All things musical

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Live Writer

This to test the new weblog-authoring software Live Writer (from the labs of Microsoft).

Impressed I am. It enables you to work in your post, just as they would appear online. Style 'n all.

Multiple blogs, across multiple platforms, on multiple websites, with multiple software/webservices running them, all can be managed centrally and conveniently from one interface that's geared towards easy maintenance of your posts.

And plugin-architecture available as well (there's already some stuff on tags, Flickr-integration and music playlist available). Kewl.

Almost makes me want to go blog again ... Almost ...

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Get your TV on

An excellent Onion funny yet true story again: "A Columbia University study released Tuesday suggests that viewing fewer than four hours of television a day severely inhibits a person's ability to ridicule popular culture. An hour or two of television per day simply does not provide enough information to effectively mock mediocre sitcoms, vapid celebrities, music videos, and talk-show hosts—an essential skill in modern society," said Dr. Madeleine Ben-Ami, a professor of cognitive science and chief author of the study. "Because the ridicule of pop culture comprises the bulk of today's social discourse, a non-viewer is at a distinct disadvantage in the workplace, on campus, and in the dating scene," Ben-Ami said. "An employee who can't participate in jokes about the suble charms of Eva Pauwels, the toilet habits of Sam Gooris or the dancing moves of "idool" Joeri will sit dumbfounded while a more able coworker ingratiates himself to the boss by laughing."

Monday, January 17, 2005

sharing the sharing

Just ran into a new site which then immideately turned out to be my favourite mp3-blog: 3hive.
Beautifully executed. Cool as cats. Great streaming playlist of all the goodies they find, legal as a lawbook...

Hit Song Science

This sounds like a really bad idea turned realilty:
The Guardian reports on record labels reverting to the use of a computer program (Polyphonic Human Media Interface) to predict the hit-potential of songs. The program works by analysing songs on a mathematical level and comparing their blueprint against a database of hits from the past. It a tune scores well in this analysis, it's bound to be a hit.
Maybe we could ask the makers of the Polyphonic Human Interface to also predict the future hitparade in the process. That way we could finally do away with releasing those drab commercial songs in the first place. Britney's next single: it was a hit!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Shuffle that Apple

Keynote speech from Jobs, and a bunch of new stuff falling from under the Apple tree: a flash-memory Ipod named Ishuffle: just 149$ for 1Gb of shuffling new tracks with every sync. Looks a bit like a pregnancy test predictor and is just about the size of a packet of chewing gum. Cool!
I'm tempted to buy one, but am put off by the power management features: no replacable batteries, powering through USB. So to go on holiday with it, you need an - optional - battery pack. Add 29$. And to jog with it, you need an - optional - bracelet. Add 29$. And to use it in your car, you need an - optional - car kit. Add 29$. ... The only extra's that are included (and probably worth 29$ of the 149 prize tag) are a lanyard to put it round your neck, and earphones: two things I have lying round in the dozens.
So Applehater or Apple-lover, still stuck in the middle (with you?).

Monday, January 10, 2005

P2P-files give you a virus?

PC magazine points out a new threat to your already spyware-laden pc: windows media files spreading through p2p audio & video.
The mechanism: a dialog box labeled "License Acquisition". Normally that dialog box is used to check for a user name or offer a chance to purchase the file that's being played. But a company called Overpeer is using this as a flaw to import all kinds of pop-ups & spyware. "Since the license dialog box acts just like an Internet Explorer window, it can display whatever is on the page it points to--whether a legitimate call for license information or a series of pop-up ads. When we played the modified files, the License Acquisition dialog box showed a page containing ads and quickly spawned more IE windows, each containing a different ad.".
So remember kids, careful with those DRM-infested files, stick to trusted old mp3's! ;-)

Thursday, January 06, 2005

The end of radio part1: Audioscrobbler

In the early days of the internet, people were constantly worried of netsurfing being the death of tv. 'Cause that was what many people answered in questionnaires about "what media do you consume less now that you're online". For me, this was certainly true: I cut down on tv-hours to get behind the computer.

