Ramblings & ephemera

Lost her ability to play piano after she regained sight

From Oliver Sacks’ “The Case of Anna H.” (The New Yorker: 7 October 2002: 64): I was reminded of a blind woman, a contemporary of Mozart and a most remarkable pianist, who, it is said, could no longer play after she regained some sight.

Scarcities and the music, movie, and publishing businesses

In Clay Shirky’s response to R.U. Sirius’ “Is The Net Good For Writers?” (10 Zen Monkeys: 5 October 2007), he takes on the persona of someone talking about what new changes are coming with the Gutenberg movable type press. At one point, he says, “Such a change would also create enormous economic hardship for anyone […]

My new business idea

A coffee shop where the employees all wear platform shoes, glitter make-up, orange spiked hair, feathers, and silver spaceman pants. It’s name: ZIGGY STARBUCKS! My friend Michael Krider made the following suggestions: Drink names: The Cafe Young Americano Caffeine Genie Sumatra-jet City When employees hand your money back after a sale, they say, “Here’s your […]

My new book – Podcasting with Audacity – is out!

Audacity is universally recognized as the number one software program for creating podcasts. Hundreds of thousands of amateurs and professionals alike have created podcasts using Audacity. Podcasting with Audacity: Creating a Podcast With Free Audio Software is designed to get you podcasting as quickly as possible. The first few chapters show you how to install […]

Portable music turns life into cinema

From Farhad Manjoo’s “iPod: I love you, you’re perfect, now change” (Salon: 23 October 2006): Levy writes that when this happens, the music becomes a “soundtrack” for the scenery, which is a good way to put it. The iPod turns ordinary life — riding the bus, waiting in line at the post office, staring at […]

Average iPod has just 500 songs on it

From Farhad Manjoo’s “iPod: I love you, you’re perfect, now change” (Salon: 23 October 2006): … though iPods can store thousands of songs, the average iPod user’s library numbers just about 500 well-worn tracks.

Where we are technically with DRM

From Nate Anderson’s “Hacking Digital Rights Management” (Ars Technica: 18 July 2006): The attacks on FairPlay have been enlightening because of what they illustrate about the current state of DRM. They show, for instance, that modern DRM schemes are difficult to bypass, ignore, or strip out with a few lines of code. In contrast to […]

Apple iTunes Music Store applies DRM after download

From Nate Anderson’s “Hacking Digital Rights Management” (Ars Technica: 18 July 2006): A third approach [to subverting Apple’s DRM] came from PyMusique, software originally written so that Linux users could access the iTunes Music Store. The software took advantage of the fact that iTMS transmits DRM-free songs to its customers and relies on iTunes to […]

Favelas, the slums of Rio De Janeiro

From Alex Bellos’s “Coke. Guns. Booty. Beats.” (Blender: June 2005): In the slums of Rio De Janeiro, drug lords armed with submachine guns have joined forces with djs armed with massive sound systems and rude, raunchy singles. Welcome to the most exciting—and dangerous—underground club scene in the world. … Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is the […]

Wynton Marsalis on recognizing your place

From Sam Dillon’s “Graduates Get an Earful, From Left, Right and Center” (The New York Times: 11 June 2006): Wynton Marsalis Musician [Delivering commencement to] The Juilliard School Realize that integrity is real, and so is starvation. Never let pay and the talk of pay occupy more time and space than the talk of your […]

From P2P to social sharing

From Clay Shirky’s “File-sharing Goes Social“: The RIAA has taken us on a tour of networking strategies in the last few years, by constantly changing the environment file-sharing systems operate in. In hostile environments, organisms often adapt to become less energetic but harder to kill, and so it is now. With the RIAA’s waves of […]

Recover sounds from the ancient world

From Christer Hamp’s “Archaeoacoustics“: By archaeoacoustics I mean the recovery of sounds from the time before the invention of recording. This implies that such sounds would have been recorded inadvertently, while intending to do sometring else. Not much has been written about this subject and only very few experiments have been made, but I find […]

3000 ravers, dancing in silence

From The Sydney Morning Herald‘s’ “Clubbers to get into the silent groove“: For those seeking tranquillity at Glastonbury Festival, a dance tent packed with clubbers is not an obvious sanctuary. But this will be the silent disco – 3000 festivalgoers are to be issued with headphones this year so they can turn up the volume […]

More validation of the Long Tail

Don’t know what the Long Tail is? Check out the seminal Wired article, or read the blog. From The New York Times‘ “The Net Is a Boon for Indie Labels“: CD and digital album sales so far this year are down 8 percent compared with the same period a year ago, according to Nielsen SoundScan […]

Denise-ism #65

I start playing Norah Jones. Denise: I really like this music. Scott: You say that every time I play it. Denise: And you say that every time back to me. Scott: Well, somebody’s stuck in a loop, and I don’t think it’s me.

The strictest of teachers

From Nat Friedman: For twelve months in 1998 and 1999, I went through this phase of trying to “diversify my interests,” and signed up to take piano lessons. My teacher’s name was Peter, this rigid Eastern European math major who instructed piano to idiots like me on the side. In our first lesson, I was […]

Gershwin the prodigy

From Claudia Roth Pierpont’s "Jazzbo", about George Gershwin, in The New Yorker (10 January 2005): [Gershwin] had been saved by the piano. On a fateful day in 1910, a secondhand upright was hoisted through the family’s Second Avenue window and, to general shock, scapegrace street fighting George, age twelve, sat down and tore through a […]

The Queen buys an iPod

Gad, but this is so British in elocution that it’s almost satirical. Yahoo reports that “Queen plugging into iPod“: “The Queen loves music and was impressed by how small and handy the iPod is,” a royal insider told the tabloid on Friday. “Obviously it is quite complicated to download songs, but I’m sure one of […]

Great band names, part 24

So Jans & I are talking at the Broadway Oyster Bar last night, and all of a sudden Jans says, “Have you ever noticed how many diseases and other medical terms would make great band names? Like The Multiple Lacerations. Or The Compound Fractures.” “You’re right!” I replied. “How about The Bleeding Ulcers? And The […]