Carrera Crossfuse Ebike review

This is not my review, but it comes from someone I respect, if only because of the miles he rides… in 18 months he managed 4,500 miles on the Crossfire-E. Now he has a Crossfuse and by the sound of it, he loves it more than the Crossfire. With no cut-outs that plague the Crossfire-E, though these can be reduced dramatically on the Crossfire-E, it’s not an issue at all on the Crossfuse, and with now several thousand miles on the Crossfuse, Drewpyfz6 definitely enjoys electric cycling.

One day… one day I’ll get to ride this bike and I’ll be able to give it my review.

This next video shows how you can overide the speed limit of 15mph and increase it to 20mph (this is naughty but it’s only 5mph so no big deal). This is the same person, Drewpyfz6 and one of his commute videos.

Rogue Aces – PS4 Review

Cue Deep booming voice, “In a World,” cue normal voice, flooded with World War 1 and 2 shooters, Infinite State Games releases a WW2 styled shoot ’em up harking back to the halcyion days of Capcom’s 1942, but with a much more modern (but still slightly retro feel) aesthetic and style. While 1942 was a top down scrolling shoot ’em up, Rogue Aces is up, down, left, and right all at the same time. Keep your eyes peeled!

The old school feel also massively extends to the leaderboards, be it global or just friends, you’re driven to keep besting yourself and others, but at least today it will read dazbobaby at the top and not just DAZ.

I’d initially heard about Rogue Aces, more than a couple of years ago, (Wing Kings was the working title – InfiniteStates wanted to call it something like… Rogue Squadron, but seeing as George Lucas has a lot more money than him, he renamed it Rogue Aces), I actually know Charlie (InfiniteState Games) from the Sony PlayStation forums, then he became a member of a forum I created to allow for more mature posts (mess-hall.co.uk – gone forever 🙁 ), but still gaming and playstation related. We even met in person at Eurogamer a few years ago, and while it’s not a traditional friendship, we live hundreds of miles apart, I would consider Charlie a friend. I actually thought the concept sounded promising, and even the VERY early alpha gameplay looked promising.

You might be fooled into thinking that this is a copy of Luftrausers, it’s not, though the gameplay is a tiny bit similar, and both are about arial combat and war, the similarity ends there.

What you have here is a very well rounded, incredibly fun and challenging World War 2 shoot ’em up, that includes a campaign mode, an island hopping mode called Frontline, survival mode, and Hot Potato (these are the ones I’ve unlocked so far), and even more.

  • Campaign: you have one life but 3 planes, keep going as long as you possibly can (hint theres a 100+ missions)
  • Frontline: One plane and one life, but WHEN you die, you restart from the last island you took. There’s also mission timer, you have to get to the boss island and beat the final boss in a set amount of time.
  • Hot Potato: your plane will explode in 8 seconds… get into another as soon as it does.
  • Survival: one life, one plane… survive as long as possible (hint – hot potato)

 

When you intially start playing you’ll probably concentrate on shooting down other aircraft, these will also drop the occasional booster such as faster firing, more bombs, more rockets, faster turning, more powerful guns and so on, while you stay alive you keep these, and in frontline, you keep them until you run out of time. As you progress you’ll rank up, this allows you to unlock these boosters from the get go, and you’ll need them too. I did say it was challenging, oh yeah, it’s also roguelike, meaning when you run out of lives… you start all over again, but at least the ranking up and the unlocked boosters mean you’ll get to play for longer next time.

One of the things I really like about Rogue Aces is the hilarity, I’ve spent hours and hours playing and only a handful of times did I die and restart because I was shot down… no, I keep bloody crashing. And yet I never feel frustrated like many games leave you feeling. In fact I usually end up laughing at myself for doing something stupid 😀

The Campaign is fun and highly addictive in it’s own right, but Frontline is where I’ve spent most of my time, it’s damned hard, funny and utterly brilliant.

Imagine if you will an Angel on one shoulder and a demon on the other, and the demon just keeps whispering “one more game, do a little better, beat that score and best everyone else”, while the angel is saying but you’re a brain surgeon, people will die if you don’t go to work”. All I can say is people will die, and scores will be beaten.

