Where is my MTV?

I will admit that as a child I was one of the uncool kids whose parents didn’t want to pay for TV. This means that when MTV first came out in the 80’s I had to do without and just watch regular old cartoons on network TV and listen to things like a real radio station and hope that they actually said the title of the song and the artist at some point. This lack of music television was somewhat resolved when I went to UMass but it wasn’t the same. The cheapskates at UMass thought they could cheapen out by offering MuchMusic which was the Canadian answer to MTV. I really didn’t start getting MTV until I was out of school and living on my own. Now in the early 2000’s MTV started this weird transformation by showing reality TV instead of music. This was kind of weird since I waited so long to get MTV and now they were butchering it by showing crap like The Real World and Laguna Beach.

Lets fast forward to today. I follow a band called Paramore on twitter because I happen to like their music. They were going to have a launch party on MTV at 5PM but according to my TV Guide app the only thing that was on was some weak ass show called 16 and Pregnant. MTV doesn’t show a lot of music anymore so I’m failing to see their relevance in the music world these days. Basic cable doesn’t get you MTV2 and MTV3 where they might be showing music but that doesn’t help the masses that are stuck with the original channel and can only see reality TV crap all day long. So now I question whether MTV should even keep their name since they clearly don’t even show music anymore or even music specials beyond their really weak music awards show.

Someone over there needs to get a clue and start showing music again or at least change the name of the station so we’re not all lead to believe that actual music might be shown on their station. Oh and btw, their website sucks too, I’d much rather watch music videos on Vivo since at least they bill themselves as a music website and actually show music videos and not reality TV garbage.

Rock A Bye Baby Albums

P1010523 by jvwong96
P1010523, a photo by jvwong96 on Flickr.

Ha what better way to get your baby to go to sleep than having her listen to some of her parents favorite bands. Claire and I picked these up online after we heard about it through the internet. They were offering a special of buy 2 get 1 free. The problem that we had was picking the albums to get since there were a lot of bands that we liked.We eventually settled on getting Guns N Roses, Nirvana, and Green Day. Our reasoning is that we knew most of the songs on these three albums more than any of the others that were being offered. I haven’t listened to them yet but I know that Claire is listening to the Nirvana one. I’m hoping I won’t catch her napping this afternoon to baby’s music. Although that would be kind of amusing overall. I like how these sound since there are samples online so if you’re a rock fan and want your baby to be one too, these might be great to get for your little boy or girl.

Jammin with my Jambox

Today I picked up a new toy for myself called the Jawbone Jambox.  What is this little device you say?  It’s a portable speaker that connects to any Bluetooth device to play music or, if you have it paired with your cell phone, to be used as a speakerphone.  The picture is about as big as it is in real life which is to say its pretty tiny.  The sound out of this device is pretty bad ass so far.  It’s definitely better than trying to use the built in speaker on my iPhone or my iPad.  I decided to give it a test today after charging it by sitting outside for about 2 hours with my work laptop to update a project file.  I used my iPhone for the music and it sounded pretty good in the courtyard at my townhouse.  Now I have something to use in my garage while I clean my car and stuff and it won’t be nearly that boring since I’ll have music now.  The unit is pretty pricey, but I think it was well worth the money.  I can take it to the beach, the pool, pretty much wherever I want since it runs off a rechargeable battery.  There are supposed to be configuration apps that I can download for it but I haven’t tried that out yet.  I’m still pondering if I should take this on the road with me.  It might be useful to have to pair with my iPad when I watch Netflix movies while at hotels.  I know the sound will at least be better or I can pair it with my work cell phone and use it as a speakerphone for my conference calls.

I don’t know what other tech gadgets I’ll be acquiring in the future, well besides the iPhone 5 for me and the Mrs., but this was definitely a good purchase and its coming with us during our next vacation for sure 🙂

Skipping the VMA’s again…. For the US Open

This year I decided once again to skip watching the MTV VMA’s. I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older and losing interest or if the show is getting worse year after year….. I will go with option 2 for this post.

Even before the VMA’s started I already lost interest due to the host that they chose. He hosted the VMA’s last year and man did he suck, why they brought him back is beyond me. I did Tivo the awards but it’s more to see the musical acts than to see who won what award. I’m sure the show will be rerun again and again like they always do but I don’t know if my hotel this week even has MTV.

There was an excellent alternative o the VMA’s last night, the US Open Womena Final on ESPN 2. I thought that was an interesting channel choice to show the final. Most of the time this type of event would take center stage on one of the major networks but due to all the rain delays the womens final was played on Sunday and the mens final bumped to Monday. I ended up staying up to watch the match instead of going to sleep like I should have. The mens match is today but i’m going to be at work so I’m going to miss it on tv. I will probably catch news snippets and live scores on espn on my phone but there’s nothing like watching it live on tv. If I had tickets I would have tried to find a way to excuse myself from work :). Maybe if I get the chance next year I’ll be able to go and see the Open live which is always an excellent experience.

Managing Music – MediaMonkey

I have a pretty broad music collection and I’ve added to it over the years and the one thing that I always try to do is manage it well with tags.  I don’t go over board and try and get every little piece of information.  The only thing I really care about is the artist and the song title, the rest to me is just gravy.  On my recent trip to Hawaii, I copied my fathers music library to help sort it out and find duplicate files.  I normally would use something like iTunes for this since he has an iPhone but I needed something a little bit better at music management and something that I was a bit more familiar with, enter MediaMonkey!

