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I like iTunes. It’s my music player of choice. A few weeks ago, it received a new update and it’s called iTunes 11. Me being very comfortable with 10, I thought this new one was a bit stupid. The way it hid the main menu bar was unneeded, the layout was rather confusing and it took out my favorite Cover Flow view. All these said, it had some good into it like the Grid view and a much slicker look. Other than that though, I’ve grown accustomed to it after that week. Then I read this article from Thorin Klosowski from LifeHacker and it looked like I haven’t even scratched the surface of this new version.

The intro of the article starts off with my sentiments exactly, this is a brand new iTunes: different looks and such, and it will take a bit of time to get used to. It then moves on to the best features this new version has to offer, explaining each one in such a fashion that everyone can understand and how exactly you can access it. It also gives out tips on how exactly to use these features (most evident in the Up Next section of the article).

Overall, I think the article sums up the best features this new version has to offer. It’s easy to understand and most of the entries are supported by pictures to further drive the message across. In addition to this, since LifeHacker has a thriving community, new useful and cool features that have been otherwise overlooked in the article are posted in the comments section. Very cool.

You can view the article over here: http://lifehacker.com/5964613/how-to-use-itunes-11s-awesome-new-features-and-bring-back-the-old-itunes-look

I love Rock Band 3, it’s a game I’ve literally spent a hundred or more hours on and this is because of the neat implementation of drums. They are by far my favorite instrument to play in the game as it is the closest you can play to a real instrument. Dare I say, you can learn how to play drums just by playing the game. In addition to the core game though, it comes with a drum trainer which supposedly trains new players on how to play the drums or lets old players brush up on their skills.

The drum trainer in Rock Band 3 is divided into two section, the beat section and the fills section. The beat section contains several drum beats most commonly used by bands while the fill section is a collection of random fills that the makers of the game (also musicians!) made themselves for you to try and emulate. The beat section is the place to go to if you want to learn the ropes of drumming. It starts off with one of the most basic beats like a simple hi-hat and snare combo and moves up to more complex ones where the bass pedal and several toms come into play. In a sense, there is progression. Each beat has a short description on how to play them and sometimes, a hint comes up to further enforce how to play it. The fill section is where things get tough. It applies what you’ve learned in the previous section and incorporates them into a fill. In short, you need to know your drums to play these. It’s not impossible though. Same as the beat section, they start you off with the simple fills like a snare roll and move on up to a full roll involving every component of your drum kit. If you’re having trouble keeping up with either sections, you can reduce the speed of the track for you to get a feel of the beat first then once you’ve got it down, you can increase the speed again.

Overall, I think this is a great springboard for new drummers and great practice for drummers alike. The interface, like all Rock Band games, is very nice. The instructions may have you needing to know some musical terms (like what a crash cymbal is and what a 16th note is), but as you proceed, you will learn these because of how intuitive the tutorial is. It also has a sense of reward. By 100%-ing a particular beat or fill, you get a satisfying ring and a progress bar fills up.

Unfortunately, I cannot show you how it looks like as I cannot find videos of it online. 😦

So it’s the holiday season where tables are fancier than usual with the addition of a tablecloth and expensive clothes come out to play when the guests arrive. These all come at a cost though: what if someone clumsily spills their drink on you, your tablecloth or your carpet? Don’t fear as this infographic from PartSelect tells us of the most common holiday-themed stains there are and how to combat them to give your linens and clothing looking brand new despite being spilled on.

The infographic starts out with a short intro on how most people get paranoid due to several stains ruining their clothes and linens. It then reassures that most (if not all) of these stains can be removed through the simple steps presented in the infographic. Before it jumps in to the specific stains, it tells us on the dos and don’ts of stain prevention and removal. Once done with that, it moves on to the several common stains and how to clean them. Also note how the infographic separated carpet and normal removal, a neat touch.

The infographic is very nicely organized. Like most infographics, this one sticks with a color motif (in this case, several shades of off white, red and blue) and stylized illustrations to keep the infographic interesting.  It is a bit weird how the maker of it decided to use gray on the intro text as it only makes it harder to read. Otherwise, it’s excellent. There are some terms here and there that some people might not understand (in my case, it’s blot) but otherwise, it’s easy to understand. Overall, a very nice infographic.

You can view the site and infographic here: http://www.partselect.com/JustForFun/Holiday-Stain-Guide-Infographic.aspx

Feeling a bit down? Think you’re going on the wrong direction? Worry not, Nico Lang from ThoughtCatalog is here to help with 25 things that would make everyone around you, yourself included, a little bit happier and more complete than usual.

In this article, the author explores the little things in life that we sometimes forget to do or overindulge in. In a sense, he makes us realize these things and tries to tell us to balance them and always find some time to make them a reality, after all, some of these things won’t even take a minute.

Overall, I think it’s a very nice reminder to us to take the time to unwind, find some fun in our lives and just generally, be a bit more cheerful to everyone. The article is nicely written, giving you the things to do and explaining why they’re actually good to you. It’s also a bit humorous and light-hearted, something this article thrives to uplift. Does it need images? I don’t think it does, it’s perfect the way it is.

