iTunes not saving credit card details

For over a year now each time I buy music from the iTunes store I am informed that “Your account has been accessed from a new computer or device”. I am then asked to renter my credit card information.

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The first time this happened I thought that it was possible that my account had been compromised so I got iTunes to deactivate all my computers. But then this message came back again and again and again. I next wondered if it was happening when I was switching between computers and downloading music on two different systems. But no this wasn’t the case either.

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I have finally figured it out. iTunes is not allowed to store the CVC2 or CVV2 code from your credit card (the 3 numbers on the back of the card). In fact no provider is allowed to store the three number code. But some credit card providers require this code for purchases (such as my bank). Because of this each time you purchase something on iTunes you are asked to reenter this code.

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The problem remains that iTunes prompts for handling this situation are completely wrong. First you are asked to confirm your purchase, second you are asked to verify your billing information, third you are told that you have accessed iTunes from a new device – which is wrong. Finally you are emailed that your recent purchase was made from “a computer or device that had not previously been associated with that Apple ID” – again wrong.

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Clearly iTunes knows and is correctly not storing the CVC2/CVV2 code but its messages for handling this situation are not only wrong but completely misleading and worrying. The fact that it has been over a year and they haven’t fixed the problem – or even have any help on the problem is also alarming.

Deutscher Trip 2015 – Part Five: Leipzig

After spending the first four days of my trip around Bavaria I caught a train from Munich to Leipzig.

There is a large difference in culture between Bavaria and Leipzig that is noticeable from the moment you step off the train. Architecture is different, but also people’s mannerisms are different. It really felt like a different country.

Continue reading “Deutscher Trip 2015 – Part Five: Leipzig”

Vale Parachute Festival

A few weeks ago it was announced that the annual Parachute Music Festival would be no more. This is a great loss to the youth of New Zealand.

With my mate Herbie at Parachute 03
With my mate Herbie at Parachute 03

During my teenage years and early 20s I attended seven Parachute Festivals. My first was as a 15 year old in 2003, this was also the last year Parachute was held at Totara Springs in Matamata. Despite this now being over eleven years ago (wow time goes quick), I still have a number of memories of my first festival: trying to be a good kid and go to bed at 11pm on the Friday night and not being able to sleep cause of the noise from all the music stages; watching TobyMac, a very young Rapture Ruckus, and Pillar perform on the mainstage; trying to join the mosh and circle pits inside the cage; and chilling in the afternoon sun on the grass as Steve Apirana played acoustic.

After that first festival I was hooked, Parachute was like no other concert or festival I’ve been to. While the move to Mystery Creek, Hamilton in 2004 saw the production value of the festival increase the core of the festival remained the same – four days of young people being exposed to a wide variety of music and genres, building closer friendships with the people they travelled to the festival with, randomly bumping into old school friends and church mates, and learning about the relevance of God and Christianity in the present – generally, all without parents.

And this is what made Parachute Festival unique. For me personally, I have so many memories of things that have happened at Parachute over the years, I have seen hundreds of bands play and be exposed to music that in the past I wouldn’t have dared thought to like. But three memories stand out: the Newsboys performing and in the middle of Shine basically stopping their show for ten minutes and standing in worship; Dave Dobbyn having to stop playing as the rain poured down and the mosh pit dancing in the rain chanting ‘da da da slice of heaven’; and no matter how late you had gone to bed the previous night forcing yourself to get up and attend the morning church service.

Dave Dobbyn in the rain
Dave Dobbyn in the rain
Parachute Morning Meeting
Parachute Morning Meeting

In the decision to end Parachute Festival, Mark de Jong is right in saying that there are many more big music festivals in New Zealand now and this makes Parachute Festival commercially difficult. However, the big music, while a key component, is only one component of the festival.

Debut Stage 2009
Debut Stage 2009
Another highlight of the festival over the years has been to see many hundreds of small bands play on the debut stage. Many of these bands are teenagers with their garage bands who would normally only play to a maximum of 50 people at a church find themselves performing in front of hundreds and at times thousands of people. This was something very special to heart of Parachute Festival, again there are battle of the bands and other shows for small bands, but the scale of Parachute Festival in this area was like nothing else.

Overall, the end of Parachute Festival is a great loss to the youth of New Zealand, there is nothing else like it. While I’m certain that some newer events will fill some of the void left e.g. Easter Camp, for a long time yet many people will be saying ‘when I was a teenager.. Parachute Festival.’

Sydney Festival and Australia Day Wrap Up

Over the last few weeks of January was the Sydney Festival. Below are a few photos from the wide variety of events that happened throughout the CBD. Additionally, there are a few photos of the Australia Day celebrations on Sydney Harbour which coincided with the festival.

The finale of the festival was the annual Symphony in the Domain. This year, Gustav Holst’s The Planets was performed, which is one of my favourite pieces of classical music. A short portion of Jupiter is below.

