Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Don’t Squeeze the Garmin

leave a comment »

Happy Friday.

If you were wondering whether there was any election cyber shenanigans going on, the Washington Post (“WAPO”) is reporting that Facebook has already purged over 800 U.S. accounts and pages for pushing political spam.

WAPO points out that in doing so, Facebook is potentially wading into politically treacherous waters, because some of those accounts had been in existence for years and had amassed millions of followers on both sides of the aisle.

At stake is the company’s future ability to operate with minimal government scrutiny: Prominent Republican and Democratic politicians now say Facebook should be regulated more heavily if it cannot control a growing list of abuses, including foreign meddling, the spread of misleading news — and if it abuses its power to censor, as conservatives have repeatedly alleged.

Still long on Facebook, much?

Meanwhile, back in the entertainment realm, here’s a creepy but interesting one for you.  Amy Winehouse is coming back to life and going out on tour as a hologram.

Proceeds from the tour will go toward the Amy Winehouse Foundation, which is dedicated to drug and alcohol abuse awareness and prevention among young people.

The tour is being produced by BASE Hologram, which uses holographic film technology to produce live entertainment tours and attractions worldwide, in partnership with the Winehouse family.

The tour will featured digitally remastered arrangements of the British singer’s hits — including “Rehab,” “Back to Black” and “Valerie” — with Winehouse’s hologram backed by a live band, singers and “theatrical stagecraft,” according to BASE.

I was a fan, and call me old fashioned, but I’m not sure I’m mentally prepared to show up to a stadium full of fans in order to watch a hologram sing. 

And if you’re in the market for a hardcore new smart watch to make sure you don’t miss the Amy hologram show, Garmin’s got your back with a new GPS watch called “Instinct,” which The Verge is reporting is built for endurance for outdoor activities like running or mountain biking.

Instinct comes with a 3-axis compass, barometric altimeter, and multiple global navigation satellite systems (GPS, GLONASS and Galileo). Support for multiple navigation systems allows the watch to track a user’s location even in more remote environments. It also uses Garmin’s TracBack feature, which sets “digital breadcrumbs” as you travel and can navigate you back to your starting point.

The Instinct also comes with heart rate sensors and monitors other health markers like daily activity, calories burned, sleep, and stress (measured through heart rate variability). There’s also a variety of built-in sports apps.

Garmin says the Instinct is built to military standards for thermal, shock, and water resistance (the latter rated to 100 meters). It comes with a fiber reinforced polymer case, silicon band, and a display the company says is “chemically strengthened” as well as scratch resistant.

The Garman Instinct will be priced at U.S. $299.99.

Written by turbotodd

October 12, 2018 at 12:20 pm

Posted in 2018, hollywood, music, wearables

Tagged with , , ,

Could You Be Loved

leave a comment »

Call me old school, but for me the best part of the Grammy’s last evening was the Bob Marley homage, led by an energetic Bruno Mars and joined by the likes of Sting, Rhianna, and several of Bob Marley’s offspring.

Though there seemed to be some decent enough performances otherwise, I guess my musical tastes are increasingly running old school as well, which I guess just makes me old.

That’s okay, I’ll wear the fabric of time and wisdom if it’s cloaked in a little Led Zeppelin and Eagles and Beatles and Lynyrd Skynyrd and a whole lotta current from AC/DC.

Contemporary music doesn’t seem have much of an edge to it.  For me, much of it seems too apologetic, too timid, certainly too soft.  I much prefer the Motown and doo wop of the 50s, the psychedelia of the 60s, the classic rock of the 70s, the metal edge of the 80s, the grunge of the 90s.

But that’s yesterday’s news. What about today’s?

Well, if you’re a Google Reader user, good luck. TechCrunch informs us this morning that the RSS feed-reading service “has gone completely mad,” heading into a second day of usability issues and the reappearance of thousands of old, unread items.

Maybe old news could be good news, in this case. Maybe we can use Google Reader to travel back to the good ol’ days, when we didn’t have worry about Facebook SPAM and blocked Twitter APIs.

Hey, Google, no big deal I bet my RSS farm on your dawdling feedreading horse.  Maybe throw the old nag a fresh bale of hay at least once in a while?

Not exactly encouraging news in terms of the service life and TLC that geriatric Google apps receive, now is it?

Of course, there’s always new horses coming into the race, and those just reaching their strides.

Golf journeyman Brandt Snedeker, who took the PGA Tour’s FedEx cup last year, is off to a fast start in 2013, making his walks around Pebble Beach this past few days look like a stroll in the park.

