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  • My Favorite Song of the Day – MFSD

    Posted on September 19th, 2008 Shawn No comments

    It’s been 4 days since posting My Favorite Song of the Day.  Sorry, I’ve have been caught up with all the new stuff on Rock Band 2.  Now, back to it.

    Granted, today’s pick is not (1) an unknown band and not (2) new / upcoming material.  It is Rio from Brit-Pop 80’s superstars, Duran Duran.  I grew up on these guys, and still love their stuff.  What makes this classic on My Favorite Song of the Day is, these guys have now made three appearances on Rock Band.  Both Rio and Girls On film are available on Rock Band DLC at 99¢ or 80 MS Points, and Hungry Like a Wolf made its way onto the Rock Band 2 disc.

    So, here you go, a classic rock-pop track makes it to today’s spot.  Take a listen and pick up the DLC.  It’s BRUTAL on the drums (tier-9 tough), though generally fun to play for everyone else.

  • Rock Band DLC Week of 9/23 Rush and more!

    Posted on September 19th, 2008 Shawn No comments

    Direct from HMXSean on the RockBand Forums.  I saved you a few clicks, and you are welcome.

    Hey everybody,

    Looks like the technicals have been taken care of. Rush’s “Moving Pictures” comes out for real next week! In addition we have tracks from Bad Religion, The Cult, Hot Hot Heat, Kasabian, Sleater-Kinney, and Stone Roses!

    Rush’s Moving Pictures Full Album

    Tom Sawyer (orig version)
    Red Barchetta
    YYZ
    Limelight (orig version)
    The Camera Eye
    Witch Hunt
    Vital Signs

    The full album will be available for $10.99 (880 Microsoft Points) or $1.99 (160 Microsoft Points) per track individually.

    We are also releasing a bunch of individual tracks:

    Bad Religion – Sorrow
    The Cult – She Sells Sanctuary
    Hot Hot Heat – Bandages
    Kasabian – Shoot the Runner
    Sleater-Kinney – You’re No Rock N Roll Fun
    Stone Roses – Love Spreads

    Each of these tracks will be available individually for $1.99 (160 Microsoft Points).

    All tracks are master tracks.

    DLC comes out on Xbox 360 on Tuesday, September 23rd and on PS3 on Thursday, September 25th.

    To discuss the week’s DLC please go here.

    For all DLC song credits please go here.

    And, as always, for awesome background information on our DLC and other articles please visit Rockband.com/life

  • BlackBerry Storm keeps me on Verizon

    Posted on September 18th, 2008 Shawn No comments

    Good news Verizon, I’m staying. I was 1 and a half feet out the door to AT&T (after five years with you and Palm OS). You had all but lost me to AT&T and the Bold. Great news Verizon, you have a kick-ass Storm about to drop, and the Bold is old news to me. Storm = Touchscreen, WorldPhone, etc, etc….who cares about the Bold and AT&T anymore?

    Verizon, you have shown that you can truly innovate, and for that….you have won my business back for a 5th device and 2 more years. Well done Verizon.

  • Signs of the End (of my Treo, that is)

    Posted on September 17th, 2008 Shawn No comments

    PalmI just updated my iGoogle homepage on my desktop.  I had links to all my favorite sites, from games, to gadgets, to software security, and news, etc.  There were links to MyTreo.net, TreoCentral.com, Palm.com, PalmInfoCenter.com, PalmAddicts, Treonauts.com, along with WMExperts.com, CrackBerry.com and many others.

    Just now, I have removed all the Treo and Palm related links.  I have even pushed CrackBerry to the top and dropped WMExperts down a little.  The Treo apocalypse is upon us (or me at least).  The days of me as a Palm OS user, are unofficially numbered.  (Actually, if you read the news about Verizon possibly releasing the BlackBerry Storm on November 1, you could say there are 45 days left for me as a Palm OS and Treo hardware user.)

    Thanks to the announcements of BlackBerry’s new global touch screen device on Verizon at a possible $199 price point, there is not longer a question of “what” I will be moving too.  There now is little question of “when” either.  Looks like before Turkey Day, I will have handed both my Treo 650 and 700p to my 3 year old son and 1.5 year old daughter, respectively (deactivated of course).
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    I will be rocking the Storm.  I don’t know how my brian will comprehend this, having never touched a BlackBerry device before.  But, we do know….the revolution is just weeks away.

  • Ultimate Test of Band Unity

    Posted on September 17th, 2008 Shawn 6 comments

    Last night, I was rocking out with my online World Tour band, “Dunder Mifflins Finest”.  It was jam session #2 for Rock Band 2, and little did we know that it was destined to be legend- wait for it -dary.

