Friday, February 27, 2004

I was just pleasantly surprised to find a free wireless network here at the Pittsburgh Airport. Let's hope that enough of these free networks pop up to make charging for wireless access seem like a silly idea.

Monday, February 23, 2004

I found these two columns on gay marriage in The Tech to be pretty thought-provoking: The Secular Case Against Gay Marriage and the response, The Economic and Social Case for Homosexual Marriage. It's nice to see some writing that is somewhat distanced from the emotions of the issue. Also, from a while ago, a Michael Kinsley column that takes a different point of view.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

AJ wrote about memory associations with music, specifically about remembering when you listened to a certain song a lot. I feel the same way, but I have even deeper associations with pieces I've played. I was feeling kind of tired and grumpy this morning, and then Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue came on the radio. It's a piece I love dearly, as I spent my entire junior year of high school working on it and performed the two-piano version with my teacher at a school concert. I still have some of the really nasty parts in my hands, and I can almost physically feel how they go as I hear them (btw, it's interesting how some of those parts are completely overwhelmed by the orchestra). Anyway, it really cheered me up. Now if I could only get some work done...

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

A look at the comments in the leaked Win2K source; some pretty funny stuff.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

A fascinating article on Mahler's "retouchings" of the Beethoven symphonies. I think that if you're performing with an orchestra configured far differently from those of a composer's time, these kind of changes make perfect sense. I wish I could hear recordings of these reworked scores.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Looks like a software bug contributed to last summer's blackout in the Northeast (via Ars). Not very surprising, but disturbing nonetheless.

Sometimes, I'll listen to a "great" piece of music many times, thinking that it's nice but not really seeing what all the fuss is about. Then, for no obvious reason, on some listening the piece will come together for me in a whole new way, and I'll be completely blown away. I can distinctly remember having this experience with Mahler's 2nd Symphony as I was riding a train across India a couple of years ago. Yesterday afternoon and this morning, it's been happening with Wagner's Parsifal; it's like I was listening to a completely different work before. Why does this happen? Maybe my brain had to be reconfigured in some way by the first few listenings to really be able to absorb the piece? Anyway, it's very cool when it does happen.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

For a true measure of the devotion (insanity?) of some Big Lebowski fans: Lebowski Fest. In spite of how many times I've seen the movie, I think I'd truly be out of my element there.
Looks like there are a bunch of good concerts this month in the Bay Area. If only I could be a professional concert attender; I'd love to check out all of these shows.

Monday, February 02, 2004

I just got a new Rio Karma MP3 player to replace my Nomad Jukebox 3, which I unfortunately broke recently. I've been very impressed by the Karma's size, functionality, sound, and battery life. There's also a nice user community on the web to tip you off to firmware updates, tips and tricks, etc. If you're looking for a large capacity MP3 player and don't want to pay the premium for an iPod, I highly recommend the Karma. I found a good deal on PriceGrabber.

Another unfortunate thing about my old Jukebox is the software for transferring files from it doesn't write back the ID3 tags when you move an MP3 to your computer. Luckily, others have had to deal with this problem; this command-line tool looks like it will fix things up nicely.