Public apology

Ladies and gentlemen

It has come to light that I made a grevous error in uploadig audio recorded at the IRGO unConference without asking the permission of the recorded parties. This is a fair an accurate accusation as I didn’t ask the permission of…well…anyone. To that end I have removed all the infringing content from my blog, and would like to sincerely apologise to everyone whom I have offended in uploading it without permission. I will not be offering the content again.

Very sorry
-Andrew

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Musings on the iPhone battery

I’ve made no secret in recent weeks that I own an iPhone, and As I transitioned into owning this device I’ve had to adjust my views on battery life. I’ve owned many phones and many media players from brands ranging from Motorola to Creative, and from Cowon to Sony Ericsson, and throughout that time I’ve researched how to best manage a lithium-ion battery for a combination of long battery life and battery longevity, and having the same time getting as much entertainment from the device as is reasonable.

What changed when I got the iPhone was that my perception of phone battery life had been shattered. Apparently, when I sold my old MOTORAZR2 and my 1st generation iPod Touch, and combined the two in my iPhone 3G I expected it it have the battery life of my phone, not the battery life of my iPod. Obviously it was the other way round, and I don’t have the battery life my grandioise delusions lead me to expect, but I certainly haven’t had the ‘extreme battery drain’ battery issues that some users complain about. No, wait. I lie, I have had them, once. They were fixed by a soft reset and an overnight charge in my SoundDock.

I still carry the mentality that my iPhone has the battery life of any normal phone, which is quite unrealistic, especially considering my current battery life seems much better than the status quo. I’m on it right now, and I’ve got plenty left, but I’ve only just started using location services now. Either way, I shouldn’t be worried about not having enough juice to last over several days because my iPhone goes back on the SoundDock every night that I’m home.

I don’t know… I’m sure I’ll figure it all out eventually

IRGO unConference 2009: Welcome

Today is the first day of two for the innaugural (version 1.0) Internet Research Group of Otago unConference. Throughout the next two days I will be putting up as much pictures and audio as I can, but I only have two hands. I’m intending to be looking at the WISP Cooperative forum, Andrew Long’s ‘Challenges to Internet Freedom’  Nigel Smith’s ‘Mobile Internet’ (if I can make it) Danyl Strype’s talk on Copyright, as well as talks and panels on digital content, and how we can keep the momentum of this unConference going until the next one…or at least til TEDxDunedin on Friday week. Until I post next, have a look at http://irgo.otago.ac.nz/glance.html

iThing apps: the first page of one-trick ponies

This is the first of several pages I have of those apps you buy, basically just so you can show off your iThing.

Banner Free

This app shows off the size of the iThing’s screen by turning it into an immitation LED banner, on which you can write whatever you please. I believe this was the second app I downloaded, Right after facebook.

GunApp

It’s worth noting that Susan does take offence to this app, and why not? you can pretend to shoot a multitude of weapons, from grenades to uzis to bazookas. There’s even a combat knife there too. Use the acceleromater to reload by shaking and the touch screen to fire in manual or full auto depending on the weapon. Maybe Susan doesn’t like it because last time I had it out I aimed it at her

Mood Phone


This one’s a bit touch and go, literally. You place your thumb in the rectangle, press ‘Check Mood’ wth your other forefinger, and get a mood ring style result. It’s not one-hundred percent accurate, though. Unless it’s revealing some deep inner issues…

Stun-O-Matic


A taser on the iThing, how original. I’ve found this works better if you have an iPhone, due to the vibration when you press the trigger. The bolt of electricity can have it’s colour changed, and you can swap the taser for a set of jumper cables. Shameless fun.

Virtual Zippo


Made good use of this at Samstock and the Balck Boy Peaches gig. It’s a must-have for everyone who has an iThing. As well as customazing your own lighter, you can then flick the cap open, flick the flint at the top and have a virtual flame come out, which responds to the angle of the iThing, as well as the it’s movements. If you’re on an iThing with a mic, you can blow it out too.

Sound Grenade

I tried it once. I’ll never try it again. It’s a high frequency sound emitter that will make anyone’s head explode. Not the kind of alarm clock you want in the least, but hey, the option is there.

Sound Box


This little box has several pages of sound effects in it, not least of all, fart sounds. I’m not impressed by the fart sounds to be honest. I stopped thinking those were funny at about the age of twelve. What did impress me was the remote activation and the time delay. I have yet to disrupt a meeting with it, but the potential is at least there.

SpeedTest


http://www.speedtest.net, the site famous for letting you show off how fast your internet connection is, have released an iThing app which…well…lets you show off how fast your internet connection is. As you can see, mine is somewhere in the middle, but at least I don’t have to power my server using an exercycle. Includes a history of tests. Otherwise it operates just like the website.

Spawn Lite


Another genre in the dirth of applications that arose with the iThing was interactive digital art, which bisically fits the bill of my one-trick pony apps to a tee. This one presents an array of shooting stars that cencentrate wherever you touch the screen.

