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Macs, Movies, Games, Books, etc. The Rants of a Mad Man.

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B&o Play Beolit 12 review

April 27th, 2012 by Raj

For those of you interested in my forever sporadic journalistic endeavours then you’ll be gleeful to hear my review of Bang & Olufsen’s new B&o Play product the “Beolit 12” is available for your eyes to consume over on MacTalk. An excerpt of said article is here found below to tempt you to read more…

Its relatively small & lightweight but stocky in stature and had I not already mentioned it was a speaker you might be asking yourself “What is it?”, the design not giving a lot away to its function yet screaming Bang & Olufsen from its minimalistic pore ridden facade. At first I have to admit I found the whole thing a little ghastly but in the month it’s sat pride of place in my lounge room the more I’ve fallen in love with its simplicity and come to appreciate the thought put in to the design.

If you’d like to read more may I suggest you go here.
For the photographic kind there are lots of lovely images of the Beolit 12 here.

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Can Touch This – Video Review: Fruit Ninja

September 7th, 2010 by Raj

My apologies peoples, I have forgotten to let you all know of my further Internet whoring exploits over at MacTalk Australia. Back when I did an episode of “Can Touch This” for them I also filmed a couple of video reviews, one of which was for Australian made “Fruit Ninja”.

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t-JAY & a-JAY headphones review

August 6th, 2010 by Raj

It would appear that I have somehow become “The Headphone Guy” for MacTalk reviewing not one, not two, but SIX sets of headphones from manufacture JAYS in my latest tech rambling review.

For those of you interested in the audio phonic delights of headphone glory please jump over and check out the review yourself. Others may be more interested in the photos of the units, which I took myself on my new Canon 7D, these can be viewed in more detail here.

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Review: DigiFi Opera S5 Wireless In-Ear Headphones

December 3rd, 2009 by Raj

Opera Mini S5 In-ear Headphones

You’ve got to love a good headphone’s review don’t you? I’m sure that you and all your friends are in that boat, which means that you’re going to absolutely love my latest review for the MacTalk folk. This round sees me tackle the latest and greatest in wireless audio for your iPod in the form of the “DigiFi Opera S5 Wireless In-Ear Headphones“. Boy that’s a mouthful.

So what are you doing hanging around here still? Go get your audiophile nerd on…

Article Link: http://www.mactalk.com.au/2009/12/03/review-digifi-opera-s5-wireless-in-ear-headphones/

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Review: Beat Heat Eat by Dean Lahn

April 29th, 2009 by Raj

Beat Heat Eat I’m not particularly in the habit of writing book reviews, in fact I don’t think I’ve really gotten around to doing such a thing since I was in the 8th grade at High School. That didn’t stop the boys at MacTalk sending me one to review though, which again -at first- seemed like a definite mystery to me too.

You see “Beat Heat Eat” is not your ordinary cookbook. It’s designed by a nerd and has a bunch of simple & tasty recipes for nerds. Seeing how I did at one stage co-host my very own Cooking Show and I am in fact a nerd (of sorts) it actually makes perfect sense that I should review the book after all. Isn’t it grand when everything just falls in to place?!

So be sure to jump over to MacTalk and check out another of my wondrous articles that just have you feeling all warm and gooey like a Cadbury Creme Egg. Hmmmm….. Creme Egg…….

Product Link: Wakefield Press
Article Link: http://forums.mactalk.com.au/…

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Review: iLuv i189BLK & i552BLK iPod Audio Systems

April 13th, 2009 by Raj

iLuv iPod Docks - i189BLK & i552BLK

Another day, another review written for MacTalk… but this time you’re in for a treat, it’s not just one item to satisfy your Apple accessory addiction, no this time I’ve written a big 2-for-1!

Jump on over to hear my thoughts on two of iLuv’s new iPod Audio Systems, the larger i552BLK “Portable Audio System with Radio” and it’s smaller cousin the i189BLK “Stereo iPod Dock with 3D Sound”. It’ll be fun… I promise!

