Facebook to Broadway

Scarlet by M.A
Scarlet by M.A One of my latest works is available from Fine Art America & Zazzle

A VISIT TO THE HOSPITAL

Normally I try and get my weekend writing done during the week, but today I had a day off. I wanted to slip in an extra post. I couldn't use the day to relax though, I had an hospital appointment, which was originally for over a week ago, but it got cancelled at the last minute.

Today though I dutifully went to see my consultant and we had a discussion, the outcome of which is that I need to have a low dose of Chemotherapy everyday for the next two weeks. I have some weird and rare form of colitis, and apparently this is something that might keep me in remission for a while longer than I have been of late. If this doesn't work, I'll need to be referred to another specialist who apparently likes a bit of odd.

Thousands upon thousands of people have much higher doses than I'll be having, so I am desperately trying to remain upbeat and positive. The only problem happens when someone asks if I'm feeling OK. All this happened within a couple of hours, although I've been having some tests for weeks. I'm not too sure what I'm supposed to say, this morning this wasn't even a thought in my head, but I've just had the first dose, and I can say, I'm feeling fine at the moment. The reason I wanted to let everyone know, is just in case my next couple of posts are delayed, or I start digressing more than usual!

I can say that the bite on my leg is a bit painful. I'm not sure what bit me, but if I catch it, I will make The Terminator look like a UN Peacekeeper. It must have happened on the train back from London last week. Whatever it was, it got under my sock and took one heck of a chunk. And for the life of me, last night I had a really powerful cramp in my leg. At 3:30am, I did think that this is how it ends.

So, on a jollier note, this week has already started to become an interesting week for art and technology news.

FACEBOOK

Facebook Music
Facebook set to take on Apple

Facebook, once again leads the pack. There is a rumour currently doing the rounds that Facebook wants to get into music streaming. It's already a crowded market, and Apple's new Music service has made sure that anyone else who wants to join the party will have to work extra hard. Zuckerberg wants in.

According to The Verge, Facebook is already having preliminary talks with some major music labels, including Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group. What Facebook intends to do with music is still unclear. Zuckerberg has 1.44 billion users already in place, averaging around 40-minutes on the site each day. That might not be enough though to float another Spotify rival, but it is interesting because Zuckerberg had always said that Facebook wasn't going to be like MySpace.

Whatever this latest venture is, it might be a little too late. Apple Music for all of its early faults, will evolve. At some point, if the music is in place, artists get a fair deal, and subscribers don't have to pay over the odds, Spotify might just slip a position or two.

SAMSUNG

Traditional HDD
Traditional HDD

Samsung knows a thing or two about solid state drives as it produces the components that go in them and they also sell quite a lot of them. Well, they just unveiled a 2TB model, the Samsung 850 Pro. It uses Samsung's 3D V-NAND technology, but surprisingly opts for a standard SATA interface, rather than the more usual PCI Express based interfaces.

It makes the new drive an impressive addition for desktops or existing laptops, but less so for those with M.2 support. I already have a RAID 10 server running SSD's for my artwork. Speeds are impressive, but over the last two years, three of my 250Gb SSD's have failed due to me transferring huge quantities of data in a short time frame. With some of my artworks being over 100Mb in size prior to finalising images, and pretty much every digital photo I have ever taken at the highest resolution over the last 10 years, SSD's should by now be much more reliable. It seems this one just might be. The new drive, which offers up to 100K IOPS with read/write performance hitting 559MBps/543MBps, is backed by a 10-year warranty with a guaranteed 300TB write. All of my previous drives have been much slower, and nowhere near even 20-30TB of frequent writing. I might just have to invest in one of these for my backups.

The drive costs about £750 (around US$1,166, or AUS$ 1,554), which is roughly 50% more than what you'd pay per GB for a 1TB model. Still, given what I have spent on SSD's in the past, it might just be a bargain.