Five years later, and I have to admit that my tv-habits have gradually gone back up (now surfing on laptop and watching tv go hand in hand). And it turns out the true victim of my internet connection is ... radio.

Yes: i-Tunes & Winamp are killing radio. P2P and online music purchasing is so ubiquitous and easy, that after a while there's just so much audio sitting on the hard-drive I hardly ever find the time to listen to a radioshow anymore. The computer has become the radio, smart playlists have become the radio-programs.

Not that this is such a great loss: there's so many bad shows, with too many commercials around to mourn. Be it for one aspect: how the heck do you find out about new music????

Zines (online or paperbased) of course, but the network can also come to the rescue: Enter some new tools, which I'm checking out as we speak.

Take: Audioscrobbler. It sits as a plugin in your media-player (they cover almost all players out there) and transmits the ID-tags of the files you're playing to your personal page on their site. This gradually builds your profile (mine is this), from which you can start checking out other users who listen to similar stuff, join forums to discuss, even listen to a personalized radio station "last fm", suggesting tracks you might like ...
Interesting, to say the least!!! Meet you there???

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The Long Tail

This is a must read for anyone interested in new economy, supply and demand, popular culture, music distribution, film, radio, internet, iTunes, success, money and the future. In short, a must read: The Long Tail in Wired.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Shhhh ...

Draplin Industries & Coudal joined forces in tackling one of 2004's most urgent problems: getting to shut up people cackling on their cell phones. Their method: handing them a card of the SHHH-society - the Society for Handheld Hushing - (and hoping not to get the card returned with "Mind your own fucking business" on it).
A train commuter myself, I don't agree that this is the most obnoxious thing to to in a public space (in fact, I find overhearing phone conversations often quite amusing). Putting yer mp3-player/walkman on high volume and listening to it on bad headphones, so that everyone within 20 feet can hear the ugly hissing and crackling of your basslines is much, MUCH, more annoying. Somebody found a society against that, quickly...

What's that song?

This is nice: the biggest "Name that song" quiz you can think of. Just go to this site and you'll be given a 10-song pop quiz about a random band. Getting a bit more precize, you can also search for a given band - so gives ya a quiz about U2, a quiz about US3 etc etc ..
My guess is that it all works as a layer above Amazon, so the possibilities are unlimited ...

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Arm candy

Word of the week: "Arm candy (ARM kan.dee) n. An extremely beautiful person who accompanies a member of the opposite sex to a party or event, but is not romantically involved with that person."
Want to find a word of your own: try Wordspy.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Top five official artist-website mistakes

If you've evered used band & artist websites to actually look up information about this or that band or artist, you'll probably feel very at home amidst the top five annoyances that "43 folders" is listing.
However: I don't agree at all with the n°4 mistake "never get too artsy, too fartsy". Why: because I think that creative types should also get creative with their website. And creative means thinking outside the box, finding new ways, experimenting. A music band is more than facts: it's an image, an icon, it's often a lifestyle. And the website should reflect that. Build that image. Suck you into their world. It cannot be boring unless it wants to transmit the message that the artist itself is a boring old sock.
I second the inclusion some of the commenters make: never, NEVER, start playing audio in your interface unless I've asked for it. With iTunes or other Musicmatches playing on the PC in the background, this has got to be my n° 1 annoyance with music websites.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The Onion | Irrelevant Pop Stars Unite Against Bush

No offense to the worthy cause, but is this an Onion article or the press release of the "The Vote For Change" tour? The line between satire and reality seems awfully thin here ...

Thursday, August 12, 2004

iPod vs. The Cassette

I'm getting sick & fed up with all the Ipod hype going round these days. Preposterous. Media drooling all over it's sexy white plastic bod. Passing on all the hooray Jobs-messages without any critical rebuff in their columns. 100.000 million downloads. Hurray! 1 million songs. Put it on 1. Deal with an indie. Run it on the finance headpage. Rumour of a new version. Copy the press release.
Admittedly, I have drooled also, in the past (hence the "sexy" epinomer). But I came to my senses just before buying one and am now a strong holder of the opinion that this piece of electronic gadgetry is so overpriced it labels any one going round with one as a filthy capitalist bourgeois twat deserving nothing but ridicule.

