Alpha Inventions created by Cheru Jackson, is a site which displays and automatically cycles through recently updated blogs. I reviewed this site some time ago, and did have a few criticisms of how it was running.  Cheru Jackson was quick to comment and engage in a dialogue with readers on that post to address their concerns. Overtime, AI has been tweaked and improved vastly over it’s original design.

The site’s pacing for automatic switching of blogs is much slower.  At times, perhaps a bit too slow, but this is a huge improvement over it’s original speed setting, which was so fast that by the time your eyes caught something interesting, it had disappeared. There is also now a back and forward button, although they do not seem to work consistently, and some design flaws are apparent..

Cheru Jackson says he created the site to help people, and I think we can give him the “benefit of the doubt”, as the saying goes. The bottom line is, the site is improving and is responding to feedback.  Alpha Inventions has come a long way since it first began, and Jackson is assuring people that the traffic it is generating for their blogs is legitimate user-based traffic, not “false hits”, as some have claimed.

The bottom line really is this: If you have specific criticisms of the site, they can be addressed, or you can choose to opt-out. Most bloggers are happy for any extra exposure that comes their way, and it’s with that in mind, that I’d like to support the site, and encourage others to give it a try, if they are not familiar with it.  It’s not the only tool to help your blog get some extra traffic, but it is one tool that you can make use of.

For more information from Cheru Jackson on Alpha Inventions, see “What Is Alpha Inventions?”

Since I had reviewed the site in it’s original form, I think I owe it to the site’s creator and designer to give a more up-to-date perspective.  Have you tried the new AI, and if so, what did you think of the improvements?

Similar sites:

If you like Alpha Inventions, you might also like Blog Surfer. Does anyone have any other good sites for finding new blogs to read and sharing your own for others to discover?

The other side:

Not every critic has been tempered by AI’s apparent improvements. See Alpha Inventions: A big waste of time for bloggers for current criticism. But, afterall, you can’t make everyone happy. I hope we will see further improvements to come.

Surrogates Movie Is Worth Seeing, But Barely

A day after seeing Michael Moore’s new film, I was off watching Surrogates. There’s a special place in my heart for sci-fi films, such as this one, and I was genuinely excited.  Sometimes first impressions really shouldn’t be overlooked, though.  I saw the trailer for Surrogates weeks ago, while seeing District 9 (which is a must-see movie of 2009). My first reaction to the trailer was laughter, and it seemed one of the most ridiculous movies I’ve seen a trailer for.  As time went on, and I saw different clips, I began to feel differently.  The concept seemed unique, and there wasn’t a whole lot else playing in the way of competition. So, in the end, I was choosing between Zombieland and Surrogates, and went with the latter.

This is a movie that had a lot more potential than it utilized. It certainly makes you question the nature of reality and the possibilities of advancing technology. It’s enjoyable, but it felt like it could have been so much more than what it was. I found the characters pretty two dimensional. Bruce Willis is great, but this is no Die Hard 3.

What I liked about the movie was it’s take on “virtual reality” or perhaps “alternate reality”, and that it’s the type of film that can mean different things to different people.  There’s a lot of room for interpretation, in particular, within the realm of social commentary, health, and philosophy.  It does have a sort of Matrix feel to it, but not to the same degree.  The film can be viewed as a metaphor for a robotic society, either through a diminished sense of man’s spiritual self, or through mind-numbing pharmaceuticals. In fact, there are a couple of scenes where several pill bottles are shown beside the “control device” for the surrogates, which is used by many to “escape from reality”.

Spoilers below:

Character development definitely seemed to be a low priority.  I found myself not really invested in any of the characters, and it certainly doesn’t help that half the characters in the movie end up being the same person. The ending did not make a whole lot of sense, and despite an obvious attempt at closure, there really wasn’t much. This movie seems to end with the assumption there will not be a sequel (I tend to agree), but it still couldn’t quite bring itself to burn that bridge entirely.

The political climate in the movie was fascinating, but fell short of the brilliance of District 9. The Prophet was an interesting character, but lacked depth, a quality which may have been deliberate given the circumstances of his identity.

Overall, it was a good movie if you’re the contemplative sort, or if you just enjoy action with a sci-fi twist, but I would not put it near the top of my list either for sci-fi, or for Bruce Willis flicks.

While we’re on the subject of sci-fi, what is your favorite science fiction movie? Also feel free to comment on Surrogates, but please do share your top sci-fi picks. There’s a lot out there I haven’t seen.