Wednesday, January 31, 2007

MUSIC: More from Dongas Tribe

The already-blogged-about group Dongas Tribe has several albums worth of material available on the Internet Archive. The tunes themselves are, in my opinon, universally excellent: spirited, rockin' folkish fiddle tunes, for the most part. But these are field recordings, so the quality varies. The best set by far is Rainy Night in the Bell Tent. My top three tunes:

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Monday, January 29, 2007

E-BOOK: The O. Henry Memorial Award Prize Stories

My recent posts on short story collections by single authors and multiple authors proved extremely popular. You can expect more posts on short fiction anthologies in the coming while. I think they are quite suited to e-book reading because it's not quite as intimidating as Dickens or Austen: you can read it in chunks and get through a whole story quickly.

One of the forerunners to today's myriad and popular "Best Stories of Year Whatever" collections was the O. Henry Prize, which has endured to our time. The first three years worth of annual anthologies are public domain material available at Project Gutenberg.

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

MUSIC: Instrumental Tunes by Harmsichord

Found this one via Black Sweater, White Cat, who has taken up the 'song a day' mantle from CC 365. I am a picky instrumental listener; I admit to my pop-ish tastes, and unless it's Celtic instrumental or something with a strong beat, I often get bored. But BSWC has found a composer who piqued my interest. What they seem to be doing is combining standard musical styles with interesting instruments:
There are a dozen others available on the Internet Archive. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

AUDIO: 15+ Complete Language Courses

I was just stunned when I found this resource, it's that fabulous. The Foreign Service Institute, is a branch of the United States Government which exists to provide cultural and language-related training to government personnel about to be deployed overseas. A website has made available complete copies of their earlier courses, which are public domain material. I only looked in detail at the French one because I am involved in French study now for work purposes, and it had a PDF textbook over 300 pages long, and several dozen lengthy audio lessons in MP3 format, all free for the downloading. I am not sure how useful a PDF-format book will be to me, and I think I have most of that material in other forms, but I will be downloading the audio classes. And there are plenty of other languages available too: Hebrew, German, Greek, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish and more. Check it out here.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

ADMIN: A Quick Reader Survey

I'm getting myself organized for the new year :) If you could post a brief comment answering the following questions, that would be great:

1) Would you be interested in seeing posts about items not in the public domain or under Creative Commons license, but freely available on-line just the same?

2) Would you like to see posts about video? About book readers, MP3 player, gadgets or anything of that sort?

3) Would you prefer to see more editorializing/commentating from me about each post, or do you enjoy the more bare-bones 'just the links' style I have used so far?

4) Do you like the somewhat random post-as-I-find-stuff approach, or would you prefer theme days, e.g. an audio book every Monday, a song every Tuesday etc.

Thanks! I want to try and get the word out there about this blog more, so I want it to be the best it can be. I would so appreciate your brief feedback, either via comment or via email.

MEDIA: The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot

T.S. Eliot is one of my only favourite modern poets. The Waste Land is one of his best-known works. Thought Audio has produced a very high-quality audio of this famous poem, and for those that prefer to read for themselves, the text is in the public domain and available at Project Gutenberg.

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

MUSIC: Celtic-Inspired Mix

Another 'mix tape' post, this one featuring Celtic-style music for your enjoyment. As I have said before, I find this sort of music great for working out. It's also fun for just listening. Nearly all of these have not been blogged here yet :)

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

MUSIC: Another Song from Magnatune

Magnatune has a new embedded player where one can preview the songs without launching their media player. I have been having so much fun with it! Here is a great song I found in my travels.

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

AUDIO: Podcast on Technology and Copyright

As mentioned on Boing Boing, the EFF is back with another podcast. In this installment, they talk to activist Derek Slater about the latest gadgets, and how they are being affected by the current talk on copyright reform. As some of you might have gathered, this is an issue I feel very deeply about, and it's one of the reasons I have become more interested in open source, public domain and Creative Commons material---material whose creators seem to have a more realistic idea of how media should be, can be, and is used. I could soapbox on this forever, but I'll spare you :) You can check out the podcast instead.

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

MUSIC: The Workout Mix

Someone on my fitness board was asking for good music to take to the gym. I know I have lamented before that so many of the Commons stuff is of the techno or R&B persuasion while my own tastes veer to the pop-ish, but as you know, that sort of stuff IS out there, one just has to dig a little :) So I put myself to the test and tried to put together a playlist for workouts. Here they are, ten songs with a good beat and catchy tune.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

E-BOOK: Short Story Collections,Part 2

Here are some short story collections by individual authors. Many of them have more available (especially Dickens, Doyle and Chekhov). I just picked one as a sampling. Most of them also have novels, tales, sketches or collected works available too, so if you do find an author you like, there is likely more where that came from. One of the great things about the short story as a genre is its ability to introduce one to new writers. You can sample many authors in a short time this way :)

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Monday, January 08, 2007

E-BOOK: Short Story Collections, Part 1

Many short story collections are available in the public domain for fans of the genre. There anthologies by single authors, and collections by just one author. We'll start with the 'collections by various authors' today :) Here are some collections which are based around a specific theme:
Scribner's also apparently once put out a series of anthologies by authors in different countries. These must have been quite successful, as there were quite a few of them!
Later this week, I'll share some single-author collections which you might enjoy. Remember that the ones listed here are just a sample of what's available. Feel free to go digging in your own! And apologies for the radio silence these past few days. I have been just flattened by a stomach bug that I hope is now on its way out :) I will post more later this week, I promise!

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

MUSIC: Magnatune Song of the Day

The excellent netlabel Magnatune has started a song of the day feature. Each day, they will post one song for you to enjoy and download. You can receive a daily email, too. It doesn't look so far like they are archiving the previous days, but even so, if you have ever found their catalogue a little overwhelming and not been sure where to start---or if you are like me and can be skittish about branching into genres you are not familiar with---this could be just the thing.

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Monday, January 01, 2007

MUSIC: One More from CC 365

I'm not sure if the people at CC 365 will be continuing their blog into 2007, but I thank these guys for being the ones to initially get me into the whole Creative Commons movement. They didn't quite meet their goal of posting one song a day for an entire year, and the tastes of that collective were not quite on par with mine (Scott Andrew in the first week notwithstanding). But the blog was a ground-breaker, and I thought it would be appropriate to inaugerate the new year on MY blog with one of their pics. I struggle to find CC music that isn't techno/ambient/soundscape type stuff, so it a delight when a tune like this one pops up with farily little digging :)