Tag - music

Apple Said to Be in Talks to Buy Music Service Lala (Update3) – Bloomberg.com

Dec. 4 (Bloomberg) — Apple Inc., maker of the iPod player and iTunes music software, is in talks to acquire online music service Lala, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The terms of the deal weren’t known. The people declined to be identified because talks are still in progress. Investors in Palo Alto, California-based Lala include New York-based Warner Music Group Corp., Boston-based Bain Capital Ventures and Ignition Partners in Bellevue, Washington.

The Lala service lets users listen to any song on its site once for free. Customers can then opt to buy the track for 10 cents and listen to it on the Web. The service differs from iTunes because the music is stored on servers via so-called cloud computing, instead of being downloaded to the user’s computer. If customers decide to download a track, the cost is 79 cents — compared with iTunes’ price of 69 cents to $1.29.

via Apple Said to Be in Talks to Buy Music Service Lala (Update3) – Bloomberg.com.

Mega Nano Hassle

Having an iPod Nano can be a lot more work than you bargained for.

I got a fatboy Nano for Christmas. It’s great, sleek, beautiful, tiny, and the wretched bleeding thing does not hold all my music.

Having never had this problem before (owning both a 20GB 4th generation and a 30GB 5th generation of what is nostalgically now referred to as an iPod classic) this is causing me some serious angst. (OK, I’m lying about the angst part. Actually it’s just minor irritation, bordering on mid-level annoyance.) But in the wee, wee hours of the morning they really don’t feel too terribly dissimilar.

It turns out there is no easy way to tell the black-box machina Apple calls iTunes to “sync-up-all-the-music-that-fits-on-my-ipod, selecting-by-albums, giving-me-new-stuff (or at least a random sampling of all my music) every-single-time-I-sync.

I don’t know about you, but I find that distinctly annoying.

After all, my time is too valuable to spend manually figuring out what kind of music I want to listen to for the next few days. After spending 30 minutes on the worthless local paper, channel-surfing for an hour or so, and some impressive-looking but sadly resultless procrastination on household chores, the last thing I want to do is to make the computer do what it ought to do for me. It resembles work entirely too closely.

So: Apple. Please create a setting in the iPod prefs that does the above-mentioned task.

I would really hate to draw the conclusion that you are simply making it tough for people to own low-capacity iPods and engaging in some stealthy marketing for upmarket 160 GB versions … particularly when you’re releasing 8GB iPhones that would not hold my music collection either. That would just be cynical.

After all, if the geeks at ArsTechnica can’t figure it out either (and no, none of the suggestions there possess either of the two desired virtues of humane computing: elegance and … actual functionality), how can a mere mortal figure it out?

Thanks!

Baffled. Utterly baffled.

How much did you pay the music industry for the record player you bought 30 years ago? What percentage of your 15-year-old tape deck’s cost went to the music companies? And how much did the RIAA get when you bought your new Bose speakers?A big fat zero, obviously.Which is why I’m so utterly baffled by comments like this:

Zucker also revealed his company had asked for a cut of iPod sales – though the company receives no dividend from sales of record or CD players.”Apple sold millions of dollars worth of hardware off the back of our content and made a lot of money,” he said. “They did not want to share in what they were making off the hardware or allow us to adjust pricing.”

Almost. Literally. Unbelievable.What can you expect, I guess, from an industry that sues its customers, cheats its stars, eats its young talent for lunch, and is generally a disgusting, manipulative, and corrupting influence on popular culture.What a zero.

More music industry madness

So, Universal wants to invent a new model for music sales:

Universal Music Group, the world’s biggest record label, is looking to mobile hardware makers to foot the bill for a free music subscription service for buyers of a certain mobile phone or music player, The Telegraph reported Saturday.

Think. What does a model where you buy a piece of music-playing equipment and then the music itself is free remind you of? Oh yes, radio!Hmm … so they’re trying to reinvent radio here? Nice “new” model here.I wonder what other parts of the radio experince they’ll try to replicate? The lousy music choice? The annoying DJs? Maybe. But there’s another piece of the radio universe that I predict will come along with the “free” music, if this model actually makes it out the door.Advertising.That’s the only way there could possibly be enough revenue in this ridiculous model to support a continual flow of new music. But isn’t the 20 minutes an hour of radio advertising one of the reasons we bought iPods in the first place?No worries. As Dr Phil would say: this dog won’t hunt.PS:Why are the labels so fixated on hardware revenues? They are constantly complaining about the money Apple makes on the iPod … but they never complained before about not getting revenue from radios and stereo equipment. If only they would fixate on being best at what they’re supposed to do: find and promote great music.

Apple’s Sept. 5 iPod Announcement: iPod, iPhone, iPDA, iComputer, iMobile Computing

Apple’s scheduled a Steptember 5th special event: “the beat goes on.”It’s obviously about iPods. My guess is that Apple’s now ready to take the next step. More to the point, the marketplace is finally ready for Apple to release the next evolution in iPod: mobile computing.You already see it in iPhone. And we know that OS X is underpinning future iPods.iPods have been carrying our calendars and notes for years. But it’s always been the sideshow, the off-off-Broadway down-the-lane-to-the-left non-attraction.I think the new iPods are going to take a huge leap in functionality. iPhone’s seamless reading of PDFs, Microsoft Office documents, and more will be part of the iPod experience.It’ll still be the entertainment hub – music, movies, podcasts – that it is. But it’s going to take the next step to a mobile computing platform that includes some of what we currently think of as “business” functionality and some of what we think of as “consumer” functionality – especially games.It would not shock me if concurrent with this unveiling of the new iPod we have an “iSDK,” a software development kit for iPhone and iPod.You read it hear first.

