Has someone ever posted a candid photo of you without your permission and you look like death warmed over? The Do Not Snap badge will automatically pair up with software that will blur out the face of the person wearing it, on any social media platform. Definitely something I want to wear when there is no make-up artist and hair stylist in the vicinity!
I must admit that television is now a much more vivid and engaging experience which is a bit of good thing, but with its dark side, too. Binge-watching is a little too easy. Especially with Siri.
Did I mention that I also bought the Generation 4 version of Apple TV? The system is now voice-activated with Siri being all too happy to find your selected program, especially if it means buying it from itunes. She is quite the sales clerk.
The only real set-up needed is to download free and paid apps for anything you may want to watch. For example, PBS and CNN apps were free; the MHZ Choice, Netflix and HBO Now apps simply connected to my existing paid-monthly accounts.
The remote-control allows you to swipe to make selections, hold down a button to summon Siri or punch Menu which takes you back to your previous page view.
A nice feature is your iCloud photo gallery can be run as a slideshow on your tv screen. I’m still discovering ways to use Apple TV, but Siri alone has revolutionized how I watch television. Imagine being able to talk to all of your appliances?
Apple, please come up with an equivalent to Amazon’s Echo so I can tell Siri to turn my lights on, lower my heat, switch off my oven or set my alarm clock. And then put Siri into a robot that can do my laundry while I watch my Apple TV.
WBEZ has been announcing its new app on their radio broadcasts and I just downloaded it a few days ago. This app has transformed my radio experience. As many listeners know, Morning Edition repeats during the morning rush hours. If you didn’t want to re-listen to all of the news, you either switched the station, put on a CD or shut the radio off.
Now with the new convenient app, you can access much of their previous radio material whenever it’s convenient. Imagine catching the BBC World Service, Terry Gross’ Fresh Air, Marketplace, Krista Tippett’s On Being, Ted Talks or All Things Considered whenever you want.
Hopefully you have a way to hook your smart phone or tablet device into your car’s sound system via Bluetooth or an earphone jack. I even line up my favorite programs on my iPhone when I know I will be waiting alone in long grocery or service lines. With this new little free app, you will never be bored!
Apps are also available for NPR News for iPad, NPR One, NPR Music and other individual NPR stations.
Some of you have been reading my Culture Beat blurbs since my tenure at the Fairmont Hotel and Convito Italiano many moons ago.
Here are some recent Culture Beat blog posts and their links:
The cell phone headset that has improved my connectivity:
LG Tone Pro Wireless Stereo Headset
The little speaker that makes my phone or iPad a portable stereo:
Jambox speaker by Jawbone
My favorite site for foreign tv streaming:
MHZ Choice launches on Oct. 20 (updated blog post forthcoming)
The show you may want to watch to see women in political power (in Sweden):
Those In Power: a Swedish political tv drama on MHZ
The President’s Hat and The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain (in English)
A book I’m recommending if you like science and business:
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance
Need some food items to add a little zing to your healthy diet?
My current favorite taste sensations (triple cherry blend, rice tortillas, dill relish, sauerkraut)
If you are trying to cut down coffee jitters and acidity, try this ayurvedic tea:
Raja’s Cup: the anti-oxidant coffee substitute
When your sweet tooth hits, candy from a home-grown company:
Terry’s Toffee and Wackerpop
The Spice House: Seasoning the World
Balsa Mela and Italian Herbed Salt at The City Olive
My favorite chain restaurant:
The delightful Chicago attraction that not everyone has visited:
Chicago Riverwalk from LaSalle to Lake Michigan (updated photos soon as construction continues further west)
Chicago’s classy classical record label:
Cedille Records Celebrates 25 Years as Chicago’s classical record company
One of the best apps for listening to customized radio:
AccuRadio: Hand-crafted by music lovers-not by a computer
My favorite app for news on your iPad or tablet:
Flipboard, a new way to get your news fix
The best app for checking out other opinions on movies and tv:
Metacritic, when you want to know what the critics think
Some of my favorite apps for finding sheet music, paid or free:
Printed Music in the Digital Age
Sheet Music at Your Fingertips: ForScore
The best fake book for song standards on your tablet or desktop:
iRealPro app for your portable device or desktop
More apps for the musically inclined:
Music App Happy
All you jazz singers and instrumentalists may want to check out an app called iRealPro.
At just $12.99, it could be one of the best investments you can make as a musician.
After purchasing the app for my iPad, I was able to download 1,300 hundred standard tunes which I could view by genre, composer or by title. These chord lead sheets do not contain melodies or lyrics, but this app has many other features. You can easily transpose the key of the song. This is indispensable when you hand your iPad to an accompanist at an open mike or party who may not transpose or doesn’t quite know the tune.
For practice sessions, you can choose the tempo and style of your bass and drums accompaniment. This has been excellent for singers, pianists or other instrumentalists who want to practice the song form or sing or play better in tempo. Those working on improvisation can also benefit from hearing the rhythm section play the chord changes.
Some may be familiar with the Jamey Aebersold play-along LPs, cassettes, or CDs which have been around for decades. Individual packages would have around ten tunes in lead sheet form with melodies for voice/piano or for solo instruments. The most useful practice tool of its day, you could not change the tempo or “feel” of the pre-recorded rhythm sections on your disks or tapes however. The Aebersold site still sells some indispensable packages for jazz study, but iRealPro beats it hands down if the vocalist/musician needs only the chord charts for popular standards. http://www.jazzbooks.com
In iRealPro you can create your own lead sheets, avail yourself of the member forum or download more genres of music. I recently downloaded 317 Gypsy Jazz tunes for free. You can also download other gratis material including Latin Styles Pack which contains Brazilian sambas, Cuban boleros and Argentinian tangos.
IRealPro can be used on your iphone, iPad, desktop or Android devices.
The app made Time Magazine’s list of best 2010 inventions. This gigantic “fake book” is truly a great addition to one’s electronic musical arsenal.
Order iRealPro from your preferred app store or directly from their web site.