Apple Plug

Upgrade to iPhone 7 with Apple Plug

This isn't 2009. Your phone doesn't have a floppy drive, and it shouldn't have a headphone connector either. When we made iPhone 6 and 6s, the world wasn't ready for the future. Now, it is. Apple Plug is the perfect solution. Fill in your archaic headphone connector with beautiful aluminium and plug yourself into the future.

Perfect Fit

Innovation isn't always obvious to the eye, but look a little closer at Apple Plug. You'll find it is designed to fit seamlessly into the outdated headphone connector, transforming last year's phone into a modern masterpiece as beautifully as you'd expect from Apple. Once in place, Apple Plug cannot be removed. But why would you want to? Would you want to downgrade? We didn't think so.

Pure Invention

Innovation questions everything you know. We removed the floppy drive, and people said we were wrong. We weren't. We removed the CD drive, and again people said we were wrong. We weren't. We never are. Apple Plug isn't just a pristine product. It's an essential part of showing others who you are.

Aluminium. Crafted with precision.

Just trust us. It's better.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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Boombox

We lived in this brief, multi-decade state of grace, that ran roughly from the demise of the cassette tape to about three years ago, when you could be out and about in the world and be blissfully unaware of the shitty musical taste of passing strangers. Pedestrians, bicyclists, commuters on public transit: they were all aware of this amazing invention called "headphones". Sure, there was the occasional gangsta in a car impressing all the ladies with the phlegmatic buzzing snare of his door panels, but mostly you could go days without hearing something terrible squirted out of the tinniest excuses for speakers in the world.

What went wrong?

Now, every junkie and every fixie hipster is assaulting the world with battery powered external speakers, and headphones are apparently no longer a thing that exists. Did the manufacturers of these things even consider the evil they were unleashing?

In summary, your music sucks, and your speakers suck too.

Previously.

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Idoru

I am both horrified and morbidly fascinated by this:

So at first glance it's just some squeaky popstar video with slightly-cyber teledildonic styling. But if you are me, you watch it and think, "Wait, is this actually a song, or is this a commercial for a drink?" Then a little while later, "Wait, is this a fake commercial for a drink?" Then, "Wait, is this a real commercial trying to look fake?"

YES. YES, IT IS ALL THESE THINGS. Because the Advertising Ouroboros is so far up its ass that NOTHING IS REAL and we're all living in some PK Dick time-slip!

Wikipedia, Repository of All Human Knowledge:

Dunham originally wanted to do a song as a way to market a QT energy drink, and she asked the producers to repeat the name regularly.

QT is, in effect, a virtual character. The project includes DrinkQT, an "energy elixir" with a design by Kim Laughton. The music and drink are intended to be two manifestations of the same product. Both have been described as "fizzy" and "energetic", with Dunham stating that she wanted "to be able to talk about 'Hey QT' and have DrinkQT talk about 'Hey QT' and 'Hey QT' talk about DrinkQT." [...]

"Hey QT" includes a metanarrative about the song itself. The song was debuted at a Boiler Room show in Los Angeles promoting Hudson Mohawke's Chimes EP. A digital broadcast by Eric Wareheim opened the performance. Dunham performed the song as QT, opening the act by sitting down and reading a fashion magazine while a voiceover endorsed the QT energy drink. Dunham then lip synced "Hey QT" while appearing disinterested.

[...] The video includes product placement for Beats headphones.

The commercial includes other commercials! It's commercials all the way down!

Part of me wants to KILL IT WITH FIRE, but part of me wonders why my bar isn't already carrying this.

Ok, so now let's set the Wayback Machine to 1996. If you were me, you were making some questionable fashion decisions like wearing vinyl and shopping at Cyberdog, but all right-thinking people were listening Fluke and playing Wipeout XL, and that means you had a huge nerd-boner crush on fictional anti-gravity racing league star Ariel Tetsuo from the Atombomb video:

(Incidentally, if anyone has a higher quality version of that video, please let me know.)

So the Atombomb video is basically a commercial for Wipeout XL. But that's ok, right? Because the song was on the game's soundtrack, and they both completely rule, so it gets a pass. You tell yourself. If you are me.

But here's the thing about Wipeout: the racetracks in the game actually have billboards above them, advertising Red Bull. But! When the game was released, Red Bull didn't exist in the United States -- it wasn't to show up here for another year or two. I assumed those in-game billboards were for a fictional product from the year 2097. They had the right styling for it!

Surprisingly, that Atombomb video does not show any of the Red Bull billboards. There is an inexplicable alternate edit of the video that is shorter but includes more game footage, and at one point (1:27) there's a billboard that says "ENERGY DRINK" but the Red Bull logo has been removed. I wonder who paid or didn't pay.

