Monday, September 24, 2007

Happiness is...

- Getting on the highway and driving for fifteen minutes only so that you can continue listening to that cool mixtape you just burned. Then coming back and sitting in the car till one more track finishes.

- Figuring that the rhythm you just learned fits one of your favorite songs of the moment, making it that much more fun to practise

Similar ones in the series - 1, 2

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Gratis! Libre!

A long, long time ago, even before the New York Times decided to do its 'Select' experiment where they walled off part of the newspaper behind a paid wall, I thought that ads would be a good way for them and for the Wall Street Journal to monetize their websites. I still think that there's value-addition that they could do and charge for. After all, Bloomberg made billions from that idea.

It's kind of self-evident now, but the proliferation of blogs, search engines and link-astic goodness has led to ad-served free content becoming more lucrative than paid content, especially for mass-market content.

The New York Times has finally seen the light. Their content is free again. Thomas Friedman, Maureen Dowd and my personal favorite, David Brooks will finally be freely accessible again. The New York Times has the potential to really be among the top news websites in the world with the quality of its reportage and analysis if it embraces the challenge fully. At least a beginning has been made.

Though I'd really appreciate it if they'd do away with the login altogether. Free as in beer is nice, free as in freedom is even better.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

This concert season is shaping up to be better than last year. Last year's highlight was watching Indian Ocean live for the first time, but not much else other than Joe Satriani. This season, we had the night of the double-bill and a freebie gala at Pike Place followed by a magical night of smooth jamming at The Gorge with Dave Matthews Band - with good friends along, it was one perfect end to the summer.

Topping off a good concert summer was a seductive performance by Brazilian Bossa Nova singer Bebel Gilberto at the Showbox this Monday.

Bebel Gilberto had all the moves on stage - the thigh-high boots, the sipping of wine in an exaggerated style and her husky voice reminding one of smoke-filled jazz clubs by the waterfront. However, the music and singing was top-notch. It's not for nothing she has such a following the world over, language barriers and all.

Backed by opening band Forro in the Dark on drums, flute, saxophone, multiple guitars and percussion, Bebel had the crowd swaying to the smooth sounds of Bossa Nova. The tunes alternated between jazzy seductive pieces (taking one to aforementioned smoke-filled locations) and cheery, festive tunes transporting one straight to the beaches of Brazil in the midst of summer.

AG and I got lucky, snagging free tickets courtesy a radio station giveaway. I had to scramble to get my pre-purchased tickets sold, but it was well worth it.*

* can say a free concert is always worth it. But time is of value too. And a bad concert is never worth it.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Viva La Cartoon

As funny as Dilbert is, I find it sad at times. Especially because it seems to resonate so much. Do workplaces really become like that? Even companies that place their engineers (their Dilberts, so to speak) before the PHBs? Heck, the PHBs are all Dilberts who moved up the ranks. 

However, in the geek comic echelons, one comic that still cracks me up unconditionally has to be xkcd. A fine purveyor of geek culture, it yet retains perspective - on geeks having a life outside tech and yet geeking out, on being well-rounded individuals, having a love life (gasp!) et al.

Stand back, I know regular expressions

Stopping Time (isn't that sweet?)

And yes, obligatory Serenity reference: River Tam!