Musical regression

One of the promises of the early internet was having access to anything from anywhere. That's not really turned out to be the case. Take music. When you had to rely on a record shop you would have to wait a week or two if they didn't have something you wanted. However you could get imports and occasionally bootlegs. Anything you wanted could be had. The downside again was possibly the wait and if you really liked music the space.

If you use any digital music service you'll get only what your region is allowed to have. Imports are gone despite the zero cost of providing all music to anyone. You'll get music that is in a good enough format but it's still inferior and as it will likely be in a lossy format the idea of format shifting isn't ideal.

Searching music through any digital source requires that you know what you're looking for. Discovering new music is quite hard. With a record shop you could browse everything. You could ask someone for a recommendation based on some vague description of what you're feeling like listening to. Why can't I look through every single album in a given genre on iTunes? I wouldn't expect to ask amazon or iTunes for a recommendation based on a vague description. Search is largely smoke and mirrors. It's just not that intelligent. It could be quite good but that would require a lot of man hours populating metadata. So the best solution would be to let me look through everything without me needing to know the band's name in advance.

What I get is that when I want something right now I can have it now. Of course that requires paying a middle man for the internet connection and the internet connection being available. So I'm not sure I'm getting a good deal by sacrificing choice and freedom for satisfying impatience.

I'm not even going to factor in streaming. The selection is far worse and should I ever lose my job I lose all my music. Right when I might be down in the dumps and wanting music to cheer me up.

It should require no extra processing to browse the whole of iTunes should I choose to waste my time and surely it must be more cost effective to remove the regional restrictions so could we not get these things? We need someone to push for this just as Steve Jobs kept publicly speaking out against DRM on music in iTunes but the new digital companies are quite happy to not rock the boat. They're not about giving users freedom and being open but rather locking users in. So for now the best choice for getting music is still CDs. I just wish I had the space.

Posted on 6 Aug 2015, 10:37 p.m. by toadwarrior

Mega Ran games music

I've discovered an 'chip-hop' artist called Mega Ran. Checkout his Black Materia album (FFVII inspired) and Forever Famicom with K-Murdock.

Posted on 27 Jul 2015, 8:30 p.m. by toadwarrior

Rest in peace Satoru Iwata

Satoru Iwata was the best CEO Nintendo had. He was possibly the only CEO worthy of looking up to and he as recently passed away at the young age of 55 due to tumor in his bile duct.

He was one of those rare CEOs that worked his way up from the bottom and I think this was reflected in how he did his job. He cared about his customers and his employees more than his shareholders. He was talented enough to be that technical guy while also being able to flawlessly pull off his president / CEO role.

I've not been a fan of IGN for some time but they did some really good coverage of Iwata's passing. Including this bit on 11 memorable Iwata quotes and this excellent farewell tribute to Iwata.

He was had a great personality, he was respectful and not full of himself he was truly someone to look up to. I think both of Nintendo's presidents / CEOs were excellent. However Hiroshi Yamauchi was more gangster hard-ass cool. You could respect him and you liked reading about things he had said and did but you probably didn't want to be him. But Satoru Iwata had more of a hero respect. He was definitely someone to aspire to be.

I hope for the best for his family and he will not be forgotten.

Posted on 14 Jul 2015, 11:26 p.m. by toadwarrior

Apple watch mini review

Since the announcement of the Apple Watch I've been interested in it but I've never been entirely sure if I would see any real benefit. It is admittedly a bit pricey. But then two weeks ago I had a demo session in the local Apple store and that was it. I knew I had to have it. I was unsure which one I wanted so I meant to put off the purchase for a month. To give me time to think about it. I lasted a week and it arrived the end of last week.

I went with the larger Watch Sport. I think that was the best choice. It's not even so much about the price but I'm very interested in the fitness features and the others either look worse with the sport band or just don't work as a sports watch with the other bands.

So anyway, I've had it nearly a week now and I have to say I'm glad I went ahead and bought it. I expected there to be a manual - there wasn't really (at least not in the box). The iPhone app points you towards one but to be honest it's pretty straight forward. You can just play around with it and it's largely operates in a very natural way rendering a manual almost redundant.

