Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Information Overload

300810_ Fringe Posters

My name is Thomas and I am a share-aholic. I share too much information online and I can contribute to overload.

Using my iPad has only exacerbated this situation. Its how I consume content... and the tools I use to consume content make it too easy to share that content with others. I guess I am full of myself to think that what I think... what I like... what I consider valuable content... actually matters.

I lost a friend on Facebook today because of this. His words were...
"...pls don't be offended but I have unfriended you. I still really want to be your friend tho! Is (sic) just that you post alot of stuff and i need to clear my stream out a little bit..."
I respect him/her for letting me know... rather than slinking off without a word. I see his/her comments as an opportunity to address the situation... to take time to look at the situation objectively and make any corrections that I deem appropriate. I have removed some linkages and hopefully cut down on the content posted on my Facebook stream. Whether or not I actually have addressed his/her concern is irrelevant... he/she is gone and the damage is done.

I don't think we've ever had access to so much content... I certainly haven't... and its become what I do. Its my golf. I read blogs and websites. I consume content.

Thing is... I love to share what I read... its never been easier to do so... and there are those who see me adding to their overload.  They don't see the content in and of itself... they just see a blur. For that, I'm sorry.

However... it would appear, there are those dear friends who actually care what I read and enjoy the inspiration that comes from what I have posted. Their kind words really bucked me up this morning... and for that I am extremely grateful.

I think, at the end of the day, it should be about choice. Feeding everything into Facebook doesn't give people choice... even though the "hide" facility does work and removes the need to unfriend... it still isn't the best nor most convenient way to channel all this "stuff".

This is where www.headphonaught.com comes into its own... based on flavors.me, it provides a hub-like space where all the content I share is held.

If you don't think I'm full of myself... and are actually interested in what I share then please... bookmark the site and get your fix there. You may get overloaded... but then that's your choice.


Have a listen... Esoteric: An Introduction To The Sunday Free Noodle

Matt Stevens has a new EP out on bandcamp entitled "Esoteric: An Introduction To The Sunday Free Noodle"... which I will let him explain in his own words ::
The idea of releasing this Mini Album is to introduce the Sunday Free Noodle Podcast series and raise some funds for the recording of my 3rd solo album. This download will be available for a limited time only and features extensive liner notes.

Pay what you want, what you think its worth. Free is also great, but please tell a friend. You can also download MP3's of these songs completely free from the itunes podcast free on my site.

About The Sunday Free Noodle:

The Sunday Free Noodle project is a free MP3 every week - remixes, collaborations, live stuff, spoken word stuff and other odd things - for the next year. It was started in Feb 2010.52 MP3’s. I think it will be a challenge to keep this going and I’m really looking forward to doing it - please subscribe to the podcast feed on itunes to get it free every week and tell me what you think(yes you can say if you think if its crap). I hope you enjoy it.

This project has only really come about because i have injured my back and have had a chance to go through my hard drives whilst lying on the floor with the laptop on my chest. Odd how things happen.

I really it want to be a collaborative process. Let me know - if you are a remixer, cellist, vocalist, percussionist, film maker,trumpet player or visual artist or anything else let me know(although I draw the line at juggling) . Perhaps i could send you some stuff(loops and noodles) to add something to?
Personally, I love it... but then I am a huge fan of the ambient genre AND a big fan of Matt's music. I think it adds further depth to his sound and another string to his bow. It reminds me, in places, of the composer Rodrigo and guitarist Tommy Guerrero. Well recommended.

Pay what you want.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

A week with an iPad... some thoughts

Last week I was asked this question from a friend on Twitter...
"...do you think the iPad a must have or simply an awesome toy?"
Last Friday... whilst sitting in the best Indian restaurant in Glasgow (IMHO) - The Dhabba in the Merchant City - Olly gave me a 32gb wi-fi only iPad. Yes, it is an extravagant gift but its been something I've had my eye on for a while. I'm not a car man nor am I a golfer... and whilst this may seem tenuous rationale to some... for me this is my hobby, along with photography.

