Sunday, June 17, 2007


The Hip Hop 4 Education (benefit) Concert was by FAR the best I've ever been to (& I've been fortunate to go to many over the years). I decided to give my 'lil brother an early graduation gift (& appropriately enough, it was his 1st concert) as it was an "all-ages benefit. Hosted by Divine Forces Radio (DFR) & benefiting Krylon 13 (a non-profit helping our youth) what we were able to witness the night of 3/3/07 @ the LA Center Studios was pure musical bliss. I can't even begin to explain the beauty & positivity that flowed throughout the evening, but I'll try. The evening began @ 4pm & ended just after midnight & was filled with great music, lyrics & a positive scene (as Fidel said @ the end of the night, not even 1 fight ensued). Just great people, enjoying great music on a wondrous night. I met several cool peeps including the Native Guns, which really dropped it- fusing mind-churning lyrics, phat beats & even blending a little tagalog to spice it up. Pix of the evening aren't up yet (darn camera's acting up something bad) but they will be soon so check back. The event was hosted by Fidel & featured DFR's DJs, which were dope as ever!

My brother & I had a blast! Great event fusing hip hop, spoken word specialists (even one of the modern day innovators in this genre- Saul Williams) & thought-provoking speakers. It was really a treat for me as I'd never seen X-Clan nor KRS ONE live (especially since 1 of my 1st music purchases was an X-Clan tape- along w/Digital Underground & MC Hammer). But everyone really brought great energy. Medusa was super fly. Anomolies was an all-female group that really got down. Visionaries, Living Legends & Dilated Peoples always rock the house & did so again. KRS ONE freestyled for a good 10-13 minutes. The icing on the cake was Wil.I.Am showing up @ the end & freestyling for almost 7 minutes. Now that's hip hop! It was a pleasure to partake in the positivity & bathe in conscious lyrics fused with body-bumpin' beats. Below is a list of the event participants in chronological order:

1 - Olmeca
2 - Native Guns
3 - Anomolies
4 - Aztlan Underground
5 - Quetzal
6 - Visionaries
7 - Medusa
8 - Suheir Hammad
9 - Sabac Red
10 - Funkdoobiest
11 - X-clan
12 - Saul Williams
13 - Luis Rodriguez
14 - Congresswoman Cynthia McKenna (great speaker)
15 - Psycho Realm
16 - Soul Elevation
17 - Living Legends
18 - Chief Joseph Chasing Horse (special speaker)
19 - Dilated Peoples
20 - KRS ONE
21 - Will.I.Am (special, surprise guest)

You can see youtube videos of the evening here (including KRS ONE & Wil.I.Am's fresh freestyles).

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Music in the digital age

Paul McCartney just released his new album- his 21st solo edition- & even though he's 64, he's still keeping up w/the Jones'! He just ended his long-standing relationship w/EMI Records & this new record is being released completely as a music download.

Quote from the article:
"I was bored with the old record company's jaded view." "They're very confused, and they will admit it themselves: that this is a new world, and they're a little bit at a loss as to what to do. So they've got millions of dollars and X budget … for them to come up with boring ways — because they've been at it for so long — to what they call 'market' it. And I find that all a bit disturbing. "I write it, I play it, I record it, and that's all fun. And you go to the record company, and it gets very boring. You sit around in rooms with people, and you're almost falling asleep."

This is no surprise. As music moves further into the 21st century, you hear of SO many artists doing it their own way. Look at Maroon 5, they got in on the music via the internet thing just before MySpace started getting big & they've sold millions of tunes online. Reminds of me a GREAT article I read a while back praising the rise of indie labels & the mantra: “If you are an independent artist or record label and you don’t love LimeWire then you are just plain stupid!”

My neighbor's a musician & we talk about this all the time. Big record companies are upset because so many folks are downloading (for pay or for free) music instead of buying CDs so we've become all too familiar w/phrases like RIAA & DRM. It's the music industry's fault, if you ask me...I mean, how many years did we pay $15/album for 1-2 good songs? It's no surprise that artists are going to indie labels or doing it all on their own- they get a bigger chunk of the pie AND still maintain creative control. Besides, artists on large labels get more cash out of doing their tours than CD like I've always said: Support your music, go to a concert!

