The Escapers Official Blog


Watched the first two episodes of ‘Community’, really not getting it at all, for all it’s plaudits, it’s nothing new or original.

Most irritatingly for me is the lazy use of blonde hair to signify attractiveness, the female lead has curly blonde hair, and thus guys must trip over their dangling tongues to get close to her, whereas Alison Brie, with her monstrously ugly brown hair may aswell be a bit of furniture, the male characters barely seem to be aware of her presence or even existence. It’s lazy, incorrect and just really pathetic writing.

The male lead, I’ve forgotten his name, is strangely unlikable, he is meant to be a bit of a prick, but he isn’t charismatic enough to get away with it.

The only vaguely funny guy is Danny Pudi, who plays the nerdy Pakistani character, yes, he’s asian and he’s nerdy! Never saw that coming! I need a sit down to catch my breath from all the laughter.

Maybe I need to watch a bit more of it, but for me, it’s typical US comedy, fairly boring and reliant on clichés to get the laughs.

Apple Watch

First, I don’t like all these smart watches, it comes under the Google Glass category for me, people are already far too distracted my vapid tweets and facebook dramas, Google Glass and smartwatches are just another excuse to stop interacting with the real world.

However, putting that aside, the Apple Watch looks pretty nice, it’s quite small, which is nice, not a block of plastic hanging off your wrist, I wouldn’t wear one, but I’ve skinny wrists, and I probably could do without looking like a child playing dress up.

It’s got all the usual crap, Stock prices, weather, seriously, it’s always these, who cares that much about stock prices unless you are a broker or investor or something, and then surely you’d take it more seriously than that?

It’s cool product, but I fear like the iPhone, will it make the world a less pleasant place? it won’t be enough for phones to be on the restaurant table, your friends will be constantly ‘checking the time’ too. No tweet is so urgent it needs to be a flick of the wrist away.

Google Glass was a step too far in this direction that society rebelled, many cafés don’t allow their use, users are referred to as ‘glassholes’, I wonder if smart watches will go the same way, I doubt it.

Blair’s Death Rain : Buffalo Wing potato chips

These chips are labelled ‘medium hot’, and it makes a lovely change to find that what they mean is ‘really quite hot’. And not the usual barely detectable spicyness you find with ‘spicy’ snaks. Usually, say like those ‘really hot’ Doritos, whatever they’re called, what you get is actually an oddly sweet tasty tortilla chip, which even the most chilli-phobic person could likely describe as ‘mild’. Blair’s don’t mess around, their ‘medium hot’ is just that’, and their ‘very hot’ could barely be considered fit for human consumption, I could probably strip the paint off my car with that stuff.

10/10 for Blair’s, I like the name Death Rain, they’ve got a great pack of crisps here, and considering it’s a USA import into Australia, I can live with the price. 

The Following

Just started to watch The Following, starring the one and only Kevin Bacon. Only a few episodes in right now, but although the premise borders on the absurd, it’s really quite entertaining. It fits the mold perfectly  of ‘hard bitten ex-cop is the only man capable of working on a particular case, and is called back for one last job’. It’s a total cliche, but an entertaining one. The production values are that of solid Hollywood film, CSI it ain’t.

It’s plain old cops, FBI, murdering, all by the book. An entertaining book though, no question.

Trappistes Rochefort

In my never-ending quest to get blitzed in the tastiest way possible, I’ve given this beer a go.

It’s Belgian, and if it’s one thing the Belgians do well, it’s make beer, the Trappist monks are especially good, it’s a calling really, and a valuable one, the world would be a happier place if making good beer was a priority to more people.

Anyway, getting on with it. It’s 11.3%, which is a decent amount of alcohol, about double most ‘strong’ beers, I know some beers are less than 5%, but they can’t legally be called beers in most civilised nations, they are classified as soft drinks.

Considering it’s strength, it’s flavour is quite subdued, it’s like Duvel, but without the harshness, it’s aftertaste is slightly caramel, a little floral, very pleasing. I find Duvel a little rough, too fizzy, this is a ‘Gentleman’ version of Duvel, it’s similar, but with the edges smoothed off.

