Showing posts with label technology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label technology. Show all posts

Friday, April 11, 2014

TEDxRVA 28-March-2014 Recap


More than 600 people from the RVA community came together at a sold-out VA Reps November Theatre to participate in the second TEDxRVA event. There were nine TEDx viewing centers were set up around RVA to watch on LiveStream. Capital One had 600 employees watching live in one room on their corporate campus, and many other companies in the area did the same. Twenty-two speakers from across a wide range of organizations, professions, and industries made quite an impression on the audience.

What an amazing networking event, with quite the diversity of talent in the audience. It was amazing that RVA hosted several high profile people from across the country, and amazing the speaking and performing talent that was represented by RVA.

Theme of the day was "RE_" and we were asked to write down and tweet RE_ words for each speaker. My words included: Reimage, reuse, redo, renew, reignite, reengage, remix, recondition, and rethink.

How did attending TEDxRVA benefit and affect me? Many, if not all, of the quotes captured below are applicable to work and life, and should be applicable in some way to your work and life, whether we are working in a small team, or working among giant organizations. Regardless of the speaker's direct topic, the underlying themes of leadership, imagination, creativity, invention, positive attitude, open-mindedness, customer focus, and listening, respecting and understanding others' perspectives are part of being a successful professional and living a more fulfilling life.

Andy Stefanovich was the host, chief curator, and MC. I was already familiar with Stefanovich from his part in kicking off RVA's C3 Breakfast Club and his book, "Look at More: A Proven Approach to Innovation, Growth, and Change." He did a remarkable job setting the stage and keeping the audience excited and engaged between speakers and performers. My quote of the day from him came early:

  • "Seek out those moments of truth. They will change you."

Mike Muse, founder of Muse Records, did an amazing job explaining how the art of music is like a political and cultural history map.

  • "Let’s go down a road of pop culture and politics."
  • "Stand for something or fall for everything."
  • "Don’t be passive about your democracy."
  • "Music defines a generation."
  • "Own your democracy."

Archie Lee Coates, IV of Playlab Inc. walked us through his journey to create the +POOL Project in New York City's East River. A true journey of idea to reality.

  • "Exploring is always worth it."
  • "You never waste time or money when you are exploring."
  • "Self-proclaimed weirdos, not knowing what they are doing, can change the world with ideas."

Jasmine Lawrence, a program manager for Microsoft Xbox and founder of EDEN BodyWorks, spoke about the need for imagination and creativity in public schools to drive an engineering and technology workforce in the future.

  • "Only 5% of the U.S. workforce is in engineering and technology. But who’s going to build the data-driven future we want?"
  • "You can't solve problems you don't know about. Get out of your box and identify and experience."
  • "Science fiction can become science fact by engaging kids with a focus on Identity, Exposure and Experience."

Dr. Lisa Freiman from VCU's Institute for Contemporary Art spoke about how imagination and creativity are being replaced by conformity and standardization in public schools. She gave the example of a student science fair where all the exhibits looked the same and all the experiments were reused from the internet.

  • "The North Face Effect: excess conformity and standardization everywhere."
  • "Schools used to be thought of places of imagination and experimentation."
  • Quoting Andre Breton: "Only imagination realizes the possible in me."
  • "I think we are facing a crisis of conformity, an excess of standardization."

Jim Meehan, a bartender, mixologist, and James Beard Award winner, really summarized the nuance of customer service vs. hospitality, and how to lead others to the same understanding.

  • "Service is a monologue and hospitality is a dialog."
  • "You won't learn what people expect or need until you open a dialogue with them."
  • "Manager's job is mixing people."
  • "Mirror and idealize people; pollinate and make them happy."
  • "Condition people to fit into the environment."

Dr. Tanya Pettiford-Wates of The Concilation Project literally and figuratively walked on-stage with a bag of issues.

  • "We all have issues."
  • "Issues are bigger than the individual yet we take those issues personally and get offended. Our issues get in the way."
  • "Recognize and Respect the issues in between us so we can have a relationship and reconciliation."
  • "People in the market are too embarrassed to look upon the truth."
  • "You cannot reconcile until you concile."