Guess what was released three weeks before Wipeout XL? Gibson's Idoru.

Oh, and in answer to the rhetorical question of why my bar isn't already carrying QT, it's because we have an exclusivity agreement with Red Bull.

And the Ouroboros chomps down just a little bit tighter.

Previously, previously, previously, previously.
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Great news for schizophrenics

Sky Deutschland to broadcast adverts directly into train passengers' heads

Passengers leaning their head against the window will "hear" adverts "coming from inside the user's head", urging them to download the Sky Go app. The proposal involves using bone conduction technology, which is used in hearing aids, headphones and Google's Glass headset, to pass sound to the inner ear via vibrations through the skull.

A video for the Talking Window campaign released by Sky Deutschland and ad agency BBDO Germany states: "Tired commuters often rest their heads against windows. Suddenly a voice inside their head is talking to them. No one else can hear this message."

The voice comes from a Sky-branded transmitter made by Audiva that is attached to the train window.

BBDO spokesman Ulf Brychcy told the BBC: "If our customer Sky Deutschland agrees, we will start with the new medium as quickly as possible.

Previously, previously.

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A hive of scum and villainy

"All that transactional content is just sitting there! blah blah Facebook blah blah Amazon blah blah fundraising this week."

I really need to stop forgetting to bring my headphones to this cafe. It didn't used to be this bad here.

Previously.

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DNA Lounge: Wherein there's some press and some photos.

Photos are up of last night's SFIEC hair show. There were some epic constructions, as usual!

There's also a gallery of the Bootie Eighth Anniversary, about which there is also a nice article in the Amoeba Records blog:

Now Entering Ninth Year of Their Successful Mashup Party, Bootie SF's Tireless Duo of A+D Show No Signs Of Slowing Down

Instead they went above and beyond the typical duties of a club promoter by putting on a huge production; one that included the SOMA club filled with festive streamers & NYE style balloons ready to drop, a full concert by their spinoff live mash up band Smash Up Derby (a bad ass six piece rocking band featuring Adrian on lead vocals) whose mixed media set included an informative history of the mashup projected onto a large screen, and they passed out 600 complimentary mashup compilation CDs that they pressed up especially for this party. They also gave away special prizes of their Bootie brand headphones.

And our bar manager Chris is opening a cafe in Oakland! Here's a write-up about it in the East Bay Express:

Rolling Soon Into Temescal: Arbor, a Bicycle Cafe

Looks like the Temescal cafe formerly known as SadieDey's is ready for its next chapter. WTF ducked into the space at 4210 Telegraph today to find new owner Christopher Marquez working on its transformation into Arbor, a bicycle-friendly cafe not unlike Actual, Sal Bednarz's bike refuge from San Pablo Avenue's car cluster. Marquez is a first-time business owner who plans to keep his regular gig as bar manager of San Francisco's DNA Lounge.

But Marquez lives in Oakland, and says he wants Arbor to be a family-friendly hangout, even after he gets the beer and wine license he's applied for.

Ah, the wide wonderful world of liquor licensing. Welcome to hell.

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Headphones

Not everything sucks: I like my new headphones a lot.

UltimateEars 500vi. I had the UE 5vi before, but they have done the musical-chairs thing with their product numbers again and this seems to be the new, comparable version, based on it being at the same price point.

So, they sound good, but the real reason I'm singing their praises is that this is the first set of headphones I can recall owning that managed to avoid all of my headphone peeves:

  • In-ear, with extremely noise-isolating foam tips;
  • The controller is up by your ear, instead of down by your chest, meaning you can still reach it even if the cable is zipped inside a jacket;
  • Controller has both command button and volume buttons on it;
  • Cable is flat, so it doesn't get as kinked up; and most importantly,
  • Right-angle plug!

So they're a complete win, physical-design wise. I think that every previous set of headphones I've owned has gotten at least two of these wrong.

Previously, previously, previously, previously.

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Headphone recommendations

Dear Lazyweb,

With the new phone, I find myself in need of new headphones. My last three phones, two Treos and a Centro, used 2.5mm 4-band jacks. The Pre uses a far more sensible 3.5mm 4-band jack, but that means my headphones no longer fit. I don't want to use an adapter because they are bulky and, in my experience, make it more likely that you'll break the headphone jack.

My previous headphones were "Shure e2c", and I loved them. The sound quality was great, they fit well, and they blocked out outside noise better than any other headphone of the size that I've ever used. The cables tended to fray, though. I had the 2.5mm 4-band version, but they also used to make them in a 3.5mm 4-band version. However, apparently the whole e2c line has since been discontinued.

