Way back in the late 1970s, long before the Internet, iPods, and home theater changed the way we listened to music, I worked at Sound by Singer, a high-end audio store in NYC. I didn't know it at the time, but it was the golden age of high-end. It had a good, long run that made it to the early 1990s, but the high-end audio market didn't shrivel up and die. Here in NYC there are more high-end stores than there were in the golden age. Rents are sky-high, so you might wonder how the stores prosper, and … Read more
Wilson's out sick today, but Mark Licea joins us to fill in with a review of "X-Men: First Class." The movie came out today, but Mark's a diehard fan of the comic series so he checked out the 12 a.m. showing. The spoiler-free review is positive, but as usual, the true believers might leave the theater disappointed by the lack of continuity with the original storyline.
Speaking of movies, we also take a moment to point out the most ridiculous trailer of 2011 for "Rise of the Planet of the Apes." From title to content to technology, we should remind you that it's not a joke--this is a serious movie, starring James Franco who falls in love with a primate.The 404 Digest for Episode 834 Chinese student reportedly sells his kidney to buy an iPad 2. " Rise of the Planet of the Apes" is the WORST. White ninja crashes into Apple store. Episode 834 Subscribe in iTunes (audio) | Subscribe in iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS Video… Read more
I went to the "Guitar Heroes" opening party last week at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. While the exhibit's name might lead some to think the Met's show honors the Guitar Hero video game, Guitar Heroes instead examines the work of three craftsmen--John D'Angelico, James D'Aquisto, John Monteleone--and their place in the extended context of Italian and Italian-American instrument making.
Instruments by the three master builders have been used by some of the most influential guitarists of the 20th century, including Chet Atkins, Les Paul, George Benson, Paul Simon, Steve Miller, Mark … Read more
While the role of the professional critic in the realm of books, film, music, or art is well-established, for interactive entertainment the lines are less clear. As a (relatively) young medium, questions about how to actually write about video games are still being hashed out, by consumers, fans, bloggers, established media critics, and others.
The default to date has been to consider a work of interactive entertainment as a packaged consumer product--hence game reviews that focus on the number of levels, hours of gameplay, and other technical details. I am more inclined to consider a game as a cultural or … Read more
Do you get slightly disturbed when you go to see your favorite performer live in concert and, because of your keen sense of visual synchronization, you see that they are miming?
Well, brush off your negative last-century attitude and get with the program.
In the case of Japanese singing star Hatsune Miku, the program in question is Yamaha's Vocaloid Synthesizing Technology. Oh, there's a real person's voice somewhere at the heart of it. But who needs real people when you can have a hologram that will never be photographed snorting coke in a bathroom stall, never sleeps … Read more
Things are certainly winding down here at the CNET New York offices as The 404 finishes up its last two live episodes for the year. In the studio with us today is Natali Del Conte along with her CBS producer Will--so it sounds like the show is about to get some Early Show love on Friday morning!
Today's show starts off on an unsettling note as we talk about word of U.S. drones being hacked in the skies of Iraq. Apparently, all that was needed was a cheap $26 program that allowed insurgents access to our unmanned aircrafts--how comforting!
Bonehead military security issues aside, it's about time the FCC addresses the all-too-common issue of blaring TV commercials. How many times have you blown an eardrum after an ad comes on that's 35 times louder than the program you were watching?
In our unintentional effort to destroy the green movement, we uncover the ridiculous side effect some new LED traffic lights are having involving their inability to melt snow. It's actually causing accidents, so maybe good-old-fashioned energy-sucking, heat-producing traffic lights were the way to go.
There's more 404 fun in today's show: Y2K memories, "Iron Man 2" talk, and the year's best YouTube videos!EPISODE 489 Subscribe in iTunes audio | Suscribe to iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS Video… Read more
Forget Randy, Simon, and whoever's filling Paula's shoes this week. If you've got mad vocal skillz, dawg, or you want to see what it's like to sit in the judge's chair, grab iSing--the "worldwide talent contest" for iPhone and iPod Touch.
