Thursday, June 27, 2013

Jhankar beats

Yeah I am talking about those obnoxious remixed hindi music in 90's. I am in Bangalore and I was travelling on one of the marginally fit, may-be illegal private transport buses that run in Whitefield area. Suddenly they started playing music from Hindi film Saajan. While Jhankar beat re-mixes generally turn out to be sort of a child's play on digital drums, it did have some nostalgic element.
No, do not bring the jhankar beat tapes out.. I'm just saying..

Sunday, December 2, 2012

iTunes11, media player thoughts

The new iTunes(iTunes11) is out and were you waiting eagerly for it? though there wasn't anything wrong with existing iTunes as far as mac users were concerned?  Anyway, my quick verdict is it is "Pretty good"
If you are a big apple fan guy with all kinds of over priced apple devices with you, this software is going to give you a complete "unified" experience. Not that it matters much for me, I don't care as long as the player plays my mp3s well and supports plugins such as sound FX and visualizers.
Anyway, the new iTunes runs quite fast. It gets rid of a lot of UI clutter (the left navigational bar) that made iTunes the best UI once up on a time. Well, `the times they are a changin'` looks like after all apple is overdosing on the KISS principle. The best feature, to call out is the mini player. It quickly gets out of your way, still keeps running as a little label of sufficient information and controls. The ability to access music control and playlist/search(of your library) up on mouse hover is a pretty sweet deal.

Now, I hear that this new iTunes does not rip CDs. That is going to be a bummer for people like me who have free access to CD archives. For records, I have not tested this as I run an air, without a CD drive.

A few hours of playing around and a bug surfaces. May be apple just ignored the issue or are going to suggest some outrageous options such as update from cloud etc. But the issue is that iTunes no longer displays embedded album art for music stored in iPods - if you care for such stuff.

Here is the tiny player working its magic.

I always long for a media player that is tiny and gets out of your way pretty quickly. At the same time, I long for features such as sound effects and visualization. Thinking of media players, hm that calls for another big write up of itself. But here is my player of choice per platform :

OS X - iTunes and Clementine
Windows - Aimp3
Linux - QMMP

OK so EDIT time:
With all the UI sweetness, I was almost sold to iTunes 11. Then I figured that it lacked a one big feature that is for sure required. You can not filter your damn iPod music on new iTunes. When you are in context of your iPod music, the filter box on top right corner serves nothing but for filtering the so called "Music Library" on your computer. What a f*king joke? And where did the "principle of least astonishment go" as far as this "astonishment" is concerned?

So, I decided to rollback and so did I, with the help of this post. I suggest you do too unless you want to have a fluffy upgrade that caters to people in the "cloud".

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Kid in the block

I was getting a little frustrated with how Ubuntu was becoming bloated (with wrong choices of UI shell and basic stuff like media player ) and "un-userfriendly". My quest for a faster/better ubuntu alternative took me to Linux Mint. And what a pleasant surprise. Though based on ubuntu itself, this avatar impresses with performance - especially on a lower end hardware like the cr-48 or my co-worker's age old Dell latitude.

The first remarkable feature that you will note (of course after responsiveness) is the improved user interface. It is not only the theme, that makes the user comfortable but the improved menu. Ignore if there is some resemblance to windows 7, but the menu is far more organized and user friendly.
This is one of the best application menu I have seen in recent Linux systems. The feel is more windows like - something that I do not like personally. But if you are a recent switcher, you will feel at home and find that the UI work flows are simplified for good. For the usual Linux user, this distro is also as flexible as anything other. You can turn around things depending on your taste and usage. 

Plus, it takes care of installing all necessary basic applications and codecs that you need. It will not trouble you with a cryptic message box about codecs and copyrights when you try to play mp3 for the first time. The default music player seems to be banshee, personally I like rhythmbox.

Another is the software updates. It follows the tried and tested Ubuntu/Debian style of package management, which is pretty solid. The update management is very user-friendly.
You may even like the little "geeky Easter eggs" that shows up as you open terminal session - if you ever do it. 

And what more, the recent release supports "mate", the gnome2 fork for people who think gnome 3 is a bloat.
Go ahead try it as your next Linux installation.