“The CD Case”

Making the case for preserving music on CDs.

I don’t know – I’m beginning to think that a lot of our attraction to media is because for years we got to have a THING that represented it, namely plastic discs and dead trees. Now that those are all going away it’s much easier to lose the attachment to those works – because then it’s just some kind of art form separated from a thing that held it.

When one does things like alphabetize a record collection, like I did for years, are we really celebrating an art form or are we just obsessive about our possessions?

For years I had told myself that I liked having a physical format for music, movies, and books. But today I look around at all this stuff and think of how much space they take up and how it will be a pain to move them if/when I move. “Music is timeless,” I told myself. “Art is timeless.” If so, then how come I rarely go back to most of them? If so, then how come there are such things as albums that work better on a CD or on Vinyl?

As I get older I see that these things from my youth that I told myself were very important, that spoke to me, were merely just what was available at the time I was growing up. Musicians like to talk about how music can speak to you, about how a song can hit at a time in your life when you need it. Weezer’s Blue Album is important to me because it came out when I was in junior high and I listened to it a lot. But if I came up during a different time wouldn’t it just have been some other album? Would the Beatles have gotten as big as they did if they weren’t marketed heavily to tons of up-and-coming baby boomers?

At its best, all this media can be something that speaks to you, but it can also be a reminder of who you once were or believed you could be. At its worse, they’re just things in a box taking up space in your new life.

So Like Us?

Mani Cavalieri’s answer to “What should I watch out for when fighting a chimpanzee?

As many other answers have noted, chimpanzees are far stronger and faster than us. Judging from the question details, though, you may be having a hard time translating the facts you are reading about their strength to the visual image of these smallish, furry things.

So let me try to illustrate.

Then a bunch of horrible stuff.

The Tables Have Turned

When Nerds Get Money

…nerds.

Filled With Goodness

Junk food masquerading as health food:

Call them Trojan horse foods: nutritiously pleasing ingredients (oats, yogurts) that conceal a whole host of junk. We struggle to think of them as unhealthy, because they seem so pure, so wholesome, so stocked with goodness. We want them to be healthy because we have certain dietary cravings, and these foods taste so, so good. And they taste so, so good, of course, because they’re filled with the dietary equivalents of marauding Greeks. Namely, sugar, sugar, and more sugar.

Mom Or CEO – The Choice of A New Generation

PepsiCo CEO Indra K. Nooyi on being a mom and a CEO:

Q. What’s your opinion about whether women can have it all?

I don’t think women can have it all. I just don’t think so. We pretend we have it all. We pretend we can have it all. My husband and I have been married for 34 years. And we have two daughters. And every day you have to make a decision about whether you are going to be a wife or a mother, in fact many times during the day you have to make those decisions. And you have to co-opt a lot of people to help you. We co-opted our families to help us. We plan our lives meticulously so we can be decent parents. But if you ask our daughters, I’m not sure they will say that I’ve been a good mom. I’m not sure. And I try all kinds of coping mechanisms.

“Cuz funny”

Ted Rall: Potato Salad Society:

Meanwhile, worthier Kickstarter projects – and charities – go unfunded. It’s safe to assume that few of the potato salad supporters would give anything to save refugees in South Sudan.

Bob Lefsetz on the potato salad Kickstarter

Lefsetz:

He only asked for ten bucks. Instead of saying my dream can’t come true without your help, Zack is saying I can do this without you, but it’s so much more fun with your involvement.

That’s a good way to look at it.

“The end of the roadie”

After the big money came in everybody had to start being professional.

Roadie annals are full of such stories, many of them involving unpleasant treatment of female fans. But that era has long passed, and with it the idea of roadies as folk legends. They have since osmosed into “techs” – low-key professionals who often have degrees and treat the job as a job. “Bad behaviour isn’t acceptable any more, to be drunk and carrying on,” says Chris McDonnell, the Charlatans’ sound engineer. “A lot more is expected of you. People think it’s crazy backstage, and it’s girls and drugs, but it’s not. It’s people working and having a cup of tea.”

Edit: The other thought that occurs to me is that you need to be a NERD to be on productions today. Think of the technology involved in concerts. Media servers that require knowledge of video technology, projection technology, and content creation. Overhead trussing that requires a lot of math to make sure that they’re properly holding all the equipment hanging from it so that people underneath it are safe. Sound engineers that need to mix monitors and mix for a different venue night after night. These are things you need to be obsessive about, thus – nerds on the road.

“Why I Love Spotify and Think You Should Too”

Why I Love Spotify and Think You Should Too | Pansentient League

“Well, there’s a lot of misconceptions and rumours about Spotify,” I started. “And most folk like us, who grew up with vinyl, don’t seem to ‘get’ it. It’s a harder sell if you’re used to owning music instead of renting it.”

Rusty looked at me quizzically.

“But what do you write about?” he asked. “Why do you think Spotify is so great?”

