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  • UPDATE: Drummers Out There?

    Posted on July 31st, 2008 Shawn 6 comments

    UPDATE: Nothing extremely exciting, but just yesterday, Logitech announced that they have made a licensing deal with Activision to make peripherals for GHWT. They have not given any specifics yet, but we can add Logitech to the mix of 3rd party developers for the drums on RB and GHWT.

    So, drummers, let’s talk. I use the term “drummers” lightly today, because I’m focusing on plastic drums (i.e. Rock Band, Guitar Hero, and 3rd party stuff). We have a few things to talk about here, Rock Band 2 using the same but optional updates, Guitar Hero World Tour offering an additional input, 3rd party drums, cross-compatible drums, and “Freestyle Mode”. Let’s get into it.

    As I rave in earlier posts about how much I enjoy playing Rock Band [as a drummer] and look forward to Rock Band 2, I am about to give some pre-“street cred” to Guitar Hero World Tour (GHWT), for one-upping the Harmonix guys. You see, Rock Band (RB) has four pads and a pedal, which gives players a total of five drum sounds, not bad [but not great either]. GHWT, ups the ante to three pads, two cymbal pads, and one pedal. Do the math…yes six inputs.
    * Insert Spinal Tap quote here * GHWT says [in a British accent], “Ours goes to 6”.

    With the pads for snare, hi-tom, low-tom, and two dedicated cymbal pads (presumably, Hi-hat, ride/crash), and the standard bass drum pedal, GHWT has a compelling case for users to buy the GHWT kit. Not only is there the additional input, but the cymbal pads are raised much like a true electronic drum set, whereas the basic RB/RB2 kit has cymbals reusing the drums pads. From my early point of view, point goes to GHWT.

    Back the the RB2 drum kit. From what I read, it’s the same basic kit as the RB kit, four pads and a bass drum pedal. The enhancements [I think] are softer pads [my wife will be happy to hear that], velocity sensitivity for louder/softer response, and the ability to buy additional cymbal hardware. I know that the GHWT pads are velocity sensitive (and see above for the rest). So, no point for RB, and no additional point for GHWT [that wouldn’t be a fair point].

    Now, on to what looks to be exciting but is currently vaporware, the 3rd party instruments. There’s a lot of talk out there about Ion and Mad Catz making many different instruments for Rock Band [and presumably compatible with GHWT], but for the sake of this post am only going to focus on the vaporware drums from these to companies.

    Alright, Ion Audio [maker of inexpensive electronic drum kits] is making the well publicized and approved by Harmonix, Drum Rocker. Looks great! Has four separate drum pads which can be positioned independently for a very real feel, and comes with a solid bass pedal. So far so good. And to top it off, you can add on up to three full size cymbal pads which can be independently positioned too. [You had me at “positioned”]. To continue on the happy trail [did I say that out loud], you can add on a second drum pedal for actual double bass drum playing [right now only needed for the Disturbed DLC played on Expert]. Yes, they are velocity sensitive and quiet too. I’m sold, and I know you are too…..but wait, there’s more. You can plug this kit into an actual electronic drum brain to use as an actual electronic drum set without Rock Band. This is sweet; since I have a Yamaha QY-20 and TMX drum module (both need to be dusted off). Before I move on, let’s scare the crap out of you with the price tag. $300 for the kit for Xbox 360 (stand, 4 drums, 2 cymbals/stands, bass pedal, cables); 3rd cymbal is $50; additional bass pedal $??). It’s expected to be available mid-September, right at launch of RB2. Not confirmed, but it should work with GHWT (see below).