You can view the article here: http://thoughtcatalog.com/2012/25-things-you-should-remember-to-do-every-day/

Back again with a bit of Marvel: Avengers Alliance.

In MAA, heroes can be slotted using Iso-8. Iso-8 is a powerful substance containing untapped powers that can help a hero reach his or her full potential. They also come in different properties. Because of this, heroes have different builds regarding this substance. In this guide by shadowx, we explore the several Iso-8 builds for several heroes to hopefully increase their effectiveness in battle.

The guide starts with a disclaimer that this guide is only a continuation of a previous guide created by another player. It also gives out a link to another guide that explains in full what Iso-8 is. He also explains the legends on what the symbols he uses are meant to mean. There are also links to the several hero classes, conveniently separated by posts.

Each hero class is divided into one post, so that means looking up a build for a hero makes it very easy. In these sections, he also lists out the pros and cons of a hero, giving out suggestions on which stats the user should increase to further strengthen that hero. This section has a problem though: because some heroes have alternate classes, those respective hero classes aren’t separated. So for example, you want to see a Blaster build for an originally Tactician character, you’ll have to look that character up in the Tactician section.

Overall, I think this guide is lacking but good. There is not much explanation on the builds and just presents what ever iso-8 is best for that certain character. It needs to be much more in-depth than it is. Also, the guide could use a bit more organizing and editing. The grammar in this is pretty bad, but it’s understandable in a sense.

You can find the guide here: http://forum.playdom.com/showthread.php?154659-IN-DEPTH-GUIDE-My-opinion-for-ISOs-on-all-heroes-v2

Marvel: Avengers Alliance is a turn-based strategy game on Facebook. Special Operations (or  Spec Ops) is a special kind of mission in the game that only appear during specific times of the year. They’re also missions that are time-restrained meaning that they can only be accomplished within a set time limit (most of the time, a month is given). Today, I’ll be reviewing a guide made by a player called Indesysyve that makes doing tasks in the Spec Ops much easier as well as being more economic with resource use.

The guide starts with some hyperlinks leading to different threads in the same forum related to the completion of a spec ops mission. It then follows up with a short intro on the basics and what exactly a spec ops mission is, formally introducing anyone, old or new players, to the world of spec ops. The next section of the guide then shows some several tips to go by when tackling the spec ops mission. It’s pretty straight-forward and everything is worded very well in this section.

The next post is the part that is edited after every spec ops. This part pertains to the current spec ops that is available and what tasks it has in store for the player. Within this post, it shows all the tasks, some helpful links in claiming resources and some tips to go through the tasks. Each task is lined with a short description on how to complete it and some other details like the reward for completing the task and such. At the end of this post, the user gives out several tips on how to take on the tasks much more effectively, as to not waste resources so much in completing only one task.

The next post pertains to the 3 missions within the spec ops mission. In this post, he shows the several requirements and enemy types one mission has. He also shows the optimum path on the missions to further make you more thrift with your resources. Lastly, it also shows you on how to calculate on how much resources you should need for the whole of the spec ops mission.

Overall, I think this guide is very well-worded and helpful for any player of Marvel: Avengers Alliance. The guides are easy to understand and some of them are even color-coded. It’s a very short and concise guide and yet it’s very effective in doing its job.

You can view the guide here: http://forum.playdom.com/showthread.php?126209-IN-DEPTH-GUIDE-Special-Operations-Guide

And we’re back with My Little Pony! Because of the absurdly-numbered fandom this show has, a lot of artists make vectors of the characters for use in comics, wallpapers, art and whatnot. The question though is: how do you make a vector? One artist called MoongazePonies shows us his methods in making vectors through a tutorial.

The tutorial starts out with an intro on a word of warning that what he creates isn’t in essence a vector, but as a substitute to it. It wouldn’t matter though as the images he makes using this method are huge. He then moves on to the actual process into making his version of a vector, starting by first getting an image from the show and tracing it to start. He starts off with the body and then moves on to the mane and tail of the ponies. After tracing over the parts, he mentions of a faux pas in making vectors through the stroke tool, exclaiming that this is a wrong method as it makes for odd edges on the vector. Lastly, he then moves on into tracing the eyes. Once everything is neat and tiny, he then adds some color to the lines that he has made and the vector starts to take shape of the traced pony.

The second part of the tutorial shows the organization of his layers in the layer window. In this part, he shows that he keeps all of the vectoring stuff within one folder and under other folders within that folder are different parts of the pony’s body in vector form. This part is completely optional and up to you as it only shows how he organizes his layers to hopefully lessen the clutter in the layer window. In addition to the images he shows, he outlines the folders in text-form just to flesh it out to the reader more. By the end of the tutorial, he references some YouTube links on how he puts these steps into action.

Overall, I think the tutorial could’ve been done better, maybe explaining how to trace with the pen tool and whatnot. Then again, this tutorial looks to be for people who are actually experience in Photoshop so that complaint might prove to be moot. But yes, the tutorial is rather fast-paced. There is an abundance of images though, so that’s a good thing.

