Tag: Music

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The Weatherman

Today, my daughter and I hauled off to the University of Maryland, College Park, for a Storm Watchers presentation. The NOAA meteorologist making the presentation grew up in Southern Maine—Biddeford, to be exact.

Mmmm, I wonder how many meteorologists are from Maine. It’s hard to grow up there and not be interested in weather. With no exaggeration, weather changes about every 15 minutes in the summer, from clear skies to breezy and cloudy skies to tree-ripping thunderstorms. Upways in Northern Maine, rapid winter temperature shifts are common. I’ve seen 45-degree Celsius shifts (that’s 80 degrees Fahrenheit) from plus five to minus 40 in less than 12 hours. That’s no exaggeration. 

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‘Live 8’ or Death

Two Saturdays ago, the family hauled off to Tysons Corner Center, so that my wife could shop at the New Balance store and my daughter at the Sketchers there. On a giant flat-panel monitor at the back of the Sketchers played Live 8, particularly Richard Ashcroft’s performance, with Coldplay, of The Verve staple “Bittersweet Symphony”.

The performance stuck with me, as did vague memories of Live 8, which I mostly missed. I certainly shouldn’t have overlooked the concert as much as I did. During summer 2005, I struggled through some logistical problems at work, which greatly distracted from many things that should have been greater priority. Events like Live 8 come `round maybe once in 20 years, if Live AID is any indication. 

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Towering Over Thanksgiving

My daughter and I just got back from Tower Records (while my wife stayed home to review home school materials). I was so stunned by the posted holiday hours, I just had to ask at the counter about them. My local Tower Records will be open 10 to 10 on Thanksgiving. Oh, did I mention Tower has Christmas hours, too?

I pretty much had accepted McDonalds’ half-day Thanksgiving hours, but 10 to 10 over at Tower Records? Geez. Get a life! I’m tempted to drop in and see just how is business, considering not only the holiday but day before Black Friday. 

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No One is Safe

I am increasingly troubled by the implications of the Sony rootkit DRM, uncovered on Halloween by renown Windows expert Mark Russinovich. Essentially, Sony used a cloaking mechanism, typically the tool of malicious hackers, to hide digital rights management software installed on PCs from copy-protected music CDs. Like malware, the rootkit occasionally sends out information (to Sony), is nearly impossible to remove and when removed usually damages Windows.

I’ll skip over all the ways that Sony has turned its copy-protection mechanism into the worst kind of public relations disaster. I couldn’t imagine how any company could create more negative perception about DRM, but I’ll skip that, too. 

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Whew, It was worth the Risk

Well, it is great to be mostly right. Apple did in fact launched a video service today, with music videos and TV shows, and even video podcasts, so I’m three for three there.

The company also announced a new video-based iPod. I even got the Mac entertainment repositioning right. Apple released a new iMac with built-in video camera and new entertainment interface called Front Row. 

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Because I’m a Risk Taker

I feel more comfortable hanging myself out in the wind over here on my personal site than my work blogsite. Normally, that’s where I’d put a post like this one, but there is just too much chance my speculation is wrong. So…regarding Apple’s mystery announcement planned for tomorrow, I’m ready to make a prediction.

For some time, I’ve suspected that Apple might have a an iTunes-like video service in the works. And that’s where I’ll place my bet on tomorrow’s announcement, a video service, perhaps with music videos, TV content, and video podcasts. I’ll go further and predict a video-capable iPod and (if Apple is smart) Mac repositioning around digital entertainment. 

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No Direction Forward

I recorded the PBS special on Bob Dylan, “No Direction Home” and finished the first part last night. The film left me with a sense of loss about the state of American culture.

Dylan started making music at a time of counterculture poetry and song, the Greenwich Village crowd, that still had some lifeblood even through the early 1980s. My question: Where is the interest in arts for arts sake today? I recognize this isn’t exactly a new problem. The term counterculture is explanation enough for a longstanding problem. 

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Greed Killed the Trojan Horse

Seems like Apple and music labels are on collision course as iTunes contract renewals approach. Steve Jobs called record labels “greedy“, over alleged plans to move digital downloads to a tiered pricing model. Right now, iTunes buyers pay a 99-cent flat rate for singles, while most albums sell for $9.99. Apple does bundle some singles with music videos for $1.99.

So, I had thought Steve Jobs was being just a wee bit over the top, until a few days later when Warner Music Group CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. said during an investors conference: “We are selling our songs through iPod, but we don’t have a share of iPod’s revenue. We want to share in those revenue streams” [source Red Herring]. Ah, yeah.