    Now, some of you long-time console gamers have heard of the company Mad Catz, they made usually inexpensive peripherals and storage stuff for all different consoles. They generally are known (from what I hear) of making things are fairly low quality. About two months ago, Mad Catz leaked a licensing deal with Harmonix to make several different instruments for RB. AT that point, RB2 and GHWT were so far off in the distance, that they weren’t even mentioned. It was originally mentioned at the beginning of 2008, and photos started surfacing in June. Here we are, going into August, and nothing available yet. But let’s get into their drum peripheral. There are some detailed photos of the drum kit all over the web, although they are all small resolution and very difficult to make out (hmmm, vaporware?). Ok, it’s a rack mounted kit, looks like solid construction and each drum is mounted separately. It has four big drums, same four as in the other RB kits. It also comes with two cymbals, interesting that they look metal in the photo…but have cables running form them. So likely, one is for hi-hat and the other is ride/crash. And since RB only has four total inputs, it’s likely just a 2nd option for hitting the red and green drum pads. Still, cool though. Then there is a solid bass drum pedal, looks to be solid metal…but also a hi-hat pedal. That’s bizarre. So, does that mean there are actually three choices for the red drum pad (the pad itself, the hi-hat cymbal, and the hi-hat pedal)? With only 5 total inputs, I can’t see how it would work any other way. Everything on the kit is adjustable to your favorite height and location. It’s listed at $150. There hasn’t been no news since June 19. Check out Mad Catz. Lot’s of open questions. Will it work as a midi controller, where will the cymbals/pedals map, is it velocity sensitive, will it work with GHWT? BTW, it’s DUE IN STORES TOMORROW FOR XBOX 360!!! Anyway, I’m really looking forward to these two kits and will likely be buying one within the coming months.

    Next topic, Freestyle Mode in RB2. Have you heard about this? This is something that I am very much looking forward too. Freestyle mode allows drums to use RB2 and their Xbox 360 as a drum module (i.e. play drums without playing a song). So, you can actually just practice your drum skills without playing a song, without using training/tutorials, etc. Just playing. That’s great! Can’t wait.

    Final topic, using RB and RB2 drums on GHWT. Now, there is good news for RB drum owners. Although, GHWT drum track will have 6 inputs, Red Octane has confirmed at E3 that the RB and RB2 drum kits will work just fine with GHWT. They actually say that the software has been designed backward compatible with the RB kit. So, if you plug in the 5 input RB kit with GHWT, the GHWT software will dumb down the drum tracks to 5 inputs. You know what; I think Red Octane has a winner with GHWT. Well, at least I can tell you they will be getting at least $60 from me before the year is out.

    Let’s wrap up. Drums for RB2 and GHWT are shaping up to be very exciting. As a drummer, both games have very compelling reasons to buy them. As far as hardware goes, RB, RB2, GHWT, Ion, and Mad Catz…the only hardware that looks to be crap is the RB and RB2 stuff. GHWT, Ion, and Mad Catz looks quite good, if you don’t mind going broke during the purchase. I know that I will be getting a new kit and likely retiring (or keeping for duels at home) my RB kit, but which one remains to be seen. I guarantee you this, I will make sure to play all four new kits and report back reviews of each. Stay tuned, and come back soon…

    …Or, I can spend $5000, hack some firmware, and use this. Hmmm…

  • 3G – New Blog Name

    Posted on July 30th, 2008 Shawn No comments

    Did you notice over the past couple weeks, the name of our blog changed? Well, it has changed a few times over it’s 18 month history.

    Oh the great times we have shared:
    My Mobile Obsession
    My Treo Obsession
    How (My Treo Obsession) Began & Ended
    My Rock Band Obsession

    and now…
    My Gadget, Game, and Gizmo Obsession
          …. or as I like it, My 3G Obsession.

    Anyway, hope you like the new (somewhat clever, albeit by accident) name. As always, as my obsessions come and go, so does the name of the blog. Fortunately, for us, it always remains at the same place….here.

  • The Greatest Smartphone that Got Hit with the Ugly Stick

    Posted on July 30th, 2008 Shawn No comments

    Treo 800wOk, harsh title, I know…. Also, very harsh since I want to get this phone. I’m talking the NEW Palm Treo 800w…that’s right, Palm has something new. It’s been out a couple weeks, so it’s a bit of old news, but the folks are Palm Marketing as not the brightest bulbs on the Christmas tree. They decided to release this INCREDIBLE smartphone (albeit not the coolest looking gadget) the same weekend that the iPhone dropped. I digress.

