such a positive experience with the free version except for the problem of the security crashing I wondered whether their paid for product suffered the same fate?  The truth is it didn’t it quite happily carried on working while playing Farming Simulator and even moved into its gaming profile while Farming Simulator ran.  This a feature that was quite inviting, Bitdefender in AutoPilot mode will choose the right profile based on what you are doing, which means that it will disable things in order to get the best performance out of your computer or making sure you won’t be nagged.  Great you say?  Well not so much because if you’re a gamer you’ll no doubt have Steam running of which will make the Autopilot put you in the Gaming Profile which even disables Windows Updates, which brings the problem that Steam typically starts on startup so this could mean that your PC and Security wouldn’t get the much-needed updates because your machine will be stuck in this mode 24/7.  I did contact Bitdefender support about this issue and their response was to disable Autopilot and choose the profiles manually, while this is a solution to the problem how many users are going to be wanting to change the profile themselves every time they change the use of their machines?  I’d guess not many.

Overall Bitdefender free had good detection and extremely lightweight but in good conscious can’t recommend it because of the fact it crashed while running a game.  The fully fledged Bitdefender Internet Security product I would recommend to non-gamers as they are unlikely to come across the issue with Steam, that said though the full version seems to sit at 200 megs of RAM so it might not be for everyone.  Bitdefender gets a 6/10 because it has some great features and good detection but has some gaping holes and although the support did give a solution to the problem however for me they should’ve passed it onto the development team to iron out the problems with its software to make it a better product.

Game of Thrones Season 5 Episode 1 “The War is Coming” Review

The build up for the highly anticipated Game of Thrones Fifth Season was huge and it has lived up to its reputation of being the most pirated TV Show for the last few years, with the first four episodes of the fifth season now being available in the dark places of the internet.  There will be spoilers in this review.

The very beginning of the episode throws the viewer straight back into the story leaving them a little confused in some respects, due to the fact you as the viewer seems to be in a flashback of Cersi Lannister and I know that I was sat there just thinking who are these characters have I missed something?  It does become very apparent you’re in the flashback but as a viewer I just felt a little lost, and with that in mind I couldn’t help but feel like they should have done a bit of a recap, so that the viewer that hasn’t been following the extra programs they get a reminder of what happened in the previous season.

In true Game of Thrones style though you see how all the major players in the game, are having issues within their own houses or alliance while they try to position themselves to make a move forward.  Strange alliances being made when it comes to Varys and Tyrion, they admit that Tyrion can’t sit on the Iron Throne but he can influence the person that gets there and has the power to lead the country to its future.  It was great to see these two misfits come together in such away that the viewer things they can really make a difference.

Stannis however tried to enlist the help of Jon Snow to try to get the Wildlings to fight with him to capture the throne, however you see the conflict that Snow finds himself in because the wildling in question was never going to bend the knee.  During that dialogue the viewer realises that it is all about dignity for the wilding in question and although it results in an execution Snow does go against the punishment of choice, leaving the episode on a bit of cliffhanger wondering how the Snow and Stannis relationship is going to develop from this.

The land lies at the end of the episode where, Jamie and Cersi not on the same page.  Sansa and Littlefinger where on the move and Daenerys has realised that she has lost control of her dragons and they may of even turned against hers.  The episode was good and has been a great setup for the season, while watching though you couldn’t help but feel that it was a little too slow.  The politic was good, however it just seemed that little bit too slow but then you get to the ending and none of that matters,

How did you find the first episode of this season?  Feel free to comment and let me know, these are just a few things that I picked up.

360 Total Security Review

360 Total Security is a free security program that is developed by a Chinese Company called Qihoo, who originally developed the software in order to be a loss leader only in China to help the company develop its other services mainly online advertisement in China.  Having seen the way that the software has helped them expand their user based, they actively expanded into  the global market in 2013.

360 Total Security boasts not one engine but 4 engines in reality though it is only 3 engines as two could be construed as one, due to the fact that they have split its cloud and definition engine into two, along with working with the Avira engine and Bitdefender.  This would be a huge selling point for most because not only have they cornered the Chinese market that would probably know them better but while going global they have incorporated household names in security across the world.

What does all this really mean?  Well it means you’re getting 3 opinions on the files (All of which have good statistics from Third Party Testing centres such as AV-Comparatives), on your computer which can’t be bad and to be honest it’s not even though I have noticed that while running the Total Security with all the engines active it will sit about 200 megabytes of ram that could be a concern for some, however I have not seen a slow down on my machine after 5 days of use.  With that said though if you run the software in balanced mode which is without the Bitdefender and Avira engine the RAM usage goes down to about 40 megabytes of RAM so it’s whether or not you want access to all the engines or whether you need to save on RAM.

