Throwback Thursday: Woodstock, Day 3

Throwback Thursday: Woodstock, Day 3

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Brought to you by Blackfire Research….On this day in 1969, the Woodstock Music and Art Fair in upstate New York was scheduled to come to a close. However, due to delays caused by severe weather, the musical acts were forced to halt. (Images of Free Love activists dancing, running, tumbling and sliding in muddy fields due to the heavy rain has become synonymous with the festival.) Jimi Hendrix, who was supposed to close the festival on Sunday night, didn’t begin his set until the following morning at 8:30am. The audience of around 400,000 at the height of the festival dwindled to about only 30,000 by the time Hendrix took the stage Monday. In total, 32 acts performed throughout the weekend, including The Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, The Who and Jefferson Airplane. To this day, the legacy of Woodstock lives on, widely viewed as a defining moment for popular music, and the culminating event that defined the counterculture generation.

Making the Smart Home Smarter

Making the Smart Home Smarter

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In his entertaining recent editorial, CNBC Technology Product Editor, Todd Haselton, experienced, firsthand, the frustration that many smart home enthusiasts have endured for a long time: smart home products that don’t work with one another. Typically, manufacturers don’t want their customers to “mix and match” products, but rather, they “encourage” them to stay loyal to their brand by deliberately limiting compatibility with competitors. But what manufacturers don’t realize is that these “technology islands” are actually discouraging potential users from buying any smart home products at all. Aside from the more geeky early adopters (ok, my hand’s up), smart home gadget users don’t want to invest in a brand and have that brand become obsolete within the next few years (i.e. “choose wrong”) so many people just aren’t choosing at all. As Haselton points out: “How do you choose which one to go with? It’s almost like the VHS vs. Betamax wars.”

 

A simple solution to this problem, as Haselton notes, is “one single standard that works for everything.” At Blackfire Research, we’ve done just that. A few years back, Blackfire Research founder and CEO, Ravi Rajapakse, became frustrated – much like Haselton himself and countless other smart home gadget lovers – when he realized that there was no seamless way to transfer and share entertainment media throughout his own home. What was once a personal project to create a multi-room entertainment system soon became ten years of research into a revolutionary new protocol, which we call The Blackfire Realtime Entertainment Distribution (RED) framework. The Blackfire RED framework can stream both HD 5.1 audio and 4K video, simultaneously, across multiple devices – all over the standard WiFi you already have. As well as connecting light bulbs, thermostats and door locks, Blackfire also works as a bridge between your smart home and your entertainment systems – with precise synchronization, low latency for lip sync, and overall reliability. Because ultimately, that is what smart home owners want – to mix and match devices while having their music and movies available to them anywhere in the home.

 

Oh yeah, did we mention that Blackfire enabled products are compatible with each other, even across brands? Just look for our logo on select Harman/Kardon, Onkyo, Pioneer, Integra, and HTC devices. It’s just one of the many ways Blackfire Research is making the smart home a whole lot smarter.

The New Harman/Kardon Omni+ Wireless Speakers Featuring Blackfire

The New Harman/Kardon Omni+ Wireless Speakers Featuring Blackfire

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Blackfire Research partner, Harman Kardon, began shipping an updated version of their Omni Wireless Speakers last month, which they are calling The Omni+ Series. Like the first generation, the new Omni+ Series features Blackfire technology, “Wireless HD Audio”, for whole home connectivity. It also features the same lightweight, portable design of the Omni 10 and Omni 20, but now, they’re trading in the glossy exterior for a more sophisticated matte finish (in black and white.) Additionally, Harman Kardon has added another speaker to the series: The Omni 50+, a wireless HD indoor/outdoor speaker with a rechargeable battery (up to 5 hours of playback time), that is also “splash-proof,” so it’s perfect for your next backyard BBQ, no matter the weather.

 

The most exciting update that comes with the Harman/Kardon Omni+ Series is the addition of built-in Spotify Connect, which lets you play your Spotify library through the Omni+ wireless speakers directly from the internet – freeing up your phone to take calls and browse through your apps. If you have one or two of the first generation Omni wireless speakers and want to play music from your Spotify account throughout your home, you can, easily! With the addition of one or more Omni+ wireless speakers to your existing collection, you can re-broadcast Spotify Connect to your Omni speakers. Check out this blog post to learn how!

 

You can learn more about the new Omni+ Series on the Harman/Kardon website!

Music Review: Bleachers, “Gone Now”

Music Review: Bleachers, “Gone Now”

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New Jersey native, Jack Antonoff, has finally released, “Gone Now,” the highly anticipated Bleachers sophomore album. Antonoff began Bleachers as a side project while on tour and enjoying success as the lead guitarist for the indie-pop band, fun., who are best known for three hit singles in 2012: “We Are Young,” “Some Nights,” and “Carry On.” For Bleachers, Antonoff released a debut single, “I Wanna Get Better,” in early 2014 which became an instant chart topper. Since his Bleachers debut album, “Strange Desire,” Antonoff has been busy co-writing and producing for major artists like Taylor Swift and Lorde, as well as moved out of his parent’s house (at the age of 27) to live in Brooklyn with girlfriend Lena Dunham. With the release of “Gone Now,” Antonoff takes center stage once more. The album – which is about transitioning from adolescence into adulthood (and ultimately saying goodbye to childhood) – is filled with 80’s inspired melodies and synths, reprises, and spoken word interludes. There are a few highlights in “Don’t Take The Money” and “Everybody Lost Somebody,” but overall, the album feels one-noted. But don’t feel too bad: Antonoff has had some major successes in 2017, most notably, his producing and co-authorship of Lorde’s latest album, “Melodrama.” Sometimes your art soars; other times, it may fall flat. http://www.bleachersmusic.com/

Throwback Thursday: The iTunes Music Store Catalogues Over 1 Million Songs

Throwback Thursday: The iTunes Music Store Catalogues Over 1 Million Songs

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On this day in 2004, The iTunes Music Store announced that it had become the first online music service to have a catalog of more than 1 million songs. Launched in late April of 2003, The iTune Music Store quickly became the largest music vendor in the world and revolutionized how people purchase and experience their music. In its first 18 hours, the store sold about 275,000 tracks, and more than 1 million tracks were sold in its first 5 days. On December 15, 2003, Apple announced that it had sold 25 million songs. Before it’s debut, most online music was downloaded illegally off of sites like Napster or Limewire. Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, sought to create a service that allowed people to access music legally, so in 2002, he made an agreement with the five major record labels to offer their content through iTunes. Originally, all songs on the service were sold at the same price, but Apple introduced tiered pricing in 2007. At the Macworld 2008 Keynote, Steve Jobs announced iTunes movie rentals. Today, the iTunes Store has expanded from just music downloading to a music and app store, as well as a place to rent or purchase movies and TV shows.