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  • BlackBerry Storm Error at Boot, Solved

    Posted on February 4th, 2009 Shawn No comments

    BlackBerry StormFor months, I have received an error message every time my BlackBerry Storm was rebooted (i.e. battery pull or Soft Reset). The error is a cryptic Java error:

    "uncaught exception java.lang.IllegalStateException".

    Since I install beta software on a daily basis, I’m rebooting this things a lot. If I was an average BB user, I would need to reboot much, but that’s not the case for me.

    So, this error is getting annoying over time. I did some research and have found the problem. I have my device password protected. Every time it boots (or is idle for 1 hour), it locks and requires me to unlock with a password. Apparently, the password protection is what causes the error (thanks to a pinstack forum post).
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    As a test, I disabled my password and did a battery pull. Upon reboot…no more error. Voila!

    So, this isn’t cool! I want my device password protected since I have data on this that I would not be happy if it went missing/stolen. WTF, RIM? Can’t we get some password protection that doesn’t throw uncaught Java exceptions? Please.

  • Slacker Radio Officailly on the Storm!

    Posted on February 4th, 2009 Shawn No comments

    Slacker downloadWe got word early this morning (thanks CrackBerry) that Slacker has released an official version of their FREE Slacker Radio Mobile application for the BlackBerry Storm. As you may know, Slacker on other BB’s has been a huge hit; and those of us who put the unofficial version on our Storms, were praising it.

    Now, the official release is here. All issues with the unofficial have been resolved.Slacker Install
    * Buttons are now big enough for touchscreen.
    * Album art is now huge and beautiful.
    * No more flaky application lockup/crash issues.
    * No more songs cutting out with 10 seconds left.

    Press Release

    Slacker Announces Availability of Mobile Radio Application for the BlackBerry Storm SmartphoneSlacker Menu

    Free Slacker Personal Radio Mobile Application Features Touch Screen Navigation and Station Caching

    SAN DIEGO, CA – February 4, 2009 – Slacker, Inc. today announced the availability of the free Slacker Mobile application for the BlackBerry® Storm smartphone from Research In Motion (RIM) (Nasdaq: RIMM; TSX: RIM). BlackBerry Storm users* can now listen to their favorite Slacker radio stations anywhere they go, whether they are connected to a wireless network or not – a Slacker Mobile feature exclusive to BlackBerry® smartphones. The application, which is optimized for the handset’s unique touch screen, is available as a free download by visiting Slacker.com from your BlackBerry Storm.Slacker Player Landscape

    I’ve got some of my own photos of the app in action. There are the install screens, menu screens, & playing screens in portrait and landscape. Just awesome! We love Slacker! Oh, slacker stations can be cached for offline play on BlackBerry’s.

    Slacker Player Portrait

    So, you can play when you have no data coverage (i.e planes, trains, etc) and will save a ton of battery. There is also an app for the iPhone in the iTunes store, but no caching capabilities for iPhony’s.

  • Rock Band & Guitar Hero with Real Drums – Part 3: basic setup

    Posted on February 2nd, 2009 Shawn 13 comments

    This is Part 3 of a multi-part series.
    Part 1: the discovery
    Part 2: intro and shopping
    Part 3: basic setup
    Part 4: pro setup

    Ok, so you now have all the gear to get going. Let’s take a few (literally) minutes to get setup so you can experience this for the first time. Honestly, it won’t take you more than 30-40 minutes to get the basics setup.

    To review, here’s what you should already have:
    * Guitar Hero Drum Kit
    * MIDI Cable
    * Electronic Drum Kit/Brain with Assignable MIDI capabilities
    * can’t forget…Game console (i.e. Xbox 360, PS3, Wii) with game (i.e. RB2, GHWT)

    1. Setup the GHWT drum kit as instructed in the manual. Nothing out of the ordinary here; setup the stand, place the drums on the stand, plug in the pedal, plug in the cymbals etc.
    NOTE: If you are using the GHWT kit for Rock Band, put the Yellow cymbal on the left, and orange (unused) on the right. If you are using GHWT, put orange on left and yellow on right.
    2. Plug the GHWT kit into your game console and start up your game of choice (i.e. RB2 or GHWT). Play around and make the the kit plays as expected.
    3. Plug the MIDI cable into the back of the GHWT kit; there is a MIDI port right next to the kick drum plug port.
    4. Plug the other end of your MIDI cable to your e-drum kit brain (i.e. Yamaha TMX, Roland TD6V, etc).

    Ok, so let’s step back for a second. You have confirmed the GHWT kit plays fine with your console right? If the GHWT kit has issues, please make sure you get those corrected before proceeding.

    Now, let’s get into pad placement on your e-drum kit.

    5. Make sure you have at least the minimum number of pads setup on your drum kit. For example, Rock Band needs four pads and a kick drum; GHWT needs 5 pads and a kick drum. You need to have at a minimum 4 or 5 pads ready to plug in/configure.

    6. Configure each pad on your e-drum kits brain with the following MIDI value.  NOTE:  The voice (actual sound) doesn’t matter, what matters is the MIDI value.

    RockBand Settings (CREDIT: Doc_SoCal)

    RED – MIDI Note 38
    YELLOW – MIDI Note 46
    BLUE – MIDI Note 48
    GREEN – MIDI Note 45
    KICK – MIDI Note 36

    GHWT Settings are the same, you just add the orange pad at MIDI Note 49.

    7. Now, turn on your game and try it out.  If using RB2, test each pad in the Drum Trainer. This way you can start to fine tune everything.  Basically, every time you hit your kits snare drum (aka red), your e-kit drum drain will send the MIDI note #38 through your MIDI cable, into the GHWT kit, into your console…and of course onto your screen (and speakers).
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    Now, you will likely have to recalibrate your game as I noticed a very small, but noticable lag.  After manually setting calibration, everything works great.

    What this leaves you is with your e-drum kit fully functional as a drum kit for RB and GHWT, and it also leaves you with a fully setup GHWT kit. The good part of this is, you can let friends (or kids) use the GHWT kit when they want to play, and keep them off your nice kit.  Both kits will be usable at the same time.  So, if someone hit a pad on the GHWT kit while you are playing your e-kit, the hit will get registered. What’s good is, you can let someone play the GHWT kit without unplugging the MIDI cable.  What’s bad is the obvious. Someone can break your streak by hitting a pad on the GHWT kit. It’s only an issue for me if my little kids are in the room and want to join in the song with me.

    There are two potential concerns to consider. First, You don’t have your Start, Select, or Menu buttons mapped on your drum kit. This means you need to use the GHWT controller to press Start etc.  The mapped MIDI pads can be used as a D-pad and the corresponding buttons, but you have no Start, Select, or Menu on your kit.  Second, you have a plastic drum kit now just sitting in your room unused. If you are short on space, this can be an issue.  My setup is in my basement, so it is not an issue and I’m fine with this.  In fact I keep the GHWT kit rght next to my e-kit, so I can press Start, Select, and Menu as needed.

    So that’s the basic setup.  Coming in my next post, I will talk about taking things further with more professional setups. I will talk about mapping multiple e-drums so you can expand well beyond the 4-5 pad configuration (see picture for a sneak peek). I will also talk about ripping apart the GHWT controller and mounting it on your e-kit (something I do not plan to do, but others with limited space have).

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