Monday, April 25, 2011

Lack of Innovation

I am not the only one to say this but there appears to be a lack of innovation in the consumer IT industry at the moment. I am surprised there isn't a PS4 or XBOX 720 being released soon. The PS2 was released six years after the original Playstation and yet they are announcing a 10 year cycle for the next  generation. Where is the Sega Dreamcast when you need it!!! No-one is able to compete with Apple in the itunes, ipod & ipad space, yet these products could be improved upon.

There are too many me-toos companies, spending their time waiting for what apple does and then copying them. *note Samsung Lawsuit*

There are moves from Microsoft

but they are taking a long time.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Well I have been in & out of Helldesk jobs for the past few years and they have been tough.  It is not that I am incapable of the work, it has been the behaviour of the people in the workplace that has been the stumbling block.

I feel emotionally drained and exhausted.  Having recently come down with a MRSA I picked up working at schools I am now suffering a chronic illness.  It just seems that everything has gone wrong. No matter how positive I try to be it just seems I am going thru ever more difficult stages.

Just seems like my life is a whole lot of fits & starts that go nowhere.  All the things I ever wanted to do, I never got the chance to do. Everything just seems like a lot of random events that have no meaning or purpose. It is not like I have had a bad accident or cancer but just a whole lot of negative events happening silently in the background.

I have been reading motivational sites but they don't explain why accidents happen or chronic illnesses.  Also there are 3 million people a day that earn less than $2 so there a lot of people with bad luck. I guess our society only focuses on the winners, who remembers who came 3rd or 4th in the 100 metres?

It is a fine balance on blaming your circumstances or blaming yourself. My mind has been going through all the circumstances and they have been quite tough.  Not much room for error, and constantly at the mercy of those who really should not have any authority.

It makes me really understand that the current established society is no good.  There is no justice and the policies are increasingly atrocious.  As a result authors/personalities such as Alex Jones, David Icke, Zecharia Sitchin really have had my interest over the past few years; as there alternate versions of reality suit my predicament of a reality that has been sour at the behest of the merciless.

I guess that most people get caught up with their life & reality that they really don't think that it could be different or any better.  

One of the errors of our society is the pressure of growth.  Why is growth growth growth so important.  Too much growth causes overcrowding and a burden of work, it depletes its surroundings.  Balance is the key.

When you first look at a big city, the huge skyscrapers make an impression. But the deeper you look, the dome of pollution and the foul rivers of the city, gives you the true aspect of the death & destruction our modern societies cause.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Disintegration Review (Audiophile & Musician's Perspective)

This was the first Cure album I bought at the time of its release in 1989.

It was a very successfully marketed product having an award winning film clip for Lullaby and The Cure also releasing  for the first time, separate introductory singles (Lullaby & Fascination St.) in the UK & US. The Cure here desperately trying to catch the US market. But it wasn't until Lovesong was released as the third single, that the Cure had their first & most successful US hit, reaching #2 in the billboard hot 100.

The Cure's marketing team worked into overdrive with this release, releasing a picture disc of the album, 2 Lullaby 12", many 7" & 12" of Pictures Of You with different covers and also releasing the Lovebox, featuring a tartan print and Lovesong 7" in a box (I used to own them all). This was right at the end of the Vinyl heyday!

I have not listened to Disintegration for a long time, in fact I didn't even own a digital copy as I had copies on tape & vinyl. After revisiting the album I have to say that this is The Cure's Magnum Opus. Even though I am a fan of their earliest work, there are some important key elements that make this album their best.

When I was a teenager I played electric bass, part of the attraction of the Cure for me was Michael Dempsey's Bass work on their first album Three Imaginary Boys released in 1979.  Matthew was renowned for playing bass solo's and part of the Cure's early charm was that the electric bass played an important melodic and atmospheric role. 10:15 Saturday night released in 1978 (the B side of their first single), highlights this the most from their debut Album.

The Cure at the Reading Rock Festival in 1979 where they played with bands such as The Police, & Motorhead.

A review of The Cure in 1978 at the Hope & Anchor
When Simon Gallup on Bass joined in 1980 (more of a punk rocker than funkster such as Dempsey), the importance of Electric Bass stayed. The Bass Guitar might have changed from a Guild B301 to a Fender Precision Bass (more of a fit with Robert's Fender Jaguar!!!), but the Bass Solo remained in the 1980 release 17 Seconds, featuring on the track At Night.

Simon's black Fender also featured in important melodic hooks such as the track Secrets. But it was the bassline for A Forest that stood out, which has since become a Cure trademark.

The Bass guitar was an important instrument for The Cure.  In fact the single Primary released in 1981 featured no guitars, with Rob Smith playing a black Fender Precision Bass as well as Simon Gallup. This can also be seen in their video on Countdown in Australia and Top of the Pops in the UK.

Why all of this talk with Electric Bass and early The Cure albums when reviewing Disintegration?

