Flying is brutal. And the cramped seat and substandard food aren't the only things that do you in. Noise is the unseen enemy. You may think you can merely adjust to it and ignore it—but that is physically impossible. Jet-turbine noise gives your eardrums and the other delicate parts of your inner ear a beating, and that messes up both your hearing and your sense of balance. That's why you often feel disoriented after a long flight. The wise traveler is therefore one who carries a good set of noise-canceling headphones or earbuds.
Steven Soderbergh's Bubble will soon become the first major movie to be simultaneously premiered in theaters and on satellite television. On January 27 the movie will be shown on HDNet while rolling out in theaters nationwide. The DVD release will follow on January 31. However the actual opening night was January 12, in Parkersville, West Virginia, where the tale of murder in a doll factory was shot with real-life people on high-definition video. Theater chains are crying foul, so it's uncertain if or when the movie will make it to your local cineplex.
AT&T has snuck into the television-delivery market on silent cat feet. Without fanfare, the company formerly known as SBC has begun providing TV-over-IP service to a lucky handful in its hometown of San Antonio, Texas. Ironically, that's the same state where arch-rival Verizon has premiered its own television service. Unlike Verizon's capital-intensive all-fiber-optic approach, which extends fiber directly into the home, AT&T is building fiber only as far as "nodes" in the neighborhood, then compressing the signal into copper lines for the final leg of the journey. AT&T's initial offerings include 200 channels, including all the major networks, and some on-demand programming. This is a huge story and I'll get back to it as soon as I know more.
Levi Strauss has redesigned its iconic jeans for the iPod. The Redwire DLX Jeans have a "docking cradle" to hold the music player—while concealing the telltale bump—plus a red ribbon to allow easy removal of the iPod, a joystick track-navigation control built into the watch pocket, a wire retractor to manage the earbud cable, a distinctive white leather patch, and bluffed back pockets with hidden stitching. Pricing and pictures were not available at presstime but the new product probably won't look much like this picture of my 550s with a nano stuck in the watch pocket.
This blog has a new name. What was formerly the Diablog has become From the Edge. The new name fits in more neatly with Maureen Jenson’s From the Top and Geoffrey Morrison’s From the Lab. It also signals a change in content. Starting this week, short news items will start appearing in this space several times a week. Now you’ll have an excuse to stop by more often. The news briefs will join the short reviews that have been appearing every third week. The longer, quirkier, dual-voiced Diablog commentaries, my labors of love, will continue at the rate of about one a month. So there you have the new format: news, reviews, and commentaries. Or as it says in the subhead, dispatches, demos, and diablogs. Please visit and comment often.
A trembling flute figure drifts into the air and hangs there, sensuously falling and rising. It's one of the most celebrated moments in orchestral music, and the free, blissful, agile development that follows does not disappoint. Nor does Telarc's multichannel recording of this sumptuous work.
Following are a few postcards from the now-concluded 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. This is not a weighty wrapup
or even a best-of-show story, just a few things that caught our fancy.
Outlaw Audio and Aperion Audio both pursue the decidedly nonmainstream business model of selling quality surround gear directly to consumers over the Internet. Back when I worked for an Internet startup—don't fall asleep now, or I'll poke you with a stick—my now dead-as-a-doornail company caught a lot of flak for facilitating Internet sales of audio equipment. Isn't it unwise to buy something you haven't heard?
Venice: La Serenissima, and serene it is. Gondolas ply the blue-green waters of the canals while thundering water-buses hop round the exterior
of the islands in a blue-grey lagoon kissed by Adriatic sea air. Tourists cheerfully lose themselves in a maze of quiet pollution-free streets.
Unleashed dogs walk themselves, tails wagging. Workers patiently replace wooden piles under sinking buildings while old folks haul lightweight
shopping carts over pedestrian bridges. People are gentle and tolerant in this 1250-year-old former nation-state, and that's a good
thing—because there you are, in a supermarket, aiming your digital camera at home theater gear. I could have killed you.