Category Archives: Technology

People are still on ringtones

For the record, a ringtone here is defined as a song or sound formatted specifically to play when a phone rings.

When I first looked at this I had mixed feelings. On the one hand, it was good that hip hop was the dominate genre but on the other hand I realized that the people who are buying ringtones may be those that are not as tech-savvy as they may think.

If you go back to my first statement, a ringtone is different than a song file. Many smartphones on the market today can play music files as a ringtone. The exception are the phones that play either polyphonic or midi files. If your phone can play music files chances are it doesn’t play one of these older music format files.

So this begs the question, are people that are buying ringtones being ripped-off? I’d say so. Advertisers are quick to push a commercial telling you to text some code to some number to download a ringtone and there are plenty of website offering the same. The unknown fact in this survey is the age of the buyer. I wonder if the people that buy ringtones are either teens or 36+. Why those ages? Well teens like conveniences and the 36+ group aren’t as tech-savvy as their younger counter parts.


Putting words to good use

Here’s a project I wish I thought of first. (Actually, I did around the time that I dreamed up this site a few years back but not to this extent.) Here’s the premise, they take song lyrics and analyze them by date, region content and a whole lot of other things. Then you can find out things such as who was the first artist to product place a shoe or how long did it take for the word shorty (showdy or showdee depending on where you are from) to be used across the coast.

It’s has a lot of promise and I hope that it exceeds its funding or if it doesn’t continue to look for funding because I really like this project.  It’s good to see a creative way of using Hip Hop that isn’t being utilized anywhere else. I’m sure there will be others that will come along and still this idea and use it in other forms of music but I hope it’s this project that spins off into other genres. 

Pledge you support today as there are only a few more days left to donate.  There are incentives depending on how much you donate from chocolates to beta or lifetime access to the site.  I’ll be pledging my support because every dollar counts!

Serious Radio

It’s around 7:20 AM and just like any other morning I hope into my car, turn the key and the radio comes on.  As always while getting situated, the sounds coming out of the speakers don’t register as intelligible at first. A few seconds pass and I recognize what is going on; a phone prank. Not being a fan of this "ageless" gag, I tune to another station for relief. A few minutes later and it starts again but with different voices. On to station number 3 and they are giving a recap of a phone prank I thankfully missed earlier.  WTF?

After enough of the Hip Hip and Top 40 stations I move to the R&B stations hoping for relief.  Hopefully the more mature DJ’s can bring a more serious tone to my day but alas not.  The buffoonery is more intense so that it lacks the taste and is only mildly amusing. Is this the humor of the older generation or is it a left over of different times when we were to be mocked rather than treated as equals?  Whatever it is, it is not something that I can tolerate for too long.  And did I mention that some of them also do phone pranks?

What happened to radio?  When did it become so devoid of originality? As one of my friends put it, the radio is like a tape stuck on replay (or a playlist on replay for those of you that don’t get the reference).  Ever since the radio companies were bought by parent companies (ClearChannel, Radio-One,…) they have become franchises serving the same menu across the country. 

Gone is the local flavor that made us tune in.  No more does the local artist get his first break to be heard.  Playlists are distributed to all stations and re-run throughout the day to push the latest release.  Payola may not be a published practice but it is clear that it is being masked in some way.  How else can you hear the same songs every hour during peak listening times (rush hour and 8 to 10).

With the advent of digital music devices, radio is now in trouble. Once HDRadio is put into play, I believe that radio will vanish completely. Radio must evolve or rather revert back to it’s roots to survive.   Bing back the local influence that once ruled the airways.  Let the listening audience dictate the playlists and play a broader variety of songs.  There has been too much music created to only play the same 34 minutes of music throughout the day. This one is for you Radio Raheem!

The Analog Divide

Let’s face it, radio as we know it is on its last legs.  Portable media is giving people what they want; access to the music they want, when they want it.

Satellite radio was the last ditch effort to save a dying format.  When HD Radio is finally enforced as the standard for broadcasting, I honestly think radio as we know it will be silent forever.

Unlike TV, there won’t be converters to add to existing radios.  They will become relics of a former generation dead before their time much like the portable TV’s and the VCR.

Technology is progressing so fast that people don’t realize the convinces they are losing.  No longer can you create portable, reusable recordings and easily use them elsewhere. 

Cassette tapes allowed us to record audio from radio, LP, microphone, CD or other cassettes and easily play them elsewhere.  I say easy because you can literally pop out a tape from one device and play it in another. You could even loan your recording to someone for them to playback. Can you do that with your MP3 player?

VCR’s allowed us to record a video and use it the same way cassette did for audio. Can you DVR, iPod, iPhone or other media device do that?

In the digital world there are many different formats for audio and video. MP3, OGG, MPC, AIFF, AU, MIDI, WAV, WMA, ACC RA, MPEG, AVI, MKV, MOV, QT, WMV, FLAC, FLV, MP4, ASF, SWV and countless others.  And if you think that list is long, just wait a few more months because there will be others.  Some devices support a mix of them but not all.

In the analog world there was CD (though this really is digital), VHS cassette and audio cassette.  Each had its own player and could play and media of its type that was inserted into it with no need to check the specs or compatibility.

Don’t get me wrong, I love technology. It’s my chosen profession. I just see what’s going on around me more for the have nots and how they are affected.  Suddenly the days of $40 for a low-end TV and $200 for a high-end have been replaced with $200 for a low-end TV; $10-$20 for a portable  to play your existing music vs. $100 (plus the cost of a computer or laptop not to mention internet access) to play new media formats; and we can’t discuss the cost of DVR’s because you can’t buy them, only rent them.

I see the have nots suffer just to have modern convinces while the cost of living goes up. When changes like these come around it is good to educate yourself on the costs long term.  We probably won’t have another change like these soon but when we do, you’ve been enlightened.

Innovator or Swagger Jacker

 Facebook is now built on HipHop, but not the way you may think.  HipHop is a customized version of the PHP programming language of which it is built on.  Facebook hired a team of engineers to optimize the language to deliver better performance for itself and a better experience for its users.  A win-win in both case; Facebook can deliver its webpage more efficiently and support more users and their users can continue to use the site hopefully without issues.

As a programmer myself, I can appreciate the need for greater performance and scalability (ability to grow) of an application.  Nothing turns people away faster than a slow web site (knock on wood) and the feat itself isn’t something to be taken lightly or even something that is common place.

Of course the Hip Hop side of me recognizes what just happened with Facebook’s HipHop.  This is a blatant attempt to capitalize on a name and cause brand confusion to help boost exposure. While we appreciate the honor and are flattered by your choice of names, we don’t need your confusion added to our culture.  Especially in these times of coping others work and using it as your own.