You Make Me Better

Currently listening to “You Make Me Better” by Fabolous – who I got to meet in-person at an event in Boston a few weeks back. I’m an absolute sucker for a good harmony. And this song’s got me hooked. You’re barely aware of the music when you’re out at a bar, until you get on the dancefloor, and a song that nobody likes plays, and everyone starts migrating back towards the bar. Then this song emerges, a great beat, but also a beautiful melody, and you feel the need to sway to the music.

Reed was telling me today that of all the genres, rap is hurting the most from the downturn in music sales. The TIME article he referenced suggests not that music is hurting because of piracy, but instead audaciously suggests that it’s the rap industry which has not been innovative enough, and whose primary target audience – suburban white kids – have finally gotten bored with rap’s reptitiveness. The article points out that rap drove sales with sensationalism – Tupac getting murdered in a vegas hotel; 50 Cent getting shot 9 times. This is certainly true, but is rock any better? I wonder if there’s some fundamental difference between rock & rap. Q-Tip, in the article, suggests that the rock industry is set up to nurture various “strains” of rock music, but implies that the rap industry treats them all the same, and churns them all through the same hype machine.

That seems like a plausible theory. Perhaps the rock industry supports strains of rock which fosters well-defined identities, and the music we listen to is part of what defines our own identity, so when we chose a rock band we chose it for the compatible identity, thus creating a deeper & long-term relationship between the artist & the listener. If, instead, rap focuses on hyping the new cool song-of-the-moment, it fosters a short-term relationship. If so, it would make sense that we strop buying rap as soon as it gets reptitive and stops being cool. Thoughts? In any case, this is still my song-of-the-moment:

Have you ever had one of those moments where you’re the last one to see something about yourself? Apparently I enjoy meeting new people. That was a bit of an epiphany for me, but probably something that anyone who has met me on a Friday or Saturday night would have concluded. Over the past year I’ve come to know myself in a new way. I’ve found that I’m passionate about the leading edge of technology. I had always loved technology, but had never really embraced that and made it my own. Today Without noticing, I became a power-user of social-networking tools like friendster, facebook & xanga. I always just accepted those as part of my lifestyle, never questioning if that made me passionate about technology, never thinking to nurture that and build that into who I was.

I was on the phone with Nina this morning, syncing on next weekend’s Vegas reunion, and suddenly she asked me: “so now that I’ve caught you just after waking up, at home in your high-rise downtown apartment, sitting in the sun, is the Wall Street Journal strewn about on the coffee table?” Yes, I answered, surprising us both. In that moment, she and I both knew, I was exactly where I always wanted to be. But in so many news ways, I’m just beginning to branch out. I’ve devoted a year to learning, diving deep into technology. I’m now fairly confident in my knowledge – I’ve now taken the time to nurture my instrinsic passion for the space – now its time to start sharing it. And sharing is really what I’m the best at. In that vein, here goes nothing:

There’s a cool new website I just saw called Tafiti.com. Tafiti means “to research” in Swahili, and so Tafiti.com is a new & innovative way to search and do research on the internet. At the technology level, Tafiti is a Silverlight & Live Search mashup – which basically means its some fancy window-dressing to help you visualize your search results, as opposed to the very text-heavy way Google Search and Live Search normally display results.

But its even more powerful that that – it allows you to sort search results by putting them on different “shelves” and then save them and come back to them later, by logging in when you search, your results can be left on shelves and waiting for you when you get back. You can filter your results in an intuitive way by moving a slider which trims the lowest branches (or least relevant results) of the search “tree.” I think there might be some great educational applications for Tafiti as a tool to help teach elementary schoolers about internet search. Another thing I’ve been working on at work is putting together a curriculum to teach elementary schoolers about online safety, and about not giving out personal information and avoiding websites that might have viruses. Perhaps I should add Tafiti to this project.

Search on Tafiti

So there it is. Something cool you probably hadn’t heard of, and you saw it here first. Happy Labor Day to all, and hope you’re all having a very restful weekend. What other cool stuff have you seen out there?

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