1x72: Walking into Trees

Jono Bacon, Jeremy Garcia, Bryan Lunduke, and Stuart Langridge bring you Bad Voltage, in which we poke mangoes, we set up a Tumblr about people walking off cliffs, we buy music or we don't, and:

  • 00:01:57 Pokemon Go is the latest sensation. Is this the harbinger of a brave new era of location-based games? Is it just Ingress with cartoon characters? Is it brilliant or bobbins? Is it a CIA plant? Do Nintendo have anything to do with it at all? All this and more is examined.
  • 00:28:20 Music streaming services. Jono has recently discovered Spotify and is astounded by the idea that you can listen to any music you like. But is it the best on the market or are Tidal or Google Play or Amazon better? Should we be using streaming services at all rather than buying mp3s, or dare we say it vinyl?

Download the show now!

So last week I was taking our dog for a walk as usual. Just by the beach I come across a number of people staring at their phones screens shouting the names of these Pokemon characters. One of them is sitting on a rock by the path I am walking, looking down to his phone in full concentration, completely oblivious of the surrounding world.

Now, our dog is a fairly large and over friendly doberman, and while I definitely wouldn’t call him the brightest spark of the litter, he does have his moments occasionally. Like this time.
So down he goes in full sneak mode, approaches the guy sitting on the rock silently, and then quickly pushes his over sized head under his mobile phone, just where the camera is pointing. The guy’s expression went through the full spectrum of alarm, surprise, fear, confusion and amusement in a second and we both had a good chuckle about the whole thing :slight_smile: I’m sure he wasn’t expecting this Dobermon to pop up on his screen.

Overall, I am also quite happy to see more people going out even if they are a little disconnected from the reality. Perhaps the game is also connecting people who wouldn’t normally get together. At least it seems like in some groups you can see the typical “cool kids” hanging out with more nerdy looking people. And yes, there has already been some incidents of kids nearly getting run over by a car while playing over here, but then again, that can happen while reading a newspaper too.

1 Like

“Random Appliance Store” that did dialup internet…

Freeserve aka Dixons / Curry / PCWorld ?

@bryanlunduke mentioned a ‘high quality mp3’. Isn’t that an oxymoron? Why not use flac at a high bit rate around 200mhz or greater for your server, and then, if concerned about storage on your device, convert the flac to mp3? Then, in case of a loss of the original record, you still have a high quality copy.

One who uses vinyl records are hipsters? Guess I’ve been one for decades then! :smile:

Just to plug a (kind of) local company http://store.acousticsounds.com/ You can find vinyl and high quality downloads. They are associated with http://www.blueheavenstudios.com/ that uses an old church for recording.

Talking of services, anyone use to use Columbia House or RCA back in the day to get their records?

1 Like

Freeserve, that’s what they were called :slight_smile:

Thanks for another fun show! :slight_smile:

I must side with Jono on the music streaming discussion. I doubt that people subscribing to music services really care that much about preserving your music collection for an eternity. It’s a lot of hassle for very little actual gain and there is a tremendous value to being able to listen to new music on a whim, without having to buy it or look it up on youtube first. It’s purely the convenience that you pay for. And if it happens that a service goes completely away (instead of being acquired and rebranded, or merged into another service), you can pretty easily just switch to using another service in its place.

Now, what certainly detracts from the experience that music services provide, is dealing with stuff that is missing from or just broken on them. For missing songs, in most cases, there seems to be some way to import your own music or play it off from local storage. However, things get slightly more complicated if a song exists in the service but is somehow broken/mangled on their end. I’ve personally encountered short skips (an authentic vinyl-like experience), the entire file only containing silence or the song being cut off prematurely. Luckily, this has happened only a handful of times over the last 6-ish years of subscribing to Spotify. Just to prove that I’m not imagining glitches where there are none, here’s one instance that I still remember off the top of my head: Ils Brandiront 'leurs Idoles, which has only first 11:09 on Spotify, while the entire song should be a bit over 22 minutes long.

Despite all that, I’m still personally quite satisfied with what I get for the monthly subscription cost and have hard time trying to come up with arguments on why I’d ever want to move back to purchasing individual songs/albums.

1 Like

Regarding @sil’s complaint about having to stare at your phone constantly to play the game, that’s not actually the case, but there’s plenty of people who haven’t realised that yet. Your phone vibrates when there’s a Pokémon within range, so as long as the app’s on screen you can have it by your side or in your pocket without missing anything. It also has a “power save” mode whereby it will blank the screen when you turn it upside down, but still vibrate and still count your walking distance.

I had a play with the permissions and it seems the only one you need to grant is the location. The camera is needed for the AR mode, and I assume the file access is for saving “photos” of pokemon, which I’ve never done. It also requests access to your contacts, which I’ve not allowed, and I’ve not found out why it needs it.

My Music streaming solution is a lot like Bryan’s, except that I buy my music on CD instead of vinyl because I’m not a ludicrous human being. I then rip and sync it to my Emby server which makes it available to stream over the web.

