Beware of fake tax emails

Today I received an email from my bank stating that my tax papers are ready for me to download.

I know that my bank physically mails me those papers, so I looked a little closer and it turns out that it’s a fake email that is disguised to steal my bank log in information. If you’re savvy with your email check out the email header info to see where the email is really from. That email looked very legit. It contained lots of official looking images and verbiage that financial institutions would use.  So be careful out there. Those bad people know tax season is near so they’re out there to steal information from you.

If you’re unsure whether your bank email message is legit go directly to your bank website by manually opening up your web browser and typing in your username and password on a home computer. Keep in mind that the web address to any bank log in will start with HTTPS in addition to an image of a padlock.

wellsfargo

 

If it doesn’t then close your browser and make sure you typed in the correct address. Most bank web access accounts should have an inbox that contains official emails from the banks itself. If you’re still paranoid go directly to your bank branch and request any tax papers you need.

Happy New Year

It’s a day late, but Happy New Year anyways.  It’s been almost a whole year since I posted anything on my blog. Sorry to the three people that actually visit this site.

Anyhow, 2014 was a great year. I started a new job, I finished grad school, my son turned two, and I finally installed AC for my house. I don’t how we survived the hot summers the previous years. 2015 will be just as exciting as my family life will be even more busy with a new addition coming this spring.

And YES, I do keep up with UFC my MMA interest hasn’t waned. And just for the record I’m picking Jon Jones by TKO in the championship rounds against Daniel Cormier.

Robocop

robocop2014

This film is a remake of the iconic and classic 1987 movie of the same name. This remake carries a different message and meaning which separates it from the Paul Verhoven’s version. In this Robocop, it blurs the line between man and machine rather than social commentary of commercialism. Overall it’s a great action movie that stands on it’s own merits, and I can only hope a sequel is in the works soon.

Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

 

 

 

Nexus 5

nexus5

 

The Nexus line of phones have been Google’s attempt to show Android OEMs how they should build their phones.  But companies like Samsung, LG, and HTC all have built their own Android devices that differs greatly from Google’s Nexus phones. It’s not to say that those devices aren’t as good. In some cases they are better.

The past iteration of the Nexus phones they have been lackluster. The Nexus 4 lacked LTE and it had a below par camera. But nonetheless the Nexus brand is very popular among Android die hard fans. With the release of the Nexus 5 Google also released their latest version of Android version 4.4 dubbed “Kit Kat”.  This new version has refined many areas of the mobile OS. Coupled with a 5″ screen, blazing fast processor, and a solid build construction the phone seems destined to be one of the best Android devices of the year.

I’m not going to go deep in depth about the Nexus 5. You can view the hundreds of reviews already on the internet that covers every details of the phone. Here, I’ll be covering my opinion of this phone and whether or not you should buy it.

The Nexus 5 as a whole is a fantastic device. It’s thin, light, and it feels great in the hand. With Kit Kat this new OS focuses a lot on the UI experience. The voice activated Google Now search is fantastic and I find myself using it more and more. The phone is amazingly fast and opening apps and swiping through menus is instantaneous.  If you’re coming from an other Android device then you’ll feel right at home. There are some GUI changes but it shouldn’t be too difficult to get use to. But if you’re coming from another OS then there is a little bit of a learning curve, but it shouldn’t be any more difficult than switching to any other OS. Those who already entrenched themselves in the Google ecosystem will get the most benefits. Gmail, Google Drive, Google+, and Google voice are tightly integrated into Android, and if you rely heavily in anyone of those services its difficult to use any other OS.

Where the Nexus 5 dropped the ball is with it’s camera.  The camera is slow to focus and the options and modes for the camera are lacking compared to what the Galaxy S4 or HTC One offers.  Some research on the web has indicated that Google may release an update that improves the camera, but until then the Nexus 5 camera is almost useless when capturing a dynamic scene with lots of movement. I have a 14 month old son, so capturing photos of him playing almost always produces blurry photos. If there is one positive aspect of the camera it is the HDR+.  Pictures taken with this mode produces great photos assuming you’re taking pictures of a static object.

