Tag Archives: wtf

Dancing with the “Stars” To Fire Orchestra

I received this from The American Federation of Musicians:

“The Federation has now confirmed that after 17 hit seasons with Dancing With The Stars, one of the world’s most popular TV programs, the DWTS Big Band has been fired. ABC/Disney says the group, comprised of 28 talented musicians, singers, arrangers and copyists, will be replaced by pre-existing sound recordings and a “small electronic band” to “attract a younger viewer demographic.

We are in contact with ABC/Disney executives in an attempt to stop these unjustifiable and unwarranted actions. You can join with us to push back against this latest attack upon the livelihood and integrity of professional musicians. Please email Candice.A.Ashton@abc.com. Please let her know that you will encourage viewers everywhere to boycott the show, ABC-TV, and The Walt Disney Company if she follows through on her plan to fire the band.

We will provide further information as the situation develops. If you are reading this bulletin on Facebook or social media, please share it with your friends immediately.”

The ONLY reason to watch Dancing with the Stars was to see Sal Lorenzo of the Big Phat Band. Now poor poor Sal might be unemployed now. I kid, sorta. Actually, the real problem is that Dancing with the “Stars” isn’t that. Let’s look at what “Stars” were on last season:

  • Keyshawn Johnson
  • Bill Nye
  • Valerie Harper
  • Christian Milian
  • Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi
  • Brant Daugherty
  • Leah Remini
  • Bill Engvall
  • Corbin Bleu
  • Amber Riley

Out of this list of “Stars” I know of Bill Nye (the science guy) and Snooki. And Snooki I only know of because she is worthless human garbage from New Jersey. So, ABC, I don’t think the problem is that these “Stars” you are getting aren’t “Stars”. Bring some fucking REAL “Stars” and maybe that would bring back your audience. Maybe pit Hue Jackman against Neil Patrick Harris? Cage match style? Last Man Dancing?

Fixed iTunes on 10.9 and iBooks

So, one of the things I rely on for teaching is iTunes. I have a HUGE library of audio, video, and PDFs. A have a couple hundred playlists that include PDFs of the books. For years, I’ve found this a fast, effective way to teach. Drill down to the playlist folder, say Jazz, then find whatever playalong I want to use, and there it is in a playlist. Then click on that playlist, boom, there are all the tracks, AND the PDF of the book. Double click the PDF, boom…it’s ready to be played.

Simple, easy……except that Apple for some reason decided that iBooks was going to take over ALL the PDF and ePub duties from iTunes. Ok, fine….except that it cleans out ALL the PDFs from your playlists, and then proceeds to move all the ePubs and PDFs into a folder on your hard drive buried under ~/Library.


So, I have been holding off upgrading my Studio Mac (well, Hackintosh) to 10.9 because I didn’t want to lose all my carefully organized lists and PDFs. Luckily I found a couple of Apple Support threads. It actually is simple really, thanks to Kevin Edgecomb.

Before you install 10.9, make sure you BACKUP your iTunes library files. The XML, the .itdb, and the iTunes Library files all in Music->iTunes.

Ok, so, install 10.9, then do this:

  1. Kill the bookstoreagent service using the Activity Monitor.
  2. Delete the file for that service: /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/CommerceKit.framework/Versions/A/Resources/bookstoreagent
  3. Use AppCleaner to get rid of iBooks.

And reboot (at least, that is what I had to do). Initially, the iTunes Library that was on the Mac had all the PDFs deleted even though I had not run iBooks. But moving a copy of the library files to replace the ones that got “touched” before I ran the above stuff…..works fine. All my PDFs are there. Playlists good. Everything great.