Ashley Stanley of Lovin' Spoonfuls shared her journey of how an at-whim question about food waste turned into her way to feed the hungry.

  • "You don't need to be Somebody to do something, you just need an idea."
  • "Food is the most powerful tool toward social justice."
  • "Ask yourself what you would do if you were not afraid."
  • "I surround myself with people that support me. If we are lacking anything in this world, it's hope."

Jesse Vaughan, the award winning film maker, shared how events in his life incited him to step out from ordinary to extraordinary.

  • "Life is a hero's journey and the hero is you."
  • "Have you had your inciting moment when you stepped out of your ordinary life?"
  • "Don't let your life mean nothing. Be a hero. May the force be with you."

Closing the day, Dr. Danny Avula of the Richmond Public Health Department talked about creating community.

  • "Suburban culture treats dependence as a weakness."
  • "We have become the most connected but lonely society."
  • "Front porch communities have become garages and privacy fences. We disconnect from what makes us human."
  • "Dependency creates relationships and community."
  • "Acts of honesty creates real relationships."

Other incredible speaker quotes...

  • "How can you call it a project if it's not in progress?" -Josh Braunstein, Water Collective
  • "Community is not working for, it is working with." -Duron Chavis, Happily Natural Day Festival
  • "Modernism is 100 years old. Time to reawaken." -David Rau, 3North
  • "It's the journey that matters." -Charlotte Potter & Robin Rogers, Chrysler Museum of Art Glass Studio
  • "If you can do what you do best to help others do their best, that is making a living." -Zoe Romano, world record holding runner
  • "I am beautiful because my heart stretches for miles." -Carmen Jones, VCU sophomore

All the speaker bios are here:

Watch the event online here:

Photos from the event are here:

#TEDxRVA tweets (including mine!) are here:

And it has already been announced that VCU will be hosting the next TEDxRVA in November 2014. I will be there!

[the end.]

Monday, August 26, 2013

RIP Joey LaCaze of Eyehategod, Huntress, Melvins, Stone Temple Pilots vs Scott Weiland, The Flower Kings, Alcatrazz, Star Trek Renegades, and a foldable car

R.I.P. Eyehategod drummer Joey LaCaze, dead at 42 years old. Cause of death was respiratory failure, possibly due to asthma. The band just wrapped up a one-month European tour and was gearing up for another tour. No word on whether the upcoming tour will be postponed.

Huntress has a new video out for the song “Zenith.” I really love this band.

An idiot at a Melvins concert threw a bottle at Buzz Osbourne, hitting him the chest. Osbourne unplugged his guitar and ended the show. Crowd members apprehended the perp and handing him over to security, who handed him over to police for arrest. See video of incident.

Stone Temple Pilots drama with former vocalist Scott Weiland continues still. In recap: STP sued Weiland for playing STP songs during his solo tour and using the STP name to promote the tour; STP fired Weiland in February 2013; STP recruited Chester Bennington (Linkin Park) to replace Weiland; and then STP released new song “Out Of Time” with Bennington that is actually pretty good and very much maintained the STP sound. Now Weiland is saying in interviews that STP broke contract by using the STP name without him in the band. At the end of the day, I think STP with Bennington should have used a new moniker, just like Creed did when the band ditched ego-man Scott Stapp and created AlterBridge with Myles Kennedy. But at the same time, Weiland is an addict who still doesn’t understand how he screwed up his own life and keeps blaming everybody else.

#nowplaying The Flower Kings “Flower Power: A Journey To The Hidden Corners Of Your Mind” (1999) … This 2-disc, 1 hour 40 minutes epic was my introduction to Roine Stolt and The Flower Kings, one of the albums that took me from the outskirts of prog-rock fandom to spending the next decade exploring as much as I could of the resurging genre. This is still one of my favorite studio albums from the band, with probably my favorite band line-up. One of the reasons I love this album is that the band really seemed to be channeling Pink Floyd on this album (another one of my all-time favorite bands). Incredible melodies, prog-rock mastery on the edge of psychedelic, amazing bass-guitar throughout, and soaring vocal harmonies. I’d never ask The Flower Kings to repeat the sound of this album, but if they wanted to release a “Flower Power” sequel to other hidden corners of my mind, I’d be all for it!

