Embracing New Technology

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 - 05:31 PM

Sometimes I’m slow about embracing new technology, and sometimes I’m the first one there. When I worked for Channel 13, I was the very first to buy a fax machine for the Great Performances unit. Until then, we had been using snail mail, FedEx and the Telex (remember the Telex?) to communicate with production companies all over the world.

Wow! What a difference the fax made! I don’t know if the Telex still exists, but I never looked back--not once. When e-mail became available, I was the first in line to learn to create e-mail groups and start doing weekly all-department distributions. What a relief! It was the end of interoffice envelopes for me and I loved it! When I started working for WQXR in 1993, we were still playing LP’s. Here at the new station, there isn’t an LP in sight. And, the CD is about to become a thing of the past, too.

Tell me, classical music lovers, what are the new technologies that have changed your life and why? And--dare I ask--do you suppose we will ever play LP’s again?

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Comments [13]

Judith Fichtenholtz from Cliffside Park, NJ 07010

I cannot get WQXR in my apt. in NJ except through my office computer. I have Time Warner cable. Is there a way through wifi to connect to Wqxr radio station from a device I can keep on my night table without bbuying a small laptop computer?

Jan. 21 2012 12:26 PM
GCL from Astoria NY

Midge, I quite agree with you.
I visited the original station at its offices on Fifth Avenue and of course I recognized its immense collection of CDs, I started listening to the station early on.

And of course I use many computers, I even listen to the station via iTunes.

As another listener/commenter offered, I got started early with computers, I guess I know them well. But listening to WQXR is what puts them into perspective.

Jun. 18 2010 11:59 PM
Mark Prigoff from Huntington, NY

As for media (CDs, DVDs, LPs, audio cassettes, etc.), I have too many CDs, for example, to spend the time to rip all of them into digital files (over 2,000 of them), however, I already have some 60+ GBs of digital music on my computer systems. being a musician, the original factory-issued CDs are of value to me as a resource for my musical studies and keyboard playing/composition and arranging. And even considering condensing standard CD jewel cases into slim packs would be quite costly. The same applies to DVD cases and other slim-styled media storage solutions. While this may appropriate for smaller collections, I suppose I will have to stay with the original packaging. And with over 600 LPs and VHS movies, the same time factor applies to converting all of these into CD-ROMS or DVD-ROMS. I guess I'm not destined for a "small media footprint" anytime too soon.

As for computer technology, I went from GE-Timesharing punch tape dial-up terminals in high school when I learned BASIC and FORTRAN programming languages, to a Commodore C-64, IBM ThinkPad with WIN 3.1, to many home-built PCs with WIN 98 and 98SE. I now use two HP Media Centers (one of them is a DEC model dedicated for music, MIDI, DAW processing, running XP Pro Media Center Edition. In general, it's costly to keep up with every OS Microsoft comes up with, and as long as my systems work without problems, I'll stay with them as long as possible since they are software, peripheral-dependent and must be generally or totally "system-compatible."

May. 30 2010 11:31 AM
John Christiano from Franklin NJ

The application of digital technology is a two headed beast.

On one hand, digital signal processing has made it possible to restore old recordings without the pops and cracks. On the other hand it has created "synthesized" fill-in sounds not made by human hands. And yet again, it has made the entire music world more portable.

I am in favor of the digital technologies being applied to music, as long as somewhere there is a human hand making the music; not some computer.

May. 28 2010 07:54 AM


Please direct any general comments about station operations to Listener Services by following the link at the bottom of the page.

May. 21 2010 09:48 AM
Sanyi S. from Boro Park, ...planet Venus

I still use a TK340 reel to reel tape recorder,
I have a CD recorder too, but I can't record from WQXR, someone or something initializes a signal that the CD recorder interprets as pirating, and stops with an error message. This is happening only since they moved to a new frequency... shame on whoever is doing that. I also have a Grundig tube radio from 1954, by now it must be worth a lot, ha,ha, complete with demultiplexer (for stereo, which at the time was rare), No wonder I got proposals to work for the museum of radio... but I was never called for an interview. The only thing I miss now, is Candice Agrees voice, telling "me" (of course) that she is glad to be with me, ha,ha.... I think she should be, I mean the real Candice, the one whose voice was broadcasted, not the one who was just a stand in for her at the Koschiushko foundation shows, pretending to be her. So, Candice remains a mystery for me, and I think, a very pretty one.

May. 20 2010 11:22 PM

George has the 3 to 7 p.m. drive-time slot, and it's quite something for someone new to join the veterans at WFMT, so he's in excellent company. I owe him a good listen over the next several weeks. WFMT's broadcast style is a bit more sedate and the music mix is eclectic at times, so it's simply a matter of preference that I find myself playing WQXR more often in the background. A lot of WFMT selections demand more active attention. Both stations are at the top of their game and there's a place for both, with excellent Internet streams.

May. 20 2010 10:36 PM

Hey MidwesterneR buddy-

You got George Preston at WFMT from us. Say hello for us.

May. 20 2010 07:05 PM

Living near Chicago, as much as our family enjoys the rich classical live offerings and excellent broadcasts available locally, WQXR's programming mix is a special experience. Thanks to the Internet, throughout the day we stream WQXR through iTunes, then distribute it through our home WiFi network to the den, kitchen and master bedroom. As one of your folks said today, "We're the perfect all-day companion.” So true!

