Tuesday 30 September 2008

Google Search 2001

Google Search: Search like it was 2001! No, seriously, Google has dug out an old database and now you can search the glories of the 'net from back when iPod didn't play music, youtube was gibberish, Michael Phelps was any of a handful of biologists, and yours truly was a loquacious vangard geek with an unhealthy typing speed ...

Monday 29 September 2008

The Jazz Dispute

A heated debate between Charlie Parker's alto and Dizzy Gillespie's horn. The recording is "Leap Frog", from Bird And Diz.

other than the technical glitch that Bird was the most gentle, jovial and understanding of men and was never known to express any such impatience or anger at anyone, this is nonetheless a brilliant illustration for all those who think they don't understand bebop,

'cause THIS is what it's all about.
this clip comes to us courtesy of phum

Friday 26 September 2008

Edgware pupils tackle alien investigation


Harrow Times: "When children came into Stag Lane Middle School, in Collier Drive, this morning they found a small section of their playing field cordoned off behind police tape and a forensic expert taking samples from strange markings on the grass.

Teachers have spent the last two weeks mocking up ???alien??? hand prints, as well as strange symbols, and todays stunt forms the final chapter of an exercise staff hope will stimulate their imagination and teach creative writing skills.

Elena Evans, headteacher at the school, said: ???We think learning should be exciting and they also write better when they have practical things to write about.???"

finally! a FEASIBLE scenario for a lock-down drill!

Thursday 25 September 2008

1,000 True Fans


The Technium: Kevin Kelly writes "the long tail is a decidedly mixed blessing for creators. Individual artists, producers, inventors and makers are overlooked in the equation. The long tail does not raise the sales of creators much, but it does add massive competition and endless downward pressure on prices. Unless artists become a large aggregator of other artist's works, the long tail offers no path out of the quiet doldrums of minuscule sales.

Other than aim for a blockbuster hit, what can an artist do to escape the long tail?

One solution is to find 1,000 True Fans."

While this essay is bubbling the rounds, along with its rebuttal thread, I thought it might be worthwhile to recall the Prophesy of Momus in 1992's "Pop Stars? Nein Danke"

possibly apropos to the whole Tory artsparty-crashing debate? no, I thought not.

However, back at the 1,000 Fan Ranch, on closer inspection, like nearly all web2.0 pundits, Kevin is unable to cite even one verifiable real-world example of anyone actually paying a mortgage with his method; every cited example either has other avenues for traditional income, a working spouse, or still lives in their mom's basement!

The gist of the essay may still be valid, and as Momus points out, the fact of the matter is your audience is very unlikely to exceed a few thousand true fans, so we either deal with it, or get a day-job.

The most useful idea in all three is how there perhaps needs to be a new breed of net-aware A&R arts-promoter, a silent 'fifth beatle' who is full-time jamming on the wire.

Wednesday 24 September 2008

State of the Blogosphere 2008


State of the Blogosphere 2008: Technorati writes "Since 2004, our annual study has unearthed and analyzed the trends and themes of blogging, but for the 2008 study, we resolved to go beyond the numbers of the Technorati Index to deliver even deeper insights into the blogging mind. For the first time, we surveyed bloggers directly about the role of blogging in their lives, the tools, time, and resources used to produce their blogs, and how blogging has impacted them personally, professionally, and financially."
For those looking for an easy hobby-based part-time opportunity: "the mean annual investment in their blog is $1,800, but it???s paying off. The mean annual revenue is $6,000 with $75K+ in revenue for those with 100,000 or more unique visitors per month"
just for the record, based on the back-of-envelope business plan cited in TeledyN: Being-Elvis is Dead all you need as a MUSICIAN is a mere 1000 local dedicated 'visitors' to gross $100K in revenue. 'Course, you gots to share some with the soundman, pay off the gear, pay off royalty lawyers, hire a driver ...

Tuesday 23 September 2008

Is Stupid Making Us Google?

Is Stupid Making Us Google?: James Bowman writes "I have no doubt that I go online to avoid reading in the traditional sense. The question is, how guilty do I need to feel about this? In his view, presumably, quite a lot guilty, since by reading online as much as I do I am depriving myself of the ability to read offline. He takes this insight to an even more alarming conclusion in the end, writing that ???as we come to rely on computers to mediate our understanding of the world, it is our own intelligence that flattens into artificial intelligence.??? And if that???s the case for veteran readers, think how much worse it must be for the jeunesse dor???e of the information age, if they never developed the habits that accompany ???deep reading??? in the first place."
The problem I have with his value judgement is in the assumption that places the hypnotic deep-reading trance as somehow 'better' than the fragmented all-at-once roaratorio that typifies modern information gathering. Socrates, we may recall, rightly warned us the adoption of writing would rob us of our memory, which it did, except that this price brought us considerable gain in the overall practice of Cultural Memory. Also maybe worth remembering "City as a Classroom" (McLuhan&McLuhan) and the experiments on back-lit screens vs front-lit (paper and cinema) presentation on theta brainwaves: Stupid? or merely stupified?

