Musical CV: About me 2014

So, I’m a freelance presenter and music composer/hacker.  I do a lot for Click, the BBC’s tech show but I’ve also hosted BBC Orchestra events and most recently hosted my first Radio 3 show, which was great fun. I love doing projects where music and technology meet, so any excuse to do more is fallen upon with great joy.

These are the things I love.

1)     Music composition and performance –  I do a lot of classical piano and orchestral composition – including spontaneous classical piano composition in pretty much any style.  It just comes out like that, I can’t explain it, but I’m OK with showing it off now.  I really enjoy giving live recitals! https://soundcloud.com/ljrich/140420-flying-through-colour  – recently performed at BBC NBH much to the surprise of some of my work colleagues…

Here’s an informal performance from a few weeks ago:

 

2)      As well as presenting on TV (hard work but lots of fun) I enjoy hosting live events – a few weeks back I had the fabulous experience of hosting a classical orchestral concert including the National Orchestra of Wales playing the Doctor Who Theme. I also give keynote speeches on technology and social trends. I grew the @BBCClick twitter account to nearly 2 million followers, so I used to give talks about how to do that until I realised it’s much more fun to talk about future trends, music innovation and host events instead.

 

3)      Music hacking – tech/music innovation  – I filmed a feature for the BBC in Boston which involved entering MusicTechFest‘s Hackathon competition and staying up for 24 hours – I won one of the top prizes! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-27067106

 

4)      The two things I liked most about my music degree were composition and critical music analysis. I do like explaining why songs work and sound good…  music theory, but with a contemporary twist. Here’s a radio pilot I made a while back

 

5)      I recently gave a talk at TedXTokyo 2014 about a musical device I built with the aim of giving other people the chance to hear the world like I do.  I built the first iteration of the device in my room while sharing a tiny apartment with a bunch of other music obsessives – the process is ‘Glitching‘ – not a new technique, but certainly easier to do with today’s tech. I’ve augmented traditional glitching with musical inserts based on what key the world is in. People doing it report the practice as a pleasurable and slightly psychedelic auditory experience. More of the story is documented in the talk, and I’m working on an epic blog post which explains a lot more.  I love classical composing in the wild! I want to do ‘glitching’ concerts in cities around the world! 

 

6)      I’m very interested in new musical interfaces and software synthesisers too – these deserve their own blog post.

 

7)     And Finally…  here’s a link to even more BBC stuff I get up to and finally, here’s a link to loads of free Music I’ve composed.  

 

you can't see how crowded it is in this pic....

Niche Tech at CES 2012

you can't see how crowded it is in this pic....

Innovations at CES Unveiled 2012

A mere 3 hours after my plane landed, I squeezed into 2012’s CES Unveiled Exhibition : the show before the Show, as it were. In fact, the word ‘squeezed’ might be too understated; the place was utterly rammed with jetlagged journos hungry for good food and good stories.

A chap got his wristwatch caught in my rucksack! Cue awkward but funny unentangling

The CES Unveiled Zoo

This year’s theme focused more on household tech rather than ‘bling’ toys.  A cleverly designed flat plug which gives wall outlets USB charging facility prompted me to wonder why it wasn’t done before. Another retailer a few metres away had a slightly different, cleverly designed flat plug which did the same thing.

If the Unveiled show was the precursor to CES 2012 proper, then niche-tech i.e. ‘doing one thing well’ looks to be next on our consumer tech lust list. Take Qooq, for example – a recipe-centric tablet. (More info on Qooq from Cnet)

actually, the spicy ahi tuna sushi was lovely.

Qooq Recipe Tablet with plates

It plays movies and music, like a lot of the other tablets on the market. But its makers have stuffed the tablet full of High Definition video of ‘gourmet chefs cooking stuff’, and made it more rugged, i.e. ‘kitchen-friendly’. $399 gets you around 3,000 chef-demonstrated recipes, sitting atop a Linux-based OS. The tablet’s been around since 2009, and already sold over 15,000 units in its native France. Further recipes can be streamed from the internet (for a subscription, of course).

