8-Bit Camera pixelates you for free

I wanted to share this because I stumbled on to it over the weekend and think that the feedback scores are giving it a bum rap. 8-Bit Camera is a free app for Android which lets you import pictures or take them with the camera on your phone, then pixelate them. Essentially, it just lowers the resolution into various levels of “blockyness.” It’s not perfect, but it’s fun, and I think the unfair number of 1-star reviews for the app need correcting!

I did run in to some minor stability issues (had it force close on me twice over a twenty minute period), but it’s fun to play with, and it’s completely free. Enjoy it. Go download 8-Bit Camera from the Android Market.

Set Office 365 Passwords to Never Expire

In BPOS, users would at least get a warning when they logged in. In Office 365, we’re seeing passwords expire and nobody knows why their Outlook or Lync suddenly stopped working. You can always have someone go to Portal.Microsoftonline.com and reset their password – it’s rather simple. But even less of a headache? Make it so that their passwords don’t expire. Follow the step by step below:

Download & install the cmdlet programs (you may
already have these and be using them).

  • Microsoft Online Services Sign-In Assistant (IDCRL7) (32 or
  • Microsoft Online Services Module for Windows PowerShell (32 or 64-bit).

Now launch the Microsoft Online Services Module for Windows PowerShell
from your desktop or start menu and enter each of the following commands one at a time (each bullet
point is one command NOTE that some commands may span more than one line due to web formatting – look for the actual BULLET POINTS to show you the beginning of each new command and copy it entirely).

  • $LiveCred = Get-Credential
  • $Session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange
    -ConnectionUri https://ps.outlook.com/powershell/ -Credential
    $LiveCred -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection
    • ENTER YOUR ADMIN USER CREDENTIALS (admin@xyz.microsoftonline.com &
      a password).
  • Import-PSSession $Session
  • Connect-MSOLService
  • Get-MSOLUser | Set-MsolUser -PasswordNeverExpires $true

And now you’re all set! Passwords won’t expire any more and passwords which have expired already will begin working again within minutes.

2012 – Revengineers – Self Titled EP

I don’t typically do music “reviews” but this is a special case. The music I highlight, generally, is not main stream, but usually popular enough I can just spread the word and let you discover the rest. Revengineers is a local band that I think deserves a little more time than my typical Music Monday post. My little website certainly won’t drive them any additional traffic, but hopefully at least one person out there picks up the album after this read!

I recently heard that Anamanaguchi would be playing a show just a few blocks from where I live. Big fan, I had to go check them out. When I did that, I found out about a local band, Revengineers. The band is a four piece, featuring Gameboy and NES Chiptune music, guitars, bass, and drums. There’s a vocals credit in the sleeve, but I never heard anybody speak up. I found out they are a driving force behind a local community of chiptune artists and enthusiasts, Rochester Chip. Rochester Chip has gone so far as to release compilation albums of the acts that have performed at shows in the area over the last two years. Acts like Anamanaguchi, Zen Albatross, Sabrepulse, and Starscream, to a name a few.

I was astounded to find that these chiptune acts had all been playing almost literally in my back yard, and I’ve had no idea. I’m thrilled at finding this oasis of nerd culture and can’t wait to dive deeper in to it. And I thought I was all along driving around with Beefy on repeat.

When I met the guys in Revengineers at this show in Rochester, they were great. Surrounded by friends and fans, people talking about this “new album.” It’s the band’s first. A Self-Titled EP, which was officially released maybe 24 hours before I had met the band. This was, by all accounts, their album release party – and they were sharing the night with Anamanaguchi. I immediately gave them my money (which they gleefully took using their just-out-of-the-box credit card swiper for the iPad).

Weeks later I would finally listen to the album. Five tracks, which begin in a surreal, floating through space kind of way. The first track is titled “Earth that Was” and gives me the feeling that I’m looking down at that Pale Blue Dot we call Earth. Despite the title, at no time is it post-apocalyptic or depressing, the song is hopeful at all times and crescendos to finality where it fades directly in to the next track.

The band has said on their website that they are moving away from thier pop punk sound, but track four, Exploding Threat, makes my want to strap on my chuck taylors and bob my head with a big smile on my face. It takes an edgier stance in the middle of the song, but comes right back to that almost fist-pumpable chorus. The albums last track is a somewhat softer power ballad, which ends as though it had the plug pulled on it. It’s the only track on the album that I think could’ve used another going over. Perhaps the band wants us to take the soft and cuddlies and shove them? But after three minutes and thirty-eight seconds of building up a calming chiptune refrain, it suddenly changes to angry guitar, seemingly thrashing out a phrase like “I don’t — I don’t need you!” These are of course lyrics I’ve made up and put in place, but it gives you an idea of where I’m coming from. It doesn’t seem to fit the prior three and a half minutes of a song that you might expect to be featured on a Pure Moods album.

Overall, though, I’m looking forward to more from the band. And you can’t go wrong picking up the five dollar album from their Bandcamp Site. So check out Revengineers, and if you’re in the chiptune scene, but sure to lookout for more from the band. They seem to have the drive, they’ll be around for a while.

Play in Peace: Disable Notifications on your Xbox 360

Ever tried watching a movie or listening to music, only to have the Xbox 360 notifications pop up and alert you that someone came online, invited you to play a game, or sent you a message? It can get annoying, particularly when I’m just trying to watch a DVD or stream from Netflix. Microsoft knows that, so they’ve made it very simple to disable the alerts on the Xbox 360.

In the latest Dashboard of the Xbox 360 (“Metro UI”), you simply need to go to the far right of the Dashboard where it says Settings, then select Preferences, then hit Notifications. There you have a few options.

Did you know: Many people refer to these notifications as “toast” because they “pop up!”

Show notifications, Play Sound, or Show During Video can all be enabled or disabled using “radio button” selectors. You can disbale the notifications altogether by unchecking them, or just disable the alert during video polayback. Or you can keep the popups (the “toast”) and just disable the sounds!

There are rumors that a future update will allow you disable notifications for the new “Beacons” feature if you don’t want to be bugged every single time you sign in to a popular game (do people really need to set Beacons for Modern Warfare 3? If you wanted to get that last Fuzion Frenzy 2 achievement, I’d understand – but you don’t really need to look too far to find people playing Halo Reach or Gears of War 3!).