2012 – Electric Guest – Mondo


I’m not going to go in to much detail about this week’s Music Monday post, because, frankly, I’ve only just heard the album myself. I’ve Electric Guest’s Mondo twice, and haven’t listened that closely – but my copy is in the mail on its way to me right now. I stumbled on to Electric Guest by chance in the last few weeks and heard the album once and immediately liked it. I listened to an MP3 download of it one more time and ordered my hard copy right away.

If absolutely nothing else, Mondo reminds me of the first MGMT album. It’s carefree, it’s fun, and it can be background noise at a party (the kind where you want to talk with your guests). It’s easy to relax to and doesn’t distract from anything else you may be doing. Maybe that doesn’t bode well for some artists, but that’s just the kind of music I’m in to these days. I’ll be completely honest – I haven’t concentrated much on the lyrics during either of my play throughs, but the vocals themselves are easy to listen to in a Dr. Dog or Mumford & Sons kind of way. The stand out signle looks like it’s going to be This Head I Hold, which may come across like Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears, or a Cee Lo Green track, with a certain level of funk to it that I you can’t help but enjoy.

You had better strike while the iron is hot, though: Electric Guest really seems to know their audience. They don’t need to wait until their popular to target the crowd who knows what they want: Mondo just came out a week ago, is available in vinyl, and as of the time I’m writing this, there are only six vinyl copies left on Amazon.

The final backwards compatibility list for the Xbox 360

Microsoft stopped updating this a while ago, but people have asked: what original Xbox games can I play on my Xbox 360? At the end of 2007, Microsoft released their final software update adding backward compatibility for more games, and has stated that they wouldn’t make any further efforts to make more games backward compatible or fix any stuttering, texture, or slowness bugs in the games on the list. The software updates on the Xbox 360 beginning in 2008 have only contained Dashboard updates and fixes related to the Xbox 360 itself, not backwards compatibility with the original Xbox. Additionally, games that don’t appear on the list might work, but were not officially tested or specifically targeted for playability.

Microsoft posted the finalized list on their support site, but we’ve copied it here so that it doesn’t disappear on you. Continue reading

Remember these Nintendo Commercials from the 1980's and 90's?

I have a particularly fond memory for the one that starts at 1:06 – the Mario commercial featured in the still picture above. I remember wondering, as a child, how it was that I never heard of this North American “dress up and make Mario visible from outerspace” stunt when I was a kid. It never occured to me that there might be some editing trickery, and, as a Pennsylvanian, had never been so jealous of all of those states who make up the center of our nation – like those lucky people in colorado who got to be part of Mario’s face. I was so jealous. It’s great to look back at these and see just how vividly I remember these commercials.

Gaming famine – pre convention season…

It’s that time of year. Were it not for gems and a few well placed downloadable releases, we would be drowning in boredom. Fez and Trials Evolution have saved the sanity of most people (though neither really tickles my fancy), Skullgirls has woken fighting gamers from their slumber, and World Gone Sour has at least put a smile on my face. But Everything else, for me, is just trying to catch up on old titles. Games I got tired of playing I’m giving another go (still having a hard time getting through Alice: Madness Returns, though…), and games that I got distracted from with too much other stuff going on I’m finally getting back to (Halo: CE Anniversary Edition).

But this is that time of year, and I hope you’ve noticed the pattern by now, where everyone bunkers down, gets tight lipped, and doesn’t discuss much. News stops breaking, games stop releasing, and we’re stuck playing mediocre-at-best titles for a few months while everybody out there tries to wait until PAX and E3 to “blow your mind” with their brand new game! Big and small studios alike, we’re stuck waiting for the next big thing.

Although, I must admit, this year is more promising than the last several. Fans of the first Prototype will have something to play again, soon. Max Payne is bringing bullet-time back in vogue (here’s hoping the film noir style pays a visit, as well). Minecraft will find a new home on the Xbox 360 and Starhawk will keep PS3 owners flying high. And every person who owned a PC during the 1990’s probably remembers playing some iteration of Diablo and may just be excited to hear that the third installment is finally about to arrive. Although it’s certainly not a drought of gaming, many of these titles do appeal to niche audiences. Here’s hoping that something is coming down the line for you.

Windows Phone 7's only problem

Windows Phone 7 is a beautiful operating system. It is an environment that is unapologetically different from the things that came before it. It is efficient, fast, simple, vibrant, easy to use, distinct, professional, and fun. It’s so many different things at once that you think it would be confusing, or contradicting… but it isn’t. At every turn and from every angle, Windows Phone 7 has it’s act together. Sure people mention that some apps are missing from Windows Phone 7, but really there is only one big problem with Windows Phone 7: t doesn’t solve any problems that the other options competitors in the field don’t already solve. Continue reading

Download Skype for Windows Phone 7 now!


Skype is one of the apps for Windows Phone 7 has been one of the “missing” apps that has made people say “this is why we can’t take Windows Phone 7 seriously.” You can search for it on the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace, but you probably won’t find anything. It seems like it is nowhere to be found – but it has been hiding out there since it was in beta.

