Thursday, January 31, 2013

BIOSHOCK INFINITE trailer (video)

The makers of BIOSHOCK INFINITE have posted a new trailer to get us ready for the March 26th release.
Here is a quick look back:

The underwater setting is what drew me to the first Bioshock game.  

Although too short and not much of a step forward, I enjoyed Bioshock 2

But, this looks like a whole new level of fun!

source: Bioshock


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Installing a NEST (pictures/video)

After reading many reviews and looking at all the options, I bought Lisa a Second Generation NEST Learning Thermostat for her birthday. (I know romantic, right?)

Well, it is a sexy piece of technology and, since we enjoy home improvement, she was very excited.

It really could not have been simpler to install.
First, look at your old connections and let the Nest website know what you have.
They instantly tell you if you are compatible or not. We were. 
The old unit

The packaging is very nice. Very "apple". 

You are given many options for installation. 

Once you input your old configuration,  
Nest gives you a printout of what your new setup will look like.

 Label the wires with the stickers supplied.

Install whichever of the options you need for your situation.

Connections are spring-loaded clips, like the ones for audio speakers.

Snap the unit on.

Turn on the power.

The icons rotate around the screen And setup starts.

When finished, the unit began to function. Then I set up the wifi connection.

It will give you as much info as you like. Even when a software update is available.

When I logged into the website... tadaaa

Once connected, we can control the unit for any web browser or smartphone.

The iPhone App

The Nest will chart our activity and usage.

Now that is has been working a couple of hours, all is well. It seems to be working as advertised. I will post updates after we take some time to evaluate. So far, so great!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

NI NO KUNI first impressions (video)

I have been playing videogames since Pong. Yea, THAT long.

First person shooters and strategy (turn-based and real-time) are my usual favorites but I have loved Role Playing Games (RPGs) since pen & paper Dungeons & Dragons.   The Elder Scrolls series is my favorite example of modern RPGs. 

Being an early fan of anime, I have always had a soft spot for Japanese Role Playing Games (JRPGs).Although there have only been a few noteworthy imports over the last few years, it looks like the drought is over.

The creator of fine RPGs, Level-5, teamed up with the "Disney of Japan" animation house, Studio Ghibli, and have come up with a near perfect blend of old-school JRPG fun with modern advances and truly beautiful art design in a PS3 exclusive game called, Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. After finishing the demo the night before, I dove into this adventure yesterday, it's day of release in North America. 

After less than two hours, I am hooked. (and I am still finishing an older JRPG on Xbox360!)  I usually prefer turn-based combat, which this mostly is, but it's wrapped in a semi real-time environment. The story gets going quicker than most JRPGs and the graphics are extremely colorful and fluid; it feels like I am playing an animated movie.

I will post an update or two during the 40-80 hours I will eventually play the game, but do not wait on me to decide to pick this up.  IGN gave it a 9.4/10, calling it a game all fans of RPGs should play. 

Check this out:


Monday, January 14, 2013

PROGRESS #018 (video)

Show #018 Jan 14 & 16, 2013

On this week's edition of PROGRESS
I will be playing new tracks from





Upon Wings


Long Distance Calling

Monday night at 7pm eastern and Wednesday night at 10pm eastern
Exclusively on Rockfile Radio ICE

Followed by a brand new episode of


Friday, January 11, 2013

My Favorite Albums of 2012 (links)

While it is impossible to hear "everything", I do listen to a lot of music.  Although mostly rock, prog and metal, I listen to a wide variety of things.  From amazing debuts to great works from established artists, these are the albums from 2012 that I will continue to revisit and enjoy.  

Hey, I narrowed it down to forty (plus live albums) this year! (-'] 

    Big surprise that I would love a band who met over a mutual love of bands like Porcupine Tree. The album is full of magically musical moments, stellar playing and emotional depth.  An epic debut!

 2.  Headspace - I Am Anonymous
    After an EP in 2007, we had to wait until 2012 for a full album of music from this new progressive super-group featuring Adam Wakeman, Damian Wilson, Pete Rinaldi, Lee Pomeroy and Richard Brook.  With feet planted in classic progressive rock, this modern sounding prog-metal band handles heaviness and beauty with equal grace. Damian has been one of my favorite vocalists for a while and this is truly a showcase for his expressive and impressive voice.  

