Wednesday, January 04, 2017

MA-78 - 45s & Favorites, Disc 13

Here's more evidence of a youth that was underappreciated.

Who would have predicted that the music industry's quest for hits would have led them to throw so many musical styles against the mirror of teenage money, in the hopes that the money would stick to some of the songs.

01. Introduction - Hoosier Hot Shots (0:09)
02. Baby Let's Swing/The Last Thing You Said/Don't Tie My Hands - Runt (Todd Rundgren) (5:05)   1970
03. Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? (single version) - Chicago Transit Authority (2:54)   1970
04. Down on the Street - Iggy & The Stooges (3:44)   1970
05. I Don't Know How to Love Him - Yvonne Elliman (3:42)   1970
06. Ain't Got Time Any More - Glass Bottle (2:26)   1971
07. Back to California - Carole King (3:26)   1971
08. Moonshadow - Cat Stevens (2:51)   1971
09. Dead Skunk - Loudon Wainwright III (3:03)   1972
10. I Gotcha - Joe Tex (2:28)   1972
11. Stay Awhile - The Bells (3:25)   1972
12. Jungle Boogie - Kool & The Gang (3:07)   1973
13. Big Yellow Taxi (live) - Joni Mitchell (3:20)   1974
14. Evangeline - Emmylou Harris with The Band (3:11)   1976
15. I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You - The Alan Parsons Project (3:22)   1976
16. I Can't Hold On - Karla Bonoff (3:11)   1977
17. Canario (from Fantasía para un gentilhombre) - Emerson, Lake & Palmer (3:59)   1978
18. Raise a Little Hell - Trooper (3:43)   1978
19. You Don't Know What You Got - Joan Jett & The Blackhearts (4:03)   1979
20. Steppin’ Out - Joe Jackson (4:27)   1982
21. Season in Hell (Fire Suite) - John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band (6:18)   1983
22. Never - Heart (4:07)   1985
23. Strawberry Fields Forever - The Beatles - Beatles Remixers Group (SB) (3:53)   2008

Track 1 is a jesting intro from The Hoosier Hot Shots,  One of my dad's throwaway phrases was, "Are you ready, Hezzie?"  It wasn't until I was in my forties that I figured out what this meant, since I never asked him about it.  Please view this video for an explication of this phrase, and a brief look at the Hot Shots in action.

You don't hear the single version of Track 3 much ... the one without the talking voiceovers in the final verse ... but that's how it sounded on the radio in 1970.

Yep, the same radio stations that played "Moonshadow" and the extremely suggestive "Stay Awhile," they also played outrageous clunks of auditory funk like "Jungle Boogie" and "I Gotcha."

The final track is a wonderful reweaving of "Strawberry Fields Forever" by the Beatles Remixers Group, using alternate takes of the material and remixes of the backing tracks.

Let me take you up with this compilation!

See you on Monday!

Monday, January 02, 2017

Why Does Microsoft Think Complication = Improvements?

As a longtime user of MS WORD and Publisher (nearly 25 years now), I’ve seen many versions and updates.

The iteration of these programs in Office 365 is a prime example of over-complication.

Since the beginning of December 2016, a new irritant has appeared in WORD.  If you have “spelling check” enabled, you will see the familiar red wiggly line flagging your possibly misspelled word.

The irritation is the new “suggestions” of synonyms for the flagged word.  Not only can’t you spell, you don’t know the right word, either!

This new intrusion is simply a bother for those of us who feel competent in our word-hoards (as Beowulf puts it).  That’s from line 258, as the captain of the Geats tells the Danes why the Geat ship has arrived.

The work-around for this is to turn off “Check spelling automatically as you type” in OPTIONS.  You may still use the “spelling” feature on the REVIEW tab.

But, having to do this, that’s the heart of my plaint:  This new attribute, synonym-suggester, simply forces the competent people to take extra steps to avoid its interference.

Why can’t we turn off synonym-suggester and leave the wiggly spelling suggestions?

EXHIBIT #2:  Publisher’s Autoshape “Auto Fills”:
Before Office 365, when you created an Autoshape – a circle, a star, a rectangle, what-have-you – you got a nice shape WITH NO FILL.

Now, no matter what shape you select, it comes pre-filled with a ghastly blue.  You must remove the blue tint, or change it to another color or pattern fill.

What a pain!  This is an extra step, added for who knows what reason. 

EXHIBIT #3:  PUBLISHER’s WordArt Shadows:
In previous versions of Publisher, when you created WordArt, the default WordArt was in a simple font, with a solid fill and an outline.  No big deal.

In Office 365, you get this wonderful array of WordArt styles.  ONLY ONE PROBLEM:  No matter which of the EIGHTEEN “plain WordArt styles” you pick, ALL OF THEM have a default shadow added!

In the above illustration, I’ve got the WordArt in front of an object.  The shadow is always there whenever you create a new WordArt.  It’s not very visible until you have a non-white background.

Note the white shadow to the right of the letters?  FAIL, Microsoft!  I must take extra effort to REMOVE the shadow.


I spent over an hour in three separate online chats, with three official Microsoft helper techs, trying to resolve these issues.  Guess what – all three features are defaults that cannot be changed or removed.

Things like these are so irritating, especially in the two Publisher examples.  Why should the default function produce an object that I must take EXTRA STEPS to render basic and neutral?

Now that I’ve vented my spleen ... perhaps one of our fifteen readers knows of a workaround for any of these irritants.

Don't tell me to switch programs ... I'm psychologically "invested" in their simpler ancestors.

See you Thursday.  Happy New Year!
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© by Mark Alfred