Music and Champagne – a good combination, don’t you agree?
But sadly, this issue isn’t about me sitting sipping champers and listening to music.
Instead, they’re two completely separate things I want to tell you about. Let’s take music first…
I’ve mentioned before that you can use your PC/laptop/tablet/smartphone to listen to music. And I’ve mentioned using a bluetooth speaker so you get good sound quality.
You can play CDs on a laptop if it has a CD drive, but generally what I’m talking about is listening to music stored electronically…. You might have a selection of mp3 files of music you like on your phone or tablet or use it to connect to a “streaming” music system on the internet, that lets you play music from their (usually big) online collection. Spotify, Google Music, Apple iTunes, Amazon Prime music – to get much of a selection from them without adverts you need to pay, but they can be useful if you like to listen to a lot of different music.
Then there’s the radio, which you can listen to on the internet. From Classic FM to our local “The Bay” (sorry – I mean Heart – it’s recently changed), you can find them on the internet. Then you listen to whatever they’re playing, not what you choose, of course.
But there’s another option I wanted to mention: YouTube.
YouTube is really for videos, but there’s a lot of music on it as well. Some of it is video of live performances, some has a professional music video playing and some simply has a picture of the performer as the video.
But it’s free and there’s quite a collection on there. It’s probably not the easiest way to listen to music online if you do it a lot, but what it can be great for is if you want to listen to something new you’ve heard of – or something you remember from a long time ago.
You just go to the website or open up the app, type in the name of the piece of music and chances are you’ll have umpteen to choose from.
We used it the other day when Edward was asking about cannon at dinner and somehow we mentioned that there was a piece of music that had cannon in it… he wanted to hear it so a few minutes later we were listening to the 1812 overture, complete with bells and cannon.
And I’ve used it before when I think of a song I haven’t heard for ages and I want to remind myself of it.
If you have a separate speaker (plug in or bluetooth), you can use that or even just play it back on the speaker in your tablet, PC or phone – some of them don’t sound too bad.
Not exactly about champagne…
I’ve probably mentioned before that I’m a fan of Formula 1 racing but I’ve never really written about it because although it does use advanced technology, it’s not that relevant to day to day life.
But there’s something happening at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed that I wanted to mention.
You’ve heard about self-driving cars, I expect. They started off as almost a figure of speech: “I suppose one day we’ll have cars that can drive themselves.”
Now they really do exist – and there are endless arguments about how safe they should have to be before they replace human drivers. (I suppose it depends on the driver – I’ve seen one or two drivers on the roads that might well be replaced by a computer…)
Most of that has been all about self-driving cars on the road – where it’s all about getting to the right place without any incidents.
What about racing though? Judging the exact speed at which a car can just go round a corner without sliding or spinning off is no easy task… and that’s without thinking about exactly which line will work best, how to use brakes and accelerator to balance the car and so on.
But now a company called Roborace have built a racing car that’s controlled by computer. It’s been tried out a few times, but they plan to run it up the famous Goodwood hill climb at this year’s festival of speed.
Eventually the aim is to have a race series, with 10 teams racing similar cars against each other.
I suppose it’s not that directly relevant to day to day life. Not yet, anyway. But it’s an interesting idea that even if we all end up with cars that drive themselves, there might still be sports cars.
And if a car can be designed to properly work out how to race successfully, then the things learnt in doing that should help them make safer road cars (after all, there’s plenty of technology in a typical road car now that was developed in racing – and much of it is about making the car safer).
If they do manage to have a championship for robot cars, though, the thing I’m left wondering is if they’ll have to develop another robot that can spray the champagne at the end?
A bit more on exactly what’s covered in Survive and Thrive in the Digital Age
If you’re sitting on the fence about the new Digital Age book, you might want to know a bit more about exactly what’s covered. So rather than me wittering on about what’s included, I thought I’d give you a copy of the contents pages and the introduction I wrote for it.
You can have a read of them here.