Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Other Digital Divide

One day I was on Facebook checking out my newsfeed and a friend of mine, young, under 30 and a techie posted about some music he was enjoying — which I happen to enjoy as well.  I commented and requested he make me a CD.  One of his friends responded with some comments about file sharing and such and that with technology there's much simpler ways to enjoy music now.  The mama in me wanted to check this young'n but I decided against it. My friend who made the original post was eerily silent.  When I talked to him the next day I said, asked "why do you guys do that?" that, as in why do you young folks (under 30) treat us middle age and old folks like we're dinosaurs?  He wouldn't touch that question but has often commented that I (at the prime age of 44) am more the exception than the norm for folks my age when it comes to being interested in technology.  What I have found (informally) is that my set IS consisted of dinosaurs with some exceptions.
Now I'm not an expert on technology, however I've had a computer in the home or had access to one since 1984 (my friend mentioned above was all of 2 years old).  My family was fortunate, my dad is an audiophile and has subsequently become quite gadgety (he bought the first gen iPad when it was released).  As such I've always had an interest in all things technology, not the means to purchase 😉 but definitely the interest.  
If it weren't for technology, the internet/interwebs and such I would have to do things the old fashioned way like use a map/call for directions, go to the library and spend hours in front a microfilm machine to research an old article, write a check, use a stamp and envelope to mail a bill.  Thank GOD for technology!  However my random sample of peers, older folks and some slightly younger folks (no one under 30) think that technology is:
  • Dangerous
  • Of the devil
  • Scary
  • Too difficult to understand
  • For young folks
Which is unfortunate because it can quite literally open up the entire world to you.  What's interesting is that while I was researching this piece, I researched it from a statistical viewpoint — I am 44 and an accountant by day so hard data/numbers are my thing and my cursory glance at what I found gives me a bit more hope than what my small sample of friends and family bore out.  My peers and upwards aren't necessarily technophobes, we just use it differently and not as much as our younger counter parts.

My first look was at a piece from AARP for the over 50 crowd.  From their phone survey they found that 40% of persons over 50 are comfortable using the internet and of those 57% use the internet from a desktop while only 4% use the internet on a mobile (phone) device. 27% of the 50+ set use social media, with Facebook (23%) being the primary destination.  This AARP study also overlayed a sample of  50+ Hispanics whose numbers are about half of the majority population sampled.  (Those numbers are part of the real digital divide, which is another discussion).  

The second piece that I stumbled upon was a great summary of tons of statistics on technology usage  of all kinds by all different age groups and it again, the stats here show that my peers aren't necessarily averse to technology we just use it differently.  For instance most of my peers and up have cell phones, but we talk on them more than we text on them and we have very low usage of the mobile web.  According to an FCC study 86% of all Americans own cell phones but the biggest users of mobile internet (48%) are between 19 and 29 while only 5% of 65+ folks use the mobile web.  

What does all this mean?
That the middle aged and older aren't as far behind as the young folks think, however we have some catching up to do.  That the generations might spend a little more time teaching, learning and sharing in lieu of criticizing, but how do we get this done?  That will be next post?  How we close the digital age divide?

Note:  the old broad wrote a draft of this post in Evernote using an HP dv6-3120.  The post appears on Typepad and is cross-posted from Friendfeed to Twitter :=)


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Not An Expert… But These Cats Are

I had to move to another building in my complex and the thought of assembling a crew and doing it myself was not particularly appealing. I'm not as young as I used to be. I mean what does a middle age broad look like carrying sofas and washing machines? My former and myself were able to handle all the miscellaneous items, you know clothes, dishes (me) books and other heavy boxes (him) but for that sofa situation, a gigantic boxy tv and all the heavy appliances and whatnots I had to bring in the heavy artillery and fast.

I wasn't in a position to break lease, it would have cost me too much, so I requested an upper (and hopefully) safer unit on an upper floor near the front of the complex.  A "hot" unit was available that I assume the management company wanted to lease to someone else but after raising so much sand they let me transfer without additional fees or requiring me to sign a new lease.  The catch was I had to move fast. Thus the process began. After a a dozen or so trips up and down two flights of steps it was a done deal.  I took some quotes and ended up selecting GT Moving Company who had the best price and were able to get it done on SHORT notice.

