by: abemassry01/19/2012

We're Back!

Hi everyone, we're back and we have completly redesigned the site. Let us know if you like it and give us feedback. It means a lot to us and thanks for sticking through.

by: abemassry04/03/2011

Gift Card on Hiatus

The free $25 gift card to the top user every month is currently on hiatus. It did not attract enough users to the site to make it viable. We are in the process of redesigning the site and we will let you know when a new prize at the end of the month is available.

by: kenji02/23/2011

The King of Limbs Review Sort Of

The King of Limbs errs towards the somber. It's a skittering, 8 track, 38 minute ear whisper. The album breezes, leaving the remnants of a brushed heart string at it concluding stanza.

I guess I was trying to convey that I liked it. A lot.

But, as is generally the case, what I got from the album seems to not be a shared sentiment. Many publications have yet to review the album, but the internet chatter seems to be mixed and I'm little confused as to why. General issues with the album that I've discovered people have are that, with "only" 8 tracks, it's too short, it's not as melodic(I'm not sure what that means exactly) as previous albums, and basically that it's not The Bends, OK Computer, Kid A, or In Rainbows. Even the compliments that I've seen seem to suggest that it takes a few listens to "get it". Not much of a compliment if you ask me, but I suppose that's beside the point.

Lengthwise, I'm failing to see why 8 tracks is too short. Thematically, the songs fit together well and I never felt that there needed to be another song or two to round it out. It's not like Radiohead needed there to be a hit single or anything. Never really pegged them as that kind of band. Speaking of hit singles and album length, I don't know why many pop acts albums are so long. Why do the Justin Biebers of the world have 10-14 tracks in their albums when their demographic only listens to 2 or 3 of their hits? Miles Davis' masterpiece In a Silent Way had only two tracks and I don't see anyone complaining.

It's always strange to me to hear music said to not be melodic. Not liking something is one thing, but a claim like this suggests that there is something fundamentally wrong with the music. I'm speculating, but I don't think they meant that. My guess would be that accusing The King of Limbs of not being melodic meant that it wasn't immediate to them. The hooks didn't latch on so to speak. I disagree, I found the album very immediate, moving, and outright gorgeous in spots, but at least I can understand that sentiment.

Now, there are a few albums in Radiohead's 8 album career that absolutely resonates with fans and for good reason. My personal favorite is The Bends, but many people stake claims to OK Computer, Kid A(my close # 2), and In Rainbows as the band's best. Pablo Honey, Amnesiac, and Hail to the Thief? Not so much. Having a favorite is great and all, but sometimes it puts undue pressure on the new product when it appears to not be continuation of what people loved previously. Amnesiac especially seemed to have suffered that fate. Will The King of Limbs? Hard to say so soon into it's release, but hopefully people won't be so quick to dismiss it.

The King of Limbs is well worth the $9 for the download. Many bands that came out around the same time as Radiohead are no longer around or desperately clinging to some form of relevance. Radiohead seems less concern with their legacy and more so with giving listeners sonically their cohesive view of times. They also seem to succeed in spite of it. Plus, who else but Thom Yorke would make a video of themselves dancing frenetically and spastically, in black and white?

by: kenji02/15/2011

Radiohead The King of Limbs to Drop This Saturday

New Radiohead Album This Saturday

On the music side of things, nothing came as more of a surprise than this morning's announcement that Radiohead will be releasing the digital version of their latest album, The King of Limbs, on Saturday, February 19th. As in this Saturday. Radiohead is accepting preorders for both digital copies as well as a packaged version they are coining as the world's first "Newspaper Album".

The 320K MP3 version is going to run you $9, but they are also offering a $14 WAV version if uncompressed is more to your liking. The "Newspaper Album" comes with two LPs, a CD, several pieces of artwork (several sheets of large artwork, 625 small pieces, and plastic to hold it together) in addition to a digital copy of the album. It will be priced at either $48 or $53 depending on which digital format you choose and will ship on May 9th. They will likewise have access to the digital copy on Saturday.

Not only is it amazing that Radiohead managed to keep this album a secret, but it seems to have reversed a precedent in the band's history. In Rainbows, the band's previous album, pioneered a pay-what-you- will-model while the new album is utilizing a more traditional fixed price model. I thought this may be a sign that the former model was not all that profitable. But my co-host extraordinaire, Abe, pointed out that maybe the name your price model was more of market research to see what the average price fans were willing to pay. I can see that, but then again who knows.