PLAYSTATION

Totally unrelated to an artistic purpose, but my PS4 provides me with me time. It's a way to relax. I was a day one adoptee. I'm Mark and I've been a gamer since 1978. Good news for Somy this week, their flagship console is outselling Microsoft's X-Box One by 2:1. In Europe, it's 3:1.

The latest sales figures for the big games consoles don't make particularly good reading for Microsoft's flagship Xbox One, unless you take a peculiarly blinkered US-only view, and even there the big gaming box can't boast of a lead over Sony's PS4 despite it being the closest battleground with only 763,000 units between them.

From a global perspective the Xbox One is lagging behind the PS4 with 12.8m lifetime sales as opposed to the Sony machine's 23.2m. Putting that into a bit of perspective come the sales of the Wii U hitting 9.7m over its lifetime, that's really not far off the Xbox One.

So,it looks like this will be the year where PS4 leaps ahead. The only downside is a paltry 500Gb hard disk, or about ten games of space. Now if the new Samsung SSD became an option for inclusion in a PS4, that really would be one cool games console.

If digital downloads are the way to go, then it seemed odd that Sony only placed a 500Gb drive in the unit on release. Now you can purchase a 1Tb version, but even that seems a little on the light side given Sony's push for downloading over their PlayStation Plus service. I remember just a few years ago when the drive in my desktop PC was a staggering 6Gb. Nowadays, most new games require around 50Gb of drove space. It certainly makes you wonder if Samsung's huge new SSD will be the equivalent of my old 6Gb drive in just a few more years.

BROADWAY

You really can't make this stuff up. During a recent performance of Broadway's Hand to God, an audience member quietly made his way up on the stage of the hit comedy to plug his cell phone in to what he believed to be a working outlet. The only problem was that the power socket he tried to use was a prop.

Sources who were present at the performance told Broadwayadjacent.com that the front of house staff quickly responded to the intruder, retrieving the phone and only delaying the performance by five minutes. It remains unclear whether the in desperate need of a charger, theater goer was truly unaware of the consequences of his actions or perhaps was doing it as a bet. According to the site, upon receiving his phone back, he asked the usher, "Well, where can I charge it?"

ERIC EDWARDS

Brooklynite Eric Edwards, owner of the largest private collection of African artifacts (2,500 works dating back 4,000 years), is going to build his own African art museum. A project to restore 14 historic mausoleums destroyed in Timbuktu three years ago by terrorists will be completed by the end of July. [As reported in The Art Newspaper]

CHRISTIE'S

A highlight of the 2015 international auction calendar, the ‘Gospels of Queen Theutberga’ is a splendid and very rare survival of a 9th-century book production. This is the oldest Western manuscript of the gospels still in private hands and one of the best preserved 9th-century manuscripts in existence. Given its superb condition and legendary royal provenance, it is unlikely that a comparable work will ever be seen at auction again. The ‘Gospels of Queen Theutberga’. Lotharingia, perhaps Metz, c. 825-850. Estimate: £1,000,000-1,500,000. This and the other works are offered at Christie's sale of Valuable Books and Manuscripts including Cartography in London on 15 July.

E.H. Shepard (1879-1976) and A.A. Milne (1882-1956). Vespers, an original manuscript and drawing. Estimate: £30,000-50,000 is to go on sale soon. A wonderful collaborative piece hits the mark on so many levels. The image of the bear cast aside may well be the first representation of Winnie the Pooh, the world’s most famous teddy bear. It is also a rare instance of both Milne and Shepard at work on the same leaf. The poem appeared in the first of the Pooh books, When We Were Very Young, which a contemporary reviewer called ‘the greatest children’s book since Alice’. This charming piece evokes one of the most successful partnerships between author and artist at an early stage, when they were on the cusp of worldwide fame.

So that's today's roundup. I'm in London tomorrow and it's set to be a long day. I need to get back for my treatment, but hopefully I will grab five minutes or so to start writing the weekend blog posts. My three offers are still available from Fine Art America, so be sure to drop by if you're in the market for a massively discounted artwork!

 

 

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