Monthly Archives: January 2008

Delta records in iTunes Music store!

Finally! Eurobeat fans rejoice! Do a search for Eurobeat in iTunes Music Store, and you’ll find albums titled Eurobeat Masters Vol. These are Eurobeat tracks from Delta records, previously only available as expensive Japanese imports from Avex Trax. Now only 99cents per track, and they are all DRM free AAC 256kbps! AWESOME! The only downside is that most of the tracks are “old.” Hardcore fans (like me) are more likely to already have most of them. Still, some tracks are now available in extended version, previously only available as non-stop mix from Avex. Vol.9 contains pretty recent tracks, and 1 of them is not even available yet on Avex’ Super Eurobeat series.

Hi-NRG Attack is the first Eurobeat label that joined iTunes. Although they have some awesome tracks, they are more “raunchy” and don’t really represent the general Eurobeat flavor. With Delta joining in, Eurobeat fans outside Japan can now enjoy the more general flavor of the genre. Most of the tracks from Delta are featured in Initial D anime and para para paradise.

What are you waiting for? $10 per album is MUCH cheaper than $30-$40 per album for Avex Trax’ Super Eurobeat series.

Now if only A-Beat-C joins in. I want my Dave Rodgers fix!


Another weird dream

Ever had a dream about your first love? The first love that you didn’t realize until it was too late? Well, I had one. Although I don’t remember the details, it was seems that I was trying to find/locate her, but failed. Hmmm, I wonder what that was all about.

Maybe because I’ve been watching too much J-dorama… LOL.

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Posted by on January 24, 2008 in dream, weird


Eternal Sonata > Blue Dragon

Let’s start with Blue Dragon for the Xbox360:
1. Bland visuals. Although the character models are excellent, the background and environment graphics are dull and bland. Characters’ costumes are plain too. Not something you would expect for a multi-disc next-gen game.
2. Battles can be boring. Blue Dragon uses the standard old-school turn-based battle system. Many J-RPGs have tried to spice up the battle system, as shown in every Final Fantasy games, but Blue Dragon returns to old-school. Result? Kinda boring. There is no sense of urgency (unless you want to escape from battle). Also, the characters are mute during battle and victory sequence.

Now, Eternal Sonata for the Xbox360:
1. Beautiful and amazing visuals. Very colorful, kinda like a more cheerful version of Folklore. Character costumes are very detailed.
2. At first, the battle system looks like a standard turn-based system with AP points. You can move freely around the screen and do attacks until you run out of the AP meter, and the meter only drops when you move/do an attack. Sounds easy huh. Well, not too far into the game, the party level will go up, and it becomes interesting. At Level 2, the AP meter will also act as a timer. Once you start moving the character/doing an attack, it will deplete continuously, putting a sense of urgency to select attacks quickly because once the AP meter runs out, the character’s turn is over. At later levels, the battles will become more like real time. It’s more engaging and fun (although not as fun as Grandia II). Even better, the characters are fully voiced during battle, yelling special moves and have cute/cool victory sequences.

In short, if you’re into old-school RPG, and like stats/class systems/monotonous leveling, then get Blue Dragon. However, for better visuals, more interesting story/characters, and fun battle system, get Eternal Sonata. Of course, you can always get both like me. Waiting to see if Lost Odyssey is worthy of the big names of Mistwalker.

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Posted by on January 21, 2008 in blue dragon, eternal sonata, RPG, xbox 360


Eurobeat in Cantonese?

Stumbled upon this in Youtube

It’s Ruby Lin, singing a cover of a Eurobeat track Dum Dum Pistol. It became Boom Boom My Disco. I dunno, the singing definitely lacks energy compared to the real deal. The music seems to be very watered down, replaced by some cheap synth.
Here’s a short sample of the real track. Notice that it’s much much more energetic.


iPod Touch 1.1.3

Updated my iPod Touch to 1.1.3. As expected, it seems to only add movie rental support. None of the new apps shown(maps, mail, etc) are included, not even the jiggly icons nor being able to modify the home screen. All of that requires $20. Damn you Apple.

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Posted by on January 16, 2008 in apple, ipod, ipod touch, touch


Impulse buy, or not.

Yeah, I’m still talking about the stuff announced at Macworld. Steve Jobs was so good in presenting Apple’s new products that it makes you to want them just based on impulse. However, good thing is the Time Capsule and Macbook Air are on pre-order status, allowing me to cool down and reevaluate.

