Guitar Effects Pedal Demo – tc electronic – DITTO X4 LOOPER NAMM 2016 : Effects Reverse, Tape Warp, double & half speed, Stutter & Glitch.
Do you prefer your candy bars king size, regular, or fun size? I’ve always favored the middle. Regular size bars are big enough to satisfy, but not so huge that I feel that pang of guilt in my sugar-ridden stomach. Buying a tablet from Amazon is similar. You can opt for a cute 7-inch Fire, but there’s a good chance it’ll feel too small. Or you can buy a big 10-inch Fire, which, for some, will be unwieldy. The 8-inch Fire? In my opinion, it’s just right.
The latest Amazon Fire HD 8 has a 1,280 x 800-pixel, 8-inch screen that’s robust enough for watching movies on a long bus ride (though the viewing angles aren’t amazing), and small enough that you can still hold it with one hand. Its size makes it easy to type with your thumbs, play games like Red Ball 4, or read like a book. It’s just about ideal.
Amazon Fire HD 8 (2017)
An ideal size for a lot of tablet uses. The $80 price is outstanding. The battery lasts a long time. MicroSD card slot lets you add extra storage for cheap.
Alexa is not hands-free, requiring a button press to use. The hardware is passable, but far from attractive or speedy. The screen is a museum for fingerprints. Content can look washed out at certain angles.
It’s no bastion for beautiful, high-end design, but the plastic Fire feels sturdy enough. The screen is glass, like you’d expect, but collects finger grease like crazy. The front and rear cameras take photos, and that’s the highest compliment I can give them. Most of the ports and buttons are crammed onto the top edge of the tablet, but they usually don’t get in the way (though things got messy when I needed to charge, plug in my headphones, and adjust the volume at the same time).
On the inside, the processing power and internal storage (available in either 16 or 32GB capacities) are like what you might have found in a flagship tablet a few years ago.
Is any of this ideal? No. Does the Fire get the job done anyway? Yes, especially when you consider the price.
At $80, Amazon has priced the 8 so low you may think it’s a joke. No other name-brand tablet is this affordable. That’s by design—Amazon wants to sell you everything, and the Fire tablet is crafted to do just that. From Alexa and Audible to Prime Video, all the company’s best content is easily accessible from the HD 8.
The Fire tablets run on a remodeled version of Google’s Android software that lets you swipe through a page for every type of goodie Amazon hopes to tempt you with. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, these pages will also serve you thousands of “free” items that come with your $100-per-year subscription, or anything digital you’ve bought from Amazon over the years.
Amazon’s app ecosystem is a little thin, but you can find many basics like Facebook and Hulu (sadly, there are no Google apps like Keep or Drive). Even though the bare essentials are available, don’t expect to get access to the latest trendy game or social network with this tablet.
Naturally, Alexa is ready to help you. Just this morning, I asked Amazon’s trusty assistant to play some Tom Petty, and I sang along to “Wildflowers” as I took a shower. The stereo speakers were loud and clear enough that I could hear it out over the din of the water, which surprised me. But, when I wanted to change the track, I was out of luck. Unlike Amazon’s larger Fire HD 10, Alexa isn’t fully hands free. That means you can’t yell commands at the Fire from across the room, like an Echo speaker. On the HD 8, you need to tap the home button before Alexa starts listening.
The Fire HD 8, like its brethren, doesn’t push the envelope, but it works. There are perks to the 8, too. Its battery life is advertised at 12 hours, and I haven’t had to charge mine in days. Amazon’s magnetic standing case classes up the tablet with fabric on the front and back, as well, and you can also add a MicroSD card for more storage.
In many ways, it’s hard to compare this tablet to what you could buy from Apple or Samsung. But, at $80, you can buy four HD 8s for the price of the cheapest iPad—enough for the whole family. And because of that, there are few tech bargains better than the Amazon Fire HD 8.
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Was anybody here around in 1969? Or the early ‘70s? Did anybody like motorcycles then? If so, you have to recall the debut of the Honda CB750 Four. That was almost as big a deal as the dawn of internal combustion, or the first time anyone ever thought to actually slice bread. Before the CB750, as far as I recall, there were only big, heavy, two-cylinder British bikes; big, heavy, two-cylinder American bikes and little, buzzy one- and two-cylinder Japanese bikes. At least in my memory. Maybe in yours, too.
Then came the CB750.
I recall sneaking into the dealership on PCH and gawking like a convert at a revival at the thing. What a bike! Four cylinders, FOUR CYLINDERS, transversely mounted! So much power, so much torque, so much possibility. The world would never be the same, I remember thinking. I took as many brochures as I could carry and plastered them on the wall of my room.
