Wednesday 22 January 2014

Hey All You Rudies, Jet Set Radio Is On The Air!

From the wonderful memories of Jet Set Radio! We have been given something to immerse oursleves back into the world of JSR.

Listening to the radio and hearing DJ Professor K calling out to you and all other Rudies in town was always I reason to rejoice. Were I live I can't say any sort of pirate radio station exists (unless you count the one that was removed 4 years ago). From the legitimate stations we have I can't say there are any that meet the style of JSR. Not even close.

Knowing this was an issue, someone who is going by the nostalgic name of DJ Professor K has answered this call. Taking in submissions and uploading new tracks every couple days (if not daily at times). Our old friend DJ has risen once more! JSR exists on the web. If you've got data there is even a radio option where you can listen to music on the go.

Not only does JSR feature the music you remember from the games but also music found over time that matches the style of the nutritious pirate radio station. Keeping it alive and fresh.

The website features a few different options. The front page displays a nice background with a list of new tracks that have been uploaded. This is the Blog portion of the webpage. One the side there is a list of months and their corresponding years. They are archives of past uploads. Here is where all the new submissions are displayed. If you click on one there is a comment section.

The first archive is in March of 2013 (would have been a cool birthday present to have found it back then). This has one entry recorded and that's the long lasting playlist that acts as the radio (continuous play of music). This can be accessed at all times at the top by the second page option after Blog, under Radio.

The About page is essentially a summarized version of this post explaining how Jet Set Radio is designed to bring the music people loved from the game back in a way that can branch out from the game. Feel free to email the the Professor if you've got questions there.

Then finally to let you get involved the Professor has added a Submit page. This is where you can provide your choice of music that you feel suit the dope style all Rudies dig.


Sunday 12 January 2014

Please Insert HDD Here

Razer is known for making really weird and wacky inventions. They designed a laptop (the Switchblade) with mini screens for keys, and a small screen where the numpad would be.

They made a mouse with a dozen or so buttons on the side (the Naga).

Oh, and let's not forget the Edge. It essentially looked like a tablet with two Playstation Moves attached.

Now even though some of these look strange the odd designs all do help out with feeding the strange needs some people have. Certain MMO players like the Naga mouse because of all of it's buttons but from what I know the majority don't since they use only three commands in the game.

The latest idea to come from the crazy designers at Razer is the K'NEX version of a tree. With a bunch of removable bays it seems almost like a tiny shelving unit. Dodger from Polaris had said it looks like a modern artists rendition of a tree.

Now the concept is interesting. Though that curiosity is heightened when trying to figure out how the machine actually works. Knowing Razer they won't be using cheap parts because unless it can run as fast as possible then "why run at all?" I'm sure something along those lines is chanted at each meeting. Go big or go home is clearly something Razer has made clear with their intense gaming systems like the Switchblade.

The Switchblade is a thin but very powerful machine with a lot of very unique features for a laptop. I can only imagine that the Christine will be the same. Yes indeed. Their new customization desktop is called the Christine...I have no idea why.

The Christine has a bunch of removable bays that seem to be for a more plug-and-play desktop. This is a great idea for those who have some extra cash (since Razer don't come cheap). In seriousness the machine would satisfy a big concern a lot of people have which is that messing around with the inside of a computer is intimidating and a lot of people are not very comfortable unplugging parts and moving wires around.

Making a computer from scratch can be very confusing for people especially when they don't know what Ghz, watts, volts, and GB mean. This might just make their lives easier by making a much more user friendly way of working with a PC. The machine seems to let you just insert a black bay for whatever part you want. Hopefully these parts of clear labelling otherwise I could imagine getting very confused which black box you want to remove.

Knowing Razer it's probably going to be full of lots of good part by default. This as stated before will appeal to those who want to have a good machine and upgrade it without the hassle or confusion that comes with building a normal PC.

The motherboard is certainly an interesting idea to bring up when looking at this narrow computer. There are of course Micro-ATX motherboards (the smallest you could buy) but even they aren't long and narrow enough to fit into the Christine. Since the whole thing is water cooled one has to wonder the vents are for that heat to escape and where that motherboard is. The best guess I can give is that, the cooling unit is at the botton and pipes go to each individual socket from there. The motherboard has to be some custom piece of tech to work with this thing. If it in itself isn't made up by the black bays you plug in.

Even though it would be easy to use if you want to upgrade or replace a part you would have to go to Razer for a new bay since each part is designed by them to fit in. This monopoly would give them the access to high prices on the parts. Meaning the tower itself is probably not too expensive and a good way to lure people in to getting all the parts.

This would mean a very in demand market all being served by Razer. If the concept pulls through and the pricing is right they might open up a serge of new PC designs from different companies as Christine gains traction.

Tuesday 7 January 2014

Social Music With Cats!

I've made a video game music playlist! Well, I had some help...

Come check out if there are some nostalgic tracks you've longed for or perhaps new treasures you never knew existed. Where you ask? is a website for sharing music.

