* Lost Songs of a Rhineland Harper X & XI Centuries (Sequentia/Bagby) (Harmonia Mundi SACD)
* Boulez: Le Marteau sans maître/Derive 1 & 2 (Ens. Intercontemporain/Boulez) (DG CD)
* Craig Leon: Nommos/Visiting: Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music Vol.1 (RVNG 2LP)
* Sun Ra: Continuation (Saturn/Universal LP)
* Andrew Hill: Dance With Death (Blue Note CD)
* Don Cherry: Hear & Now (Atlantic LP)
* Chick Corea/David Holland/Barry Altschul: ARC (ECM LP)
* Carla Bley: Heavy Heart (Watt/ECM LP)
* Carla Bley: Night-Glo (Watt/ECM LP)
* The Leaders: Unforeseen Blessings (Black Saint LP)
* Eric Kloss: Doors (Cobblestone LP)
* Kamasi Washington: The Epic (Brainfeeder 3LP)
* Rabih Abou-Khalil: il sospiro (Enja CD)
* John Martyn: Glorious Fool (Duke/Atlantic LP)
* John Martyn: Piece By Piece (Island LP)
* Mothers of Invention: Cruising With Ruben & The Jets (Verve LP)
* Henry Cow: Unrest (Virgin LP)
* Van Morrison: Common One (Warner Bros. LP)
* Hawkwind: Space Ritual (EMI 2CD)
* Cluster: Zuckerzeit (Brain CD)
* Pete Bardens: Seen One Earth (Cinema/Capitol LP)
* Pete Bardens: Speed of Light (Cinema/Capitol LP)
* Steven Halpern: Gifts of the Angels (Inner Peace CD)
* Patti Smith: Horses (Arista CD)
* Patti Smith: Radio Ethiopia (Arista CD)
* Patti Smith: Easter (Arista CD)
* Japan: Quiet Life (Hansa/Carrere LP)
* Gastr Del Sol: Upgrade & Afterlife (Drag City 12”+LP)
* Wilco: Random Name Generator (dBPM/Anti- 7”)
* Buckethead: Colma (CyberOctave CD)
* OM: God Is Good (Drag City LP)
* Grails: Deep Politics (Temporary Residence 2LP)
* Boris with Merzbow: Sun Baked Snow Cave (Double D Noise Industries 2LP)
* Kylesa: Exhausting Fire (Season of Mist LP)
* Pallbearer: Foundations of Burden (Profound Lore 2LP)
* Kadavar: Berlin (Nuclear Blast 2LP)
* Goat: It’s Time For Fun/Relax (Sub Pop 7”)
* Goldfrapp: Seventh Tree (Mute CD)
I got a new phone.
Actually, I put it off as long as I could. But my old iPhone 5 was getting long in the tooth: most of the buttons no longer worked and it seemed to increasingly struggle with connectivity issues. I managed to keep it going, but it was frustrating. So I pre-ordered an iPhone 6S, which was delivered to my door on release day.
As an old guy, I was pretty proud of myself for managing to backup my old phone, activate the new one and restore all my data -- all by my lonesome! Thank you, Verizon, for making it so easy.
I was not sure how much I would like the larger dimensions of the 6S, having gotten used to the 5's diminutive form factor. But it's actually a big improvement, with much better readability -- while also still fitting comfortably into my pants pocket (unlike the 6+). And, as usual with Apple products, the ergonomics and overall aesthetic is superb and a pleasure to use.
While there are a number of new features and technology in the 6S, it's the revamped camera that really excites me. At 12-megapixels, it doubles the resolution of the iPhone 5 while adding an upgraded sensor with optical image stabilization -- a real life-saver in low-light situations. The "selfie" camera also gets an overhaul, with 5-megapixel images and a new retina display flash for more natural-looking snapshots. While I don't care much about video, it can also shoot up to 4K with on-board editing possible with the iMovie app. Pretty slick!
I had seriously considered getting a new, small camera to take with me on trips rather than the bulky and heavy DSLR. But none of the options I considered had everything I wanted -- and those that came close were quite expensive. In the end, I decided to just get a new phone, which I needed anyway. I always have my phone with me -- so, why carry another gadget?
After playing around with it a little bit this week, it's obvious how much more capable a camera it is than the old iPhone 5. No, it can't do what my big DSLR can do -- nor what a pricey compact camera could do. But as a general, all-purpose camera, it is more than adequate. I'm looking forward to our next hike!
As for the other new features, the A9 chip does seem noticeably faster and the battery lasts quite a bit longer than the 5, which is nice. The "Touch ID" feature is super-convenient (if a little bit creepy) but the new "3D Touch" technology has yet to catch up with available apps, from what I can tell. I suppose it will also be a useful feature, but I have yet to experience it. Then again, maybe I don't have it set up properly. Whatever.
In all, I would say the 6S is a big step forward from the iPhone 5 and worth the upgrade. The camera companies, however, lost another sale.
Next time: a rant about my desire to upgrade my DSLR and my frustration with Nikon for not making just exactly the camera I want!