colartz.com Blog

thoughts on generative & mobile music making from the co-founder of intermorphic

iOS4 works with iGo Stowaway ultra-slim bluetooth keyboard iPod touch

Posted by Tim Cole on June 22nd, 2010

I have just updated the iPod touch to iOS4, and thought I would try a quick test. I had an old iGo Stowaway Ultra-slim bluetooth keyboard lurking about in a drawer (which I had used with my old N95) and thought I might as well try to see if it would hook up OK.

Well, blow me down. It does pair to the iPod touch, and it does work as a bluetooth keyboard. I have not done a full check, but I did type an email fine. Further quick investigation seems to show that the nav keys and lowercase/uppercase keys seem to work in Email, but not page down/page up etc. Although Mixtikl can be controlled by keyboard, the Stowaway key presses are not registered. So, maybe it only works in email and other doc related programs (which I have not properly checked other than to note that there seems to be no shortcut to send a mail or select an email address from a drop list – you have to use your fingers for that).

There is no real reason I should be surprised, but I guess the upshot is that maybe other 3rd party Bluetooth keyboards will work with iOS4, iPhone and maybe iPad, too. Hence posting the news.

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WiFi problems with iPhone / iPod touch OS 3.1.1

Posted by Tim Cole on September 17th, 2009

It has happened 3 times now, so I think it must be a bug. For some reason I do not understand, my iPod touch with OS 3.1.1 has “lost” the password for access to my WiFi. This never once happened to me with OS 3.0, but has happened 3 times in a week with OS 3.1.1.

For no discernable reason, I will get a message saying it can not connect to the home network and ask me if I want to join the network. I then have to re-enter my WEP key to connect again. The key has not changed, so there is not reason I should need to re-enter it. And, as it is a really long key, it is a real pain.

Please fix this Apple.

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Are blogs old hat?

Posted by Tim Cole on September 15th, 2009

With Twitter, Facebook et al seemingly unstoppable when it comes to chatter and time consumption, what is left for the lowly blog these days?

I still think there is a value to having something that probably has a greater permanence. And, a place that anyone can access without having to be in a walled community.

Maybe people will get bored of frippery and another great new hung will come along. But, what of all their contributions? Therein lies the nub.

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iPhone os 3.1.1 – iPod touch 3g

Posted by Tim Cole on September 14th, 2009

Having had a play now for a bit with a iPod touch 3rd generation I can confirm it does seem a bit faster, more responsive.

However, i do admit to feeling a tad disappointed that Apple decided not to incorporate a video camera, internal microphone, compass and GPS capability in the higher end models of a product they seem now to be positioning as a games device, no doubt cos of the success of apps. All these things are in it’s cousin, the iPhone, a phone.

Sure, I understand they need a games unit with entry level pricing, and they have the iPhone at the really top end – but that is primarily a phone and not a games device (and I see the iPod touch as a multifunction apps and games device). i guess the vast majority of people who might lust after a higher end iPod for apps would never consider or have the money to get locked into an 18 month contract with one network operator in any country. On principle even. Were there unlocked versions for sale that would at least be something, but from what I have read, even if that does happen it will be for older, and not the latest, iPhone models.

That said, I have seen a couple of references to Apple not having included a camera in the iPod touch 3G for technical reasons, but that once fixed, the implication being they would rev the product, maybe even in time for Xmas. I think Apple need to be careful here, as anyone who held off an iPod purchase until this latest release only to find a revved version out a few months later would likely be mightily aggrieved.

3.1.1? It has been pretty well ok so far, but on a couple of occasions I have lost wifi settings for no reason; I miss the button double click always calling up the music player, and something they have done has stopped audio working in Mixtikl ( which we have to look into).

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Posted in iPhone, iPod touch, Mobile, Music hardware | No Comments »

My first blog direct from iPod touch

Posted by Tim Cole on September 13th, 2009

Ok, so it is short, and it is a test. But, the cool thing is that it works! I am using WordPress for iPhone.

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Some likes and dislikes of HTC Touch HD

Posted by Tim Cole on January 11th, 2009

Well, I couldn’t wait to get hold of my HTC Touch HD before Xmas, as I wanted to make sure Mixtikl was going to run fine on a WXGA device – and it does btw!

I went for the HTC Touch HD over other WVGA devices, as it just seemed to be a bit better specified on paper, but also ‘cos I was able to negotiate a good deal on it on renewal of my mobile contract (a big factor, no mistake, as these devices are not cheap!).

