3077 – Ice Winter Rock

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75 mm f/1.8  Comments Off on 3077 – Ice Winter Rock
Mar 222015

Valbruna is a village at the mouth of a side-valley just south of Tarvisio. At the end is this, a steep cliff facing north, a place that looks like the home of winter 🙂

The Song of the Day is “Ice Winter Rock” by Ewan Dobson. Hear it on YouTube.

Feb 032015

When I saw the reflections of the morning sun on snow and ice in the parking area, I was not at all sure that I’d be able to get the effect into a picture. Indeed more post-processing than usual was needed, but I think the result was worth it. I suggest you click through and look at the biggest size, though. Otherwise the effect is pretty much lost.

The Song of the Day is “Snow Glow” by Stephen Green. Hear it on YouTube.

Feb 242014

It’s snowing outside while I write this, and again the Image of the Day is not new. It has been taken on February 3, when freezing rains surprised Vienna. I like how this ice-covered car looks, but I’m certainly glad I didn’t have to use it 😀

Surprise Ice” is a track from Kings Of Convenience’ 2004 album “Riot On An Empty Street”. Hear it on YouTube.

By the way, there is a great photo on the cover image. If you have disabled Amazon ads or if you read this via a reader that doesn’t show ads, make sure to follow this Google image search for the album title. I have no idea who the photographer is, but he certainly knows how to fill a square 🙂

Feb 062014

I’ve done it. I have a Spotify Premium account now, free through February, 10€ per month from then on. I am still not sure if I won’t miss something by not buying music, but I thought, heck, this is nothing you can solve purely by thinking it through. My resistance against not “owning” music was mostly emotionally motivated, and in such a case you simply have to try it to see how it feels. As a result I decided to jump right in.

During the last 30 years I have bought more than 3000 CDs and hundreds of albums as digital downloads. I am way beyond remembering each end every one of the songs on these albums. All of the non-classic CDs and maybe a third of the classic CDs have been ripped over the years, and therefore I have beyond 40,000 files with music on my hard drives, organized by artists and albums. I have a file with a list of all song titles in my DropBox, and that file is where I look when searching for a Song of the Day. Thus my collection is not only property, it is also a database of the music that at least at one point in time meant something to me. Much of this music has a close correlation to fond memories and all the power to evoke them. How do you get that out of streaming?

Spotify has playlists and a very primitive rating system (give one star) for organizing music “collections”. Playlists can be organized in “Playlist Folders” (even nested!), although I have not yet tried how deep the folder structure can be. Nevertheless it seems as if I could create a folder structure that would resemble a physical collection.

The problem is, so far I can’t export it. If you tie your memories to the cloud, you will without a doubt lose them. Companies come and go and I have seen many once big corporation go out of business. In computers Digital Equipment Corporation, Sun Microsystems and Compaq come to mind (or HP if you think that the survivor of the merger feels more like Compaq). Computers and software are especially short-lived and I have no expectation of seeing any of today’s cloud-based services ten years down the road. Some may survive, most won’t. And even if, there is no guarantee that the survivors will keep today’s services running.

Of course I can always keep track of what I hear and what I like manually. I suppose I won’t do it though. Inertia will keep me from doing it.

What we really need from a cloud-based service is the ability to export our data, our memories. Google is quite good at that and while their solutions are hardly accessible to non-programmers, at least I was able to export my complete blog from blogger and move it over to WordPress programmatically.

Google Music All Access, their own music subscription service might turn out to be the more viable option in the long run. So far it lacks proper offline-playing on everything other than Android though. It has a better way to organize collections, but it is pretty much a walled garden. You can’t easily stream to Squeezebox (I have one in Vienna) or Sonos, and they also have not yet published an application programming interface for third-parties.

In fact this whole question of which service to commit resources and time to, the fact that we need to choose between Spotify and Google and who-knows-what, this alone brings back sad memories of system/format wars. I once had a respectable collection of video tapes for the then technically most advanced system, for Philips’ Video 2000. It was better than Betamax and miles ahead of VHS. Unfortunately it died long ago and my video collection was nothing more than a heap of plastics.

It doesn’t always turn sour like that. The CD was a successful standard, DVD was one and BluRay seems to be here to stay as well. For all three standards there is continuing hardware support, helped by the fact that compatible devices can be built.

