Tag Archives: Great Big Sea

Are the New Droids Better than the Old Droids?

Everyone in the Google Android universe seems to be excited today by Verizon’s launch of its new Motorola Droid smartphones: the Droid Mini, Droid Ultra, and Droid Maxx. They’ve got lots of updates, including faster processing power (with the Motorola X8 processor) and better battery life (up to 48 hours for the Maxx, according to Verizon), and they all run Android 4.2, Jelly Bean.

Of course, there are other fine selling points about each of these units, to be sure. With the Droid Maxx being hailed as the successor to the Droid Razr Maxx HD—and the Razr Maxx HD was the successor to the smartphone I currently use, the Razr Maxx—I have to begin wondering if there’s any reason to think about an upgrade. So far, my Razr Maxx hasn’t given me any reason to want to switch.

I’ve had my phone for about a year and a half, which is getting to be on the ancient side as these things go in the smartphone world. But my phone still looks practically new—no scuffs or scrapes on the Kevlar body, no scratches on the Gorilla Glass screen. The performance is as good as it ever was. And the battery life—one of the phone’s outstanding features to begin with—is still incredible; with heavy use, I get 12–16 hours daily. OK, it’s not 48, but it’s plenty to get me between charging.

The other reason I’ve been thinking about my Razr Maxx recently has to do with the recent launch of the Nokia Lumia 1020. The big news with this Windows Phone is its incredible 41 megapixel camera. When I got my first smartphone, which was just about three and a half years ago, I wondered why people needed cameras on phones at all; now the camera has become one of the smartphone’s biggest features, and nowhere bigger than with the Lumia 1020.

But I return to the pics I can take with my Razr Maxx (and yes, I’ve certainly grown attached to this ability myself). I recently downloaded all the photos from my phone to my PC and saw a bunch of snaps I didn’t remember I’d taken. Specifically, I have a series of photos taken at last March’s Great Big Sea concerts in Boulder at the Boulder Theater. I was surprised to see that I’d actually taken some pretty decent shots, which I wasn’t expecting when aIl I was really doing was taking quick pics to post to Facebook.

I think it’s great that companies like Motorola/Google and Nokia/Microsoft are innovating and improving on these features that people are proving to use. But at a certain point, doesn’t it begin to seem like they get bigger and better just so they have something new to sell us? I mean: 41 megapixels, really? Who needs that? Are the new Droids really better than the old Droids? You do get Jelly Bean, I guess.

Yes, I’ll be sticking with my Razr Maxx for the foreseeable future. But that doesn’t mean I won’t be keeping an eye on these new devices, and the wave that follows them, and the one after that. After all, you can hardly call yourself a #SmartphoneAddict if you’re not lusting after the latest lovely tech. Right?

Take a look at the gallery below of photos from the Great Big Sea concerts March 22 and 23, all taken with my Motorola Droid Razr Maxx.

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Follow B. K. Winstead on Twitter at @bkwins


Mood Music for Your Weekend

I logged on to Facebook this morning and everyone is posting hallelujahs to it being Friday—as if they didn’t just have a four day weekend. Oh well, I guess that can make the next week feel longer. In celebration of Friday and the coming weekend, here’s a few musical selections to help get you in the mood for fun—that is, a playlist for play.

There are two artists that come instantly to mind for uplifting sweet-sounding music: classic rock band Triumph and Celtic/pop band Great Big Sea. The message of both of these bands is overwhelmingly positive—and just good fun. (And hey, they’re both from Canada—coincidence? You tell me.)

Triumph was best-known in the late 70s and early 80s for their brand of melodic hard rock. The first track for the weekend playlist should be “Hold On,” which starts with a good explanation of the power of music:

Music holds the secret,
To know it can make you whole
It’s not just a game of notes,
It’s the sounds inside your soul

However, as exciting as that song is, Triumph’s “Magic Power” has got to be one of the best songs of all time. No matter what your age, when you listen to this song, you are “young, wild, and free.”

Next it’s time to turn to Great Big Sea. These boys from Newfoundland have been out on the road this year celebrating their twentieth anniversary of singing the folk songs and traditional music of their native land, infused with infectious pop melodies. If you really want a pick-me-up, go see them live! If they’re not in your area, the music will suffice.

“Good People” from GBS’s Safe Upon the Shore CD wasn’t initially one of my favorites, but with it’s simple yet necessary message and with seeing it played live several times, it has definitely grown on me over time.

One of my favorite GBS tunes is one of their earliest. To me, “Goin Up” explains what this band is all about. You know how it is when you plan to have a gathering of people at your house, and you spend lots of time cleaning and making sure you’ve got enough seating in the living room, but a half hour in, everyone’s standing around informally in the kitchen? Yeah, it’s like that. A kitchen party.

There’s thirty people in the kitchen
And there’s always room for more

And as long as you’re going up with Great Big Sea, you can’t miss “Ordinary Day,” which is their song that reminds us to believe in ourselves:

It’s up to you now if you sink or swim,
Keep the faith and your ship will come in.

Of course, no weekend playlist would be complete without a little Queen. To get you back in a rockin’ mood, how about a little “Fat Bottomed Girls”—cause they make the rockin’ world go round.

And to finish, another Queen track that perhaps many people won’t know, but one that’s appropriate for looking forward to a great weekend:

Obviously this isn’t enough music to get you through the weekend, but you could do a lot worse than exploring additional tracks from the three artists featured here. And perhaps I’ll feature more of my weekend favorites another time. Of course, your tastes might vary, in which case I’m not sure I can help you. I hope these selections help you enjoy your weekend, whether you’re out in the garden, playing sports, having a kitchen party, or just enjoying the beautiful day.

Follow B. K. Winstead on Twitter at @bkwins