Bodymedia's FIT kit.

Heart-rate monitors, pedometers and other body-sensing kit has been around for a while. For a TV feature a few years back   for the BBC, I wore a then-new device from Bodymedia that measured calorie burn-rate. At the time, I had to download my device manually every few days. But the 2012 reboot uses the owner’s smartphone to update results in real time on the web. And, like the designer USB wall plug, competitors aren’t far behind, with another company showing a similar device.

Zensorium's Tinke

Another sensor, Tinke, comes from Zensorium – plugged into an iPhone, it takes your pulse and measures oxygen saturation and respiration levels. Fitness console games have proved there is a market in this area – and the makers are keen to ‘upsell’ the lifestyle aspect of tech like this. Of course it tracks your progress, and gives you the option to compare your score with other users.

Bikn's Tag

Treehouse Labs, a wireless sensor company, showed Bikn (pronounced ‘Beacon’).  Remember those old keyrings you had to whistle to find? The modern version uses an app and custom-made iPhone case to trace tagged precious items to within 30 metres or so – a  small but significant move toward the inevitable ‘Internet of Things’ that everyone keeps talking about.

What do I think these devices have in common?

Most of these devices focus on just one thing, and base it on something else’s power. The USB Charger uses existing wall sockets, the cooking tablet plugs into the net, the body-sensing and tagging devices tap into the processing power of a smartphone. Each product stands a chance of being successful in the market place because it fulfils a specific need that our ‘do everything’ smartphones can’t quite manage yet. Specialist add-on gadgetry is emerging.

Look at me on my lego piano!!

Presenting Ideas Persuasively

I gave a presentation for the London Girl Geek Dinners 6th Anniversary event. For  a brilliant blog post all about the event – along with an unfortunate picture of me and an angry bird, click here.

Meanwhile, my aim for the presentation was to use some of what I’ve learned from my experiences as a TV presenter and producer to help other people get their voices heard, whatever their walks of life.

During my talk, I repurposed some of the techniques in telling a story for television for use in real-world situations.

I used an example of one of my most recent features for BBC News as a way to illustrate the core elements of presenting ideas in an easily accessible manner.

Presenting Ideas Persuasively – LJ Rich

I was incredibly flattered that the original Girl Geek asked for my last slide to remain up so she could communicate her ideas to our audience using this technique!

After the speaking was done, something amazing happened – quite a few people came up to me after the speech to tell me that they were inspired!  Inspired to pitch something at work that they knew they could do, or to try again to present an idea they had faith in but didn’t quite manage to convey it the first time.

Before I gave the speech, I remember thinking that if I could encourage just one person to have more confidence in their abilities, and act positively, I would feel like the presentation was a success – so this result was even more gratifying.

I had a few requests to stick the slides up online, so here they are – and GirlGeekDinners, thanks very much for having me!

Look at me on my lego piano!!

The video I used for talking about presenting

 

 

CES 2009 – more pictures

A few pics from the last few days at CES – I’ve got a couple of great interviews in the can including one from a guy at Microsoft who was on the development team for Windows 7, and Akon – although I’ll edit these on the plane home tomorrow (if I don’t sleep, that is).

fatal1ty at the creative stand ces 2009

Fatal1ty kicking butt at the Creative Stand CES 2009

 

look at the thickness of those babies!

Said like Comic Book Man from the Simpsons: thickest.... cables.... ever!!!!!

 

where all the proper work gets done

CES 2009 Networking centre

 

ces 2009 - after closing!

Emptying the floor at the end of the day, CES 2009

 

bbc click shoot the stevie wonder interview at ces 2009

Stevie Wonder and the BBC Click team - shooting the interview

 

diana ross singing at the monster party ces 2009

Diana Ross singing at the Monster Party, CES 2009 - I'm at the front!

