At last I have found some live musicians to admire (as opposed to my usual style of getting interested in a band that broke up at least 10 years ago, or just after a key band member carks it).
Rodrigo Y Gabriela hail from Mexico via Ireland and do amazing things with acoustic guitars - they blend all sorts of influences into some amazingly tuneful works.
And thanks to the intrawebthingy you can check their page out at MySpace (and listen to several of their songs). Also you can see some great live action via YouTube (it's live) - they'll also deconstruct some of their styles for you to appreciate in this interview on YouTube.
Their lack of easy fit to a category probably condemned to a life of busking in the past but now a global audience is just a few clicks away (you can buy their tunes via Apple's iTunes Store)
Bono, lead singer of U2, has been increasing his efforts to raise awareness on the plight of Africa - he founded DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade in Africa) in 2002, specifically with the purpose of "obtaining equality and justice for Africa through debt relief, adjusting trade rules which burden Africa, eliminating the African AIDS epidemic, strengthening democracy, more accountability by the wealthiest nations and African leaders and transparency towards the people".
Bono is not alone in pointing out that every week in Africa there is a loss of life through preventable disease on a level similar to the lives lost in Asian Tsunami of December 2004. While that saw a humanitarian response on a huge scale, Africa's plight is virtually ignored by most of the world.
Africa is a continent in flames and, deep down, if we really accepted that Africans were equal to us, we would all do more to put the fire out. We're standing around with watering cans, when what we really need is the fire brigade, and that's what I'm trying to do tonight, really. That's why I'm speaking to you. I'm trying to call the fire brigade. I'm asking for your help.
I'm an Irish rock star in America. I love this country. I know my way around, but I really need help here. This stuff isn't even on the news. You see, it's not as dramatic as the tsunami. It's crazy, really, when you think about it. Does stuff have to look like an action movie these days to exist in the front of our brain? The slow extinguishing of countless lives is just not dramatic enough, it would appear. Catastrophes that we can avert are not as interesting as ones we could avert. Funny that.
As a winner of the Ted Prize, Bono gets three wishes and US$100,000 to go towards his achieving his wishes.
Check out his practical, earth changing wishes. Consider what you can do to help.
(Belatedly) introducing The Whitlams - a friend put me on to this great Aussie band. As always I discover music late in the history of bands - though of course that does allow the sifting of time to separate the great from the ordinary. Of course I had heard one or two Whitlam's tunes but hadn't connected them to a specific band.
There's no aphrodisiac like loneliness
Truth beauty and a picture of you<
Wil Wheaton, rocks on with the LiveAid 20th Anniversary DVD. His kids (yes the not-yet-teenstar of 'Stand by Me' now has kids) had great sport in pointing out the mullets which seemed standard issue for rockstars in the early 80s. Hilarious.[Wil Wheaton]
Rogue Amoeba has announced Slipstream which they claim is "the first and best way to send audio from any application directly to remote speakers attached to Apple's renowned AirPort Express device. With Slipstream, audio from any application can be sent to the AirPort Express - users longing to send audio from applications like RealPlayer and Windows Media Player need look no further than Slipstream." Shipping early in 2005.
Ye Li at CalTech has put a lot of work into providing a Flash movie which unites the music of Billy Joel's, We Didn't Start the Fire [lyrics], with matching images. Very effective. For baby boomers it's almost like having your life flash by.
This site lists more background on each of the historical events.
New audio technology from British company NXT turns LCD laptop displays into stereo speakers, with vastly superior sound
Laptop screens are for displaying images, right? Of course. But nowadays, that's not all: In one of NEC's latest models, the screen also serves as a pair of stereo speakers. It's not just a marketing gimmick to boost sales to high-tech junkies. The liquid-crystal displays (LCDs) actually produce better sound than the typical laptop speaker…
What turns an LCD panel into a stereo speaker are two little piezoelectric gadgets mounted behind the screen on each side. Piezo devices convert electricity into motion or vice versa. Here, sound signals are transformed into screen vibrations that generate sound.
Neat! This must be one of the first key laptop innovations not driven by Apple.