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  • app-a-day: Rock Band Reloaded for BlackBerry

    Posted on February 2nd, 2012 Shawn No comments

    MyGGGo presents App-A-Day

    Today we dive into one of my favorite games of all time, on one of the mobile devices I use daily. How do you think Rock Band will hold up on BlackBerry? Will it rock or not? Read on… 

     

    Rock Band Mobile ReloadedNAME: Rock Band Reloaded

    PUBLISHER: Electronic Arts

    PLATFORM: BlackBerry

    GENRE: Rhythm Game

    PRICE: $6.99

    TRY IT: N/A

    BUY IT: http://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/22193?lang=en

    WHAT IT DOES: Are you aware of that console game with plastic guitars, plastic drums, and karaoke style vocals? If you are on this site, I’m sure you are aware of Rock Band. Well, this is a BlackBerry mobile version of that game. It’s actually, the second version of Rock Band for BlackBerry, the first being titled Rock Band Mobile. Rock Band Reloaded does not actually use any plastic instruments or karaoke vocals. In their place, are dots scrolling across or down the screen that you need to tap in syncronization with the music. For touchscreen BlackBerry’s, all the commands work well on-screen.  For non-touchscreen BlackBerry’s the keyboard has commands to simulate screen touches.

    As for the music, you do not actually the real songs, or the full songs. What you do get is 16-bit renditions of the songs without vocals. Think of the sounds from Sega Genesis games. As for song lengths, after about 2 minutes, the in-game songs fade out and end.

    Graphically, the game is fine. The background looks like what is on Rock Band 1 on consoles. The notes coming at you look nearly identical to what you get on consoles too.  Instead of having your band rocking out on stage in the background, you just get a static image of a band or a player.

    Now, let’s talk gameplay. With easy, medium, and hard modes available, you get the ability to tap a few or a lot of bars coming at you. I found it ok in tapping the screen for guitar, bass, and drums. It’s not overly responsive, but not frustratingly poor either.  For the simulated vocals, you tap notes on-screen due to the lack of real vocals. I found the side-scrolling of vocals impossible to get the full 4-stars (and difficult to get 3-stars).

    There are single song playlists and a World Tour mode like in Rock Band 1 for consoles. With World Tour mode there are achievements encouraging you play the songs multiple times to achieve the necessary score or goal to gain the achievement and unlock other songs.

    You won’t find any DLC available for Rock Band Reloaded. You get 20 songs.

    DO I WANT IT: As an extremely hardcore Rock Band player on Xbox 360, I have played Rock Band Reloaded many times. I have also played the iPhone and Android versions as well (those have full-length real versions of the songs, high resolution graphics, and DLC). This BlackBerry version is no comparison to its Xbox, Android, or iPhone brethren. This game is better to play with the audio turned off, since the lo-fi audio is terrible and does not always sync to the notes on-screen.

    I almost wish Harmonix did not put their name on this version of Rock Band, as it is by far the worst implementation of a Rock Band game on any platform. Unfortunately, there is not a free version to try first, so I did buy the app at the steep $7 price point.

    In summary, stay away from this abomination. BlackBerry has never been known as a good gaming platform, and this game proves why.

    Others agree:

    Worst game you could ever buy for your phone

    It doesn’t hav full songs and no singing

    “I’m a Rock Band fanboy…And this version of the game is an embarrassment.  The music is all MIDI renditions of the original (think 8-bit Super Mario Bros theme song). Songs fade out about 3/4 through the song. There are no vocals, they are all replaced with synth MIDI sounds. Graphics are decent, achievements are nice, menus are good…looks like the iPhone version. The music issues heavily outweigh the decent look of the game.” <– Actually I left that review in BlackBerry App World

     

  • What’s MyGGGo Doing?

    Posted on January 26th, 2012 Shawn No comments

    Hey, if you are reading this….thanks and why?

    Months have gone by, many months. No Rock Band news or rants. No updates on my gadget obsessions. No shameless plugs for online deals to support our sponsors. Nuthin! So what gives?

    Our first four years were very active (2007-2010), with multiple writers and sometimes many articles per day. (Remember, we run this site pro bono, make gilch, for free). Well not entirely true. It cost us money to keep it running. We do on a very rare occasion make a coin or two if you check out our sponsor links or buy from one of our Amazon links.

