Metallica Concert Review @ Allstate in 2009

I have been to some shows but keep failing to write up any sort of review – I am trying to right the ship tonight.

So last night (Monday Jan 26, 2009) Metallica came to Chicago and rocked the house. I would comment on the opening bands but I was late getting to the show. Also I would like to point out that it was not my fault this time!!!

Chicago is cold and snowy = we get lots of snow. The past few weeks have been filled with both and the parking lot of the Allstate Arena showed it. There are usually two entrances in but for the Metallica concert there was only one – never a good sign. All you saw from the road were a few cars (Im assuming they belonged to those controlling traffic) and huge mounds of snow.

After trying two other places with no luck we got back in line to park out in the sticks (it must have been .5 miles plus). The only good side to parking in the sticks was not having to pay some huge parking fee (see my Sears Centre Review for an example).

We finally park, catch a shuttle, and get inside only to run into another problem. Why is it impossible to find a place to get banded? When you are on the floor you need wrist bands but they never tell you where to go other than the wrong place. They tell you a gate or the East Gate or the North Gate but with the lines of people for beer and food you cant see anything. Then after 20 minutes of pushing through lines you find the nice little old ladies that band your wrist.

Once banded we could enter…. the sauna that was the Allstate. As you walked towards the center stage it just got hotter and hotter and did so the entire night. It wasnt until 75% of the way through the night did it feel like they turned on the AC. Thanks to them, the heat, and me wearing a sweatshirt I just about passed out from the heat. PITA getting heat stroke is, especially when its right in the middle of Metallica playing One. Talk about bad luck.

Speaking of the music, I have found a set list that looks correct. Im not 100%, but it should be very close to what Metallica played night 1 in Chicago.

1. That Was Just Your Life
2. The End of the Line
3. Creeping Death
4. Ride the Lightning
5. One
6. Broken, Beat and Scarred
7. Cyanide
8. Sad But True
9. Wherever I May Roam
10. All Nightmare Long
11. The Day That Never Comes
12. Master of Puppets
13. Blackened
14. Nothing Else Matters
15. Enter Sandman

Encore:
16. Last Caress (Misfits cover)
17. Motorbreath
18. Seek and Destroy

Source for set.

The show itself rocked from start to finish. I think the total running time was just over 2 hours with no real breaks. They had 3 down times (including the break prior to the encore) but someone was always on and they kept them really quick.

The spot we had was on the side (it was away from the big mosh pit) and were just some 15 feet away from the stage – very cool. I wish more bands would use the stage setup that Metallica did for their concert – it was small but big. They had plenty of room to roam around, were close to the crowd, and overall just made for great fan/band interactions. Interactions like James throwing his guitar pick and my brother getting hit in the head with it – and no he didnt get it as the people around us jumped on it super fast.

So was it a good show? I have to say yes. It had everything you want from a Metallica or any rock concert:

1. Die hard fans
2. Metallica playing *$@@#$ good
3. Mosh pits were going on
4. Great light and laser show
5. Great seats (go here for Metallica Tickets – thanks guys, you saved me)
6. Coffins hanging from the ceiling
7. Easy out parking
Metallica @ allstate in chicago

I have more photos and videos that I will upload the next few days and share.

Watch Sunday Night Football Live Online

It was another weekend of football around my house. With the Chicago Cubs going down in 3, my hope was for a good showing by my college teams and the Bears to win over the Lions.  All went well for my teams – and Dave was happy.

As I wrote up my experience with Live Streaming MLB Playoffs, I started to be upset at myself for not commenting on the better NFL experience.  So tonight, I am doing just that.

Sunday Night Football with John Madden and Al Michaels is a great way to wind down from the weekend for me.  The problem in my house has become the number of shows on Sunday nights that everyone wants to watch. It has made it difficult for me to just sit and watch, until I found out they were streaming the Sunday Night Football games online. How awesome is that, the NFL live and online?

Unlike the attempt by TBS and MLB for having MLB Playoffs Live Online , it seems that the NFL and NBC have done everything right.

Initial Sunday Night Football View

NFL Live on Sunday Night

As you can see, they give you a few views and the picture is very clear.  You can follow players around, watch the broadcast,  watch the cable cam, or pick the sideline cam. All give you great angles and if you dont zoom in on any one you can watch them all at the same time (not fully but you get an idea of what is going on everywhere).  When in this view (or even when zoomed in) and you mouse over either the right or left sides you are given the option to switch to a different view. This again, just makes it such a smooth UI to use.

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Watch MLB Playoffs Live Online

Recently I was able to watch a Sunday Night Football game live and online and it was great. Everything about it was great. The video quality was good, the sound, the option to switch back and forth from different camera angles – all I can say is that it was well done.

Tonight I had some work to do and thought I would see if I could watch the Cubs online. What do you know, but I can. Great I thought to myself, this is awesome.

Not so much.

UPDATE:

I figured out where to get audio for the MLB Playoffs. It is from ESPN so it doesnt match the video exactly that MLB and TBS show, but it gives you some sound. If you go to ESPN Radio and hear the ESPN team covering the game – I cant tell you which one to pick but tonight the Dallas, Tx channel has the game. Like the entire setup by MLB and TBS it’s not perfect but it works.

