iPhone 13 pro unboxing

Well, I kept it in the box overnight expecting clear blue skies and sunshine this morning ready for my unboxing photos. Sadly, the skies were as grey as a tramp’s vest so I’ve taken the pics anyway; apologies if they’re not all that great. Taken with my old iPhone 11 Pro Max which is going back to Apple in a trade-in.

I went for the basic 128GB Pacific Blue 13 Pro. I found the Max phones were a little too ‘max’ as far as the size of the thing was concerned. I was always a little conscious of it being too wobbly when holding it, and all it would take was an errant child or prannet on a scooter to sent it flying. I complemented the phone with an orange (brown, apparently) Apple charging case (no, the 13 Pro does NOT have built-in wireless charging), and some cheapo screen protectors off Amazon.

The 13 Pro is finished in four different colours. The base model now starts at 128GB and for the first time comes with a 1TB option. It has a 6.1″ Super Retina XDR display with ProMotion and has an adaptive refresh rate of up to 120Hz. The A15 Bionic chip has a 6-Core CPU and 5-Core GPU and 16-Core Neural Engine. The Pro 12MP camera system sports Telephone, Wide and UltraWide cameras. 3x Optical Zoom In, 2x Optical Zoom Out and 6x Optical Zoom Range, plus Digital Zoom of up to 15x. Night Mode portraits are enhanced with a LiDAR Scanner. Telephone and Wide Cameras have image stabilisation. HDR video recording possible up to 4K at 30fps.

The box is over half the thickness of the 11 Pro Max, mostly thanks to having nothing in there save for the phone and a USB-C to Lightning Cable. They’ve done away with the plug and headphones because, let’s face it, who already doesn’t have a drawer full of these things? The boxes don’t even come shrink wrapped anymore, but you do still get a small white Apple sticker and a SIM tool.

The phone feels lovely and compact without appearing too small. The Apple charging case is very nice with a good grippy feel. The phone itself runs smooth as custard and setting up and importing the old iCloud backup was quick and easy. The only downer is that you then need to log back into everything when the apps have finished installing (banking apps are the absolute worst).

If I am going to gripe about anything it’s the fact the camera system STILL wants to enhance your pictures when you’ve taken them, giving them a too-sharp quality which absolutely stinks, and I CANNOT find a way of switching this off. I may need to get online to Apple as part of my limited support coverage to see what I can do in this respect.

I’d recommend getting some kind of AppleCare if you’re gonna get a new Apple product. The phone has two different AppleCares which is an option that presents itself when you’ve set up the device, and I wasted no time whatsoever signing up for the full cover.

I’ll add some picture quality examples soon … when and if the sun ever comes out again.

Sir Clive sinclair, 1940-2021

Sir Clive Marles Sinclair, pioneer of pretty-much everything that mattered, has sadly died. He was 81. He brought not only home computers to the masses, but also pocket calculators, radios, electric vehicles – the lot. From the ZX80 through to the Spectrum and QL, the Microvision portable televisions, C5 electric vehicle and the incredible brainpower that went with it all. Sadly sold out to dodgy business geezer ‘Sir’ Alan Sugar and his equally dodgy Amstrad corporation.

A sad loss to the world of technology and especially here at TechBeach.

Rest in Peace, Mrs Hudson

Actress Una Stubbs, famed for her portrayal of long-suffering landlady Mrs Hudson in BBC TV’s ‘Sherlock’ has died at the age of 84. She died at home in Edinburgh surrounded by her family.

BEHRINGER TD-3-SR ANALOGUE BASSLINE SYNTHESIZER

Who knows the secret of the silver plastic box?

Roland only produced the original TB-303 Bassline for three years from 1981. Mint examples go for – well, a mint – these days. Hardware purists presumably dived behind their sofas when Behringer announced they were planning to release their own version based on the original design, and are right now waving their fists at the sky and damning Behringer to pus-spewing hell and back. I’m no purist, I’m a realist, and I don’t have hundreds and thousands of pounds to buy this original gear, so I praise and thank Behringer with tears in my eyes for even contemplating doing something as bold as release their own silver box of tricks. And it doesn’t stop at silver – yellow, purple, black, a couple of blues and lime green versions are also available, and if that isn’t enough a series of modded-out machines are also for sale sporting VCO, MIDI-controllable VCF and sub-harmonic oscillator.

The TD-3 sports a new distortion circuit and has a pure analogue signal path, 16-step sequencer and authentic, VCO, VCA and VCF filters thanks to matched transistors in the hardware design. The onboard sequencer with seven tracks allows you to program 16 steps of notes and rests and to save them as a pattern. You can record, save and recall 250 patterns all of which can be stored in four groups. 11 controls and 28 switches give you real-time access to all important parameters, all laid out in a highly intuitive format that puts fun back into your music creation. Use the multi I/O patchbay to connect external devices.

Round the back you have a quarter inch output jack, MIDI In and Out, USB port, power switch and PSU port. Up top there are Filter In, Sync In, CV Out, Gate Out and a 3.5mm headphone socket.