    Ok, why is this the “greatest smartphone”, and why do I call it “ugly”? Let’s get into it.

    Here are the specs and my opinions:

    Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional
    Personal preference. I’m not currently a WinMo user, so can’t tell you if this is the best mobile OS or not, but as everyone will tell you, OS is a personal preference.

    EV-DO Rev. A CDMA network support
    Hands down, fastest “out-of-the-box” internet speeds of any phone on any carrier. Period.

    128MB RAM and 256MB flash ROM (about 170MB available to the user)
    Pretty common, no complaints.

    TI OMAP 2430 333 MHz processor
    Small processor, but what’s not advertised is the Palm “special sauce” that was put in to tweak the OS. EVERY review is saying that this phone is smoking fast, faster than iPhone 2, Tilt, etc etc….everything.

    110MB internal dynamic memory
    typical

    1.74 inch square 320×320 high resolution display
    Wonderful. I love high resolution. That’s a big reason why I’ve stuck with Palm OS. Now WinMo has caught up.

    Integrated 802.11 b/g WiFi radio
    In a word, SWEET!!

    Integrated Bluetooth 2.0 radio with A2DP
    In a word, SWEET!! Wired stereo headsets, buh-bye.

    Infrared port (Hmm, another device like the Nokia E71 with IR)
    Does nothing for me anymore, not gonna use it.

    Integrated A-GPS receiver
    In a word, SWEET!!

    1150 mAh Lithium ion battery with reported 4 hours of talk time
    I’ll be buying an extended battery that’s fo’ darn sure. BTW, try buying an extended battery for the iPhone.

    microSD card slot with microSDHC support
    Great, now I can get 8GB or 16GB of storage.

    2 megapixel camera
    No complaints.

    micro USB port for syncing/charging/wired headset
    Nice and simple, and standardized.

    Weight of 5 ounces
    lightweight.

    Size of 4.41 x 2.28 x 0.73 inches
    reasonable.

    Ok, WiFi, Bluetooh 2.0 with A2DP, and aGPS all on a device thinner than the Centro…..DUDE, Awesome. Plain and simple, the specs are freakin’ excellent. Yes, it’s touchscreen too….forgot to post that up top.

    Now, the “ugly” part. Not sure why, but Palm didn’t put in much of the pretty on this one. It looks like an updated Treo, as a Treo user would expect. What it doesn’t have is the “cool” look of the BB Bold, the iPhone, or the HTC Diamond series. The screen isn’t flush, it’s recessed, the color is blah-blue, the casing is typical Treo. Honestly, no complaints…..it just doesn’t say, “hey, I’m hot, check out my backside to see if the word JUICY is printed there.”

    I have been carrying around a Treo 700p brick with extended gigantic battery for over a year. So, I’m not so worried about the cool looking exterior. I need specs, and this baby has it. I really want it, and it’s super cheap (relatively) at $250 for new Sprint customers….which I would be a new Sprint customer (leaving Verizon). The only reason I don’t yet have it is work wants me to be a BlackBerry user, and I’m trying to convince them otherwise. Stay tuned for that saga…

    So, what about you? Are you down with the Treo 800w in all it’s spec’d out red-headed step-child glory, or are you moving on?

  • Where’s the Sweetspot?

    Posted on July 30th, 2008 Pabel No comments

    So I may be way behind on this but I just came across this review on crackberry.com. I’m not sure how I feel about a BB flip-phone. I thought the Pearl was RIM’s foray into the consumer market. Personally, I don’t know that I’d get a BB flip-phone over any other brand if that’s what I was looking for. I mean, if I want email and web-browsing not controlled by a carrier walled garden, I feel like I’ve gotta go with a PDA type smartphone as opposed to this thing, especially since it’s in a lot of ways bigger than a pearl.

    At a projected $50 subsidized price, it looks like this is an attempt to get to the mass market and then ease them into data plans which is a big revenue stream for the carriers. I mean without the data services, why in the world would you get this flip over any other?