I have iBooks on my Mac at home, and it is nice, but I have NO IDEA why Apple decided to just move everything to a hidden folder in ~/Library. It would make much more sense to move the PDFs into a FOLDER in Music->iTunes something like, I dunno, “PDFs”? And then something like, lets see…..”ePubs”? Or just a generic “Books” folder? Or maybe even just move everything to a folder in your home directory called “Books”. Lots of ways to do it RATHER than where iBooks wants to put stuff, i.e. “~/Library/Containers/com.apple.BKAgentService/Data/Documents/iBooks”


Perfect Reed?…..Hardly

USA 325Checking my daily email, I received this

“Pays for itself in reeds saved and lasts forever
-Get a new dynamic and smashing sound
– Make extremely accurate adjustments
-No guessing where to shave
-Stop throwing reeds
The Perfect Reed kit is a new ground breaking method to condition your reeds to a professional level.
White-curvatures reveal exactly where adjustments are required. Make extremely accurate corrections.
Reed fibers are relaxed to give a precise and simultaneous contact with the left-right rails and tip.
Don’t work for your instrument – Make it work for you – Freeing you to express your talent.
There are four mouthpiece profiles for alto, tenor, soprano and baritone. Work’s for all tip openings.
Your lower registers will have a powerful and dynamic clarity with strong mid and upper tones.”

Then the eyes rolled back into my head. It’s a white piece of plastic and a razor blade….for $30. It’s not even a reed knife. It’s a razor blade. What happens when that “reed knife” gets dull?

Ok, if you really WANT to mess with a reed with a knife, get a Oboe or Bassoon Reed knife. Then get a flat surface. I personally wouldn’t use white as it is harder to see thickness of the wood. Get something dark, or black to work on. Then google or youtube the innumerable articles and videos on how to modify reeds. Your real investment is a good knife, but you need the right sort of knife rather than the wrong sort of knife (these are for pulling off a lot of wood. You won’t need this).

Skip this “product” people.

1 Million Pandora plays = $16.89

From David Lowery:

As a songwriter Pandora paid me $16.89* for 1,159,000 play of “Low” last quarter. Less than I make from a single T-shirt sale. Okay that’s a slight exaggeration. That’s only the premium multi-color long sleeve shirts and that’s only at venues that don’t take commission. But still.

This is complete BULLSHIT. “Services” like Pandora need to die. Wonder how much money Pandora made for those ONE MILLION plays. I guarantee it’s way more than $16.89.

And, Pandora, instead of using it’s money to give more to the artists, is hiring a PR firm.

Pandora hires Qorvis consultant (as in Lobbying firm for Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) for “Grassroots” campaign.

Good Job Pandora. I am deleting the iOS apps and removing you from my Roku.

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.

(Via blogs.kqed.org)

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.

Les Misérables 2012

I think most people have heard of Les Misérables (or Les Mis as a lot of people call it). It has epic music. In fact, I HATED musicals until I heard Les Mis on PBS on a rainy Sunday afternoon. It happened to be the 10th Anniversary all star performance. Amazing show, if you have not seen it or heard it. You should.

Now, there seems to be a movie coming out Christmas Day. Now, I haven’t seen the movie obviously, but the soundtrack is out. And it is HORRIBLE. Utterly HORRIBLE. Russell Crowe’s singing is terrible. In fact, I’d say a pig being castrated could carry a tune better than him. Anne Hathaway……I know you are pretty, but it does NOT entitle you to butcher songs left and right. Fucking Sacha Baron Cohen…….this guy’s success in Hollywood is beyond me. He’s performance is shitty….and that is being nice. Hugh Jackman is ok…..like a good community theater OK.

Now, as a movie, it seems to be getting awards left and right even though it is not out yet (how does that work?). But it’s essence is the music. That is what makes Les Misérables the great show it is. Imagine Phantom of the Opera with…..wait, they already did that. Ugh….maybe the visuals will distract me from the amateur singing on display….

Synology DS1512+

Years ago, in 2006 I bought a Infrant ReadyNAS NV. The thing has been ROCK SOLID in storing my 2.8 terabytes of archives, music, pdfs, backups. Everything. Love it. Though it is getting long in the tooth. It’s 360mhz processor, lack of software updates, support for just 2 Terrabyte drives, Ext3 filesystem, lack of software support……there is a list of things it doesn’t do that I’d like it to do. Though it has NEVER lost any data. A failed drive? Replace, it rebuilds, and we go on.

