8BitDo NES30 Pro Controller Unboxing

In this archived video, we take a look at the 8BitDo NES30 Pro unboxing and see what kinds of goodies are inside. If you’re looking for the best Bluetooth controller for retro gaming, then look no further than the NES30 Pro series from 8BitDo. With shoulder buttons, 2 analog sticks, and a stylish design reminiscent of the Nintendo Entertainment System, the 8BitDo NES30 Pro Bluetooth controller is made for any retro gaming challenge you can throw at it!

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Tech teardowns, repairs, and reviews; sketches; how-to; games; and lots of other interesting geekery. There’s something new every week! Thanks for watching, and be sure to like, share, and subscribe!

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Doctor No (James Bond, #6)

Doctor No (James Bond, #6)
author: Ian Fleming
name: Matthew
average rating: 3.77
book published: 1958
rating: 4
read at: 2018/08/27
date added: 2018/08/27
shelves:
review:

Fleming’s Bond may have gotten in over his head in this Jamaican outing. After sufficient rest following a near-fatal wound, Bond is sent “on a holiday in the sun” to investigate the mysterious disappearance of his friend Commander Strangways (from Live and Let Die). This book serves as sort of a “reset” for the Bond character, miraculously surviving a fatal blow at the end of From Russia With Love. Bond is rusty, careless, and seemingly fed-up with his lot, but he grudgingly flies off to one of the last vestiges of the crumbling British empire, reconnects with his friend Quarrel and ruminates about the time that has passed since his last visit to the island.

Dr. No is a love letter to Fleming’s Jamaica, replete with exquisite detail of the high and low societies of the tropical island where he spend so much time writing. Bond, like Fleming, grudgingly picks up his next job and re-familiarizes himself with the tropes that made him great. This is the return of the great adventure novel in all its swashbuckling glory–a mystery, a megalomaniacal villain, and solitary dangers to test our hero to his very core. The climactic battle, though, is not with the titular baddie, but with something even more typical of the genre (and done with a self-aware flourish) that serves as a new direction for the Bond series. It’s not the best in the bunch, but it’s certainly worth a read!

Pick up a copy on Amazon (affiliate link)

From Russia With Love (James Bond, #5)

From Russia With Love (James Bond, #5)
author: Ian Fleming
name: Matthew
average rating: 3.89
book published: 1957
rating: 5
read at: 2018/08/21
date added: 2018/08/21
shelves:
review:

After creating a rather winning formula with his James Bond novels, Ian Fleming uses his 5th book as a departure from the norm. The book is really divided into two distinct parts: the first, a deep look at the operations of SMERSH within the greater Soviet party bureaucracy as well as an intimate portrait of their best assassin–a bipolar sociopath whose disillusion with western society led to his defection during the early years of allied occupation in postwar Germany. The second, a romp around the gleefully sinister city of Istanbul where daily jabs in spycraft put the “game” in “The Great Game”. This romp, following James Bond and led by his new friend and ally Kerim Bey, is a love letter to the near Orient of Fleming’s time. The area was in transition to modernity, and Fleming attended those growing pains with interesting details and flourishes such as the juxtaposition of modern film advertisements alongside traditional institutions like the spice bazaar.

In true Fleming fashion, the writing is verbose and colorful when describing the scenery, then tight and frenetic when describing action (such as the climactic fights with Red Grant and Rosa Klebb). Kerim Bey is a wonderful character and brings a joie de vivre to the introspective action of a typical Bond adventure. Bond himself seems more flippant in this adventure, possibly owing to the fact that he feels that the whole assignment is rather daft (a beautiful Soviet cyphers technician wants to defect because she has fallen in love with Bond’s file), which leads to a series of missteps and miscalculations that build to an intense climax aboard the legendary Orient Express.

Pick up a copy on Amazon (affiliate link)

element14 Presents: Project Pripyat – DIY Geiger Counter

This is my solo debut as part of the element14 Presents team, and I’m extremely excited to be on this journey. I’ll be producing some follow-up videos to supplement this one, so be sure to subscribe to my newsletter or on YouTube for more fun!

Continue reading

Diamonds Are Forever (James Bond, #4)

Diamonds Are Forever (James Bond, #4)
author: Ian Fleming
name: Matthew
average rating: 3.59
book published: 1956
rating: 4
read at: 2018/07/27
date added: 2018/07/27
shelves:
review:

The funny thing about reading Fleming’s original novels after being so intimately familiar with the films is that one draws interesting comparisons between the two. The novels are relatively “small” stories, centered around one or two locales, with tight action; the films, on the other hand, are big and bombastic with ridiculously opulent set pieces and cartoonish villains that seems like a Bizarro World analog to the source material. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with either (I thoroughly enjoy the films every time I watch them), but it’s interesting to note what’s different and what stays the same.

In Flemming’s Diamonds Are Forever, Bond is assigned to infiltrate and topple an international diamond smuggling racket. In the film, though, the smuggling is only one small–almost unrelated–aspect of a ridiculous plot to build a satellite-mounted laser capable of incinerating capital cities. Bond would hardly even be on the case if it weren’t for his quest for revenge against Ernst Stavro Blofeld for killing his new bride in the previous film. The diamonds are just a happy coincidence in the film.

