At last week's International Solid-State Circuits Conference, IBM, Toshiba, and Sony unveiled details of their new Cell processor chip—a device that The New York Times proclaimed would create "a new digital computing ecosystem that includes Hollywood, the living room and high-performance scientific and engineering markets."
As 2004 wound down, the Los Angeles sheriff's department successfully conducted five simultaneous raids on illegal CD replication plants in southern California on December 15. Dubbed "Operation Final Release," the joint operation between the Southern California High Tech Task Force and the LA sheriff's department put 65 officers into action, closing down five optical disc replication facilities in LA and Orange counties suspected of churning out millions of pirated CDs, which were sold throughout the United States.
If you're an audiophile, the words "hearing loss" are bound to strike terror into your heart. Of course, many of us aren't preternaturally acute—and all of us lose some high-frequency sensitivity as we age—but there's no excuse for not taking care of what you've got. When it comes to hearing, more is always better.
The Primedia team has been staying at the San Tropez, home of T.H.E. (The High End) Show, which means some of us have been walking down halls filled with exhibitors frantically getting rooms put together before the throngs arrived. The night I arrived, one room in my building was making music that beckoned to me as I passed by—today, I finally entered and took over the sweet spot.
Audiophiles everywhere were saddened to learn of the death of Frederick Fennell on December 7. He was 90, which made him only a few years senior to the process of electrical recording—an art form in which he made quite an impact.
On August 18, XM Radio invited the press to Manhattan's Rainbow Room to announce its latest product offerings. The locale was not unintentional, according to Chance Patterson, XM's vice president for programming operations, "This building [30 Rockefeller Plaza, headquarters of NBC] was at the center of radio's first flowering, and XM represents radio's future."
The oldest verified surviving recording is an 1878 tin cylinder of a talking clock (you can hear it at tinfoil.com/cm-0101.htm). There's just one problem, however; the recording's surface noise is so pronounced that you can barely hear the featured attraction. Chalk it up to age, imperfect recording media, poor storage, or even to the ravages of mold, but the facts remain the same—we're in danger of losing our audio patrimony: the hundreds of thousands of historical recordings from the dawn of recording.
On July 11, Kevin Britten of Hays, Kansas downloaded the 100 millionth song purchased from Apple's iTunes music store. Britten spent 99¢ for "Somersault (Dangermouse remix)" by Zero 7 and, in exchange, won a 17" PowerBook, a 40GB iPod, and a gift certificate entitling him to 10,000 iTunes songs (the approximate capacity of a 40Gb iPod). As Apple counted down to 100 million, it also gave "special 20GB iPods" to the consumers who downloaded each 100,000th song between 95 million and 100 million.
Running counter to the music industry's paranoia concerning the perils of modern digital technology, some musicians want you to share their music—within limits. GarageBand.com, which bills itself as "the world's largest musician community," announced June 7 that it now offers the Creative Commons Music Sharing License as an optional tag for all songs uploaded to its website.