Product Link: i552BLK, i189BLK
Article Link: http://forums.mactalk.com.au/…

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Review: The i316 Micro size Bluetooth Headset from iLuv

April 8th, 2009 by Raj

iLuv i316 Bluetooth Headset (Front)

In my latest review for those happy chaps at MacTalk I tackle the new iLuv i316 Micro size Bluetooth Headset, which you’ll find distributed by iWorld Australia. She’s a little beauty and I do say “little” emphatically as you’ll notice it’s small size in the photo above. So head on over and check it out, if not for the article do it for these cool photos that I’m quite proud of if I do say so myself. Enjoy!

Product Link: http://www.iworldaustralia.com.au/…
Article Link: http://forums.mactalk.com.au/…

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Review: The Agent V4 HD webcam (over @ MacTalk)

February 27th, 2009 by Raj

The guys at MacTalk keep sending me crap to write about. Most recently it happens to be a USB webcam that you can plug in to your Mac or PC called the “Agent V4 HD“, something you probably surmised from the title of this post already.

So if webcams are your thing and you’re in the market for one then it’s probably worth you jumping over to the article and taking a look see. In fact, even if they’re not I think you should take a look anyways if only to say hello to my lovely assistant Sooty!

Product Link: http://www.liquiddigital.com.au
Article Link: http://forums.mactalk.com.au/20/67805-review-agent-v4-hd-webcam.html

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I review the Aeropad Mini over at MacTalk

January 16th, 2009 by Raj

Macsense Aeropad Mini

If wireless networking for legacy Macs is your thing, and I’m almost positive it is, then you might be interested in checking out a review of the Aeropad Mini from Macsense that I’ve written for MacTalk Australia.

The Aeropad Mini is a nifty little device that plugs into your computer’s ethernet port enabling it to connect to any 802.11b/g network without any software needed to be installed. It’s a great solution for Mac’s in particular because 90% of the wifi USB devices out there don’t work on a Mac (or need a lot of screwing around).

If this kind of thing floats your boat check it out here.

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Review: Rock Band (Australia)

October 12th, 2008 by Raj

While the rest of the world enjoys the spoils of Harmonix’s latest efforts with the recent release of Rock Band 2 Australians, whom have yet to see any version of the franchise land upon its shores, will have to be content with the announcement that coming November 7th they too can finally begin their rock journeys with the release of the first iteration, the same version that is now over a year old for everyone else.

For anyone that has played Guitar Hero, Rock Band is going to be of familiar territory. The game revolves around the usual rhythm formula of coloured “notes” flowing down the screen that need to be hit when crossing a particular point. The more notes you hit in a row the more your score multiplier increases and should you not hit enough you bomb out of the song to the boos of a disappointed virtual crowd. Where Rock Band differentiates itself is that you not only have the option of playing the guitar portions of the songs but you know have a complete “band” of instruments to play (and sing) including lead guitar, bass guitar, drums and vocals. Think of it as Guitar Hero meets SingStar with a drum kit.

Rock Band provide two primary modes of gameplay, a “Solo Tour” mode and “Band World Tour” mode, which requires at least two players. The solo mode follows the same tried and tested formula of performing a few tracks on your desired instrument (excluding bass, which is only available in Band World Tour mode) until you’ve done enough to unlock the next venue and the new tracks that come along with it whilst growing in difficulty to play/sing. Depending on which instrument you choose to use the track list changes order due to the songs being of different difficulties for the individual mediums.

Band World Tour mode breaks the regular mould of linear track progression. Requiring at least one other person in the room rocking out with you, the World Tour mode challenges you to create a band poised to take over the world, earning fans, money, and accolades throughout your bands evolution. Starting with gigs in your hometown your band will go on to earn vans, tour buses and even private jets to play in any of the 41 venues in over 17 cities around the globe. You can even choose to play benefit gigs that earn you a larger fan base but no monetary reward all the time creating your own set-lists to accommodate your next gigs fans, introducing what Harmonix refers to as a “risk versus reward” system into the game, requiring a dedicated thought process behind your decision making somewhat similar to a real life band progressing through their musical career.

