The 4-Hour Body is a new book by Tim Ferriss, or at least it was new when I first started writing this post at the end of last year
I bought it because I liked the excerpts I read on Gizmodo. I’m extremely pleased with it and endorse it wholeheartedly, though there is some weird stuff that is probably safe to ignore. Word of warning though: it’s a massive tome. You only need to read small sections at a time (concentrate on one goal at a time), but it’s a little impractical to carry around because of how unwieldy it is in hardcover. I wish I’d bought an e-book version, but originally thought this might be something I’d want to share with people. I frankly want to keep it all to myself, hah.
Back in December, I’d barely started with the recommended diet, but switching to only eating legumes for carbs had made an immediate difference in my wakefulness and alertness. The difference was night and day. I was often still sleeping like crap, but I was vastly more productive during the days. I also lost a significant amount of weight pretty quickly.
Since though, I started falling into bad habits again. While most of my meals are still of the protein+legumes+vegetables variety, I’d started eating junk food again as well.
So it’s time to get back on the wagon. Since willpower didn’t work, I’m trying one of the weirder ideas in the book: take a picture of food before you eat it, and better yet, post it somewhere to keep yourself honest. We all carry cameras around with us on our phones nowadays so it’s simple. The idea works in embarrassment and potential shame ha. Do you really want to take a picture of a hamburger? And it helps to have people keep you honest.
Less than a week after James, I got to see the greatest complete line-up I’d ever seen: Locals Fjord Rowboat, and my all-time favourite electronica wizard, Ulrich Schnauss, opened for classic shoegazers, Chapterhouse.
A friend I was going with knew Fjord Rowboat personally, and he gave me their albums a couple weeks in advance so I would know what I was in for. Their albums were outstanding. They could easily qualify as a major-label act. I got a mid-career Catherine Wheel vibe out of them. A particular stand-out track was Paragon (Click to listen). The only thing is maybe they were a little too similar sounding to those early 90s shoegazer bands (of which Chapterhouse qualifies as too), but it was great to hear here and now.
Regardless, it was the first time in ages I actually wanted to see an opening act. They played as if they’d been doing this for years. Everything sounded and looked great. Nice equipment too, which they were actually lending to Chapterhouse.
Ulrich Schnauss is someone I discovered a couple years ago courtesy of my brother, and Kim at Penguin Music, and just became completely infatuated with his music. Chapterhouse was an influence to his sound, and Schnauss has often tried to bring the indie aesthetic to electronic music. (Check out Goodbye: I think he succeeds incredibly well there. Previous albums are more pure electronics and more ambient.) Reviews of the event (see bottom) have alluded or mentioned that Schnauss was actually largely responsible for this reunion tour.
Unfortunately, his set did not seem to go over particularly well with the crowd. They were there for guitars, and he just sat at his computer mixing in Ableton Live, occasionally throwing in a live keyboard accompaniment. He played a long time and people seemed to start getting bored. I heard several remarks about how he could have just hit ‘play’ and left the stage. He had visuals of European cities and vistas shot from a moving vehicle, but the screen was too large for the Lee’s stage and sat off-kilter behind drums and other equipment. The effect was much better when I saw him perform at The Rivoli three years ago. He should tour with a vocalist.
I knew all his albums backwards and forwards yet the only track I recognised was Never Be The Same, the introduction to Goodbye. I managed to catch a clip:
Before publishing under his own name, he’s been known as ‘View To The Future’ and ‘Ethereal 77’ and probably several other names I’m not aware of. I recorded the following because I absolutely loved the sound of it, but I have no idea what it is. I don’t know if it’s coming to a forthcoming album, or if he was just mixing some of his older music:
And then came Chapterhouse. To be honest, as slick and amazing as their albums were, I didn’t know what to expect from a reunion tour 20 years later. I walked in completely blind. (YouTube footage had actually scared me off from going to go see The Happy Mondays, but they are a special case…)
I was completely blown away. The years had been entirely kind to them, though it certainly helped that the band were only in their very early 20s when Whirlpool first came out. They still looked reasonably youthful, but more importantly sounded amazing; their voices still sounded syrupy and young.
It was a vastly better experience than seeing shoegazer legends, My Bloody Valentine was. I guess it was my fault for not doing my research before, but I had been unaware that MBV had a reputation for holding some of the world’s loudest ever concerts. It was so insanely loud that people were passing out and vomiting in the crowd. I was worried this was a shoegazer thing, but Chapterhouse didn’t depend on the volume gimmick, just textured swirly psychedelic, even danceable, guitars.