I will say the setup process is long. Not so much in a bad way. It takes seconds to sync the watch to you phone and it's working straight away. But there seems to be a lot of background syncing that can take some time. Perhaps it's partially because of all the music on my iPhone and moving all the thumbnails over and stuff like that but it felt like it took a good 30 minutes or more to make it complete. Not that it rendered useless in anyway. It's just that you might find, for example, it's not syncing activity data just yet. Your steps and all that will eventually make it's way over though.

The ability to control your music from the watch and get notifications alone makes it very handy but easy to use activity and work out tracking really seals the deal. For me at least. Perhaps if you're just flat out against doing anything physical there's not much of a reason for you to have one but I find myself make the extra effort. So it's a positive effect on my health and in my mind even for £350 that's not that much if my health is improved even if in some ways it's just a pricey toy.

The battery life is certainly good enough. Admittedly I don't take calls on it but it's not because I think it's bad for that - actually I don't know. It's just not my thing to be taking calls in a more public way like that. Messaging works quite well. It seems to recognise what I say more than my iPhone had done itself in the past. I'm in an awkward position of being an American in the UK. While my accent has changed some I think the iPhone originally had some trouble as it may be slightly tweaked to in this region to consider speech difference which actually I don't want / need. But whatever it works though again it's a bit too public I can't see myself using a lot. I'm sure that factors in a lot to the battery life. Not making calls easily would give me perhaps a day and a half maybe a bit more out of the battery. I've fallen asleep with it on and it's not really been a problem. I'm just not going to want to sleep with it on (just as I never slept with any watch on in the past) so having to charge it every day isn't an issue.

I suspect transferring music onto the watch and playing it from the watch will affect the battery life. If that's your thing go for it but I struggle to see why I would want to duplicate my music that's on my phone. It feels like wasting space.

The apple watch and activity app on your phone are the key apps for interfacing with apple watch. Both are great in my mind. I like that the watch app gives you a filtered view on the app store to make it easier to browse watch related apps.

So over all I'm really happy with it and I would definitely recommend it. It is a bit expensive and it is worth looking over the features to see if it benefits you but if it has features you want and especially if you're into fitness and exercise I'd say go for it.

Posted on 24 Jun 2015, 10:45 p.m. by toadwarrior

iOS app idea

My Mac Mini serves as my media centre for my TV. I'm sure Apple TV is nice but I want a little more and the Mini is so small anyway. It just makes sense.

I have a wireless mouse and keyboard. It works well enough and I'm generally happy with it but what I'd love to see Apple do is come up with an app that let's me use my phone ideally as a keyboard and mouse. At least as a trackpad at the very least.

I feel there would be other reasons this would come in handy (presentations as an example) but it's basically the best way do a remote for a PC based media centre.

What you do is say when the app is open and the phone is in the normal vertical position is acts as a trackpad. I can drag my finger around the screen and control the mouse cursor.

I then rotate the phone into a horizontal position and the screen becomes a keyboard allowing me to obviously use it as a wireless keyboard.

If Apple makes this happen I would be a very happy person.

Posted on 24 Jun 2015, 9:43 p.m. by toadwarrior

The propaganda begins

The Sunday Times just printed an article full of questionable claims and false accusations which isn't terribly surprising coming from a Murdoch owned publication.

Craig Murray and Ryan Gallagher have both written up good articles on the problems with this article. There will be some crossover between the two.

The Sunday Times' accusations against Edward Snowden read like government propaganda written by a 10 year old. Really, is that the best our government can come up with? It's scary to think these people are in control for at least another 5 years. They're not only full of bad ideas, they're incompetent.

If they're trying to scare people into accepting the snooper's charter they should at least try harder.

Update: The "reporter" who wrote the Sunday Times article admits it's government propaganda. When quizzed on the article's legitimacy he says:

Um... well... I don't know the answer to that, George. Um.... All we know is that... um... this is effectively the official position of the British government. Um.... we picked up on it... um... a while ago. And we've been working on it and trying to stand it up through multiple sources. And when we approached the British government late last week with our evidence, they confirmed, effectively, what you read today in the Sunday Times.

His whole defence is basically that he's a reporter not doing a reporter's job.

Posted on 14 Jun 2015, 8:20 p.m. by toadwarrior

LastFM - Most Recent Tracks

Last updated: 17 Nov 2015, 11:45 p.m.