Tech’s ‘n Effect

For those of you who didn’t catch the play on words in the blog post title, but are curious, the hint correlates to a well known R&B group from the 90’s, not just the subject of this post.

Though its four months later and 49 degs warmer right now, it is 11:55pm. After a long workday (even working from home), tonight we celebrated my son’s high school graduation.

As many are, during this pandemic, the usual gathering of friends and family was all for naught due to you-know-what. What was truly awesome in the midst of this was how, his school, the faculty, staff (of which my daughter is one of them), students, and parents managed to turn this into a joyous occasion.

As with all schools, they have been closed for the last few months and classes have been completed virtually. The process for preparing for a graduation ceremony to a great deal of planning, but was followed up by flawless execution. Being as though my son’s graduating class is very small, last week the process was to have two families come to the school, in thirty minute intervals so that each student can walk across the stage, receive his or her diploma, take the usual pictures with the headmaster (principal) of the school and family, then head home. That whole process took 20 mins. Only immediately family was allowed (because it was most likely the case that said family had no one suffering from COVID-19 symptoms), thus no family members who didn’t live in the household, or friends, were aloud.

Many of the activities you would see at a graduation – faculty speakers, valedictorian and salutatorian speeches, musical selections, etc, were all pre-recorded or provided by archived video. When all was said and done, each aspect of the graduation was coordinated together, in sequence, and streamed via Zoom. The Zoom link was provided to family and friends, weeks before, and from the beginning of the graduation exercise until the closing, it was as if you were watching a ceremony on TV.

Despite the necessity of conducting the entire event virtually, it was a seamlessly executed, blessed event. I, for one, am glad to see where advent of internet technology has taken us and allowed this Class of 2020 graduation to be a grand success in the midst of what is currently being called the “new normal”.

Have a safe weekend.

Fresh.

Excursions and Immersions.

Greetings all.

It’s been a while since I actually composed a blog post that wasn’t technically oriented (I believe the last such one was about going to see Jeff Lorber in concert, last October or so). That said, I mentioned in a recent Twitter post, that with the ubiquity of “instant” social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram, blogging can (for non-professional bloggers like myself) can easily fall by the wayside. The other have of that tweet mentioned that I started blogging in 2007, and I miss the aspect of self-publishing from “my own garden”.

Well, we are all currently dealing with the global pandemic known as COVIC-19. Some like to refer to this as the “new normal”, a colloquial term, which is all well and fine. There are some things that from the “old normal” that are not present and I don’t mind making sacrifices for at this point, the thing that’s most bothersome today essential fall into two buckets for me. The first is the overall inconvenience of things. I don’t have a great deal of heartburn dealing with them but, nonetheless, they are here for the immediate future.

The second thing is more annoying and aggravating by far – that is having to deal with those who refuse to make, what I tend to think are, simple sacrifices like maintaining physical distancing and not following the CDC guidelines for wearing a mask while in contact with others. What that simply tells me is that you have no regards for your own life, in the midst of ALLLLL that is continually being reported about rising case numbers and deaths, which means you have no regards for my life. I’m going to leave my opinion regarding that in the last sentence before this.

I got out in the gorgeous weather today and was driven around town by my son, who is trying to get the requisite number of hours in to get his driver license. Considering the pandemic, I’m not sure that will happen anytime soon, but nevertheless, the hours have to be logged. We’re approaching summer and I’m glad, but it will obviously be a summer like none I’ve ever experienced. One thing I’ll say, this current situation has seemingly added extra time in my life for different things. One of them has been, what I like to call “introspection under quarantine”. I’ve seen a number of social media posts basically saying that when the pandemic passes, we don’t need to “go back to normal, because normal wasn’t working”. While it’s clear that when it’s said “back to normal”, that means the non-pandemic life. I get that, however there is, to me, a lot to consider in the message of such social media posts. I’m striving for a non-pandemic lifestyle, through the introspection I have been doing, that will exceed the pre-pandemic. Did a pandemic have to come along to drive me to that decision? No, however here we are. In the end it should always be about pressing forward and for the better, no matter what challenges arise. Easier said than done? Surely, but it’s “by all means, necessary”.

Hope you and yours are well.

Best,

Fresh.

HNY 2017 – Creativity – a way forward

new_way_forward

Greetings readers and Happy 2017 to you. I hope the new year finds (and will continue to) you well. It was an unseasonable 55 degF today and sunny – a quiet day at that, one I couldn’t ask more of.

