Thursday, June 15, 2006

Apple's Unnanounced Gem - TrackPak

Apple is usually terrific at promoting new capabilities of new software and hardware offerings, but I stumbled across this one, that I had not even heard about, at the San Francisco Apple store last week. It's not an Apple product per se, but it is so cool, I'd have thought they might promote it.

Being from Vancouver, I love San Francisco, and need no more than a mention of a chance to go there for a quick trip. Last week's American Advertising Federation was my latest excuse. In for a couple nights at the small boutique Harbor Court Hotel and a wonderful dinner thanks to my colleague Mark from Adobe (thanks, Mark!) at the Ozumo experience (they don't even call it a restaurant!).

With a couple hours to kill, I walked down Market St. to O'Farrell and past the (sadly) now-closed FAO Schwartz to the newer toy store, at Apple. Wondering around the new macbooks, climbing the green glass stairs, perusing the racks, I saw what looked like a new Jam Pack, those collections of loops for making songs in GarageBand.

But no, this wasn't yet another collection of tubas, oboes, and funky world-drum beats. It was TrackPak, something I had only dreamed would be offered one day, but a dream come true for guitarists old enough to remember when Eric Clapton played with Cream.

TrackPak is a digital version of some of the Master Tracks of various themes. I bought the Classic Rock version with tracks like Sunshine of Your Love, Smoke on the Water, and Sweet Home Alabama. These are songs I spent hours with, my guitar on my lap and picking up the needle on records to pick out every note of the solos. They are slightly mixed down from the master tapes, but you can still solo out the lead and rhythm guitars, drums, and bass.

For musicians who want to hear the detail on these classic tracks, TrackPak is a great deal. It will also make a great addition to our GarageBand remixes, where we can now sample a snippet from a solo without having to pull in all the other tracks as well.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Sub-ether Hotel Networking

A little known fact for mac users in hotels with wired internet access.

iTunes music sharing and iChat work even if you haven't paid for the internet access.

Sure, if you want to google something you need to pony up the $10 to get outside the firewall, but sitting here in the Chicago Westin for a conference, I have access to a bunch of excellent iTunes playlists to engage in that most esoteric of hotel-bound, stuck-in-your-room-doing-email, people-sports; what's in YOUR itunes list?

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Websites as graphics

The fact that website are hierarchical structures is obvious, but what isn't obvious is how beautiful a site can be when its representation is abstracted away from the html into the tagged structure itself. Such is the result from Websites as graphs. Above is a picture of this blog site. Sala has some fine examples. Now if I could just get the url for each node so I could decipher the back links...