The Best Reverse Image Search

Aric Toler, writing at Bellingcat:

The first and most important piece of advice on this topic cannot be stressed enough: Google reverse image search isn’t very good.

As of this guide’s publication date, the undisputed leader of reverse image search is the Russian site Yandex. After Yandex, the runners-up are Microsoft’s Bing and Google. A fourth service that could also be used in investigations is TinEye, but this site specializes in intellectual property violations and looks for exact duplicates of images.

Liner Notes (December 27th, 2019)

The last few weeks of the year are always a little strange in the music industry and online, everyone is basically in hibernation. This week’s newsletter is a recap of my holiday week so far and has some recommendations, a few brief music thoughts, and my weekly media diet rundown. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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Liner Notes (December 20th, 2019)

In this week’s newsletter I share my first impressions on The Rise of Skywalker; I guess this is a Star Wars newsletter now. I also share a few things around the internet I found interesting this week and go through my usual weekly media diet rundown. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

Since we have the holidays coming up, I’m making this post free for all here on the website. If you’d like this newsletter delivered to your inbox each week (it’s free and available to everyone), you can sign up here.

Liner Notes (December 13th, 2019)

In this week’s newsletter, I look at some of the holiday songs released this week, offer first thoughts on the new Brian Fallon song and Harry Styles album, and dive into my weekly media diet rundown. There’s also a playlist of ten songs I loved this week, and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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2019 Holiday Gift Guide

For the past few years, I’ve put together a little gift guide in December full of things that I think make great gifts and are a lot of fun to give or receive for the holidays. Everything on the list is something I’ve used and enjoyed and recommend. I have recommendations posts for movies, tv shows, books, software, podcasts, headphones, and miscellaneous stuff around the house, so the things on this list will be more focused on stuff not included in those posts and geared toward things I’ve come across in the past year or so and think would make good gifts.

I used my Amazon affiliate link when the product showed up there, which gives our website a slight percentage back if you make a purchase and therefore helps fund our continued existence.

If you’d like to get me a gift, becoming a supporting member or gifting another user a supporting membership for a year would mean the world to me. And, if you’re looking for something in just about any price range with a Chorus.fm or AbsolutePunk.net logo on it, check our merch shop.

Jason Tate’s Top Albums of the Decade

Today we launched our best albums of the decade feature. Lists like these are really hard to make, and even after I finished my list I knew I was missing things. But, at some point hard cuts have to get made and you just have to accept that you’re not going to be able to put everything on and that you’re going to forget a few albums along the way.

Here’s what my final best of the decade, top 50, looked like:

Liner Notes (December 6th, 2019)

This week’s newsletter looks at my plans for the website over the next twelve months, dives into some new music and news stories from this week (including my frustration with Blink-182), and goes through my usual media diet. There’s also a playlist of ten songs I enjoyed this week, and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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Liner Notes (November 29th, 2019)

It’s the “still full from yesterday’s dinner” version of the newsletter. It’s a slow part of the year, so this week doesn’t have a whole lot of music to go through, but there is a bunch of movies and TV shows to make up for it. Also, since it’s Black Friday, I share a few of the sales around the internet that I recommend. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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Liner Notes (November 22nd, 2019)

This week’s newsletter looks predominately at some new singles released this week, goes through my weekly media diet, and then there’s a playlist of ten songs I enjoyed. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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Liner Notes (November 15th, 2019)

What a week. This week’s newsletter has me looking at music and entertainment released over the past two weeks. I finally get to dive into some of the Apple TV+ and Disney+ shows, plus give some updates on living the first week of married life. There’s also a playlist of ten songs I enjoyed this week, and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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Liner Notes (November 8th, 2019)

I’m getting married tomorrow, so this week’s newsletter is going to be different than usual and wedding-themed. (Since I am thinking about the wedding, final wedding plans, and really nothing else.) I wanted to write something, but I don’t have the time to breakdown all the music and media I’ve consumed over the past week. Instead, I’ve been putting this together in small stages over the past few days. I’ll be back next week with a longer piece that has a deeper dive into the entertainment and musical stuff I’ve been enjoying lately. The supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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AirPods Pro First Impressions

