Archive for March, 2011

More Tweets From The Palace 2011-03-27


  • Actually it could have ended worse in The Killing, they could have all become lawyers. #
  • Just like The Wire – everyone ends up dead, broken, in jail, the police force or worst of all in politics. Yes The Killing was that good #
  • 11 Bobby Moores off to the jazz club for a pint. Somehow says everything that is both good and bad about England. #football #
  • I just finished a 1.95 km run with a time of 17:12 with Nike+ GPS. #nikeplus #
  • I just finished a 2.24 km run with a time of 20:12 with Nike+ GPS. #nikeplus #
  • I just finished a 2.35 km run with a time of 21:26 with Nike+ GPS. #nikeplus #

Archive for March, 2011

iPad Logic Controller


20110325-122222.jpg

Logic Pro being controlled from my iPad

Yet another genius addition to my iPad music apps  – a controller for Logic Pro. Not content with having some superb instrument and music making apps – Funkbox, technoBox, ReBirth, Beatmaker and GarageBand – the iPad is now able to act as a proper controller for big time, proper music software. TouchOSC is a fantastic piece of software that costs £2.99 and puts many physical controllers to shame.

I was a little dubious at first, what with reading 3 page tutorials that explained that I could link this to Logic if only I downloaded some software and spent the length of a bible configuring things. However, I needn’t have worried as the latest update has a great Logic template built right in. So it was a case of boot up, have Logic ask me whether I wanted to use my iPad to control it (which was nice), saying yes and jumping right in.

Using it really does enhance the workflow, adding a tactile dimension to the mixing that using a mouse simply doesn’t and the depth and scope of the Logic template is astonishing. You can drill right down into not only channel inserts, but individual software instruments, although with the latter the actual elements being controlled can be a little hit and miss. I found it worked on a variety of Logic software instruments as well as a host of Native Instruments software instruments like Battery, Kontakt, Absynth and Reaktor. The only challenge is discovering what the individual faders and dials actually do.

And that’s the fun part.

[review pros="Outstanding features, graphics and functionality, Works right out of the box" cons="Hard to think of any" score=95]


Archive for March, 2011

What We Learned From Prem Week 30


Best Buys Or Bargain Binners

So. Now we’re into the serious side of the season it’s time to see who’s done well and who’s done badly in the Spring spending splurge. Unlike many previous top quality January purchases (Vidic, Evra, Wallchart, Eboue to name just four) very few of this year’s buys have been bought with anything other than immediate impact in mind. You could argue that Chelski’s purchase of both Torres and Luiz are part of a larger, long term team building strategy, but it’s clear that Torres has been bought now to try to land this year’s Big Cup, halt the Blues’ poor run of form and secure a top four finish.

By far the best buys for immediate impact appear to be Dirty Suarez, who has injected much needed quality and enthusiasm to Liverpool, and Sideshow Bob Luiz, whose two goals have gained Chelski two vital wins.  Both have energised their clubs, providing the same kind of driving spur that Leetle Carlito does for Man City. And they’re the sort of players that any Prem team would like to have in their squads.

Proving rather effective are Demba Ba, who’s already bashed in four goals and helped West Ham move out of the bottom three, and fellow hammer Wayne Bridge, who was given a spectacularly bad time in his first game against Arsenal but who has improved steadily since then, while loanwise, the appearance of Carlos Vela at West Brom and Jamie O’Hara at Wolves look like helping to make the relegation dogfight even more cutthroat.

Proving less effective, or looking like a ‘long term buy’ are the likes of Andy Carroll, who’s been injured and will need effective supporting players to really bring out his talents at Liverpool, Robbie Keane, who hasn’t really had much of a run at West Ham and who looks well past his sell-by date, Makoun at Villa and Sessegnon at Sunderland look promising, but will take time to adjust. And the jury’s out on Darren Bent, the one-time most expensive British player, whose early good form for Villa seems to have dried up.

And The Games

Champions or Chumpions? Man U did what good teams at home do, pull a late, late winner out of the bag against Bolton, who are pretty spectacularly poor on the road. Meanwhile Arsenal managed to pull a late draw out of the bag away to West Brom, who are fast becoming the Gunners’ latest bogey side.

