Philadelphia Orchestra

The Philadelphia Orchestra just announced the launch of an online store, where they are selling tracks directly from their own website. Following in the tentative steps of MySpace, eMusic, and Yahoo!, the Orchestra is selling unencumbered (i.e., DRM-free) MP3’s. Even better, for a slightly higher price, you can download content in the higher quality (lossless) FLAC format.

Performances currently seemed to be priced at approximately $5 for the MP3 version and $6 for the FLAC version. This seems just about right to me.

As an added bonus, they’re offering Beethoven’s Fifth in C minor for free.

I’d love to see more of the industry move in this direction, particularly for longer-tail type cultural content like classical and world music. These recent developments are certainly a good start. It will be interesting to see if the iTunes Store eventually is forced to respond to these pressures.

Unity Rally in Roslindale

Massachusetts held its primary election yesterday and strangely enough, my preferred candidate for governor, Deval Patrick, won overwhelmingly, by a nearly two to one margin over both of his competitors.

In past years, the primary election has been followed by a “unity breakfast” the next morning so all the losing candidates can pledge fealty to the winner. As the breakfast has become a tired tradition identified with “old politics,” they did away with it this year (perhaps at Deval’s urging). Instead, again to my surprise, they held a unity rally about a block away from my house in Adams Park (no relation) in Roslindale.

Deval was introduced by Boston Mayor Menino, a politican who has somehow turned a complete lack of public speaking skills into an asset:

Deval’s speech was pretty great. A little something for everyone, and genuinely engaging. I attempted to record it on my pocket MP3 player, but apparently I ran out of batteries early on so it’s not worth posting.

Although Deval has been cast as the furthest left of the candidates, I was struck by his extremely moderate position on most issues. (Standardized testing: good, but needs improvement; economics: need to have several bottom lines, including a profit bottom line and a people bottom line; personal responsibility needs to be balanced with societal responsibility; etc..)

Anyway, the crowd loved it:

Apparently there was no experienced political handler present to orchestrate this event. Deval’s charismatic speech was followed by several less important and less eloquent speakers. Usually, you would want to build up from worst to best. In any event, Chris Gabrieli, the second place finisher, has rebounded instantly and was up there committing to work every day until November on getting Deval elected — I won’t be surprised if Gabrieli ends up in a development-czar role in a Patrick administration. The last place finisher (and original frontrunner) Tom Reilly was nowhere to be seen, a fact that I’m sure will be prominent in tomorrow’s reporting on the event. Where’s the unity without the Attorney General?

Everyone’s bracing for a horrid onslaught of fear-mongering campaign ads from the Republicans. My hope is that Massachusetts citizens are a bit wiser than the rest of the country and it will backfire. I won’t hold my breath, however.

(As a side benefit, I finally met Adam Gaffin, universalhubmeister, for the first time, as well as his eight year old daughter Greta. Greta is now famous for rejecting Deval Patrick’s plan for longer school days.)

Princeton v. Diebold

Webloyalty… sued.

Update March 8, 2009: Webloyalty Settlement.


New York City Labor Day 2006

We spent the extended weekend in New York City, visiting many friends. Particularly noteworthy was our dinner with my Cousin (Dr.) Matt at Gobo, “Food for the Five Senses.” (The website, by the way, is a fairly effective combination of Flash where helpful and HTML where Flash is unnecessary.) Gobo served quite possibly the best vegan food I’ve ever had. I might even say the best vegetarian food I’ve ever had. (Since I’m a vegetarian, I guess that might just make it the “best” food.) Our dinner included:

  • scallion pancakes with homemade mango salsa
  • crispy spinach & soy cheese wontons
  • salt & pepper king oyster mushrooms
  • natural seitan medallion in sizzling spicy citrus sauce
  • spinach pistachio roll with jade mushrooms
  • beet salad with toasted walnuts

Too bad Boston has nothing comparable. Every time I travel to New York I wonder why Boston can’t borrow at least some of the best ideas — for example, a functional mass transit system.

Some other highlights — click on any image for a full-size version:

Esther watching the traffic go by


A Fountain

The view from my cousin’s rooftop


Via Dylan Thurston: Witness Stand. Important reminder regarding grammar.