Apogee One First Impressions

I ordered Apogee One (the new one for iPad and Mac) and it arrived today.

I am blown away by this thing. Listening it made me realise how huge difference a good audio interface can make. I have never used anything this good.

The effect is interesting. Listening the audio from this device made me instantly turn down the volume from my usual listening level because I can suddenly hear so much more. And also I felt like I have to turn down the volume because this crystal clear clarity was almost like too much for my ears. I first thought it’s ear fatigue, but it’s not. My ears are not tired. They are just so completely happy.. Even listening with my Bose QC15 headphones (which are not meant for monitoring but for enjoying music) makes me feel like I’m listening a high quality professional desk; the sound is so neutral. I believe this would be even more neutral if listened with things like Genelec monitors. I have always been big fan of neutral sound versus a pleasing sound. Apogee One does reveal much more of the mix. I don’t know if this can be a bad thing. Nonetheless, this is fabulous way to enjoy music.

I also tested Apogee One’s inputs the guitar input and XLR mike input. I am impressed about the quality of the inputs. It’s just magic. My Sennheiser Evo dynamic mic sounded absolutely great and there’s tons of detail to the sound and almost zero audible noise. I never thought Evo would sound this good. I also tried plugging in a Sony pin mic to the guitar input and see if it worked; actually it worked perfectly well and this one can be also used for recording. What’s really cool about this is that the inputs can be recorded simultaneously.

I was kind of suspicious of the onboard mic but this turned out to be a pretty damn good mic for voice over work and such, and could be easily used for recording guitars and such.

The box includes tons of accessories, basically everything that’s needed, even various adapters for different electric outlets, all cables that are needed including 30-pin connector for older iPads and Lightning cable, and English manual. I downloaded Apogee Maestro 2 and the mixer app is simple and makes sense.

I was a little surprised about the size of The One. I imagined that the device is more like size of Apple Remote. But actually this is more like size of a hefty, thick AV remote. The build quality is excellent. This is reassuringly solid and strong piece of equipment. Also the on board mic takes in a very little handling noise, probably due to the metallic construction and weight of the device; way better than my Zoom Q3HD recorder. The base has nice rubber mat which keeps the thing from moving on table and adds to the feeling of solidity.

Then, the USB cable is long enough.

The headphone jack is by the way very tight but that’s nothing but great thing. (Macbook Pro’s Thunderbolt jacks should be this tight!)

I will write a complete review of this lovely piece of equipment soon, after I have composed some stuff with Garageband and tested it completely with iPad as well.

Soap opera effect

Via Lifehacker

If you or someone you know has ever unboxed a new HDTV and set it up only to find the video looks terrible and overly smooth, the problem is simple: Motion Smoothing, which often ships on by default, is enabled on the set, and turning it off will give you the experience you’re looking for.

This is something what really annoys me in modern TV’s. The interpolated motion just looks so unnatural, and pretty much kills the feeling of any cinematic masterpiece.  Moreover, the interpolation itself is often imperfect, resulting in occasional stuttering. I don’t care how it works but I want it turned off. It does indeed make The Godfather look like Bold and the Beautiful.

It also seems that this cannot be disabled on some TV’s.

I didn’t mind higher framerate of Hobbit. Not at all actually, for me it felt completely natural. Those are real frames, that’s why.

Seriously, Dream

Sir Richard:

Don’t betray your dreams for the sake of fitting in. Dreaming is one of humanity’s greatest gifts – it champions aspiration, spurs innovation, leads to change, and propels the world forward.

Couldn’t agree more. He also writes:

The benefits of dreaming far outweigh the perceived risks, because the value of dreaming isn’t just measured by the outcome, but the inspiration that comes from journey of achieving the dream.

Is there a better way to live?

Good Bye Flickr

Screen Shot 2014-12-20 at 8.58.24 AM

I decided to part my ways with Flickr.

To be really honest, I guess I lost interest after the major revamp of the site, and Marisa Meyer’s particular statement. I used to pay for being Flickr Pro member but after the new site came along it lost it’s charm. Pro users still got ability upload files larger than 200mb and upload more than 1TB worth of images, neither of which I need. There are some stats and other such minor things that the new standard accounts didn’t include, but anyway.

To advertise the site with the tag line 1TB was just a silly move for Flickr; from point of view of professionals (oh but I forgot, there’s no such thing as professional photographer anymore) it just doesn’t make sense because no human can produce that many good quality images, even if they are like crazy large. Not even those who are like really really talented. So this sounds a lot like Flickr is becoming a site where you are supposed to upload mobile phone shots of your cat’s meals and latest trends in fingernail decoration. No problem with that but it’s just not where I want to be.

Then there was the Flickr app for iPhone which has still not made it to the Japanese App Store. Therefore, there is no legit way for me to even experience it.

Moreover, Flickr community guidelines forbid linking to commercial sites (such as your own). The guidelines are weird at best. Obviously they are just protecting their own interest regarding their upcoming Marketplace. Nudity in particularly is very poorly explained, kind of grey area really, what really is restricted and what is moderate and what not. There is no clear explanation.

Then there was the Getty Images Flickr program (which is finished by the way) which made me wonder, is this still about passionate, genuine photography? Or is this becoming another stock photography site? Finally Flickr’s Wall Art whatever thing answered that question. Although they didn’t technically break the Creative Commons licence, gimme a break! That kind of thing is just something service provider does NOT do. Only a micro stock site does that. So that’s pretty much it.

There is one more thing I’d like to mention although this isn’t actually Flickr’s fault. This year (oh man what lousy year this was) one of my images was stolen from Flickr by this shady Japanese company. It was a simple photo of a woman in cafe, a friend of mine. Her photo was used to sell some beauty product. She’s in her 30’s but in the fake profile she was told to be 40s. It was a total hell to get the Japanese advertising company to understand that they had broken copyright law and finally remove the image.

Finally I got a call from one of the guys. The conversation went somehow like this:

“Excuse me sir, am I calling you at the bad time?”

“No, not at all.”

“Yes, uhm. I’m calling you about the image you took that we used in our website”.

“Right”

“You see, we downloaded it from this website called Flickr. We have right to use the image legally”.

“Ex..cuseme?”

“Yes, have you ever heard of Flickr?”

I pointed the guy to the URL of my image and explained him the meaning of the copyright symbol. He was like “oh.. I see..” And that in fact my photo was not in Creative Commons. Next day with a cappuccino cup. I never got apology. But I don’t care. It appears that several Japanese companies are illegally obtaining images from Flickr in particular never minding whether it’s copyrighted or Creative Commons. Then, taking photos of Japanese people is my job.

Flickr? Nah, I don’t think so.

Regarding Facebook advertising

Facebook’s ‘legit’ advertising for likes is actually kind of a fraud. I would advice against spending money on it; you will not only lose your money, at the end these bought ‘likes” will cause damage to your exposure.

Check out this informative video by Veritasium.

Moreover, as the video teaches us; there is no way to delete the fake likes should you get those. Facebook, of course benefits from this sad state of affairs.