To my surprise on Saturday morning, the movers showed up early.  They had tried to contact me but couldn't reach me because my iPhone only works when it wants to in my dungeon apartment.  The movers came in, did a quick assessment and got right to work.  Watching them move was really something to behold. The speed, the coordination and the care that they used to handle all my heavy items, including some poorly but heavily packed boxes were remarkable. I've always been too cheap or too broke to hire a mover, especially since I got strong enough guns to handle it on my own with a couple of helpers so I never bothered.  Watching these brothers professionalism let me know…

I have been a FOOL!

If I knew before what I know now I would have let them handle the ENTIRE move and on the next move, you can believe that I will. The old broad is now officially retired from moving her own stuff.
If you're in the Atlanta metro area, I highly recommend GT Moving Company and the two man crew of David and Steve if you're not moving a mansion's worth of stuff. Stop being cheap, stop trying to handle it on your own.  These guys know what they're doing so give them call.
Almost Through 011
Almost Through 012

This is NOT a sponsored blogged post, I'm just a satisfied customer.

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Not A Tech Blogger’s Head is in the Cloud

I've been reading about this Cloud computing for a few months. Yes I said months. I'm not a tech person, I'm an accountant who likes to write about stuff. That said I became interested in the mystical cloud because of the ongoing failures of the technology I was using and data loss as  result of technology failure and theft.

Tech Failure – Work
I use two Oracle applications plus MS Office at work.  One of those applications crashes or gets "hung up" in some weird loop where: Java scripts don't run correctly (whatever those are) Java forms don't load correctly (whatever those are), the server connection is "lost".  Of course these failures always happen when I'm on a proverbial roll. Of course these failures only occur with what I'm trying to do and… Of course my tech support, God Bless them have worked my problem every which way to Sunday.  When the failures occur now I rarely report them because it appears (in my logic) it is the way in which I use this particular app.  I don't open and close things, I leave them all open and switch between tasks (and refuse to do it any other way). Opening and closing is slow, cumbersome and ineffective considering my workload. It's faster for me to shut it down, bring it back up and keep it moving until the next crash.  That said there are some things that I do know.  There are some peak times when there are multiple users doing multiple processes that serve to tax the application and the server it runs on.  There are some other logistical, fiscal, procedural and resources issues that preclude my organization from getting full power from these apps. Frustration runs high, at the same time, users (including myself) are demanding more capabilities for which we just don't have the capacity to make happen.

Tech Failure – Home
I have a Toshiba Satellite with Vista. I hate it, it's weird, buggy and always gives me that spinning wheel when it's trying to do something.  I've been using a PC since Windows 2.0 I think. Anyone would say I should know better by now, get a clue and get a Mac.  I just might after this latest debacle. My Vista wouldn't load Tuesday night. I got stuck in the continuous restart mode. I Googled the problem. Tried some of the fixes and they didn't work. I took that puppy to the shop. The latest is that there was some update that resulted in registry errors (what does that mean???)  Fortunately my hard drive is in good shape and there was no raging virus on it.  My geeks at the shop said I could get Windows 7 for $200.00 I said, just reload Vista let me pay you and give it back.  I did a full back up after reading a blog post by @LeReg on Twitter. Glad I did. I didn't do much between Friday and Tuesday but do fear that I have lost some photos and music and my exercise log in Excel.  Frankly I'm tired of losing my data.

The Theft Problem
It's been well noted on my other blogs that I had a major burglary in my life. Years and years of photos, writing, music were gone in one fell swoop.  I would back up to zip drives and CDs every now and then and later to flash drives. But the majority of my data was held on two computers which are now gone gone gone.  I did receive a lovely Western Digital Passport (learned my lesson) as a birthday gift and I do use it but my backups usually occur about every two weeks.  I know it's important but gosh I just don't dig doing it, AT ALL.  The technology failures, user failures (me), theft and data loss have all but forced me to…