Because of this:

                                                          Fender Bass VI

Robert Smith playing his Fender Bass VI September 4th 1989

You first hear it @  1:28 during the first track Plainsong.

As taken from wikipedia:

"The Fender Bass VI, originally known as the Fender VI, is a six-string electric bass or Scale Baritone Guitar by Fender.

The Fender VI was released in 1961, and followed the concept of the Danelectro 6-string bass released in 1956, having six strings tuned E-E, an octavebelow the Spanish guitar. Its other ancestor was the Fender Jazzmaster, with which it shared many styling and technical details. Its body and electronics so closely matched those of the Fender Jaguar, released the following year, that in all but name the Fender VI was a precursor to that model.
It departed from the concept of the Fender Precision Bass not only in having six strings, but also in having a shorter scale and thinner strings."

Notice that Robert Smith used a Fender Jaguar and Simon Gallup used a Fender Precision Bass during the first albums of the band.

The Fender Bass VI is used to great effect in Disintegration.  As mentioned, the baritone guitar tone gives a melancholic spooky sound when used as a lead guitar, that helps enforce the atmosphere of the album. The Fender Bass VI is the icing on the cake that gives the album that famous "Cure Atmospheric & Melancholic Sound."

It just isn't the atmosphere and sound that is important but the vocals and lyrics. Robert Smith is at his best here, from the classic scary goth single Lullaby to the curious/dark side of human nature with Fascination St, the mellow meloncholic Homesick  or the ultra-emotional Prayers For Rain. I also suggest reading reviews elsewhere about this album (I particularly like Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic review who called it the "culmination of all the musical directions the Cure were pursuing over the course of the '80s." Other reviews will go into more general detail about the album, but my focus will be more from a musician & audiophile perspective.

Roger O'Donnell on keyboards adds an important dimension to the album that had been missing since the 1980 release Seventeen Seconds. Thankfully there he doesn't use Synths with digital sampling too much as the early digital sampling synths sound quite awful.

Instruments used on the album


Robert Smith :National Val Pro 88 guitar
Ovation Custom Legend 12-string acoustic guitar
Dubreuille R.Smith Signature model (US tour only)
Fender Bass VI (black, previously white)
Boss pedals 

Porl Thompson :
Gibson ES-175 Bigsby modified
Gibson ES-345 guitar
Coral sitar 

Simon Gallup :
Washburn semi-acoustic custom bass 
Musicman StingRay bass

Roger O'Donnell :

Roland JX-8P synth 
Korg M1 synth 
Fast Forward Designs MIDI Step pedals
Oberheim sample player

The intentional lo-fi nature of the mix gives the instant melancholy in your face feel.


Thunderbolt & Cable Clutter

I am not sure what the benefit of thunderbolt is if you need this:

Having a breakoutbox will still cause a bit of a mess, the ideal solution will be having thunderbolt ports on every device such as Monitor, Hard Drive, Dac etc. It has become ridiculous having three monitor standards such as HDMI, DVI and Display Port.

I am currently enjoying a bluetooth mouse, but no bluetooth keyboard as it was too expensive, anything with Bluetooth adds such a huge cost to a device.

I think having a really fast wifi for a hard drive would be better than using thunderbolt. Also if the iphone & ipod touch could sync over wifi, that would also reduce the cable clutter.

The Dev Dilemna

Things are hotting up in consumer IT.  Converging, diverging; it is all happening with tablets, HTPC's & smartphones driving the market.

Dev's have a wide plethora of software building to choose from:


Which platform should an upcoming Dev write for?

Recently I have worked for software development companies, one using ADOBE AIR and the other VB.NET. Both companies have been caught out with the Apple iPad and subsequently both companies have been unable to use their programs on that device.

Microsoft is rushing out to support the rapid growth of ARM based microprocessors as found in all iphones & ipads; with the up-coming Windows 8. Microsoft is also releasing IE 10 as fast as they can adding new web standards to compete with IOS and Google's Android/Chrome platform.

Will Microsoft provide the all in one solution??

Adobe Flash & Steve Jobs don't get along.  Their heated dispute (over the fact that Apple IOS doesn't support it) has been well known throughout the media over the past year or so.  Will Adobe be able to unify the web with Adobe Air?

There are many streams and pathways that an upcoming Dev can choose, but a Dev wants the ability to write software once, that will appear on a multitude of devices, with it being tailor-made for the device.

Josh Topolsky wrote on the 26th May 2010 for Engadget about the continuous client model.

A continuous client experience will also be important for consumers.  Apple Airplay is heading to this direction. But HP WEB OS is the only company making strides here, so that if for example you are watching a video on a device, you can move to another device and continue from there in a seamless way.

There are many streams a Dev can choose.  At the minute Apple is leading the way with IOS but has the "walled garden" approach.  Microsoft is lagging behind with its poor sales & adoption of Windows Mobile Phone 7 & Google Android is too fragmented. Adobe is also in an interesting position.

