The miscellaneous ramblings and thoughts of Dan G. Switzer, II

Tell MediaMonkey your files are on a new drive…

I recently replaced my system and in doing so, I the drive location of all my mp3s moved. Since I use Winamp to actually listen to my music on my PC and have always just relied on file locations for everything, moving my directories around is not a big deal. However, when I bought my iPod a while back, I started using MediaMonkey to track my library—mainly because it was the best tool I could find for syncing music to my iPod.

The problem with moving your music collection is that it can really cause problems with media managers—since they have their own storage mechanisms. While I could have just re-imported everything, I have some pretty complex libraries I use for synching to my iPod and didn't really want to lose that work. Since I knew MediaMonkey uses a SQLite database, I figured I could just easily update the database with my new locations.

Fortunately, I find this easy to follow guide on How to Tell MediaMonkey Your Files Are on a New Drive. The guide gives you complete steps on updating the database with the new drive information and even provides a tool you'd need to update the drive serial number in the database.

This works very well if all you've done is move the files from one drive to another (which was what I did.) Unfortunately, if you also re-arranged your files into a different subfolder architecture—you're going to have other issues. However, since all I did was move my main file from one drive to another, this guide worked extremely well for me and saved me a bunch of time from having to rebuild my sync preferences.

Dream Theater's "Black Clouds & Silver Linings" releasing on June 23rd!

This is a few days old, but I just stumbled across it. Dream Theater's 10th studio album, Black Clouds & Silver Linings, is being released June 23, 2009. I really loved Systematic Chaos (although the title song was my least favorite on the album) and I've get recently gotten back into Train of Thought.

The album only consists of 6 songs, but I suspect it's a good 80 minutes of music:

  1. A Nightmare to Remember
  2. A Rite of Passage
  3. Wither
  4. The Shattered Fortress
  5. The Best of Times
  6. The Count of Tuscany


The album is being released on vinyl as well as a 3-disc Special Edition that will contain extra CDs—one, an instrumental remix of the album and two, a six song cover CD.

Kutiman's amazing ThruYOU album

I just came across an amazing use of You Tube. A man known as Kutiman put together an entire album of song made completely from You Tube videos. The end result is a pretty amazing funk/jazz/hip-hop/world fusion piece. I'm not sure how long it took for this guy to put together 7 full songs, but it's really amazing. At this point I'm so flabbergasted by how the songs were generated, I can't say how well the songs would stand completely on their own. However, it reminds me quite a bit of early Herbie Hancock (like Headhunters days) and Weather Report—so I definitely think it's something I would have listened to without knowing how the songs were put together.

Anyway, if you want to listen to the album all the way through, go directly to Kutiman's ThruYOU page—which will play the videos one after another. In the meantime, here's a sample:

AC/DC Releases First Ever Music Video Done Purely in MS Excel...

I have no idea what prompted this idea, but AC/DC has released what they call "the world's first music video in Excel format." You can download the video from AC/DC's website. Here's the YouTube video of the video with audio from AC/DC's new single Rock-n-Roll Train.

Yahoo! Sirius Radio Widget mod

[UPDATED: Tuesday, October 20, 2009 at 4:27:19 PM]

Tanner Jepsen created a Sirius Radio widget I've been using for years. He's since upgraded the widget to a v3 status, but I've never cared for the new UI. I prefer the compact nature of the original version.

Sometime last year, I sent Tanner a mod I had done which adds the ability to post song information to a URL (which is how I get my "now listening to" on my blog updated with my Sirius listening.) He mentioned he'd add the feature to existing updates, but I don't think he ever got around to adding the feature.

However, I recently started using Yahoo! Widget v4.5 and the Sirius Widget v2.2.x stopped working. The reason is the KON file uses some depreciated syntax. So over the weekend I modded the Sirius Widget again so that it would work in Yahoo! Widgets v4.5.

So, I thought I'd go ahead and release my mod to the wild. My mod is based on the original v2.2.0 and does the following:

  • Works with Yahoo! Widgets v4.5
  • Adds the "Web Status URL" preference to the "IM Status" tab (this posts listening information to a URL)
  • Adds new preference for toggle "Check for update" status (you can now disable this to speed initializing)

This mod is not support by Tanner and I make no guarantees the widget will work for you.

Tanner has updated his v2.2.x to include my mods in v2.2.3, but also removed some code that was hitting his server. I've updated the link on this site to point to his new version

Yahoo! Widget - Sirius Tuner v2.2.4

Version History

v2.2.4 [October 18, 2009]

+ This is a link to Tanner's v2.2.4 which includes changes to the code

v2.2.3 [September 30, 2008]

+ Added new preference for toggling the "check for updates" feature

Review of Extreme's new CD Saudades de Rock

I've been eagerly waiting a new Extreme album since the 1995 release of Waiting for the Punchline. imageWhen Extreme broke up a few years later, I thought I'd never see another Extreme album. On Tuesday, August 12, 2008 that all changed when Extreme released Saudades de Rock.

Before I get into my review, I should give a little background on my music tastes. Some of my earliest memories are of riding in my parent's car listening to the Beatles—so they probably are the single largest influence in my music tastes. There's nothing I like more in my music than a strong melody and vocal harmonies (which explains why I've loved bands such as King's X and Galactic Cowboys—two bands that have always done a great job with vocal harmonies.

For those of you just know Extreme from their few commercial hits, that's not a really great representation of the band. They've always been extremely diverse in their music. Each album they put out from their self-title debut through Waiting for the Punchline should their growth as song writers and musicians.