If you are looking for an intro to Belgian beer, you are probably better off with Leffe*, as it’s more noticeably different from the crap you usually drink (yes, you.) If you want to try a different, more subtle Belgian Beer, this is very good.

Trivia : The brewery was founded in 1595, over 400 years old, amazing if you think about it.

I got this beer from Black Sheep, Chelsea, Melbourne. A fabulous shop with an amazing range of Belgian Beers (and other nationalities), the best selection I’ve seen outside of Belgium.

* Leffe is a fantastic beer in it’s own right, Kwak is also a fine example of Belgian brewing, like Leffe, it’s not subtle.


An enjoyable low-key thriller with Eric Bana and Charlie Hunnam. Bana is excellent, sporting a superb American accent. Hunnam seems to be playing same character he does in Sons of Anarchy.

Olivia Wilde is in too, but she could have been anyone really. Kris Kristofferson and Sissy Spacek have small parts but make the most of them beyond “worried parents”.

Bana’s character shows a lot of progression through the film, plus the snowy, bleak, punishing landscape makes for great backdrop.

It’s not a mind-blowing crime epic, but it’s enjoyable and 6.3 on IMDB seems remarkably harsh.

The DVD rental shop

Seems like an anachronism in this day and age, but in my neck of the woods, it’s still got it’s place.

First of all, it’s cheap, about $3 AUD for a new release rental. That’s a bit cheaper than the download places like iTunes. Second of all, it works, every single time. My internet is unreliable, Netflix works maybe 90% of the time. That may not seem so awful, but if you’ve had a hard day and just want to look forward to a film you’ve wanted to see for a while, then the DVD or Blu-Ray is the gold standard, it works practically 100% of the time. When it does not work, it’s because of a scratched disk or something, which means that if you’ve rented 2 or 3 movies, the others will almost certainly work. So far, I’ve had zero failures from my local DVD rental store.

Thirdly, even when my internet does work, Netflix does not really manage the resolution of regular TV, let alone the glory of Blu-Ray, or even upscaled DVD. I’m not a resolution hound, but I don’t really want to see pixels and artifacts. DVD is easily good enough for me, Blu-Ray is overkill, but both wipe the floor with Netflix on my sort of bandwidth.

Don’t get me wrong, that Netflix works at all on 200k a second is a miracle, it’s amazing. I love Netflix, they’ve got a superb product which generally speaking, works on my shockingly poor ADSL line. My reality is though, my internet is not 100% reliable, it’s not 99% reliable, or anywhere close to it. The DVD is.

Hell, I even enjoy the walk over the creek to go browse the selection.

Review: BlackBerry Q5

I seem to be out and about a bit more these days, and the limited email capability of my Nokia Asha was becoming a bit of a pain. So I decided to get a new phone. I pretty much insist on QWERTY keyboards on my phones. It used to be about being a much faster typist on one (and I still am), but the real reason now is more about a sheer bloody-minded point of principle. I don’t like how everyone just followed Apple into making touch-only phones. It’s not that touch only phones are bad, but their total lack of imagination is.

Anyway, BlackBerry Q5…

It’s much chunkier than an olde worlde BlackBerry, but still feels nice in the hand.


It does not have the physical trackpad or the back/menu buttons of the old BlackBerry models. Apparently that’s coming back with the Q20 due to ‘customer feedback’. Sounds like someone at BlackBerry thought a way to stave off a further decrease in their fortunes was to actually make phones that their customers liked, and had a history of buying.

It’s not so bad not having these buttons, I’d like to have them, certainly, but I’ll live.

It’s OK built, not great, but for a $300 AUD phone, it’s acceptable.

The keyboard gets a bad rap in other reviews, but it feels OK to me.

The screen is very nice, bright, and sharp.


It feels like a Playbook trying to emulate an older BlackBerry. This is not so terrible. The Playbook was actually pretty nice, and old BlackBerries are nice.

The email is all changed, you don’t need the ‘BlackBerry service’ from your carrier any more, nor does your business need to run BES. So no more requirement for BIS or BES. This is great, I probably would not have bothered if I’d had to get on the phone to my carrier.

The BlackBerry app store takes PayPal, this is extremely good. Other could, but won’t, learn from this.

