It's "Glee" meets BOL! Ok, no, don't panic, there's not that much singing. But it's Brian Tong's first day in the co-host chair, and we are having a good time. Off the rails. In the news today: Facebook app developers were evidently selling your personally identifiable information, which Facebook could barely be bothered to punish them for. Also, group gifting on eBay and a new low in "journalism" junkets. --MollySubscribe: iTunes (MP3) | iTunes (320x180) | iTunes (640x360) | RSS (MP3) | RSS (320x180) | RSS (640x360)… Read more
The bottom line: iLife '11 is a welcome and long-overdue update to Apple's suite of digital media applications. This year's version adds a handful of advanced features to iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand without making them more difficult to use. It's a shame iDVD and iWeb did not receive updates with this year's version, but with a slightly lower price for upgraders than in years past, iLife '11 still represents a good value to consumers looking for a set of tools for editing and sharing media. At $49, and close to two years since the last major … Read more
With Rock Band 3, music games take a significant leap, adding a level of real-music simulation previously unseen in this genre. Part of it is the two-octave MIDI keyboard that comes with the game, but even more interesting is the optional Pro-level guitar controller. Made by MadCatz and using a licensed Fender Mustang design, the guitar has separate buttons for each string at every fret--102 buttons in all--meaning one can play actual guitar chords on it.
To compare the experience to actual music-making, I whipped out a real guitar (in this case a Fender Telecaster--sorry, I don't have a Mustang) and did a side-by-side run-through. By hooking up this Pro guitar and playing on the hard or expert difficulty levels, the guitar part consists of the actual chords from the song in question.
Unfortunately, the onscreen notation for this was unfathomable to me, with lines of varying heights indicating the fingering, starting with a root note. Fortunately, the actual chord names float by at the same time, and if you stick with those, the effect is very close to real guitar playing. … Read more
Today's episode of The 404 Podcast begins with a short lesson in Chinese breakfast foods and our love for combining savory meat into sweet bread. The dish in question is called char siu bao and it's a dim sum staple that you can also find in most Chinese bakeries--even Jeff seems to enjoy it, so you know it can't be that bad!
Before we make you too hungry, we'll touch on the new T-Mobile G2, the first smartphone to run on T-Mobile's HSPA+ network. The original T-Mobile G1 was the first Google Android phone released … Read more
Because the plastic accessories used to play music games such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band look somewhat like real musical instruments, they have the unintended consequence of making gamers think they can pick up a real-life guitar and play, and real-world musicians think they'll be instant experts at these games. Neither case is generally true (take it from someone whose most recent album is holding steady at No. 87 in Amazon's Funk Rock category, and has been playing guitar for more than 20 years, but who can hardly get through a Guitar Hero song on medium difficulty).
The inclusion of basic but usable electronic drum pads in the past few generations of these games changed the situation somewhat, and at harder difficulties, one could end up playing a fairly realistic drum part, but it wasn't until this year that the line between real instruments and game controllers really started to blur.
Having recently gotten a chance to demo the latest gear for Rock Band 3, I found a lot of new angles designed to punch some life into the ailing music games genre, but also still ran into several examples of the disconnect between real music and game music.
Just as Rock Band changed the guitar game landscape by adding drums, the upcoming version of the game adds a keyboard controller, a few new types of guitar controllers, and a new chord-playing system in the game that finally makes actual music-playing ability relevant.
Besides the usual five-button guitar controller similar to the ones used in music games as far back as the original Guitar Hero, there's also a new Pro-level controller. This version has six fixed string-like sensors in place of the traditional strum bar, and replaces the five colored fret buttons with separate tiny buttons for each string at every fret on the guitar neck. That's 17 frets across six strings, more than 100 independent buttons.
Playing with this Pro guitar controller turns on an optional chording system, which allows for onscreen chords requiring up to six notes to be hit simultaneously (thereby forming the chord in question). The in-game tutorial for learning to play these chords seems reasonable enough, but the notation used in the game itself was confusing, with bars of differing heights scrolling down a virtual fretboard, indicating a chord constructed from notes above or below an indicated root note. If that sounds hard to follow, that's because it is. … Read more
Originally a Firefox add-on, FindThatBand has gone Chrome. Instead of hopelessly searching for music within the endless black hole which is the Web, Google Chrome users can now find their favorite bands by highlighting text.
To find the band, simply highlight its name and hit CTRL twice. A pop-up will instantly appear with a list of 11 music resource sites. This list consists of MySpace, Last.fm, Pandora, Wikipedia, Hype Machine, Amazon, iTunes, Discogs, allmusic, iLike, and Grooveshark. (Last.fm is a CBS site, as is CNET.) Between all of these sites, it is highly likely that you will find … Read more
Those about to rock will have to wait a little while longer, as Harmonix on Monday announced that the third core installment in the Rock Band series will arrive on October 26 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Nintendo's Wii and DS.
Releasing just days ahead of Halloween. How spooky.
Along with Rock Band 3's release date revelation, Harmonix announced various retailer-specific preorder bonuses.
Read more of "Rock Band 3 hits stage October 26" at GameSpot.