Interestingly enough, as 2016 was coming to a close, I had a discussion with two FB friends. Our talk essentially centered around the use of FB and other social media venues with respect to things the three of us were doing more of before social media REALLY became big (Note: we are still doing these things in the midst of social media, but not as much as we once did). The three areas I’m speaking of are: photography (digital), music (production and live), and blogging. Add to that a fourth friend who gave opinion on reading FB content which is believe to be “foolishnes” (for the most part). I don’t necessarily agree TOTALLY with that sentiment, HOWEVER, I can truly understand why that opinion was given (which, incidentally, does not solely align itself with FB alone). Of course, this discussion appears to be common as it relates to the new year, resolutions (which I don’t due), blah, blah, blah.

I’ve been blogging since 2007. The original concept for vibesnscribes was two fold – Vibes: (blogging about music, specifically about reviews of the artists and genres I enjoy) and Scribes: general topics that interest me. The latter always took place but the former quickly became more work than I wanted because it took time to succinctly post reviews of what I was listening to in a way that I found complete and satisfactory. Eventually I became interested in podcasting and produced The Sunday Soundtrack. The podcast then aligned itself with the “Vibes” portion of the concept

In any event, the conversation ended up basically summarizing the fact that we will return to doing these (enjoyable) things while diminishing the distractions of these big social media juggernauts like FB and IG. One of us said he is about to leave FB for good, because it is a massive timesuck abd detrimental to the creative process. Personally, I strongly believe that, in the end, spending whatever time one spends on things (social media, in this case) is a matter of choice. Social media, in and of itself, was not designed to become a major distraction, it’s just inherent to be by nature (human nature, that is). When trying to achieve anything, one statement stands true for sure: Starve your distractions – feed your focus. Do what’s necessary to reach the goal. It’s definitely one good recipe for a successful way forward. Your thoughts?

Be well,
Fresh!

Life happens while your making plans (fitness/exercise/training/goals)

What’s up everyone. Hope all is well. It’s Wednesday evening about 7:02pm and I’m just wrapping up work for today. Had to jet out for 90 mins to pick up my car from the auto body shop and get the rental returned, hence the late hours here. I was just thinkinig how well my runs and workouts (bodybuilding/strength building) have been consistently going. I ran my fastest mile last Friday and detailed my strength training workout program…but that’s just it. It was my last day in the gym.

This is a common thing that happens to many of us, no matter what we’re involved in. One day off can turn into two, two into…well, you get the picture. Add to that other projects and interests and you can see how conflicts can make themselves apparent. While it’s easy to let discouragement set in (as it has in the past), I’m looking for ways to maintain the motivation….and will find them. Maybe I’ll post the list when I compile it (for all those interested, raise your right hand 🙂 )

Interestingly enough, I was looking for a graphic for the intro to this post (the one above) and ironically, a great article was attached to it 10 Excuses for Not Exercising, and Why They Won’t Fly. While all don’t personally apply to me, the first one I can be guilty of. If you’re trying to stay on your program, I hope this article is useful. If you’re about to start, hope it is equally as useful.

Ok, I’m gone. Take care.

::: oceans of rhythm :::

Fresh!

DDO (Digital Day Off) #2

Greetings readers…

12:17am. Happy Monday, for those in the EST zone. For those who read my post below, I decided I was due for another digital day off. One reason I took it is that I’ve been recalling how it was growing up in the days pre-Internet: What was occupying my time, what my focus was, what good (and bad habits) I had, etc. While I can’t speak for any of my readers (or anyone else for that matter), doing this (albeit being annually so far), kinda makes me step backwards and look at not only my reliance on the info highway, but what I spend time doing on it. The good thing is I always get some fresh perspective and illumination. Now that the DDO is done, the benefit should now come in the manifesting of realizations had today…we shall see (I do mean “we”, with respect to those whom regularly interact with me on a regular basis and frequency).

So, what did I do with my DDO? I was one of the musicians who ministered with our church adult choir for two services today, so I was out of the house at 6:30 am. When all was done, I got home about 3pm. My wife sings on the adult choir and the kids saved a seat for me so I can sit with them during the first service. They all left afterwards, so I saw them when I got home.

By 4, I decided to take a nap…which extended into about 3.5 hours… and yes it was good (needless to say, I am not tired now…ughh)! Afterwards I had an hour long telecon with my biz partner about the future of our production company, AfterSix Productions, and our LONG AWAITED OVER DUE CD. After that, prepped clothing and lunch for work, bugged everyone here and there…then my son and I got some overdue racing done:

We had a lot of fun, wife stopped by the speedway and watched for a little while. 🙂

Pretty relaxing latter half of the day. Now it’s checking email, FB, Twitter, getting the to-do list ready for the work day…all while sipping on some ice cold Sobe in studio, listening to Beat Blender on somafm.com:

In summary, this DDO reminded me that my habitual necessity (so I think) to have to be on the net on a daily basis…is not as necessary as I think…My desire is to make it at least a weekly thing.

