Posted on Tuesday, January 25th, 2005
My new iPod Shuffle arrived, but I didn't had time to open it up and play with it until today. In a word: it's brilliant!
Don't get me wrong, I love my original iPod (and really love the 40 gigabytes of storage) but, as small as it is, the thing can still be a little cumbersome to travel with. Usually what I end up doing is selecting a playlist, putting it on shuffle, and then dropping it in my pocket. But then you have a heavy pocket and must be careful that you don't let it fall out when you bend over, as that could be an expensive mistake.
iPod Shuffle, on the other hand, is so light-weight as to be almost unnoticeable. It comes with a lanyard that makes walking around with it safe, comfortable, and effortless.
Some people will undoubtedly bitch about the lack of a display but, since I only use the display to select a playlist on my iPod original, I don't really care (besides, that would just add size and weight). The gigabyte of memory only has room for a single playlist anyway, so I already know what I'm getting when I turn it on. Selecting a new playlist is as easy as plugging your iPod Shuffle back into your computer and dragging a different one over. There's also a cool "auto-fill" feature which will randomly grab selections from your library until the memory is full. This is a great way to re-discover songs you may have forgotten or don't play very often.
There is one downside, however: Apple decided to use a USB 2.0 connector instead of FireWire (which is what they used on all previous iPods). This wouldn't bother me except that Apple only recently began supporting USB 2.0, so not a single machine I own has it. This sucks ass, because transferring a gigabyte over USB 1.0 is slow. Really slow. Oh well, it does give the unit enough time to recharge.
Anyway, I am totally loving the iPod Shuffle. Especially since the iTunes Music Store just released Erasure's excellent new album Nightbird and Billy Idol's new pre-release single called Scream. Apple rules.
UPDATE: Now that's cool... I just noticed the shuffle/cycle settings are dynamic! All my playlists are in order by artist, so if I am listening on the "shuffle" setting, come across a song from The Cure, then decide I want to hear more from The Cure, all I have to do is switch to the "cycle" setting and play their remaining songs in order. Then I can go back to "shuffle" again with a flick of a switch! It's the attention to little details like this that makes me such an Apple whore.
Posted on Wednesday, January 26th, 2005
What can I say? For two days I have worn my iPod Shuffle constantly, removing it only to shower and sleep (though last night I fell asleep while listening to it, so I guess I'm wearing it even then). It's so small and light that I don't even know it's there. It's so easy to operate that I find myself wearing it underneath my sweatshirt or over-shirt and just operating it through the fabric. It's almost become another appendage, and the ability to listen to music at a second's notice wherever and whenever I feel like it is nothing less than magic.
In many ways I feel that iPod Shuffle fulfills on the promise of the original iPod: it has firmly integrated music into my everyday life. I work with it. I paint with it. I cook with it. I eat with it. I brush my teeth with it. I walk to the post office with it... I live with it.
In fact, I find myself enamored with it so much that my original 40 gigabyte iPod has just been demoted to a spare hard drive. The iPod Shuffle is a much better fit for how I want to experience to my music. As I type this I am listening to Along Comes a Woman by Chicago, a song I haven't listened to in ages... all thanks to the "random auto-fill" feature that appears in iTunes when I plug iPod Shuffle into my laptop. Gotta love that little thrill you get from rediscovering an old song you've forgotten about.
Ooh! There it goes again... Drive by The Cars just came on!
Posted on Tuesday, February 15th, 2005
Total amount of music files on your computer? According to iTunes, I am currently at 4628 songs. And I'm pretty sure all of them are legal except one: Tarzan Boy, by Baltimora. It's not available digitally at the iTunes Music Store, and I can't find the CD Living in the Background to purchase the song because it's out of print. Since Steve Jobs has stated that he would gladly offer every song ever released on the iTMS, I can only guess that it's the record labels that are the hold-up. Illegal downloading was my only option.
The last CD you bought was... Well, I don't really buy CD's anymore, I purchase all my music from iTunes Music Store so I don't have a piece of plastic to throw out. The last albums I bought from iTMS would be Green Day's excellent American Idiot, and Nightbird by Erasure. Too many terrific 80's synth-pop melodies on that one! I Broke it All in Two and Breathe are absolutely beautiful songs...