Arsenal never looked threatening, well at least not until the 70th minute when they were already 2 down. You sense that here is a team that feels it is done for the season. In hindsight that four goal lead they let slip at Newcastle looks to have crushed the glass slipper morale of Wenger’s ageing young side. Even with Fabregas, Wallchart, Szceszny, Djourou, Vermaelen, and Song all propping up the injury table, Arsenal’s highly paid second stringers should have enough skill to be at least vaguely threatening in the first 70 minutes. Or maybe they just took time to wake up given it was the first time they hadn’t played a midweek game since December. Craptabulous. Apparently Wenger is very pleased with the team’s ‘mental toughness’ in coming back from being two goals down. Or maybe he’s just being unusually polite and inside he’s incensed it took his team over an hour to get their act together and actually start playing. Almunia must really hate playing West Brom after his abysmal display against them at the Emirates (another Rob Green Save of the Day winning performance). That’s a stunning four points lost by Almunia alone. In two games. And yet there’s every indication he’ll be starting again for Arsenal after the international week

Chelski put pressure on the other top four teams by smoothly dispatching a Man City team who looked every bit as keen to defend as they were when they came to Arsenal over Christmas. Unlike Arsenal, Chelski had the skills to blow through the solid City defence. Once Sideshow Bob scored their first, the game was up. Without Tevez City looked unable to threaten, let alone score. Ramieres’ excellent second, a mazy run through the City defences, showed both Chelski’s emerging confidence and the improvement Ramieres has made over the course of the season and reiterates the need for new players to be given time to settle in.  Luiz, who seems to have adapted to the Prem faster than one of those baby impalas who can sprint at 40mph seconds after being born, is the exception. Most players take upwards of a season to truly adapt to the demands of the rectangular ringed circus. More realistic is the consistent improvement over the season of Ramieres, Tottenham’s Sandro, who is growing into a genuinely capable central midfielder , Smalling at Man U, who is coming to terms with being Rio’s replacement, or even much maligned Koscielny, who like Vidic, took about half a season to settle down before spunking the Not-So-Usless Cup (although if I recall Vidic escaped punishment and went on to get a winners medal).

All of which made Tottingham‘s draw against West Ham a far better result for the East Londoners. Admittedly Rob Green was unusually excellent in goal, but so was the midfield of Parker, Noble and Hitzlesperger. No one can miss their chances like Carlton Cole, especially when he has time to think. Not even Offside Trap Defoe, although it wasn’t for lack of trying (and missing) on Jermaine’s part. And there’s no foul on the edge of the area Upson isn’t capable of giving away. But on the day, it was Spurs’ failure in front of goal that really counted.

Liverpool Redsox, who looked down and out only a few weeks ago, secured another low grade win, this time over poor as poor Sunderland. Dirty Suarez is so much better than his teammates, it looks like they’ll all have to be replaced in the summer. Seriously some of them must be embarrassed to be in the same team as him, especially the real low graders like Joe Cole or Poulsen. It’s clear that he’s the difference between a points winning performance and the sort of turgid Europa Cup exit side the rest of them appear to play for. Sunderland are probably just about safe enough for the season, but that’s about it, they’re defending badly, have no significant midfield and can’t get the best out of Gyan. If they don’t buy Welbeck in the summer they’re going to start going backwards. Cattermole. Booked. That Mr Anderson is the sound of inevitability.

Also seemingly going backwards fast are Villa, whose young team seem to have lost their legs. They’re in a classic ‘development’ season, they can’t shed Martin O’Neill’s deadwood players fast enough and have a totally unbalanced camp many of whom appear to actively loathe their current manager. So playing a mentally fired up Wolves wasn’t the easiest of games. Still despite Wolves’ great work, Villa were a crossbar away from securing a draw. What they really need, aside from points, is resolve and confidence.

Stoke suddenly woke up and scored a goal from open play, as if they had suddenly realised that football wasn’t just about hideous hoofery, squalid set pieces and maliciously timed bullyboy challenges. It was their first goal from open play since January, which tells you something about their ghastly style. At this rate they’ll be due another one before the end of the season. Sadly, they appear to have secured enough points to safeguard themselves from relegation too. Newcastle, meanwhile, are playing as if their season is already over, which is sailing a little too close to the wind. That said, another win at some point should secure their Prem position, which is what they started out wanting at the beginning of the season.

Birmingham‘s long streak of good play lasted all of three games. Fortunately for them they were the Not-So-Useless Cup semi finals and final. So they get to hold a trophy after a gajillion years. Unfortunately for them they’ve hit a major slump since and are now in the bottom three. Considering their game in hand is against Chelsea, I wouldn’t be too confident that they’ll secure much from the match. So there’s every chance, given they lost to a very average Wigan side, that they could be in Europe, out of the Prem and on their way to major financial meltdown come early September. Cup runs ain’t what they used to be.

Finally, Blackpool don’t do things easily. Although for a time it appeared simple enough. Two up against Real Blackburn, they were outstanding in the first half, only to completely fall apart in the second. If they do manage to stay up they’ll thank their lucky stars that they first signed Charlie Adam and second refused to let him go in January. For them staying up is worth any transfer fee they could have got. Blackburn still look like a very average side of journeymen, which might, just might be enough this season.

