Friday, 18 June 2010

All this time and nothing to do with it!

Last night I attended a meet up at STA Travel over in Victoria, which consisted a selection of travels brought together by the team over at STATravelBuzz, the evening was known as the #STAMasterclass, and focused on traveling around South America. 

I have never given traveling a real thought, however I have now finished my second year at university meaning I have a lot of time off before I start my final year in September. 
After chatting to a few interesting people which resulting in proving the phrase "its a small world" does exist. I realised this time I have a  lot of free time that needs to be used up wisely and I should grab to this  opportunity given to me and explore some places. 

In particular I've always wanted to explore around American, simply because I love the country and would easily move over to live there after graduating. In particular I want to go back to the city that never sleeps.. AKA New York. 

I have been pointed in the direction to the site Couch Surfing due to me having a next to nothing budget due to being the typical student. 

So in the next few weeks I shall look into this site properly to see if there any genuine opportunities for me out there in New York. Perhaps I may stay out there for only a month or so. Which will be fine, as this would be the perfect quick and easy getaway for me. I would go out there to engage in some culture, take some photographs, or even make some good friends as I would again love to live in New York some day for a year or so. 

Let me know if you have any plans for the summer. Any exciting plans for traveling, or looking into a small getaway like myself?

M x 

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

iNQ Chat 3G [REVIEW]

During my time at the Isle Of Wight Festival I was asked from 3Mobilebuzz to take along the iNQ Chat 3G on Three to give the mobile a real test run of its functionality. Throughout the whole weekend the phone held up extremely well and managed to do exactly what I wanted it for, however there was of course some high and low points.

As a typical guy I tend to not read instructions and simply dive in at the deep in with new products and work them out myself from the ground up. Due to my learning capabilities of new technology fast and efficiently, there was no change with this phone.

As soon as I took the phone out the box and switched it on, I quickly understood the functions the phone had to offer. Straight off I was impressed with the full keyboard on the phone, however it took me a while to realise you can use a key on the phone to use symbols, due to this key not be clear in its function. Maybe if it had the same icon as a shift key on a regular keyboard. However this icon is already used as the Caps Lock. Once I understood where this shift key was, I was away typing out text messages and Tweeting, quick and efficiently as if using a typical PC keyboard.

The signal on this phone was excellent I never seemed to loose signal throughout my time at the festival, which I did found surprising due to us being a wide open field practically in the middle of no where. On top of this I never had problem finding 3G with the device, it always seem to pick up the signal to access Twitter and Facebook.

However there was a downside, even when I did have good signal and 3G I found the phone seemed to function rather slow during certain tasks, for instance refreshing Twitter or Facebook, and posting comments etc. Further still the most surprising was the simple task of typing out a text message I found the mobile seemed to have a lot of lag when typing fast on the efficient keyboard. I would type out my message and wait which seemed like forever for the text to catch up on the screen with my typing.

Looking aside from this the mobile is great, and functions well (when the device decides to not function slowly). The design of the phone impressed me a lot, with the deep red cover on the back and the red keys, it gives off a nice modern design and feel to the phone. One extra function in particular impressed me was having status updates from Facebook show up on my home screen, It was a good idea to quickly catch up with your Facebook friends from simply unlocking the phone. However I thought this was the culprit for slowing down the phone.

I would give the phone 4/5, It works perfectly, however I do like a phone to respond quickly and efficiently. This may just be my opinion, mobiles should really work well with the user and respond efficiently giving a good experience every time.

M x

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Have you seen Gary?

In 2008 I was luckily enough to snap up a ticket to attend the Reading Festival, this was my first festival and it was such a good experience throughout the whole weekend, making me want to go again the following year. However due to money problems (typical student) this was not the case, resulting in me watching the highlights on TV with a depressed look on my face. Therefore this year I was determined to attend a festival, and after some hunting around, the decision was to grab tickets to the Isle Of Wight festival, with a few friends from university. This decision was spot on resulting in another enjoyable time at a festival.

Albeit there was less bands playing on the line up compared to Reading Festival, meaning there was less bands I really wanted to see. Looking past this I still had a great time due to the general festival atmosphere.  Just the same as Reading there was a lot of people who make festivals that extra bit of a 'different' experience.