Hope you have a great day….

::: oceans of rhythm :::

Fresh!

Motivation – How to keep it fresh

Good morning…

Being one that is a constant keeper of to-do lists for all things I try to achieve AND being one that never really experiences boredom (see the first part of this sentence), I still seem to wane in the area of staying motivated. I can count the number of times that I’ve set goals and reached them, but it was never through minimal work. Yet and still, I try to find ways to stay motivated, ESPECIALLY when it seems there are never enough hours in the day to get things done (they say everyone has the same amount of time each – 24 hours, but let’s not get TECHNICAL here…LOL).

While there are PLENTY of sources on the web and in print about this very subject. I came across an article that I’ve saved in .pdf format that I wanted to share with you. I’m gonna read it again today, because as I populate my Google calendar then sync it across various iCals on my Macs, then sync it to my Blackberry – with my events and tasks, all that will be for naught without a healthy sense of motivation. I hope the article inspires you to keep striving and reaching. Lastly, I’d be remiss if I didn’t add the foundation behind this:

Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (all that is in line with His will)

Giving Him thanks…

Enjoy….

::: oceans of rhythm :::

Fresh!

A DDO Realized (An experiment in virtual abstinence)

Hello Readers…

I hope all is well with you. and that your Memorial Day will be or was spent, to some extent, doing what the holiday was created for – in memory of the men and women in our armed forces. Those that are currently serving and have served for us in all capacities.

Well, it came to fruition this weekend, an experiment I’d been wanting to conduct for about a month now. Yes, the DDO (dedicated day offline) happened yesterday. There are a few of you that I had mentioned this concept to in the last month. I had two particular conversations with Deb Lee, @dallisonlee, professional organizer, on this topic (some of you may know I’ve been a contributing author to her Organize To Revitalize blog on the subject of my adventures in time management and the technology that can aid it). I initially called it a “Digital Day Off”, but thought the term was too broad, broad enough that it would have to included most, if not all, things digital (video games (though I’m not a gamer)), the use of mobile phones, HDTV, etc). My reason for conducting this exercise of “virtual abstinence” was to assess the amount of time I do spend online and how much of it, spent doing certain activities (largely related to social networking), is actually robbing me of time better spent reaching goals. Interestingly enough, the day I had the conversation with Deb, this article appeared in The Post.

My first foray into social networking came back in 2000 via membership to Blackplanet. I actually joined by way of helping a coworker design her site page. I was then that I began to learn the basics of website design (within the HTML code constraints for what Blackplanet would allow). After getting a taste of social networking there, it was basically onto Myspace and Yahoo 360, Vox, blogging from my own website, various IM clients (AIM, Yahoo IM, MSN Messenger), then Twitter, and finally FB (the latter I’ve since left about two weekends ago). Along with the social networking, I always used the net for two basic things – work, and as a learning tool for basically five areas of interest – music production, technology, photography, financial literacy, and web design. Let’s now add the mobile web, and there you have it, a communications medium, now in the palm of your hand, deeply woven into the course of our everyday lives. A communications medium, whose benefits (as well as its negative aspects) range far and wide Looking over the last 10 years of being a regular passenger on the information highway, but growing up through college my first two years of college WITHOUT the internet (fancy that, huh?), I began to remember what life was like without it, and how I spent my time without it. While I can only speak for myself, my assessment was that more time was wasted on the info highway than not. This assessment caused me to purposely conduct the experiment during a normal day – not a day or timeframe where I would be away from the net for whatever reasons (vacation, family visits, etc), but during a time where it was always a mouse click (or similar) away. It created a great challenge in overcoming the temptation to connect. As inferred above, it was done as a matter of habit assessment more than anything else, but the correlation to time management is there. In looking back on my regular online activities, I saw that I could have altered them to achieve what always seems more impossible than not (with my busy schedule) – knocking tasks off my to-do list. Was a DDO really necessary to make this assessment of time management? No, I could have just decided to allot only a certain amount of time online of every aspect of my online daily routines (which probably could have been easier).

The outcome of the experiment allowed me to use a good part of my regular online time time to improve my financial budgeting/investment literacy and revamp a financial improvement SPD (systematic plan of development) for savings, investing, debt reduction and retirement . I also got a great nap in during the early hours of the afternoon ;-). In retrospect, it made assess the extent of my habitual behavior and constant temptation to be “connected”. I won’t say that all possess it to an extent (my wife is a good example of one who spends very little time on the internet – but get rid of the TVs in the house and …never mind…you see the point I am generally illustrating – 🙂 ).

