The year 2020 was a difficult year for most people in the world due to the pandemic. It was a hard year for me too, especially mentally. I listened to a lot less new music in 2020 than I did in the years before.
Nevertheless, on this last day of the year, I came up with a list of 20 albums that I enjoyed a lot this year. There are tons of albums that I missed when I look at the end-of-year lists that people post on social media. I will be interested to check them out and pick out a few albums that I haven’t heard yet.
For every album I included links where you can buy the albums, and a links to odesli that function as hubs to all big streaming services.
Enough with the introduction, and enough with 2020.
On to a new year and hopefully a better year!
It’s the second day of Christmas, which I think is an excellent time to look back on the albums that I enjoyed in the year 2019. My music taste has shifted more towards the ambient music genre in the past year, so you will find a lot of ambient releases on the list. My most favorite albums are near the top, but the order of the albums is not a hard ranking. I liked every single album in this list.
Where available I included a link to the artist’s Bandcamp page. If the artist did not use Bandcamp, I linked to their official store, shop or to their album on Amazon as a last resort. All streaming links were made with Odesli (previously song.link) that generates a hub with links to all popular streaming services.
Of course I won’t mention my own ambient album in this list, that was also released in 2019 (which you can check out on Bandcamp over here and stream over here. 😉 ) That would be too narcissistic, right? 🙂
So without further ado, here is my list of 25 albums that I enjoyed a lot in 2019.
The year is nearly over and Christmas Eve knocks on the door. I think I’ve waited long enough now to publish my list of the 25 albums that I enjoyed the most in 2018. The list is somewhat ranked to show the albums that I enjoyed the most near the top of the list, but it’s definitely not a definitive ranking of these 25 releases.
I have included links to the music using the marvelous song.link website, so you’ll have a hub for every album that shows you links to your available music buying/streaming websites.
Happy listening and happy holidays!
- Lydian Collective – Adventure (song.link)
- Roine Stolt’s The Flower King – Manifesto of an Alchemist (song.link)
- Field Music – Open Here (song.link)
- Saariselka – Ceres (song.link)
- Alasca – Plea For Peace (song.link)
- Flying Horsemen – Rooms / Ruins (song.link)
- Juha-Matti Rautiainen – Above Me Weeps The Sky (song.link)
- Telomere – Supergiant (song.link)
- William Basinski & Lawrence English – Selva Oscura (song.link)
- Chris Weeks – Journey to Mars (song.link)
- 36 – Ego Death (song.link)
- James Murray – Falling Backwards (song.link)
- Mount Shrine – Winter Restlessness (song.link)
- Kenji Kihara – 点 線 面 – ten sen men (song.link)
- Spock’s Beard – Noise Floor (song.link)
- Ryley Walker – The Lilleywhite Sessions (song.link)
- The Pineapple Thief – Dissolution (song.link)
- Gazpacho – Soyuz (song.link)
- Biosphere – The Hilvarenbeek Recordings (song.link)
- Manuel Guimarães – Bloom : Synopsis of Generative Compositions (song.link)
- Delia Derbyshire Appreciation Society – Wow and Flutter (song.link)
- Clown Core – Toilet (song.link)
- Audio Wallpaper – Inlets (song.link)
- Wolfgang Merx – Triptychon II (song.link)
- Oak – False Memory Archive (song.link)
For the first time in my life I have taken the time to compile a best-of-the-year album list. When you browse through the list you may notice that there are quite a number of indie artists among them. Most of these I discovered through Bandcamp: a website where artists can showcase and sell their music. I use Bandcamp myself too for my ambient project Crows Labyrinth. Bandcamp is a real treasure trove for discovering new music and new artists.
- David Bowie – The Next Day
- Spock’s Beard – Brief Nocturnes and Dreamless Sleep
- Yellowjackets – A Rise in the Road
- Udo Pannekeet – On
- Grey Frequency – When Do We Dream?
- Ulver with the Tromsø Chamber Orchestra – Messe I.X-VI.X
- Steven Wilson – The Raven That Refused to Sing (and Other Stories)
- April Larson – Tempête
- Grey Frequency – Cold Geometry
- Microvolt – Peacedrifts
Continue reading My 25 Favorite Albums of 2013
This is not a long analytical piece but just an observation I felt I had to write down. Please keep this in mind when you want to comment on these thoughts.
OS X updates may be much cheaper than Windows updates, but OS X versions have a much shorter lifespan than Windows versions. Add to that the costs for updates of other software you use on your Mac and suddenly you are paying way more than Windows users.
