Shovels & Rope rocked out the Neptune tonight


shovelsandrope1First time at the Neptune, nice small venue, plenty of parking nearby. The acoustics aren’t awesome but a great place to see a band.

And Shovels & Rope blew the f$%king doors off the place. They were loud and had great energy. Love their songwriting and their stage presence and interplay. We first became hooked on them based on this video which is an utterly intoxicating performance, and captures their presence. But wow they kick up the volume and energy for most of their live show, it was very much a rock and roll show. Tickin Bomb and Shank Hill Street were both excellent with the added energy and volume, the guitar work was awesome. A super talented duo, so glad to have seen them.

Prince put on a great rock show at the Showbox last night

20130419-093515.jpgGreat show last night, I feel very fortunate to have seen Prince in a small venue. A rocking show — just his current small backing band of 3 women on drums, bass, and guitar. Opened with a few classics, including a nice variant on “I Could Never Take The Place of Your Man”. A lot of his new material. A nice cover of the Cars’ “Let’s Go” with a shout out to Boston. A really nice cover of “Crimson and Clover”. Along the way Prince was in great lead guitar form, and also picked up the bass at one point for a great solo.

He is a captivating performer. I’ve seen Jack White in a small venue and Buddy Guy, they both pour a lot of emotion into their guitar work, Prince is up there as well.

What to do with my boxes of CDs?

Back in about 1990, I sold almost all my vinyl when I went fulltime to CDs. I did keep a few treasures — some Beatles, Floyd, Yes (“Roger Dean covers!”:, Led Zeppelin. But I sold the rest and moved on. Every once in a while I pull a vinyl record off the shelf to show the members of the younger generation so they can marvel at my backwardness.

I have moved on from CDs as well, quite a while ago. In fact I am probably in my 2nd generation of post-physical CD use — 1st gen was ripping all my CDs and just using digital copies everywhere. Now I just use Spotify and its ilk and don’t buy much music at all. But I still have 5-6 banker’s boxes of CDs in the garage, and they are taking up valuable space (that I could use to store more valuable stuff, like small kitchen appliances — rice cookers, bread makers, etc).

Sell? Does anyone want to buy old CDs? Are there aficionados that value CDs because they sound “warmer” than digital versions? Just throw away? Will I ever want the full CD resolution of any of this music ever? If I just throw away, but still listen to the ripped versions I have, am I in trouble if the RIAA goons show up some day? Maybe I can just take a picture of them all in a pile and the RIAA would accept that as proof of ownership (not likely). Do I have to sort thru and figure out which are available on Spotify and so can be thrown away without creating a legal liability for me, and keep the CDs that aren’t readily available online? What a pain.

Playing Zune tunes in the car

I like the all-you-can-eat economics of my Zune player, it has allowed me to try a lot of music that I would not otherwise have heard. A problem for me tho is — I do most my music consumption in the car while driving. I have the Zune car pack and it is fine for what it is — an FM transmitter. But I hate the experience — dynamic range compression (and this seems to be a particularly bad unit for that), difficulty in finding an unallocated slot in an urban area, interference, etc.

I wish my car had an AUX in jack but alas that slot is already consumed by an iPod interface which works great but of course is unusable by the Zune. Some guys claim they are building an adapter but nothing exists. And I don’t have the time to hack one up myself.

So the other alternative is to somehow get Zune songs into MP3 format so that they can be on my iPod or burned on data CDs and thence playable in the car. I don’t really care about stripping off DRM, I want to be legal, but I want to listen to the songs easily in the car with greater fidelity than the FM path allows.

I’ve been trying TuneBite which as I understand it, pretends to be a sound card, captures a playback, and encodes into MP3 using LAME. It also grabs all the tags from the source song and whacks them onto the MP3. It works but is funky. Very sensitive to task load on the PC, any other task will interfere with the encoding. And it just misses some songs from my collection for some reason.

I’d prefer a less Rube-Goldbergian software solution, but for now this is kind of working.

Microsoft Service Week — Part 1

Doing my part to help Microsoft avoid more layoffs this week. Firstly, been working thru zune error code C00D12F5 – Google Search. Some DRM config problem and all the published KB articles and forum pointers failed. Finally contacted the Zune guys directly and they were super helpful, even took my machine into their labs for a while. Turns out that somehow I had mismatched DRM components, they aren’t sure why, but forcing them all to the same version worked. Hopefully they will write up a KB article on. Zune guys were great to work with, here’s hoping they have future success.

Ignition blog roundup

* Tong Family Blog: Best Seattle Restaurants — I use SeattleWeekly for recos but this is a good list too. Remember when CitySearch nee Sidewalk was actually useful for restaurant reviews?
* Lala’s music streaming plans get covered in TechCrunch
* Phil keeps knocking out Beyond411 features. And the app hasn’t bloated!
* Rich offers guidance on indoor sports photo lenses. I was super happy with my setup for lacrosse this spring but I will need to do something for basketball.
* Rich’s guidance on media players. VLC has saved my ass as well.

Recent software/services of note

  • Jon Udell discusses web-based presentation software. S5 continues to intrigue me, if someone ran a hosted S5-like service I think i’d dump powerpoint
  • Mobile Seatguru now available. cool.
  • World of Warcraft the new golf? I kind of doubt it.
  • Jungledisk — using amazon’s s3 as a backup service. way cool.
  • WinSCP — the best FTP client? I’ve been happy with filezilla but..
  • URGE launches — so far it seems reasonable…going to sign up this weekend for a subscription