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  • BlackBerry Torch – My New Hotness

    Posted on November 30th, 2010 Shawn No comments

    MyGGGo Cell Phone Lineage

    This month my gadget obsession resurges, as I move on from one device to another.  A passing (er, lighting) of the torch, if you will. This past Thursday (that would be Thanksgiving here in the states), I got my hands on the BlackBerry Torch 9800 on AT&T. This post is the intro to a series of articles coming up. The upcoming posts include: first impression, native apps versus 3rd party apps, and more. [Go here for a slew of old articles on previous phones.]

    Let’s talk about why I chose the Torch this time around.  I use my phone as an enterprise device, for both work and personal use. I guess I’m a “prosumer“. In recent years, we have been limited at work to only BlackBerry devices, due the the centralized management and security it brings.  Within this past year, we have been offered the option of iPhone or Android devices, using Good Mobile Messaging software to integrate into our enterprise. Though Good remains limited in digital signing/encrypting of email.

    Those limitations kept me looking at BlackBerry devices, and since I’m not married to any one carrier, I knew immediately that I wanted the BlackBerry Torch for AT&T.

    The main reason, capacitive and large touchscreen. Having spent years with Palm Treo phones, and about 4 months with the BlackBerry Storm, I really have missed touch screen. The Storm “clicky” screen was not acceptable for me, as I could type faster than the screen could respond.  Ultimately creating a brick wall that I could never get past.

    The Torch eliminates the click screen, and it’s what you’d expect from a modern smart phone. There is a slide-up physical keyboard and an on-screen (portrait and landscape) keyboard. The typing options are plentiful.

    The Torch doesn’t have the highest resolution screen, but is plenty good looking. It doesn’t have the fastest processor, but it’s plenty fast. The new BlackBerry OS 6, is relatively snappy and pleasing on the eyes. [My wife, the resident iPhone user in the house, agrees.]

    Other phone options currently available include a multitude of BlackBerry Bold offerings on Verizon and AT&T.  As much as I liked the capability of the Bold 9000 and have heard wonderful reviews of the 9700 (and newer), the larger touch screen is the device for me.

    Coming up soon: My First Impressions article. Native Apps versus 3rd Party Apps article.

    For now, here are a couple accessories I plan to pick up.

  • Rock Band, CCR DLC Now 75% Off

    Posted on November 26th, 2010 Shawn No comments

    It’s pretty simple, if you don’t already own the Creedence Clearwater Revival 12 song pack for Rock Band, you are crazy not to pick it up right now. For today only (as far as I know), the entire 1600 point pack is on sale for only 400 points (which is the cost of two singles).

    So, if you are low on Xbox Live Points, swing by Amazon for a 1600 point card…

    …and then head over to and get in on this amazing deal. Here’s the direct link to the deal [Thanks to RockBandAide]

  • Rock Band 3, under $40 All Platforms

    Posted on November 25th, 2010 Shawn No comments

    Happy Thanksgiving from Harmonix and Amazon!  Go now and grab Rock Band 3 for $20 off regular retail price.
    Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 $39.95, Wii $34.95

  • Another Day, Another Date..Rock Band 3 MIDI Adapter

    Posted on November 24th, 2010 Shawn No comments

    It looks like we have yet another potential release date for the Rock Band 3 MIDI adapter, by Mad Catz. (See my multiple earlier posts about other dates.) As I was trolling around today, I stumbled on the upcoming release page, which had the adapter listed.

    This time, we get December 20 as the listed date.  To continue the confusion, if you click into any of the links to pre-order, the detail pages still say December 26.

    One thing is for certain, there was some major disconnect with the distribution and communication with retail. Multiple dates have been listed, come & gone, online pre-orders failing upon checkout, and other oddities.

  • Black Friday Starts Now!

    Posted on November 22nd, 2010 Shawn No comments

    Many retailers are getting a jump on the holiday deals this year.  Take a look at what Amazon is throwing our way early.

    >>>> Black Friday deals <<<< They are here and ready to take all our money. Games, Gadgets, and Gizmos Galore!

