Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas

I just wanted to wish all the visitors and readers of my blog a Very Happy Christmas.

The site has come a long way in 2016. May saw the majority of the site move form shanemcdonald.org to www.shanemcdonald.ie and December saw my Queen Site move across to the shanemcdonald.ie domain also. The site has had 125,000 page views since the site move in May and 78,000 of those came in the last 4 months.

I hope to add some new features and improve current ones on the site in 2017.

For now, thanks for visiting and have a safe, happy and peaceful Christmas and all the best for 2017,

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Movie Review

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Movie Review

Rogue One – Synopsis

Rogue One sets the scene for Star Wars, and these events take place just before ‘Star Wars’. This group of rebels come together regardless of their differences. Their aim …  to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s and Darth Vader ultimate weapon of mass destruction. This is not a spin off, this sets the scene on the Star Wars timeline.

Rogue One – Movie Review

In fairness, I was not sure what to expect with Rogue One. I had seen all the original Star Wars movies and the later releases. What could compare to R2D2, C3PO and Luke Skywalker? I was skeptical that this movie would create the thrill of an actual Star Wars movie. Why? Firstly, the classic Star Wars theme did not happen at the start of the movie. Secondly, the characters were all new, I had no familiarity with them. Plus, I was thinking how can you do a prequel to such a classic film.

But give it 10 / 15 minutes and you are suddenly drawn in. As you get to know the characters you can see where the Star Wars story is building.

Basically, Jyn Erso played by Felicity Jones saw how the Empire killed her mother and corrupted her scientist father, Galen (played by Mads Mikkelsen). The Empire forced him to help build the Death Star. After a defector gives some information, Jyn finds out something which gives her hope. Jyn and the band of rebels attempt to infiltrate an Empire base and steal the plans.

The movie is fast paced, with lots of humour. Most of this humour is from the 7 foot robot K-2S0 or Kaytoo. He comes out with lines like ‘Congratulations, you are being rescued’… Amongst other classics. All the ships, aliens and scenes you see are recognisable Star Wars classics. As the movie progresses, you feel like you know these characters.

In Conclusion

This is probably one of the toughest movies to review. The reason why is because it is very hard to review this movie without giving away spoiler alerts. However, I try to will sum up the review of Rogue One with a few points;

  1. See this on as big a screen as you can
  2. See it in 3D if you can
  3. There are characters making appearances here from Star Wars, even though they are no longer with us
  4. This film closes certain plot-holes in ‘A New Hope’ as to how they knew about the Death Star’s flaw
  5. You may be sceptical entering this film … you will love it after you leave!

It is a very well made film with sections where my jaw dropped. Thoroughly enjoyable!

 

Rogue One – Official Trailer

  • Rogue One – A Star Wars Story : Overall Rating 92%
Be Careful with the new PayPal Phishing Scams

Be Careful with the new PayPal Phishing Scams

I get these from Paypal Phishing emails time to time and I’m sure anyone with an active email account will also. We are all used to seeing spam emails pretending to be from valid companies all the time. The question is how can you spot if these are legitimate emails? How can you spot if these are just trying to get your account details? Well there are some things you can look out for…

No Personalised Name

Firstly you will normally see Dear PayPal User, or Dear Netflix user or simply Dear Subscriber

If this is a valid company, who has your details, why is the email not using your first name?
Most emails from companies such as Netflix or PayPal will include some identifying ID info on your emails. This may include your account number, your name or your username. Check out the example below!

Some Frantic Excuse

Very often there is some excuse for the email. Some scenarios I have seen include ;

  • “We were updating our severs and noticed an issue, you now need to revalidate your account”.
  • “In order to further secure your account please log in and verify your credentials”
  • “If you do not login within 24 hours your account will be deleted”

Don’t fall for these excuses. This is just to get you panicking so that you don’t think about what you are doing.  Check out the example below!

Links are not official Links

Within the email , if you are required to log in, you will see a link such as ‘log in’ or ‘sign in’. The link to these phishing sites will be under this.

You have two ways to check for this. First you can hover-over the link in your email client. If it is from PayPal the web address should be PayPal.com. Similarly if it it is a Netflix email, Netflix.com should be the web address listed as the link. Occasionally email systems like ConstantContact may place their link and use a redirect – therefore it does not always work.

The second way to check, is if you do click the link, ensure you are on the official site by checking the we address.

Graphics May appear out of line or pixelated

One other way you can detect spammy phishing emails is by their graphics. The images used in the emails are often just stolen from the official sites and are not always placed correctly in the emails. Therefore they may look too wide or not the right height to width ratio.

What to do if you are unsure?

If you get an email from Netflix, PayPal or even your Bank or Revenue, email them via their official website or call them. Better to be safe than sorry.

Remember your Bank and the taxation/revenue services will never usually contact you by email asking for personal or security information.
Be cautious and be safe. If it sounds a bit far fetched then it could very well be a phishing email.

Example of a Phishing Email

This is an example of one email I got, the web address when I clicked the link did not bring me to PayPal.com – you can see some of what I mentioned above in the email below. Not personalised,  and a frantic excuse about ‘unusual activity’.

Phishing email

Conclusion

Just to finalise on this topic, firstly companies like PayPal and Netflix have no control over this. If you get a phishing email it is not their fault therefore as the customer you will have to take due care with your account details. Hopefully the tips above on how to spot phasing scams will help you if you are unsure. If you get an email and you are still not sure what to do, ask a friend who might have more IT/web knowledge – get a second opinion. It’s better than losing your account, or worse, money. Stay safe online, always be on the look out for something which doesn’t feel right.

Sully – Movie Review (2016)

Sully – Movie Review (2016)

Sully – Movie Review

Synopsis

Sully is based on the real life events of a fateful day, Jan. 15, 2009 and US Airways Flight 1549.  Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (portrayed by Tom Hanks) takes off from LaGuardia and within moments his Airbus has a multiple bird strike. Both engines are disabled as a result of the birdstrike and speed and altitude are dropping. The Captain assesses the options and attempts an emergency landing in New York’s Hudson River. As we all know, miraculously, all of the 155 passengers and crew survive. Overnight, Sullenberger becomes a national hero in the eyes of the public and the media. However as the NTSB step in, Captain Sullenberger faces an investigation that threatens to destroy his career and reputation.

The Review

Ever since January 14th 2009, I have been following the story of US Airways Flight 1549. I remember seeing the security camera feeds of the airbus landing on the Hudson. This movie is the story of that flight which only lasted 208 seconds.

The start of movie is spectacular. I am not going to ruin it but do not be late for this movie.

There are a lot of Flashbacks and dream sequences used. They work very well and show how harrowing this was for the flight crew. The successful forced water landing and saving of all 155 on board soon turns to doubt. The NTSB investigate the incident, questioning the flight crew over and over. At one point you are not sure if they made the right choices.

The investigation includes some technical references, for example QRH is mentioned but not explained. (Quick Reference Handbook which is a step by step guide to solving aircraft issues). There are a few other references, but overall there is not too much technical information so don’t be put off.

Other reviews of this movie say the movie drags. I did not find this at all. I was thoroughly entertained throughout. Clint Eastwood directs this movie and his style of direction is obvious. Not one scene is wasted nor are any present just to pad the movie. I think Clint could have even played Sully if this was shot 30 years ago.

Tom Hanks playing this role is spot on. He is so like the real life captain in manner and looks. Apparently the real captain chose Tom Hanks for the part.

Overall this is a wonderful film, really enjoyable, tense, dramatic and certainly worth seeing on the big screen. I think it could also be an Oscar Contender.

  • Overall Score 94%

Official Trailer

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