Recent Posts in technology
April 17, 2014
Neil deGrasse Tyson and Eugene Mirman have been doing a live version of space-oriented radio show "Star Talk" for some time, though Tyson is a lot better known these days, thanks to the reboot of science series Cosmos. But Neil and Eugene are still talking stars (live!) and will do so at Beacon Theatre on June 5 with special guests: Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., His Holiness The Gyalwang Drukpa and more! Tickets for this show are currently on fan presale (password is "cosmic") and go on sale to the general public Friday (4/18) at 11 AM.
In other live science show news, Bill Nye the Science Guy will be at Irving Plaza for three nights in July
April 9, 2014
Bill Nye hanging with Barack Obama and Neil deGrasse Tyson
With his quirky/funny '90s-era afternoon PBS show, Bill Nye "the Science Guy" taught a lot of us about the world around us and beyond. He's been back in the news lately, debating creationist Ken Ham back in February, hanging with Cosmos/Star Talk host Neil deGrasse Tyson and President Obama, and currently shopping around a demo reel of a new TV show pitch. It would be great to have him back on television.
In the meantime, Bill Nye will be in NYC this summer for three lectures at Iriving Plaza on July 18, 19 & 20. Bill says in a short teaser video, "I'll be talking about you and me. Humankind. I'll be talking about evolution. And energy, and the cosmos and places within it, and our place in space." Bill says also it will be funny. Tickets are on sale Friday (4/11) at 10 AM with a Live Nation and Music Geeks presale (password is "music geeks") beginning Thursday (4/10) at 10 AM.
Check out that teaser video, the debate with Ham, and a few clips from his '90s show below...
March 12, 2014
Neil Young talking Pono @ SXSW (via @allisonleighwalter)
Neil Young talked about his new Pono high-resolution music system yesterday (3/11) at SXSW and cleared up a few things. It uses FLAC files but the sample rate is 192 kHz. (CDs uses 44.1 kHz). (The Toblerone-shaped Pono player will play other formats too.) Said Young:
When all the artists and engineers, all the arrangers and musicians that played on giant tracks by people like Phil Spector, with 12 tambourines and two pianos -- those people were still in the studios in Los Angeles, playing. But all of [that] started to die -- it was the most amazing thing, this vibrant creative culture started to go away. And it was because of the MP3 and the cheapening of the quality to the point where it was practically unrecognizable.Then things got real awkward. Billboard reports that after Young's speech, Pono CEO John Hamm (not Jon Hamm) opened the floor to questions:
...the last question from the audience shifted the tone of the entire presentation. A young man asked: "What's your cut?" Referring, of course, to Apple's now-famous 30% cut of sales on the iTunes Store.Perhaps his cut will be addressed by the time the Pono goes on presale this Saturday (3/15) via via Kickstarter. Watch a demo video below.
Hamm, after a flustered moment, responded: "It surprises most people that everyone who buys music from the record labels pays exactly the same amount." To which several audience members shouted, "What?!"
"That's a delicate question, isn't it?" Young asked. After which Hamm turned to the moderator, slightly flushed at this point, and said, "We can end it." "You can answer the question if you like," Snider said. Hamm shook his head slightly before Snider closed the discussion.
Pono Kickstarter video below...
March 10, 2014
No 'Zune' jokes, please
Neil Young has been working on his own digital music format and player for a while and has just announced details. Originally called "PureTone," the company is now called Pono and promises "the highest-quality digital music to discerning, passionate consumers, who wish to experience music the way the artists intended, with emotion, detail and power intact."
What that entails is a new lossless music format and also its own portable high-resolution digital-music player (pictured above) that holds 128 gigs of music, which comes out to "about 100-500 high-resolution digital-music albums, depending on the resolution and length of the original recording." You can use memory cards for additional music. There's also an iTunes-like Pono interface.
While the lossless Pono format may only appeal to audiophile types, the player might hold some interest for others. One of the biggest criticisms lobbed at the iPod was it's not-very-good internal amplifier and digital-to-analog converter. So if you've always wanted a better-sounding player... this could be it. There are some questions, such as "Will this also play my MP3s?," "Will I have to repurchase albums I already own in other formats," "Can I rip my CDs into the Pono format," "Is there cloud storage?," "Can I play Words With Friends on it?" and "If this all goes belly-up do I get my money back?" Those remain unanswered but you can pre-order your Pono player starting March 15 via Kickstarter.
Some of those questions might be addressed by Neil Young himself who will talk about Pono on Tuesday (3/11) at SXSW.
June 7, 2013
could this be the new Brooklyn wing of Amazon?