    2011 had a turn (not for the worse, no one died or anything), just a turn. Shawn started a side-project in the smartphone security space (of course MyGGGo was already a side-project). He also started another side-project developing technical training courses. And finally started another side-project playing drums in a couple bands. Oops…I think that’s 3 too many side-projects.

    Where are all the other writers from MyGGGo? They have faded into their lives, and we haven’t worked at replacing them. Our bad.

    MyGGGo has suffered. I can’t say 2012 will return us to previous levels, but here’s a first ditch effort. Coming this week, will be our new feature, known as App-A-Day.

    Since we have literally hundreds of apps (from business to games to time wasters) for many platforms, We are bringing (sexy) back all three G’s to MyGGGo (Gadget, Game, and Gizmo Obsession) with this new feature. We will have a standard format for App-A-Day and will walk through the details of an app, the good, the bad, the malicious, the free, the ridiculously expensive.

    Get ready for stuff from the Android Market, iOS App Store, Mac App Store, Chrome Apps, Xbox 360 games, Xbox 360 Dashboard apps, BlackBerry apps, Wii games. We will go all over the map. Why the whole map, well we actually use them all.

    Join us later this week for the first real blast-o-news for 2012 with App-A-Day. If you have any preference of platform, type of app, or a specific app you’d like us to highlight on App-A-Day, drop us a line below.

  • BlackBerry PlayBook runs Android Apps

    Posted on March 24th, 2011 Shawn No comments

    The RIM press release today had a bit of info that has me now very interested in a PlayBook (which I already was interested).

    They confirmed the Java VM on the PlayBook will be the same that’s on Android devices allowing Android apps to somewhat natively run on one PlayBook. I wonder if this will create a patch war like Apple and Palm had when the Palm WebOS had native iTunes support and Apple continually updated iTunes to break the support.

    The PlayBook will also have native C/C++, HTML5, Flash, and AIR dev environments.

     

    The dev potentials are quite large. I’m interested to see how it competes in the crowded tablet market.

  • Slacker Radio gets On-Demand

    Posted on January 6th, 2011 Shawn No comments

    My favorite online streaming music service is Slacker Radio. If you are unaware of Slacker, think of Pandora or Last.FM.  I believe the Slacker offering has the best user interface, a great selection of music, nice free (and relatively cheap paid) offerings, and was the first to offer on-device mobile applications with caching of music for offline use. I have my custom Rock Band Radio station over there too.

    Today, at CES, the folks at Slacker announced the next generation of their web-based and mobile applications.  Most of it has been expected for a while, but good to see that they are pushing the marketing on it. Let’s get into the announcement.

    This news comes to us from Hypebot and ZatzNotFunny who had a chance to interview folks at Slacker.

    SOURCE: zatznotfunny.comPremium Radio

    This has been quietly announced on Slacker.com for many months.  This is a paid offering allowing users to select any song in the Slacker library on-demand for immediate listening.  I have heard that this paid offering will cost users a scary $9.99 per month, which is an extremely expensive cost in my opinion.  This new offering will compete immediately with Zune Pass, Rhapsody, Napster, and similar services.  It could also compete with iTunes and Amazon’s download services.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • 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.

  • Getting into the Mobile App Dev arena

    Posted on October 28th, 2010 Shawn No comments


    It’s been a while since I dove into a programming gig. Some of you may know that one of my alter ego’s is JavaDevelop (@JavaDevelop on Twitter) and www.JavaDevelop.com. Don’t waste your time visiting that website since it will only bring you back here. I started my programming days in the late 1990’s with LotusScript on Domino/Notes applications (well actually the 1980’s if you count me playing with Basic on an Atari 1200XL).  Then progressed into the web world with JavaScript, HTML, and CSS; and finally went into the middle-tier of Java, and SQL database work. Around the late-2000’s I got bored and took a programming break.

    Now, as my interest in mobile technology is increasing, I’m getting my programming skills sharpened and focusing first on iPhone development. This is a very new space for me, since iPhone development takes place on a Mac (I’m a Windows purist), and is written in a language called Objective-C, which is heavily based on the C programming language (see my background above to identify the discrepancy). That said, my iPhone skills are getting sharper each day, and I have some projects to work on (which I will announce at a future date).

