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Day: March 7, 2012

No, really, what do you use that iPad for?

Today’s announcement of the new iPad got me thinking about the iPad. I’ve used one (a couple if I must be totally honest) before, and they’re pretty cool, I guess, but I just don’t see the point. I mean, it’s a nice, slick, expensive status symbol, but what the hell is the use? The times I’ve played with one, I get pretty bored after just a few minutes. It seems to me to be in this in between place in terms of electronics where the usefulness of the device is in question. I have a phone to make calls and send text messages and get my e-mail while on the go and to send jokes to Twitter and listen to my cached Spotify playlist. Great. I use that thing all the time. And then I have a laptop which I use for more serious computing or when I prefer to have a physical keyboard: writing, editing at sessions and the office, processing photos on vacation, dealing with e-mails that require more than a curt response, browsing the interwebs, writing posts on this blog, whatever. Additionally, I have a Mac Pro at home that I use for heavy lifting tasks: editing real things, heavy photo work, After Effects, Logic, Reason, color correction, dual-boot Windows tasks (Hi, Steam!), and anything else I prefer to have a real monitor for.

So, what exactly, in my life, would I use an iPad—or any other tablet, really—for? I just don’t know. Besides playing iPad-specific games and using iPad-specific apps, I can’t think of a single task the iPad is better suited for than my other devices. Calls? Phone. Writing? Laptop or tower. Editing? Laptop or tower. Text messages? Phone. E-reader? Kindle. There’s only one thing I can think of that the iPad would be perfectly suited for: reading comics. But do I read enough comics to justify spending 500 bucks at minimum on an iPad? Hell no. I haven’t spent more than a hundred bucks tops on comics in the last decade. Not exactly worth the additional expense.

On the flight to and from Breckenridge recently, I sat next to my executive producer and she watched numerous episodes of a television show called Luther on her iPad. That was pretty cool, I suppose, but I would never use it that way. I loathe watching films and television on little screens. I find it to be immensely displeasurable. If I cannot watch in on my television at home, from the sofa, with awesome sound, I pretty much don’t want to watch it. That preference right there is one of the things that has kept me from piracy for so long. I feel no moral qualms about stealing from movie studios; I just don’t want to sit at the desk or stare at my laptop to watch films. Meh. No thanks.

“But, Joe,” you say, “build a home theatre pc. Or hook your laptop to the TV!” Don’t think I haven’t thought about the former. The only thing that has prevented me from doing so is that I have particularly expensive taste and won’t do it unless I build myself a totally pimp HTPC. For that we’re looking at a solid 800 bucks to a grand. Too much to throw at something that actively prevents me from being productive. I struggle enough with getting things done. The last thing I need is something else to prevent me from getting work done. Netflix on the PS3 is bad enough already. Steam too. And to address the latter point, whatever. What am I, living in a dorm room? Give me a break. Get real.

My friend Charles has an iPad, and is eagerly awaiting the release of the new one because of the enhanced display resolution. That makes total sense because Charles makes a living developing iPad applications. I was really excited about the release of Avid’s Media Composer 6 because of its enhanced AMA support, redesigned interface (trust me, it needed it), and 64-bitness. But were you excited about MC6? Of course you weren’t. You probably didn’t even know it was coming out, and, if you had, you wouldn’t have cared because you see no utility in it. I wish I was excited about the iPad, but I just am not.

That brings us around to the whole point of this post. What do you, my darling readers, use your iPads for? Fucking off on the internet? Watching videos and films? Listening to music? Composing e-mails? Making electronic music? Do you use it when you travel as a laptop substitute? Do you use it at home instead of owning a proper desktop computer? Do you live in the cloud? Do you like to read books off the back lit screen? I don’t. Do you use it as a personal media hub? I am not trying to be snarky. I really want to know how you use your iPad. Chime up in comments and tell me.

Dollar Shave Club: Advertising done so, so right

My work compatriot Mike sent me this video today while I should have been working. Instead, I watched the video and am now wasting more time telling all of you about the video. C’est la vie, eh?

