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  • Dream Theater Teaser about New Drummer

    Posted on April 21st, 2011 Shawn No comments

  • My Top Obsessions of 2009

    Posted on January 6th, 2010 Shawn No comments

    Wow, we are already a week into 2010 and I have yet to post My Top Obsessions of 2009. Shame on me, and sorry for the delay. You may remember what my top 7 obsessions from 2008 were.

    As we wind up 2010, let me recap on the obsessions that have kept me coming back to the blog. In looking over the past 12 months, I’ll highlight the top ten obsessions that have swallowed up all my free time this past year. I’ll also take a look at what obsessions might be cropping up for 2010.

    Here are the obsessions in order of importance to me.

    Picture the ball dropping, and countdown on…
    10. Rock Band Network.
    You may be wondering, why is this at #10 and not higher on the list.  For me, I looked at RBN as a way to get my old bands music (and possible new bands music) into Rock Band. It’s kind of a dream of mine. Then when I got into the RBN beta, I realized (1) I don’t have the free time to do this, (2) I don’t want to free up time to do this. So, RBN, as exciting as it seems to me…has been a pipe dream to me, and my exploration of the tools has been short lived. In 2010, I do expect to take advantage of the grabbing songs from the RBN store, and possibly getting back in the development ring…but, neither is happening yet.

    9. New Site Name.
    This isn’t exactly a highlight, but it is something that took up part of early 2009.I moved my web site to a new host, and changed the URL. It once was at, which was just a spinoff blog of another site. As this site was growing in popularity, I decided to rename it to, short for My Gadget, Game & Gizmo Obsession. It looks to have been a poor decision, since the site statistics showed my daily visitors went form about 300 to about 30. Ouch, that hurt!  Well, you live and you learn.  I’ve decided to stick with the new name and rebuild. Some of you have stuck around, and I greatly appreciate it. I hope to get the site (now going on its 4th year) back up in readership and commenters throughout 2010.

    8. BlackBerry Bold.
    It’s funny to see that last year, the BlackBerry Storm made it to my #3 spot, and truly should continue into 2009. Though, in the wee months of 2009 (Fabruary to be exact) the Storm was replaced by the BlackBerry Bold 9000. It wasn’t replaced because I didn’t like it. It was due to the fact that my company was willing to supply me with a BlackBerry and the Storm wasn’t on the “accepted devices” list. With that, I jumped from the Verizon ship onto AT&T and picked up the Bold. It’s really a great phone, though I wish it had a larger touchscreen. It’s got high-resolution, good call quality, and decent email (funny that BlackBerry does not have the best email client of all). It’s even a good media device, which has allowed me to continue my life of mobile convergence (cell phone, calendar, email, music player, GPS, and web all-in-one). The Bold remains my current device, and I am eyeing an upgrade to the Bold 9700 in the coming months. Although, this blog was founded on gadget obsessions,  formerly known as “My Treo Obsession”, I didn’t spend as much time on BlackBerry posts throughout the year.  An interesting statistic, my readership has suffered for that too.  Looks like I need to get back to my gadget roots here.

    7. New Music Games
    Why do I keep this so general? Well, there were a few music games I picked up this year, and each had something I loved. First, I have to say, I’m disappointed that no Rock Band 3 came out in 2009, but I’m sure it will be stellar when it does. Guitar Hero 5: This is possibly the best party music game of the year. With drop in/drop out play, it’s great for parties. Also, the ability to have 4 players on any instrument is great. Especially at my house right now, where if one person sings, everyone wants to sing; or if one person plays guitar, everyone wants to play guitar. Though the soundtrack didn’t grab me, and all my DLC is on Rock Band, so the game didn’t get much rotation. The Beatles Rock Band: This showed us what Rock Band 3 might be like, with 3 part harmonies. This game is beautiful, we all know enough about it. Guitar Hero Van Halen: This is my favorite music game to play this year. You say. “WHAT?!?!” I love classic Van Halen. Activision, screwed the pooch in it’s implementation of the story and the band, but the songs and charting are fantastic. What’s missing? The same thing as all GH games, DLC. Finally, Lego Rock Band: It’s so much fun to watch the cut scenes, and play Super Easy mode with the little kids. Plus, the import/export of your existing Rock Band library makes this a fun game.  Though, I would have rather seen Rock Band 3 over all of these, it was a decent year of flooded music games.

    6. Slacker Radio.
    The streaming music service available via web browser, stand alone desktop client, iPhone, BlackBerry, and some select Sony TV’s, has been a staple of mine since I learned of the service in late 2007. With the Slacker Radio application for BlackBerry release on February 2009, it truly became my de facto music source for the entire year.  I use it via my web browser at work. I use it in the car via my BlackBerry plugged into my stereo AUX jack, I use it at home via Berry or computer, and when I travel. I’ve made several custom stations including a Rock Band station that I update regularly with all the songs available for the game. 2010 definitely looks to be a year where Slacker continues to be part of my daily obsessions.

