Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Archive: April, 2013

POSTED: Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 11:00 AM

We’re not convinced that the scheduling overlap is a positive for  the Philadelphia International  Festival of the Arts (ending this weekend, with the big  Avenue of the Arts street fair on Saturday) and the Philadelphia Science Festival (concluding Monday.)  

But  the ventures’ one big  cooperative project “Icarus at the Edge of Time” filling the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall with sound and vision tonight is one clear positive.

"Icarus" is  a co-mingling of science and art that fits the agenda of both PIFA’s “time traveling” theme and PSF’s selling of science as a hip, cool thing. And yes, it holds  appeal  to both sides of  a  gizmo guy’s   tech and music  lovin’ brain and nature!

POSTED: Monday, April 22, 2013, 10:57 AM

Millions of people share their  Netflix account password with family and friends who don’t actually reside in the same  household, grouse financial analysts who follow the company's stock. Today, Netflix responded with a  50 percent higher priced plan option that will extend the concept of family and sharing, encourage customers to do the right thing.

 Netflix now has  33 million paying subscribers, plus another 10 million viewers who are taking a free ride on a friend’s password, reported Bloomberg News this morning.  With the basic $7.99 service, two streams can be sent simultaneously to devices (here, there, anywhere) authorized with one account sign-in name.

Both Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities and Heath Perry of Goldman Sachs were quoted  in the piece, arguing that the service should close the  loop hole. Perry said Netflix could increase revenues by 5 percent by  monitoring service use more diligently.  "It’s time to change,” chimed in Pachter. “They could say they are cracking down on piracy. They can appeal to fairness.”

POSTED: Tuesday, April 16, 2013, 11:22 AM

The legendary New Orleans rock, blues and voodoo music man Dr. John – aka Mac Rebennack – has just been added to the lineup for the three day XPoNential Music Festival coming to the Camden waterfront Friday , July 26 through Sunday, July 28. Almost as eXotic Australian exports John Butler Trio and haunting neo-Southern California folk rockers Dawes are  also newly tacked to the bill, organized and produced by non-commercial adult alternative music station WXPN.

Like last year, the relatively bargain priced music orgy  features one big show in the Susquehanna Bank Center -  a Saturday night bill of The Lumineers (recent Grammy nominees), Philly’s own Dr. Dog, Polica and Wake Owl. Then the show moves outdoors to nearby Wiggins Park, where attractions this year will also include the groovin' easy  British soul pop crooner Michael Kiwanuka,  second gen twangster  Justin Townes Earle, local rockers DRGN King,  and new faces going places like Lord Huron, Phosphorescent, and Trampled by Turtles.

POSTED: Monday, April 15, 2013, 11:43 AM
(Photo courtesy of Mann Center)

Talk about Mann Alive, a  Mann Overboard! With its newly announced series of 2013 summer concerts tying the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh Orchestras to symphonic celebrations of sports, movies, video games and rock and roll, our venerable  summer "shed"  is bringing a new game to West Fairmount Park.

  Truth is, only two concerts scheduled for  the Mann Center for the Performing Arts’ orchestra season qualify as “straight ahead” classical events unadorned by mixed media and crossover content. And even those boast  a high quotient of sassy bravura and sex appeal, designed to lure in listeners who otherwise can't connect with the classics.

Maybe our home team tooters ought to take a page from  their LA  bros and shorten their collective name to a hipper “Philly Orch” – at least for the outdoor season?

POSTED: Thursday, April 11, 2013, 12:06 PM
"The Shark Tank" on ABC is a new reality show where budding entrepreneurs get a chance to make their dreams come true. (ADAM LARKEY / ABC)

Got a great idea for a product or service, but not the financial backing to make it real?

You may want to bring that brainstorm to an open audition for “Shark Tank,” the ABC network’s hit entrepreneurship reality show, when the production team trolls for talent here on Saturday May 11.

Philly’s cool product incubator lab NextFab Studio will host the auditions - the TV show’s only casting call (and yeah, personality counts) in the Northeast.

POSTED: Thursday, April 11, 2013, 11:29 AM
The 2012 Made in America music fest on the Parkway attracted large crowds.

What’s it really going to cost to attend this year’s big Budweiser Made In America music festival?

Depends when you buy.

While earlier reports have a two day (Aug 31-Sept 1) pass to the Ben Franklin Parkway mega-show going for either $99.50 or $117 (with Ticketmaster processing fee factored in) that’s the pre-sale, early bird special price that’s good  “while supplies last” and was also available to trusting types before the lineup was announced yesterday.

POSTED: Tuesday, April 2, 2013, 2:33 PM

Commuters waiting for a train in Suburban Station   now have a stimulating   new way to pass the time – downloading  e-books, audio books and podcasts which  they can then  enjoy while riding  the train, relaxing  at  home, wherever.. 

 Sponsored by the Free Library of Philadelphia, SEPTA and Dunkin Donuts, the month long “Enrich Your Ride with Reading” project is billed as "the first Virtual Library in the U.S". (there’s also one in Budapest) and coincides with National Library Month.  To lure you in, all  advertising signage on the Suburban Station train platforms is now  touting  these free offerings  -  actually  a small sample  of the 80,000 e-books, 8,000 audio books and thousand plus podcasts  available to card holders at freelibrary.org.

 The graphics for each sign-touted classic, best seller and podcast  includes a QR  (quick response) code symbol, Just open a  QR application (free to download)  on your smart phone or tablet  then point your device’s camera to frame and capture the QR image. Within  a minute or less, the book or podcast   automatically loads onto your device.  And even if using an  Android or Apple iOS device (like an iPod Touch)  that’s lacking mobile phone service,  you can use the free Wi-Fi available on the train station platforms to enable the download. .

About this blog
Jonathan Takiff covers all manner of high tech gadgets – and the entertaining stuff you play on them – for the Philadelphia Daily News, philly.com and the McClatchy Tribune News Service. Reach Jonathan at takiffj@phillynews.com.

Jonathan Takiff Daily News Columnist
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