Make a playlist that looks great with social networking at it's core!

The website has a social media user system. This means you can log in from Facebook, Twitter, and even SoundCloud.

The website does not have an FAQ (yet) but they do respond quick to any questions on their Facebook page. Now when it comes to actually making your playlist there are a few things you need to know.

  1. You will first need to make a channel. This is a sub-division of the website. This might just be your main channel or about a certain topic. Me and my friend found the website together so we decided to work on a channel for video game music (then anime music). Though it only has one playlist we can organize more based on games, remixes, or even more if we are stricken with the will to organize. 
  2. Now with a channel name you'll need a description. Just say hello or give a message if you want to say something specific about you or the channel.
  3. Then of course once you have you're channel you'll want to have a playlist (you can make a bunch). On the side when you make a new channel there will be an option to make a new playlist or you can just edit the default one given to you.
  4. Editing a playlist has a couple of meanings. On your channels you'll see a pencil icon near the top of the page. This is a button to allow you to edit the background, name of the playlist, the avatar for the channel, the name of the channel, and the description. There are some more features like private and public playlists but you'll learn the details in time.
  5. Songs are integral to the playlist. The website allows you to look something up in the search bar and it tries to find YouTube or SoundCloud posts that match the song you're looking for. Aside from that you can just paste a link into the second bar. They are instantly added to the playlist. You can also add entire playlists from YouTube or SoundCloud if you have the link.
  6. You can edit the song titles when they come in.
    Since you're adding something from online, there are often added details in the titles (XxSuper [HD] Dance Music!xX) you don't need. Just hit the pencil icon that appears when you hover over a song.

  7. Songs can also be deleted by hitting the trash can. 
  8. Then there is the option of viewing the material on it's source page by clicking the YouTube or SoundCloud logo on the song . Also you can use the share icon for socializing. 
The coding on the website is quite clever too. If you try pasting a link to a song but get the URL wrong it will tell you,
"that link sucks... try again."
Not only that, after a while at the top right corner you get little messages about your activity such as,
"thanks for chillaxing 179 minutes with us."

The website has had some bugs, like not being able to edit the latest addition to the list or not being able to edit any song other than the latest track (what irony). 

Now these are excusable. From what I gather it's a very small team working on and it's a small website too. There are a lot of visitors but when I signed up my user ID was less than 500. It's still growing and more and more improvements keep coming. For instance the way trending playlists are displayed on the front page:

The user base is very friendly. The admin, Pedro has helped me out quite a bit. Once I even deleted our entire channel. He read my Facebook post on their page and he fixed it all within a matter of seconds. 

There is yet no way to favourite playlists or search through the database other than to go on the homepage and explore what is being exhibited one by one, then bookmark what you want. 

The layout is nice and is easy to use if you've found a playlist to listen to.

If you're interested, check out our favourite music from our
video game playlist or our anime playlist.

Wednesday 1 January 2014

Deus Ex, Music Enhancement

There is a lot of great music in games just like television and movies. The music industry has many ties within video games because a great game usually is accompanied by a great soundtrack.

I often ask people for suggestions of soundtracks to listen to and if they can't think of the music right away I revert to the question, "well what's your favourite game in that case?" Usually that has a pretty great score.

It's hard to enjoy a game with terrible music.

Here is an example of a master. Michael McCann is an extraordinary composer who takes vocals and harmonizes them with electronics and orchestral pieces in an almost mesmerizing way.

This is the soundtrack to the prequel to Deus Ex,

This music does accompany a great game. With terrific story and gameplay mechanics that constantly change in a way which makes you feel more adept to the world around you. 

There are a lot of things I would like to say about Human Revolution aside from it's terrific music but I will wait until the review (when I've actually beaten it). I highly recommend it.

Now aside from this newer title, the original game is also marvellous in it's soundtrack. The mechanics are even better in that game; allowing you to have more freedom and more exploring. It's a game that offers multiple options when playing any mission.

Deus Ex (the original) is available on GOG if you were interested (it's best place to get classic games).

But this game has quite the reputation. It's been around for long enough to have several mods release for it that are worth checking out and along with that remixes.

Some not so serious:

The fact the song has a rhythm that matches the rap is a amusing coincidence. Aside from that there are a lot of really professional remixes of the music instrumental track along with covers. OCRemix are best known for their work on making diverse derivatives of video game tracks and posting them all for free on their website.

Recently OCRemix released an album (composed by several artists) of various Deus Ex songs (from the different games) called, Sonic Augmentation. Here's a sample:

There is a wide assortment of funny, skilful, and classic songs that have emerged from this series of games. More than likely more remixes will be coming out so keep an eye out for the latest releases on OCRemix.

Credit for music content goes to
1. OCRemix's Vig
2. Triple-Q
3. Michael McCann
4. Alexander Brandon
5. Dan Gardopée
6. Michiel van den Bos
7. Reeves Gabrels