The Big Think

November 17, 2005

Say Bye To .99 Pricing

Filed under: Macintosh — jasony @ 2:49 pm

Slashdot is reporting that Apple’s iTunes Music Store will go to staggered pricing next year.

…flat fee pricing will end within the next 12 months, and more popular songs will be priced higher than 99c, while lesser known acts will be priced lower than .99.

Quoth

Filed under: Quoth — jasony @ 1:43 pm

Because, in the end, being an entrepreneur is more than ever the way you can choose your path and find the deep satisfaction of walking it.
You can earn your days without being beholden. You can make something, affect the world, leave something behind where once nothing stood. You can turn work into meaning for yourself and for others.
You can be proud.
You can leave a wake.
Come good or ill, you can assume responsibility for yourself, and be whole, and be who you were meant to be.

Entrepreneur magazine

Gulp!

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 11:39 am

X-rays of a sword swallower in action. NOT for the squeamish.

Killer Rabbit

Filed under: Humor and Fun,Movies — jasony @ 11:28 am

“It’s just a model”… “Shhh… be quiet!”

How about a Python killer rabbit under the tree this year?

November 16, 2005

World’s Fastest Drummer

Filed under: Music — jasony @ 11:46 am

Who’da thunk that Speed Drumming would become a, ahem, sport? (.wmv) Care to quit your job Scott?

Lego My… Lego

Filed under: Computing,Humor and Fun — jasony @ 11:39 am

Lego hard drives!

November 15, 2005

Ear Training

Filed under: Music — jasony @ 5:55 pm

In my job I often have to transcribe acapella music. I’ve developed a pretty good ear over the last 15 years and don’t often come across a piece of music that stymies me. When I first started arranging it seemed like every piece had something challenging or unknown in it. Something that I heard and told myself “gee, I have no idea how I’m going to do that”. Each piece was a learning experience. Over the years as I’ve arranged more pieces (I passed 1,000 several years ago) and got more comfortable with the process I stopped getting nervous about what I was going to be handed. Orchestral? sure thing. Rock? Easy. Disney/Show tune? Piece of cake. Country? Yawn. It’s been a long time since I’ve been, for lack of a better word, scared by a tune.

That ended this week. I have had to transcribe a blazingly fast acapella 6-part R&B monster that has had me in fits. I just finished it today and it has taken me a grand total of almost 15 hours to transcribe 79 measures. That works out to just under 9 minutes per measure. By way of comparison I can normally crank out an acapella arrangement in an hour or two. Sometimes much quicker if it’s simple and short. 15 minutes? Not unheard of. But this one has been a monster. This has been the kind of tune that I never thought I’d finish. My ear could only handle 8-12 measures of dense harmonies before it checked out for the day and I had to move on to something simpler.

The end result? I’ve had to simplify a few parts because, well, the original artists aren’t really singing notes- more like vocal approximations. I doubt the group that I’m doing the arrangement for could do it without the simplifications. But it sounds great and I’m very happy with the results. And I’m especially happy to have this one behind me.

Sorry I can’t mention the song. It’s for Sing and there’s always great secrecy around songs and themes. I don’t think any of the group members even know or care that I have a blog, but it’s best to be safe. Barry does read this page, but like me he likes to be surprised by the stuff that he doesn’t arrange.

Fingers crossed… I really hope they can pull it off. It’ll be awesome. If they try and fail? I don’t want to think about it.

Bandwidth

Filed under: Bandwidth Speed — jasony @ 12:13 pm

Cox must be feeling the pressure to treat its customers well. SBC has been digging up the neighborhood for the past two weeks installing new fiber for their DSL services (only $14.95/month!). It’s been a bit of a pain, but the workers have been good about replanting grass and generally keeping the place looking okay. Well, as good of a job as you can do when you dig giant 6′ deep holes in people’s yards.

Anyway, Cox must have realized that they’re soon going to have mass defections if they don’t do something about their service. We’ve been consistently getting between 100k-500k on our so-called “high speed” cable modem for a couple of months now. Complaining hasn’t done anything to fix the problem.

Lo and behold yesterday they sent work trucks to our neighborhood to upgrade the system. They’re doing something to the cable box in front of everyone’s house, and the service guy who came out this morning to check our connection (again) said that they’re upgrading more of the equipment.

And here’s a bonus. I was told that our old modem was slowing down because it was old technology that had been orphaned by one of the many recent “upgrades”. (you know- the ones where they say “your maximum speed has been upgraded from 2mbps to 1000TERABITS/SECOND!” and then you read the small print that says *”speeds not guaranteed”). The modem would have to be replaced at our cost (about $70) because we purchased the original.

The service tech this morning took a look at our old modem and commented on how old it was, then said he’d go ahead and replace it with a new one no charge. Right now we’re getting 3.7mbps. Finally!

Chalk it up to the pressures of competition, but I sure wish Cox would treat its customers well when they don’t have competition breathing down their necks. Sure, it costs time and money, but you’re eventually going to have to do it anyway. Why not make your customers happy and do it when you don’t technically have to?

A Little Robert

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 11:54 am

Bailey is going to have a brother! Congrats to Robert and Amy.

Backtracking

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 11:45 am

This is a pretty damning video. (.wmv)
I’ll admit that the current party occupying the White House doesn’t get it right all the time, but it would be really nice to see a loyal opposition that didn’t ignore the historical record.

November 11, 2005

Sorry Sony

Filed under: Macintosh,Music — jasony @ 1:19 pm

I won’t be buying any more of your CD’s until you stop this ridiculousness.

Veteran’s Day

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 12:53 pm

Happy Vet’s Day, and if you wear the uniform, a sincere and heartfelt thank you (our flag is flying today).