    5. Rock Band DLC.
    Rock Band 2 came in at #2 on my 2008 list, and I had anticipated that Rock Band 3 would have come out in 2009.  Well it didn’t but guess what did? Over 370 songs available for download into Rock Band. I didn’t play as much as I would have wanted (due to moving and life), but the abundance of weekly DLC from Harmonix has kept this game (Rock Band 2), although now getting a little long in the tooth, from passing away.

    4. Drumming Stuff.
    This is a continuation from 2008, where drumming made my top list.  This year I successfully built (though not yet completed) a custom electronic drum kit. It’s custom because, I purchased it piece mail via auctions on eBay. A stand here, a pad there, etc. I’ve also used an old “brain” or module (the Yamaha TMX) to connect the kit via MIDI to the Guitar Hero World Tour drum kit.  Now, all my video game drumming takes place on a professional electronic drum kit, instead of the cheap’ish plastic kits that are available for the game.  Due to moving for much of the year, I haven’t used the kit since May, but am in the processes of setting it back up in the new place.  In 2010, I plan to buy some more components to round out the complete pro kit, and write some posts (with photos) on how to build the DIY pro kit.

    3. New Music.
    Last year, GNR with the release of Chinese Democracy made my top list.  This year, I could put in a single album in the list, though I will span this to cover the few albums that got me a bit obsessed this year. At the top, is Green Day’s 21st Century Breakdown. Sure, it got trashed by the GD purists, but I love it. It’s a great listen, easily digestible, well told story, and similar to their American Idiot album. Next is Dream Theater’s Black Clouds & Silver Linings album. I was hooked pre-release due to my resurgence of interest in the band, thanks to Panic Attack and Constant Motion in Rock Band. The new album is 6 songs, but more than 70 minutes. The songs are extremely long, you do the math.  I mostly appreciate the fact that the album was released with a 3-disc set, containing instrumentals and a bonus disc of covers. We also got 311’s Uplifter this year. It was more of a downer than an uplifting experience, as it was just bland.  But, I did obsess over it, so it makes the list.  Finally, Dave Matthews Band release of The GrooGrux King.  Good old DMB. Nothing exciting, just a good listen. The album came out shortly after the death of saxophonist LeRoi Moore.

    2. Prototype.
    This game (for PS3 and Xbox 360) got trashed by just about everyone. Worse, it’s near clone, inFamous (for PS3) made it into many pro game journalists top 10 of the year. For me, Prototype was the most played game (excluding rhythm games) for me in 2009. I bought it in July when Amazon had a one-day sale, for $40. It was during a time where I was “without home” and no place to setup my Rock Band lair, so needed something else to pass the gaming time. This game is a sandbox (New York City), much like GTA IV, where you are basically evil and trash anything and everything in your way.  There’s a ridiculous amount of multi button combos, which does take some getting used to. But for me, this 3rd person game has taken more than 40 hours of my year, and I still haven’t finished it or reached 50% of the achievements. It’s not without its issues. (1) There is no Xbox Live component. Which is ok for me, but now that I have played much of the story and some of my friends have picked up the game, we’d really like to play online together. (2) You can’t leave NYC. If you try to cross a bridge or swim away from the island, God sends in an immediate missile strike and you are killed. Towards the end of the game, there is a hint that you get get to a ship, but I haven’t made it yet. (2) There is no DLC. This is a real drag, since the game could really leverage a new downloadable map, possibly some new combos, or something. I would likely pick up DLC if it were ever released. I stand by my words that this is a fun game to play. Find it in the bargain bins and enjoy.

    1. You, the readers, and authors.
    Thanks for those readers who have stuck around during some transitions of 2009.  Thanks to some of my part-time (and near full-time) authors that write posts.  It’s been another fun year of obsessions, and more to come in 2010. I hope to grow the site in different ways this year. Not yet sure how, since It’s a kinda “fly by the seat of my pants” blog.  I’m happy to see some people taking advantage of the Store offerings we add to various posts (sponsored by Amazon and Google), and just glad to see that people enjoy reading and discussing the same things that I obsess about. Thank you!

    With that, we’ve come to the end…

    Happy New Year!

    Please share your top obsessions in comments below.

  • Green Day, Eminem, Linkin Park, Dave Matthews, and more

    Posted on May 20th, 2009 Shawn 1 comment

    I can’t believe all the new music coming out right now. I’m going to be broke this summer.

    I just realized the new Green Day album is already available, came out this week. I will be picking that up today.