What was the last song you listened to before reading this message? Hmmm... last night before I went to bed I was listening to my iPod Shuffle while reading. I think the song would be Closer by Nine Inch Nails.
Write down five songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you. All my music means a lot to me. It is so very hard to narrow down thousands of favorites to just five... I wouldn't even know where to begin. Since Valentine's Day has just passed, let's talk about love: Don't Answer Me by the Alan Parson's Project (a concert I went to with my best friend who has since departed this mortal plane). Every Breath You Take by The Police (17 years old in a New Orlean's hotel). If You Were Here by the Thompson Twins (first love). Barrel of a Gun by Depeche Mode (love gone very wrong). And Rebel Yell by Billy Idol (the words pretty much speak for themselves).
What 3 people are you going to pass this baton to and why? Gee, there was a "Music Shuffle Meme" not so long ago that gave me an idea of what people are listening to, so I should probably try to find some people who I don't think answered it? I'll pick Ben's Blab, because he recently had an entry about a music playlist but failed to indicate any of the songs or what music he likes. Geekable, because Jeff has incredible taste in music (though I don't think that he "does" memes... a pity). And My So-Called Strife (Kirkkitsch is forever recommending movies, but I have no idea what music he listens to... though I don't think he "does" memes either).
Is that it? Okay then.
Posted on Sunday, May 1st, 2005
After going through a mile of bubble-wrap to get all of the fabulous Blogiversary 2 prizes packed up (just waiting for the T-shirts!) I thought I would update my Mac G4 Cube to Tiger and watch a little TiVo and a couple of NetFlix DVDs.
First up was Shaolin Soccer, which kicks so much ass that you almost need a new genre of film to describe its ass-kicking proficiency. If you've ever wanted to know what would happen if a soccer game took place in The Matrix, then this film is your answer. Really cheesy dialogue also makes this one of the funniest films I've seen in a while. The DVD had both the shitty, butchered "American" version and the vastly superior "Chinese" original (with English subtitles).
Next was Erasure: Hits!, filled with incredibly bad videos that are so gay that even gay people must think "wow, those are some pretty gay videos!" I am really schizophrenic when it comes to the music I listen to. At home, in my car, and on my iPod are groups like Radiohead, System of a Down, Depeche Mode, Oasis, Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, and Pearl Jam. While at work, I am strictly synth-pop with groups like Erasure, New Order, Thompson Twins, Pet Shop Boys, and Moby (which is why my AudioScrobbler profile looks the way it does). Of all of them, Erasure is easily the undisputed queen of bubblegum synth.
Sadly, not a single video in the entire Erasure canon is worth a crap (the low point is when both Andy and Vince are dressed in full drag as very ugly women singing Abba's "Take a Chance on Me"). It's really too bad given they are capable of such beautiful music... "You Surround Me," "Joan," "A Little Respect," "I Broke it All in Two" and so many more. Why can't their videos be as lyrical and beautiful as the songs they depict? Sad.
Lasty, I watched the two-part Enterprise episode: In A Mirror Darkly. It's where we get to have the boring Enterprise characters all evil and interesting (finally) because they're in the Star Trek "Mirror Universe." It's fun to see Archer gone all insane... but even more fun to see Hoshi as a power-crazed whore in a belly-shirt who will sleep with anybody to advance her career. Delicious. I also found it a bit touching to see T'Pol and the other aliens attempt a coup against the evil humans, knowing they would fail completely in order to maintain continuity with future Star Trek series. If the show were this good for the past four years, I might have actually bothered to watch it (and so would everybody else, which means UPN wouldn't have had to cancel it).
