PalmSounds would have been 15 today

It seems odd to me that my original blog would have turned 15 years old today. Odd and slightly sad that it is no longer an ongoing thing. Like all good things, it naturally came to an end. If that were not the case, it would have been a cause for celebration. But perhaps it still should be. There were a lot of high points from my long journey with PalmSounds. I made a lot of friends. I saw a lot of people get a huge amount of enjoyment and satisfaction from using mobile devices to make music, and I saw some truly amazing technology during those years.

To mark the occasion I thought I would remember some of those high points, and share a few of them with you. Like talking at Roli’s ‘modern music industry‘ event.

And meeting Roger Linn at another event at their offices. Which was an unexpected treat.

PalmSounds brought me to Heart n Soul too. Which was an amazing experience for me with many highlights. Again, I won’t list all of them, there are simply too many, but the events we did were truly incredible experiences.

And those were just some of the high points. There were so many more.

Blancmange: Nil By Mouth II

I actually like this series of albums by Blancmange. Although that is no surprise really as I enjoy almost everything that they do these days. Nil by mouth is an interesting idea though. Probably one that most old 1980’s bands wouldn’t necessarily toy with. But Blancmange are a bit more experimental than most, and seem very comfortable with putting out not one, but three albums of what is, in their own words, soundtrack music for unmade films.

I like the idea. I like the music. I have all three. I hope that they do more.

Winchelsea Beach

I don’t think I have been to Winchelsea beach before. But the day I went it was beautiful. Very peaceful and calm.

The calm was literally before the storm. So my time there was a little limited. As you can see from the sky it was a dramatic scene, but strangely peaceful and still.

Why is it that waves are so calming? Why is it that the sound of the sea is so peaceful. I seriously think that I could have stayed all day in that moment. Longer probably.

But the tide was coming in, and the rain was about to fall in a rather dramatic way. But the moment was still perfect.

I hope to go back again.

Knoops, hot chocolate

I have been to knoops before, back in 2018. The hot chocolate was amazing. Both excellent and very different. As I was back in Rye just last weekend I thought I would pop in and try it again. I looked up the knoops website and was interested to find out that there are now four stores. The one in Rye is still there, but there are a couple in London and another opening soon. When I had visited a few years ago I had no idea it would franchise out into a chain. Somehow that just didn’t seem very likely.

But I was wrong. Now knoops is a chain and the Rye shop is just one of the outlets. But, most importantly, was the hot chocolate any good? The short answer, yes, it was. It was very good, but there was one thing missing. Something not as it was back in 2018. When I had originally visited the Rye shop was run by the owner and he was brilliant at explaining everything about the different percentages of cocoa and what that meant.

This time round it was just like going to any other chain. Perhaps a bit nicer, but it didn’t have that local feel, that independent feel. I guess that is the price you pay for things expanding. The loss of the personal touch. The loss of that feel of something truly unique.

Knoops is still good though. The hot chocolate is still good, and I would still recommend it to anyone who likes hot chocolate.

The Windmill at Rye

It has been a long time since I was last in Rye. I think it was 2018 actually. It is a lovely little town. Full of Character and history, and, over the years, I have spent many happy times there.

I was due to go back in 2020, but like so many plans, that had to be put on hold. So it was wonderful to get back there again. Just for a few days, and with the intention of doing very little indeed. In fact, just being somewhere other than at home is a blessing these days, and I’m sure that many people feel the same.

The last time I visited Rye I stayed in the windmill, and it was so lovely that I had to go back. In many ways I am just glad that it is still there. So many places and businesses have vanished through the pandemic and I am very happy to say that the windmill in Rye is not one of them.

The actual windmill suite is the top two floors of the windmill itself, and as such is fully self contained. You might wonder why I wanted to stay there again. I think that I just like windmills. This one is obviously not a working mill. I don’t think it would be quite as comfortable a stay if it were working, but from the outside it is still obvious what the building was, and inside is very comfortable indeed.