    As time goes on, could it be that the lines between “business focus” and “consumer focus” are just going to continue to blur? I mean the king of business devices (BB) is looking at releasing the Thunder w/ no physical keyboard which is usually a big requirement for the business crowd. Not to mention that starting with the Pearl, RIM was much more focused on the consumer as evidenced by their inclusion of media capabilities in subsequent models.

    Then you have the iPhone which is now trying to address the chief complaint of limited enterprise support, even though it started as the king of consumer/personal smartphones. Granted, it will be a long time before the “normal” phone dies, but what does this say about where the phone companies and carriers think we’re going? In the interest of full disclosure, I’m only a year and a half into this brave new smartphone world, but now that I’m here I can’t go back. Is this “crackberry” type disease going to continue to spread and lead to us always needing email, internet, etc. in our hands? With the apparent move to cell phones as the only phones many people have (sorry Ma-Bell and the like), is RIM just ahead of the curve and starting to tap the ‘converting’ crowd, or is this phone going to be a huge miss?

  • Players Needed!

    Posted on July 29th, 2008 Shawn No comments

    It’s time to showcase some skills. Who can make this?

    Fri, Aug 1 @ midnite

    cool_rockband.gif

    $7.75/advance and $9.75/door.

    Experience the groundbreaking video game ROCK BAND™ in an exciting new way— on the BIG SCREEN! Whether you are a novice or an expert, an individual or have established virtual band, you will not want to miss this unique event. ROCK BAND™ will be presented in every movie house in the Coolidge. Our 17-seat MiniMax and 45-seat Video Screening Room will become “Practice Rooms” where tenderfoots can learn to simulate the experience of being in a Rock&Roll band in a supported environment. Both Moviehouse I and II will become areas of open play and competition for intermediate and expert players. Not only are there opportunities to win prizes for virtuosity and showmanship, but simply witnessing the game played on these big screens is like being transported from the garage to The Garden.

    Presented in association with Harmonix (the clever folks who created this phenomenon)

    *Special offer— If you signup your complete band (four players) in advance for the Battle of the Bands on the Big Screen you can receive a 50% discount. To reserve a space for the special offer, email coolidgeaftermidnight@yahoo.com with the name of your band and its members. You will receive confirmation of entry.

  • Memories of Walker

    Posted on July 28th, 2008 Shawn 26 comments

    WalkerI’m taking some time away from my usual posts and rants, to write up my thoughts on our fallen buddy, Walker.

    Walker was a 1 year old Boston Terrier / English Bulldog mix, who was especially loved by all the kids in the family. No one loved him more than his daddy, Kevin. Always full of energy, Walker would always be the puppy that would run up to people and jump, hoping to play. Though, after some amazing training and love, Walker learned that jumping up wasn’t the way to win friends.

    With all his training, this puppy figured out how to be full of energy and still controlled. I remember Walker and how well he interacted with my son and daughter. The three of them would throw balls, run after each other, but still respect each other. It was so much fun to see them all play together…no one got hurt, no one got scared (expect my daughter a little, but she’s like that with everyone, person or puppy). I will truly miss those moments.

    I will always have the memory of Walker inside his little play yard, and my daughter outside, as they figured out a way to communicate. She would make her impressions of puppy sounds and he would imitate….and vise-versa. You had to be there to appreciate it. “woof, woof, grrr.”

    Although this is a tribute to Walker, none of this would have been so if it weren’t for Kevin who spent more than a year being a wonderful parent to this little guy. It’s very rare to see someone take so much care and pride in a household pet, Kevin truly is the exception. When Walker was a little puppy and had lot’s of stomach issues, Kevin would be taking Walker to the vet, giving him his meds, feeding him what the vet’s suggested…and most importantly, loving Walker. On better days, Kevin would take Walker to the beach and to the park to let him run off some energy. Kevin was and is a wonderful parent.

