Archive for June, 2009

Planned Obsolescence

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Beck has been busy!  Last week he launched Record Club, where he and a bunch of celebrity friends gather at his place and record covers.

This week, he released a DJ Mix called Planned Obsolescence which is available for free streaming!  I’ve been listening to it to the past hour or so and it’s pretty funky.  Kind of reminiscent of Brainfreeze (which is in no way a dig) — but with Beck at the wheel instead of DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist.


Check it out!

The Roots

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Love him or hate him, Jimmy Fallon picked an amazing back-up band.  It remains unclear to me how someone talked The Roots into being a house band for Fallon (a regular paycheck?), but these guys are certainly not slouching riding a slow train to retirement.

Check out last night’s performance of the funk/soul/hip-hop single ‘How I Got Over’ from their new album, due out in October:

Thanks for the tip, stereogum.

More Microsoft Ad Campaign Missteps

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Oh Microsoft.  You have so much money.  Why is it all of your ad campaigns make you look like a grumpy old dinosaur, a complete dick or a bad politician?


Of course this all started with the ill-fated Seinfeld campaign which made the mistake of putting Bill Gates in front of a camera for comedic effect.  The commercials made me wonder, “Why would I trust these guys’ opinions about computers? They seem really out of touch.”

Then there was the “I’m a PC” campaign which banked on the underwhelming selling point of “Look! Macs might be cool but some people also use PCs.”

Then there was the mildly misleading “Laptop Hunters” campaign to show that PCs are cheaper than Macs.  And that, given $1000 and a script, a paid actor would choose an inferior PC over a Mac.  You can read about it here and here and (my personal favorite) here, where a filmmaker chooses to edit video on a PC.  Interesting choice.  And as always, all of these ads were made on Macs.

But you were just getting warmed up!


New York Times – Please Fix Yourself!

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

The Daily Show’s Jason Jones systematically dismantled The New York Times in a segment on last night’s show:

I’m certainly of two minds about the recent buzz around the death of the newspaper industry.  I agree with what NYT Executive Editor Bill Keller says at the end of the interview — that firsthand journalism is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT.  And that organizations like the NYT are the only ones who can pay for international journalism on a large scale (when was the last time you heard of any bloggers reporting from Afghanistan?).

But, man.  These guys have to come up with an innovative business model.  And quick!  And I have yet to hear any viable proposals from anyone.

It doesn’t make much sense, IMHO, for the Times to adopt WSJ’s online paying model.  With all due respect to Rupert Murdoch (not much), the WSJ has a completely different audience. And it’s required reading for business types, who all probably write off the paper as a business expense.  Or have their firms buy it for then.  Who is going to pay for The New York Times?  Sure.  Some people will. But not an entire generation that’s used to getting its news for free.

I don’t know about you, but when The Times has tried this in the past and I came across a “you can’t see this article unless you pay for it, buddy” screen, I went to find the story somewhere else.  And in most cases, a similar story had been posted — via AP or wire services — circulated, and reblogged to the extent that it was pretty ubiquitous.

I certainly applaud NYT’s drastic measures to try to stay afloat.  And I certainly don’t have any answers for them as to how to keep their newspaper in business — there are no easy answers.

Is it time for more drastic measures? Cut paper circulation entirely? Charge a lot more for the actual paper — turning it into a luxury item? Cut entire department/ sections? (Opinions — which are a dime a dozen these days, Times Magazine, Classifieds… all of which are limited in reach and/or covered better by the internet).  Probably.

Either way, someone needs to come in and drastically rethink the entire business model.  Looking at it in a positive way, this whole crisis is a great opportunity for The Times.  They are an industry leader.  They have been for years.  Who better to teach the rest of the industry how to do investigative journalism in the 21st Centuary?

Like I said, I don’t have a good answer on this one.  But I certainly hope someone does.  The Times (and other papers like it) is a really important news source.  I’d hate to see it disappear.

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

My boss just sent this to me, and it’s awesome.   It just takes a piece of bacon and slaps it over your favorite (or least favorite) site.  Like AOL, for example:

You can do it to any site you want — this site, for example.  Just add the site url after the

A fantastic waste of time.

Reminds me of other famous site tricks, like the long lost single line of javascript that grabs all of the images on your page and swirls them around.

Indie Record Shops

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

I’m a little sad today.  I tried to buy a copy of the new Dirty Projectors album that I’ve been blabbing about for a few months now, and couldn’t get my hands on a copy.  Partly because the record store I like forgot to order it (I’d mention their name but I’d prefer not to give them any love at the moment).  So fine.  It’s New York City.  I thought it’d be pretty easy to find another shop with a copy.


Partly because the 3 remaining shops around Christopher Street mostly seem to cater to vinyl lovers.  Partly because most of the other stores that would’ve carried the record are now gone.  There used to be about 12 of them in that area (and there are still 10 on Google maps) but their numbers seem to have dwindled to about 3.

It remains a question, in my mind at least, as to why this happened.  Was it the economy?  Was it the mega-stores (in which case, thank you Tower and Circuit City for driving these places out of business and then closing yourself)?  Or is it that selling CDs in a digital distribution age is a losing proposition (I feel like I’ve actually heard other people musing over this last one recently, but I can’t remember where)?

I certainly can’t say for sure, but the net result is that I didn’t get a copy of the CD I went out of my way to try to purchase today.

Sad for me. And I guess for all of us.  Because I’m now going to help perpetuate the problem by either buying online or getting it from one of the remaining annoying mega-outlet stores.  Assuming they carry it.  Which is probably about 50/50.

I guess I’m not saying anything profound today.  Just noticing that this might be a dying industry, and that I’ll miss it when it’s gone.

Bitte Orca: Oh yeah. It’s good.

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

Dirty Projectors’ new album Bitte Orca comes out next week!


And thanks to NPR, you can get a first listen to the whole album HERE.

You know I like these guys.  I’ve blogged about them before. And I’ve definitely been waiting for this new album to come out (since I was not one of the lucky ones to get my hands on a leaked copy).

I definitely dig it.  It has a sound unlike anything I’ve heard.

Go ahead.  Give it a listen.