The other big selling points for using Total Security as opposed to Security Essential which is its other product in this field is the fact that it combines security and utility, it has a Speedup and Cleanup section where it does exactly what it says on the tin.  It will advice you on what files can be deleted and what programs aren’t really needed on startup.  Also in the Tool Box section the other function is Patch Up and Sandbox, this is a strange one in the fact that Patch Up just allows you to get Windows Updates that your PC needs, which Windows update should already do for you so feels a bit strange and as many other security software a sandbox is a safe place for you to run those programs that you’re not too sure about, however this isn’t automatically done for you like others do it.

Overall 360 Total Security gets an 8/10 however there is a downside to what seems to be a positive review in most respects is you need to know a little bit of what you’re doing because of the false positives that seem to be generated. Although in testing it caught all the malware that was thrown at it, it seems to be having problems with a Steam and Origin game library resulting in a number of games executables being quarantined, that said however it is easy to restore them and add them to your trusted list.  Which is why it is not getting completely removed from my system just yet but why I am holding it off-putting it on others.

360 Total Security can be found here: www.360totalsecurity.com/en/

Grey’s Anatomy Season 7 Review

Possible Spoilers

I will admit that now all the season’s seem to be merging into one, I’ve been sat here watching so many episodes I had to check the previous post in order to remember where we got to.

In the wake of the shooting you see how people deal with the issues, and you see Yang have a complete melt down and the help comes from an unlikely source.  Derek has always said that Meredith and Yang came as a package and see how he starts to take that seriously and it’s quite a break to see them move out of the hospital just for two minutes.  The other thing was in wake of the shooting and where everyone was it become quite heavy and to be honest it was a welcome break to have an episode that took a documentary view on it because it just stopped with the emotion roller coaster just for 10 minutes.

The big twist in the season was in the middle for me and I was left hoping that someone wouldn’t die because of what happened to George previously I was left second guessing it all.  I guess although I felt that it ruined it because George as a character had more to give it has installed a fear that at any point someone could die.  With that all being said at the end of the season although not as upsetting and gory as previous seasons it has left the characters in major turmoil and although no huge cliff hanger has left me wanting to watch more just to see what happens next.

Grey’s Anatomy Season 6 Review

Possible Spoilers 

This season for me was a little distant because of what happened at the end of the last season, but after seeing all the characters struggle with their issues I did get back into it.  This season also explored new and old characters a like and you find out Chief Webber isn’t as perfect as you think.  Will Derek take advantage of it?

The truth is you see Derek struggle between loyalty and patient safety, and he ends up choosing patient safety and turns out that he loses the loyalty of the staff and you see how he struggles in the new role.  You see him at the top of his career to find out that it wasn’t what he expected, all along the show you got the feeling that it was between him and Bailey to who replaced the Chief in the future.  I always got the feeling that Derek would always go for it, and in the role you just see how he realises that the position/promotion isn’t what he thought it would.

The season finale was a shooter in the hospital and people die and wounded and you see different sides to characters, although this is a reoccurring theme I was a little annoyed to the characters that were killed off because I hadn’t seen enough of the characters to feel attached to them.  You do see the main characters in traumatic situation though.  I really enjoyed the difference in pace of the season even if certain characters were missing.  Although I am thinking of taking a break from show but I am really enjoying it and would highly recommend it.

Grey’s Anatomy Season 5 Review

Definite Spoilers Alert 

This season was just so weird in the emotional roller coaster ride that is Grey’s Anatomy these days with Izzy now ill and terminally so the team struggle to save her life and you see how that affects all the other characters in the show.  What was confusing to me was how much George backed off and didn’t feature much in the season, although he did see some scenes where by you saw him developed as an individual and not in the gang, this did confuse me a little especially with the ending of the season.

Also while ill Izzie plans Derek’s and Meredith’s wedding and ends up being Izzie and Alex’s wedding so that she can definitely have her big day.  Although great but it left me with the question who actually paid for it all?  We know that it was probably McDreamy but would he really give someone that much money for this?  I could understand Meredith doing it for Izzie but how big it was it seemed a bit flawed to me.  All this season we were dogged with the possibility of death and it came from the most unexpected place.

I was preparing myself for Izzie to lose the battle with cancer and but although the outcome angered me I was really pleased how 007 went out.  I know that it is a huge spoiler but it’s away of not giving it completely away unless you are noticing every detail.  Throwing someone out-of-the-way of a bus and then getting hit themselves was the right way to go for this person I think, however I won’t lie it did annoy me that, that person went out.  The reason being is because although a good way to go out for the character, but I just felt that was one of the character that had more development  still available to it in comparison to other characters.