    So, the story goes…

    During song 3 of 4 for the “win a bus achievement”, which was Fall Out Boy’s Dead On Arrival, my kick drum pedal snapped off at the heel.  Yep, not in half, but right where it connects to the base of the pedal, it sheared right off.

    This did not stop the set…if fact, it is what happened after that made the said set, legendary.  Well, our threesome (get those thoughts out of your head, it’s not one of those stories).  Our threesome continued through the song, with me attempting to finagle the kick pedal to hit the proper notes.  I red flashed, and nearly flat lined since it’s a bass drum heavy song, and I was lucky if I was able to connect 20% of the hits.  I in fact failed out 2 times, no one else had any overdrive to save me.  Just as our crowd meter was to plunge and the crowd boo us off stage….the song finished.

    The group says “we have one more song in the set, what do we do?”  Play on, is what we do.  And play one, we did.  At this point, the hinge of my pedal was disconnected and the spring about to snap off.  The pedal was flapping in the breeze.  The song was Main Offender.  Fortunately, I know the song well on drums, and planned to do what I could.  Our bass and guitarists planned to save overdrives, in order to save me if when I failed out.

    So, I was hitting just about every note, sans bass drum, and an occasional bass drum note would connect.  Then the pedal completely lost alignment and there we go.  I was on expert drums with no kick drum pedal.  Nada, zilch, nothing.  I failed out, once…and our bands string section continued to discuss.  “Wait, wait for it.  Don’t use overdrive yet.  wait.  OK NOW, go into overdrive”.  They did that by managing the time and crowd meter.  It was brilliant.

    It was back on me to hit every one of my four pad notes, and I think I 99%’ed those.  As a team, we prevailed and won our bus.  It was the greatest jam session of all time, and dare I say, legendary.  DMF, Unite!

  • No Jukebox Mode in Rock Band 2

    Posted on September 16th, 2008 Shawn No comments

    There has been little to no press about something that was ommitted from Rock Band 2 just before it went for printing. That is Jukebox Mode, which was to allow RB2 to play your songs while you watched videos. So, you could sit back and enjoy the show, without playing.

    Alex from Harmonix aka HMXaleX, sort of hid this in a post which focuses on 20 Free DLC tracks coming. (See Alex’s post below).

    I’m a bit, how do I say this lightly, PISSED OFF about this news. I would have definitely bought RB2 no matter what….I LOVE RB1 and am quickly falling in love all over again with RB2. But, I was so excited to be able to sit back and listen to my RB tracks. It would have in learning the songs, and be a nice background options to have on while doing stuff around the house.

    I’ve seen no word of why this feature was ripped out at the 11th hour, but I have my fingers crossed that it will come in with a software update. If you know anything more, let us know with a comment.

    So what is your opinion of Alex’s post below?

    HMXaleX's Avatar
    HMXaleX HMXaleX is offline
    Harmonix Developer
    Default 20 Free DLC Tracks Note/Jukebox Mode Clarification

    Hey all,

    Just a quick update on a couple of things people have been asking about since RB2’s launch yesterday.

    First off, thank you to all of you who’ve bought Rock Band 2 and are online playing the 84 master tracks that came with the game! As promised, Harmonix will be delivering 20 songs of free DLC to customers who buy Rock Band 2. This content will be available later this fall. Stay tuned for news re: official release date for these tracks.

    Combined with our consistent download offering of songs, albums and packs, we’re continuing to deliver on our promise of bringing alot of music out there weekly for the Rock Band platform. By the end of 2008, there will be over 500 songs across Rock Band (RB1 Disc, RB2 Disc and DLC).

    We hope this answers your questions about the free tracks. We’ll be announcing the exact tracks as we get closer to the release date. In the meantime, we hope you’re enjoying working through the epic RB2 tracklist!

    Lastly, some folks have been asking about the status of the previously discussed Jukebox Mode. This mode was removed from Rock Band 2 in the final stages of development. We have no immediate plans to bring this feature back to the platform in the future.

    Hope this clears up any confusion!

  • Rock Band 2 SPOILER ALERT!!! SPOILER ALERT!!!

    Posted on September 16th, 2008 Shawn No comments

    Rock Band 2 SPOILER ALERT!!! SPOILER ALERT!!!

    This is your last chance to turn back. I am going to reveal the unlock code to play all the songs on RB2. If you don’t want to be tempted to cheat, turn back now. You have been warned.