    Lightning Deals (will be gone very soon):
    Current Video Games on Sale: God of War: Collection (PS3) $10, Halo Reach (Xbox 360) $30, Fable III (Xbox 360) $30

    The deals are expected to continue through November 27. Then, of course, there’s always the weekend and Cyber Monday.  Lot’s of time to spend lot’s of money.

  • Rock Band MIDI, Delayed Until Post-Christmas

    Posted on November 20th, 2010 Shawn No comments

    I figured, I’d check on the release date status of the Rock Band 3 MIDI Adapter (by Mad Catz), which has been pushed back a couple times since the launch of the game. What I just learned, has me more than concerned.

    The MIDI adapter allows real keyboards (you know electronic piano), real electronic drums, and potentially MIDI guitars to connect to your game console (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii) for use within Rock Band 3.

    The game came out on October 26, with many (me included) expecting the MIDI adapter to be available upon launch. We quickly learned that the release date had been changed, supposedly due to all adapters being recalled to the manufacturer because of recurring sync issues. Amazon had the new release date as November 26, but Sears/Kmart had the date of November 9. As of November 9, Sears/Kmart web sites stated it was available for purchase, but when I attempted to check out, I’d got an error stating that it was not available. Also, no physical Sears/Kmart’s in the area had them in stock or knew of its existence. The Mad Catz web site has November 26 as the release date for the Xbox version, but the PS3 and Wii versions are still not dated.

    A quick check today over at Amazon, left me a bit sad. Their release date has been changed to December 26. I have faith in Amazon’s dates, which is really unfortunate if it comes true. For me, I spent time/money getting my Roland drum set with all the correct pieces in place for the “Pro Drums” experience of Rock Band 3, but have not been able to take advantage of it due to the lack of this adapter.

    I guess my New Years Eve party will rock out with my new Pro Drums setup. Until then, I will keep working on my Pro Keys skills.

  • Alan Wake Limited Edition for only $30

    Posted on November 18th, 2010 Shawn 3 comments

    You may not know this, but Alan Wake is likely going to be one of my favorite games of the year.  I just learned that Amazon has Alan Wake: Limited Edition (that’s the $80 version), which comes with all the stuff below:

    Limited Collectors Edition
    Hardbound in quality linen, the packaging is designed to resemble a hardcover book and will include:

    • Game Disc in box with unique art
    • Exclusive In-Game Audio Commentary and Hints by Remedy
    • “The Alan Wake Files” – a 144pg book that includes a short story written by Alan Wake and compiles the FBI dossiers investigating the events in Bright Falls
    • Exclusive Xbox bonus disc with special content:
      • Exclusive Xbox Theme & Avatar
      • PDLC #1 Token
      • Video Documentaries/Behind the Scenes:
        • The Theme of Alan Wake
        • The World of Bright Falls
        • The People of Bright Falls
        • Alan’s Missions
    • Exclusive Audio Disc with Soundtrack and Score

    I don’t own the game yet, but have played the first 2 “episodes”.  The game is scary as hell, a great thriller story, and fun to play.  I recommend you jump on this deal pronto!

  • Rock Band 3, 15th Place in October Sales

    Posted on November 17th, 2010 Shawn No comments

    The October NPDs (listing of retails sales) for video games have been released. The news for Rock Band 3, is dismal. It came in 15th place, which is of major concern. Some will immediately jump to the conclusion that the game was released with only day days remaining in the month (October 26) and didn’t have enough time to make the big sales. Though, Fable III came out the same day and ended up at 4th place.

    With Harmonix up for sale, thanks to Viacom stating they are getting out of the music gaming business, and their flagship game failing to jump off to great sales numbers…this Rock Band fanboy is filled with lots of concern for the future of the franchise.

    Remember, Rock Band 2 also didn’t jump off to a great start. At the time, Guitar Hero World Tour was outselling Rock Band 2, 2-to-1. Neither of those games dominated NPD’s. Going back a bit further, to Rock Band 1, a quote from Viacom CFO Tom Dooley “Rock Band was the number-one game title for 2008 by revenue across all game genres, with more than 10 million units shipped worldwide since its launch”.