    WalkerAnyone who has spent time near Walker, knows that he was loved like a family member. Although some may laugh about it, Kevin’s mom made a special birthday cake on Walker’s first birthday, and the whole extended family came over to sing. I’m sure Walker didn’t know what was going on, but it shows that he wasn’t just the family pet, he was a family member. You know, since the extended family has birthday celebrations so often, now that I think of it, Walker probably did know that we were celebrating him.

    Well, little Walker, you weren’t around long enough for us to fully appreciate you….but know that we loved you and will miss you. In your short time, know that you made a lasting impression on the family and people around. We are sad that you are gone, though we will keep you alive with our memories.

    Walker, Down……good boy.

    -Shawn

  • Extra! Extra! GH:WT Set List is a Fake

    Posted on July 25th, 2008 Shawn No comments

    This may come as good or bad news, depending on how you took yesterdays news about the Guitar Hero World Tour set list. Representatives from Activision and Neversoft have responded to yesterdays leaked set list. They state that although some of the songs on the leaked list will be on World Tour, that the leaked list is a fake. We can commit that “Hot For Teacher” has made the cut, but all else is still speculation.

    For me, ok….I’m fine with this. Actually, I was a little bummed out yesterday when I realized that:
    1) there were too many duplicates from GH:WT and RB1 & 2.
    2) there were some awesome songs slated for GH:WT and not on RB (i.e. Pull Me Under, Bleed It Out, No Sleep Till Brooklyn, Kickstart My Heart, Bat Country, Toxicity, and Beat It).

    So, I hope you weren’t too excited about the fake list. We’ve got less than 8 weeks before we know how it will play out. I’m very much looking forward to RB2 and crossing my fingers that GH:WT is a dud…..but I actually think both are going to be great. $60 + $60 + new drums + … …. well you get the point = broke as hell.

  • Guitar Hero World Tour Setlist

    Posted on July 24th, 2008 Shawn No comments

    Guitar Hero World TourWell, alright. The guys at Joystiq have got their hands on the supposed 87 song set list in the up-coming Guitar Hero World Tour, and were nice enough to share it with us….their fans. I’ll cut to the chase and list the…er, list. Let me know what you think.

    Couple quick thoughts of my own, first. There are some repeated songs from Rock Band 1 in here, there are also some confirmed songs duplicated from Rock Band 2 as well. Hmmm duplicates, interesting. Personally, I think duplicates will lower the value of both franchises. Now, more interesting, GHWT has songs from the same bands of RB 1 and 2, but different tracks….for example Linkin Park, Rage Against The Machine, and Beastie Boys. As a huge fan of all three of those bands, I just hope they come out as Rock Band DLC.

    Crapola…..the more I look at the GHWT set, the more I think it’s way better than RB2’s set (for me at least).

    Now, the list:
    Eagle Rock High School Tour:

    * “Dope Nose” by Weezer
    * “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World
    * Encore: “Today” by Smashing Pumpkins

    Big City Kids Tour:

    * “Roland” by Interpol
    * “Santeria” By Sublime
    * Encore: “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers

    Feelin’ Nostalgic Tour:

    * “Take It on the Run” by REO Speedwagon
    * “Hold the Line” by Toto
    * Encore: “Rebel Yell” by Billy Idol

    Vixens Tour:

    * “Heartbreaker” by Pat Benatar
    * “All Around Me” by Flyleaf
    * Encore:”Misery Business” by Paramore

    Undertow Tour:

    * “Stinkfist” by Tool
    * “Lateralus” by Tool
    * “Schism” by Tool

    Synchronicity Tour:

    * “Guitar Battle Vs. Sting” (Guitar Career Only)
    * Encore: “Every Breath You Take” by The Police

    Fight the System Tour:

    * “The Kids Aren’t Alright” by The Offspring
    * The Good Left Undone” by Rise Agaisnt
    * Encore: “Bleed it Out” by Linkin Park

    QQ Tour:

    * “Face Down” by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
    * “The Kill” by 30 Seconds to Mars
    * Encore: “Thank You for the Venom” by My Chemical Romance

