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Anthony Capstick

Business, technology and broadband issues.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I came across this site a few minutes ago and just had to tell you about it. Its called The Music Genome Project by an organisation www.pandora.com and its a must for music lovers everywhere.

Key in the name of an artist and the system will play tracks along the same lines. Its like an intelligent jukebox, or having your own personal DJ. I've tried it with a couple of my favorite artists with some interesting results.

I tried Brian Eno and Everything But the Girl. ETBTG is a good example to try out as they have instrumental/light/ballad type music, plus more recently electronic dance music to their repertoire. The system picked up both music types and played tracks accordingly.

Related sites to check on this line is www.Napster.co.uk who suggest music along the lines you are already playing, although this is done using a catalogue system, not intelligent analysis.

Definitely worth a look.....

This is what they say:

"On January 6, 2000 a group of musicians and music-loving technologists came together with the idea of creating the most comprehensive analysis of music ever.

Together we set out to capture the essence of music at the most fundamental level. We ended up assembling literally hundreds of musical attributes or "genes" into a very large Music Genome. Taken together these genes capture the unique and magical musical identity of a song - everything from melody, harmony and rhythm, to instrumentation, orchestration, arrangement, lyrics, and of course the rich world of singing and vocal harmony. It's not about what a band looks like, or what genre they supposedly belong to, or about who buys their records - it's about what each individual song sounds like.

Over the past 5 years, we've carefully listened to the songs of over 10,000 different artists - ranging from popular to obscure - and analyzed the musical qualities of each song one attribute at a time. This work continues each and every day as we endeavor to include all the great new stuff coming out of studios, clubs and garages around the world.

It has been quite an adventure, you could say a little crazy - but now that we've created this extraordinary collection of music analysis, we think we can help be your guide as you explore your favorite parts of the music universe."

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Oakley Thump Review - MP3 Sunglasses (Podcast)
I heard from the office that my Thumps had arrived whilst camping in south Brittany, and took them out of the box excitedly as soon as I got back.



Photograph by Lewis Counsell
www.ecounsell.net

The first thing that stuck me was how light they are, and how discrete the earpieces. I was expecting something more bulky - and its obvious that a great deal of thought has gone into the design. The actual MP3 player bit has been built into the arms of the glasses, so all that looks different about them are the ear pieces that come down off the arm.

So far I've been mountain biking, road biking running, walking and lawn mowing with them on and they're brilliant. Much more comfortable than my Ipod, as the mini earpieces are more like minute speakers that hover over the ear. With the Ipod, the earpieces are actually shoved inside the ear, because they have to hold up the wire that goes to the player. With the Thumps the earpiece hovers outside, meaning you can also hear ambient sounds - like cars coming from behind. Ask any runner - an import feature!

The glasses themselves are up to Oakley's usual high standard, and I'd wear them without the MP3 player. The only geeky bit is a feature that allows the lens to be lifted away from the frame by means of a hinge at the top - idea for that Saga cruise you've been looking forward to.

I've been listening to MP3 podcasts, and having an easily transferable music section adds to their appeal. The connector is a standard digital camera/USB port which is handy, plus you could use them as a memory stick if you really wanted to.

The only minor irk is the buttons have few features - like fast forward whilst listening to music. With podcasts I tend to want to rewind, and its difficult to do that with the glasses. Also the volume could do to be a bit louder - they lost the noise battle with my lawnmower!

Thumps are seriously good - a great piece of design and technology in action. They do what they say in a stylish way, and for me I think they will be collectors items in the future. As technology gets smaller and smaller, MP3 players will become standard issues on lots of things, but particularly specs. Nice one Oakley - keep 'em coming.
Photograph by Lewis Counsell
www.ecounsell.net
www.oakley.com/thump

Thursday, September 15, 2005

eBay to buy Skype for up to $4.1bn (2.23bn).

What will be the effect of this takeover, and what can we expect in the future?

If you have a comment please post it here - with or without your name attached.

I will bring together emails that have been sent to me individually.

Cheers, Anthony

Monday, July 04, 2005

Did you know that HP also make iPods? I do now to my cost, because I recently bought an iPod Photo 30 gig, foolishly thinking it was made by Apple.

Of course exactly 4 days after having received it it failed. So I called Apple, who said they don't support it, and I would have to contact HP. So I called HP, and they said its only supported in the US and Canada. To get it looked at I have to ship it to the US, and they will only ship it back to an address in the US or Canada.

Tried contacting the Platinum seller on eBay (sic) and they don't reply.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Brian Eno has remained one of my favourite music artists. I first saw him live with Roxy Music in the 70s at Preston Guildhall, and liked the electronic keyboards then. Hawkwind came to King George's Hall Blackburn (twice that I went to) and for me the 2 bands seemed about as far apart as you could get. Looking back they had a lot in common.
Another Day on Earth, which came out yesterday, takes me back to Taking Tiger Mountain, Before and After Science and Here Come the Warm Jets. Music which follows a style of its own.
I like it, and always wondered whether Eno would work through the composition of ambient music - the theme to the TV programme Athena is a haunting classic. Words and lyrics add an important dimension to his music. A terrific album in a world where there is a dire shortage of original sounds.
Bone Bomb is rightly hard hitting of the thin culture - nice one.
Technical
I wrote this note on the Isle of Skye and uploaded it to my Blog site using a satellite broadband connection from a croft in Staffin. I listened to the music using my Napster account, which allows me to search and play any track through the speakers of a computer. The album was officially released yesterday 13 June 2005, and Napster had it online and playable 14 June 2005.
Napster's software works very well and is easy to use. Download the free client software to your computer and then search by any track or artist name - its a gigantic online jukebox.
http://www.napster.co.uk
http://www.broadbandretreat.co.uk
http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/profiles/enobrian.shtml


Click on image to enlarge.

This photograph was taken earlier today looking north toward the Outer Hebrides (in the distance) over Staffin jetty, North Skye. The nuclear submarine is making the wake above the first island.