Remember the band Alcatrazz featuring Graham Bonnet and a young Yngwie Malmsteen? Check out this classic video from the 1984 Japanese tour.

Even if I was not a father of two daughters, I would have felt really uncomfortable at this wedding as the bride walked down the aisle to Buckcherry’s song “Crazy Bitch.” Really? I don’t care how funny you think you are; that’s just lewd, crude, and rude white-trash trailer-park behavior!

A new Star Trek series, “Renegades,” is in pre-production.

A foldable car controlled by your smartphone?

[the end.]

Friday, August 23, 2013

Enlighted, Etheria, Forever's Fallen Grace, Gate XIII, Guelder Rose, Hammerforce, Hell:On, Metallica, Beach Boys contest, Lisa Gerrard, Stryper, Adjustment Burearu, portable microwave, soda leads to obesity leads to drugs, and pepper sex

#nowplaying Enlighted “Time To Fly” (2009), featuring Thomas Vikstrom … awesome, and available as free download.

#nowplaying Etheria demo from 2009 … female fronted gothic metal, available as free download.

#nowplaying Forever’s Fallen Grace “This Burden, My Cross To Bear” (2004) … traditional, but modern heavy metal, available as “name your price” download.

#nowplaying Gate XIII “Once Upon A Time” (2012?) … symphonic metal.

#nowplaying Guelder Rose “The 2nd” EP (2009) … post-sleaze hard rock, traditional heavy metal, available for free download.

#nowplaying Hammerforce “Dice” (2009) … high quality progressive power-metal.

#nowplaying Hell:On “Re:Born” (2011?) … I have no idea where I downloaded this, but it’s traditional death-metal. The music is highly engaging, but the vocals have a little to be desired.

Metallica will be performing a private concert for SXM subscribers at New York’s Apollo Theater on September 21, 2013. And “Mandatory Metallica” will take over SXM’s Liquid Metal channel 40 on September 13 through October 6. All of this is part of Metallica’s promotion engine for Metallica’s “Through The Never” release in IMAX theaters.

Ultimate Classic Rock is giving away a copy of the new 6-disc Beach Boys boxed-set. Enter here.

Lisa Gerrard is offering a free 4-song sampler. I just recently got into Dead Can Dance, so I’ll be downloading this to hear her solo material for the first time.

Stryper has a new album, “No More Hell To Pay,” coming out in November this year. All four original members are present: vocalist Michael Sweet, guitarist Oz Fox, bassist Tim Gaines, and drummer Robert Sweet. Sounds promising.

Watched “Adjustment Bureau” last night. I get what the movie is about, and I liked the concept, but I felt like the story really didn’t go anywhere. Would have been more interesting to me to condense the script to under one hour as the first half of the movie, and then have the second half explore David’s and Elise’s path after knowing what they have learned. On a side note, Emily Blunt is gorgeous.

If you lunch box doubled as a portable microwave, would you go out to lunch less during the workweek?

I usually order water when I go out to eat, and try not to drink during the day, but I do love me some bourbon or rye or Irish whiskey or rum with a splash of Coke Zero. After reading this, I may need to drink straight more often.

And on that note… Favorite headline of the day: “What's Causing the Rise In Obesity? Everything.

…followed by this scary headline: “New Drug Mimics the Beneficial Effects of Exercise.” The Scripps Research Institute is testing drug SR9009 on mice and finding it increases metabolic activity leading to lean mice with larger muscles that can run longer distances, mimicking the effects of aerobic exercise. Nevermind that it will probably cause several types of cancel in humans!

Lastly, do you know how to tell the difference between a male and a female bell pepper? And did you know that the female pepper is sweeter?

[the end.]

