Posts from November 2004

Rilo Kiley

I love finding out about cool new bands.  Rilo Kiley fits that bill.

They’ve got an alternative/country/rock sound that is somewhere between Pavement and Bettie Serveert.

While the guitar playing is great, the thing that really does it for me is singer Jenny Lewis’ vocals.  If I didn’t know, I’d swear it was Carol van Dijk from Bettie Serveert, and I love Carol’s vocals.

Here are a couple tracks from their best record, Execution of All Things.

Spectacular Views

With Arms Outstretched

Rilo Kiley also has a new album, More Adventurous, that made Amazon’s Best of 2004 list, and that’s how I found out about them.

I hope you like them.

My 50 Favorite Albums (continued)

I’ve taken my time adding another record to this list.  It is, as my brother Rod said in his comments, "a monumental task".  It is also, as my friend Bob said in his comments, " An age old effort, which never fails to satisfy".  I hope its more of the latter and less of the former for all of our sakes.

With that said, I am going to add a new album to the list every week until I get to 50 (albums not years!).  That should make it less "monumental" and more "satisfying", at least for me.

This week’s addition, spurred on in part by U2’s ubiquity on the public airwaves and on my private airwaves this week, is their finest album, The Joshua Tree.

I know that Ted and Tony have a preference for Unforgettable Fire, driven at least in part by U2’s greatest song, Bad.  And Bob is a fan of Achtung Baby.  I like that record too and I also really like All That You Can’t Leave Behind.

But The Joshua Tree is the U2 record I never can get enough of, like The Stones’ Exile, and so that’s why it ends up on my 50 favorite list.

Exploding TV (continued)

Rafat Ali points to a cNet article about Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, and AOL’s efforts to add video to their search offerings.

I’ve talked about some of this in my prior Exploding TV posts. (I wish TypePad supported a better way to link to multiple posts on the same topic).

The near term impact of this stuff, particularly Google’s efforts, is going to be felt by the companies who are already staking out this territory for business information services, companies like Critical Mention, ShadowTV, and others.

Longer term, however, I think this may well be how we watch TV.  Check out John Battelle’s futuristic vision on this one.  It’s coming, and not so far fetched as it might seem.

Google Local vs. Yahoo! Local

Martin Tobias points to Google’s beta of Google Local and gives his critique.

I agree with all of Martin’s criticisms.  Google Local isn’t ready for prime time yet.

My favorite implementation of local "search" is Yahoo! Local.

Here is a Yahoo! Local map of our office location with a graphic showing of all the nearby ATMs.  This is a really great service.

The one thing that’s missing from Yahoo! Local that Google Local does deliver is a simple search interface.

We’ll have to see if Yahoo! can get their front end right before Google gets their back end right.

Email is “old fashioned”?

Korea, which is possibly the most technologically advanced society in the world, is seeing a significant drop in email usage among the younger generation.

It seems that SMS, instant messenger (IM), and blogs (called "one man media" in the linked article) are the favored forms of communication.

The synchronous nature of SMS and IM are preferred because, according to the article:

"The new generation hate agonizing and waiting and tend to express their feelings immediately," said Professor Lee. "The decline of email is a natural outcome reflecting such characteristics of the new generation."

This is not particular to Korea.  I see it in my own kids.  They prefer IM and SMS over email by a long shot. 

It’s an interesting trend and one to keep a watch on.

Will the FCC regulate satellite radio?

Readers of this blog will know that I’ve written a lot about broadcast radio vs satellite radio.  I’ve been saying that the hype over satellite radio is overblown and broadcast radio will not go away anytime soon.

Well now it comes to light that satellite’s ace in the hole, free speech, may not last.  That’s right, the FCC may go after satellite next.

Jeff Jarvis pointed this out in a post he wrote today.

I would say this, if I were a radio broadcaster, I’d be petitioning the FCC over this for sure.  How is it fair that satellite gets a free ride to say whatever they want over regulated airwaves and broadcast does not? 

Broadcast radio will have the technology in place to operate subscriptions channels with HD radio in the very near future.  Does this mean that the FCC will have to apply whatever rules they apply to satellite to those paid channels?