Digital downloads of MP3s are another such standard. It was not as easily accepted as the CD, but in the end we were pretty happy with it. So far nothing like that happens in the cloud. Everybody builds a walled garden, compatibility and cross-system data sharing are not designed into the services and that seemingly on purpose.

There will be much more to say about streaming services. For now I am trying and I’ll keep you informed about how I feel about it.

The Song of the Day is “Icicle” from Patty Griffin’s 2004 album “Impossible Dream”. I found it on Spotify by searching for a song with “Icicle” in its title. Among the first few that I sampled, this was the one that I liked best. In the meantime I have saved the album as a playlist and downloaded it for offline hearing, along with Patty Griffin’s latest album.

I could “share” the song here via an embeddable player, but in order to hear it, you’d need to have a Spotify account. The free account would suffice, but I guess it’s still easier to share a link to YouTube as always. Tell me if you want me to begin sharing Spotify links though.

2349 – Jump Over

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f/1.8  Comments Off on 2349 – Jump Over
Mar 242013

Here’s the post for yesterday, Saturday, a day that I spent in shops, scouting for furniture. I spare you the documentary images taken there 😀

The Image of the Day was taken at the end of January, almost two months ago, from the dam of a small storage lake near the border to Styria.

The Song of the Day is “Jump Over” from the 2001 De Phazz album “Death by Chocolate”. Hear it on YouTube.

Feb 132013

Sunday morning I thought it would be fine to sleep a little longer, but when I saw the fine weather outside, I rose early nevertheless.

I took the car and drove to Oberschütt, a small village south of mount Dobratsch, situated on the north side of river Gail.

It was cold, around -10 degrees Celsius, a sunny day, and I intended to walk a forest road along and then down to the river. When I left the car I changed my shoes for classic seventies style moon boots and I put on my Roeckl Karun gloves. You may remember, I’ve written about them last year, and I am glad to say that I can fully operate the OM-D with the gloves on, even in their mitten form. That’s cool, or rather, that’s warm and it keeps me photographing even in bitingly cold weather.

I had one tiny problem though. The rocks along the river were covered in deep snow, and minutes after I had arrived at the shore, my right foot got stuck between two stones. I pulled it out easily, but the boot still stuck, and there I stood with my right foot in socks, standing in the snow.

After I had recovered the boot, the socks were already wet. I asked myself weather to worry about that and to immediately return to the car, or to just put the boot back on without socks and keep photographing.

The latter I did. It was not even cold. Some snow crystals had found their way into the boot, but the thick insulation kept me warm enough that I could have gone on forever.

The Song of the Day is “Once I Walked In The Sun” by Jane Monheit. I’ve last used it more than 1000 images ago and it’s good enough to be heard every few years 🙂

Hear it on YouTube.

2306 – Right Place Wrong Time

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Feb 082013

The idea to take yesterday afternoon off was not particularly bad, it’s only that right after I had decided to do so, the sun decided to hide behind clouds. It looked better eastwards and around Lake Ossiach, but when I arrived at the northern shore, the clouds caught up and I could only wish I had chosen the southern side. But then, it’s not a long way around, and so I tried my luck once more, only to run out of it again. Really, the very moment of my arrival in Ossiach, the sun sank into muddy clouds in the west, never to be seen again that day.

Here’s an HDR, the best I could do, same process as in the last post, only this time without color problems 😀

The Song of the Day is “Right Place Wrong Time” from the 1973 Dr. John album “In The Right Place”. Hear it on YouTube.

Jan 272013

We’ve been here, only it’s colder now. It’s still the same park in Styria, but this time it’s all snow and ice.

I won’t be back in that place in spring or summer, but I found that I really enjoy looking at the same things as time passes. On the other hand, isn’t this what we do all the time?

We really better start linking it 😀

The Song of the Day is “Cold Cold Ground” from Tom Waits’ 1987 album “Franks Wild Years”. Hear it on YouTube.

Jan 202013

Instead of an image taken on Saturday, here’s an old one. Two years ago on a pond in mid-Carinthia, a sign reminded me to stop here and not go any further. Not that I would have liked to do so 🙂

The Song of the Day is “The Stopper” by Sonny Rollins and The Modern Jazz Quartet. Hear it on YouTube.