Yesterday was the big Apple iPod announcement event for 2010. There has been oodles of coverage of the event. I was surprised that the iPad didn’t get an OS update and was pleased to see buttons back on the Shuffle. The Nano is ok although I am not sure losing the slim rectangular shape and click wheel is a good idea, only time will tell.
The real interesting device was the iPod Touch. I have a second generation 8GB iPod Touch which I bought off of Craig’s List before I committed to the iPhone. I was unsure about only having a touch screen key board so a used iPod Touch let me test it out without committing to a two year contract for the iPhone which I eventually did.
I like the Touch and actually use mine quite a bit even though I have an iPhone. I was looking forward to the new Touch, in particular for the rumored camera feature. Having an HD video camera would be nice, the camera in my 3GS is so-so at best.
Today I was speaking with my co-worker Nick and we were talking about the Touch and my desire to have one, even though I don’t need it. Nick mentioned that if it had GPS, the Touch would be perfect. It got me thinking – why did Apple leave out the GPS?
If the Touch had GPS then it could:
- Geo tag photos and video
- Enable navigation with Google and/or Bing Maps (there is nothing worse than using my iPhone for GPS only yo have a call come in)
- Possibly replace dedicated GPS hardware
- All the location based services that Apps offer
I am sure there are other uses too but these came to mind. Lack of GPS is really the only short coming that I could see.
I was hopeful that the rumors about the new Apple TV would be true and it would be a screen-less iPod Touch for the TV. While the new Apple TV has some pretty cool features, I don’t see much differentiation over comting products from Roku, Western Digital, Boxee and others. Each of these streaming devices seems to have one limitation or another. I haven’t seen anything that says the new Apple TV supports UPnP which both my Xbox and WDTV Live do support.
I am disappointed in the Flickr support from the WDTV Live so was hopeful that the Apple TV would be more compelling than it is. As it is, if I had to buy something right now, I think I’d get the Roku HD for $69.
I have posted much about RockBand lately. Not playing as much as I was. At this point I have finished the original RockBand game on Guitar at both the Easy and Medium levels and started the Hard level.
I am now to the point where I can usually make it through a song on Hard as long as it doesn’t get ridiculously complex.
We’ve been playing some RockBand 2 at home lately. For the most part I like the game better but I do miss the Solo Tour which really walks you through the game in a logical progression. In RB2 I find myself without the time to play the 3-6 song sets required to finish many of the tour stops.
Last night my son and nephew were playing Guitar and Bass so I played some Drums with them. I haven’t played the drums in a while and was pleased to see I wasn’t totally incompetent with them like I had been previously. I guess just playing the game has helped somewhat. I was able to finish the first City on the RB2 tour playing Easy Drums and got 4-5 stars on all songs but one.
The Drums are much harder in my opinion. I find myself getting out of sync from time to time and really struggling to get back on track to hit the notes. When I do that I really need to pause, skip a note or two and then get back at it but often I will bang through a whole phrase slightly out of sync and miss all the notes.
I picked up RockBand 2 the other day and had a chance to play a little bit over the last two days. My initial impression is positive, I still love the game adn RB2 adds more to what was already a good game. No issue migrating the RB1 songs nor any of the content I had purchased over XBL Marketplace.
I had hoped that the game would recognize your progress from the first game but it doesn’t so I am starting all over again. I still can’t play very consistently on hard but I am usually able to get through a song without failing, at least on Bass which is easier than guitar.
I think there needs to be a level between medium and hard. Between the speed up and adding the orange note, I really struggle with hard. I need Medium-Hard where it is at the pace of Medium but adds the orange note.
Our Xbox360 arrived from RRoD repair center yesterday. Definitely not the same console which is no surprise. I haven’t tried it out yet – maybe this evening. Now I need to decide what to do. I think I am going to keep the Elite at home as our main console which means I need to move all of my downloadable content to it. I will either take the repaired console to the beach or I’ll set t up down in the basement once I get the LEGO stuff put away.
As part of the downloadable content license transfer process, I decided to “register” both of my consoles on Xbox.com. This failed and I ended up spending a bunch of time on the phone with Microsoft last night without any resolution. From their end they can see two consoles registered to me but it doesn’t show up on the web site when I login. After dealing with people on the phone for almost an hour, they gave up and asked me to wait 24 hours to see if the information would propagate through their systems (it hasn’t yet).
Last Tuesday I shipped our Xbox back to Microsoft for repair (RRoD). On Saturday morning I got an e-mail that it had been received and not two hours later I got another e-mail stating it had been shipped. The turn around is pretty impressive and I am sure they have a pile of refurbished Xbox 360s ready to ship out to customers.
It doesn’t really matter to me, I didn’t expect them to repair the unit I sent but I also expected it to take 2-3 weeks. The last time I sent one in it took about a month so they have really improved their response time. I guess they have had a fair amount of practice! 🙂
Last week I posted about our Rock Band disc getting scratched. Not surprisingly I was unsuccessful getting EA to replace the disc which was a little surprising given that they replace the instruments with little pushback. I was expecting to have to buy a new disc but asked my son to see if he could track down a used one first.