It’s all pretty quick, and kind of basic feeling, I like basic feeling, it’s a phone, not a workstation.

Contacts, calendars etc. sync on just fine, my 4 email accounts all work perfectly.

This all feels more polished and more ‘ready to go’ than older BlackBerries, I’m kind of impressed.

There is a lack of buttons on apps, we’re meant to swipe in different directions to do different things. Can’t say I like it, I like the clarity of menus etc. but it’s hardly a deal breaker.


It’s a fully functional QWERTY phone, which is quick and works well. This makes it different to all QWERTY Android phones. Everything works as it should. There are few stand-out features, but what it is, is an affordable BlackBerry 10 phone. If you’re like me, stubbornly refusing to buy a non-QWERTY phone, and want something that isn’t crap*, like all the Android ones, then you could do far worse, I know I have.

All things considered, I’d say this:

It does not work as well as the old BlackBerry system. It’s just not as usable. The lack of some hardware buttons has not been adequately replaced with swipe gestures.

It is however more powerful. The app store and web is better. The email is better just because you don’t need to sign up for BIS etc. This makes BlackBerry an easier choice in some ways than it used to be.

BlackBerry is not the powerhouse it was, but they still make good smartphones. They’ve slipped up a bit trying to copy others, but I think they are trying to correct that.

*I’m not saying all Android phones are crap, I’m saying all the QWERTY ones are.

Flux 5.1

Flux 5.1 is out now!

Quite a few bug fixes, and a few new features, mainly Assisted content editing…

And, now, areas like the Inspector, or Snippets can now be put into their own palettes! This works really well when you have a 2nd screen hooked up.

Microsoft Surface

So, I got a Surface, I’ve been using it for a while, so here are the deets…

Physically, it’s a nice device, the little stand at the back it actually very useful, and much, much better than the iPad case solution for the same problem. MS got this right. Overall build quality is not as nice as the iPad, it’s not as solid feeling.

The Surface has some useful stuff, a USB port, this is good, no required little adapter I’ll inevitably forget.

Overall, the Surface is a better physical device, it’s got features that I wish the iPad had.

Software - It gets a bit different here, email frequently crashes, it’s barely useable now, the web browser doesn’t crash since the last update, but it does go a bit ‘flaky’.

The calender can’t sync with Google, this is a biggie for me, Windows *Phone* can sync with Google, but the tablet can’t? Seriously, MS and Google need heads banging together.

Quality of apps on the iPad is better, not just the Apple supplied stuff, but 3rd party too.

Fundamentally, Apple took a phone OS and inflated it to a big screen, MS took a desktop OS and brought it down into a tablet. This really makes itself obvious in battery life, the Surface is bad, like, erm, really bad.

On the plus side, the Surface *should* be more powerful, in terms of apps, it’s a desktop OS after all, but only the Metro side of it, the traditional Windows Desktop is there (yeah I know, weird), but it can only run IE and Office, which just tells me they couldn’t get a Metro version of Office out the door in time (or at all).

More about Metro, it’s pretty, even very pretty, iOS 7 plays a good game, but for me, Metro still has the edge, it’s austere, well though out (for the most part), and easy on the eyes, I found iOS garish after using the Surface for a while, not ugly, but overwhelming colourful, too much for my tastes.

The main reason I don’t use the Surface much, is it’s basically out of battery power every time I reach for it.

The Surface is a good device if you can live with it’s limitations, I found it good in the kitchen, the little stand keeps it upright for following recipes and such. It’s a good effort, and it can keep up with the iPad in some respects, even better it with the flexibility of USB, but the software needs work, a lot of work. Battery life needs to be seriously looked at.

It tries to be a tablet and a laptop, and is not brilliant at being either, it’s an odd concept, that may suit some people, those people may need to keep a petrol generator close to hand.

Apple could learn from the hardware, the iPad is almost a sealed unit, the Surface is a bit more ‘open’, it’s not enough to make a real difference, but it’s something.

For an iPad replacement, no, it’s just not good enough. To replace a laptop? It depends, if you use a Macbook Air, then no, stick with that, it’s better in every respect, probably battery life included. If you just browse the web on an aging netbook, then maybe, just maybe, the Surface is good enough for you.