Thursday, February 25, 2016

Longest hiatus yet from posting...

Classic. Life got busy...

The urge to get back to posting has struck and also the urge to link to a primary location from the disparate places my various interests have landed in the digital world. So what can you (if there's anyone out there still happening upon this ancient blog) expect now? Variety, opinion, and perhaps something that will strike your fancy to delve deeper into as a topic here-and-there.

I don't seem to be one of those people who can stay focused a single, consuming interest, but a few have emerged over time as true core passions. Resurrecting a long dormant blog seemed the best way to pull these together and capture them.

To be sure, there will be tangents, but the tangents always seem to enrich the core interests I have.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Pick what works for you and leave the rest of us alone (PLEASE?!)

I have been accused of being an Apple "fanboy" (yes, you don't have to be male to be accused of that ;).

This hit an RSS feed and I ran across it in tech news a couple of places I frequent to keep up with things.

Microsoft exec savages Apple's 'struggling, lightweight' tools

Wow, that's a huge surprise, right?

...let the Micrsoft vs. Apple nasty reader comments ensue... Again, huge surprise, huh?

My take, in reality is (regardless of what those around me who know I'm steeped in Apple devices and software may think):

Do you work someplace that is 99.9% Windows based (accountants and who knows who else these days)? Do you NEED the things that are available in Excel or Word? Then by all means, get Office. Do you PREFER the way they work and are comfortable with them from long-time use. Go for it, buy Microsoft software.

On the other hand, do you just want to write some letters to family, friends, even business letters in a small or single proprietor business with no huge IT budget and no need for all the bells and whistles? Then maybe the "struggling, lightweight" tools that Pages & Numbers offer is enough. If that's the case then, go ahead - upgrade to Mavericks and get some quite functional software in the process, for (gasp) free. Nothing is really free of course. You did have to buy something Apple to begin with to get the software. :)

I'm not aware of anyone in a consumer situation being forced to buy one set of software or the other against their will (or phones, or tablets, or laptops for that matter). Don't like they way Pages works? DON'T USE IT. Maybe Numbers isn't quite as powerful as what you want or need in a spreadsheet? Then get Excel.

It's true, I prefer Mac. I like the look, feel and logic of it. Even when they change things, it's mostly familiar to me from long-time use. I'm more productive. It is most assuredly not for everyone. But Marketing has to try to convince you otherwise (for any product). That's their job.

It's kind of amusing that top executives can be so easily goaded into being defensive and territorial - publicly. It's less amusing that people feel the need to do the perpetual comment dance of "you suck... -- NO you suck" on every one of these articles. Buy what works for you and leave the rest of us alone to make our choices based on actual product features.

Dear Microsoft exec... some of us don't want or need all the stuff your Office suite can do and don't really need to spend the money on it. Keep working on those enterprise sales, okay?

(don't even get me started on subscription software for the individual consumer... Yes Adobe, I'm looking at you too on that one!)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Andrew and crew are at it again. HMS has a raffle running with 4 pretty wonderful ukes...

Uke Raffle June 13-26 HMS

Get in on the raffle and start accumulating your points: HMS Uke Raffle

Friday, March 15, 2013

Luthiers are fascinating people!

Pretty sure it's somewhere in this wonderful video interviewing luthier Rick Turner that he comments on finding Apple Macintosh computer as a tool.. I'll have to watch it again and note the minute mark.

Chock full of so much wonderful history about guitars, ukes and luthiers!

Entitled to an opinion, but so sadly misinformed... the wonders of the ukulele

What a shame that people choose to voice opinion based on little experience and less fact. Perhaps he's just out to be inflammatory and I shouldn't even bring attention to him (to all 5? of my readers ;).

I mean, he does start his posts with "Grumpy Young Man", after all. But, since it's not possible to leave comments on his post (at least for me is wasn't), I thought I'd just go ahead and say here what I would have left in a comment.

"You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but are sadly misinformed and should back up your lambasting with some actual facts. Please do some research before you bash something you appear to be barely familiar with."

Grumpy Young Man: Keep the ukulele inside the classroom - Columnists - Views & Blogs from @examiner

The ukulele was indeed created in Hawaii, by Portuguese luthiers who adapted their native instruments to this new form. It is based on their reworking of the machete, a small guitar-like instrument similar to the cavaquinho, braguinha and the rajao.

And if this sounds like a child's toy... Mr. Himelfield must be around some pretty astounding children:

Perhaps Mr. Himelfield is familiar with a guitarist named Carlos Santana?

Mr. Himelfield states: "It has all the resonance of an asthmatic flea blowing into a pillow and the clarity of a secret service document with all the verbs redacted."

Mr. Santana seems to be enjoying some pretty resonant, clear and well played ukulele in the clip above!  Brittni Paiva is but one of the amazing young uke players out there these days.

Is it easier to learn to play than guitar? Ohhhh yes. There are two less strings to deal with. Is it any less valid as a musical instrument? NO WAY. Sorry, Mr. Himelfield is fond of quotation marks... the "uke" is as much an "instrument" as a "guitar" or "violin" or... pick your widely accepted orchestral "instrument" or band "instrument".

Because you can't stand egotistical bass players who ALSO get to use just 4 strings, don't lay that baggage on a wonderful, full sounding, versatile instrument like the "uke" because it also has "just 4 strings".

And here are some ideas just what techniques and sounds you can get out of these supposed "toys" (warning - it's a full fledged lesson video - 24+ min):

Jake Shimabukuro's uke isn't resonant at all, is it? :P

Did I say it was easier than guitar? Well, it is easier to learn for many... it may not be quite so easy to aspire to the level of the Jake Shimabukuros, James Hills or Brittni Paivas of of the world.

Sorry you were subjected to the horrors of attempting to play a plastic recorder in school (my son went through that in elementary school as well). There are far better instruments for teaching music to young children, but schools are pretty limited on just about ANY funding for the arts (much to our cultural shame).

I have no problem with people not liking a certain instrument, it's sound, the type of music it may be used to create. That's no reason to malign and debase it as a valid musical instrument.

There are indeed horrible sounding plastic ukes... that is a fact. Not all ukes out in the world are plastic. Expand your horizons a bit Mr. Himelfield and perhaps strive to write informed and informative columns in the future. Ah, but then maybe you'd be less grumpy and have to change that header for your diatribes.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Wanna win an ukulele?

Music has been part of my life since I was little. I'd not taken time to play and enjoy it much in recent years. Thankfully, that changed.

Thanks to a wonderful person, I have discovered the ukulele. If you don't know what this humble (but sometimes insanely flashy) little instrument can do, just take a listen to this:

Don't have one of your own? The amazing folks over at Hawaii Music Supply have a contest going right now to win one of 4 lovely ukuleles. Give the trivia contest a shot. :)

Having come from a guitar background, the ukulele is quite a bit easier to play (especially the nylon/fluorocarbon vs. steel strings). Check one out the next time you are wandering through your local musical instrument store... They don't have one? Ask them to get a couple in for people to try!