The other side of AppRegret…. AppGuilt

The other side of AppRegret….  AppGuilt

…so it is probably two years since my first AppRegret post and since then I have complained grumpily about a plethora of crappy, overpriced or half-assed apps. But today I talking about a different flavour of AppRegret.

Mostly AppRegret strikes when you spend money you don’t have on an app only to find out that it is bolloc…er… not fit for your purposes, but sometimes you drop a bunch of cash on an app and it is beautiful, and functional, and well designed and lovingly coded and does everything it is supposed to do, and yet you just can’t get into it, you open it up, play about with it, close it down, and never use it again.

Or, to be more exact, you reinstall/open it every six months out a sense of duty and guilt, and because there was that one app (that one time) that you opened up after some time and fell in love with. Mostly though they just sit there, either on your idevice or in your ‘purchased’ list on the app store, and make you feel bad. And so I dub this flavour of AppRegret “AppGuilt”, because you still regret them, but it isn’t their fault.

I have a few theories about these apps, why do they become consigned to the Great Unopened.

1. I am too stupid to understand what they do. Yes, probably. These are the ones worth opening every 6 months to see if my understanding has caught up sufficiently to use them.

2. I understand and appreciate the app, but somehow it’s “way of doing stuff” doesn’t fit in with my workflow.

3. It is a great app, but the sound just isn’t something I would use.

4. Essential feature missing (usually AB/ACP for me)

5. Every time I open the app I am given a sharp electric shock to my junk and now I have a bad association.

Obviously AppGuilt apps are more guilt-making the more they cost, or the more you like the Dev, or the more everyone else likes it. In other words if the app cost $1, the dev is a git and everyone else hates it then you are unlikely to experience AppGuilt. But if the app cost you $30, the Dev is someone you know and like, and it is loved by everyone then the AppGuilt will be a bit worse.

Now my ipad is pretty well loaded at the moment, every year or so I delete all the apps I don’t use, and then they all sneak back on when updates happen, or I am bored. Recently I have been installing apps all over the place… so, lets see what I feel guilty about on my ‘pad right now.

Final Touch – yes, gorgeous, beautiful, dazzling, but AudioMastering is so ingrained in my workflow I knew when I bought this it wasn’t going to get a lookin. Poor Final Touch

Chordion, Prochords, Chordbots, Chordy, EasyChords. I like to buy chord finders when I am going through a dry patch under the delusion that they will inspire me. They don’t. All these apps are pretty good in their own way, but I only use PolyChordPad. Sorry other chord apps.

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TC-11, beauty, form and function. I cannot fault TC-11 but I can also not get a tune out of it. I keep it on my “SYNTHS I USE” page because i paid full price for it and it occasionally makes a cameo appearance in the bloopy sound effects on a track, but I have only ever used a couple of presets because there is way too much complexity in there for my tiny brain to cope with. It is a bit like hiring a nobel prize winning particle physicist to do your gardening (which, if you live in the south of England, you probably have done. Along with the Cardiac-Thorasic surgeon who cleans your loo. Yay European Union!).

The Unused Synths Folder: plenty to feel bad about here:

  • I do some Beta testing for Zmors but that is the only time I use it.
  • CrystalSynthXT is a seriously awesome piece of kit but doesn’t get used.
  • Cassini occasionally gets used for pads but I only ever use presets on it and feel bad because I am aware of the mass of functionality I can’t be bothered to figure out.
  • I gave Gestrument a rave review when it came out and used it for a few tracks but somehow never get round to playing it now.
  • the big one, Nlog Pro, universally acclaimed, made by one of my favorite devs ever, deep and powerful. Also the first synth I bought on the ipad for more than $10 at a time when I couldn’t afford that.  I seldom used it because it was a synth  for synthesists and I didn’t understand it. I understand most of it now but have SO many other newer shinier synths.

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The Modular Folder. I have never used Jasuto, Audulus or Modular. Ever. I just bought them (except for Audulus which I got a review copy of). All great synth but I am busy goddamn it, when do I have time to build patch on a modular synth??. Each is beautiful, deep, complex and unused.

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The Classic Synth Folder. oh dear oh dear – iMS-20, iPolysix, iSEM, iMini. I guess I don’t like classic analog synths as much as I thought I did. or at all in fact. These babies all get opened every month or so because they were all quite pricey, and then closed again. GUILTY!!

Soundfont Pro and bs-16i – never used. if I want proper sounding instruments I use Thumbjam. I have tried to use bs-16i in the past once or twice. I got SF-Pro  because I was drunk and it was new and have only opened it once. I wonder if it is any good…

Quite a lot of genuine old fashioned AppRegret living in my sampler folder – except for WerkBench which is a great app, well designed and executed, the devs do amazing videos which hold me spellbound, and yet there it sits, abandoned. Bad pantsofdeath! BAD!

My Midi folder – so much guilt in here it has congealed into a compulsive buying syndrome… I have wasted so much money on Midi sequencers that I have never used I am now forced to buy every one that comes out,  in the hope that THIS one will kick start my midi sequencing ‘career’ and make the money I spent on the others worthwhile.

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Thesys, StepPolyArp, Genome, mSequencer, midiSequencer, R960Seq, B-step… all perfectly good apps, all do essentially the same thing, WHY DO YOU KEEP BUYING THEM??? I bought both midiSequencer and R960Seq at the SAME TIME for goodness sakes!

