Author: The Critic

Five Classical Songs You Should Definitely Get

Five Classical Songs You Should Definitely Get

Classical music is a music in its own class. The elaborate musical composition found in a full orchestra boost of characteristics that lack in other genres. Much can be said when describing the different classical compositions such as sonatas and cantatas, be it secular or liturgical. The symphony can be as complex as it can get.

A good number of classical music use staff notations provided by composers and, unlike Jazz, this leaves little room for improvisation. The arrangement of instruments is often complex, as can be seen in masterpieces produced by such legends as Johann Strauss II, Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Giuseppe Verdi.

Below is a list of five classical pieces that showcases this uniqueness and complexities in both the arrangements and renditions.

Hint: Like all classical music, they are best enjoyed away from distractions, in a full Hi-Fi system or a good pair of headphones. And don’t forget to close your eyes and let the melody carry your imaginations!

Carl Orff
Carl Orff

5. O Fortuna – Rhydian
This song is found in the second album by Welsh classical singer Rhydian. It is based upon a medieval Latin poem written in the 13th century. It is a complaint about Fortuna, a goddess of fortune. It was set to music by German composer Carl Orff in around 1935.

The song opens with a strong sound of chords, drums, brass, vocals and a host of other instruments. The drum roles abruptly ends the intro and a steady, short melodic notes peaks up and set a brisk tempo, effectively creating mood for a dramatic situation .

The vocal melody, full of conviction, stays on a moderate tone for about 70 seconds before coming out powerful with rich and strong drum sounds, horns, strings, brass and cymbals. The last 12 seconds pushes the tempo further up as the vocal melody refrain and the piece terminates abrupt in one glorious performance.

Giuseppe Verdi
Giuseppe Verdi

4. La Donna è Mobile – Rolando Villazón
This canzone, literally meaning “the woman is flighty”, is incredibly catchy. No wonder it was rehearsed under tight secrecy before its first public performance in Venice. It was written to the opera Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi in 1851. This is a powerful piece for the tenors and the tuneful vocal melody of Rolando Villazon showcases it.

The dramatic chanting of lyrics gives the song some kind of playful and funny feelings. The recording quality is top notch and the instruments are well balanced. This is truly a world wide famous aria.

Francesco Sartori

3. A Time To Say Goodbye – Katherine Jenkins
The song, originally performed by Andrea Bocelli, is another example of a classic masterpiece. And Katherine Jenkins does not disappoint either with her powerful vocals. The original version, “Con Te Partirò”,was composed by Francesco Sartori.

The intro, slowly and majestically swells to usher in a rich flow of strings and violins which characterizes the piece. A well blended bass drum with subtle crash sounds of cymbals slowly but surely sets the tempo throughout the song.  The mezzo-soprano vocal melody impressively follows the strings in a distinctive and memorable tune.

A beautiful vocal range that hit the high notes perfectly. There is a clear flow of words and distinctive phrases can be well made out. The vocal melody is in harmony with the accompaniments, rich and warm, and together with the lyrics they justify the title of the song. The rhythm is catchy and captures imagination, a time indeed to say goodbye!

The song gives hope and evoke deep feelings of love. The song terminates at a high note (pun intended), with subtle sounds of conga drum and powerful chords.


2. Chariots of Fire – Vangelis
A great song with a great arrangement, usually associated with the Olympics. This is the work of a professional and a skillful composer.

The intro is catchy, sets the tempo and carries the accompaniments through out the song. Very beautiful development with rich sounds of tympani, synthesizers, cymbals and chimes. The piano sound is melodious, memorable and sets the mood.

The smooth and exciting string arrangement holds everything together in perfect harmony. This is a sweeping tune which elicits a mixture of both sadness and inspirational.

Katherine Jenkins
Katherine Jenkins

1. Flower Duet – Katherine Jenkins & Kiri Te Kanawa
This is a famous duet, first performed in Paris in 1883. It takes place in act 1 when characters Lakmé and her servant Mallika go out to gather flowers on a river bank.

The duet opens with airy, tuneful and a heartwarming rhythmic chords which immediately sets a memorable melody. The two talented ladies competently give an impressive rendition which sweeps imagination. This is a beautiful arrangement with superb dynamics. Once the song terminates, it lefts a lasting impression.


4G, 3G, HSPA+ and LTE Explained

In layman’s language, what do these initials mean? This article aims to elaborate all these without much technical jargons.

4G Network
4G stands for fourth generation. The 4 in 4G stands for the fourth technology in mobile telecommunications. The G stands for generation, which basically means the changes that have taken place in mobile communication since the first move of analog technology in 1981. This analog technology, being the first attempt, is the one referred to as First Generation (1G). This was followed by 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G

Why all these changes?
As time goes by, the need for more data and more space keeps on increasing. Think of all the social media and audio streaming sites out there. Changes in science and technology brings about changes in how things are done. From analog to digital world, the need for more data and more speeds have been on the upward trend.

