Saturday, December 25, 2010

Music Jokes: Viola

You didn't think I was going to finish this series without viola jokes did you!
No. In fact, I've got a particularly long one this time.
It's in two sections, the short jokes, and then (after the break), some longer jokes. I personally think the longer jokes are actually better, although the viola jokes are particularly good when compared to other instruments.

How is lightning like a violist's fingers?
Neither one strikes in the same place twice.

How do you get a violist to play a passage pianissimo tremolando?
Mark it "solo."

What's the difference between a viola and an onion?
No one cries when you cut up a viola.

What's the definition of a minor second?
Two violists playing in unison.

Why do violists stand for long periods outside people's houses?
They can't find the key and they don't know when to come in.

How can you tell when a violist is playing out of tune?
The bow is moving.

How was the canon invented?
Two violists were trying to play the same passage together.

Why is a viola solo like a bomb?
By the time you hear it, it's too late to do anything about it.

Why is a viola solo like premature ejaculation?
Because even when you know it's coming, there's nothing you can do about it.

What do a SCUD missile and a viola player have in common?
They're both offensive and inaccurate.

What is the definition of a cluster chord?
A viola section playing on the C string.

Why do violists get antsy when they see the Kama Sutra?
All those positions!

If you're lost in the desert, what do you aim for? A good viola player, a bad viola player or an oasis?
The bad viola player. The other two are only figments of your imagination.

Why do people tremble with fear when someone comes into a bank carrying a violin case?
They think he's carrying a machine gun and might be about to use it.
Why do people tremble with fear when someone comes into a bank carrying a viola case?
They think he's carrying a viola and might be about to use it.

Why can't you hear a viola on a digital recording?
Recording technology has reached such an advanced level of development that all extraneous noise is eliminated.

What instrument do violists envy most?
The harp. You only ever have to play pizzicato on open strings.

What is the similarity between a violist and a prostitute?
Both are paid to fake climaxes.

How does a violist's brain cell die?
How do you call a violist with two brain cells?

What's the similarity between the Beatles and the viola section of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra?
Neither has played together since 1970.

What is the longest viola joke?
Harold in Italy [a piece of music featuring a long viola solo]

How do you transcribe a violin piece for viola?
Divide the metronome marking by 2.

What's the difference between the first and last desk of a viola section?
  1. half a measure
  2. a semi-tone

What is the difference between a violist and a prostitute?
  1. A prostitute knows more than two positions.
  2. Prostitutes have a better sense of rhythm.

How do you get a dozen violists to play in tune?
  1. Shoot 11 of them.
  2. Shoot all of them.
  3. Who the hell wants a dozen violists?
Cross the break to get the longer jokes.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Music Jokes: Guitars & Modern Music

For the final section in this series of jokes about music and musical instruments, I'm moving on to more modern styles of music.
Before we start on this, I'm just going to give you a run down of what we've done so far:
General Music Jokes
Woodwind & Brass

And now on to the final post of the series on musical jokes.

How do you get a guitar player to play softer?
Give him some sheet music.

What do you call two guitarists playing in unison?

What happens if you play blues music backwards?
Your wife returns to you, your dog comes back to life, and you get out of prison.

What do you get when you play New Age music backwards?
New Age music.

What's the difference between a puppy and a singer-songwriter?
Eventually the puppy stops whining.

How many punk-rock musicians does it take to change a light bulb?
Two: One to screw in the bulb and the other to smash the old one on his forehead.

Know how to make a million dollars singing jazz?
Start with two million.

How many jazz musicians does it take to change a light bulb?
None. Jazz musicians can't afford light bulbs.

I found all of these jokes on the website
Visit it if you want to see even more musical jokes. I just thought these were the best.
As always, please leave comments, what were your favourite jokes, what didn't you like? Do you know any others?
Thanks for sticking through all these, and if you haven't, then I recommend you do. Musical jokes in general are really funny (although some of them require a level of musical knowledge), and I've picked only the best of the best.

If you liked these, then please subscribe by RSS, or by email so you can keep up to date with all of my posts.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Music Jokes: Vocalists

We're starting this series of musical jokes back up with vocalists. This includes jokes that relate to professionals, and some jokes that are specific to amateur singers. I think that these are actually really good.
You can see the previous post, on percussion, here.

What's the difference between a soprano and a terrorist?
You can negotiate with a terrorist.

