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Apple Is Trolling Me

There’s no doubt, Apple is trolling me. On September 3, I wrote about the new personalized mixes in Apple Music. I pointed out that my New Music Mix was two-dimensional:

Since I recently got a new guitar, and have been listening to a lot of old blues, the My New Music Mix is offering me almost exclusively blues music. This ignores the rest of my iTunes library, my Apple Music play history, and my iTunes Store purchases. Sure, there’s some interesting music in the playlist, but I’d expect to hear more variety. There is one track of a piece by Steve Reich, a song by Ian Bostridge from his Shakespeare Songs album, and a few classical movements, plus a handful of random new-agey piano pieces that all sound alike, but the playlist is about 50% blues, with most of the blues songs at the beginning.

Today, I looked at the My New Music Mix, which just updated, and what do I see? Almost nothing but classical music.

My new classical music mix

This can’t be the result of some algorithm, someone at Apple is messing with me. There’s no reason for this to contain so much classical music, especially since I haven’t listened to much classical music in the past few weeks. In fact, I haven’t listened to much music an Apple Music at all in the past couple of weeks.

I note that for a while I wasn’t seeing this mix, and some correspondents have reported not seeing it, or not seeing its sibling, the My Favorites Mix.

The My Favorites Mix is great, and has been so since its launch. But the My New Music Mix is just weird. I think Apple is messing with me; there’s no other explanation.

Nuance Dragon Professional Individual for Mac 6.0 review: Better performance and accuracy

Another year, another upgrade to Nuance’s Dragon ($300; $150 upgrade), their speech recognition solution. I reviewed version 5 last year, pointing out that “Dragon offers some of the biggest changes since this software was first introduced, both under the hood and on the screen.”

Building on the changes made to the speech recognition engine in Dragon 5, Nuance has improved Dragon’s performance across the board. Boasting improvements in accuracy of either 15 or 24 percent (the company has cited both of these numbers), Nuance claims that Dragon offers “up to 99% recognition accuracy.” Naturally, “up to” covers a wide range of results, but this version of Dragon does seem more accurate than version 5.

Read the rest of the article on Macworld.

Apple to create stunning new HQ at Battersea Power Station – London Evening Standard

Animals

Apple is to create a spectacular new London headquarters at Battersea Power Station in a massive coup for the developers behind the £9 billion project.

The iPhone and iPad maker will move 1,400 staff from eight sites around the capital into what it calls “a new Apple campus” at the Grade II* listed former electricity generator.

Its employees will occupy all six floors of office space in the brick “cathedral of power”, which is being painstakingly restored after 33 years standing derelict on the banks of the Thames.

The first time I visited London in 1982, I recall walking along the Thames and seeing the Battersea Power Station from a distance. I followed the river for a couple of miles in order to visit that astounding building. Of course, it was familiar from being on the cover of Pink Floyd’s Animals album.

Last year, in London, I was in he neighborhood again, and it remains one of the most impressive buildings in that city. It looks so anachronistic where it stands, and the towers are massive. As this article says, there’s a lot of development in that area, and Apple moving into such a unique building is perfect. I just hope the inaugurate it with a paling of the Pink Floyd album, and with a pig floating in the air.

Source: Apple to create stunning new HQ at Battersea Power Station | London Evening Standard

Coming Soon: Bob Dylan, The 1966 Live Recordings

Dylan live 66Oh my. A big box set of all of the available recordings of Bob Dylan’s 1966 live performances. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) Apparently, this is a combination of recordings made by Dylan’s sandman Richard Anderson on a Nagra tape recorder, and a bunch of audience recordings, whose quality is not stellar.

36 CDs of live Dylan from 1966; a treasure trove. And at an affordable price: it’s listed on Amazon UK at about £105; it’s around $150 on Amazon.com. It’s due out on November 11.

What I find interesting is that this is the first time I’ve seen a pop, rock, or jazz box set priced like classical box sets. It’s not uncommon to have sets like this, or even larger, at low prices. Just one example: the recent Emerson String Quartet set, which contains 52 CDs, and costs around $100. With classical music, these are “compilations,” in the sense that they are reissues of records that have already earned enough money. The Dylan set is weird, though in that these are new releases. Since many of these are available as bootlegs, hardcore Dylan fans probably own them already, so pricing them low means they’ll buy the sets. And at this price, perhaps even casual Dylan fans will buy the set as well.