The Cloud
What I figured out is that it's not really all that mystical and makes a whole lot of sense. The biggest thing for me is that it takes the burden of hardware and software support off organizations IS groups and shifts it to the cloud host, who has the software, the hardware and the support to handle it all.  They have to have back ups of the backups to stay in business, it is THEIR business. It all takes he burden off the finance/accounting teams who have to find money and beat the clock on expiring licenses, hardware failures. It also takes the burden off of HR professionals who have to look for people to come in house and take care of everything that goes wrong. Is it really this simple? I don't know from a technical perspective but as a user, this is an absolute no-brainer. Yeah I'm sure there are security concerns and proprietary concerns in the sense that organizations may not be comfortable with letting go of their processes but those (in my opinion of course) are not deal breakers. The question really is how best to move your organization forward and improve your processes, I think moving to the Cloud should be a definite consideration, especially if the current means of getting things done is proving ineffective.

On a personal level. As long as I've been using Gmail I've been using the Cloud. All of it is web based. I have a gang of storage that I don't think I'll ever use.  I also use Google Docs and am writing this in Evernote.  My dream is that all of my electronic content be housed in the Cloud and that every application I'd ever want to use is in the Cloud.  I don't want to worry about backups or requiring massive capacity on my machine.  I want to know that what I'm doing right now will STAY regardless of the circumstances of the machine it was created on..  I want to be relieved of the requirement for massive storage on whatever machine I use or having to purchase some peripheral storage device. I don't want to buy or get for free any application that requires loading onto my machine, outside of the Browser and operating system.

Yeah my head is in the Cloud alright, I see the Cloud as a means of living the digital simple life.  Is that too much to ask?

Cloud graphic from

Not a Tech Blogger has a Buzz in her ear

was on Friendfeed on Tuesday February 9, when Google dropped Buzz on the world
and some how I got caught up in the hype. Waiting for the icon to appear in my
email (got it Thursday) and not wanting to wait, I started Buzzing immediately
from my iPhone. I thought oh gosh, do I really need another social media
service/platform/time-sucker in my life? 
I’ll answer that question later. If you didn’t know, here’s what Google
says Buzz is:

There’s been changes since the introduction of this video
that address privacy concerns, auto-following, muting and such. You can check
the Gmail blog for the updates and
of course you can Google it. There’s been plenty of blog posts, articles,
praise and complaints about Buzz in its first week.  Of course if you are already in Buzz and
follow any technology folks, you can get excellent information that way.


Buzz is attached to Gmail – I railed in the
beginning because I loathe email and I didn’t like that Buzz co-opted my
contact list, hence the privacy issue. So Tuesday night, since I’d not received
the Buzz icon yet, I deleted about 90% of my contacts, not a problem since they
are replicated elsewhere.  One good thing
is that I was already following some people that I followed in Google Reader
which is a Google product that I use a lot.

Google Reader Shares – are automatically posted
to Buzz. I like that. What doesn’t work is when you have your shares set up to
another feed, in my case Friendfeed. So when sharing an item in that way it
shows up twice, because reader shares are tied to you Google Profile and that
share setting is what’s used in Friendfeed and I imagine in other services.
This gives a double post. One with the actual title of the article and one that
says Buzz from: (see posts #4 and 5)

What I’d like to see something like
from Buzz where you click the share button and goes to allt he places you want,
showing a Subject and Link perhaps “Buzz: Obama breaking kneecaps.”

Search – I don’t even know how to do this. There
are posts that were really good the first couple of days that I can’t find and
have no idea to search based on the poster’s name, subject or anything.
Non-tech folks need a search box where we can just type it in and find it.

Collapsing posts – Posts with lot of comments
are automatically collapsed but from what I can see you can collapse anything

Likes – I use “Likes” mostly as bookmarks. Again
referencing Friendfeed, it would be nice to have a place where all of your
likes and comments are grouped together so you can refer back to them.

Comments – Posting a comment when your stream is
active is a bit precarious. New comments are coming in, the screen is jumping
and you lose your place. I think this should be made static so you can finish
what you’re doing.

RT/RB – You can share a link to your followers
but you can’t do an RT or RB (re-buzz) directly from the post. When you do
share the link you get some a Buzz from post just like the one described in ##

Spam – already I’ve received porn and direct
marketing follower spam. I don’t even get this in my email inbox, Google does a
great job at this because I’ve not ever set up any manual spam filters.  That said I’m assuming that Google can fix
this one quickly. In the meantime I’m just blocking.