It turns out the PlayNTrade near us has a disc polisher and for $3.20, they will attempt to repair your scratched disc. For $3, this is a no brainer as opposed to spending $35 (used) to $60 (new) for another disc. So we wandered on up to PlayNTrade to see if our disc could be fixed. After a couple spins in the polisher our disc looked pretty good. We took it home and SUCCESS, it works and we were able to play Rock Band all evening.
My nephew also brought along a scratched copy of Forza 2 he had and it too was polished and successfully plays now. As I stated above, for $3 it is a no brainer when you have a scratched disk.
For the second time, our Xbox360 has died due to the Red Ring of Death (aka RRoD) failure. Since this has happened before, I know what to expect. I am not as annoyed as I was last time because Microsoft has changed their warranty policy and will fix it and they have finally addressed the problem with downloadable content licenses. I do still need to chase down the fact that all of our licenses didn’t get transfered last time but I will wait until the box returns.
I am actually not all that disappointed that the box failed. It was really loud – I am hoping the replacement doesn’t have such a loud fan. This unit has been much louder than the first one we had since we received it and the fan kicks on more frequently as well.
In the meantime, I have another Xbox at home which I had at work. I had found an Xbox360 Elite (the black one) on Craig’s List a while back for $200 so I bought it thinking I’d take our original down to the beach house. I didn’t have all of the pieces when I was last down there so the Elite has been sitting on my desk unused. Depending on what we get back from Microsoft, I may just keep the Elite at home and take the replacement to the beach or put the replacement down in the basement.
About two days after I posted about my inability to get past Vasoline in RockBand, I finally made it through. I was having trouble with the hammer ons which appear throughout the song. I didn’t do that great but at least I made it through and moved on.
This evening was the first chance I really had to play again so I went back to work on the medium tour. After knocking out a couple songs, I ran into another stumper – Metallica’s Enter Sandman. I have been frustrated with the Rock Band guitar and I think we need a replacement. You really have to press the strum bar hard to get it to register which can be very tiring when playing sequences of rapid notes. After failing 3-4 times, I decided to try the Guitar Hero II Explorer guitar. It really is much easier to play and I made it through Enter Sandman without any problems. Yep, we need to get a new Rock Band guitar.
After finishing Enter Sandman, I also completed “Highway Star”, “Flirtin’ with Disaster”, “Train Kept a Rollin'” and “Green Grass and High Tides” without any problems which completes the Medium solo tour on guitar. All I have left to play are some of the songs on the bonus tour as well as some of the songs we have downloaded.
I have been playing Rock Band here an there for a couple of months since I split the purchase of it with my son. We have an Xbox 360 in our house but until we got Rock Band, I didn’t play it much other than some of the Xbox Live Arcade games (Pinball FX being my current favorite).
I don’t have the time or the interest to invest in many of these big video games (e.g. Halo) so the XBLA games which are short and don’t have a long involved story to follow have been more to my liking. Rock Band has been different though. My son had purchased Guitar Hero II and I played it a couple of times but even that didn’t do much for me but one day when my son and I were in Best Buy, we played Rock Band together and had a blast. So when he asked a few weeks later if he could buy it (one of his friends had received it for Christmas), I offered to split it with him instead of trading in a whole bunch of games for which he would get nominal credit.
Since we got it, he and I have played together here and there, usually not more than 2-3 songs at a time so we are progressing through the World Tour slowly. After starting on Easy and playing Bass, I now usually play on Medium but I am still the Bass player when I play with him. I fully expected him to be the drummer since he plays the drums at school but he prefers to play the guitar in Rock Band.
I was interested in playing all of the songs so decided to try go back and work through them on the Solo Tour on Guitar on the Easy level. Since I don’t have much time to do this, it has taken a while. This weekend my son was away at a Church Youth Group retreat so the Xbox was available so I finished the last 5-6 songs of the 43available on the Easy level.
Now on to Medium where with the addition of the 4th button and the faster speed of the notes presented, it will take me a while to complete this. Although I’d like to play at Hard or Expert, I am somewhat realistic in my expectations – I can’t move my old fingers that fast nor do I have the time to invest in getting that good. As longs as I can hold my own on Medium I am content. I suspect I’ll do the Bass tour on Medium or the Drums on Easy (I find the drums really hard) before I do Guitar on Hard.
I enjoy listening to the TWIT podcast but I have come to the conclusion that I am 180 degrees out of phase with Leo Laporte when it comes to technology. I don’t have a Mac but I wouldn’t mind having one – I have an HP running Vista and I am reasonably happy with it. I love WindowsMobile and wouldn’t think of getting a phone that doesn’t have it, and I have an Xbox 360 (actually two of them) and although I haven’t heard him say it directly, but in several episodes the way he has referenced the PS3 platform certainly implies that he thinks it is better than the Xbox 360. Am I worried about this? Nope – just find it interesting that in several key areas, I am 180 degrees out of phase with the guy who leads a podcast I enjoy listening to.