I first saw Snedeker play golf in person at Torrey Pines in 2007, and even then I remarked at how fast the guy plays. Considering the lethargic state of pace of play for most golf courses these days, Snedeker’s a breath of fresh air.

Not only does he make putting look simple with his laser-like lines and Ouiji-board green reads, he plays fast!  Like really fast! Like if you want to get a picture of that swing (from a distance, please), you’d better have multiple auto-shots and lightning fast shutter speeds!

In his post-round interview, Snedeker explained to CBS’ David Feherty his next big golf stop is a major. In 2008, when he was a Masters contender he melted down in the homestretch, but this time he may well have the confidence, maturity, and course management to leap ahead of the pack and get himself some new green threads.

And being a good Southern boy, here’s hoping he listens to some good old-fashioned Allman Brothers Band tunes as he prepares to psych himself up for Augusta.

Written by turbotodd

February 11, 2013 at 4:36 pm

No News Is Bad News

leave a comment »

So how was your weekend?

Roger Federer’s was pretty doggone good, having taken out Scotland’s Andy Murray yesterday in the Wimbledon finals.

South Korea’s Na Yeon Choi also had a pretty good weekend.  She took victory in the U.S. Women’s Open golf championship at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wisconsin.

That was, by the way, the very same course where Se Ri Pak won the Open in 1998, a breakthrough that inspired a generation of South Korean women golfers (who, by the way, have won 4 out of the last 5 U.S. Opens).

Many congratulations to Na Yeon Choi on her victory.

My weekend wasn’t too bad, either.  I got to play a new golf course out in the Texas hill country, in Blanco, where I also attended a benefit concert headlined by Edie Brickell and New Bohemians.

You may remember Edie and New Bohemians from their breakout 1988 hit “Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars,” but Edie and the “New Bo’s” were musical favorites in and around my hometown of Denton, Texas, long before they jetted off to musical stardom.

If you’ve not followed Edie’s own solo career, you’re missing out on some great tunes (try 2003’s “Volcano”).  Hard to believe it’d been nearly a quarter-century since Edie and the New Bo’s hit the big time — we Dentonites still remember their pre-fame performance at the 1988 Fry Street Fair, with Edie’s hair blowing freely in the breeze and their lyrical music sauntering freely up Oak Street without a care in the world.

Ah, the good ol’ days.

But, Turbo, you say, please tell me something relevant about the information technology industry!  It’s Monday, what’s going on?!

Okay, okay, I’m getting to that.  It is Monday, and it’s summer, and I’m off to a slow start, for Pete’s sake!

First and foremost, news from Gartner this A.M. suggesting that worldwide IT spending is on pace to reach $3.6 trillion in 2012, a 3 percent increase over last year’s $3.5 trillion.

Yes, despite the woes in Europe and minor slowdown in Asia, IT spending is going up, and in fact, Gartner revised its numbers to 3 percent growth from 2.5 percent last quarter.

Gartner describes this IT spending environment as “continued caution,” but highlights some strong spots: Public cloud services, for example, which is expected to hit $109 billion in spending this year, and $207 billion by 2016.

IT services spending grew a little more anemically year-over-year, coming in at 2.3 percent to reach $864 billion this year.

Meanwhile, no major outcries from the impacts of the DNSChanger servers being run by the FBI going offline.  PC World’s story this AM has the F-Secure blog estimating about 47K computers still affected in the U.S., and about 20K in India.

So, no news is good news (See more about this from last week’s blog post.)

Of course, no news may soon become a more common occurrence than we care to realize.  Read this piece from the NY Times’ David Carr on the dismal outlook for daily newspapers.

Just don’t have any sharp objects close by when you do, especially if you’re a news junkie like myself.

Written by turbotodd

July 9, 2012 at 3:43 pm

The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down…

with 2 comments

What a week.  I spent most of it either in meetings or on airplanes (save for that happy detour to Fenway Park, which still has a smile on my face).

Speaking of which, it’s April 20, 2012 — the official anniversary of the 100th year of Fenway’s existence.  Happy birthday to all my friends in Boston, and to people everywhere who adore Fenway Park — of which I now count myself a happy one.

FYI, for the hardcore Fenway fanatics, Sports Illustrated is offering up a very nice tome about the history of Fenway for $21.00 US.  You can find it here.

But boy, what a week otherwise.  The jokes about today being 4/20 aside (a point which many marketers are taking advantage of…for example, the Magnolia bio-documentary about Bob Marley, entitled simply “Marley,” is out today…And Austin is unveiling the new Willie Nelson statue today at 4:20 PM this afternoon.  Coincidence?)

You can read all about the marketing advantage being taken of on this date from none other than the Wall Street Journal.