    Rock Band has gone from the best selling game of 2008, to the 2nd best selling rhythm game of 2009, now to 15th place on NPDs. I’m hoping the infusing of weekly DLC continues to make the franchise strive.

    Reposted from Joystiq:

    Top 10 bestselling games for October 2010:

    1. NBA 2K11 – 360, PS3, PS2, PSP, Wii, DS – Take 2 Interactive
    2. Fallout: New Vegas – 360, PS3, PC – Bethesda Softworks
    3. Medal of Honor – 360, PS3, PC – Electronic Arts
    4. Fable III – 360 – Microsoft
    5. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II – 360, PS3, Wii, PC, DS – LucasArts
    6. Halo: Reach – 360 – Microsoft
    7. Just Dance 2 – Wii – Ubisoft
    8. FIFA Soccer 11 – PS3, 360, Wii, PS2, PSP, NDS, PC
    9. Madden NFL 11 – 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP
    10. WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 – PS3, 360, PS2, Wii, PSP

  • Kinect, Great Start. Will it Continue?

    Posted on November 17th, 2010 Shawn 3 comments

    Microsoft’s motion control sensor which connects to Xbox 360’s has sold over 1 million units in its first 10 days. I’ll admit, that’s a great start. I’m still skeptical of the overall success though. Here are some of my thoughts.

    • Distance Requirements – Kinect requires a 6-10 foot distance for you to stand from the sensor, in order for it to pick up your entire body and movement. For two players, it requires more space. I can’t imagine the average living room will have this amount of available space, without relocating things like coffee tables and couches. Do you have a 20″ x 20″ 20′ x 20′ (or larger) room where you game?
    • After the Launch excitement Fades – Once the reviewers stories and fanboys excitement calms down, what will the average consumer think about this peripheral? Sure, it looks fun, but so does the Wii. Sure, you can control beautiful games with your body, but so does the Wii (sort of). Yes, the Wii sold many millions of units, but will another similar device grab that audience again.
    • Return Rate – When people try Kinect, what will people do when/if they realize it doesn’t work in their small house? Will they shelve it (like many Wii users did), or will they return it and spend their $150 on something else?
    • Price – At $150 – $200, this add-on peripheral is not cheap. Makes sense, there’s some very impressive technology inside. Plus, it does include the game Kinect Adventures (a typical game of mini games). Kinect is not an impulse buy for the average consumer, due to it’s price and requirement of an Xbox 360. Will it sell to the masses at this price?

    I do see some great potential uses of Kinect, outside of the obvious (Wii like) mini games and exercise games.

    • Achievements – This is for the Xbox hard core gamer. So, not something the casual player will really care about. But, it could draw me (an Xbox and Wii owner) away from the Wii games and over to similar Kinect games.
    • Audio Controls – The ability to control movies, music, and other system navigation via voice commands is quite appealing. I’ve learned that Netflix is not yet supported, though expect that to be remedied with a software update.
    • Video / Audio Chat – Like having the old Xbox Live Camera, Kinect can allow video over Xbox Live and (I believe) via PC too. Plus, it can be used as an ambient microphone for party voice chats. Again, this is appealing for a rhythm game player, who is restricted by wires coming out of drums/guitars.

    By the way, all versions of Kinect are currently sold out at Amazon!

  • Black Friday Deals Abound

    Posted on November 17th, 2010 Shawn No comments

    Don’t stand in line after your Thanksgiving meal. Instead, take a quick nap, park your butt at your desk and fire up I’ll be highlighting some kick ass deals that you will not want to miss.

    First off, Amazon is starting Black Friday deals early, on November 22. THIS MONDAY!

    The deals are expected to continue through November 27. Then, of course, there’s always the weekend and Cyber Monday.  Lot’s of time to spend lot’s of money.

    Here’s something to start you grabbing your wallet. How about a 40″ 1080p LCD TV for $399.99 (38% off regular price). This is an Amazon Deal of the Day. Will go fast.

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