The plastic casing seems enormous to me, although I’ve never had the pleasure of playing with a 303, images I’ve spied online show that the Behringer is certainly larger than its Roland counterpart. So far I’ve played around with my TD briefly and it really does sound very nice. The casing was a little scratched on the side when I unpacked my unit which I was a little disappointed with. The outer box was reasonable and the TD was packing in a plastic bag with some nasty sticky gum on the opening, and the whole thing was wedged into the box with two foam inserts. There was a quick start guide and a couple of nice Behringer stickers including a yellow ‘smiley’ one. A PSU rounded off the set but no USB cable which means I’m going to have to hunt around in my giant box of cables.

Behringer have a piece of software called SynthTribe which you can download from the website. This is a one-size-fits-all piece of software for the whole Behringer hardware range of devices, not just the TD-3. It allows you to update the machines with the latest firmware if its available, and also to program sequences and patterns to sent to your device. I have spied people online who’ve created patterns which you can download (for a small price), so presumably you can also import patterns and play them back through the machine.

Needs a heck of a lot more playing around with, which I shall certainly do in time. And the price of all this plastic loveliness? Ninety pounds. NINETY. POUNDS. Go and get one while you can. You can thank me afterwards. And when you do, ask me about the other vintage devices that Behringer have produced or are in the process of making.

Casio F-91W Retro Digital Watch

Casio seem to be bringing out a number of retro digital watches, probably as part of some anniversary (40th?). I prompted for a bright orange number that reminds me of the new Apple iMacs which I so desperately need (donors appreciated!).

The watches are just as I remember them from years ago. The buttons are still tiny and springy, the illumination lamp is still a timid puce-green effort, and other than this particular model having quite a short strap and being quite small overall (“men’s watch”, my arse) everything is absolutely identical. They’ve skimped on the plastic box (removing it altogether and housing it in a plastic bag inside a two-part cardboard box).

But I love it. Now, bring on that matching iMac.

REFLECTION3

Furloughed AGAIN. Lost count of how many times that is – three, maybe four. Still, gives me more breathing space, less anxiety and time to stick everything on eBay and continue with the ‘master plan’.

Musically, nothing’s been happening. Still find Reason bloody annoying with timings and shit, but maybe if I was the kind of person who paid attention to manuals and forums and stuff, I wouldn’t be in such a predicament.

My 2011 MacBook Pro died with a month left on the 2-year warranty that CEX gave me. Obviously they couldn’t repair the old one but came up trumps with a 2012 model which is a billion times faster and will cater for all my daily needs quite admirably. Had to bung an SSD in it and some more RAM, and even though it’s nine years old now (and somehow not quite vintage or obsolete according to Apple), it’s the newest Mac I’ve ever owned! We just came back from a few days away in Kent where I found a small indie Apple store, and in the window was the most amazing array of vintage Apple items you could ever wish to find (see below).

Window of the iT Store, Canterbury

The image really doesn’t do it justice. Mac Classics, iPods, the G4 Cube, iMac – hell, even a couple of original iPhones. I was too scared and too sad to go in and inquire. I’m pretty sure none of this stuff was for sale, and a mad trawl through their website seemed to confirm my suspicions. Damn, I really wanted one of those iPhones!

The getaway was very nice. A bittersweet return to the place I was born and spent nearly half my life. The astonishing thing is that very little has changed. A few more closed shops, granted, and a lot of rough sleepers, and there were one or two improvements, but everything was as I remember it. Had some nice food and beach walks, and came home with some nice memories and a nasty sunburn.

I guess I’d better get back to eBay now, although I do need to pop out and get water as the store where we get our food delivered from decided not to send any. I mean, it’s only gonna be 30C today, so we may need a drop or two.

Take care of yourselves. It’s nice to be back ….

REFLECTION2

Three months on from my last post, now working from home full time (when I’m not ill), and society is still pretty-much locked down (until Boris opens everything up too quickly again and another 120,000 people die). Had my first Covid jab yesterday (the Pfizer one), and plans are still being made for getting out of this (as Sideshow Bob would put it) “pee-pee-soaked heck-hole” once and for all.

Am astonished people still look at this blog for reference (and nicking stuff I’ve previously uploaded). May take it down at some point (or at least continue it when I’ve moved on and settled down again).

Reflection

Haven’t written since May, but my god – what a shit of a year it’s been. Furloughed from work for five months, made to quarantine twice as a precaution – shops shut, businesses closed down, tens of thousands dead, Government completely incapable of getting anything right …

… the only light at the end of the tunnel comes in the form of the Pfizer (and other) vaccines which are beginning to slowly roll out. I’m aware that the Government are highly capable of fucking-up something with regard to that, but for the sake of mankind let’s hope the hell not.

Look after yourselves over this less-than-usually-indulgent season. Stay safe, stay warm, stay as socially distanced as you can, and wear a damn mask!

Over and out.