Howie’s Hot Five for… 11 October, 2012

Listen to stream here

5. Fast tracking Aotearoa into TV world…

Not to mention New Girl, How I Met Your Mother and X Factor – same week in New Zealand as they hit the gigglebox in the USA!

Fast Tracking is treating the wired citizens like adults and it will make downloading more inconvenient…  it’s getting to be ‘hours of release’ in the US. This is how it should be.

Anecdotal evidence suggests fast-tracked content performs best when aired within 24 hours of its international broadcast. (Sydney Morning Herald)

PS. HH5 can’t wait for Nashville – starring the wife off American Horror Story and written by Thelma and Louise writer who’s married to T Bone Burnett who of course is doing the music.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

4. Giz a car mate…Australian style

At risk of harping HH5 featured this trend a few weeks back – BUT it’s getting closer to Auckland that land of one person per car in a line waiting to park their car in an office building and leave it there for 15 hours or so… cos they work hard ok!

This week sees Australia’s first peer-to-peer car share start-up kickoff:

Car Next Door  with company strapline: cut carbon emissions and take cars off the road as well as encourage neighbourly ties…

Business model:

  • Users join and pay a monthly fee to use cars and lenders receive 75% of the rental proceeds
  • Lenders set their own fees $5-15 per hour to $55 a day.
  • Perfect example of the booming trend of ‘collaborative consumption’… and making more sensible use of resources.

Source: SMH

3. Introducing the US’s no.1 Drug Killer…

We are talking over the counter pills…everyday pharmacy poppers!

Great story in this week’s Wall Street Journal: The drugs that killed her didn’t come from the Colombian jungles or an Afghan poppy field. Two of the three drugs found in her system were sold to Ms. Kinkade, legally, at the two biggest U.S. pharmacies.


  • 15000 Americans are dying a year from overdosing opioids  – prescription painkillers  – more are dying from these than from ALL OTHER ILLEGAL DRUGS COMBINED (Meth, Coke, Heroin etc)
  • Yet $15 billion a year spent on the ‘war against drugs’ … or illegal drugs much of it on foreign soil.
  • Hard to fight because there’s a complete distribution chain up and running…  and no bad guys to target.
  • Legal opioids come from the same narcotic family as heroin  – produce similar addictions so – they’re basically legal heroin pills.

And – there is no conversation about moving any part of the $15 billion away to combat this number one killer – easier to put a picture of a bad guy up or a bad country and spend, spend, spend… everybody wins… or not.

Source: Wall Street Journal

2. JetBlue… a lesson in great PR

JetBlue plan a campaign to fly voters out of the US if their Presidential Candidate doesn’t win – return ticket or one way!

  • Log on to mini-site – vote for Mitt-baby or BObama – and choose one of 13 locations to fly.
  • Once the results of the real election are announced, JetBlue will give 1,006 voters the opportunity to get out of the country, either on a return trip or for good for free.

Source: Springwise

1. Action Bronson… whoa!

A son of Albanian immigrants, a respected fire-flame gourmet chef, obese and a flame red headed rapper… Has his own online cooking show Action in the Kitchen.

Source: MySpace-What’s Hot

Offical Web Page

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Howie’s Hot Five for…4 October, 2012

The week of Wheedle, Fender on verge of going out of business and Neil Young taking on MP3’s  – strange days indeed…

Listen to this week’s podcast here

5. Willie Nelson – On the rails again…

Rock and Roll officially enters its late middle-aged years so no surprise it’s now built for comfort… themed cruise ship packages are all the rage from Soul Train (sail with Gladys Knight, Earth Wind and Fire to Heavy Metal and all things in between – but here’s one we like…

Willie Nelson and Band of Horses and the Railroad Revival Tour 2012

So buy a ticket to one of the seven legs  – get a sleeping birth, unplugged concerts on the train, attend a Willie and band sound check with concerts between New Orleans, Memphis or Oklahoma etc – kicking off October 19 to October 27.  (tickets from US$650)

or if this isn’t your cup of tea then Cruise on the high seas with these guys…a KISS Cruise anyone?

As well, Cayomo (sold out) cruise from Miami to San Juan and Antigua with Lyle Lovett, Richard Thompson, Buddy Miller and Keb Mo.

