• Song Summoner: Unsung Heros. What power does your music hold?

    14. Jul. 2008, 17:49

    So are you such a music fanatic that you think that music can save a world? Than Song Summoner: Unsung Heros, the new game released for click wheel iPods by Square-Enix, might be for you.

    That's right, you're staring at a real game on your iPod. A tactics based RPG similar in the vein of Final Fantasy Tactics has come to the iPod nearest you.

    So what's the deal you ask? Well a fairly big gimmick and corny dialogue is what is up, but a unique experience, though a little repetitive, but still fun and hours of game play are to be had.

    The premise:
    The land is in disharmony and the Mechanical militia has come through wiping out humans and trying to stamp out music and emotions. Your brother has been kidnapped and so you train as one of the last "Conductors" who can command music by shaping it into the form of "tune troopers"

    Fighting with your music:
    You pick songs on your iPod and transform them into various troopers of 5 classes: Solider, Knight, Monk, Mage and archer. They can be of various ranks: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and their stats imply ratings: E, D, C, B, A and S. There are rare cards and secret cards.

    The generation system seems at most random, but it does appear that perhaps high rated songs with fewer plays generate some interesting characters. I had better results with my 5 star songs with less than fifty plays (read: Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On with 8 plays -> Rare Knight card) than with my five stared top played song at almost 180 plays (Read Breakfast at Tiffany's -> common Woody Solider, low rank :( ).

    Listen to your mentor when creating troopers. He will give you tips on what songs to pick: words like Soul, Hope, Rock, Song, etc, but only when he suggests them. He'll tell you what he thinks of your pick during most of these suggestions, so don't click yes unless he says it's a good one. This can get you Silver, Gold or even Platinum ranked troopers from the get go. Higher ranked troopers start with lower deployment points.

    The Tune Troopers and Levels:
    Your troopers have different movement, Range and Skills. So choose wisely. They can only be deployed so many times, and if you use a trooper with two deployment points in battle and they happen to fall, they return to the music after the battle as they lose a point for being used and a point for falling. Always enter battle with 3 points. You can "rewind" deployment with a special item. I lost my platinum mage this way... Boo hoo.

    Leveling up is by the rank and through "pitch pearls" you earn at the end of battles. You can use the rehearsal room to earn pitch pearls in stages. Once a guy reaches platinum they can not train in the rehearsal room any more.

    Watch for a lot of cliché names in skills: How about the "purple rain" and "Space Oddity" skills? And how about "shockabilly". Is this a play on words for Rockabilly? Also the special character "Golden Wing" reminds me of Jimmy Hendrix.

    Tip: Use a high stated gold person in either normal or Hard rehearsals to rank up the pearls and then go to an easier rehearsal mode to apply the earned pearls to a lower ranked character. A three round normal mode will earn you on average about 150-200 pitch pearls depending on how well you do. Platinum ranks cost somewhere between 306- 663 pearls to go from bronze to platinum depending on the card. Development for Gold is 10X the silver requirement and Platinum is 4 times the gold requirement.

    The Battle: Your main Character Ziggy always is deployed in full battles. I have currently seen anywhere from allowing 3 or 4 troopers or additional helpers to join you as the game progresses. The idea is always to keep Ziggy alive (Ziggy Stardust anyone?). There are keys to victory that are either wiping out the enemy completely or simply getting Ziggy to a specific point on the map. There are limited turns per battle, so think ahead. Ziggy always lags behind in points and rank it seems. He only ranks at the end of major story arcs, so always protect Ziggy! You may have to think carefully how and who you deploy as you may need to send groups of Troopers one way to open a gate while a second force moves to the main objective. Take movement into consideration and send your faster troops the right way! I've one time split my force into three that got me a little tricky...

    Harmony attacks: Make attacks from troopers with the same class next to each on the board for increased damage. Ziggy can do harmony with any of the classes, and even of two or more different classes next to him when he attacks.

