(28DW) Today..? Black with Lace Trim

It’s true what they say you don’t miss what you never had. I mean I have never lost a second missing my copy of Rihanna’s Greatest Hits (a very short album one can only hope) and the same was true for high definition TV output until a few months ago. I was happy with standard def. I mean I remember my first TV. A black and white set where you had to turn a dial to tune into the frequency, if it didn’t ghost the image I was very lucky. It wasn’t until 1993 I realised that women didn’t have 4 breasts, thanks to black and white porn and this set.

Thanks to a wonderful friend of mine I now have a full HD enabled set up.

I’ve had it for a few months now. I find myself not watching things unless they are in HD, or being slightly irritated if things I like are not available in full 1080 loveliness. Charlie Brookers 2012 Wipe a prime example of this, aired on BBC 2 and despite being shot in HD was not available anywhere to view in the same crisp quality of which my eyes have become accustomed.

Before I get my own HD set I couldn’t quite see (no pun intended) what all the fuss was about. It looked like someone had taken the standard picture and just overexposed the colours a little so that they were brighter. However enter my own HD into my humble abode and I am a HD devotee.

Today I have received my fresh download of the latest Bond film Skyfall from iTunes. Now my Sky HD box was also offering this film to download, for a pound or two cheaper. However I recently watched Ted via this method and I was disappointed to find it was in standard def. So lesson learnt!

Look it’s snowing kids…

I am now spoilt. Here is a guy who once watched a large portion of the 1994 World Cup Final through a snowy picture, because our local transmitter went down. Our VCR (another one for the kids, Video Cassette Recorder) had just came back from repair and was still tuned in to London frequencies, so my Dad and I, watched in black and white through the static. That was the most exciting thing about the 1994 final as I remember.

Now I complain if I can’t see what colour pants Jennifer Morrison is wearing… (I was gonna say when will it end. But that seems like a good place to me)

Par Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Jennifer Morrison) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Please check out the work of my 28DW friends at The Resident Weeble and A Piece of Pandemonium Black Rubber thong and Spongebob Boy Shorts respectively.. maybe.

(28DW) Today..? Black with Lace Trim

(BDYBIS) Hello iPhone 5 or How to eat a MacBook

OK OK I was wrong. I said for a long time that Apple wouldn’t call the next iPhone the iPhone 5. I even said here I’d eat my MacBook if they did. Well I’ve emailed Gordon Ramsey for a recipe and when he gets back to me I’ll chow down.

Well the iPhone 5 it is. Most of the rumours I’ve read about this new smart phone turned out to be true. It’s taller, you can watch 16:9 movies/tv without having to stretch stuff (well your arm maybe, if you wanna reach a beer or scratch your balls.. there is probably an app for that) Being taller it also means you get an extra row on every page of your home screen for your apps and folders. Good news if like me, you are an App whore.

It’s not wider. Thank Steve for that. No really thank Steve Jobs for that, iPhone 5 was the last Apple project he had any input into and he always wanted a phone you could operate easily with one hand. Presumably to free the other one for ball scratching. In practice this is superb, all the galaxy 3 people must have pockets the size of the lady garden of Katie Price. I would also love to see stats on how many times people drop their phones. The Galaxy is just too big. It is not so much sat in your hand, but lodged precariously like a jumper on a railway platform.

The beloved 30 pin dock cable is no more. Well kind of, Apple have redesigned the dock cable to produce Lightening. (No not the blonde one from Gladiators, you know the one who would have kept you busy if someone else was with Jet.) No lightening is a sister cable to Thunderbolt the cable used to connect Macs with displays and other fun stuff. So Thunderbolt and Lightning, not very frightening, because Apple have an adapter which will make Lightning play nice with all forty of those old dock cables you have lying around.

Jet… Not Lightning

The processing power of this thing is immense. They demoed Real Racing 3 at the Keynote (which you can watch here) It’s a racing game with amazing graphics, which coming from an 8 bit generation as I do, I still can’t believe are being produced by a phone.