Here’s what the Amazon.com page says about the set:

A monumental 36-disc box set featuring every known recording from the mythic and controversial 1966 tour of the US, UK, Europe and Australia.

With the exception of the Manchester concert (May 17, 1966) released as Bob Dylan Live 1966 The Bootleg Series Vol. 4 in 1998, a pair of songs appearing on the 1985 Biograph compilation and a smattering of others, the overwhelming majority of tracks and performances on Bob Dylan: The 1966 Live Recordings are previously unreleased in any format–official or bootlegged–and are being made available now for the very first time.

All the songs on The 1966 Live Recordings were written by Bob Dylan (vocal, guitar, piano, harmonica) with the sole exception of “Baby, Let Me Follow You Down,” a traditional song arranged by Bob Dylan for concert performance. Dylan is accompanied on these recordings by Robbie Robertson (guitar), Rick Danko (bass, backing vocals), Richard Manuel (piano), Garth Hudson (organ) and Mickey Jones (drums). (Sandy Konikoff plays drums on the White Plains and Pittsburgh shows only.)

Meticulously researched, curated and restored for this extraordinary collection, Bob Dylan: The 1966 Live Recordings is drawn from three main audio sources: soundboards, CBS Records mobile recordings, and audience tapes.

It’s worth noting that this set is partially a copyright release: officially releasing these tracks before 50 years has passed allows Sony to retain copyright in the EU.

In any case, if you’re a Dylan fan, you’re going to want this set. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK)

Here’s a list of what’s on each CD:

CD 1 – Sydney, April 13, 1966 (Soundboard recorded by TCN 9 TV Australia)
CD 2 – Sydney, April 13, 1966 (Soundboard recorded by TCN 9 TV Australia)
CD 3 – Melbourne, April 20, 1966 (Soundboard / unknown broadcast)
CD 4 – Copenhagen, May 1, 1966 (Soundboard)
CD 5 – Dublin, May 5, 1966 (Soundboard)
CD 6 – Dublin, May 5, 1966 (Soundboard)
CD 7 – Belfast, May 6, 1966 (Soundboard)
CD 8 – Belfast, May 6, 1966 (Soundboard)
CD 9 – Bristol, May 10, 1966 (Soundboard / audience)
CD 10 – Bristol, May 10, 1966 (Soundboard)
CD 11 – Cardiff, May 11, 1966 (Soundboard)
CD 12 – Birmingham, May 12, 1966 (Soundboard)
CD 13 – Birmingham, May 12, 1966 (Soundboard)
CD 14 – Liverpool, May 14, 1966 (Soundboard)
CD 15 – Leicester, May 15, 1966 (Soundboard)
CD 16 – Leicester, May 15, 1966 (Soundboard)
CD 17 – Sheffield, May 16, 1966 (CBS Records recording)
CD 18 – Sheffield, May 16, 1966 (Soundboard)
CD 19 – Manchester, May 17, 1966 (CBS Records recording)
CD 20 – Manchester, May 17, 1966 (CBS Records recording except Soundcheck/ Soundboard)
CD 21 – Glasgow, May 19, 1966 (Soundboard)
CD 22 – Edinburgh, May 20, 1966 (Soundboard)
CD 23 – Edinburgh, May 20, 1966 (Soundboard)
CD 24 – Newcastle, May 21, 1966 (Soundboard)
CD 25 – Newcastle, May 21, 1966 (Soundboard)
CD 26 – Paris, May 24, 1966 (Soundboard)
CD 27 – Paris, May 24, 1966 (Soundboard)
CD 28 – London, May 26, 1966 (CBS Records recording)
CD 29 – London, May 26, 1966 (CBS Records recording)
CD 30 – London, May 27, 1966 (CBS Records recording)
CD 31 – London, May 27, 1966 (CBS Records recordings)
CD 32 – White Plains, NY, February 5, 1966 (Audience tape)
CD 33 – Pittsburgh, PA, February 6, 1966 (Audience tape)
CD 34 – Hempstead, NY, February 26, 1966 (Audience tape)
CD 35 – Melbourne, April 19, 1966 (Audience tape)
CD 36 – Stockholm, April 29, 1966 (Audience tape)

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Kirkville

Writings about Macs, music and more by Kirk McElhearn