As a gawky teenager still years away from a license or a job with enough money to buy anything as magnificent as that, it slipped into memory, where it has stayed since. I wound up buying a 10-year-old BSA 650 that blew up and was sold for salvage rights to A&A Motorcycle Salvage in Wilmington for $35. Then came college, then other adventures, and the 750 Four moldered in the gray matter of my brain back near the Apollo moon landings and Miss Jane Parmenter on “F-Troop.”
The gauges will remind you of Honda gauges from 40 years ago
Until the CB1100 EX. Suddenly, everything gurgled back to the surface like tasty catfish fixins after pond-fishing with an M80. I first saw the CB1100 at the Long Beach motorcycle show, gleaming on the Honda stand like a chrome-plated version of the Royal crown jewels, but all bolted together. Honda’s Jon Seidel was there. He and I are about the same age and we both fondly recalled the 750 Four’s launch.
“The world was never the same,” he said.
“I had to have one,” I said, meaning I had to have a press bike for a loan.
“Sure,” he said, “No problem.”
He became my new favorite industry executive. But one thing got in the way of another, and it was a while before I got one. Finally, one month ago, I stood inside door 5 of Honda’s Building 500 in Torrance next to a gleaming CB1100 EX as a technician screwed a license plate onto it. Finally, a CB750/1100 was mine, if only for a couple weeks.
“I may not come back,” I told Seidel.
“I wouldn’t blame you,” he said.
There is a lot of chrome on this bike, and it shines brilliantly
And off I rode, onto the sunny Torrance streets, chrome blinding all who came within 10 blocks, riding back into the folded gray matter of memory, back into 1969 or so. Only now I could reach the pedals.
The CB1100 EX is basically a transporter to your youth — or my youth, anyway, except that now my youth has fuel injection and fully transistorized ignition. Horsepower is not listed in the U.S., but Europeans have put it at 88. Don’t look at that as you would a car; the CB weighs only 562 pounds, which is a lot less than a car. Unfortunately, it’s a lot more than many motorcycles. If there’s one common whine about this bike, it’s the weight. But look at the size of that 1140cc engine — it’s big. The weight can be seen as stability, making this a little more of a cruiser than a sporty bike.
All that’s OK with me; it is a very comfortable machine to ride. The big flat seat is carrier-deck grande compared to many other motorcycles over in the sport segment, and you can park your keister on it all day without cheek pain. The lack of fairings helps get cool air to the air-cooled engine, but means you’re battling the winds at anything over 65 mph. Your upright torso acts as a lever to raise weight off the front wheel, which makes the bike wander around just a bit as your body functions like a flag in the breeze. Up to 75 mph, you can still sit upright but anything more than that I found myself flopping over the tank for better aerodynamic efficiency.
The CB1100 EX looks retro-good from any angle
The 2017 model gets an assist-and-slip clutch, which engages the bike’s torque with a light ease that adds to its daylong riding capability. The six-speed manual transmission is easy to use, with a gear position indicator in between the two big retro gauge dials.
There are three discs for stopping, two in front and one in back, all controlled by ABS. You don’t get any other electronic aids, though, so you have to pay attention — no inertial measuring unit is going to step in and save you. But you won’t be tempted to push this bike very far in turns, anyway. It is not a sport bike. But it is also not a heavy touring machine, either. Let’s call it a sporty retro cruising memory machine.
Prices start at $12,579, which includes destination. That’s steep, but I’m guessing most buyers will be older and have better credit ratings than I had in 1969. Indeed, I wonder how many guys there are like me, who remember the original CB750 Four so fondly, fondly enough to actually go buy this new one. The CB1100 EX would be an excellent everyday commuter bike. It’s freeway capable but extremely easy to ride around town, all while holding its own well enough in corners. This could be the one bike you own if you were only going to own one bike. And for anyone who remembers how much fun motorcycling was in their youth, well, I can tell you, it’s still just as much fun today.
On Sale: Now
Base Price: $12,579
Drivetrain: 1140-cc inline transverse-mounted four-cylinder, chain drive, six-speed manual
Output: 88 hp
Curb Weight: 562 pounds
Pros: A retro sporty cruiser with all the comforts of 2017
Cons: Heavy and kind of expensive
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Opening up the Amazon Fire HD 10 will tell you everything you need to know about it. It doesn’t come in an immaculate white box, like an iPad or fancy Galaxy tablet, and there is no lid that makes that pleasant suction sound as you gently lift it, revealing a glass and metal slab so pristine it could part the heavens. Nope—my Fire HD 10 came in a cardboard pouch.
Like a FedEx box, you simply tear a tab off and yank out your brand-new Fire. But hey, that’s OK. This full-size tablet costs $150, and for that price, I wouldn’t mind if it came in a Ziploc bag. If Amazon drops the price any further, the next one might.