    I may also work on apps for the other devices, including Android, Palm, and BlackBerry. Though, that would take me in a very different technical direction, so don’t expect it soon.

    To keep up with my mobile development activities, for now you can follow me @JavaDevelop on Twitter.  Sometime in the future, I will revive the website with all that I’m working on.

    If you have any app suggestions with the platform you’d like to see an app on, let me know.  Maybe I will take community suggestions for future direction.

  • BlackBerry Bold 9000, Too Clicky & Other Shortcomings

    Posted on August 17th, 2010 Shawn 2 comments

    I have used the BlackBerry Bold 9000 as my primary all-in-one converged phone/media device for 18 months. It’s about time I put this device in its place. Let’s get into the issues: keyboard, no touch screen, Gmail integration, limited internal/application memory, and more.

    Don’t get me wrong, as longtime user of smartphones, the Bold 9000 has some excellent features, but I’m going to be the grumpy old man today. Remember, my smartphone history is: PalmOne Treo 650 (Verizon), Palm Treo 700p (Verizon), BlackBerry Storm 9530 (Verizon), iPhone 3G (AT&T), and of course Bold 9000 (AT&T).

    Keyboard: This keyboard first is just too wide for me. The width needs to be trimmed down a smidge. My former Treo devices had the perfect spacing of keys making typing a breeze. With the Bold 9000, my thumbs need to travel further than necessary. “Click, click, click”, says my keyboard as I type. These keys are ridiculously loud. Just try to type on this thing when you are in a meeting without disturbing everyone in the room; or worse, try checking your email while sitting on a public loo. The guy in the stall next to you is bound to count your clicky keystrokes.

    Lack of Touch Screen: There’s not much to say about this. It’s 2010, get with it. Granted, the phone came out in 2008, but still, combined hardware keyboard and touch screen smartphones (Palm OS, Windows Mobile) have been around since 2005. What’s taking RIM so long to get touch screen phones, with a physical keyboard on it? Yes, we can now get our hands on the BlackBerry Torch 9800, but it astounds me that the flagship BlackBerry devices of 2008 and 2009 did not have touch.

    Gmail Integration: Gmail has 26 million user accounts. Presumably, many of them are using BlackBerry to read/send Gmail. So, how is it that the BlackBerry operating system still does not support 2-way synchronization? If I archive a Gmail message on the Bold, it will automatically archive when displayed on the PC’s web browser. Though, if I archive a Gmail message on the PC’s web browser, the BlackBerry OS is not smart enough to automatically sync. In fact, there’s no way to force a synchronization, which requires me to archive the same message twice.

    Also, if using the BlackBerry’s integrated “Desktop” email client, it displays messages from all integrated email accounts; Exchange, Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, etc. Though, when using Desktop to display messages, there are none of the expected Gmail features, like Archive and Add Star. If you want to use the Gmail features, you have to leave the Desktop and open the Gmail icon to get those features. Simply, it’s a poor and inefficient implementation of Gmail integration and support.

    Application Memory: This device has a whopping 128MB of memory reserved for the OS, installed applications, and running applications. What this means is if you install more than 10 apps, get ready to run out of memory and have the phone lock-up forcing a reboot. Also, if you have more than three 3rd party apps running simultaneously, same story…out of memory, forced to reboot. Even though there is 1GB of on-board storage and up-to 16GB of microSD storage, you are still limited to 128MB for all apps. That’s just crap.

    Media Playlist Syncing: If you have playlists on the computer in Windows Media Player (WMP) or iTunes, the playlists will only sync to the Bold with the PC installation of the BlackBerry Media Sync application. If you were to use the native WMP or iTunes syncing; music, video, and photos will sync, but no playlists. Stupid, just stupid that RIM cannot use the WMP or iTunes API to get playlists to sync.

    On a good note, that’s about all I can complain about. The Media app is sub-par to iPod or PocketTunes (Palm OS), but it’s usable. The screen resolution is great. The phone, speaker, Bluetooth, and other features are great…but this is my Debbie Downer rant.

  • BlackBerry Desktop 6.0 – First Impression

    Posted on August 13th, 2010 Shawn No comments

    Today, I got the push from RIM for BlackBerry Desktop Manager to be upgraded.  This post will talk about the upgrade process and my first impressions of this software that I’m likely to never use.