    Rockin the Carnival Tour:

    * “Dammit” by Blink 182
    * “When You Heat Stops Beating” by +44

    Neva’ Forget Tour:

    * “Jumpin Jack Flash” by The Rolling Stones
    * “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Öyster Cult
    * Encore: “Light My Fire” by The Doors

    We Want the Funk Tour:

    * “Take it Away” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
    * “Renegades of Funk” by Rage Agaisnt the Machines
    * Encore: “No Sleep till Brooklyn” by The Beastie Boys Feat. Kerry King

    Rockin’ the Joint Tour:

    * “Are You Gonna Go My Way” by Lenny Kravitz
    * “I Don’t wanna Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith

    On Top of the World Tour:

    * “Man in the Box” by Alice in Chains
    * “Kickstart My Heart” by Mötley Crüe
    * Encore: “Spin the Black Circle” by Pearl Jam

    G. Stinger Tour:

    * “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana
    * “Car Chase City” by Tenacious D
    * Encore: “Everlong” by Foo Fighters

    Lands End Tour:

    * “Animal” by Def Leppard
    * “Runaway” by Bon Jovi
    * Encore: “Paradise City” by Guns N’ Roses

    Doin’ it Different Tour:

    * “Song for the Dead” by Queens of the Stone Age
    * “Vasoline” by Stone Temple Pilots
    * Encore: “Assassin” by Muse

    Hootin’ and Hollerin’ Tour:

    * “The Boys Are Back in Town” By Thin Lizzy
    * “Life in the Fastlane” by The Eagles
    * Encore:”Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd

    All Pissed Off Tour:

    * “Here to Stay” by KoRn
    * “Dragula” by Rob Zombie
    * Encore: “Bat Country” by Avenged Sevenfold

    Here Me Roar Tour:

    * “10,000 Fists” by Disturbed
    * “Duality” by Slipknot
    * Encore: “Toxicity” by System of a Down

    S.D.M.F. Tour:

    * “Guitar Battle Vs. Zakk Wylde” (Guitar Career Only)
    * *Encore: “Demise of Sanity” by Black Label Society

    Fathers of Metal Tour:

    * “Don’t Talk to Strangers” by Dio
    * “Heaven and Hell” by Black Sabbath
    * Encore: “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne

    Making Progress Tour:

    * “The Spirit of Radio” by Rush
    * “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd
    * Encore: “Pull Me Under” by Dream Theatre

    Eruption Tour:

    * “Beat it” by Micheal Jackson Feat. Eddie Van Halen
    * “Hot for Teacher” by Van Halen

    Tooth Fang & Claw Tour:

    * “Guitar Battle Vs. Ted Nugent” (Guitar Career Only)
    * Encore: “Stranglehold” by Ted Nugent

    Decades of Metal Tour

    * “Warriors of Time” by Black Tide
    * “Leather Rebel” by Judas Priest
    * Encore: “Hallowed be Thy Name” by Iron Maiden

    Livin’ in a Nightmare Tour:

    * “Angel of Death” by Slayer
    * “Tornado of Souls” by Megadeth
    * Encore: “Master of Puppets” by Metallica

    Legends of Rock Tour:

    * “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry
    * “The Wind Cries Mary” by Jimi Hendrix
    * Encore: “Purple Haze (Live)” by Jimi Hendrix

    Bonus Tour:

    * “45″ by Shinedown
    * “96 Quite Bitter Beings” by CKY
    * “Bombshell” by Powerman 5000
    * “Clavado en un Bar” by Maná
    * “Enjoy the Silence” by Lacuna Coil
    * “Feuer Frei” by Rammstein
    * “Fury of the Storm” by Dragonforce
    * “Never Too Late” by The Answer
    * “Nottingham Lace” by Buckethead
    * “One Armed Scissor” by At The Drive-In
    * “Satch Boogie” by Joe Satriani
    * “Schrei” by Tokio Hotel
    * “Soul Doubt” by NOFX