END UPDATE

MLB Game Online

I added in the white lines (where the video was playing) to show you how they have it set up. It simply uses Windows Media player to stream the video.  The page loads with 4 screens which I figured out later can be set to the full video area by clicking the Mosaic, Backstop, Pitcher, Dugout or Batter icons. How was I suppose to know those were buttons?

Once I figured that out – it was nice to have a bigger picture.  The quality wasnt bad but it wasnt great. The sound – what sound? They piped in the sound that the camera picked up. There werent any anouncers or anything, just the sound of the crowd. This isnt exactly watching baseball online if you ask me. Luckily for me I live in Chicago and get WGN – so I listened to them. The problem with this is that the video was lagging some minute or so behind the radio broadcast. Another strike against MLB Gamecast or MLB Live and Online.

The final straw came when the video just stopped.  So there I am, watching a blank screen. I kept trying to refresh the page but couldnt find a nonflash area on the page. Finally I got it, but had to wait for it to buffer, load, buffer, and finally play. Talk about another stike against them.

So lets recap:

Sound Quality: Strike

Usability: Strike

Video Quality – Foul Ball

Streaming: Strike 3!!!

And that is when I turned it off.

TweetDeck Review

Another day, another Twitter Application. TweetDeck is built much like Twirl in that it is build on the Adobe Air platform, but little else appears to be the same.

TweetDeck has all of the same options you can get in the web version of Twitter, or in applications such as Twirl, Twitterfox, or a Twitterlicious. You can Re-tweet, Direct Message, and Reply to anyone of your friends. It is missing the “Save to Faves” functionality at this time but I imagine that it will be added at some point.

TweetDeck does some have some great features that you may be interested however:

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Evri Review

Evri LogoI constantly sign-up for Betas and Alphas and usually Im let down. I know that its a Beta/Alpha but I just dont see a use for many of the products I look at. Times when I do see promise, they are so far from being scalable and full featured that I simply move on to the next “great” thing. Im not sure where Evri.com fits with my past Beta looks but I have liked what Ive seen so far.

People, Places, and Things

On the “main page” you get the option to view by People, Places and Things but that is it. Where is the search? I like how you show me what is popular but I want what I want. Perhaps a directory or something would be an option if they are trying to silo people to only look at “main topics”.

Evri main portal page

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TwitterFox Review

TwitterFox was named using the KISS principle (keep it simple stupid… or was it keep it stupid simple?). TwitterFox was created by Naan Studio and was originally known as TwitterNotifier. I must say, glad you all changed the name.

If you are lost and wondering what the heck Twitter even is, I suggest you go read my Twitter review and follow me (@daver) on Twitter, and then come back when you are done.

For those still with us, “Lets Get it On” (quote by Big John McCarthy)

Download TwitterFox

What? Where? Take your pick:

  1. TwitterFox Firefox Add-ons page
  2. Or from the source itself

I encourage you to use the Mozilla site (option 1) to get it. If you have never installed a plug in – you will need to allow the Mozilla domain to install. For those of us that have 50 extensions already – just wait and you know the drill.

Ready, Set, Spam Annoy Tweet

You will see a shadow of the Twitter logo in the bottom of Firefox just like this:

Right click on the icon, and select preferences and then Add Account. First you need to add your username and your password. Depending on how often you tweet or want to be distracted from work, is how you should set the “Get tweets” setting. When Im at work I have it set to 15 minutes, at home its set to 3 minutes.

Assuming you know what your password is – you are now good to go. If you are lacking in friends, I suggest you go and take a look at the Twitter Marketing list that Brian put together.

If you already have a ton of friends you will see something similar to this:

When you get @ replies they will show up green in the… wait for it… Replies Tab. Who would have thunk it?

There is a tab for DM(direct messages) but I think you get the drift by now.

So what do you think Dave?

I thought you would never ask.

I have tried Twitterlicious and have started to test Twirl. So far I have to say Im loving TwitterFox. Twirl seems great thus far as well as its very similar to TwitterFox except for the fact that it is an application with multiple user functionality (really, that is the main difference that I see). The multiple user functionality is nice but I dont need it THAT much just right now. Also, with how well TwitterFox works in Firefox and how easy it is to open/close and move on it is – I dont know if Id convert to anything other than TwitterFox.

There are a few things that I would like to see changed and Id really never need another Twitter (messaging) app:

  • Multiple user functionality
  • Telling me my password is incorrect. I cant recall my password when I login and out at times and it lets me “appear” to log in. How do I know its wrong? * I think this was due to FF, but you never know.
  • Give me a way to turn off the shading for “read” posts.

Not sold on TwitterFox like me? Check out these reviews:

Still think TwitterFox rocks your sock?

Then go download TwitterFox, set it up, and follow @naan on Twitter and thank him for this sweet FF extension. Be sure to send him a message from TwitterFox will ya and not from one of those other crappy twitter tools?