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Electra Mustaine, Stone Sour contest, Motley Crue, Amity Affliction, COC, Consecration, Cryptic Edifice, Chaos Lanes, Disforia, Johnny Cash, waste for food, recharging countertop, and drinking on budget

Electra Mustaine performing Megadeth’s “A Tout Le Monde” acoustically? Enough said.

Revolver Magazine has contest to win a DW Signature Series snare drum and Golden Gods 2013 poster, both signed by Stone Sour drummer Roy Mayorga. Enter here.

Motley Crue are supposedly end-of-life in 2014 or 2015 so they can “go out on top.” Guitarist Mick Mars suffering from ankylosing spondylitis, a painful form of chronic arthritis, is probably a factor. But vocaist Vince Neil says they may release one more album, possibly a soundtrack for the movie adaption of their memoir, “The Dirt,” and Vince plans to continue his solo career. Honestly, while Crue have put out decent material in recent years, nothing from Vince has impressed me since his first solo album, “Exposed.” I think bassist Nikki Sixx wins the prize for staying relevant with Sixx:A.M.

#nowplaying The Amity Affliction “Open Letter” … this song has one of the best choruses in the history of rock & metal, hands down. Every time it comes on SXM, I smile and crank it up!

“I'm not searching the sky for a reason to live,
Cause I found beauty right here and found the passion to give,
So let me give you my heart, let me give you my tears,
Let me give you my life, let me give you my fears.”

#nowplaying Corrosion Of Conformity “Megalodon” (2012) … I’ve had this EP on my iPod since it was released, but finally got around to listening to it. As to be expected from this consistent leader of the Black Sabbath inspired stoner and doom genres, all five songs are raw, energetic, heavy, melodic, and just damn fun. In a field of artists that tend to sound the sound like they are playing the same riffs from song to song, COC somehow manage to sound even more fresh with each release, blazing a trail where other bands can merely attempt to follow. Five great songs, and still available for free from Scion’s AV site.

#nowplaying Consecration “Aux” (2008) … call it crossover prog, call it stoner, call it post-metal with vocals, but I just call it good. Good mix of melody and aggressiveness, clean and blackened vocals, and excellent guitars. Available as “name your price” so you have no excuse; download it!

#nowplaying Cryptic Edifice “King’s Lament” (2012) … labeled as a demo and released on cassette tape, this is melodic epic doom metal. The production is raw, the vocals are more akin to yelling to a crowd, but the songs are well written and the guitars are excellent. And it’s available as a“name your price” download, so why the hell not?

#nowplaying Chaos Lanes “EP” (2012) … modern metal with traditional death metal vocals alongside clean vocals, lots of keyboards, lots of melody, and lots of heavy groove. Soilwork would be a good comparison, just not executed to the caliber of that legendary band, but still worthy of blasting from your truck on the highway or main drag. Another “name your price” download, so there should be no hesitation. Get it now!

#nowplaying Disforia “Our Time Defined” (2011) … progressive power-metal from Utah. As with most USA based prog-metal bands, the songs seem to strive for technical precision and the album is not as over-produced as most European power-metal. Nothing ground breaking here; just very solid execution. “Awakening” is my favorite track, with piano and more of a modern prog-rock feel. If you like symphonic metal with clean vocals and lots of keyboards, you’ll like this album, no doubt. The musicianship is of high caliber. The vocalist has a unique, but welcoming tone. The lyrics have a solid storytelling quality to them. Yet another “name your price” download, so highly recommended.

Stumbled upon this… did you know that Legacy released a 63-disc “Complete Columbia Album Collection” CD boxed-set for Johnny Cash last year? Lots of material on CD for the very first time. And this is a lot of music for a great price, if you do the per disc math. Officially added to my wishlist.

Trade in your food waste for fresh product? What an amazing idea. Mercado Du Trueque is doing it in Mexico and Hello Compost is doing it in New York (USA). Bring this to RVA!

Imagine if your kitchen countertop could charge your mobiledevices. DuPont and Duracell have teamed up to do just that.

Drinking on a budget? Here are supposedly the eight cheapest ways to get hammered (I’m assuming in the USA). And if you follow this frat-house poster, you’re guaranteed to have a headache, if not hangover, the following morning! This is why I moderately consume quality whiskey.

