The Neglect of American Orchestral Music – The Dallas Morning News had a recent feature Classical music: The shameful neglect of American orchestral music. It said that apart from just a few pieces that often appear on pops or light classical programs, orchestra conductors and musicians are largely unaware of and show little in any but a handful of the most well-worn pieces. There is also nothing programmed of our musical heritage, including Paine, Chadwick, MacDowell and Parker. Even our 20th century composers such as Hanson, Schuman and Piston are ignored. Critic Scott Cantrell says that none of this is really challenging fare, and it is music that tells us who we are as a nation, where we are from, and how we transformed various cultures. All this is underrepresented on recordings and even more so in the concert halls.
LG Laser Video Projector – One of the devices LG Electronics showed at CES last Sunday was their 100-inch short-throw laser TV projector. It outputs 150 nits of brightness and optimized for both bright and dark environments. A six-layered custom screen is used to deflect ambient light and produce better picture quality. Only 22 inches is required between the projector and the screen to display a widescreen image of more than eight feet, and it can be positioned near the floor or ceiling. Retail is $8999.
Be Sure to Wipe Old Electronics Clean – Consumer Reports has a feature on the importance of wiping everything off the drives of all electronics before you resell or dispose of them. If you received a new anything for the holidays, be sure to get all your information erased before passing it on or recycling it. This can also apply to expensive music collections you don’t want to give others free (and make sure you are backing up your collections regularly even if you aren’t getting new gear). Some tablets and laptops have built-in ways to wipe all the data. Older gear may need third-party software; CR recommends D-BAN, which is a free download. And don’t forget your personal information on smartphones and gaming systems.
A View of the 2014 International CES – Entertainment Today had a few observations on the recent Consumer Electronics Show, What it saw in Las Vegas among the 150,000 people were the ubiquitous tablets. They were all over the place, along with solutions for keeping them charged and ready to go. The most expensive item they mentioned was Kaleidescape, at about $4000. It allows going deep into one’s video collection, but so far only with films from Lionsgate and Warner Brothers. It streams about 4600 different films, has an incredibly elegant interface and impressive depth of detail in the images, but for a price.