How can I score it? I know Charlie, but I can honestly say it’s worth a punt at £9.99 (PS+ see’s a 20% discount).

But to be honest, even if I had no association with Infinite State Games, and I hadn’t been provided a code (not for review, but from a friend) I think I’d still rate it 10/10, just look for my name on the top of the leaderboards, I didn’t get there by chance.

 

 

Here’s a playlist from InfiniteStates Games, showing the intital alpha test flights and on to actual finished gameplay. This is a treat really, nobody ever gets to see the first gameplay tests up to the finished product.

Logitech Z906 Review

I had a problem, I previously owned logitech z506 speakers, and for my PC they were awesome, the only problem with them is that they lacked a toslink input, they only had 3.5mm jacks, so for 5.1 PC audio they were great, but for anything else they would be useless. So I also used a samsung HT 5.1 system for audio from my PS4. So I actually had 12 speakers in all – 10 satellites and 2 subwoofers.

Now that really wasn’t a huge issue, the cables were all neatly hidden and it worked. But I also have SkyQ and a Mac Mini, so overall a great Home Theatre setup. The Mac Mini has a toslink, so does the SkyQ, so does the PS4. But the Samsung HT only has 1 toslink input, so a toslink 3 way splitter it would be.

For the most part this worked but it’s all really overly complicated, and when the splitter died I was left with disconnecting devices one at a time as and when I needed too. A bit of a pain really, so I decided to take the plunge and get the Logitech Z906 because it has 2x toslink inputs, one coaxial 5.1 input, 3 x 3.5mm inputs for the PC, and phono for the Mac. So at last I would be rid of half of the overall speakers and not only that… a 1,000watt system instead of 1×100 watt and 1 500watt. Plus I wouldn’t need another toslink splitter, the weakest link in the chain.

 

Logitech z906 subwoofer rear

So now after 24 hours of listening to music, watching a few films, and playing some games (PS4 and PC) I can happily confirm the sound is both crisp and clean, and man that subwoofer. You don’t need a wrecking ball to knock down a house… just turn that up and bang on some Massive Attack.

I was surprised at the sheer size of the sub, it’s enormous! Excuse the mess, I have yet to tidy up the cables.

 

The satellites are only a little bigger than my previous speakers, but they can also deliver quite a punch when you crank up the grammy 🙂 I still have a lot of testing to do, but I’m really surprised and very pleased with the whole package, it’s loud, it’s soft, it packs a punch when it needs too, and it’s well built, but you’d expect nothing less from something that’s THX certified.

 

Save Wizard for PS4 Review

Not to be confused with Save Wizard MAX (<— This one actually works.) for the PS4

Caveat Emptor.

I recently purchased the PS4 Save Wizard, I just wanted a little help with The Last of Us getting the platinum trophy. So I downloaded, installed, and purchased the Save Wizard in good faith that it’ll work.

It wont, it only works with US games and refuses to do anything with any other region.

So I tried to contact them via their website contact form several times, every time you submit a form it just refreshes the page, so I filed a dispute with Paypal, and left it for 72 hours… no response, I escalated the dispute and found my key for the save wizard was cancelled and they still failed to respond to paypal. However in 1 week I will be issued an automatic refund.

It’s still pisses me off that I now have no refund and software that doesn’t work as advertised.

Caveat Emptor – Buyer beware.

It’s a shame too, the PS3 version has a work around that the PS4 version doesn’t have.

So my advice is to stay clear of it. https://www.savewizard.com/ if you have anything other than a US PSN account and games, and https://shop.xploder.net/xploder-ps4-edition avoid too. The Xploder uses user generated save games.

https://www.savewizard.net  makes use of actual cheats. These work on all regions EXCEPT Japan.

 

ACER ET430 Monitor Review

Update ** See the bottom of my review to find out why I would advise you to avoid this monitor. **

 

I had to wait a while for this to come back into stock at Currys.co.uk, I’d had my eye on it for a while, it’s just a little outside my budget of £500, but the delay gave me an extra few weeks to save the extra £50.00

Now I’ve finally got it, I have to say I’m impressed, its 4K and supports 10bit HDR, 43 inches corner to diagonal corner, it supports HDMI 2.0 and Display Port normal and mini.