Schnauss came back out to perform Pearl and Love Forever with the band, and once again for Inside of Me at the end of the encore.
The show was phenomenal and certainly made me re-evaluate (and raise) Chapterhouse on the scale of legends-of-shoegazer.
The rest of my photos can be found here. Before the show I contacted the venue and asked on the Facebook and Last.FM pages if anyone knew what the camera policy was. Andy Sherriff of Chapterhouse was kind enough to contact me and let me know the band wouldn’t mind.
Something nifty that came out of this: the gentleman that runs gtamusicscene.com noticed these photos and asked if I’d mind contributing to his blog in exchange for concert tickets. The first show I did for him was Bruce Peninsula.
It was unfortunate because a bunch of friends happened to get invited to dance on the stage during Laid (not my video):
The show was outstanding. It started out with a simple, stripped down version of Sit Down (official, but non-album version video), with Tim Booth walking down the centre aisle from the back to the stage. When I last saw them at The Phoenix two years ago, they just started with a double-speed version of Born of Frustration (nonsensical fan video), which was unfortunate because it’s my favourite track by them. Still, at least I got to hear it once as it was the only time I got to see it live: they skipped it this time around.
Despite that minor setback, the show was phenomenal. They played a few new tracks, but lots of favourites such as Ring The Bells, Seven, Getting Away With It, Tomorrow, Stutter, Say Something, Sound, Out To Get You and Sometimes. Their newer tracks, Dust Motes, Crazy, It’s Hot, Porcupine and Tell Her I Said So went over just fine considering how quiet they were to begin with.
The only shame was that the crowd went nuts after their encore, but that was it. It almost seemed as if the band would come back with the lights dimming again, but disappointingly the venue’s piped music came on and the crew started disassembling the band’s gear. On their blog they commented:
The show in Toronto was amazing. The audience clapped forever, calling for endless encores. Too bad there was a curfew…
The manager at the toronto venue said he hadn’t seen any audience make such a noise in 10 years of owning clubs.
Maybe next time they’ll choose a better venue. The Queen Elizabeth Theatre wasn’t the worst place I’ve seen a show, but it inhibited the band. Considering it was seated, no one I knew there complained about their view of the band, and the sound, no pun intended. That said, the assigned seating really impeded the energy. People really just want to be able to dance and/or make fools of themselves.
This post is mostly intended for someone to come across via Google having trouble unlocking his or her phone. There is a tonne of misinformation and lots of scams out there.
My girlfriend had been using an unlocked 1G iPhone for a while. That phone was locked to AT&T in the USA while she has beens using a cheap Bank of Montreal phone plan here in Canada. She doesn’t want to pay for a data plan; she’s happy just using wi-fi on the iPhone whenever it’s available.
The 1G had started to die though, with error messages constantly popping up. Each time the message would pop up, the screen would turn on, so the battery could only last a few hours.
She bought a used 8 GB 3G iPhone locked to Rogers to replace it, however the previous owner had updated it to official Apple iPhone firmware 3.1.3 which did several things to make unlocking it to other cellphone networks impossible.
With iPhones, there are two distinct hacks: jailbreaking means that you can run home-made software on your iPhone without needing to go through Apple’s official App Store. Unlocking, like with any other cellphone, means that you’re not restricted to any one particular cellphone carrier.
In addition to the main iPhone operating system, (now known as “iOS” as it’s shared with the iPad), there is separate firmware that controls the modem in the phone: the part that actually connects with the cell network. This firmware is known as the baseband. Finally there’s a bootloader as well, which may be governed by the hardware iteration rather than software, but I’m not sure. The jailbreak used to be mostly dependent on the operating system, the unlock used to be mostly dependent on the baseband version. The bootloader determined whether or not you could restore your iPhone to older versions of baseband which could then be unlocked.
The sum total though was that with old hacks, it was impossible to unlock my girlfriend’s 3G iPhone to work with her cell provider.
Once iOS 4.0 was released however (June 21, 2010), the brilliant hackers that figure out how to jailbreak and unlock these things published exploits they had been withholding. They’d been waiting for iOS 4.0 to come out to get more mileage and not waste them on an otherwise minor firmware update. These current exploits work with ALL iPhones from 3G onwards, all basebands, and all bootloaders.