Robert points to an article today about the last few veterans of WWI.

Calvin and Hobbes

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 12:00 pm

A great visual essay on the cartoon that was with me and my roommate through much of college.
If you have a spare $150 you’d like to blow on a certain blogger, I know a good give this Christmas. Whoa! Amazon has it for only $94!

PSP

Filed under: Games — jasony @ 11:42 am

Cool online ad for the PSP. Sean?

Here’s a Stone in Your Eye

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 11:08 am

Archeologists have found a shard of pottery dating to biblical times that has the name “goliath” on it. Not proof, per se, but interesting. story here.

November 10, 2005

Spaced Out

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 12:21 pm

A virtual space mountain ride.

November 9, 2005

Internet Craziness of the Day

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 11:17 am

The Blue Ball machine. Follow one of them.

Anyone Seen the Sandman?

Filed under: Disclosure — jasony @ 1:00 am

…because he lost the map to our house.

(warning: whiny, self-pitying post. Be warned)

I’ve suffered with insomnia my entire life. Ever since I was young my standard night has been: go to bed, lie staring at the ceiling for an hour, shift around to find the cool spot, get up and walk through the dark house, sit at the window looking at the empty street (any wonder I like astronomy?), go back to bed, stare at that spot on the ceiling for another hour, gradually drift off in fits and starts. Repeat the following night.

Seriously, it’s amazing to me that the average person drops off in seven minutes. Seven minutes?!? What’s that like, folks? By seven minutes I’ve barely closed my eyes. If sleeplessness were an olympic sport I’d be a regular Bruce Jenner. But with a better haircut. Okay, maybe not.

I’ve decided that, for most people, going to sleep is like being hit by a bus. You’re just standing there in the metaphorical road minding your own business when all of a sudden *WHAM*. Dreamland. For me, sleep is like being slowly hunted by a wild beast. Except this beast doesn’t jump out of the bushes and have done with it. Oh no. He taunts me, he does. I’ll hear him out there in the dark stumbling around like an idiot. Yes, I think my personal Sleep Beast is old and incontinent and too addled to remember the hunt. Plus he drools. Sure, if he’s feeling a bit peckish and happens to wander across me sprawled helplessly and begging to be put down, he may sample a bite or two, but to get him to dig in with any commitment involves me slathering myself in A1 steak sauce and….

…see what lack of sleep does to my metaphors? And it started out so well. It’s no wonder so many of my bad posts are written after the Wolf Hour. I’m really a farely write gooder.

For some reason it’s been particularly bad lately. For the last week I’ve managed a few hours every night, and the only reason I’m not a complete head case is that my job doesn’t require that I get out of bed at any specific time. No, it’s not laziness, and I’m not a stereotypical musician, despite what family and friends believe. Just think how you’d feel the next day if I called you every forty five minutes all night. Oh, and there’s no snooze button when Mr. Biorhythms gives you a wake-up call mid-morning.

Last night it took me my standard 90 minutes to fall asleep. Anything less than an hour is very rare, and I can count on all my appendages the number of times in my life I’ve hit the “average” 7 minutes. When that happens I wake up the next morning in awe that the human body can actually do that. Weird.

Unfortunately, last night I only managed about 2 hours before I woke up, I spent the next hour staring at that spot in the ceiling (what is that, anyway?). Then I was out for an hour, awake for 45 minutes, and out for another two. True, I did get almost six hours, but they were separated by lots of ceiling staring. The worst part was that I was absolutely exhausted but I still couldn’t sleep. When I finally managed to drop off I had one of those dreams that feels really long while you’re dreaming it. What was I doing in my dream? Lying in bed unable to get to sleep. I kid you not. In my dream I finally managed to get to sleep, but I kept waking up every few hours and lying there staring at the ceiling. Yes, I was dreaming that I was having a bad insomnia night. I finally woke up for real sometime around 5AM. Imagine my relief.

I’ve tried prescription medication a couple of times, but I reserve those tiny pills for true I’ve-gotta-sleep-because-I’m-driving-to-Colorado-tomorrow emergencies, and even then I take a half-dose (a very tiny pill). I really don’t like the idea of introducing a pharmaceutical into my already addled grey matter. The relief isn’t worth it. I know those things are supposed to be non-habit-forming, but they still mess me up for several days, and I end up feeling drugged for a few hours the next morning. Besides, I don’t trust ’em. I can just hear it: “the FDA ordered Ambien to be pulled from shelves today because of widespread reports of Boneitis“. No thanks.

The biggest problem is the boredom. Here’s an exercise: go turn off all the lights, lay down on your couch. Get comfy. No radio, no tv, nothing. Set an alarm for two hours. Now stare at the wall. No breaks allowed. At the end of two hours, flip a coin. Heads, it’s a good night- you “fell asleep”. You can get up and you’re done. Tails, it’s a bad night- set the clock for another hour and keep staring.

Now do this every day for the next thirty years.

Oh look at that. I just glanced at the clock. 1 A.M. The night is young…

November 8, 2005

House Hunters

Filed under: Uncategorized — jasony @ 1:20 am

Robert and Amy found a house! I’m sad that they’re leaving Dallas, though. Robert was my roommate through 4 years of college, and then some time afterward. We don’t get to see each other as much as I’d like. It was nice knowing he was just up the road in Dallas. Guess now we’ll have to plan some trips to Springfield.

November 6, 2005

Overachiever

Filed under: Humor and Fun — jasony @ 11:19 am

Yeah, well, when I was in first grade, I wanted to be a fireman.
Korea’s 8-year-old college freshman.

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