Category: Home

  • More Classical Music app weirdness

    Having endured Apple Music since it started, begrudgingly paying an annual subscription mostly because it is no worse than any of the other streaming services, I was hopeful that the Apple Music Classical app might be an improvement. Alas what we have so far has left me somewhere between annoyed and angry.

    What is classical music? According to Apple..

    Does Apple Music Classical feature other types of music?
    No. Apple Music Classical is completely focused on classical music.

    But as Kirk McElhearn points out in his extensive and more positive review there are endless examples of music that one would not normally class as classical. The common denominator seems to be that the composer has had a piece of their music performed by an orchestra or ensemble thus appearing to be leaning towards some form of classical style of music. One of McElhearn’s examples is Robert Fripp “whose music is about as far from classical as could be”

    The inclusion of Fripp seems to hang on an interpretation of a section of Fracture from Starless And Bible Black by the guitarist Alberto Mesirca and a rendition by the Japanese Trouvère Quartet of 21st Century Schizoid Man.

    From there we fall down the bizarre rabbit hole of Apple’s Music search algorithm which is so fuzzy it is often nigh impossible to determine why something has been included in the results. Fripp has twenty four albums listed in the Classical app. These range from his own albums to collaborations with Brian Eno to David Bowie’s greatest hits via Wagner and Stravinsky. The Wagner includes Robert Heger and, separately, The Chapman Tripp Opera Chorus, The Stravinsky, recorded in 1962 while teenage Fripp was concentrating on school examinations, similarly, I can only assume, is included because it was conducted by Robert Craft and features Paul Tripp 🤷‍♂️

    So Classical = not Classical. Perhaps Serious would be a better descriptor – music created to be listened to rather than a product to be marketed and sold to specific demographic. As Duke Ellington once observed:

    There are simply two kinds of music, good music and the other kind … the only yardstick by which the result should be judged is simply that of how it sounds. If it sounds good it’s successful; if it doesn’t it has failed.

    Duke Ellington: Where Is Jazz Going? Music Journal; New York Vol. 20, Iss. 3,  (Mar 1, 1962)

    There are two kinds of Music app – the good Music app and the other kind….

    Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works. 

    Steve Jobs: The Next Insanely Great Thing, Wired Feb 1, 1996

  • The sounds of the city

    The March photo challenge provides a word as a prompt to inspire the images for that day. Today’s prompt was Early. So as I was awake anyway I recorded the chorus of birds:

    Those more able to identify the birds than I may care to compare with this recording from April 2018:

    At least we are no longer disturbed by the May 2021 woodpecker hammering away at 5am:

  • icePad

    It has been very chilly lately but it is returning to a normal temperature today – which should please the iPad…

    iPad screen reporting that charging is paused due to cold temperature.

  • The Vanquis App Disaster

    It is not clear what has happened with the Vanquis app and they are certainly not going to admit to anything untoward. I have an image of a disgruntled employee handing in their notice and hitting the delete button on the way out. Whatever it is it is amusing to sit back and watch; but I have a zero balance – it will be considerably less amusing and more frustrating for users who actually need to use the app to make payments etc.

    The average banking type app gets four or five reviews a day. The Vanquis app gets around fifty five star reviews every day. These are clearly fake reviews and are there to drown out the one star reviews from frustrated users. Several of the one star actual users have commented on the fake reviews and ask that they be reported to Apple. I have done so but what Apple could or would do remains to be seen. Who would not take time out of their day to say something was “Easy to use”?

    Fake five star reviews of the Vanquis app

    Well Mr Christopher Johnson (or the less than BrillentAJ) for one and anyone else who was not be paid to do so. Of course there will be the inevitable glitch and user 260446 failed to read the instructions and gave their “Easy to use” review a one star rating.

    Mostly real one star reviews of the Vanquis app.

    Although the app (and web site) was broken before the recent update to iOS 16 many users noticed it after updating and so attributed the malfunctioning to the iOS update but there is a wave of frustrated users on Android devices too which suggests the problem is systemic at the Vanquis end rather than on individual devices.

    Android reviews of the Vanquis app

    But, let us whisper it, the Internet was not designed to do any of this stuff and so you have layers of complexity added to it to give the illusion of usability and security when a peak behind the curtain reveals the whole thing is cobbled together with bits of string and blu-tack and can start to fall apart at any moment. That message from your bank about their online services not being available overnight due to important maintenance should say “we have found yet another hole large enough to drive a bus through and are frantically trying to patch it before anyone notices”.

    At least it is not as bad as all the crypto/web 3 nonsense. Even Safe Hands Sunak could not resist joining the imbecilic gold rush.

All original content may be freely copied. Illustration on packaging may not match content.
Batteries not included. Suitable for vegetarians. Open at the other end.