So after my first listen of the new album, here are my thoughts track-by-track:


Dream Theater to appear in Rock Band 2

I was just looking over the song list announced for Rock Band 2 and the inclusion of Dream Theater really caught my eye. While I would have picked a song different from Panic Attack, I'm giddy to see Dream Theater show up in a game like this.

Some other song that caught my eye were:

  • AC/DC - Let There Be Rock
  • Alice in Chains - Man in the Box
  • Billy Idol - White Wedding Pt. I
  • Foo Fighters - Everlong
  • Kansas - Carry On Wayward Son
  • Megadeth - Peace Sells
  • Metallica - Battery
  • Ratt - Round & Round
  • Rush - The Trees

For a complete song list, see Gizmodo's coverage of Rock Band 2.

Songs that still give you the "chills"...

Are there songs that still give you those "chills" when you hear them? Maybe it's just a single note or a lick here or there. There are dozens of songs that still invoke that feeling in me. Songs I've listened to hundreds—maybe even thousands of times.

I was just listening to "No One Like You" by the Scorpions. Even though I've heard that song countless times, the open guitar harmonies still make the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I love it! I can't help but listen to that intro a couple of times whenever it comes on my mp3 player.

Extreme Reunion, New Album and Summer Tour...

Well, this isn't exactly news, but it's news to me. Extreme has wrapped up a new album and is planning a Summer Tour (rumored to be with King's X and possibly Living Color.) The album is scheduled to be released "Spring 2008."

Now this news really excites me. I thought III Sides to Every Story and Waiting for the Punchline were two of the best albums in the 1990s and was extremely sadden when they decided to part ways. If you listen to Extreme's albums from their first album to their last, they just kept getting better and better. So I'm really excited to see what the new album we be like.

Being a big fan of Extreme, I followed Gary and Nuno's post-Extreme careers pretty closely. While I've always loved Nuno's guitar work, I was never a big fan of his post Extreme work. I thought Schizophonic was a decent album. I've listen to all his other projects (Population One, Mourning Windows, Dramagods,) but nothing really hooked me like his work with Extreme.

Gary Cherone on the other hand has done several things I've really loved. I thought Tribe of Judah's Exit Elvis was a great album. I also really dig the EP he put out titled Need I Say More—which is sort of an adult contemporary, funk, pop thing. The song Love Got Left Behind's got this really cool funk/Sade vibe to it. I actually really love all the songs on that EP (which you can buy/download from either iTunes or Amazon,) but don't expect anything that really resembles Extreme (except for maybe the title track, Need I Say More which definitely has a When I First Kissed You/More Than Words vibe to it.)

Anyway, here's to hoping the new Extreme album continues the excellent trend that Pornograffiti, III Sides and Punchline all set.

This is for all the "Ladies of the World" (and the men too...)

CNET is giving away downloads to two Flight of the Concord tunes—Ladies of the World and Business Time. If you're unfamiliar with this band, the best way I can describe it funny funky melodic music.


The word.

The Beatles' Abbey Road...

Almost 40 years later and Abbey Road is still one of the best albums of all time. My father was a huge Beatles fan and many of my earliest memories are of sitting in my car seat and singing Beatles tunes with my parents. I've been heard Abbey Road countless times, yet it still gives me the same thrill every time I listen to the record. I might go months between listens, then I'll pull it out again and amazed at the greatness of the album all over again.

This is an album that should absolutely be on everyone's mp3 player. If you don't own Abbey Road go buy it right now; if it's not on your mp3 player, go load it.

For your listening pleasure, here's I Want You:

For extra bonus coverage, here's a rehearsal of I Want You with Billy Preston and the guys going through a run through:

If you can find it, Eric Gales does a great cover of I Want You on his Picture of a Thousand Faces album.

What if David Lee Roth tried out for American Idol...

I found this clip on VanHalen.com. It's basically an audio clip of what it might sound like if David Lee Roth tried out for American Idol.

Dream Theater is Xbox LIVE Artist of the Month!

I was checking out the official Dream Theater site the other day and saw the following tidbit that Dream Theater is Xbox LIVE Artist of the Month.

  • Dream Theater will be featured as the Xbox LIVE Artist of the Month for the month of December
  • LIVE members on Xbox 360 will have access to exclusive performance, interview, and behind the scenes footage from Dream Theater's recent tour
  • On top of that Dream Theater are participating in the Game with Fame portion of the promotion this Wednesday, December 5th from 5 - 8 PM EST.
  • They will be playing several video games through Xbox Live with fans including "Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge."
  • Click here for more details.

The Xbox LIVE site has a nice brief article which gives a little insight on the band. I'll have to check out to check out Xbox LIVE tomorrow!

Yahoo! Sirius Tuner Widget Skin Modification

Probably my favorite Yahoo! Widget is the SIRIUS Satellite Tuner by Tanner Jepsen. He does a really good job keeping it up-to-date and fixing problems that crop up when Sirius changes their online streaming code—which seems to be too often.

Using this widget, I don't need to worry about loading up Sirius' online streaming site and using their clunky interface. The widget behaves just like the actual radio units. Since it's right on my desktop, it's always just a click away. I'm able to quickly fire up Sirius radio in the morning when I start working.

One of the many features it offers is custom skinning. My favorite skin is the Sirius Black skin:

Sirius Black Skin

The problem with this skin is that the target area for each "button" was limited to just the visual blue element. This is because the skin only uses the non-transparent portion of the skin images to calculate the clickable areas. This makes clicking some of the buttons like the "1" channel or the "-" (decrease volume) button very difficult to click.

To fix the problem I modded the skin and added a colored background to each button image to increase the target click space. Feel free to download my modification of the Sirius Black skin.