What's the first thing a soprano does in the morning?
Puts on her clothes and goes home.

What's the next thing a soprano does in the morning?
Looks for her instrument.

What's the difference between a soprano and a Porsche?
Most musicians have never been in a Porsche.

What's the definition of an alto?
A soprano who can sightread.

How many altos does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
None. They can't get that high.

How do you tell if a tenor is dead?
The wine bottle is still full and the comics haven't been touched.

What's the definition of a male quartet?
Three men and a tenor.

How do you tell if a bass is actually dead?
Hold out a check (but don't be fooled: a slight, residual spasmodic clutching action may occur even hours after death has occurred).

What is the difference between the men's final at Wimbledon and a high school choral performance?
The tennis final has more men.

How does a young man become a member of a high school chorus?
On the first day of school he turns into the wrong classroom.

I found all of these jokes on the website
Visit it if you want to see even more musical jokes. I just thought these were the best.
As always, please leave comments, what were your favourite jokes, what didn't you like? Do you know any others?
Come back in three days for the conclusion to my series of musical jokes.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Music Jokes: Percussion

Now we're onto the bangers of the orchestra. These guys don't have many jokes either, although the ones there are are quite good.
You can see the previous section, on Woodwind & Brass, here.
What are we at now? Part 5 of the musical jokes series?

Why are orchestra intermissions limited to 20 minutes?
So you don't have to retrain the drummers.

What do you call someone who hangs out with musicians?
A drummer.

What did the drummer get on his IQ test?

How do you know when a drummer is knocking at your door?
The knock always slows down.

How do you get a drummer to play an accelerando?
Ask him to play in 4/4 at a steady 120 bpm.

I found all of these jokes on the website
Visit it if you want to see even more musical jokes. I just thought these were the best.
As always, please leave comments, what were your favourite jokes, what didn't you like? Do you know any others?
I'm going to give it a rest for a little while now, come back on the 17th for the next section.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Music Jokes: Woodwind & Brass

Here's where my own instrument comes into play in this series of jokes about musical instruments.
Have a look at the section on Strings here.
Unfortunately, I didn't find very many clarinet jokes, but there was one in particular that I loved.

Why did the chicken cross the road?
To get away from the bassoon recital.

How many clarinetists does it take to change a lightbulb?
Only one, but he'll go through a whole box of bulbs before he finds just the right one. [I love this one, as a clarinetist I know it's SO true]

What's the definition of "nerd?"
Someone who owns his own alto clarinet.

How do you know a clarinet player is playing loud?
You can almost hear them.

How many trumpet players does it take to change a lightbulb?
Five. One to handle the bulb and four to tell him how much better they could have done it.

What's the difference between trumpet players and government bonds?
Government bonds eventually mature and earn money.

Why can't a gorilla play trumpet?
He's too sensitive.

How can you make a french horn sound like a trombone?
Take your hand out of the bell and lose all sense of taste.

What is a gentleman?
Somebody who knows how to play the trombone, but doesn't.

What is the dynamic range of the bass trombone?
On or off.

These two tuba players walk past a bar...
Well, it could happen! [emphasis mine]

I found all of these jokes on the website
Visit it if you want to see even more musical jokes. I just thought these were the best.
Please leave comments, and come back in three days for the next post.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Music Jokes: Strings

Next up in our ongoing series of musical jokes is the string section.
See the section on conductors here.
I've left out the viola, because there are just two many viola jokes to fit in this section.

How many second violinists does it take to change a light bulb?
None. They can't get up that high!

Why don't viola players suffer from piles (hæmorrhoids)?
Because all the assholes are in the first violin section.

How do you get a 'cellist to play fortissimo?
Write "pp, espressivo"

How do you make a cello sound beautiful?
Sell it and buy a violin.

There was a certain bartender who was quite famous for being able to accurately guess people's IQs. One night a man walked in and talked to him briefly and the bartender said, "Wow! You must have an IQ of about 140! You should meet this guy over here." So they talked for a while about nuclear physics and existential philosophy and had a great time.

A second man walked in and soon the bartender has guessed about a 90 IQ for him. So he sat him down in front of the big-screen TV and he watched football with the other guys and had a hell of a time.