Now that I’ve taken my first DDO, purposely, I feel it’ll be something that I’ll regularly do, maybe more than just once a week. Curbing time daily spent online is, of course, something to throw into the mix as well, but it wasn’t until today that I really see how a forced day off (for me) is beneficial. The time is currently 11:44 EST, and this DDO will officially be over in less than 16 mins, but I’ve learned some valuable things on a personal level. That’s always a good thing. Back to the SPD. Forget the government, I want to create a stimulus package for my own economic situation.

peace.
F!

PSA: 2010 Census is Coming – Beware of Scammers

Sharing some advice from our company’s Security Office. Read and heed.

Have a great day,

F!

2010 Census to Begin

THIS IS PRETTY BASIC ADVICE; BUT, IN TODAY’S TIMES, I CAN SEE IT COULD LEAVE AN OPEN DOOR FOR PASSING OUT YOUR PRIVATE INFORMATION.
WARNING: 2010 Census Cautions from the Better Business Bureau

Be Cautious About Giving Info to Census Workers by Susan Johnson

With the U.S. Census process beginning, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises people to be cooperative, but cautious, so as not to become a victim of fraud or identity theft. The first phase of the 2010 U.S. Census is under way as workers have begun verifying the addresses of households across the country.. Eventually, more than 140,000 U.S. Census workers will count every person in the United States and will gather information about every person living at each address including name, age, gender, race, and other relevant data..

The big question is – how do you tell the difference between a U.S.. Census
worker and a con artist? BBB offers the following advice:

If a U.S. Census worker knocks on your door, they will have a badge, a handheld device, a Census Bureau canvas bag, and a confidentiality notice. Ask to see their identification and their badge before answering their questions. However, you should never invite anyone you don’t know into your home.

Census workers are currently only knocking on doors to verify address information. Do not give your Social Security number, credit card or banking information to anyone, even if they claim they need it for the U.S. > Census.

REMEMBER, NO MATTER WHAT THEY ASK, YOU REALLY ONLY NEED TO TELL THEM HOW MANY PEOPLE LIVE AT YOUR ADDRESS.

While the Census Bureau might ask for basic financial information, such as a salary range, YOU DON’T HAVE TO ANSWER ANYTHING AT ALL ABOUT YOUR FINANCIAL SITUATION. The Census Bureau will not ask for Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers, nor will employees solicit dona tions. Any one asking for that information is NOT with the Census Bureau.

AND REMEMBER, THE CENSUS BUREAU HAS DECIDED NOT TO WORK WITH ACORN ON GATHERING THIS INFORMATION.. No Acorn worker should approach you saying he/she is with the Census Bureau.

Eventually, Census workers may contact you by telephone, mail, or in person at home. However, the Census Bureau will not contact you by Email, so be on the lookout for Email scams impersonating the Census.

Never click on a link or open any attachments in an Email that are supposedly from the U.S. Census Bureau.

For more advice on avoiding identity theft and fraud, visit www.bbb.org

Keep your Personal Information Safe.

Location Awareness – GPS can be cool but…..

Technology…the continuing boon of mankind, especially in the advent of wired AND wireless communication. I use four primary wireless communication devices: A Mac G5 Dual processor desktop and/or Mac G4 desktop, a laptop (Toshiba Satellite and Powerbook G4) with built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, my Blackberry Curve smartphone, and an iPod Touch 2G. The creation of the Air Force’s Global Positioning System, or GPS has allowed anyone on the earth to determine exactly where they are on the earth. Since then, many vendors have manufactured GPS-enabled devices to harness this technology. Fast forward to today with the many uses of wireless devices and software applications developed for and embedded into cellphones, pdas, etc and you have the capability to now share with the world a very accurate representation of where you are in a very small envelope of time. Many of you reading this use this “apps” on a regular basis: Brightkite, Ubertwitter, Loopt, and tons of others allow not just people on your social networks, but the entire world, know where you are, depending on how you have your communication prefereneces configured for the location awareness app(s) you use. Many, if not all, of these apps allow you to send maps of where you are located based upon associated latitude and longitude coordinates given by the GPS system. You can send photos with your camera enabled device also associating your location. Frankly, I think it’s a fascinating aspect of communications technology that definitely bares its pros.

Last year I read a VERY good article in Wired Magazine about an iPhone user who decided to conduct a little experiment using the location awareness capability of his iPhone. The experiment was very interesting and for anyone interested in the social aspect of location awareness, I suggest it as recommended reading…the article is here.