To unlock your 3G:
Sync your phone with iTunes. Make sure it creates a backup. If it doesn’t (from ericajoy, found with Google):
Go to Preferences
Choose the syncing option
Remove the iPhone backup
Press OK and exit Preferences
Sync your iPhone
Update your 3G to the proper full iOS 4.0 with iTunes. It should be prompting you to whenever you connect your phone to your computer with iTunes open.
Download and run Redsn0w from the Dev-Team Blog. The earliest version that works with iOS 4.0 is 0.9.5b5-4. (Click the Windows link on the post I linked.)
It will ask you to point it to the IPSW file of your CURRENT FIRMWARE (which will be 4.0 now if you followed step 1.) The file is called iPhone1,2_4.0_8A293_Restore.ipsw.
In Win7 it will be found in C:\Users\<YOUR USER NAME>\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\iTunes\iPhone Software Updates
In WinXP it would be found in C:\Documents and Settings\<YOUR USER NAME>\Application Data\Apple Computer\iTunes\iPhone Software Updates
Alternatively, you can just download it separately from a site such as this one. (Look for the iOS 4 section at the bottom of the page and click the iPhone 3G link.)
Redsn0w will take some time to process the IPSW file, then it will prompt you for some options after you hit ‘next.’
The option you must select is “Install Cydia.” Cydia is the programme that installs all the non-Apple approved iPhone applications, and will be required to actually unlock the phone.
On the 3G I recommend you also enable the “homescreen wallpaper” and “battery percentage.” The 3G isn’t really fast enough to do multitasking well, but it’s up to you. Leave everything else unchecked.
Your iPhone should be connected to the PC already. Turn it off by holding the power button on top, and swiping across the screen when asked to. Hit ‘next’ and follow the rest of the on-screen instructions. Redsn0w is going to ask you hold the power button for a few seconds, then hold the power & home button for 10 seconds, and then let go of the power button while still holding the home button for 30 seconds. You can let go of home once the screen changes and things start happening on your phone. If gives you another chance to do it over if you screw up.
The rest of this is automated. It can take a while to finish. Redsn0w on your PC will soon say it’s done, that the rest takes place on your iPhone. You can close redsn0w at this point. I believe it took about 10 minutes for the iPhone to finish it’s business. You now have a jailbroken iPhone 3G.
To finish the process and unlock the phone, run the Cydia app on your homescreen. It will take some time to update itself. (Roughly five minutes.)
Click on the search tab, and search for “ultrasn0w” (the “o” is a zero, like in redsn0w).
Install it, and select reboot once it asks you to. Your iPhone 3G is now unlocked.
From now on, do not install any new official Apple firmware until you’ve absolutely confirmed that you can jailbreak and unlock it.
I haven’t been neglecting this blog, honest. I just can’t finish any of the articles I want to write for one reason or another.
Just a quick thought. One of the most frequently heard questions I keep seeing over and over regarding the iPad is, “Why do you need it?” Now I have no interest in one myself — if I only casually wanted a portable PC, I’d be all over it, but I intend to go back to school eventually, and the iPad just wouldn’t cut it with its on-screen keyboard.
But I want to point out, it’s such a bullshit rhetorical technique. Everybody knows that nobody needs anything but food, shelter, and clothes if he or she is modest.
It’s perfectly okay to want/lust after something, and it’s nobody else’s business … except maybe creditors. I guess being an Apple fan is just a slightly more abstract hobby.
I think most of my techy friends have moved onto Google Chrome at this point, but I’m still a bit of a Firefox die-hard.
These are my favourite add-ons which I believe aren’t as popular as things like AdBlock, and might be of use to you.
1. The best theme I’ve come across so far is “TwentyTen”
It’s modern, sleek, and uses the Win7/Vista Glass effect quite well.
2. ScrapBook – Saves webpages to your computer with a click. It’s like bookmarking, but it actually keeps a record of the page. It’s useful because you don’t have to worry about the page vanishing between visits. I mostly use it to keep track of recipes, hah.
3. SpeedDial – Creates thumbnail links of your most important/frequently used webpages in new tabs (like Opera).
Procrastinating a bit from some contract work I need to get done tonight.
I’d seen Amazon Kindles in person a few times, and was absolutely blown away by the quality and legibility of the text on the screen. I didn’t get to spend that much time with them though to really get a feel for the features. I didn’t like how a lot of the device’s real-estate was used up by a keyboard though.
Today I spent a while with the Sony eReaders, and was surprised to find that they don’t look or feel nearly as nice as the Kindle. They looked great in their press-shots and sounded vastly superior to me, but they felt quite cheap comparatively. When these things are supposed to recreate the “experience of reading a book,” which detractors keep bringing up, it’s apparently a really big deal.
