Monday, January 29, 2007

Solar Power Cellphone!


My RAZR is officially off the grid. (powerwise, if it were off the GSM grid it'd be, well, useless.)
I have been using the AOC Razor charger this week. Si it saving the world Bono-style from green house gases? no. Is it one step toward Freeman Dyson's vision of solar independence? Yes.
Here's the thing: Dumping a ton of money into making your home totally solar powered is fine. A more realistic approach for all of us is to shoulder some simpler energy burdens with solar. Maybe personal panels like this to power gadgets and laptops. Maybe a single solar panel to contribute to your home's energy efficiency(while still relying on the local utility to provide the lion's share of your electrical power needs). EVERY little bit helps reduce YOUR individual carbon footprint. Yeah, yeah, yeah, Prince Charles is now a Saint because he is eschewing the use of his private jet..
If you can't make that a big a sacrifice ( I would LOVE to give up the use of MY private jet so I could ride in First freakin' class!) the least you can do is get on board with some simple, low cost alternates to provide SOME (but not all) of your energy needs.

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Wisest words I have heard about music downloads - Video


From the Barenaked Ladies - Here is an interview in which Ed and Steve (the main singers/songwriters) explain their take on filesharing, P2P, DRM MP3s and the future of the music industry. Check this video out HERE.

Digital Rights Management(DRM) Vanishing in 2007


HERE is an intersting article about the recent Midem conference in France. The industry consensus is that DRM will shrivel away in the next few years. This challenges the Apple model (kudos to Steve Jobs for selling the "major" labels on iTunes' DRM which can easily be subverted with a 35 cent CDR) as well as the entrenched, desperate worldview of most record companies that they can cling to their historoc revenue model. If the big record companies would stop pining away for the coke fueled glory days of the seventies and eighties and jump on to new ways to monetize the content they can provide they could come oput the other end with an entirely new business model that could be even more profitable than the old school record, press, sell method.

Interview with Epitaph Records Founder/ Bad Religion Guitarist Bret Gurewitz


HERE is a short Q&A with Brett Gurewitz from Bad Religion. He discusses the current sate of the music business as well as his run in with The Offspring.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Albums Released on USB Flash Drive

Here is an interesting story about a band that has released their album on a jump drive. The Barenaked Ladies were the pioneers when they released their Christmas album a few years ago but now it seems that other bands are following suit. Just this past year Keane released a single on a flash drive. The future is now.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

CES - Solar Power!


I ran across a cool little solar charger for cell phones and MP3 players at CES. It is built into the mold of a Motorola RAZR. It is very cool for two reasons: 1) it has an on board battery so it can charge itself and then later charge your phone or iPod. 2) The price is about half of what the Solio costs (I blogged about the Solio recently, I still think it's a great product but this new unit seems to be a better alternative.)
I am working on having my import company, MotherBoard LLC, distribute these things.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Cascading Style Sheets - CSS Zengarden


I began HTML programming in the early to mid-nineties. After 1997 or so I didn't do much hands on programming because my job didn't require anything except oversight of our web presence. As I have started my own businesses over the past 6 months I have been thrust back into it (mostly to keep costs down) and I have been shocked at how sophisticated web programming has become. Simply learning about Cascading Style Sheets has been an eye opener (cackle on everyone who has mastered ruby on rails, AJAX etc....). Taking a crash course in web 2.0 design has led me to be absolutely blown away and smitten with CSS. I am taking baby steps to implement it for sure but this site www.csszengarden.com has shown me just how incredibly freakin powerful this is. The premise of the site is that the underlying HTML code remains the same but the layout and look are DRASTICALLY changed by the CSS code. The various design examples are brilliant on their own but given the fact that they are ALL hitting the same exact code is just mind boggling to me. I have loaded some screen captures from the site but I think it is much more worthwhile for you to explore it on you own.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

CES 2007 - What is the killer new technology?

I spent the day at CES in Las Vegas yestrday. It was a whirlwind visit. I had six meetings with suppliers crammed into the day as well as a little time to walk through the Sands Expo, the Hilton and the LV Convention Center. I am hard pressed to say that I saw anything truly new or mindblowing. (Given that I was moving so quickly I could easily have overlooked something...)Incremental improvements or innovations maybe but nothing that shocked or surprised. (Of course if I had been at MacWorld I would have been wowed by the expected but still cool new iPhone.)
I was sitting at a restaurant at the Venetian when almost simultaneously three people at surrounding tables got messages on their Blackberrys, "iPhone!"
The trend I did notice was that Motorola, Yhaoo and Microsoft all seem to be putting alot of negy into making the cell phone the be all end all gadget. Including more music playing functionality, more browsing capabilities, video downloads etc. Again nothing new.
One word of advice for those of you leaveing the LVCC at the end of the day: Monorail. I took the Monorial to Paris and then got a taxi, there was no one in front of me (compared to the hour plus wait at the curb out side the show.)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Trouble No More - Ray LaMontagne


One of the joys of 2004 was discovering Ray Lamontagne. I was driving on the 210 freeway from Pasadena to Duarte one chilly morning in November or December. I flipped the radio to NPR and heard an ancient soulful voice ache across the airwaves. Part Otis Redding part mountain man. I was shocked to hear such a genuinely heartbreaking sound.
It was Ray LaMontagne. His Trouble album was one of the greatest Cds I had come a cross in a decade. Let me set the record straight, I am jaded, I am cynical, I have seen and heard it all. To be moved so deeply by a new artist was astonishing to me even as it was happening. I bought at least a dozen copies of the CD to give to friends and family that I thought needed to hear it.
Ray's new CD, 'Til the Sun Turns Black is another great collection. Ethan Johns produced both. While trouble was raw and live, the new collection is more thoughtful and introspective. A little less rough around the edges but still brilliant. And we get a sweet dose of Muscle Shoals Style horns to boot.