    Groove points and Groove Boxes: Groove points during battle increase the strength of your troopers. You gain points by either playing songs on your iPod that have made tune troopers to accumulate play points, or by hitting a groove box in battle. Groove boxes will deal out special bonuses when hit in battle: Healing, Confusing enemies, damaging enemies, curing status or point out hidden treasure boxes.

    Length? I'm not sure how long the game is going to be. It moves in stages across the map. So far I've been through about 8 battles with 2 being major boss battles (where Ziggy and his partner rank afterwards). From the story line currently I'm on my way through 3 consecutive battles chasing the main "boss" but there is no telling how the story will proceed in Final Fantasy like manner as I go to face the main boss. In real final fantasy manner there could very well be stages to the final boss, or I may have to face other underlings before I reach him who knows. I know I've already had about 4 hours or more of game play at this point, though a lot of it is spent ranking troopers and picking troopers.

    Overall I give this game a B+

    Pros: Unique gaming experience, with a fun, yet corny, story-line. Makes you think in how to deploy various troopers and move across the board to the best tactical advantage.

    Cons: Drains battery like a banshee. For the first time I drained my battery to the point it had to wait before it would mount onto my computer!!! eep. The trooper selection is tedious and unfortunately there is no way to keep track in game what songs made which troopers. There is no connection at all to your music, outside of play points, in game once you create a trooper with a song. This is disappoint. I'd have giving an A- or better had music been better integrated somehow.

    That's my thoughts.

    For any interested people I've started a tag: Song Summoner for music I've used to create tune troopers with. I lost a bunch of the tags through the beta, so I need to retag here soon.

    Some song recommendation. What can you find with these?

    She's Gone
    Growing on Me
    (Don't Fear) The Reaper
    All About Soul
    Do You Believe In Magic?

    I'm off to try some more song titles with the word Magic in them...

  • Picard Tagger OS X ready: Finally

    8. Jul. 2008, 18:15

    So i've been a closet musicbrainz guy for a while. I don't spend a lot of time there as I find edits and additions really difficult through the browser and I could never use the next generation Picard tagger on my Mac. I've been to musicbrainz so many times and was depressed to always see that one [windows/linux] next to the Picard download link...

    Well today, I found that Picard is finally python and has a mac ready DMG and is mac ready with out all the compiling bunk that it once was. It's right there if you click through on the download link even though it doesn't say so explicitly on the front page!

    So Mac users can start getting some Musicbrainz Love, but of course, I can't quite figure out the tagger to perfection. It appears PUIDs are not yet support.

    Joined the Musicbrainz.org group on Last.fm and might start doing so poking around.

    Go download Picard fellow macusers! Might help us all get your damn tags right

  • The OMI: Why do we classify our tastes?

    5. Jun. 2008, 21:13

    What's the point of being eclectic? What does having a high open mind index mean? Is it bad if your eclectic score is low? And just why do most of the people I'm friends with = low or very low on the taste-o-meter?

    Oh well. I know my love of Barenaked Ladies, certainly doesn't help me in the compatibility department with your average last.fm participant, and that's fine, especially since my overall count for them is probably skewed by a time in my life where I was a little "too" obsessed with audioscrobbler.... One faithful night where I stayed up way to late listening to my entire catalog... I may have fallen asleep with the music on. Oh well. I totally dig them, so I'm proud of my 4,000+ plays (hey at least it's not the near 7,000 plays that register in my iTunes local charts!).

    But I digress. Last.fm is now full of Memes, stats, and things where people can try to one up or say, look I might be better than you. The one I've been running into the most recently is the Open mind index. The OMI is kind of cool as it looks at your top artists and their associated tags and breaks it down into percentage and calculates how open you are to different types of music. It's interesting to see that almost 30% of my music is tagged just plain "Rock" on last.fm I seem to be fairly middle of the road in the OMI road with a current, as the day of this writing 84 score. I'm not going to really let it define me, but it was fun do do and post here and expound a little bit about my music.