Mobile usage – with Google Maps and the Buzz
layer on top of it. This is really hot as far as I’m concerned.  I can see this piece as really people driven
AND advertiser driven. People can comment, post photos on their location and it
goes onto the map and into their Buzz stream making it more social. It’s a boon
for advertisers who can suggest things in the area.  A game-changer for me – I may abandoned my
beloved Brightkite for this. Once I get it working correctly of course.

Aggregation – this is the biggie for me. I came
onto Friendfeed in 2009 when it was already declared dead. It died again when
Facebook bought it. It’s been declared dead many times but I love it because it
is a great aggregator.  All of my blogs
feed to it. Anything that I do with the exception of Facebook is aggregated there.
If Buzz aggregates, that will be a game-changer for me. I would do everything
from Buzz, period.

Time-suck – Buzz can take up your time,
especially right now when it’s new and it doesn’t behave in the way that some
of your other social media tools do. You spend a lot of time, turning things on
and off, looking for stuff, experimenting with stuff.  The second way it takes up time is in the
scrolling. When you’re actually reading posts it takes a long time to do if
your timeline – buzzline is active.  The
third way and not so bad way is that you can get caught up in some really good,
really interesting conversations.  Time
Management with Buzz like any social media is critical.

Overall, I have to say I really dig Google Buzz. It is weird
and buggy and is a resource hog for sure, because when I have Buzz open I get the
spinning Vista wheel, however I think the potential for it is pretty
substantial for the social set, for the blogging set, for the business set,
really for everybody because of the Google brand. I mean Google is a brand and
it is a VERB for crying out loud. Is Buzz a Twitter or Facebook killer? No.  People seem to use those two forms of social
media, very differently and there are way too many users (Facebook) and
loyalists (Twitter) for them to die. 
People are still going to go there.  The technical early adopters will make Buzz catch
heat, Google has proven to be very responsive in making changes, everybody
knows Google, I think it is a win.  My hope
is that the introduction and later adoption of Google Buzz will prove to be a
social media/web presence simplifier for the masses.

I’m all in, are you? Come check me out on
Google Buzz.


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Not a Music Journalist doesn’t do Award shows

But thanks to Twitter I can get real-time results on them and flip to see performers I like. But, seriously I don't watch award shows. I went started boycotting them in 1989. I've watched two all the way through since then, the Source Awards the year Suge Knight dissed Puffy (yeah he was Puffy back then) and last years BET Awards in hopes of a Michael Jackson tribute, which was awful and to see Maxwell after his long hiatus (he was last).  In fact I probably haven't been really excited about music award shows since MJ's Thriller days and Prince's Purple Rain days. What I found is that the people that I like never won and the shows were always too long and showed categories that I had absolutely NO interest in.  As for 1989, two egregious things happened that turned me off FOR GOOD!

I was watching the American Music Awards with my sister. The category was Favorite Male Vocalist Soul/R&B, the nominees were Michael Jackson, Bobby Brown and George Michael. George Michael won now granted this was his first solo joint it was hot but he was NOT R&B. My reaction and I'll never forget it, "a white boy who ain't even from here  won best R&B male. My mind was made up I was THROUGH with music award shows.  But this was a double whammy year.  The biggest whammy of all came from the Grammy Awards. 1989 was the first year that Hip-Hop was category at the Grammys, the category was a mash-up called Best Rap Performance. The nominees were all over the place, JJ Fad, LL Cool J, Salt-N-Pepa, Kool Moe Dee and DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh.  Hip Hop had ARRIVED or so we thought, the revolution would NOT be televised. The award was not televised and Public Enemy, Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince and more boycotted the Grammy's. I joined them. The music was too important, it was moving a nation of young folk, urban folk, black folk and white folk. I was appalled and I still am.
Seems not much has changed since then.  It's 2010 and as I watched the tweets roll by I didn't see ANYTHING about the hip-hop categories being televised. I then lucked up and saw one, best Rap/Sung collaboration (who comes up with these things?) Jay-Z won it and he was there to accept it, but Kanye wasn't.  The story as far as I'm concerned remains the same. The folks you want to win usually don't, people who have zero skills usually do and the categories that the fan really cares about are not televised.  That's the surface stuff. The beneath the surface stuff is that OUR music, music created by US, originated by US STILL after all these years and now gazillions of units sold and gazillions of $$ into the majors pockets and we still can't get air time.  
That's why I don't watch. I can take your word for what happened or read about it on the web later.

