Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Skype for the iPhone/iPod Touch 2G Released!

Skype [iTunes link] for the iPhone and second-generation iPod Touch is now available in the iTunes App Store and it's free!  You can make Skype-to-Skype calls for free over Wi-Fi, calls to landlines and mobile phones at lower rates and instant messaging over any internet connection.  Although reviews on iTunes have been tough, a friend who uses Skype a lot really likes it.  I only have one friend who is on Skype and he didn't answer my Skype call.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Not Your Daddy's "Duck Hunt"

The big game out this week on the iPhone is "Metal Gear Solid Touch" [iTunes link] from Konami, which is the latest version of the popular series.
Another tech website called it another version of "Duck Hunt," which was popular at the arcade in the 80s and on the original Nintendo game console. Although you cannot move around, I think that might be a good thing since trying to move your player in a 3-D environment can be challenging on the iPhone (e.g. Brothers In Arms). Here's a video of the game and you decide:

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Top Movies I Want On Blu-Ray

With my first several Blu-Ray Disc purchases, I've bought more concert titles than movies because there aren't much movies I want to own that I already don't have on DVD.  And, I have a self-imposed rule:  if I want to buy a movie on Blu-Ray that I already have on DVD, I'll have to sell the DVD first.  So, I'm eBaying a few titles to get the hang of selling and then I'm going through my whole collection and see what I don't mind parting with.

Still, I noticed a lack of variety in the movies that are available on Blu-Ray.  Here's my top picks for movies or franchises I want to see released on Blu-Ray:

1. "Star Wars" - The movies that started my love affair for film.  Although I do want the original trilogy more than the prequel trilogy, I think I'd want all of them.
2. "Back To The Future" Trilogy - We had to wait a LONG time for this to come out on DVD and it would be no surprise if we had to wait just as long for the Blu-Ray.  These are movies that harken me back to my childhood.
3. "Fight Club" - This was one of the best DVD sets in the infancy of the format and it could be equally cool on Blu-Ray.  Fantastic visuals and a kick-ass soundtrack would make this movie a winner in HD.
4. "Indiana Jones" Trilogy - Although "Kingdom Of the Crystal Skull" is already out on Blu-Ray, I'm not so hot on it since I already have it on DVD (especially in my cool steelbook).  The real gems are the first three movies which would be awesome in HD.
5. "The Lord Of The Rings" Trilogy - While I would not appreciate buying more of this movie series (I have theatrical and extended editions on DVD), LOTR would look and sound really awesome on a big screen and in Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio.

Friday, March 13, 2009

This Week's iPhone Apps

TouchSports™ Tennis '09 [iTunes link] - Just bought this wonderful 3-D tennis game for $.99 on the App Store.  The controls are easy:  just touch once to serve; hit the screen again to get the max power; and touch on the screen where you want your player to hit the ball.  Each player has their own strengths and weaknesses.  This game used to be $4.99 at one point so $.99 is really steal.  Highly recommended.

Hawaiian Rainbow: Hawaiian Music Radio [iTunes link] - If you want some Hawaiian Island sounds, look no further than this iPhone app that streams music from Hawaii.  It's a nice little app even for someone like me who actually lives in Hawaii.

On a personal note:

My father passed away this past Monday.  That's why I haven't been updating this site this week.  This blog is dedicated to him because he has always taken an interest in what I'm into - up until the day he died.  One week ago he really encouraged me to buy one particular television that he knew I wanted and it was at a good price.  So, I bought it at his insistence.  Last Saturday, I bought a new TV stand and we put it together and got everything working by the night.  He got to enjoy the television on Saturday night and all of Sunday.  Monday morning he passed away in his sleep.  Looking back, it was one of the most fun weekends I got to spend with him.  Somehow, I think he might have known that the end was coming and made sure I did all of this while he was here.  Thanks, Dad.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Making The Blu-Ray Plunge