In some of my other posts I’ve mentioned MP3 player programs that I typically use here and there like Winamp or iTunes.  I use iTunes because I have iPods everywhere in my home so the integration is there and since my music collection isn’t that large or complex it does what I need it to do.  Winamp has been on my computers since 1996 way back when Napster was in full swing and you could get anything online.  I still use it occasionally to play songs and update tags because I’m familiar with the interface and I can easily import m3u playlists into Windows Media Player or iTunes.  The reverse however isn’t true but I’m digressing again…..

I used to use MediaMonkey back when I only had 1 iPod so it wasn’t such a big deal with using other software to sync the music.  This was before my iPod Touch obviously because that thing requires iTunes due to all the added functions.   MediaMonkey was great at managing the tags and especially for renaming files and updating tags.  The file renaming function was especially useful to me since files used to look all weird even when burned from a CD I owned with all this crud like album name, track number, etc in the file name.  The renaming feature alone was awesome in that it would take out the elements I didn’t want and it would even preserve the date/time stamp on the file.  Later on I was able to get some album art work for my tracks but that wasn’t so important to me so I didn’t use the feature often.  There are some Gold features that you would have to pay for like ripping CD’s or constantly re-scanning your directories for new music so it wouldn’t have to be manually added.  Those were features I could live without since I had other programs to satisfy that need.

The feature I’m using with my father’s collection is the duplicate file feature.  iTunes has the same features but I didn’t want to muck up my own library so thats why I used MediaMonkey instead.  The library showed up duplicates of every file in his entire collection and he had well over 4000 songs.  It was some slow going but the library is getting trimmer every day as I tackle a little at a time.  The new version definitely looks much better than I remember it and it can still sync with a myriad of devices which is neat.  There are also tons of queries that a music aficionado can take advantage of like missing year, genre, album, etc. that can be tagged in the tracks.  It also uses a CDDB to find the tags from places like Amazon to make filling in these values much easier.  I like the one that Winamp has so I’ve been using that one of late.  I don’t have MediaMonkey on my primary machine but on one of my virtual machines so I don’t muck up my libraries.  I’ll be messing with MediaMonkey in the future but its still pretty solid for managing music, especially if your collection is really messy.

Media sync is slow on Windows Mobile

Tonight I’m trying to sync some music to my Treo Pro and its just going way too slow for my taste.  500+ songs is estimated to take around 200+ minutes to sync which is my humble opinion is just way too long.  I can copy that many songs in way less time from computer to external hard drive or I can sync all 4000 songs on my iPod Touch.  I’ve tried syncing with Windows Media Player and Winamp and both of them take sooo long to put music and playlists on my phone.  I don’t really use my Treo for music, its mostly there as a back up to my iPod in case I drained the battery or something.

There are a lot of different media programs for Windows Mobile like The Core Pocket Media Player, Kinoma Player, and Pocket Tunes.  All these solutions cost money though and being the cheapskate that I am, I’m not readily willing to purchase this software to listen to my tunes on my beloved Treo.  I did try Kinoma Player before but I found it a bit too complex just to get my tunes, it was a full featured media player with video and what not but it just wasn’t for me.  I’ve seriously considered getting Pocket Tunes but as one of my previous posts have indicated, Windows Mobile software is just way too expensive sometimes and at $35, thats a big pill for me to swallow just to play music occasionally on my Treo.

Good case in point, I started syncing my Treo at 10:00PM, its only at 11% complete and its only 500 or so songs.  Thats just terrible!  There are quite a few reasons why I still don’t have an iPhone but if music was really really important to me I probably would have forked over the cash for the 3GS.  On the horizon is Windows Mobile 6.5 but I’m not sure if Palm is going to release a ROM update for my phone since not that many people have it.  I know that AT&T won’t do it because to them, I’m not even using a phone supported by them, I’m just using their service on their network.

What I’m hoping for in the next version of Windows Mobile is something closer to what they’re trying to do with the Zune HD. For those of you that don’t know, the Zune HD is Microsoft’s direct competitor with the iPhone.  It didn’t sell so well (at least I don’t think so since I see everyone walking around with white Apple ear buds all the time).  The Zune HD is set to be released in September and I think it has some elements of what is going to be in Windows Mobile 7 which should come out sometime in 2010.  The interface is going to have multi touch like the iPhone and iPod Touch and as a bonus it will have something that both the iPhone and iPod lack…. RADIO!  It’s going to sport an HD Radio turner so you can tune into radio stations from the device.  This normally isn’t a big thing but I think radio is still a pretty powerful and it gives you some variety away from your playlists and podcasts.  I’ll eagerly await the next version of Windows Mobile but if nothing compelling comes out in terms of device and OS, I might be iPhone bound come next July (if AT&T will let me upgrade using the new contract price or else I’m stuck till November 2010).

SoundCloud – The Twitter for Music Artists and Fans

OK I said earlier tonight that I wasn’t going be blogging anymore but before I was about to close down WordPress for the night I saw that there was a news post from WordPress about something called SoundCloud.  I was intrigued of course so I decided to read the post.  This is an interesting service where artists and fans can upload music and then send it to other people to download or they can post links that play the song on websites.  There are also badges where you can submit music to people that know you.  How cool!  I wasn’t able to get the submit badge to work on WordPress but I think thats because they blog so much code except for HTML it won’t work right.  Thats alright though because I can understand how they are a little paranoid about malicious code running on their servers.

I’ve put up one my and my wife’s favorite new songs by Paramore.  My wife and I saw them back in June when they were touring with No Doubt.  The video for this song is up on MTV and Paramore.net.  I’ll be cruising iTunes for the album once it’s released to see what other tunes I like.  OK, seriously that’s it for tonight!  I’ll have more stuff next week.