As a result, mobile communication has undergone major changes aimed to cope up with man’s need for more data and speedy communication. These systematic changes are the ones we’re now referring to as generations.

How is 4G different from 3G?
With the ongoing discussion, it’s now understood (hopefully) that 4G is a more current technology than 3G. In mobile communication, generation simply mean the systematic changes in how things are done.

There are usually a host of changes involved when moving from one generation to another. Some of these changes include the size of channel for sending data (technically referred to as channel frequency bandwidth), the speed for sending data (referred by another big word as peak bit rates) and whether the new generation is compatible with the previous one (backwards-compatible transmission).

However, the speed of data transmission is usually the one major change most people use to differentiate the different generations. 4G can attain peak speeds of 100 Megabits per second (100 Mbit/s) for things that are moving at high speeds (such as cars and trains), and 1 Gigabit per second (1 Gbit/s) for things moving at lower speeds such as pedestrians and stationary users.

3G has a much lower speed of about 200 Kilobits per second (200 kbit/s). What all these really mean is that you can download stuff much faster when using 4G than 3G technology.

All 3G connections don’t have the same speed (this is also true for 4G connections). The fastest 3G-based standard is known as Evolved High Speed Packet Access (HSPA+). It is the second phase of HSPA which is an upgrade over the existing 3G network. It also provides a method for telecommunication companies to easily migrate towards 4G speeds. HSPA+ can achieve data rates of up to 42.2 Mbit/s. There is yet another evolution of this, which is referred to as Advanced HSPA+, which really means more speeds (of about 84.4Mbit/s).

Now what the hell is LTE?
LTE stands for Long-Term Evolution. It’s major goal was to increase the capacity and speed of wireless data networks. It therefore has much faster speed than HSPA+. LTE can provide download speeds of 300 Mbit/s,and upload speeds of 75 Mbit/s.

LTE is commonly marketed as 4G LTE. You have probably seen this in a good number of smartphones. However, it’s important to note that LTE does not meet the technical criteria of a 4G wireless service.

LTE Advanced (LTE-A), is a further evolution of LTE. As a result, LTE-A meets the requirements for a 4G services is therefore usually referred as “True 4G”.

Are these speeds attainable?
For a normal day today use of telecommunication devices such as smartphones, these peak speeds are beyond reach. However, in theory, these top speeds can be achieved using smart antennas in a technique referred to as MIMO communication. MIMO stands for multiple-input multiple-output. What this really mean is that more than one antenna is used.

All these big initials are basically about improvements in mobile communication. One of the major changes of interest is the data or transmission speeds. Therefore, in terms of data speeds, these evolutions can be ranked as follows, starting with the lowest.

  • 3G Network
  • HSPA+
  • LTE
  • LTE-A / True 4G.

I hope this helps

Should I buy a phone with the latest software?


When it comes to purchasing new smartphone, most buyers are usually faced with  several options to consider before settling on one that they feel best meets their needs.

One such factor to be determined is the version of the operating system.  To a section of buyers this pose no major challenge, while to some this becomes their main reason for wanting to buy new phone.

So which way should you go? There are a number of factors that can guide you on which handset to chose. Below is an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of purchasing a phone running an old OS.

The old OS is usually more stable and reliable since it has been tested for a much longer period of time. The reports that users submit to the different phone manufacturers help improve the OS making it more stable and free from bugs.

Different updates of the old OS are usually available for download which greatly improves the user experiences and boosts the security measures, thus making the OS more robust and secure.

Phones coming with the old OS out of the box tend to be faster and more responsive compared to ones that are later upgraded to the latest version. There are a good number of phones which have options to be upgraded to the latest version. While this can seem as good news, it always comes with a plethora of issues. The issues may include power drainage, unresponsiveness, connectivity issues and camera problems.

In an attempt to create room for the new handsets, most phones running old OS can be sold at great discounts, thus saving your hard earned money. This point should guide you if you’re really on a tight budget.

Most apps usually run smooth without major issues since the developers have released enough updates for their apps to be reliable and efficient.

One of the major demerits is that the app developers tend to focus on the newer versions of the OS and may therefore no longer support old versions. While a good number of apps can counter this by a simple update, it reaches a point where the old OS is simply not supported.

The old OS may also lack improvements in hardware and security features such as use of biometrics like iris and fingerprint scanner.

One of the major selling point of new versions of OS is usually new features and especially the user interface design.

However when purchasing a new phone, you’re always better off purchasing one that runs the latest OS, than buying and old version and then planning on upgrading to the current version. Phones sold with new versions of OS out of the box have better performance and user experiences compared to the one you’re going to upgrade.

But the hype surrounding news about new version of the OS can be blinding, to the expense of buying a poor quality product. A phone running an older version can, and in most cases, have a better quality phone at great prices.

Therefore it’s always vital to keep your eyes open and be informed before rushing to purchase a handset which might be costlier, and offer poor services.