[the end.]

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

GNR, Slayer, Umphrey's McGee, Google takes down 40% of net, hacking Zuckerberg, autonomous cars, cryopreservation, yawns for coffee, and Paris Creperie

Tweet of the day from Lou Brutus, DJ on SXM: “The original NSync lineup is reunited. The original Guns N Roses lineup is not. Well played, Satan. #Music”

In what I assume is a clever social media marketing campaign, a new or previously unreleased GNR song has been “leaked” online. Guitarist Bumblefoot verified via Twitter that “Going Down” is in fact a GNR recording, and then the tweet was deleted. Bassist Tommy Stinson is singing lead, with Axl Rose in the background.

Slayer graffiti in Commack South Little League’s Wicks Park in Commack, NY (USA) was initially confused by police as a hate crime. What do you think?

Jam/prog-rock band Umphrey’s McGee have always been ahead of the curve with offering their fans unique experiences. Now they are offering concertgoers the option to rent ($40 on top of the ticket price) professional quality wireless headphones so that every note, lyric, and space can been heard straight from the mixing board, instead of being lost in the venue due to poor acoustics. The rental fee also provides you with an MP3 or FLAC version of the concert. I can see more bands offering this in the near future.

Add Pure Connect to the ever-growing list of internet on-demand music services competing in the USA.

What do you do when Facebook security ignores and then denies the bug report you submitted? Hack Mark Zuckerberg’s personal timeline, of course! Less than a minute after Palestinian hacker Kahlil Shreateh posted the bug explanation on Zuckerberg’s page, an FB security engineer suspended Shreateh’s FB account and reached out to Shreateh for more details. Unfortunately, FB won’t pay Shreateh the minimum $500 USD security flaw bounty because Shreateh violated FB’s terms of service by hacking Zuckerberg’s account. Total #FAIL on FB’s part. Shreateh deserves the bounty.

In the “I call B.S.” segment, Navigant Research (who?) is predicting that 95.4 million autonomous cars will be sold every year by 2035, which sounds like a lofty goal when that many cars total are not built every year today.

More B.S.: The Cryonics Institute (CI) is offering science-fiction as a product, specifically cryopreservation.

A company that is getting it right is Douwe Egberts Coffee. Their PR agency Joe Public developed a coffee machine in airports where yawns,not money, pays for a cup of coffee.

You ever have pastrami and bacon on a crepe? The Paris Creperie food cart does crepe lunch sandwiches, and they are delicious. Like them and follow them.

[the end.]

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Device vs. Borg queen, Arkham Witch, Bakken, Chrome Shift, Circus Maximus, Dokken & Ratt down a plane, God Forbid, Yahoo sucks, expensive tech, and Planes is Cars

#nowplaying Device (2013) … finally listened to the full album from Disturbed vocalist David Draiman and Filter guitarist Geno Lenardo. Much more on the industrial metal side than Disturbed’s melodic but heavy nu-metal. With Draiman’s distinct voice and songwriting style, it’s hard not to hear Disturbed in the mix, but that’s nothing to fault this album with. The music is good, melodic, and with just enough heaviness; but the guitars and drums sometimes drown each other out in messy electronic fuzz, and the album losses steam after the halfway point. Maybe Clayton from Celldweller can help Device work out their sonic preciseness on the next album ... that would be an awesome guest appearance!

I didn’t care for Draiman & Lzzy Hale’s take on Ozzy Osbourne & Lita Ford’s “Close My Eyes Forever” at first listen, but after a couple spins, I really appreciate what they’ve done with the classic song. And the list of other guest appearances are impressive and impactful to their respective songs: Serj Tankian (System Of A Down), Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath), Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave, The Nightwatchman), M. Shadows (Avenged Sevenfold), and Glenn Hughes (everybody!).  I’m a big fan of Draiman and Disturbed, so this album will certainly get repeat listens from me.

Was this album cover inspired by the Borg queen in the “Star Trek: First Contact” movie?