Everything appears to be improved or honed. Including Battery life (although real world useage hmm) But here are a few things I didn’t like about the keynote itself-

Facebook:
In iOS 6 (which is released on 19th September) Facebook is baked in, I have a Facebook account. But I hate it, I want to break away from it, how can I do that if my phone has it baked in. The ability to “like” things in the new iOS 6 app store grates too.

Shared Photostream:
Why don’t I like this. Well it’s more social buttfuckery. You can like and comment on photos in shared Photostreams. Whatever did we do before we could just click “like”.

“It’s 7.6mm Thin”:
Something, dear Apple is not 7.6mm thin. It’s 7.6mm thick. I know it’s not very thick but come on.

Foo Fighters:
Now I like the Foo Fighters. I’ve caught their live shows on TV and they seem to produce lots of energy and atmosphere. They closed the keynote. With the very talented Dave Grohl phoning in a performance.

Ear Pods:
I liked the iPad name. Even though some said it sounded more “Always” than Apple. But EarPods, really. It looks like a load of work has gone into replacing the headphones, you know the white ones that entertained a whole train carriage with tinny distorted Britney Spears. The keynote showed how Apple had developed an ear fetish, and the EarPods look good, do they sound good. Time will tell. Just hate the name.

Enough with the hate. A new version of iTunes was mentioned and demoed too. Looks good. Will write something on that when it’s released to the great unwashed.

In short (678 words!) iPhone 5, not much has changed, except everything. Do I want one? You bet my MacBook Risotto I do.

(BDYBIS) Hello iPhone 5 or How to eat a MacBook

(BDYBIS) Hollywooden

 

The Godfather,
Goodfellas,
Scarface,
Citizen Kane
Star Wars
Ghostbusters
The Breakfast Club
Blade Runner
This is Spinal Tap
Aliens

10 classic films, each masterpieces of cinematic story telling. Even if you personally are not fond of any of the above titles you cannot deny that each title has a clear narrative and characters that are memorable. Some of these films made the careers of their stars and directors others killed them.

Now cast your mind back 10 years. Is there more than 3 Hollywood films that could be added to the classic list. I’m not a great film buff but other than the animated features of Pixar I cannot think of one.

Why is that? Well I have always thought that modern directors substitute a gripping storyline for the wow factor of CGI. But once you have seen one action hero jumping away from a burning building you have seen them all. It’s old. I am a fan of a humorous film. I know comedy is subjective but compare now to my 80’s childhood, going down the local Ritz Video Club. National Lampoons Vacation, Trains Planes and Automobiles, The Three Amigos. OK not exactly in the same league as The Godfather, but memorable.

Now all Hollywood film comedy can be split into two types (excluding animation) Rom-com boy meets girl, variations upon a theme. Or gross out comedy American Pie / Something About Mary re-made again and again… often without the funny bits. Shock value.

I have been a fan of european cinema for some time. German in particular (no not porn) films like Run Lola Run and Goodbye Lenin had low budgets but utilised them expertly, with excellent performances and stories. It’s not just me turning away from Hollywood with the north american box office taking a great slump this weekend. Yes I know there are other factors involved, the recession, the weather, the Olympics/Paralymics but still. A slump is a slump.

I know also that it’s not just the quality of the films. Most people have HD TV’s now attached to Blu-Ray drives or Apple TV’s. The current number one movie in iTunes right now is “The Hunger Games” this is available to rent in HD for £4.49 for just about £9 extra you can own it to watch again and again. You can watch instantly, on your 50” screen with surround sound and your own reasonably priced refreshment. You can watch naked if you want to, why would you want to go and sit in a uncomfortable chair with other people, not naked, and eat over priced food, and watered down drinks. It makes no sense.

The advice of a film fan (selective one at that) Get Netflix, Avoid recent Hollywood. Go european. And most importantly get naked.

