Author Archives: Sally Peters

A Review of The Brother’s War

The Brother’s War Review

The Brother’s War, a powerful fantasy novel based on the trading card game Magic the Gathering by Jeff Grubb tells a story of epic warfare, betrayal, love, and the dark side of ambition. It transformed the fictional world of Terisaire as well as those of the two brothers who fought for it, Urza and Mishra, and those around them. Set in an age of unrest between two races of people and the quest for power, the two brothers Urza and Mishra battled each other for ultimate control of Terisaire and each determined to kill the other.
The story begins with Urza and Mishra becoming apprentices to the archaeologist and artificer Tocasia. In the novel, Jeff Grubb used a lot of detail to describe the main characters. He described Urza as a “thin and tall man, with blonde hair,” while Mishra is broad and tall, with black hair. Both of them spent their early teenage years with Tocasia, but after Urza discovered the Mightstone and Mishra, the Weakstone, the two brother killed Tocasia and each went their separate ways. It is this moment that the two brothers would begin their quest for supremacy.

As time progressed, both brothers came to influence a faction. Urza married the daughter of the Warlord of Yotia and became the Chief Artificer, while Mishra became the Wizard for the Fallaji tribes. Both used their influence over the rulers to achieve their own goals, which was to defeat each other.

However Urza married the Warlord’s daughter not because he really loves her, but it was for power and to make machines for the nation. For most of the marriage, Urza neglected his wife to the point that she slept with Mishra, who was his worst enemy.

­­The real battle would not begin until the Warlord betrayed Urza and attempted to kill Mishra. This “betrayal” escalated the war further and when Urza told Mishra to stop it, Mishra said, “So you can betray us again?” From that point on, the two brothers would never trust each again, each fearing that the other would grow stronger and betray them.

Years passed and the two grew even stronger. Mishra united the Fallaji tribes while Urza became the Lord Protector of three great empires in the north. Mishra enlisted the help of the Priests of Gix, who controlled many machines and are half-machines themselves. With their help, Mishra launched a deadly raid into Yotia and in a single stroke took the whole empire.

The final battle, however, would not occur until years into the conflict, when the two opposing armies gathered on the island of Argive. Jeff Grubb described it as, “The night the world ended.” The description of the battlefield is “gloomy and dark.” The two armies “gathered at opposite ends over the dead bodies of elves and trees.” Jeff paints a picture of how the battlefield looks like and it is easy for readers to understand and picture it.

Mishra attacked Urza but fires on his clothe burned his skin and revealed what was inside. To Urza’s horror, Mishra’s internal organs had been replaced by machines and his blood is replaced by oil. Mishra had been consumed by the very machines he had created. When he saw what Mishra had become, he was sure that his brother was gone and he was determined to destroy the abomination that was now his “brother.”

Using a powerful artifact known as the Sylex, Urza destroyed his brother, both armies, and shattered the island of Argive. The rage, pain, memories, and power flowed through him and he ascended into a planeswalker, a near-god being who has the power to travel to different planets (or planes). The novel ends with Urza leaving the land and snow falling, paving the way for future novels in this series.

Overall, I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars and recommend other readers to read this. The author Jeff Grubb wrote a book with a perfect plot and a detailed description of characters, locations, and events; and most of the times it is easy for readers to understand. You do not have to play

Magic the Gathering to understand this story, and that is what makes this book interesting. However at certain points the book tends to go confusing because there is a great amount of detail, and sometimes it confuses the reader. Also it is not recommended to skip any chapters in the book, as each chapter ties in with the next.

In The Brothers’ War, Jeff Grubb paints a picture of how ambition and the lust power can destroy both men and land alike. Forces that even threatens our world today.

Sources:

Grubb, Jeff. The Brother’s War. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 1998

SNES Game Review – Mortal Kombat 3

In 1995 Mortal Kombat 3 was unleashed upon the world. Following the great success of Mortal Kombat 3, the team at midway polished their game to a sleeker, faster, bloodier, more complicated fighting game.
Unfortunatly for Shang Tsung, his master Shao Kahn has enacted a 10,000 year old plan to revive his dead queen Sindel in the Earthrealm, where she can act as a beacon to allow Shao Kahn to leave the Outworld, and conquer the Earthrealm. Billions of souls are instantly stolen by Shao Kahn, sparing only a few because of Rayden’s influence. Now the Fighters must defeat Shao Kahn or risk losing their realm to the lord of the Outworld. Mortal Kombat begins again.

Graphically, Mortal Kombat 3 surpasses any fighter of its generation. Stop motion actors were used for the sprites, beautiful dark backgrounds less concerned with an Asian theme, now portray a stronger western influence. The Effects of special abilities are revamped to include brighter messier visuals that portray even more violence than the previous installments.

