Welcome to Discchord v3.0!

Holy shit, that was way more work than I expected. I knew I was in for a ride when I set out to create my own custom CMS, but I had no idea it would be this arduous. But it's done! It's all here and working now!

What's new in discchord v3.0:

Here are some of the features you'll find added to the site.

User Accounts

There have been surprisingly few attempts to abuse the anonymous commenting system, but you can now reserve your username by registering it. Anonymous posters are still welcomed to participate, but site will prevent them from using a name that someone has registered here.

There are a couple of other benefits for registering. The biggest is the ability to participate in app voting on the new Music App Guide. Additionally you will not receive a notice if someone @mentions: you in a comment or forum post.

Forums

That's right, forums! After resisting the suggestion for 5 years, the site now has forums! Both registered and unregistered users may post in there. There will be no moderator team, but there are some rules.

  1. No spam.
  2. Don't be an asshole.
  3. Don't embarrass me by posting hate-speech on my site.

Breaking these rules leads into another new feature on the site: a new ban system! Previously if I banned someone they were shut out of the whole site, but now I can just ban people from commenting.

There are no moderators here, so I'll be relying on you guys to let me know if someone is getting out of hand. Registered users will see a report icon on every comment, where you will be able to flag a comment if it is breaking any of these rules.

Fortunately spam should be minimal. A series of bot nets have already come by trying to spam the hell out of everything. None of them got past my anti-spam measures! Me: 1, Internet: 0.

Music App Buyer's Guide

There are a hell of a lot of music apps out there. I've reported on 1,676 apps in the last 5 years. That's a lot less than the total number of apps on iTunes, but still way too many to list in a useful manner. Trying to help people find the apps they're looking for is a serious challenge. Readers here know their shit and know their apps. You can be a great help for newcomers!

Register for an account and head over the Music App Guide. There you can give your favorite apps a thumbs up, or apps that you hate a thumbs down. You can also leave comments about the individual apps. When enough people vote on an app it gets assigned a Discchord Reader Rating (DRR), similar to the way Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic work.

To make things even easier for newcomers, all apps in the Music App Guide are being categorized. If someone shows up looking for a synth, they can search for Synths and it will automatically sort by Discchord Reader Rating. Now someone can find the top 5 apps, as voted on by you, in every category. Easy!

Thanks!

Thank you very much to everyone who helped beta test the new site last week. Dookone, el-bo, policarpo, moddogi, Toz Bourne, ceharris77, and TBIRD all helped me find critical bugs; that should be fixed thanks to them. I now feel confident in finally releasing my baby out into the world!

Apple iPhone 7 Announced

Apple just concluded their annual iPhone event with some surprises and disappointments. The biggest surprise was just how accurate the rumor-mill was leading up to the event. This was also the biggest disappointment; as Apple officially announced the end of the analog headphone jack on the iPhone.

SpitFit 2

Before getting into the iPhone, Apple announced the next generation Apple Watch. The segment primarily focused on the needs of swimmers and runners. Runners will like the new built-in GPS, so you can have accurate jog logs without bringing your phone. Swimmers can now take their watch into the pool, with a new fully waterproof design.

A challenge in designing a waterproof smart watch is keeping water out of the speaker. Apple has designed a special ejaculator into the speaker, to eject water when it comes out of the pool. The new SpitFit 2 is also available in a ceramic body, which is good news for those of us with nickle allergies.

They still haven't found a killer app for the watch, but they sincerely hope that Pokemon Go will be it. This seems unlikely, since the game is losing users rapidly. We've yet to see a compelling musical use for the watch, but if you can think of one you'll be able to get the new series 2 on the 16th, starting at $370. watchOS 3 officially launches on the 13th of this month.

If They Only Had a Clue

Apple took some time to pat themselves on the back; citing their "courage" for dropping the analog headphone jack. This put to rest rumors that they were merely assholes trying to sell new Beats headphones. Then they started trying to sell us new Beats headphones...

Seriously. That's how this went down. VP Phil Schiller said there was one word to describe the decision to drop the 3.5mm headphone jack: "courage." They tried to assuage fears by saying the iPhones will ship with a lightning-headphone dongle, and then they tried to sell us Beats by Dre. No one making music should be using Beats. The low-end ones are fucking horrific sounding, but even the high-end models color the sound heavily. If you're making music you do not want your mids being mangled by your headphones, nor bass boosting, nor any of the other shit headphone manufacturers come up with. You want studio reference monitors, which are often cheaper.

They also announced AirPods, which use proprietary wireless audio instead of Bluetooth. There's no way of knowing what the quality or latency will be on these. The only thing we can be sure about is that they had a very hard time making these look cool. Unlike wireless headphones that hide the battery around your neck, the AirPod battery dangles out of your ear.

Black is the New Black

Chinese sources had everyone expecting an iPhone 7 Pro today, but one was not announced. Instead they had the usual iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Since the rumors out of China were otherwise entirely accurate I wonder if we'll see an iPhone 7 Pro announced early next year. Similar to how the Apple Watch was announced separately from the iPhone initially.

The iPhone 7 Plus now sports some features photographers will like. The larger frame now houses 2 separate lenses, one for wide-angle, and one for 2x optical telephoto. This is a nice feature for anyone dissatisfied with digital zoom, but there is still up-to 10x zoom for when you want to take crappy photos.

That was the only major feature addition in this iteration of the iPhone, and again only on the iPhone 7 Plus. They now offer two different types of Black cases. A matte version, and a high-polish finger-print-magnet version called Jet Black.