Web Development has been caught out with IOS, as the App store from Apple has taken away time from visiting Web sites, but will it make a return with HTML 5 and upcoming Web standards?

A Dev's Dilemna...

Monday, April 11, 2011


Whatever has happened to Techno-Utopia---

It hasn't come. Gridlock! Standstill!

I guess I have been wanting extra freedom and prosperity all my life, but it just hasn't come my way.  I know I am not alone here.

Our business leaders and government leaders have led us astray.  We live in an ever increasing violent, polluted & densely overpopulated urban mega-mega-lopolis. There has been no method to growth and as a result we are wasting our technological advancement.

If our leaders spent our energy wealth on exploring the heavens we might have resources elsewhere in the solar system.  Instead we are increasingly spending more time with violent conflicts & increasing poverty.

It makes you wonder if all the technological advancement has been worth it all.  Has it really improved life if it is causing more wars and poverty.

Stephen Hawking warned us in 2006

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Cloud

Nothing has caused as much hyperbole as "The Cloud".  But it is here. There isn't much to it.  All it means is that data-centers are storing information that you need, rather than on your own Personal Device (ie. PC).

In a way it is a return to the old Mainframe/Terminal days=DataCentre/Personal Device.

My fav cloud App is Tune-In on the iphone.  With this app I can listen to all the radio & internet stations around the world and record it if I want to. There is stuttering and the sound quality isn't as good as CD, but hey what a choice I have. Perhaps it truly isn't a cloud product but it is pretty close.


I have been a huge fan of Engadget.

I have followed all the leading tech sites from cnet, gizmodo, revision3, Twit; but nothing is as entertaining and informative as Engadget has been.

But it is not just their posts that has made me a fan, but the Engadget Show & Podcasts with Josh Topolsky, Nilay Patel & Future Paul.  The 3 really work well together, and they provide great humour and honest tech-journalism.  Josh's insight into the tech industry; really points the way, with the direction that the industry needs to go.

Every week I couldn't wait to download their podcast.

But don't listen to me, go ahead & download their TV show now.....

The three have left Engadget and their dispute with AOL has been much publicized over the internet.

I follow their new move to SB Media with interest and hope they will continue to podcast and broadcast their TV show in the same-way---

Read about it here:

Apple AV HDMI adapter

I had to get one.  Expensive at AU $40 but I have my needs.

Apple is simply the best consumer/digital company as far as music goes. I can now get digital audio out of my ipod touch 4g without needing to modify it.  Using the HDMI from my ipod touch I can send audio thru my digitech 4 PORT hdmi with digital coax/optical toslink. Admittedly this is an expensive solution to get digital audio out, but hey audiophiles have no qualms about getting the best audio they can. Still $120 for the HDMI converter and $40 for the adapter is more than an Apple TV, which could do the same thing, but the audiophile purist demands as little jitter as possible, and a wifi connection just simply doesn't cut it.

It is disappointing that the video doesnt work properly thru the adapter, when using the Digitech 4 port HDMI.   Apple doesn't support HDMI switchers/converters with the A/V adapter so I was a bit unhappy as my laptop and PS3 have no problem with the Digitech 4 port HDMI. The adapter does work plugging directly in to my monitor via DVI or the Samsung TV's I have tried.

I hope the next update can rectify this problem with HDMI switchers compatibility. For $40 Apple certainly is cashing in with the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ for a product that can't be fully utilised. The adapter is quite bulky too, so will be interesting to see if Apple will have a mini hdmi connector in future. As good as Apple is with music it can do better or I will move to a competitor that does it better.

What I Want?

Lossless Audio & HD audio from the itunes store with cheaper than CD prices
Dual Wifi cards  (2.4ghz & 5ghz on the ipod/iphone (1 for internet and the other for streaming)
Adjustable video/audio sync like in VLC
ipod touch nano watch with GPS for jogging and cycling and bluetooth for my Sennhesier mm100

There are opportunities for the competition to better Apple but they keep on coming up with inferior products, which is frustrating as even though I own and am happy with plenty of Apple products, there is still plenty of room for improvement.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

the night sky

when I look out through the night sky, I see the freedom though the heavily polluted air.  I know there is life out there enjoying a better world...

Friday, April 1, 2011

another job doesn't work out

another job doesn't work out...

it has happened again...

I have had this occur to me once before, where I am working a people facing job, and even though I am successful with a majority of the people I serve and the job that I do, I have lost the job over a few petty complaints.  The complaints generally have been from grumpy older women (not all older women), and have been quite unfair.

In the whole scheme of things it seems pretty outrageous but then again life isn't fair.  I have tried my best to avoid working "people" jobs as you are always going to get some complaints. It is pretty hard to get on with 100% of the people you serve.

It is hard in these situations because there isn't really much you could have done differently.  You tried your best, went to work early did a great job and that wasn't enough.

I have to adapt and obviously must avoid situations where there are a majority of older women, which are jobs I have unfortunately been trapped in over the past year.