Audio News for January 24, 2012

by | Jan 24, 2012 | Audio News

Classical News – German bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff is retiring from singer at age 51. Called one of the great male lieder singers, he overcame enormous physical obstacles to pursue his singing career. Bulgarian-born French pianist Alexis Weissenberg died at age 82 in Lugano, Switzerland. The CEO of the Louisville Orchestra says they have continually offered their players work which they have refused. 55 of them filed for unemployment benefits last June and the season has yet to launch. Another bitter dispute which dragged on and resulted in a lockout of musicians at the New York City Opera has been solved with approval of a three-year contract that will keep the 68-year-old institution alive. Preparations are underway to open La Traviata on Feb. 12.  Classical critics are generally not happy with the current Broadway adaptation of what is now called The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess. The opera has been compressed and the orchestra reduced down to 22 pieces, but it is said to make for gripping music theater. David Gockely announced the new season of the San Francisco Opera, which is operating with what he calls “moderate deficit.”  It offers two world premieres, a company premiere, three new productions, and the revival of several favorites with stellar casts.
iTV Partly Steve Jobs’ Creation – A 2006 Apple patent shows that the late Steve Jobs was one of the inventors behind “episodic TV” – one of the core concepts behind Apple TV, whose menus would include TV shows that have either been recorded from a telecast or purchased from a content provider. This is certain to be a core aspect of Apple TV, to be released in the third quarter of this year. The user interface will be very simple, replacing complex remotes for DVD & Blu-ray players and cable channels. But the concept means Apple must cut deals with TV providers, which hasn’t yet been done.
2012 – The Year of the New Gigabit Wi-Fi Standard – Still not approved  by the Wi-Fi Alliance, but scheduled to ship three million devices this year, is the 802.11ac wireless standard – which boasts transfers as high a 1.3Gbps (three times faster than the present 802.11n standard). The new standard replaces the 40 MHz maximum channel bandwidth of 802.11n with bandwidths of 80 and 160 MHz, raises support to eight spatial streams vs. four for -n, and has the ability to operate in the 5 GHz spectrum to avoid interference.
Ford Sync Provides On-Demand NPR News – New Ford cars will allow drivers to listen to on-demand radio thru a Sync AppLink-enabled NPR News app—the first in its category. App-Link builds menus in the car, or on iPhones, Android phones or other handsets. It also works with Ford Sync to build menus that can be accessed on the dashboard, steering wheel, or by voice. Specific programs such as Fresh Air and Car Talk can be accessed, as well as NPR stations around the U.S.

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