Monday, December 22, 2008

J1 - New jazz by the master

I spent 2 weeks listening to nothing but jazz to try to get out of the "same old thing" and find a new groove. Layed down a Jazzy tune thats more "space" then jazz but I really like it.
This is the second recording using my new "rack". Interesting twist is the first track I layed is a Bass but played more as a lead. Drums are both robot and manual.Subtle background is a Keyboard effect.

Direct link (doesnt always work) J1
Or jump to and scroll down to the J1.mp3 attachment.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Phones like watches - Why have just one ?

For years the phone companies have been trying to "lock" people into their cell network by every trick in the book. Subsidies, carrier specific plans, phones "locked" to carriers, proprietary hardware, proprietary software and services. Everything they can think of to make you that once you buy their phone you cant use it on another carrier.

In the process of locking phones to carriers they phone companies are also locking you to only one phone. The entire business practice is aimed at "one phone per user" like that's a good thing. They are thinking "So 1999" ...

The carriers want everyone to have a phone so they built up this complex business and technical infrastructure that makes it inconvenient to share phones either to other people or carriers.

You know,so they can make more money. Sure. make money.

But today I just realized that has backfired ! I have multiple phones from work (because I have to write software on different models). Its gotten to the point where I sometimes have to choose which phone to take with me and its annoying because even though I have multiple plans,

the phones have are all distinct identifying services (based on the business model that I shouldn't be sharing phones !). All this time I thought I was unique ...I mean who has 6 cell phones but a nerd working for a PDA software company ?

Until I saw this ...
( )

I Want one of those !!!!!

I like my iPhone and I love my ATT Tilt, and even the treo is nice to have around sometimes.

But this ICE phone is COOL. But maybe not for every event. Maybe just when I'm out horseback riding (or stalking evil laser equipped sharks). But its really impractical to switch phones ! Thanks to telco's. Their antiquated oh-so-10-year-old business model is aimed at getting everyone a phone and neglected encouraging people to have MULTIPLE phones !

My thought for today is ... Phones are like watches. Like jewelry, like cars or shoes. People want different ones for different occasions. No way I'm taking my iPhone with me skiing or to the beach, even horseback riding I'm concerned I'd fall off and break it. Same with my watches. I have a Swiss Army watch for "sports" trips, and pretty one for dress.

Attention Telcos worldwide. Get your head out of the sand and start selling us on multiple phones not one ! Triple your revenue per customer. You've already saturated the market so quit with the zero-sum game of trying to get people to switch carriers ... you wont win that way. Instead encourage people to share phones, switch carriers, use multiple carriers and mostly use more phones! Dont lock your accounts to single SIM cards, let accounts access multiple SIM cards (maybe with a push of a button switch the "active" phone") Encourage us to buy as many phones as possible!. Don't fall for the trap of the "One Phone That Does It All", sure there' s a niche for that but instead sell a "Dress Model", a "Sports Model", "Basics" , "Business" model and encourage us to get them all, instead of having to choose only one that fits our square peg.

Software Companies get on the wagon ! Cross port your apps and let the licenses work across all a persons phone. Write smarter sync software that syncs across phones, not just Desktop to Phone.

Turn your phone collection into the analogy of your watch collection (or for the women, their Jewelry box). Going out for the night on a hot date ? Bike riding ? The Beach ? or the Office ?

Pick the right phone for the occasion.

Sell to us oh phone companies we have money to burn !

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Google Chrome - a Blazing fast browser

I've been a die-hard Internet Explorer user for years.   While I used to be a Netscape fan, and loved to hate Microsoft I was won over to the dark side years ago when I had to write comercial web applications and IE is simply the dominant browser in the business world.  Every few years I try a different browser like Safari, or Firefox, but I've never found them a compelling improvement in my oppinion.

Today is a new day.

I discovered "Google Chrome" via Slashdot which was commenting on the novelty of its introduction in cartoon format (
Reading this cartoon I was impressed with the technical discussions hidden in the cute format.

So I downloaded chrome from here: (Beta, Windows only right now).   My first experience is impressive.  It downloaded, installed, and RAN in under 30 seconds. Wow.  And its snappy.  Well it seemed fast but its hard to tell.
So I threw at it a problematic web page which I use frequently.

