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Original Sound of Covered Music April 16, 2010

Posted by shwaldman in Society, Technology, Work.
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Listening to the NPR Technology podcast from this morning, I heard this story. Pomplamoose (pronounced just like it looks) is a male-female duo that produces both covered and original music. They recently have done Lady Gaga and Rihanna’s hit “Telephone and other popular songs like Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.”

Just listening to them on the radio, I really liked there sound – here they are in iTunes. And then watching a couple of videos on YouTube, I found they have a real fun laid back look. I recommend checking them out.

I think one of the things that I find most interesting is how they figured out how to buy the rights to do this and put together their music and videos all on there own. They make their living doing something they love and split no hairs that they do not need a big record label to oversee and change their vision.


Movie Review: Michael Jackson’s This Is It March 5, 2010

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Michael Jackson is and always will be a great icon of music. The fact that his life was marred by stories that could never be fully understood is a sad footnote to his life. What I hope will stand the test of time is his tremendous library of incredible music.

I got to see him in person at the age of 12 during the Victory Tour in September of 1984. But being on the opposite side of RFK Stadium in Philadelphia was like being in another building. What made the concert worth while was the ambiance. It was a celebration of The Jackson 5 and their family of musicians. This DVD, too, is a celebration. It was an eye into the planning of the tour that Jackson was planning to be his last.

Obviously, watching these recordings of him practicing was a little eerie, but once you get past that it was amazing to see this amazing performer. He has an impeccably clear vision of how he wants his performance to be. Everything from the clothes to the music to the dancers to the stage design. It is such a shame that the world did not get to see it. Admittedly, I am sure we would not have gone to see it, but as the saying goes, you don’t know what you have until you lose it. And on June 25, 2009 the world lost someone that was arguably the greatest entertainer of all time.

Filling up 32GB on an Apple Touch November 10, 2009

Posted by shwaldman in Family, Fitness, Society, Technology.
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So, I have had a few weeks with my new iPod Touch 32GB 3rd Generation…. and I have to say it is all I expected and more. It is very easy to use. Even the free-est of free apps are quite good. I have already managed to download 4 additional pages of apps, mostly games, and have enjoyed all but a few.

One thing the Touch has caused me to do is clean up my data. I have managed to find and remove numerous duplicate copies of music of my library. I have also consolidated all my contacts from my phone as well as my other mail progams into GMail with which the Touch syncs pretty seemlessly. Although the default contacts app is pretty lame. My next big project is to start utilizing Google Health so that I have access to our family’s health records any time, any place. Well, with the Touch it isn’t exactly that completely available – having only WiFi does have its major limitations. But you would be surprised at how many unlocked wireless connections are out there. Just this morning, I tweeted outside my son’s day care on someone’s wireless connection.

It would be very nice to have anytime/any place access, but I am still not ready to pay $40 bucks month to get it. Granted, I am als missing out on GPS apps that don’t work on a Touch, but since the OS does not allow 2 apps to run at once, I think that functionality would be disappointing anyway. The new Motorola Droid will probably do that thing kind of better once there are more diverse applications available for it.

So, my favorite uses so far? I haven’t quite figured out tweeter and I am not addicted to Facebook yet, but I guess that is the anti-social side of me. Those are two excellent uses for the Touch for sure. Like I said, I consolidated all my contacts, so I do like the fact that I can now carry around my whole address book, although I still need do some work to keep that in sync. And my biggest benefit all along has been to keep my podcasts in sync. It obviously works seemlessly with iTunes, which has every podcast under the sun (and any other podcast can be subscribed to also). And with the 32 GB, I have room for my entire 20 GB music library. I am starting to carry around pictures too. And then there are games. Sadly, my favorites are old classics, a brick breaker game, a toobz game, a real GTI is very cool, sudoku, maj jong, air hockey… like I said, I now have four screens to apps.

I have yet to pay for an app or a podcast, though. As much as I love the apps I have found, I would be very tormented if I spent money on something that ultimate is just a time waster. I would want to get my money’s worth, but I also would not want to waste time on this machine. It is certainly a fun, entertaining, useful tool and I am so lucky my wife loves me so much that she worked as hard as she did to win it for me. ‘Nuff said!

Running With Music / Right Sound at the Right Time May 7, 2009

Posted by shwaldman in Fitness, Society, Technology.
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Zen V Plus
There is lots of controversy over whether people should run with headphones. Indoors, on treadmills, the purest says they are not able to really pay attention to the running. Outside, safety is the issue (the purest still has their case). While, I understand both viewpoints, I just can’t follow the rule. I have to have my music. It provides a quiet distraction from the outside world and gives me the motivation and rthyme to keep moving.

For any purest out there, I have to ask, do you where shoes, clothes… how pure do you need to be? Running is a pure sport to start with, it is about the self, not the equipment. I like the idea of triathlons, but there is too much equipment advantage to be gotten by those who can. Swimming should be pure, but it isn’t once you strap on these high tech suits. Certainly cycling is not pure. You can go down the line… running requires shoes, but until those shoes can have bionic springs or little sonic jets in them, it will continue to be pure. Adding a little music to it does it give enough of an advantage or disadvantage to change that.

I can more justify the safety issue when people are running outside. In certain places, not being able to hear can be very detrimental to runners. If you run in the city where people can cause you harm or on streets (city or country) where vehicles can do you harm, you have to be able to hear them coming. I am fortunate that I am an above average height male. In this respect, I feel bad for people where this is not the case and safety becomes an issue. But this only protects me from the first issue. The second issue is more of a question of common sense and self awareness. This second issue could also apply to driving, so should be ban radios from cars?

Okay, the end of my rant. The real reason I wanted to blog on this topic was the irony of the music that comes on at just the right time. Sometimes I listen to audiobooks or podcasts, but when I listen to music, the right music always seems to come on at the right time to give me a smile. Yesterday as rounded my nieghborhood street for the third time with son in the stroller, the Justin Timberlake song “What Goes Around, Comes Around” came on. The day before, as I made the turn on a out-and-back run, I was starting to feel my lungs burn … on came “No Air” by Jordin Sparks. My favorite was when I was really starting to suffer on a big hill towards the end of a long run… Alanis Morissette’s “Uninvited”… go away pain, go away!

I think I should be alble to listen to my music, if only to put the smile on my face instead of the grimis that might otherwise be there. (BTW – my MP3 player is an 8GB Black with Red Creative Zen V Plus. It competes with the Nano and I would take this non-proprietary player over the Apple any day!)

Lip Syncing on American Idol March 27, 2009

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So, I know it is their voices. I am sure they sang the song in a recording studio, but they just can’t dance and sing at the same time. I don’t remember this being such an issue in past years. To me, this points to the weak field we are witnessing this season.

I don’t think I would mind as much if they were experienced lip syncers – they need to bone up on Milli Vanilli – but these guys can’t do it. Some artists can’t do it because the dance moves are too aerobic – they can’t physically breath that hard and sing. But the moves the American Idol choreographers have laid out are more stage directions – they can’t lip sync and walk at the same time. It makes for a sad performance. You either have to look away and only listen or turn down the volume and watch them move (note: not dance).

This week Adam’s near perfect performance just about won him this year’s title. Unfortunately, looking back at past winners, being able to “make a song your own” has not been the prerequisite. But this stand out performance put him well into the lead. Barring big improvements the also-ran’s it looks like his ability to morph from alternative rock anything the producers of the show throw at them, I think Adam has it.

My pick from the early auditions has been Anoop. I still think he has a chance and he does seem to utilize the judges feedback, so I still have my hopes. The other guys are good, too, but it is an especially weak field of ladies.