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Not a Tech Blogger talks about Congestion

I don’t mean a stuffy nose, even though I have that going on right now, I’m talking about network congestion.  As customer of Always Troublesome Technology and a former Blackberry user I would get this “Congestion!” message and the call would fail.  Well after many Blackberry  failures (I believe part of my problems were the actual phone) I let it go and picked up the cheapest iPhone I could get after much cajoling from a pretty Nia Long looking lady at the Airwaves Totally Trashed store (but I digress).  The iPhone is a smarter phone than the current crop of Blackberry devices and Android fans say the phones that run that OS are even smarter, which brought me to this article


Is 2010 the year of wireless congestion?

It may happen for some until improvements are made to various networks



and that little message I used to get about congestion.  I haven’t seen the congestion message on the iPhone, it just hangs up or backs out of whatever application I’m in.  I’m not in agreement with the article though. 2010 is NOT the Year of Congestion as far as I’m concerned we’re entering the 3rd year of it as it was three years ago that the first iPhone came out.  That’s not to blame the iPhone but it’s introduction in my opinion made companies like RIM (Blackberry) and HTC and Motorola et all ramp up their game to make phones do more stuff.  The service provider marketing departments did all that they could do get a smartphone into all of our technology hungry little hands.  Now most of us are wired ALL the TIME, which means the networks are busy all the time, which means the technology supporting it all needs to be updated/expanded/tweaked all the time or at least that’s what you would think.


Now Absolutely Tumultuous Telephone is “working "quickly and aggressively" on network enhancements” according to Mark Siegel, spokesman of the above mentioned company.  There’s going to be upgrades to towers and their 3G network, there will be special focus on upgrades to areas that have high traffic like SF and NYC, so on and so forth but before the article even get’s to this discussion there’s a little piece of arrogance that sent me right into orbit.  Here it goes:


'Playing around the clock'
"What’s driving usage on the network and driving these high usage situations are things like video, or audio that keeps playing around the clock," said Ralph de la Vega, president of AT&T Mobility.

"And so we’ve got to get to those customers and have them recognize that they need to change their pattern, or there will be other things that they are going to have to do to reduce their usage.”

Whether those "other things" include higher rates for whatever data usage is deemed excessive is not known.


The Rant

So we’ve all now bought into the idea that our phones are for work and for play, no longer just a communication device.  We shell out $100-150 a month for the pleasure of using the network as we see fit and now and it’s a problem that we, the customers have to recognize? We have to change OUR behavior?  Now that some ish if I have ever heard any.  The Service Provider needs to change THEIR behavior.


The provider got what they asked for: zillions of users, spending zillions of dollars, translating into fat pockets for their execs. Yet Service Provider, you didn’t want to be held accountable for taking those zillions of dollars and investing it into what you created.  That’s not the customer’s problem, that’s your problem.  The idea, thought, or whiff of a scent of an upcharge for high network usage is appalling and arrogant and is a complete disservice to all of us who keep your wallets fat.  Fix your network, make it so fast and seamless that your customers can brag on how good they got it, how much work they get done, how clear their calls are and how clear their videos.  Fix it to the point that the next time and average jane user like me can write something complimentary about you.

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Not a Tech Blogger uses Seesmic Look

I started using Seesmic Desktop maybe four months ago because I wanted a multi grid twitter client and Tweetdeck just never cooperated on my Toshiba for some reason. I've been satisfied using it. Looks great, doesn't lock me out or do any crazy stuff. I'm happy. The last week I saw a tweet from @ldbaldwin (thanks for sharing) about Seesmic Look. So since I'm at home with all manners of nose and lung stuffiness I figured today was a good day to try it.