I am pretty much waist-deep into the High-Definition revolution.  All I need to do now is buy a new TV stand (and get rid of the old one), set up my new HDTV and Blu-Ray player and switch out our cable box/DVR for a hi-def version.  I'm hoping this will all get done within the next couple of weeks.
It's been 10 years since I made the plunge into DVDs and I have an embarassingly large library of movies, documentaries and television shows.  I didn't plan on investing in a high-def format this early.
With that said, I'm not going to replacing my old DVDs with Blu-Ray. If I'm going to double-dip, I'm going to have to sell the DVD.
I have already ordered Yes: Live at Montreux 2003 and Rush: Snakes and Arrows Live from Amazon.com.
In recent years, I've put some self-imposed rules on my movie-buying.  I ask questions like "How many times will I watch this again?" and "Will I at least watch this once a year?"  Now, I'm thinking about MORE questions about buying Blu-Ray titles.  "Do I already have this on DVD?"  "Is this worth upgrading to Blu-Ray?"  Looking at the available Blu-Ray titles, it doesn't look like I'll be buying much.  I already get Blockbuster DVD titles through the mail and it looks like I'll be using that for Blu-Ray titles as well.
I don't think Blu-Ray will overtake DVD any time soon.  But, I've been waiting a long time to make the hi-def upgrade and I think this is the time.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

DanceDanceRevolution S For The iPhone Is Out!

Okay.  I gave in.  I bought DanceDanceRevolution S [iTunes link] for the iPhone for $6.99.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is the largest iPhone game I have seen in terms of megabytes.  This app weighs in at 105MB. My second largest game, "Hero Of Sparta," is 83.8MB.  I believe my largest app is Beatmaker at 149MB.

I like "Saturday Night Fever: Dance!" and "Tap Tap Revenge 2" but DDR S surpasses them both easily.  Highly recommended.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Read Kindle Books On Your iPhone

Making a Kindle app for the iPhone [iTunes link] must feel like a double-edged sword for Amazon.com.  The iPhone app will sell a lot more Kindle books but there is no guarantee that it will translate into selling more Kindles.
By the way, if you don't know what a Kindle is it's the electronic version of reading books.  Although the Kindle 2 is much thinner and lighter than the original Kindle, it will set you back $359. You'll have to be an AVID reader to get your money's worth.
As far as the iPhone app goes, I don't have any Kindle books nor do I really have the urge to buy one.  But, I wish you could at least browse through the available Kindle books and buy one through the app like the Amazon.com Mobile App.  Let's see if this app will light the fire on electronic books or if these Kindle books will simply burn out.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Tap Tap Revenge 2 Is Out!

The sequel to the popular iPhone game "Tap Tap Revenge" is out and is FREE.  "Tap Tap Revenge 2" [iTunes link] has a new look and new ways to "tap."  There's also new ways to play including online play, which I haven't tried yet.

Anyway, go ahead and download it.  Let me know what you think about it.  And fall in love again.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

FREE March iPhone Apps

There are a LOT of great free apps available for the iPhone today:

Pharos IV Assault Lite [iTunes link] - This is a very well done first-person space shooter.  Once you calibrate your iPhone with the game and get used to the controls it's a lot of fun.  Those who are used to flight simulators will have an easier time than the casual gamer.  My only complaint is the small firing button in the upper right-
hand corner.  FREE

Tiki Towers Lite [iTunes link] - It's a cross between Lemmings and Touch Physics.  You use the touchscreen to build a bamboo bridge for these monkeys to grab bananas.  However, you cannot let them die so you need to build a safe bridge.  Great graphics and a lot of fun!  FREE

TV.com [iTunes link] - Stream your favorite CBS and CW shows on your iPhone through 3G or Wi-Fi.  The quality is not that good but it's free and it's convenient.  One episode of "CSI:Miami" was in a stretched 16x9 mode, which was distracting.  Other shows were nicely letterboxed.  One nice thing is that each episode is separated into several clips which makes loading faster.  It also includes videos from Showtime, CNet, Gamespot and more.  FREE

Guitarist's Reference [iTunes link] - If you are a serious guitarist, you should get this app.  I don't think I need to explain this app.  It's FREE and it's awesome.

SkyFighter Lite [iTunes link] - Another great vertical scrolling
 shoot'em-up game similar to 1942.  I like the way you use the accelerometer to control your plane.  Ammo is limited but you've got missiles and one nuke.  Fun if you like this type of game. FREE

Tapes [iTunes link] - And, finally, here's yet another free recording app.  This one is great for those who remember using the old cassette tape recorders.  You record, rewind, fast-forward, play and even eject your "tape."  Each different voice file is a different cassette.  It's easy to use and very cute.