Archive for Electronics

OXM: The Offical Xbox Magazine (12 Month Subscription)

OXM: The Official Xbox Magazine: 1 Year Subscription For the last year I’ve been receiving monthly installments of OXM: The Official Xbox Magazine. It’s been interesting, it’s been fun, and I just finished my 12th magazine. I am now faced with the choice to resubscribe or let it slip away like piano in the 4th grade, or clarinet in middle school.

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The magazine was fun. I like the fact that there are little facts and interesting tid-bits of info in all the margins. I felt like I was getting a lot of magazine. The magazine was very appealing visually with a nice layout, and there was not an obscene amount of ads. I wasn’t very interested in a lot of the games they featured. It was like they were trying to convince me that some of these games were great. It didn’t work most of the time, but I am convinced about this new AVP game coming out. My point is, they never seemed to give a blockbuster game a bad review. I understand that these are the games that end up being the best on the shelf because they have the most money spent on them, and because a lot of them have been fine tuned by the best in the industry, but even the blockbusters in Hollywood come up short once in a while.

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It makes me wonder if the Official Xbox Magazine wasn’t under the gun to submit favorable reviews for games that were expected to do well. They also seem to hype games up in previews, even if the ideas are poor. The new Tony Hawk game, for example, which requires you to stand on a fake skateboard and shuffle it around in the living room to perform tricks, received a very optimistic preview in which the reporters were allowed to try it out. Today, it’s getting reviews that are not great at all. I know that things change during the process of publishing and polishing in a game, but I don’t assume they actually thought this was a great idea, especially since they came out and said that one of the reporters ate crap trying to play it.

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Even if they aren’t being forced to give some games a strong review, it feels like they are with their name being OXM. It’s like Nintendo Power. It’s campy.

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If you’re a big Xbox fanboy, go for it, but if you’re going to go after a real subscription do yourself a favor and go with GamePro. They’ve been around forever and you know they’re credible. Or you could just wait for Electronic Gaming Monthly to relaunch in…um…5 months ago? (http://www.egmnow.com/press1.html) Seriously, I miss those guys…

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In all honesty, you can get full great game reviews online. There’s no real point in magazines anymore.

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Grade: C-

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+   Nice lay out/personality

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–  Not credible or at least don’t seem credible

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–  2 of their best staff members just left!

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?  Does anyone read the editorial section?

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Crosley Rochester Entertainment Center- Paprika (CR66-PA)

$99.99

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I ended up buying a record at a Wilco show over the summer, so I needed a record player. The cheapest one I could find was this Crosley Rochester for about $100 at Target.

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It pretty much gets the job done. For only $100 you get an am/fm radio, a CD player, a tape deck, and a record player. Pretty nice. But when you try to do so much, it’s hard not to botch it in one way or another.

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The sound quality is pretty nice. It looks like there are speakers all around this thing, in the front and on the sides, and as far as I can tell, it really does. The only problem with sound quality comes in with AM radio. I listen to AM radio from time to time and when I do, it’s hit and miss. The antenna wire thing that it comes with doesn’t really deliver. KXLU is MIA on the radio, which is bummer city., but besides that, you’re pretty much set.

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Since it is a manual interface, I can’t digitally store radio stations, so when I listen to FM I have to spin to each station, looking for a good song. Luckily, I’ve all but given up on FM radio, so no big deal here.

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The CD’s work fine and listening to an LP is easy-breezy. Also, it has a MP3 jack, so that’s pretty cool, too.

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The only issue I really have with this machine is the way it plays my cassettes.

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So, the good thing about cassettes is that you can rewind and fast forward and record and stuff like that, right? Well not if you’ve got this guy. You can only play. You put the tape in, select “tape” on the format option, then it just starts playing, and it won’t stop until the tape is done on that side. You can’t fast forward through songs or rewind to hear one again.

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If you want to hear the same song twice you need to turn the tape over, listen to the other side for like…2 minutes or however long the original song was, then turn it over and listen.

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Why? How hard would it have been to add these functions? How can you even call this a tape deck? It’s like buying a car and then finding out you can’t put it in reverse or buying a TV and finding out you can only watch so many channels. Rewind and fast forward are inherent features to a tape deck. This is a crime against humanity.

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I looked online to see other people’s reviews and it looks like the turntable loses speed after some use (some report it slowing down and/or not working before a month of ownership. I haven’t had this problem). Some people say tape decks get stuck, other people say the CD’s won’t play. So I guess I’m kind of a lucky buyer in this case.

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I haven’t had any of these problems, but it looks like they’re serious, and it looks like they’re common. If you just want a record player, it does the trick, or at least it has for me. Just keep your receipt to be safe, and keep your eye on the turntable speed.

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I’m giving the Crosley a C+. It’s a good record player, MP3 player, and CD player, but it actually lies to the consumer about its cassette playing ability.