Tuesday, August 25, 2009

on repeat: gershwin and beethoven

I finally got rid of some old records and not having a record player for a year, this was overdue. But there were two records which were incredibly hard to give up. Thankfully, they have been remastered on CD and I found them on half.com for a steal. The first is Beethoven's Seventh Symphony with André Prévin conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. I adore the Allegretto of this symphony. Its tragic, meloncholy melody bouncing from bass to violas, from violin to brass all accompanied with a unrelenting counterpoint. I listen to it over and over again anticipating its marchlike tread and loving every note.

The other record is Gershwin's Greatest Hits. Now I love the Gershwins, George especially. This album has three epitomizing piano pieces and each played by some of my favorite people. Leonard Bernstein plays "Rhapsody in Blue", Oscar Levant plays "Three Preludes", and André Prévin plays the third movement of the "Concerto in F". There are others on the CD but these three get played over and over again so that my love for the piano never ceases. Thank goodness I found both of these wondrous CDs.

prounce it oo-boon-too

Speaking of gadgets, my next purchase is going to be a netbook. But because I work for a company who is entering the market with ARM and Linux support, I decided to reduce the cost by going the non-Microsoft route. But before I can do that, I have to make sure I can do everything I want on it. Enter Ubuntu, the easiest to install and fastest up and running Linux operating systems out there. It does everything for you so that with failure to like, you can still go back to that Microsoft machine. But you will like it. It is fast, secure, customizable, and has all that you need in clean, simple formats including productivity, web, music, video, and imaging. Of course, you have to learn a little unix but that is the fun part. The biggest issues I had were setting up the network, not getting my wireless to work but just getting it to see all the other wireless items on my network. The other issue was financial software. This is the only actual software that I use that is not online and I worried that I would have to stick with Quicken. Well, I found kmymoney2 which does all that Quicken does with a pretty easy learning curve. I am still ironing out the issues but so far, I find it a viable replacement. So long Microsoft.

the gadgets and me

I admit it. I am a geek and I love new gadgets. But I have had two gadgets for quite some time that I believe are some of the best investments I have made.  The first is my Synology DS207. This network access server proves its worth time and time again when I access this baby from my pc or linux system, my xbox 360, and now play through DLNA compliant using my bluray player all through a wireless connection. There is nothing better than not having to fiddle with large hard drive systems when you can install up to a TB standard hard drive into a box which holds two of them. Synology has loads of systems which can hold two, four, even 10 hard drives. And they provide the software, web access, and all the assistance in setting it up and having it run without trouble. I love it beyond words.

The second gadget I only got recently when I set up my new home system. My receiver with hdmi switching is a bit finicky in that sometimes the video does not come through. I have to turn on another device then switch back to get it working correctly. Enter Harmony all in one remotes and specifically the Harmony 550. This baby does everything with such customization that I put all my other remotes in a box, never to frown at them again. I need this one and my xbox 360 game controller from now until the end of time.

Monday, August 10, 2009

coming home to the asylum

I have to say it looks deliciously fun. Click here for HD version