Which begs the question... why is it that Trek producers just don't understand what Star Trek fans want to see? We want action! LOTS AND LOTS of ACTION! Don't have characters sit around in decontamination chambers and talk for an hour straight... blow some shit up! The reason Captain Kirk was so cool was because in any given situation he would either fight with somebody, shoot somebody, or have sex with somebody. THAT'S IT!! That's all he did, and we loved it! But now all we get for action is people sitting around the bridge saying stupid shit like "let's re-route the EPS conduits" and then pressing a bunch of buttons so they could go back to boring talk again. Stupid. I have every last episode of the original Star Trek on DVD and watch them all the time. I don't own any of the other series, and usually won't be bothered to watch them for free on television either. Why? Because when I tune in to Star Trek I want to actually be entertained (and there wasn't much of that to be found in anything that followed the originals, except the movies #2, #4, #6, and #8). Please, if there is a god of science fiction television, let Paramount fire the dumbasses who have been running Star Trek into the ground for the past 20 years and get somebody who will actually entertain us with the next series.
And now for a few more MacOS X Tiger observations in an extended entry.→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
Posted on Friday, May 13th, 2005
Avast ye bloggers! I'm a pirate! And it's not even "Talk Like a Pirate Day" yet.
After monkeys and ninjas, I'd say my third most abnormal infatuation would have to be pirates. And I can tell you exactly when the obsession started: when I went to Disneyland and went on the "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride as a wee lad. I could never get pirates out of my blood after that, mainly because pirate life looked a heck of a lot more fun than mine did at the time.
But now-a-days the word "pirate" is getting an entirely different meaning... people who appropriated work from others without paying for it. Usually this means people who illegally download music, but it's getting popular for movies and television downloads as well. One thing that hasn't changed: piracy is still viewed as a very bad thing.
Which I think is a load of crap.
Pirates of old attacked ships at sea, killed everybody, and plundered the treasure for their pirate's booty. So when the asshats at the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) calls me a "pirate," I'm offended because I'm not nearly that cool.
All I did was grab some music that I can't buy here because it's either owned by a foreign label, or out of print. I was forced into piracy because evil record labels can't get their shit together and release ALL of their music for sale digitally. This is so stupid because the cost is minimal, and CDs are a complete dead-end. What choice do I have? Pay $50 to somebody on eBay who is probably selling it after having burned it to their iPod anyway? The artist isn't seeing a dime of that money... so what's the point in paying such an obscene sum?
Look, I'd gladly buy the shit if I could, but record labels and some narrow-minded artists won't let me purchase it. How is this my fault? The RIAA can kiss my ass. Until you give me a way to buy something legally, stop being a bunch of whiny dumbasses, and work on solving the problem... not adding to it by attacking people who would be your customers if your would let them be.
And now I wait for Sid Meier's Pirates game to be released for Xbox this summer. REAL pirates kick ass!
Posted on Sunday, July 3rd, 2005
I gave up on MTV ages ago. That's because somewhere along the way they seemed to forget that the "M" in "MTV" stood for "music" and abandoned the idea of actually playing music. Instead you have a lot of dumbass crap that has nothing to do with music at all. A simple and brilliant idea has been destroyed utterly.
But I made an exception yesterday, because I wanted to see the Live 8 concert. So I had TiVo record the entire thing... the plan being that I could sit down this morning and skip to all the bands I wanted to see.
Leave it to the insanely stupid, greedy ass-hats at MTV to totally rape a benefit show.
NOTE TO THE STUPID f#@%S IN CHARGE OF MTV "MUSIC" TELEVISION: Live 8 is a benefit concert to raise awareness of the plight of poverty-sricken countries within the African continent. And, while applaud you taking time to air educational segments to show people the horrors of what is going on there, YOUR VIEWERS TUNE IN TO A "CONCERT" FOR THE MUSIC!!! So when you continuously interrupt performances so no-talent idiots can provide useless commentary and introduce yet another commercial... RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF A SONG... that makes you THE STUPIDEST f#@%ING IDIOTS ON THE FACE OF THE PLANET!!
I kept skipping forward past the endless commercials to try to actually find "music" in the broadcast, but it was a rare event. Apparently MTV could give a shit about what's going on in Africa, and saw this as nothing more than a money-making opportunity from continuous advertising revenue. "Oh look! It's Maroon 5!" But then they interrupt for a commercial and so that some dumb bitch can wander through the audience asking people "what have you learned here today?"