Lil' Bush

So there's not too much on TV that's ever worth a darn, but Comedy Central just premiered a new show tonight called Lil' Bush. It was hilarious, features a few politicians as lil' kids & even had a skit where they talked about "Halliburton Land" in Iraq. Give it a watch, it's great satire.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

We complain, but it could always be worse

We complain here in the States about how bad our government is (myself included) but it could always be worse. We could be in China where the social networking site, Flickr has had its service banned. While China's very well-known for pulling stunts like this, under the guise of protecting children or national security, this move appears to be fueled by images of student protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989. The internet was built to produce a superhighway of free information, not to be censored in such a manner. This just goes to show that we should express our beliefs openly while we still can.

Another well-considered opinion is offered by Thomas Hawk here.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Micro$oft still trying to monopolize the world

New York is the latest state to ponder a move to open standards for government document formats ala ODF. Sure it's good news that another state is attempting to do "the right thing" for the people- selecting a format that's freely available, which lowers government's IT costs, & doesn't depend on Micro$oft's proprietary, high-cost alternative- but we all know Micro$oft won't let it happen. They'll be out in force, spewing the same misinformation & fear tactics that has gotten similar bills defeated in 5 other states- Connecticut, Texas, Oregon, Florida & California.

Living in California, the video from the California State Assembly meeting is especially disturbing (the comment on that page is very insightful & well-informed). Anyone with half an iota of tech knowledge would see that Micro$soft is just trying to pull the wool over everyone's eyes with their nonsense &, yet, the bills just keep on getting defeated. Maybe that's part of the problem, we have ZERO tech experts who actually have any influence on the decision-making process.

Let me give you a price-breakdown to show what's at stake. Office 2007 costs $425 retail. OpenOffice is free, uses various ODF formats (& you can even save to Office formats) & runs on MANY operating systems. That's just for 1 user. The discrepancy becomes exponential when you start factoring in licenses (say your small biz has 20 computers, you need 1 license per machine- 20 licenses- to be able to install w/out breaking the law & each license costs extra). That's a considerable investment for any organization or home user who just wants to make a budget & write letters. So it's no wonder Micro$oft is out in force trying to stop this movement as their overpriced, criminally-negligent monopoly could start to crumble. New York's bill is a bit more watered-down than the previous 5 states' bills which were defeated but all of this begs the question- is government making decisions to finally become financially responsible or do these bills keep getting shot down since noone in a decision-making capacity has any clue how to do it after years of $250 toilet seats?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

After Ubuntu, Windows looks increasingly bad, archaic & unfriendly

The article basically states everything I've been trying to say both about Linux & Windows for the last few years...the time is now. The article details the myriad of potential issues a regular, everyday user can face & how Windows handles it vs. how Ubuntu (or pretty much any other Linux distro) handles it. We're talking office productivity, management, disaster recovery, etc.

Matter of fact, I talked about this very same topic 3 months ago. You can download Ubuntu and see for yourself. You can also use my previous article to get you started on how to download & verify your operating system download.

If you like the freedom of free open-source software, the ability to completely customize your desktop environment &, yet, still have a very productive & aesthetically-pleasing operating system, then it's about time you at least gave Linux a chance. But like LeVar Burton used to say "you don't have to take my word for it..."

An arm of the military considering FOSS?

In the article linked above, the Navy is now being mandated to consider open source software solutions. This is a breath of fresh air. Could the government actually be doing something to curb costs & government spending? I hope that this mentality infiltrates the rest of the government since we know that open-source solutions are, and always will be, cheaper for both small & large organizations. I'm sure that the Microsoft lobbyists are out in force trying to stop this since we all know that the government's IT buying power is something astronomical like $250 billion & they don't want to be left out in the cold.

I'm optimistic that once the Navy sees both the monetary & stability benefits of what FOSS can do for them, that it'll spread like wildfire. Here's to government finally making some wise financial decisions.

Songbird Media Player

So I've been using the Songbird player for almost a year now & it's about high-time I evangelized about how dope it really is. It's FREE Open-source software (FOSS), has tons of features & the community's awesome!

Songbird™ is a desktop Web player, a digital jukebox and Web browser mash-up. Like Winamp, it supports extensions and skins (feathers). Like Firefox®, it is built from Mozilla®, cross-platform and open source. Cross-platform means it's available for Windows, Mac & Linux. It's available in 45+ languages & sports 64-bit support. It's developer-friendly as there are over 30 community-authored add-ons & on-staff developers are very friendly in helping you around. It supports iPod & USB devices & you can play tracks from the iTunes store or Yahoo Unlimited services.

Prior to Songbird, I used to use Winamp & while it was great, Songbird is truly the end-all, be-all music application. Not only that, but their logos are seriously sweet! Give it a try, you might find yourself not needing anything else, EVER again!