A quickie for your Saturday morning – from the Sky collection of digital broadcasts comes the SKY.FM Christmas Channel. Lots of orchestral and traditional vocal work, with a decided (and for obvious reasons, unsurprising) emphasis on artists out of the U.K. Click here for some direct web action of search for “SKY.FM Christmas” on TuneIn.
Today’s selection is a little bit generic, but sometimes generic is exactly what you need. “Always Christmas Radio” from 1.FM in Switzerland is the kind of thing you can put on at the office or at home when you just want have that traditional this-is-the-Christmas-music-I-grew-up-with kind of feeling. Bland? Yes. But if you need some bland, this is the way to go. Little repetition, lots of familiar stuff, and they run the feed 365 days a year so if for some reason you need some holiday music in July you know you can get it here.
You can get the web feed here or search the TuneIn app for “1.FM Always Christmas”.
Three words for you: New Age Christmas. And no, I’m not kidding. GotRadio’s “Heavenly Holidays” is a rather sedate blend of instrumental cuts for the crystals-n-channeling set. I freely admit that this is not really my cup of tea … but if you are at the end of a hectic day and need something that will turn your brain into mush and still keep you in a Christmas frame of mind then this is the audio stream for you.
Get it on the web here, or search for “GotRadio Heavenly Holidays” on TuneIn. Just don’t try to operate heavy machinery afterwards.
Let’s change gears in a big way for day 2. SomaFM’s “Christmas Lounge” stream is about as non-traditional as it gets, but still manages to respect the vibe and the message of the season. The foundation of the playlist here is big band and traditional jazz combined with a healthy layer of classic 50s and 60s lounge vocals. You can turn this on behind a dinner gathering or a quiet cocktail gathering and feel like your are having a swinging little gathering backstage at a classic Vegas dinner show.
And interesting little twist is how the playlist varies from the daytime hours through the evening and into the deep of night. During the day there are quite a few remix tracks – christmas cuts from old-school icons like Julie London or Dean Martin that have been recharged with modern beats and bass lines. As the evening wears on the playlist leans towards more traditional swing and big jazz combo work, and when midnight comes around the trance and deep house stuff starts to come out. It keeps the stream fresh and and intriguing around the clock, and means that you will never have to get up and hunt for something “more appropriate” as the mood changes.
As with all the SomaFM channels, you can find “Christmas Lounge” on a multitude of internet radio aggregators, or you can listen online via the web at SomaFM.com. If you are using the TuneIn Radio app, search for “Soma Christmas lounge” to get a direct hit.
If you are entertaining and want a “set and forget” solution for your Christmas audio, this is definitely the way to go.
It’s no secret that I like pretty much everything about Christmas: Lights (lots of lights), decorations, baking, cooking, corny old Christmas TV specials, and of course Christmas music. I know there are a lot of people who think that Christmas music shouldn’t start until December 1, or at least the American Belated Thanksgiving but – in the true spirit of the season – screw them. Once we are within a month of the big day, it’s game on.
Unfortunately, your local radio station probably makes a complete hash of this. Even if they are already on the Christmas bandwagon they are probably playing the same 30 or 40 songs over and over and it gets pretty miserable after the first day or so. So it’s time to ditch tradition and branch out into on-line radio. There is something for everyone, you can keep things fresh all season long, and (best of all) you don’t have to listen to some vapid DJ exhorting you to be the seventh caller right now to win a fabulous prize pack of crap. It’s just music, lots of music, and ho ho ho all month long.
Let’s start with the (sort of) traditional. Happy Christmas Radio has been my “average day” go-to choice for the last three years. The playlist leans heavy on the classics, but with a lot of arrangements and artists that you simply do not hear on commercial radio. They add just enough poppy new stuff to keep you interested (although I might back off on the boy bands just a bit) and wrap it all up in a big commercial-free bow. This is definitely a “safe for everyone” choice. If you are sitting at your desktop you can listen via the web here, and if you are mobile you can find them on the TuneIn Radio app by searching for “Happy Christmas Radio”.
It’s being reported today that Facebook made an offer to buy Snapchat outright for three billion (with a “b”!) dollars. None of this stock or equity tomfoolery, either … this was a straight cash offer.
Incredibly, the Snapchatters said “No thanks” and continued on their merry way. Full marks for chutzpah and believing in yourself … but really? “Second-level” online services need to strike while the iron is hot, because the heat moves on to the next interesting thing pretty quickly, and no one wants to give you three billion (with a “b”!) dollars when you are lukewarm at best.
Remember WhatsApp? Remember Kik? Smartphones are littered with long-untapped icons from services that no one uses anymore. This, sadly, will be a decision to regret.
This is one of the coolest vintage photo archives around. The photos are all sorts of cool on their own, but the “Virtually In Studio” entry is quite frankly brilliant. Play around with “being there as one of the Fab Four” for a while, and then start to work back through the archive proper.
Three things stood out to me: The boys dressed quite well as a rule, they drank a crapload of tea, and the recording floor at Abbey Road is fucking huge.
Planning to visit New Mexico? Remember: Do not clench your buttocks.
Everpix was a brilliant product and wonderful service that, sadly, had no way to ever make money. In what is surely a lesson of some sort, the business decisions that eventually drove them to ground were ones that made quality of product and the integrity of the user experience the team’s prime considerations. If they had been willing to be just another bunch of click-grabbers, they might have made it. The Verge has the definitive eulogy and it is definitely worth a read.
UPDATE: The Everpix team has now posted their official announcement and goodbye. If you are going to crash and burn, this is how you do it: Honestly, with class, and keeping your customers the top priority to the very end. A lot of “successful” companies could learn from this.
Speaking of throwing in the towel and going for a few fast bucks at the expense of credibility … the fine folks at CNET have made a “small” change in the way you download software from their servers. Now when you search for software and get a “Download Now” link, you don’t actually get the software you wanted. What you get is a browser “toolbar” that is a lovely combination of spyware, annoyanceware, and crapware all rolled up into one convenient bundle. Then you can download the legitimate software that you actually wanted, once you have agreed to let CNET abuse your computer and personal information for their financial gain. Note that when the odious Terms of Service package (complete with external sale of your data and privacy to noted privacy invasion specialists “Spigot”) comes up the agreement button is checked by default, in violation of both US and Canadian laws governing such things:
CNET was once the most respected and trusted source for public domain and freely-distributed software. Many people probably still think that is the case … and their trust is going to abused and sold for a few pennies. Pathetic.