The video is an ad for a new website called Dollar Shave Club which is dedicated to bringing men (and women, I suppose) affordable razors.

From their About page:

We got tired of spending $15-$20 every time we bought razor blades. We asked ourselves, did we really need all this fancy technology in our shave: a vibrating handle, LED guide-lights, 8-blades, and grip that could steady a 9-iron? The answer was a defiant “No”!

We felt like we’d been over-marketed to. “Big Shave” companies keep telling us we need more expensive equipment, but why? Shaving should be simple. It sure used to be. Look at old photos of your father & grandfather. They didn’t have extreme shave gear, and they look pretty handsome, don’t they?

So… we teamed up with one of the world’s leading blade manufacturers and created signature 2, 4, and 6 blade razors. They’ve got everything you need in a shave: stainless steel blades, lubrication bars, and pivoting heads.

Seems pretty neat to me, but they’ve forgotten man’s most affordable, most rugged shaving method: the humble, magnificent, thrift safety razor. I switched to the safety razor years and years ago after becoming fed up with the poor shaves I was getting from more modern razors. Plus, as they said above, who wants to spend 15-20 bucks for fucking cartridges? Then you try and drag out blades WELL past when you should and you get piss poor shaves. No thanks.

With a minor investment in brush and handle, safety razors are your best friend when shaving. There are numerous of brands of blades on the market, all of which are incredibly cheap. My personal favorites, the Turkish Derby Extras. A few years ago, Jesse and I got a sample pack of razors and determined that the Derbies were the best: just sharp enough but not too sharp (Feathers, I’m looking at you), hold an edge well, and are inexpensive. For 20 cents a blade, you really don’t mind shaving with it three or four times and then replacing it. And therein is the advantage: with a constantly sharp blade (and a good afetrshave), you tend not to suffer from cuts and ingrown hairs and razor burn so endemic with dull, shitty blades. Think about it this way: have you ever tried to cut a tomato with a dull knife? Think about what happens to the poor tomato. Same thing with your face.

Plus, since I shave MAYBE once every 5 to 7 days (not for lack of hair; purely from laziness), I spend maybe a dollar on razors a month. Quite a bit like what they are charging for their baseline razor, but I get a vastly superior shave. In fact, if these guys were smart, they’d offer a double edge razor offer. Maybe like 10 razors a month for a buck. 5 for 50 cents? There’s got to be something there for the safety razor enthusiast. And hell, I’d like to support Dollar Shave Club. Seems like a good crüe.

So, if you’re not yet enlightened to the joys of a good wetshave with a safety razor, check these dudes out. I like their thing and this ad is pure brilliance.

Christian Mistress’ “Pentagram and Crucifix”

I gambled recently and pre-ordered the LP of Christian Mistress’ new album Possession based on some sample tracks I’d heard online. It arrived a week or so ago and it is pretty amazing. I am really into this whole throw-back, female-lead-singer metal thing that’s happening right now. As much as I like me some face-melting grindcore and black metal, sometimes you just want punchy, no bullshit, Sabbath-y riffs with a lady wailing on top. Who doesn’t like that? Bands like Christian Mistress, Blood Ceremony, and Witch Mountain are really scratching an inch for me that I had no idea existed. I am glad, however, that it was called to my attention. Scratch me! That so many of these bands come from the Pacific Northwest can’t be a coincidence either. Time for a roadtrip!

Even the video for this song, the first off their new record, is a throw-back. It looks like it was shot in 16mm black and white reversal, a format all my other film school graduate friends will have fond memories of working with. The song is awesome too. Perhaps not the best example of what singer Christine Davis can do when she’s really pushing her voice (listen to “Black To Gold” instead), the song still serves as a perfect example of what Christian Mistress is about on Possession: riffs, guitar interplay, driving beats, and a powerful female lead. If you don’t like this track, you won’t like the record. But, what’s not to like about this track?

Check out their Bandcamp. Christian Mistress.