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Archive for the ‘General Tech-ishness’ Category

Music Mix and Podcast Update

Posted by Peder on 30 January 2010

I’ve blogged before about music mixes and podcasts I like.  Here’s a quick update of what I’ve been up to recently.

Music for the Appreciation of Nature

I was running on a wooded trail a few weeks back and realized I didn’t have the right mix for appreciating nature.  Such a mix would be more subtle than other running inspiration I’ve used.  Its dulce tones would foster quiet reflection.  To contrast, a few bombastic, awe-inspiring anthems would enrich the soul with energy and joy … the aural equivalent of the bright sunshine warming my face.  Voilà!

There’s some African stuff in there, southern Asian (Indian), Icelandic … as well as East Asian and electronica sounds.  And a touch of Latin in the second track.  I tried it out on a run last Sunday, and it sounded great.

TaRANtino

A bunch of songs I liked from the movies Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill (did you know they’re making a 3rd?) and Inglourious Basterds.  It’s meant to be shuffled; I don’t have a set play order for these tracks.  Of particular note is that Santa Esmeralda version of “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.”  It’s a 10 minute version, but miraculously never wanes in excitement!

Podcasts (I’ve linked their websites, but it’s probably easiest to grab these feeds through iTunes. Just type the title into the search bar.)

Stuff You Should Know – Hosts Josh and Chuck take on a new topic almost daily on a podcast which is now near the top of the iTunes Most Popular list.  Ranging from totem poles to geocaching to the CIA testing LSD on the public, each episode will teach you something in a fun, informal manner.  Yeah, learning!

All Songs Considered – Ripping the name from All Things Considered, this National Public Radio production looks into the modern music scene with an informed perspective.  The commentators can periodically come off a bit pretentious, but I’ve realized the good aspects of the show more than outweigh the bad.

Live Concerts (from All Songs Considered) – Speaking of NPR, they publish live concerts for free online.  Some short sets are even on video.  ‘Nuff said.

Musicheads – New music album commentary from a local radio station.  Their schtick is to ask if an album is “working” for them.  Unfortunately, over the last six months or so, more and more albums seem to work, meaning the show is becoming something of a promotion vehicle for the music they’re playing on the station.  Also, they repeat shows a little too often for my tastes.  In a perfect world they’d have more shows and use the space to rip on a couple albums once in a while.  Especially the ones I don’t like!

The Dinner Party Download – I just started listening to this one, and it has promise.  Each short episode has a quick joke and some fun stories from the past week.  And a drink recipe.  The idea is to prep you with stories and banter for your next dinner party.  Not a bad angle.

The Five Minute Linguist – Being that I’m a language nerd, this show has really peaked my interest.  But it’s not all grammar rules.  Topics range from how do languages spread, to what’s up with Esperanto, to was German almost the official American language?

That Sucks – This is a video blog that highlights little-known comedians.  Each short episode is centered around the theme of something that sucks.  Very funny.

Posted in General Tech-ishness, Music | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

In Which an Old-Fashioned Writer Praises New Media

Posted by Peder on 16 August 2009

Local columnist Garrison Keillor had another witty, pertinent opinion published in today’s paper. It rambles a bit more than some of his other pieces, but the salient takeaway is that new media, the blogosphere, has liberated the opinions of Americans by democratizing its publication and broadcast. Unfortunately he lays the groundwork for those who would argue the value of this populist movement when he contends that people use e-mail to share well reasoned opinions, and that the world would be better off without professional journalists.  But he brings his point home about two-thirds through the article when he comments on the factors that have left newspapers open to competition and casts luminous support of the independent American writer.  Ultimately Mr. Keillor is a writer who is first and foremost an advocate of his craft.  That he muses here on social and technological current events is merely a backdrop for that advocacy.

I’ve rebroadcast the article in its entirety below, but to get started I suggest you press play on the music file below (hosted by SoundCloud).

You know it’s going to be a difficult day when you wake up with “Guantanamera, Guajira Guantanamera, Guantanamera, Guajira Guantanamera” going around and around in your head and it won’t stop. You know that probably you should not tackle health care reform today, though brainlessness has not stopped other people from weighing in on it.

Here are mobs of flannel-mouthed robots denouncing Socialist Gummint Takeover as Medicare goes rolling along rather tidily and the private schemes resemble railroads of the early 19th century, when each line decided its own gauge and each stationmaster decided what time it is. Anyone who has tried to coax authorization for payment from Federated Amalgamated Health knows that, for incomprehensible standards and voluminous rules and implacable bureaucrats, the health insurance industry carries on where the Italian postal service left off. But don’t mind me, I’m a man with a viral song in my head and I should go soak it.

