The Latest and GREATEST in MIDI-to-Rock Band: Doc’s GH:WT MIDI Box

March 6, 2009

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There will always be a special place in my heart for the MSA-P Mod. Unfortunately, that mod requires a lot of time, energy, money, and risk. Now, some new advancements are making playing Rock Band (and Guitar Hero: World Tour, for that matter) with electronic drums a far less daunting prospect.

As many may already know, the GH:WT drum kit comes MIDI-enabled right out of the box. All that needs to be done is to plug your e-kit into the GH:WT brain via MIDI, assign the proper MIDI notes to each trigger, and you’re all set. Doc, over at Doc’s Rock Band Mods forum has taken it a step further. He’s gotten rid of all the used parts on the GH:WT kit (i.e., the drum heads, cymbals, pedal, and rack) and built a self-contained MIDI box with a standard rack mount. I recently bought one from him and I cannot be more pleased. Full review after the break.

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Married!

December 5, 2008

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Just wanted to let everyone out there know–Mrs. Flash & I are officially married as of last week!

PS3 Users: New Super-Clear RockBand Drum Kit Wiring Diagram Now Up

July 14, 2008

Click the image above for an excellent wiring guide created by rmurwin on the rockband.com forums. Happy soldering!

RockBand/E-Drum Guide Update: More Detailed Info for PS3 Users

April 25, 2008

Just a quick note to let any potential RockBand modders using the PS3 know that rockband.com forum member gclabbe has posted a great resource about soldering on the PS3 drum kit board in this post.

I’ve added one of his awesomely clear photos of the PS3 board all soldered up to the How-To Guide but gclabbe’s post has a very good walk-through specifically geared toward PS3 users, so definitely check that out.

Big thanks to gclabbe and all the rockband.com forum members that have contributed to the How-To Thread, which now has over 1000 posts!

Things We Need to Put an End To: Excessive/Wasteful Packaging (Talking to You, Dell)

April 22, 2008

Since it’s Earth Day, I thought I’d offer an environmentally-minded opinion…

One of my favorite blogs, Gizmodo, recently posted about the excessive packaging practices employed by Dell and other companies, including Wal-Mart and NewEgg.

As these examples show, some of the packaging practices are absolutely ridiculous. They evidence not only a complete lack of consciousness in these companies of their environmental impact, but an inefficient production process that is unfair to consumers as well.

I am aware of the obvious counter-points. Companies like Dell need large cardboard boxes and other packaging materials to efficiently pack and ship their larger products, like PCs. Perhaps it is inefficient and prohibitively expensive for Dell to buy all different sizes and shapes of boxes for its various small products. That’s all well and good… for cardboard boxes. How about we think outside of the … well, you know …? The thumb drive in the image above is not fragile and could fit in a simple mailing envelope (like the free ones UPS, FedEx, and USPS all give out). These wasteful packaging costs are all passed on (if indirectly) to the consumer.

Costs that are most definitely passed directly to the consumer are shipping costs. All the major carriers determine shipping prices not only by package weight, but by dimensions as well. This makes sense, of course, because as packages get larger, less total packages can fit in each distribution facility, transport plane, truck, etc. So, not only are these companies adding to our solid waste problem, they’re increasing air pollution as well by forcing carriers expend more fossil fuels.

Ultimately, I’d like to see new environmental laws aimed at this issue (or existing ones extended by statute or EPA regulation). Heck, China already has such a law. See Yuhong Zhao, Trade and Environment: Challenges After China’s WTO Accession, 32 Colum. J. Envtl. L. 41, 93-94 (2007). Because I am a law student and in administrative law geek, I’ll go through the legal arguments for such government action. First, excessive and wasteful packaging practices directly affect interstate commerce. Therefore, Congress has the power to legislate the issue under the Commerce Clause. See U.S. Constitution, Article I §8. Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency already has the authority to regulate solid waste under the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA), 42 U.S.C. §6901 et seq., and carbon dioxide (fuel emissions) under the Clean Air Act (CAA), 42 U.S.C. §7401, et seq. See Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. ___; 127 S. Ct. 1438 (2007). However, I’ll admit that arguing that EPA has jurisdiction to directly regulate packaging practices under CAA alone is a stretch.

