Music + Technology + Random Nonsense from the Music Industry by Ethan Kaplan, VP Product, Live Nation

Thoughts on the Palm Pre

I have a Palm Pre, and have been using it for a bit now and here are some random thoughts:

  • Why is this device being called an “iPhone killer”? THe iPhone is an Apple computer with a phone application and a cellular modem. The Palm Pre is a phone.
  • Multitasking is highly over-rated on this device. The device has a beautiful interface, and needs a much higher speed processor.
  • The keyboard is unusable. Seriously. I prefer soft keyboards.
  • The UI is really nice, but really slow and unresponsive. Multiple touches are necessary, and it doesn’t have the “finger feel” of an iPhone. No inherent tacticality (not a word, but it should be).
  • The music application is pretty interesting and has a nice visualization component with the album art, but the music skips at the slightest processor jump.

All in all: good first effort, but otherwise a failure of a phone. I await my MyTouch from T-Mobile, we’ll see how that one is.

Now, I think the Pre platform, and WebOS shows a huge amount of promise. I also think that Apple is missing the boat by not allowing more applications to participate in a multitasking system. They only allow the Phone, iPod and a few other background processes background tasking. I do understand the reasoning, but I think once they get the vetting of iPhone apps up to speed with some good tools, systems and beef up the SDK, they should allow people to select applications for “slots” as background tasks. That way a user has control of it (similar to how push notifications work) and we can still run apps in the background.

Competition is good, I just wish the competition was better in this case.

Thoughts on the iPhone 3GS

I’ve had the iPhone 3GS for a few days now and have been using it extensively around the house and around when we leave the house (not too often right now with a newborn). Because we just had a baby I’ve also been testing video and photos out a lot. I also use my iPhone to control my house, including Indigo (lighting) and the Sonos (music) as well as the Direct TV’s and the stereo system.

I think it’s telling then that since I got the iPhone 3GS, I haven’t touched my netbook.

To me, the iPhone 3GS is as seismic of a change for the iPhone/iPod Touch platform as going from G5′s to Intel processors were. Speed in consumer electronics and computers becomes an annoyance in subtle ways: jitteriness, crashing, unresponsiveness all lead to make a device usable, but not necessarily fun to use.

When a device has some horsepower behind it, it can move at the speed of your thought. My work computer, which is a heavy duty Mac Pro has this. I’m able to have dozens of apps open, and move effortlessly between them. My MacBook Pro, for all that I love about it, does not have this.

The iPhone 3GS’ speed upgrade makes the device move at the speed of use rather than makes the user move at the speed of the device. It’s a huge change for the iPhone, and so welcome that you find yourself using the iPhone for more than before with less effort.

The video recording, magnetometer and the like are awesome, but not going to really play themselves out as killer features until app developers can get their hooks into them.

The speed though is pushing the iPhone from being a smart phone to a true handheld computing platform. All Apple has to really do is increase the size, vary the form factor, to go into emerging markets, to compete with Kindles’, e-books, netbooks, whatever.

Now, I would love to see Apple turn their attention back to the AppleTV and go for broke there. TV’s are a nascent market (the 10 foot market). I have a MacMini hooked to my TV and its difficult to get high usability from a machine not meant to be operated from 10 feet. Apple should take the lessons learned from the iPhone interface and apply them to the 10 foot view as well as they did the 2 foot.

Until then, we have the MacMini on the TV, MacMini in the wall for lights and the iPhones as our handhelds. The Dell netbook is useful, but looking more and more like it has the potential to be a novelty item, especially when a handheld “phone” outperforms it on nearly every level.

Drobo – nothing but problems

We got a Drobo hoping for it to be a good solution for our department NAS. Four drives later, and a lot of lost data, I can’t recommend it.

We had the second drive in the RAID consistently go out. Finally CDW sent us a new Drobo main unit, and I moved the working drive and a new drive in. It then failed both drives and it appears wiped all my data out. I’m trying to figure out how to get the data off the one good drive, now digging up a SATA cable…

This is four drives and two units later, and no joy. I’m getting a ReadyNAS and can’t recommend this product. Their support hasn’t been especially helpful, just “contact the place you bought it from”

Greek Theater 2nd night –


These Days
Living Well Is the Best Revenge
Begin the Begin
What’s the Frequency, Kenneth
Man-sized Wreath
So. Central Rain
Hollow Man
Disturbance at the Heron House
Final Straw
I’ve Been High
Let Me In
Losing My Religion
Bad Day
Horse to Water
Orange Crush
Man on the Moon

Supernatural Superserious
Fall on Me
Carnival of Sorts (Boxcars)
The One I Love
Until the Day Is Done
I’m Gonna DJ

[From Greek Theater 2nd night -]

Parallels Build 1918 on a Mac Pro with 8 Gigs of RAM


Parallels released an internal build on their forums which supports 64 bit Mac’s with any arbitrary RAM installation. I successfully installed it on my Mac Pro (which has 8 gigs of RAM) and it works perfectly. Its kind of surreal to have a native speed Windows XP installation running in a window. I was able to allocate it up to 1.5 gigs of RAM, which is more than enough.

My Mac Pro has no discernible speed hit. Parallels uses about 12-20% of processor consistently, which on a Quad Core isn’t noticeable at all.

I know I’ve said it before, but Parallels and Boot Camp changes the game on Microsoft to such an extent that I couldn’t in my right mind ever recommend a PC for anyone. In fact, WBR IT is doing Parallels + Basecamp with Windows XP as a default install image for all new computers, and is recommending Mac Book Pro’s for people wanting new laptops.

Now, how I USE this Windows install is another question. Right now I use it for cross platform testing and some stupid Windows only apps.

OK People

I have substantive things to say tomorrow regarding MySpace, surveys and children. Until then though, I must tell you this: I saw Patti Smith tonight in a room with 80 people or so, with Flea on bass. It was amazing, and one of the best musical experiences of my life. Nothing, and I mean nothing is as inspiring, as emotional and visceral as a Patti Smith show. Nothing.

To prove it, I leave you with these clips:

1996 or so

20 years earlier

Marvel and witness people. They don’t make musicians like her anymore. And that isn’t hyperbole.

Patti Smith
Michael Stipe
Thom Yorke
Grant Lee Phillips
Tom Verlaine
David Byrne

Thank whomever that they grew up to be who they are.

And yes, I did say Bono. Sue me.