Mastodon Reviews – Josh Hrach

Review: GeoRing for iPhone

Sometimes, the built in functions and options in a device are not enough. Choosing a ringtone on your iPhone is one thing. But what about having a random ringtone?

Well, there is an app for that. (Go figure!) It’s called GeoRing by XVision.

GeoRing allows you to use your entire music library as potential ringtones. Want to hear your favorite tunes when someone calls? You can! And best of all, you can add as many songs as you want to your ringtone playlist!

You can also customize at what part of the song the ringtone will begin at. Don’t like the opening to a song? Have it start ringing at a particular section. It can make it easy to find those catchy riffs in a song that you think would make for a great ringtone!

While the ringtone option is seemingly the main feature, GeoRing also allows you to map where you receive your phone calls. Ever been on a call with someone and you wish you could remember where you were at the time, perhaps because of that awesome coffee shop you were walking by at the time? Well, you won’t need to worry about that anymore! GeoRing gives you the ability to see where you were.

The app is very easy to navigate. In fact, you’ll quickly explore every page of options in the app within the first minute of playing with it! There are just two things to keep in mind when using this app:

  1. You need to have a silent ringtone (which you can download from their site) for your iPhone, or else your default iPhone ringtone will also go off along with your GeoRing set songs.
  2. The GeoRing app needs to be running in the background for it to operate. Do not remove it from your background processes.

I think many people that are interested in custom ringtones might find this app to suit their needs, especially those with a large music library on their iPhones.

Sometimes you’ll find apps that will not do all that they say they do. This one is definitely not one of those. Everything this app says it does, it does! I definitely recommend this app.

For more information about GeoRing, you can find it on iTunes or check out the XVision website. Or follow @XVisionNow and @GeoRingApp on Twitter.

Review: Baseball Superstars 11

The latest in the Gamevil baseball series, Baseball Superstars ’11, delivers a good strike to the classic ballgame. Having played both of the previous titles, I can say that this one truly is an improvement.

Months ago, I did a small post regarding a classic NES baseball game: RBI Baseball. Playing Baseball Superstars ’11 reminds me of RBI baseball. The game is easy to play, allows for you to just pick up where you left off, and overall is a very enjoyable experience.

You’re able to play multiple game modes, from single exhibition games to full careers with a character. As before, RPG elements are included, allowing for you to improve your player’s skills and abilities as the game progresses.

With some humorous elements thrown in via a subtly laid story, simple baseball gameplay, and the ability to stop and resume playing a game at any point, Baseball Superstars ’11 is definitely worth checking out.

Review: Rock Band 3

Yesterday was the big release of Rock Band 3. Well, for some, it was midnight Monday night. Either way, I’ve finally had the chance to play the latest musical installment and have a few things to say.

I only played the game for about a half hour, but it was enough for me to experience a few things.

First, the career mode is different than before. I’m not sure how to really describe it, but it seems like it’s easier to play in shorter sittings. Most of the sets I’ve had to play were just two songs each, which you can easily do for 15 minutes if that is all you have available.

The next change, which I really like, is that new costume and customizable options become available after achieving goals in game. There is no more money in game. This makes it much easier to gain new looks, in my opinion. You just need to unlock the gear, not see if you can play enough songs to make enough money to open something up.

The ability to instantly join a song or drop out is an amazing feature. I’ve had friends play Rock Band 2 that want to drop out mid song and, when they did, we’d all complain about having to restart the song. Now, that’s not a problem. And if someone does drop out, join in, or change any settings, the game will rewind the song a few seconds so that everyone can catch up.

The song list itself is pretty impressive. Even when doing random pop and 80’s songs, I’ve found ones that I know and can play. If you haven’t checked out the song list for Rock Band 3, yet, you should!

Lastly, there’s the new instrument type: the keyboard. A full 2-octave midi keyboard is provided with the game. You can choose to play either in the standard 5-color mode, or you can go into Pro mode and actually try to play the keys that are shown on the screen. Beware: This is harder than it looks if you can’t play the keys already! But it is also quite fun!

In short, Rock Band 3 looks like it’ll be a great successor to the already great Rock Band 2. I’m looking forward to playing the keys more, which will add a little change to the game. (Note: Only Rock Band 3 songs have the option for keys, so don’t expect to be able to play them in your already massive Rock Band song library.)

The only thing I have not tested is the new Pro guitar, as I did not purchase one. However, you can easily find reviews for that online.

Have you tried Rock Band 3 yet? What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

RBI Baseball

So, I decided to go old-school today. It has been a while since I blogged, so here I will try and catch you up with the past. And by that, I mean going back to 1987. That’s when RBI Baseball was released for the NES.

I don’t know when I originally bought the game for my NES, but I still regard it as one of my favorites. It’s simple approach to baseball just makes it one of those games that I like playing for a few minutes if I need a break from something.

And so, as I take a break from work, I thought I would just put that little tidbit out there for everyone. Now, I’m off to play 5 minutes of baseball before getting back to work.

And don’t worry. I will talk all about the past few months soon.

Eric Clapton/Steve Winwood Concert Review

Surprisingly, I’ve had several people eagerly awaiting my review.  Therefore, here it is!

The last time I had gone to a Clapton concert, I made sure to blog about it right away.  This time, it’s taken me a week to write this.  But, here it is!

The concert itself was on June 17th.  While it’s been a few days, the details have definitely stuck in my mind, as it was quite the concert!  It was my third time seeing Eric Clapton (and my first for Steve Winwood), but for a friend that came with us, it was his first Clapton experience.  This concert was probably definitely a great way to introduce him to a live Clapton concert!

