Editor’s note: Starting this week, I’m writing my Elementary reviews for the Baker Street Babes website. You’ll still find links to the review in a timely manner on this site each week. Thanks!
This week’s episode of Elementary begins with a flashback and a question: What kind of name is Sherlock?
Turns out that our case this week, as well as the case of Sherlock Holmes’ psyche, are evidence of what can happen when you put your trust in the hands of a stranger. An unsuspecting woman takes a bouquet of roses from one hooded man while another unsuspecting woman takes on the case of a British client with a love of opiates. Unfortunately, only one of these women are going to survive the experience.
Welp, there’s a lot going on here. But I’m pretty sure the dry cleaners are up to no good. (SPOILERS AHEAD.)
This week’s episode of Elementary took us on a series of twist and turns that never manage to tightly wind themselves up into a neat helix. I hope you can stand that reference. After a rich philanthropist comes down with a disease called Cerebral amyloid angiopathy, he tries to employee Holmes to solve the mystery behind his sudden-onset dementia. Holmes plays hard to get in the only way he can: he turns down a bee in a box. But once a couple bodies start turning up inexplicably, well nothing engages our favorite British detective more than promise of DNA samples and Holmes and Watson are on the case.
Color me surprised.
After nearly a decade of strict Apple-only computing, the Acer W5 Iconia Windows 8 Tablet actually made a positive impression on me. In fact, I’ve found myself truly enjoying it. Let’s remember two critical things: First, my expectations were super low. Even though I had read a lot of really positive reviews, I still found myself concerned that the Windows 8 Operating System would be too clunky. It’s not. It’s fairly intuitive and has a beautiful graphic fluidity. Second, I have not used a Windows machine since XP, so my learning curve was probably higher than others who were jumping into it from Windows 7.
It’s clear that simplicity has finally won out with this OS. The Atom-Based Hybrid (tablet or laptop) could be the perfect in between for new computer buyers who can’t stomach the cost of a tablet, but want the option. As a tablet, it’s a solid device and one worth checking out. As a laptop, I would have serious reservations.
From here on out, I’m going to give you the ins and outs for how I used it: as a tablet. Overall, it’s surprisingly fun to use. The mixture of colorful apps are playful and more engaging than the iPad apps and remind me a lot of the Kindle Fire experience. Your home screen is like a playground just waiting to be jumped on.
1. The Design: There is no doubt that the Windows 8 interface is smooth and beautiful. I like the use of color and had way too much fun changing up the color schemes to my liking. It’s this kind of flexibility that I really appreciate on the Windows devices. I understand Apple’s desire to keep the user from reducing the design to a less sophisticated level, but I ultimately think that if you are going to spend the money on the device, you should be able to make some changes like this. Overall, kudos to Windows 8 on that one.
2. The Weight: This thing is light. It’s about the same weight as my Kindle Paperwhite, which was a nice surprise. Remember, this is without the keyboard attachment though. (It’s 2.8 pounds without the keyboard, just over 3 pounds with it.) This is a double-edged issue for me, because while I like the lightness of the device, the plastic feel is something I may never get used to with non-Apple devices. I’ve decided that I don’t mind it on the casing if it can give me the reduced weight, but that what would truly make it feel more high-end is if the screen was made of something more substantial.
3. Mobile Movie Viewing: Aspect Ratio. Aspect Ratio. Aspect Ratio. I will probably never stop yammering on about this issue. Years ago I publicly complained that if Apple was going to advertise its products as “optimal media devices” then they needed to stick with accepted aspect ratios. The iPhone 5 screen change was a major, “I Told You So.” moment for me. Mark my words: iPad can’t be far behind.
Rightly, the entire range of Windows 8 tablets figured this out early on and this is hands down the best part of this tablet. My gym has drastically reduced the number of channels available on the machines, but with the Netflix app, my headphones and the W5, I’m all set. The screen is surprisingly sharp and not too hard on my eyes, which really shocked me considering the hardware. Set to a low brightness, I found it more watchable than my iPad.