Shure's new product line baffles me. I can't tell what corresponding new product is, if there even is one. It kind of looks like they have decided to only make headphones with 3-band jacks, and if you want to use it as a headset on a cell phone, you have to use an adapter. That sounds bulky and irritating (and also would put the mic quite far away from your face, I assume.)

Before the e2c, I tried "Etymotic ER-6", but I hated them. I gave them away after two days. They had no bass response at all, and were not nearly as sound-isolating as the e2c were. And I they had the wrong sized jack, too.

So, because Shure's site confused me, I took someone's recommendation and picked up the "V-Moda Vibe Duo" headphones (3.5mm, 4-band). I've been using them for a week, and I kind of hate them. They block out basically no outside sound. They sound muddy. The midrange is weird. And about a quarter of the time when I take them out of my ears, the rubber ear-bud tips stay behind in my ear canal and I have to go digging, even using the smallest size.

My requirements are:

  1. 3.5mm 4-band, so I can talk on the phone with it too (though the primary use is music).
  2. In-ear-canal. Not those iPhone-like buds that just sit on the surface. Not over-the-ear cans. Don't bother telling me about those, no matter how much you love them.

  3. Extremely sound-isolating. With the e2c, wearing the headphones without anything playing sounded like wearing earplugs. I loved that.

  4. Good sound quality. I'm no audiophile, but I can tell when it's crap. Bass is better than "perfectly flat", but bass to the exclusion of all else is bad.

So what should I get?


Update: I picked up the Ultimate Ears SuperFi 4vi. Conveniently, the Apple store stocks these. (Not any more. Bastards.) I've only used them for a few minutes so far, but they seem pretty good. Nice isolation, and sound quality is very similar to (possibly better than) the e2c. So I'm hopeful.

One nice thing about the Modas was that the cable was cloth, so they didn't tangle as easily. More manufacturers should do that.

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Current Music: SSQ -- Walkman On ♬

CABLES!!

Dear Lazyweb, here is a wiring diagram, obtained at great personal dissatisfaction.

See, I wanted to use my beloved Shure i2c headphones as a headset with my computer. Here in this modern world, you'd think that shit would be standardized by now, but no. It turns out that the Shure model I have, with the microphone and 2.5mm plug, is not a "cell phone" model, but actually a "Treo" model.

So, when I went and bought a USB dingus and an adapter cable to go with it, I found that the adapter cable was wired wrong (only one channel and no mic.) Apparently the Treo wiring plan is... creative? (This also explains why the retro handset doesn't work right with the Treo: it's wired in the same "wrong" way as the above cable.)

So, I made my own cable. Which was approximately 500% harder than it should have been because, bizarrely, it turns out that 4-conductor 2.5mm jacks are near-unobtanium -- and 4-conductor 2.5mm jacks in cable rather than board-mount form factor are complete unobtainium. (Radio Schlock has 3.5mm 3-conductor male cable plugs, so at least the other side is easy to get.)

So, to do this, you need to buy one of the rare board-mount sockets (Digikey CP1-42515RS-ND) and swaddle it in electrical tape.

The money shot:

(G=ground, L=left, R=right, M=microphone)
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phone stuff

  1. I dropped my Treo last week and the SD card popped out, but I didn't notice until too late. So I bought a new card of the exact same model as the last one I had (Transcend 4GB, TS4GSD150) but while the last one worked fine, the new one makes Missing Sync lose its mind when it tries to write to it. Mounting it in a card reader and copying MP3s onto it manually works fine, though, so I have no idea what the difference is between this card and the last.
  2. Nobody in SF stocks 4GB SD cards of any kind. WTF.

    Update: I bought yet another different card ("A-Data MyFlash Turbo SD 150x 4G R") and this one seems to work.

  3. File under "what are they thinking": if I have headphones plugged in and am listening to music on the Treo, and a call or SMS comes in, the sound in the headphones goes silent and the ringtone comes out of the built-in speaker instead of the headphones. How is that even remotely sensible behavior?
  4. When an SMS comes in, and I have headphones on, why doesn't it just read it to me in a robot voice?

    So not living in the future yet.

  5. I've played with two iPhones, and now I totally don't want one. The on-screen keyboard is ridiculous. I can't type on it at all. This makes me sad, because I think it's very unlikely that Apple will say, "ok, that was a mistake" and stick a keyboard with actual physical buttons on the next version. They're going to stick with that non-tactile junk forever.

    The web browser is great, the pinch-zoom thing is great, but "not being able to type the damned text messages" is a deal breaker. Also, AT&T's coverage in SF appears to blow. Also it doesn't do Flash, WTF, and there are no games.

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