Saturday, April 18, 2015

POSTED: Wednesday, January 29, 2014, 6:15 PM
Singer Pete Seeger performs at the 2009 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize special outdoor tribute at Hunts Point Riverside Park on September 3, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

Patriotic protester and family-style folk singer Pete Seeger may have passed from this earthly domain on Monday at age 94. But  the “Power of Song” he espoused as a world-changing force will never die, any more than the songs he wrote and promoted – from  the Civil Rights anthem “We Shall Overcome” to the Biblical re-write “Turn, Turn, Turn” to his buddy Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land.”  

In fast and appropriate response to his passing, PBS has organized a memorial  broadcast reprise  of the 2008 American Masters series documentary focused on the modest might.  WHYY TV12 will be among  the member stations to air it - “Pete Seeger:  The Power of Song” – Thursday at 10:30 p.m.

Told through the voices of emulators Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Bruce Springsteen, Natalie Maines, Tom Paxton, Arlo Guthrie and Seeer himself, the  film biography also will be available for streaming  online at pbs.org/americanmasters beginning Thursday morning.  

Jonathan Takiff @ 6:15 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, January 29, 2014, 10:58 AM
A rending of the new video boards that will be installed above the end zones at Lincoln Financial Field. (Courtesy of the Philadelphia Eagles)

Not to take away from Sunday’s big game, but the Philadelphia Eagles are claiming a victory of their own today.

Come next season, the team’s home field advantage at Lincoln Financial Field will be enhanced with the highest definition video display boards in the NFL. Panasonic Eco Solutions North America announced this morning it’s partnering with the Birds to provide “a comprehensive LED display solution throughout  the facility” – highlighted by two ultra wide screen, high resolution (10 mm pitch)  end zone boards that measure in at 27 feet tall and 192 feet wide at one end, 27 feet by 160 feet at the other.

Gonna be hard to miss a bad call with those big impressions.

Jonathan Takiff @ 10:58 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, November 18, 2013, 12:20 PM
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Some moaning and groaning at Philadelphia cultural institutions is guaranteed this week – hopefully lighthearted -  as the new  board game “Philly-Opoly”  makes its’ debut, timed for holiday gift giving.

  Taking a lead from the vintage game celebrating Atlantic City, some of Philly’s most famous properties are going for dirt-cheap prices – the Betsy Ross House and  Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts for a mere $80 each, the Academy of Natural Sciences and even the spanking new Barnes Foundation for a piddling $120. Ouch!

What’s the Park Place of Philly? Wells Fargo Center rates a  lofty $330 in silly Philly money, the Liberty Bell $430. (Judging from the hordes of tourists landing at the Bell on Independence Mall, the latter is certainly a good investment .)

Jonathan Takiff @ 12:20 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, November 14, 2013, 7:14 PM
At the Kimmel Center, these two cars are crashing at a glacial pace. (Photo via livestream)

At first sight  online http://www.seic.com/enUS/about/13065.htm or  in person, the “Slow and Inevitable Death of American Muscle”  may seem as exciting as watching paint dry. The new installation in the Kimmel Center lobby features two American muscle cars moving in very slow motion, nose to nose – three-quarters of an inch per day.

But return to this Kimmel Center  attraction in-person  or via live web camera tracking on your computer. The decay will eventually be extreme and dramatic, vows creator Jonathan Schipper, as his specially constructed  gear pushes the two cars into contact and compression, eventually reduced to a pile of crushed steel and shattered glass. A telling  commentary on how American  heavy industry  has largely been undone – not in big steps, but one bad day after another?

The happening marks the transformation of the Kimmel into an emerging art exhibit  featuring works from the West Collection – steered by SEI chairman and CEO Alfred P. West, Jr. – and celebration of the Kimmel’s rejuvenated SEI Innovation Studio.  On Thursday, the  performing arts center also unveiled a new entrance for the studio space featuring a massive 20 by 30 foot painted glass panel (switchable) and a square Column of Light tube in the Kimmel’s Commonwealth Plaza that descends into the lower level  where the Innovation Studio holds forth.

Jonathan Takiff @ 7:14 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, November 11, 2013, 4:12 PM

Apple’s long rumored plans to introduce a super-smart, game-changing  TV set have been put on hold again, reported market research firm Display Search today.

 Based on reports from “TV supply chain sources,”  Display Search  had previously predicted Apple would introduce two or three large screen sizes of pricey, Ultra High Definition smart TVs next year.  Now the plugged-in industry tracker says Apple  will step back from the project “possibly to be replaced by a rollout of wearable devices.”

  The hangup “has always been the content” noted a Display Search post. With the replacement cycle for TVs running much slower (7-8 years) than it does for phones and tablets (2-3 years), Apple would need a “unique point of differentiation to capture market share from leading TV manufacturers such as Samsung and Vizio, while at the same time being able to sell the products for a high enough price to deliver typically high Apple margins.”

Jonathan Takiff @ 4:12 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Monday, November 4, 2013, 12:00 PM
YouTube Music Video Awards' host Jason Schwartzman.

Tuning (webbing?) into last night’s first YouTube Music Video Awards,  on-line viewers got another warning  that streaming internet video is not ready for primetime, let alone ready to take over the world.  

Though funded by Google, with access to its'  immense server “backbone” and pulling at most 200,000 viewers (according to an  on-screen counter) the live stream repeatedly  froze up and required a “re-start,”  at least on Gizmo Guy’s home computers  (a Windows 7 laptop connecting via Internet Explorer, a Mac running Safari.)   And the expensively mounted event wasn’t viewable at all on Smart TVs loaded with a YouTube app.

Ironically – the YouTube award is a simple block decorated with a “play” arrow.


Jonathan Takiff @ 12:00 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Friday, October 25, 2013, 11:28 AM

It’s really tough, when one of your major role models turns out to have feet of clay, a sordid secret.

Today, many  Philadelphia and New York–centric music lovers spawned in the progressive rock era are scratching  heads and drooping them low over the “bust” of Dave Herman in a government-steered sex sting operation that casts him as a would-be pedophile.

In the late 1960s,  identified just as “Herman,”  the guy  was at the forefront of  the album rock  revolution with an evening  show on WMMR called “The Marconi Experiment.”  He had great taste in music, a voice of God intonation, adding an air of class and importance to everything he said and played.

Jonathan Takiff @ 11:28 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, October 24, 2013, 10:03 AM

Is there room for another brand in streaming music services? When it’s YouTube, smart minds are thinking “yes,” which is why the leader  in on-demand  music video is poised to take on the likes of Spotify, Rhapsody, Rdio,  MOG, Sony’s Music Unlimited  and the rest.

Already luring more music lovin’ teens and young adults than radio, YouTube is set to launch a subscription music service as soon as December, according to “informed sources” cited by the L.A.  Times. If so, it will likely be announced at the first YouTube Music Awards, to be streamed Nov. 3 with appearances by Lady Gaga, Eminem, M.I.A. and the hot crossover EDM artist Avicii.

Getting into the game – matching the “fifteen million track” offerings of established rivals  – would seemingly be daunting. But the YouTube service will be able to tap into and integrate the already up and running Google Play Music All Access Service (YouTube is also a Google property) and up the ante with a  super search engine and video music options that rivals can’t match.

Jonathan Takiff @ 10:03 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
About this blog
Jonathan Takiff covers all manner of high tech gadgets – and the entertaining stuff you play on them.. Reach Jonathan at takiffj@phillynews.com.

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