    * “We’re An American Band” by Grand Funk Railroad
    * “Guitar Battle Vs. Sting” by Sting
    * “Guitar Battle Vs. Ted Nugent” By Ted Nugent
    * “Guitar Battle Vs. Zakk Wylde” by Zakk Wylde

    Sample Songs:

    * “Untitled Drum Sample” created by Chad Smith
    * “Untitled Drum Sample” created by Dave Grohl
    * “Untitled Drum Sample” created by Travis Barker
    * “Cliffs of Dover” created by Neversoft
    * “Misirlou” created by Neversoft
    * “Walk This Way” created by Neversoft
    * “YYZ” created by Neversoft

  • Confessions of a Recent Convert

    Posted on July 23rd, 2008 Pabel No comments

    iPhone or CurveOK, so I need to preface all this with a disclaimer:
    I’m upgrading from a Blackberry Curve and prior to that Blackberry Pearl (had both for a total of a year and a half). These were my first smartphones and as I was a total noob the addition of email on the go to my life was ground breaking. After that initial rush/shock, I came to realize my biggest complaints were lack of full browser and HTML email (foreshadowing….). Not a heavy music listener (on the go at least) so things like missing A2DP or wanting massive storage weren’t requirements forme. Ok, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, here we go….

    Top 5 Things I Love About My IPhone
    1. User Interface/Touchscreen Implmentation – I know it makes me seem really lame with little to no functional requirements, but honestly, this is my favorite thing about the Iphone. All the other things on the phone I love are easy to get to and their use is slick. There’s a sense of organization about features, apps, settings, etc. on the Iphone that blows away the two Blackberry’s I’ve used. Granted, I’ve not seen the HTC Diamond UI or the Bold, but I wasn’t terribly interested in waiting. The Diamond UI is fancy wallpaper on top of Windows Mobile which I hate, and the Bold looks good, but requires the use of the trackball, which is good, but doesn’t compare to the touch screen implemenation on the Iphone.

    2. Near-full Web Browsing – Getting to actually use the real internet has definitely changed the way I look at mobile computing and productivity. I can do almost anything I would on a desktop all on my phone and relatively quickly. Checking news, updating my netflix, shopping, and just waisting time is a lot more fun and easy on the Iphone browser.

    3. 3G Speed – Using the “3G” network makes a huge difference. YouTube clips come up really quickly, browsing is crisp so I don’t feel like I’m waiting forever, emails come down quick, and I rarely feel like I’m waiting on my phone to “do stuff”.

    4. The actual Phone – I’ve been really impressed with the actual phone functionality. The quality is better than any phone I’ve ever had, scrolling through contacts and making calls is a breeze, setting up 3-way calls is ridiculously easy, and the speakerphone is top notch. Easily the most enjoyable way to make/take calls on a cell phone, which I honestly don’t like doing.

    5. Get ready for it………………..yep, the Virtual Keyboard. Shocking I know; I actually anticipated hating this part of phone more than any other. Not being able to go horizontal and get a wide keyboard actually helped me enjoy it more. Because the keyboard is so narrow, I’m forced to trust the autocorrect feature to fix things. 5 days in and I can say it works suprisingly well, and I’m actually typing faster on the Iphone than I did on my Curve. Surprisingly enough, if I had to rank them it’d go: Iphone autocorrect, Pearl Suretype, then Curve full keyboard. The Curve’s keys are so small that its really easy to make mistakes. With no autocorrect, I found myself having to ‘fix’ more than I expected. Similar to the Pearl, once I got used to the Iphone, I haven’t looked back. It definitely takes a few days to get used to and trust it, but it’s definitely worth it.