There is no room for highfalutin’ design on a tablet this cheap, and if you’ve ever used an Amazon Fire before, you probably know that. Aside from hands-free Alexa, a small bump in speed (30 percent, Amazon says), and an HD 1,920 x 1,200 pixel screen, the “All New” Fire HD 10 looks and feels identical to the 2015 version, with a lower price. The prices of these Android slates keep plummeting. The high-end versions of Amazon’s Fire tablets were nearly $400 a few years ago, but dropped to $230, and now we’re at $150.
Amazon Fire HD 10 (2017)
$150 is a remarkable price. It’s the easiest way to consume all things Amazon. Hands-free Alexa rocks. Battery life is comparable to any tablet. The MicroSD slot is helpful if you run out of space. The stereo speakers sound great.
App selection is limited, and there’s no easy access to the Google Play store. Runs an outdated version of Android. The screen noticeably washes out at some angles. The processing power, cameras, and design leave a lot to be desired.
The Fire HD 10 is not a powerful tablet, and features like a front and rear camera are present, but only out of obligation. The plasticky, simple design doesn’t stand out, but it doesn’t detract. It’s built to serve you all things Amazon Prime, and that’s exactly what it does.
Watch. Read. Listen. Play. Shop.
Chances are, if you’re interested in an Amazon tablet, you’re already an Amazon Prime member. Prime may have started as $100-per-year service that gave you free two-day shipping on purchases, but these days it gives you access to thousands of movies, original TV shows, music, books, and games. The list of Amazon Prime perks might surprise you, and most of them at least sound cool, even if you don’t take advantage of them. I sure don’t. Free restaurant delivery? OK, awesome. Free Audible content? I’m actually trying that out now. These days, you can even buy cheaper avocados at Whole Foods with Prime.
This tablet doesn’t come with discounted avocados, but the HD 10 will let you devour Amazon’s digital services like they’re guacamole at brunch. Though they run on Google’s Android operating system (I have to wonder why Amazon is still peddling Android Lollipop, a 3-year-old version of Android), Fire tablets are purpose-built to serve up videos and media from Amazon’s library. On top of the smartphone-like homescreen with app icons that you’re used to, you can swipe through pages for every type of content Amazon sells, all custom-targeted to your liking.
If Amazon’s algorithms don’t cater to your needs enough, and you want to shun its services to download Netflix, Spotify, a game, or another app, you’ll have to do so through its Amazon Appstore. Prepare yourself for some disappointment. I couldn’t find many games or apps of substance outside of the basics. Google apps like Docs and Keep, for instance, are nonexistent. But there are enough tools and games to keep you occupied in between episodes of those funny, heart-wrenching Amazon Originals like Transparent and One Mississippi.
Automatic Downloads and Alexa
Supposedly, the Fire HD 10 auto-downloads offline copies of new episodes and movies for you with a background service called On Deck, though it left me high and dry on a recent weekend Amtrak trip. Alexa, I’m disappointed. Let’s hope you know me better next time I lose Wi-Fi access.
But I can’t stay mad at Alexa. As ubiquitous as Amazon’s new voice assistant is becoming, I can’t get enough of Fire HD 10’s hands-free Alexa feature. Just like an Amazon Echo, this Fire tablet will let you speak all the basic commands out of the box, and add specialized skills. For kicks, I installed an Alexa Skill that lets it quiz me on my Star Trek knowledge. Sadly, even though I’m a die-hard Trek fan, it turns out I’m dumber than a Pakled—I got a 1/3 on today’s quiz.
It will cost you another $40, but you should also pick up Amazon’s standing case, especially if you’re like me and habitually stave off sleep by binge-watching anything you can find. Otherwise, you’ll waste a lot of valuable binging moments searching for something to prop up your slippery plastic Fire. Be warned, though. The magnetic standing feature on the case is tricky. After 10 minutes of complete frustration, I was overjoyed when I finally got it to stand up properly. The ape-caveman probably felt the same way when he found a bone for the first time in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
It’s worth noting that the 10-inch display in the Fire HD 10 is good, but when you use the case’s cover to stand it up, its limited viewing angles become obvious. Also, since the tablet lacks a high-quality coated glass cover, this thing gets covered in finger oil fast.
The iPad in the Room
If you want a stellar tablet at an affordable price, the new iPad only costs $330 and it’s a more capable tablet when it comes to apps, processing power, and build quality. But, if you’re living deep in Amazon’s jungle, the Fire HD 10 is a much cheaper alternative that still has some extra niceties. The big 10-inch screen is excellent for watching videos. The stereo speakers with Dolby Audio put the Fire’s sound quality up there with iPad, and the MicroSD slot for memory expansion is something Apple’s pricier tablets sorely lack.