    Have a fancy look:

    But what does it mean? I have no real clue. Am I more likable here in the middle the road, setting up for being mocked for not being open minded? What is open mindedness in music?

    When it comes to taste I can generally listen to almost anything once, though most "electronic" stuff doesn't sit well with me, and any music with super offensive lyrics I try to avoid. When I listen to music I try to focus on the lyrics and how the words make me feel. If there is a catchy tune copied up with a nice lyric I'm usually sold. I guess that is why I'm stuck in a "pop" rut in many peoples mind, but I am feeling I'd like to branch out. I'm finally giving my Recommendation and Neighborhood radios a listen. I think this likely still keeps me in the normal Rock/Country/Alternative world I live in, it has expanded some of the bands I would like to add into my rotation.

    Though I really want to branch out into my friends network. I have such specified "low" compatibility with them, especially some people I super respect from the good 'old iLounge forums such as Melsmusic and rockmyplimsoul. These two are my rocking blues idols and some days I wish I could be more like them! Mel has already exposed me to great blues that I need to do better about getting up in the rotation.

    But I after it all I still just find myself coming back to my mostly main stream rock and country, nothing special, nothing flashy. Just what it is to me. I guess really don't spend time classifying things. Music is really only one of two things to me: Good or Bad.

    How about the rest of you?

    Regardless of how you listen, what you listen to, or how incompatible you are with the rest of the users on Last.fm, Happy Scrobbling.
  • Studogvetmed's Take on: Love to Give

    30. Mai. 2008, 21:30

    Kory & The Fireflies have a new album on the block: Love to Give. These South Dakota natives continue to produce inspirational, upbeat, message filled pop rock. This album contains a decent cover of Curtis Stigers' (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding

    There is no similar artist information for Kory & The Fireflies so to give you an idea, I'd say they are similar to artist like Hootie & The Blowfish, Gin Blossoms, Goo Goo Dolls, Semisonic and the like.

    This kind of pop isn't for everyone and I'm not even sure what it is about this pop-rock that calls to me so much. I guess most of it has to do with the high energy sound, catchy message, with those mind trapping refrain choruses that have you humming a song for days on out. This album has received a 4/5 in my iTunes library. You can head over to iTunes and get the album for $9.99 in the coveted 256k iTunes Plus format. To find out if this pop rock is for you, try out their track Pop Fly Just search iTunes for Kory & The Fireflies.

    My favorite track by far is She's Coming Back Again So catchy it's killer.

    My further must listens on the album
    Around the Heart
    Save Me
    The Stars Below

    So if you are a pop rock fan of small, local bands, give Love to Give from Kory & The Fireflies a try!

  • Is the recently played page time stamped finally fixed? Appears so.

    28. Mai. 2008, 15:54

    After the change to day light savings time in america, I came to find that when you clicked on "edit/see more" for your Recently played tracks that the time stamp for songs would be off in time played. This would be even though the "just played" or "xx time ago" on the main overview page was a correct reflection of your time zone.

    I searched all over for what I was doing wrong, and even discovered that I was using the wrong time zone in my system (I wish Last.fm would clean up the time zone boxes of all the "useless" ones). but still the problem on the edit/see more page persisted.

    So that lead to my multiple participation in threads in the forums. And there were plenty to participate in. In most cases it was crazy people who couldn't get the time zone on their computer and last.fm set correctly, but there was more and more evidence creeping up that people did have it right and it was last.fm that had it wrong.

    See some of the old threads:

    Plus more...

    We finally had some chiming in from some Last.fm that it was recognized, but it wasn't "important" as other things.

    I disagreed. If this site was about integrity of data this was a BIG problem and it's a reason I let my subscription here last. I have yet to renew, because the problem has persisted, it even meant that though I continued to scrobble, I seldom visited the site anymore.