At 8:15pm, the lights were turned off.  The crowd on the floor and most of the 100 level got up as  the band came out on stage.  A simple “good evening” was enough to get a large cheer from the audience.  Seconds later, the band went into Had to Cry Today.  While I couldn’t hear the crowd, as Eric went into his first solo, I knew this would be a great evening.

The immediately went into Low Down.  It’s not a song I think I have heard before.  Still, for the evening, it was Eric’s first time behind the mic.  Given the blues-ish feel to the song, it’s no surprise on that.

Immediately after that was After Midnight.  After hearing him play that live during his last tour, I was glad it was played again.  It’s such a fun song when live.  I don’t know why I think that.  And as they ended the song, they went straight into Presence of The Lord.  This is the first concert I’ve been to where it was played, and it definitely is another great song.  (I should stop calling them great songs, as most of them were).

Sleeping in the Ground and Glad followed.  Sleeping in the Ground isn’t one of my favorite songs, but it was still good live.  Glad was a good song that, for sure, I’d like to see if I can get my band to learn.  The song that I quickly liked, though, was the following, Well Alright.  Eric’s opening riff caught my eye as a guitar player.  Since then, I’ve tried to recreate it… I’m still working on it.

When Tough Luck Blues started, it reminded me of the past concerts I’ve seen.  The way this one was started made me think of Little Queen of Spades and Have You Ever Loved a Woman.  I guess those blues songs in C all can start in similar ways.  Nothing wrong with that, of course!  Tough Luck Blues was over 7 minutes long, leaving plenty of time for great solos throughout the whole song.

As Pearly Queen started, I didn’t realize it’d be such a fun song.  Eric’s solos, again, were awesome. (And again, how can I say otherwise about his solos?)  And that only got better when, after a few seconds of playing some notes, they go right into Crossroads.  I like how the crowd doesn’t go nuts until he starts singing.  Is it that difficult to pick out a beat, key, or riff before vocals start?

After Crossroads, full of Eric and Steve singing verses and solos all around, they went into There’s a River.  This is probably one of the songs lower on my list of favorites from this show.  But what I did really enjoy were the vocal harmonies.  I think they were just grand.

At this point, we were already over half-way through the concert.  And that’s when Forever Man began.  It was something I was looking forward to after seeing the set lists for the earlier concerts.  Amazing work from the band on this.  As a side note, this is where I first noticed Eric playing a guitar out of standard tuning.  Based on what he was playing, I do believe it was dropped a step in tuning.  If anyone has any other speculation, or even confirmation, on this, please let me know!  I’m curious.

With that great song over, the band cleared the stage, leaving Steve Winwood alone at his organ.  After a few words to the audience, where he thanked the audience and said how grateful he was to be playing there, he began his solo song, Georgia on My Mind.  Everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy this, both his singing as well as his organ solo.

At this point, the ‘acoustic’ set began.  This opened with Driftin’.  It was slower than I expected, but it was still a cool acoustic song.  I almost didn’t notice the rest of the band in on this, as Eric was seemingly stealing the show with his acoustic work.  I definitely need to play better acoustic like that!

How Long didn’t really get my attention.  But the song after, Layla, definitely got my, and everyone else’s, attention!  Again, this is a song that you just can’t go wrong with.  It was on this song that I realized, again, that Eric was playing in a dropped tuning.  In this case, just a half step down.

With the same, lower tuning, they immediately followed with Can’t Find My Way Home.  Being a Clapton/Winwood event, you can’t go through the concert without that.

With the acoustic set over, they went back, full energy, into Split Decision.  This was a great song, but I was totally surprised when I heard them go straight into Voodoo Chile!  I had a feeling it’d be played, but I wasn’t thinking that I would be hearing it right away.  But, wow, the band did great, and the audience fully appreciated all 15+ minutes of the song.  It seemed like an open jam at some points, but for such a great song, it was enough for the whole band to show off.

With Voodoo Chile over, I was expecting some more powerful hits.  Little Wing, Cocaine, something.  But the band just called it at that.  It seemed like a bit of a soft ending.  But, as I already knew a bit about the encore, it was definitely worth cutting the show a bit early.

The typical encore on the tour has seemed to be Dear Mr. Fantasy.  Well, we did not get that!  We’re Chicago.  What kind of treat could we have?

Why, Buddy Guy, of course!  There were some guitar volume issues at first, but once those were resolved, he was right into the song.  And what other song is there to play first than Sweet Home Chicago.  With both Eric and Buddy playing, it was a definite treat for Chicago.  Everyone definitely was singing along!   But one song isn’t enough!  So, why not throw in Drowning On Dry Land?  There you go!  Not only did Buddy do great on guitar, but vocally, he got the crowd going.  He even almost got some of the band to crack up.

Sadly, after those two songs, the show was over.  I was hoping for a second encore, and with how long it took for the lights to come on, it almost seemed possible.  Alas, such was not to be the case.  But that’s fine.  It was still a great night, either way!

Coming Soon: Game Reviews

I figured that, given that I play video games, know people that video games, and there are plenty of video games and video gamers out there, perhaps I should share a bit of information and review some video games.

They may be classics.  They may be new.  But they will be games that I, hope, you will enjoy reading about.  Some titles that I know I will be talking about at some point include:

  • Final Fantasy 7
  • Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
  • Star Wars Rebellion
  • RBI Baseball

Yes, I did just put an NES game up there.  It’s worth talking about, though!