2001 – Lit – Atomic


Lit was a one hit wonder from my high school years. Most famous for My Own Worst Enemy, they also put out Zip-Lock and Miserable as well known singles… but after that, for most people, they just faded away. I really enjoyed them, both before and after their rise to fame. So much so that I think their follow up album, Atomic, was one of my favorite albums of all time. I have something positive to say about almost every single track on the album.

It starts out with a crowd cheering, although it’s not a live album – the first track builds the anticipation and introduces Something to Someone, a track which immediately juxtaposes their fame with feelings of being alone.

Track two, The Last Time Again, all about the fun and not-so-fun moments around boozing your brains out and waking up with a hang over. It’s an enteraining song that puts a funny spin on what many would call a serious situation. This is followed up by the track Addicted, which is more about the inability to leave a relationship that you know is bad for you. Lipstick and Bruises follows that up, which, contrary to what your first impressions of the the title might be, is more about the passionate reasons that make it hard to leave someone.

I can’t say enough good things about the other tracks on the album. Happy in the Meantime, Drop D, Sunny Weather, Next Time Around, She Comes… each of these is just another alternative rock love song with more energy than most bands put in to an entire album. Each track could’ve been a success, but the genre was busy being taken over by the emo charts by the time this album was released. Happy In The Meantime is the one departure on the album, which is somewhat slower, acoustic song that you may have heard at least once before. “It’s just another reason why, it all comes down to you and I. We’ll another drink, waste some time with me, we’re happy in the mean time.”

Play this album in your car, with the windows down, and do your best not to enjoy it from beginning to end!

What are Microsoft Points?

Microsoft points are a form of digital currency created by Microsoft for use in the Xbox Live Marketplace and Zune Marketplace. Microsoft points are different from Gamerscore in that you must actually purchase Microsoft points by charging them to a credit card or buying redeemable points cards available in many retail stores. Microsoft uses the symbol . Continue reading “What are Microsoft Points?”

Getting back to PC gaming

Steam

Thanks to a recent 24 hour deal on Steam, I have a suddenly renewed interest in PC gaming. Nothing new or cutting edge, but just sitting down with a mouse and keyboard and playing something from my past. True, a few recent games on GoG, for example, Wing Commander IV, have made me want to sit at they keyboard and get lost in some Sci-Fi, but nothing beats the classics like the first person shooters from id Software.

id is the company who really birthed and gave rise to the first person shooter genre. And when Steam had a short lived sale to get every game they ever made for fifty dollars, I jumped out of bed in the middle of the night to buy it! I randomly crave a classic like Wolfenstein 3D, or DooM II, or even a newer title like Quake IV is sometimes called on to quench an unexplained thirst. And Steam is the platform that is giving me more hope for PC gaming. I moved back to consoles because I was tired of keeping up with the hardware demands of modern PC gaming. But with Steam I can play my classics with convenient access to newer titles. I didn’t intend for this to become a commercial for Steam, but I have a feeling that my id Software collection, along with my Half-Life Game of the Year Edition & Half-Life 2 bundles, and all of the instant and constant access to those titles may, may just start to swing me gently back towards a forgotten friend: gaming on my PC.

First impressions of the new iPad

I am a life long Windows junkie, but I love getting my hands on new technology and tinkering with something fresh and new. Linux (CentOS, Mint, Ubuntu, Arch, and others), Mac OS, Windows Mobile, Android, Windows Phone 7, Palm OS, and the HP Touchpad are all devices and operating environments that I have tinkered with within the last year. I really love getting to play with new tech, but sometimes people ask what I think of a device and I really have to think hard about it before I just spout off glorious praise, or damning criticism. The 3rd generation iPad is one of those devices.