Windows Phone Is Dead!

wp_ss_20170529_0004No one can deny that Microsoft is one of the most successful software company in the world. The Redmond multinational technology company is best known for Windows line of operating systems, the Xbox gaming console and the now recent Surface tablet lineup. The review today is about their dwindling line of Windows Phone business, which had so much promise but simply failed to deliver. Potential can not be eaten, and “almost” doesn’t count. It’s either you deliver or you go home high and dry. The points outlined below are pertinent issues galling a multitude of users all over the world, and to say that they played key role for Windows Phones survival would be understatement.

The appalling quagmire Microsoft finds itself in can’t be blamed on anyone other than the company itself. The feedback hub where users are supposed to post their experiences is a mere placebo. Microsoft is apparently working tirelessly to see that Windows Phones fail. And it is succeeding! Poor Microsoft!

The Updates
Yes! The updates! I know what you’re thinking. But hear me out. With every update, a host of applications are usually not supported in the new update and end up being sidelined, or scrapped out completely. For instance, what was the rationale for Microsoft dropping out radio app? Is it too complex to code? And even the third party radio apps do not allow one to use the phone’s loud speaker. MixIt radio is long gone. Lumia drive simply failed to deliver. And now one has to use Edge browser to read pdf documents (and the experience is yuck!) The likes of Adobe reader are no longer well integrated in the OS. With every update the steps for accessing the sim applications menu become convoluted, and once you manage to find them you can’t pin them to the start screen. “People” no longer support social media like Twitter and Facebook. Skype is now even much better in Android. The list is endless. I hope you’re catching the drift. One can even be afraid of updating their phones since you never know if your favourite app is going to come back. The recent Creators update for Windows 10 mobile came with a plethora of issues. These include random reboots, unresponsive Cortana, connectivity issues Mail that just won’t sync among other issues. Now the internet is awash with how to solve these problems, because Microsoft didn’t do its homework.


Microsoft’s decision that one must have access to internet connection to make backups do not sale, at least not to the majority of people who don’t have access to free WiFi connection. These are hard times, data costs money. Woe unto you if decide to factory reset with no free WiFi. It doesn’t make sense to, say, backup more than 40Gb of apps online! It’s even more expensive. 40Gb to upload online and again download more than the same amount after hard resetting. Come on Microsoft! Just add a backup option to sd card. Jeeze!
And for the same reason I find it disheartening that one can not still make backup of contacts to sim card. Whatever is preventing Microsoft from adding “export to sim card” option is a clear indication of the pathetic platform they stand on.


Setting default apps
This is a pipe dream in Windows phones. You simply can’t easily set your default app, not even web browsers. There is one of the Settings app that purport to change default browser. But no matter how many browsers you install, it never seem to find them. Custome alert tones needs improvement. And when opening pdf documents, it becomes bothersome to be reminded everytime to pick an app to do that. You can’t set a default app for opening pdf files.


Cortana, the helper that never was!
The main problem here is the fact that you have to be connected to the internet to use Cortana. Even doing local activities like trying to open music or make a phone call requires one to be online. This smells fishy, as if Microsoft is spying on its users! Sshh..!

Custom ringtone
If you don’t have a PC or a ringtone maker app you simply can’t set a custom ringtone, period! This is so mediocre I don’t even have words to express it. Just get over it and move on…

Mass storage mode
What I really miss about this is the fact that I can’t connect my phone as a USB mass storage device to my TV. I can’t watch movies stored on the sd card via a TV set. The only thing you’re able to achieve is to watch photographs. Sometimes if you download a large file which the phone doesn’t support, you have to connect to a PC to see it. And in some cases you still can’t see the file. Does this mode makes the phone vulnerable? If yes then do something about it. Even old Nokia phones were better at this.

“Device is charging slowly”
If you’ve never seen the above message on you Windows phone then you’re the lucky few. And I also know what you’re thinking. I know very all about usb ports and their power output. After updating to Windows 10 mobile, sometimes charging your device is just another issue to contend with. I remember trying to charge a Windows phone at home, at work even using solar panels with the same result. Mind you I have used different chargers, original included, and the phone would erratically report that the device is charging slowly. Why did I never experience this while still using Windows 8.1?

Lack of apps
Before purchasing your first Windows phone you maybe warned that Microsoft store is just empty. Once I comforted myself that I don’t need that many apps on my phone. Boy was I wrong! Couldn’t get even new apps developed by my bank. Is like being lonely amongst the crowd.

In a nutshell Windows Mobile is broken. It’s half baked. And I don’t see it getting fully baked either. The idea behind it was great, but it failed to deliver. One thing you can take to the bank is that people will always complain whenever new major updates arrive. And I don’t see Microsoft supporting Lumia phones for long. It’s a lost cause. Now Nokia is back. And were still watching.
On a scale of one to five, I give Windows Mobile a score of 2.