Try this in IE, I'd love to know your experience.  On My system it takes about 30 seconds to several minutes to load.  And after loaded, its almost unusable.  Page downs can hang IE for several seconds, and clicking on links in the TOC can take 5-10 seconds or more to jump to the right place.  Its not an exceedingly complex document, its big but not like a comercial web site with gigabytes of flash.  Its just HTML on a long page but brings IE to its knees.

Try Firefox.  I gave up after 5 minutes and it hadnt completely loaded and rendered.

Try Chrome.  3 seconds I had the page up, and every user interaction is instant.   There is no delay at all paging, scrolling or clicking jump links.  I'd  have fallen off my chair if it didnt have arms.  Wow.  Have to say I'm vastly impressed.  

There's a lot of other interesting things about this browser and I am anxious to try them, but for performance alone, its incredible.   I've never "recommended" a browser before but now I have to say ... you've got to try it.  I'll probably have to keep IE around forever for the same reason I switched to it, that its still the dominant browser for business, and as long as I'm working on web applications they have to be tested in IE first.   But for day to day browsing ... Chrome is compelling.  I'll definately keep it around for a while.  Hopefully it goes past "beta".

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

New Music - Jack-A-Roe

Jack-A-Row (with and without Vocals)Old "traditional" tune. A slow easy ballad about a a salior and his sweetheart.Sad start, happy ending. With and without vocals.Clean rythm guitar, lead, human & robot drums and midi bass.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Loose Lucy now with Vocals

I added a vocal track to the Rock'n "Loose Lucy" ... experimenting with "Bill Shatner" style singing :)

scroll to the bottom ... this direct link might or might not work

Monday, June 9, 2008

Sony Alpha DSLR A300

My Sony Cybershot camera finally died so I needed a new camera. I love those tiny ones like the cybershot you can slip in your pocket etc but no matter how much $ you pay the results are sub-par. If your outside in bright sun the pix look good, but low light or even medium light they are awful and lets not even TRY to get an action shot or a flash > 5 feet away.

So this time I got a DSLR. I'll probably also end up getting a pocket camera, but I was tired of pictures coming out awful even when I was at home and had everyone "pose". Research and some real window-shopping at Circuit City I settled on the Sony Alpha series A300. I'm quite happy with it.

Beyond the obvious features of a Digital SLR (DSLR) I wanted "simple" features. Buttons without too many settings and a good "auto" mode so that anyone could use it without thinking and atleast get decent photos. And of course I wanted manual overrides, but without having to go to "Full Manual" where I have to adjust every setting. This model comes out on top in my price range with all this and a lot more.

The Auto mode is excellent, and produced good shots in almost all setting (except the worse where there was a bright backlight ... )

Manual overrides are great, you don't have to go to full manual mode, you can very simply add a "Expose Compensation" (+/- range) in seconds or change the focus or exposure spot with one finger very quickly.

The "Live View" is awesome. I didn't realize this before researching but most DSLR's don't have the same feature as cheep consumer snapshot digital cameras, that is a full LCD view with 100% of the features. The A300 does. Not only that but the LCD can tilt up or down for high or low shots.

And fast, did I say FAST ... Point, click , shoot, repeat ... instant with no lag. This really works as both an exceptional point-n-shoot camera as well as a very decent SLR.

Here's 2 of my favorite shots from my first day shooting.

And a great (intentionally dark) sunset.

New music - Loose Lucy

A little late to blog this, but the reviews are in !
A new recording. "Loose Lucy", I think this is really snapy and crisp, definately one of my better recordings. (scroll down to "Loose Lucy")

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Monday, March 31, 2008

Walt Disney World

Well ... I did it. I finally took the remaining family on a trip to WDW (Walt Disney World. As a kid I made frequent trips to Disneyland (maybe 20 total). Dad would frequently bring home visiting professors and students who wanted to visit and we got to go along for the ride. Plus the mormons would rent out the whole place once or twice a year. I loved disneyland. But I havent been in 30 years.

Well as luck would have it, I ended up with less then 2 weeks notice that I'd get to have my son john over spring break. We've been thinking of going to disney world (its closer then Disnelyand from IN) but I wanted to wait until john was old enough to remember it. Also I cant abide the heat so its a tough call ... go during the summer when its 100 degrees out and suffer or not at all (I typically dont get custody for spring or winter breaks ...). Well I looked online and everything was sold out. But thankfully travel agents still have a job! Our local agent was able to get us a full week at a disney resort over spring break at only 10 days notice ! That was truely a miracle. You'd think a place as big as WDW with as many hotels would have lots of vacancies, but no ... its the single most popular destination in the world. I lucked out and got into a "moderate" resort, the Port Orleans Riverside resort.