4.In the week of John Campbell and school lunch appeals…

“A few volunteers gather unwanted food from local supermarkets and businesses, devise a menu and cook it for those going hungry,” writes the Guardian describing FoodCycle

The Facts:

  • 400,000 tonnes of food can be reclaimed from the retail food industry
  • 4 million people affected by food poverty in the UK
  • Over 2.4 million people are searching for work – so available for skills training

So this simple idea started only three years ago but now with 15 hubs in the UK tackles – food waste and hunger – while offering un-skilled, unemployed people a chance to learn kitchen skills.

But as usual – politicians pay lip service to it …but it’s struggling on total private funding- something ain’t right.

Source: The Guardian Blog

3. Neil Young goes all Pono…

Neil is on a crusade to improve the sound of digital music – YES!
Like Neil HH5 is so over ‘compression’.

Enter Neil Young and Pono described as an “ecosystem that includes a download store and a special technology to convert digital to analog audio to maintain  quality.”

It’s as close to analogue as digital can get… and as a sign it’s serious – labels will have to remaster their catalogues to be a part of Pono.  Young has filed for patents on the system.

…Warner Music, Universal Music and Sony Music, already expressed interest in the invention. and Flea has said ”it’s a dramatic difference.”

Will he succeed …hmmm, jury is well and truly out. Many of those pesky consumers simply want convenience…sorry Neil.

Source: Tech Newspedia

2. Hekia Parata’s Dream right here, right now…

Parents ability to log on from home, office or iphone etc to check their child’s grades, assignments, school reports.

Hello – online school grade-reporting system.
In the last five years the number of US schools using online checks for parents has tripled to 35% of public schools.

One parent said (bit chilling we think) “it enables him to help her spot her weaknesses and improve her study and planning skills before it’s too late to avert a bad grade.”

Over the last decade, the trend has been toward integrated über-systems that link class materials and assignments, gradebooks, discussion boards and blogs, attendance records, and school calendars.

But it always boils down to ‘rubbish in rubbish out’… the child who got an F because her teacher mistyped and put a 10 in instead of 100% … or teachers with no time to keep the system completely updated (thank god for human error!)

Or a child’s perspective: “Someday I’m going to be standing at my locker and I’ll get a text from her saying, ‘Why didn’t you turn in your algebra homework yet?’ and I’ll say, ‘I haven’t even had class yet today,’  “Now that she is going to know about it immediately, there’s no way I can even try to hide,”

And finally a teacher’s perspective: “too much emphasis on posting and viewing online grades risks making education “a faster and faster hamster wheel.”

Source Curious Parents

1. The Female Elvis Returns (from beyond the grave)

Janis Martin sold 750,000 records in the 1950’s of a single called Will You Willyum… and some say she’s the true queen of rock-a-billy. Called the female Elvis she fell off the map due to marriage and children. In 2007 aged 67 she returned to the  studio and cut this record  – but she died of lung cancer two months after the recording wrapped up.

Rosie Floris who dragged Janis into the studio recently released the album and is now touring her songs… listen to a lovely 9 min doco interview on NPR (source below)

Source: NPR Weekend Edition

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Howie’s Hot Five for… 27 September, 2012

Listen to podcast here (so much classier than reading and with half the typos)

5. Rent a Grand Ma…

Whoever gets this out in the market in New Zealand will be a winner…

HH5 predicts when the ‘rent-a-grandma’ wave hits – it’ll be as big as the ‘au pair’ (nanny) industry …

Fact: Western world is an aging population …but we’re getting progressively healthier…So this idea is simple business common sense.

  • Next 20 year projection state more people over 45 in New Zealand than under 45.
  • The number of +65 is set to double.
  • In a place like the Taranaki in only 19 years time there’ll be more 65 years than those under 25.
    (source: Sunlive)

On the big questions of the economy vs aging population – China doesnt’ looks so powerful any more… it’s a test case:

The reason why Japan and China are “test cases” for global population aging is quite straightforward: Both countries have populations that are aging at unprecedented rates, and each country faces the distinct challenges of the developed and developing world, respectively.

…In Japan, population aging is driving technological innovation.  e.g. Toyota’s independent walking assist robot.

Source: Huffington Post

4. Peak time…

Fresh from The Wall Street Journal = know your Circadian Rhythm and you can save your self your health and get more done.