I'm pretty excited about this new album and will at the very least be pre-ordering the digital copy some time this week, but I'm also curious to hear what you guys think.

by: kenji02/14/2011

The Semantics of Geek

I would like to believe that being called a geek is no longer a slanderous term. After all it was once geeky to own a computer, but now it's more of a challenge to find someone who doesn't have access to a computer than the other way around. Same with gaming; It has escaped the dedicated gaming machines and expanded to web browsers and smartphones. Even if one doesn't acknowledge themselves as a gamer they are just as likely to play a game or two. And then there's the smartphone. What was once overkill and too obtuse for a mass market phone is now in almost everyone's pockets and bags. Now if it doesn't have an app store it's almost not a cellphone. It seems that the mass market is a little geekier these days. So by extension is it safe to say that geek is not so bad of label?

Thoughts like this imply that Joe Mass Market is getting his newfound geek on while the original geek is unchanged. This couldn't be further from the truth. If nothing else geeks are a passionate bunch; things like technology to geeks are their unseen futures and their madeleines all at once. The mass market will enjoy a couple of apps while the geek has folders full. For better or for worse, geeks will always be the passionate ones and the less geeky of us are likely to notice.

You can see this clearly in marketing. Two of the leading retail chains offering computer repair services (quite possibly the geekiest of retail jobs) are Best Buy and the Apple Store. They both essentially serve the same function but the nomenclature is vastly different. Best Buy has the Geek Squad while Apple has the Genius Bar.

The Geek Squad seems to revel in its ridiculousness; white, buttoned down, collared, short sleeve shirts and black ties running around in logo adorned VW Beetles fixing computers in between asthma attacks and energy drink runs. It sounds like something you'd expect from Milhouse Van Houten in the next ten years.

Genius Bar conjures an altogether different picture. Geeks brings to mind many different things, but geniuses, not so much. Geeks are seen to waste their time on things no one cares about while geniuses bring something to society. Apple's geniuses may be fixing your MacBooks and iPhones now, but in the near future will be designing the next consumer products and services of the moment. They will also find time to work on a cure for cancer as well as write a book on the weekends.

I'm not saying that these analogies are actually true, but looking around the stores and watching the ads may make people think so. So, no, being called a geek isn't the term of endearment that it should be, but the fact that it merits discussion is telling. It's definitely better than it ever was. There are even people who are proud to call themselves geeks when 20+ years ago people kept that to themselves to keep from getting picked on in school. I just wish that those who picked on geeks in high school weren't the ones in charge of marketing decisions. But I guess antiquated lines of thinking are the hardest to kill.

by: abemassry02/09/2011

The Geek Squad is Derogatory

While I do not feel that the term "Geek" is derogatory, I refer to myself as a geek and I associate with the geek culture. I feel that Best Buy's usage of the term in their tech help group is derogatory. Let me explain.

Until recently the three terms geek, nerd, and dork were synonymous. After the ubiquity of computers, the internet, electronics, smartphones, and the like did it become a wanted tag. The counter-culture of geekdom developed.

Nowadays a geek refers to someone who is a technology enthusiast, but also has social skills. A nerd refers to someone who is primarily concerned with academic achievement or is interested in extremely niche subjects and is somewhat lacking in social skills. And a dork refers to someone who thinks they have social skills but don't.

However the way that Best Buy presents the geek squad, in a white shirt and black tie and having them driving around in Volkswagen beetles, it seems that they should be calling them the Nerd Squad. Not only that but a few of my friends that are geeks have asked the in-store geek squad some questions about a particular product and were answered with: "You'll need to bring in your computer," or "I don't know". Questions that could have easily been answered by a true geek (and if not they could have searched google for some information). In that case Best Buy is setting these individuals up to be thought of as the Dork Squad.

In order to alleviate these concerns I feel they should re-brand themselves as the Technology Squad or tech squad, or just Best Buy Squad. Or they can keep the geek squad name, but try to change their image; have them wear jeans and shirts, no ties, buy different vehicles once the old ones break down. And finally give them some training, make them knowledgeable about the subjects they are talking about and have them be able to answer questions and look stuff up on the internet and give the customer more credit. Make them wear that Geek tag with pride.

