Oct 27 2010

Ryuichi Sakamoto, “Playing the Piano,” at The Vic in Chicago

Well, while I am very happy to have seen Ryuichi Sakamoto at The Vic last night, I don’t think Sakamoto fans missed much if you did not go (you can see many pieces on Sakamoto’s YouTube Channel and elsewhere on YouTube). He started late, played about one hour, which ended with “Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence,” and then he did three songs as encore, all from the “olden days”: “Tibetan Dance” from Ongakuzukan, “Happy End” from BGM, and “Thousand Knives.” I had read some reviews, and the set list was exactly the same as everywhere else.

There’s no denying the genius of his musicality and virtuosity, both of which are classically trained and delicately poetic. The volume was too low for my liking, especially when his piano had to compete with the occasional Excel XLERATOR hand dryer in the bathrooms in the back of the theater and down one level. At first I thought someone was running a vacuum or something in the bar areas and then realized after the show when I went to the bathroom the sound was coming from the hand dryers. Totally annoying. Three-to-four people went to the bathroom during the show and used the hand dryers. It’s not their fault. I fault The Vic. They need to rip those outta there and put in paper and deal with the cost and clean up. For these quieter, artsy performances the hand dryers are a total buzz kill. And then there were the few people coming and/or going from the theater and letting the doors bounce closed. Argh!

There weren’t many people there, and there were only general admission seats, i.e. folding chairs on the main floor. The balcony was closed. The cool thing about his performance was the set up of two Yamaha grand pianos. Most of the pieces were just him playing the grand with periodic, deeply low-pitched, rumbling, pink noise-ish, wave-like sound effects, barely audible, that served as atmospheric connective tissue among all of the pieces. He was also accompanied by minimalist, abstract video run from an iMac. There were two pieces, IIRC, that he played as a “duet” with the other grand controlled by a digital Disklavier, which played Sakamoto’s pre-recorded performance including all of his nuanced pedaling and key pressure, i.e. the other grand was a very sophisticated player piano. In a very real sense he played duets with himself. All three encore pieces were duets using this method.

Permanent link to this article: http://eunhyeandchris.com/ryuichi-sakamoto-the-vic-chicago/

Jun 21 2010

Rebellious CD Player in Car Stereo

I drive a 2006 Hyundai Tiburon with the J290 stereo and six CD changer. If you have this stereo or a similar such stereo you know how it “remembers” what track was playing and exactly where it was playing when you turn it off and back on or switch to the radio. Anyway, this morning, in haste before starting the car or even turning the key to the accessories position, I wanted to swap out the six CDs in the stereo and thus I ejected all of them by simply pressing the eject button. The battery can handle powering the eject mechanism, right?

Sure enough, the CDs ejected fine, but after I started the car and headed out of my neighborhood I noticed something funny. The stereo displayed that it still had all six CDs loaded and that it had cued up a particular disc, a particular track, at an exact time. “Hey, it remembered where I left off at least!”

“Ah, it’s just a glitch,” I thought, “I’ll simply press the load button and put a new CD in there to clear it up.” Nope. The stereo would have none of that. In fact, the stereo’s CD menus were completely frozen; it would not allow me to do anything with the CD changer, but the radio worked just fine. “Okay, when I get to my destination I’ll pull the fuse to the stereo, which will reset the stereo, and then I’ll have my beloved bass-thumping stereo back.” Nope. That didn’t work either.

Once I finally got home at the end of the day I detached the battery. That did the trick. Everything appears to be functioning normally, though I need to reset the clock and my radio presets.

This reminds me of a few PCs and laptops I’ve used over the years that wouldn’t shutdown, even after depressing the power button, and would only turn off after disconnecting the power cable or yanking the battery from the laptop.  Conjure up in your imagination any of several images from the Terminator or Matrix movies to see the future of where we’re going with technology that won’t behave!  Or maybe we humans will wind up being the oppressors of non-compliant technology as in the flesh fair scene in A.I.

Permanent link to this article: http://eunhyeandchris.com/rebellious-cd-player-in-car-stereo/

Jan 12 2010

Google Calendar URL Parameters

Having played around with the parameters added from the embed tool in Google Calendar, I figured out how to add holidays, for example, to the URL that links to a shared calendar.

This URL uses Christian and U.S. holidays:


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Permanent link to this article: http://eunhyeandchris.com/google-calendar-url-parameters/

Jan 08 2010

Public Google Calendar Sharing Options

For the life of me I could not figure out why Google Calendar was not letting me share all details with the public. I was only getting the “See only free/busy details (hide details)” when I wanted “See all event details.” I’ve done this before so I knew it was possible. Did Google change something?

Well, I finally found the answer in the Google support forum, thanks to user raika79. Here is the answer from raika79:

You have to go to the Administrator Panel (Click “Manage this domain” – or ask your domain manager to do so).
Under Service Settings, click Calendar.
Right beside “Service Options”, you have “Outside this domain – set user ability” and then you have 3 choices:

* Only free/busy information (hide event details)
* Share all information, but outsiders cannot change calendars
* Share all information, and outsiders can change calendars

You have to choose options 2 or 3 to allow others to view the details of your calendar. I chose option 2, saved changes, logged out of my Google Apps account, cleared my cookies and history (you often have to do this with Google Apps so I did it just in case), logged back in and sure enough, I had the option to “Let others see all event details”.

Duh. I thought I should share this in case anyone is encountering the same frustration.

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Permanent link to this article: http://eunhyeandchris.com/public-google-calendar-sharing-options/

Oct 30 2009

Social Bookmarking 2.0 with Diigo

I finally joined a social bookmarking site. I toyed with Delicious in the past, but then when I decided to commit to one I stumbled across Diigo. I see Delicious bills itself as “the biggest collection of bookmarks in the universe.” That’s fine. I want tools, however. I want ease of use. I want portability (wiki on “social network portability”). Diigo describe their site as a “Social Information Network (SIN).”

A SIN is a social network where information consumption, research, and sharing is central, and where the connection between people and people, between people and information, and between information and information, are exploited and harnessed to improve knowledge sharing and content discovery, and to enable more meaningful social connections and intellectual exchanges.

“Improving discovery” says it all for me. So far I really like what I see in Diigo: highlighting, sticky notes, robust search, snapshots, and a cool Javascript bookmarklet called Diigolet for all major browsers. Check it out, you won’t be disappointed.

See what I am doing on Diigo.

Permanent link to this article: http://eunhyeandchris.com/social-bookmarking-2-diigo/

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