Latest research says pinpoint that time of the day when you’re alert to attend to tasks such as resolving conflict to thinking creatively.
Know your Circadian Rhythm people!

Disruption of circadian rhythms has been linked to such problems as diabetes, depression, dementia and obesity, says Steve Kay, a professor of molecular and computational biology at the University of Southern California.

Let’s look at most adults:

  • Cognitive work (memory, thinking, problem solving) = late mornings.  (A warm shower can jump start the move into this type of thinking at this time of day.)
  • Noon- 4pm – thinking = forgedaboutit  – tired, useless. = Take a nap at 2 pm
  • Open-mind free thinking = good when you are tired, fatigues = the evenings.  Fatigue allows the mind to wander!
  • 3-6pm best for physical exercise – risk free alert zone

Nb. Morning people tend to wake up and go to sleep earlier and to be most productive early in the day. Evening people tend to wake up later, start more slowly and peak in the evening – so you need to adjust the above for these types.

Source: Wall Street Journal

3. Avira … best free anti-virus

Word up and other weak intro’s – HH5 a couple of months ago put us on to Microsoft Security Essentials as one of the best free anti-virus – here is the final word for now on the five best free anti-virus programmes:

Avira  – best by far but a muddle interface – we say give it a go…
Microsoft Security Essentials is in the top five – is ok they say.
AVG is there as well but comes with our warning that it uses just too many resources on your PC…it’s heavy.

Source: MakeUsOf

2. Madonna… a tin ear…

Good old jumping the shark – Fonzi water skiing in his leather jacket…and togs, Tom C on Oprah’s Couch (True Blood – ouch!) and Madonna’s career is a slow motion shark jump…

How did a commercially savvy ear turn so tinny… and misstep so badly but so consistently…  an over determination to remain ‘relevant’ maybe?

– Nazi insignia – 20 years ago hip – suddenly it looks ‘try hard’ (apologies and took then out)
– Flashed her breasts in Turkey
– Flashed her buttocks in Rome
– Even allowing a feud with Lady Gaga… Currently mashes Express Yourself and Born this Way in case we forget the similarity – yet it ends up looking simply bitter.
– Latest – Joking on Monday night about ‘having a black Muslim in the White House’  = a lead balloon. (has just apologised)

Being called a fairground stripper who’s career is over by Elton John is the least of her worries…(his excellent advice was to forget electronic gadgetry and get back to Ray of Light’ and exquisite pop)

Source: Vancouver Sun

1. Psy – the most intense virus

From 50 Shades of Grey (a nothing online published porn series to world domination and now Psy….out of South Korea…wrapping in Korean and no.2 selling Download in the US this week – who would have thought (not Madonna that’s for sure)

Get hip with Gangnam Style and K Pop and Psy!
Clips released July 15 of this year featuring a pudgy South Korean rapper in a suit…
264 million youtube views and a spot on Ellen…

It’s going to get worse…Psy has just signed with Scooter Braun the guy who discovered and drives Justin Bieber’s career.

Source and K Pop backgrounder: Vulture

Psy attended the Berkley School of Music and returned to Korea and K Pop (sub genre of Asian dance music)

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Howie’s Hot Five for… 20 September, 2012

Listen to this week’s podcast here

5. Silence and Privacy… the danger roles on…

Civilian drones are about to cause major privacy issue…

Watch superb Video here

Privacy concerns because the Australian police are talking about using drones for crime fighting… as well ‘un-registered’ drone operators have been raising their dubious heads.

Un-registered = paparazzi (photos of celebs) and bike gangs (keeping meth lab’s guarded) using them for illicit purposes – and under current law anything goes.

N.B. They take superb imagery…

And also be afraid if this becomes an avalanche: Queensland Police said it was “in a research and testing stage to determine viability” of such aircraft.

Operations under investigation ... drones.

Several law enforcement agencies around Australia are believed to be investigating the use of drones in their operations — following adoption by police in the United States — but none except Queensland Police would confirm this officially. Victoria Police hosted a conference in Melbourne this year with police from other states to discuss drone use.

“The very first 20th-century anti-utopian novel — 25 years before Orwell’s 1984 — used drones (“aeros” ) as the means by which the government observed and repressed the population.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

N.B. The issue: drones are simply not considered in any privacy legislation – free reign.

