Go Go In-flight WIFI and Netflix (not) Watch Instantly

3/9/11 Speedtest on Delta Flight Using Go Go internet

6:30 pm Here’s a screenshot of the speedtest I just took on my Delta flight from Salt Lake to Boston.  While I’ve been able to get a Netflix Watch Instantly going (and that’s pretty amazing when you think about it) – you’ve got about 5 -10 minutes per view session before it buffers out and takes between 5 and 15 minutes to continue.    At $9.95 for the flight – it’s cheaper than buying a movie in the airport – and allows me to post this while I’m waiting for it to restart.  Now, back to Heroes….

3/9/11 Speedtest on Delta Flight Using Go Go internet

6:43 Updated – The playtime didn’t even last 5 minutes – and now I’m in buffer/wait mode.  Another speed test says I’m running .17 down, and .03 up.  Getting worse – more people probably joining in.  At least they didn’t advertise it as “high speed service” – just Wifi.  It would be great if Netflix offered a “low bandwidth” option – and shrunk me down to a much smaller screen – I’d rather do that than wait – not to mention be less of a bandwidth hog on the plane.

iPad2 Gets Garageband – big news, questions remain…

Garage Band for iPad2

Garageband on the new iPad2. That’s a biggie.  This has implications for casual music makers and pianists everywhere.

Garage Band for iPad2
Apple announces Garageband for iPad2

At the International Music products trade show (NAMM) this year you couldn’t swing a USB cable without hitting a booth with an iPad in it.  Yet, there were only a smattering of interesting musical applications on the floor.   Nonetheless, it was clear that 2011 was to be the year for music makers to drift to iPad.  This is the biggest announcement in this regard.  The new generation of tablets are a natural fit  for the pianist.

  • Light, mobile – if it’s easy to move around – you move it around.
  • Fit on the music rack of any piano (not just laptops on grands)
  • Great battery life (claim 10 hours) – I can’t practice that long.
  • Apps for displaying and organizing music.

Questions remaining at this point:

  1. Will MIDI input work?  The answer will likely be yes.  I understand that people have used the camera connection kit to connect usb midi keyboards.  Also there’s the iConnectivity folks putting out a pretty robust full featured MIDI interface.
  2. Latency with MIDI performance?  How quick will the tone generator response be to incoming MIDI?
  3. QuickTime Musical Instruments?  From available info, it looks like they’re promoting higher quality soft-sounds rather than the GM features/sound of Quicktime Musical Instruments (Apple’s Roland-Licensed General MIDI soundset that’s been on Mac since the 90s).
  4. Everything that GB has to offer?  Ie  – on the fly notation?  That’s a great feature – and makes for exciting demonstrations.

When Apple purchased Logic, and birthed Garageband a few years later, they raised the bar for elegant, simple music recording software.  It was clear then, and clearer now, that Apple has struck fear into the hearts of music software makers everywhere who can’t complete on features or price.  The features of Garageband for $5  is kinda crazy – perhaps that will stifle innovation elsewhere, – but for now, it’s a win for music makers and Apple.

Apple’s Official Page:


Other links:


Soundation – First Use

Soundation Interface

http://soundation.com/ It’s incredible what’s happening in the online application world.  This is THE direction of software – and mostly, it’s good news (unless your a speed or power user).  Soundation provides a credible, easy to use environment for recording and loop based music making.

I was up, running and making recordings in minutes.  Very cool.

Soundation Interface
Soundation Main Interface


  • Flash-based:  Sorry iPad, and shame on you Apple again.
  • Costs:  Freemium Model:  Free to do some really cool stuff, pay monthly or annually to do the stuff you’ll really want to do sooner than later.  
  • Records YOUR voice, live etc, using Flash – but you can’t export/save this unless you get one of their “Audiolocker” accounts – which start at $19/yr, or $4.99/month.  Pretty reasonable for such a cool feature set.
  • MIDI:  Has a feature for Importing MIDI files – but didn’t work for me.  Not clear if that’s supposed to be a paid feature – didn’t give any feedback along those lines.
  • No MIDI In – this is for Audio/Loops, and simple on-screen keyboard use.

Bottom line:  There’s a lot going on here, some pretty amazing stuff under the hood – and they’ve done something that delivers features for free that would have been unheard of 5 years ago.

7 things to get WordPress 3 up and running.

Frankly, I’ve wanted to do this for a long time, but like the rest of time-starved world, I haven’t made the time (notice I didn’t say “have” the time), to pull it all together.  Everything is about priorities and a blog hasn’t been a huge priority.  As I started to get more experience in the web development scene, I realized I could learn/share via a blog in the same spirit that so many great tech blogs have helped me along my path.

This is not a step by step  how to guide, but will add to the body of info on likely problems and opportunities for doing this stuff.  As I write this, I realize how much information and “luck” is assumed by the purveyors of these tools.  Never forget to Google your error messages – it’s remarkable how many solutions are out there.

  1. HostingProvider – I use a the VPS (virtual private server) from www.1and1.com. They’ve got a great server support team that is easy to talk to – and very helpful during those critical early times.  Their site is arguably “too loud”, but they’ve proven to be a great value IMHO.  Shared hosting can work for things like WordPress – but it’s likely that you’ll run into configuration problems.
  2. XAMPP for creating a local server testing framework (not critical – but will come into play at some point).  I’m mostly on a PC (although I’ve starting sharing time with Mac – but please don’t tell my wife)…so this works for me.
  3. FTP (file transfer software).  I love the free Filezilla that XAMPP suggests for moving things up and down.  Although the “auto-install” features of WordPress are supposed to work seamlessly, in practice I had to manually push things up and down to the proper locations – particularly in trying to upgrade my unusedWordpress V2 site to V3.  There’s no magic in WordPress – it’s just php files and a database connection.  However, if you move,edit  or delete the wrong files, and the result will be distinctly unmagical.
  4. MySQL Database Access.  This is the make or break aspect of setting up.  You need to be able to identify or define your database name and access.
    • host: at 1and1 – it can be your www.yourname.com address
    • database name:  on VPS, it will typically be “localhost” – but on shared it can be something assigned by your provide.
    • username:  you create
    • password: you create

    If you make it this far – that’s all that should be necessary to get your WordPress site up and running.

  5. ON WP:  Choose Theme. This is the coolest part of WordPress – that you can get a pretty sweet looking site without any heavy design lifiting.  Super impressive.
  6. ON WP:  Comment checking/spam stopping.  I found this blog with a great list that I’ve put in my “hold” list in the WP settings section for comments.  It’s a zip file, that unzips to a text file, that you can just copy and paste and put in your settings section.  We’ll see how it goes.  http://www.prelovac.com/vladimir/wordpress-comment-blacklist. Now, of course, this will never be sufficient if this blog gets some decent traffic, so I’ll have to add measures down the line.  A casual blog setup for a friend showed that if you leave comments open, it’s only a matter of time before the spam comes rushing in.
  7. Experiment:  That’s what I’m doing. The WP admin panel offers tons of features  – and the darn thing is so easy to use it seems to let you play without pay.

Having developed sites without the benefit of tools like WordPress, I post this with a certain amount of awe at what they’ve accomplished.  Good luck in your own WP travels.