    Let’s start with the install. It all began with Windows 7 prompting me with a BlackBerry icon in my system tray. Clicking on the link brought up the BlackBerry Automatic Update dialog. Being a “bleeding edge” tech guy, I grabbed a screen shot and clicked “Install”.

    The install was seamless and painless. Basically, sit back and watch. I may suggest grabbing a cup of coffee, as the install took my system about 5 minutes to complete the installation.

    The first bit of interesting change, no longer do we call this BlackBerry Desktop Manager.  Now, it’s BlackBerry Desktop Software. I wonder how much time in R&D was spent on that change.

    The actual layout of Desktop Software is considerably different from the 5.0 version. You now get a navigation pane on the left side, versus icons covering the entire app. What’s great about this change is, you always have visibility into all your navigation opportunities at all times.  Previously, once you clicked an icon, you’d be brought into a completely new screen, with no visibility back to your previous options. Also, take a look what is in the new navigation area, “Media Sync”.  For the first time, it looks like we will get a decent integrated media sync application.  I will explore this in much more detail.

    Initially upon connecting my BlackBerry (Bold 9000) to my Windows 7 computer via USB, Desktop Software did not recognize it. The initial startup screen, “Connect your BlackBerry device”, remained.

    After a minute, my USB port recognized the BlackBerry and so did Desktop Software.  It recognized it in the home screen, followed immediately by a pop-up about adding a new BlackBerry device, following immediately by another pop-up screen about discovered music on my device. Having all this automatic discovery is nice and all, though maybe they could have let me complete one activity before bringing up the next pop-up window.

    The media sync capability appears to be better than what existed in the past.  I will explore it further and see if it compares at all to using iTunes or Windows Media Player for syncing. As of recently, the only reason I have been using BlackBerry media sync is to get my Windows Media Player (WMP) playlists on my Bold.  Using WMP to sync, only brings over the songs, not the playlists. It’s odd, because with the BlackBerry Storm, it would sync playlists with WMP.

    For now, my first impression is overall positive.  The left navigation gives the user a way to easily get back to home or any other place within Desktop Software. The integrated media sync is a great add, plus the media sync screens have a new look to them, giving a sign that RIM is trying to get serious in the multi-media space. Plus, the ability to adjust the size of Desktop Software is a great add.

    Be sure to check out Craig Johnston’s book, “My BlackBerry Curve” at Amazon. Why? He’s on the CrackBerry Podcast, and knows his stuff.

  • Do You Love BlackBerry, Black Eyed Peas & Updated OS’s?

    Posted on April 27th, 2010 Shawn No comments

    Check out the new commercial / BEP video demonstrating the updated BlackBerry OS 6, coming soon.  Lot’s of touch capabilities, swiping, and more.  The UI is familiar but fresh looking, and shows off multimedia as much as it does communication. (Thanks @Crackberry for the tip)

  • BlackBerry Tablet In The Works

    Posted on April 19th, 2010 Shawn No comments

    So, the iPad is here, we know that.  Some are calling it a revolutionary device. I won’t get into my opinion of the iPad right now.  Though, I will get into what is possibly soon to come.

    There’s most likely a BlackBerry touchscreen phone coming out this year (looking like the Palm Pre). See my earlier post on this.

    I got wind today from TechTremor, that Research In Motion (aka RIM, the makers of BlackBerry) are readying a combatant to the iPad.  If there is any credence to this early rumor, we may be seeing a BlackBerry tablet computer in the near future.

    Source: TechTremor

    If your tired of tablets already then you’re in for a tough year I’m afraid. Research In Motion, the creator of Blackberry, were caught buying up 8.9 inch screens and later ordering tablets from Foxconn, the largest electronic assembly plant in the world. Again, more rumors, but this would slate the tablet for an attainable late summer early fall launch. It looks like tablets are going to be the new Christmas crazy come 4th quarter.

    So, what say you BlackBerry users? Does a BlackBerry tablet interest you? For me, I am begging RIM to make a touchscreen BlackBerry. Though, not sure yet what I think about a BlackBerry tablet.

    UPDATE: In this weeks CrackBerry podcast, we have a confirmation that engineering of a BlackBerry tablet is in the works. Listen to Kevin Michaluk at 31:40 into the podcast. He had to change topics because he is obviously under an NDA not to talk about it.
    Get the podcast here or just listen below.

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