Is It A Religion Or A Disease? A Psychiatrist Calls It Audiophilia  

I was there in the early days of hi-fi. I watched many audiophile writers sit in the middle of a sound room at trade shows or audio salons, close their eyes, and listen to music. Sometimes, they didn’t move for an hour or so. I used to wonder if they were sleeping, or seriously listening to the sounds. 

The audio writers back then loved all of the stereo equipment as much as they loved any treasure. Franklin Karp of Audio Video Systems, emailed me this BBC film today. It’s all about audiophiles in 1959, with tongue-in-cheek humor. 

Critics call it a masterpiece. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It brought back so many memories.
Here it is.

This is dedicated to the audiophile writers who started it all. I will be adding to the list as other audio industry folks remind me of those I missed. 
Harry Pearson • J. Gordon Holt • Julian Hirsch • Hans Fantel • Len Feldman• Larry Archibald • Gordon Sell • Bob Angus • Barney Pisha • Larry Klein • Gene Pitts • Michael Riggs • Ivan Berger • Lance Braithwaite • David Ranada • Peter Dobbin • Ed Foster • Peter Michell • John Atkinson • Robert Harley • Anthony Cordesman, • Dan Kumin •

Read the What’s Hi-Fi article that covered the film

The Future Of Photography   

Every time Eliot and I travel, or go some place interesting, he packs a knapsack filled with heavy camera equipment to take with us. As each year passes, I worry how he manages to lug all that stuff.

That’s why I was particularly interested in a new camera called “Light” that is supposed to go on sale this week. Two of my tech friends told me about it. It sounds fabulous for a novice like me, but I wish Eliot would consider it. 

For $1,950, the new “Light” camera weighs less than a pound, fits in your back pocket, has 16 lenses and sensors that can capture a 52-megapixel shot. While I know very little about camera technology, I am told that amount of pixels give you a super detailed photo. Most cameras only offer 12 megapixels. 

One thing I do know about is having a great zoom lens. I love being able to zoom in on things from blocks away. The optical zoom on “Light” captures  objects five times closer and gives you lots of focus options.

I wanted to know more about this camera so I googled it. The Wall Street Journal had the best review. All the details are covered by expert Geoffrey Flowler.

My Body In 3D

The thought that someone other than myself has an outline of my body parts is just the incentive I need to go on a drastic diet. I am sure there are other people who feel the same way.  We all have to get use to having merchants who know us up-close and personal. That is the digital future.

Amazon just bought Body Labs. It’s a 3D scanning platform that will measure your size and then create an avatar-like image of your  dimensions. This all fits beautifully with Amazon’s “try before you buy” Prime Wardrobe service. This subscription based program will allow Prime members to order (and try on) from three to 15 items of clothing before they actually buy any of them.    

The whole idea is to cut back on returns. Get the size right that first time. Let me know your thoughts on this.


Nordstrom Introduces Stores Without Inventory 

I  said it the other day, and now I say it again today. The retail world is changing. It has to. Traditional retailers cannot compete with online merchants. 

Therefore, Nordstrom has opened its first store without inventory, called Nordstrom Local. The 3,000 sq. ft. store, the first one located in West Hollywood,  CA., just features a few dressing rooms. The average Nordstrom store used to be  140,000 sq. ft.

The smaller Nordstrom store features personal stylists, beverage bars, salons, and alteration sections. 

Nordstrom likes these convenient locations because they can provide better customer service like same-day alterations and convenient pick-ups for purchases and returns.

Nordstrom is still figuring out the correct retail concept for the future. I think they are getting very close.




51 Years In Tech 

I wish I was starting my career all over again.  There are only a handful of industry people I started with who are still around. Most are dead or retired. I never expected them to leave me. I have had to make new friends. They are all very nice, but the ones who are gone were more like family. 

The tech industry today is filled with people who come and go so fast you rarely get to see their true talents. I now just go with the flow. I had to learn new work habits, new priorities, new attitudes, new goals and new demands. 

In order to survive in today’s work place, you have to reinvent yourself all the time. It’s exhausting, but if you love what you do, you manage. I have been managing so far. At my stage, you want to know you are making a meaningful contribution.  

Thank you Dealerscope for this recognition and Allen Hirsch of HandL phone cases who nominated me.  It’s very comforting.

Smile, You’re On Google Camera 

Google has introduced a new type of video camera that I would want to buy if I was an Android user. Called Google Clips, the mini camera acts just like a GoPro.  

