Monday, January 23, 2006
Sunday, January 22, 2006
The spirit of radio in Seattle
102.5 -- KZOK - The Bob Rivers Show: There's nothing like listening to Bob, Spike, and Joe in the morning. These guys are always interesting to listen to, as they all compliment each other. They used to be on KISW, but then something happened and suddenly they weren't on the air. I have to admit that in the past few years I've been listening to Howard Stern in the morning. But then he went to Sirius. And now I've returned to where my love for talk radio all started: The Bob Rivers Show.
96.5 -- Jack FM: My brother introduced me to this station on Friday. He said something about how they use an algorithm to pick the songs that people want to hear. But, when I researched this a little, I found that the difference between Jack FM and other radio stations is their playlist. Jack FM can have a playlist of 1000 songs, compared to 100 at a normal station. Interestingly, Jack FM was inspired by CHUM FM in Toronto, which inspired the Rush song, "The Spirit of Radio."
94.9 - KUOW, NPR: I've now listened to this station for probably 15 years. NPR is the best news radio I've ever heard, always going beyond the soundbites of corporate news (NBC, etc.). NPR also goes after both sides of the story, which is what journalism is supposed to do. Something tells me Edward R. Murrow would be proud of these guys.
90.3 -- KEXP: I've only recently been listening to KEXP, and now I understand its legendary status. They are to music what NPR is to news. Because they're member supported, they don't have to answer to any corporations. So like Jack FM, they play whatever they want. But unlike Jack FM, their musical range goes far outside popular taste. On a Saturday night, you might hear African music, indie rock, and local music. Who says radio has to be boring?
Books, Magazines, and Music - 1/22/2006
Rush: Chemistry : The Definitive Biography by Jon Collins -- So far (I'm on page 22), an intriguing book about the Canadian power trio. Well written and thoroughly researched. It's also interesting to note that Hugh Syme, the longtime Rush album artist, produced the cover for this book.
The Worlds Greatest Treasury of Health Secrets, various authors -- I have to admit that I bought this book after I saw an infomercial (the first time I've ever done this). I liked the idea of a bunch of "health secrets" in one book. The book is a good information source for health ideas; for anything in-depth, you'll need to dig into full-length books.
National Geographic -- Article about the science of love. Scientists are starting to understand what attracts people to each other and why people stay together.
Rolling Stone -- Article about Larry Wachowski's (The Matrix) obsession with high-class S&M.
Modern Drummer -- Interview with drum solo master Terry Bozzio.
Dave Matthews - Busted Stuff
Sting - Brand New Day
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Books and Music - 1/18/06
- Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader (Star Wars) by James Luceno
- The Star Wars Poster Book By: Stephen J. Sansweet, Peter Vilmur
- Star Wars Chronicles By: Deborah Fine, Aeon Inc. (Corporate Author)
- Tao of Jeet Kune Do By: Bruce Lee
- Rush: R30 - CD 1
- Rush: The Spirit of Radio (Greatest Hits)
- Chris Botti - Night Sessions
- Madonna - The Immaculate Collection
Technology falls apart
It's funny, in the past 3 days almost all my new technology has broken or is not working correctly. It's been pretty frustrating. Here's what's happened:
- Roku Soundbridge -- Yesterday it just stopped working. I suspect it's an issue with my Windows firewall, although I'm still testing it.
- Logitech Harmony Remote -- The LCD screen is broken, and no functions are working. I'm back to the same three remotes to opearte my TV, DVD, and Receiver.
- Roland SPD-S -- One of the cables that connects my bass drum trigger to the SPD-S is broken.
- Windows -- More errors than usual. I've had to manually shut down "processes" in the Task Manager for new applications and hardware I've installed.
I realize now, being someone who works in the tech industry, that technology does break. However, when everything breaks at once, it's kind of spooky.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
The Cable Song on KEXP
This is the first time my drumming has been on the airwaves. And of course I thought about how I had dreams of this moment all my life, and now that the dream has passed into reality, it doesn't seem like that big of deal. But that's always how things like this work.
Click to hear The Cable Song.
Labels: Chris Mess
Friday, January 06, 2006
New technology around the house
1. Logitech Harmony Universal Remote (starting @ $99.00)
I don't know about you, but we've used three remotes to run our TV, DVD player, and receiver. And I'm sick of it. So, I went down to Best Buy with my $50 Christmas Gift Card.
Despite a poor setup experience, once Harmony gets going, it's really an amazing piece of hardware. It allows you to create basic tasks, like watching a DVD, watching TV, or playing Xbox(with an Xbox adapter) . The Harmony is able to combine all your other remotes because it downloads the remote "driver" information from the Internet with a USB cable. The thing that I didn't see advertised is that you can program your favorite TV channels and look at the listings on the remote. For someone who's always channel surfed without digital cable or satellite (with the guide info), this is a really cool concept.
Even though you'll pay well over $100 for the most basic version, I highly recommend the Harmony Universal Remote for anyone who has more than one remote to control their TV.
2. Roku Soundbridge Network Music Player ($200)
What if you could play all your music on your computer on another stereo in the house? What if you could actually control the computer playback from that stereo? That's what the Roku Soundbridge does. If you've got a wireless network running in your house, the Soundbridge will configure itself to run on it. No fuss. No muss.
All you need for Windows is Windows Media Connect server software to connect your computer files to the Soundbridge. The great thing about the Soundbridge is that it can also play Internet radio stations. You just program them in (I think you can have 20 of them).
Soundbridge also works with many different kinds of music software and music services, like iTunes and Rhapsody. I haven't tried this yet, but it looks promising.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Are you a gadget guy or gal?
I realized the other night that I'm really a gadget guy. How can you tell if you're a gadget guy (or gal)? If you can answer "yes" to at least 7 of these, then you probably are:
- You make a weekly trip to Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA, or Radio Shack. You often buy things from these stores that you don't need.
- You buy magazines that show off new gadgets, software, or hardware.
- You think the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas would be a nice vacation.
- People have called you "a nerd."
- You can talk for hours with other people about computer stuff, cell phones, PDAs, the web, or other technology.
- You can answer within 1/2 of a second how fast your computer's processor runs.
- You can tell someone which operating system you are running (Windows XP, Windows 2000, Mac OSX, etc.)
- You like to look at other people's cell phones and "try them out."
- You have used the word "server" in everyday conversations.
- You think Mr. Spock is "pretty cool."
- Bonus points: You work in the tech industry.
- Bonus points: If you have kids, you look for ways to buy gadgets for them that are really for you. (For example: Robosapian.)
Whether being a gadget guy or gal is a good thing remains to be seen.