I don’t plan on going into minute detail about anything, and I am not someone who knows the intricate technical details of mobile phone hardware, how to update ROMs, change registry entries (‘cos I don’t) etc. I am approaching my new phone it as would any normal non-tekkie user that has not used a phone without a keypad or navkey (DPad).

NB: Before I had this device, I had a Nokia N95, which I grew to love as it is a great piece of hardware (with a few exceptions – camera speed being a big one, along with GPS “locking” time). I dropped my N95 several times, but it kept working, and I always appreciated that.

Overall, i think it is a cool device. I do (strangely) miss having keys to press, as you know exactly where you are with keys (without looking), and they respond quickly. How does it compare to iPhone? I cannot answer that!

So, LIKES:
- The WVGA screen display is really rather fantastic. I do not watch movies on the Touch HD (occassionally You Tube, see below), but I do use it a lot for browsing, and a big screen is great there (especially as my eyesight is not what it was).
- Battery life is actually pretty good indeed I think, and _much_ better than the N95 (which with Bluetooth on would die in hours).
- Call clarity is good, and i have no probs hearing callers.
- Looks cool!
- Lots of RAM, and SDHC support (up to 16GB I think)
- Weather update and other HTC apps are good.
- GPS seems very responsive
- Lots of connectivity
- Can run apps in the background
- Nice the way you can enter SMS and see the body text of what has gone before (really helpful)
- TouchFlo 3D interface is generally good, visual, and nice to look at

DISLIKES (some of these are probably due to me not yet knowing how to do things yet):
- Call answering. There is a strange way you have to slide a slider to accept a call, and I just cannot seem to get my head around it, and have missed calls (and yes, i have the latest hot fix). I just cannot seem to get this right, so it is either me (possible), or….
- Cannot seem to lock device when in Touch Flo3D; this means I am often mistakenly calling people when I have the phone in my pocket. You can press a button at the top to turn it off, but if you press this by mistake, then oops. The only way around this is to use a SIM lock code. It is so much easier when you have keyboard keys to press to lock/unlock.
- Once you start a call process, is slow to stop it (i.e. of you call someone by mistake!). This does bug me.
- Pressing the end call button seems to take ages to end the call, so you have to watch to know it has ended.
- Cannot seem to set it to disable Data. As I browse often, I use WiFi when at home, but it often seems to end up using 3G because Data for some reason gets turned on, perhaps if I get an SMS (just quessing). I would really like much better control of when I use Data connnection. The N95 was really good in this respect. I am always having to go in and turn Data off.
- The bottom 4 buttons are impossibe to see in the dark, and they are flat, so it is very hard to tell where to press. Why could they not glow, or be raised a little? Because they are close to the softkeys, and you cannot see/feel them, I often find myself pressing the wrong button.
- The side volume control. Sorry, but i find this has not the granularity i want, and it is so hard to feel/find (sure, maybe just me) and that it irritates me.
- When using Opera, you have to tap a link for _just the right length of time_ to select it, or you get a menu item, with no ‘select link’ item. doh! I am always getting this wrong, and this makes it a pain (often) to select links (even the N95 with navkey/key pad was quicker to use on occassions).
- I find not having haptics on all key presses (text entry) means i find it hard to get used to entering text. i could enter text much quicker with the phone keys on N95. You cannot really use this device one handed (i.e. to enter SMS)
- Being able to drag a web page round is great, but i am forever fiddling with the zoom and page alignment. i think Opera have further work to do there, but they have made a good start. This one does drive me potty.
- When i have looked at YouTube videos, they only display in landcape, but i would prefer to view in portrait. why not?
- Windows mobile: really does seem not particularly suited to a big screen, as you have to be very accurate to tap certain areas and font sizes are often too small. Onenote Mobile is not particularly easy to use with just fingers, and I tend to resent having to get out the pointy stick (stylus) on a device like this with such a big screen. Just a lot of little things in this area. I hope that when Windows Mobile 6.5 is released there will be an upgrade available for me (as would do Apple for iPhone).
- There is no way I can see to have on the main HTC Touch Flo screen a set of favourite links, e.g. to OneNote, or Comm Manager or even a particular web page. The N95 allowed this, and I used it all the time. Otherwise, everytime you have to drill down to find the ap you want.
- I can find no way to re-order my webpage bookmarks so that my faourites are at the top: you just get an alphabetical list.
- I have tried an app “Pocket Scrobbler” to listen to LastFM over WiFi. This works Ok, but regularly the stream glitches, and i don’t know why this should happen on such a powerful device.
- Can often take a loooong time for webpages to load, even over WiFi, and I recall that they often loaded quicker on N95 (I could remember incorrectly of course).
- I often find with using finger swipe that i select the wrong item, often because it seems to be slow to respond or because finger swiping seems to work in different ways for different apps. EDIT. This happens on the home screen sometimes with icons at the bottom.
- It is quite slippery, and i am terrified i am going to drop it and break it (so i am looking at getting a silicon case).
- I far too often get crashes with a message about “Services.exe” having failed for some reason. Just had one about Shell32.exe.
- Dissapointing internal speaker. I would have thought on a high spec device like this the integrated speaker would be better, and be stereo, too. Reason for this is related to LastFM about, and I dont always want to listen with headphones or plugged into another speaker system. I also find that ringtones are a bit quiet, but I have to experiment further there.
- Has neat MP3 trimmer app, but it does not work with high quality MP3s? (cannot see them for some reason).
- FM Radio. Hmmm. Nice on paper, and prob similar quality on other phones. but i cannot get enough reception to make this worth listening to (and you need to plug the headphones in to act as an aerial, too).
- Why no bundled generic IM app like mundu IM (comes bundled on the BenQ E72 WM Smartphone), as this would be really handy and means you can use any IM system and not just MSN
- Proprietary HTC USB connectors (odd shape). Why?