4. The Battery: I can go an entire week of heavy usage (streaming, games and browsing) on one overnight charge. This is impressive.
5. The Storage: Again, if you are using the W5 strictly as a tablet, you’ll be pleased with a 64GB solid state hard drive. If you are thinking you might use this as a laptop, I’m not sure that storage will be sufficient.
6. Plenty of Ports: If you think of this device strictly as a tablet, you’ll be happy to find a lot more ports and connections here than on the Kindle Fire, Nook HD or iPads. There’s a Micro-USB, Micro-HDMI, and a microSD card slot.
1. The Browsers: Internet Explorer and I are just not meant for each other. I just don’t understand why it can’t render pages properly. Updates are constant and yet improvements are lagging. Chrome was fine, but the simple act of zooming into a page was absolutely impossible to achieve. After some Googling, it turns out you have to open a toolbar and then there is a zoom functionality hidden there that’s percentage based. It’s crap. Every website is different - which is why you need the ability to manipulate a page quickly and easily. Additionally, there’s the new Acer Browser, which was fine, but ultimately just a bland branded browser without many features. Firefox was ultimately the most usable and user-friendly, but I was really hoping IE would get it together here.
2. The Price: At $599 (just tablet or $749 with keyboard), it seems utterly impossible to imagine the average consumer holding the W5 with an attached keyboard next to an iPad with a Bluetooth Keyboard and choosing the Acer. I don’t understand the pricing strategy here. Plus, you can get a pretty powerful PC for $749, albeit without a detachable screen.
3. The Back End: When you are downloading certain apps or when you are connected to the optional keyboard, this sleek tablet goes back to the basic version of the Windows desktop you’d expect. To me, this tablet is weakest when it’s trying to be a computer without any real computing power.
If you aren’t an Apple person, you will like this product. It’s smart, sleek and fun to use. Some of the oddities and annoyances of previous Windows OS’s are still around and IE seems impossible to fix, but you’ll be relieved to find an easy to use app store and endless customization options.
Disclosure: The Acer Iconia W5 was gifted to me by Intel as part of their Tablet Crew program. See #tabletcrew on Twitter for other bloggers’ thoughts on the device.
Hello shirtless, Holmes.
Now that you’ve got your clothes off, why don’t we take a closer look. The threads are off, both literally and figuratively in The Deductionist.
When a former mass murderer makes his escape through a kidney transplant gone wrong, Holmes comes face to face with a criminal profiler. The detective, Kathryn Drummond, studies these baddies and uses her findings to help the police find them. But in this case, she went to far and set off a man who is intent to get revenge after she published her findings about him and became famous for helping capture him.
I am not a “night life” person. Most Saturday nights for me involve watching a movie on my couch with popcorn on my legging wearing lap. Usually, my boyfriend is reading some insanely nerdy book nearby and the fireplace is glowing. This is how two Midwesterners survive the winter together.
But every once in a while, my girlfriends and I shine our dancing shoes, slip on some bling and put on our game face. This time was a little different though. Our game face meant zeroing in on A and B buttons and our purses were heavy with shiny silver Washingtons. Or quarters, if you will.
Insert Coin(s) is a new vintage arcade mixed with a dance club. Plus some wireless modern gaming if you can afford bottle service. It’s only the second in the country, the first is in Las Vegas, and it’s definitely found a good home in Minneapolis. We are an artsy, nerdy and fun-loving crowd the clientele definitely represented this.
I’ll be the first to admit: this concept works. Sure, I was sucking it up at Super Mario Bros because I was very busy swaying my hips to the loud Top 100 beats - but it was fun. Sub-standard gaming abilities aside, it turns out buzzed Space Invaders is more hilarious than regular Space Invaders. Who knew? And if you ever found yourself thinking, Pac-Man could be drastically improved with a Ke$ha track, well, this is your testing ground for that theory. (Yes, it’s better. Oddly.)