230810_ me & my iPad

For me, the iPad is about the consumption of content. Using apps like reeder, pulse and flipboard to consume the blogs I would normally read on my MacBook Pro... either in their native habitat or via Google Reader... is a very pleasant experience indeed. The iPad allows me to read in portrait as well as landscape... which makes for a better experience, in my view, than the landscape only of my MBP... and the screen size makes it easier on the eye compared with the smaller screen of my iPhone4 (the iPad does make the iPhone feel smaller).

I am now consuming existing content in new ways... in addition to the apps mentioned above that handle my RSS feeds very well... I use the BBC's news app rather than logging onto the website. I am also using the fab app Discover to read content within Wikipedia in a magazine-style format. Its 100 times better than reading Wikipedia on their website. It presents topics for the day but also allows you to search for articles you wish to read.

I am also able to share what I have read. The apps have a neat way of incorporating twitter, facebook and the fab instapaper to allow me to share what I have read.

Instapaper is a great example of integration... enabling me to read "offline" articles or save longer-form articles for consumption in my own time. I am a huge fan.

That said, Instapaper is one specific way of sharing content... I also have my Google Shared Items for when I share content in Reeder and I have a "Pulse meme" (which is built using Posterous a blog format that I already have and use for posting content from my iPhone to this blog) for sharing content I like on Pulse. What I would like is better integration with my tumblr - its not impossible on my iPad but it is easier on my MBP.

Twitter integration is good... with a number of Twitter apps available. I use the free version of Twitterific on my iPad because there isn't an official version of "Twitter" (what was "Tweetie") for the iPad. Twitterific does a fab job... but I do actually prefer to use my iPhone4 for Twitter... it feels better on the smaller screen.

I haven't used my iPad for consuming photos... but this will come. I have an app that allows me to view my Flickr pics and download them to my iPad. I have yet to use it to its fullest but it does make for a fab viewer. I will continue to use my MBP for editing my photos... I don't see the point in editing photos on my iPad... especially when I need to buy a connector for it.

I find the iPad's size pretty ideal for my consumption needs... either in the house (on the sofa or in bed), on the train or in Starbucks. I bought the Apple case that compliments the iPad and feel it enhances my usage.

I haven't used it to create content yet. I did buy BlogPress with the intention to blog whilst out and about. I think this will come.

I also bought QuickOffice which is an awesome Office suite (text documents & spreadsheets) that I have used for meeting notes. My colleagues take the mick but the ability to email notes to my work PC is fab and will save me time/hassle. I also love the integration with Google Docs, Dropbox & Box.net - three services I use and will use more off with my iPad.

I have purchased books for the Kindle app... which I find a better app than iBooks... and do enjoy reading them on it. I think it will be some time before I give up paper-based books for good... especially since you can't buy eBooks in charityshops... but I think I will start buying selected new books in eBook format... especially good reference books.

Getting an iPad has changed how I consume the content... especially the content I love on the internet. For me it has become welcomed addition to my kit. It isn't essential - I consider my iPhone4 and my MacBookPro as being essential - its more a very welcome addition. That said... it has transformed my alone-time visits to Starbucks and, when I feel less self-conscious on the train, my commute.

It is a toy in many ways... but it is a wonderful toy. Calling it only a toy kind of misses the point... it is far more than that... and has so much potential for more... but calling it a toy gives a flavour for the playfulness and tactile nature of the device. Its just so much fun to use and has a can't-put-it-down nature to it.

Don't get me wrong... its not perfect and I have a few criticisms.
  1. The screen get marked easily. Olly actually suggested I get a cloth and a wee bottle for carrying liquids onto planes and fill it with glass cleaner... so I could keep it clean on the move. I am seriously considering it.
  2. Using iPhone apps on the iPad is a big con, in my opinion. They noticeably pixelate. This is annoying considering some developers do produce universal apps for both the iPhone and the iPad. Just because I have spent a lot of money on a device doesn't mean I should pay out for all the apps I have already paid for. I celebrate apps that are universal - Instapaper, Wunderradio and Zenbe lists, for example - and will now only consider buying universal apps.
  3. Lack of iOS4 - folders. I love folders on my iPhone4 and can't wait for the software upgrade to bring them to the iPad.
  4. Lack of iOS4 - multitasking. As with 3, I can't wait to multitask on my iPad.
  5. Lack of quality free apps for the iPad. As per 2... it seems app developers see the iPad as a cashcow. I happily upgrade apps I love... but once I've played with the free/lite version. Lack of these versions will mean I don't try apps... simple as that.
So... in closing, I do not consider the iPad a "must have" device in the same way I see the iPhone as being essential. However, I do believe it is a welcome addition to my kit and will, if it hasn't already, become a "must have" for me. I don't think it is simply an awesome toy but I do think it is an awesome toy... there is no "simply" about it. It shares characteristics with the best toys... but is so much more.