In case you disagree with my statements of geeks being cool I'll point you to thinkgeek (they have cool stuff there).

by: kenji01/18/2011

Live Music (From Home)

Just a quick heads up. Broken Social Scene will be streaming their concert live from Terminal 5 in NYC on Youtube at 9:00 PM EST. I actually wanted to go to this concert, but, for various reasons (one being that it's on a Tuesday), couldn't make it. When I discovered that they were actually streaming it on Youtube, it made my day. It's pretty awesome that I can still have somewhat of a concert experience without having to leave the house. And for free. I had the fortune of seeing the band perform last September in Central Park and if this concert is anything like that one it's going to be a pretty good night:

Broken Social Scene also made one of my favorite albums of 2010, Forgiveness Rock Record. I could into a whole thing about the band in general and the album in particular, but I'll spare you the prolixity. If you're into indie rock and are free tonight at 9PM EST, check out the concert and tell us what you think. If you find yourself enjoying the music, check the link above for information on the album as well as a link to purchase it at a halfway decent price.

by: abemassry01/13/2011

Top 5 Red vs Blue Battles of all Time plus 5 more

In order to create an oxymoron with Kenji's post about hating top 10 lists about stupid subjects (in addition to my words of wisdom at the end) here is another top 5 list. This one involves the eternal battle between red and blue. You may not realize it, but most of the companies that are in the most heated competition are under either a red or blue banner. The battles themselves tend to be pointless and it doesn't help that no one is actually drawing any blood. So here are my top 5 Red vs Blue battles.

  1. Red vs Blue machinima series based on Halo
  2. This was a comedy about the two sides from Halo multiplayer that really didn't want to fight each other. I watched a few episodes of the first season and now that it's available as a box set, I'd like to go back and watch it in it's entirety because I found the few episodes that I did watch very funny and entertaining.

  3. Coke vs Pepsi
  4. Here are another two products that are so similar it is very difficult to tell the difference. Yet there will be tons of commercials, ads at the movie theater, and blind taste tests that future generations will look back and scratch their heads as they try to understand how sugary acid water with some CO2 in it got us so worked up.

  5. Netflix vs Blockbuster
  6. This one is very relevant to the times and some would not say it is pointless. I'm speaking about the fall of an older, more established business (Blockbuster) who is falling to a younger internet based company. Blockbuster has recently filed chapter 11 and while they are not going out of business, the video rental business does not look good for them right now. Netflix, however, is doing very well. Their stock and profits are rising and they keep releasing more and more titles on Watch Instantly and the consumer is benefiting. It also doesn't hurt that Watch Instantly can be accessed on almost any major consumer electronic device available. I keep hearing how happy people are with their Netflix service. (Editor's Note: The only real competition that Netflix has right now is Redbox. I suppose when Blockbuster inevitably falls, it'll be a red vs red competition.)

  7. vs Pandora
  8. Pandora was based off of the music genome project. It has gained a lot of popularity in the smartphone app market and there are even dedicated devices for Pandora. allows you to connect socially with other listeners that use the service and also allow you to catalogue your music on While they both try to suggest new music for you to listen to based on what you like, in my opinion Pandora's suggestions are better but I listen to more because of the other features it has. While these two services are a little different they are both competing for my ear time.

  9. Red Hat vs Windows
  10. Linux vs Windows. They seem to be at war since before I started using computers. Red Hat is the version of Linux aimed at the enterprise (read businesses) and Windows is aimed at the same market. The only other key player here could be Apple, but most businesses want to be serious. Apple is still the platform for the creative sector at best. After Vista came out it was starting to look like the tides were turning. Could Microsoft have upset that many users and cause them to run to the alternative? No. They just hung on to XP until Windows 7 came out. Well we can always hope that next year will be the year of the Linux desktop.


The irony wouldn't be apt without an additional five to make it a proper top ten list. So, here's Kenji's additional five Red vs Blue battles.

  1. Folgers vs Maxwell House
  2. They seem to be neck and neck as far as grocery store quality coffee is concerned. They also both suck. Moving on.