Take Windows XP for example. This version of Windows was launched in 2001. More than eleven years later it’s still used by many people and a lot of new software you can still run on XP. As a contrast, take OS X 10.5 Leopard. Launched in 2007. A lot of new apps and software don’t run on 10.5. The minimum OS X these days is often 10.6 Snow Leopard, but sometimes apps already need at least 10.7 Lion to be able to install them.
Continue reading Thoughts: Life Span of OS X Versions vs. Windows Versions
While I was writing a comment on Alex Schleber’s post about the iPhone 5 event on Google+ I got a bit carried away and ended up with quite a long comment. Therefore I decided to copy it to my blog. Check the link if you are interested, or join the discussion in Alex’s thread or over here if you like.
My two cents: the iPhone 5 is a cool phone. The glass and aluminum body, the larger screen, faster CPU, longer battery life. All very nice improvements. But my guess is that most 4S users won’t be interested to upgrade to the iPhone 5 except for the fanboys and early-adopters. I am an iPhone 4S user and will definitely skip the iPhone 5 since my two-year contract will expire by the end of next year and the new features are not interesting or major enough for me to justify the upgrade. I’ll wait for the iPhone 6, or 5S, or whatever it will be called. In my logic, iPhone 5 customers will be former iPhone 3GS and 4 owners and the people who got tired of the Android experience when they bought a cheap-ass Android phone about a year ago, running Gingerbread, constantly running out of phone memory. People owning a more recent Android phone with version 3 or 4 of the Android OS probably won’t be interested in an iPhone 5. These Android phones can compete with the iPhone 5 easily on features, screen quality, camera quality, etcetera.
Continue reading Thoughts: My View on Apple’s iPhone 5 and iOS 6
This evening I noticed that the Google+ iPad app was available in the App Store. I downloaded the app immediately and gave it a thorough spin. After playing with it for about 20 minutes I have come to the verdict that it’s underwhelming, at least on user-friendliness. It has quite a number of design flaws in my opinion. Although it looks very slick at first glance, I was longing back to the tablet-optimized Google+ browser version that I have been using on my iPad in the past few weeks.
A couple of things I don’t like about the Google+ iPad app: Continue reading Thoughts: the Google+ iPad App Is Underwhelming So Far
The Klout score is probably the most useless type of statistics I have ever seen. After thinking about it for a while I decided to opt-out and delete my account.
When I wanted to do this, I found out that it was not so easy to find the page to delete my account. I had to use a search engine to find a blog post that mentions the link. For your convenience, here is the link if you plan to remove yours in the future:
The blog post I got this link from is linked below. It’s a recommended read and sums up exactly how I think about Klout. I would not be surprised if you deleted your account too after reading it. What I did not know for example is that Klout also builds a profile of people that don’t have an account with the service. By using the opt-out link above, you will prevent this from happening and have your data removed from their databases.
One final tip: if you deleted your account, make sure you also revoke access from Twitter for Klout and remove the Klout app from Facebook in your privacy settings. Otherwise they still have access to your data.
Link : Our Man in Chicago – Why I killed my Klout account (and how you can too)
After checking a few posts on the announced Microsoft Surface tablet, my opinion is that they hit a sweet spot here. It’s going to sell very well. The Surface tablet will run Flash and it will run Windows RT apps that can also run on a desktop in the future when Windows 8 is released. The Surface Pro edition will run all your existing Windows software and can be used in your home environment and in a business setting.
What I am seeing here is that the desktop world and tablet world are integrating slowly but surely. A few years from now, a lot of people won’t own a desktop or a laptop: they’ll own a tablet. It will be more than enough for everyday use for the majority of users. Hell, it will even be enough for most business users as well! This will be especially true if companies start making docks for tablets like Microsoft’s Surface that will transform it into a laptop-like device.
My bet is that an awful lot of people will want to own a Surface tablet or an other Windows tablet from an other manufacturer. People are already used to Windows on their machines, at home as well as at work. The step to a Windows tablet will be much easier for them than stepping into Apple’s iOS world. That will not mean that Microsoft is going to reign the tablet space. Apple is the undisputed leader here and will keep that position for the at least the coming 3 to 5 years. Manufacturers of Android tablets should be more worried in my opinion. They could lose market share to Microsoft’s Surface easily, especially when you consider the hybrid desktop/tablet usage combination.
Finally, here is a post with over a dozen of links to news coverage on the Microsoft Surface:
My favorite progressive rock band The Flower Kings uploaded a trailer for their forthcoming album, which now has a name: “Banks of Eden”. During the 1 minute and 20 seconds preview we hear snippets of the new album. And I can tell you that I like what I am hearing so far!