    Top 5 Things I Hate About My IPhone
    1. Apple/Itunes – I can’t stand that I can’t seem to customize the crap out of my phone. I’ve only had it for five days so I could be missing something, but I can’t customize simple sounds like when I get a new email, text message, or voicemail. They all are the same sound and I only have like 6 canned sounds that Apple gives me to choose from. Plus, I can’t use my own mp3’s as ringtones. Since Apple is trying to pillage me by making me pay for ringtones (.99 per ringtone and you can only make ringtones from Itunes purchases), I’m forced to go through a convoluted procedure to upload a snippet of my mp3 to a website, download it back as a specific Itunes file, import it into Itunes and hope it works, then sync it to my Iphone. Ridiculous.

    2. Apple/App Store – I don’t hate the app store, I actually love the potential it brings, I just really don’t like where things stand right now. There’s not that much in the store that’s useful and rumor is there’s a queue of stuff for Apple to review for inclusion into the store. Most of the apps seem to still be web-apps requiring internet connection so while native, they’re essentially just native bookmarks. There are definitely some exceptions and maybe I just haven’t seen all there is (in fact I’m sure I haven’t), but I was hoping for things I’ve seen on jailbroken phones. Apps that show information on the ‘locked’ screen, apps that can access your music, turn by turn GPS, etc.

    3. GPS – Over the last five days, I’ve gotten the ‘blue dot’ exactly 3 times. Again something may be off, but I don’t understand why I can’t get GPS signal on this thing (I’m always getting the giant blue crosshairs of triangulation). I never had an issue w/ the GPS in my Curve, and I’ve been underwhelmed with it so far on the Iphone. It wasn’t a big factor in me getting the phone, but something I wanted to work nonetheless.

    4. Battery Life – I know this is a symptom of all 3G phones, but this one hurts especially given Apple’s recommendations. I’ll paraphrase then add my thoughts:
    “Turn off 3G when not needed” – sorry, but I bought an Iphone 3G, not an Iphone only use 3G when you need it but turn it back off right away lest your phone die.
    “Switch to Airplane mode in low to no signal areas as the phone will always try and connect which drains battery life” – again, not an option. Only reason I should ever switch it to that setting is if a stewardess catches me sending email after the turn everything off announcement has been made.
    As it stands, I need to charge my phone every night as well as have a charger at work, in my car, and at home in the event I want to talk on the phone, send email, browse the web, use an app, and watch a Youtube clip all in the same day.

    5. Missed Calls/Voicemails – There’s no LED or any kind of indication that I’ve missed a call or have a voicemail whenever the phone is locked and the screen is blank. So if I’ve missed anything, I won’t know about it until I go to use my phone. Picky I know, but I got used to it on the BB’s and I really liked that.

    One small personal grip: Music – Ok, so this one is specific to me and not the Iphone in general (hence the wording in the section titles), but I hate how much work I have to do to my stupid music files to make it work well on my Iphone (note: the Iphone is also my first Ipod). I have a decent amount of .mp3’s (and will hold out on making non-mp3 Itunes purchases as long as possible…go Amazon) and it takes forever to add missing Artist, track, album information to files that are missing it. I know it’s picky, but the Ipod just doesn’t work right unless you have all that in there. I hate when I don’t have album art in there, but it’s even more annoying when I see two ‘discs’ in the UI because the Album names are off due to capitalization. Ridiculous. If anyone has a solution for how to add album art to mp3 files, please let me know, and I’ll take this one off the list.

  • Looking for writers

    Posted on July 23rd, 2008 Shawn No comments

    I want you, to blog meCalling all (super) readers and er writers. Hey, there’s so much good info out there, that I can’t keep up with it. Although, I’d like to spend every waking hour blogging about all my favorite gadgets, music, and games….there’s not enough hours in the day to do it alone. I love everyone’s comments, and would like to open up the blog for people to write their own posts.

    If interested, click the “Register” link on the left side of the window (see it there down if you scroll down to the bottom). Fill out the form. If you have any issues, please leave me a comment on this post, and I’ll look into it.

    NOTE: We are getting over a hundred readers a day, so there really is an audience out there. I’d love to have some Junior Obsessors wring about their thoughts. The obvious topics are: console games, gadgets (phones/PDAs/etc), and music.

    So, join me if you want to write, and I’ll help get your thoughts out to the world!

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