High-end tablets run circles around Amazon’s Fire HD 10, and it’s no work of art, but it gets the job done. At $150, that’s good enough for me.
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Bruce Springsteen is breaking box-office records with his one-man show, Springsteen on Broadway.
The rock star made $2.3m (£1.8m) in his first week of previews, behind only Hamilton and Hello, Dolly! – which both played more shows in the same period.
Mixing live music and storytelling, the show is set to run for 16 weeks, with The Boss taking up residence in the 960-seat Walter Kerr Theater.
“It’s probably the smallest venue I’ve played in the last 40 years,” he said.
The show officially opens on Thursday night – but the BBC’s Elysa Gardner managed to catch one of the previews.
Bruce Springsteen’s first Broadway show is neither a musical nor a concert in the tradition of his previous solo tours.
Written and directed by The Boss, Springsteen On Broadway – which arrives roughly a year after his autobiography, Born To Run – is a meticulously crafted, deeply personal journey with set words and music, with the star alternately accompanying himself on guitar and piano.
But the two-hour program is also, in its distinctly intimate, understated fashion, an affirmation of the exuberant showmanship and vivid storytelling that Springsteen’s rock and roll shares with musical theatre.
As a songwriter, we’re reminded, he’s as much an inheritor to Rodgers and Hammerstein as any contemporary pop artist; an unabashed romantic with a probing social conscience, whose soaring tunes give full-throated voice to American dreams and the demons that haunt them.
The songs in Springsteen On Broadway are clearly chosen less to show off Springsteen’s array of memorable characters (or hits, for that matter) than to acknowledge the people and events that shaped them.
Not surprisingly, more time and detail are devoted to his youth than his nearly 45 years as one of the most famous people on the planet.
“I come from a boardwalk town where everything is tinged with a bit of fraud,” he announced at a preview before the official opening night, before tearing into his first number, the early classic Growin’ Up. Two verses in, as if to underline the point, he paused to quip, “I’ve never held an honest job in my life… and yet that’s all I’ve written about.”
Such self-deprecating humour, which extends to tales of Springsteen’s wayward youth and early career struggles, was offset by moving, lyrical tributes to his father, a depressive who sought refuge at the local bar, and his defiantly positive mother.
“She gave the world a lot more credit than it deserves,” Springsteen observed, heading to the piano for an achingly tender The Wish.
Springsteen also played the rock and roll preacher, naturally, applying a shrewdly scaled-down version of the shamanistic intensity that has whipped packed stadiums into frenzies. The script used winking but seductive repetition, with playful references to the pleasures of the flesh, as well as the general promises of youth – captured in exhilarating readings of Thunder Road and The Promised Land.
As the show progressed, though, the emphasis shifted to more mature concerns and rewards. It’s here that Springsteen’s ability to open his heart and transcend sentimentality – as the most affecting rock and musical theatre artists almost invariably do – came to the fore. Back at the piano for a muscular Tenth Avenue Freezeout, he held forth without reserve about late E Street Band sax hero Clarence Clemons.
Joined by wife and fellow E Street member Patti Scialfa for two songs, he chose to wrap with Brilliant Disguise, an account of the frailty of love, written while Springsteen was married to another woman, made all the more poignant by a couple that has survived it.
Politics did not go entirely unmentioned; after noting that folk don’t like rock stars advising them on such matters, Springsteen made reference to “the mess we’re in” – embellishing that observation with a colourful adjective, but avoiding the T-word.
Nodding to an era when his lyrics were twisted by another president, Springsteen introduced Born in the USA with blistering, Eastern-flavoured chords (the show’s most flamboyant demonstration of his guitar virtuosity), then sang the first lines a cappella, his voice raw and weary.
But that’s plainly not the USA Springsteen chooses to see, or represent. One of the evening’s most rousing numbers was The Rising, an account of courage, sacrifice and, yes, transcendence that was the title track of an album Springsteen released less than a year after 9/11. Its hero and narrator is a firefighter working that day, facing the abyss but also looking beyond it.
It’s an image that, 16 years later, carried a fresh sense of urgency. Springsteen spoke of finding “beauty and power” in American stories, a goal that has found him consistently defying jingoism, and prodding us to keep dancing in the dark, while reaching for the light.
- Growin’ Up
- My Hometown
- My Father’s House
- The Wish
- Thunder Road
- The Promised Land
- Born In The U.S.A.
- Tenth Avenue Freezeout
- Tougher Than The Rest
- Brilliant Disguise
- Long Walk Home
- The Rising
- Dancing In The Dark
- Land of Hope and Dreams
- Born To Run