4. Rwanda…rocking with success…

We love the apocryphal story about a group of leading African economists writing to Bono; Dear Bono, please leave us alone, Signed Africa.

Well here’s some good news for the economists…re: Rwanda!

The Facts:

Exhibit No. 1 Rwanda

  • This year Rwanda (that ex-ethnic cleansing atrocity story with 800,000 slaughtered in 1994) has moved up 7 places on the world competitiveness index to number 63 out of 140 countries…
  • Annual GDP in the last few years of 7% (annual average economic growth of 8% a year since 2004)
  • The reason – new President wants to be totally diff from his neighbours by making it easy to do business – The Internet is super fast, the airport is totally free of corruption, we can then lure to Rwanda all the companies and economic interests that are working in this entire region (See new book: A Thousand Hills, by Stephen Kinzer)
  • American agronomists have been in to advise on growing super premium grade coffee
  • The President has visited Singapore to see how to upskill people

Exhibit No. 2 – US hotel chains!

“International hotels racing to Africa”….reported the Wall Street Journal this week.

  • Marriott = 0 hotels in Africa…but not for long. Opening in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda late ’13 – with eight more planned in Ghana and Ethiopia.
  • Hilton Worldwide Inc. and Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, owner of the Radisson Blu brand – also in the race.
  • Overall 208 new hotels expected across Africa.

Why? Because crowds of business travellers are flocking to Africa thanks to minerals and natural gas.

  • Only Asia is experiencing more growth.
  • Airline Travel up 9.8% to sub-Saharan Africa – outpacing global growth which is 6.8%

Source: Wall Street Journal

3. Christmas Cake…. and we ain’t talking icing…

America and Japan have biggest rates of adoption in the world…with one difference: 98% of all adoptions in Japan are young males between 25 – 30 years of age…


To either ‘create’ and heir to take over a family business or put the wind up a poor performing blood heir.

“You pick a candidate, an adoptee, preferably from Tokyo University, a smart person, and so on, and someone you have the opportunity to observe. And then you sort of do…what is called an omiai, which literally means ‘see marriage’, with one of your daughters…Then the person marries your daughter and is adopted into the family.”

This strategy is particularly important if you have a daughter who’s a wedding cake! Over 25 and unmarried…!

It’s a joke in Japan – after 25 a woman is like a Christmas cake…hard to dispose of after the 25th…

Japanese, unmarried, after 25 and adopting sons to keep the family name of old family firms going.

Does love matter – marrying into family with business ain’t about love – and hopefully grow to love each other.

2. El Capitan!

The above dog was adopted as a puppy by Miguel Guzman of Corboba, Argentina in 2005.

March 2006 Miguel died.

The Dog disappeared for a while.

BUT – when the family went to visit Miguel’s grave there was the dog – Capitan – and to this day the dog has refused to leave – six years later.

So all the caretakers ensure he has his shots and a vet even visits to do a check up sometimes. Capitan hangs out with the caretakers but every night returns to Miguel’s grave… and lays his head down on the tombstone.

1. The Last Word Goes to Casey Kasem…

DJ to the 70’s.

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Howie’s Hot Five for…12 September, 2012

Listen to podcast here

5. Apple No 5 is out … will we one day laugh at ourselves…

Laugh at ourselves because the biggest, most profitable company in the world is based on pure design genius ….but now they make the bulk of their stash simply by releasing a slight version of their greatest hit every 12 months to dribbling hyper-consumers that we are… when a small piece of plastic made in China becomes must have, must have, must have…

Apple Corp is officially the biggest stock on the planet…

  • It’s thin
  • It’s taller
  • It’s faster
  • Better colour saturation and display
  • Speedier on 4G networks and has LTE = high speed datea for mobile phones (but Androids have this for a good while) (4G coming to NZ supposedly Nov 2013)

The iPhone 5 is here… ready, set, go! BUY!
(*it’s looks a lot like the Samsung galaxy. Hush you!)