 

lamborghini on a stand at ces 2009

Lamborghini at CES 2009

CES 2009 – battery! Nooooo

How incredibly ridiculous, I left 1/2 of my UK/US adaptor in the hotel, which means I’m on the clock with a minor uploading drama!  So the video might or might not make it up there, with 32 minutes remaining, it’s anyone’s game.

Highlights so far have been a proliferation of newer, greener display technologies (hold tight for OLED on the vid) and an emphasis on mobile content consuming, including a projector that’s been built into a phone.

In fact, the phone-projector from Samsung (using DLP technology) was the gadget I featured for BBC Click during filming last night, that’s going to be broadcast on BBC World, and perhaps even on the internet site too, which is very exciting.

RSS Readers / Can’t see the link? Click here

Today I’ll go to my appointments on the show floor armed with my (fully charged!) camcorder, and later I’ll meet with the rest of the BBC Click team.

…and tonight I might be attending the Sony Online Poker party which last year had Fire-Eaters and Acrobats as well as many different food stations.

Below are a few piccies from Flickr uploaded earlier:

in front of 150" panasonic tv by LJRich

In front of 150" TV!

phone projector showing kung fu panda by LJRich

Samsung Mini Projector - up to 50" screen size

phone with built in projector by LJRich

bottom phone is also a projector - to be featured on BBC Click

See you soon!

Las Vegas CES 09

Good morning  – at least, it’s morning here in Las Vegas.  It’s the day before CES 2009, the world’s largest trade show for Consumer Technology, and the largest annual trade show in the USA according to the data sheet next to me. 

070120091224 by LJRich

Las Vegas CES 2009

Apparently, people from over 140 countries attend the show, and its popularity is reflected by the packed plane I arrived on yesterday, where, believe it or not, the person sitting in the seat next to me ate my food whilst I was asleep – why? Because apparently, she didn’t like the chicken. 

here comes the monorail! Las vegas

Las Vegas Monorail - $5 a ride

CES debuts from years past include the VCR in 1970, the Camcorder in 1981, HDTV in 1998, Microsoft’s XBox in 2001 and OLED TV in 2008.  Consequently, this morning I awoke with 2 intentions – 1) get up early and have a look round and 2) hit the all-you-can-eat buffet with a vengeance.

all you can eat at las vegas buffet - 1st one to explode wins by LJRich

There are more stations behind me - a shrine to gluttony. Yippee!

So, after a filling meal of pancakes, french toast, potatoes, eggs, fruit and a cinnamon bun, I’m ready for some serious gadget input. 

lj rich blogging in the press room at ces 2009, las vegas  blogging this in the Press Room!Tonight’s party is the Pepcom Digital Experience, where many exhibitors are showing off their new stuff. I shall be bringing my trusty camcorder with me to record anything utterly bonkers or incredibly useful.

 

Please let me know if you’d like me to look up something for you.

Quick Click Blog

View from BBC Click's Office by LJRich.

View from Click Towers

…And the reason I’ve been so utterly busy is partially explained by the picture, which is the view from BBC Click‘s offices at BBC TV Centre!  Wow!

I’m putting together some packages (which is what we call the 4-minute features in the programme) which will be transmitted across the whole world!

Some of the more techy readers may well have seen me pop up on a couple of episodes already – and you’ll be able to see me on the iPlayer on the coming edition, talking about gadgets with Spencer Kelly, Click’s main presenter, in the soon-to-be-revealed Click Lab.

I am chuffed to bits to be at the BBC!!!!!  As I (and others) would say on Twitter: “Woop!  Woop!”

Digital Winter 2008

I just realised I haven’t blogged for ages, mainly due to the fact that my feet haven’t touched the ground in the last week and a bit.

So what follows is a very, very brief digest of what I’ve been up to, one post at a time:

DIGITAL WINTER 2008 TECH EVENT

This is basically where a bunch of companies have stalls which show you their latest gadgets, and sometimes their flagship products as well.  Siemens showed their new concept solar-powered dect phone too.

