Skins for Zune and iPod

Gelaskins on Left, Decalgirl on Right

Gelaskins on Left, Decalgirl on Right

Being averse to the traditional bulky cases that are so popular for carrying your mp3 player, I decided to go with the vinyl skin option.

For the iPod, I went with a gelaskins cover.  They’ve got an amazing selection of art and the skins are very well made, thick, and precision cut.  They also include a “hard” or “crystal” screen protector.  They cost a little more than some of the other places, but the thickness of the skin along with the screen protector make it well worth it.  So far the skin has been extremely scratch resistant and hasn’t shown any signs of peeling up at the corners.

I would’ve like to go with gelaskins on the zune, but they don’t currently make anything for that application.  So I went with decalgirl.  The decalgirl skin is about half the cost of the gelaskins equivalent, but doesn’t include a screen protector.  The skin itself is well made although the printing doesn’t seem to be quite up to the same level of quality found on the gelaskins.  There are areas on the decalgirl skin that look a little low res.  Although the colors look quite good.  The decalgirl skin is also thinner than the gelaskins, and has taken a couple of scratches, nothing that has broken the skin, just little dents in the skin itself.  The cutouts for the large center button is well done, but the smaller play/pause and back buttons aren’t cutout at all, and the buttons must be pressed through the skin.  Which isn’t difficult, but does make the feel of the buttons a bit mushy.  Overall it’s not as nice as the gelaskins, but it is an acceptable alternative if gelaskins doesn’t make a skin for your device.

Since the decalgirl skin doesn’t include a screen cover, I decided to go with an Invisible Shield from zagg.com.  This is the same material used on the leading edge of helicopter blades to protect them from um… whatever damages helicopter blades?  The point is, it’s a very tough, resiliant piece of material.  They make designs that provide complete coverage for many devices, but since I have the vinyl skin already I chose the screen only option.  The material itself is soft and because of this reflects light differently than the naked screen or even a “crystal” screen protector.  It is extremely scratch resistant, it’s been on my phones screen for several months now, which I carry in my pocket, and it looks as good as the day I put it on.  On the zune, the Invisible Shield provides coverage for the whole screen, and since the decalgirl overlaps the screen a bit on the edges where there’s no image I’ve got some overlapping of the vinyl skin and the invisible shield.  It looks good like this and despite the doubling up, no bulk was added to the front of the device.

I think that the invisible shield will outlast the vinyl, and wish I had put it on first, with the vinyl covering it instead of the other way around.  As it is I will need to purchase another screen protector if I ever feel the need to change skins.All 3 skins/covers went on very easily and at the moment show no signs of pulling up at the corners and so far I’m quite happy with the results.

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A.J. Croce "Adrian James Croce”

Amazon.com: Adrian James Croce: Music: A.J. Croce

When I decided to write up certain albums on my blog I was going to do it right after the first listen while the songs were still fresh in my head and I hadn’t had time to really digest them and compare to other albums I may have liked in the past.  Just a quick first impression, then maybe if an album grew on me or if I took it out of rotation because I couldn’t stand it, I would go back and update the post saying so.

I’m now sort of wishing I hadn’t made that little “rule” for myself, because on first listen A.J. Croce comes off as by the numbers adult contemporary.  Now I’ll come right out and say that I’m not even sure what adult contemporary is, but I imagine it’s boring pop or rock and roll, so  that’s what I’m calling this.  It’s very well made and produced, and boring.  Several times I had to remind myself not to skip a song because this was a new album and I wanted to write it up. 

The problem arises when I realise this could be something I may like at some point, if I were in the mood for easy, medium to slow tempo music.  And this morning it wasn’t doing it for me.  I don’t like saying anything too bad about someone who’s so obviously put a lot of effort into something like this.  Something that I’d never be able to even come close to duplicating if I were to try.  So I’m going to say it reminds me of another artist I picked up with high hopes and ended up being bored with, who I’ve also lumped into my own personal “Adult Contemporary”, who made really nice songs with nothing wrong with them aside from boring me near to death… Julian Lennon.  Which isn’t a bad thing, it’s just not good either.

The Lemonheads

Amazon.com: The Lemonheads: Music: The Lemonheads

Gave the new Lemonheads album a listen on the way in this morning. It’s a short album, but a pretty good one. I didn’t hear any songs I would skip past the second time around and a couple that were really good. The opener “Black Gown” was very good, if too short. “No Backbone” sounds a little like an old Lemonheads song with J. Mascis on lead guitar, which turns out to be a very good combination. Everything is a little harder than I remember the Lemonheads being, with more distorted guitar and even some feedback heard here and there, and overall I didn’t think this album really sounded much like the Lemonheads that I remember with the exception of one or two songs. What it does sound like is some darn good pop-punk. I’m glad I picked this one up.

edit:  I didn’t let myself read anything about this album until I had written up my first impressions.  Now that’s done I’ve looked around a bit and it IS J. Mascis playing lead guitar on a Lemonheads song.   So that would explain why it sounds like that.  🙂

The Killers, Sam’s Town

I’ve got a long drive to work. So long that I was able to give the new Killers album a listen on the way in this morning. My first impression is that it is an ok album. From the first song you can tell it’s The Killers, but it’s easily not as good as the first album. The songs are slower and there aren’t many that stand out from the rest. The albums first track immediately brought to mind The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper, with its little “welcome to town, if just for a day” message. The the album goes downhill for a while with some slower, forgettable songs. It picks up in the middle with a couple of decent tracks like “Uncle Jonny” and “Bones” but then slows down even more than the opening tracks with “Why do I keep counting”.

I’m going to end by saying that this is a first impression, I’ve only listened to the album once through, but at this point it’s a perfect match for the old standby line – It’s a decent Killers album, but it won’t win them any new fans.