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Anostyle

anostyle

 

Anostyle – iPhones and iPads in any color. I love custom anything.

If I Were Apple Here’s What I’d Be Doing

The iPhone was introduced as a combination of three products, a phone, an internet browser, and a music player. That was then, this is now, and there has been a world of change in between.

Apple needs to pull the damn phone apart again and create a new product, which is an internet/phone connection only. This is what I think everyone is referring to as an iPhone mini or an iWatch. Think of a Nike fuel band or a fitbit, except it’s a phone/data connection only. Let the phone number live there.

Carry that with you, and then throw the info to whatever screen you want to take with you – iPhone, iPad mini or maxi, Apple TV, whatever. Throw the voice and music to a headset or headphone.

And enough with these mongo sized Samsung phones, which are nothing more than camouflage for a big-ass battery. Carry whatever screen you want and everyone’s happy.

Mark Knopfler, Live in Minneapolis, July 17, 2005

“I am against this lawsuit. It was said TV would be the end of cinema, it was said tapes would kill records and CD burners would kill CD’s, but that’s not true. Technology will always progress. The only real danger comes from countries which practise industrial piracy. I’ve always encouraged the recordings of my concerts. From the stage I had fun seeing all those little red lights of recorders and these microphones held by fans. That’s no danger and even quite cool. Fans who buy bootlegs already own all the official albums anyway. They do us no harm and I find these raids against bootleg shops ridiculous.”  –Mark Knopfler on the lawsuit against Napster and his opinion on bootlegs (Interview by Sacha Reins, Le Point, 22th September 2000)

Since college, I’ve been a big fan of Dire Straits, but over so many years I have to admit I’ve grown a little tired of listening to the same albums. Don’t get me wrong, these are great albums. I think I have every Dire Straits and Mark Knopfler album made. Over so many years, venues, tours, one-off gigs, and many impromptu appearances it’s clear to me that this guy really loves his job. His music has really stood the test of time for me, since I  think the first album I bought was in 1972. Anyway, recently I have found some great sources for Mark Knopfler bootlegs. Which kind of leads me to ask, what’s the deal with these recordings? I want to download them and listen to them, but should I be paying for them and if so who do I pay?

I have to confess I’m a little confused when it comes to this topic. I read a lot about it being wrong to download music for free, and the last thing I need is someone suing me for something I’d be willing to pay for. On the other hand, from what I’ve read, its just as bad to pay for this music. Why? Because the guys who are making the bootlegs aren’t paying anyone for them. Many of these recordings (not all) are done with the artist’s consent, by “tapers” who do this as a hobby. The guys charging for bootlegs are the ones who are screwing the system.

So let me get back to this one in particular. This bootleg was recorded in Minneapolis near the end of Mark Knopfler’s 2005 Shangri-La tour. According to Knopfler’s own recording policy, it appears that this recording is actually an “Authorized Live Recording”. So I downloaded it from here, and I have to tell you this is an incredible recording. First of all, I’m very fussy about sound quality, so its hard for me to find bootlegs I can listen to more than once. This is a soundboard recording, which means the taper was given permission to hard wire his equipment directly into the soundboard. But even that doesn’t assure great sound. The taper needs to know what he’s doing, and of course the output is really a function of the talent of the engineer running the soundboard. Well, the stars must have been aligned for this recording. The sound quality is as close to perfect as I have ever heard. In some ways, I think its better than some of the studio material. And the instruments and vocals are balanced very well. And when I find one with good sound, its spotty on how the performers were that night.

This guy has incredible bootlegs, many with great sound quality. This particular album though, has that rare combination I crave. First, the sound is excellent. And then, to top it off, Mark and the band were just in a groove that night. The live show must have been amazing.

Urban Anthropology

Urban Anthropology Logo

© 2010, Steven Leigh. All Rights Reserved.

Here’s a logo design I created for an online business selling vintage clothing and estate sale items on eBay and Etsy. It’s my fallback plan for retirement (designing the logos, not selling the clothing). Nice reflections. If Urban Anthropology doesn’t work out, we can always try calling it Urpgy, or Nagru or something.

Supply Chain Football

Ahhh…the throwback logo. I think the winding down of football season put me in the mood.

I’ve actually been wanting to post something up here about Apple for a while now, and what it comes down to really are these three thoughts about my favorite company.

