About a week ago I traveled to Switzerland for 24 hours to see The Prodigy for the 20th time. I went by myself, so this time I could go up front for a change. It was brutal. The youth in Zürich have a lot of pent up anger in them or something, because they created mosh pits throughout the entire show, even when it didn’t really make sense.
I enjoyed the enthusiasm – people were crashing into each other ans smiling, but obviously I’m not exactly at the age where this still appeals to me. So next time I think I’ll keep some distance from the front rows :)
I also got to see the rap/hip-hop legends Public Enemy, who were great at getting the crowd to jump and shout.
I couldn’t find a lot of great footage from this show, so here’s official footage from The Prodigy, filmed during a show in Russia.
The 8 readers of this blog prpbably know that I drink a lot of Diet Coke. It’s been my main beverage for a few years now. I always said that I’m allowed one vice, and drinking Diet Coke isn’t so bad as such. But I knew that some day I would have to give it up.
So two weeks ago I quit drinking Diet Coke and switched to water. I did it after reading about some recent research regarding artificial sweeteners and specifically Aspartame. The research is still inconclusive, but it seems that people who drink artificially sweetened drinks tend to gain weight, and it has also been observed that most of the gained weight is in the form of abdominal fat, something I noticed was happening to me. My liver is probably also overworked from having to deal with the huge amounts of Aspartame I was letting it handle.
The first few days of recovery weren’t easy. My head hurt very badly on the first day, probably waiting for the usual dose of Aspartame or Caffeine. The week following that was also not great, but not nearly as bad. As far as I can tell, I don’t have any recovery symptoms at the moment.
Apart from water I also drink some milk with cereal and very rarely I would drink a freshly squeezed juice. But water is what I mostly drink, and I drink a lot of it. Right now it’s still hot, so drinking water is easy. I will consider myself recovered if a year passes and I haven’t had any sweetened drink (artificially or with sugar.)
Amidst very tough times in Greece, The Prodigy came to headline Rockwave Festival on its 20th anniversary. My ticket was bought months in advance. I wonder whether I would have bought it, had I known this was going to be the situation over there.
I’m happy I went. A longtime online Greek friend of mine and a huge Prodigy fan himself, GL0WKiD met me as soon as I landed in Athens and showed me around the city, avoiding the police and army personnel and the protests, which had the potential of becoming violent.
The gig itself was intense. The Prodigy were the only non-metal band performing, which meant many metal heads were looking to enjoy The Prodigy’s show the only way they know how – aggressively. On the other hand, there was quite a lot of room to move around, so GL0WKiD, his friends and I really enjoyed it.
Dindy was very useful to me and (probably) to a few hundreds of people around the world. I enjoyed mainly reading the good reviews it got and getting supportive emails from users. But the reality is that since Android 5 Google has been making its own steps into the Do Not Disturb game, and even more so in the next version, Android M.
The changes in Android 5 already made Dindy less useful, by not allowing developers to put the phone in real silent mode. If you weren’t careful about who you select as a favorite contact, that would clash with Dindy’s settings. Android 5.0 specifically has bugs that prevent Dindy from working properly at all, and I had to apologize for that to a couple of users. These bugs were fixed in 5.1.
In Android M, Google basically implemented Dindy, with the exception of automatic SMS replies and some extra customizations that I doubt anyone was using. That doesn’t seem to be enough to justify an investment for users in an app to manage Do Not Disturb modes, or for me to keep adapting the app to Google’s changes in every Android release.
The first version of Dindy worked on Android 1.5 and I’ve changed it continuously to work with newer versions of Android over the years. Recently, in its peak usage, Dindy had around 1200 installations globally. That’s a very low number. My guess is that only a few hundreds of those were actually using it.
Unfortunately, Google still doesn’t get phone volume controls right. One thing that is very unclear is that if you want to switch the phone to vibrate, you should not lower the volume until it reaches vibrate mode. The result of doing that is lowering the phones ring volume to the minimum and then telling the phone that it should be on vibrate. If you have anyone important that you’d like to get past vibrate and ring, now your phone will ring in a very low volume. The correct way to switch to vibrate mode in stock Android 5+ is to click the volume button to see the volume controls and then tap the bell icon to switch to vibrate.
Apple got that right in the iPhone, by the way. Maybe Google will get it right in Android N.
It’s been almost a year since my last Prodigy gig in Tel-Aviv (it was a special one), but now there’s a new album and a new live show. So I went to see it twice! :)
This time I managed to drag along 4 friends – three of them came with me to the first show from Israel, and for the second show a friend of mine who lives in London joined me (he previously joined me twice to Prodigy shows in the UK back in 2009.)
Needless to say – it was amazing. Here are a photo and two videos from the first show:
This isn’t a new idea. Virtual Reality has been and is being used to treat phobias (for example here), placing patients in virtual environments that mimic the real life situations they fear the most.
Now that we have Google Cardboard, which uses a smartphone along with a cheap cardboard contraption, providing such a solution is as simple as taking a photo sphere image and loading it in Cardboard.
I thought about doing something in that direction, like an open source app, but it seems like most of the work is professional photography along with psychiatric consulting (to get the scenes right) so I gave this one up.