Alison Krauss Rocks the Country House

Alison Krauss is my favorite vocalist and with Union Station puts out superb bluegrass music. Unlike many, MANY in country and pop music she does NOT use Auto Tuning software (usually the Antares version is used by pros I think). Tonight she’s on CMT with Vince Gill, another great country performer.

Auto Tuning takes off-key notes and puts them in key. This process is used routinely on recordings and even in many real time performances using high end gear that routes the microphone output through the auto tuner before it goes out the amplifier.

I don’t object to the use of Auto tuning – it’s inevitable – but I wonder if it’s changing the music industry in undesirable ways.  For example attractive artists are now more likely to beat out unattractive ones because their pitch problems can be corrected.   Why is that a problem?   Clearly innovative music is more likely to come from great musicians, not attractive ones, and obviously better musicianship is an asset to the industry.

Obivous -ly

Evan, a founder of blogger which was sold to Google, has returned big VC cash to investors in his ODEO music project and started a new company called Obvious Corporation.

This statement about why he’s changing course is a very articulate vision of the new web economy. As he suggests the new web is getting more uncertain and experimental every day. I think success will increasingly follow biological evolutionary form and be more a function of experimentation, following niche specialization, and lucky survival much more than following textbook approaches.

Go Google Yourself!

Ha – Tech bloggers seem to leave a lot of global tragedies unnoticed, but whatever you do don’t get ARROGANT about being the big gorilla of search.   This Google post, to me, does not cross any lines but it sure has caused an outcry from bloggers who think Google’s getting pretty dang arrogant to dictate english usage in this fashion while slapping Yahoo in the face.
Although this is a small thing, one wonders if Google is teetering near that fateful “tipping point” where it crosses from a darling of search to a sort of Darth Vader of search – powerful and effective but constantly under suspicion.

Yikes, even Battelle is swearing about this!

Microsoft Vista – a nice lookin’ blog for a nice looking OS.

Wow, Microsoft Vista has a very slick looking blog up here that mimics the look and feel of the new Vista which, for reasons I don’t understand, really had a great look at MIX06. I think it was simply the use of very appealing full screen pix in a copycat move on the new MAC Operating Systems. Dropping in MS LIVE sidebar gadgets (and hopefully Google and Yahoo gadgetry as well) will allow a user to have a wonderfully customized and functional desktop – looking forward to that.

I also really want to give them kudos for making registration (needed to comment) very simple (name and email). MS registrations tend to be so complex I actually almost left thinking “I’m not going to go through a 5 minute registration just to leave a comment!”.

Google Farts. Stock up 13%

Google’s doing a great job and putting out some good stuff such as customized search. Earnings for Q3 were better than expected, but that should already be reflected in the stock price.

Since Google already has a huge portion of all internet searches, and given that they just spent 1.6 billion for YouTube with marginal current revenues, and given that we are in a very uncertain time where online revenues could go down or other companies could spring onto the search scene with something great almost overnight and threaten their dominance ….
What exactly is driving this stock price through the roof? It kind of smells like 1999 to me, but what do I know?

Measuring internet “engagement”

Robert Scoble’s asking a great question today about how to measure “engagement” at a website as opposed to just a visit. This issue was recently addressed at some length in the big debate over Comscore metrics for Myspace that Danah Boyd challenged as questionable.

As I suggested in that debate and Scoble is saying now, there’s an important difference between a user who simply loads a page and leaves the site immediately vs a user who engages with the site.

Experiments are needed, since it may be as simple as taking a ratio of total unique visitors to total time online to get a sense of how engaged the visitors are.

Of course that does NOT necessarily translate into somebody who’ll buy from advertisers which is the type of metric that sponsors are most interested in. We wouldn’t see much Golf on network TV if traffic was the metric, but when you count the fact that golf watchers come from a great demographic for big ticket items it works out for the networks who can sell to a key group (e.g. sell Lexuses, Diamondses, and ringses … precious!…..)

Even more complications with metrics are here in the form of RSS syndication, extensive duplication of information (e.g. this blog is auto duplicated over at Facebook), and the new gadgetification of the desktop where mini applications are going to run wild all over the place, making a “page view” less relevant, or irrelevant, for many websites and advertisers and measurers.

Funny – ZeFrank on “Rocketbooming” your metrics
RocketBoom says Zefrank is full of Zeerrors.