Tuesday, September 9, 2014

It’s a process.

I’ve moaned about the state of metadata for digital music for a long time. There’s no “but” here. I’m not stopping anytime soon. I just want to give a little credit to a very nice person working at Spotify, who goes by the username Ulyssestone.

A few months ago, I bitched on Twitter (like I do) about a particularly annoying example of track-tags-gone-horribly-wrong on a great album of Fredric Rzewski playing his own piano works, which is creatively titled Rzewski Plays Rzewski. Sounds like a great way to listen a great—and too-often overlooked—composer playing some of his best works, right? The only problem was that every single track was only labeled with the title “Frederic Rzewski.”

As you can see. Whoever entered this data into the Spotify database took the album title entirely too literally. (“Randy, what’s this track called?” “Don’t be an idiot, Steve. It’s called Rzewski Plays Rzewski. What else would he be playing?”)

I stupidly complained to @Spotify on Twitter, but the more thoughtful @timrosenberg brought it to the attention of @ulyssestone. Tim’s prodding actually yielded results! Now, we can all listen to Rzewski play Rzewski, not just “Frederic Rzewski” for six-and-a-half hours.

Thanks, Ulyssestone. The state of track tags in a world so reliant on streaming music is pretty terrible, but it’s nice to know that there’s at least one person who gives a crap and actually has the power to fix some small-but-important things like this.

Incidentally, in addition to being my metadata hero of the moment, Ulyssestone also curates some fantastic playlists. Here are a few of my favorites. You should follow them on Twitter.

Monday, September 1, 2014

It’s almost that time of year when Florida stops trying to kill me and starts being awesome.


It’s almost that time of year when Florida stops trying to kill me and starts being awesome.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Make your own telemprompter.

I wanted to make some videos for my online students, but I didn’t want to memorize a bunch of scripts or pull a Bachmann. Here’s my solution. I used about $15 of hardware from Lowes and some stuff I had lying around the house from SoundNotion.

Go full screen with the slide show (controls in the bottom left) to read the text. Here’s my list of materials:

  • Logitech C920 webcam (Any webcam will work as long as it has a spot for a tripod screw.)
  • smartphone or small tablet (I used a Nexus 7, but any Android or iOS device will work as long as you can fit it in your design. A big iPad probably wouldn’t work. An iPad Mini would still be a stretch.)
  • cheap tripod with quick-release plate
  • random hardware bits from the hardware store
  • slim CD jewel case
  • recycled old shirt
  • binder clip (There’s always a binder clip.)
Monday, July 14, 2014

My comment to the FCC on Net Neutrality

The big project is due tomorrow. I tried to keep mine short, given that they’re probably going to receive close to a million comments. Here’s mine:

I urge the Federal Communications Commission to protect the open, egalitarian nature of the Internet by classifying internet service providers as Title II common carriers and requiring open loop unbundling of the “last mile” to homes and businesses. This will ensure that we get the competition for Internet service enjoyed by other countries who have much faster and more reliable connectivity at much lower costs. American startups are losing the race for technological and business innovation to startups in other countries, and allowing tiered Internet traffic will only serve to exacerbate this problem.

You can see the status of this comment here. More importantly, you can leave your own comment here. (It’s pleading 14-28.)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 Friday, June 13, 2014 Friday, May 30, 2014


I’ve seen, heard, and played Copland’s Appalachian Spring a lot, as any American musician probably has. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anything quite like this performance by the University of Maryland Symphony Orchestra.

Just you try to get the tenured musicians in Chicago to do that, why dontcha?!

(H/t to Greg Sandow for linking to this on his blog.)

Thoughts? Is this a new and engaging presentation of a dusty warhorse or a gimmicky distraction? Somewhere in between?

Monday, May 26, 2014


It’s a swan taxi of cute.

Monday, May 19, 2014

My friend Benoit built a home here in Orlando, the central feature of which is a fantastic, small concert venue. He has a weekly concert series in his home!

Thursday, May 15, 2014