When you run the app, you'll see a list of song entries from other iSing users. Tap any thumbnail to stream a clip, then vote on it by tapping the thumbs-up or thumbs-down button.
Entries with the most positive votes bubble to the top of the "charts," earning … Read more
OK, Michael Jackson is weirder, but Tom Waits is a more interesting sort of weird. I thought so before I read Barney Hoskyns' "Lowside of the Road: A Life of Tom Waits," but now I know it.
Thing is, Tom Waits is his own genre; there's no other songwriter or musician that does what Waits does. No one ever tagged Waits a folkie or rock musician, or even all that much of a musician. Waits is Waits, and that's all he has to be.
Hoskyns tries to nail down exactly who Waits is, but never really succeeds. We learn that in the early 1970s Waits was a beatnik poet of sorts, but somehow his tunes were covered by mainstream acts like the Eagles ("Ol' 55") and Bruce Springsteen ("Jersey Girl"). During his early days he was based in Los Angeles, but Waits wasn't really part of the radio-friendly LA singer/songwriter pack led by Jackson Browne and Warren Zevon. His early heavily textured, noir-romantic records were populated with stellar jazz players.… Read more
Just as the computer and ARPAnet evolved into the PC and Internet, robots are poised to integrate into everyday life in ways we can't even imagine, thanks in large part to research funded by the U.S. military.
Many people are excited about the military's newfound interest and funding of robotics, but few are considering its ramifications on war in general.
P.W. Singer, senior fellow and director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution, went behind the scenes of the robotics world to write "Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century."
Singer took time from his book tour to talk with CNET about the start of a revolution tech insiders predicted, but so many others missed.
Q: Your book is purposely not the typical think tank book. It's filled with just as many humorous anecdotes about people's personal lives and pop culture as it is with statistics, technology, and history. You say you did this because robotic development has been greatly influenced by the human imagination? Singer: Look, to write on robots in my field is a risky thing. Robots were seen as this thing of science fiction even though they're not. So I decided to double down, you know? If I was going to risk it in one way, why not in another way? It's my own insurgency on the boring, staid way people talk about this incredibly important thing, which is war. Most of the books on war and its dynamics--to be blunt--are, oddly enough, boring. And it means the public doesn't actually have an understanding of the dynamics as they should.
It seems like we're just at the beginning here. You quote Bill Gates comparing robots now to what computers were in the eighties. Singer: Yes, the military is a primary buyer right now and it's using them (robots) for a limited set of applications. And yes, in each area we prove they can be utilized you'll see a massive expansion. That's all correct, but then I think it's even beyond what he was saying. No one sitting back with a computer in 1980 said, "Oh, yes, these things are going to have a ripple effect on our society and politics such that there's going to be a political debate about privacy in an online world, and mothers in Peoria are going to be concerned about child predators on this thing called Facebook." It'll be the same way with the impact on war and in robotics; a ripple effect in areas we're not even aware of yet.
Right now, rudimentary as they are, we have autonomous and remote-controlled robots while most of the people we're fighting don't. What's that doing to our image? Singer: The leading newspaper editor in Lebanon described--and he's actually describing this as there is a drone above him at the time--that these things show you're afraid, you're not man enough to fight us face-to-face, it shows your cowardice, all we have to do to defeat you is just kill a few of your soldiers.
It's playing like cowardice? Singer: Yeah, it's like every revolution. You know, when gunpowder is first used people think that's cowardly. Then they figure it out and it has all sorts of other ripple effects. … Read more
On Crossfade TV this week, the Download Music crew checks out a cool new set of previously unreleased recordings and interviews from the late jazz/blues/gospel/soul artist Nina Simone called Protest Anthology; a few new songs from electronic artist UFO! (not to be confused with the Brits who brought you the classic-rock staple "Too Hot Too Handle"); and the brand-new album from Sun Kil Moon, the name Mark Kozelek seems to be sticking with (after long-ago retiring his previous band name, Red House Painters).
Crossfade TV is a collaboration between Download Music and CNET TV.