Gotta Phone? Make Some Music.

Andrew Hall is a guest blogger for An Apple a Day and a writer on becoming a phlebotomist for the Guide to Health Education.

When I try to write music, I often struggle with the fact that melodies, ideas and fragments don’t necessarily come at practical times, i.e. when I’m sitting down with an instrument and writing a chord progression with the intention of making it a part of a piece of music. I’ve read far too many interviews with musicians who talk about how they either had a functional way to capture fragments or how they regularly lost what could have become good songs or melodies because they didn’t have a way to capture them.

The worst is waking up to a functional idea in the middle of the night and feeling no desire whatsoever to open up my computer or make a usable note while only half awake and somewhat able to communicate ideas in writing. I know I’ve lost well over a dozen ideas this way, and that if I’m going to have any luck getting things done, I have to change my behavior.

My strategy for logging my memories, then, is pretty simple: I record them into my telephone’s Voice Memo function. It provides me with only a few minutes of recording time and sounds utterly grainy and noisy, but I can use it as an easy way to track lots of things that I’d otherwise lose. Using just the simple included microphone I can sing a melody, if I have one in mind that I’m afraid I’ll lose, into the phone, then play it back when I’m in a more functional mindset or at my workspace, where I can then try to build it into a piece of music I’m working on.

If I make a recording, I can email it to myself using text messaging, then save the file on my computer, play it back, make edits, or even work the original recording into a project that I’m working on if I feel any desire to do so. When I’ve needed to make recordings for various reasons – collecting promotional messages for the radio station I used to work for, for example – the phone’s easy recording system proved hugely helpful for this purpose. I’ve also used it to record conversations, to make field recordings (in which I capture sounds around me either for purposes of preservation or for later experimentation and processing), and to play with noise and feedback in a very traditional, conventional setting.

Using the phone as a voice recorder I get distinct recordings of either myself or my surrounding environment, which I can then preserve in many compelling ways. I’m especially struck by the process of making field recordings because of the ways that certain environments and cities sound different, as if the noises and the languages spoken there, as well as the presence of absence of traffic, can have a direct impact on what the recording equipment captures. Carrying a bad microphone with space constraints as a dictaphone is a liberating, easy thing, and a fun way to capture ideas and memories.

Eco Soldiers Green your Mobile and Broadband Life

With the increase in mobile phone use and possession throughout the world, it is essential that phone services and the phones themselves become more environmentally friendly so as to minimize our “carbon footprint”.

There are numerous ways to make mobile phones more green and even the smallest things can make an enormous difference to the environment if enough people develop these beneficial practices.

Recycle Your Phone

This is a highly effective practice and can both save money as well as help the environment. An old phone can be sold on eBay for a significant amount of money or can be given away. In order to determine the amount that the phone is worth, websites such as Envirophone are available. This site allows you to enter the model of your mobile phone so that you can determine its worth.

Additionally, if you are experiencing a difficulty with the SIM card in the phone or you are required to change your number, you can keep the old phone and simply buy a new card. This limits the raw materials which are required and, therefore, is a highly environmentally responsible practice and also saves significant amounts of money.

Monitor Energy Consumption

You can monitor the amount of energy that you are using through a website known as Electricity Monitor. Certain mobile phones consume more energy than others so attempt to choose one that uses a smaller amount. Changing the settings on the phone may also serve to reduce the amount of energy that is consumed by the phone.

Environmentally Friendly Applications

Green apps include those which provide you with information as to what products are greener than others. For example, if you are searching for a specific product, applications exist which provide the user with the ability to compare the amount of energy that each product uses so that energy can be conserved. There are also smart-phone applications that prevent you from overcharging the mobile phone, which limits the amount of energy that is used and helps the user to become more environmentally conscious.

Analyze Various Suppliers

Make sure to research each of the various providers of mobile phone service which are accessible in your area. Determine which of the providers is more environmentally conscious. In order to encourage additional companies to become “greener”, purchase a plan from a “green” company. This will hint to other companies that they should do the same. Although “green” plans are typically slightly more expensive, it is certainly worth the extra cost to protect the environment and you will be secure in the knowledge that you are helping the globe to be cleaner and healthier.

“Greener” Broadband Service

Searching for green or Eco broadband ISP’s you can find providers that are much more ecologically aware they will use sustainable energy sources to power the severs and there offices such as solar panels and will often have Eco schemes set up to offset any damage to the environment such as tree planting. Mobile broadband is an alternative to power hungry infrastructure so should be looked at if your consumption isn’t as demanding as requiring fixed line broadband, now mobile broadband is fast now and a viable alternative, mobile broadband by its nature means you can work remotely so can often save fuel costs in traveling to the office.

Green Charity donations

Do your research so that you find a service that donates a percentage of their profits to charitable institutions. These services can be found at Businesses which are “greener” will donate some of their proceeds to environmental organizations as well as find a way to reduce their usage of energy so as to reduce their “carbon footprint”. Many of these environmentally conscious company’s mobile phone packages come with the guarantee that a part of their profits will go towards environmental charities. Some of these businesses will also provide their customers with information regarding how to benefit the environment as well as provide them with local recycling programs, charity organizations, and awards which they have won for their environmental consciousness.

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