The text below the YouTube movie gives away that the album will last for 55 minutes. That’s almost short for the Kings’ standards, considering that they released four double albums in the past and the single disc releases were always filled to the brim with music.
The album is scheduled for release on June 18th.
The Flower Kings – New Album Trailer for “Banks of Eden”
After using the new iPad 3 for a day, I can tell you that I adore the new Retina screen. This improvement alone is well worth the upgrade.
Text is so crisp and clear, even tiny letters on zoomed out webpages are still very easy to read. Because of this, reading for a longer period of time on the new iPad is far less tiring for the eyes. I have also noticed that I haven’t touched the ‘Reader’ button in the address bar of Safari once until now, while I did this all the time on my previous iPad for better readability.
An other improvement that I like very much is the better upscaling of iPhone apps on the new iPad. I still use some iPhone apps on my iPad because there is no (good) iPad alternative. On the new iPad, these apps are a joy to use and very readable, especially when you open a webpage in an inline browser.
Last week the blogosphere nearly exploded (see here, here, here and here for only a few examples) with the news of the Flashback trojan, creating a botnet of nearly 600,000 Apple machines. Getting your machine infected is as easy as surfing to a bogus website containing the malware, which installs itself using an exploit in Java. This technique is called a drive-by download. There is no need for you to enter your admin credentials. It’s even worse: the malware will install itself without you noticing it at all. Pretty scary if I may say so.
If you want to know if your Mac is infected with the Flashback trojan, then check out this page on F-Secure’s website to find out and follow the removal instructions if you do find it on your machine.
To make your Mac less vulnerable for this kind of malware attack, I recommend checking out Khürt Williams’ post who explains how to turn off Java in Safari and on OS X level. This makes very much sense when you are not a software developer who has to deal with Java on a daily basis. If you use an other browser like Google Chrome or Firefox, then check out this page for instructions. Khürt also advises to uninstall Adobe’s Flash plugin. This is one bridge too far for me at the moment, but it certainly is a good idea.
A lot of people consider the outbreak of Flashback as a turning point for the Mac platform. Mac users should face it that they are not ‘forgotten’ anymore by malware writers and should install anti-virus protection, just as the majority of Windows users does nowadays. Check this post on AskDifferent.com for a list of anti-virus solutions for the OS X platform.
Update April 11th, 2012: Apple works on software to release the Flashback malware from infected Macs and is working with ISPs worldwide to bring down the botnet’s command & control servers. Read more about this on arstechnica.com.
Here is a link to a very interesting opinion post on how much money Google makes from Android compared to iOS. Estimation of the earnings from Android have been based on Google’s proposed settlement of the Java patents lawsuit that was started by Oracle. I found the numbers surprising and they are probably not too far from the truth.
Link : Digital Trends – Wait, Google earns four times more from iOS than Android?
A number of reporters visiting the Mastering SAP event in Sydney, Australia, wrote that there is a buzz among SAP customers who run their systems on Oracle databases to think about changing their database strategies in the future.
When asked about which database they would likely be migrating to in the future in an informal survey, the majority answered surprisingly: Microsoft SQL Server.
Here’s a quote from BusinessInsider.com that explains why this is actually not so surprising:
It’s attractive because it offers technology similar to SAP HANA (features known as columnar and in-memory storage) and its prices start at $11,000 per terabyte. It can run on comparatively lower-cost hardware such as new servers by Dell, too. Microsoft and SAP have been partners for years.
So why not chose SAP’s new HANA database then? ZDNet says the following about this:
When it came around to a discussion on HANA, there was much debate about whether customers will put their OLTP systems on this as yet to be available database. The question in my mind is whether there is any real advantage in moving to HANA which today, can provide huge speed improvements in analytic style scenarios. The answer is a heavily qualified ‘maybe.’ HANA’s columnar store thrives on complex aggregation queries but is slow when trying to replicate what amount to row store calculations where an Oracle performs very well.
Links to the full articles:
The Register published the following news on their website a few days ago:
A new study conducted by IDC and mobile-developer platform and services company Appcelerator has determined that as Google’s open source Android operating system becomes more and more fragmented, fewer and fewer developers are putting it on their “must-code-for” list.
When this subject comes up, I always point to these statistics, published by Tweetdeck in October 2010:
If the Android ecosystem was that fragmented already 18 months ago, consider how fragmented it is nowadays now that we have Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) and 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) added to the equation.
Oh, and don’t forget about tablet support that was added to Android 3.0, which makes the number of screen sizes and types of hardware even more diverse than it was 18 months ago.
Link : The Register – Fragmentation bomb wounds Android in developer war