Thursday, October 08, 2009

OH, THEY'RE SO CLEVER... saga with the Beatles' Remasters Continues...
I've heard about half of the New Remastered CD's that feature The Beatles . The bass guitar seems to be more easily heard and the music is more up-front; it's like the entire group has become closer to the microphones, so that's good. But, the voices sound a bit rawer, and edits within songs seem to jump out...if all of a sudden the 'tone' of the vocal changes, that's where an edit was made, to either attach a new vocal phrase or to tag on an ending note or whatever. I'm still not convinced these Remasters are all that essential for those like me that already have the 'old' Beatles CD's which have been around since 1987. As near as I can tell, if you put one of the old-edition CD's in your player and turn it up a bit, you'll get more or less the same thing you get on the Beatles' Remasters.
All of the Remastered CD's feature a little "mini-documentary" on the making of whatever album you've listened to, and they're interesting in a generic sort-of-way. But...the little "mini-doc's" serve a dual purpose...the minute you pop the CD into your laptop, the disc basically takes over your computer. You are also forced to install the Quicktime player if you wanna view the mini-doc's, which don't include any Revealing and Startling Beatles Observations. In short, you can't download the songs because up pops the mini-documentary. So they make you think you're getting something Great (The Mini-docs), but in actuality, your ability to interact with the CD is stripped away. As far as I know, the average computer user can't copy the Remasters CDs because the mini-docs get in the way. Talk about clever, eh? Ah, but I've found a way around that, and I've been dubbing the music onto CD. (I'm sure my confession will send Apple Records detectives my way, since my activities have been so subversive.)
First, I'll put the remastered CD into my deck, which is plugged into my sound system. Then, I reach around back, and switch a few stereo cables around; one end plugged into the CD deck, and the other plugged into my stand-alone CD burner, which has a pair of speakers installed into it, so I can hear what I'm dubbing. Then I set the burner so it changes tracks automatically; it can hear the between-song silence and automatically begins a new track when the next song starts. When I record the Beatles' later discs, such as 'Abbey Road' or The 'White Album', I'll have to change tracks manually, since the songs run together, but my CD deck has a 'reverse' counter that counts the time backwards, so when it hits "0:00", that's when I'll change the track for the next song.
An added benefit to this is, a blank CD holds close to 80 minutes of material. Most of the Beatles' earlier albums are under 35 minutes long, which means, I can put two of their remastered CD's on one disc, which is really handy, because, instead of dragging the Actual Remastered discs out every time I want to play them, I can keep 'em in their original sleeves and only play the discs I've dubbed from the re-mastered CD's, which came in posterboard sleeves with no extra added protection, meaning the possibility of scratching your remastered discs exists with each withdrawal/re-insertion of them into the disc jacket. I've got hard plastic sleeves with "pop-in" devices, so the playback surface touches nothing at all once it's re-inserted. Basically, I want to keep my Original Re-Mastered CD's in top-notch condition, which is why I did all this. And, because the discs I've dubbed contain two albums each, I don't have to change CD's as much. (Is that lazy or what?)
I remember back a long time ago when musicians and their associates were "huffing and puffing" because they were saying that home taping was Killing The Music. "Don't tape our stuff, go out and buy it", they were all screaming. A survey was taken back in the '80s which proved them was found that the majority of home tapers were also the most prolific music buyers. That was especially true in my case; in the pre-CD age, when the mighty Cassette was the cheapest sound reproduction mechanism available, I bought tons of albums, and then I'd go home and make "various artists" tapes I could listen to in the car.
And, no, I wasn't thinking about setting up some sort of shady, underground Bootleg Business; I was taping for ME. Back then, I'd heard of people buying albums and taping them. Why not? It's silly not to be able to hear the music you've bought; so you tape the music, to hear it in your car; maybe you tape another copy for yourself so you can listen to that at home, rather than pull the album out of its innersleeve, where possibility of scratching exists. I never went that far; I'd just record the music onto one cassette for the car, and play the album at home. One last note: The CD copies I've made ARE downloadable into Windows MediaPlayer or Realplayer, so I can make more copies if I need to. Even if I had a CD deck in my car, I wouldn't wanna put the Original Remastered Discs in it. So what'll probably happen is, that I'll only play the Actual Remasters Discs once, in an effort to keep them pristine. After all, I've got copies them for 'general usage'. To close this section of the post, may I present two of "our heroes" in concert (Seattle!) in that magical year of 1964...

LET'S GO PHISHING!: You've heard about the latest "Phishing" scam in which tons of e-mail addresses were obtained over Hotmail. I do most of my e-mailing on Yahoo, but one would think this scam could operate on any e-mail provider. You get an e-mail saying something to the effect of "Your (insert name of your bank or charge card) has been violated; please supply us with all of your important information so we can clear this up." And when you answer all the questions, you've provided answers for scammers who then use that information to Steal You Blind. Don't fall for that, people. A big clue in spotting fraudulent "Phishes" is...if you see the words "To: Undisclosed Recipients" near the top of your e-mail, Don't Answer It! Not even if you see the logo of your bank company included; "phishers" out there can easily obtain those. "To Undisclosed Recipients" means the message, supposedly directed to Just You, has been mass-mailed all over the place. Beware!

I've received oodles and gobs of those "phishes", saying that my 'Bank Of America' account has been violated. I don't even Bank at Bank of America! Sometimes I've received phony messages from Paypal, Ebay, or other entities I've interacted with on the 'net. So far I haven't received one from my own bank, tho I wouldn't be surprised if I got one. If you have questions about a possible phony e-mail, contact your bank, or Paypal, or Ebay, 'cos they want to know if/when they've been "Phished".

Looking back over this post, I can see that I'm extremely two-faced; first, I teach you how to subvert the Beatles' Remastered CD's, and then I give you advice on how not to be subverted in a Phishing scheme. Beware of Me, I guess...


Blogger MarmiteToasty said...

I had someone try to hack into my ebay account, but ebay were top notch with sorting it out, and anyone that gives bank or other details online in a random email are nuts..... banks will tell you that they will never contact you via email.... I even get them scams asking for my bank details from banks I dont even have accounts with lol


5:16 AM  
Blogger some guy who blogs said...

Hi, Marmee...I've had third-party people who get my card numbers from Ebay, and then fradulently charge with it. Those don't show up on the front page of my bank account; I have to research my account, going to another page which tells me exactly what I've been charged for, so I can spot 'em that way. The only time I've ever used my debit card online is with Ebay. My bank will change my number if I even THINK I've been defrauded. It's a jungle out there in the cyber-world.

Those messages you receive from banks you don't even bank with...those are called "Phishes"; the spammer is hoping you do have an account with that bank. That way, when you get in to update your account, they'll steal their numbers. If you ever see the words, "to undisclosed recipients", that's the best way to spot 'em. Take care out there in the cyberworld. It's a jungle...

2:34 PM  

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