So, I decided to upgrade the NV to something new. Not that I plan on getting rid of the NV, but I’d like 2 copies of my stuff. So, I looked into Netgear (who bought Infrant) and their line of NASes. Not really cutting edge. Solid I’m sure. I also looked into Synology. They have a LOT of NASes they sell, and have some amazing software and even iOS apps to monitor the units. SOLD!

So, I get a unit on the 15th of March along with 3 2 terabyte seagate hard drives. Put the drives in, made a volume, updated the Synology software. Everything looked great. Awesome web interface, a speedy 2.1 gigahertz processor, FIVE drive bays. I’m in love.

Next up was to copy my ReadyNAS NV stuff to the Synology unit. I chose to use RSync on the ReadyNAS unit to make sure everything was copied, and that if I did any changes to the NV (cause I was still going to use it while it was backing up) the second pass of Rsync would catch any changes. So, I started the RSync job on Thursdays the 15th.

It finished on Saturday the 24th. It was slow (the ReadyNAS’s fault). The second pass of Rsync took like 20 minutes and caught all the changes I had made. Awesome. Ok, so next up was to power down the ReadyNAS, rename the Synology unit and reboot the Synology unit. Renaming it and rebooting it would make it show up as the old unit on my network and my iTunes share and network paths should, in theory, work without any tweaks.

Disaster…..so, I rebooted the Synology unit. And it never came back. It now blinks a steady BLUE power light. Scanning their support FAQ, if you take the drives out and power it up again, it should blink blue then beep and go solid. It doesn’t. It died. WTF! So, I email their tech support (actually before I did the taking the drives out). Nothing. Seems their tech support doesn’t work weekends…..which I think is unacceptable. I also posted in their forum my plight….seems at least 2 others right now, with newer units, have the same problem. Reboots or power back ons that just hang.

So…..what do I take away from this so far? Synology has shitty tech support. No support on the weekends? At all? Not ONE person in the company can be bothered to check and reply to the emails over the weekend? Terrible. A unit that is a week and 2 days old DIES when you simply reboot it? And I’m supposed to maybe have some sort of reliance on this product?

I would SERIOUSLY, as of right now, NOT RECOMMEND SYNOLOGY PRODUCTS. Go somewhere else. Netgear’s stuff is solid but doesn’t have the bells and whistles of Synology. But at least they have people replying to emails on the weekends and have members of their support staff monitoring and replying to forum posts.

I’m giving this a 0 out of 10 right now. I left a 1 star review on Amazon, and have contacted them through Amazon (still no reply). If it isn’t fixed by Monday, I will be filing a complaint with Amazon to get my money back.

UPDATE 3/29: After several emails with their support, and bitching about it, seems they will ship me another one to replace the unit. I did get the unit up at home on Monday. Passed the self test, and then I powered it down, and put the drives in, and it worked perfectly. So, I powered it down, brought it to my studio….and it did the blinking blue light thing again. I called their support, and they were like “it needs to go back from where you bought it”. And I was like “But I bought it FROM YOU through Amazon”. Ugh. So, after being disgusted on the phone with them, and having the unit completely unplugged again, I plugged it in, and it started working. I powered it down, and put the drives back in, powered it up and it works!

It’s a great little unit when it is working. The software is awesome, including the iOS apps for streaming music. Very cool. And you can remotely stream music as well. VERY COOL. Except that I’m worried about if I have to power it down or turn it off.

So, I’m going to revisit my rating of it. I’m going to give it a 5 out of 10. When the unit runs, it’s awesome. EXT4, awesome web interface, remote access, it’s FAST. However, their quality control seems suspect (a couple of other people on the Synology forums had similar issues with the XX12 series of units) and their tech support leaves a LOT to be desired (no email support over the weekend, no 800 number for support). I’d hold off buying a unit for a few weeks until they figure out what is the matter with these units. I suspect it is some sort of software issue with their DSM4 software.

Finale Notepad 2012…..FREE……AGAIN

File this under news no one really cares about….

One of the biggest bone head decisions was MakeMusic charging for NotePad, which had been free up until version 2009 (I think). Well, duh…..no one bought it. And the exposure they got for providing a fairly adequate notation program for free evaporated.

