Comic Previews for May 2010

I have not done this in a while. Anyway, life has been extremely hectic since the little one came out. I have about 15 minutes of rest time before doing the next thing that is in store for me. In this 15 minutes, I wish to do something that is thoroughly non-work or family related. It seems that comic books have not been a category (see the right hand side menu) that I have dealt with for sometime. Ever since coming across the Diamond Previews online (they made it into web html format), I have often thought of perusing through it to see whether anything tickles my fancy. I have not done this in years! The last time was probably 10 years ago when I actually went through a physical copy in a comic book store back in Melbourne. *sigh… those were the days of care-free living… (actually, not exactly correct)*

Anyway, I don’t buy comic books anymore. Not directly anyway. It is a very expensive hobby although one that is quite good when young, since the comic book reader gets the best of both worlds (words and art). Without further delay, here we go:

My Picks for May 2010

BATMAN RETURN OF BRUCE WAYNE #1 & #2 (OF 6)
Written by GRANT MORRISON Art by CHRIS SPROUSE
$3.99

BAYOU TP VOL 01
Written by JEREMY LOVE
Wired The first book from the original webcomics imprint of DC Comics is here! South of the Mason-Dixon Line lies a strange land of gods and monsters; a world parallel to our own, born from centuries of slavery, civil war, and hate. Lee Wagstaff is the daughter of a black sharecropper in the Depression-era town of Charon, Mississippi. When Lily Westmoreland, her white playmate, is snatched by agents of an evil creature known as Bog, Lee’s father is accused of kidnapping. Lee’s only hope is to follow Lily’s trail into this fantastic and frightening alternate world. Along the way she enlists the help of a benevolent, blues-singing swamp monster called Bayou. Together, Lee and Bayou trek across a hauntingly familiar Southern Neverland, confronting creatures both benign and malevolent, in an effort to rescue Lily and save Lee’s father from being lynched.
$14.99

INVINCIBLE #73
THE VILTRUMITE WAR CONTINUES! Invincible is stranded on an alien planet, clinging to life, left battered and broken from his battle with Conquest. Nolan and Oliver stay behind to nurse him back to health, but meanwhile, out in space, the war rages on.
$2.99

INCREDIBLE HULK #609
Written by GREG PAK Penciled by PAUL PELLETIER
WORLD WAR HULKS CONTINUES! ‘Planet Hulk’ was big. ‘World War Hulk’ was bigger. Now with ‘World War Hulks,’ the Marvel Universe explodes with the biggest emotional story ever to hit Bruce Banner and the Incredible Hulk! Following the mindbending twist ending of ‘Fall of the Hulks,’ everything Bruce Banner knows has been turned upside-down — and everything he’s ever desired may be just a heartbeat away. Written by Greg Pak (PLANET HULK, WORLD WAR HULK) and drawn by Paul Pelletier (WAR OF KINGS, FALL OF THE HULKS: ALPHA), don’t miss the insane action and non-stop revelations as Skaar, Son of Hulk, enters his most brutal battle, Bruce Banner faces his greatest temptation, and the secret identity of a certain scarlet smasher is finally revealed!
$3.99

PUNISHER #17
Written by RICK REMENDER Penciled by ROLANEL BOSCHI
Prelude to PAYBACK! Punisher: REBORN! In the past few months, Frank Castle has had his family desecrated by the Hood, been killed by Daken, been slashed to ribbons by The Hand, been hunted by Microchip’s Deadly Dozen, and had a bounty placed on his head by Jigsaw. But now, The Punisher has made a list of his own. God help you if your name is on it. It’s time for the rise of Frank Castle. It’s time for PAYBACK.
$2.99

JOHN STANLEY LIBRARY NANCY HC VOL 01
(W/A) John Stanley
In John Stanley’s version of the beloved Brillo-headed character, Nancy is no longer a crabby cipher but a hilarious, brilliant, scheming, duplicitous, honest, and loyal little kid – a real little kid. Her adventures with her best friend, the comically destitute Sluggo, involve moneymaking schemes to afford ice-cream sodas, botched trips to the corner store for Nancy’s Aunt Fritzi, and comically raucous attempts to remove loose teeth.
$24.95

THREE FINGERS GN
(W/A) Rich Koslowski
Through a series of never-before-seen interviews and rare photos, documentary-maker Rich Koslowski reveals the horrifying true story behind the Cartoon industry and our most celebrated cartoon actors – the story that Hollywood doesn’t want you to see.. Told in the style of a Ken Burns documentary, with interviews of ‘toon stars today as well as historical ‘file footage’ of the ‘early years,’ you will forever rethink those beloved characters in the white gloves.
$14.95

O2 XDA Stealth: Thoughts & Future

It is a sad thing that for all the wishes and longing for an english wm6.5 ROM, they remain sadly a dream. Attempts to cook the Ron has not bore any fruit. It seems that the only group that is successful are the Chinese… a recent attempt to pay money for a translated version has also failed. I guess the main thing that is frustrating for Stealth owners are the lack of functionality & looks for such devices. A screen that is only 2.4 inch diagonally speaking is limited in options. Sigh.