Time for iPod vs. The Cassette

Friday, July 23, 2004

This land is my land

As George W and Mr. Kerry battle it out for a four-year reign over the U.S. of A., Jibjab (two brothers in animation) saw a brilliant opportunity to put this inane battle to music on Woody Guthrie's This land.
Truly a "Must see" (wherever you stand on the political divide) if you have 3,7 Mb of bandwith to spare!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Possible Follow-up Songs for One-Hit Wonders

Coming from the sweet and irontastic McSweeney's website: Possible Follow-up Songs for One-Hit Wonders.

Suggestions to add to the list in the comments...

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

The fleeting of time

That looking at old photographs of yourself is a good way to see in evidence what time is doing to you every second, every hour, every day, every year ... is probably no revelation. If you bring some systematics to the process, the effect is muchmuch larger though: see for yourself at this photo-essay entitled time. There, a Buenos Aires man displays photographs of him and his family, taken each year on the same day. "On June 17th, every year, the family goes through a private ritual: we photograph ourselves to stop a fleeting moment, the arrow of time passing by."

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Beyoncé goes to the movies. Miss foxy is putting her film career faith in a the new prequel to The Pink Panther.
She's taking a risk, because:
- it's got Steve Martin playing Clouseau, and he hasn't made a decent movie since 1942
- it's a Pink Panther movie, and there hasn't been a decent one of those since the first once (in fact, since the "He had a minkey" bit)
- it's a prequel, and prequels haven't been any good since ... ever

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

How to say "I'm with the band" in fifteen easy steps: - The Guide to Being a Groupie

Thursday, January 09, 2003

Dee Dee Ramone died on June 6th. You probably know that. Robbin Crosby died on June 6th too. You probably never heard that. Yet Robbin Crosby sold a lot more records in his lifetime than Dee Dee did. Interesting article in the New York Times Magazine by Chuck Klosterman. "The reason Crosby's June 6 death was mostly ignored is that his band seemed corporate and fake and pedestrian; the reason Ramone's June 5 death will be remembered is that his band was seen as representative of a counterculture that lacked a voice. But the contradiction is that countercultures get endless media attention: the only American perspectives thought to have any meaningful impact are those that come from the fringes. The voice of the counterculture is, in fact, inexplicably deafening."

Sunday, December 09, 2001

Dave Barry on the effects of "Traditional Children's Songs from Hell", funny column about "Mary had a little lamb", "Old McDonald" and other parents-torturing songs at freep.

Wednesday, December 05, 2001

HeaThen WoRLD's Origins of Band Names gives you the roots of hundres of bandnames. My Favorite explanations so far:

  • HELMET - They were originally called "Purple Helmet" and decided to tone down the penis reference.

  • THE POGUES - Shortened from "Pogue Mahone", which is a distorted version of Póg Mo hÓn, which is Irish Gaelic for "kiss my ass".

  • The Scopitone was a French invention which operated on the principles of the juke-box (users could select the song) and MTV (you'd see a video of the song). This site contains an excellent article on the short-lived history of this great invention. This site has some examples of the earliest French films for the device. This site has a catalogue of all films made for Scopitones.

    A pixelated history of popmusic at nanopops.

    Friday, November 30, 2001"how to shop in a music/video store without being a shitfuck", has some handy advice on how not to piss of those fragile souls working in a record shop, should you ever get the silly idea to go and buy something from them. "Sometimes, you can hum three notes of a song and we will know exactly what you are talking about, grab the CD for you, and send you happily out the door to go listen to it. Usually? No. Sing to us if you want, but know that this method has a less than 50% success rate. We are not paid to sit around and listen to the radio all day long. We rot in a building for eight hours at a time listening to whatever crap music our co-workers put on."

    On the other hand, it could also give you some ideas how to piss them off even more: complain to them about the price of a CD, Steal their pen, don't put the CD back where you got it from, be clumsy with change or cards, ask them where very obvious CD's are stored, talk foreign ...