Well I've learned that MTV sucks ass on a level of ass-sucking I never thought was obtainable. What a bunch of moronic pricks. I eventually gave up trying to even watch... there was just no point in it.
f#@% MTV. If I lived in New York, I'd be protesting in front of your Times Square studio.
Protesting or fire-bombing... one or the other.
UPDATE: Okay then, I'm not the only one who thinks MTV sucks.
Posted on Friday, July 29th, 2005
When I decided to shut down the FridayQ, I really didn't think twice about it. I was looking to cut back on my extraneous activities, and felt it was the logical choice since memes have been kind of dying off anyway. To be honest, I didn't think anybody would care, because so few people were participating at the end.
The problem is that the FridayQ was always written weeks in advance. So the smarter thing to do would have been to hold off until after I had run out of material, THEN close it down. Oh well. What's done is done.
Today's FridayQ was going to be about things you enjoy and you don't know why. I concocted it after channel-surfing one day and realizing that, despite the fact that I LOATHE country music, I am a huge fan of Shania Twain. Honestly... I can't stand whiny, twangy country-western. I very nearly gouged my ears out during the height of Garth Brook's popularity. Billy Ray Cyrus singing "Achy Breaky Heart" was enough to send me into epileptic fits. Yet I love me the Shania Twain...
Sure she's brutally hot, but that's only half the package. She's remarkably talented as well. And, for reasons I can't guess, I am totally into her music. And not just her more pop-oriented stuff either... all of it, including the country classics.
I try not to worry about it, but am deathly afraid that it will spread and I'm going to end up buying the latest Willie Nelson or Alan Jackson CD. After that, it's a frightfully short jump to mainlining crap by Clay Aiken and Justin Guarini... at which point I would have to kill myself.
Life was so much simpler before American Idol came along.
Posted on Thursday, August 4th, 2005
Meanwhile, on Rock Star: INXS... In a moment of utter obviousness, Jordis was the one selected to reprise her stunning performance of The Man Who Sold the World from last night's show. I've saved it on my TiVo, and must have listened to it a dozen times now. It's as if I've never heard the song before (even though both the original Bowie version and Nirvana cover were both great). Once Jordis Unga sang it, she owned it for me.
I'd buy the song, but the only place you can get it from is the suck-ass MSN Music store. No surprise, since MSN is sponsoring the show... but still. I can only hope that either A) Somebody wakes up and decides to release the song on the worlds most popular online service, namely the iTunes Music Store. Or, B) If they don't, somebody with access to the MSN Music store will strip the lame-ass DRM from the track and put it someplace where I can get it as an MP3.
And, before the assclowns at the RIAA decide to come down on me for saying that, it's not STEALING if you won't let me BUY IT! Seriously, Mac users can't access MSN Music, so don't bust my balls with your stupid shit for having to resort to less desirable methods of obtaining the music I want.
I know this sounds horrible... but I find myself secretly hoping that Jordis DOESN'T get chosen to front INXS. After what I've seen, it's almost as if they would hold her back. I want her to go out on her own, find her own voice, and release music that she's passionate about, as opposed to singing things INXS wants her to. The idea of an entire album of music as great as The Man Who Sold the World gives me chills.
That being said, Brandon really should have been the one booted off the island. Is it just me, or does he have -zero- melody in his voice? Perhaps with further coaching, he can improve, but right now it's almost painful.
UPDATE: Well... I step away from my Mac for an hour, and no less than a dozen people are emailing me with offers to help out. I'm ever so grateful to you all. It would seem Jordis has many, many fans. Heaven only knows what she'll bring next week.
Posted on Tuesday, August 16th, 2005
I swear, Rock Star: INXS keeps getting better and better every week. Tonight's episode was amazing from start to finish, with some stunning covers of classic (and not-so-classic) songs that had me wondering why anybody would ever watch that lame American Idol crap ever again. While some performances were definitely weaker than others, each one was worth a listen. Jordis, as usual, was great... with a soulful rendition of Knockin' on Heaven's Door. I also enjoyed MiG's sweet take on Baby I Love Your Ways and Marty channeling Curt Cobain singing Britney with Hit Me Baby One More Time.