1. Time Capsule
As I said, I already have an HP Windows Home Server. 1 person at a Mac forum pointed out that the Time Capsule has no redundancy. He/she is right. Sure, Jobs said it has a server-grade hard-drive, but it’s still a hard-drive. I also don’t see a way to replace/upgrade the hard-drive form the Airport Extreme enclosure. On the other hand, my HP WHS has 3 empty slot to add hard-drives, and it has redundancy if there is more than 1 hard-drive. Another poster pointed out this app called iTimeMachine, which allows Time Machine to use a network disk as a backup disk without having to use the Time Capsule.

2. Macbook Air
Yeah, it looks awesome. However, let’s reevaluate the drawbacks that are not mentioned by Steve Jobs.
-Battery is not user replaceable. Yup, show me other laptops that has non-user-replaceable battery. None. This is a big issue if you want to keep the notebook for a while, or if there is a problem/recall on the battery. The Sony TZ has a removable battery that you can upgrade to achieve better battery life than the Macbook Air.
-No SD slot. I was expecting an SD slot. Jobs kept bashing the Sony TZ, but failed to mention that the TZ has a memory stick and SD slot. With Apple seems to focus on digital life, and the fact that most digicams/camcorders utilize SD card, this should be a no-brainer. The TZ has it, even the eeePC has it, but not a $3000 Macbook Air?

I wish the eeePC has more on-board storage. Wishing for cheaper SSD soon. Oh, and note for those that are interested in the Macbook Air. Currently based on the specs, it’s still using Merom Core 2 Duo processors. Intel is scheduled to release the small-form-factor low voltage Penryn in May 2008, so I expect a refresh by mid-year/before the end of this year.

Restraint will save your wallet. 🙂

Things that I want but not announced:
Where is my quad-core iMac? 😡 Today, I can configure a quad-core Dell XPS420 with 3GB of RAM sans monitor for less than $1000. Comparable iMacs only have dual-core and 1GB standard RAM. Well, I guess that’s because quad-core Penryn won’t be out till May 08.

Well, maybe WWDC 08, Penryn and quad-core iMacs, and Penryn Macbook Air.


Time Capsule + Macbook Air

Macworld 2008. Again, Apple just amazed me. There are 2 things I most probably get:

1. Time Capsule:
Looks like an Airport Extreme with a hard-drive in it. I guess this is Apple’s respond to Windows Home Server. I love my HP WHS machine, but of course it doesn’t interact with a Mac as well as PC. Although it hurts spending another $$, the $300 500GB version is tempting, considering you also get a wireless router. This would also solve my dilemma if I want to buy a new Mac and use Time Machine.

2. Macbook Air
Simply amazing. I thought the Sony Vaio TZ series are thin, yet the Macbook Air is even thinner! 3 punds, 0.16inch thick! Granted you loose the optical drive, but I have an old notebook, and for the past couple of years, the optical drive is never used sitting in a bag. 5 hours battery life. The Macbook Air will be an excellent traveling machine. The catch is, how much is it going to be with the 64GB SSD option? The Sony TZ is about $3000 with the SSD drive. Also, the 80GB hard-drive is the same hard-drive used in iPods, which is a slow 4200rpm.

The ugly:
Firmware update for the iPod Touch will cost you $20. WTF? That’s just lame, really lame. MP3 download store

Being an iPod user, iTunes Music Store is an obvious way to download songs legally. However, also offer legal music download service, at the same or lower price than iTunes. Even better, Amazon uses MP3, which is compatible with pretty much any digital audio player out there. Using MP3 also means there is no DRM. To sweeten the deal, looks like Amazon uses Lame MP3 VBR compression. Some tracks in iTMS are still in 128kbps DRMed AAC format, but Apple is providing more and more iTunes Plus tracks, which is non-DRM AAC 256kbps.

iTunes has quite a selection of Eurobeat and J-Pop, albeit not nearly up-to-date. Fortunately, Amazon seems to be adding those genres too. Both even have the latest L’Arc-en-Ciel’s album, Kiss. (I recommend Daybreak’s Bell, which is the OP song for Gundam 00). The selection of Amazon music store is not as great as iTunes, but if both have the songs you want, I highly recommend to download from Amazon, mainly because of the universal MP3 format.

When purchasing a download song/album from Amazon’s website, you’ll be offered to install a downloader software, which luckily is also available for Mac OS. The software will manage your downloads, and also add the tracks to iTunes automatically. Pretty nice and seamless.

1 minor downside is that Amazon uses crappy low bitrate samples for their songs’ preview, while iTunes has better quality for their previews.

The days of DRMed music, and importing expensive CDs from Japan is coming to an end.

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Posted by on January 7, 2008 in Uncategorized


2008 New Year Fireworks Space Needle

There was a glitch during the 2008 fireworks event in Seattle’s space needle, resulting in awkward moments on TV. This is the same scenes edited for continuous enjoyment. Happy New Year 2008.

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Posted by on January 2, 2008 in Uncategorized