Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Apple, please fix this...

Don't get me wrong. I think Apple, in general, does a fantastic job on their products (both hardware and software). However, I'm not a fan-boy, and when they do something wrong, or omit a crucial feature, I'll be the first to raise my hand.

Here is a list of my Top 10 request to the Apple engineers to please fix at their earliest convenience.

1) Cut and Paste from Finder. Really, how hard is this? This was available for my convenience since Win95....Why do I have to put my fingers through a Twister session just to CUT (which means remove, not copy), and PASTE to another folder or desktop?

2) Fit Window To Screen. Sometimes you just want to hide all the clutter and focus on the task at hand. Can't there be an easy way to provide an OPTION in Preferences that will make the selected window "Fit To Screen" by clicking the little green button on the top left?

3) iPhone Volume (this means make it louder!). OK, so they did a much better job from my original iPhone (1st generation phone, using the 2.5G network), but even my iPhone 3GS (3rd generation phone, using the 3G network) has a ringer that pales in comparison to any other phone I've used in the past. Really, this is first and foremost a phone...allow me to crank it up!

4) iPhone (iOS) Remote App. I love this sucker. But, it hasn't been updated in nearly a year. Apple just announced the migration from "AirTunes" to "AirPlay". They even said I would be able to "switch" video content from my iOS device to my new AppleTV. So here is what I want: Allow me to "AirPlay" content from my iMac TO my iOS device. This will eliminate my biggest gripe (and Steve Jobs main point for REMOVING the hard drive from the AppleTV), I don't want to have to manage disc space! Let me stream to my iPhone or iPad, any content from my iTunes library. OK, I'm sure it will have to be over WiFi at first, fine. I don't always want to watch something in front of my TV while at home. One more. Make it truly Multi-Tasking so if I run in the background, it doesn't have to 're-find' my iTunes library and loose my song hierarchy. Thanks!

5) Allow QT to Record App A/V. All I want to do is record the Audio, as well as video of something I'm playing (whether that be in a browser, or in Quicktime). But, my only Audio capture options are, Line-in from an external mic, or using the built in mic in my iMac. I want to record right off the sound card. If I can hear it from the speakers, I should be able to record it directly off the board.

6) Back To My Mac. Either fix this, or remove it from your literature. Seriously. This has GREAT potential, but I can NEVER get it to work more than 'rarely'. I have a Mac on both ends, and Apple Extreme routers on both ends. What else do I need for this to work as advertised?? I've read the forums. I'm not the only one.

7) iCal: Birthdays and Anniversaries. Simple request. Birthdays are set up and boom, they are on my calendar as a repeat event. But, I can't set a reminder on a birthday (10 days ahead to buy and send a gift....5 days away to be cheap and send a card). Should be easy, right? OK, now for another. How about adding this same functionality to Anniversaries. OK, now the really neat one! Make BOTH of these sync (via MobileMe) to my iPhone (or other iOS) device! This drives me crazy. I've read all kinds of hacks to get this in, but this should be automatic. Really, are there two more important items to be reminded of in iCal?

8) Email Contact from Address Book. Yes, I know you can 'drag' a contact from address book to the Mail icon in the dock. But can't you just allow me to right-click and "Mail Contact" right from Address book? You already have this functionality in iOS, so please update Address Book for us. Thanks!

9) Make iTunes Smart(er) on Compilations. If I rip a compilation CD into iTunes, and it sees that all tracks have the same title, but every artist is different, can it ask me if this is a compilation and automatically mark it as such? Right now, this a totally manual process. After ripping, I have to find the album, select all the songs, go into the info-pane options and check the YES to this is part of a compilation. Why is this a big deal? When you use stream your library to AppleTV (either directly or from the iOS Remote App), you can't play a compilation album in its entirety. You have to select each song individually UNLES you have pre-configured the option for that album to be a compilation...

10) HDMI Output for iOS devices.  I know you love to make (sell) why can't you give us a single, HDMI to 30-pin dock connector cable?  I loath the component and composite options (5 cables, yuck!) when I can do it all with one cable from my iPhone to any HDTV device or monitor near me (parents house, friends house...) to watch that movie, slideshow or video.

So Apple, as soon as you get these scheduled, please let me know. I'll be a happy camper!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Early Adopter

Yes, I am an early adopter. One of those folks that loves technology, and will spend a years worth of allowance, paper-boy money, (or whatever job at the time) to be first to use the product of the future! I'm pretty good at spotting trends and what is real.

Here's my track record:

CD Player - January 1985 (my birthday). Top 0.05% of CD player adopters. By the end of 1984 there were 340,000 players sold in the US. By the end of 1985, they had sold a total of 1 million. By 2000, there were over 150 million.
The CD Player was introduced to the US in March of 1983. the Sony CDP-101 (it cost about a grand. They sold very few). I bought a Technics SLP-3 for $599 (very expensive back in 1985!) in the beginning of 1985.