It's interesting to extrapolate fan favorites by looking at the number of comments on each performer's most recent blog entry. As of this writing, the totals are as follows:
It would seem that J.D. is currently favored, which is really too bad considering he is such an ass. Then we drop to Jordis, which is not surprising, as she's amazing. After MiG and Marty, everybody else is kind of trailing, with Jessica and Deanna at the bottom of the heap. I still maintain that J.D. or MiG will take the prize. Personally, I think that MiG is their best bet because not only is he a fellow Aussie, but he actually seems like a very talented guy that works well with a band. J.D. is a loner who wants it his way or no way, and INXS would be walking away with a loaded cannon if they were to choose him. Jordis is simply too talented to win.
Regardless, both J.D. and Jordis will absolutely end up with recording contracts, so it's not like they will be suffering if MiG gets the gig. Truthfully, they are probably both better off if they don't win.
I certainly hope that whoever is in charge here is smart enough to release a "best of" CD after the show ends, featuring some of the amazing performances we've heard along the way. There are quite a few songs that I definitely wouldn't mind hearing again.
Other than guessing who will win, one question remains: what band is going to step up for season 2 of Rock Star?
Posted on Wednesday, August 17th, 2005
I am hopelessly addicted to Rock Star: INXS in that I've watched the entire show from last night five times now. When you add that to the number of times I've watched the other episodes I've saved on TiVo, you might think that it's the only show on TV. It's like getting a new CD every week with music you can't get out of your head. Man I hope that they release the entire series on DVD and put the songs up for sale on the iTunes Music Store.
When you add that to my near-constant playing of the new Depeche Mode single "Precious"... it's been a good week for music.
The current meme-du-jur running around the blogosphere is "What's in YOUR Start Menu." Luckily, I don't have a Start Menu because I don't do Microsoft Windows. But I will share what's on my Mac PowerBook's Dock:
What's in YOUR Dock?
Interesting trivia about the above Blogography entry: This is not the entry I had originally written for today. I had started with a rant about something that made me so angry that I simply couldn't finish it. All I wanted to do was scream and type curse words. Eventually, I decided to stop writing and sleep on it. I'll be angry tomorrow.
But slightly less angry than I am right now.
UPDATE: Tonight's elimination round on Rock Star: INXS was way harsh... the bait-and-switch that Burke pulled between Ty and Suzie was just cruel. It is really beneath the show, and I hope that they cut out this crap and have a little respect for the performers from now on. Lame!
Posted on Monday, September 12th, 2005
Much to my shock and delight, the iPod nano I ordered arrived today!
I've only had it for two hours, but it is already one of my most favorite gadgets ever. It has the functionality of a full-sized iPod, but the portability and unobtrusiveness of the iPod shuffle. It is, without a doubt, the finest MP3 player I have yet owned or played with, and once again catapults Apple to the top... nothing else can touch it. It is a stunning display of both design and functionality that has me wishing that Apple would move into other markets. What I wouldn't give to have an iToaster.
The sound quality is stunning... about on par with my iPod shuffle, and slightly superior to my 2G full-size iPod. Unlike the competition I've tested, the volume gets plenty loud as well. The only downfall is that Apple continues to include these suck-ass earphones. I mean, for what they are, they sound okay... but the only way to go is to use in-ear phones. Fortunately, I've got a great pair that really maximize the quality that iPod is capable of.
The display, despite its tiny size, is remarkably crisp, clear, and easy to read. This means that the teeny, tiny little picture of the album artwork is recognizable enough to be useful. Also, the miniscule cards are readily discernible in the included Solitaire game, and the world clock (something I will use OFTEN) is just beautifully rendered. I don't know how they managed it, but the iPod nano is also capable of displaying your photographs, and easily syncs with iPhoto to make it happen. Another nicety is that it will sync with your address book and iCal calendar as well, so it is quickly becoming part-PDA as well as music device.
