2013 was an epic year for metal. I can't think of a year in recent memory that saw so many awesome metal albums come out in a single year. Even narrowing this list down to 10 was very difficult. So put on that Amon Amarth shirt, shotgun a beer, throw up the metal horns and let's do this.
Finally. The device I've been waiting for. Unfortunately it looks like I'll be waiting a bit longer. I've said it before, the iPad Mini is my favorite Apple device and that the only thing lacking was simply the retina display.
While quite a few folks might opt in for the lighter, thinner, full-sized iPad Air, the 7.9" screen is the perfect tablet size for me. Easily held in one hand yet still offering a good amount of screen real estate to make reading and productivity a joy.
The iPad Mini is even better than what was envisioned with the Star Trek PADD .
This is going to be my favorite track on the album.
This year's iPhone is an "S" model. Exactly in line with every other "S" model the iPhone has seen– an iterative improvement on last year's iPhone. But just because it's iterative, doesn't mean its not innovative. Sure it doesn't look different, but why does the phone casing/design have to change to make it innovative? Surely the 5S is innovative as well.
So just like the 4S and the 3GS, I'd wager for most folks with last year's iPhone 5 may not find an upgrade appealing enough, myself included. And that's OK- I'm pretty sure Apple is fine with their customers on a 2-year upgrade cycle anyway. It matches most carrier contracts. Those that can afford to upgrade each year are going to do it anyway because, if you have the money, why not get the best phone possible? I have absolutely no doubt that the iPhone 5S will be the best phone on the market (until next year's iPhone).
The iPhone 5C
Yeah, it lives up to the possible monikers for the C- Color, Cheap, Consumer, plastiC. My bet is that the target audiences for this phone are:
- Your Mom
- Your Kid Sister
- First-time iPhone buyers
Sure there are others that will buy, but if you're not stoked about the 5C colors, this phone isn't meant for you. Its essentially an iPhone 5, which is still a great phone even for phones just coming to market.
So I do have a confession. I made a couple of big changes before today: I'm on an HTC One with T-Mobile. I was finally ready for a complete change. I'll post more on this change later, but the short of it is that, even after using iOS7 for several weeks now, I needed a change.
Quickly, why T-Mobile? Jump. I can trade this sucker up in 6 months if I'm miserable.
While I decided to move to Android for at least 6 months, the iPhone is still absolutely the best phone and OS available. In true Apple form, it just works and it works amazingly well. The iPhone 5S and 5C are absolutely my recommended phones. Hands down.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.