#nowplaying Arkham Witch “On Crom’s Mountain” (2011) … lumped into the doom metal or stoner metal crowd, this album could have easily been recorded during the NWOBHM. But unlike many of the bands revisiting this sound today, Arkham Witch sound true and original, instead of cheesy, contrived, and boring. Amazing album from start to finish.

#nowplaying Bakken “Death Of A Hero” … power-metal without the excessive keyboards, without the excessive studio production, and with normal vocals, instead of the high-pitched falsetto that began to plague this otherwise fine genre. I hear some James Hetfield in the vocals and an occasional classic Judas Priest in the guitar riffs. Bakken are not breaking new ground here or blowing my socks off, but this is a damn fun album to turn the volume up on. There’s some cheese metal that seeps through every now and then, but I’m really enjoying this traditional heavy metal album.

Also #nowplaying these two solid prog-metal albums…

Here’s a story you ever want to experience first-hand…

…that was Dokken bassist Sean McNabb providing details on why their private jet the band was riding with Ratt on needed to make an emergency landing in Moline, IL (USA). Of course, they still made it to the show by hauling it in SUVs in Wauconda, IL.

God Forbid have decided to disband after Doc Coyle removed himself from the band in an open letter on his blog. Doc’s letter is worth reading. It’s well written, sound in his reasons for leaving the band, and in no way burning bridges. I, for one, am eager to hear his next project. God Forbid had really expanded their sound in the last couple albums, and I hope Doc stretches things even further.

Yahoo! apparently doesn’t believe in free speech or the wishes of a deceased person’s estate, as Yahoo! shut down a website that was prepaid for 5 years because it explained why 60-year-old Martin Manley decided to commit suicide. I don’t agree with suicide either, but I think Yahoo! is wrong here.

I’m sure you love, can’t live without the technology we are blessed to have today, but damn this shit gets expensive. Nike expensive (pay $180 for shoes that cost $10 to product)! And all thanks to marketing budgets…
  • Text messages: Cost to consumer = $0.20 per text; Cost to produce = $0
  • HDMI cables: Cost to consumer for brand-name 8 ft. cable = $45; Cost to produce = $3
  • Smartphone devices: Cost to consumer for 16GB iPhone 5 = $549; Cost to produce = $200
  • Printer ink: Cost to consumer = $80 per ounce; Cost to produce = $10 per ounce
  • Wireless service: Cost to consumer for Verizon unlimited talk/10GB data plan = $100 per month; Cost to produce = $37 per month
  • Cloud storage: Cost to consumer for Carbonite Pro Business Premier = $1.20 per GB; Cost to produce = $0.10 per GB

Saw “Planes” at the drive-thru this past weekend. It’s “Cars” reincarnated with planes and the same jokes. Entertaining kids movie, but “Cars” was better. And watched “The Love Letter” last night. Budget production, mediocre acting, and no character development beyond main character Helen, which is a shame because the story was original and entertaining.

[the end.]

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Worldengine, Arida Vortex, Dream Theater, Guitar World & Whitechapel contests, coffee socks, wake-up lights, and gamers saving the real world

#nowplaying Worldengine “Dark Matters” … amazing crossover prog-rock from Brazil with male and female vocals, heavy darkness, but long atmospheric passages. This is the sound of modern progressive music. Did I mention that the album is “name your price”? So you have no excuse. Download it now!

Also #nowplaying Arida Vortex “Invisible Tension” … melodic power-metal from Russia. Typical gallop, falsetto vocals, keyboards, but some flamenco inspired jazz guitar thrown in here and there. Above average and well produced, and only $5 from Metalism Records.

Dream Theater have released their fourth “in the studio” video promoting the upcoming self-titled album. Here’s all four of them, plus the "Enemy Inside" video…

Guitar World has a Whitechapel guitar contest and a “ton of boutique pedals” contest that you need to sign up for.

Would you like some coffee in your socks?

Do you hate your alarm clock’s buzzer or ringtone as much as I do? How about a wake-up light that plugs into your smartphone?

And lastly, do you think gamers could save the real world? Jane McGonigal and the Internet Response League (IRL) sure think so.

[the end.]