My iPhone SE 2020

Home button. Touch ID. Lightweight and future-proofed.

Comparatively inexpensive at US $400.

This is the iPhone for the rest of us.  🙂

My iPhone X was starting to die after 2.5 years.  Of various options, I decided to carry two phones for now:

iPhone X (no service) – photos and video

iPhone SE – phone, text, internet, audio books and podcasts, etc.

Having two should solve any end-of-day battery problems.

Rene Ritchie is my Apple guru.

Click PLAY or watch his review on YouTube.

why I switched to the BREAKER podcasting app

Apple popularized podcasting. But they’ve never been very keen. Not enough profit. Most podcasts are free, you see.

The default Apple podcast app has never been one of the best.  For years it was iTunes. Then they finally spun off a dedicated Podcasts app.

In 2015 I tried and failed to switch to better alternatives:

Downcast
Instacast

Sadly, I couldn’t see enough advantage over the default Apple software.

Happily, I’ve now switched to the Breaker app on IOS.  It has a more confusing interface, but it’s well worth switching.

  • improved sleep timer
  • speed up podcasts by 1.2x or 1.4x.  The apple default only offers 1.5x.
  • easier to share a specific episode in many ways

Click PLAY or watch a review on YouTube.

Influential ALBUMS of my youth

Bridge over Troubled Water (1970)

We walked to Woolco.

This is the first ALBUM I bought. My second choice (that I couldn’t afford) was The Beatles.

Previously I had only purchased 45 singles.

Though Rockin’ Ronnie no longer recalls this episode, I’m quite sure he telephoned me in 1974. I rode my bicycle over to his place in Lakeview where he played me Queen II.

It was a revelation.

… “Side White” and “Side Black” (instead of the conventional sides “A” and “B”), with corresponding photos of the band dressed in white or in black on either side of the record’s label face. …

I’ve been a big Queen fan ever since.

The Scottish band Nazareth got BIG in Canada before the States.

They were my first LIVE concert. It might have been the Loud ‘n’ Proud tour. Or possibly the earlier Razamanaz tour.

In High School we listened to both those albums a lot. For a short time.

I lost faith later thinking they had gone too commercial. Sold out. 

Most of the music I like best was introduced to me by friends, especially Ron and Kate.

One exception was The Eagles. For some reason I considered them my discovery. I kept insisting High School friends pay attention.

Their fantastic debut album was Eagles (1972).  But it was Desperado (1973) that I loved best.  Every track superb.

  • Tequila Sunrise
  • Doolin-Dalton
  • Twenty-One

I graduated High School 1975 age-16 and took a gap year. We saved money to tour Europe spring 1976 in an orange VW van.

Leaving Canada my favourite album was The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle. (1973)

Springstein wasn’t all that famous yet.

Jon Landau saw Bruce playing Cambridge, Massachusetts’ Harvard Square Theater on May 9th, 1974 and declared him the future of Rock and Roll. But it took Born to Run, released August 25, 1975, before he got really famous.

By the time we got back from Europe, Springstein was arguably the #1 recording artist in the world.

To this day, I love all early Springstein.

I had a punk era. Clash. Sex Pistols. Patti Smith. But I’m thinking it was Television that was most important to me. I recall playing Marquee Moon (1977) full volume in my parent’s back yard. No doubt the neighbours hated it.

Though you’ve probably never heard of this album, critics raved. In Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (2003), it ranked 128th.

During University we spent a lot of time listening to LIVE punk at the Calgarian Hotel.  My favourite local band – The Slits.

Another influential album for me during my University days was the first Violent Femmes album.

Most of the tracks were written when the songwriter, Gordon Gano, was 18 years old and still in high school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Add It Up“, “Blister in the Sun“. Powerful raw songs as relevant today as they ever were.

Billie Jo Campbell, a 3-year-old, was walking down a street in California when  her mother was approached and offered $100 for taking this photograph.

I could include Leonard Cohen on this list. But even more important to me was Stan Rogers.

I don’t recall owning any of Stan’s albums. By that time in my life everything was Cassette mixed tapes

… therefore I’ll add The Very Best of Stan Rogers (2011) .

Stan died in a fire aboard Air Canada Flight 797 on the ground at the Greater Cincinnati Airport at the age of 33.  Tragic.

I listened to Stan most after his death.

When traveling people would ask me to recommend Canadian music.  I consistently recommended Stan Rogers and The Tragically Hip, quintessential Great White North music.

At Altadore Gym Club in the 1970s and 80s we listened to a LOT of Stones and Led Zeppelin. Best album?

Perhaps Led Zeppelin IV.

There are many, many more influential bands of course.

Talking Heads, James Taylor, Prince, Fleetwood Mac, Elvis Costello, B-52’s, …

Like most people my age, I felt popular music got worse in the 1980s.

I listened to less and less. Bought very few CDs.