For instance, around the campsites there are always a lot of expected drinking, fun and games happening. Added to this you get lines/quotes which just happen out of no where. For instance this year, if anyone shouted out the name "GARY" everyone around you and further afield would repeat you and also shout "GARY" eventually if it worked well enough the whole campsite would be shouting the name for about 10 - 20 seconds. The inside joke being we were all looking for the same man. I found this great every time it happened, even though it kept happening it never got boring. The joke went so far that you would walk past people and ask whether they have found Gary.

I wont go into how good the band performances were, because I'm sure you have seen some highlights on the not even half decent broadcasters that is ITV2. However I will say my highlight to the weekend was Jay Z's performance. Personally I thought his show was outstanding, you could tell anyone there at the time would appreciated the show, even if they didn't follow the music. I knew he would put a show for the crowd, the outcome happened to be far higher than my expectations.

The festival as a whole was fantastic, and I think it couldn't be compared to my experience to Reading Festival due to there being a different crowd. Generally there seemed to be more families and older people, resulting in a more relaxed atmosphere. Of course you still found the youngster off his head on cider around 12pm.

I would give the festival 8/10 and advise anyone who wants to go to a festival and has never been to one to certainly give Isle Of Wight festival a consideration. However be prepared to spend a long time leaving the Island on the Monday (if you choose to leave this day) the large crowds leaving all at once to get on the ferries takes up a lot of time.

M x

[11 - 11] Is the audience for popular music created by the music industry?

When a boy band such as Boyzone enter the music industry and produce a Number 1 single, the industry occasionally sets trends by bringing out similar boy bands, Westlife. Theodor Adorno suggests that recordings generally sound the same. Which I personally disagree with, however you can argue Boyzone and Westlife do sound similar.
As a consumer your in control through choosing singles you buy with preference, the music industry cannot force people to listen to certain music. On the other hand the music industry can over publicise through playing a chosen song on TV or Radio regularly.
Technology is developing and consumers now have more control over the music industry. When an album is successful from artists the record companies attempt to sell something similar to the previous album, while the consumer expects something different. They can go and search for what they want, which can sometimes lead to illegal downloading.

[8 - 11] Can popular music achieve genuine political change?

There are countless examples over the years of how music has tried to change the world politics. Live aids music concert is undoubtedly the most famous example of music being involved in an attempt to change world politics. It was a very successful campaign and since the 1980s there are now people in third world countries who may not have be alive today if the event did not happen.
This happened because the event raised awareness around the world of what terrible things are happening in third world countries, resulting in people wanting to help. This proves music can achieve genuine political change.
Live aid got one of the highest viewing figures in television in history, billions of people watched it worldwide, and it helped the problem. This was achieved through a concert of music, therefore music can make a difference in the world and influence politics to make change.

[9 - 11] Are blackness and whiteness useful concepts in the study of popular music?

The concepts of blackness and whiteness in popular music is useful, as these concepts allow a starting point for theorists and other people when identifying of where music into categories. However when looking deeper into the categories of music, it is actually linked to class and location, not simply dividing between black and white artists.
On top of this the line of blackness and whiteness in music can be blurred with white and black artists covering each others music. “Pop music has always depended upon the interaction between white and black traditions” (Hatch 1987)
The issues of studying popular music are made easier when categorising music into blackness and whiteness. However you can argue this categorising could maybe classed link to stereotyping music. Consumers aren’t always the same race as the music performers. Concepts are put in place as guidelines to help address underlying issues within types of music.

[7 - 11] Does the emergence of the digital download signal the end for the music industry?

In February 2010 since the iTunes music store first launch in 2003 10 billion downloads had been bought. This gives the impression digital download market is not the end of the music industry. Music industry must take notice of the digital download, as a majority of music devices like iPod’s are entirely digital.

Digital downloads are simply more convenient to the consumer, uploading the tracks straight to their MP3 players. Giving them large amount of tracks on the go.
January 2009 saw record labels agree with iTunes to remove DRM. Making downloading appealing to consumers, now being able to download a track and not have the restrictions they once had.

iTunes provide a better alternative to illegal downloads. Consumers are choosing to pay for the tracks they download. Meaning digital downloads are helping the dying music industry evolve with technology more specifically the internet which is the future for music.

[10 - 11] NME Review

On the shelf you can see NME are including the latest next big thing in their issue. You may not know the band yet you still go on and pick up the magazine due to the colourful front cover grabs your attention.
First page includes a band index, letting you know they are dedicated to the bands. Turn to the page of the band you have recently falling in love with, and read up on what they have been up to.

Reviews look reassembly short. However the use of language can be heavily description, resulting in the reviews being quite difficult to reach an outcome.