    Borrowed verbatim from Xbox360fanboy.com:

    Simply make your way to the RB2 game modifier screen and enter the sequence – Red, Yellow, Blue, Red, Red, Blue, Blue, Red, Yellow, Blue. Tada! Instant setlist unlock!

  • Rock Band 2 Review (Part 1 – First Impression)

    Posted on September 15th, 2008 Shawn No comments

    This is part one of a multi-part review of Rock Band 2.  Well, I’m just making it up as I go.  So, read along and enjoy.

    In this early review, I will talk about, initial reaction and first use.  I’ll cover: Initial start-up, menus/navigation, new features, playability, songs.

    Initial start-up

    First, when loading up the game, there are a few screens that hint of RB2 reusing some preferences from RB1.  I didn’t pay close attention to all the screens, but RB created a “cache” on my hard drive to reduce loading time.

    Initial start-up looked just like RB1. Same EA guitar pick screen, same Harmonix logo (but if you look closely there are less colors in the new Harmonix logo).  Yes, I spend way too much time with Rock Band.  The intro song/video is new but looks more like an extension from the RB1 intro.  I haven’t watched it in its entirety yet, for two reasons.  1) I really wanted to play.  2) My 3 year old son still calls it ‘the scary movie’, like he did on Rock Band 1.  We steer clear of scary movies in our household.

    Overall, start-up was cool that it created cache, and detected some system settings.  Simple, and we were at the main menu in about a minute (maybe two).

    Of note, RB2 does not bring in characters and bands from RB1.  So, you have to get to create all new fake people in RB2.

    menus/navigation

    The main menu screen has a new look to it. It’s still Rock Band like, but appears a bit simpler.  Basically there are two play modes (local and tour).  Choose the mode you want, and then you can start rocking quickly.  This is very cool.  I have only used Tour mode so far, and see myself using that a lot.  But, there’s no sub menus, and sub-sub menus, and sub-sub-sub menus.  You choose Local or Tour, and then you are presented with Choose your band.  Once you choose your band, you get an updated screen of picking your rocker.  It’s a nice easier to use flow to getting things started.

    There are some other options at the main menu screen, such as Training, Options and Extras.  Training is…well, training.  I’ll get into the details of the Drum Trainer in a minute.  Options gets into basic setups and settings (from modifying bands and characters, to audio levels).  Extras, has two check boxes No Fail Node and Hyper Speed.  No Fail Mode is…well, no fail mode.  You never get booed of the stage, no matter what.  Small caveat, you can’t gain any achievement points either in this mode.  Hyper speed (haven’t tried yet) I guess speeds up the action.  I’ll report on this more later.  There was also a third extra, but from memory, I’m drawing a blank.

    I like the flow of the menus, but have one gripe.  As I was navigating the menus with my wireless 360 controller, I noticed a bit of lag as I’d move around.  It’s just a bit too slow moving around the main menu on the controller…and even more so with the guitar or drum controller (since those are a little less intuitive to use).  It’s a small thing, but I’m pointing out the good with the bad.

    new features

    Drum Trainer

    So, I dabbled with the drum trainer with my 3 year old son on drums.  This is just plain awesome for someone looking to learn the drums.  We only did the first screen which is just a 4-4 metromone playing and a chart teaching yout how to play snare and hi-hat.  We play this pattern for about 2 minutes, and it completely reminded me of my first drum lessons when I was a wee lad.  More on Drum Trainer as I explore it.

    Freestyle Drums

    Yes, there’s a screen with no music, no chart, no mothing.  Just a place to use play freestyle drums on a bunch of different sounds kits. What a great way to practice your RB songs from memory.  I played for a minute, and will sure to be back for more.

    World Tour Online

    Haven’t really explored this yet.  Will try to tonight.  But, when you play on Xbox Live, you will now be able to play a full tour, without having to get everyone in the bad at your house.

    Challenges / Battle of the Bands

    I saw this feature, and clicked on Challenges.  There was a “Release Day” challenge running when I brought it up.  Also cool, at the main menu, it tells you of challenges currently running.  What’s cool about Challenges and Battle of the Bands is they are located inside your Local or Tour modes.  No sub menus to get to these.  Very easily accessible.  More to come on these.

    Instrument Swap

    No, you don’t have to create a different charcater for each instrument.  I used my one character and tried him as drummer, then as singer, then as bass player.  Easy, seamless, flawless.