At some point I gave up on music entirely. Today I listen exclusively to audio books and podcasts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My favourite podcasts 2020

During COVID-19 many of us have more time to listen to audio. Here are some of my favourites.

Search for them by name on your preferred podcasting platform, if interested.

Online audiocasts are as old as the internet.

But we have the silly, unintuitive name podcast because Steve Jobs called the Apple device an iPod.

BBC journalist Ben Hammersley first suggested the name “Podcast” (a portmanteau, a combination of “iPod” and “broadcast“) it in early February 2004.

I try to call the audio only version “audiocasts“. Leo Laporte still uses the term “netcast” for both audio only and video podcasts.

Dave Winer is most often credited as the inventor as he decided to include new audio functionality in RSS 0.92.  Dave demonstrated it worked on January 11, 2001 by enclosing a Grateful Dead song in his Scripting News weblog.

 

MUST LISTEN – The Adventure Podcast

Every week I listen to Dave Adlard and Kraig Becker discussing adventures around the world.

Always entertaining.  And informative.

They’ve just posted their official 100th episode:

Our Favorite Podcast Moments

Through 100 Shows

 

____ Here’s my review of the very start from Dec 24, 2017. 

For years Kraig has been my main source of news on outdoor adventure on his site called The Adventure Blog.

He and Dave are co-hosting an extension of that site with a weekly online radio show.

Both are gear nuts. From episode 1 they’ve already convinced me I NEED two products:

The new Omni smart helmet. Indegogo.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

And a Dji spark drone.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Check out the podcast here.

FAVE Podcasts – Pivot & Prof G Show

One MUST LISTEN for me twice a week is Pivot.

That’s Tech guru Kara Swisher and my business guru Scott Galloway.

Galloway is hilariously cynical and critical. 😀 And smart.

Preview or subscribe on iTunes.

… a sharp, unfiltered look at the technology industry, with provocations, predictions and insights from two leading voices in the worlds of journalism and marketing.

Scott Galloway just launched his own podcast called the Prof G Show.

Unfortunately the first episode coincided with the pending economic collapse of the world. Galloway opted to bring in as his first guest one of the most respected Finance experts in the world Aswath Damodaran.

I came away feeling much more optimistic about the other side of this crisis.

IF corporations (and we individuals) have enough liquidity to last out the shut down, the economy could boom again.

My Apple Watch 5 Review

I went decades without a watch ‘cuz TIME ain’t the boss of me.

When I finally got around to trying Apple Watch 3, I was instantly hooked. It’s an essential part of my life now. I can’t live without a smart watch. 

LOVE IT. 

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Having broken two Apple Watch 3 faces already, when I decided to upgrade the 5 I paid the extra for Apple Care. It covers everything for 2 years.

The normal warranty is 1 year and does not cover cracked glass, the most common way to break it.

In addition, for even more protection, I added an OtterBox Exo Edge Rugged Apple Watch Case.

Watch a video on that product.

Initially I thought the much cheaper Apple Watch 3 would do everything I need.

… Until Rene Ritchie convinced me to upgrade to the 5. Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

How much does it cost?

If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.

Get a Casio. 😀

the BUSINESS of American Politics

I’ve followed politics in the USA since G.W. Bush was elected a second time in 2004. I had one question:

Why are so many Americans so stupid?

And why are Americans so close to a 50/50 split in so many elections.

Here’s one possible explanation. Many, MANY make a lot of money when American elections are close: lobbyists, consultants, media, broadcasters. They have incentive to try to keep it close.

In the most recent two-year election cycle, the political industry generated roughly $16 billion in revenue. Meanwhile, customer satisfaction — that is, from voters — is at a historic low. (Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty)

Freakonomics audiocast:

Some say the Republicans and Democrats constitute a wildly successful industry that has colluded to kill off competition, stifle reform, and drive the country apart.

America’s Hidden Duopoly (Ep. 356)

Re-emergence of American Anti-Semitism

One of my favourite podcasts is The Daily.

This is one of their best. Listen here:

Re-emergence of American Anti-Semitism

American Anti-Semitism is a much more complicated issue than I thought.

The racist President clearly encourages anti-Semites. Recall how Trump defended these A-holes.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Yet he consistently defends Israel. Why is that?

I finally learned that white extremists want Israel to survive so American Jews will flee there.

Podcasts are booming

Recall when pundits were saying podcasting is dying?

Not so.

Apple Podcasts currently hosts north of 550,000 active shows, a bump from the 525,000 the company reported back in April — that’s a considerable jump from the 3,000 programs it hosted when the program launched back in 2005. …

Tech Crunch

I’ve been a daily listening fan since they started.

On The Media has been my favourite for perhaps the last decade.

Most people still get their audiocasts from iTunes. It’s not perfect. Nor is the Podcast app on IOS.

On the upside Apple is quite strict about who gets hosted. I never hear of any Nazi podcasts on the platform, for example.