Thursday, January 28th
This little device is going to be huge
As soon as I got home yesterday evening just before seven, I sat down with a beer in front of our home Mac and opened two live streams from the Apple media event, about to start in San Francisco. I knew Id need two streams open, as all servers handling such streams were going to be under extreme pressure, with the launch of Apples iPad tablet having been so eagerly anticipated.
Ninety minutes later, the streams audiences had a pretty good idea of which of the hundreds of touted features would be incorporated, and which not. I wont go into all the details here, as within another 30 minutes Apple had them all posted on their US site (although they still hadnt been included on the Dutch site as of 10:00 this morning). The main ones are that has a 9.7-inch, 1024 x 768 display and 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB capacities. Carrying a custom 1 GHz Apple A4 chip, the iPad weighs 700 grams and is 12.7 mm thin. US pricing is $499, $599, and $699 for the varying capacity models without 3G, and $629, $729, and $829 with 3G.
Its hoped that the Wi-Fi-only models will begin shipping in Europe in June, with the 3G-capable models shipping here a month later. Although Steve Jobs announced deals theyd made with AT&T in the States, he said that theyd begin talks with European distributor/carriers from today. I hope not, but how these talks go could potentially impact the Dutch launch, especially regarding the 3G model, which is definitely what Id want. So far, theyre saying that the 3G models will be unlocked and will use GSM micro-SIMs. In the US, AT&T has a data plan at $29.99 per month for unlimited data; if T-Mobile, or whoever (else) offers it here, has something similar, thats what Id go for.
Highlights from the launch for me were the overall speed and display quality, the iBooks app, which will make the iPad the best e-book device by far, the Brushes art app, the iPad versions of maps, calendar and contacts, the wide range of (almost) full-size virtual keyboards, the iPad version of iWork and the $69 keyboard dock accessory. Major disappointments so far were the lack of Flash and multitasking, and especially that theres no (built-in) camera or phone capabilities, but rumours of future accessories and the possibility of VoIP calls might lessen these. Im certainly going to be near the front of the queue when it arrives here.
Thursday, January 14th
Two of the best
Ive seen John Hiatt and Lyle Lovett a few times separately over the years with their own touring bands, but its going to be a real treat to see them on stage alone together, as they say. Their acoustic tour comes to Amsterdams Paradiso on Saturday February 13th. Im surprised to see that there are still tickets available as of today.
Ive been a big fan of John Hiatt, from the first four albums I promoted heavily in my Soho record store in the seventies, through absolute classics like 1987s Bring the Family and Slow Turning the year after, all the way to his last CD, called Same Old Man, which happily demonstrated that he was. I look forward to hearing a track or two at the Paradiso from his upcoming March release The Open Road.
I was introduced to Lyle Lovetts eponymous first album by a friend in the States soon after its release in 1986, and he immediately joined my list of favourite singer-songwriters. His second, Pontiac, was released the same year as Hiatts Bring the Family, and I still find its opening track, If I had a boat, always goes together well with Thing called love and Have a little faith in me, two of my favourites from that years Hiatt album.
While if I had to choose between them, Id tend to lean towards Hiatt most of the time, Id say that Lovetts much shorter discography has the apparently contradictory advantage of combining more consistent high quality with more variety in style. His country/americana albums are often comparable with those of Hiatt, although a little less rocky perhaps and I think the same goes for his most recent collection, last years Natural Forces but his Large Band CDs have quite a different style and atmosphere.
Friday, January 8th
A site to behold
The site Im recommending you visit today is the stunning vehicle a couple of local interactive multimedia programmers and designers created to showcase their expertise and portfolio. Launched in September 2008, and soon thereafter receiving the prestigious FWA site of the day award, Mark Barcinski and Adrien Jeanjeans site is both a technological tour de force and a thing of beauty.
On the technology side, they built it in Flash with ActionScript 3.0, the Open Source real-time Papervision3D engine, VectorVision, an extension they developed for it that enables vector fonts to be rendered, and it uses anaglyphic 3-D navigation. On landing at the site, youre given the choice of the full anaglyphic experience by putting on a pair of 3-D glasses, or viewing it normally. I didnt have 3-D glasses, but it wouldnt have made any difference in my case, since I dont have stereoscopic vision either. As Ive said, I still found the site a thing of beauty without the full 3-D effect, so if you have a pair, youre in for a real treat.
Mark and Adrien have been together since 1999, when they both started as HTML freelancers at EuroRSCG Interactive in Amsterdam. They left to start their own studio five years ago, and founded the Barcinski & Jeanjean interactive studio in September 2007, which specializes in designing and creating interactive websites, art installations and other new media experiences.
The 360-degree panorama in which they stand with their portfolio suspended in the air around them was filmed in stop motion video on a bridge with views of the Prinsengracht and Reguliersgracht, a short walk from our office and an even shorter walk from theirs.
When you finally pull yourself away from the panorama photos to check out some of the portfolio, theres much more to impress you. Recently-added projects include the design and development of a beautiful site for Wallzo, a design and art diection studio in London, and an amazing interactive installation they created enabling visitors to a restroom at an Amsterdam conference to contribute to a piece of music playing there .