First, you have to love “the comeback”. I know I do. I love the fact that consumers are flocking to Apple in droves, and truth is, I always knew this day would come. I bought my first Apple (the computer and the stock) in 1980, and I have owned their products ever since. (I think I even still have my Newton packed away somewhere downstairs). But being a creature of Corporate America, I have been encouraged (alright, forced) to work many years on a PC as well, since most corporate engineers and IT departments have long been firmly in the PC camp. But that was the 90’s, and now a new generation has arrived in the workforce; an Apple friendly generation. The company is on a roll, the stock has quintupled in the last five years, and the corporate IT departments are actually starting (alright, forced) to incorporate somewhat of a Mac strategy into their environments as well. Getting the iPhone into the corporate world took years; the iPad, considerably less. Life is good.

Second thought, kind of Apple related. What’s surprising to me is that I always imagined that on this day, I’d be secretly enjoying the thought of Bill Gates tossing furniture around last summer as Apple surpassed Microsoft in market cap. After all, he was the enemy, right? Even when he came to Apple’s rescue (remember that huge Gates Face at the 1997 Macworld)? Well I’m not, and he’s not. Since he left Microsoft, I’ve actually become a fan of Bill. I follow his foundation and his tweets. I like the fact that he’s putting his time and his money where his mouth is, and I like what he’s doing. As for Microsoft and Steve Ballmer (who has been rumored to have stepped on an iPhone or two), well that’s a subject for a different blog post altogether.

Last thought, but certainly not least, is after building custom homes for many years, I’ve been in the Purchasing/Supply Chain end of homebuilding since about 2004. So naturally this little snippet about Apple’s Supply Chain strategy caught my eye. The title may be a little on the harsh side, but it just goes to show you the kind of role that good supply chain management can play in a manufacturing company. I think this piece is even more timely since with Steve Jobs’ departure, Apple has Tim Cook (a supply chain wonk) running things. See that my Supply Chain friends, we really are where its at.

Nixing the Mortgage Interest Deduction

Honestly, I can’t believe this topic is even being discussed right now, but it is. Since mid-summer I’ve been watching a flurry of articles go by debating whether or not to repeal the tax-deduction homeowners are allowed to take for interest paid on their mortgage. Traditionally thought of as a sacred cow, its now being suggested that the government could use the money. Last week I saw this in the Wall Street Journal.

It seems to have started back in May, when this policy brief, was published by some guys from Harvard and Princeton (actually those guys are Edward L. Glaeser and Joseph Gyourko, both housing wonks who have been collaborating for years). I don’t want to debate the article because the merits aren’t really my issue right now, and I’m sure these guys are way smarter than me anyway. What gets me is the fact that they’re pushing it now, with guys like Moody’s Mark Zandi, and Robert Schiller jumping on the bandwagon as well.

Boy, timing is everything, isn’t it? Imagine predicting a double-dip recession and pushing for this all in the same breath. I’m sure it’s dawned on these guys that getting rid of the mortgage interest deduction would be a great catalyst, right? Sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy. The residential construction industry has already lost 1,000,000 jobs. Trust me, having this discussion now is not going to help put any of those folks back to work anytime soon.

You can say what you want about homebuilders and how we got where we are today, but I don’t think there can be any doubt in anyone’s mind that the homebuilding industry is one of the major engines of the US economy. The business is on it’s knees right now, and the last thing it needs is this. Truthfully, I’m having trouble figuring out whose side these guys are on. Having this discussion now is just going to add to the downward pressure on home pricing, with more home buyers trying to negotiate lower prices, or simply sitting on the sidelines. Do we really have to have this discussion now?

Housing Economics.com – 5/03/2010 NAHB analysis of who benefits from the mortgage interest deduction.

Mark Zandi – 5/12/2010 Moody’s presentation to the Housing Summit predicting the housing crash is over.

Housing Crisis.com – 5/19/2010 Article on the debate flaring up.

Zandi on Housing – 7/17/2010 Zandi in favor of repeal.

Robert Shiller Interview – 8/28/2010 The co-inventor of the Case Shiller Index on deflation, a double-dip recession and housing prices.

NAHB – 9/22/2010 Don’t mess with the Mortgage Interest Deduction

Bucky Fuller & Spaceship Earth

Dymaxion Car #4

Dymaxion Car #4, Based on a 1933 design by Buckminster Fuller

I think I had to post this because the car photos are just so cool. This car was actually designed in the early 1930’s by R. Buckminster Fuller (think geodesic dome). There were only three experimental cars built, and they didn’t do all that well (although it seems they were easy to park due to the single back wheel).