Then a third man stumbled in and talked to the bartender for a while. The bartender said to himself, "Jeez! I think this guy's IQ must be about 29!" He took him over to a man sitting at a little table back in the corner and said, "You might enjoy talking with this guy for a while."

After the bartender left, the man at the table said, "So do you play French bow or German bow?"

What do you get when you drop a piano down a mine shaft?
A flat minor.

What do you get when you drop a piano on an army base?
A flat major.

The audience at a piano recital were appalled when a telephone rang just off stage. Without missing a note the soloist glanced toward the wings and called, "If that's my agent, tell him I'm working!"

I found all of these jokes on the website
Visit it if you want to see even more musical jokes. I just thought these were the best.
Please leave comments, and come back in three days for the next post.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Music Jokes: Conductors

This is the second part of a series of posts which are simply lists of musical jokes.
See the first part here.
After general music jokes, I thought the conductor would be appropriate to make fun of, standing up there waving his stick about.

What do do with a horn player that can't play?
Give him two sticks, put him in the back, and call him a percussionist.
What do you do if he can't do that?
Take away one of the sticks, put him up front, and call him a conductor.

"Mommy," said the little girl, "can I get pregnant by anal intercourse?"
"Of course you can." her mother replied. "How do you think conductors are made?"

What's the difference between a bull and an orchestra?
The bull has the horns in the front and the asshole in the back

Why is a conductor like a condom?
It's safer with one, but more fun without.

What's the difference between alto clef and Greek?
Some conductors actually read Greek.

How to irritate the conductor
  1. Never be satisfied with the tuning note. Fussing about the pitch takes attention away from the podium and puts it on you, where it belongs.
  2. Look the other way just before cues.
  3. Never have the proper mute, a spare set of strings, or extra reeds. Percussion players must never have all their equipment.
  4. Pluck the strings as if you are checking tuning at every opportunity, especially when the conductor is giving instructions. Brass players: drop mutes. Percussionists have a wide variety of dropable items, but cymbals are unquestionably the best because they roll around for several seconds.
  5. At dramatic moments in the music (while the conductor is emoting) be busy marking your music so that the climaxes will sound empty and disappointing.
  6. Wait until well into a rehearsal before letting the conductor know you don't have the music.
  7. Look at your watch frequently. Shake it in disbelief occasionally.
  8. Tell the conductor, "I can't find the beat." Conductors are always sensitive about their "stick technique", so challenge it frequently.
  9. As the conductor if he has listened to the Bernstein recording of the piece. Imply that he could learn a thing or two from it. Also good: ask "Is this the first time you've conducted this piece?"
  10. When rehearsing a difficult passage, screw up your face and shake your head indicating that you'll never be able to play it. Don't say anything: make him wonder.
  11. If your articulation differs from that of others playing the same phrase, stick to your guns. Do not ask the conductor which is correct until backstage just before the concert.
  12. Find an excuse to leave rehearsal about 15 minutes early so that others will become restless and start to pack up and fidget.
  13. During applause, smile weakly or show no expression at all. Better yet, nonchalantly put away your instrument. Make the conductor feel he is keeping you from doing something really important.

I found all of these jokes on the website
Visit it if you want to see even more musical jokes. I just thought these were the best.
Please leave comments, and come back in three days for the next post.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Soundtrack

This is a response to a conversation I had with my friend over Facebook. His comment was:

the music was different. usually its all orchestral nd stuff. this time there was electronic john hopkins liek stuff and medeval sounding acoustic guitars. im talking background music specifically
just my opinion

Background music. Exactly. That's all it was. It didn't have any of the usual flare of a John Williams score. There wasn't anything memorable in it, except perhaps the music Daniel and Emma danced to, which doesn't really count.

They didn't even use the main theme "Hedwig's Theme" during the title sequence or credits, which they normally do.

Sure, the music did a great job of adding to the atmosphere, but that was all it was, atmospheric music. John Williams himself has this way of adding to the atmosphere fantastically whilst creating incredibly memorable tunes. Everyone knows the main Harry Potter tune, Darth Vader's Theme, Star Wars Main Title, the Superman Theme, the Jaws theme, the list goes on.
No one's going to remember the music from this film in my opinion.

(Follow the break to get down to the ratings and the next film)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Music Jokes

This is the first part of a series of posts which are simply lists of musical jokes.
I thought it would be appropriate to start with some jokes that apply to all musicians, so here goes.

