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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
Meanwhile in the forest / In a parliament of trees, The ink will crack and dry all up, But the compass will swing anyways. And we don't need mathematics / And we don't need submarines
— Rheostatics, Northern Wish
September 28, 2016

Is Pono Dead?

Pono Under Construction Notice Neil Young launched his Pono service about a year and a half ago to what seemed like a lot of…well, whatever the opposite of fanfare is. At the time reviews were pretty universally poor.

David Pogue (as usual) had one of the best reviews which concluded that “…the emperor had no clothes.” Neil promised us all a musical nirvana but, as it turns out, nobody could hear the difference (and if they could, they often thought the iPhone was better.) Go figure.

The Pono store’s been closed for a while online and the devices are nowhere to be found at retail. Neil Young’s most recent album can’t be bought for the Pono, and debuted on Tidal. Despite this, there doesn’t seem to be nearly as much coverage of the demise of Pono as there was of its rise.

At the end of the day Pono seems to have failed for the same reasons that a lot of things fail: a focus on building technology that people didn’t want or need. Ignoring the science tthat suggests that Pono’s “high resolution audio” claims provided benefits well outside the range of human hearing is one thing; ignoring the reality that most people aren’t focused on an “audiophile quality” portable solution is quite another.

Portable music needs to be good enough. What that means can change from person to person but look around at a world where people are using Apple’s bundled headphones (or Beats, and don’t get me started on those) and it’s hard to see a world where enough people are looking for an audiophile portable experience.

Need more evidence? Compact Cassettes were never fantastic for audio quality but their portability, durability and size led to the development of the Walkmen and the entire concept of highly portable music was born. I had thousands of Maxell XLII’s in the 80s (and, according to my friends, almost as many Walkmen.)

Pono? To even hear the theoretical benefits I’d have to repurchase all of my music at twice the price.

Pono was a product looking for a market. Sometimes, that just doesn’t work

Posted by skooter at 6:39 AM This entry is filed under Music, Technology.
Tags: iPhone, Neil Young Maxell

September 21, 2016

Inbox Zero is Old News: Welcome to Inbox Negative One

(Inbox Negative One)
Apparently, I’ve read email messages I haven’t even gotten yet.

Posted by skooter at 7:08 AM This entry is filed under Technology.

September 7, 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Effects Reel


I actually find watching these types of effects reels a bit exhausting but this one’s Star Wars, so…here it is.

To be honest the best thing about this is that it shows how much of the film actually used CGI effects. There was a lot of press when the movie came out that focused on the fact that the movie relied on practical effects and the fact that made them “better” than the prequels. That may be partly true, but it was also a bit overstated.

At the end of the day movies rely on storytelling to succeed. The Force Awakens was no different, and it’s a better movie than the prequels because it had a better script and a better director—one who understands the fundamentals.

Great effects didn’t hurt though.

Posted by skooter at 7:07 AM This entry is filed under Entertainment.
Tags: Star Wars

September 4, 2016

Evolution of Stop Motion Photography


Kubo and the Two Strings is an exquisite movie to watch made with a story that’s just as compelling. The stop motion animation that defines the movie is so exquisitely well done that it’s easy to mistake it for traditional cel-based animated work.

The video above does a nice job of showing how far stop motion animation has come since the early days of film making. For what it’s worth I’d rather watch the original King Kong than that horrendous Peter Jackson remake from a few years ago any day.

Posted by skooter at 9:55 AM This entry is filed under Entertainment.
Tags: Animation, Movies, Videos