The $249 Google Clips automatically shoots seven second videos without audio on its own. The camera is programmed to look for faces and pets. Google Clips does not constantly record. It just captures certain moments. A clip on the back of the 2-inch camera let’s you attach the unit to a wide variety of surfaces.

Google Clips is great for recording snippets at dinner parties, special events, lectures, parties, meetings, and even long walks. Many folks don’t want to be the photographer all the time. Let the camera do most of the work.  Users can choose the best of the best videos for a permanent record on a companion app. It will store your Google Clips so you can edit, share, or make stills. That’s pretty amazing.

Read what USA Today has to say about it.



New Uber Lounges 

Everytime I call for an Uber, or a Lyft, I always wonder if the driver is really going to find me. Nine times out of 10 they do, but it still concerns me all the time.

Uber has come up with a solution but I’m not sure they did it for my purposes. The transportation company has announced the “Uber Lounge,” a physical pick-up and drop-off seating area. Some locations will even have a host or hostess who will act as brand ambassadors.

The new concept is in partnership with Westfield shopping centers. Uber is looking for other partners as well because they really want to use these lounge areas as branding opportunities.

The new lounges are in all 33 of Westfield’s shopping centers in the U.S., starting with Century City in Los Angeles. They will feature  ultra-modern design, sleek seating, and other amenities yet to be named.

Word has it that other car services, including Lyft, all plan to establish their own type of seating area locations. 

The competition is really getting wild.

Hold Your Tears For Toys ‘R’ Us.

Leave it to a toy company to play the digital game. Rather than roll over and die, Toys ‘R’ Us is betting on augmented reality to bring itself back from the dead. I’m sure you all read that the retailer just declared bankruptcy. 

Many of my family and friends were already  crying the blues for the retailer that was once a major part of their social life, especially with their children. Eliot, Whitney and I would drive to the Toys ‘R’ Us in Douglaston, Queens, from Manhattan. to spend our Saturday afternoons. Eliot would run to Legos, Whitney to Barbies, and I would be walking the aisles looking for other friends who were visiting the toy store at the same time.

Those were the days, long before the Internet. No one wants to go shopping anymore. People spend hours online searching for their dream buys. The days of hanging out at Toys ‘R’ Us are long gone.

At least I thought so. Then we all got a big surprise. The retailer has just announced Play Chaser, a free augmented reality app that turns stores into virtual playgrounds. All you have to is  point the app at the star icons all around the stores and you can play games and win prizes. 

Geoffrey the Giraffe, is still around and will be playing games with you and your children and grandchildren.

A company press release says Play Chaser is currently in 23 stores in California, New York and North Carolina. However, it should be available across the country as of October 21st

The New York Times recently did a story about the refinancing of Toys ‘R’ Us. After you read it here, you might be more hopeful for the future of bricks and mortar.

It’s So Nice To Have A Man Around The House 

Ikea finally got the message. Not everyone can, or wants to, assemble their furniture. The Swedish home goods giant has a solution. They recently bought TaskRabbit, a digital startup company that gets handymen jobs for free lance workers. The company employs 60 employees and has a base of 60,000 independent workers

Jesper Brodin, top executive at Ikea, said they are very excited about being involved in the on-demand, sharing economy.  “It enables Ikea to learn from TaskRabbit’s digital expertise and provide customers with affordable service solutions.”

Ikea has really been stepping up its digital presence lately with the recent announcement of its new augmented reality app called “Ikea Place.” Using the iPhone’s camera, consumers can now see how an Ikea piece of furniture will look in their homes. How  cool is that?  Pretty  awesome. 

TaskRabbit is really helping Ikea become part of the tech world. Ikea has sales of more than $36 billion annually and 183,000 workers.

Ikea is anxious for TaskRabbit to sign up other retail partnerships as well. TaskRabbit already has a deal with Amazon.  This is going to get interesting.

TaskRabbit is quickly expanding from 24 city locations to 40 in the U.S. It also wants to offer its services in other countries as well.

All I can say is, “It’s about time.”


Whitney and Fredrick In India; Lois and Eliot at a Drag Charity Party

Whitney and Fredrick are in India at a friend’s wedding. The bride went to school with Whitney at Carnegie Mellon. 

The second set of photos are from tonight’s charity event we attended at The Sanctuary Church in Ft. Lauderdale for the Julian Fountain of Youth in Haiti. Our friends Randy Bridges and Ron Moorman invited us.

Whitney’s tattoo

The bride arrives

Back in Ft. Lauderdale.

Getting ready for the drag show

Randy and me.

Randy let’s go!

Randy and Ron on left with friends