Culture, Music, Technology, TV & Radio

Apple Music first impressions

Apple Music - sign-up, 01, AL (1366x729)The iPod wasn’t the first MP3 player, but its design, and the digital download store that followed it, revolutionised the music industry. Some 15 years later, the world’s richest tech company is looking to turn the tables once again with its newly launched maxi service: Apple Music.

Apple Music launched on June 30, 2015, to a customary media hubbub. After updating to iTunes 12.2 and signing up for the three-month trial of Apple Music, I thought I’d share some initial thoughts about the service: what it gets right, what it needs to improve and, most importantly for some, how it stacks up against well established alternatives, such as Spotify and Deezer.

Culture, Diary, Technology

Apple Watch: why it may struggle to become essential wristwear

Apple Watch launch, Apr 10, 2015, by Shinya Suzuki, 01 (3264x1836)Some of my previous assertions about Apple products have been, um… mistaken. When the iPhone originally came out, I had no idea what it was or what all the fuss was about. Three-and-a-half years later, I was singing the praises of Apple.

Of course, 11 months before that, I was ready to decry the iPad. Having inherited an iPad 1 in 2012, which I still use for entertainment purposes, work and occasional adventures out and about, I’ve realised the benefits of tablets over laptops in certain situations. In both cases, these products fill needs in the connected age, and can make life simpler (when coupled with self-discipline) in our increasingly busy society.

The Apple Watch, however, I’m not so sure about.

Culture, Gaming, Technology

Conservative consoles: probing the shortage of original exclusives on PS4 and Xbox One

Xbox One / PS4 comparison, Nov 20, 2013, Mark Farrell (1280x720)The complexities of the modern console game have not had a positive effect on the number of original or exclusive titles for PS4 and Xbox One owners to play, so far, this generation.

This week, Naughty Dog told PlayStation fans, via the PlayStation Blog, that Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Sony’s flagship PS4 release for this holiday season, has been delayed until 2016. Giant Bomb’s Jeff Gerstmann wrote an article about how scant both PS4 and Xbox One’s 2015 retail release lists currently look. Granted we’ve not been hit with the annual dollop of E3 announcements, but, despite grand promises, the current generation of game consoles have been plagued by a dearth of specially-created software worthy of their processing power and feature sets.

Diary, Media, Technology

How do you stay focused in the digital era?

Weapons of mass distraction. Mar 27, 2012, by birgerking (720x404)How do you stay focused in the digital era? Discipline. There, that was easy, wasn’t it?

No, actually. Today we’re bombarded by so many distractions – on our phones and on the web – that it’s all too easy to wander off-task at work or at home. And one way or another, the consequence usually ends up impacting your own wellbeing.

Following BBC Click regular Kate Russell’s advice on tools to give yourself a digital detox, the question of how you stay on-task seems especially apt to me right now.

Media, Technology

The trouble with Facebook and bad news

Facebook Like cut out, 26/05/2011, by Thomas Angermann (1920x1080)Perhaps one of the worst aspects of social media’s attempts to replicate the richness and vibrancy of human communication is the ‘Like’ button.

Initially, a button to ‘Like’ things you see on your social media feed – status updates, emojis, hyperlinks, videos, photos of friends, comments you agree/disagree with, cat memes – might seem useful. Millions of us certainly enjoy the digital dopamine effect it has when we log in see that x number of people ‘Like’ what we share. But, as someone who has also slipped into Facebook’s coercive churn of ‘scroll, Like, scroll, Like some more’, it’s become clear to me that the ‘Like’ button, and its everywhere-on-the-page nature, actually serves to generate a culture of casual engagement. And it’s ruining our communications.