Kavinsky - Outrun

I was going to post about Random Access Memories, but I'm sure some of you are already sick of it– briefly, I love it. While this post isn't about Daft Punk, it is in the same vein. 

Kavinsky's Outrun is also an awesome electronic masterpiece. It screams 80s and embodies the Ferarri Testerosa. It could also be a soundtrack to a sweet 80s film like The Wraith. Most likely this album will be famous for the track "Nightcall" which was featured in the movie Drive (a must see).

At any rate, download this album straight away. You'll have it on repeat for a few weeks, and then again in a few months.  As of this post, Amazon has the full album for just 6 bucks.

Amon Amarth - Deciever of the Gods

If you're not already an Amon Amarth fan and you consider yourself a metalhead, then you're missing out.  While I wasn’t a fan of their last album, Surtur Rising, Amon is back with a vengance. Deciever of the Gods is right up there with Twilight of the Thunder God, Fate of the Norns and With Odin on Our Side. Try not banging your head. \m/

As of this writing, Amazon also has Deceiver and older Amon albums on sale. For $6, you best pick up this album.  

I guess you can catch Amon on tour this summer with some other shitty metal bands at Mayhem Festival (if that's your thing). Personally, I'll wait for the headline tour. 

A few weeks with Pebble

After nearly a year wait, I finally received my Pebble smart watch late April. I was an early backer of the now-famous Kickstarter project and had originally chosen to pay extra for a unique color version, specifically white. To make a long story short, the white Pebble as of this writing still hasn't even hit production, so I had opted for the tried-and-true black version.

Quick Summary

I love it. I wish it did a bit more and the ID was a bit more sleek, but overall I'm very happy.

This is Cool

 Watchfaces. To my knowledge, no other watch offers community made watch faces. There are a ton of choices, all free (at this time) and some really great faces to be had.

click to embiggen / all watchfaces taken from and available at MyPebbleFaces.com

Music Control.  The feature I was most looking forward to was actually the music/iPod controls. Now I can glance at my wrist to see what's playing or to play/pause. This actually worked very well for controlling tracks while my iPhone was sending music via Airplay to my stereo. Hopefully I'll have a small Airplay/Bluetooth speaker to use in the bathroom while I shower.

Text/Email Notifications. While you can actually have a whole slew of notifications enabled, I quickly found I didn't want my wrist buzzing all the time (and while I'm trying to sleep– more on that later). But it is fantastic to get text and email notifications. 

Caller ID & Answer/Reject Calls.  Glance down to see who's calling and bitch click. 'Nuff said.

E-Paper screen. Fantastic in all lighting conditions. Think of your Kindle, the contrast is great and makes this watch a fantastic, well, watch. Bonus? I've been getting 6 days of battery life. Pretty great. So those are 2 reasons why there is not a color screen.

Other Great Bonuses: 

  • Battery Life. 6 days so far.
  • User-replaceable watch straps (already did mine and backed another Kickstarter)
  • Waterproof– wear it in the shower or go swimming. Yup.

Not So Cool

The Industrial Design. I can't complain a whole lot, its mostly aesthetics I'm not happy with. It's bulky and function was definitely chosen over form.

The USB charger. Related to the above, but using a proprietary connector to charge isn't handy. I found out the hard way when I lost mine. As of this writing, the charger is not available separately so I had to reach out personally to Pebble for a replacement. They are sending me a replacement (Thanks!).

This is Odd

Limited Notifications on iOS. Definitely not Pebble's fault, but at this time only mail, sms and caller ID are "supported". You can use a workaround to receive just about any other notification, but it isn't permanent.  We might see improvement with iOS7.

Final Thoughts

When I lost my USB charger for my Pebble, I quickly found out how much I missed it. I was really upset– I missed a few phone calls and looked at my empty wrist several times. Sure it isn't perfect, but was it worth my backing support of $120 and I very much love my Pebble. 

 

Nine Inch Nails: halo twenty eight & wallpapers

Today, is a great day. After 5 years Trent Reznor has resurrected Nine Inch Nails to share a new single and announce his the new album Hesitation Marks September 3rd release date.

So I've got some treats for y'all. First, I'm hoping you've already pressed play on the video above to hear the first single Came Back Haunted.

Then, because I'm in love with the new iteration of the NIN identity for this album, I took the liberty of recreating the logo and some desktop wallpapers to go with it. Download yours below: 

iOS7 Concept

Interesting concept video with some great ideas for iOS7 which is slated to get a drastic redesign (finally). However, John Gruber makes a great point that we won't see the end of the rounded corner app icons– Apple owns this.

The one thing that immediately stuck out as a WTF for me, was the relocation of the swipe-to-unlock to the top of the device. Sure, it may look interesting and different, but from a pure single-hand usability standpoint, there is no way it will happen.

New Headphones: Harman Kardon CL

I listen to music nearly all day at work. It's actually something I love most about my job. For about 3 weeks now I've been using my new Harman Kardon CL on-ear headphones. And I'm in love.

Harman-Kardon-CL.jpg

Th CLs aren't cheap. They'll run you $199 at The Apple Store (one of the few authorized retailers), but if you listen or enjoy music as much as I do, they're worth every penny. They also feel the quality if the price- metal headband, comfy memory foam ear pads and 2 sizes of headbands that form to your dome.

I've never really owned a nice set of headphones before, and if $200 headphones aren't worth blinking at, then you may know different. For me, the sound on these are amazing. I now want to ensure I'm listening to quality audio files so I can hear those nuances I've never heard previously. The CLs aren't bass heavy, but you'll get a fantastic low end. The highs are crisp, and everything in between sounds great to me– again, purely based on my previous experience.  Sound isolation, even for on-ear headphones are really great, thanks to the memory foam.

My only complaint here is that I wouldn't take them with me on my commute. The just feel like indoor headphones and I wouldn't want them to accidentally get dinged or rained on. So they stay at the office. However, If I take a plane, I'd most definitely bring these along.

Overall? If you got about $200, don't have Bowers & Wilkins P5s (though, they compete with the P3s) or some other fancy high-end headphones, you will not be disappointed. In fact, you'll want to thank me. You may do so in the comments.

$167.99 $179.99