I'll skip most of the details or this would be a 100 page book ... In summary: Disney World is a great place, for both kids and adults. The "Moderate" hotel was much better then I expected. Really a beautiful place. John told me that "Florida is so beautiful !" I didnt have the heart to tell him 90% of the trees were shipped in and planted ... What I will say is this. Do it.

Go to WDW sometime, either with the kids or without. Its a wonderful place. Its HUGE ... twice the size of manhattan with > 75,000 employees ! but they have it down. Its efficiently run, staffed with very nice people and just plain beautiful. Un-like Disneyland, its in the middle of wilderness ... not the middle of Anahiem. There's a lot I could write about what to see and not to but its best left to the experts. The best I can say is Plan, Plan, Plan ! It seems counter-intuitive, because lots of the fun is discovering things and NOT going by a plan, but without a plan you'll miss out on so much and your experience will suffer. I only had a week to plan and that helped immensely.

Here's what I suggest as a quick summary.

* Plan early. 6 months ahead is not unreasonable

* Stay at a Disney resort. Its worth the slight premium in $ for the perks which include :
-- Extra hours at resorts (morning & evening)
-- Free transportation to all parks
-- Single card for access to Hotel room, Food, park access and credit $
-- Very nice ! The "Riverside" was beautiful and its only a "moderate" resort.
-- Access to "Disney Express" transportation to/from airport
-- NO parking, no long waits to get in parks, excellent services
-- Consolidated dining plan in hotel and park restaurants & snack centers

* Use the Dining plan, its worth it

* Reserve restaurants. I only had a week and had a hard time reserving. Some people reserve up to 180 days ahead, and that's the only way to get into the special places like character dining.

* Epcot has the best restaurants. The Japanese place was as good as any I've had anywhere in the world.

* Visit the web. Thousands of web pages on how to make the most of your stay.

* Your going to walk a LOT. Plan for it. It might kill you. There are electric scooters available for $40/day if you want them.

* Get the full park-hopper passes. You dont want to be confined to one park in a day. But realize it takes about an hour to change parks, given time to get to/from a bus/monorail/boat etc. The place is huge.

* Its HUGE. Did I say that ? I spent 7 days and maybe visited 50% of the general area. Probably 10% total coverage if you consider all the things I just walked by and didn't check into.

* Learn the crowd patterns and plan around them. When we went, 11am on were stifling croweded so we took that time to take a nap, visit the pools or go to places less travelled. Early mornings (7am to 10am) were so empty I could walk right onto Space Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean with 0 wait ... but by noon they had 2 hour lines.

* Learn the fast passes. Get tickets early and then come back for the big rides later.

* relax ! Take the boats as often as possible. They can actually get places faster then the buss es and are much more pleasant. Learn to find "rides" that you can sit down in with no lines. My feet and legs were killing me by day 2 ... but finding places I could just sit for 30 minutes was a blessing.

Overall. I'm impressed. I love it. I want to go again right now! With or without the kids. Its an amazing place where you can do anything ... or nothing. Its an amazing experience in so many ways. Beyond the obvious, its just fascinating trying to comprehend how they can do it! How can 75,000 people show up for work every day and pull off the miracle day in and day out. How can they all be so HAPPY ... I spent a lot of time talking to employees to get the "inside scoop". Most of them were long time employees (10 - 27 years !) and they love their job. it shows. Everyone from gardeners and toilet cleaners to the jungle ride captians are putting on a show ... every day, and it comes from their hearts. Its an amazing experience and it gives you a refreshing view on life. Even if every single ride ends up in a themed gift shop ... its still a wonderful place to be.

I think the #1 key to understanding the "Disney Experience" is that all employees are called "Cast Members". This isnt just a gimicky lable. Its a philosophy. That is, every single inch the public sees of any disney property is a "Stage" and every person you see is "cast" in an ongoing 24/7/365 production of an alternate reality show. A show thats been running for 50 years non-stop. A show that at times is so close to real that maybe it is real and not your imagination. Maybe they arent acting.... It infects the guests and they've paid to come here. Maybe it could be real ... is real ... maybe life can be like this. If everyone just took home the magic and kept living like they are in WDW all the time it could be true ... why not?

Its a really good show that hurts to leave.

I'm planning my next trip right now :)