It’s a huge issue for satellite and I hope the investors in those stocks are thinking about this the right way.

Now all that said, I am a fan of free speech, as is Jeff and most intelligent people in this country.  I’d rather see the FCC stay out of this whole issue entirely, but that’s not likely as long as we have our current administration in power. 

So get ready for the fight over censorship in subscription media.  It’s next.

MP3 of the Week

The thanksgiving holiday was an excellent opportunity to listen to a bunch of music.  The two albums that got by far the most airtime were Eminem’s Encore, a favorite of the whole family, and U2’s How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.

I can’t choose between the two, so I am going to run with two MP3’s of the Week this week.

From Encore, I’ve got to go with the title track and the last and best song on the record.  It’s such a pleasure to hear Dr. Dre and Eminem go at it together with some help from 50 Cent.  Dr. Dre is hip hop’s greatest talent and his two proteges do him justice on this one.

I also have to go with the last track on the U2 record, titled Yahweh .  Bono gets religious on us with this one.  When U2 does these anthem style ballads with the Edge’s guitar cranking in and out, I can’t resist.  Vertigo is getting the airtime right now, but I think Yahweh is the best song on this record.

Reinventing Social Security

After reading the front page story in today’s Times about Social Security, The Gotham Gal asked me the question I’ve been wondering about as well.

When all the retirees blow up their "personal investment accounts" investing in speculative situations, who is going to bail them out?

I am no fan of our current social security system.  My social security payroll taxes are going to fund the current retiree’s benefits, not my future benefits.  This is a huge ponzi scheme that is going to blow up at some point when there are more retirees to carry than current workers can support.

So reforming this system makes sense.  And making it a "pay for your own benefits" system is a worthy cause.  But allowing participants to manage their own account doesn’t seem to make sense to me.  I hope they come to their senses about that.

As for the "huge borrowing" referred to in the Times article that will be required to transform the system, it seems to me that this is the money that will be required to finance all the benefits that aren’t going to be funded with the ponzi scheme anymore.  It’s an unwinding of the ridiculous way we’ve financed social security for the past 70 years.

I am all for taking our medicine and recognizing the huge liability that we’ve been taking on.  If it requires "huge borrowing", so be it.  We’ve borrowed the money one way or another, so putting it on the books seems like the wise thing to do.

Growing Up Too Fast?

Ipod_kid The Week In Review section of the New York Times has a piece by Benedict Carey that discusses the pros and cons of kids growing up on iPods, cell phones, and videogames.  It contrasts this world with the world I grew up in where our toys were lincoln logs, erector sets, and legos.

My kids certainly prefer iPods, cell phones, and videogames to legos, lincoln logs, and erector sets, although they do/did play with the toys of my generation a fair amount.

But I am not sure that this new technology driven age is all that bad for kids.  My generation grew up on TV bigtime.  And we seem to be coping pretty well with all that the world is throwing at us.

I also think the notion that iPods, cell phones, and videogames don’t lead to imaginative play is wrong. 

Hpim0890 Earlier this week Josh and his friends were playing with my iPod on the way back from playing football in the park.  They came up with a whole story about the music they were listening to and decided to make a movie about it when they got home with our digital video camera. There was a ton of imagination, creative energy, and kids being kids in that situation. 

Technology is a fact of our lives and our kids are figuring out how to relate to it in the way that kids deal with everthing.  And that’s just fine with me.

My Blog Photo

I started this blog about 14 months ago.  For the first 10 months, I had a picture of me and Josh going up to Beano’s Cabin at Beaver Creek.

On my birthday this year, I took that photo down and put a new one up, again of me and Josh, at summer camp visiting day. 

Well a number of people, including Jessica and Emily, have asked me why I always have a photo of me and Josh on my blog.  Mostly its because I loved those two photos and what they meant to me.

But I’ve found one to replace it.  This one of me and Emily at a friends Bar Mitzvah last weekend.

This one will stay up until I find another good one, hopefully with Jessica or Joanne in it.