2. Scientific America says ‘hide the phone’…

Last week’s Scientific American featured this study by Andrew K. Przybylski and Netta Weinstein of the University of Essex…

The test:

  • Strangers asked to discuss a moderately intimate topic for 10 minutes… in a private booth w/o personal items.  Some of the discussions took part with a cell phone on a desk beside them – others simply with a book.
  • After chat, complete questionnaires about the connectedness and feelings of closeness they had experienced

DUH, DUH, DUH! Those with cell phone nearby answered consistently with lesser feelings of closeness than those without…

The presence of the cell phone had no effect on relationship quality, trust, and empathy, but only if the pair discussed the casual topic.  In contrast, there were significant differences if the topic was meaningful. The pairs who conversed with a cell phone in the vicinity reported that their relationship quality was worse.  The pairs also reported feeling less trust and thought that their partners showed less empathy if there was a cell phone present.

Takeout: Hide the phone in the boot of your car on first dates…seriously.

and is this a case of science catching up on real life… we know this stuff!

Source: Scientific American

3. A Mamil’s gets it on…

A Mamil  = another middle aged man in lycra…

This recent blog covers not only men in lycra  – but also the thorny issue of cycling helmets…

Cycles in European cities is ubiquitous – but also we forget that Europe has no cycle helmet laws – unless you are on the open road in a peloton of racing riders…

Berlin – is love at first cycle – lanes everywhere and a seeming dearth of car occupiers simply pissed off that you are alive… little kids in small caravans hooked to the backs of their parents bike – we saw a foreigner in Grey Lynn the other day with the same setup up (gulp)

We quote the blog On your bike – Australian but still relevent….For informed comment on helmet laws

  • Political Exploitation – In Aust (insert New Zealand) cycling is often cast as a political act  – talkback hosts etc getting in the ear of frustrated motorists demanding cycles be registered …
  • Infrastructure – Europe = cycle designed infrastructure – some of this would help the hesitant cycler take to the road
  • Bike share – 28 schemes in France (not just massive metropolis of Paris)… 24 in Spain and Italy….and London is now in on the act —Auckland …it’s just sad. Len Brown how about you doing something other than talking – love your friendly face on TV but….
  • Mandatory Helmet Laws – Europe = fast cycling open road = Helmet. Whipping around to the shops for a packet of Matinee Flats = NO helmet.
    After 20 years of helmets – little to prevent injury but have discouraged cycling. (open road wear a helmet, car heavy arterial routes, wear a helmet)

“Is it really the case that Australia and New Zealand are right and the other 99 per cent of the world is wrong? Seriously? Have you travelled lately?

2. Those little pricks are scientifically good for you…

Ok, most rigorous and detailed study of acupuncture as a treatment has just been completed…

Major finding: It can ease migraines and arthritis and other forms of chronic pain.
(Second finding: it’s more than just a placebo)

Importance: past scientific research has been mixed, dodgy and only carried on on small control groups.

Study Length = five years  and 18000 patients

Success over alternatives for pain relief for = osteoarthritis, migraines and chronic back, neck and shoulder pain.

Comparisons included: over the counter pain killers and sham acupuncture treatments where needles only inserted superficially.

Source: Well

1. His  Bobness…

If you totally dislike this guy – you dont’ get him… chill, we’ll let you off this time…. but hey give this one listen. A 71-year-old just put out a record this week that…

The rock-star survivors of Dylan’s generation have all had to find ways to deal with their advancing age. We have become used to the spectacle of old men, hair-plugged and botoxed and crammed into tight trousers, recycling the hits of their youth on blockbuster reunion tours. But Dylan doesn’t run from his old age—he accentuates it.

Source: New Yorker Online Edition

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Howie’s Hot Five for… 6 September, 2012

5. Can I rent your car bro?

Peer-to-Peer car sharing is getting hot.  By the hour, day, week …using smartphones…

The facts:
Average car is dormant 92% of the time
Getaround (US) has signed up 10,000 cars in the last year and,
Raised $14 million from bunch of leading Silicon Valley venture capitalists
In San Fran, Portland, Austin and San Diego (interesting for NZ as these are not massive cities)
People can browse cars for rent in their neighbourhood  -and renting 15 hours a week can earn extra US $350 per month. (Insurance is included)
Renters access the car via smartphone and password activation (Kit is pre-installed in each car to allow this)


4. Evernote – app of ‘any’ week…

The ‘quiet success story of the usual tech shrill world – four years old, 40 million users and recently US$70 million funding.

It’s compatible with everything and available on every device and platform:

We at HH5 get excited by every new ‘to do list’ app and note-taker but we keep coming back to this one.  Very simple drag and drop or copy of PDF, photos, web pages, word documents straight into Evernote digital locker… ruddy easy!