A quick look at Spotify Australia

Yesterday Spotify launched their online music streaming service in Australia and so far I am loving it!

I am currently using the free service which sees banner ads inside the application and the occasional audio ad – similar to a radio advert. The free service has an initial six month period during which you can stream an unlimited amount of music. After six months users are limited to 2.5 hours of music per week. There are two levels of paid service, the cheapest removes the ads and offers unlimited streaming, the more expensive option allows offline streaming and streaming on mobile devices.

So far I am most impressed by the catalogue of music available on Spotify. My music tastes are fairly unique, mainly being alternative Christian rock with the occasional mainstream pop/rock/dance track thrown in. Generally this means music availability is very hit and miss but so far Spotify has far exceeded my expectations. There is older NZ music from Mumsdollar, Solace, and Eight on the site, none of which I expected to find. There is also most of the general North American CCM bands there as well. The notable exception is the new independent release from Thousand Foot Krutch (but their back catalogue is there) and Manafest’s latest release (BEC Recordings).

I have installed the Spotify client on both Ubuntu 12.04 and Windows 7. The linux client is a little buggy and has crashed a few times but generally works well. The Windows client worked without any issues – and even imported my local iTunes libary. Under Windows I was monitoring my data usage and Spotify used about 100mb/hour of music, I have also never experienced any problems with streaming or buffering under either OS. The quality of the music is acceptable through headphones and a PC surround sound system – the premium paid service provides higher bitrate audio.

Overall I am very impressed by the service offered – particularly for free! Some commentators are claiming that the service will replace iTunes. However, I see the two services as complementary. I like having proper copies of my music, and I have no issues paying to download music. I also wonder if I will use the service enough that in six months time I will get a paid service. At the moment I am listening through albums I have considered buying but never have, and the service is good for sampling new music but generally I like the music I already own – that is why I own it!

Sydney Symphony in the Domain 2012

Last night I went to Symphony in the Domain with a group of friends from uni.

The quality of the concert was exceptional. There were a number of violin and saxophone solos and the orchestra overall sounded superb.

Most of the music performed was not very well known. But the rendition of The Blue Danube Waltz was brilliant, and the traditional final piece Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture rounded out a very good evening.

Below is a video of the last three minutes of the 1812 Overture with the full fireworks and cannon display.

Signs of Life EP – Edge | Kingsland

Signs of Life - Edge Kingsland

Last week my church in Auckland released a live worship EP recorded at the Beyond Borders conference in 2010 for free. You can click on the banner above to download it.

The songs of Edge | Kingsland differ from most other modern worship styles. The songs are simple but deep chants, melodies, and scriptures. The music while loud is not overbearing instead setting the mood of personal worship in a communal environment.

Holy Spirit come, breathe life into these bones, Holy Spirit come, breathe life into my heart. ~ Bones.

Delirious? – The Farewell Show

This morning I got my hands on a copy of Delirious? – The Farewell Show DVD. Delirious? performed their last show in November of last year and this live video of it captures the evening fantastically well. The show is different from their previous live DVDs in that the focus is not on playing their latest songs and using special effects – both visually and musically, instead the show is raw, the audience is in full voice, and the songs are mainly from the back-catalogue.

Because of the nature of any final show it is hard to find a single song that stands out from the rest. However, Jesus Blood had me in my living room with my arms stretched out crying out to God. Personally, for me, my favourite Delirious? song has always been History Maker and in The Farewell Show the boys do it exceptionally well one last time, at the end of the song Martin Smith does a little bit of preaching and in a change from his recent shows instead of reading Ezekiel 37 he read Psalm 23, before charging the audience to go out into the world and preach.

As a bonus feature the DVD also includes the “Cutting Edge Show” which appears to have been performed before the main show. In this 30 minute gig the Delirious? boys perform seven songs from their days as Cutting Edge (1992 – 1996), Thank You For Saving Me / White Ribbon Day is the stand out song here. And if you do get the DVD watch the Cutting Edge Show first – particularly if you have followed the band over the last 15+ years.

It is sad to see the end of Delirious? for me they have been a band that I have grown up with, for Christmas 1997 (or 1998) I was given their Cutting Edge 3&4 CD and since then I have owned every album except Glo, King of Fools, and Metamorphosis, I have also seen them perform live at Parachute Music Festival in 2006. Through my teenage years I made History Maker the soundtrack for what I wanted to do with my life, and it still remains my favourite song, hearing all the older Delirious? songs on this DVD brings back memories of 10 years of doing sound, lighting and AV at church.

Delirious? may no longer be performing or releasing new music but their impact on the Christian music scene will last for a long time, bands like David Crowder Band, Chris Tomlin, Casting Crowns, and many more are now carrying the torch that Delirious? carried for so many years. This DVD will be their lasting legacy of their impact on Christian music and it is a legacy that is well worth remembering and owning.