    But today there is happy news. I came back to check up on things like I occasionally do, and noticed that some of my old scrobbles may have actually had correct time stamps. I threw up a couple more recent ones and sure enough as they now show up on edit/see more, the time stamps are 100% correct. The only difference I see now is that Last.fm seems to record approximately what time the song "started" instead of when the song "finished" But that is okay with me (iTunes last played time is when the song finishes playing).

    Thanks Last.fm for finally getting this corrected.

    As promised, I will be blue again soon.

    Keep up the good work.
  • Studogvetmed's Take On: It Won't Be Soon Before Long

    23. Mai. 2007, 5:10

    I added Maroon 5's debut album Songs About Jane to my iTunes library in April of 2004. I was enthralled by this pop masterpiece. Lyrically I thought it was one of the more interesting albums I had heard in a long time. Sexy Smooth with great pop rock.

    With that no doubt I was looking forward to the release of their sophomore album It Won't Be Soon Before Long.

    Again lyrically I think Maroon 5 is top of their game. How they can be so suggestive is beyond me.

    Kiwi "Sweet Kiwi, your juices dripping down my chin".


    Maroon 5 has a method of tight verses packaged around catchy repetitive choruses that drag in the listener. So if you like catchy lyrics or refrains, such as the one above, that could be stuck in your head all day It Won't Be Soon Before Long is a pop album for you.

    With that I find this album to be very enjoyable. There are throwbacks here to 80s pop albums some will say. Influences are deep and some rifts are reminiscent. Goodnight Goodnight first three chords sounds very reminiscent of Kryptonite. Another reviewer states that the track Won't Go Home Without You has some sounds of Every Breath You Take.

    Track picks.
    Makes Me Wonder
    Won't Go Home Without You - This is my pick for the next potential single
    Goodnight Goodnight
    Not Falling Apart

    This is a good Pop album for the Pop lovers out there. If you like lyrics listen closely. Each song is a song you'd think you might hear in a dance hall ready to turn the beat around. A few licks I actually feel as if John Travolta might bust a move (a strange idea of disco in some of these songs). The eclectic mix of electric, rock, Hip-hop and more is quite amazing in this album in my opinion.

  • Sick Mac

    9. Mai. 2007, 20:24

    My mac is sick again.

    After going through hell keeping the hard drive alive on my 2004 iBook G4, I sent it in to have the hard drive replaced. While I was at it I had the company add a superdrive. I was very happy. Instead of dropping another grand or so on a nice new macbook, I had my iBook back in working condition for just over $300.

    Fast forward to major stalls in my OS. Now the thing just freezes for no reason. After a forced restart, the computer comes to a Blue screen and never starts the OS. It happens booting from the disk or from my clone (Superduper! Rocks).

    The battery is pretty poor, and the system seems hot. I wonder if my fan is farked and is not keeping the system cool? Reset of PRAM, PMU, etc don't seem to change the issue. I can eventually reboot into the system, but it will just stall again. Couldn't rebuild the directory with disk warrior, but was able to use applejack which seemed to help for a bit anyway...

    I went and tried to reinstall OS X. Got to the welcome screen and it immediately stalls, skipping that happy OS X welcome music....

    I booted up from my clone and tried to copy my clone to the disk with superduper! -> Freeze. Computer hot.

    So I've shut down and I don't know what I'm going to do next... Hardware test says the memory and logic board are functioning normally... I don't know what would be worse, bad fan or bad logic board... bad fan may be cheaper to repair.

    This of course happens as I'm trying to read for and compose a 4 page paper for my Toxicologic mechanisms class.

    It means I'm listening to Last.fm radio instead of my iPod or iTunes. How will I live without my weekly podcasts of Wait... Wait Don't tell me, Mac Break weekly and TWIT? I'll be stuck on the school's Dells until I can figure out exactly what I'm going to do about this... I guess till then I can enjoy some of my friends (and my own) personal radio.

