I never really did any album-reviews on here but ever since I turned my iTunes-view to album, thus creating a colorful wall of album-covers whenever I start iTunes, I really started appreciating albums as a whole.
Friends of mine gave me an iTunes card for my birthday, be it on one condition: I had to buy to buy Nebraska, a 1982 album by Bruce Springsteen, with it. And so I did and it’s € 6,99 damn well spent. Nebraska is one big roadtrip on a sometimes slow and dreary and other times smooth and up-tempo road. A combination of accoustic guitar, Springsteen’s deep, enchanting voice and the occasional hint of harmonica make this one of the best albums I’ve heard in years.
The misses got a Nokia N85 in the mail this week asking to share her view on it. I managed to snag it from her and take it for a little spin. Here are my impressions:
- The design of the phone looks really great. However, coming from a full qwerty keyboard it took a little while getting used to a T9 phone again. Also, the 1, 2, and 3 button were really hard to push for me as I had to cram my thumb under the sliding mechanism.
- I like the double slider design. One side gives the numeric pad in portrait view, while the other gives you audio and photo controls.
- The display is bright, clear and great for watching video’s both off and on line.
- Sadly enough not much mac support for syncing (plug-ins for iCal are available though). You have to sync your media by mounting the memory as a disk and performing some good old drag-and-drop action.
- It has about every connection you can think of: EDGE, 3G, HSDPA, Wifi and even GPS with voice guided directions (be it that this is a 30 dollar a year subscription service).
- A hot-swappable micro SD card allows for vast ammounts of interchangeable storage, without having to reboot the deivce.
- The OS is very expendable when it comes to apps but sometimes it’s a bit laggy and not very intuitive. Setting up an APN for my data connection took quite some digging in various menus.
- The music player is very intuitive and has a clean interface. I personally liked the podcast support, enabling the user to subscribe to and download podcast from his or her phone.
- The N85 also has a buit-in FM transmitter so you can play your tunes over your home our car stereo without any wires with very decent sound quality. I wasn’t able to check it, but I’m pretty sure you can use this connection for the voice-guided GPS as well.
- Besides the FM transmitter, you can also use an composite cable that comes with the phone to play your music and video’s on your tv or stereo.
- This phone packs a 5 megapixel camera with video support and a flash on the back while housing a second VGA cam on the front for video-conferencing.
Overall, the N85 is a feature-packed phone and another great addition to the Nokia N-series in which we, over the years, have seen some very cool and innovative phones. My only hope is that nokia puts just a little more time in every single phone to perfect it instead of releasing a new ultra-cool yet not perfect N phone every few months or so.
It might suprise some of you but, despite my fascination for modern technology, I own quite the record collection. Records as in those big round black things with a hole in the middle.
Coming from a rather large setup back at my mom’s house but lacking space at our place, I spent the last few months looking for a viable solution. After adding three Ikea Expedits (square shelving) to our living room last week, that glorious moment finally came around: I got to move my records ! My search for the ultimate small and geeky record-player recommenced and I finally found what I was looking for: the Ion IPT USB portable record player. Like it’s name, the functions are a mouthful. Besides USB there’s a composite output and a port for both big and small pin headphones. On top of that there’s a built-in speaker that, in combination with room for 6 D-cell batteries, allows you to play your tunes -virtually- wherever you want (like a record store that doesn’t have any preview stations). You can play 33, 45 and even 78 RPM records. Simple controls on the top let you adjust the volume, pitch and tone. Overall, the design looks great and the form-factor (12″ x 12″), the included dust-cover and the built-in handle make it perfect for putting it next to your records on your shelving.
The device ships with simpflified mixmeister software called EZ Audio Convert that works on both mac and PC. It records the song, lets you edit the metadata and then sends it directly to iTunes. The only downside is that it doesn’t seem to be compatible with the latest version of iTunes. Still, you can use other apps like Audacity or even Garageband to convert your records into mp3’s.
But this is where it gets geeky: I took it just a step further by hooking the player up to the iMac, running it through airfoil and that way enabling myself to listen to the record that’s playing on any audio source I want (our bedroom speakers that are hooked up to an airport express or even my macbook’s internal speakers when I’m at my desk).