The goons who go to town hall meetings and shout down the congressmen are museum pieces. They can shout until the bats fall off the rafters, but if you really want to know about health insurance, you just look around on the Internet and it’s all there and more. The president gave a good solid tutorial on the subject back in June to the AMA, and you can still find it at YouTube. When you come to choose between him and the goons, you don’t have to think too hard.

This is the beauty of new media: It isn’t so transitory as newspapers and TV. Good stuff sticks around and people e-mail it to friends and slowly it floods the country.

What the new media age also means is that there won’t be newspapers to send reporters to cover the next war, but there will be 6 million teenage girls blogging about their plans for the weekend. There will be no TV networks to put on dramas in which actors in costume strut and orate and gesticulate, but you can see home video of dogs and anybody’s high school graduation anywhere in America. We will be a nation of unpaid freelance journalists and memoirists. This is not necessarily a bad thing.

It comes too late for Richard Nixon or Bill Clinton. In the new media age, there would not be a Watergate or a Monica Lewinsky. The president could conspire to break the law or canoodle with anybody within arm’s reach and likely there would be nobody in the forest to hear that particular tree fall. And that would be just fine. All we got from those enormous Old Media events, frankly, was entertainment. They were no more enlightening than a Harold Robbins novel.

I’m an old media guy and I love newspapers, but they were brought down by a long period of gluttonous profits when they were run as monopolies by large, phlegmatic, semiliterate men who endowed schools of journalism that labored mightily to stamp out any style or originality and to create a cadre of reliable transcribers. That was their role, crushing writers and rolling them into cookie dough. Nobody who compares newspaper writing to the swashbuckling world of blogging can have any doubt where the future lies. Bloggers are writers who’ve been liberated from editors, and some of them take you back to the thrilling days of frontier journalism, before the colleges squashed the profession.

The Internet is a powerful tide that is washing away some enormous castles and releasing a lovely sense of independence and playfulness in the American people. Millions of people have discovered the joys of seeing yourself in print — your own words! the unique essence of yourself, your stories, your jokes, your own peculiar take on the world — out there where anybody can see it! Wowser.

Unfortunately, nobody is earning a dime from this. So much work, so little pay. It’s tragic.

But one door closes and a window opens. The health care industry is wide open and there’s a need for writers. Old people are lonely, old people want to be listened to and their stories written down, old people need entertainment. That’s why I am opposed to the current health care reform bill — there is nothing in there for creative therapy and the artistic fulfillment of the sick and elderly. A humorist in every hospital ward. Laughter is the best medicine. Sick people need distraction. When you wake up in the morning with “Guantanamera” going around in your head, you forget about your troubles except for that one.

P.S. – I’ve previously offered my support of Mr. Keillor in a bad haiku.

Posted in Communication, General Tech-ishness | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Trying Out Posterous

Posted by Peder on 27 January 2009

This is my first post to Posterous.com, seeing how well it links to my other online profiles.

To start, we’ll post a video of one of my favorite songs of the 80s.  Happy Tuesday everyone.

—–

Update:  I have parked my Posterous blog at www.PederHanson.com. I’m not quite yet sure what I’m going to do with it, nor how it’ll work with this blog and my Twitter acct, but it’s there and I plan to use it somehow.  Likely, I’ll post individual items there – those that are too long for Twitter – and combine them into larger themes on this blog.  I’ll likely post less here once I move to Belize … maybe once a week or so.

Posted in Communication, General Tech-ishness | Leave a Comment »

Live Blogging Every Commercial Flight in 72 Seconds

Posted by Peder on 16 January 2009

… Every flight in a 24 hour span, that is.

I’ve just been watching this back to back to back this morning.  I love how the volume of flights drops as night sets in, only to pick back up with the morning.  It’s really easy to see the main travel routes too.  #1 is easily North America <–> Europe.  At about 0:35 in you can just see the morning slew of planes descending westward over the Atlantic.  Lots of flights connecting Europe to Brazil and East Asia too, but not nearly as many trans-Pacific flights as I would have expected.

It’s fun to follow the paths least traveled too, like one originating off the SW coast of South America around the 0:10 mark.  Is that lone flight connecting Santiago, Chile to Sydney, Australia?  And what about his buddy originating from Buenos Aires 6 seconds later?  Think those two captains talk on the radio, and if so, what do they talk about?  Sooo … how ’bout that Antarctica, huh? Looks cold. At 0:28 they cross paths with an eastbound loner and I can’t help wondering why they cut so close to each other with all that space around them?  High stakes chicken?

