Sunday, 19 September 2010

iPhone 3GS vs HTC Desire

I'm really sorry to have to say this, but I'm going to have to stay with the iPhone.

I was so ready to ditch the bloody thing - not because of any design flaws, simply because I resent the way Apple dictates to you. I'm a PC man, in case you haven't worked it out yet.

The only reason I got an iPhone in the first place was because there was absolutely nothing in the same league. Then out came Telstra's new plans and with them, the Desire. I had no choice but to take a Desire, use it side-by-side with my iPhone, then decide which one to keep and which one to sell. The HTC is going on the market for the following reasons:

1. Battery life. The HTC battery life is truly appalling. I thought the iPhone was bad. This is much, much worse. Not only does the battery meter go down as you watch, but the recharge time is far worse than the iPhone. Hours. The iPhone at least recharges quickly - very quickly in fact.

2. Availability of apps. The App Store is overflowing with high-quality, useful, applications (admittedly, there are still a lot of duds). The Android Market is bare. What apps are there, have no quality control. At least they have a refund option, and to be fair, the Android API offers a vastly (potentially) more useful array of apps, like switches to turn off wi-fi from the home screen. But they're light-years away from the quality and variety of the iPhone apps. It seems that, currently, Apple's Nazi-like approach to their app market has at least one benefit for the buyer - they are able to enforce a certain level of quality, and developers have run with this.

3. GUI. The HTC Android interface is just not sexy. The iPhone is uber-sexy. The other thing that really pisses me off, is that when you check an option in an Android dialog box, it often closes before the option gets checked. This makes it look like you missed the check box. So you have to go back and make sure you didn't hit the wrong spot. Sorry, Apple wins again.

4. Audio. The iPhone is definitely louder than the HTC. It also seems to have more bass - from a speaker that can hardly be bigger than a mustard seed. The HTC audio is tinny and weak by comparison.

Maybe in another 6 months, HTC/Android will have caught up, but for now - no comparison. Apple, thumbs up. HTC, sorry, but no cupie doll.

Friday, 26 February 2010

M13 gotchas

I thought I might post some gotchas for the M13, which I currently use into my Vox AC30CC2X using the 4CM (four cable method).

1) With each scene, double check the FX Loop settings. If you use the effects loop on your amp, it makes a huge difference to the sound. The default is PRE ALL, which means that you won't get anything going through the loop. So if you set up a new scene, or edit one of the factory ones, you'll need to change the loop settings. I just set up a bunch of scenes in folder 2, and then realised that they were all PRE ALL. And they still sounded awesome! The sound when going through the loop is much richer and fuller.

2) Make sure that your amp is set to use -10db for the loop. The M13 can only use instrument level settings for the send and return on its fx loop. Luckily my AC30 has a switch to toggle between line and instrument levels, so I just have it set to -10db.

For my next trick, I'll be trying to find a midi footswitch that can change scene folders for me (instead of bending down and turning a dial). Stay posted.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Sony STR-DA5300ES - Audio switching problems over HDMI

So I've already had this AVR in the shop for some sort of firmware upgrade. They had it for something like 4 months, which is totally ludicrous and unacceptable - but what could I do? The bloody thing wasn't working. Anyway, now it's been back for 8 months or so and has worked perfectly...almost ;)

The only thing I noticed about the functionality of the AVR after the repair, was that the menu could be overlaid over whatever was playing on the screen. It was now semi-transparent instead of being on a black background. Anyway, the new problem, which has been occurring since I got it back, is that when you switch to a device on one of the HDMI ports, the sound doesn't start with the picture. The picture comes on after a second or two (you can hear the clicks of the switching mechanism - solenoid?), but there's no sound. You have to hit the button on the remote again to make the sound come on.

That may not sound like much effort, but it's really annoying because the first 300 times it happens, you've already put the remote down and gone back to your seat. Now I should point out that the only device I've got hooked up via HDMI is the PS3.

Using the other HDMI inputs doesn't solve the problem. I admit that I haven't tried any other devices over HDMI. I have a Topfield PVR, but you can't run that over HDMI because it reboots itself (don't worry, I've investigated this to death as well), so I have it running extremely reliably over component and optical fibre.

Perhaps the PS3 is partially responsible for the HDMI switching problem.

If anyone else has had this problem or found a solution, please let me know. Apart from that, I have no complaints with this AVR.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Really annoying habits

Seeing as there are so many, I decided to document some of the things that REALLY get on my nerves about people.

1) Dragging feet. Some people have a habit of dragging their feet when they walk. LIFT THEM UP!
2) Sniffing. Constant sniffing, especially if it's someone who sits near you at work. Blow your fucking nose!
3) Finishing your sentences. Don't finish my sentences for me. They're mine. I'll finish them. How the fuck do you think you know what I'm going to say?
4) Mouthing my words while I'm talking. WTF!!! Go see a psychiatrist. That's my only suggestion.
5) Slurping coffee or soup, or eating with your mouth open. Keep it closed.
6) Saying 'like' 25 times in every sentence. Hello? Use your brain instead of space fillers.
7) Responding to forum posts when you have absolutely nothing constructive to say. Like when someone asks a question, and some moron comes back with "I don't know". Why did you have to type that?
8) Not opening your mouth when you talk, or saying 'Vuh' instead of 'The'.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Sony STR-DA5300ES - how to get 5.1 Channels with Linear PCM out of a PS3

Just a quick one to help anyone that might be having the same problems I've been having. I have a PS3 running over HDMI into a Sony STR-DA5300ES amplifier. I had the PS3 set to output Linear PCM rather than bitstream (because the PS3 doesn't support bitstreaming Dolby TrueHD). That's fine. I'm leaving the decoding to the PS3 by using Linear PCM, so theoretically when I set the amplifier to AFD Auto, it should just allow the 5.1 channels (that's all I've got) to receive the signal. Up until an hour ago, all I was getting on the AFD auto setting was 2.1 channels - no blue light on the front of the amp. I checked everything - I thought. The display on the amp read Linear PCM, so that was correct, the sound field was on AFD Auto, so why was I only getting 2.1 channels?? Finally, the penny dropped. I'd forgotten the hidden setting: You have to go into the PS3 settings menu - 'Sound Settings' - 'Audio Output Settings'. Select HDMI, then continue and allow it to select every possible option for HDMI, all the Linear PCM modes. Then hit the X button to save. Finally, the PS3 will be outputting the highest available format to the a/v receiver. You'll get the blue light coming on (as the amp decodes the LPCM signal) and 5.1 (or 7.1 or 9.1, depending on your system) going to the speakers. Hooray! I certainly didn't want to use one of the other modes, like AFD-Neural THX, which takes a stereo signal and tries to make it sound like surround. At last I can relax and listen to Ironman the way it was meant to sound...
It took me a couple of hours of Googling to find the answer. I hope this helps someone who has the same problem.