Why I like old stuff

Bookmark and Share

I have a bit of a thing for vintage stuff. Typewriters, film cameras, vinyl records, I like these old everyday items. Here’s why:

Typewriters

IBM Selectric II, Brother Charger 11

Typewriters are nice mostly because there’s no printing. You press the key, the letter appears. You’re done. That’s it. Also, they often don’t require electricity, meaning you don’t have to worry about running out of battery juice. And even if you have an electric typewriter and it loses power, your work is not going to disappear. After all, typewriters have letter-by-letter autosave! How hi-tech!

Also, typewriters are very palpable and mechanical. You touch something which directly affects something else and causes someting else to happen which eventually stamps a letter onto paper. It’s a direct, tangible connection to what you do and what happens.

Film Cameras

From top left to bottom right: Polaoid OneStep Rainbow, Polaroid M80, Polaroid OneStep express, Sprocket Rocket, Diana F+, Pentax K1000

Film cameras are fun partially because of the surprise aspect. You never really know how the final product will turn out until you develop the film. In addition, you never run out of battery – one roll of film and you’re good for 24 (or 36) shots, whether they’re taken all in one second or all in one year.

Similarly to the typewriter, film cameras are palpable. It’s a direct reaction between the light coming in through the lens and how the strip of film under it reacts. It’s a direct connection between what is seen and what is captured.

Another little benefit to film is that the resolution is very high, and is usually dependet on the highest possible resolution of your scanner. A square inch of film has way more silver hallide crystals on it than a camera’s sensor.

Vinyl Records

Vinyl records are known for their sound quality and natural, warm tones. Because vinyl records are analog, they skip the digital conversion into 10100010100100010101010101 (binary) and are straight from analog sound to analog etchings into vinyl to analog sound.

In addition, vinyl records are touchable, tangible, existing things. You can actually hold the music itself, as opposed to some imaginary sequence of 101010101010101011000 (binary).

Conclusion

All of the above items have a couple of things in common. First of all, advantages to digital counterparts. Typewriters don’t need electricity and auto-save on a letter-to-letter basis. Film cameras don’t need electricity and have very very very high resolution. Vinyl records do need electricity, however they have outstanding sound tone and no digital conversion.

The other thing that all of them have in common is their direct palpability. No electrical signals, 101001010110001111, encodings, or digitization; nothing but direct, easy-to-understand cause and effect.

I understand that many may disagree with me, and I would love to hear about that in the comments below.

side-note: feel free to check out my new personal blog http://swsr.me, and follow me on twitter/instagram: @maxswisher on twitter, @maxswisher on instagram). Also, if you enjoy my writing, please please PLEASE make a small donation towards the cause!




The iPad Dilemma

Bookmark and Share

A lot of people are saying that the iPad can easily replace a laptop. When you’re sitting on your couch, just woke up in the morning, or traveling around, can’t the iPad do everything a laptop can? I mean, why take a laptop with me when I’m just going around town, when I can take an iPad instead?

I’ve thought about this a lot. In a post I wrote a year or two ago (wow, that long ago?), I said that the iPad could easily replace a MacBook. The one thing that it really didn’t do was flash.

But recently, I got a new MacBook Air, and it seems that I prefer to use it over the iPad.

The iPad can basically do everything that the MacBook can. There’s only two big problems.

First of all, the keyboard. Touchscreen keyboards work for typing quick messages to people, but for typing an entire blog post, it gets a bit annoying. The other problem with the keyboard is that it absolutely SUCKS for coding. I mean, it takes three taps to insert a <, /, or >. And when writing something as basic and simple as HTML, it’s a complete pain.

I can hear all of you saying “Wait a sec, you can connect a bluetooth keyboard! Heck, you can connect a USB keyboard using the Camera Connection kit!” But come on people, why carry around an iPad and a keyboard when you can just carry around a MacBook? I mean, doesn’t having to bring a keyboard with you everywhere prove my point even further?

Next, there’s the lack of a windowed operating system. That’s the really nice thing about Macs: you can have multiple things going on at once.

Okay, now I can hear all of you saying “Wait a sec, iOS 4 brought multitasking in! You CAN do multiple things at once!” But, once again, come on people, it’s painful to switch between different apps. What if you have something in one application that you need to read and get information from while typing in another? This will requite quite a lot of four-finger swiping back and forth between apps. With a windowed operating system, I can have multiple applications and pages open, and see what’s going on in each. Heck, I can watch a movie while scrolling through my twitter feed. The flexibility of a windowed operating system is unmatched to the multi-tasking interface on an iPad.

Then, there’s power. Sure, the iPad has a dual-core A5 chip. But the time that it takes for a video to be rendered on an iPad is easy to compare to the speed of a dual-core hyper-threaded i7 in my MacBook air.

And this brings me to my very last point – availability , flexibility, and power of applications. The iMovie available for the iPad is quite handicapped to the iMovie on my MacBook. In fact, it’s that way with every single application available for both the iPad and the Mac. Then, of course, there’s port options. I can’t plug an external hard drive into my iPad and transfer my files to and from it. It’s all very closed off, as the iPad only has the proprietary Apple 30 pin connector and a headphone jack.

And that, people, is why I enjoy taking my MacBook places more than my iPad.

Spotify Answers our Prayers: the Spotify iPad app!

Bookmark and Share

Look at the beautiful artwork!

It’s about time.

I have been craving this exact item on the menu for the longest time, and finally Spotify has granted our wishes.

Previously, it was necessary to use the iPhone application on the iPad, which was disappointing as spotify could have done so much more with the large screen real estate.

The new iPad Spotify app is really the new Android Spotify app‘s older brother. It features a similar interface with  all of your standard Search, New, Inbox, and other menu functions in a left menu. It is also similar to the Facebook and Twitter iPad apps thanks to it’s clean, sliding panels.

Spotify integrates a lot of album artwork, with their signature two-by-two paneling of playlist album art.

If you want Spotify on your iPad, it is a free update for those who had the iPhone app installed previously, or you can go to this iTunes store link.

Thank you Spotify!

Samsung has come to Rise (guest post)

Bookmark and Share

The rise of Samsung in the smartphone world, has been an unprecedented but no less impressive achievement. Once upon a time it was Nokia who dominated the mobile phone market, however after a couple of rough years, they are only just recovering.

This allowed iPhone, Blackberry and Samsung to make their move. According to figures, Samsung are accountable for 40% of the sales of Android devices. So if you are playing Partypoker on your Android phone right now, there is a 40% chance it is a Samsung product.

It’s not a surprise that the most popular Android devices are made by Samsung. They helped pioneer Android which has become the dominant mobile operating system across the globe. And it’s all thanks to the Samsung Galaxy S2, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, and the Galaxy S3 which hasn’t even been released yet. Add to this a handful of Windows Phone and other Android devices, and Samsung are on top.

According to reports, the Samsung Galaxy S3 has already garnered 9 million pre-orders, despite the fact it will not be released until 30 May. Which will only increase the companies 1 in 4 smartphones being sold.

There are plenty of nay sayers to the Samsung brand of course. There are many Galaxy users who complain that the S2 does not have a lasting battery life, while the rest are loyal to the likes of Apple’s iPhone and the HTC. There is no denying the figures though, and whether you think the 40% are sheep or not, you cannot deny the power of Samsung right now.

And with Nokia mainly producing mobile phones for Windows Phone now, it looks like they will hold on to the top spot for a while yet. Unless another Android phenomenon comes along.