This takes the cake: To the audiophile, this $10,000 Ethernet cable apparently makes sense

Wow. This is some seriously messed up language used to describe ‘premium-grade’ Audio Ethernet cables – yes, you read that right, Ethernet cables for the Audiophile market. My word…

All insulation slows down the signal on the conductor inside. When insulation is unbiased, it slows down parts of the signal differently, a big problem for very time-sensitive multi-octave audio. AudioQuest’s DBS creates a strong, stable electrostatic field which saturates and polarizes (organizes) the molecules of the insulation. This minimizes both energy storage in the insulation and the multiple nonlinear time-delays that occur.

via To the audiophile, this $10,000 Ethernet cable apparently makes sense | Ars Technica.

SoundCloud – Flickr for musicians?

SoundCloud Logo

Recently I’ve started poking around synthesizer and music technology on my iPad and desktop computer. I’ve not made anything noteworthy to share yet, but when I do, I’ll be using SoundCloud as one of my mediums to share.

Like Flickr you say?
SoundCloud is very much like Flickr — an online destination where members upload and share content.

In SoundCloud’s case, the content shared is sound – be it music or sound effects or whatever! If it’s audio and is uploadable, then you’ll find it on SoundCloud. And embeddable and shareable — here’s an example:

Smooth ipod (NanoStudio) by NiceThings

Community
Yep, now this is one of the important parts of both SoundCloud and Flickr — the communities that can develop around a particular member, or activity, or group.

Friends and Groups work as you’d expect them to. For example, there’s an online mobile music site called Palm Sounds — and they’ve got a Group on SoundCloud that I’ve joined.

In that group, I can listen to content that other members of that group have uploaded to SoundCloud and shared with the Palm Sounds group.

This is exactly the same way that Flickr handles groups and image sharing.

There are other similarities, but I leave that for you to explore for yourself if you’re interested.

I am, and you can find me on SoundCloud here — I’ve shared a couple of sound items, mostly things I’ve featured in past blog posts.

And if you’re on SoundCloud, give me a ping and let me know what you’re into!

Making music on the iPad

In the previous item I mentioned that I’d not yet tested out Seline HD, an iPad app. Well, I have now, and yes, it really is quite cool.

After fiddling about with the interface for a bit, I was able to pull this little bit together.

I must have been inspired by the few hours of The Pillars of the Earth we were watching — seems to have a medieval theme.

One neat thing I loved; you can record and overdub, so with a bit of patience, you are the orchestra!
bard1.egg by bgrier on Aviarybard1.egg by bgrier on Aviary

Additional note: I used the awesome free online clip / audio editor Myna (an Aviary tool) to trim the head and tail of the clip so there was no dead space. Cloud audio editing…how cool!
Check out this video / tutorial of Selene HD for a bit more detail.

If it’s everywhere, is it special?

4553i114AB80206EE34C5Once upon a time, not too long ago, in the latter part of the last century – say the 60’s and 70’s, consuming media was clumsy and cumbersome. It seemed that you had to make a special appointment with your hardware to listen to the latest band or show some friends your latest photos. You had one device for each media, and sharing and consuming media was not something you did every day, on a whim, or easily. You had to have a special place to consume your media. And you had to set aside special time for it.

Radio was ‘the’ medium that gave you instant gratification back in the day. Everyone had one, or two, and had a favourite station or music program. The catch was, a station could only broadcast one thing at a time. So if you weren’t into old-time polka music, you had to find another station to listen to, from a handful, perhaps. We all had favourite stations and programs.

Portable music was your little transistor radio. AM. The Sony Walkman wouldn’t be developed for a few years yet. Apple was a record label that the Beatles recorded with. The computer company didn’t exist yet either. There really wasn’t a concept of a personal music player.

In most homes, the ‘living room’ had all the majority of media devices; a hi-fi (record player), a TV, and that was it. Perhaps the hi-fi had an 8-track player or cassette. Home movies and photos were presented theatre-style – projected on a big screen (after reconfiguring the room and setting up said projector and screen). Eventually consumer-grade videotape systems were introduced, but still the problem of scheduling your media consumption existed.

Many of you likely remember such things, maybe even you’ve used them or owned them, but I’m guessing that a fair number of readers here wouldn’t know how to change the stylus in a turntable, nor the difference between Chromium Dioxide and Ferric Oxide audio tape. Such were (competitor) of technology, back in the day.

Fast-forwarding to today you easily see the how lifestyle technology has changed the way we share and consume media:

  • Movies on demand can be ordered instantly and delivered to any room in the house with today’s high bandwidth HD PVRs and routers
  • Photos are rarely stored in physical books. Rather they’re on computer hard drives, or better yet, on commercial photo sharing services (like flickr and Picassa) where they’re easily available, secure and regularly backed up.
  • The same for music, though today you really don’t need to store it. Rather than playback from a physical media device (LP, 45, CD etc) you can simply grab your computer and surf to one of the many online music stores. Or if you simply want to sample, it’s easy to use one of the streaming services like GrooveShark or Blip.fm.

Once some big-brained hackers somewhere realized that our media can be converted into bits and bytes, things changed. Those bits and bytes can be stored, moved, shared, delivered over this series of tubes called the Internet. That music, movie, whatever is now portable, and it doesn’t really care about format. I can play an mp3 on my computer, network-enabled blu-ray player, iPod, iPad, eBook reader, Phone, etc… you get the picture.

So now, we’re much more efficient at consuming and sharing our media when and where we want. There are many inexpensive technology tools that enable this, but are we better off?

Some days, I miss the excitement of bringing home a new album of music, putting it on the turntable and sharing the music with anyone in the house. That used to be something special. There was a little ritual associated with opening the album, cleaning the disc, and dropping the needle in the groove.

Somehow, opening a CD and sliding it into a player, or pressing ‘buy’ on an online music store just doesn’t have that same special sense of ritual, that sense that ‘we’re going to listen to music now, this is important, so sit down and pay attention’. Some days, consuming media just doesn’t seem as special as it once was.

I wonder what’s replaced it….I’ve not found it yet.



This post of is one of many I publish weekly at the Future Shop Techblog. Read more of my stuff here.


eRadio? It’s coming.

By now you’re pretty tired reading all the ‘2010 is the year of the eBook’ articles out there. But what about eRadio? It’s more prevalent but do you even know what it is? …more



This post is an excerpt from one of my weekly posts on the Future Shop Techblog. Check out the full post here.