27 Dec

FXPansion BFD2: Oooh, Sexy!

As hardware improved those last three years, live triggering of PC-based soft samplers has become a reality for edrums players. I’ve been having fun for a while with my Roland TD8 triggering Toontrack DFHS and EZDrummer, but I have to say that the brand new BFD 2 looks very attractive with what looks like strong support for hi-hat and snare nuances. If you think that electronic drums are just toys because they don’t look like good old acoustics, you’re late by at least half a decade. Yes you can play accented triplets and ghost notes on Es.
By the way I recommend the Vdrums.com forums for people who don’t know much about VSTs and edrums but are interested in finding out.
Too bad record labels don’t understand they should be in the music business. We so don’t care about records anymore, it’s not even funny. What matters is the underlying data and meta data. Music should be published with tracks split by instrument so that you can play on top of it with whatever instrument you’re playing muted in the original song. It is a testament to their utter failure to reinvent their business that there are just a few dozen drumless tracks available from a couple dedicated drummers such as Tommy Igoe, Dave Weckl or David Garibaldi.
Unbundling albums into their individual songs is old news and does little to promote music. What would really matter is to unbundle songs in their constituent tracks. And no, the end game is not just remixes and mash-ups. Learn to play music already! This would promote music playing as it’s much easier to keep your motivation up if you can play over music you like — rudiment training by yourself gets old fast.
Music records should get a clue from the Guitar Hero and Rock Band games (can’t wait to get mine!), or karaoke for that matter, but you can bet they won’t. They’re thinking that everything that’s not a big phat gold album is a tiny niche. Well it is because you make it so, dumbasses. More people playing music means more people buying music, there are strong network effects to be unlocked there. Plus, kids, playing the guitar or drums will get you laid much more than owning the latest Ipod Touch, guaranteed!

26 Dec

Amazon.com Kills Tabs

Remember when every web site had to have tabs because that’s what Amazon.com did, so it had to be good? Seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it? Well Amazon finally retired them, realizing that they didn’t scale when you have 40+ departments in your site. They’re now using scroll-down menus which I have mixed feelings about. Yes you can cram a lot into them, but then the user has to be more careful about the path they follow with their cursor, for fear of opening another (unwanted) submenu along the way. Amazon’s implementation is addressing that issue by forcing you to open the menu through its top right. Smart, though you have to kind-of learn to hover over the down arrow. Funny to see the Kindle featured in three different areas.

11 Dec

The End of Free Archives

We lost the domain name in some administrative snafu a couple years ago, but for anyone who might still care, I just realized Jason Shellen has revived TEOF’s archives hosted now on blogspot.
The Google “everything for free” effect is now at its apex with the NYT, WSJ or the Economist pretty much throwing the towel on online paid content to go after more ad revenue. Of course when the next advertising cyclical downturn comes there will be a lot of hand wringing about lost revenue and how subscriptions are nice and predictable.
This must be why we’re working on our own subscription service! Not for the general public though. We might be bold but not crazy.