As freely as it is used, I believe there should also be some thought in how freely one does use it. I’ve heard of many occasions where people tweeted, or otherwise posted there location over some timeframe which yield unfortunate results. One example was a business man who tweeted he was going on a business trip for a week and the location for the trip, only to return home and find his house…..robbed. Coincidence, maybe…but making your location easily aware to the public, along with the ancillary information u provided with it, should at least garner some thought as to what the consequences could be.

On a related note, I recently read a blog post by someone who I consider a super tech girl. (lol) and fellow Twitter user about how the EXIF data that digital cameras transmit (via wirelessly or not) can include the location and time of where that picture was taken (called “geotagging”) depending on if the hosting site of the pic strips out that data. One negative aspect of this is if the pic contained the outside of your house, or even the inside of it, complete with your VERY expensive belongings….you know where I am going with this. I also came across a great article on Lifehacker about how location awareness can change your life.

I love technology and embrace it, but the best uses of technology occur with the greatest exercise of common sense! Just some food for thought..stay hungry.

Thanks for the read….

peace,
F!

Feenin’ for my satellite radio…ugh

satellite1

It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post, so….hello! LOL.

For the last week or so, I’ve been in a rental car while my regular ride is in the body shop. While I miss my regular auto and all the amenities therein, I really miss my satellite radio.

Mannnn….with the variety of programming provided by satellite radio, I really have found out how much I miss it when I start listening to…………urban contemporary radio. I’m really not hatin’ and yes I am post 40 years old but….where… is the talent in today’s urban contemporary R&B??? Somebody? The keyword, I believe, in this phrase is “contemporary”, which in itself (by default) describes the state of today’s R&B…most of it anyway.

Technology has made it such that anyone with some modest computer skills or (hardware and/or software) can compose music (if you want to call it that, in some instances)…or “beats” (ugh). Ok, a good deal of you reading this know I am a musician. I play three instruments, guitar, bass, and keyboards, in that order. Beats…..are what I know to be the drums and percussions in a song. Me, I like to make “beats” as part of my songs. Am I clownin’ the phrase “beats” (a term that has become all encompassing in computer and electronic music production systems), yeah…I am. I’m clowning it only because making popular music today, especially in the urban circles, has been really watered down and devoid of any true musical knowledge of theory and arranging. Gone (in urban music) is “the band”…the only known remnant of such today would be….The Roots. In no other genre (save genres of electronic dance music which never had bands anyway, except in the early days with the likes Devo, Kraftwerk, etc) of music is “the band” really dead, especially rock and country music. I think that fact draws a direct correlation to the lack of *musical* talent in popular urban contemporary music.

Is there anything *wrong* with where urban contemporary music has evolved to? No, I don’t think so. I do think that the music has evolved, but incompletely…the “talent” was left behind for the most part. I believe hip-hop has had the greatest evolution of any genre that I have listened to (especially being a listener BEFORE it went commercial radio). The evolution of those in charge of A&R has a great deal to do with where the music is as well. For years the marketing of R&B as long been about what the street says is hot…flash and show vs talent. Long gone are the long multiyear contracts for artists for various reasons, but with that leaves the great anticipation of your favorite artist coming out with a release of jams every year (I know some of u remember this….(wink)).

The music industry has evolved, as a whole, not necessarily for the best (in my own mind). I don’t think listeners in their 20’s would necessarily agree but, just as I was, it’s what you’re are continually force fed (as is said) or exposed to commercially that you determine as normal, and even good.

I’m sure my parents and yours would probably expound on the state of music I grew up on as teenager/young adult, in the same way I am in this post. I think the difference here versus then would be the inclusion of actual musical talent in what I was growing up listening to, versus what is prevalent now. There was a surge of “neo soul” that was big, seems like we just came off the “throwback” era of current artists bringing back that true soul sound (I actually like Raphael Saadiq’s “100 Yard Dash), etc…but they don’t appear to be fueled by the record industry with respect to what is “hot” and selling.

In defense of urban contemporary music, I would never say it takes no talent to create what is in heavy rotation. It does take talent to leverage the technology of recording to manifest the end product, it’s the theory, love and joy of learning to compose on a musical instrument that is lacking. I, too, am an electronic musician as well and love some of the genres that are strictly electronic (hence my features of such on my weekly podcast). I think the advent of technology will continue to make such a desire to learn an instrument diminish as times go by…IF…such a desire is not kept alive through various means (people and programs, etc).

As for satellite radio and especially internet radio, they both give a welcomed alternative to commercial radio. Couple that with the state of music distribution via the internet, the entire recording industry IS evolving. I miss my XM, not just because I dont have to deal with commercials every 10 mins either. I hope to have my ride back next week.

What are your thoughts?

peace…
F!