When s#!t happens!

It’s painful when your graphics card dies out, but even more so when it dies out not because you pushed it too hard (overclocked it), but because of a power-surge. I had a trusty HD 4870, and though it wasn’t the newest of the cards it did serve me well for over 4 years now and could still push most games I play at decent framerates. Plus and more importantly, it worked very well for all my current graphics needs. I mostly target DX-9 to DX-10 level hardware and the 4870 was more than enough for that task. Sigh! … it’s dead now!

It so happened that while I was away one weekend, an electrical fault caused current to leak into the earthing terminal (probably busted earthing of the power co.). Since the earthing terminals of most electrical equipment (including most PCs) don’t break when you turn off the switch, the current flowed into my PC and destroyed one of the PSU caps. As a result PCIe supply of PSU shorted out killing the graphics card. Fortunately (and thank God) no data was lost and the HDDs seem quite OK when I ran tests on them.

The only option left was to get a new card and I opted for the R9 270X. No point in going for an older card now that the R9s are DX-12 compatible. Unfortunately The R9s don’t play well with older MoBos and … so I had to get a new MoBo with a new CPU, and a new PSU, with a new cabinet and basically build a new dev machine from scratch, not to mention another 20-hour dev setup after installing a new OS.

Well to anyone who is reading this, my advise is to at the very least have a stabilizer for your PC. A UPS can go a long way in preventing such a thing and the most important thing is to have a good PSU. Go for the known brands – Corsair, Cooler Master, Antec, etc.

The Hobbit – The Battle Of The Five Armies in 4DX.


The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies

Fourteen years is a long time, but the last and final chapter of the Hobbit trilogy The Battle of the Five Armies brings to conclusion an incredibly brilliant and successful series of the films (6 in total, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit Trilogy), all of which were a truly remarkable experience. I am a fan of J.R.R Tolkien, a masterful story teller and a great writer — and of Peter Jackson who has been equally remarkable at bringing to life Tolkien’s Middle Earth in all it’s grandeur!

The third Hobbit movie starts off where the previous one (“The Desolation of Smaug”) ends and without giving out too many spoilers, let me just say that the start of the movie is not something to miss out on. The special effects, like in the previous films were, are beautiful.  Martin Freeman (Bilbo), Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Richard Armitage (Thorin) play their parts to perfection. The performance of the rest of the cast is equally impressive. Martin (Bilbo) has been particularly successful at growing the character of Bilbo from an unsure, uncaring, fumbling little hobbit to someone whose council is heeded to even by an egotistic King Thranduil (Lee Pace). If I had ever pictured a hobbit (Bilbo) while reading the “The Hobbit”, Martin would have been him.  Kudos to him for keeping the soul of Tolkien’s work alive though-out the trilogy.


Martin as Bilbo

For The Battle of the Five armies I got an invite to experience the movie in 4DX thanks to Cinepolis (India). 4DX is a new technology that Cinepolis claims, enhances your movie experience by adding an extra dimension of realism. The movie was released in 3D just like the last two hobbit films were, but the 3D experience was enhanced further by adding multi-sensory motion and environment effects which the company calls “4DX”. 4D as in “an extra dimension along with 3D”. In plain English, it means adding movement, weather, lighting, scent effects which are supposed to make you feel like you are right there — living inside the movie. To achieve this experience, your chair is augmented with motion where it yaws, sways and shakes to mimic the motion of the camera. A scent spray is located in front of your chair to send out a stream of scent effects like sweet smells of flowers, or the smell of fresh grass in an open meadow. A blast of cold air is sent when the camera pans over snow covered peaks and streaks of simulated lightning are displayed out across the ceiling to represent thunder & lightning appearing on the screen.

4DXWas the 4DX experience worth it? For the most part I would say Yes. Again… without giving away spoilers let me say that the start of the movie is probably where I enjoyed the effects the most, followed by the glacial effects (cold air breathing down my neck) and finally the meadows of “The Shire” where the flowery smell of the environment was unmistakable. To be fair though I have to say that the technology is new and some chinks remain. There were sections of the movie where effects were misplaced and some effects felt preempted, defeating the suspense of the action that was about to ensue. A scene where Bilbo was just walking down to an injured “friend” was accompanied by shaking of the chair which did not augment the emotion of the scene. However, these were (according to me) only minor creases that need to be ironed out to make 4DX a truly wholesome experience. I would still vouch for 4DX since it tickles those senses which traditionally remained dormant while watching a movie. As for the final question… Did I enjoy it? … Oh! Absolutely I did! :))

As far as the movie goes I would say that it really did feel like an end of a remarkable experience.The Battle of the Five armies is right up there with all other Tolkien-Jackson movies, well worth the praise the series is know for. For me, watching the last movie in 4DX was the proverbial icing on the cake! To quote King Theoden (figuratively)  “If this is to be the end, then I would have such an end, as to be worthy of remembrance.” — and the last of the Hobbit movie was exactly that.