Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Singing Valentine from a barbershop quartet

This is a commercial for one of the things that makes me happiest in life: singing barbershop harmony!

As this blog's "About me" page says, I sing in a men's barbershop harmony chorus, the Nashua Granite Statesmen. Most people don't know that there are barbershop choruses, but most do know about barbershop quartets. And indeed, as the photo shows, I'm in one, named "Route 5." It's loads of fun - there's a ton of tradition around this style of music - but the most fun is every February 14, when we hire ourselves out in quartets to do Singing Valentines, as a fundraiser.

The photo shows us with one of our "victims" - the head of the English department at a local high school. We ambushed her in front of a department meeting, claiming that our name is The Dangling Participles, and sang her a love song. A yearbook staffer was there, so next spring we'll be in print. How cool is that?

Next year you can order a Singing Valentine quartet (male or female) by going to www.SingingValentines.com. Or, if you're in the Nashua NH area, just contact me - next year I'm the local chairman. (Better yet, order now - why wait for the rush? :-)

If you're impatient, though, you're in luck - my chorus's annual show, with a superb women's barbershop chorus, is Saturday April 5. The featured quartet is named Rounders - we're flying them in from Fort Lauderdale, because they're good: they placed 8th in the world at last summer's championship. Here they are singing the Irving Berlin classic "They Say It's Wonderful":

As it happens, my chorus is currently recording that same song (a different arrangement) for our next CD, which will be out this fall - all Irving Berlin songs (Midnight Choo Choo, I Love a Piano, How Deep is the Ocean, and many more). When it's available for sale, you'll know it. :) But you can hear a preview, and much more singing, in Nashua NH on April 5. Tix: info -at- granitestatesmen.org (or me).

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Web 2.0 means we get to say.

My post below mentions "2.0" stuff. I've been dealing with this subject at work for the past year, but I know a lot of you have only recently heard this "buzzword" buzzing around like an unexplained annoying gnat that keeps getting in your ear, making it hard to think.

The e-patients blog yesterday has the best layperson's introduction I've ever seen for these key aspects of Web 2.0:

  • blogs
  • wikis (Wikipedia is just one example)
  • social networks
  • social bookmarks.
Worth a view. (These little "training videos" require having your speakers on.)

The big deal about all this is "user generated content" (UGC). See, in the early days of the Web (now known as Web 1.0), the Web was read-only: all web "content" (the stuff you read or view) was created by people who had access to a Web server and knew all the geeky stuff you needed for hand coding a web page.

In contrast to that, today we can create content: Look, I'm sitting here right now, blogging about whatever I want - just as if I could conceive and write a book and get it printed and have it appear in every library in the world, instantly. (Because it IS, right now, available on every computer in the world that has an Internet connection, including my iPod Touch.)

This that you're reading, right here, is user-generated content.

And the big thing about THAT is that it's enabled us to spout our opinions, for instance rating books on Amazon or even posting our own book reviews, as short or as long as we want.

What this means in the world of e-patients is that we ourselves get to talk about anything we want; instead of reading only what a magazine editor thinks we want (or need to know), we ourselves get to start any discussion we want and take it anywhere we want.

You could put it this way: Web 2.0 means we get to say. We get to say whatever we want, and we even get to say what gets talked about.

This is a core principle cited in the e-patients white paper, which you really should read, in PDF or wiki form. More to come.