But what about when we’re out of the house, being 850 miles beyond the limits of your FM signal? Thanks to wireless Internet streaming and the manufacturer of a great smartphone and a recently introduced “magical and revolutionary” tablet device (okay - the iPad WiFi + 3G model!), we can listen on headphones or the unit’s built-in speaker.

In the car, we connect an audio cable from the iPad headphone jack to the auxiliary input of the car’s audio system. To make things even easier, we’ve put a WQXR icon on the iPad’s home screen, so merely touching it connects to the WQXR live stream on the Internet. The iPad’s connection to the AT&T 3G data service is very robust around here - better than the iPhone, we feel.

It’s obvious but has to be reemphasized: Driving is a full-time job. Never attempt to text or work with electronic devices while on the road. It only takes a few seconds to plug in the device and “tune in” WQXR before starting out.

You can subscribe to a monthly satellite radio service for your car, but it won’t get you the nation’s best classical music experience. Save the money and donate it to WQXR!

May. 20 2010 01:45 PM
Anthony B. from NYC

Hi Midge: I thibnk the day of the LP is gone forever. Digital media has virtually ( no pun intended) taken over the world.
PS: John Strybos says hi from Bronxville ( St. Joe's Church)

May. 20 2010 11:50 AM
YT Chen

Ms. Woolsey, I know that this is not the right place to vent, but I cannot find the "right place" on the WQXR website.. So please forward to appropriate folks as you see appropriate.

I donated during your winter drive, and was pleased to hear your announcement that it was a great success, and that you had raised more money than you could possibly hope for...

And so I cannot believe my ears when I hear your pledges for donation again, going on right now just a few short months after your successful fund-raising! It interrupts the beautiful music, is very annoying, and leaves a very bad taste that you folks are just getting too greedy. Please stop doing this, or you are at risk of losing your support from listeners like myself. In fact I have stopped listening for a few days and will only come back when this pledge is over...

May. 20 2010 09:56 AM
Silversalty from Brooklyn

Actually LPs are back in vogue as part of an anti-digital backlash. LPs are analog and ironically, from what I've read, have to have the bass enhanced due to some inherent weakness of bass reproduction in the medium. The various new high definition digital modes don't seem to have caught on. These have higher sampling rates (captured instances that are part of the digital world, rather than an analog continuum) than standard CDs use, the better to approach analog capture.

I don't know if the resurgence of LPs is based on real weaknesses in digital CD technology or just a longing for an older, perhaps "warmer" (choose your metaphor) sound. Tube amps are preferred in a similar manner.

I'm far from cutting edge (no smart phone) though I did begin using mp3s when the technology first appeared on the Internet. Somewhere around 1998. The ability to have thousands of "songs" available in seconds without having to search through a library of CDs and LPs was too good to resist. It was quickly determined that the usual compression rate used then degraded the audio quality too much, but that was solved by reducing the compression level, costing a bit in the space saving but making the audio effectively, at least for me, equivalent to the original CD.

I've got a small mp3 player that I sometimes use to listen to music and audio books, though books are tougher since attention must be greater and that's not possible under most circumstances.

Certainly computers have changed our world, whether it's mp3 players, which are specialized computers like calculators, or smart phones, which are programmable and much more versatile - basically hand held personal computers.

It's ironic that the basis for the explosion of computers that came about with the first personal computers is now being reversed with the Internet and "cloud computing." Personal computers removed the need for "main frames" allowing much more personally oriented uses by millions and now billions of people. The Internet is reversing that, requiring connection to the new Internet "main frames" to do things we find important. Those things may be personal, but since there's a profit oriented intermediary "personal" rarely means private. That's exemplified by the current uproar over Facebook and how that site uses the personal information placed there by millions of people. But Facebook is only one example.

P.S. Not related but yesterday I was listening to WQXR on the computer while at the same time I had it on the radio I had been listening to earlier, in another room. On walking between rooms I noticed that there was a lag of about two seconds on the radio broadcast. It seemed strange to me that the radio was delayed rather than the Internet.

May. 19 2010 06:57 PM

I went totally digital at home a couple of years ago. I ripped all of my CD's to .mp3 320k. I ripped all of my DVD's to .mp4.

I found homes for all of my discs with other folks.

I found homes for my four component stereo systems.

Now I buy music in .mp3 from Amazon, and video in .flv or .wmv from various sources. The .flv I convert to .mp4.

My music is on three 1Tb WD Passport external hard drives (HDD) and three 120 gig Zune .mp3 players.

My videos are also on the HDD's, and on a fourth 120 gig Zune.

I also have a WD-TV box which allows me to attach an external HDD loaded with the videos to watch them on the HD TV.

I also have a Roku box for streaming movies direct from Netflix.

For my laptop computers I have Bose 2 Companion 2 way speakers. For my big desktop computer I have a set of Logitech Z2300 three way speakers with a huge sub-woofer.

For radio, I use Winamp, where I have bookmarked: WQXR-FM, Q2, WBGO, WPRB; from Live365.com (on three subscriptions), all five streams from Innova.mu (American Composers Forum), also Counterstream (American Music Center), PostClassic (Kyle Gann); and two Goth streams, In Dark Faith Eternal and The Engulfed Cathedral (don't laugh until you listen).

I also subscribe to Music From The Hearts of Space both at home and at work.

So, I think I am pretty well set.

May. 19 2010 06:27 PM

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