Now, at NAMM, they announced that 2012 version of Finale Notepad is going to be free. Now….if they would only maybe follow through? Hello Minnesota….you there?

I dunno exactly what the point is in announcing something then waiting like a month to deliver it. How hard is it to strip out the DRM in it? Seriously, how MakeMusic stays in business is anyone’s guess.

UPDATE 2/15/2012 Seems they, over a month after they announced it, have released Notepad.

Manhattan School Of Music Doesn’t Archive McCaslin

So it seems Donny McCaslin had a broadcasted Masterclass yesterday. But the geniuses at the Manhattan School of music didn’t archive it. Yes, read that again. But the geniuses at the Manhattan School of music didn’t archive it.

Why? This makes absolutely NO SENSE. First, it has value. They invited him to speak, so, he music have some gravitas right? And they broadcasted him right? So…..why not make an archive copy? What if, say, it was such a great masterclass that they want next year’s students to watch it? Nope, can’t do it. It’s gone. What if Donny dies suddenly after watching the latest Twilight Movie at home (his insides literally tore themselves apart sitting through that drivel) and the world is robbed of his talent, and perhaps one of the most interesting discussions he gave was the week before….but they didn’t archive it.

And we wonder why education costs so much.

Now, a smart university would maybe have archived the discussion. Maybe put it on iTunes like say, oh I dunno, Stanford does? Or a TON of other Universities? Or maybe even put it on YouTube and get some revenue from the ads? No no, that would be a good decision. Let’s just broadcast it and throw it away. Maybe NASA should have done that when we went to the moon. Or maybe Stanford should have never archived and made available for free on iTunes. I mean, it’s not like it isn’t probably the most amazing speech given in a long long time, and insight into a genius. No no, no way that Donny could ever do that right? He doesn’t need to be archived.

Stupid Manhattan School of Music. Really stupid. Get into the 21st Century. Archive everything. It doesn’t cost you a dime to upload to YouTube and you could make some money off it.

Yes, We Were Down Protesting SOPA & PIPA (and a US Government that is Deaf)

Jazz-Sax was down protesting SOPA & PIPA. Two bills that were funded by the entertainment industry. It’s amazing how if you pay a Senator or a Congress person lots of money, they can agree on a Bill and fast track it through to get voted on. Can anyone say “Special Interests”? Why are we continually electing people like Feinstein, Boxer, Pelosi, McCain, etc who do not do the bidding of the people? Anyone remember the NDAA bill that was passed that allows indefinite detentions of citizens. That is even more outrageous. Ugh. Change? I don’t see it Mr. Obama, Congress (both parties). I see a government that is strictly looking to keep itself in power. Look at the wealth of these people in Washington (or in politics in general). It is disgusting.

Be warned, the SOPA bill is not dead. It has been delayed while Congress is off on “retreat” for two weeks before they start campaigning to get elected again. Disgusting. So the internet will probably again have a blackout day. You have been warned.

For further reading on all the stupid pieces of legislation happening in Congress:

PandoDaily – Forget SOPA, Hollywood Already Had a Field Day with the Justice System
Consumerist – Jeff Jarvis Weighs In: SOPA “Changes The Architecture Of Our Greatest Tool Of Speech
Consumerist – Google Breaks Down SOPA Opposition By The Numbers
Consumerist – Consumerist Is Against SOPA/PIPA And That’s All We’re Writing About Today

Stop The US Congress and Senate – Stop PIPA and SOPA

Wednesday is a protest day here in the USA because our Congress, with their heads up their asses again, are trying to pass two pieces of legislation. One seems to be shelved as of this writing (SOPA), but the other one, PIPA is very very much alive. PIPA could cause sites like Soundcloud, Tumblr, and many others (including this one) to be taken down. Educate yourself on these flawed pieces of law that our inept Congress is trying to pass. And write your Congress person.

UPDATE: Seems the SOPA bill has been moved to next month, NOT because of the public opinion about it, but because all the Senators and House Members are going on vacation again before they try to go out and get elected again. PIPA is supposedly moving ahead full steam. It is disgusting.

Bravo to Craigslist.org, and WordPress.com for participating in the blackout.