Published December 28, 2003
Keith Jarrett has won the Sonning Music Prize, a Danish award that has been given annually since 1959. The first prize went to Igor Stravinsky, and other previous winners include Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez, and Miles Davis (the only other jazz artist to ever win).
We heard the Jarrett Trio (with Jack DeJohnette and Gary Peacock) this past fall, and it was a spectacular display of three master artists at the top of their craft, rearchitecting jazz standards with a degree of communication and technical prowess that was truly awesome. This award (which comes with an $80,000 cash prize) is a nice recognition of Jarrett’s work and talent.
Published December 24, 2003
In the devices that should exist by now category, it seems to me that now that there are CD changers that hold hundreds of disks (like this 400 disk Sony), they ought to come equipped with Ethernet and/or WiFi connections. You should be able to load the changer up with CDs and let it go out to CDDB (or Gracenote or whatever they’re called these days) and do their own metadata retrieval and indexing.
Instead they seem to think it’s a marketing feature that they have a keyboard connection – now that sounds like a recipe for repetetive stress injuries if I ever heard one.
After some further googling, I did see that there is a 200-disk Kenwood changer that connects to a PC via a RS-232 serial cable (now that’s modern) and they offer software to download info from CDDB. And there is a hardware/software system scalled TitleTrack for the Mac that hooks the Mac via USB to Sony changers and accomplishes the same thing. But that costs $389 – almost twice the cost of a 400-disk changer. Jeeze.
Published December 23, 2003
My almost-six-year-old son has been spending a fair amount of time using my new 15″ Powerbook. When he minimizes a window down into the dock he says “I sucked it up.”
I offer this terminology to Apple royalty-free
So we gave him KidPix for Hannukah, after having heard raves about it from my brother when his kids were small some dozen years ago. And it’s just as cool as I hoped – the drawing tools are intuitive and the effects are easy to use and cool, and I love the sounds!
But I was disappointed to see that the latest version (Kid Pix 3 Deluxe) was a Classic app, not an OS X app, and only supports 800 x 600 resolution with thousands of colors.
MacKiev is supposedly porting Kid Pix to OS X, but they apparently announced it over a year ago…sigh.
Published December 23, 2003
We’re almost to the end of what has been a very long home remodelling project . As part of that project we added some space to our son’s bedroom, including a new closet, and I had the contractor put a power drop in the closet for the express purpose of having a shelf where he could plug in all the battery-operated things he needs to recharge.
Last night before I went to bed, I realized that he’s not the only person in the house who needs that kind of facility – I counted six devices of the non-child variety recharging: 2 mobile phones, a digital camera, my Powerbook, a toothbrush, and my bicycle headlight.
Published December 17, 2003
I’m sad to see that this week marks the last of Gary Giddins’ Weather Bird columns in the Village Voice. Gary has been writing this wonderfully erudite jazz criticism column in the Voice for 30 years, and his writing has enabled me to discover many wonderful artists that I would never have heard otherwise.
Thanks, Gary, for all of the wonderful years, and we’ll look forward to whatever writing you do in other forms!
There are some nice interviews with Gary here.
Published December 15, 2003
The Creative Commons has just turned one – Happy Birthday, CC! Here is their entirely too groovy flash animation which explains their mission and success to date at providing a common licensing alternative to the copyright mess. It’s a big (7 MB) download, but well worth watching!
Published December 15, 2003
I was not initially enthusiastic about the Lord of The Rings movies – perhaps I heard too much hype before I saw the first one, but it struck me as being overly long and didn’t really grab me. But I just watched the second one on DVD this past weekend, and got *totally* sucked in. Interestingly enough, my colleague Bill Schaefer had the exact opposite experience – so go figure.
At any rate, I’m looking forward to seeing the thrilling conclusion. And here is a story about how the software used to create the final battle scenes was so smart that the Orcs kept running away from the battle. There’s a lesson in there somewhere for our foreign policy, I’m sure.
Basically, all the necessary information for decision-making was fed into this network of computers without determining for them whether they would win or lose.
But this attempt to ensure that they acted spontaneously almost sabotaged the the battleground sequences.
“For the first two years, the biggest problem we had was soldiers fleeing the field of battle,” Taylor said.
“We could not make their computers stupid enough to not run away.”
So some extra computer tinkering was required to ensure that the trilogy’s climactic battle worked the way Jackson wanted.
Thanks to Cory Doctorow for pointing this out!
Published December 12, 2003
A very clever Canadian billboard. Thanks to kasia in a nutshell.
Published December 11, 2003
Read all about it.
“The marriage is a first for Krall. Costello’s previous two marriages ended
Still, I wouldn’t mind hearing Diana Krall sing “Almost Blue”, which Elvis wrote for Chet Baker.
Published December 10, 2003
There’s a good interview in Rolling Stone with Steve Jobs talking about Apple’s experience in negotiating with the record companies while setting up the iTunes Music Store and in his remarkably common-sense view of what the issues are facing the music industry.
“People don’t want to buy their music as a subscription. They bought 45s, then they bought LPs, they bought cassettes, they bought 8-tracks, then they bought CDs. They’re going to want to buy downloads.
Our position from the beginning has been that eighty percent of the people stealing music online don’t really want to be thieves. But that is such a compelling way to get music. It’s instant gratification. You don’t have to go to the record store; the music’s already digitized, so you don’t have to rip the CD. It’s so compelling that people are willing to become thieves to do it. But to tell them that they should stop being thieves — without a legal alternative that offers those same benefits — rings hollow.”
Worth a read.