DVD Player - June 1998. I purchased Blade Runner - Directors Cut same day. Top 1.1%. By the end of 1998, there were 1.4 million DVD players sold. In December of 2007, there were nearly 132 million.

eBay - May 28, 1999. Top 1.4%. By the end of 1999, there were 3.8 million registered users. By the end of 2007, there were over 276 million registered users.

Netflix - October 10th, 2000. Top 1.6%. By the end of 2000, Netflix had 239,000 subscribers. In 2010 they have over 15 million.

Apple iPod - July 2004. Top 3.6%. By the end of 2004, Apple had sold a total of 10 million iPods. By September 2010, they are over 275 million.
I bought the first HP+iPod offering. 40Gig hard drive. It was actually the 4th generation iPod (I know, slacker!), but to be fair, this was the first iPod that had access to a Windows version of iTunes software and store. So, really, I'm giving myself a first gen pat on the back!

Apple iPhone - June 27, 2007. Top 0.45%. I bought the iPhone the first day it came out. June 27th. 2007. Apple sold 270,000 that day! By the end of September 2010, Apple had sold over 60 million iPhones.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Renegade Soundwave & Age Of Chance!

OK, after posting about the new OMD cover by Peter Seville, I decided to highlight my other two favorite album cover artists. Both of these are late 80, but they rock none-the-less!

First up is Dave Little. Dave has a very cool distinctive look that he created for one of my favorite club/bud band, Renegade Soundwave. My favorite cover he did was for their single "Cocaine Sex"

I also had the RSW logo he designed painted onto my leather jacket in college. Bad ass!

Next up, Ian Anderson, founder of The Designers Republic. They did all the covers for the band "Age Of Chance" from 1986- 1987. Wicked cool stuff (pre-desktop publishing, no less), like the cover of "Don't Get Mad...Get Even!" and the 12" of the Price cover "Kiss", and my favorite, the artwork for the cover and inner sleeve of their 1987 debut LP,"1000 Years Of Trouble"

Rock On!

Peter Saville and OMD

Well, I just pre-ordered the new OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvers In The Dark) album "History of Modern" which get released on September 28th, 2010. This is very exciting for many reasons. First, this is the first new album from OMD since 1996. Second, This is the first album since 1986 that has the original two member, Andy McCluskeyand Paul Humphreys, who haven't played together as OMD since the Pacific Age album! Third, from what I've been able to glean, this is going to be a 'classic' OMD
sounding album. They kind of lost their way in the 90s and I'm really excited to hear some 'old-school' OMD!

While I was ordering the "Ultimate Box Set" (which includes the CD, a 180gm LP, 7" single, CD of out-takes, and a DVD of the recording of the new album) I also read that the new album cover was created by Peter Saville. You may or may not know his name, but you DEFINITELY know his work!

Peter was one of the founders of FACTORY Records and did all the covers for the Factory bands, most notably Joy Division and New Order. His album covers are completely unique and always left a huge impression on me when I was buying them new back in the day. He did the Power, Corruption and Lies cover, the 12" for Blue Monday, and (one of my favorite) the cover the the 1982 EP "Factus 8". I didn't know at the time, but the art was actually done by Peter's live-in girlfriend at the time, Martha Ladly (formerly of Canadian new wavers "Martha & The Muffins).

I sold a 5 foot tall version of this poster in my record store and thought it was one of the coolest around!

Peter did covers for other non-Factory labels as well, including OMD. He did nearly all the great OMD singles and LP covers, including their wicked cool 1980 debut album with the die-cut cover looking at the sleeve color inside, up to Junk Culture in 1985

It's great to know that Peter is still around and making awesome and relevant artwork and album covers. Thanks Peter for 30 years of eye candy!

(For an extensive list of Peter's cover work, check out this awesome site in Japan!)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My Office

Well, I dug out all my posters from high-school and college and wallpapered my office a-la "Ferris Bueller". Feels good to be living in a record store!

Sixteen Candles

OK all you Madness fans out there. This has driven me crazy for 20 years. What version of the song "Our House" by Madness is playing during the opening dance sequence to the classic John Hughes film "Sixteen Candles"....

I think I have about 6 different versions of this song (12" dub mix, Stretch mix, us special remix, extended mix, budtheweiser mix, etc..) in my music collection, but I can find this one. It is very orchestral compared to the original score...Help please!

Here is a clip to refresh you memory.


Ok, the musician that wrote and performed many of the music scores for John Hughes, Ira Newborn, was contacted via email and here is what he had to say about the above mentioned "Our House" variation....