So, don’t let the (seemingly long) list of dislikes put you off: some of these are pretty minor. Besides, it is always easy to find fault with things and write about those. That means they can tend to outweigh the good things, even if there are plenty (of which there are). And, everyone has different likes and dislikes.

I DO like it, but I am also still getting used to it and to figuring out how to do things.

One thing is for sure, it is certainly a powerful device!

NB: I would love it if the Touch HD could somehow accept audio line input (with adaptor or not) :) . I would love that cos it would be useful to use with Mixtikl, and I understand a software update on iPhone is going to allow this (I may have got that wrong of course).

Will update the post to add/edit etc as I find out more.

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Posted in Mixtikl, Mobile, Music hardware, Pocket PC, Review, Windows Mobile | No Comments »

Mixtikl music software released for Windows Mobile Smartphone, Pocket PC, Mac and Windows

Posted by Tim Cole on December 23rd, 2008

Well, just about in time to squeak into 2008, but we finally got it out…..

Intermorphic Mixtikl

If you do get a chance to play with Mixtikl, do try out some of the Noatikl generative music elements in the Tiklpak IM Cinematic 120d, which is one of two Tiklpaks that comes embedded with Mixtikl. The generative items show up as red and at the bottom of the content list. As some of these also use Partikl to dynamically create the their sounds (they do a lot) and they also use FX, these ones can tend to slow up your device, as they do consume a fair amount of processing power.

Mixing up audio loops, MIDI, and generative music gives some very interesting results, and is huge fun.

Sometime soon I am hoping to make available some Paks from some of my song recordings, mainly to show that it can be done!

Enjoy!

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Symmetrys Consulting Structural Engineers London UK – website

Posted by Tim Cole on October 22nd, 2008

In some of my spare time I have been designing, creating and working on the Symmetrys Consulting Structural Engineers web site. Symmetrys have been fun to work with, very forward looking and friendly, and the photos of the jobs they have done just look so good! I am very happy with the website, which is pure HTML/CSS, and have enjoyed working on it.

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Mixtikl is keeping me busy…

Posted by Tim Cole on October 22nd, 2008

Am not having any time to spend on songwriting right now, as any spare time I have is going into readying Mixtikl for launch. I am so looking forward to getting this released, and that is looking like November now.

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tim cole, family and the beach in exmouth

Posted by Tim Cole on October 11th, 2008

For some reason I was just reflecting on our summer holiday. Most probably as we had some fabulous weather today (whilst the market crashed) and the last good weather I remember was at the beach at Exmouth – which had the best weather we had all summer holiday! The drive in was great, the clouds were holding off, and Exeter Road was traffic free. As we passed Exmouth School on Gypsy Lane we knew we were going to make it to the beach. Well, we finally got there, paid the parking, and the kids had a great time on the dunes, and even persuaded me to go in for a quick dip. :) . The pitch and put was still there, and we noticed a new construction on the beach (goodness knows what that was). Anyhow, it all seems such a long time ago now, but we did enjoy our visit and reminiscences of summers past. Such are memories: now back to the cold light of day!

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