This is a little journey back in time to before there were iPhones, and when PDAs were big. Ok, not big perhaps, but prevalent to a degree. Back then there were a few applications (we didn’t call them apps back then), that were for music, but, to be honest, they were few and far between. Also there was no standard architecture for things like plug ins on mobile. So it was an interesting time.
One of the most interesting and advanced was Griff. It was a Windows Mobile application, and it had a unique architecture, at least in terms of mobile applications. Griff was essentially a sequencer with a plug in architecture allowing it to be highly extensible.
There was also a reasonable number of these plug ins too. Mainly synths, but also samplers and drum machines. It was very cool in a world before iOS music making.
Whilst it’s not completely abandoned, the web site is still there. It isn’t what it quite was, but you can still find things, and you can still download things I think.
Whilst it’s understandable that Griff is no longer a going concern I still feel a little wistful about it. I remember first discovering it, although I was late to the party. It was a real revelation, and I actually bought a more powerful Windows Mobile PDA to be able to use it.
This is a good project for these times. Especially if you have an old Windows Mobile PDA hanging around. As I do!
Just a quick post following an email I got today. Ableton have put up a very handy page with a bunch of useful things for Ableton users and also non users too. You can find the page here.
In particular you should check out the excellent book Making Music: 74 Creative Strategies for Electronic Music Producers, which is available in multiple formats. I’ve read this more than once and it is very handy indeed.
A new album from one of my favourite bands, “Blancmanage”. Waiting Room (Volume 1).
Apparently this is a collection of songs that didn’t fit anywhere else. I can understand how that happens. It makes sense to me. I bought it, mainly to support Blancmange in these strange and troubled times. I didn’t expect much, but, on the whole, these are pretty good tracks.
They certainly have a feel of not really fitting together, and, if this makes any sense at all, that sort of binds them together. In a ‘not really binding together’ way. Which I will admit makes no sense either.
I’ll listen to them again soon(-ish), and I may even write something more about this collection of songs. Who knows.
I bought this single last week, and I’ve been playing it a lot ever since. It’s actually really good. In fact, it’s a lot like the kind of music I think that Neil Arthur should be making with Blancmange. So it was a big strange really to be listening to it when it wasn’t by…
I know that you can’t guarantee that a Kickstarter project will come about. But when a project raises $1.5m+ and ends up with less than £20k in the bank you have to ask about why and how that happened. This is the case with the Blocks Smartwatch. It did really well on kickstarter and now is in receivership. I’m annoyed about this.
No one is going to get what they ordered. No one is going to get their money back. How do you turn all that cash into a complete failure? I just don’t know.
It makes me, and I’m guessing the other 500 odd backers, a lot more cautious about putting down money for Kickstarter campaigns that may never see the light of day. I’ve still got a couple that are now years behind schedule and fairly doubtful about. These days I find myself resisting most interesting ideas on Kickstarter simply because of being burnt once already.
I would have liked to have seen this device come to life. I think the idea of modular things, but perhaps it was just never to be.
I did this back in July of 2019 with a friend. It was a good laugh. That is to say, what I remember of it was a good laugh. I started at noon and managed to get a train home about 12 hours later, so it was a pretty big commitment.
As far as I recall (and that isn’t too far), it was around 15-18 bars or tap rooms. Each with its own brews and guest beers too. Also all of it was craft ale, which I’m not always fond of, but there were a few real stand out beers from that day. One of which was Hiver, a honey beer that I’ve now had several times and just doesn’t disappoint in my opinion.
I would do it again I think. Especially in the summer, when the weather is good and so is the company. Either way, I would thoroughly recommend this, or at least some parts of it. If you’re interested then just look up the Bermondsey Beer Mile in Google Maps. You’ll find everything you need.
Like so many other events Beyond the Border has been postponed. It’s a shame. The last time I went was at St Donat’s, which is a beautiful venue for a festival like this. The next time the festival runs it will be somewhere else, and I’m not sure that’ll work for me. Sometimes it is a good idea to know when you just want the memories of a thing to be left as something beautiful to look back on.
It might be now for me. It might be a good time to leave it anyway. Given that it’s postponed for now I don’t really have to decide. I hope that it does get going again next year. It would be a shame for it to end completely.
For some time I’ve thought that my Pebble Time smartwatch was done for. But just a week or so ago I managed to resurrect it. Partly just as an experiment to see if it might be useful or not. Partly as something to do at the moment.
So far it seems to be working ok. My next step is to see if I can connect it to Rebble as the original Pebble servers are long gone. More on that in the next few days I’d guess.
Pebble’s latest iOS app (and I guess Android as well), removes the Pebble watch reliance on Pebble’s servers and means that the device can last a lot longer than the end of 2017, or at least that’s how it seems. I’m still hopeful that someone else will bring out a real alternative firmware for Pebble…
I’d been wondering when this might happen. I thought it was very likely that a group might come together to launch something for the Pebble community before they’re forsaken by Pebble, or rather Fitbit in a year. It’s early days, but I hope that they do make something worthwhile.
Given the current situation I think that now is the time for me to start this off. I’ve had it for a while, and I’ve been waiting for the right moment to get it out and give it a try. That moment is now.