What's the first thing a musician says at work?
"Would you like fries with that?"

What do you call a musician without a significant other?

What would a musician do if he won a million dollars?
Continue to play gigs until the money ran out.

"Wagner's music has beautiful moments but some bad quarters of an hour."

"A drummer is a musician's best friend."
from a Martin Mull album.

"The clarinet is a musical instrument the only thing worse than which is two."
-- The Devil's Dictionary, by Ambrose Bierce

Maestro (to Horns): "Give us the F in tune!"
Violist (to Maestro): "Please can we have the F-in' tune too?"

  • string quartet: a good violinist, a bad violinist, an ex-violinist, and someone who hates violinists, all getting together to complain about composers.
  • cadence: when everybody hopes you're going to stop, but you don't.
  • music: a complex organizations of sounds that is set down by the composer, incorrectly interpreted by the conductor, who is ignored by the musicians, the result of which is ignored by the audience.
  • cello: the proper way to answer the phone.

I found all of these jokes on the website
Visit it if you want to see even more musical jokes. I just thought these were the best.
Please leave comments, and come back in three days for the next post.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

FOBISSEA Music 2010 (Part 3)

This is part three (and the final part) in a series of posts.

There are many reasons that I enjoyed this trip more than past trips, but the main one I want to talk about is my own personal experiences with the music. (The other main reason is that it was a much more social experience for me, and I feel I socialised with new people from my school, as well as people from other schools, but that’s not very interesting for anyone other than myself.) The Beethoven symphony is my favourite piece of music of all time. Some of the pieces I wasn’t playing in were great to listen to, James Bond, Viva la Vida, Smoke on the Water, Jump from Glee. But that isn’t the best of it. In two of the pieces, I was the only clarinet to play. One Short Day, from the musical Wicked, was for choir and a small band. I’ve had experience with pieces like this before, and although they look simple at first, they’re always actually quite a challenge. This was no exception, although it was great fun to play, being the only one playing at many points.

The other piece that I loved was called Look at the World. It was originally for the whole orchestra, but the conductor decided he only wanted 6 strings, 1 flute, and 1 clarinet to play. I was the best clarinet there, so he asked me to play. It was incredibly beautiful, but also very hard at points. For me, those two pieces were the highlight of the whole trip.

There’s so much more I could say, but this is already 3 parts long, so I’ll just finish by saying what a great experience it was, and I can’t wait until next year in Beijing!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

FOBISSEA Music 2010 (Part 2)

This is part two in a series of posts.

The organisation on periphery matters (things not directly relating to the music) this year was not as great as in the past. The food was in general just acceptable, although the opening dinner, and the final gala dinner were spectacular.

On three occasions during the trip, were had the opportunity to do one of the music-related workshops we chose before the trip. My first one — Jazz band — was pretty fun, although the conductor was a real pain. He was also the person who conducted the concert band, and he cut the best bits of Star Wars, and made us play a stupid simplified version of Soul Bossa Nova (from Austin Powers). The worst, though, came at the final concert. I was sitting right at the front of the jazz band, and he was literally one metre away from me. As I was still setting up, he had already started counting us in (he also deliberately put on this annoying accent for the count in), and started before I was even ready. He was also really impatient with the drummer, not giving her a chance to learn the one bar drum solo and the start of the piece. Because jazz band was performing in the concert, we were required to be there for both our first and our third workshop.-

My second workshop was GarageBand. To be honest, it was kinda a waste of time. They basically only taught us how to create a song using loops, and nothing more than that. Although I’ve never actually done it before, it’s incredibly easy to do, so I didn’t think it was really worth my time. There was another workshop that I wish I had done, but still wouldn’t have taught me anything. In the conducting workshop, they showed a video of Rowan Atkinson conducting Beethoven’s 5th, which I actually showed to a friend the night before. Apparently it was only the absolute basics of conducting anyway: showing how to beat it 2, 3, and 4, and how to end a piece. I’ve already had some experience with conducting an actual orchestra, so although this workshop would have been fun, I wouldn’t have learnt anything anyway.

Check back in three days for the next part of the series.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times: or, FOBISSEA Music 2010 (Part 1)

This is part one of a series of posts.

FOBISSEA: Federation Of British International Schools in South-East Asia.