After heaping all this shit on Apple, I will give them credit for finally dropping 16GB as the starting storage on the new phones! 32GB is now the standard, which is still half the size of the base Samsung Note 7, but at least that is a usable amount of storage. The iPhone 7 32GB will be $650, and the iPhone 7 Plus 32GB is $770. Pre-orders begin this Friday the 9th, and they will ship next week on the 16th.

Let's Play with iDensity

With the recent iDensity update I realized I haven't done a video for this one since it came out nearly 5 years ago! This app has grown so much, with constant updates, it definitely deserves another look in this Let's Play!

Video Description:

iDensity has been out on the AppStore for almost 5 years, but it has grown a lot since my original video for it. I thought this granular synth deserved a second look in this Let's Play! If you enjoyed this please consider supporting this series by sponsoring them on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/discchord If you'd prefer to help on a monthly basis, instead of per video, there is a new monthly Patreon campaign: https://www.patreon.com/discchord_com

Buy iDensity on iTunes: $7.99

discchord 3.0: Coming This Summer!

Back in April I posted a solicitation for new advertisers outlining that, despite the site's continuing popularity, my advertisers are down this year. They still are. In the comments there was the suggestion that I start a Patreon for readers to support the site, and the suggestion that I add a forum. I'm pleased to announce both of those are coming very soon!

Patronize Me!

I've just launched a Patreon page for the site at https://patreon.com/discchord_com! If you can support the site please strongly consider doing so. For the last few months I've had to dig into my savings to pay bills, and my quarterly estimated taxes just wiped that out. If the site doesn't start paying the bills soon I will have to make a hard decision about getting a day job. If you've enjoyed the site and want to make sure it remains my top priority, please Patronize Me! Patreon Patrons of both this and my Let's Play series will get special "supporter" flair in comments on the site as well as the new forum!

I've resisted the idea of doing a forum for years, but I'm kind of excited about it now. I've been learning Python at a hobbyist level for the past 2 years, but lately I found myself getting quite passionate about it. I now know enough to do some pretty big projects. So not only will I be bringing you a custom forum, I'm moving the whole site to my own custom content management system. I mean entirely custom. The new site is written from scratch using Python, Flask, and MongoDB. I've been very happy with Squarespace for the last 5 years, but now I'm feeling ambitious!

I've been working on it in the background for the last two months and I keep having more and more feature ideas. Long-time readers of the site may remember the iPad Music Buyer's Guide; which is still on the site, but not linked anywhere. I abandoned it because it became a nightmare to maintain and it was just not getting a lot of reader interaction. I think I've figured out how to address both of those problems and I can't wait to show off the new music app buyer's guide!

It's amazing to me just how much Python I've learned. It's weird. There are vast swaths of my brain that think and interact with other parts of my brain, and none of that was there a couple of years ago.

Webb's Law: Cognita Ad Infinitum

This experience of learning an entirely new discipline has led me to the creation of my own Law. In the tradition of Godwin's Law and Poe's Law, I'd like to offer you Webb's Law:

Any discipline with less concepts than Latin has words, is easier to learn than Latin.

Nearly everything I know is self-taught, from music theory to writing, but I obstinately refuse to learn Latin. See I believe in reincarnation, but I don't have delusions of grandeur or fantasies of being some long-dead King. What I do have is this eerie-almost-panicky feeling whenever I look at Latin like, "I should know what this means. Why don't I? What's wrong, why don't I know this?!" It's quite disconcertingly haunting, and I've always had this feeling throughout my life. I've come to interpret it as a sign that I've definitely spent way too much time, in way too many lifetimes, learning Latin. I won't do it this time. Fuck that. I'm not wasting another minute learning the same language that I'll just forget AGAIN when I die. It's not worth it. There are far more things worth learning and most of them are easier.

Statistics, Damned Statistics, and Surprisingly Few Lies

Now all of this Python and database knowledge is humming along in my brain, thinking up new and interesting ways of doing things. I've already written the code to migrate from Squarespace's database to my own, and I instantly got to thinking about ways to interact with that. Now I know things I couldn't have known before using Squarespace's analytics alone. For instance: very few people have abused the anonymous commenting system! I cross-referenced IPs to usernames and not even IK Multimedia's infamous marketeers have abused the system! This is fantastic news, so I'll make sure you can still anonymously comment on the new site.

I can also do some unique app tracking using this DB and Apple's iTunes API! In the last 5 years I've posted news for 1500+ apps. Of those, about 1200 list "Music" as their primary iTunes genre. Of those 1200, 800 apps have been updated in the last 18 months, 676 have been updated in the last 12 months, and 500 apps have been updated in the last 6 months. That's a hell of a lot of actively developed music apps! All of this has lead to a bunch more ideas I can't wait to share.

My goal is to launch the new version of discchord before the site officially turns 5 in August! This weekend I'd like to collect feedback from you about what you'd like to see changed in the site. Please comment here with all suggestions!

WWDC2016: Smiling Shit Emoji For Everyone

Apple held their annual Worldwide Developers Conference keynote yesterday, which is called WWDC even though Worldwide is one word. They should ask Siri about that; something you'll be able to do on the next version of OSX... which itself is now called macOS. watchOS 3 is promising to dramatically speed-up apps on the Apple Watch, but there was no mention of an Apple Watch 2.

iOS 10's biggest new feature, according to the popular press, is its ability to let you know when text that you've type can be emojified. In other news, emojified is a word now. Apple is reportedly unapologetic.

Rather than having to sit through the whole keynote, The Verge has kindly condensed it into a 10 minute collection of clips.

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