Saturday, May 5, 2012

Goodbye disc players

Made a significant realization yesterday, for a guy in my profession anyway.
I don’t want a bluray player.
Why is this significant?  Allow me to tell you why.
I think it is safe to say that almost every red-blooded American that has a TV in their home also has a disc player of some type connected to it.  That player probably plays dvds, and if you’re really up on things, it might even play bds (blurays).  
Well, I hadn’t made the big upgrade yet from dvds to bds, but had just gotten a fancy new 1080p big screen HDTV, so I was kind of anxious to start watching movies at home in all the glory that bds had to offer.  So, I did some research on what bd player to bring home, and settled on an entry-level unit that ran about $175 (though they are available anywhere from $100-$5500).  I literally had brought the player home, and then had an epiphany...why didn’t I just get an AppleTV instead?
The main reason this idea popped into my head, was something I noticed just a few days earlier.  My wife had just spent three long days in a hospital ICU fighting a post-pregnancy bout of pancreitis.  No fun at all, and she is thankfully now on the road to recovery.  While I was sitting by her bedside through the wee hours of the night, I was browsing through my iPhone for something to entertain myself with.  I brought up iTunes just to see what movies were out.  I happen to notice a button on the bottom of the iTunes page that said ‘Purchased’, so I pressed it.  What came up was all of the movies I had ever purchased from iTunes since I had first signed up, with a little cloud button next to them.  I saw Dumb and Dumber listed there, pressed the cloud button, and it instantly started streaming that movie on my iPhone!  How cool is that!! 
I can’t think of one disc player in existence that can do that!
So that is what did it for me.  I returned the BD player, and brought home an AppleTV instead.

What else did I gain by doing this?
  • my entire movie AND music library available to me in a nicely organized on-screen catalog format (anything in my iTunes library that is.  And I have the ability to rip all of my existing DVDs to my iTunes library!)
  • I can purchase and/or rent new HD movies from the comfort of my recliner (don’t have to run to Target or RedBox to get a bluray movie)
  • The movies and music I purchase from iTunes will ALWAYS BE THERE since they are stored in the iCloud!  I don’t want to think about how many cds and dvds I’ve lost over my adult life.
  • Many of the HD movies on iTunes are cheaper than they are on bluray.  From what I’ve observed, they run $15-$20, where most bds are $25-$40.
  • AirPlay.  Now I can stream to my HDTV anything from an iPad or Mac!  (the new OS coming out for Mac, called Mountain Lion, allows you to stream your entire computer to an AppleTV!)
  • I also gained the ability to have all of these features on any TV in the world.  All it takes is an AppleTV, an HDMI connection, and Internet access.  TVs in my hotel on business trips, GmaGpa’s house when the kids are staying over...whatever!
Call me a geek, but this is kind of a game changer, and pretty dang cool.  
Goodbye disc players...hello streaming bliss :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What Makes Apple The Leader?

Is Apple the best?
Amongst people who pay attention to technology, there is a size-able debate about who is the best.  A person could spend all day debating if a Blackberry is better than an iPhone, or if a Dell is better than a MacBook.  This debate is futile because this is not where Apple has proven to be superior.

One platform that just works.
What sets Apple apart as truly unique is that they offer an entire product line that was designed to work on one platform.  No other company has a tower computer, a desktop computer, a laptop computer, a tablet, a phone, an operating system, a music player, a music service, and software.

Let's take an example...
-Dell makes one dang nice computer.  But it's OS is not their own, they had to use a product from Microsoft called Windows to make it work.
-Microsoft makes one impressive OS.  But that OS wasn't designed to run on a Microsoft computer, it goes into third-party computers.
-Android makes one very nice phone.  But it doesn't sync with your Android computer (because one doesn't exist!)

Not much someone could argue about this.
Now, there are some companies that have picked up on their business model and are attempting to copy it.  Google is a great example of this, Facebook another.  If they can pull it off is yet to be determined.