Skype’s Windows Phone 7 is most easily available via a direct link to a page on the Windows Phone Marketplace. I haven’t used it very much, but it’s exciting to finally be able to get it downloaded and running. Now if I just had a WP7 with a front facing camera!

Know your Windows 8 Editions (Chart!)


click to open full size

Word recently broke that despite all of the various version names previously spotted in Windows 8, Microsoft is going to simplify your life in to four total Windows 8 editions.

The plainly named Windows 8 product will have most of the features you know and love from your average Windows 7 Home Premium installation, including most of the bells and whistles that make Windows 8 an upgrade over Windows 7. Windows 8 Pro will include all of those features plus “encryption, virtualization, PC management, and domain connectivity” according to Microsoft’s WindowsTeamBlog. Microsoft certainly isn’t hiding some of the things which will be trimmed from Windows 8, but they are doing a good job of making sure you don’t notice.

One major feature to go missing, which has been available since Windows XP, will be the ability to act as a remote desktop host. You should be to access terminal servers remotely, but accessing your computer at home is going to require more than knowing what ports to forward on your home router – you’re most likely going to need to use a third party application, like GoToMyPC or LogMeIn, or TeamViewer, etc… also, disappearing from Windows 8 (all versions) is Windows Media Center. Ever since XP’s Media Center Edition, Microsoft has tried to gain living room acceptance of their media center software – and right when the era of the “Home Theater PC” is really starting to pick up steam… Microsoft decides to bail out on us. It’s very strange. Windows Media Center will be a premium tool which you can purchase through their Windows 8 Marketplace, supposedly on Windows 8 Pro edition computers only. So you must already own a Windows 8 Pro license, then you will have to buy Windows Media Center separately. This seems like it could be either their biggest mistake yet, or their most brilliant decision to make money hand over fist by charging for the one feature they hope will be a big deal this generation. Still, I find people more likely to find an alternative solution like a GoogleTV or AppleTV box, or even just by installing the free version of Boxee on their PC.

Next, there will be the tablet version, Windows RT, which, although not 100% confirmed feature-wise, is rumored to be the successor to Windows Phone 7: a “metro-only” OS in the style of Windows 8, stripping out the Desktop mode and compatability with your current generation of Windows 7 applications. A chart on Microsoft’s Team Windows Blog does contradict some of this, but without true compatability with x86 applications, having access to the “desktop” interface seems to me like a smoke and mirrors feature to make you feel at home. Again, all rumor and personal opinion, especially until we get closer to launch and see what the “Windows on Arm” or WOA team has come up with. Microsoft has confirmed it will lose Windows Media Player, but hopefully the device will have an equally impressive media player built in as that seems to be one of the biggest uses I’ve heard from anyone who owns a tablet: the ability to consume video content on the go.

These three editions have a feature chart which is available on the WindowsTeamBlog website, along with a description of the fourth, yet still vague, Windows 8 Enterprise Edition. Not unusual for peopel with “Software Assurance” (meaning they get the free upgrade to the next version of Windows), the Enterprise Edition was recently known as ‘everything that was in Windows 7 Ultimate, except the games’ (which could be enabled if the user wanted them). Since there will no longer be an “Ultimate Edition” – people are trying to figure out what Microsoft’s vague announcement of Windows 8 Enterprise means, when it was vaguely described as including “all the features of Windows 8 Pro plus features for IT organization that enable PC management and deployment, advanced security, virtualization, new mobility scenarios, and much more.”

1996 – CAKE – Fashion Nugget


In 1996, CAKE put out the album that a massive number of their fans agree is their finest album. It is the album that helped many people discover the band, and would likely only be rivaled in popularity by a later album, Comfort Eagle. Although I own and genuinely enjoy every single one of their albums (some of them autographed), I always come back to Fashion Nugget when I need a fix of twangy guitar and brass horns.

Although their website has been largely unchanged since the late 90’s when I first discovered it, it is an excellent source for news about the band and interesting polls which are generally a bit on the politically motivated side. Still, no matter where you fall from left to right, you can probably find something you like in the music of CAKE (who is on record as saying the name should always be printed in ALL UPPERCASE LETTERS – and in the Copperplate Gothic Bold font whenever possible).

The music has a delicious rock’n’roll flavor, a hint of country, and a punk rock message, with influences from practically every genre there is. You probably already know who CAKE is, and have probably have already heard Fashion Nugget. But the important question is: how recently have you heard Fashion Nugget?

Special note for our readers during this last week of April 2012, Fashion Nugget is one of Amazon.com’s $5 MP3 Albums.

Change your Xbox 360 resolution and other display settings

Hopefully you’re taking full advantage of your Xbox 360’s ability to output high definition resolutions like 1920x1080p. But did you know your Xbox 360 could fine tune other display settings, such as color saturation, tint, temperature, widescreen, etc…? There are a lot of settings you can tinker with in the Xbox 360, you can find them in the guide. Hit the guide button, then go to Settings blade, System Settings, Console Settings, Display. Knock yourself out with all of the details on how to change yourself to 1080p and everything else – there is all kinds of useful information for accessing these great additional tweaks in the Xbox audio and video support pages!