I love my iPad and am so grateful to Olly for giving me it. She is my world... and she just made it even more awesome.

If you have an iPad, what do you think of it?


The battery life on the iPad is pretty awesome... and nothing like the iPhone. You can get at least two reasonably heavy usage days out of it before needing to charge it again. I like this fact.

An impromptu wander to the Lighthouse in Glasgow

270810_ in the Lighthouse #3

Yesterday I went out for an impromptu wander with two of my photogeek colleagues... a third, Marc de Ridder, joined us later on... to the Lighthouse in Glasgow's city centre. Its a fab building in and of itself but it also has a permanent Charles Rennie Mackintosh exhibit and an awesome view of the city centre skyline.

We went to see the view (even I made it up the stairs even though my fear of heights sought to stop me) and enjoyed the building too.

I have posted some photos here but include some of my faves for your perusal.

Photography is an awesome passtime... made better by being surrounded by wonderful sights to take in... and shared by folks like my photogeek colleagues and you. I love nothing more than to share my photos with you... and I hope you enjoy them.


270810_ The Lighthouse

270810_ Glasgow skyline #1

270810_ Glasgow skyline #3

270810_ in the Lighthouse #2

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My MBP...

260810_ My MBP

Believe it or not this is an image of my 13" MacBookPro... taken with my Nikon d60 using a 50mm prime and a 4 second exposure... and then tweaked in Lightroom. I'm pleased with the results. Tx

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Thought :: You can't keep your true self hidden forever

He said to them, "Watch yourselves carefully so you don't get contaminated with Pharisee yeast, Pharisee phoniness. You can't keep your true self hidden forever; before long you'll be exposed. You can't hide behind a religious mask forever; sooner or later the mask will slip and your true face will be known. You can't whisper one thing in private and preach the opposite in public; the day's coming when those whispers will be repeated all over town.

"I'm speaking to you as dear friends. Don't be bluffed into silence or insincerity by the threats of religious bullies. True, they can kill you, but then what can they do? There's nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands.
Jesus of Nazareth :: Luke 12: 1-5 (Message)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Five from bandcamp #4

Normally I pace myself between bandcamp posts but I found another five awesome artists/recordings very quickly and didn't want to keep them to myself.

First up... we have some wonderfully dark cinematic breakbeat juxtaposed with future soul from Frank Riggio... his album symmetric human door is my kind of fantastic... a delicious soundtrack to now. Recommended.

Free download.

I love interesting collaborations... and the meeting of electronica producer Jason Meeker and singer-songwriter Chris Trapper is up there when you consider into the bright lights. Trapper's approach reminds me of Jack Johnson but with more of an electronic backing... he has that effortless summer day vibe and singalong quality that hides real depth and emotion.

Pay what you want.

Playful is one word to describe this slice of electronic loveliness... epictorials by Tundravole is a tremendous album that disarms with its innocence and yet, with further listens, reveals real depth and content. Lovely.

On more of an acoustic indie folk vibe comes Hiram's broodings by Hiram Brood. He is a true multi-instrumentalist contributing to his soundscape with the guitar, electric bass, double bass, clarinet, violin, flute, keyboard, banjo, percussion, drums and other instruments... as well as intriguing vocals. The content of his songs demonstrate a welcome spiritual depth and originality. I look forward to more from him.

Free download.

Last up we have something more experimental from the sonic scientist (aka Hiram Brood). This is his electronic side project which has a nice kind of glitchy IDM vibe about it.

Free download.


All in... another fine selection, imho. Bandcamp never ceases to amaze me with the quality of content in there.



The Alchemists of Sound #4

You still believe in me...