I bought the first generation of AirPods back in 2017 and fell in love almost immediately. The ease of use and freeing sensation of having no cord attached to my pocket led them to become the most used, and most adored, pair of headphones I’d ever owned. From running errands, to cooking dinner, these became a staple of my everyday carry. With the release of the AirPods Pro, I decided to pick up two pairs for Hannah and I as an early wedding gift. I didn’t think I’d be saying this, but they’ve been improved in virtually every single way. They’re now, without a doubt, my favorite pair of headphones I’ve ever owned. It starts with the new smaller footprint. I never thought the original AirPods felt “big,” but the new ones feel like nothing in my ears. You combine this with the more snug fit from having the rubberized tips, and they feel perfectly secure walking around town or working out in the gym. The sound is improved, partially by having a better seal in the ear, and they offer a nice, fairly neutral, experience for music. The bass is pretty close to what I prefer, not too heavy. I usually like a little more high-end in the treble, but it’s surprisingly steady. If I want more clarity, I have more expensive cans I can turn to, but for most moments when I want to listen to music, or more often, a podcast, these are downright perfect and sound better than expected. (I tested the sound mostly using My Chemical Romance’s Danger Days.) The noise canceling is a nice feature, but one I don’t often find myself needing. I’m sure there will be times in noisy coffee shops or other places where I’ll find it useful, but most of the time I find it overkill, and actually a little unsettling. I’ll probably be using them most often while in Transparency Mode. This mode lets in, and slightly amplifies, just enough sound so that it feels like you have nothing in your ears, while still being able to hear whatever you’re playing. It’s perfect for when you’re in the city and want to make sure you can hear your surroundings. Or when your significant other starts talking to you while you’re listening to something around the house. It’s such a game changing feature that I don’t know if I could go back to any buds that don’t have it as an option.

I’ve had no issues with the new interaction model of squeezing the AirPod stem instead of using taps. The small “click” sound is comforting and it only took a few hours to retrain my muscle memory. The only thing I’m still not used to is the actual way you put the AirPods back in their case. It’s reversed from what I’m used to and I still mess it up. I am also a fan of the new features that came with the second generation AirPods but I hadn’t used yet, such as the always on “Hey Siri” access. It’s is surprisingly handy. Also, the new feature where you can have Siri read messages to you when they come in and immediately respond is something I didn’t know I’d want until I used it for the first time.

I have more expensive and better sounding headphones around the house. And, there are times when that’s what I am looking for and want; however, the ease of use and convenience of having a pair of wireless buds in a tiny case in my pocket is more than worth that trade-off. I already knew I loved AirPods, but adding noise cancelation, transparency mode, and a new smaller footprint has more than exceeded my expectations. This is the future I’ve been dreaming of ever since the opening scene of the underrated romantic comedy Definitely, Maybe.

Battery life has been almost exactly as advertised. The slightly larger carrying case feels negligible in my hand or pocket. The latency of connecting to and controlling the AirPods seems dramatically improved from the first generation. The cost is, well, an issue. They’re expensive and due to their size and physics will not hold the same battery charge forever. For most people, I’d recommend these if you really want noise cancelation, really prefer a rubber tip fit in your ear, and are attracted to the smaller design.

Martin Scorsese’s NYT Essay

The entire essay by Martin Scorsese was extremely well written, but this section really resonated with me:

In the past 20 years, as we all know, the movie business has changed on all fronts. But the most ominous change has happened stealthily and under cover of night: the gradual but steady elimination of risk. Many films today are perfect products manufactured for immediate consumption. Many of them are well made by teams of talented individuals. All the same, they lack something essential to cinema: the unifying vision of an individual artist. Because, of course, the individual artist is the riskiest factor of all.

Very much worth a read.

Deconstructed Special: The Noam Chomsky Interview

Some great stuff here:

Well, you have to take each case on its own. Take the Electoral College, that’s bad enough, take the Senate. The Senate is one of the most undemocratic institutions in the western world. Take a look at the number of voters that each senator represents. If a country tried to enter the European Union with the U.S. political system, they’d be turned down by the European Court of Justice. I mean, there’s a whole history here that has to be thought of. The Constitution in the 18th century, though it was a pretty conservative doctrine nevertheless, by the standards of the eighteenth century was pretty novel and even progressive in some respects.

But to adhere to the 18th century constitution in the 21st century is a pretty strange phenomenon. I mean, take the people who are called originalists, you know the right-wing originalist Gorsuch and so on who say we have to interpret the Constitution the way the founders and the framers in the 18th century understood it. I mean, does that even approach rationality? To discuss the modern world the way somebody in 1780 perceived it?

I always like hearing Chomsky’s perspective on things.

Liner Notes (November 1st, 2019)

This week’s newsletter has the definitive ranking of My Chemical Romance albums, some first impressions of the new Anti-Flag album, thoughts on some other music I spent time with this week, and my weekly media diet rundown. There’s also a playlist of ten songs I loved this week, a few articles I enjoyed, and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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Liner Notes (October 25th, 2019)

This week’s newsletter looks at some of the music out this week, answers a reader question about my favorite Halloween movies, and then goes through my weekly media diet. There’s also a playlist of ten songs I loved this week and a bunch of other random thoughts. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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Liner Notes (October 18th, 2019)

Welcome to Jimmy Eat World release week. Let us all rejoice. Today’s newsletter has my thoughts on music, some of the entertainment I’ve consumed over the past week, other random tidbits, and a playlist of ten songs I enjoyed. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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Liner Notes (October 11th, 2019)

In this week’s newsletter, I expand a little more on my Jimmy Eat World thoughts, share some comments on music out this week, and go through my light media diet. There’s also a playlist of ten songs I loved, and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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