The Two Best Music Channels on YouTube

oldrecords

Back in the day, internet time- which means just a few years ago, the best thing about YouTube was the funny cat videos.  Now, by far the best of the many great things about YouTube is the multitude of great, otherwise hard to find music.  When I’m looking for a particular old or obscure song, it’s the very first place I look, almost always with success.

I’ve talked about it at least once before, but if you only subscribe to one YouTube channel, it should be Soulhawk:

All I have ever wanted to do was keep this music out there, for I’m sure there [are] still a lot of people in this world who would stumble across these old 45’s and fall in love with some of them.

Soulhawk is single-handedly preserving and making available hundreds of great songs.  Each song comes with a photo of the original 45.  Very cool.

Back in college, I bartended and DJ’ed at the local college bar.  In many ways, the late 70’s and early 80’s is an overlooked treasure trove of good music, particularly funk music.  I used to spin those wonderful 12″ extended cut records, full of 6-7 minutes of righteous funk.

Happily, FunkNation did for funk what Soulhawk is doing for early soul.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like they are adding additional songs to the FunkNation channel, but what’s there is pure vinyl gold.

 

Bloodshot Eyes

Here’s a new video for Bloodshot Eyes, a song I wrote with my friend and long-time writing partner Ronnie Jeffrey.

The song started with the bridge- the Visine line, and grew from there.

The Problem with the Apple Watch

applewatch

Or, more precisely, the problem with the Apple Watch priced at five figures.  If someone buys a fancy iMac or MacBook for $2,000 and a year or two later it starts looking less than awesome when compared to newer models, that’s frustrating.  Paying $20,000 for a fancy Apple Watch and having it look less than awesome a year or two later when compared to newer models would be devastating.

Listener’s Poker, Vol. 1

Since my days of fantasy football are just fading memories and old blog posts, maybe we can play a game involving live music.  Liar’s Poker, but with sound.  Somebody pick something good, and others try to top it.  We’re talking playing, and musicianship.  Not just some studio-created and network-marketed nonsense.  Music.  Reeeeeel music.

So, to my kids and their pals who think the music they listen to is so much better the ancient stuff that often comes out of my Sonos, I say simply…

this.

Your turn.

Dictating Blog Posts on an iPad Air 2

I’m writing this blog post on my new iPad Air 2, using the WordPress iPad app and iOS 8.1’s native dictation feature.

The dictation feature is much improved. I love the way I can now see my words typed in real-time, as opposed to having to wait until I’m finished talking, click the “Done” button and wait for the iPad to process a lot of dictation at one time. I also like the way autocorrect suggests words when you tap an incorrect word. It’s still cumbersome to add links and images via the WordPress app, but blogging on a tablet is definitely getting a little easier. [Note- there was no way to search for and link to that prior post via the iPad app.  I had to save this post as a draft and add the link via my desktop computer.]

One nit I wish they would fix in the WordPress app is to add an option to insert two spaces between sentences. Like a lot of people, I learned to type that way, I think it looks better, and that’s the way I want to do it.

Photos are still hard. [Note- when you add photos via the app, it links them to the full-sized copy.  If, like me, you want no link, you have to edit the photo via the desktop, which breaks the photo embed and puts a huge, full-size photo in the post.  You have to delete it and reinsert it in the desired, unlinked size, from the desktop.]

Photos By Trail Camera

It’s getting easier to do some heavy lifting on your iPad, but we’re not quite there yet. Some of it falls on developers to take full advantage of the increased flexibility available in iOS 8. Apple needs to continue to make it easier for developers to write apps for complicated workflows and power users.

In the Sage and the Prickly Pear

pricklypear

Money was no object
There was no money to be had
Back in Carolina
Johnny Law saw that
Up on the high plateau
Where the sage and the pinyon grow
When the stars and planets collide
The Tennessee mare she ain’t never shied
Never Shied

Jimbo Mathus  – Tennessee Walker Mare

The One Frustrating and Needless Omission that Makes Safari Suck

safariicon

I’ve been a Chrome browser user for a long time.  It’s a great browser, but my love for all things Apple occasionally leads me to attempt the switch to Safari.  There’s a lot to like about Safari- it’s fast, and it is deeply implemented in the OS X environment, via Reading List, iCloud, etc.

So recently I gave it another try.  I spent some time setting up Safari on my Macs,  installing my must-have extensions and getting the very customizable menu bar just the way I like it.  And I used it exclusively for a week.

While any new app is a bit of an adjustment, it is now clear that I could easily make the switch to Safari, except for one extremely frustrating, completely unnecessary flaw that makes an otherwise elegant and well-designed piece of software HORRIBLE AND UNUSABLE.

Before we get to that, let’s talk about what this post should be.  A generally favorable review of Safari, with a few mild frustrations that, if fixed, would make it perfect.  For example, I wish there was a way to make bookmarks and favorites open in new tabs.  This should be configurable, on an overall or site-by-site basis.  But it’s not.  You can force sites that want to open in a new window to open in a new tab, but you can’t set the browser to open your bookmarks, favorites or other links in a new tab.  Sure, a setting that caused every single link to open in a new tab would result in tab overkill.  But the option to have certain links (perhaps via an option to check a box on the edit bookmark screen) or categories (such as favorites- the ones I most want to open in new tabs) would be simple to implement and would be a great feature for power users.  I find the LastPass extension in Safari to be more kludgy than its Chrome counterpart.  There are other things that could be a little better.

But I can live with all that.

magnifyingglassWhat I simply cannot, should not and will not live with is THE INABILITY TO SET CUSTOM ZOOM LEVELS FOR THE SITES I VISIT.  Safari has native zoom in and zoom out buttons.  And they work fine.  But I DO NOT WANT to have to click them EVERY SINGLE TIME I VISIT A SITE.  A font-size and zoom level that works on a lower resolution or smaller screen is tiny on a 27″ iMac, and I can’t imagine it’s going to be any better on the beautiful new Retina iMacs.  Chrome lets you select and retain zoom levels, without doing ANYTHING.  Why in the name of Bobby-Elvis and his missing eyeball can’t Safari do this?

Someone is going to point out that you can set minimum font size in Safari, via the preferences.  Sure, but have you tried it?  Some sites look fine, but many become a jumbled mess.  Need to see what I’m talking about?  Set a largeish minimum font size and go to Feedly.  A horrible, unnecessary mess.

Yes, I looked for an extension.  There is one, but it doesn’t work on any of my Macs running the current version of Safari and Yosemite.  Yes, there may be complicated workarounds that let you impose custom CSS functions, but those break as many things as they fix.

At the risk of sounding like a baby: I WANT CUSTOM AND STICKY ZOOM LEVELS IN SAFARI AND I WANT THEM NOW!

But since I don’t have them, it’s back to Chrome for me.