    Thanks to an iTunes email, I just learned Eminem is back with a new album. Not sure if I will pick that up, as I think my Eminem days are behind me. But, I’m interested to give it a listen.

    Linkin Park has a new single New Divide. That I will definitely pick up.

    Dream Theater, I know they are not main stream, but they have a new album coming out, and I have already pre-orderd the deluxe 3-CD edition.

    Dave Matthews Band, has their first album coming out since the passing of saxophonist, LeRoi Moore. There’s a pre-order for that now, and a deluxe edition with DVD too. I’m sure I’ll pick that album up as soon as it comes out, sans the DVD.

    311 is due out with a new full album in June too. I’ll be getting that on day one.

    Not mentioned up above, but I know Beastie Boys are finishing up an album now too. This will be the first non-instrumental album for them in about 5 years.

    Oh, and Limp Bizkit started their world tour today, with the original line up. It’s the first time they have been together in 8 years. The album is due out in a few weeks, and I’m likely to get that also.

    Wow, that’s an insane summer of music. Fingers crossed some of it will make an appearance on DLC for Rock Band. 🙂

  • Free Dream Theater MP3 From Upcoming Album

    Posted on May 7th, 2009 Shawn No comments

    Dream Theater fans, you don’t have to wait until June 23 to get your ears on some new music from the band. Thankfully, DT and RoadRunner Records is letting members of their mailing list, get a FREE MP3 of the song “A Rite of Passage” from the forthcoming album “Black Clouds & Silver Linings”.

    So what are you waiting for? Go get it!

    Report back and let us know what you think, in the comments section.
    UPDATE: Looks like you missed out. This download was for 24 hours only! We will be streaming this track on on May 11th! Head over to Dream Theater’s ARTIST PAGE for more information on the relase, news about the band and other streams and videos! CLICK HERE!

    I guess we will have to search the torrents for a copy.  🙁

  • My Latest Rock Band 2 Accomplishments

    Posted on March 11th, 2009 Shawn No comments

    Lately, I have been playing a fair amount of Rock Band 2, with friends, family and on Xbox Live. Drums are my instrument of choice, followed by vocals. I always play on Expert, even if I may fail out of a song. There’s something about playing the song the way it was intended that matters most to me.

    Last night, I played a few songs on drums. Some as duals, some by myself.  Generally, I do not get 100% or full-combo (FC) on any song, since I only play a few hours a week. (I love the game and the music, but don’t dedicate my life to it.)  Most of the top tiered songs on Rock Band 2 are so difficult on drums that I barely attempt to play them.  If I do play them, I typically fail out.  The photos below, tell the story of my recent accomplishments.

    My player name is 8 TRAK, so you can see how I compare in the duals. First, I FC’d “I Think I’m Paranoid” and won by a slim margin in the dual.  This song has been around since Rock Band 1, but I think this is the first FC I got on this.  Then in another close dual, I won and got 100% on “My Own Worst Enemy”.  I was two beats away from a FC, but missed two beats in the final 10 seconds of the song.  Granted, neither of these songs are considerd difficult to most players, but I’m happy with it.
    Now, onto one of the most difficult songs on Rock Band 2, Panic Attack.  Prior to last night, I had never finished the song, except n No Fail Mode.  I figured I’d give the song a try last night, in the Prog Rock Challenge, with all intentions of failing out at some point.  Seven and a half minutes later, I’m wailing away on the last wall of 32nd notes and finished the song.  88% and four stars.  Not a great score, but I actually finished it, and then completed the Prog Rock Challenge (which unlocked two more difficult challenges).

    I shut the Xbox 360 off last night feeling pretty good about this one.  It was a solid night on the drums, and I’m looking forward to some more Panic Attack, and some more duals.

    So, let hear about your latest accomplishments in Rock Band 2.  Leave em in comments below, or in the new Forums thread.

  • Dream Theater Album Coming Soon

    Posted on February 16th, 2009 Shawn No comments

    Since many of our readers are dedicated Rock Band and Guitar Hero players, I figured I’d highlight one of the most difficult bands in the games, Dream Theater.  I’ve been following DT since the early 90’s and seen them live close to a dozen times.  One of the most technical Prog Rock bands of all time, they are coming with some new music soon.

    We learned this from our subscription to RoadRunner Records mailing list.  Below is the details from the article.  One can only hope the new album will mean more DLC for Rock Band.  Since DT is featured on GH:WT, Rock Band 2, and Rock Band downloadable content, I would bet that we’d see some (if not all) of the new album make it into the game.  Although, with DT’s crazy use of time signatures, it would take a skilled composer to recreate their songs in the game.

    For me, I want to see their earlier works from Images & Dreams and Awake, in the game.