In the book, Bond once again needs to infiltrate the world of American organized crime (with a little help from and old friend) starting in New York, but instead of whisking away to the Caribbean for the third act, Bond is instead transported to the atomic-era glitz of the (then brand new) Las Vegas strip. No satellites this time. No mysterious analogs to Howard Hughes. Just Bond, his wits, and Tiffany Case who becomes the first in the line of villainous Bond Girls to be seduced and “turned straight” by 007.

Come for the suspense, stay for the action. This is one of Fleming’s best!

Pick up a copy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Moonraker (James Bond, #3)

Moonraker (James Bond, #3)
author: Ian Fleming
name: Matthew
average rating: 3.69
book published: 1955
rating: 5
read at: 2018/07/13
date added: 2018/07/14
shelves:
review:
If your only experience with Moonraker is the Roger Moore film, please drop what you’re doing and read this book! In every respect–characterization, action, stakes, and plot development–this is the superior work. Fleming takes an oddly innocuous assignment for Bond–more of a personal favor to M, discovering a card cheat at the club–and unravels a treasonous Cold War plot that becomes the first of the familiar “Fate of The World” high-stakes gambits that James Bond is known for.

The scenery is local, but the plot reaches from Dover to Berlin to Moscow as Bond teams up with the Special Branch of Scotland Yard to investigate a murder-suicide at a defense contractor’s plant building the most advanced weapon to date: a transatmospheric guided rocket capable of hitting any capital in Europe with an atomic warhead–the ultimate defense against Soviet aggression or even a re-militarized Germany!

Fleming’s Bond in this story is far from the superhuman sophisticate we see in the Moore film of the same name. This version of Bond has a normal office job when he’s not on assignment and a human’s sense of mortality. The literary Bond gets injured (badly), he contemplates death (as he embarks on a suicide mission), and he might not even get the girl!

Pick up a copy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
author: John Berendt
name: Matthew
average rating: 3.91
book published: 1994
rating: 4
read at: 2018/06/28
date added: 2018/07/04
shelves:
review:

As a Georgia native, I’ve always known of and had a fascination with the little jewel down at the end of I-16, but Berendt’s Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil brings the city and its eccentric inhabitants to life in such a colorful way that–had it been about any other city in the country–I would have thought it a work of complete fiction! The truth, it seems, is often stranger and more interesting than one could imagine.

It’s a long read, and one could get bogged-down in the many long-winded descriptions of settings, but pick up the audio edition for a truly dramatic reading that brings the wonderfully goofy cast of characters directly into your mind’s eye!

Pick up a copy on Amazon (affiliate link)

The Blue Nowhere

The Blue Nowhere
author: Jeffery Deaver
name: Matthew
average rating: 3.97
book published: 2001
rating: 1
read at: 2018/07/03
date added: 2018/07/04
shelves:
review:

It’s so terrible that it’s unintentionally hilarious!

I’m pretty sure Deaver’s “research” for this book consisted of watching Hackers, The Net, and Lawnmower Man, then asking is 16-year-old nephew for an explanation on the jargon they used in the films. That’s about as “deep” as this book gets into understanding its subject matter.

If you love a cheesy, woefully dated outsider’s look into The Cyber filled with every generic trope you could imagine, you’ll likely enjoy this disasterpiece. Just don’t forget to burn your modem and encrypt your Garbage files!

Pick up a copy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Big Clive on Fallibility

People make mistakes. It’s just ours tend to be louder and involve smoke and flames.

“Big” Clive Mitchell

Live and Let Die (James Bond, #2)

Live and Let Die (James Bond, #2)
author: Ian Fleming
name: Matthew
average rating: 3.62
book published: 1954
rating: 4
read at: 2018/06/13
date added: 2018/06/13
shelves:
review:

Fleming’s second James Bond outing is a more mature affair than its predecessor. This one feels more of the James Bond we know and love from the films: exotic locales, megalomaniacal villains, alluring women. In fact, although much of the original plot points remain in tact when this book transferred to film with Roger Moore ascending to the role after Sean Connery’s final departure, many of the individual scenes eventually made it into the various films at some point or another (Licence To Kill’s “He disagreed with something that ate him” scene primarily comes to mind).

One thing for modern audiences to note, though, is Fleming’s obvious “gentleman’s racism” toward black culture in the United States and the Caribbean. Was it a product of its time and place (London society in the 1950s?) probably. Was it okay? Absolutely not. I cringed every time Fleming described scenes within the “Negro” clubs in Harlem (I’ll spare the details, but they’re not unlike reading a description of minstrel shows from the turn of the 20th century). I understand that Fleming was trying to convey a fascination and appreciation with this entire culture that his audience would likely be unfamiliar with, but he does so in a way that reiterates the idea that African Americans are a separate (and inferior) species (as he will eventually do with Germans, Eastern Europeans, and anyone else who isn’t an Anglo/Norman Caucasian). The stereotypes he portrays as being endemic to an entire race of people are appalling and indefensible, but he uses them to great effect to describe the antagonistic Mr. Big.

If you can stomach the racial bigotry (and it’s pretty harsh, especially when Bond overhears background characters talking among themselves), come for the high adventure and thrilling suspense. If you’re a fan of the films, stay for the myriad of scenes that you’ll recognize from the whole of the series.

Pick up a copy on Amazon (affiliate link)

Adventitious Geekery and other distractions created or curated by Matthew "Atari" Eargle