You can view the tutorial here: http://moongazeponies.deviantart.com/journal/In-depth-guide-of-how-I-create-quot-vectors-quot-218548628

If you own a current generation console, chances are you’ve heard of the term “achievement” or “trophies”. These are tasks that give out rewards to hopefully prolong your gaming experience. They’re completely optional, but to us serious gamers, they’re a mandatory thing to do. As if they’re part of the 100% completion scheme. Because of the rampant implementation of these achievements, a lot of people have chipped in on helping others achieve them. One such YouTube channel called “Achievement Hunter” is one of the largest game guide channels in existence and they’ve since expanded to let the community help them as well to keep up with all the games that require guides.

The format of each guide is very simple really. They start off with an intro as to what achievement they will be hunting for and what game they’re playing and quickly show a video leading up to that specific achievement. While the video is playing, two people (most of the time) commentate on what exactly is happening on the video, making sure to make specific details very clear as to further guide the viewer on how to get the achievement. I have to say, their delivery is very good, it’s not intimidating, but very lighthearted, like a person showing you the ropes to something new.

Overall, I think their style of guides is a godsend to the video game community. Because of the combination of video and voiceover, the message is given across much more clearly than a completely text-based guide as it gives a play-by-play guide on how to achieve the achievements. The tone of the guides are also not serious, sometimes bordering into humor which is always good. 

You can view the YouTube channel here: http://www.youtube.com/user/AHCommunityVids

And back once again. Welcome again to ID Review!

Straying from the INMEDIA activity influence, I’ve decided to look back on this blog I’ve made some years ago and check my old posts. I have to say that it’s rather nostalgic looking back. In this ID Review, I’ll be reviewing an old post of mine called “Make it come to life.”, a blog post I did on how to make your webcomic reading sessions (or any book/comic, really) be much more lively and such.

As with most of my blogs, I start with an intro on the subject. If I’m especially passionate about it, I could wind up with a rather long intro, something I didn’t seem to do with this entry. But anyway, the start of it gives a footing on how I actually go along with my reading sessions. As stated, I usually read along aloud with [less than suitable] voices to accompany. This to me is one step in giving life to your readings and keeps you entertained and hooked on the story. The next paragraph actually explains that through several things like attachment and giving the characters more emotion.

After that, I then proceeded to think that if these elements would come together, it would be amazing. In this section, I post two videos of comics integrated into videos. The first video I post is that of a bad job in integrating the comics into a more interactive medium. Looking back at the video though, it’s not so bad but I digress as the second video still portrays the example in a much better light.

By the time I explain as to why the second video is actually better than first video, I seem to have strayed a bit from the original point and gone on to a small explanation on music. It isn’t long though that I find the original point I was trying to make and jump back in to giving the comics more life. Lastly, I finish off with a comic further embodying my point in the music being a very good catalyst in making the comics come to life.

Overall, without bias to myself, I think I did well. It’s a bit short I admit, but it gets the point across and I actually encourage the readers to try it out themselves through different mediums like acting the voices out themselves to singing along to a musical number done by the characters in the comic, even giving out examples (in this case, adaptations) on how the experience would seem to work. If I had to bring up a fault, it would be that I was a bit too opinionated about stuff and would often stray from the original point to further give explanation to a minor or useless bit of trivia. That said though, I always made it back to the main point.

You can view my post here: https://skylinefaux.wordpress.com/2010/05/10/make-it-come-to-life/

Thanks for reading and good night!

Hello and welcome back to ID Reviews!

Because of a recent INMEDIA (a subject in my school that I’m currently taking) activity, I’ve been watching a bit of Flash tutorial videos. Since I’ve been tasked to talk about audio control, that’s where I’ll be focusing on. So here’s the first video I watched, a simple tutorial on how to make a slider volume controller in Flash.

The video is rather straightforward, jumping right into the tutorial after a very brief intro on what program he is exactly using and what exactly we’ll be doing within the tutorial. Because this is a video and at the same time it is accompanied with the tutors voice, I find it a very effective way of conveying the instructions as while he is clicking and choosing several tools, he explains the reasons on why he is doing them and in quick progression.

The first thing he does is drag out a slider component and changes the variables, while he is doing this, he explains as to what these variables do to the slider. He explains it excellently and briefly. At this same step, he also reminds us to change the instance name and to properly label our layers so that confusion isn’t abound. Next, he tells us that we’ll be needing a soundclip for us to test if the slider works within the program. Once again, he explains it excellently, even showing us a few more tips to increase the quality of the sound that we have chosen, something that he could’ve done outside of this tutorial, but opted to do it within because it felt seamless to him. Lastly, he types the code in the actions for us to see. When he types a line of code, he explains the point of this line of code. A very nice touch as to let us know what in the world we’re actually doing with the ActionScript.

Overall, I think this is a great tutorial as it’s very brief and is explained very well and thoroughly. That and the tutor sounds to be very forgiving and in touch with the audience he is speaking to. Sure there are some bumps, like how he doesn’t explain that the import functions do not appear automatically in older Flash versions and that his accent sometimes makes his explanations unclear (solely because of diction), but those are very minimal faults in this otherwise excellent tutorial.

You can view the tutorial over here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzy0Dor_KYg

Thanks for reading and good night!