2012 – The Asteroids Galaxy Tour – Out of Frequency

It’s not often you get a new album with fourteen tracks. It’s also twice as rare for that many tracks to be consistently good throughout. The Asteroids Galaxy Tour brought us just such an album earlier this year. You may remember The Asteroids Galaxy Tour from their 2008 single, Around the Bend.

What you’ll hear from 2012’s Out of Frequency music is definitive “head-bob” music. A funkadelic ska band that is trapped somewhere between the 70’s and 80’s and blessed with the gift of time travel that lets them come forward to today and listen to our current generation of acid-rock bands like MGMT, Air France, or Washed Out.

There is no doubt in my mind that The Astroids Galaxy Tour is not for everyone. People will detest them. Psychedelic can be redundant, it can drag, it can get too “out there” for a lot of people. But I love listening to this album and hearing all of the influences that have made them in to a band. You go from a song with a church organ right into a synthesizer that sounds nearly like chiptune music, but if that chiptune song were inspireed by the disco song Kung Fu Fighting.

The album has a few misses, but beginning to end it entertains me and brings enough different influences to the forefront that the variety makes up for the songs you may not enjoy. You can tell that the band members are students of musical history, taking lessons from the chart toppers of decades past. if I were on a long car drive, I wouldn’t hesitate to have Out of Frequency
in the rotation. If you still can’t figure out what genre of music I’ve been describing, that’s because it is very hard to pin point, but I’ll simplify it for you: I can all but guarrantee that at least one song from this album will be featured in an iPhone commercial this year.

How do I disable automatic renewal of Xbox Live Gold? Here's your how to…

Maybe you’re like I was when I was young, and you were never sure how much money you would have in your bank account on a certain day which could be weeks or months in to the future. I never trusted myself enough to have “automatic renewal” tied to some sort of debit card, then suddenly one day get notice that I had overdrawn my account. It’s not fun. Or, perhaps you just don’t know for sure if you want to continue using a service which you may have just started using. Either way, or for any other number of reasons, you may want to disable the automatic renewal feature for your Xbox Live Gold subscription. Here’s how to do it from the web:

Go to the My Account page, here: http://www.xbox.com/accounts
UPDATE 11/24/2013: the instructions below have changed due to a redesign of the Xbox.com website. Go to the accounts page as linked above, then click “Subscriptions” (a large button at the top of the page) and you should be able to disable the Xbox Live Gold Subscription near the top of the Subscriptions page.

Original Article:
On the center of the page, you’ll see your current Automatic Renewal status: click the CHANGE button.*

On the next screen, simply set it to OFF.

Microsoft has the steps listed on their support page as well.
*Please note: at the time of publication, the “change” link is currently redirecting to the Contact Us page. You should be able to change the auto renew status online without having to contact customer support. I have contacted Microsoft for a response to see if this is a temporary change on the website, or if they will be making us jump through more hoops in the future. No comment, yet. I will update if I hear anything of substance.

Is Microsoft Hedging their Bet against Nintendo's Wii U?

Last week, news broke that Xbox 365 (again, my name) will not be shown at E3 2012. I’m wondering if Microsoft is playing it safe. I fully believe that they are ready for the next generation – but if they give themselves an entire year of additional time, it’s going to make their next console unstoppable.

First, I believe they’re “hedging their bet” against the Wii U. Nintendo’s silly Wii console dominated / decimated / owned sales charts for well over 2 years afters it’s release. Lately, the Xbox 360 has become the top dog. But Microsoft doesn’t want to risk playing second fiddle again. The best way to prevent that? Don’t release head-to-head with what could be Nintendo’s most anticipated console ever. By “delaying” the unannounced launch, nobody feels shocked or too disappointed (we had HOPED to see something, but knew it wasn’t entirely likely). An added benefit of the delay, internally at Microsoft, will be time to polish. Even if the hardware specs are 100% finalized (which, at this stage in the process, I hope there’s still some flexibility), there will still be lots of time for optimization and enhancement – both on the back-end and the user interface.

So, I wouldn’t say that Microsoft is running scared from Nintendo, but rather playing it smart. By delaying your console launch by a year, it gives you more time to release a more polished, and genuinely better product than the competition (taking advantage of any advancements in the technology you’ll be using), learn from any mistakes they’ve made this generation (even “simple” things like number of games at launch, console price, online infrastructure, etcetera), and avoid the head to head sales contest for the consumer’s “holiday 2012 spending dollar.” It’s a smart move. We’ll all have to wait and see if it pays off. But the key word there was “wait.”