Mortal Kombat 3 had impressive brooding fight music, powerful SFX and appropriate announcer sound bytes. Strong hits are accompanied by loud smacks and visceral crunches. Truly Violence has never sounded so satisfying as it does on Mortal Kombat 3

As fighters advanced, so did their control scheme and difficulty. Mortal Kombat 3 builds upon the strong foundation of HI KICK LO KICK, HI PUNCH LO PUNCH, BLOCK, and adds an additional RUN meter as well as “Chain Combos” that are unstoppable after they have begun regardless of hitting an opponent. The learning curve is awfully steep for a fighter because it includes a larger variety of combo attacks as well as a few newly introduced game play aspects such as: multi-tier arenas where an opponent can be knocked upwards into a special arena above the starting ones, a new fatality known as “Animalities”

Mortal Kombat 3 is not an easy game by any standards, it is reserved for seasoned MK veterans as well as those looking for a smarter fighter. Mortal Kombat 3 was marketed towards the Teen audience, despite its massive quantities of violence and gore.

Mortal Kombat 3 expanded upon its predecessors, implemented new features, and polished already impressive graphics to a almost realistic degree. Mortal Kombat 3 deserves a solid 4 bicycle kicks out of 5.

New Play Control! Pikmin Preview for Nintendo Wii

Pikmin came from the mastermind of game designer Shigeru Miyamoto. It was actually one of the lesser known titles produced by the creator of Zelda and Mario. With the port to the Nintendo Wii, many players will get a second chance to experience this underrated Nintendo Gamecube classic title. Here is a preview of New Play Control! Pikmin for the Nintendo Wii.
Story

Captain Olimar is a famous explore from the planet, Hocotate. One day, he decided to take a break from his scavenger job and aimlessly float through space with his ship, Dolphin. Disaster hits when a comet brought the Dolphin down to a mysterious planet. Now Captain Olimar must find the missing parts of the Dolphin with the help of his Pikmin friends before his life support system runs out in 30 days.

Graphics

Pikmin was one of the better-looking titles on the Nintendo Gamecube. Thus, New Play Control! Pikmin still holds up nicely against other Nintendo Wii games due to the unique art style and vibrant visuals. Not to mention that the game will support widescreen display on the Nintendo Wii.

Sound

The music in New Play Control! Pikmin is simply majestic with its mix of exploration and relaxation. In addition, the battle cries of the game will make you feel like you are in a real struggle.

Gameplay

You won’t find another video game like New Play Control! Pikmin except for the original Pikmin and Pikmin 2. The series can be best described as adventure titles with real-time strategy elements.

The main character, Captain Olimar, does not do much by himself. Instead, he commands strange plant-like creatures called Pikmin. These mysterious inhabitants can perform many tasks including fighting enemies, building bridges, carrying objects and breaking down walls.

Captain Olimar can control up to 100 Pikmins at a time. The different types of these plant-like creatures includes red (withstand fire and strong attackers), blue (swimming ability) and yellow (can carry bombs and be thrown high). In addition, these Pikmins have three stages of development going from leaf to bud to flower. The more mature a Pikmin, the faster it runs.

Pikmins lived in a spaceship called the Onion. This building is very important in your mission as it is where you can summon Pikmins, create new ones (by bring pellets and enemy bodies) and hide them from night predators.

Using the Onions and Pikmin, you must frantically search the mysteriously planet of your missing spaceship parts. New Play Control! Pikmin will put you on a time limit throughout the whole journey. You only have 30 days in the game in order to find all missing parts and return home before your life support runs out. In addition, you can only venture out on the Pikmin planet when the sun is up.

The unique gameplay combined with the franticness made Pikmin one of the best and also one of the most underrated Nintendo Gamecube titles. New Play Control! Pikmin will be adding a new control scheme to the game. Since most of the action requires aiming, using the Wii Remote to aim will be a welcomed addition.

Final Product

New Play Control! Pikmin will retail for $29.99. This is quite the bargain for an excellent game, especially since the Nintendo Gamecube version is still going for over $20 used.

So if you missed Pikmin on the Nintendo Gamecube, don’t miss it again when New Play Control! Pikmin comes out in March exclusively for the Nintendo Wii.

Snapchat Hacks

How to hack a Snapchat account

Saying that I like Snapchat is an understatement. I’ve been in love with the app ever since its release in 2014. I was one of the first people in my friend group to start using it. However, recently I’ve been having my doubts about the app because my friend brought to my attention that there is a Snapchat Spy on the internet that allows people to hack into your Snapchat account. Now, I’m not sure whether these so called “Snapchat Hacks” are actually real, but you can never be too careful.

