Pacemaker playback

Blackberry Playbook

Some of you may have noticed my tweets about finally getting a Blackberry Playbook.

Some of you maybe wondering why the hell I bought one of those?

Well the truth is the original pacemaker guys (Olof Berglof, Jonas Norberg and Willem Demmers) sent me one after my experience of the pacemaker app during Over The Air earlier in summer. Blackberry/RIM suggested they might send me one but after the blog post, they pretty much didn’t want anything else to do with me. Bear in mind, this was after I asked them to send me the playbook to test out before I got to Over the Air.

Thanks from the Pacemaker Team

Anyway after the blog post, I shared it with the un-official pacemaker community which had started when Tonium wouldn’t answer any of the questions. This is where the original pacemaker guys (now free after Tonium) saw it and got in touch with me.

The guys admitted the version I was using was a early beta and it was a lot more stable now. We got talking and they agreed to send me a playbook maybe they felt it was the right thing to do or they wanted to keep me involved in the pacemaker community. Either way I’m happy to say I got one thanks to the Pacemaker guys! And its running the Pacemaker App Trial right now.

Pacemaker App

I won’t talk about my frustration with the actual playbook. Including how the mass storage mode failed to work on Ubuntu and how I had to transfer my music collection over wifi using Samba till I discovered this USB hack. Weird thing is it was just as slow. I won’t talk about the pain of trying to get the latest OS update but it not letting me till the battery was over 20% (I left it over night charging in the end). Finally I won’t talk about the pain of getting a blackberry ID.

The Pacemaker trial is rightly so much more stable than the version I experienced before. Its not crashed on me and it does seem a lot more together. But I have to say I still find some of the latency problems are still there (maybe Android 4.1 Butter is needed but you would have thought QNX would be ideal for this). For example don’t try and do hard cuts with the crossfader as you will be very disappointed. The layout makes a little more sense now but I’m finding lots of things are missing from the pacemaker device including recording, effects and of course external output to a mixer. The later means everything you do is played out over the headphones or split into mono.

Pacemaker App

The Pacemaker guys are going to put me on the beta list so hopefully I’ll get a feel for changes and progression soon enough. Right now, its a much poorer relation to the pacemaker device. There is no way I could play out with this, only have a play now and then when in the mood. Still early days and the pacemaker guys have done some great stuff, but I do wonder if it will get good at the point the platform goes away or dissolves. Of course the Pacemaker guys can’t/won’t talk about beyond the playbook but I’m already thinking of solutions around the dual stereo output problem involving usb sound cards or even 2 devices (phone and tablet anyone?)

I’m greatful to the Pacemaker guys for what they did, its really cool. Because although I was thinking about buying a cheap playbook, after my experience I was dead set against Blackberry and the playbook. Good to know certainly people can take feedback on the chin and move forward…

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.