And here’s a special ‘Why’

Because if you hit the sync button regularly once Evernote has loaded latest files to your device they are their for opening and browsing offline!  This works every time on your laptop – and ‘most of the time’ on Ipad…we’ve had great success.

And this week Evernote announced: Evernote goes Moleskine by launching a Moleskine notebook. Scribble your notes in the note book and use the phone camera to snap pages and load them to Evernote.

Free account is pretty handy…
Source: Gigaom
Entertainment Weekly
Evernote Blog

3. Stamp of Positivity and Bring Back Sarcasm Yah!

Visualise Your Goals. Think Positive, There is not such word as Impossible!

SELF-HELP – ahhhhhhh!  it’s a billion dollar industry with Anthony Robins taking home $80 million of that.

Let the backlash to ‘happiness of die’ begin…and about time.
Even ‘happiness and positive’ consultants are now rebranding and dropping these words.

Two Books: Smile of Die: How Positive Thinking Fooled America and the World  by Barbara Ehrenreich – written by a breast cancer survivor who got fed up with the demands to be relentlessly positive and the Pink industry.   Her take – Breast Cancer is a bad lottery and survival rates have nothing to do with positivity – it’s about improved detection, better surgical techniques and great understanding of the disease.  She also rails at positiveness and the financial sector – blind optimism got us into the mess!

On the contrary, I would like to see more smiles, more laughter, more hugs, more happiness… and the first step is to recover from the mass delusion that is positive thinking”.

The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkman:

The simple message: chasing happiness is the problem  – embrace failure and accept insecurity rather than resist it… it’s better for the mind.

Beware when positive thinking takes the place of actual thinking
And the cult of happiness and perfectionism has held sway for the last 20 years.  Aspiring to be happy permanently is unrealistic and leaves people ill-prepared for life’s hard knocks.

e.g. Emily Seebohm’s disappointment in winning a silver medal. She thought she let her parents down. ”Now, her parents, of course, disowned that but it was a strange and very telling comment about a generation of people who think they have to please their parents all the time,” he says. ”In fact, the darker emotions, failure and disappointment, have much more to teach us than the bright shiny ones.”

”Motivational books, tapes and seminars might leave you feeling briefly excited, but that feeling fades,” 

And this last idea we are very excited about –Bring Back Sarcasm  (We are trapped in an era of sincerity – let us out!)
This Slate journo argues it’s one of the building blocks of civilisation- to express an unwelcome observation in a wickedly passive-aggressive manner.

Sardonic irony is as critical to healthy child development as vitamins and tick-checks. Raising your brats on an exclusive diet of sincerity is a recipe for disaster.

The current mania for relentless positivity and self-esteem building leaves me convinced that we are in real danger of turning out an entire generation of inspirational speakers.

Love the writers schoolboy memory – after reading Joyce’s Ulysses so badly in front of the class his teacher said: He was so overcome by the “sensitivity” of my reading he’d have to to “nip out for a fag” in order to compose himself.

2. A Hot Five Conundrum

Fatal Crashes on New Zealand Roads 2011= 190 
(282) (NZTA website says 400 deaths)
NZ Transport Agency is traditionally one the top advertising spenders  – spending millions on TV ads. “Ghost Chip” etc.
So HH5 would argue that years of these expensive advertising campaigns has altered our habits and our cultural response to drinking and driving…


Imagine if we spent the same amount on our habits to binge drinking – rather than each politician scoring cheap political points by ‘outlawing young drinkers’ etc.

The number of youths committing suicide has surged by 40%+

Total Suicides in New Zealand in last five years 2717
Total for 2011-2012: 547
74% of all NZ suicides are male

Sources: NZ Herald

1. Hal David 92…passes…

Ask Frank Siantra, Elvis Presley, Elton John…or even Lan Del Ray – those words are pretty important.

Make believe that you don’t see the tears
Just let me grieve in private ’cause each time I see you
I break down and cry

Hal David the guy who ground out perfect words for Burt Bacharach’s perfect tunes passed away this week aged 91… wonder if he approved this…

The New York Times put it so well: [His] lyrics could be anguished pleas, wistful yearnings, sexy mash notes or wry musings — sometimes all four in the same song.

