First and foremost I apologise for the delay in updates. Time, it would appear, has got the better of me.
It's been a pretty busy year. Work has been a priority, and now that i'm a supervisor it's been busy at times, which I am more than happy with.
I would like to apologise to all those I normally work with for site updates. I am endeavering to catch up and fulfil my obligations. This weekend will be all about Drovers Rest and Baby Massage. Don't ask, it makes sense to me.
I will also be posting updates on a few cars i've driven lately and a few other things.
Back in April this year I wrote an album review for the (then upcoming) release of the "Seven Rages Of Man" album by Welsh Progressive Metal band, Blue Gillespie. This trio of Gareth David-Lloyd, Rhys Bryant and Nick Harrison (and former band member Anthony Clark) created an incredible concept album which took the listener to the very heart of their music, to the place where hardcore passion for their art exists. The weekend just gone, fans down here in Brisbane, Australia experienced the raw power of Blue Gillespie as they performed the first of 2 live shows in Australia as part of their appearance at the Supanova Pop Culture Expo.
Those not familiar with the band or the genre of music, Progressive Metal is a sub-genre of metal. Rhys Bryant, guitarist of the band, explained it to us as someone kicking in the face over and over again, with each kick getting harder or more complex.
Fans of the band piled into the Tempo Hotel in Fortitude Valley on Sunday night for the show. It must be said that the hardcore Gillespians down here in Australia are some of the most passionate people I have ever met, deeply moved by the music and deathly loyal to the band. As the time approached and the band came on stage there was a sense of anxious energy that enveloped the room. Nick took up his position behind the drum kit, Rhys picked up his guitar and Gareth got in position as the Prologue from Seven Rages Of Man started.
"Here I come, won't be long
Pushing through, tearing you
Tunnel tight, fear the light
Time to feel something real"
Those opening lines poured forth as Blue Gillespie unleashed a barage of raw musical talent upon the waiting crowd, pushing away any and all expectations, tearing apart the soul and leaving us open to what I can honestly say is one of the best live acts I have seen in many years! We did feel something real... VERY real! Blue Gillespie aren't just talented musicians, they are gifted performers who put their very souls into giving a live performance. When the opening chords of "The Mewling" pierced our eardrums we knew Blue Gillespie weren't just putting on a show, they were performing the Seven Rages Of Man album in its entirety.
And they did.
Through all 7 Acts, the Prologue, 2 Interludes, the Epilogue and of course the always incredible "Effervescent Youth" and "Hydraslide", Blue Gillespie's performance captured us, took us with them as they ventured through the Rages.
No one knew whether to watch Gareth as he acted out each song and moshing with the crowd, Rhys as his fingers flew over the strings on his guitar and his foot tapped the bass set up on trigger - prerecorded by Rhys himself after Clarky left the lead guitarist role - or Nick on the kit as his beats thumped through the chests of everyone in the room.
We raged with them and they with us; and at the end of the night we left knowing we had seen something special. We had seen something real.
In many ways Blue Gillespie's enthsiasm and "grimm determination" on stage reminds me of early footage of Metallica, in the Kill 'Em All days. I can't wait for my next chance to see a Blue Gillespie gig! If you ever get a chance to see them play do it, you wont be disappointed!
The Samsung Galaxy S3 (also known as the Galaxy SIII) is said to be the best and most powerful smartphone on the market. Unless you've been under a rock, behind a tree or maybe somewhere in the back-woods of New Zealand you will be more than aware of the ongoing battle between Apple and Samsung. The battle though isn't limited to high paid lawyers and courtrooms, it's alive and kicking amongst people like you and I; those who use the products.
The fight has gone through numerous evolutions. iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy S2, Galaxy S3, Galaxy Tab... the only constant seems to be that Apple and Samsung both claim to have truly incredible products. My experiences with the iPhone have left me with a frustrated taste in my mouth, so I have to ask myself...
Is the Samsung Galaxy S3 worthy of all the hype it gets?
My first smartphone was a Blackberry Bold 9000. When we upgraded 18 months ago we got the Apple iPhone 4 and while the hardware and technology was a massive step forward from the Bold, the heavy limitations Apple put on their products was a constant thorn in my side. iOS6 and its well publicised issues were the final straw. The iPhone had to go, and what better to upgrade to than a shiny new "Pebble Blue" Galaxy S3.
Despite its large size, this is one of the most comfortable phones i've held. The ergo edges are tireless on the hands and it's such a light weight that you hardly feel like you're holding a phone. The screen is vibrant... and the colours "pop" better than anything else i've seen (and yes, that includes the iPhone 5). But the biggest first thought.. it's fast. I mean, it's real fast and has such a smooth fluid movement that everything is so effortless. It's driven by a Quad-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A9 processor with 1GB of RAM meaning you're not going to have any problems with speed on this handset. The OS is Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich).
To top off the processor, the Galaxy S3 boasts a massive 4.8 inch Super AMOLED HD (high definition) screen that delivers incredible depth of colours.
Taking into mind that i've come from an iPhone 4 to the S3, there is a massive upgrade in technology involved for a users point of view. The S3 really has it all, and if it doesn't there is probably an App that can make it happen. Standard features such as S-Beam allowing you to instantly send files to other S3 users, FM Radio tuner, 8MP Camera and Google Maps (yes, Google... Apple users may remember those great maps) are just the start with the Galaxy S3.
Everything seems so well connected on this phone. With as little as a click you can take a photo and then send it / use it on almost any App on the phone. I've not had that kind of flexibility with applications since my days on the Blackberry. The notifications screen isn't just there to tell you what's new on your phone, it also contains instant access to common system settings such as Wifi, Blue Tooth, Audio, GPS, Power Saving and more.
And hey, if you want to stand around looking like a fool talking to your phone you can even play with S-Voice. Apple users will surely love that feature.
Apps aside, it's the customisation ability of the phone that really has me sold. You control what your home screens display. Whether you want widgets, app icons, or maybe just your full schedule you can do it, and then some. You control the number of home screen (slides) you have on the phone, and what they contain. Take a look at the image to the right to see what i mean about blending widgets, and icons.
In case you're wondering, there IS an place to get your apps - it's called Google Play and much like the Apple App Store, its easy to use and contains apps that have been approved by Google. Accessing it can be done by both phone or browser.
App availability is quite incredible and i've been blown away by the number of applications that you can install and more importantly, the number of developers who have started to really push Android app development. Zynga are a prime example of a company who are making a push to ensure Android apps are available at the same time as other platforms.
Has my experience with the iPhone made me a little biased? Yes, absolutely and I make no apologies for that. But mark my words, the Samsung Galaxy S3 is truly a smartphone worthy of the hype it receives. Not only does it reach expectations, it surpasses them and leaves you with a smile on your face.
Samsung have created a truly magnificent product here, and I would have no hesitation in recommending it to anybody looking to upgrade or replace their mobile phone.
Other great reviews of the S3:
Trusted Reviews: Galaxy S3 tops iPhone 5 as UKs prefered Smartphone
Tech Radar: Galaxy S3 Review