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  • ‘Cuz you know Y-A-U-C-H

    Posted on October 22nd, 2012 Shawn No comments

    EDITORIAL NOTE: I started drafting up this article on May 8, 2012 and had a difficult time time with it. I shelved it, and decided today to put a little more into it. Only 1/3 of the story has been told so far. I will come back to do the rest, but didn’t want this to continue to sit in draft any longer. RIP Adam.

    I honestly had no idea how much Adam Yauch meant to me, until Friday May 4, 2012 around 4:00 PM. My thoughts and memories may have similarities to other Beastie Boys fans, but the way Adam’s death is affecting me, seems a little different. Let me tell my tale of the legacy of Adam Yauch, MCA.

    1986, I’m a twelve year old, only child in a single parent home. Moved around a lot, and just moved back to my hometown after a few years in other places with my mom. No matter where I went, I always had a boombox in hand, with a double-cassette player. I was known to listen to lots of rock, some pop, and rap was making a showing. Motley Crue, Van Halen, Ray Parker Jr., Prince, Duran Duran, of course Michael Jackson, Run-DMC, Kurtis Blow, Fat Boys, Doug E. Fresh. Music was a giant part of my youth. I was always at the local Strawberries Records & Tapes store spending my allowance and paper route money on the newest sounds to catch my ears. One of the toughest choices for me was whether to buy records or tapes. I loved both for so many reasons. Records, I could play songs I wanted to hear without having to fast forward, plus I could practice my emerging scratching technique on my mothers Quasar turntable. Tapes, on the other hand, could pop into my boom box and be with me on the go.

    Kids I hung around with were also big music fans. It was common that much of our playing time involved listening to music, or trying to impersonate it. Learning all the lyrics to Run-DMC’s King of Rock, Kurtis Blow’s Basketball, or impersonating The Human Beat Box from Fat Boys were typical things we did as kids.

    I don’t actually remember when or how I acquired Licensed To Ill, but I do recall it was the tape. The beats, the humor, the three distinct voices. The samples from rock songs that I sort of recognized from rock radio, later realizing I was hearing Led Zeppelin and old TV show samples. Licensed To Ill hit just about all the right notes for me. There was hard rock with Fight For Your Right and No Sleep Til Brooklyn. There were some cool DJ techniques with Time To Get Ill. The lyric dynamics from MCA, Mike D, and King Ad Rock, their very different voices, the humor in their lyrics, and the way they could slice a song up between them. Licensed To Ill became a huge part of my music listening time from 1986 on.

    1989, still living in my hometown, but have now moved just down the street with my mom and my new step-father. I spent much of that summer on the other coast, visiting family. Paul’s Boutique was released. Again, I opted for the tape, since I had no record player with me on vacation. The cover folded out in a panoramic view of New York streets, with Paul’s Boutique, the clothing store, displayed in one of the panels. The actual cassette was the color of a red fire truck, with a black label prominently showing the Beastie Boys Records label.

    Immediately upon listening to it, and having already heard its first single, Hey Ladies, I realized this album will never be Licensed To Ill. I loved Hey Ladies, but nothing like I loved The New Syle and Hold It Now, Hit It. Paul’s just wasn’t the same, and I thought the Beastie’s wouldn’t continue to interest me. Fortunately, I had the entire summer to listen to the tape over and over, and began to fall in love with Shake Your Rump, Shadrach, and the rest of the tape. Like my days of 1986, I decided to learn the lyrics and every nuance of that tape, cover to cover. Only difference was, I didn’t have most of my friends around to share it with, so I internally devoured every minute detail.

    Back at home, returned from summer vacation, I started to pick up every Paul’s Boutique cassingle and 12″ EP I could locate, including one titled Love American Style. This was actually the double single for Hey Ladies and Shake Your Rump, but contained so much more, like a remixed intstrumental of Shake Your Rump, which years years later would become the background music to the beginning of my pseudo-Beasties’ cover band, Suspicious Hooligans. As of today, I still have my Paul’s Boutique cassingles and LP’s.

    …more to come soon, including middle school with my friend and my hopes of getting on the TV show “Puttin’ On The Hits” to lip sync Fight For Your Right,  high school with my step-brother loving Check Your Head (me, not so much) and college with Ill Communication and my emergence as a (sort of) MCA impersonator…

  • Xbox 360 Dashboard Gets Minor Facelift

    Posted on October 18th, 2012 Shawn No comments

    We are getting a new dashboard update for Xbox 360. Simply, it just keeps getting better, step-by-step.  This time around we get Internet Explorer, Search for Kinect, and more parental controls.

    First up, IE makes its first appearance on Xbox. Can you believe, it took 7 years for Xbox to get a web browser? It’s crazy to think the Wii has had this capability since inception. Well, the good news, you can now browse the web on your couch using your 80″ LED display, versus your 10″ iPad. Hooray!

    Kinect gets some incremental added updates too.  Search is now throughout the dashboard, including video searching. This is a minor update, and some would argue that feature already existed.  It did exist before this update, but was limited to only portions of your data/services. Now, Kinect Search gets more full integration across all of your services, we think.

    The last big piece of this update, is improved security, including more controls for parental monitoring and time limiting. Also in this update, requires child and teen accounts to use multi-factor authentication, which is fancy lingo for phone number, email, or something like that.

    So, these are all incremental updates on what is already a fully feature rich dashboard.  IE is definitely big news, as we’ve been waiting 7 years for it.  Also note, with Windows 8 arriving on store shelves this month, another dashboard update to support Windows 8 is right around the corner. The coming update will introduce Xbox Music (the rebranded Zune) and SmartGlass (a feature that integrates with phones and tablets).

    Come back for updates on what’s coming.

    See the press release here.

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