Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Root your Jaiyu G2 / G3 phone the easy way

Jaiyu G2 restore screen

Under the hood, an Android phone runs a modified LINUX operating system. Out of the box we, the end users, are given only certain permissions to perform certain actions on this system. We are locked out of other functions, largely for our own good, it is said. Manufacturers don't want us accidentally wiping our OS or allowing apps to do malicious damage.

Anyone who wants to get full control over their computer (I mean, phone) needs root access. This Gizmodo article lists specific reasons why "rooting" is a useful thing. My main reasons are to get full backup capabilities, prior to installing a new Android ROM.

One of the reasons I purchased a Jaiyu G2 is that it was in fact possible to find rooting information. This is not true of all Chinese phones. But the problem is that this information is fragmentary, confusing, and ill-written. Besides which, there are several different methods, requiring different levels of expertise and risk.

The best guide I found, by user "umit" on DroidChina, still lacks clarity for those of us new to this venture. So here I present a rewrite of that guide, all props to the original author.
Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A great Android phone for 100 bucks

Jaiyu G2

I bought my last phone, the Sony Ericsson W810i, on the basis of its long battery life and short charge time. The fact that it was a Walkman and supposedly had superior audio was a plus as well -- until I discovered a playback glitch. After years of use a fully-charged charged battery now dies after a day. Given this, I may as well use a smart phone, where such behaviour is the norm! (I would prefer a battery to last a week, but such is not to be, alas.)

And so, it's time to buy a smart phone.
Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pro audio on mobile phones

As a composer and audio engineer, I am intrigued by what audio apps are available for the potent little computers we call mobile phones. In this article I will look at this particular application, on my way to making a smart phone purchase decision.

To begin, I will limit my consideration to the best supported and most mature operating systems. In 2013, this means iOS and Android. The innovative Nokia projects have died off. Windows 8 is ugly. So be it.

It turns out that iOS and Android are poles apart when it comes to audio development. Both can of course play back sounds just fine, but when it comes to music creation, recording, and control, a great deal more is expected of both hardware and software. How do these systems deliver? The answer focuses on latency and applications.
Monday, July 29, 2013

All my devices are black

my black devices

I am in a contradictory position regarding technology. Simultaneously I am a bit of a tech geek and am deeply suspicious of technophilia. I was researching hypertext before the web existed, when the only way to distribute such products was the not-so-network-aware floppy disk. I was developing web applications before that term was coined. And I have been recording digital audio since the days of the Atari [1]. With some justification I label myself a geek.

The problem is that I prefer to live my life as an artist. In practice, this means that though I'd like to be up-to-date with the latest electronics, I can never afford them. Nor do I delight in gadgets for their own sake, once the initial honeymoon period is over.
Saturday, July 20, 2013

Thousands of Field Recordings

recording at Carrig Aille ring fort

The last number of years have seen an enormous profusion of field recording artists, whose practice is variously labelled as "nature recording", "acoustic ecology", "phonography", and so on. Each term articulates a particular ideology, something I will address in detail in future writings. For now, I'd simply define these artists by the fact that they release untouched or slightly modified in situ recordings as aesthetic artefacts.

Three significant developments have contributed to this burst of activity. First, increasingly portable and inexpensive audio recorders have lowered the practical and financial barriers to recording in the field. Second, the steady broadening of what is acceptable "music" has allowed listeners the latitude to appreciation what might previously have been considered "unwanted sound" (or noise). Third, an increased awareness of ecological concerns has thrown into sharp relief the usefulness of field recordings, both as evidence of environmental impact and as a lasting record of vanishing soundscapes.

No matter what the cause, there are literally thousands of field recordings available to hear from the comfort of your own easy chair. Read on for my recommended resources.