I know perfectly well
I'm not where I should be
I've been very aware
You've been patient with me

Every time we break up
You bring back your love to me
And after all I've done to you
How can it be

You still believe in me

I try hard to be more
What you want me to be
But I can't help how I act
When you're not here with me

I try hard to be strong
But sometimes I fail myself
And after all I've promised you
So faithfully

You still believe in me

I wanna cry...
You still believe in me by The Beach Boys from the awesome Pet Sounds

Sums up how I feel right now... albeit with regards to God and my faith... rather than my relationship (as I believe was the original intention of the song).

Crazy where inspiration comes from.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Alchemists of Sound #1

Another reason to love the BBC.


(PS - I'm going to post these vids over the next few days)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Five from bandcamp #3

I don't know how I came to hear brahman but was pleased to have found them. Theirs is a form of shoegazing noise rock that is both powerfully accessible and intriguingly obtuse. Their debut album "a long time coming, a long way away" not only demands your attention but deserves it ... rewarding you with layered guitars and eager vocals ... and a feeling of movement.

Pay what you want

Next up is a collection of improvised ambient guitar-orientated soundscapes from someone who has become a firm favourite of mine :: lowercase noises. His album "ambient songs" is...
"... simply a collection of songs performed on my YouTube channel. Each of these songs were performed live in one take, with no overdubs or edits afterward. That being the case, you will hear noises, me stepping on pedals, amp noise, etc. These songs are quite raw."
It is raw in places... but in a good way. The music transports you to another place... a sublime place... where these idiosyncrasies add to the overall experience. Recommended.

Free download

Another favourite of mine :: The Echelon Effect :: has released a full album entitled "mosaic" which takes and develops his post-rock sound. Wondrous rhythms and majestic guitar work really make for glorious soundscapes. Truly compelling listening. Recommended.

Pay what you want

I find Russ Sargent's bass-centric ambient soundscapes truly seductive and enticing. His use of electric basses, acoustic Double Bass, guitars, loops, synths and found sounds makes for an effective soundtrack for life in all its guises and nuances. In fact, it is the very nuances of "the last and the first" that makes it so appealing... its the sounds within the soundscapes... the layers and the loops... the subtleties that make it so wonderfully immersive. Wonderful.

Pay what you want

I have followed ambienteer on Twitter for a while now... and have enjoyed the work he has posted on his site :: ambienteer.com. I was, therefore, delighted to see him on bandcamp. He has uploaded a ton of stuff... all "pay what you want"... which is tremendously generous of him.

I have only scratched the surface with his body and "movement" is an awesome piece of ambient electronica to start with. It displays the depth of his music and highlights the intricacies of his composition... without every getting too dissonant or repetitive. I love ambient and ambienteer is up there with Cousin Silas as one of the key practitioners of the craft.

Pay what you want

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Some more pics from my dad's Lumix DMC-ZX3

120810_ Motherwell Bridge

I'm really starting to like my dad's new camera. Its growing on me... its size and image quality especially.


120810_ a flower that brightens my walk

120810_ chimney

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My dad's Lumix DMC-ZX3

My dad's Lumix DMC-ZX3

I'm not a big fan of digital "point and shoot" cameras. I guess when you've been working with digital SLRs and unique 35mm cameras as I have you get used to viewfinders. That said... their portability and small form factor is a major plus.

My dad recently bought a Lumix DMC-ZX3 and has given me a wee loan of it... in essence, to get to grips with it and then teach him how to get the most out of it.

I had a wee play with it tonight... and below are some pics that I've taken and then tweaked in Lightroom.

Whilst it doesn't have the manual control or RAW format that I would want... it certainly is a nice wee camera... and one I will enjoy getting to know in the days ahead.


110810_ Dayna

110810_ iPhone 4 abstracted

110810_ Pippin #2

A couple of inspiring skateboarding vids...

From a time when skateboarding seemed slower than it does today...


(thanks to headsparks for posting the second vid)

The Summer School 2010 Saturday Festival

070810_ Chris

I thoroughly enjoyed this year's Summer School Saturday Festival. I thought the mix of music, song, dance, drama and spoken word was brilliant. I especially enjoyed the testimony time... and ((surprisingly)) the A Band's music.

I hate to single folks out... but both Camy Laird and Chris Shanks were on fire! In fact... I thought all the cornets were brilliant.

070810_ Cornets

It was great to see old friends too.