    Sigh. Here is hoping they release some nice new Mac computers around June WWDC...

    Anyone want to by a farky iBook G4? The hard drive and super drive are brand new ;)
  • Studogvetmed's Take On: Spider-Man 3: Music from and Inspired by

    7. Mai. 2007, 21:13

    Greetings Web heads and others.

    Spider-man is one of my all time favorite superheros. Tragic and haunted to do the right and so invariably while doing it totally fucking up his life and others.

    Back in the Days of "Marvel Overpower" if anyone remembers the Roleplaying card game, I had a "Maximum Carnage" team of Spider-man, Venom, Black-Cat and Morbius.

    The Maximum Carnage comic arc was what kind of got me into Spider-man kind of late as a kid.

    Well to get on with it, I was so excited the day Spider-man came out in the Movie Theaters. When Spider-man 2 came out and I kind of got hooked on Vindicated I picked up the Spider-man 2 soundtrack. While I was at it I picked up the Original Spider-man soundtrack as it was on sale with the release of Spider-man 2.

    I love these first two soundtracks. They have awesome songs and a feel of "theme" to the Spider-man universe and I can "feel" the plots of the movies when listening to these soundtracks.

    I bought the Spider-man 3 soundtrack the day after I went to the midnight showing of Spider-man 3. So my take.

    Movie: 8/10 They tried way to hard to put way to many plot arcs in one movie. Topher Grace was an amazing Edie Brock/Venom, though we didn't get to see much of Venom, but what we did see was pretty darn good. I didn't like the way the portrayed Peter Parker's change while under the influence of the Symbiote, they made him look more like a "dolt" that menacing, but I suppose that's part of it too. The change from wanting the suit was more abrupt in the movie than the comics or Animated series too. Wish they would have come up with a cooler way to bring the symbiote to earth too... Doc Conner's played a bigger role in the move. Can I predict "The Lizard" cometh? I don't know why the bothered with the "Gwen Stacy" nod to the canon purists. Given that she was supposed to be Peter Parker's Girlfriend before MJ seems a stretch to want to bring her in to the Movie universe, but hey, it's all open for interpretation. Entertaining and good movie.

    Soundtrack: 5/10 (as of 5/7/07)- I'm just not feeling it I don't think. All and all the soundtrack is fairly too mellow start to finish. I'm having trouble connecting I think and "hearing" these songs in the movie. I've only had two listens through, but I'm not feeling the theme, and I haven't yet gotten the urge to five star any of the tracks. Signal Fire has some potential, but some of the riffs sound "hollow", "tinny" on my computer. I don't know if it's the rip, the master, or the song. Still working on dissecting the Lyrics on multiple songs. The Supreme Being Teaches Spider-Man How To Be In Love makes no sense to me at all.

    Tracks: Red River, Portrait of a Summer Thief and Scared of Myself are ones I'm trying to work through. Will be given a couple more listens as I try to rate the songs on the album and decide how I want them to fall in my music collection. All in all though, I'm not so impressed with this album. The power ballads are lacking.

    It seems potentially this album may be more an attempt to showcase some new "talent" instead of really meaning much about the movie as some "inspired by" soundtracks are.

    I don't think there is an equivalent of Gifts and Curses from Spider-Man 2 on this most recent album. That was a song you could connect to Spider-man fellow web heads.

    I'll reserve final judgment and allow myself the choice to rescind my overall rating later, but for now, it's mediocre at best.

    And how the heck to tag Wasted Youth Orchestra? The WYO's, The Wasted Youth Orchestra, The Wasted Youth Orchestra a/k/a The WYO's? Sheesh. Bands who decide to physically go by an abbreviation are a pain in my anal retentive tagging ass!
  • Looking For recommendations on my similar artists (part 1)

    24. Apr. 2007, 21:19

    Counting Crows

    I have August and Everything. It's my plan to complete their entire discography. Where should I go next?