As a place to stay it is very peaceful, and more than anything, that is what I needed. As my stay was just prior to a number of lockdown restrictions being lifted it was a slightly different stay in Rye to previous visits, but that was okay. I didn’t mind. Also the weather was particularly horrible, but again, I think at the moment I can forgive a great deal just to be somewhere other.

As a location I can commend it in every way, and, if you are interested in staying here, you should take a look at this website. I am sure that I will go back again. Perhaps not this year, but certainly in the future. Even in poor weather it is a lovely place to just be.

After Rain by Charlotte Ansell

I have been meaning to buy this book since last year and I finally got around to it. I loved her book ‘Deluge‘, which I have read twice now.

After Rain is a slimmer volume, but no less beautiful for that. I can honestly say that I have enjoyed every poem in this collection and I am sure that it is a book that I will return to many times.

A portable paradise

This collection of poetry from Roger Robinson won the TS Elliot prize in 2019. I got it from the Poetry Book Society, which I would recommend. I had never read his work before this collection, but I am now very glad that I have.

The collection was at once challenging and moving, and also, at times, somewhat impenetrable, although that probably says more about me than about this collection of poetry. But it is powerful, really powerful.

I recommended this to a friend recently, and, after finding just an excerpt of it, she was sold and wanted to read more. I think that it can have that kind of an impact.

2020 was horrible

I’m sure that I won’t be the only person who writes a summation of 2020 that begins like this. I had hoped for good things in 2020 but there were so many bad things all over the world that it is hard to see the good in any of it.

However, there was good. There was light in the almost constant shadow that has been the defining characteristic of this year. I still find it difficult to see it, to remember those few positives that were tiny specs of hope in an otherwise sea of darkness. But they were there, and in some ways it is more important to think of those.

At the start of the year I had high hopes for 2020, but it was not to be at all. This year I will just take one day at a time and leave it at that. No plans, no aspirations, just getting through one day after another. Just surviving, for now.

Goodbye IFTTT

I have been a user of IFTTT since very early on. From when I first became a user of the service it has always been free. However, now they have introduced what they call a ‘pro’ subscription tier. Apparently you can pay what you want for this tier, and for your money you get to keep all your existing automations running. If you don’t you get 3 automations and everything else is disconnected.

It doesn’t seem that you get a lot more from this ‘pro’ tier either. They have said that there are new triggers and other stuff, but I expect that for a lot of users that won’t be very helpful.

In recent times though I had all but stopped using IFTTT. Automation no longer seemed to be of that much use to me somehow. As a result I have stopped using IFTTT. So it’s goodbye IFTTT, it was fun for quite a while.

The quantified self, the sonified self

The idea of the quantified self is not a new one at all. Capturing data on steps, heart rate, weight etc is something that a lot of people do on a regular basis. I’ve been slowly taking this on board for over a year. It started with just step counting but now extends to all manner of data. However, in the last few months I’ve began to extend this into a new concept which I call ‘the sonified self’, that might be something that already exists, but if it does I’m not aware of it. This involved the capture of data, again like steps, motion, heart rate etc and turning that data into sound, or in fact music when that’s possible

I’ve been experimenting with this idea for a few months now, and more recently I think some of my experiments have got to the point where I might even share them. Not in this post, but perhaps in the coming weeks.

Before I do share some of the experimental output I plan to go into more detail about how the process works for me, or at least the component parts of the process and the technologies involved in it. As you might imagine the process involves a number of different devices and apps. However, in the centre of all of this is an app called Holonist. Holonist is in many ways the operating system for my ‘sonified self’ concept. Without it the whole process would not hang together at all.

Holonist really deserves a post all on its own. It’s a complex piece of software and I have barely scratched the surface of it. There’s a lot more to learn and experiment with, and I’m very aware that I am at the start of what could be a long journey.

The next post on this topic will probably focus entirely on the Holonist app itself, after that I’ll cover the process, and, hopefully by then I’ll be able to share some output.