Balls

Another in the interactive art space, this is similar to Spawn, but includes sound, and is controlled by the accelerometer.

a.k.a.


This app capitalizes on the clean, attarctive interface of the iThing to bring together all of those ways to change your name (pirate, jedi, stripper et. al) It really is one of the most showy apps out there, is the most simple.

MotionX Dice


Gives you several diferent types of dices and tables, and will roll them fore you, or let you roll them yourself. Simple, but again, taking advantage of the iThings graphics.

Album Shuffle


It’s, like, what would happen if CoverFlow was incontinent! There, now that I’ve made that joke there’s not a lot else to say. It really does behave just like cover flow, except that you can move the album covers anywhere, even throw them off-screen. This app also lets you play the labums like Cover Flow does. No need for an iThing daiper here.

LP Player


Another music playing alternative, it lets you load up songs into the virtual turntable, and play them by putting the needle on the record. You can have varying degrees of pop and hiss from none at all, right up to the eighty year-old 78s your great grandfather passed down through the family. Only downside is that you can’t scratch your collection, which you may have been lead to believe, since the turntable used looks like an imitation Technics 1200.

Free Vibrating Massager

I won’t lie, I got this for massaging Susan’s back. I mean my iThing is is a case, so it’s not like it’s that weird. You can control the frequency of the pulses right up to having the phone continuously vibrate.

There’s more of these ‘crappyapps’ to come, but I’ll save them for another time

Albums Of The Year: Winter-Spring 2009

Things slowed down just a little as we all moved into spring, but while the quantity may have dropped the quality remained the same 🙂

Gatecrasher’s Trance Anthems 1993-2009
Video thanks to RhinoUK

I first heard a Gatecrasher album eight years ago, when I was growing up in Twizel. It was Global Sound System and I loved it to bits. Since then, the majority of the Gatecrasher discography has come and gone, but this year thay have released two retrospective albums covering their massive legacy. I guess if there’s going to be any music that makes me feel nostalgic about my childhood, this would be it. I’ve grown up loving techno of all sorts, and I’m not bothered to say so. The first picture in my ‘proof that I still pay for music’ post should be evidence nough. The one caveat I have with Gatecrasher at the moment is that they seem to be concentrating their efforts on releasing retrospective compilations when I’m sure there is plenty of room left for making releases that are as up-to-the-minute as their old releases were (to me at least).

Mew – No More Stories Are Told Today, I’m Sorry, They Washed Away. No More Stories, The World Is Grey. I’m Tired, Let’s Wash Away
Video thanks to MJaayPeer

When I first heard Mew’s world infamous …And The Glass-Handed Kites I left school immediately afterwards and bought the CD. After the fallout from that epic had settled I waited for news of a new Mew album, and I heard it would be here in September 2008. I waited, with baited breath. September 2008 came…and went. I had the feeling that they had their reasons. Then in June this year I got wind of new material, and by August I had the No More Stories…EP as a precursor to the epic album I was sure they were going to bring out next…September 2009 came around and…fooled again!

If you were expecting another Glass-Handed Kites you might be disapointed, but you really shouldn’t be, because that Mew have done here is a different type of amazing. This album lends itself much more to concert venues, with it’s long refrains and expansive instrumentals. It may not gel together into one huge rock-opera esque piece, but it is still epic in it’s own right. I’d have to say the whole thing left me happy, and finally relieved that the album had come out. I was temped to ask ‘what took so long?’ but upon listening to the whole album, I can tell there has been four years of hard work put into it, and (not unlike a certain computer operating system) if they had released it any earlier due to public demand, I fear it would have fallen on it’s face. Good on you, Mew. I will never hassle you to release music according to schedule again

Lusine – A Certain Distance
Video thanks to ghostlyintl

I have written a more in-depth review about this album here: http://lifebackwards.posterous.com/lusines-new-album-a-certain-distance-apart-fr  but two months on, and this is one of the year’s releases that I have come back to listening to time and time again. The eleven track album is full of the sound that made me love Lusine’s music in the first place, blended with sounds that take Lusine in a slightly different direction. The release of A Certain Distance also coinciding with the release of the Ghostly Discovery iThing app, which I have also reviewed.

This is the figurehead of a discography that is going to make for one happy summer for me

Scooter – Under The Radar, Over The Top
Video tanks to kontor

A lot of people have gone off Scooter over the years. Their ability to re-invent themselves has meant that their fanbase, by and large, has changed every time, apart from the core few who have stuck with them the throughout their fifteen year career (incidentally, they are one year younger than Gatecrasher). Their shift to hardstyle seems to have been their most polarizing move yet, and a lot of fans have despised the change. I beg to differ. I think this is the sound that Scooter have been waiting for their whole carreer for. The exuberant, over-the-top (see what I did there) sound suits the Scooter character prefectly, and this latest album is more bomastic than ever. They still have the thoughtful moments that have enabled them to branch out before, which have been compiled as a second CD in the deluxe version of this album. They serve as a fond retrospective on one of the few techno outfits that has stood the test of time.