April is National Poetry Month, so this is worth a re-post.
I came across some excerpts from Downbeat’s Blindfold Listening sessions with Miles Davis the other day. The gist of the blindfold listening session is that a musician listens to several cuts from different albums and comments on them without the benefit of knowing who they’re listening to or which recording they’re hearing.
The listener in me appreciates the quality of attention and precision that Davis brings to listening to other musicians’ work. The musician in me cowers at his decisive and resolute critiques of their performances.
Miles recognizes the musicians on the cuts he’s listening to with an amazing hit rate and identifies not only the soloists but in most cases the rhythm players, too. He is without forgiveness or tolerance for chops that are anything less than perfect. And that’s the rub. I mean, how the hell do you define perfection when it comes to chops?
Clearly Miles has some kind of hyper-sensitive internal measurement or gauge that he’s measuring with here and I am sure he was as critical of his own chops as he is of these other players’. I think that measuring device is just his sense of taste and you get a real sense in reading these in how refined and sensitive and calibrated his sense of taste was. In any case, enjoy these:
- 1st Blindfold Test, Sept. 1955 (early Miles, around the time of Walkin’)
- 2nd Blindfold Test, Aug, 1958 (around the time of the 1st quintet with Coltrane - Relaxin’/Cookin’)
- 3rd Blindfold Test, June, 1964 (just after Kind of Blue)
- 4th Blindfold Test, June 1968 (2nd quintet with Shorter, Hancock, Carter and Williams)
Looks like David Byrne and St. Vincent will be at the Count Basie this summer. You can get tix here.
Our first shot at Playin’ in the Band
I haven’t posted a whole lot of stuff to the internets over the past few years but a few of the posts I put up were massively popular. Oddball stuff generated a crazy amount of visitors like: how to setup a Columbia Cougar Flats tent or how to lock down the iPad for kids to use or how to do a firmware rest on an Onkyo stereo receiver. In any case, with posterous (where I used to host jimwillis.org) shutting down, I’m going to try to migrate some of those more popular posts over to tumblr but posterous sure doesn’t make that easy!
My kids are under 12. I don’t want to spend all day hovering over their shoulders as they use their new iPads. I don’t make any guarantees that this will keep your kids out of trouble online. Here’s what I’ve done. I’ll update this as necessary:
Step 1.) Setup OpenDNS
Keep your kids off of websites they probably shouldn’t be checking out and/or generally not-kid-friendly sites that they will accidentally stumble across.
Two options here. They have a free option called Family Shield which just blocks porn and then they have the Home VIP for $19.95 a year. We opted for the VIP package because we wanted more control over what is blocked.
With opendns, you have to make a quick modification to either the DNS settings for your internet router or for your kid’s device(s). We set ours up at the router level, that way when kids come over with their own devices and join our network, they have the same access restrictions as our kids and I don’t have to worry so much about what they’re doing online.
Then, so that grownups can still access youtube.com and other restricted sites from the grownup machines, I just put in our ISP’s DNS entries on our computers, over-riding the DNS that’s set at the internet router level. This sounds a little complicated but frankly takes no more than 20 minutes to do from start to finish for the router and about a half dozen devices. Time well spent.
Step 2.) Setup a kid’s itunes account
iTunes won’t let you create an account without a credit card and I didn’t want my kids buying apps/songs on my credit card, especially when they received gift cards for christmas.
So, to create/manage my kid’s accounts, i went to itunes and created an “allowance” account for $10.
You can create an iTunes account for them when creating the “allowance” account.
- Note though, that when they first log in to the account from the device, they’ll have to lie about their age and say they are over 13.
- Once the account is created, you can cancel the monthly allowance.
- Your kid will need an email account for their itunes account. create one on gmail for them, there’s no real need for them to have access to the email account once the itunes is setup though.
Here’s a quick step by step for creating the allowance account:
Step 3.) Lockdown the ipad/ipod, etc.
good overview here: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4213?viewlocale=en_US&locale=en_US
Basically, by going into the restrictions settings you can block access to some of the apps, but I was more interested in the following settings:
- Ratings (PG-13, etc.) and age restrctions for games/apps. Now my kids can shop the store with their gift cards but not buy adult games or movies
- Privacy settings (i don’t want my kid on twitter or facebook)
- Accounts (locking down the account means they have to use the itunes account that I created in step 2)
This map includes campgrounds within an afternoon bike ride (or car ride + bike ride) for possible S24Os:
I was playing some LPs the other day and my newish Onkyo A-9555 receiver made a popping sound and shut off. When I turned it back on, the red light just blinked and the volume light never came on. After taking the unit apart to look for a blown fuse—only to discover the fuse was fine—I searched for a copy of the manual online and found this gem:
Of late, my Favorite Website on The Internets: http://www.lettersofnote.com/
Fans of Harper’s Mag will like this interview with their webmaster, Paul Ford. Covers paywalls and subscription models: http://bit.ly/dm08VD