The Snappening, an example of what could happen

You might think that those Snapchat hacks are a bit far fetched. After all, it can’t be easy to hack into a Snapchat account and spy on their snaps, right? That’s what I thought but I did some searching on the internet and I found out that there have been several well documented security breaches in Snapchat in the past. For example, in 2014 there was a huge breach in a third party app which allowed people to save Snaps that people sent to them, which you normally can’t do. It was dubbed “the Snappening”. In this hack millions of people had their Snaps leaked, which is something I absolutely do not want to happen. After all, the main feature of Snapchat is that the images are only visible for a few seconds after which they are deleted. This makes many people feel more safe in sending quite embarrassing pictures of themselves. I personally have sent some pretty strange pictures while on a night out for example because I knew that they would be deleted after the snap was viewed. If you want to know more about what happened in the 2014 Snapchat hack I included a video below that you can watch to gain more knowledge.

 

Will I still use Snapchat?

Of course I will still use Snapchat. The chance of something like what happened in 2014 happening to me is quite slim, but I will definitely be more cautious about what I send through Snapchat, and I think other people should do the same. Learn from the past, and don’t let it happen again!

 

 

Five Tech Savvy Cars for Tech Savvy People

Since the first hybrid vehicles were produced, developers and engineers have been striving to make the best fuel efficient and energy saving vehicles they can. These five vehicles have the newest in technologically advanced systems in them. Though some of the hybrids out there might not be cheap, they all were designed with saving money in the long run. But for those who enjoy the technology, it’s all priceless.
The 2011 Chevrolet Volt has a sleek and stylish new look. It has a hybrid electric and gas engine with a wide driving range of up to 375 total miles. Some tech features of this vehicle include two LCD screens that display every bit of information from mph to battery life left and anything else that the driver would need to know. Navigation with voice recognition which also has a feature where the vehicle actually communicates back to you. The entertainment system includes a BOSE energy efficient sound system along with a USB port for any MP3 player, Blue-tooth wireless technology for hands free talking, and 30GB of audio data storage.

The 2011 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport is notably the worlds fastest street legal car out therewith a top speed over 250mph. With a price tag over two million dollars, this car has the most advanced technology you can buy. With 16 cylinders and quad turbo chargers, this car puts out just over 1000 horse power. While the entire skin of the car is made up of carbon fibre composites, the super sport also has the option of a 100 percent clear lacquered exposed carbon upon request only. This two seater car has a remarkable stereo system that surrounds you entirely. Full navigation with just about everything in car being leather. The best tech part about this car is that it’s all hand made, so anyone who can appreciate just how hard and how much skill that takes can really take this car seriously.

The 2012 Ford Focus has been named the official car of 2011 international CES. With high end technology such as Ford SYNC, MyFord Touch, HD Radio, Active Park Assist, and in-car Wi-Fi capability that makes the car a “hot spot” for anyone traveling in it to surf the Internet smoothly. this Ford car makes driving more enjoyable. Sony powered audio system and 10 speakers all around the vehicle. With estimated 40 mpg highway will make your trips a little less expensive.

The 2009 Maybach 62s is undoubtedly one of the nicest vehicles to own. This high end luxurious car makes you feel as if you were still sitting on your couch at home. Offering a WLAN router for Internet access everywhere. A rear seat entertainment system paired up with BOSE surround everywhere sound system. Curtains on the windows for privacy and sun blocking, with a flacon perfume atomiser for a fresh smell all the time. Full electric sliding/tilting glass sunroof. A cinema screen that measures 48.3 cm diagonally with two smaller screens on either side, along with a universal portable cell phone up front and a Blue-tooth handset in the rear make you want to hire a chauffeur to take you for a ride.

The 2011 Lexus LFA Supercar has a distinctive exhaust sound that is due to a lot of technical advances and a titanium dual stage rear silencer that make the F1 inspired sounds . LCD tachometer and instrumental panel that offers a huge range of both technical and basic information for the driver. Acoustically tuned with three sound channels that fill the cabin with rich intake and exhaust sounds. It has an aerodynamic spoiler that will automatically rise out of the back of the car at speeds from 50 mph and over to maintain stability, control and down force while driving. It’s small turbulence reducing fins to assure strait line and cross wind stability truly make this a Supercar.

Apple Electronics: Taking the Tech World by Storm

The Apple IPod was the welcoming of a whole new world in electronics. From the debut of first generation IPods, music lovers everywhere flocked to store outlets and online retailers to purchase the new sensation. I remember when I was in high school, sophomore year or so, when one of my friends said that he had ordered one of these devices. I knew nothing of them, not even that they were MP3 players or even what company produced them. Years later, Apple would be the music giant that is responsible for creating the MP3 craze and brought about many other competitors that would try to challenge its status in the industry.
I never bought an IPod back then, but I continued to watch the line grow, as they accommodated more people who listened to music. I remember talking to my friends about Apple’s musical gizmos. One of my friends said they were cool, but nothing that he was into. “Why would I need 40GB of memory?” he would say. He would spend money on something that he knew he could never use to its full potential. A week later the IPod mini came out, a smaller version with less memory, and much more versatile in portability. More or less, Apple created something that could include people like my friend, who could not level with the original model. That week, my friend went out and purchased one, and he has never looked back.