Ideally, companies like this would self-regulate. Apple comes to mind as a good example. Over the last few years, their iPod packaging in particular has gotten slimmer and slimmer. I was particularly impressed with the packaging my MacBook Pro came in, which was just a little bigger than the notebook itself (same with Mrs. Flash’s MacBook). In any event, something needs to be done about this wasteful practice.

Predictions: The 2008 Masters

April 9, 2008

Masters Week 2008 is finally here. Just thought I would weigh in with my top 5 picks for this year:

1. Tiger Woods — there is not much I can say that hasn’t been said about Tiger. Three out of four wins in 2008 (and a T5 at Doral where he couldn’t get a putt to drop on Sunday and still finished just 2 shots back).

2. Phil Mickelson — two-time Masters champ and my personal favorite. Lefty is clearly comfortable playing Augusta and he proved he can hang with Tiger on Sunday at the Deutsche Bank Championship last year.

3. Geoff Ogilvy — hard to think he won’t contend after going one-two at the WGC-CA Championship and the Shell Houston Open.

4. Jim Furyk — though not the longest player (169th in driving distance), he’s accurate off the tee (12th). He missed the cut last week, but was on his game at Doral, besting Tiger by a shot.

5. (My wild card) Adam Scott — assuming his health holds up, Scott could contend if he finds the groove that led him to a course-record 63 on Thursday at the Shell-Houston Open (before withdrawing). He leads the PGA Tour in scoring average and is 3rd in putts in the 10′-15′ range that is so often crucial to major championship victories.

“Real Men of Law School” Vids Are Too Funny

March 20, 2008

Way to go GW Law Revue. These are just straight up hilarious.

“Jobs Guy”:


“No Action Guy”:

“Intramural Sports Guy”:

Excellent Rock Band Drumming Resource Available

February 28, 2008

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Ben, author of Explosive Conspiracy, has posted an amazing resource for Rock Band drummers. He has links for:

  • Gold Star Score Cutoffs (Including spreadsheet to input your own scores and analyze)
  • Drum Note Charts with Overdrive Activation Fills
  • RB Drum Sticking Techniques
  • Detailed information about each song
  • Drum Modifications (Gum Rubber, Sock, Penny, Bass Pedal, MSA)
  • PC Drum Software
  • Downloadable content with previews
  • Achievements/Unlockables/Codes
  • Forums/Leaderboards
  • And more…

My personal favorite is the In-Depth Sticking Guide. Check it out!

Firmware Update 1.1.4 Bricks My iPhone, I Go Three Whole Hours Without It

February 27, 2008

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Ugh. So I went to install the new iPhone firmware, version 1.1.4, yesterday (you know, the one with the extremely low new-feature-to-file-size ratio). Started the update during a break in one of my classes and when it was done… so was my iPhone.

Yep, I got stuck with the “iPhone could not be updated” error followed by a 1611 error. The iPhone was stuck in an endless reboot cycle. I researched the problem, but just decided to take it in to one of the local Apple Stores (which had no available “appointments” online). Luckily, I got to see a Genius pretty quickly and he got a whole different set of errors. Long story short, he eventually got it to update and restore, so now I have 1.1.4 and my iPhone back as it was.

So, not a big deal I guess (some of the 1,000,000,000+ iPhones out there are going to have errors, right?). Just an annoying and strange feeling not having my phone working for three hours or so. I even felt the need to email my father and my fiancée and tell them every step I would be taking between school and the Apple Store in case someone “needed” to reach me. That’s the world we live in now, I suppose.

Mrs. Flash Beats the Solo Vocal Tour on Expert!!!

February 24, 2008

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The future-Mrs. Flash, that is. Yes, my beautiful fiancée did something I would never be able to do: she beat the solo vocal tour on Expert. What’s more, she was able to get through at least 2/3rds of the songs by sight-reading alone.

So, even though the “Virtuoso” achievement is on my gamertag, please don’t think I have any singing ability whatsoever 🙂 (And yes, thats a photo taken right after she finished!)