Rob Green Save Of The Day

Any other week it would have been Newcastle keeper Steve Harper’s failed dance of death around Kenwynne Jones, which only served to give Jones the ball and set up Stoke for their second. Or maybe Jaaskelainen’s series of spooned saves which encouraged Man U to a) continue to shoot from distance and b) chase in for the inevitable spills/spoils to win the game. But this week we had another spectacular implosion from the self-styled best football playing side in the Prem as Arsenal’s third? fourth? ranked keeper Almunia decided to go not so much on a walkabout as take the full fat eight days for the price of seven, buy one get one free safari around West Brom’s halfway line before bumping into the hapless Squillaci, and allowing the onrushing Odemwinge to meet the hoof n hope special that had been launched in desperation and slide the ball into the net in one of those 30 yard slo-mo nightmares that only heightens the joy for the celebrating fans when it finally crawls in over the line. What is it about Arsenal’s defensive coaching? Do they teach them how to do this insane running out of goal into your central defender only for both of you to bottle actually playing the ball? Any real keeper would have gone ‘fuck you defender, I’m hoofing this’ and taken out their own man if necessary. Do they simply not bother to train these guys in communication? Or is it all down to Arsenal’s world renowned mental toughness? Because this isn’t an isolated incident, nor is Almunia the only Arsenal keeper to have demonstrated this spectacular tactical stupidity this season. Still having gifted West Brom four points this season thanks to his blunders, Almunia can at least bask in the grateful thanks of the kids from the Midlands.

 


Archive for March, 2011

More Tweets From The Palace 2011-03-20


  • The French appear to have gone all gung ho on us all of a sudden. Could it be that Libyan oil is closer than Arabian oil? Surely not. #
  • I just finished a 2.08 km run with a time of 20:49 with Nike+ GPS. #nikeplus #
  • Very much enjoying Echodek by Primal Scream. My legs are killing me. These two things are not related in case yr wondering. #
  • Champions League Draw. Just what everyone needed another Chelski Man U match. Inter into their second final in a row anyone? Great draw. #
  • Champions League draw. If Spurs want to win this they will have to beat Real Madrid and Barca and A N Other in the final. Good luck. #
  • That's all British teams out of the Europa Little Cup. Way to go second tier chaps. #
  • Braga go through. Liverpool were very poor. The spirit of Wroy lives on. #football #
  • I've seen more hoofing in 15 mins of Liverpool v Braga than in the entire Spartek/Ajax match. Not good football. #

Archive for March, 2011

Great Info Graphic


Guardian info graphic for the Fukushima nuclear plant

Excellent info graphic from the Guardian for the state of play of the Fukushima nuclear plant. I love the use of the Food Agency inspired colour coded risk levels.

Quick and informative, which is the key for graphics like this, but I can’t help feeling that it’s peaked a little early. As Shakespeare says (admittedly in Shakespeare In Love), if you start out so high where do you go when you meet the love of your life? What colour do you go to if everything goes seriously wrong? Black?

And should the graphic start flashing like a Star Trek warning alarm?

Alternatively, does it actually get much worse than ‘Blast, fire, radiation leak’? At that point I’m definitely running.


Archive for March, 2011

Danish Murder Is Killing Me


20110317-075326.jpg

Suited up with a fine collection of knitwear it's the Danish Sweeny

 

Bloody Danes. Just when you think you’ve run out of series to view and you’ll be forced to watch repeats of The Wire or The West Wing, along comes a new series from right out of left field. I mean I never expected to be spending late nights struggling to read 10 episodes-worth of subtitles as I rushed through the entire first half of top Danish crime show The Killing. But I did.

Like The Wire this is a superb slow burn, with both the crime and the lives of the various individuals involved unfolding languidly before your eyes. As you discover more about the crime your suspicions are pulled first one way then another. Small malfeasances are magnified out of all proportion before being instantly forgotten is they’re proved to have little or no connection to the crime. I mean where is the ex-crim poster van driver now eh?

And it has its own Bosche-like descent into madness as lead cop Sarah Lund follows McNulty down the rabbithole of obsession. You watch her home life disintegrate as first her son, then her boyfriend, then her mother are driven out of her house. Not bad considering it’s mum’s house she’s living in. Her life is so dominated by the case that even Meyer, the cop who has been brought in to replace her and who patently finds her irritating as hell, begs her to take a break “as your friend”.

The great thing about The Killing is that Lund’s obsession becomes our obsession. As we trawl deeper and deeper through the lives of the various individuals who’ve been dragged into the the gravity pull of the case, we too become caught. Who will win the increasingly corrupted council election? Is Copenhagen Mayor Poul Bremer really as bad and bent as Clay Davies? Will Theis and Pernille ever move into their new house? And who the hell did the killing anyway?