As time pressed, Apple continued to evolve their product more. They created a slimmer look, recreated their trademark touch wheel, included warranties on their toys, and so forth. The biggest overhaul came when I was a student at UMASS, when the IPod would go color. These new beauties had all the same features as its predecessors, including a new colorful screen and the ability to play video. The sizes included 30GB and 60GB models, which could include even the greatest music buffs. They also came out with their new Nano line, which would replace the mini. The Nano was impossibly small, and I didn’t think that 2-4GB of music could be put into them. They also included all color display.

As I thought about it, Apple had the whole market figured out. They had created a product, which from its inception would mark the path for new innovations. Competitors tried to make its move on Apple’s exclusive money maker and have been able to make some profit. They have not, however, been able to loosen the company’s strong hold on the music players market. I was traveling with a friend to the Cape and as we traveled we discussed how well Apple had placed its products on the timeline. They created something for everybody. Their IPod video would include media freaks that could have all their music and videos right at the edge of their fingertips. They made the IPod Nano and Shuffle for people who wanted less space and more of a discreet look. This also was popular with athletes who could buy bands to strap the Nano/Mini to their arm as they ran.

As of recent Apple has released information regarding their new product, the IPhone. I was more than surpised when I surmised by Apple’s choice. Why would they choose to make a mobile phone? As I looked up the specs for this new idea, which was made conveniently available at Apple’s website, I found that this phone is whole new look into handheld electronics.

The phone includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth web features, an Ipod, and a length of features that includes a day planner, calendar, calculator, weather forecasts, stocks, and even an a new road map feature. The new phone can sync up to a PC or Mac and load up address and phone numbers from your own computer. At face value, the new phone looks sleek, included a touch screen panel that covers all the controls that the phone might have to do, save for dialing numbers.

Apple’s success in this world is based on one idea. The brilliant workers there are able to synthesize the jobs of several devices into one. Why carry around a CD player and discs, when you can carry around one small device that can play anything you put on it? Why carry around an IPod, a cell phone and a PDA when you can have all these in the IPhone? The thinking is simple, and the end result is what drives communication and entertainment together and forward. I think that this new phone will bring about a new age in communication,

LG Optimus Black Review

There is usually a huge buzz at the CES tech show each year. However, this year it is slightly more than usual because of the launch of many new smart phones that could very likely challenge the domination of the Apple products. The LG Optimus Black is certainly one of them and many now regard LG to be having the upper hand when it comes to the war between them and Samsung. The Samsung Galaxy S was the King of the smart phone segment last year, but looking ahead into 2011, the LG Optimus Black looks certainly to be the winner.
The LG Optimus Black is a very interesting phone in that it is probably the first LG phone that you will want to own rather than being forced to own due to the lack of options. It is a properly desirable phone and mostly it is because of the 4 inch display that the phone uses. It is a touch screen that uses the NOVA display technology and it is being rumoured that it will be the future of mobile screen display technologies. The retina display technology and the Super AMOLED display technology are currently the favourites amongst mobile phone manufacturers. It would not come as a surprise if they are inclined to using the NOVA technology in the future.

Apart from the incredibly oversized touch screen display, the obvious advantages of the phone are the size and the LG Optimus Black takes things to a new level by bringing down its size to just 6 mm at its lowest point. It is considerably thinner than the Apple iPhone 4, which currently holds the record for being the thinnest mass produced phone. The cuteness and the curve style make it incredibly beautiful to look at and the attractiveness continues to the inside as well. This is because even though the phone is currently running on the Android 2.2 platform, it is expected to receive the upgrade to the Android 2.3 once it begins shipping. It is nothing less than what the LG Optimus Black deserves because it runs the operating system using a powerful 1 GHz processor. Plenty of user friendliness will be coming as standard because the phone will be having LG’s latest 2.0 user interface. Like the previous user interface version, it is expected to make things easier.

The phone will be having two cameras as standard because of the 3G presence. Even though the details of the main camera are not known yet, LG has revealed that the phone will be coming with a two megapixel camera for video conferencing. This camera is set to shake up the video conferencing feature in every mobile phone since most mobile phones used to have only a VGA camera for video conferencing. A 1500 mAh battery will be powering this mega phone from LG. The only detail regarding the availability and sale of this phone is that it will be launched within two months in most countries. Visiting phone contracts can help you to make appropriate selection for you.