    Source RoadRunner:



    Prog Metal veterans Dream Theater are currently wrapping up work on their tenth studio album. The band commenced work on the as-yet untitled album –their second for Roadrunner Records, following up 2007’s Systematic Chaos—in October of last year.
    Drummer Mike Portnoy and guitarist John Petrucci are once again producing the CD, while engineer Paul Northfield will mix the record. Roadrunner plans to release the album in early summer upon which the band will immediately embark on a world tour to support it.

  • My Favorite Song of the Day – MFSD

    Posted on September 12th, 2008 Shawn 2 comments

    Today, I’m sharing a song from the uber-talented Progressive Rock quintet Dream Theater. These guys are prodigy’s of Boston’s Berkeley School of Music, and it shows. They aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but they sure are talented.

    The song, Constant Motion, which is available as MP3 from Amazon for 99¢ and for Rock Band DLC for only 99¢ or 80 MS Points (until the end of the month). It’s also part of the RoadRunner Records pack. Oh, and it’s a 7 minute song….so you will get your money’s worth (if you think size matters, that is.)

    Take a listen here, and drop a few points on it so we can jam it on Rock Band 2 next week. This will challenge everyone in the band.

  • This Week In Rock Band

    Posted on August 18th, 2008 Shawn No comments

    For me, the guys at Harmonix have been on a roll for three weeks straight.  The DLC has been good, if not great, in my opinion.  And it is continuing again this week.

    Let’s recap, two weeks ago we got System Of A Down (SOAD) and a 2nd edition of Crue Fest tracks.  I picked up the SOAD stuff, and am loving it.  They are one of my favorite bands in recent years.  Last week, we got a heavy metal pack by RoadRunner records, containing the likes of Dream Theater, Megadeth, Killswitch Engage, and more.  I picked up the Dream Theater track, and OMG it is freakin’ hard on drums.  I’ve only played it once, and failed on hard.  I will be working on that one over the next few days.  BTW, Dream Theater is in my top 10 favorite band list of all time.

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    Now, to this week.  Five new tracks to be released, by three bands new to Rock Band.  Reviews are calling it a “new wave” pack of singles, but I’m just calling it awesome.  Duran Duran, Devo, and the Janitors show up on Rock Band DLC this week.  Now, see a recent post on my love/thoughts of Duran Duran making into RB2.  We get Girls On Film and Rio from “double” Duran this week (two of my favorite Duran songs… and an old band of mine used to jam Rio during practices).  The Devo stuff doesn’t include the famed Whip It, so I will give it a listen to determine what I think.  The Janitors is new to me, so I will give them a listed too on Tuesday.

    • “Girl U Want” by Devo – 160
    • “Through Being Cool” by Devo – 160
    • “Girls on Film” by Duran Duran – 160
    • “Rio” by Duran Duran – 160
    • “Get Your Rock On” by The Janitors – 80

    Three weeks in a row of some of my favorite bands/songs (SOAD, Dream Theater, and Duran Duran), equals me needing more MS points.  I’m loving this!

    Let me think for a second, what would I love to see in future weeks?   Hmmm.

    • Dream Theater (6:00, Metropolis)
    • Dave Matthews Band (Too Much, So Much To Say, or something from a live album)
    • Guns N’ Roses (You’re Crazy, It’s So Easy, Double Talkin’ Jive, Pretty Tied Up)
    • Skid Row (Slave to the Grind)
    • Green Day (American Idiot entire album)

    What about you?  Will you be buying this week?  Are you still bitter and holding out for Nevermind, or hoping for something else in the near future?

  • This Week in Rock Band

    Posted on August 12th, 2008 Shawn No comments

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    Via Kotaku:

    Gamers in need of a good face melting will be in for a treat with next week’s Rock Band DLC update. It features the Roadrunner 6 Pack, a collection of metal more harsh than biting down on a ball of aluminum foil. It’s that intense. The six pack of tracks will sell at 480 Microsoft Points or $5.99 actual bucks, with each track available for 80 MSP or $0.99. It’s a time limited offer, as these tracks go up to $1.99 next month or 800 MSP / $9.99 for the full six-pack.

    “Runnin’ Wild” by Airbourne
    “Clouds Over California” by DevilDriver
    “Constant Motion” by Dream Theater
    “My Curse” by Killswitch Engage
    “Aesthetics Of Hate” by Machine Head
    “Sleepwalker” by Megadeth

    They are all available right now.  For me, Dream Theater is a must.  It’s crazy insane, and going to be very difficult to master.  I’m very excited to see Dream Theater make an appearance on Rock Band.  BTW, the video at the top is of Constant Motion.  Check out Mike Portnoy’s (Dream Theater) drum kit in the video.

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