  3. RadioShack vs Best Buy
  4. They seem to be neck and neck in an irrelevance contest. How either store are still in business is beyond me, especially RadioShack, but they do manage to blow a lot of money on commercials . Maybe I'm being a bit unfair: Best Buy does give The Consumerist a lot of stories after all. So place your bets now as to who will be around in the next 5 years.

  5. Target vs Walmart
  6. There is actually little difference between the two stores. They almost offer the same goods and services including in house brands that are cheaper than the name brands they sell. The main difference is the perceived difference in their customer bases. Target has a Starbucks in their stores and Walmart has a McDonalds. Nuff said.

  7. Republicans vs Democrats
  8. Not going to go into too much depth about Democrats and Republicans because it will inevitably piss someone (or everyone) off. As we in the U.S. know, there are red states and blue states. Red states and blue states not really getting along would be an understatement. If you were to listen to the rhetoric of our politicians, the Republicans will tell you that the country will explode if the Democrats come to power and the Democrats will tell you that the country will implode if the Republicans did. The only thing worse, of course, would be if they actually work together to accomplish things in this country. Can't happen. You wouldn't want to know what would happen if it did.

  9. Verizon vs AT&T
  10. Finally the most culturally relevant of the Red vs Blues at this very moment. Verizon will be getting the iPhone 4 on February 10th and along with it will come more anti-AT&T sentiment that we have been hearing since many migrated to the only carrier that had the iPhone. Arguing over who is the superior phone carrier is like arguing over whether your thumb or your index finger is the better finger: depends on the situation. When the Verizon iPhone 4 dust finally settles, I wonder who will be the more hated carrier.

Honorable Mention: Pizza Hut vs Domino's Pizza - It's amazing to me that not sucking anymore is actually a marketing campaign.

If you feel misrepresented by any of the statements in this blog article please [link]let me know and I will redact, edit, delete, or bludgeon (with a keyboard and the backspace key) any of the offending text.

If you feel that a red vs blue battle was not mentioned here and you feel like you are missing out, leave a comment.

by: kenji01/11/2011

Why I Hate Top Ten Lists

Even if you passively browse the internet you are familiar with them. They come in many different forms such as “Top 10 Best Books that Julia Roberts Should Turn into a Movie of All Time”,“10 Ways to Shave Your Cat while Maintaining Its Sense of Dignity.”, or “10 Common Grocery Store Items that can be used as Currency in the Event of a Zombie Apocalypse.” While the wording may be different, the objective is the same: authoritatively listing ten things that are presented in bite sized, consumable chunks for the internet masses. They frequently inundate social media sites such as Digg and Reddit, highlighted in the top stories sections. At first glance they seem to offer interesting tidbits of information, a good starting point to a complex topic, or just a good laugh, but the problem is the way it has been perpetrated into modern web life. Every Joe Blogger has thrown their two cents in and it has gotten to the point that it seems to have lost a good measure of its value. So in an attempt to further add to this value proposition, I’ll highlight the problems I have with top 10 lists, conveniently presented in top 10 list form.

  1. There’s Little Surprise to the Lists:
  2. This is generally the case with best of the year type lists. Even if you have been passively following the media chatter, the results would come of little surprise to you. The Fighter is one of the best pictures of the year followed by Inception? You don’t say.

  3. Top Ten Media of All Time is a Bit Disingenuous:
  4. You see this all the time by every site\blog with an opinion of the medium at hand. They magically know better than “experts” without even remotely being well-read in the subject or caring to be for that matter. In order to write this type of list properly it would require a fair bit of experience with the medium of choice. For instance, if you were to make a top 10 list of Sci-Fi movies, you couldn’t expect to be an authority on Sci-Fi if the only movies you’ve seen were the six Star Wars movies, Blade Runner, and the four Alien movies. Sci-Fi films predate the 1900s so your point of reference would be extremely narrow if it started in the 1970s. What you posted would be of no value to the viewers if that were the case.

  5. Top Ten Lists Also Won’t Solve Your Problems:
  6. It is also disingenuous to post 10 bullet points like it would even come close to solving a problem as complex as a person’s debt or, hell, achieving a beach body. If things were so simple more people would be debt-free or possess the bodies that they wanted. It is one thing if the list is presented as a starters guide for someone hopelessly lost as to where to begin, but there is a danger that lie for articles slanted as a be-all-end-all. The simplicity and brevity of the article would prevent any form of informed decision making on the part of the viewer.