The final thing that is truly amazing about Apple is that when you compare one particular product of theirs to one of their competitors, Apple is often times the victor.  The iPod is the world's favorite portable music player by far.  Mac OSx is arguably more robust than Windows.  When a graphic designer wants a good work computer, a Mac is the go-to.

All this said, it doesn't mean some healthy competition isn't a good thing.  Choice is a beautiful thing.  It is undeniable, though, that Apple has had it right from step-one.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Rubber side down and the sun is settin'

I think it needs to be given a name.  That magical 60 to 90 minutes before the sun sets on a beautiful day.  The horizon takes on a color palette that you couldn't recreate if your art teacher demanded it.  The air has that perfect temperature that you wish you could have had on your wedding day.

If you ever get to enjoy this magical hour on a motorcycle, you won't soon forget it.  The two cylinders are pounding away in a harmony that even Kenny&Dolly wish they could have attained.  That smooth two-lane highway that is lazily unwinding behind you feels like a wispy cloud that you are floating upon.  And that exhaust note...oh baby, that exhaust that what mom's heartbeat sounded like in the womb?

Yes that magical hour needs a name, and I shall name it right now.  "Schkrumtulescent".  No, that's already taken.

How about...Magic Hour.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Vinyl records, Leather-bound books, Music downloads, and E-readers

I've seen music media go through a certain kind of life cycle.  Back in the '60s and '70s, the only choice was gramophone records.  Then, round about the late '80s, CDs came along and most everyone dove head first into the wonderful world of digital playback.  
What is amazing to me is that nowadays, it seems people want both!  
Digital music is still the medium of choice for most people, BUT a lot of folks are remembering the value of good 'ole records.  I hear folks say..
'I love the convenience of my iPod, but really enjoy the feel of a record in my hand'.
If you are one of us that agrees that Music Matters, I bet you would probably agree with that statement...I know I sure do.

So here is the observation.

It seems that books are about to go through the same cycle.  Just as little as a couple of years ago, if you wanted a book, your only option was to get it on paper.  But now, e-readers are literally on the verge of changing this to where you might not ever read your favorite new book on paper.

Do you think we can cut to the chase here?  Is it possible that book publishers could learn from music media's life cycle and avoid the 10-30 year experiment it went thru to discover that people want both analog and digital?  I can just hear it now...
'I love the convenience of my e-reader, but really enjoy the feel of a book in my hand'.  

Here is what I suggest.

Book publishers, with every new book being published, put it out there in BOTH ANALOG AND DIGITAL.  Put a hard-bound book on the shelf with a digital copy of it inside the front cover!

Music labels...with every new album you are going to produce, put it out there in BOTH ANALOG AND DIGITAL.  Put a vinyl record on the shelf with a digital copy of it inside the cover!

This is what the consumer wants!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

An album worth giving a listen to

Even though it's not available on vinyl just yet (coming June 14), I couldn't wait and picked up Eddie Vedder's new solo album 'Ukelele Songs' the other day on CD.  I was a bit skeptical at first (even though 'Into The Wild' had a lot of 'uke in it) but have been digging it so far.

My fav song so far is "Dream A Little Dream".  Up until now, I usually had heard this song with female vocals (good ole Ella Fitzgerald) but Vedder's scruffy baritone timbre was refreshing. 

Had to chuckle when "Hey Fahkah" came on.  Talk about flash back to living on d'Islands!  Felt like I was back on the construction site.

Good album, you won't regret picking this one up.

Get busy livin' or get busy dyin'

...and so it begins.

Bein' that change is one of those constants in life that we best get comfortable with, I figure it was time to start a blog.

I imagine I'll be chatting about all the things on here that make me tick...
-the latest bit o' technology that helps make recorded music sound better
-two-wheeled transportation with a motor
-great music albums (probably on vinyl)
-the amazing journey that it is being a dad and husband
-eternal minded things like Jesus the King
-good cigars

...this ought to be fun...