I downloaded Seesmic Look from here. The description says it's been optimized for Windows 7 which I do not have and won't touch so I'm running it on Vista. The download probably took two minutes or less and I think the application is about 13 mb. You sign into it with your twitter name and password and boy does it look different.
When it opens, it opens up to the Trends page which is all the popular hashtags and topics being talked about on Twitter.  You can look at Trends at anytime by clicking on it from the navigation bar which on the left.  As for the nav bar, here's what you get:
Inbox – this is all your public (@) replies, direct messages, and sent (direct) messages
Social – is your timeline, you can click on Friends for all the people you follow as well as the lists you've created to narrow down even further. You can look at the timeline by scrolling or clicking on the Playback button (looks like a tv) where each tweet fades in and out on the screen (not sure if I like that mode much)
Favorites – all the tweets you've saved as favorites (I have way too many)
Interests – this is a great feature. It divides Twitter into some rough categories, you click on each of those categories and get tweets from popular users in each category. I say it's great because you can catch tweets from folk you don't follow or folks you do follow that you may miss in your timeline or lists.
Channels – basically this is featured content from one source. There's only a few channels I suspect there will be more in the future. People who are really interested in these providers content will be the ones who use this most.
Searches – Just type in what you're looking for in the search bar at the top right hand of the screen
Overall: In my tweets I said the accountant part of me still likes the grid of Seesmic Desktop but Seesmic Look's added features especially Interests and Channels are a WIN.  Not a Tech Blogger has used a lot of twitter apps since I've been on and this one is by far the most appealing visually, the navigation is easy. I'm not sure if this is available for Mac or not but for PC its a WIN.

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Not A Music Journalist Listens to Shibuya: City Lights, Vol. 2 by Nicolay

actually arrived on a day when I was not feeling well. Having been knocked out
by pain relievers the UPS delivered me from my near comatose state and
delivered Shibuya.  Here’s my track by
track opinion.

1)Lose Your
Way – The vocal is light and breezy, mixed with the instrumentation and I can’t
really tell what all was used, it makes for an overall breezy track.  Based on the lyrics and again the music you
feel like no matter what’s going on in the city, you still love losing your way
in it.

Station – this has a very metropolitan sound and puts me in the mind of Weather
Report brand fusion. The tune conveys a hustle and bustle, an energy that makes
you want to go do something.

3)Crossing –
Really a continuation of the previous tune. I didn’t pay attention to the track
listing so thought it was the same song that had changed up a bit. The
transition is flawless.

4)Rain in
the Ueno Park – The rain sound is a nice back drop. This isn’t a dreary rain
song, but more of a comforting kick back rain sound. Again I’m hearing fusion.

5)Satellite –
what hear on this one is fusion meets Jack Your Body era house.

Night  – This is a party song. I love the
vocal, the house style beat and keys. You can see the party going on and it’s
the part of the party where everybody is feeling it, dancing and enjoying the

7)A Ride
Under the Neon Moon  – this is the on the
way out the party transition.

– This is a perfect wind down song, it has a jazz flavor but not smooth jazz,
not fusion either.  This is the sit down
and kick your shoes off exhale song.

Shrine – this sounds like a shift. There’s a sound in that sounds either like a
bell or breaking glass I’m not sure. There is a mystery to this cut and I want
to know what it is.

Dancing – I don’t know anything about Asian musical tradition, but I feel like
some of it might be conveyed here.  This
also sounds theatrical when those string sounding keys come in.

11)The Inner
Garden – this conveys rejuvenation, like the sun is coming up and everything is
waking up to meet it.

Train – on the first pass this sounded like a Monday morning time to go get it
as I listened a few more times it sounds more like it is about focus on any day
of the week.

13)Wake up
in another life – the vocals make sense on this and I like how they are layered
near the end.

– like the “horn” sounds.  The title
conveys, departure from the city as well as departure from this musical experience.