The iPod nano includes aforementioned crappy earphones, a dock adaptor (THAT DOESN'T FIT MY DOCK!!), a USB-2 connection cable, and a CD with drivers and outdated iTunes software. No FireWire cable is included, which sucks so much ass that I don't even know where to begin... FireWire is a standard that Apple championed, yet they f#@% over the Mac faithful by tossing USB-2 in the box? WTF? Only the most recent rounds of Macs even support USB-2! This means I have to transfer songs over painfully slow USB-1 on my Titanium PowerBook (which is where all my music is). The included adaptor looks like it is supposed to convert my old full-size iPod dock (which has FireWire) to work with nano, but it doesn't fit right... maybe my dock is too old? Oh well, if you just jam it in the dock without the adaptor, it works just fine, which is all I care about (you can, of course, use the cable alone as well). Still, lack of FireWire support out of the box is a notable f#@%-up in an otherwise miraculously perfect product... especially if you don't have a previous model to "steal" from. Okay, this f#@%ING SUCKS... the iPod nano doesn't support FireWire AT ALL! Even if you use an older cable with a FireWire connector. When you plug it in, it comes right up and tells you so. You can still use the dock... with a USB cable... but FireWire is entirely forbidden. This is STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!!! If Steve Jobs was here, I would bitch-slap the shit out of him for such a dumbass move. First Apple puts FireWire on everything, then stops supporting it? Thanks a lot f#@%ers. Shit like this is what turns faithful Apple whores into vengeful Apple haters. I am very, VERY pissed. F#@% APPLE... F#@% THEM UP THEIR STUPID ASSES!!!
I've seen some people complain that there isn't enough storage, which is crazy given the size of this thing. 1000 songs at a time is more than enough for me, and I've got a full-sized iPod If I ever want to carry my entire library around. I suppose the extra space would be nice for photos, but I don't think people will be using iPod nano as a substitute for a photo album considering there's no video-out and the small screen makes sharing difficult.
SURPRISES: The iPod nano comes with a stopwatch (with lap timer!), which I didn't see in any of the press materials. The small click-wheel is even more comfortable than the larger wheel on my full-size iPod. The calendar is actually worth using.
DISAPPOINTMENTS: Other than the missing FireWire support, there's only one other quibble... lack of a lanyard so you can wear the thing. Sure there's a "combo" model coming out that integrates headphones into the lanyard, but they're the same crappy earphones Apple is using already. I want a lanyard that lets me use my own earphones. No doubt there will be one soon, but this is a good reason to hang on to your iPod shuffle until something is released.
All in all this is a mind-blowing product. If you don't own an iPod, there are no more excuses, because the iPod nano is practically perfect IF YOU HAVE USB-2. If you already do own an iPod, then this is probably an excuse to upgrade IF YOU HAVE USB-2. Highest possible recommendation IF YOU HAVE USB-2.
Posted on Thursday, September 22nd, 2005
It seems like only yesterday I was whining because Depeche Mode was coming to Seattle and I was going to be out of the State.
Well, okay, it wasn't yesterday... it was actually two weeks ago. But still, I was positively crushed that I wouldn't be able to see my most favoritist band ever in concert. It never even occurred to me that I might be able to catch them in a city other than Seattle, until Kevin had left a comment asking about attending his local concert in Chicago. As it turns out, I was going to be in Milwaukee then... just a measly two hours away. Sweet! Looks like I'll be playing the angel after all.
And, thanks to a special promotion that iTunes was running, I was able to score us pre-sale tickets that aren't too bad. The only painful part of the entire ordeal was paying the $9.95 PER TICKET service fee that the TicketMaster bastards charge on top. Yeesh. Do I get lubricant with that?
It's nice to have something to look forward to.
So what I am doing up way too late tonight... errr... early this morning?...
Posted on Tuesday, October 4th, 2005
On the way back from China, United had a pretty good music selection going on, so I was listening to their inflight despite having my iPod fully loaded. One of the channels was playing some really amazing music with interviews from the artist, and so I check with the iTunes Music Store when I got home and, sure enough, Conjure One's Extraordinary Ways was available for purchase. If you are looking for some haunting melodies to mellow out with, then I suggest taking a quick listen. As for myself, I'm completely addicted...