At the end of the day the Nexus 5 is a fantastic phone and the fact that Google is selling the 16GB model at $350 off contract makes it the value in the smartphone market today. If Google manages to push out an update to improve the camera it can really make the Nexus 5 one of the top phones on the market. So should you buy this phone?   Yes. Buy it or at least consider it when you’re looking to get a new phone.  Keep in mind there are other things to consider. For example, if you’re coming from an iPhone you’ll be losing the apps you purchased from the app store. And if you’re all about taking great photos with your cellphone then you might want to wait and see if Google updates their camera.

Rating: ★★★★★★★★½☆

Pros:
Incredibly Fast
Uses latest version of Android
Inexpensive ($350/$400 for 16GB/32GB)
Great build quality

Cons:
Extremely slow camera focus speed
Average battery life

Gravity

Gravity

Sandra Bullock and George Clooney play two astronauts fixing the Hubble telescope. Their shuttle and crew are destroyed by space debris and now they must find a way to get back home.  This visceral thriller is visually stunning and powerful. I’m not sure what’s it like to be an astronaut, and this film does its best to make you feel like you’re helplessly orbiting miles above earth.  Unlike other movies that takes place in space, Gravity immerses in a zero gravity environment, so be warned that if you’re prone to motion sickness you may need to take a Dramamine before seeing this film.

Rating: ★★★★★★★½☆☆

Nexus 7 2013

Nexus-7-2013

I’ve been using the latest nexus 7 for over two months. It’s been a fantastic device. I’ve used it for casual gaming, email, internet browsing, and reading ebooks. The 7 inch size makes this device extremely portable. I take it to my class everyday and use it to follow along with lectures and Powerpoint slides.

This Nexus 7 runs the latest version of Android and unlike other Android tablet this OS is a stock version and doesn’t come with any bloatware you would get from other manufacturers. This tablet has a  1920 x 1080 resolution and videos and pictures look great the front and rear camera are typical tablet quality that are nothing to get excited about. In addition, the battery life isn’t bad either. I can use this tablet all day with a full charge without any problems.  Current tablets on the market today are under-powered and lags behind on the version of Android. This Nexus 7 is fast and smooth and it can handle almost anything you throw at it. When it comes to a 7 inch tablet it doesn’t come any better than this.

Pros:
Inexpensive
Good battery life
Good build quality
Good screen

Cons:
Lack of quality accessories
Power and volume buttons can be difficult to press

Rating: ★★★★★★★★★★

Replaced my laptop’s hard drive to an SSD. Best upgrade ever.

Upgrading your hard drive to a solid state drive can give your computer a significant speed boost. I wish I upgraded sooner.

SSD drives are more expensive than traditional drives, but drives prices have gone down quite a bit when compared to two years ago. I got a Samsung 840 pro 512GB at Fry’s with a price match from Amazon.

I’m still shocked that Silva got KO’d

Even after watching the fight again I’m still not satisfied about Weidman winning the belt. I hope Silva returns and gets his belt back before he retires. But its a great lesson for all fighters that you shouldn’t clown around in the cage against anyone.

UFC 162

ufc162

 

The Spider is back in the octagon to defend his title against an explosive up and coming Chris Weidman. Weidman is a powerful wrestler that has KO power. Many see Weidman as the man to dethrone Silva. It doesn’t mean much since everyone says that about all of Silva’s opponents, but in the end Silva walks away keeping his title without breaking a sweat.

Silva is still the king of the division, and he’ll prove it to night by stopping Weidman in the later rounds.  Weidman will have to focus on his wrestling and keep Silva on his back if he wants a chance. As long as Silva is standing it will be a bad night for the challenger.

 

My Picks:

Anderson Silva beats Chris Weidman
Frankie Edgar beats Charles Oliveria
Tim Kennedy beats Roger Gracie
Tim Boetsch beats Mark Munoz
Dennis Siver beats Cub Swanson
Dave Herman beats Gabriel Gonzaga
Edson Barboza beats Rafaello Oliveria