Category Archives: Apple

Clock Blocks

Haiku Review

Shoot the clocks before
Your time runs out and you die
Addictive like crack

This past weekend Mallory from Small Girls PR invited me and Robert to the Clock Blocks iPhone/iPad game launch party at The Bowery Electric.  I have to admit that I haven’t really played much in the way of games in the past decade and that my iPhone is pretty much just for calls, texts, emails, maps, and music, but Clock Blocks turned out to be incredibly compelling and addictive.  It’s actually more complicated to explain in words then to just play yourself (we figured out the idea in a few seconds and then ended up playing for almost an hour in an attempt to master it). Note to self: must do this games and beer thing more often.  Clock Blocks really is a timeless classic, with a Frogger-like simplicity and sense of excitement and the gratifying thrill of a classic Shoot ‘Em Up.

Try out the browser version of Clock Blocks on the 80d Games site and get it for your iPhone or iPad on iTunes.

San Francisco Day 3

Day 3 in San Francisco and day 1 of my internship at Creative Commons.

I got up this morning and headed to my first day at my internship;  except I couldn’t find the bus stop that HopStop told me to go to.  I ended up walking to work instead.  It only takes about 40 minutes, and it’s mostly downhill or flat, although it takes me through an ugly, mostly industrial part of San Francisco.

I get to the Creative Commons office and meet the other interns and staff.  We spend the morning getting an overview of what Creative Commons is and an overview of the organization the staff.  We also get set up with our email and wiki logins.  After a short office tour (it’s a small office), we headed out to lunch and socializing at Primo Patio Cafe.

Back in the office, we filled out some administrative and got set up on various email lists.  I met with my supervisor, Ahrash Bissell, Executive Director of ccLearn, and talked a bit about my project for the summer.  In the next few days I am going to get up to speed on the Open Education movement and doing some user experience and internationalization stuff for the OpenEd community beta site.

My ongoing SF photo set on Flickr.

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After work, I met up with Elizabeth (pictured above and of Herbivores and Noir fame), who is in town attending the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference.  We headed to Chinatown for dinner at House of Nanking (pictured below), which a bit of a tourist trap but a particular guilty pleasure of mine.  Love their fried rice!  We got there right before the crowds lined up outside, so we had zero wait time.  Just avoid anything deep fried there and you will be fine.

houseofnanking

The Future of Music

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From Tekserve’s email invite:

Special Event: The Future of Music, A Panel Discussion on Where the Music Industry is Headed

The panel will explore a host of music topics: What have we gained, what have we lost? What are we going to hear in the next ten years? What are we going to feel? How will music be sold? How will it be produced? How will it be performed? Prior to the panel discussion, you will hear from Steve Gordon, author of THE FUTURE OF THE MUSIC BUSINESS: How to Succeed with the New Technologies, A Guide for Artists and Entrepreneurs. In addition, you’ll have the chance to pose your own question to the panelists at the end of the discussion.

Moderator of the Discussion: Harry Allen is a famed hip-hop activist and journalist for Vibe, The Source, The Village Voice, and others. As an expert covering hip-hop culture, Harry has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, on National Public Radio, MTV, VH-1, CNN, the BBC, and other information channels.

Here is a list of our panelists:

Bob Power, Award-winning, multi-platinum record producer, mixer, engineer, musician. Credits Include: A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul, Erykah Badu.

Hank Shocklee, Long Island based hip-hop producer. Credits include: Public Enemy, EPMD, Ice Cube.

Nick Sansano, New York-based engineer/producer. Credits include: Public Enemy, Ice Cube, Galactic, Sonic Youth.

Steve Gordon, New York based entertainment attorney, author and lecturer

Below: Mixer Cake

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My Notes:

Steve Gordon’s Presentation on the Future of the Music Business

  • The traditional music biz is in crisis due to digital downloads, Napster and Kazaa, but there are many new opportunities
  • Gross music recording sales are in decline – peaked at $15 billion in 1999, now down to $10 billion in 2006
  • With modern technology, it is now possible to produce a commercial quality album for less than $10,000 and set up a promotional website for only a few hundred dollars.
  • Case study : Assuming that an artist records an album for $15,000. If she sells only 3000 units online through self-distribution, she can start to turn a profit. At a major label, she would have to sell over $15,000 units just to recoup costs, before starting to receive a paltry %3 on each unit sold.
  • iTunes was a step in the right direction. Great deal for Apple – over 90 million iPods sold, but for record labels, digital sales have not compensated for losses in CD sales.
  • Why DRM? Labels for Apple to use it, but Apple uses DRM too. iTunes purchases only play on your computer or on an iPod.
  • New AAC Format (Apple and EMI partnership). Offers higher quality sound at a greater cost. But once again, it only plays on an iPod.

Panelists’ General Observations

  • There has a transfer of power from labels to independent musicians and producers, but not a transfer of money.
  • The business is in crisis, but MUSIC is still good
  • Consumers have a choice now. Need for new curators, gatekeepers and aggregators of content to help music listeners make more informed choices.
  • Just because we have new digital tools doesn’t mean we should use all of them at once. Talent and acquired skills are still needed. One needs to have a firm grasp of musical history and how to arrange. Good, cheap technology does not necessarily translate directly into a great record. But Rock and Roll was born out of doing things wrong.
  • In the new digital age we are still children. We are now free, but how do we take advantage of our new found freedom? Most people don’t know what is means to be free – so most people go back to the plantation.
  • PROMOTION IS KEY! People need to not only promote their own stuff, but cross promote with other artists and producers as well.
  • Currency is viewership and visibility, NOT SALES! Audio and visual elements are even more interconnected than ever.
  • Big expensive studios may still sound a bit better than a home-studio recording, but it doesn’t sound 1 million dollars better.
  • Labels will stay around in one form or another – just as radio did not replace television. Labels still have means to promote and place an artist. Labels still command trust with distributors and media networks. The oldest form of trust is $. Labels are like banks.
  • There is now a lower ramp of entry into the biz. But artists have an even greater responsibility to create their own buzz now.
  • There will be no more superstar artists – only celebrities and good artists.
  • Profits will be more evenly distributed. More variety in the ecosystem, with everyone getting a fairer piece of the pie.
  • Keys to success – REFINEMENT, SKILLS, and LEARNING.
  • MySpace is great, but don’t forget that face-to-face meetings and networking is still important.

Watch the The Future of Music videos on YouTube.

Björk – Earth Intruders

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Last night, I downloaded the new Björk single, Earth Intruders from iTunes. Björk is back, and she’s brought the beats and the balls with her. Earth Intruders is brutal, violent, tribal-meets-electronica, with political overtones and eerily catchy. It reminds me a bit of M.I.A., but the stamp of Björk as an auteur is clearly there, continuing to push boundaries and redefining genres.

You must check it out. This track has restored my faith in music.