Of the tracks listed, Endless Dream and Extraordinary Ways are favorites. There's also an official web site.
Posted on Friday, October 21st, 2005
Left a cold and wet Venice only to arrive in a warmer, yet far wetter Rome.
This is making me really, really thankful that I had spots of fantastic weather when I did. If the entire vacation had been under this weather, I would be really depressed. As it is, I'm more sad about it coming to an end than I am over the weather. After five hours on a train, all I had the energy for was to walk to the Hard Rock for dinner, then drag my soggy ass back to the hotel. After a few hours out in the rain, I'm really ready for bed.
But I can't go to bed, because I've got five days of blog entries to upload.
I haven't decided what I'm going to do tomorrow. I'm sure it will involve being wet.
Two big releases happened whilst I was in the northern environs of Italia... first, Depeche Mode's latest album, Playing the Angel hit on Tuesday. Next, Apple released some new computers and an utterly brilliant piece of software called Aperture on Wednesday.
Sadly, Depeche Mode's latest was a bit of a disappointment after the initial beauty of the single release Precious (not to mention the long, long wait since the last album). I like half the tracks well enough... but it seems more of an experiment than a refined work. Dave Gahan's voice is amazing as always, it's the musical accompaniment that's lacking. I don't know if Martin Gore is in a phase where everything has to be disjointed, raw, gritty, and stuck in a feedback loop... but it does not "feel" like a Depeche Mode album, and that's a bitter pill to swallow after the long months of anticipation. Some pretty major DM fans are referring to it as "noise" instead of music. While I wouldn't go that far, I can definitely see where they're coming from.
Apple Computer's Aperture, on the other hand, is an absolutely astounding software release that is going to entirely change how I work with digital photos. I cannot wait to get my hands on it, and will probably never shoot in JPEG mode again. If you're a professional photographer, here's a link you really need to follow.
Time for bed.
Posted on Friday, November 18th, 2005
I am now officially totally psyched over the prospect of seeing Depeche Mode's "Playing the Angel" tour in a mere ELEVEN DAYS! The reviews have been fantastic, and I have yet to read anything but raves. If only I could have gone to the Seattle show on the 16th as well. Oh well. The fact that I am getting to see DM at all is practically a miracle, so I shouldn't be complaining.
The set looks to be a perfect blend of old and new (though it seems odd that Master and Servant isn't in there somewhere, because it is amazing when performed live)... A Pain That I'm Used To, John The Revelator, A Question Of Time, Policy Of Truth, Precious, Walking In My Shoes, Suffer Well, Damaged People, Home, I Want It All, The Sinner In Me, I Feel You, Behind The Wheel, World In My Eyes. Personal Jesus, Enjoy The Silence; ENCORE: Somebody, Just Can't Get Enough, Everything Counts; ENCORE 2: Never Let Me Down Again, Goodnight Lovers.
Sweet! I love that they're keeping Just Can't Get Enough and Everything Counts paired up in an encore, just like their "Music for the Masses" tour, which was killer.
Speaking of Depeche Mode, pop quiz hot shot...
You've just rocked out at a Depeche Mode concert in Chicago after working in Wisconsin for four days. Do you...
A) Go back to your hotel and sleep-in until 8:30 before hopping a plane home. Then skip going into work so you can spend the afternoon unpacking, resting, and reflecting upon what an awesome show you got to see the night before.
B) Go back to your hotel room for a 4-hour nap, then hop a plane to L.A. so you can go to a meeting the next morning. Spend two days in L.A. both dazed and deaf... hoping nobody important notices.
I thought the answer was "A" but apparently I'm wrong. The proper response is "B" -- yes, "B" is the correct answer.
Fortunately, I don't usually get more than four hours sleep anyway, so that's not an issue. It's more the fact that I have to hang at the airport for 90 minutes, then take a 4-1/2 hour flight after having only 4 hours of sleep that's the scary bit.
But who cares! I get to see Depeche Mode in ELEVEN DAYS!!