Walk on By
Don’t Make Me Over
Message to Michael
Do you know the way to San Jose
Raindrops keep falling on my head
I’ll Never Fall in Love Again
What the World Needs Now is Love

Believability, Simplicity and Emotional impact – in a couple of minute – masterful.

NB He didn’t have his first hit until he was into his late 30’s and his biggest hits happened in his 40’s.

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Howie’s Hot Five for…30 August, 2012

To stream show go here

5. Low-Five: Piano Tuners…a dying art!

First up – Researchers in the UK this week released findings that say tuning a piano tunes the brain – they can demonstrate structural changes in the brain of professional piano tuners – as they make notes pitch perfect it has a beneficial affect on their brains – notably in the nerve connections and the information processing part of the brain.

BUT, BUT, BUT The US and Australian media has in very recent times featured dramatic photo-diaries of beautiful pianos being rounded up and clubbed to death – surplus to needs… unloved, not needed…these amazing contraptions that have around 100 parts for every note made of felt, cloth and leather.

Which brings us to an aging problem… A drastic shortage of piano tuners…

65% of Australia’s piano tuners are over 50.
95% are male.
And the industry has trained a new generation of tuner in 18 years – simply very, very few places to learn.
With tuning and care a piano can last for a century – and there’s a million pianos in Australia.
It can be done electronically – but for concert pianos – you can’t beat the ear…

Sources: BBC
Sydney Morning Herald

4. Private Jet Hire…a non-tech star-up

Surfair – flat fee, membership airline. No bookings or lines and no huge security malarkey.
So a hybrid airline – small jets and you’ll soon get to know your usual passengers.

Welcome to all you can fly membership airlines.

Pay monthly fee US$1000  – get four boarding passes  – LA to San Fran, Monterey and Santa Barbara. It will then take 30 seconds to book. That’s it!

Note: the model of air travel hasn’t changed since it started in the 1930’s – still a privilege based experience. Not it’s simply catching a bus with wings. But the hassles never stop…

3. Face-Brag…

We thought it was just HH5 getting slightly fed up with Facebook now leaning heavily towards Face-bragging… ugh.

Instagram photos of your dinners … ad infinitum anyone?

“Facebook bragging can be as good as sex.” supposedly a skite on Facebook triggers same response as food, money or sex – and this from a Harvard research neuroscientist studying MRI scans.

The results showed that whenever participants talked about themselves there was increased activity in the mesolimbic dopamine system, the area of the brain linked to the feeling of reward in sex, winning money or enjoying a good meal.

Self disclosure is extra-rewarding with people even prepared to forgo other rewards to talk about themselves.

As a Wall Street Journalist recently wrote:  A generation ago, many such comments about exercise accomplishments, workplace victories and relationships would have been seen as insufferable bragging.  e.g. ‘Best gift ever from best husband ever’

And what do most people do when seeing this stuff… they hit the ‘Like’ button and move on…

Source: The Daily Mail
Wall Street Journal

2. Pandora, Spotify, Music and Money…

Pandora and Spotify = heaps of free listening and they are both easy-to-use.

  • 33 million use Spotify
  • 150 million are registered with Pandora

Major Fact: both services are totally raking in the dough – and totally paying it all out in music royalties.  e.g. Spotify made US$236 million in 2011 and lost US$57 million.

Pandora can’t sell enough advertising to offset the royalty costs – and Spotify neeeds to get more paying subscribers and reach better deals with each publisher.(97% of its revenue goes back to publishers)

Possibility: Major publishers do better deals with Spotify as they are a ‘last hope’…which leads us to…

Now for the more mathematically geeky of you – we’ve attached a short blog by David Touve an Assistant Professor in Management in Washington and consultant to the music industry heavy-weights.

He specifically mentions New Zealand as example of where it’s all wrong…. the subscription services are to expensive so blocking off bigger part of the market – NZ one of the most expensive at $12.50 – he says goes for US$5  and $3 for main and mobile and signups will boom.

Source: MediaDecoder NYTimes (worth it for the responses from readers -wise!)
David Touve

Stealing Sheep… bubbling up for success…

Young, hip, female band…if our predictions are correct… sort of Lykke Li and Bats for Lashes…
Debut Album is The Diamond Sun and the lovey music press are gurgling with pleasure.
All three are the The Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts

Source: The Independent

Source: The Guardian

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