One of the decidedly major advantage the Rock Band franchise has over its competitors is its comprehensive track listing and music store. I love the loaded tracks in Rock Band, more so than any offering from Guitar Hero or even the US released Rock Band 2. Classics such as Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” and Stone Temple Pilots “Vaseline” are just the tip of the iceberg of this rock monolith’s 58 playable tracks, 51 of which are master recordings.
The in built music store allows further expansion buy allowing users to download new “track packs” or individual songs at a price of 160 Microsoft Points (US$1.99) per song. Currently there are over 250 tracks available for download from the Rock Band Music Store but it is unclear at this stage if all we be made available upon the Australian release, nor if their pricing will differ.

The Instruments
Guitar/Bass – The Rock Band guitar is by no means an evolutionary step in musical peripherals. In fact its quite the opposite as are all of Rock Band’s instrumental ensemble via their USB tethers. Connectivity aside the guitar unit is modeled against the famous Fender Stratocaster and, in my opinion, a far more recognizable shape of rock guitaring that most are more likely to identify with than that of Guitar Hero III’s Les Paul knock off. Unfortunately for Rock Band that’s pretty much where the praise ends. The guitar feels cumbersome, there’s little to no feedback when it’s fret buttons are depressed and the strum bar feels as though you’re pushing it through a pool of super glue. The familiar “click” when strumming on any of the previous Guitar Hero units is completely absent leaving me unsure as to whether or not I’ve actually played the note at all! It’s of general Internet consensus that the included guitar is rubbish and many are applauding Harmonix for the new upgrade with Rock Band 2 but unfortunately that’s not what Australia’s getting.

Drums – Harmonix received a lot of flack over the supplied drum kit when they first released Rock Band in the US. Complaints of the foot pedal snapping in two were more common than not and they went on record as to saying some of their initial units were admittedly faulty. Providing your foot pedal stays in one piece I can honestly say banging away on the drums is by far the most rewarding, and realistic, experience of Rock Band (for me). They’re loud, and housemates who aren’t joining in will quickly alert you to that fact, don’t think banging away on plastic pads is any less annoying than a real drum kit. You’ll also need to find a brick to put in front of them as the whole set up tends to move forward with each fervid kick of the foot pedal but boy is it a hell of a lot of fun. Be prepared to work a little on the drums too, if you’ve never drummed before teaching your mind to separate your three limbs (you generally only use one leg) to work independently is a challenge and one that’s not quickly mastered.

Microphone – I am most definitely not one for any form of karaoke. I know I can’t sing to save myself and I don’t see how forcing others listen to my hideous pitchless screams can be fun for anyone that isn’t deaf. I’d much prefer to bounce around the lounge room with a plastic guitar than sound like a fool singing! That said, in the spirit of gaming journalism I have (in solidarity) tried “singing” a tune or two. Fortunately as with pretty much every karaoke-like game available Rock Band calculates your performance on the ranging pitches your voice takes and not on you actually singing anything at all. It’s quite simple to get through a song with nothing more than a well controlled hum and whilst that may not be in the spirit of the game it was a most welcome relief for me.

For those tossing up between Rock Band and Guitar Hero World Tour (which is basically Rock Band with different tracks) I have to recommend Rock Band for its track list and music store, but ideally I’d want the hardware from Guitar Hero and the game from Rock Band. Even though this game is over a year old for the majority of the video game world you will find its popularity no shorter than ridiculous in Australia. What’s fantastic about Rock Band is that it has such a wide appeal including those whom want to rock their nights away pretending to be the latest Dave Grohl to that of the karaoke junkie; this game appeals to you all and what’s more you can now play together! Yay! One big happy family!

Related Links:
Rock Band Official Website
Rock Band track list
Downloadable tracks for Rock Band

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