Another major update to another one of our favorite pieces of software. This time, it's Alfred, the app launcher on steroids. Alfred 1.3 brings a ton of new features and functionality into the mix. We've got the full breakdown after the jump, but the two major features are the File Buffer and Quick Look. You can now use OS X Quick Look within Alfred results to preview the contents of files, while the File Buffer allows you to select multiple files that you'd like to work with through your Alfred commands. Alfred is free, and has a paid add-on called the Power Pack that brings with it a bunch of extra functionality.
The search giant purchased CleverSense, which developed Alfred, an app the company has designated as "your personal robot."
And while you can't speak to Alfred like you can with Siri, the app provides recommendations on restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and clubs based on your preferences, location, and other factors, eventually "learning" what you like over time.
"We built Alfred to create a simple, enjoyable, and powerful way to discover new places and help make decisions on the go," Babak Pahlavan, CleverSense co-founder and CEO, said in a note on its Web site. "It's exciting to see that our passion turned into something people around the world use regularly to make everyday decisions that are just right for them."
With Google, CleverSense said it will "start a new chapter in curating the world around us [and] accelerate our efforts toward this shared vision."
Rating: *** 1/2*
The past two issues of Grant Morrison‘s Batman and Robin have left me scratching my head - but in a good way. We discovered that Dick Grayson the current Batman has been keeping the body of the former Batman Bruce Wayne hidden in a sarcophagus in the Wayne Foundation building. His mission is to resurrect his former mentor by using a newly discovered Lazarus pit. Our last issue ended with Dick, Batwoman, and Kinght and Squire witnessing the supposed resurrection of Bruce Wayne from the Lazarus pit. Is this how Bruce Wayne returns to the land of the living? Thankfully, no.
It seems that the body that Dick Grayson has is one of the replicas created by Darkseid during the Final Crisis. All of them had been destroyed except one as Darkseid stated he could use the deceased body of the cloned Batman for some future use. This is a bit confusing as how could Darkseid have known that he was going to kill Batman and that he could use this clone body for evil purposes? Am I missing something here? Whatever the case the Batman that comes out of the Lazarus pit is a raving lunatic and begins attacking everyone in the room.
The clone Batman is able to escape thanks to a cave in and uses a Bat-copter to escape and head back to the Wayne Foundation. There he beats up Alfred and confronts a wheel chair bound Damian who thinks his father has returned to him. And we end there.
Rating: *** 1/2*
A great issue by Judd Winick to close out his run on Batman. One of the problems I had with Judd’s first run on Batman was the inconsistency. He would write a very good issue of Batman and then a very bad one. In this short run, he started off with a great issue; followed by some mediocre ones and then this great issue.
We pick up where we left off with Dick Grayson as Batman returning to the Batcave after the alarms went off. He finds out that the intruder is none other than Two-Face himself and he’s now at his mercy. Two-Face has pumped Batman with some drugs and he’s hallucinating. He sees Two-Face in some weird Batman-like costume, but it turns out to be all in his head.
Rating: ** 1/2*
After a great first issue, this storyline continues to go downhill. When we last left Batman, Dick was cornered by Clayface and an unknown ex-army guy, who were hired by the Black Mask to help the Penguin. The army guy is given a name in this issue and it’s Lyle Blanco. Blanco is a serial killer whose spent time in Arkham Asylum. Our issue opens with Clayface and Blanco battling Batman. I didn’t like the way Judd Winick had been writing Dick as Batman. I felt that he portrayed Dick is kind of wimpy and unsure of himself, but I liked the way he portrayed Dick here in this fight with Blanco and Clayface. He was confident and sure of his abilities that he could take these guys down. This is the way Batman should be. Kicking butt.
We see also in this issue Two-Face recruiting a young girl who can perform magic whom he looks to recruit in his efforts to find out more about the new Batman. He shows her a batarang that he was able to get his hands on and asks her if she can use it to find out where it comes from. Sort of use it as a tracer to locate the new Batman’s hideout.
Rating: ** 1/2*
Judd Winick’s run on Batman continues. In the last issue, we saw that Two-Face has realized that the current Batman battling in the streets of Gotham is not the same Batman that he’s faced over the years. This Batman likes to smile, which is something the previous Batman was not fond of doing. In this issue, the battle to be the number one crime boss continues. Two-Face is feeding the new Batman intel on the Penguin’s operations; the issue opens with Batman taking out a secret Penguin casino.
The Penguin is obviously not happy as we see him complain to a mysterious figure. I think the person is the Black Mask, but I’m not 100% sure. The Penguin decides he needs help in taking on the Batman. To help him with this problem, the mysterious figure has some muscle for the Penguin in the shape of genetically-enhanced soldier.
Batman continues his patrol in Gotham when the soldier attacks Batman (with some help from Clayface). We end there.