    New Modes

    Ok, the thing I spent most of my time on yesterday was things I just could not do in RB1.  Ready?  I played a World Tour by myself.  If you remember in RB1, you can only go into tour mode with 2 or more players.  Total bummer, since the tour mode is so much fun.  In RB2, you can go into tour mode solo.  It’s easy as pie too.  Note, there still is quick play with all your RB2, DLC and Imported RB1 tracks.  Quick Play also has new sorting features which should help finding a songs in your more than 200 available tracks…though I haven’t played enough to comment yet.

    The other thing I did in RB2 that could never be done in RB1 is play as bass only.  Well, you can do Quick Play in RB1 as bass, but you couldn’t do solo tour.  Now you can do it all as bass; quick play, local solo/group tour, world solo/group tour.  It is better this way.

    playability

    For game play, it’s quite similar to RB1.  Really, is just an upgrade than an new experience.  If you know RB1, you already know RB2 game play before you take it out of the box.

    Some things that I noticed different include:  The backgrounds have more live action detail.  The first club you play in has cool smoke machines blowing on the stage, and slightly improved graphics.  I noticed something that only a drummer would notice.  At the end of a song, when you are just waiting for it to end, the drummer can play notes and not fail out.  In RB1, if the drummer played while waiting for a song to end, he’d get mis-hits and could fail out.  In RB2, you actually hear drum notes.  Kind of cool and different.

    Vocals in RB2, seem much easier….possibly too easy.  Maybe I’ve become a really good vocalist over the past 48 hours, or RB2 changed the way vocals work.  I was 99% and 100%ing songs on expert last night, that I had previously 96% and 98%ed.  I’ve heard people talking in the forums about rap songs (or songs iwth “talkies” actually getting 100% without saying a word.  Hmm..maybe a first day glitch that Harmonix will send a patch out for.  Or maybe, they gave up on people actually learning how to sing properly.  I wonder.  So, The jury is still out on RB2 vocals.

    One other thing happened.  I created a character for my son.  We made the character look as much like a 3 year old as possible.  My son and I played together for a while and all was great.  We shut off the 360 when we were done.  Later on last night, the whole family convened in the dungeon for some family play, and my sons character was mysteriously gone.  No where to be found.  Put a little damper on the family game night.  I ended up recreating it after everyone else went to bed, but still don’t know what happened.  My only thought is that when my son and I first finished playing, I just shut off the 360 instead of backing out to the main menu.  Maybe his character wasn’t fully saved (in the back-end) and since we didn’t back out of the tour, he got deleted.  I dunno.

    songs

    Well, Ive only played 4 new songs, and done a couple DLC.  But, what can I say.  84 new songs for $60 (actually free, thanks to a Sears gift card), is a deal.  Plus, the supposedly something in the owners manul for 20 free DLC coming soon.  I need to look into the official word on this, since it’s currently rumormill to me.

    Pros

    bass get to play

    easy navigation, everything is centrally focused on group tour mode

    lot’s o’ new songs

    drum trainer

    if you know RB1, you will know RB2 very quickly.

    no fail mode, a must have for family fun and parties

    Cons

    menu navigation too slow for my liking

    created character vanished with no trace.

    Coming up later this week….

    Intro to Online Tour Mode

    Challenges

    More Drum Trainer

    Please leave your first impression in the comments.  Long or short, I want to know what you think 36 hours after the release.

  • My Favorite Song of the Day – MFSD

    Posted on September 15th, 2008 Shawn No comments

    LocksleyLet’s talk about today’s favorite song. Today I pick Don’t Make Me Wait by Wisconsin’s own Locksley. Think of them as Beatles-esque, or as some say, similar to The Hives.

    It’s happy-go-lucky pop-rock. Don’t Make Me Wait and She Does are both simple and fun songs. Check out the first one here. And pick up a few Locksley tracks on Rock Band DLC at 99¢ or 80 MS Points.

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  • BlackBerry Storm, Internally Announced @ Verizon

    Posted on September 15th, 2008 Shawn No comments

    Posted in the CrackBerry.com forums by Rjsumthin, a Verizon insider that hangs out in the CrackBerry forums, with the details coming out of today’s Minute with Mike:

    The Official Minute with Mike Details

    • Just a brief introduction, nothing to do with a website.
    • The name is the Storm – “Designed to take the world by storm” global marketing name since it’s available to work in 195 destinations or more.
    • One of the highest resolution screens on the market today…. no details….
    • Revolutionary Touch Screen
    • High Speed HTML
    • 3.2 MP camera with lots of multimedia capabiliteies….
    • Visual Voicemail
    • And everything else blackberry is known for….
    • Lots of images and videos for us internal people… it looks AMAZING!!!!! Sorry I can’t post the video for ya, you would be drooling!
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