Truth be told, I am writing this on the new iPad, but I am still adjusting to it. So why don’t I just give some of my initial impressions, since I am only about 72 hours in to my ownership and still on my first battery charge. Continue reading “First impressions of the new iPad”

Oh, hello there iPad

Yeah, sorry there was no “app of the week” post today – you would think that if someone just got a new iPad they’d have lots to talk about. But really? Not just yet. But we’ll see. Now that I have all of the major platforms in some form or another (Android 2.3 phone, Windows Phone 7 Mango phone, iPad (3rd gen / 2012 edition), I’ll have apps galore to talk about! So stay tuned!

PC Decrapifier makes quick work of removing bloatware

Bloatware is the term that geeks in the computer industry call of that junk that comes preinstalled on your computer when you buy it from the store. To uninstall all of the programs that HP, Dell, Acer, Sony, Fujitsu, ASUS — any of’em put on your computer, it can be quite a chore. You don’t want Xobni games, you don’t want the trial version of Office Home and Business, you don’t want a trial of Quickbooks… you just want your computer. Well, even though I don’t usually talk about tools, this one is a time saver and I think people should know about it.

To do a mass unisntall of several programs on your computer, there’s only one good tool out there: PC Decrapifier. After a quick installation, you can let it find the most common bloatware, or you can go through a list of all of the installed programs and run through them yourself. Although the process isn’t 100% automated, it will save you from scrolling through your “add/remove programs” list or “Programs and Features” to find the applications you want to uninstall one at a time. The occasional uninstall screen may prompt you for a few additional mouse clicks, but the rest of the process will just roll on. You make the decisions once, and away you go. I encourage you to head on over to PCDecrapifier.com and check it out!

In the interest of disclosure for anyone interested, this is a completely unsolicited endorsement of an application I find quite useful. Revo Uninstaller is a similar application, I just like the ease of PC Decrapifier better, personally.

2011 – Blink 182 – Neighborhoods

I’ve talked to more than a few people who had no idea this album was ever even released. Yes, in 2011, Blink 182 got back together and released an album entitled Neighborhoods. Those that know it, have mixed feelings about it, from what I’ve heard. And I feel some of the same ways. I encourage people to at least check the album out, but the rest of this post goes in depth a little more for the people who have known Blink 182 for years and years.

Basically, the album is very much Tom’s album. If you listened to and enjoyed Angels and Airwaves, you’ll most likely enjoy this. Although the songs aren’t as ethereal as “AVA” songs (so nicknamed after Tom’s daughter), lyrically AND musically, this sounds more like Tom’s project Angels and Airwaves, than the Mark and Travis project Plus 44. It’s a lot less Blink 182 punk rock or pop punk, and it’s trying to be much deeper.

Trying to be is the key word here, though. I find the album to be repetitive. I think if I hear Tom DeLonge sing one more song with the word “ghost” in it, I’m going to drive my car off a cliff. Only one track on the album seemed like it was one of Mark’s, and it had the trade mark “I’m going to drive these lyrics in to the ground by repeating them until you hear them in your nightmares.” Although Neighborhoods is worth listening to, just don’t expect to hear Blink 182. Although the band changed slightly with every album they released, this just isn’t the same as any of them that came before. Still, since I know more than a few people didn’t even know the album was released, so you owe it to yourself to check it out!

How can I tell if Xbox Live is down right now?

Whenever there’s the slightest hiccup, people want to know if Xbox Live is down. Microsoft makes it extremely easy to find out if Xbox Live as a whole is down, or just certain aspects, services, or applications are unavailable. All you have to do is head to the Xbox Live Status page and make sure everything has a green check mark! If it doesn’t, then you can start to freak out. 😉

Earthereal – time-lapsed photos from the ISS

In this video, Earthereal, you have several high resolution photos taken from the international space station strung together to make a beautiful series of time-lapse trips around the earth. I suggest turning OFF the “HD” mode to watch it once, then turning it on to watch it again. I don’t know if it was my end or Vimeo’s, but the HD video did NOT want to buffer for me. Let’s hope you all have better luck.