No, I was more referring to the bummer news about Dick Clark and Levon Helm.  Helm, of course, was the drummer in Bob Dylan’s original backing band, “Levon and the Hawks,” before going on to co-found the band named, appropriately enough, “The Band.”

Helm died of throat cancer earlier this week, and in recent years had been most known for his “Midnight Rambles” at his studio in Woodstock, NY, which earned him three Grammys in recent years.  But of course, “The Band” fans remember classics like “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” and “Up On Cripple Creek.”

Bob Dylan had this to say about his old friend and former band-mate on his own website: “He was my bosom buddy friend to the end, one of the last true great spirits of my or any other generation. This is just so sad to talk about. I still can remember the first day I met him and the last day I saw him. We go back pretty far and had been through some trials together. I’m going to miss him, as I’m sure a whole lot of others will too.”

Surely we will.

But we’ll also miss Dick Clark, a radio and TV personality who’s “American Bandstand” helped grow generations of music fans, and helped launch or boost the careers of an endless stream of renowned musicians, ranging from first guest Elvis Presley (who used to sign my mom’s arm during his Louisiana Hayride performances!) to Smokey Robinson to the Talking Heads…the list of musical acts featured on “Bandstand” goes on and on and on.

And never mind us welcoming Dick Clark into our homes, and the subsequent New Year, every New Year’s Rockin’ Eve starting in 1972.

We’ll miss you both terribly, Dick and Levon.  May you both continue to find the musical beat in the Great Beyond.

How fitting, then, that the very same week, the friends who brought you some of the great hack attacks of the late 2000s, Anonymous, announce they’re putting together a social music platform, one that pulls up songs streaming from all around the Internet (including from the likes of YouTube), and lets anonymous users put them into playlists and share them — all while intending to shield the service from being shut down by lawsuits.

Ladies and germs, welcome to “Anontune.”  This short video (featured on Wired’s Web site) indicates it will focus on “information about the music.”

We’ll wait and see if Anontune makes it past the first “bridge,” but my read on the situation is that this move could revitalize Hilary Rosen’s career (CEO of the RIAA from 1998-2003, Rosen led the organization in its successful efforts to bring down Napster).

Whitney

with one comment

The older I become, the more people I know and love who seem go off and die on me.

That’s just a part of growing older, I know, but the the past couple of years the pace seems to have picked up a bit.  I’ve lost three good friends and a dear uncle to cancer-related illnesses and an accident in the past year alone, and all of them well before their years.

So when I heard the news about Whitney Houston over the weekend, like so many others, I was stunned.  We hadn’t heard much from her in recent years, and when we did, it was often initiated in tabloids.

But back in her heyday, when we heard from her regularly, it was from that whopping, stunning, belting angelic voice — it was like she could reach out and sing to the whole wide world.

Judging from the outpouring of love, sadness, sympathy and fond remembrance in the social realm this weekend after the news was out, she did reach the whole wide world. I never knew there were so many Whitney Houston fans out there.  Yesterday afternoon, Facebook was literally a living memorial to the singer.

I also immediately felt bad for the Grammys producers.  To receive such momentous and tragic news the night before the Grammys broadcast, and then to have to try and figure out how to both remember Whitney and continue to fete the year in music??!

Not an easy balance to strike.

In 1998, I had occasion to work with the Grammys team when IBM sponsored and produced the official Webcast. That year, the Dixie Chicks broke out, Monica was celebrated, and Will Smith won for best rap album. But what I always remembered was how professional and capable were the people behind the scenes at the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

So I was hardly surprised when this year’s excellent Grammys emcee, LL Cool J, walked onstage after Bruce Springteen’s opening act and addressed Whitney’s passing head on and with a prayer, explaining “This night is about something truly universal and healing. This night is about music.”

Or when several of the other artists tipped their hat to Whitney in some way during their own respective performances.

Or, of course, during Jennifer Hudson’s haunting performance of the song Whitney made famous, “I Will Always Love You.”  I’m not sure how Hudson got through that song without breaking down onstage herself.

However carefully orchestrated the tribute was, it was tastefully executed and left me thinking this was one of the most exciting Grammy’s broadcasts in years.

I hadn’t planned on watching the Grammys this year, but curiosity got the better of me — not only because of Whitney’s passing, but also because I knew I’d likely see a lot of music I wouldn’t have otherwise known about.

Like Adele.  I missed Adele on the first go around at the Grammys, and though I have heard a couple of her songs, I never put the name and the face together.  She was just a name I kept hearing.