FOBISSEA Music is a festival in which a large number of talented musicians from British International Schools in the South-East Asian region. Over the course of around 6 days, a large group of musicians meet and rehearse music for a gala concert at the end of the festival. It’s a great opportunity for young musicians to expand their musical ability, while making new friends and just generally having a good time.

The selection of music this year was spectacular. Music including an a capella version of James Bond; string orchestra version of Coldplay’s Viva la Vida; music from the musical Wicked, the film version of Fame, Star Wars, and glee; some well-known classical pieces such as Beethoven’s 5th and Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance; and When You Believe, from Prince of Egypt.

Upon arriving in Hong Kong in the mid-afternoon, most of my friends went into Hong Kong Disneyland (we were staying at the Disneyland hotel), but I chose to stay behind and catch up on some homework — so I didn’t have too much work to do when we got back. Also, it was quite late, so they only got two hours in Disneyland: I didn’t think it was worth it.

FOBISSEA music is always really tiring — more tiring than the sport trip, surprisingly — and by the end of it, singers had throats like sandpaper, wind players had lips like jelly, and string players fingers were rubbed completely bare. The percussionists were fine though…
Despite this, playing such challenging and fun music was definitely worth the pain.

Check back in three days for the next part of the series.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Overly vivid dreams

Just let me start by saying, this is a really long post, and although I think it’s actually very interesting, and I think you would enjoy reading all of it, if you just want the most important bit, skip ahead to where it says “this is where it gets most interesting”.

It’s fairly common knowledge (although not universally known) that people dream every night. Whether or not you remember your dreams depends mostly on whether or not you wake up during the middle of the dream. Given that we dream every night, it’s not surprising that most people occasionally remember their dreams.

There are so many different types of dreams, from nightmares, to wish fulfillment, but one that I find particularly fascinating are the “overly vivid dream”. You know, the one where you remember — at least for a short time afterwards — specific details that would never have been noticed in a normal dream. The ones that leave you wondering whether or not it was real when you wake up. Last night, I had one such dream.

I don’t remember how the dream started, (do we ever?) but what I remember is I was watching a film with my cousin in it. There was a really clever line of dialogue between him and a girl — who was a fictional character from my imagination, but was clearly meant to be some sort of famous actor — which unfortunately I can’t remember any more; at the time the line was extremely convincing, and I really wish I could still remember what it was (I think it was either some really wise/philosophical comment, or something romantic in a non-cheesy way.). Next, the two of them exchanged the most bizarre kiss I’ve ever seen: probably the first sign that this was a dream and not real. The two of them were facing the same direction, towards the screen, and then they turned slightly inward so that the corner of their mouths could just touch, and they briefly kissed, before my cousin left. Despite it seeming extremely strange now, to my dreaming mind it wasn’t so bad, and the rest of the audience to this strange film clearly enjoyed it — based on the background noise of the dream: yet another thing that made this dream seem life-like.

The dream then did another thing that seems perfectly normal during the dream, but is bizarre once awake: a sudden change to another scenario. In this case, my cousin (why is the whole dream about my cousin, I don’t think it’s ever happened before…) was being awarded with a trial-basis job commentating on professional sport. Exactly which sport it was was never mentioned, but because of the sports that are popular where I’m from, and what sports he’s good at, it was implied to be Rugby League. What is known, is that he would be commentating on the Saturday and Sunday games, and would be judged based on his performance during them whether or not to be given a full-time job.

This is where it gets most interesting (read on to see more)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

48 Hour Film Project

This weekend (starting Friday, 29th October 2010) a group of friends and I participated in the 48 Hour Film Project. It's a competition where groups from all around the world have to create a movie — write, shoot, and edit — in just 48 hours. They are given a specific genre (we got "Buddy film"), line ("Same same, but different"), prop (incense), and character ("Pham Minh An, Taxi/Xe Om/Xyclo Driver").
Prizes are largely irrelevant in this event, but they can be found here.
For more details on the event, see 48 Hour Film Project, and 48 Hour Film Project Vietnam.

My group's name was "IdleNation", and we chose to create a film about two unlikely friends who help each other through difficulty, and in doing so discover that they have a lot in common.

