Archive for December 22nd, 2008

2008-12-22

Best Christmas Album of 2008: Bela Fleck & the Flecktones: Jingle All the Way

I love Christmas music.

Actually, that’s not completely true.  I love good Christmas music and absolutely despise the crap that you so often hear in malls starting the day after Halloween.

Luckily, there’s a ton of really fabulous Christmas music out there.  I know, I apparently own about a thousand tracks worth.  Honestly, for me, good Christmas songs – new and old with interesting arrangements, are one of the good things in life.

That’s why I’m so pleased that Bela Fleck & The Flecktones have finally released a Christmas CD: Jingle All the Way.  It doesn’t disappoint.

The album is available on iTunes.  With 17 tracks, it’s a good $10.  ($9 on Amazon’s MP3 store, if you’re in the US.)  Their take on traditional Christmas songs is about as out there as you can get while still being identifiable.  Edgar Meyer joins in on cello and the Tuvian throat singers also chime in on a few tracks.  Kudos to them for doing such an outstanding job, great stuff.  If you’re looking for an interesting Christmas album, I can’t imagine a better bet.

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2008-12-22

HandBrake 0.93 for Ubuntu Hardy

I’m getting ready to take a Toshiba U300 away for the holidays.  In preparation, I’m getting various media players and apps up and running.  The machine is a Vista (blech!) machine first but I’m typically running it in Ubuntu Linux via Wubi.  I had installed Ubuntu 8.10 but have reverted to 8.04.1 as it is more stable on this machine.  I really like 8.04 and personally don’t think the minor tweaks in 8.10 are worth the hassle.

Anyway, that’s getting off-topic a bit.  One app that I really like is Handbrake.  Handbrake began life as a BeOS app and has been working brilliantly on Mac OSX for some time.  They have recently added a decent Windows and Linux GUI to it via C#/mono/.Net.  As if that wasn’t good enough, they even provide Ubuntu packages!  Unfortunately, the provided Ubuntu packages are for 8.10 only.  Luckily, a kind chap has a 0.93 Hardy repository as well.  Check it out!