So this is what I told him:

The writing for the music download market is on the wall. Articles like this by Jer White make me think of jumping in head first to Spotify and getting started now.

In the past few months Spotify added the collection model, which helps if you’re like me and are against the idea of having a playlist for everything. Where Spotify falls short for me is in the organization of a collection. I like having smart playlists and viewing things by genre. Spotify would rather you give that all up and just let them take care of it through their radio and playlist/mixtape curation.

Sometimes I wonder maybe that is a better model so I can stop maintaining tags and playlists and start listening to music.

The other rub is that if you have music from independent services, like Bandcamp and Soundcloud, how does that fit into the streaming model? It can’t, not unless you’re allowed to add it to your own collection and treat it as if it’s part of the music service. The closest anybody has gotten to that is iTunes Match and Google Music (but, imo, if your desktop app is a web app, you blew it).

Until that’s resolved my use of Spotify will be a free account I use for first listens.

It’s not lost on me that a lot of what keeps me using iTunes is that I have a lot of care and energy into my current library. However, if I were 11 years old and didn’t have the baggage of a collection I’ve built for over 20 years, I’d probably be ok with streaming music.

Skeleton Profile

In Rebecca Cusey’s Facebook Has Become My Manipulative Boyfriend:

It was hard, but I shut it down. First I downloaded all the photos and updates I’d made in more innocent, trusting days when Facebook was bright and new. Then I deleted my account. Since I have to manage social media for work, I must have a skeleton account. I made a profile, locked the privacy options down, and entered only professional data. I made my wall public, but I only post my articles there. I accept any friends, but I mute their feeds so that I don’t have a constant stream of chatter coming at me. I’d rather be off Facebook altogether, but this is a compromise that works for me. I have similar rules of engagement for Twitter and Instagram as well.

Facebook used to offer account-types solely for managing pages. I don’t think they’ve offered that as of a few years ago. It’s what I started looking for when I wanted to nuke my profile. I tried everything: looking for pages-only options, tried signing up under my work email, tried inviting my work email as a Facebook page admin. Even if it was possible at some point FB transitioned to only letting you use your real identity, which could explain why I’ve noticed more people using fake names.

I’m not sure that matters. If everyone knows Mr. Pink is really Richard Franklin (pretend this is a real person for a second) then what difference does it make? Facebook doesn’t need to know your real name to target you if you provide it your location and interests, not to mention all the data it’s pulling from your browsing history.

What’s the difference between this and a profile you just don’t post to anymore? I guess if you start from scratch you don’t have any history.

And if Facebook is so poor at respecting our trust and helping us manage our relationships between our friends, what does that say about how it manages our relationships to organizations we want to be associated with? If that is also poor (the algorithm changes this year suggest it’s even worse), then why even have a Facebook page for your company or organization?

And if it doesn’t make sense for you to have a profile to stay in touch with friends or to have a page to promote your organization – THEN WHY ARE WE STILL ALL ON FACEBOOK?

I can only think of two reasons.

  1. We are all on Facebook because it’s better than nothing.
  2. We are all on Facebook because we are all on Facebook.

“I don’t listen to any new bands.”

A guitar teacher writes to Digital Music News about the music preferences of students, why female students knew all the current bands and the male students stuck to Metallica and Bon Jovi:

I asked my male students what the heck is going on. “I don’t know, the new stuff just isn’t good. The old stuff is better, the production is better. It’s just better.”

I asked one of my female students the same question, why only the girls are bringing new bands. “It’s because the new bands are better looking.”

Those guys on their cell phones giving the business in airports

Also as soon as the plane lands.

Brands Aren’t Teenage Girls

Selfie is now a word most often heard out of the mouths of marketing execs, the ones who call youth marketing agencies and say, “Let’s do something with selfies!” “I hear that all the time,” says Gregg Witt, chief engagement officer of Immersive Youth Marketing. “They’re either a full poseur or someone who wants to fit in. Man, it’s like 50 days late and a million dollars short to say that.” As the selfie makes its final duck face, let’s consider this last chapter of its legacy: Trend chasing in the Internet era is desperate and lazy. And bad for business.

I guess narcissism is only acceptable when attractive girls do it?

grow smart.

Spotted this ad in the July/August 2014 issue of The Atlantic.

Seedless Watermelon Brought to you by Monsanto

Thanks to advances in traditional breeding, Monsanto has developed new seedless varieties of watermelon that still deliver the classic, sweet watermelon flavor. It’s just one way we’re creating better food choices for a growing planet. Innovation has never tasted so delicious.

To learn more visit Discover.Monsanto.com.

Come on guys, they don’t sound so bad. It’s a growing planet and we’re gonna need to engineer food so we don’t have to eat any soylent green.


At the risk of sounding like an apologist, are people’s problems with Monsanto – the ones I read about from naturalist-type friends on Facebook, because Monsanto is EVIL or because Monsanto does everything they can to protect themselves within a broken system of patent law? If it wasn’t them, it would be somebody else.