I subscribed to Spotify for a couple of years, but got burned when a lot of the music I discovered through the service was pulled. Now I use the free version if I want to have a listen through to an album before deciding if I want to buy it. If I care about music I want a copy that no-one can take away from me.

Great show, as usual.

On Pokémon Go:
I just tried it for a couple of minutes, but as far as I know, they’ve subverted one of the fundamental game mechanics in the original Pokémon games, namely the idea that you have to deal with a team of Pokémons that is limited to 6 and that you have to battle wild Pokémons in order to weaken them and then catch them… or faint them if you want your own Pokémon to gain experience from the battle. In the original games catching was a challenge that increased in difficulty throughout the game and that also required some strategy. For instance, in Gen 1 (and Gen 3 remakes) you knew that choosing Charmander as your starter would give you A LOT of troubles through Mt. Moon with all the Zubats, Geodudes, Onixes, etc., whereas Squirtle or even Bulbasaur would make the whole journey an easy cake. The same applies for all other games, of course.
They’ve even sucked out the excitement of having as special as Mew or Mewtwo… As far as I can tell, it’s not uncommon to catch one of these in Pokémon Go… What’s next? Legendary beasts of Gen 2, Lugia and Ho-Oh roaming everywhere just because?
They’ve dumbed the game down to appeal to the masses, IMHO.
Ingress is great, but the story has been extended so far that it has become absolutely far fetched: as soon as they made the Resistance be also “lead” by an alien race (the N’zeer), the whole story became ridiculous to me (The whole point of the Resistance was that they were against any kind of alien intrusion in human).

On streaming:
I’m also more fond of music I own, either digitally or physically, but I have to acknowledge that streaming services allow for having quick and easy access to a huge catalog of music… and that’s sometimes very, very useful. For example, sometimes at dancing classes we need to check out a very specific song that we don’t have on our drives; streaming always comes to our rescue. Or sometimes you don’t want to go through the hassle of actually owning music that is not really, really your favorite… or you sometimes just want some music to play on the background, as if it was a radio station, but without the ads nor the annoying presenters.

Speaking as a “ludicrous human being” (in many more ways than one!) there are advantages to vinyl that a cd just can’t match. Can you get that warm sounding pop from a scratch in a cd? Can you make nice cool shapes as well as a vinyl record that has been put in an oven? Flinging a cd like a Frisbee just isn’t as satisfying as a record. :smile:

Now, for @bryanlunduke needing the true warmth sound of a vinyl record on the go: http://store.acousticsounds.com/d/116907/Rock_N_Rolla-Premium_Rechargeable_Portable_Briefcase_Turntable_with_Bluetooth-Turntables

Oh, and @sil “Poke Mongo”, lol

Hang on, you put your phone in your pocket with the screen on and unlocked? Doesn’t it just dial everybody and turn stuff on and whatnot?

Speaking as a mass, here, I gotta tell you that I didn’t understand any of what you said. So, if they were dumbing it down to appeal to the masses then it worked, because it’s less complicated than that and everyone’s playing it. I make no comment about whether that was the right thing to do, but it certainly was popular.

1 Like

@bryanlunduke I know that you normally are always right, but I believe you made a mistake on the permission part. Specifically the microphone permissions on Android (I don’t know about IOS).
I believe recording audio trough the microphone has always been a permission on Android and from 6.0 (and on) it’s even listed as a dangerous permission:
https://developer.android.com/reference/android/Manifest.permission.html#RECORD_AUDIO

Meaning you’ll have to accept it in the PlayStore for < 6.0 and accept it on runtime for >= 6.0.
Thanks to the team for the great episode! Cheers!

1 Like

Not unless your trousers are made of conductive fibre, or you’ve got physical buttons to dial people with.

From direct personal experience: wrong. Maybe I just have such a magnetic personality that it even extends to my pockets.

Interesting, perhaps my slightly old screen protector reduces the sensitivity of my screen enough that it’s not a problem. Or you’ve got special electric pants that you’re not telling us about.

1 Like

sings Together In Electric Pants by the Human League, unless it was ABC

This wasn’t actually either a Human League song or ABC, at least Electric Dreams which is what you are alluding to. It’s by Oakley and Moroder, Philip Oakley was part of Human League however which may by why this is a common mistake.

With regard to Electric pants I have a tendency to keep my phone in my shirt pocket and if I forget to turn the screen off after answering a call or anything else the screen responds to the touch of my chest so your not the only one who can dial with your phone in your pocket: this is true for both my Ubuntu Aquaris and my daughters iPhone.

I’ve had this problem recently, in one particular pair of jeans. Perhaps jean manufacturers need to test their materials for excessive conductivity…

It might actually depend on the trousers? I thought @marxjohnson was just winding me up! Now I need to conduct some experiments.

One scary thing about pokemon go that wasn’t mentioned was the fact that it’s not just your privacy at risk. Someone who installs the app accepts the location logging etc, but they’re walking around with a camera pointing it wherever a pokemon is. So, even if you aren’t playing, a rare bladabla in your yard will bring hoards of players to your location. So basically, the game owners can get photos of any location they want.

Please respect our code of conduct which is simple: don't be a dick.