Category Archives: News


Google Shutting Down Reader

One of the things I use A LOT on the internet is Google Reader. It is a way easy way to get feeds from a ton of sites in one place where you can view them all, and if you are interested click on them and go to the site and read more. I spend at least 30 minutes each morning going through my feeds and reading things I find interesting. Google Reader fetches all these and keeps them insync for me, so if I happen to use Reeder iOS app to read some of the NYT Arts articles, later when I am on the computer, it won’t show me those again. It has been a huge thing for me for a while now. Now Google is killing it off.

The internet was in an uproar about it. I was too. Damn Google.

Alternatives? So far I think NewsBlur is the top for me. I already paid for a year ($24). I also bought Fever, but for some reason it won’t import my exported Google Reader data. Fever sounds really great, and it would be my own private store of feeds, and I could use my favorite Apps (Reeder) to view the feeds. Hopefully my email to the creator of Fever gets a response.

San Francisco Symphony: On Strike, Concert Canceled | KQED News Fix

San Francisco Symphony: On Strike, Concert Canceled | KQED News Fix:

Musicians for the San Francisco Symphony went on strike today after eight months of fruitless talks with management centered on wage and benefit issues. The immediate impact: The symphony announced a concert scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday has been canceled.


I’m sorry, but when the AVERAGE salary is $165K a year, I have NO SYMPATHY for these guys. The rest of us musicians maybe make $60K a year before taxes, and since Obama and the recession, I think a $40K is more realistic.

Launch Equity Acquires MakeMusic

Launch Equity Acquires MakeMusic:

Today, MakeMusic announced that Launch Equity will purchase the company.  You can read MakeMusic’s press release here.   Launch Equity proposed the buyout last July (July 15, 2012), with the intent of taking the company private and then investing money into the company for a new CEO as well as updating software (particularly Finale’s base code).

(Via Technology in Music Education)

This is great news considering Avid is falling off a cliff and the development team of Sibelius was sacked and have started a new project with Steinberg.

However, this did crop up. Seems everyone isn’t happy about this

What Is Up With Avid?

Protoolerblog posted this yesterday:

“If you’re a Avid stockholder you might just freak out a bit right now: the company has postponed earnings from last quarter of 2012 and is now under investigation by at least two law firms.”

Avid makes ProTools….and they used to own M-Audio until they sold it this past summer. They also own Sibelius….after they fired the core developer group. Sorta a BIG deal when this company has two big industry leading (ProTools) or at least industry tying (Sibelius) pieces of software.
The Boston Herald has more:

“The digital audio and video technology maker said the company needs additional time “to evaluate its current and historical accounting treatment related to bug fixes, upgrades and enhancements to certain products which the company has provided to certain customers.”

Now, is this bad news? Probably…… answer on why companies delay earnings doesn’t sound good:

“However, most often, the delay will be a result of the company not completing the report on time due to audits taking longer than expected, inexperienced officers completing their first report and the firm losing some or all of its financial data due to a technical error, fire or theft.”

Ok, no fire, or theft. Inexperienced Officers? Perhaps. Losing it’s financial data? Probably not. So… is probably them trying to polish a turd. Meaning Avid’s sales sucked last year, that users are still baulking at the price of ProTools 10 and it’s upgrade price from previous versions. That selling M-Audio didn’t do much for the company, and in fact might have hurt them more.

I guess we will know in 45 days or so the exact financials, but I don’t expect it to be good at all. May I suggest all you who use ProTools consider learning other programs just in case (like Logic!)

SmartMusic Updates It’s Pricing

Today, MakeMusic, the makers of SmartMusic, announced new pricing for SmartMusic. I believe they have jacked up the price by $5 a year, BUT they allow you to install it on multiple computers and devices (like iPads for their upcoming iPad version).

So this is actually GOOD news for the average student. But….

If you are a school, it is going to be a lot more expensive. They are charging a per student license of $8 a student, which what I hear is about 7x’s more expensive than it was.

Still, with all it’s quirks, the SmartMusic program is still an excellent tool for practice. The shear amount of band music they have in there is worth it.

A Double Sax Stand……for $5?

So, the Woodwind and the Brasswind had this insane thing on their website. $4.99 for a double stand (Alto/tenor). So, I bought one. And it came today. And it is GREAT!

The Ultimate Support double stand was a freaking steal. It is basically a knockoff of the Hamilton Double Saxophone stand. They look identical.

Anyhow, it seems they are out of them now, but it was a great deal. I’d watch their site to see if they offer another deal like that soon.

Site Slow for the Next Few Days….Due To Crashplan

Sorry guys and gals, but the site might be a little slow for the next few days? Why? Well, Crashplan has a amazing sale this weekend. A whole year of the Family version of it for $17. Well, it started off free supposedly, but then it was going up in price every two hours and when I got word of it Friday, it was at $17. Right now it is about $60 for a year of the family plan (up to 10 computers, unlimited data backup).

If you DON’T backup your computers, you should. Crashplan is PERFECT for this. It’s unobtrusive, and gives you another layer of protection in keeping your stuff safe (I can’t imagine losing all my Finale files……) in addition to your TimeMachine or whatever else you backup to. And even at $60 for a family plan, it is still a steal.

Crashplan works on Mac, Windows and Linux. Since the Jazz-Sax server is a Linux box, I can now finally backup the server files to the cloud. Whew. So, until the initial backup is done (about 2 days according to the program…..since it doesn’t use ALL the bandwidth I have), we might be a little slow for a while. Plus, my MacPro is also sending stuff to the cloud.


Seems Samsung is not the only company that copies others. PGMusic’s Band-in-a-Box is clearly the target of BandMaster‘s photocopier.

