FretsOnFire has been around for a while and allows you to play GuitarHero on your own machine, but JamLegend is an online version. Using the 1-5 buttons for the frets and enter to strum you can play like Guitar Hero.
There is some pretty good music on there from bands you will have never heard of – I didn’t see any music that I recognised, but I guess this will eventually come, but in the meantime this is a fun way of finding out new music. One of my favourite tracks so far is Go On by Blue Judy and the neat thing is they also provide links to other sites where you can get the music to download. In this case there is itunes, cdbaby, lastfm and others. The other good thing is they have good taste in tshirts – see the right most tshirt 😉
There are showdowns and Duels where you can compete against other people in realtime. It also has social features where you can add friends and you need an invite to play – I currently have three invites for (regular) blog readers if anyone wants it leave a comment.
One down side that is really annoying is that my flash player stutters – normally when I get to around 50 notes which means it breaks my streak and I have to start again. Seeing as though continual play is the best way of advancing through the ranks this is REALLY annoying. I’m not sure if it’s a problem with flash – I suspect it is as it also affects youtube and other flash video viewers 🙁

Ohio Marching Band competition

Yesterday Kristen and I decided to go to the Ohio Music in Education Association Marching Band finals held at one of the local High Schools. We were there for a couple of hours and got to see several bands perform and march. As it was the State finals, the standard was really good. I had never been to one of these shows before but Kristen had participated in them so we both enjoyed the experience from different perspectives. At the awards presentation each of the drum majors would do a salute when their score was announced and I’ve included a quick video of one of them – it made me think of the characters in Camberwick Green

A couple of the bands had costumes, the last band we saw did a Pirates of the Caribbean theme and the flag bearers were dressed as pirates. Another theme was on insects with the band playing Incy Wincy Spider (among other tunes) – each of their tubas were decorated with a spider motif which was pretty cool. We had a great afternoon out, the weather was fantastic, really warm and lots of people were out wearing tshirts – in November!
Spider Tubas

Information Improvisation

Since anyone can download ringtones now, there is a huge range available. There are ringtones of movie soundtracks as well as funny ringtones. Plus we have now free mp3 ringtones as well as wav files to choose from.

Balloons Off Broadway

I had a really good time yesterday at Grove City when Jonathan and I went to see Balloons Off Broadway. This is an annual event where hot air balloons are launched, tethered “rides” in a balloon are available, a band plays and then a night glow is performed. 

After a couple of quick geocaches, we settled in to watch the balloons being prepared. Eventually we decided to just start taking photos instead of just waiting from our spot so we had a good 30-40 minutes taking photos as the balloons were prepared and launched. After that we jumped in the car and caught up with the balloon chase vehicles and hoped to get some pictures of the balloons landing. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get close enough but it was great fun joining in the convoy of people following the balloons and getting some photos on the way. Fortunately I had got my 2 way radio with me so we set it to scan and listened to the conversations between the balloonists and the trucks which was very funny. It was a bit disconcerting when one of them said the battery on his radio was about out and he would have to resort to hand signals – I would have been a bit concerned if I was a guest in the balloon and heard the operator say that!  There were also some pretty funny comments about the landing sites chosen and apparently someone’s basement was really awesome.

We then headed back to the launch location for the glow – it wasn’t as spectacular as I hoped but still fun to watch. I managed to get a couple of fairly decent photos – it was the first time I’d even done night shots like this so there was a lot of experimenting. In the meantime, the band The British Invasion were playing and they were pretty good. They play covers of various British bands such as the Beatles and play all over Ohio – well worth seeing them if they play near you.

Pictures of the event are at my Balloons Off Broadway gallery and a few highlights at my Flickr gallery. Finally a video of a balloon being inflated (along with the hissing of the air) and a backing track of “I get by with a little help from my friends” which I thought was quite appropriate uploaded to YouTube (below)

Dublin Irish Festival

We got tickets to go to the Dublin Irish Festival so went over this afternoon. Personally I didn’t think there was much there apart from a lot of Irish shops but I wasn’t interested in buying some Irish tat ;-), a lot of overpriced food and drink stands but the Funnel cake was delicious and the first time I’d had one. It was very hot so the soft iced lemon stand was doing very well and was nice and refreshing.
After wandering around the festival we headed back to the traditional stage and watched Gaelic Storm perform a set. They were very good with a lot of audience participation. I’ve uploaded my photos of Dublin Irish Festival to my zooomr profile (as it has more space than Flickr) and also set up a smartset in case other people also upload photo’s.
I also managed to take some video of one of their drum solo’s which I uploaded to YouTube.
Edit Updated the YouTube link as I uploaded the wrong video to start with!

wmp11 leaked

Apparently wmp11 has leaked and apparently uses less resources and is more stable. That is good news as I was attempting to rip a cd tonight in wmp10 and it insisted on showing me the cd that I had ripped previously instead of the one that was in the player, it stopped responding once and I had to kill the process – something I have to do nearly everytime I use the thing (but it is still better at ripping than creative music organizer which is a piece of junk (apart from the Zen integration which is why I use *that* piece of software – it would be nice if the auto detect of mp3 files would occur AFTER the mp3 has been completed and not before, when the mp3 tags haven’t been written to the disk yet.

Petra’s Farewell album

I got Petra’s Farewell album for my birthday this morning (Thanks Tim and Ruth)and it is awesome. It’s taken me ages to actually listen to the whole album as I keep “rewinding” (that is such an outdated word nowadays) tracks to listen to them again and again.
It’s Petra as I remember them – there are a couple of songs from their recent songs, but most of them are from the older albums which were much better than their last couple. They have a couple of the old members making an appearance – but Louie Weaver is missing which is a shame as he was a very talented and funny drummer.
Incidentally, this post has an enhanced amazon listing for the cd product – something I’m beta testing with amazon.

Sony DRM goes bad.

Mark’s blog at sysinternals talks about Sony’s latest DRM software that acts like a rootkit – resisting efforts to appear in active processes on the system and other really nasty software. Although Sony’s aim is to stop you copying their music, when they start doing tricks like this (which is possibly illegal as it modifies your computer without you agreeing to let it do so but ianal) it is more likely to encourage piracy as people rely on getting mp3’s off the internet as they are less likely to get copy protected additions at the same time.
The direct link to the article is this link which appears to be broken

I’m going to miss a good concert next week :-(

There’s a great sounding concert in Columbus next week when Audio Adrenaline, Superchik, Sanctus Real and Pillar are playing in one concert at Grove City, Columbus. Unfortunately we’re on a spending freeze at the moment (and we also have a marriage course that starts on the same night) so I’m going to miss it – shame they are not televising or streaming audio as that would be good. Oh well, I guess that means I can go to Petra’s farewell tour which would be the fourth time I’ve seen them (five if you include solo appearance by John Schlitt) with the other ones at London, Manchester and Leigh ( & Liverpool).