 3.  Katatonia - Dead End Kings
    Swedish masters of dark gothic tuneage followed up their perfect 2009 release, Night Is The New Day, with the next step in their long evolution. Still mixing heavy passages with haunting melodies, this band keep getting better!  Hard to believe 2014 will be their 25th anniversary!

 4.  Kamelot - Silverthorn
    The Tampa-based band returned with a new vocalist and a renewed sense of self.  Tommy Karevik was the perfect choice to take the band to new heights and Silverthorn has a classic Kamelot sound that launches a new beginning for the band.

 5.  Vanisher - Unbound
    A new force from North Carolina that blew me away on first listen.  Metal and melody meet in a sweet mix of heavy yet accessible tunes. I cannot wait to hear what is next.

6.  Flying Colors - Flying Colors
    A modern super-group featuring Mike Portnoy, Dave LaRue, Casey McPherson, Neal Morse and Steve Morse. A massive amount of musical chops (Dream Theater,  Dixie Dregs, Alpha Rev, Spock's Beard, Kansas) met for a whirlwind writing and recording session with songcraft taking precedence over chops.  A pop-prog-rock masterpiece.

7.  Kaipa - Vittjar
    I had no idea this Swedish progressive rock band started in 1973 when I first discovered them a few years ago.  The new album would fit perfectly on your shelf next to your classic Yes collection and 2011's Wobbler album, Rites At Dawn.  Traditional progressive music done right. 

8.  IZZ - Crush Of Night
    Their most focused work yet. There is always something interesting and very musical going on!

 9. Rush - Clockwork Angels
    Their best work in 20 years. Really.  Great story, impeccable tunes.

 10. Storm Corrosion - Storm Corrosion
    The first team-up of prog legends Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree) and Mikael Ã…kerfeldt (Opeth) was everything but what was expected.  Sounding nothing like their individual bands, this sonic journey was the deepest of the year. Light candles and enjoy.

 11. Threshold - March Of Progress
    I was so glad to hear Damian Wilson back in this band!!  Some of their best work and the "other" epic performance from Damian this year. 

 12.  Anathema - Weather Systems
    The band continues to expand the softer and more emotional elements of their music while keeping it powerful.  

 13. AEtherfallen - Within The Last Breath EP
    A surprising new progressive rock talent from Denver?  Yup. And the music is just the beginning of the story, you owe it to yourself to dig deeper.

 14.  Hemina - Synthetic
    Excellent new prog band from Down Under with a very solid debut!

 15. Beardfish - The Void
    The Swedish band continues to move in a heavier direction without forgetting its classic progressive roots.

 16. The Devin Townsend Project - Epicloud
    The twisted genius of Devin Townsend in one of his most "mainstream sounding" albums ever.  Beautiful arrangements with his usual biting lyrics.  

 17. IOEarth - Moments
    I still don't understand why more people have not discovered this band.  Yes, their albums defy easy classification but it's all so wonderfully musical.   

 18. Between The Buried And Me - The Parallax II: Future Sequence
    2011's The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues EP was the tip of the musical iceberg for BTBAM as the new album fully expands on what began there...and takes the journey to whole new levels.  

 19. Marillion - Sounds That Can't Be Made
    The band continues to mature and release the music they want to make.  Beautiful and heartfelt, powerful and passionate.

 20. Slash - Apocalyptic Love
    Slash makes great straight-up rock records. period. Now that he has a vocalist and band that equal his riff skills, I hope he continues to do so. 

 21. Anubis Gate - Anubis Gate
    This 2011 release should have been on last year's list but I did not get it until mid-2012. And it is one of my most listened to albums of the year.

and the rest of the best...

OSI - Fire Make Thunder
10 Years - Minus The Machine
Falseta - Falseta
Viasava - One Year Down
Call Me No One - Last Parade
Projected - Human
Eye Empire - Impact
Stone Sour - House Of Gold And Bones Part 1
Candlebox - Love Songs & Other Musings
Tesseract - Perspective EP
Baroness - Yellow & Green
Gojira - L'Enfant Sauvage
Periphery - Periphery II
Adrenaline Mob - Omerta
Mark Tremonti - All I Was
The Sword - Apocryphon
Mnemic - Mnemesis
Christian Alvestram - Self 2.0 EP
Soundgarden - King Animal
Deftones - Koi No Yokan

Live Albums worth getting:

Led Zeppelin - Celebration Day
Steven Wilson - Get All You Deserve
Alter Bridge - Live At Wembley