"Yes, I did "16 Candles" and I do remember having to "knock off" Our House by Madness because the studio didn't want to pay for the licensing fee...because when a studio commissions a composer to write music, they actually own it. It's called music-for-hire.' 
I don't really have any favorite projects. Maybe "The Blues Brothers" or "Weird Science." Talking to Kelly LeBrock in her underwear is something I will take to the grave with me. More impressive than the Grand Canyon.' 
"Filene" is exactly what it is. I had a girlfriend at the time who was black and I always used to kid her about black people making up funny names for their kids so I started calling her Filene and then used it in the song. I later called her "Lobelia" and used that in some other movie."

So there you go.  The song is called "Filene" and it is a knock off of Madness's "Our House".  Case closed.  

Friday, January 1, 2010

My Musical Milestones

Music has always played a big role in my life. I can track just about any event to a song or album of the time.

Just so there is a record of this; here is a list of all my "format firsts" that I ever purchased.

First 45 - Season In The Sun - Terry Jacks (1974)

First LP (mail order from a TV infomercial!) - The Monkees - The Monkees (Laurie House double LP) (Summer 1976)

First 8-Track - This One's For you - Barry Manilow (1976)

First LP (from a real record store) - Disovery - ELO (1979)

First Cassette - Blizzard Of Oz - Ozzy Ozborne (1980)

First CD - Welcome To the Pleasuredome - FGTH (1985)

First Razormaid CD - The Very Best Of Razormaid! RM-CD-01 (1987)

Burned my first CD-R - bought a first generation "WORM" drive and $1000 software package to be able to do this - freaked out all my friends that I could make my own music compilation CDs! (1994)

First dowloaded song (via Napster) - I Wanna Be A Cowboy - Boys Don't Cry (1999)

First purchased digital song (via iTunes) - Wichita Lineman - Johnny Cash (October 23, 2003) - First day of iTunes launch on PC.

Finally, on April 23, 2008, I acquired the complete Razormaid! library - 5727 songs from 550 LPs/CD since 1984 all in lossless (1000 Kbps) AAC digital format - delivered on a 500GB drive (April 23, 2008)

30 years later and the death of "format" has arrived. It's all 'bits' and can be had with 2 clicks of the mouse.

No more weekend trips the used CD store. No more rummaging through 'cut-out' bins a the Goodwill. No longer a sense of accomplishment of "discovering" that new band after hours of listening in the store.

Apple, you ruined my life.

CD History and other worthless triva

The CD format was invented by a collaboration of Philips electronic in the Netherlands, and Sony of Japan. Collaboration started in 1979.

The original audio CD spec of 74 minutes was set to accommodate a complete performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony

The Philips factory in Germany, where the world’s first CD was pressed, belonged to Polygram – the recording company owned by Philips at the time. The first CD to be manufactured at the plant was “The Visitors” by ABBA. Although, the first CD to be RELEASED commercially was Billy Joel's "52nd Street" in Japan on October 1982 (along with 49 other titles, mostly classical)

The CD format was launched in the US in March 1983 with the introduction of the Sony CDP-101 and Phillips CD100 CD players and 16 titles from CBS/Sony (including the Billy Joel "52nd Street" - although it was an IMPORT!!!).

The very first compact disc manufacturing plant that was built in the U.S. was the Digital Audio Disc Corporation [Sony DADC] plant in Terre Haute, Indiana, which opened May 2, 1983, with commercial CD production at the plant starting in September 1984. The first Capital Records CD every released, "Dark Side of the Moon" (catalog number - Capital Records - CDP 46001) were pressed at this facility.

The first CD that I ever bought was Frankie Goes To Hollywood "Welcome to the Pleasure Dome" - released on CD in early 1985 (although it was released on LP and cassette in the US in October 1984). This is also the first CD to be recorded in Full Digital - contrary to many posts that the first was Dire Straights - Brothers in Arms (which wasn't released until May 1985) - although, Brothers in Arms was the first CD to be simultaneously released with it's Cassette and LP brothers as a DDD recording.

FGTH was released by Zang Tuum Tumb Records (ZTT), which was owned by Trevor Horn. Trevor Horn was the lead singer and founder of the Buggles (most famous song was "Video Killed the Radio Star" - which was also the very first video to be played on MTV when it launched in 1981). Trevor was a pioneer in the Digital recording arena - with his digital recording of his first band to be signed to ZTT - FGHT. Trevor also started the band "The Art Of Noise" which was WAY ahead of its time. Trevor also signed Grace Jones and produced the album - "Slave to the Rhythm" - a landmark concept album that he also recored in DDD. It was released in the fall of 1985.