151020081052 new sansa fuze and sansa clip from sandisk

Sandisk's new Sansa Fuse at the top, and its mini cousin, bottom

There was so much food and cake available, but I’d stuffed myself with sushi on the way there, annoyingly.  Secretly I was dying for a nice cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit – but this was no time for confectionery or patisserie, it was time for some serious gadget-hunting.

The technology was suitably diverse, so here are a few highlights of the event.  Have a look at Sandisk’s Sansa Fuse (at the top) which has 4GB inbuilt memory, and a slot for a micro SD card for future expansion. 

… and the red ones have a great Ferrari-style paint job, which doesn’t have any bearing on the performance of the product, but looks nice.

 

           Next up…

151020081048 solar gorilla laptop charges next to macbook pro for scale

Power Traveller's Solar Gorilla Laptop Charger

…a look at the Solar Gorilla from PowerTraveller, a gigantic solar panel which you can use alongside their battery to charge up your laptop – you can also use a mains adaptor with the battery if you’re stuck in the dark, and get about 6 hours’ worth of laptop life from a full charge.  The MacBook Pro is there for scale.

In fact, I have the miniature one of these, the powermonkey which I use for charging my mobile – although the larger product on display is probably better suited for use in remote areas that catch a lot of sun, i.e. anywhere except London.

 

                                  And Finally….

151020081047 new usb microscope 200x magnification vms-001 from veho

Veho 200x USB Microscope with 2p coin on screen

…the USB microscope from Veho, one of the more amusing products on display.  You can see on the screen a 2p coin magnified 200 times from the coin underneath the microscope.  Yes, *of course* I stuck my fingers underneath, you can see the ridges and everything. 
For one secret and hideous moment I wondered whether this would be a useful beauty accessory for facial excavation and then decided against pointing the device at a particularly good spot on my cheek in public, what with wanting to look like a serious technology journalist and all, although I can’t resist adding that you’re either a squeezer or a leaver in this particular field.
So Digital Winter was quite fun.  If you want to see these pics a few minutes after I’ve taken them, then please feel free to subscribe to my Flickr Stream, where I’ll upload them from my N95.  I promise not to upload any pictures from the microscope.
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Nero 9 Suite and Move It Launch

Yes, we’re AVIn’ it large here at Geek Chic – lots of video for tech lovers! The second one is of Nero’s launch of their fabulous Move It software, alongside a release of Nero 9.  In fact, instead of just being known for burning software, Nero are moving into something they call “Liquid Media”, which is a rather nice way of describing the way we use video, photos and music in the digital age. 

Let’s face it, we’re not fussy where we consume media these days, be it on different platforms such as mobile phones and iPod-type devices, or just plain and simple online streaming like iPlayer on our laptops.  It’s a quick and dirty world, media-wise.  Content is king, it matters less how we ingest it, as long as we manage to input copious amounts of glorious gluttonous entertainment into our heaving brains, day and night, it’s never enough, and it never will be.

But I digress (as usual).

So here is Patrick Peeters, Nero General Manager, EMEA, telling us what it’s all about:

If you want to know more about the Nero Software, pop here to Nero’s site

The software looks promising, and anyone who has ever tried to encode from one device to another will appreciate the simplicity afforded by a rather nicely skinned “drag and drop”-style  video format swapper.   I have my fingers crossed that they will create templates that are optimised for the Archos players, which will hopefully be added to their already generous selection of codecs.

Back into the editing dungeon now for a few more vids, and a lot more tea.

Virgin Gadget Spy Episode 2 Now Released!

Gadget Spy Episode 2!
Gadget Spy Episode 2!

Yes, after all that hard work, we’ve done it, it’s been edited, and this is Episode 2 of Gadget Spy

 
Gadgets featured are:
 
 
And if you’re wondering what the Bunny Rabbit was at the beginning of the video, it’s the Nabaztag Internet Bunny  which will tell you what the weather’s like and pull stockmarket and news data from the internet. 
 
…and for those of you who read my blog, here is a secret for you – hear the background music?  That’s mine, that is !!