  7. Top Ten Lists are Opinions Masked as Fact:
  8. When people use nomenclature such as “best....of all time” it implies a sense of authority or at the very least a general consensus. Certainly more so than using “my favorite.” But that is what a top ten list generally is: a list of someone’s favorites, their opinion. Even suggestion lists are generally opinions or at best second hand opinions of a handful of experts of how to go about doing something.

  9. Your Top Ten List Will Inevitably Piss Somebody Off:
  10. Even if proper care and time were taken and your top ten list was released to the world with the best intentions, there is little doubt that few are going to agree with you. Your choices will be scrutinized based on the internet consensus on such matters. If too many of your choices are deemed “overrated”, your list is deemed irrelevant. Don’t think for a second that putting “underrated” or “obscure” choices will free you from such scrutiny. It won’t. You will then be labelled a “hipster douche bag”. On top of this your intelligence, tastes, and sexuality will be brought into question and your comments section will dissolve into a flame war. If that’s what you want, then by all means.

  11. People Will Also Scrutinize the Order of Your Top Ten List:
  12. # 1 is too high. # 10 is too low. In the comments there will be a long, drawn out explanation of why # 6 and # 7 should be switched. Or they could completely hate your list like in # 5.

  13. Sometimes It Seems like the Article is Splitting Hairs:
  14. At times, there seems to be little difference between entries in the list and it can come across like they are padding the article. See # 5 and # 6.

  15. People Seem to be Running Out of Ideas for Top Ten Lists:
  16. More and more you see top ten lists about subjects that you could care less about, like, say, “Top 10 Nail Clippers of All Time” or “10 Ways Your Cat is Like Your Boss.” Not that you would garner any admiration if you did make a top ten list they cared about. See # 5 and # 6.

  17. The Top Ten Lists Seems to be Ad Driven:
  18. Top ten lists are generally laid out in three pages even if they could fit into one.The primary purpose seems to be in increasing view counts for web ads. This is fine in and of itself ( who doesn’t want more page views/money?), but quality of content doesn’t seem to be the focal point. The lists tend to have a condensed, bullet point writing style which comes across like the author doesn’t expect anyone to be actually reading the reasoning for the respective entries. See # 5 and # 6.

  19. Top Ten Lists are Used to Increase Traffic in the Short Term:
  20. A top ten list might make it to the front page of a Digg or Reddit and in turn cause a spike in traffic to the site, but it’s a short term accomplishment. The rest of your site would have to keep the viewer coming back for more. It’s not like you could possibly make a site based around top ten lists? That would be ridiculous right? Oh wait,, nevermind. See # 5 and # 6.

[Abe’s Words of Wisdom] People like reading articles in list format. They are composed of small digestible nuggets of information that can be consumed easily. But it’s like a snack when what would really be satisfying is a whole meal. So sit down, get your proverbial fork and knife out and read(Editor’s Note:Eat?) that article and hopefully you can judge(Ed:Digest?) it based on its merits. Was it engrossing(Ed:Delicious?)? Did it pique your interest(Ed:Appetite?)? It provides better social discourse than tidbits of information at certain times.

by: kenji01/06/2011

Real Conversations

Every so often I overhear or take part in a conversation that doesn’t quite make sense to me. Maybe it’s just me. Just to be sure I felt I should share the conversation with you and maybe you could chime in on whether this was weird or not.

The following conversation took place in a Chipotle.

Cashier: (Receives my burrito bowl from the other employee) Anything else?

Me: Yeah, I’ll just have a regular drink.

Cashier: (Stares at me blankly)

Me: (Staring back blankly while pulling out my debit card to pay)

Cashier: What’s a regular....oh! Here (hands me a cup). (Points index finger to his temple) I didn’t... I mean I didn’t know what you meant by a regular drink. That’s what you meant hehe. That’ll be $8.24 hehe.

Me: Ok. (Hands debit card)

Cashier: (Looking slightly up and staring over me while handing me my card back) I just bought a lottery ticket. Actually, 3.

Me: (Looking at him blankly, confused)...was it a scratch-off?

Cashier: Nah, mega millions. (Stares at me blankly for a moment)... I’ll prolly win.

Me: (Walking away with my tray) ...I hope so.