It was an amazing chance to experience what filmmaking is like. As the editor, I had to learn about the intricacies of editing in Final Cut Express for the first time, only actually using  it for the first time just 48 hours before the project started. Despite this, I feel I learnt a lot about using the program, and editing in general over the course of the project.
Targets for next year: learn to use LiveType, Final Cut's integrated title making program; learn how to set up the project's properties — we recorded in 720p, but the final project is significantly less than that, and our canvas had black stripes at the top and bottom, this resulted in a low quality final project.

We took a lot of our sound effects and music from iMovie, since this is classed as not for profit. Other sound effects and music were found at various sources online — all of them royalty-free, of course!

Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend, and I'm sure my group members will agree it was a great experience, however stressful!

Please remember to comment. You don't have to use any account, if you want you can just enter a name and URL, or you can remain anonymous. My blog also supports Google accounts (if you use YouTube, you have one), as well as WordPress, AIM, and Open ID.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Creating Panoramas in Photoshop CS5

How to create a panorama in Adobe Photoshop CS5 using photo-merge and content-aware fill.
  1. Open Photoshop
  2. Open the photos you want to use to create the panorama (this is not essential at this point, but makes it easier)
  3. Go to File -> Automate -> Photomerge
  4. If you have opened the files already, click "Add Open Files"; if not, locate them now by clicking "Browse"
  5. Usually "Auto" is best, however you may want to experiment with others, especially spherical, if you have taken a 360° panorama.
  6. Allow Photoshop to chew through that and create a rough panorama
At this point you have two options to fix the panorama to a perfect rectangle
  • Crop it
  • Use "Content-aware fill"
    1. Merge all the layers into a single layer
    2. Use Magic wand tool to select transparent background
    3. On Mac, press "Shift F5" (or fn Shift F5, if your function keys are set to the Apple functions, such as altering brightness); on Windows, press delete.
    4. Make sure it is 100% transparency, with Content-aware fill: these should be the default option. Press OK
    5. Repeat steps 2-4 as necessary for other sections of the background.
Be aware that content aware fill may take a long time to complete, and will slow your computer down as you do it. If the blank area is large enough you may need to break it into smaller sections — Photoshop will tell you that you do not have sufficient RAM to complete the task. I had this occur with 4GB of RAM on the larger of my two panoramas.

Comments are greatly appreciated. If you have any suggestions, queries or just a general comment on the post please leave a comment.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Idea: Multi-carded cameras

This is the first in an ongoing series of ideas. They are just random or interesting ideas for products or software that I have thought of at some time. It may or may not be feasible for any number of reasons. I just thought it was an interesting idea, which I decided to write down.

There are a number of different reasons that a person may want to use multiple memory cards in a single digital camera, but first, let me explain exactly what I mean:
  • The camera would have two or more slots for memory cards
  • Each slot would have a small lit button next to it
  • There would be the option to have custom settings (e.g. quality settings, whether or not to show lines for the rule of thirds, etc.) which change depending on which card is selected
  • An option to have both cards treated as one large card
It seems to me as though it's not that difficult to implement, but it could be useful for a number of reasons.

Multiple Users
Sometimes multiple people share the same camera. This isn't likely to happen so much for the higher end users, but other situations might mean multiple people use the same camera. If they have different ways that they like to use the camera, this could come in handy.
For example, maybe the father of the family is a good photographer, so he likes to have the lines in the viewfinder for the rule of thirds; and he wants the quality and resolution of his photos to be as high as possible, but maybe other people in the family prefer to juts take snapshots, maybe at a lower resolution, but they definitely don't need to see the rule of third lines.
Multiple cards and settings would make this situation much simpler, not only as they are taking the photos, but afterwards as well. The father might want to take his photos and edit them in Photoshop before uploading them to his Flickr for the world to see, but others in the family just want to upload them straight to Facebook for friends to see. Each person could just take their card to their computer, and do with it what they want.

Different Types of photos
This is very similar to multiple users, but it could just be a single person who likes to take different types of photos. Maybe they like to keep their landscapes in a separate folder to their other photos, or they take photos to be later created into a panorama and want those to be easily accessible.

Maybe you're taking photos that are so important to you you can't take the risk of losing them. Maybe you want to give a spare copy of the raw photos straight to someone else. Whatever the reason, you want the same photos, with the same settings, on two different cards. Very simple.

Extra Storage
This one's very simple, some people just want the extra storage space. No need for any changes in settings, no need for them to choose when to switch to the other card. Just do it.