    Dave Matthews Band

    I've been ignoring these guys. I have a couple of songs from a mix a friend sent me... It sounds alright, where should I start?


    Is their compilation a good place to start or is their a specific album to do?

    Third Eye Blind

    I will be picking up at least their self-titled album, then go from there.

    Ben Folds Five

    This group/artist has such a rich discography it seems where to start?

    I seem to have this recommendation based on my love of BNL. Are they worth it based off of my love of the Ladies? If so, where do I start?

    Goo Goo Dolls

    My brother is into the Dolls I'll get to them. I like most of their stuff.

    Spin Doctors

    The only song I have by them is Two Princes Always considered them one hit wonders. Any thoughts out there?

    Elton John

    Must have More piano Rock by Elton.... I don't own much out of singles/compilations. What is his best possibly studio album? I will try to pick up his first.


    What is the definitive Queen Album?


    Where does a person start with Journey?

    Thanks for any suggestions anyone may have.
  • Alice? Who the F**K is Alice?

    22. Apr. 2007, 0:32

    I will be dropping the F-bomb in this one a couple of times, but in mention of the title of a song, but if that offends you, you can be warned early.

    This is a walk down memory lane for no particular reason, and I don't know what it was in the last two days that reminded me of this.

    It comes back to me that probably in 1998, I went to a dance sponsored by the 4-H at North Dakota State University. The only reason I went was because one of the girls I often ate at the dining center with was involved. All and all it was a good time. I'd later start, or had I already started, dating that girl seriously. Good memories, though we eventually broke up in 2001.

    But to get to the point, the last song of the night featured a song, that everyone seemed really pumped up about. In it was the line "...Living next door to Alice. Alice? Who the Fuck is Alice?"

    Well that was an interesting bit of music. I know I had gone searching for this song after and had never found it. I admit I didn't try very hard.

    So something came over me the other day and I went searching for the truth behind the song. I happened to find it on Wikipedia of all places.

    So the song is a 1976 top 10 hit by the English Rock band Smokie. I was excited to finally find the song. I found it was actually named Living Next Door to Alice and not "Who the Fuck is Alice" as I had been told, though you will find that many people think this is what the song is called, and there IS a Smokie version as such, but we'll get to that. I quickly purchased the only version on iTunes. I was slightly perturbed to find that "Who the Fuck is Alice" was not in the song anywhere...

    So a little more research. The song Who the X Is Alice was released by a "group" called Gompie. The artist isn't real. It's named after the Café in the Netherlands where it was made popular for the audience to reply during the Chorus "Alice? Who the Fuck is Alice?" A smart little man heard this once and decided to record it. It was a popular little thing.

    Smokie was surprised during an Ireland Tour where the Audience replied this back to them. They decided, what the heck and rerecorded a new version with an English Comedian Who the Fuck Is Alice (Living Next Door to Alice), which became a top ten hit in England for them and I think elsewhere in 1995. Sadly the lead singer of Smokie died from injuries sustained in a accident involving their touring Bus. I believe royalties from the song where all given to the lead singers widow. what tragedy.

    From what I can see there have been many "covers" of this, dance mixes, and more. I happen to have a version by a band called Torpedos that I got from a compilation album on iTunes.

    The interesting twist to this is that downloading Living Next Door to Alice, has me thinking that other Songs by Smokie might be pretty good. I am currently trying to find out which album of theirs would be a good purchase, and then would come the challenge of actually finding one in print here in America... If push comes to Shove, there is always iTunes, but I think I'd want a hard copy. We'll see. It's a good feel Rock/Country/Pop/English music.

    So for all of you out there wondering "Who the Fuck is Alice" this is the story and for all of you who "have" this or a song like it, make sure to get your Damn tags right, kay? The correct song name for the Smokie remake is: Who the Fuck Is Alice (Living Next Door to Alice).

    The fans appreciate it.

    Happy listening.