Initially I could not get my PS4 Pro to display in anything other than 1080P, after some time messing around with safe mode and nothing working, I started to unplug the PSVR and Elgato HD 60, and there lay the problem, the ELGATO HD 60 will only pass-through 1080P, so I stripped out the HD 60 and left the PSVR connected and boom! Everything worked fine, 2160P full RGB and HDR 🙂

I fired up The Last Of Us remaster and it’s utterly stunning, the resolution upscale and the HDR inclusion just made it look stunning. But I also noticed another thing, if you play TLOU for any amount of time, your team GLOW when they walk out of sight, this means you can see where your team is. On my previous monitor, an LG ultrawide monitor, there was some ghosting from the glow, not on this bad boy though. I will miss the ultrawide, they’re awesome for PC gaming and movies. Movies don’t have the black bars and the extra width give you an edge in almost any game that supports 2560 x 1080, which is most modern games.

Did I have to get a 4K panel? Not really, it doesn’t complete me, but having a 4K capable Mac, PC and PS4 Pro and not having a 4K screen… it’s a waste, it’s like employing a cleaner to do the dirty work, but in another life they were a world renowned network admin. But that’s what this panel does, it restores the balance, and seeing what 4K HDR looks like… it’s like going from VHS to 1080P.

Specs:

  • Response 5ms
  • 2 x HDMI 2.0
  • 2 x display port
  • 1 x mini display port
  • 43 Inches
  • 4K and 10bit HDR
  • Contrast: 100,000,000:1
  • Brightness: 350 cd/m²
  • Screen type: IPS

There is a minor downside though, who ever thought that having the ports underneath the back of the screen is a numpty. Getting access to them has meant taking the panel down, connecting/disconnecting and putting it back. It’s all a bit of a farce. Still, once you’ve finished you should be good for quite some time. My advice is to plug-in all the cables if you can, even if you don’t use them… leave them plugged in to make life easier later in case you do need them.

Overall I’m seriously impressed, it’s a beautiful screen, 4K looks amazing, HDR also looks nothing short of stunning, and considering there’s no TV tuner, no catch-up TV or anything like that, you can see why this monitor is probably a better purchase than a TV of the same price. You’ll get more bang and less stuff you don’t need.

AWESOME Screen, if you’re in the market for a monitor. It even sounds OK too. Not as good as dedicated speakers… but seriously, not too bad either.

Nice one Acer.

 

** UDATE **

I’ve returned the monitor to Curry’s for a refund. Why?

After some 9 months of usage and the LED’s on the right side started to flicker, actually it had been doing so for around 6 weeks, but it was so subtle and rare I wasn’t quite sure I’d seen it. But as these things do, it got worse and noticeable, and much more pronounced.

I did sent it away to Acer for repair, they picked it up on Tuesday and returned it to me on  Friday 10 days later.

They’d replaced the flickering LED’s alright, but now the LED’s on the right were brighter than the left, and after only a few days… they started to flicker again. The deterioration this time was much much faster, they went from “wait did it just flicker?” to 3 days later, the monitor became unusable again.

Not only that but there was a shadow down the center, almost as if the LED’s had a 4 inch gap in the center and the light didn’t quite reach that part of the screen.

So instead of fixing it, they actually made things worse… much worse.

Hence the refund.

So I’ve gone from a glowing review to a negative review, and all because the repair process failed. You can have the best equipment on the market, and you’re bound to get some failures, it happens. But if you can’t successfully repair the unit, then all the great reviews in the world won’t help when people see unit failures and repair failures turn into negatives. Just like this one.

 

AVOID this monitor at all costs.

Western Digital EX4100 Cloud Server Review

I recently sold my desktop PC, but before I did I needed a place to store my 2x4TB HDD’s and 2x2TB HDD’s. I had a huge amount of data on them and I did NOT want to lose it all.