Just my idea for a feature that would be useful to have in cameras.
All comments and suggestions are very much appreciated. Suggestions, problems, ideas, general comments, or anything you want to say.
If you liked this post, please feel free to share it with friends, or anyone else you think might like it.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hate Apple announcement? I said no such thing…

Despite my bad luck in the past, this next Apple announcement is perfect for me. It starts at midnight on Thursday the 2nd of September, and, for the first time, I shouldn't have anything stopping me from watching live blogs. The amazing timing of a public holiday means that I don't have school the day after the night of the announcement, so I can watch it.

To make it even better, this should be the first time Apple live streams video of their own events. Despite it only being available on Apple's own devices, this is still perfect for me. It will also be the first time Apple's had an announcement since I got my first Mac.

All-in-all, some great timing for me, much more so than any in the past.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Follow up: Mac start-up problem

As I wrote about in a previous post, I was having trouble getting my new Mac to start up. This is just a quick follow up to say that it’s now working. In fact, shortly after I posted my last one, I tried again to shut it down, and it finally turned off!

I turned it back on again, and held option, but it didn’t work, but this time at least it shut down. Then I tried C, and then D, but they didn’t work. Hoping that I could at least get the disk out, I tried holding down the trackpad, to remove the disk on start-up. The disk was removed, and the computer started up correctly. I have yet to shut down the computer again, but will update this post once I have, to see whether or not I have the same problem again, but I expect not to.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Macs never have the problems Windows PCs have? BS!

A little while ago I got my first Mac: a second tier, 13-inch MacBook Pro. I’ve really been enjoying using it, and, due to the faster speed in booting up and the portability, among other things, I have been using it more than my Windows desktop.

Yesterday, I decided I was going to go ahead with my plans to dual-boot Ubuntu Linux onto it. So I went onto my desktop, and did a little bit of research, and came up with this site. Armed with the comment by “cyberdork33”, I went to my MacBook Pro and opened Boot Camp. I

started following his instructions, until it came time to install Ubuntu. I chose to install it, rather than run it off of the disk, and it started doing something that looked like it must be installing, but then it came to a black screen with white text. It had some code, and said to type “help” for a list of commands I could give. I did this, but none of the commands seemed useful.

I gave up, and decided to forget about Ubuntu — I’m happy with Mac OS anyway, all I was going to do was mess around with Ubuntu, I had no plans to use it as my primary OS. So I held the power button, and it didn’t shut down. After a few times of doing this, it finally did loose

power, and I booted up again under Mac OS X. Using boot camp, I restored the disk to a single partition under Mac OS X. I continued using the computer until I went to bed, shut it down, and left it on to charge over night.

The next morning, after I get up, I go over to it and turn it on. I notice it stays on a blank white screen for longer than it should, but I’m doing other things, so I ignore it and let it boot up as normal. When I get to the computer, I notice it has a black screen with white text, saying

No bootable device -- insert boot disk and press any key

Typically, given this screen, pressing any key would get it to do something, and even if there is no disk inserted, it will tell you as much. However, when I press any key (in fact, I pressed every single key on the keyboard, from the function keys, to letters, to modifiers), it simply ignores my press. I notice that pressing “caps lock” does not cause the light over the caps lock key to turn on.

Because there is a disk in the drive — and I can’t eject it — I try to power down the device by holding on the power button. But no matter how many times I do this, or how long I hold the button down for — short, long, or just tapping it — it won’t power off.

If I could get it to power off, there are many things I could try. From holding down option to make sure it’s booting off of the correct partition, to holding down “d” to run the Apple hardware test, to make sure there isn’t a problem with the hard drive. However, all of this is irrelevant, since I can’t get the computer to turn off in the first place. I can’t even follow the instructions and insert the restore disk, since there’s a disk in the computer I can’t get out.

I’m trying to power down the computer by killing its battery, but if that doesn’t work, I’ll try taking it into an Apple authorised repair service, and hope that all those people who talk about how great Apple Care is are right.

Don’t read on if you’re concerned about inappropriate language.

So to all you people who say Macs don’t suffer from the same problems that Windows PC users get, I say to you: Bull. Shit.

Let me know if you have any suggestions, or if you've had a similar experience. As always, any comments are appreciated.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A review of three blogging websites, or, I've moved: again

So, I've moved my blog again. I decided to move my blog from Wordpress, at to Google's Blogger, at The reasons for this are simple: Wordpress is not. I found Wordpress to be far too complicated for my uses. It was way too complicated for me.