070810_ Susan

All in... it was a fab afternoon. More photos here.


Sunday, August 08, 2010

Time lapse Tiger

260510_ Photosafari #18 - the Tiger #3

Do you remember this pic? Well... here's a time lapse of the mural's creation ::

'Tiger Lucky Eight' Mural (Glasgow) - Time lapse film from McFaul Studio on Vimeo.


Thanks to the fantastic f**k yeah Glasgow for the heads up to this video


Friday, August 06, 2010

I went for a wander yesterday...

050810_ Merchant City

...and took a few photos. It was lovely to walk with three colleagues and just escape everything for an hour... whilst exploring Glasgow.

050810_ Paddy's Market

I even walked passed the site on which "Paddy's Market" was held (above).

What's more... my colleague and inspiration Marc took some photos too.

Good times.


Wednesday, August 04, 2010

This is way cool :: Starwars Cupcakes

Starwars Cupcakes, originally uploaded by lclllc.

No further comment necessary other than to say... the only way to make a cupcake cooler than a cupcake is to make it a STAR WARS cupcake.



Sunday, August 01, 2010

This is cool :: "4434" by Jesús Olmo

4434 from Jesús Olmo on Vimeo.

Fellow Cousin Silas fan and collaborator... Jesús Olmo... has created this wonderful video in tribute to HP Lovecraft. The video is soundtracked by "The Last Continent" by Cousin Silas and Kevin Busby from their fantastic ambient electronic album Abominations of Yondo.

I would truly recommend their album... as I would Olmo's work. Inspirational to me.


My new DAB radio & the joy of other peoples' choices

I recently bought a DAB radio. I've been considering one for a while and was intrigued by the thought of something small and portable. I picked up the Philips AES200 without any research. I wanted a wee Pure radio but their need for a separate proprietary battery pack instead of some AAs didn't grab me.

What I was after was something small and portable... and the AES200 is certainly that. It sounds fab too. I think it may be battery hungry but I am looking forward to taking it outside... in the garden or in the park.

I love 6music ... JazzFM ... Classical ... Radio2 ... and some rock channel whose name escapes me. The music has been tremendous... varied with depth. Too many good tunes to name. Not necessarily the same kind of music on my iPhone ... where awesome indie tuneage from bandcamp and netlabels reside ... but all good nonetheless.

The other thing that I love is the fact that someone else is making the selection. Sometimes I can't decide what to listen to. iTunes. Spotify. Bandcamp. They are all based on my personal choice ... and I wouldn't have it any other way ... but it's good to let someone else drive now and again.

This afternoon Huey from Fun Lovin' Criminals had Stevie Wonder and ZZTop in his selection. I had Stevie's song but didn't have the ZZTop track. I would have probably ignored the track as irrelevant if it was presented to me as a choice.

Hearing someone else's choices helps me to discover new things. A good radio show is like a good blog or a good magazine in this fact ... they add value by introducing the new or the fantastic. What's more ... I love the fact my DAB radio shows the track details as it plays. This aids in my discover. You don't need to pull out "sound hound" everytime you hear something you like.

Yes ... I could use my iPhone or my MacBook Pro to listen to the radio but that's not the point. This is something I can put on in my kitchen or bedroom and forget about it. It's success for me is in it's singular purpose. It does one thing and does it well. So yeah ... that's me.

I love me some radio and my DAB has reinforced this like a second honeymoon.


This is cool :: Mike walks across America from New York to San Francisco.

Thought this was pretty awesome... Mike walks across America from New York to San Francisco.

Here's the making of...

and here are Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros on Letterman performing the song used in the soundtrack...

Love it.


August 2010's Calendar...

August 2010's Calendar :: Mac (1280x800)

August's calendar is a wee reminder of the awesome time I had with Olly and the we'ans in Paris. The Parisen Metro is first class... certainly on a par with London's and NYC's... and was, in places, a visual joy to journey within.


Mac 1280x800
Windows 1280x800
Mac (for my dad) 1024x768
iPhone 640x960

I love this :: "The Standard - Vinyl Collective" by Richard Quintero

The Standard - Vinyl Collective from Richard Quintero on Vimeo.

I love the way this video is shot... it captures the gist of the vinyl subculture without words.



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