Hey, Killer by Local H

Few bands conjure up fun for me like Local H. I love their minimal approach to rock and the in-your-face style. Back when I first heard their music, it amazed me they were only a two-piece outfit. They still are, but they’ve changed drummers over the years.

I got excited when I saw they released a new album recently, Hey, Killer. Turns out, fans largely funded the album. It’s not a conceptual release, like they’ve done in the past, but it’s still Local H being Local H. 🙂 Give it a listen!

MAGFest 13

I attended my first MAGFest, a music and gaming festival, this weekend and had a blast. A few friends have gone for several years, but I always skipped it. This year, I’m glad I finally decided to go.

Bit Brigade playing through Metroid while rocking out at MAGFest 13
Bit Brigade playing through Metroid while rocking out at MAGFest 13.

I played Super Mario Brothers and Tecmo Super Bowl on the old-school Nintendo and enjoyed listening to The Megas and Bit Brigade live. Watching Bit Brigade’s lead singer plow through Metroid while they played a set was epic.

Playing Fútbol Forever with four players at MAGFest 13
Playing Fútbol Forever with four players at MAGFest 13.

I had the most fun playing Fútbol Forever, a table top space soccer arcade game still in development. It’s frustratingly hard, but so satisfying, fun as hell and will make you yell at the screen in anger and elation all in the same match. So good!

I’m already excited for next year’s MAGFest – I think I’m hooked.

Music, CDs, Spotify and Valuable Content

Compact Discs image

Recently, I wrote about how I believe myself and others would pay for beautiful, efficient services on the web. I still think that’s true, and now I have a bit to add to the mix – inspired by the latest, hot online start-up, Spotify.

Yesterday, I purchased a premium account on Spotify. My wife and a good friend had raved about the service, and they both had premium accounts. I checked it out, loved it, signed up and promptly closed my free Pandora account. I did all this in about 24 hours. The whole process got me thinking:

  • I still own a bunch of CDs, but have them all in digital format, and haven’t bought a physical CD in more than a decade.
  • I have always bought my digital music through iTunes, but haven’t regularly bought music there in probably five years.
  • I listen to music all the time, and have maxed out my listening time on my free Pandora account almost every month.

Why? What made me go for Spotify so quickly? Why not just buy more iTunes music? Or go with Pandora?

The answer: valuable content. I never bought more iTunes music because even though I was getting the same product as a CD, I didn’t get something physical that translated into value. I just owned a bunch of files as zeros and ones. I wanted those linear notes, CD covers, etc. What I needed was that value.

Spotify gives me that. For $10 a month, I get access to tons of music, some that I would buy, much that I would never discover without the service and I don’t have to worry about files, storage and more. I don’t get those linear notes and CD covers, but the mass of content (music) is just as, if not more valuable.

Content is what myself and everyone else on the web really wants. How are you making your content valuable?

Image by BlackJakDavy.

Here’s My Media Diet

Color Bars imageWe know that media consumption habits have changed and evolved tremendously.

But have you thought about yours lately? It’s an interesting thought, I think. The Atlantic Wire has a cool series called Media Diet, where staffers interview top thinkers about what they read.

I stumbled across one of the stories, what Jay Rosen reads, via Twitter. It intrigued me, so I decided to write my own, What I Read. So here goes…

Social Media

I check Twitter when I hit the computer in the morning. First, I just check my normal stream for what I like to call accidental knowledge. The thing I love about Twitter is the fact people help me discover neat links and information I wouldn’t have otherwise. After that, I’ll check a few of my Twitter Lists. The usual ones I check are Creative, Internet-Tech and Media.

After that, it’s on to Facebook to see what my friends are talking about and what links they’re sharing. Most of the news I get from them falls into the category of what’s happening in their lives.

Feeds

Next, I check my feed reader. I use two: Shrook and Google Reader. I love Shrook’s beautiful interface for use on my Mac. I’ve used the online version as well, but don’t like it as much. All my feeds sit in Google Reader as well, just in case I need to access my feeds when I’m away from my computer.

What I read there really varies. I check my regular news feeds first. These are NPR. New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, Slate and Salon. After that, I attack feeds according to whatever mood I’m in or what kind of project I’m working on. I typically check a handful of the 200 some-odd feeds I follow. Some of the more regular ones I like to read are 10,000 Words, Chris Brogan, Nieman Lab, Romenesko, Dave Winer, Seth Godin, Poynter, Mental Floss, Neatorama, A List Apart, Mashable, The Next Web, Tech Crunch, Smashing Magazine, ReadWriteWeb, ProBlogger and Search Engine Land.

News

On most days, I catch NPR on my local station, WFDD – out of Wake Forest University. If I don’t, I try to listen online. I also check several news feeds via my feed reader. These include the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, Sports Illustrated, Slate and Salon. I also follow several news outlets on Twitter, and often hear of breaking news there. I subscribe to news alerts via email from the New York Times as well. Currently, I do not subscribe to any magazines or newspapers. I also don’t watch much, if any, television news.

Television and Online Video

I canceled cable a few months before I started graduate school, and haven’t looked back. I’m enjoying all the free time I have since I avoid programs I’m not really interested in much easier now. I do subscribe to NetFlix, and love all the documentaries there. Some recent ones I have watched include Tyson, Truman and Food, Inc. I’m also a frequent visitor to Interactive Narratives and MediaStorm, always looking for cool, multimedia stories. Lastly, I like to watch my share of Jon Stewart clips.

Books

I love to write, so therefore I read a lot. I recently read Googled, and The Future of the Internet (both for graduate school, among other titles). I also just finished What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. I’m currently reading Once a Runner and Bad Luck and Trouble. My favorite authors are Po Bronson and Paul Auster.

Fun Stuff

I watch some television series, thanks to Netflix. I just finished The X-Files in its entirety. I’m also into Mad Men and Man vs. Wild. And you know what, I usually can’t make it a month without watching Strongbad answer some emails. My friends fill in other odds and ends via links on Twitter and Facebook.

That’s my media diet. What do you snack on?

Image by JayLopez.