Which path do you think is Oceanic Flight #815?

So here’s a live blog of the video:

0:00 – 0:10 — Wow there are a lot of flights in North America.  How come it doesn’t feel like I see that many when I watch the sky?  And look at Asia, they just have their own little thing going on there too, huh?  Hawaii gets a lot of love too.

0:10 – 0:20 — Ah, there’s Europe. Wake up sleepy heads!  The large stream from North America to Europe has dissipated, and did anyone else see how many connections there are between Brazil and Europe?  Must go to Brazil … Hey, who’s that little guy over the south Indian Ocean?  Where’s he going?  And there’s a dude up above Alaska!  (This reminds me of a trip my mother took.  Apparently Newwark –> Beijing flies pretty much right over the North Pole.  Go ahead, get a globe.)

0:30 – 0:40 — Europe is blossoming and the Americas have slowed enough to follow individual flights up and down the two continents.  That wave coming over the North Atlantic is pretty cool.  And then the USA/Canada wakes up — new flights following the sun.  Asia’s still humming.

0:40 – 0:50 — G’night Asia, good morning California.  North America and Europe are in full bloom again.  There are a bunch of flights shooting over the North Pole and Siberia, but no one’s crossing Antarctica.  A place only penguins dare to tread?

0:50 – 1:00 — Wow, there really is an ocean of land to cross in the interior of Asia isn’t there?  There’s a ton of flights there but they’re all sooooo spread out.  Looks like Europe –> North America is wrapping up for the day and the Asia <–> Australia flights are picking up.  And boy does New Zealand get an early start or what?

1:00 – End — Flights paint the Asian coastlines.  That little bugger in the south Indian Ocean is headed back east.  Lots of Europeans are flying to China and Japan, maybe Korea too.  Hawaii is booming again.  Woah, did you just see that flight over the south Atlantic blink and disappear at 1:04?!  … Oh thank God he’s back at 1:10, but where’d he go?  Flying under the radar?  The deck is 10,000 feet Maverick!

That was a lot of fun to write.  Here’s a little bit more about that video on Wired, and here’s where I first found it on Clusterflock. I got to that page by first reading this neat story, which I heard about on Kottke.  Lots of shout outs there, but you gotta recognize good things. Have a great Friday everyone!

Posted in General Tech-ishness, Internationalism | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Faiku

Posted by Peder on 26 December 2008

I had a real friend.
We ‘friended’ on Facebook, but
she just posts cat pics.

hi, I'm lame

hi, I'm lame

Posted in General Tech-ishness, Haikus | 2 Comments »

Online Holiday Fun

Posted by Peder on 23 December 2008

Xmas in Frisko

Xmas in Frisko

Happy holidays everyone.  We got another dusting of snow overnight in the MSP metro area, bringing the monthly total to something around 14″, making it one of the top 10 snowiest Decembers since they started recording that stuff.  Quite a reintroduction for me, as I’ve spent a lot of recent winters not in the Midwest, but it’s been fun re-learning winter driving techniques (think of a boat over the waves) and who could argue with a white Christmas?

I’ve been spending some more time with Soma FM and their new holiday stations. Xmas in Frisko has been great, with Christmas Lounge on the side for more traditional sounds.

I’ve also been spending some time with Google’s Book Search, which has been expanded and now includes an archive of old magazines on top of the archive of photos from Life magazine.  Very cool stuff.  I decided to look back at what was going on during my first Christmas on earth and found Larry Hagman smiling at me from the cover of a New York Magazine that boasted gift ideas for everyone on your list.  Being from the future, I was naturally drawn to gifts for “The Futurist,” where the Sony Walkman TCS-300 was going for $220. Of course, the ultimate winter outfit would’ve been nice: A reversible fuchsia and turquoise snowsuit that came in one size.  No doubt the $30 lighting rod was the epitome of class, but the four-function calculator and triangle vases would’ve still been pretty trendy in a world yet to experience New Coke, or would they?

Other highlights from that December 1980 issue include a story of a bunch of thirteen-year-olds who hacked Pepsi’s computer system to get cases of cola delivered to their school, questions as to whether President-elect Reagan will give cities the business (no, not the same business [0:39]), and a lot of liquor ads.

So Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Feliz Navidad and Happy Kwanzaa.  May Santa bring you everything you secretly hope for!

picture-21

picture-13

Posted in General Tech-ishness, Music, Stuff That Gave Me Pause | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

And Thus Render I Thee Obsolete

Posted by Peder on 19 November 2008

nosce te ipsum

nosce te ipsum

I’ve been talking with my dad lately about his desire to upgrade his cell phone.  A champion of “late adopter” principles (or better, “Colonist” principles applied to mobile tech), he doesn’t take on new technology very often, and when he does it’s only after it has become apparent that the technology will help him do his job better.  Or his golf game.

So I recently found and forwarded to him these two posts from a Wired blog to him showing all the gadgets that modern mobile “phones” are rendering obsolete.  My favorite:  MP3 players.  Not only is that technology only seven years old, but it’s a great example of market cannibalization as the iPhone pulls away some iPod customers.  Not that anyone at Apple would or should care.

It really is a crazy world out there of handheld-mobile-computing-unit-daily-planner-communication-life-aides.  So much so that Sprint has found an advertising niche promising to explain it to you. (Guess the racket was just looking too sweet for college-bound kids and the office IT geeks to have all to themselves.)

Posted in General Tech-ishness | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Screen Shot within a Screen Shot

Posted by Peder on 29 October 2008

Strange occurrence today:  I was reading my blogs via Google Reader and found a post from a blog I wanted to subscribe to.  So, using the features enabled by the Better GReader add-on I found my own reader opened inside my reader.  Weird.  Kind of reminds me of that Stephen Colbert portrait that was hung in the National Portrait Gallery or staring at a mirror when there’s another mirror behind you.

Anyway, back to work.  Today’s interlude brought to you by Soma FM’s “Illinois Street Lounge” radio station.  You stay classy blogosphere!

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Blogs I Want to Start Reading

Posted by Peder on 20 May 2008

Today at work has been about checking out the competition which means a lot of Internet surfing. This is dangerous for me, because like many of you I have Internet-ADHD, Searchbaritis, Relatedlinkmania and am horribly addicted to del.icio.us and Twitter. Ergo, I surf a lot …

So I found a couple neat blogs out there that I want to keep track of, but can’t read very much because I’m writing on a computer that belongs to my employer.

Demonbaby – Hollywood-based graphic artist talks about music and makes fun of celebrities. Good start.

Waxy – I do read it from time to time, and like the Links Blog, but want to spend more time on the main site.

Coding Horror – I want to believe I’m cool enough to get this stuff, and I do for the most part. Main idea here is, “surround yourself w/ people smarter than you.”

Alltop – an RSS aggregator instead of a blog, but provides list of good* blogs on a variety of topics

* as determined by Guy Kawasaki, presumably

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“Retweeting” a post about Twitter

Posted by Peder on 13 May 2008

The lovefest with current Internet darling, Twitter, continues.

I’ve noticed a lot of friends and colleagues have written wonderful posts on the web app and this has me thinking it’s probably my turn to weigh in.  But instead of writing some new ideas from scratch I’ll take a twitter-esque approach and “retweet” (replay/repost) some of my favorites.  I’ll give credit where credit is due, so feel free to check out these other blogs!

1.  First let’s get an introduction to what Twitter is.  Embedded below is a video from a blog that explains technical concepts to the rest of us.  I bring you the Common Craft’s “Twitter in Plain English.” (Click here if that doesn’t work.)

2.  Next we have Ian’s post on how he got over any hesitations and came to embrace the service.  It’s also peppered with more great links on the topic.

3. Third entry today goes to another member of my blog roll (right hand column, list of other blogs I read).  Meet Carrie.  This first post talks about her experience with Twitter.  This second provides an account of how Twitter helped break the Chinese earthquake story.

4. The CEO of Zappos is a fan, and he provides this post explaining how to get started.

5. “Following” people is the terminology for building your community, and it’s hard at first to know how to build this network.  This post from Pronet Advertising gives a list of influencers that you can add to your list.

6. Robert Scoble is an “early and often” proponent of Twitter.  Here he explains the value of following the right people.

7. Because of it’s popularity and ease of use, many many third party applications have been developed to enhance the Twitter experience.  Well-documented social media expert Jeremiah Owyang discusses some of them in this post.

8. Additional value from Twitter comes from the fact that it can be accessed while you’re away from your computer.  This post by Wired Pig explains how to access the service from your mobile phone’s Internet browser.  I learned of this blogger through my own community.

9. Lastly, something fun. Another guy that I’ve gotten to know entirely through Twitter runs a blog called Edit Weapon.  He ran a 6 Word Contest and got entries from his network.  Results posted here.

There you have it, my retweet.  I recommend you get an account, and be sure to follow me!

Posted in General Tech-ishness | Tagged: | 3 Comments »