This ladies night out was made even more fun, because drunk nerdy boys dancing like robots and cowboys on acid is a surprisingly uncommon site in most bars around here. Not to generalize, but we’re a reserved and stoic people. It was honestly a 50/50 split between ladies and gents on the dance floor and I had more fun dancing there than I have at most “rave” style clubs.
Pickup line of the night goes to a dude who zeroed in on my lovely friend MM. His exact words: "You’d have to gain 100 pounds before you’d ever consider going out with me."
Dude, what? Just buy us a round on NBA Jam. Quit dissing yourself and show us your skillz.
A couple of thoughts on how Insert Coin(s) could be improved:
1. The Lady Dancers: I really hate this about all nightclubs, but for some reason it all just seems so lazy here. The dudes working at the club wear dashing suits and the women are wearing cut up bikini tops and glow sticks. They are “crowd pleasers” or something of the type. On top of that, there were these barkeep girls in blue bustiers that were so tight, I wondered how they could even bend over. If you want girls to be dressed up and looking ridiculous, why not play into your theme and go for full on Cosplay? There are so many sexy video game themed ladies you could start with: Lara Croft, Jill Valentine or Samus Aran. The possibilities are really endless and they would make a girl like me much more excited about those gyrating hips.
2. Hand Sanitizer: Have you heard? The flu is going around in Minnesota. Suddenly, those Frogger controls look like a contagion area.
3. Coat Check: It’s 0 degrees here right now. There is NO way you can go from car to club without catching pneumonia. I had to start a dance party in line for my coat because it took 45 minutes before I got my hands on my down blanket with sleeves. Get a systems engineer in there and streamline that shit.
If you live in the Twin Cities or you are just visiting for the weekend, I recommend Insert Coin(s). Get a roll of quarters, pack the hand sanitizer and set a new record on Galaga.
It’s been a while since I reviewed a techessory around here, but since I’ve got a new video to post in mere moments, I thought I’d give you a review of the product I used to make the video happen.
I’ve always wanted to try to do an outdoor movie showing, but even the cheapest projectors cost around $800. Plus, they require an outlet, which really limits the locations you can use them. Enter some of the new pocket projectors on the market. Only one problem: most of them don’t have enough juice to put out an HD image for more than an hour. Until the handy Brookstone HDMI Pocket Projector came along. Here’s the details:
1. No plugs! Just charge and your set for about 2 hours. In my test run, we even stopped the movie for about 20 minutes at one point and left the projector on. In total, it ran for about 2 hours 15 minutes before the battery died.
2. Tripodable. This mini projector can be put on almost any tripod and since it’s light, putting it on a little Joby GorillaPod was the perfect height for us.
3. 85 Lumens. Comparable mini projectors are anywhere between 40 and 60 lumens. This sweet little device has 95 lumens, which gives you a lot of great light and clarity, which stays clear up to 60 inches. And yes, the 1080p HD quality still looks great at 60 inches.
1. Turn it up. The projector has some built in speakers that just don’t put out enough sound for a great experience. You can plug in some speakers in the AV jack, but most speakers made for AV jacks don’t put out much sound either.
2. $300 buckos. So this projector is much cheaper than $800. However, $300 is still steep for me.
3. Apple device confusion. In store, this projector is set up with an iPod touch. The pictures on the box also feature an iPad connected to the projector AND an iPhone. The only problem is that as soon as you open the box, you’ll discover that in fact, you’ll need to run over to the Apple store and buy and Apple Digital AV Adaptor. Yes, I find it annoying that Apple has all their proprietary plugs and whatnot, but Brookstone didn’t have to feature Apple products in all these manners either. If you aren’t a savvy consumer, it creates confusion. Oh and while I’m thinking about it: It adds about $35 to your total price.
Overall: This was a fun, fun experiment and it was truly easy to use. Plug and play entertainment. However, I would need to watch 30 movies outdoors before it would be worth it.