(BDYBIS) Hollywooden

Ba de ya: Blogging in September (BDYBIS)

Ok I know there are several blog-a-day things out there lots of those go for a whole year. 365 blog pieces a year. Well good luck with that. I want my bits to be interesting, informative and entertaining. As a general rule of thumb one outta three ain’t bad (one less than Meat Loaf but hey he’s a big guy) A month therefore is a better period of time to try.

So I’ve decided to try and write something for everyday of September. I figure it will be a good month, what with the Paralympics and Apple launching the iPhone 5 (Which won’t be called the iPhone 5… if it is I’ll eat my MacBook)

So this is a gentle introduction piece. Ba de ya?

Earth Wind and Fire. I was never a disco guy. But I do listen to podcasts, and have stolen the Ba de ya from Mac OS Ken. Who opened his daily Apple News podcast with that song throughout the whole of September last year. So I thought I’d write a little piece on essential podcasts for a guy like me.

Mac OS Ken:
15 or so minutes of Apple News, presented by Ken Ray, useful for anyone who wants to keep abreast (ha!) of all the new ways Apple made money the previous day. This guy does it with a fair bit of sarcasm and humour too, no mean feat when lots of corporate news involves coverage of earnings calls.

Another Mac One now..

Mac Geek Gab:
Embrace your inner geek for an hour and a half every week. Presented by Dave Hamilton and John F Braun of the Mac Observer. Everything I know about the Mac, that I haven’t learnt from Apple employees, I’ve learnt from these guys. Got a mac issue, contact them at feedback@macgeekgab.com thats feedback@macgeekgab.com (You’ll get that reference if you listen.)

Comedy next.. oh yes where I get my wit from.

The Danny Baker Show:
One of the most talented broadcasters of a generation. Millwall fan and writer of countless things you have laughed at. This is the podcast of his Saturday morning show on BBC Radio 5 Live. Even if you hate sport there is something of wonder to be found. Baker is willing to take risks with radio.

Richard Herrings Leicester Square Theatre Podcast:
Richard Herring one half of 90’s comedy duo Lee and Herring. Whilst the former has gone on to great critical acclaim Richard Herring has largely sat under the comedy radar this series features interviews (in the loosest possible terms) with Tim Minchin, Stewart Lee and Jonathan Ross amongst others.

The Skeptics Guide to the Universe:
I’ve written several pieces on my love of the work of James Randi Educational Foundation. The Skeptics Guide to the universe podcast is produced in association with JREF and is a dose of reality in a world made of bullshit.

This is a cross section of my podcast taste. There are podcasts available for all tastes. If you have an iPod and have only used it for music, you are missing out. Give podcasts a go. They are mostly free and thanks to iTunes you don’t have to miss a single one.

Careful though they are addictive. Ba de ya.

Ba de ya: Blogging in September (BDYBIS)

Balls to iTunes

Last time I checked, quite a few folks owned iPod’s or devices that feature iPod functions, I am one of those folks. The very device I am using to write this bit enables me not only to listen to music but purchase it from iTunes should I so fancy. Over a million songs at my fingertips. Only thing stopping me is my bank balance.

iTunes is a very successful music store, just like HMV Amazon or Play.com. It is not a record label, it does not independently promote artists, albums or songs without record label say so. It is a shop, just as  Waterstones doesn’t pay authors directly for the sale of books iTunes or to be more correct Apple has no such requirement to pay the artists directly for the music it sells.

Thanks to iTunes more digital music now is being paid for than ever before. It along with the iPod was born out of a love for music. Napster the first music sharing application gave free music to the masses with artists and labels not seeing a bean. Steve Jobs and Apple struck a deal with the labels to ensure artists and labels got a fair deal from “new media” so why Pete Townsend once wanted to remove Steve Jobs’ testicles is unclear to me.