I wanted to mention one other scene that I thought was very touching with Dick Grayson and Alfred. Alfred talks about how his role was to stand in Bruce’s shadow and be his aid in the fight against crime. He wasn’t sure he could do it without Bruce, but he feels Dick makes it easier since he is a person closer to the “light” than Bruce. Alfred talks to Dick about how before the darkness came for Bruce on that night, Bruce was a very good artist when he was a little, but all that changed after his parents’ deaths. We see a flashback to a young Bruce drawing. I would love to see DC follow-up on this little detail and make it a part of the Batman mythos. Sherlock Holmes used to play the violin for relaxation—maybe when Bruce returns he could draw for relaxation.
Rating: *** 1/2*
When DC announced the new direction they would be going with in the Batman books, I wasn’t happy. With this new direction would come a new monthly book called “Batman and Robin” which would be written by Grant Morrison. I wasn’t happy. Then came the news that Judd Winick would take over the “Batman” monthly title. Still not happy. I thought to myself, that I probably may end up not reading any of the Batman books that DC would be publishing for the foreseeable future or until Bruce Wayne returned as Batman. Well, if you read my review from last week, you know I was very surprised and absolutely enjoyed “Batman and Robin”. So what about Judd’s first issue of “Batman,” well, DC is two-for-two in my book as I absolutely loved this week’s issue of “Batman”.
The story is an epilogue to “Batman: Battle for the Cowl” and it shows some of the events that lead up to where Grant Morrison’s story begins in “Batman and Robin”. The issue shows various moments where members of the Batman family and the super hero community deal with the news of Bruce’s death. Some very moving scenes were done here, particularly the one in the cave with Alfred. I’m not a huge fan of Ed Benes’s art work, but he does a good job here with some moving visual images that set the tone of everyone’s feelings concerning Bruce.
As I said, there are some powerful moments in this book as we see Dick Grayson breakdown and cry over the death of Bruce Wayne, but the most moving scene come from Alfred. Superman and Wonder Woman return Bruce’s cape and cowl to give to Dick and Tim in the Batcave. As they discuss Bruce’s death, Alfred enters the cave with some refreshments for everyone. Superman asks him if he’s alright and Alfred’s response is, “Am I all right? No, sir. I am not. My son has just died.” I’m not sure if this sentiment was ever expressed by Alfred in any other comic, but for Alfred to say that about Bruce was dead on. Thank you, Mr. Winick. Bruce Wayne was orphaned, but he gained a father in Alfred from a very early age and Alfred has watched his “son” grow up to be a great man. I was happy to see that moment expressed here.
Rating: *** 1/2*
The new era of the Batman begins today in Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely “Batman and Robin”. As any reader of Comix 411 knows, I have not been kind to Mr Morrison and his work on the “Batman” title and the miniseries “Final Crisis” over the past year. Where many readers and other comic book reviewers have given him praise, I have been one of the few who have disliked the stories that Mr Morrison has laid out before us. I made a promise to myself that if I didn’t like the first issue of “Batman and Robin,” I would drop it immediately and not even give it a second chance. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t expecting to like it, but for whatever the reason, I will be collecting this title because this first issue was great!
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I really liked the story that Grant Morrison has set up here. It’s different. It’s certainly not the Batman we have known over the years and not simply because of the new people in the roles of Batman and Robin. The one negative thing about this book is Mr Quitely artwork. I’m not a huge fan of Frank Quitely. Although there are certain times that I’ve seen him draw some cool images, overall his work on a full 22 page comic usually leaves me wanting a much more traditional artist’s interpretation of comic characters - someone like Andy Kubert. I know Mr. Quitely will not be penciling every issue of “Batman and Robin” because he’s slow and can’t keep up the monthly pace of a comic book so I hope DC will give Andy a shot to fill in. I do like the splash page where Mr Quitley has the new Batman and Robin jumping out of the flying Batmobile. Yup, the new Batman and Robin have a flying Batmobile. There’s that and more.
This issue of “Batman” is part two of the “Last Rites” storyline. It is also the last issue before we get the “big” reveal of what happened to Batman which we will see in “Final Crisis” #6.
This issue was okay. I’ve enjoyed these last two issues a lot more than I’ve enjoyed “RIP”. The “Last Rites” storyline seems a bit more literal than what was happening in “RIP”. In “Last Rites,” we see two of Darkseid’s men have captured Batman and are attempting to use Batman in order to clone an army of mindless soldiers for Darkseid. What was confusing to me was the end. Did Batman escape? Or are the last scenes of him and Alfred in the cave still in his mind.
This month’s issue of “Detective Comics” continues the post-Batman: RIP storyline; a “Last Rites” tie-in entitled “Last Days of Gotham”. It’s part one of a two part story which features the return of Batman veteran writer/editor: Denny O’Neil.
It’s funny in my blog on “Batman” #682, I hoped that the return of Denny O’Neil would mean the return of a Batman story that was much more easy to follow than Grant Morrison’s stuff, but O’Neil’s story is a little bit confusing as well.
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