Monday, December 17, 2007

Great Japanese bands

There are a LOT of bad japanese bands out there. With j-pop infesting the markets, it can give people the impression that there is no good musical taste whatsoever in the land of the rising sun. But fear not! Here is a short list of japanese bands that may make you think better of the scene in the far east.

Dan the Automator

Guitar Wolf

Guitar Wolf
Shonen Knife

Boom Boom Satelites
Buffalo Daughter

Akira Terao
Tak Shindo
Fantastic Plastic Machine
Ikue Mori

Asobi Sekusu

Pizzicato five
Sachi Migawa (look into the dachi record lable for a lot of japanese 60's pop)

Maher Shalal Hash Baz
Magical Power Mako
Acid mothers temple

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Friday, November 30, 2007

Free Phone Management and Free Phone Calls by Google

Imagine if you could have someone call one number in your area code and have your work phone, home phone, cell phone and computer ring at the same time, along with the option of not having some phones ring outside of work day hours. Imagine having one voice mail with unlimited storage for all of your phones in one place. Imagine being able to block callers, screen callers, personalize voice mail greetings for different contacts, make and receive free calls and a hundred other features...ALL FOR FREE!

Well you can. With a service called GrandCentral and Gizmo soft phone. GrandCentral is a phone organizing tool owned by Google. It has a ton of cool services that will be hugely popular when let out of beta. Gizmo is an open source service similar to Skype...but with some deals that may give it the edge like the all calls free plan which lets you call any phone cell or landline for free if the person is also a Gizmo user. Gizmo is also usable on over 200 different models of cellular phone, so you can make really cheap roaming/international calls and instant message/voice message your friends on all the major protocols like aim, msn, and yahoo.

Below is a Step by Step guide on how to set up some basic features with GrandCentral and Gizmo including how to make free calls. Right now the only major limitation with this service is it doesn't forward SMS text messages, but they are working on that feature right now.

For more information on GrandCentral features check out

The Gizmo Website is at:

Stuff you need:

Grand Central Account:
Cell phone with gizmo on it (optional)

Download Gizmo, load the software and run it. Make an account for yourself.

Click on the Grand Central invite me request link on grand central. You should get an invite within a week. Or go to Sign-up.

Once you sign up for GrandCentral You need to activate your account, which means having it call your phone and dialing 2 numbers. Then you can look around at the features of the site. Add phones, contacts, voice messages, etc.


Go to

Log in using your Gizmo account name and password then Copy down the digits under "My SIPPhone" it should be something like 1-747-###-####

In GrandCentral go to Settings -> add/edit number and mark the type as "gizmo" enter your gizmo number as the number you want to use and give the account a name, then hit "save"

Now...Time to test it out! Have a friend call your GrandCentral number. Notice how your cell phone, home phone and computer (Gizmo) all ring at the same time. To answer a call you press one, or you can listen and see who is calling. To answer phone calls in Gizmo you need to go to the Dial Pad and press one or hit one on the dail pad of your keyboard. When you recieve calls in Gizmo, the phone calls are matter where they are from!


Go to your Address book in GrandCentral

Choose the contact you wish to call (you did add contacts right?) and click on the "call" button

Your phones and your friend's phone will both ring. If you answer with Gizmo or a landline phone (they recieve free calls) the call will be free for you. If your friend picks up with a land line phone the call will be free for them too!

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Thursday, September 6, 2007

Joost Software Review

Software Reveiw: Joost Beta from the makers of Skype and Kazaa

Joost is a program that lets you watch TV shows. And no , its not another internet video stream program, this is real TV. CBS, National Geographic, BET, MTV, IndieFlix, to name a few. (If you want an invite, send me your e-mail and I'll give you one)

How it works: Joost uses P2P technology. You get content from the Joost servers (The original seeders), as well as from other users watching shows on Joost. As you watch content on Joost it is saved in a cache and Joost uploads from that cache to others as you watch TV. You never have the entire file downloaded on your computer at any one time, so that prevents people from stealing content, which is why big TV companies have added their shows to Joost.

