Saturday, June 15, 2013

Recorded Concerts–an interesting approach from Mark Knopfler

My wife and I go up to London’s Royal Albert Hall whenever we can get tickets for acts we like. We don’t go often, but in recent times we’ve seen Jackson Browne, Eric Clapton and most recently Mark Knopfler. After the Eric Clapton gig, we both would have just loved a CD from the show – we both thought it was about the best Clapton gig we’d been too (and I’ve seen him a lot over the decades).

For the Mark Knopfler gig, there was a flier on each seat advertising the show on USB. I took the flier, not really thinking about it till I got home. The flier just pointed off to – and to my surprise, it was not just the London show that was being offered, but a separate stick for nearly every show on the tour. The cost was £26 plus shipping!

Ten days later, I’m sitting here listening to the show. Sadly, the recording is done with a lossy codec (MP3) versus a loss-less codec. But despite that, the quality is excellent – just enough crowd nose to give it a live feel but the music shines through where it should. The stick arrived this morning and we’ve played it three times already!

This may be all the rage these days – but it was the first time I’d seen it. It seems to me to combine the ability for the fans to enjoy what they heard with ensuring the artist enjoys some revenue from the sale. A few bands, like the Grateful Dead, have encouraged fan trading of their shows for decades, but all too many artists dislike it intensely. I once had a discussion with Jimmy Page about this – like Van Morrison and others, his views were fairly strident. The week before our conversation, Page had been in Scotland testifying against a bootlegger, who on some shows probably made more money our of the bootlegging than Page did for playing!

So while, like any MP3, these will almost be traded illegally. Despite that, it’s really nice to be able to enjoy the music we heard – it’ll keep the memories a bit more alive. I just wish and hope more artists do this!

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Friday, June 14, 2013

TechEd Europe 2013 - Surface Offer (I’m Buying)

I’ve long held out from buying a table device. We bought my daughter one and I enjoy playing with it (when I’m allowed), but for me a tablet is a device too many. I have my phone and laptop – why do I need a tablet TOO.  Just another device to feed and to lose.

I travel a great deal and lately, as I look around the planes/trains/lounges/etc., folks with laptops are almost non-existent. Everyone seems to be using tables. I have, over the past few weeks, been considering a purchase – but the full list price seemed to me to just be too high for something I don’t really need.

What price would I pay is a fair question. If I was to have a tablet, I’d probably prefer an iPad fondleslab, but mainly due to the apps and the wonderfulness of it’s design/build. However, having seen a few Surface devices, I am really swayed. While the Apple device has the benefit of the eco-system (3rd party add ons plus the sheer number of application). But as I thought, there are going to be times when I simply don’t need the weight of the laptop – I just need a device to do mail, and a bit of writing that I really can’t do on the phone.

So what WOULD I be willing to pay? Obviously, if the device were free, I’d have it now. But back in the real world, and given I really don’t need a tablet, I could be persuaded to pay up to around £75 for a Surface RT 64, and maybe up to £350 for a Surface Pro 128. Whilst that may seem cheep (and it would be!), that’s the point where it could be worth it to me. Again, this is a device I don’t' really want, and would be worried about losing!

Well imagine my surprise when I read this blog article this morning: Special Surface Offer for TechEd Europe 2013 Attendees. I had to refresh the page a couple of times, and check to see if this really was an offer coming from Microsoft. I guess that they did a similar offer at TechEd US, Microsoft needed to so the same here in Europe. Well Done Microsoft – and THANKS.

So, I am definitely getting a Windows Surface device. Now the key question: which one? Or do I do seriously greedy and go for both.


TechEd Blog Bling


TechEd Europe 2013–I’m Going!!!

Back in February I got a challenge by Microsoft UK to help to drive up clicks on some Microsoft Sites. One of the prizes in the challenge was a free pass to TechEd, assuming I got enough clicks. Well, I’m happy to say that thanks to all you nice folks (and your friends, etc.), I WON THE PASS! A lot of you clicked a whole heck of a lot!!

So in just over a week, I’ll be heading down to Madrid. I’m going to attend the MCT Day Zero, where I’m running session on PowerShell. Then a day off, Monday, where I’ll probably just do some sightseeing followed by 4 days of hard core TechEd. I’m particularly keen to see all the new features coming in Windows 2012 R2. And of course hang out with a bunch of people!

See you there!


TechEd Blog Bling                    TechEd Blog Bling

Friday, June 07, 2013

Windows 8 Rock and Roll with Joey Snow

The UK Windows User Group is throwing an event in a fortnight's time – featuring both Joey Snow and Rick Claus from Microsoft Redmond. The event is on Wednesday 19 June starting at 17:45 and finishing up at 21:00. Tickets are free, but if you wish to pay a bit extra, you can also order VIP tickets for 20 pounds a seat. The event is to be held in York (UK).

To sign up, go here:

If you are anywhere in the area – this would be worth going to. I’ve known Joey for a very long time and his talks are always worth attending. I just wish I was gong to be in the area.

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