Whoo! Dig that freaky futuristic stage. It's like out of The Jetsons or something.
Eleven days and counting...
Posted on Tuesday, December 27th, 2005
I am growing increasingly frustrated with the iTunes Music Store. It is not living up to its potential (despite current success) and is destined for ultimate failure in today's global marketplace.
And, by "global marketplace" I am actually talking about "stealing music globally".
Most people probably expect me to go on an anti-DRM rant right now, because everybody and their dog are blogging about how much they hate Digital Rights Management, but I am not going to be one of those people.
Yes, I loathe the fact that the music I buy has DRM. Yes, I wish it didn't. Yes, I am frustrated by the restrictions it puts on what I can do with music that I legally purchase.
But I am realistic.
There is no way... NO WAY... that DRM is going away any time soon. Dumbass music company labels still have a stranglehold on music distribution and will not allow it. And when I hear people saying "well, if we just don't buy any music that has DRM, labels will stop using it" - I want to laugh my ass off. DRM is how these companies plan on maintaining their power in the digital age. Until these antiquated and idiotic bastions of a bygone era are kicked to the f#@%ing curb so that artists can control their OWN distribution... DRM is here to stay.
And don't think that I don't dream every night for all those powerful recording labels to finally DIE DIE DIE!!!!
And here's why...
I WANT TO BUY THE NEW F#@%ING A-HA ALBUM: ANALOGUE!!
I mean, SHIT... COME ON!! IT WAS RELEASED ON NOVEMBER 14th for iTunes users in the UK!! Yet the only way I can get it here in the States is to purchase a $30 CD import.
Well, f#@% that.
Universal Music can kiss my ass.
Am I the only one who finds it ironic that a company calling itself "UNIVERSAL Music" doesn't release their shit UNIVERSALLY?
And yet I continue to see articles from "industry insiders" who are concerned that Apple has too much power in the music industry today. I find this funny because, to me at least, Apple doesn't have ENOUGH power over the music industry today. If they did, a-ha's entire music catalog would be available for purchase on the iTunes Music Store right now... no matter what country you live in. Such brilliant works as Lifelines and Major Earth, Minor Sky (the full album, not an EP) could be bought immediately, from the convenience of your own home, with the click of a mouse, for 99¢ a track.
So look, I will begrudgingly put up with the whole DRM fiasco that is forced upon me... yes, I am willing to be punished for legally buying my music... BUT AT LEAST LET ME F#@%ING BUY THE MUSIC I WANT TO BUY!
One day music company labels will be replaced by musician artist investors. These investors' sole function will be to support artists who do not have their own financing in return for a fair cut of any profits generated. They will not control or restrict an artist's distribution... on the contrary, they will do everything possible to encourage an expanding world market for the artist so that they can maximize their investment.
But people are going to have to stop buying CDs and Cassettes and Records first. Because the only way for instantaneous global distribution to happen is when everybody is buying their music digitally. Whether this be with iTunes, Napster, or even the artist's own web site... with or without DRM... the choice should be made by the people making the music, not some dumbass whose only thought is how to squeeze every last penny they can out of a "product" based on lucrative distribution licensing agreements.
Granted, this is an extremely simplistic scenario. There are numerous factors that have to be addressed (promotion is a biggie) that I haven't even touched on, but it's a start.
It also explains why I will be ignoring everybody screaming for me to boycott digital DRM music. I will continue to buy my music from the iTunes Music Store (when it's available) or steal it (until it IS available) and never purchase another f#@%ing CD ever again. I want no part of the blood that was spilled in order to get that toxic piece of plastic into my hands.
And once the almighty music labels are removed from the picture because they no longer control the music, something tells me that the artists making the decisions will be less likely to treat their fans like criminals (well, except for Metallica). DRM will, hopefully, implode as a result of cheap music being readily available and artists taking control of their own destiny (along with the profits their destiny generates). And if Apple or Napster won't let the artists sell their music without DRM, there are plenty of other places that will.
In the meanwhile, I will be waiting for the next "New Music Tuesday" email from Apple... hoping against hope that the music I am wanting to buy will actually be for sale.