The only other option, seriously, is to address the shortcomings and not on all the non-fundamental issues of the phone. XDA Stealth was a pretty lame phone on the software side. Although it had a remarkable spec sheet, ultimately, the main software itself was inefficient to handle all the things necessary for a PDA phone. Granted this was at a time when phones sold on the credit of the hardware specs, but this left a serious sour experience of a normal consumer. What it needed was a user interface (UI) that fits the hardware strengths & limitation. It is a solid physical device. Bulky (not unlike phones in the past 3 years). It was not speedy & definitely had unattractive GUI.

Can the life of the phone be extended? Yes, if we address the main issues well. SPB’s home replacement helped it somewhat, but it was better fitted for devices with 2.8″ inch screen size. It also taxed the CPU with all its widgets implementation. The O2 Stealth didn’t need widgets or a 3D cube switching interface though it may look pleasing at 1st. Try swiping the screens and receiving calls at the same time & you’ll see the problem ๐Ÿ˜› we need snappy performance without constantly relying on faster processors (it’s 412Mhz is sufficient).

Maybe it’s time for hardcore developers to design a new GUI engine for these smaller, older devices so that at the very least, they excel in the main things that they still should? I’m sure many users who have these lying around would be willing to give these a second chance ๐Ÿ™‚

aDosBox for Android

I would like some of my favourite games to be playable on my android phone… namely Magic Candle and also X-men: Madness in Murderworld. The only problem with this DOS emulator (besides optimization since it is only at alpha stage at the moment) is the control system. How & what is the best method for a full touchscreen device like Magic, Hero & Nexus One, and for those with physical keyboards like the Droid/Milestone & G1/Dream? The advantage of physical keyboards is thefreedom to render & utilise the screen, making gameplay size bigger ๐Ÿ™‚

I cannot help in coding (no time to learn & practice) but I can design. I’ll give my 2 cents on this & hope that it can contribute significantly on such projects. I really want to see this work. I really miss the old DOS games.

Cyanogenmod 4.2.15.1 & New Radio Update

There has been some notable changes in the community of developers for Android over the one month that has just passed. One is the fragmentation of groupings. Good example is that cyanogen is more actively involved in his own forum than in xda, although updates are also reflected in xda forums. But I find that there are many other forums where developers are congregating… which is good & bad. Good… because it helps the scene to grow ๐Ÿ™‚ bad… for searching & collaborating with ease. But this is a healthy sign of android expansion.

Anyway, I found that cyanogen’s latest rom update is definitely a worthwhile download. It speeds up the entire experience, although just slightly. Not much revolutionary changes. There is an openvpn thing, which I have not tried. Compared to the previous 4.2.14.1, this is much better. However, I have to admit that my phone feels bloated at times. I am quite sad when there are posters in XDA saying that other ROMS are ‘speedy’ or as fast as stock HERO (which I have tried and came out amazed!). To ensure that there is no lag (or at the most, a tiny lag between shifts in screen), I had to minimise the amount of widgets I have on my main homescreen (the first one). The other thing that I had to do is to disable auto rotation (which I found to be quite useless to tell the truth). Oh, I forgot to mention the other interesting update in this ROM – 180 degrees rotation. Now you can rotate the whole device, 360 degrees. But to tell the truth, the novelty wears out quickly after a few tries. The other thing is to enable “Home app in memory” under the “Spare parts” component that is included in all cyanogenmod ROMs. Now there is an almost instant return to the home screen when you press the “Home” button ๐Ÿ™‚

Fortunately, what is significant comes not from cyanogen, but from the released new radio update (2.22.23.02) for the htc dream (Get it from here: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=640535). This update is a must. I have noticed some slight improvement to 3G signals, wifi & GPS. These are of course hardware improvements. Go get it. Just flash it using any recovery console and voila, it’s done ๐Ÿ™‚ A word of advice: after upgrading my ROM to 4.2.15.1, I noticed that the network connection (3G and EDGE) was disappearing/appearing. I suspected that there may have been some conflict with the radio update, and REFLASHED it. It worked. No disconnections orย disappearingย acts anymore ๐Ÿ™‚