Arpeggionome Pro, apparently that is a good one… SO glad I picked it up, must open that one day.

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And then, lurking there because I couldn’t figure out where else to hide it is Lemur which I bought using wife logic. For those of you who do not know WifeLogic, it works like this

2009-05-20

(from my Rugrets comics) . In short you convince yourself that buying something you don’t want/need because it is on sale is saving you money.

Apesoft Folder. Say no more.

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The FX folder – so many quality Apps, so many expensive apps (and a lot of cheap ones), big names like Bias and StompBox. Yay. I use Turnado and AudioReverb. That’s it! I hate to think of all the whores and crack I could have bought…

and then finally we stumble into the “groovebox” pages and the big guilt creeps in

TNR-e – I paid full daft-price for this and so I force myself to open it every now and again but I should have known I wouldn’t use it because I never used….
Synergy Studio – a beautiful app, great functionality, much overlooked, good instruments, good FX (which I apparently bought ALL of when I was drunk. THIS IS A GOOD APP and I never use it because (wait for it) the grid was no shading/lines to show me where each beat begins and ends and apparently counting to 4 is beyond me.

Electrify/ENXT – both good apps, I would recommend them, really. Never use them though, and i think it is because it just takes me too long to do stuff.

Stroke Machine – You would think wouldn’t you, given my obsession with groove boxes, drum synthesis etc that I would be all over Stroke Machine, and I want to be, really I do, but something drives me back every time.

CoTracks – feel really bad about CoTracks – it seems like a fine App, and has so much built in, and the lovely Dev came and offered me a review copy and I have never managed to get into it enough to say anything about it. I am pretty sure it is a good app.

SunVox – I own sunvox on every platform and device I have, I think SunVox is an awesome powerhouse of an app, when I tinker about with it I am impressed, but again it takes too long to do things on it and apparently I have some sort of Musical ADHD because I cannot spent the time to use it. Another great app never used.

and finally

Gadget. Snapped this up in a hearbeat when it came out. Recommended it to everyone. Bought the gadget pants and tee shirt. Never used it for anything. Apparently I do not like the way songs are built up/created or something. Ho hum. Gadget makes me feel bad.

burning-money

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5 Responses to The other side of AppRegret…. AppGuilt

  1. Joe Camel says:

    I’m also buying music apps I don’t use afterwards.
    2 tips for saving money:
    1. here in germany there are bargains on itunes-cards (about 20% reduction ) on a fairly regular basis. you’re australian? that seems to apply for .au too.
    2. i bought my cubasis, tc-11 and lemur at bargain times for which i use some apps like or .

  2. Duke says:

    Just wanted to let you know that your site always crashes within 3 seconds. IPad Air, iOS 7 most recent….Dookone

  3. Joe says:

    Hey PoD, I’m not sure I’ve ever commented here, so first off just wanted to say I much enjoy your blog and writing style. I usually get a couple of good belly laughs out of your posts, so thanks for that!

    Man, this hit home with me. At this point, I have probably spent more than the cost of my iPad on music creation apps. A few of them are rubbish, but more of them fall right into this AppGuilt category, for all of the reasons you stated. What’s even more insidious is that I probably still spend a slightly greater percentage of my available time trolling blogs and forums for new apps, reviews, etc. than I do actually making music on my iPad or iPhone.

    I might add a 6th theory to your list of reasons why this happens, and that is that iOS is not a music creation ecosystem. Yes, there are now several excellent ‘hacks’ such as IAA, Audiobus, virtual MIDI, and ACP that allow us to use apps together, but in a way they all still feel like, well, hacks. OK, I guess IAA and vMIDI are not technically hacks since Apple created them, but they are not without their problems.

    Moreover, in any given iOS music project that I embark on, there are typically one or more app integration issues that rear their heads throughout the lifecycle of the project. I can typically find a way to work around it and keep going, but that takes time and is pretty frustrating when I’m trying to stay in a creative vein. If I feel like a particular app causes too many integration issues, it will probably get back-burnered, possibly in favor of a less capable app that plays better with others.

  4. blckmirror says:

    Hey PoD,

    I found myself again and laughed. I can understand any of the reasons and want to add one… It’s because we are collectors! All you say is wright, we don’t understand these apps, we like to own them! No, joking… it’s the god of device who’s in all these hermetic apps… hmm… no, it’s the fascination for all these things, we don’t understand! ;-) Oh, yes when I play some tunes on iSem, i’m back in the 90′s, listening to the tunes of Clannad (by the way… I think, you misjudged iSem. I bought it occasionally, and it was love at first sight! Heavy to create own sounds, but the soundbanks are filled with amazing stuff…). When I fiddle around with arps, I try to find out, how the guys of Tangerine Dream did it in White Eagle. I like to understand the simple tunes of Kraftwerk, unable to copy the feel… I’m addicted to synthesizers, and last, I bought the iVCS3. I can’t create any serious sound, but I listen to the samples based on Jarre or Dark Side Of The Moon. A real one was sold the same time on eBay for 10.000$! So I forgive myself and keep on dreaming… For the rest of my life I’ll be confined to an iPad *lol*, but as long as I couldn’t efford any hardware synth, it’s ok. ;-)

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