Speaking of e-book readers in general, the ability to change text-size I think is a killer feature. However one thing I noticed on the Sony readers, and really disliked, was that they wouldn’t justify or typeset the text particularly well. It’s especially obvious at larger font sizes. I don’t know whether the Kindle does this either, but it seems like it’d be a great feature to further enhance legibility. Maybe most people don’t notice this sort of thing though.
I’d been meaning to write about Avatar for some time since I’d seen it, as none of the reviews/articles/criticisms I’d seen on it quite captured my thoughts. Now this Macleans article, by Brian D. Johnson, captures them far more succinctly than I could manage: Why Haven’t You Seen Avatar Yet?
The only thing I’d really like to add is to chastise people who are reading so deeply into what is really such a superficial movie. The plot is so thin, the characters are so shallow, you’re just seeing what you want to see, or ‘jumping at shadows’ so to speak. Despite the lack of depth, the movie still manages to be an awe-inspiring experience. It’s really okay to just watch it with an open … or possibly empty mind.
I picked up a BlackBerry a couple weeks ago. The impetus was that I started a new job with heavily-monitored internet, and an extremely restrictive firewall. I wanted to avoid trouble with my new employer and couldn’t deal with being completely cut off for over half the waking day. Suddenly having no access to personal email felt really isolating.
I chose a BlackBerry mostly because I really didn’t like tapping out long messages on an iPhone’s keyboard. For plain internet browsing, I think the iPhone’s browser wins no-contest, but that wasn’t my main concern. As it turns out though, I’m just ecstatic with this purchase, and I’m discovering more and more to do with it every day.
I was on Fido, but still had 11 months left in my contract. I discovered that Rogers can be negotiated with to allow you to break your contract once in your lifetime, to switch from Fido to Rogers or vice versa, as long as you’ve been on your respective network for at least a year.
As the gadget comes up in conversation, I’ve noticed some inaccuracies, and as well, have found solutions to some common complaints:
Consumer BlackBerries do have push email (at least on the Rogers network). It does not require a corporate server. I have it set up with my Gmail account, but you can create an @rogers.blackberry email address instead if you prefer. Without the slightest exaggeration, emails show up on my BlackBerry before my Gmail inbox. The address to set this up is http://www.rogers.com/bis/ You can set this up from your desktop PC. You will need the IMEI and PIN codes.
It took me a couple days to figure out, but with the default theme, you change the home screen icons by moving the applications you want to the top row of your apps menu. (Probably obvious, but two friends who’d had theirs for months never figured it out.)
The included browser is nothing spectacular, however you can install Opera Mini instead. The 5.0 beta includes tabbed browsing even.
The included Maps application is quite rudimentary. Google Maps is a spectacular replacement. More information here.
I love the cohesive Messages programme, how it consolidates all incoming messages from your various IM applications, Facebook, emails, etc. All except for SMS messages for some reason. You can in fact combine the Messages and SMS apps by going to the Options in Messages, choosing General Options, and changing the SMS and Email Inboxes setting to Combined.
BlackBerry apps do not close when you push the red disconnect button. They stay running in the background, eating at your battery. This is actually a great feature, and a huge advantage over the iPhone, but if you’re not aware of it, you’re killing battery life and memory for running other apps needlessly. Generally you can close apps by pushing the menu button and selecting Close. Unfortunately this isn’t 100% consistent, and some apps require you use Exit instead. (They often still have a ‘Close’ command, but in that case it won’t necessarily stop the programme from running.)
Related to the previous point, you can access applications running in the background by holding the menu button (the one with the BlackBerry logo on it). Depending on your model, there will be programmes that you cannot actually close permanently. (On my Bold, the Browser, Phone, Home Screen, Messages, and BlackBerry Messenger apps are always running.)
Macleans is a nicely formatted version of the magazine, though it occasionally cuts articles slightly short and tells you to find the rest on newsstands.
The one minor gripe I have is that I can’t access Gmail-specific features from within the Messages app. The BlackBerry suggested I download a special “Gmail plug-in” when I first set up my email account, which would allow me to do things like flag and categorise messages. This works great, however I have to run it as a separate programme. When I look at my email from within the default Messages app though, I can’t do any of that Gmail-specific stuff. It sort of defeats the purpose of having a consolidated inbox, and calling the programme a “plug-in.” Hopefully I’m just missing something, or it will be corrected soon.