BandMaster is $29 accompaniment software solution for Mac. No idea how it sounds (no videos or audio available), but it does have some minor interface improvements compared to Band in a Box (i.e.: Time Line).

With no audio or video, I’d be a little concerned about how this program is going to sound. Band in a Box is STILL the leader in the sort of program, and still my hands down “GET IT” choice.


UPDATE:4 Days left, they also included Firetask and Printopia to the bundle.

Ok, probably aren’t into the games. But the two things that are of tremendous value are DiskTools Pro and Evernote (1 year and 3 months of the Premium). For $29.

Evernote premium is $45 a year. That right there is a good reason to get this bundle. The DiskTools Pro also has a very nice disk defragmenter for those of us who work with big files.

Back to Evernote. Consider how much time you spend on the web. You find something useful, interesting, insightful, or whatever. You bookmark it. You might as well have thrown it away. Are you going to remember WHERE you put the bookmark? What was the site called? Nope. Forget about it. That bookmark has gone to the same place where the missing socks go.

Evernote, for me, has an AWESOME Web Clipper (or you could set up a bookmark script in Safari, or even email the link to your evernote account) that will grab the articles, sans ads and crap. Then you can tag it with somethings to remember what it is. Say music, psychology. And/Or put it in a binder, say called Misc Music Stuff, or just put it in the default place.

Ok, now you are saying “But isn’t that just as bad is bookmarks”. NO. Sit down Skippy. Take another drink of your juice box. It is NOT the same. Why? Cause you can search EVERYTHING in Evernote. The PDF you put in, the Webpage you just clipped. It’s all searchable. Every……single…..word. So if you saved a webpage dealing with Garbonzo beans, you can search Garbonzo in the search, and it will find you ALL THE ARTICLES that have that word.

I’ll wait while you pick your jaw up off the floor……….ok?

Plus you can take pictures and put it in Evernote. Or voice memos. Tag it, organize it. Once it’s in there, it’s available on your computer or phone (Android/iOS)

Pretty cool? It appears you get UNLIMITED storage in Evernote, but you can only transfer in 1 gig a month. So after 13 months you’d have 13 gigs of searchable crap. Not a mess of bookmarks.

$29… you get some games (Strongbad game is funny), an art program, and a Recipe program (which comes with a ton of recipes).

So consider it….soon. 6 Days left to get it. My math skills say that that is 1/2 price for an Evernote account. Evernote has been a good value so far for me. I had a TON of interesting articles saved in Google Reader (that is a whole OTHER story how that is cool) that I have clipped into Evernote and can actually find and use now. Now if I could just find those socks I’m missing…..

SPAM Problems/Registrations

Running is site is a pain sometimes. Basically, its SPAM. People/BOTS register and start flooding the site with links to crap. In an attempt to fight off the SPAM/BOTS, I installed a few WordPress plugins to deal with it. It seemed to drastically cut down on the amount of fake registrations and spam the jazz- sites where getting.

However, it seems that something has run amok. I can’t even seem to create a new user anymore using the standard registration form. So, I have disabled some of the plugins for right now. We will see how it goes. If I start seeing the activity logs flooded with “low cost pursues” and other crap, I might reenable the plugins or make it more difficult to register.

Slow News Day On CNN: The Making Of A Prodigy (Grace Kelly)

It’s obviously a slow weekend when this story about what makes a prodigy is on the front of CNN. Not that CNN is really a relevant news source nowadays with their Twitter usage and general lack of a cohesive professional face.

So, we see these “prodigy” stories ever few years. Grace Kelly is the current one with that mantel (from whomever hands them out). Previously it was Alex Hann, then probably some people before him. I remember as a high schooler Amani A.W. Murray as being THE next big thing. The prodigy of the 90s. Charlie Parker reincarnated. Yet I can find just one CD of his? But he was all the rage…..heck, he made me hit the practice room with more zeal than ever before…..

Anyhow, so, big piece on Grace Kelly. The most interesting comment though was from John Renborn which was

How much did Grace’s parents pay CCN to write yet another publicity stunt for Grace? Her parents have paid Lee Konitz, Phil Woods and others A LOT OF MONEY to play with her. Think Jessica Simpson on sax. Why didn’t CNN ask her about this? She is not a prodigy. She is self centered. Ask her why no one at Berklee wanted to be involved with her. She is not a musicians’ musician. With Grace, it is a carefully organized and well funded campaign by her parents to promote a semi talented performer. Ted Gioia, the noted critic and jazz historian, saw right though her as did the NY Times and others. Take a pretty Korean girl, dress her up in tight, low hung leather pants, high heel sneakers and a tank top, give her a sax… You get the picture. Now she wants to go viral aka like Britney Spears. Pathetic.
As a manager and long time jazz promoter I can tell you she is not a prodigy, not even close. She is a somewhat talented kid who plays decent sax, sings so-so, has parents who have spent hundreds of thousand of dollars promoting her by paying well known sax players, and is not deserving of the another poorly researched article.

I think the better example would have been Lana Del Rey or Rebecca Black but whatever. Grace sorta reminds me of Saori Yano, but Saori Yano is way way hotter. Same sorta thing though. Semi-talented to talented performer using sex appeal. Not like that never happens….gosh, using sex appeal. Though Grace has none for me….maybe that is why they are using the Prodigy approach?

Did the parents pay for this? I know that there is another local music store that frequently gets little lame ass write-ups in the newspaper about what they are doing. Like their stupid group Uke classes. Or that they are selling plastic trombones. So yeah, maybe Grace Kelly’s parents did grease the way for this story on CNN. Would not surprise me in the least. When she gets into Newsweek or Time then I’ll be impressed. CNN? Not impressed.