The Noted British Architect, and 1999 Pritzker Prize winner Norman Foster commissioned a new version of Fuller’s old design as a tribute. Foster knew and worked with Fuller in the 80’s. I actually met Bucky in the mid 70’s, when I picked him up from LaGuardia and drove him to Pratt for a lecture. My brush with greatness.

This car is now on exhibit until October 30th at the “Bucky Fuller & Spaceship Earth” exhibit, being held at the Ivorypress Art + Books gallery in Madrid, Spain.

Blitzburgh Crunch

There’s only one word that a Steelers fan can use to describe this…Perfect. They say it’s available everywhere, we’ll see on Sunday. Thank you Turkey Hill.

So Long, Island

On September 21st at 5 PM, the Town of Huntington will hold a public hearing to vote on whether or not to rezone a long vacant part of their town near the railroad station, to allow the construction of 490 housing units proposed by the large national builder, Avalon Bay. Currently the site is zoned as-of-right for 109 single family homes. The proposal is to create a Transit-Oriented District, or TOD for this particular 26 acre site.

While no project is perfect, this one comes about as close as you can to hitting all the marks. The project’s sponsor, Avalon Bay, is a large national builder with a solid reputation for building high quality communities, and the wherewith-all to back up their promises financially. They have been working with the various civics for over two years on an investment of over $100 million in an area that sorely needs revitalization. An organized, but relatively small group of local residents have recently convinced the School Board to withdraw their previously granted support for the project. And now the town board is backing down.

As of today, it looks like the proposal is going to be defeated; a true loss for all the parties involved. Considering how far it’s come, if this project can’t get approved, then any hope that Long Island will be able to solve it’s death spiral of high tax/low affordability/brain drain, will take another huge step backwards. It’s impossible for me to imagine that the local elected officials have been unable to figure out how to navigate a path for the private sector to make this kind of investment in an area that so sorely needs it.

I have no dog in this fight other than the fact that I’m an active homebuilder, and a lifetime resident of Long Island. And I have no doubt that both sides are sincere in their view. But once again, I’m frustrated by another example of a how far away we are from having a process in place that can solve Long Island’s problems. We are a very fractured group of towns and villages, and the result is we’re drowning in our collective self-interests. The Huntington Town Board, School Board and elected officials have a rare opportunity here to lead by example, to get everyone on the same page, to make the tough decisions and the hard calls. That’s going to be a daunting task given what I’ve heard and read. But if they can pull this project back from the brink, that would really be something I’d stand up and applaud.

Facebook – Say NO to Avalon Huntington Station
Facebook – Say YES to Avalon Huntington Station
Facebook – Town of Huntington Voters Block

Tribute In Light

Tribute In Light, photographed in Brooklyn, NY by planetgordon

9/11/2001 – I remember I was on the phone being interviewed for a job out of state, and I had the Today Show playing in the background. I looked up at one point and noticed the surreal scene that was the beginning of what ultimately played out before all our eyes. I told the client I’d have to call her back, but I don’t think I ever did. I got lost that day. I called my wife who was out shopping and tried to explain what I was watching. She came home and we watched it together. We picked our kids up from school since they let them out early, and brought them home and tried to explain. I could go on, but really the rest of that day is still just a blur to me. I can’t even begin to imagine what it was for the victims and their families. So much has been said about the horror of that day, I’m not going to add to it here. I leave that to the writers who are far more eloquent than I am. I really wanted this entry to be more about my thoughts on what I consider to be, the very fitting Tribute In Light.

Aside from the emotions it brings back from that day, there’s something both fascinating and eerie about the concept and the design that I like very much. I’ve always been interested in lighting design, having started with it on the stage in high school. In the homes I build, lighting has always been very important to me (usually more so than it is to the client), so I can appreciate the challenges. The Tribute is a simple, understated design, but often the best design is. And as always, there is a lot going on behind the scenes to pull this off that we never see in pictures. Anyway, I think it evokes the right emotions, and I think the designers got it right. If you want to read more about the Tribute, the Wikipedia article is here.

There are tons of photographs all over the net, but so far I think this one is my favorite. It’s an amateur shot, and it’s very honest. The biggest collection of photos I’ve found is here on Flickr.

I like the fact that after the first year, they settled on 24 hours only, but I don’t know what will happen to the Tribute in the future. As far as I understand, next year is supposed to be the last year, but they said that in 2008 and it continues on. I hope they keep at it…for me it’s very fitting.