Pete Townshend guitarist from the The Who, who’s music is available via iTunes. Gave the inaugural John Peel lecture broadcast on BBC 6 Music. The full transcript of which is here. In it he seems as far as I can see to confuse the iTunes Store with a record company. He would like iTunes (as he calls it, rather than Apple, which again in my opinion is a display of his general ignorance) to do the following things:- (my opinions in green)

Item 1. Editorial guidance. A&R. Employ 20 A&R people from the dying record business. Have them respond to tracks sent in from new artists. If they feel the artists are bad, or aren’t ready, say so. But have them tell the truth, kindly and constructively. Guide them to other helpful resources, don’t just send them to the wolves of Blogland where it seems to me a lot of the vilest bile comes from people who could be drunk, or just nuts. A fledging musician at the start of a career is a delicate thing – even a rapper. (You’ll just have to take my word for that.) (Apple do already have back-room people assessing what’s hot, but they don’t have this kind of power. I’ll bet they’d love it. 20 John Peels inside Apple – imagine it).

Artists as far as I know do not submit music to iTunes. That would be the same as me turning up at my local HMV and asking them to stock it globally. Artists require a  intermediary such as a record label or at the very least a distributer such as CD Baby to provide the connection.

Oh I’m a blogger. I must be drunk.

Item 2. Financial support. Subsequently provide free computers with music software to 500 artists a year who the 20 A&R people feel merit it. Provide some basic training.

Basic Apple training is available for just £79 per year in store. This covers “projects” which would show people how to use Apple’s music products. Provide free computers? Musicians are not charity cases, why doesn’t Mr Townsend give free guitar lessons to 500 guitarists

Item 3. Creative Nurture. Follow the work of these 500 artists very carefully. Help where you can. Keep out of the way if necessary. 

Good idea, for the label, the producers.. the iTunes Store hmmm

Item 4. Manufacturing. (This should be called ‘posting’ today I suppose.) Provide a place on iTunes where these artists can share their music. It should be a like a local radio station. Yes Apple, give artists some streaming bandwidth. It will sting, but do it. You will get even more aluminum solid state LURVE for doing so.

Myspace have re-invented themselves doing this, the place where artists can share. As for streaming iTunes provides access to numerous internet radio stations. Some of which play unsigned bands.

Item 5. Publishing. Help artists protect their copyrights, don’t just exploit the loopholes of Grand Theft. This is a minefield today. The internet is destroying copyright as we know it. So they will lose the battle, but guide them to hang on to what they can. Otherwise they might only ever make one album.

iTunes as I stated has made legal digital music more common place than it ever was before. Since the abolition of DRM sales have sky rocketed benefiting the artists (and yes Apple)

Item 6. Marketing. Select a number of the artists on the free shared space local radio station and sell their work on iTunes with some helpful advertising within the Apple software machine. Show that you get behind them.

The music featured in iPod adverts has often gone on to be big hits. But the iTunes store is not a record label. It’s a shop!

Item 7. Distribution. Go further. License the best selling artists to other organisations (like record companies, bookshops and highstreet and Mall-based retailers for example) who are willing to make packages, goods you can hold in your hands and give for birthdays, Christmas and Diwali. Share revenue with Amazon. I’m not sure why that notion is so repellent to the Aluminums.

So Pete, and forgive me if I’m wrong. You want the biggest retailer of digital music in the world to sell CD’s? If you want CD’s you can go some place else, Apple won’t mind.

Item 8. Payment. Stop insisting on aggregators to deal with small artists (because you can’t be bothered with the expense of accounting for the numerous small amounts of money you’ve collected on their behalf) and pay direct. Why should an artist pay even more commission to an aggregator merely to get paid? (For the uninformed, an aggregator in the iTunes world is a company who stand between the artist and iTunes and thus prevent Apple having to deal with artists directly. Some of these aggregators provide some of the resources I’ve pleaded for above, but they are really just another form of punitive banking).

Pete, Apple is a company. They sell music, computers and electronic goods, they are not nor have they professed to be a music label or a talent scout. They do promote music with the iTunes festival but they are a place to buy music which has been signed.

Apparently if Apple do any one of these 8 things Mr Townshend will cut off a lovenut, whatever floats your boat Pete. Cutting one off will make a change from talking a load of them. But then I’m just a nutty drunk blogger.

Balls to iTunes