The upside: There is almost no buffering. Watching Joost is the same as watching regular Television, and as more people join the network, it will only get better. The other really cool thing is the widgets. You can can use the chat widget to talk with other users watching your channel, a clock widget to keep track of what time it is, news feed, and a "blog this" widget to send a screen and post to the blog client of your choice. You can also use 3rd party widgets. Yep, fans can make widgets for Joost and put them up for others to download, and thats going to really make Joost a good program.

The downside: Joost can use up your bandwidth, which shouldn't be a problem for people with high speed internet, but if your ISP has bandwidth limits or charges by how much bandwidth you use instead of a flat fee, then Joost may not be a good program to use. Another small problem is the cache. It can take up to 2 GB of memory on your hard drive, and if you don't have the free space that can be a problem. Currently Joost has no way to allow user control of the cache (the program IS still in beta though...) but on a windows computer if you want to delete files from the Joost cache you can find it at:

C:\Documents and Settings\user\Application Data\Joost

The interface: At first it was a little confusing to figure out. The interface is not intuitive. But I think as it gets worked on, that will get better.

If you click once on the screen, the main controls pop up at the bottom, channel catalog is on the left, My Joost (The widget interface) is on the right and at the top is "extra features" which consist of channel information and ad links. It can be a little annoying though because the menu disappears and reappears when you don't want it to. You can see screenshots below:

Advertisements: The advertisements come in the form of small pop ups in the corner of the screen and 15 second commercials once every hour or so. They aren't intrusive and overall Joost is a very nice way to watch TV, better than traditional television by far.

System Requirements:

Windows System requirements

Joost runs well on most modern PCs equipped with the latest updates to the Windows operating system. Recommended minimum specifications are as follows:

* Windows XP Service Pack 2 with DirectX 9.0c
* Pentium 4 processor, 1 GHz
* 512 MB or more RAM
* A modern video card with DirectX support and at least 32 MB of VRAM
* About 500 MB free disk space
* The Joost software is a 10 MB download, expanding to 30-35 MB on disk. The remainder is used as a cache

* Broadband/ADSL (1 Mbit/s downstream, 512 Kbit/s upstream recommended, although lower speeds may well work)
* 1 hour of viewing is 320 Megabytes downloaded and 105 Megabytes uploaded, which means that a 1 GB cap will be exhausted in about 10 hours

Mac OS X System requirements

Currently, Joost runs only on the latest Macintosh computers equipped with Intel processors. Recommended minimum specifications are as follows:

* Any Intel-based Mac running OS X 10.4
* 512 MB or more RAM
* About 500 MB free disk space
* The Joost software is a 13 MB download, expanding to 30-35 MB on disk. The remainder is used as a cache

* Broadband/ADSL (1 Mbit/s downstream, 512 Kbit/s upstream recommended, although lower speeds may well work)
* In 1 hour of viewing, 320 MB will be downloaded and 105 MB uploaded, which means that a 1 GB cap will be exhausted in about 10 hours

Presentation on the Joost network given by Colm MacCarthaigh at INEX

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

List of the best software and online services

Many people have a list of software and services that they consider the "Best". The software that everyone should have and use daily. I always disagree with those lists, and find them inadequate in their target. So I'm going to make my own list. My criteria for things making the list is straight forward. Items have to be usable on a daily basis. Which means an easy to understand, clean interface and alot of features both basic and advanced.

I'm going to list software and services in a series by catagory so things will be easier to find. I'll most likely be making lists for the following:

Media players and hosting sites (multi-media, music, radio, movies, internet-tv, comics)
Media Manipulation (video editing, photo editing, audio editing, 3D rendering)
Communications (voip, instant messaging, e-mail, irc, social networks, usenet)
Security (anti-virus, firewall, adware, tackers, wifi networks, proxy servers)
Office/School Tools (text editors, dictionaries, spreadsheets, organizing software, alerts, pdf's)
Internet (browsers, ftp, file-sharing, file-hosting, logging, website hosts, website creation)
Utilities (password managers, thumb drive, file-managers, search tools, boot cd, network tools)
Fun Stuff (games, muds, shell replacements, icons, themes)

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Paris Hilton

I came across this Japanese picture of Paris Hilton while browsing online. This just about sums up everything anyone really needs to know about her. I saw her sex tape...and its really not worth watching. I don't know why people made such a big deal about it.

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