And before you suggest I live under a rock, the fact is, I don’t listen much to the radio anymore, and I certainly don’t live on iTunes (you’ll more likely find me on Pandora). So for me, the Grammys is as good as a place as any to find out about new music — and to find out who Adele is.

Well, after seeing Adele interviewed by Anderson Cooper before the broadcast, and after watching her rendition last night of “Rolling in the Deep” during the broadcast, I became another instant in her otherwise millions of fans around the world.

Adele seems like she’s got a good head on her shoulders. She doesn’t seem to take all this fame and fortune stuff too seriously — but then she walks out on that stage before a few hundred million people and delivers that powerful singing punch like nobody’s business.

I hope she keeps it that way.  Too many of our other great artists were taken too soon because of a combustible mixture of drugs and alcohol that are always, quite literally, a recipe for disaster.

We ask so much of them sometimes, our celebrities.  We want to know everything about them.  We want them to be perfect.  We want them to be always on.

Instead of letting them just be human like the rest of us.

Elvis Presley.  Marilyn Monroe.  Jimi Hendrix.  Janis Joplin.  Michael Jackson.  Amy Winehouse.  And now, it seems, Whitney Houston.

I don’t know about you, but that list is enough tragedy to last me a lifetime.

So, I suggest we let Adele take her six Grammys and disappear back into the English countryside and that we leave her the hell alone until she’s ready to leave her compound and go back on tour.

Let her enjoy her gramophone trophies and hanging out with her new love — we’ve all got our own lives to get on about.

As for Whitney Houston, may she rest in peace. I, like so many others, will choose to remember her when she belted them out like in the video below, where she took the U.S. national anthem to a whole other level.

Whitney, you will be missed.

Written by turbotodd

February 13, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Debrief: Austin City Limits Music Festival

with 4 comments

It’s only two days to the Eighth Annual Austin City Limits Music Festival here in my glorious Austin, Texas.

For those of you who have been before, you know how special an event it is.  For those of you who haven’t, what are you waiting for?

“ACL,” as we Austinites have come to refer to it, began as a small festival in 2002 and has grown (some would say too large, but I say the more the merrier) into a world-class music festival.

Which is just what it should be, if we’re to fully live up to our mantra of being the “live music capitol of the world!”

This year, a couple of things are worthy of note.  First, Zilker Park has been completely reseeded from the ground up.  Not the patchwork improvements made after the great Coldplay duststorm of 2005.

No, this is a serious overhauling of the park, and the grass looks absolutely gorgeous.  And, it’s nice and fluffy to sit on.

Second, the festival is being held a week later than normal, and after our 60+ days of 100+ heat in Austin this year, that could be the key difference maker.

In prior years (like 2005), temperatures have reached up to 106 degrees during the festival.  It’s currently a lovely 73 degrees outside.  I went for a long mountain bike ride very early this morning on the Austin greenbelt and there was almost a chill in the air.

If you don’t have a ticket already, this year’s 3-day passes are sold out, so check your favorite ticket vendor or Craig’s List.  If you do, get over to the Box Office now (3pm-8pm daily) and get that wristband.  You will be hating yourself if you wait until Friday to pick it up, as you’ll be standing in line with hundreds of others while you listen to the music from afar.

Some other tips: Bring suntan lotion, just in case, and I always like to take a small umbrella.  You can bring a portable, collapsible chair, and I always take some small binoculars as well.  Otherwise, leave stuff at home, because you likely won’t be able to bring it in, and it’s a long trip back to wherever your car is.

This year, the festival has gone all social media on us.  You can share your personalized schedule from their Web site via Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter.

Me, I like to roam around from act to act freestyle (schedules are for my workday!), but here’s a few of the acts I hope to take in:

John Legend, Pearl Jam, Kings of Leon, Asleep at the Wheel, Poi Dog Pondering, Heartless Bastards, Mishka, Reckless Kelly, Dave Mathews Band, The Scabs, Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, David Garza, Rodriquez…and lots, lots more.

By the way, I just downloaded the new Pearl Jam album, “Backspacer,” on iTunes, and upon first listen have decided it’s some of the best stuff they’ve done since they emerged into the scene in the early 90s.

Eddie Vedder has never been better, and I’m really looking forward to seeing he and his band perofrm in our refurbished park right down the street from Turboville!

So, get on a plane and get yourself down to Austin.  The Festival starts mid-day Friday and goes through Sunday night.

You can learn more at the ACL Website.

P.S. And leave your agita at home.  This is the mellowest, coolest music festival you’ll ever go to, and the people who attend it, both visitors and locals, are very well behaved and all about the music, and we want to keep it that way!

Written by turbotodd

September 30, 2009 at 4:01 pm

%d bloggers like this: