Favorite Indie Rock songs of 2014

by chris on November 6, 2014

Some favorites released in 2014 are:

The Apache Relay, Alvvays, Bear Hands, Bear’s Den, Brace/Choir, Broods, Cloud Nothings, Cousins, Doug Tuttle, Dum Dum Girls, Eagulls, Father John Misty, Future Islands, Like Herding Cats, Mac DeMarco, Milky Chance, Panama, The Rentals, Skaters, Still Parade, Syd Arthur, Temples, Total Control, The Twilight Sad, The War On Drugs, Woods, Yellow Ostrich

See the playlist above for the complete list.

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iPhone 6 camera lens flare

by chris on October 2, 2014

The iPhone 5 had issues with lens flare. Many photos that had a bright sun in it managed to almost always blow the sun out into a purple mess. Apple’s response? Move the camera.

Now that the iPhone 6 is out I was curious how it handled similar shooting situations. Tonight I went for a run at Crissy Field towards the Golden Gate Bridge and took some photos when I reached the Warming Hut pier.

Lens flare is better but it’s still there and prominent enough that you may have to alter your shooting angle or do some post processing to remove it. There was always a small green dot in the frame that moved around depending on where the sun was. (See the videos below)

I took a photo with 3 different photo apps to confirm that it was something inherent with the camera and not something that the software was doing.

I used Apple’s default camera app ‘Camera’, Camera+, and Manual (Custom exposure camera). Here are the results:

Apple ‘Camera’ app:
Camera 300x225 iPhone 6 camera lens flare

Apple ‘Camera’ app (HDR):
CameraHDR 300x225 iPhone 6 camera lens flare

Manual (Custom exposure camera) app:
Manual1 300x225 iPhone 6 camera lens flare

Camera+ app:
Camera 1 300x225 iPhone 6 camera lens flare

I also shot a short video and you can follow the green dot as the sun moves across the frame.

I’m not surprised that the phone does this and I think it mostly handles bright light well for such a small camera but it’s something to keep in mind.

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ETrade password security, or lack of

by chris on August 6, 2014

etrade baby 150x150 ETrade password security, or lack ofEvery week we read about different security breaches, like this week’s one where Russian hackers have amassed over a billion passwords.

A Russian crime ring has amassed the largest known collection of stolen Internet credentials, including 1.2 billion user name and password combinations and more than 500 million email addresses, security researchers say.

Thinking that it was time to change some passwords on various accounts that I use, I discovered something that I find quite alarming.

ETrade’s password policy, or lack of.

They only allow letters and numbers.

They don’t allow punctuation.

They don’t allow special characters.

They don’t recognize the difference between uppercase and lowercase characters.

etrade password 300x207 ETrade password security, or lack of

The SANS Institute’s recommendation for a strong password is the following:

Contain at least three of the five following character classes:

    Lower case characters
    Upper case characters
    “Special” characters (e.g. @#$%^&*()_+|~-=\`{}[]:”;’<>/ etc)

ETrade only allows three of the five, and really only checks for two. If your password is “PasSworD123″, ETrade will accept “password123″.

ETrade’s response to this is to use the free two-factor authentication that they offer. While this is indeed helpful, I feel that it’s rather misleading and a bit deceitful to not alert their customers that their password really isn’t as secure as one might believe. Nowhere do they mention that your password isn’t checked for case sensitivity.

They should also do a much better job of promoting the two-factor authentication. The main login screen doesn’t mention it at all.

ETrade isn’t the only company with a poor password policy. Charles Schwab secretly truncates passwords down to 8 characters and also doesn’t care if your entered password is case accurate.

For now your best choice is to use the free two-factor authentication. Beware though that you can easily enable this with ETrade and they don’t really give you ANY instructions on how to use it. It’s not hard but it’s different and not intuitive.

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Kasabian – ’48:13′

July 3, 2014

Kasabian seems to be one of those bands that you sometimes find certain people making fun of. “They only had one good album.” I do disagree but do think each progressive release has been weaker. Here are their albums, listed in order of release, and the tracks I think are worth adding to any music […]

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Display “Now Playing” info on your Desktop with GeekTool

June 25, 2014

I listen to Seattle’s KEXP streaming radio fairly regularly and even when I’m not I like to know what they’re playing. I use GeekTool to display KEXP’s “Now Playing” song on my Mac Desktop. curl -silent ‘http://kexp.org/playlist/miniplaylist’ | perl -l -0777 -ne ‘print $1 if /<title.*?>\s*(.*?)\s*<\/title/si’ | perl -MHTML::Entities -le ‘while(<>) {print decode_entities($_);}’ For Spotify, […]

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‘Stereo’, an iTunes music player replacement app for album art fans

June 18, 2014

Stereo is a new music player from Appothecary. Stereo is currently at version 0.3.1 and is offered at “an introductory price” of $1.99, down from $3.99. It’s designed to be a simple iTunes music player replacement designed to put importance on album covers. The interface is barebones and puts the album covers front and center. There […]

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Thoughts on Apple’s acquisition of Beats

May 28, 2014

Beats Music is really no different than Pandora, Spotify, Rdio. Sure they all have their own recommendation methods but in the end they are quite similar. None of them has done anything groundbreaking. Pandora has a rather limited library and has been living off of its Genome Project since its inception. Spotify’s apps are interesting […]

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May 8, 2014

Brace/Choir is a trancerock quartet founded in Berlin, Germany in 2006. Musically, the band channels a dark, minimalist psychedelia to resurrect such classic themes as death, birth, rebirth, heartbreak, multiple personality disorder, and identity theft. Brace/Choir communicates in an ur-language of rock and roll, taking turns singing the alternately mantra-like and narrative texts. Band members […]

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Like Herding Cats

March 5, 2014

Like Herding Cats released a self-titled debut EP on December 13th, 2013. The record was edited and mixed by Mod at Mod Alien Music Studios (guitarist and songwriter for Elefant, Ape Fight, DMT Frequencies) and mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side Studios (Sufjan Stevens, Beach House, Kurt Vile). The five-song EP, running 17 […]

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See how little musicians are making from streaming services

February 14, 2014

aux.tv has an article displaying just how much little musicians are making from streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora. Musicians have posted pictures of checks they are receiving for as little as .01¢. Cracker’s 1993 alternative hit “Low” has been streamed over 1.1 million times. Their payment: $16.89. .01¢ is quite ridiculous. I could […]

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