Williamsburg is now fully established as a choice place to live and play and even to work. Vallywag reports:
According to a source, Amazon may have settled on a location for the mammoth office space the company began seeking in February: the Williamsburg waterfront.Rumors that Amazon's new Brooklyn address could be the old Domino Sugar factory are mostly refuted in the same article. Also mentioned in there is this tidbit about something we've been wondering about the status of: the NYC branch of beloved UK indie store Rough Trade Records that was supposed to open last year. Says their source:
Back in February, both the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg reported that Amazon was seeking up between 250,000 and 500,000 sq. ft. of office space in New York City, greatly expanding its presence here beyond its Midtown outpost. Williamsburg was thrown around as a possibility, along with One World Trade and Brookfield Place.
This past November, Amazon announced it was leasing a 40,000 sq. ft. warehouse at 35 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg to serve as a photo studio to shoot images of products/"mecca" for "creative talent." But the source told Valleywag that the waterfront deal is "bigger and hush hush." - [Valleywag]
Rough Trade is in the middle of a 30,000 retail renovation on N9 and NO ONE knows about it because they did the deal with a warehouse owner and are doing a complete renovation on their dime."In the middle"?
May 19, 2013
"Yahoo's board of directors has approved a $1.1-billion cash acquisition of blogging site Tumblr. A deal could be announced as soon as Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday." [LA Times]
May 15, 2013
Google Play Music All Access is a new monthly music subscription service that lets you listen to millions of songs across your devices. You can create a radio station from any song or artist you love, browse recommendations from our expert music team or explore by genre. And when millions of songs just aren't enough, Google Play Music lets you combine our collection with your own collection. You can store 20,000 songs for free in the cloud and listen to them alongside the All Access catalog.Google Play Music's All Access promises "millions of songs" (but none by The Crucifucks) runs $9.99 a month, but if you sign up before June 30 you get a discounted rate of $7.99 a month. You can try it for a month for free. There's a Pandora-like radio too, but no free-with-ads version like Spotify, however.
May 14, 2013
Start spreading the news: in the upcoming months, we'll be setting up an office in the Big Apple. And we couldn't be more excited about joining the thriving creative and tech scenes in New York.Mike Bloomberg's Soundcloud sadly doesn't contain any tracks of him singing or rapping, unless by rapping you mean talking. Listen to Bloomberg remember Ed Koch below...
The global creative community has always been at the heart of SoundCloud. Starting from the earliest days of our first Berlin HQ, we've built a truly international team, now representing 30 different nationalities. We've always wanted to be as close as possible to where the action is. Over the years, this meant adding offices in San Francisco in the US, London in the UK, and Sofia in Bulgaria.
And that's why NYC is next on the schedule. We're looking forward to working alongside the city's hundreds of other ambitious companies: being closer to our friends at startups like Tumblr, and continuing to strengthen our relationships with New York's major media players. We're also excited about getting up close and personal with the rest of the city's creatives from the worlds of media, fashion, publishing, the arts...and, of course, music & audio.
We'll be looking out for remarkable people to be part of our first NYC team, so keep an eye on soundcloud.com/jobs for opportunities. Already in town? Drop us a line. We can't wait to get started on unmuting New York.
March 28, 2013
by Fred Pessaro // BBG
Like the old adage says, the silence is deafening:
Scientists at Minneapolis' Orfield Labs created their own soundless room, an anechoic chamber. Their studies have found that when putting subjects within the chamber, they begin to hallucinate within 30 minutes.According to a video on the room, humans can only hear things above 0 decibels, which makes any ambient sounds in the room completely inaudible to humans. Kind of reminds me of Ken Russell's 1980 film Altered States, except for without the Ketamine, neanderthals and murder. I hope.
With an average quiet room having a sound level of 30 decibels, the anechoic chamber's sound level is -9 decibels. The ceiling, floor, and walls of the chamber absorb sound rather than have it bounce off as normal objects do. The chamber is so quiet that the subjects can even hear their own organs functioning. -[ATS]
Head below for a video explaining the room.
January 31, 2013
This is the new thing...
The world's largest online ticket retailer is to stop requiring users to enter hard-to-read words in order to prove they are human.Ticketmaster's new system was developed by a company called Solve Media. That's a picture of it above.. "During the purchase process, fans will be presented with phrases, questions or ads from Solve Media instead of the normal, hard to read mix of characters that needed to be deciphered before proceeding with the transaction. This new solution is proven to be a much better user experience and effective at keeping BOTS out of the buying process."
Captcha - which asks users to type in words to prove they are not robots trying to cheat the system - is used on many sites.
But Ticketmaster has moved to ditch it in favour of a simpler system.
It means users will write phrases, such as "freezing temperatures", rather than, for example, "tormentis harlory".
Captcha stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart, and was first developed at Carnegie Mellon university in 2000.
For sites such as Ticketmaster, Captcha is used to make sure robots are not used to buy up tickets automatically. [BBC]