When I was using Tumblr, I loved how easy it was to customise and edit the design. It was, however, lacking some very noticeable things. There was absolutely no in-built comment system, and no clear method for RSS. The problem with Tumblr is that it's not really a conventional blog system. It's not open enough. Tumblr is made to be used by people in Tumblr — it's a closed system, more of a social networking site than a blogging site. And because of that, I couldn't really use it for my blog.

So then I switched to Wordpress. Wordpress is an incredibly powerful blogging tool, and it is also amazingly customisable. But that's the problem. It's far too powerful, and too confusing for me. With Wordpress, you pretty much have the option of using an in-built theme, or going all-out and creating your own. It's very difficult to make many small changes. Most themes don't even allow you to have a custom background. While I'm sure Wordpress would be far superior for a serious blogger, or a web developer or something, for me, it's just far too complicated.

So that brings me to my current situation. I'm currently using Blogger. I already have a Google account, so it was really easy to set up. I've now got the advantage of being able to more easily customise my blog. For me, one disadvantage is that there are no "categories", only labels, which do the same thing as tags. Another problem is that it seems much more complicated to get Blogger to automatically Tweet with a new blog post. It has the added advantage, however, of allowing readers to comment using a variety of logins, including their Wordpress accounts, should they chose to use them.

As always, I encourage any feedback on this that you may have. What have been your experiences with any of these three blogging tools, or any others you may have come across?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Why I hate Apple announcements

Now, before all you Apple fans out there start flaming, just hear me out. This post is not based on the announcements as such, but just some bad luck on my part.

Apple announcements invariably take place at 10:00 AM United States Pacific time. This unfortunately means for me that it is invariably at midnight. On the dot. Every time there is an Apple announcement, I have the option of staying up past the time I normally would to see the announcement live.

But it's not just that. I think that Apple hates me. Their last two major announcements (the iPad and iPhone OS 4) have been at times that are very inconvenient for me, and the next coming one will be even worse. When they announced the iPad, it was right in the middle of my mock exams. I got up and checked my Twitter the next morning to find out that it was called the iPad, but it wasn't until a few days later that I could finally watch the video of it. There was certainly no option of reading a meta-live blog of any sort.

Later, when they announced iPhone OS 4, it was perhaps less of a nuisance, but still quite inconvenient. I was away from home on holiday, and I should have been in bed (had to get up fairly early the next day). The hotel I was in had very dodgy WiFi (although I was very glad to have any at all), and it didn't work on the old family laptop. So I was forced to read a meta-live blog on my iPod Touch. Not too bad, all in all, but far from ideal. Whether it was because of the iPod or the WiFi, I don't know, but I frequently had to manually refresh the page, and a lot of the images didn't quite work correctly. But still, I got the general gist of it, and when I could later watch the video there wasn't anything super new to me.

The upcoming announcement — whatever it may be — as I said above, will be the worst. It begins at midnight on Tuesday 7th June. That's the same day that I have my final IGCSE Additional Maths exam. It's probably one of the toughest subjects I'm taking this year, and so there is NO way I am going to be able to stay up late to find out about it live. Unlike in the past, however, this time I am determined to keep a media blackout until I am able to watch the video Apple releases on their iTunes podcast. I am even going to the extent of unfollowing anyone on Twitter that I think it likely to be talking about this. I've got a .txt file on my desktop listing all these people, so I can follow them again afterwards.

More after the break

Thursday, June 3, 2010

My most used programs

Software tracking

Well, I was hoping that it would add this as a permanent and dynamic widget thing on the side. Oh well.

I've been using Wakoopa for just a couple of days now, and for the most part this seems like a fairly valid result. The only anomalies are:

  • Battlefield 2, which I have not played very much in the past (in fact, I haven't done much gaming at all in the past), but have started to play a lot more recently — it coincides very nicely with my IGCSE exams. Oh joy...

  • WordPress, which I also have only recently started using

  • Wakoopa — this one pretty much speaks for itself. Obviously I've been on their website a lot lately checking things out.

Anyway, if you're interested, Wakoopa is a neat little program that monitors which programs and websites you use most often. You can choose to make this public, as I have, or you can keep it private, if you're that way inclined. It's available for Mac, Windows, and Linux.