NME is packed with latest band news, to an outsider it could be difficult to buy, the bands featured are not always known in the mainstream. People may think you would have to be in the know to pick up this magazine, as the articles are written with the assumption you already know them, and whatever they say goes.

[5 - 11] Is popular music a mass produced commodity of a genuine art form?

Art: "The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power"

When applying this definition to popular music it is not an art form.

The majority of “artists” of popular music don’t write the meaningful lyrics, come up with the dances routines (if applicable) or the riffs to the music.

The only creative skill of art to the performances is their ability to stand on stage and deliver the lyrics to the audience. Their songs have been created for them. They are merely part of the product of the song.

I believe when the performer creates the lyrics, choreography and music it is then to be classed as art.
This is rare to happen, which confirms the genuine art form because of it being so rare to witness.

[6 - 11] What is world music?

In my opinion ‘World Music’ describes a type of music genre which ‘belongs’ to a certain country or its origin of where the music started. For example Ireland with Irish folk music, and further a field to Aboriginal music in Australia. If you were to categorize these genre as a whole you would class them ‘World Music’ and you tend to take these genres of music exclusive to their part of the world.

However the modern day term can be used in a less forgiving way.
Take HMV for example they would include music from all different genres around the world in their store. Therefore there is going to be genres that do not sell as well as other genres from places such as America and England.
HMV decide to place these genres all together in a ‘World Music’ category so they condense and allow more space for popular music.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Jumping the gun!

A few months back, I finally upgraded my contract with Orange to the iPhone 3GS. I was more than happy to finally get my hands on the product, and I have loved it ever since.
Upon purchasing the phone I knew the rumors about the new iPhone 4.. or some people back then were calling it the iPhone 4G... but I thought nothing of it!
Now last night the iPhone 4 was finally announced, even though we knew all about it a month or so earlier after that employee left if in a pub/bar (we all know the story)

At first I still thought the phone was not that much of a jump from my 3GS. However after giving the phone a more detail look, I am starting to regret not waiting for this one to be released giving myself the option to chose whether to pay the extra money or stick with the 3GS.

The things that most impressed me was the well needed improvement to the camera now being able to produce 5 mega pixel images and with a flash which has been needed since the first phone back in June 2007.
Then another feature which convinced me further was the capability of filming HD video (well 720p or something, which is still fantastic for a mobile!). This will be perfect for capturing these moments, or beneficial to the new wave of Vlogging which is happening where YouTubers are simply uploading their content straight from their iPhones.

The video calling, or 'Facetime' did not bother me too much. however after realising how many other phones on the market have this "gimmick"this of course is the way we are heading towards in the future. However only being able to use the video calling through Wifi is bit of a set back in my eyes.

To sum up after looking into detail what the iPhone 4 has to offer is outstanding, I still believe the 3GS perfect for a smart phone. As it still has an outstanding display for text and images, but of course once I witness the iPhones 4's display I will of course be convinced to get my hands on the iPhone 4 as I am one of the many people who are the 'purchase anything made by Apple kinda guy'

Therefore I am now looking around to see how much I can sell my 3GS for and see whether an upgrade is available, I am sure this will not be possible as I had the same problem after purchasing the new Macbook 13" last year, which then got discontinued and turned into Macbook Pro 13" base model, trying to upgrade was not possible which has ever since pissed me off.

I'm just hoping I can simply purchase the iPhone 4 handset on its own, after selling my iPhone 3GS.

Let me know what you think, are you going to be first in line to purchase the new phone!?

M x

Sunday, 6 June 2010

[4 - 11] How useful is a production of culture perspective in understanding the birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll?

Numerous facts and myths have explained the birth of rock and roll during the 1950s.

In particular Richard Peterson’s discussion explains how the economy, cultural and social, and technology factors produced the platform for the birth of something new.

His discussion has strengths and weaknesses due to certain parts not being addressed. For instance his technology factors do not go into the development of the electric guitar of amplification.

He does not go on to explain why rock and roll was successful.
There was not just rock and roll during the 50s. Jazz, blues and hillbilly emerged during this time. This gives the question. Why weren’t these genres the something new?

In my opinion Peterson’s discussion effectively explains how rock and roll became the something new.
However the discussion would improve if there was reasons addressing why it was successful.

Perhaps he wasn’t interested in the music he was addressing.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

The Startover - 'Worst Case Scenario'

A finished project I started a while back last year. I hope you enjoy! 
Feedback is more than welcome! 

M x