Monday 22 September 2008

Sun Ra Arkestra live on Radio 6

Sun Ra Arkestra live op Radio 6: podcast of the Sept 21 show at the Paradox in Tilburg during their 'Arkestra in Residence' at the ZXZW Festival.
a review (in Dutch) and photos at 3voor12 Tilburg

Saturday 20 September 2008

Status: Repetitive Stress

Gary notes his lip gets better the more he saxes,
but his wrist gets worse the more he laptops.

The Future of the Internet (And How to Stop It)

CBC Radio Full Interview: Jonathan Zittrain: Nora Young writes "Recently, I had the chance to interview Jonathan Zittrain. Jonathan is one of the founders of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard, and he also holds the chair in Internet Governance and Regulation at Oxford.

He's just written a book called The Future of the Internet, And How to Stop It. Basically, he argues that in the history of computing, we've wavered between proprietary approaches which control how the technology is used, and more open-ended, approaches. Jonathan thinks we're at a watershed moment right now, as the 'anything goes' nature of the internet is endangered by our increasing use of ???tethered appliances,??? all the smart phones and gaming consoles and so on, that are designed to be used in a particular way. Users can???t tinker with them the way they can, say, add the software they choose to a PC.

We reached Jonathan via Skype."

"The Future of the Internet (and how to stop it)" is released under CreativeCommons.org and, for those who like electronic editions, can be downloaded for free. Those who still prefer the feel and flexibility of print can get that too.

Friday 19 September 2008

Google Searrrch


'Talk like a pirate' Google Searrrch: The Official Talk-Like A Pirate Day Web search. Because we're guys, and because we can. Buried Treasure - Similarrr pages
Aye, an' that be th' booty we be seekin', Jim. So how's 'bout ye jus' hands it o'er like a good lad, an' we be off on our way real friendly like.

common sense about school lunches

Ann Cooper talks school lunches: "Speaking at the 2007 EG conference, 'renegade lunch lady' Ann Cooper talks about the looming forecast that today's kids will be the first to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents, and our subsequent waking up to a revolution in the way kids eat at school -- local, sustainable, seasonal and even educational food.

"Ann Cooper cares -- a lot -- what kids eat for lunch. As the head of nutrition for Berkeley, California, schools, she serves organic, regionally sourced and sustainable meals to lots of lucky schoolkids. Ann Cooper believes we were feeding our kids a path to our extinction, and has set out to change our thinking about school lunches.
"We send these kids to school to learn. When we send them there to eat bad food, that's what they learn ... and what's happening is our kids are getting sick."
Here's an example: What if, Ann asks, "what if we had lunchtime recess before the meal?" eh? eh? Kids get de-stressed and hungry, and the only reason to cut short the meal is to scurry back to classrooms?? You think they would? Does that make astounding sense, or what. Know any schools that do it that way? I rest my case.

Thursday 18 September 2008

The simple life (digital version)

This video shows you how simple and easy it will be to become a criminal under bill C-61. It's funny, in its sad way, and here's a fictional tale I'm sure many will find too true:

just a short while ago the kids had an opportunity to take a DVD to school for a party and we hestitated to give them a (once legal but no longer) dub because of the propaganda they've already laid on the kids, so we gave them an AUDIO mixtape CD instead, and y'know, not a single eyebrow was raised.

Yet it was equally as criminal.

My MP (Larry Miller, Conservative) AND the 'official' chain-letter I got from Industry Canada both assure me this is all not true. Not in so many words, of course. What they REALLY said was, "This is not just a COPY of the American law" -- presumably because such an admission would be incriminating under the DMCA :)

Friday 12 September 2008

Whole Lotta Love

These guys stole my idea, but at least now I know that yes, it would work, and it would work fabulously: Bluegrass Led Zepplin. May said I should be proud of them: the band is also from Winnipeg and I am, tho not so much for that as for being able to jam THIS tune with John Paul Jones.

and I console myself knowing it was years before this when I got my chance to solo Stairway To Heaven on the mandolin backed by accordion, and at that same gig I got the rare chance to ask "Is there a guitarist in the house?" and then "Can you play Stairway to Heaven?"

Wednesday 10 September 2008

Al Dexter & His Troopers


"Losing My Mind Over Wine, Women & Song&quot: "pistol packin' mama, rosalita, so long pal, too late to worry, i'm losing my mind over you, i'll wait for you dear, triflin' gal, i'm lost without you, guitar polka, honey do you think it's wrong, wine women and song, it's up to you, kokomo island, down at the roadside inn, rock and rye rag"
Hey, isn't that a Gibson Super-300 he's packin' there? Sure as shootin'! And why isn't Al in the Hall of Fame? He is, after all, the very reason Billboard added the "Hillbilly and Western" chart we know today as "Country Singles", and then topped it, twice at once (#1 and #2) with the SAME SONG!

Tuesday 9 September 2008

This is your brain on Levitin

MP3 podcast CBC Interview with Daniel Levitin, ex-hitmaker producer turned neurologist and author of This is Your Brain On Music.
Why do we hear some sounds as music, and other sounds as noise? What's the critical relationship between anticipation and satisfaction that drives music? Just what happens when the human brain and music become dance partners? And what roles do the elements we call rhythm, harmony, melody and timbre play in that dance?
This is part of a 6-part series on the CBC The Nerve program, and full episode was posted at http://www.cbc.ca/radio2/features/theNerve/audio/nerveEp1.mp3 where you can get 5 more by just changing the digit.