So I purchased this cloud server with the intention of

  1. having a network share available anywhere in the world
  2. having somewhere to put my drives

I’d looked at various cloud servers for a couple of years and even considered building a PC with the intention of just being a file server, but to be honest at £330 it was a good price, considering I’d seen much more expensive systems, ranging from £400-£900, they were overkill, and this just fit my budget and needs perfectly.

 

First up, when you get the device you need to install the drives, but before you do BE WARNED… all the data is lost as this uses Linux file systems and cannot read and write NTFS, so the drives are formatted before it can use them. So backup first. I started messing with the web interface.

I like the GUI, it’s clean and simple, everything is tabulated and well laid out, home shows the above screen, users will let you add/remove/modify users and their access to various drives and folders, shares lets you control what is available and to whom, apps will let you install remote cloud service providers such as Amazon S3, Elephant drive, Dropbox and what files and folders get synced to these providers, cloud access is for setting up phones and tablets and what they can have access too, backups will let you create backup profiles for remote servers (FTP to this site and download the files) backup files internally to a drive, or backup to a USB drive (USB 3). Storage is where you setup a drive for the first time and settings is where you configure things like time and date, server name energy saving and time machine backups (OS X).

I’ve had this box of tricks now for a couple of weeks and I’m impressed, I have access to my Mac Mini, another desktop PC, my iPhone and iPad all without any fuss or pain… it just worked straight away with no problems.

I’m pleasantly surprised with the number of apps available for installation too, there’s WordPress, PHPbb, anti-virus, DVBlink for capturing TV to the cloud server, Joomla, Plex media server and more. While things like WordPress could be cool for personal use, for a small company or team it’s a great way to read up and projects and development. Same with PHPbb, only PHPbb is a little more interactive. You also have e-mule (does anyone actually use it anymore?) and even a torrent client for downloading straight to an internal drive.

Media streaming. While it does have the option to add Plex media server, it’s not something you’ll want to use, the internal CPU is very underpowered for transcoding video, it’ll try to do it, but more often than not it’ll fail. But if you just want to use plex for music or audiobooks, then it’ll play that all day long.

Around the back you have 2 x 1 Gbit ethernet ports that will link to create a 2 gbit port or allow synchronous read write from different sources at the same time, in other words, it shouldn’t choke with data traffic across a network, though if you have a large team all accessing at the same time, then it’ll be the drives slowing down and not the network. But to be honest, it’s absolutely fine for personal use, it’ll never be an issue. You also have the option of adding 2 x USB drives for either backup purposes or just increasing space, the front USB will also do the same.

 

Overall my impressions of the hardware is excellent, it’s well put together, it’s clean and simple, it’s low noise, it’s constantly self monitoring and goes into power saving mode when not in use. I just like it, for me to be able to stash 4 hard drives and then share the data to any user and device I allow and do it seamlessly is just incredible.

Wallpaper Engine Review

What is a wallpaper Engine any way? Since the days of Windows 7 we’ve had the ability to slide-show wallpapers every minute to every day and everything in between.
Wallpaper engine does this, but it also MOVES!

If you’ve owned a Playstation 3 or a Playstation 4, you’ll be aware of the dynamic themes you get get for free or for a couple of quid, same with this, it’s a wallpaper that’s dynamic, it features everything from video backgrounds to webGL. The backgrounds vary in intensity from sublime to nauseating. From games like Fez and FTL to The Witcher, and I’ve yet to be charged for a single background.

Not only are the backgrounds free, but with a little time and patience, you can make your own too with the built in studio. I’ve yet to try it, but it must work well enough as there are around 80,000 backgrounds to choose from.

Oh and not forgetting VISUALISERS

So how much is this Wallpaper Engine? It’s an astonishing £2.79, barely the price of a single coffee or pint of your favourite IPA.
Grab it while it’s hot
http://store.steampowered.com/app/431960/?snr=1_5_9__205

Carrera Crossfire-E 12 month re-review

Further reading:

Video re-review at the bottom of the page.
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Carrera Crossfire-E Electric Bike Review

 

Further reading:

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