15)Shibuya Epilogue
– I will say that Nicolay is dead wrong for this one. Dead wrong because it’s a
teaser. I was feeling it, it was swinging, and the vocalist was swinging. This
should have been a full length track.

instrumental versions of Lose Your Way, Saturday Night and Wake Up In Another


I didn’t
read any press on this I knew it was coming out and the only expectation that I
had was if this was a Nicolay project that it would be good and it is.  What makes it good is that: 1)There are no
songs to skip through on this CD.  It’s
tightly produced, the songs are not opus length but are a length that is
enjoyable (with the exception of Shibuya Epilogue, which was too short), and
the number of tracks is right. 2)The CD tells a story.  For me it tells a story that is in a certain
locale but could be in any metropolitan area. The story is told in two parts
and the two parts work together to make a whole. 3)I believe that the sound is
cross cultural, cross genre and cross generational.  It could be listened to in the home, car or iPod
of anyone and finally 4)the vocalist Carlitta Durand. What I hear is that she is
comfortable singing in more than a few musical genres. We got a taste of what
she can do on Shibuya, let’s hope we get more.


If you have
any rotation right now, I recommend Shibuya: City Lights, Vol. 2 for heavy

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Not a Music Journalist Listens To Kamaal the Abstract by Q-Tip


I don’t know if there was journalistic hype about the
project, but I know I was hyped about the release of Kamaal The Abstract.  Q-Tip is a musician not just an MC, not just a
lyricist, not just a producer.  We all
get to hear his musicality on this set. 
Here’s my track by track opinion.

1)Feelin – this cut is heavy on the guitar and keys with
about a one minute rap vocal. The remaining vocals are all sung by Q-Tip and
female background vocalists with a solid musical arrangement.  The sound is hip-hop in the beginning but
becomes more groove as it goes on.

2)Do You Dig You – all vocals on this cut are sung and at
about three minutes in the song becomes all about the music particularly the
flute by Gary Thomas. Upbeat with the synth bass making the cut hip-hop in
sound but the remaining instrumentation has more of a fusion sound.

3)A Million Times – all vocals are sung and there are only
two phrases “We’re gonna do it again and again.” “I thought I told you a
million times.” The song is really about the guitar, the keyboards, the groove.

4)Blue Girl – all vocals are sung, with a brief verse and
repeats of the chorus. The feature on this cut is the piano.

5)Barely in Love – Q-Tip and the female vocalist singing
about a girl and being barely in love. The cut has more of a rock vibe. This
one is made for live performance.  (Did
see the Jimmy Fallon performance but unable to pull it)

6)Heels – this song immediately put me in mind of early 90’s
Red Hot Chili Peppers. Q-Tip performs a rap vocal about high heels and the
sexiness of said heels on a girl in different settings. The refrain, “put your
heels on girl, put them heels on lady.” Love the energy of this one.

7)Abstractionisms – Q-tip delivers “abstractionisms” on a
brief rap vocal but the cut is really all about THE alto saxophonist Kenny

8)Caring – a sweet short song that features more of the
female vocalists than Tip.

9)Even If It Is So – My favorite track on the CD is about a
girl doing what she has to do to get educated and make things better for
herself and her daughter. Really nice groove on this one.

10)Make it Work – This is the only cut in which Q-Tip
delivers a full-on rap vocal that is longer than a minute or two.  This is most hip-hop of all the cuts on the
CD and could have easily fit on the last ATCQ CD.

My first spin through Kamaal the Abstract was cool. I wasn’t
hot, hot for it I believe because I’ve spent the last year listening to The
Renaissance which had a much bigger sound. 
 Kamaal the Abstract for lack of a
better term is “tighter”. The tracks are more intimate, more out of a jazz
tradition and more about Q-Tips  musicianship and the musicianship of the
artists featured on this project.   If the
listener is looking for a hip-hop record I would say, it is hip-hop but not
like anything we hear right now.  He’s
not Jeezy, Weezy, Ye nor Hov and this CD is void of all things autotune,
thankfully. The shelving of the project was mind boggling to me but in the end the
timing turned out to be fortuitous. There is a major vacuum in hip-hop. Outside
of the hot boys mentioned above (of which Jay is the only one I listen to)
there is a dire lack of creativity, artistry and musicianship. As such hip-hop
fans of “a certain age” like me and fans who just don’t like all that’s being
played on traditional radio right now are left wanting.  That said, Kamaal the Abstract is welcome
relief, one that will stay in the rotation. 
Good music is good music, that’s what Q-tip is delivering on this one.

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How I got over

Two bad days in a row. My usual tools to get over the hump were either unavailable or undesirable. I turned to my sustenance. This is the end of WTF.

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