About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

05 July 2007

Farewell Cape Town (for now anyway)

I have stayed in Cape Town (with a few breaks during holidays) since February 2000. In fact, I have spend more time at UCT and surrounding areas that any other place in the world. Cape Town, for all intents and purposes has become my home city.

So I leave for Germany next week, and go for a (very) short visit to Durban before I go to Germany. I am not sure if I will be back in Cape Town on a permanent basis in the near future. I love the city - and of all the places I have been to, it is definitely one of my favourite places. However, I would also like a change of environment, see new things, do new things.

So until then, farewell Cape Town.

04 July 2007

iPhone Thoughts

So after reading a number of reviews, watching a few of the iPhone videos, my ramblings on the iPhone, possibly the most hyped gadget ever.

I think, at the end of the day, the iPhone does what it can brilliantly.

First and foremost - it is an iPod. And it is a brilliant iPod at that. It does what other iPods do, only better, and that alone is a selling point.

It is a good phone. It is an intuitive to use phone. It has some of the features that I would like (silence button for instance) but don't have. The integration with the address book is also a lot more intuitive.

It is a good medium for writing SMS text messages. This past weekend I have had SMS text message conversations comprising over 200 messages in total (it is infinitely cheaper to have a conversation via sms than to use the phone, esp over such a long period of time). It is a pain to view and organise them as they are on the Nokia that I use. The iPhone's conversation view makes brilliant sense, as does Google's gMail.

It is a good web browser. I am not talking about the speed - that is the responsibility of the network. But just as a browser it is brilliant. As someone who regularly uses wap to check my mail (via gMail) or Autosport.com etc, I can say that a full blown browser, even without plugins is long overdue.

Could it be better - off course. It could have had 3G. It could have had better battery life. It could have had faster memory. All those are for the next versions. I am sure most of the UI and multi tap screen features has been patented, and like FairPlay, no other phone manufacturer is going to come out with a UI or phone with the core features of the iPhone in the next couple of years.

At the moment, the iPhone is a good iPod with all the basic features of a phone. The first batch is effectively serving a very core market of people who will buy it because of the emotional attachment and exclusivity. The second and third generation will have more feature, and will going to target the mass appeal so that people will start wanting a iPhone because the Joneses have it. And soon, like the iPod, almost every second Tom, Dick and Sipho will seem to have it.

And then they will launch another gadget that will cause long queues similar to other gadgets on the market, with smaller set of features, but allowing the user to inteeract with those features really, really well. After all it is the usage of the features that matter, not the features themselves.

Peace Breaker

Like Carl, I also bought a new CD recently (a highly unusual occurrence for me). I was browsing at Look n Listen when I came across the new Springbok Nude Girls Album: Peace Breaker.

I was very disappointed when the Nudies didn't play more songs from this album, esp as there is such a wide variety of songs. From the heavier stuff (like the first song, and one of my favourites Gang Gang) to less heavier ballads, it has it all. And above all, as I commented to Jay, it is loud enough to keep me awake for my upcoming road trip :P

Movie: Driving Lessons

Rupert Grint (Harry Potter's Ron Weasley) plays a devout teenage boy (almost adult) who takes a summer job helping an almost retired actress. As such th eplot wouldn't be interesting except that the boy's domineering mother is a control freak, and basically over mothers her son. To top it off, there is an undercurrent of hypocracy, as although the family is a strong christian family on the outside (the father is a preacher), the mother ends up having an affair with a younger preacher (apparently because it was God's will).

It is a good comedy that explores some of the links between common sense, legality, adventure and safety. It is a movie about friendship accross age groups (no nothing sexual) - and about having fun, regardless of your age.

01 July 2007

Music: Cold Hand Chemistry, 12th Avenue & Autopilot

Last night, I went to the Independent Armchair Theatre on a whim - I knew that there were bands playing, and knew it was rock/metal - but nothing else. No idea who they were, how good they were etc. It is the best R 30 I have spent recently.

Cold Hand Chemistry is a relatively new metal band; and they played a short 30 minute set. Of the three bands last night, they had the most diverse range of instruments (keyboard and percussion), but it was their composition and mixing of their instruments that really stood out for me. To be honest, their vocalist was not impressive - she was not exceptional (but I suppose you don't need to be song bird to be in a metal group), and that did impact some of their actual songs. But their lyrics (esp their last song) was really impressive - and in my opinion, the last song was the best song I heard this weekend. I think this band could go places ...

12th Avenue is a more old fashioned rock band, two guitars, one bass guitarist and a drummer. They are getting ready to launch a new album, so they played songs from old and new albums (not that it made any difference to me). Lots of energy, and generally good catchy songs. Not exactly pop rock, but good entertainment.

The main event was Autopilot launching their new music video. First and foremost - their mixing was atrocious. Too much bass, and too much volume - for everything - it just didn't seem to gel together. And although, like 12th Avenue, they had some pop rock, catchy tunes, it just wasn't as much of a pleasurable experience. And the video seemed to have the same problems, so I don't think it is a venue issue - but more of a band arrangement issue.

Music: Captain Stu and the Llamas & The Rudimentals

I have always been a big fan of the Rudimentals, and went to see them perform at the Zula Sound Bar on Friday night.

The support act was Captain Stu and the Llamas, also a ska band. They are a big band - 4 brass players, 2 guitarists, a drummer and the vocalist - but they have lots of energy, and were really entertaining. I can't really comment on the lyrics for two reasons: 1) the vocal volume was on the low side, and 2) I don't really try to understand the fake Jamaican accents Ska and reggae bands try to incorporate. Their music however also encompassed some other styles including Hip Hop and rock, although none of these songs can really be considered special.

The Rudimentals are a brilliant stage act. Their CDs, for whatever reasons, just doesn't do them justice for their skills, and for me, they are a prime example of why live music can be so much better than CDs. The Rudimentals are opening for UB 40 when the tour SA in the next two weeks, and so this set was their "warm up" set. And after quite a while, I heard some new stuff from them - new songs and some new collaborations with another Reggae artist (name escapes me). And as can be expected from the Rudimentals, they were brilliant on stage, and got every one up and moving! Yet another great gig!