Thumbs up, thumbs down: obligatory post-Jobs-keynote post

I want the new iMac.
I want the new iPhoto.
I want the new iMovie.
I want the new GarageBand.
I want the new Keynote.
I want the new Numbers.
I’m not really impressed with iWeb.
Not too sure about .Mac yet.
I don’t really have a need for Pages – Word is good.

Best new iPhoto feature
Better organization of photos. Events is just brilliant … we have 14,000 photos and they’re just a complete blur. Events makes sense, and it’ll be a major enhancements. I called my wife down for that chunk of the demo, and it passed her keenly tuned BS filters. She even said “cool” a few times.

Best new iMovie features
Movie library just like photo library: one of those things that is obvious after Apple does it. Creating a movie in minutes: very needed, and very awesome.

Still needed: easier podcasting
I still think Apple needs a better podcasting tool. GarageBand is not the obvious place to go for podcasting, and it’s still not super simple and easy there, AFAIK.

Something interesting is happening with the iTunes music store

Yesterday, the news broke that Bebo is partnering with iTunes and offering songs via Apple’s store to its 30 million members. Today, Yahoo! Japan is partnering with iTunes and offering songs via Apple’s store to its members.

Interesting.

This is a new phase in iTunes, that builds on the iTunes University concept to help make iTunes ubiquitous.

I hate ringtones

Ringtones rank among the most annoying of modern inconveniences.

Unfortunately, most people apparently need to hear that it is not actually cool to have the Star Wars theme echoing tinnily but noisily from your pocket. And the Hallelujah chorus really was not conceived as a notification that Bob is caling to inquire whether or not your toenails need trimming this evening.

Would it really, really, really be so bad if a phone just actually sounded like a … phone?

Bah. Humbug.

Now I’ll dismount, etc.

Wierd Al shows the music industry the way

Ars Technica branches out from their standard hardware reviews and shows how Weird Al Yankovic finally got his first #1 single: White and Nerdy.

In three words:

  • YouTube
  • MySpace
  • iTunes

Everyone hates it when their sandbox is overturned, but the music industry has to realize the game has changed and the rules are different.

Indeed, it seems as if the Internet’s quick-spreading, viral nature has been almost singlehandedly responsible for Weird Al’s return to the spotlight. Free, non-DRMed downloads and user-uploaded music videos on YouTube are both things that the music industry has fought vigorously, but instead have managed to produce a Top 10 hit for Weird Al. Perhaps Weird Al’s success will prove to be a learning experience for the music industry.

But the business is still there.

[tags] weird al, yankovic, social media, marketing, youtube, myspace, itunes, music, john koetsier [/tags]

Jadon Lavik

Just heard some Jadon Lavik in the car.

Nice, very nice.

Going to have to get both Moving on Faith and Life on the Inside. Unfortunately, only the older Moving on Faith is available on the iTunes music store in Canada …

Update Nov 5:
I picked up Life on the Inside at House of James a few days ago. Excellent!

[tags] music, jadon lavik, john koetsier [/tags]

Shekinah

I went to Shekinah tonight at Abbotsford New Life church. Shekinah is produced by the Hungry for Life organization, which is dedicated to the twin goals of feeding spiritually and physically hungry people.

Wow.

Two and a half hours of music, prayer, worship, praise, and sermon – all at high tempo (and high volume). I think my ears have recovered now.

I had to think of Goethe’s saying about books when I reflected on the experience. He said that a good book is as an ax to a frozen lake. That’s what Shekinah was for me. Not everything they did was done the way I’d do it, and not every person attending reacted as I would, but maybe that’s not what matters.

What matters is that I met God there. Or, more importantly, God met all of us attending. And we worshipped, and we were changed.

. . .

. . .

One more thing: they had a video clip from an amazing pastor, Danny Ambrose, on the attributes of God. I have, have, have to find that clip or soundtrack.

Johnny Cash: genius

I picked up The Legend of Johnny Cash the other day and have been listening to it ever since.

Very simple, Johnny Cash was a genius.

His song Hurt is absolutely incredible – it blows me away. The honesty and stripped-down baring-his-soul nakedness is out of this world authentic, emotionally true.

Wow.

(Teresa and I recenty watched Walk the Line, which stimulated my interest in Cash and led me to pick up the CD.)

. . .
. . .

[ update July 8 ]

I didn’t know at the time I wrote this that Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails had actually written that song …

Why Apple sold PowerSchool

The rumors had been around for some time: PowerSchool was on the auction block. Now it’s official.

But why? Why did Apple sell PowerSchool? It appears that the division was not profitable enough for Apple, and there were always rumors of issues around the development of new versions of PowerSchool.

But I think there are two key reasons.

One: Not selling more Macs
One is that PowerSchool did not actually help Apple sell more Macs.

When Apple bought the company, PowerSchool had about 10,000 school clients, if memory serves. (I did a research project on student information systems (SIS) for my company about 5-6 years ago.)

The theory was that with PowerSchool as the foot in the door, Apple would be able to sell more Macs to education. And the magic of bundling would also make selling PowerSchool easier in schools that already had a significant Mac prescence.

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, unfortunately, there is.

Apple’s penetration in education has at best held even over the past 5-6 years. More likely, it’s trended down. In fact, PowerSchool didn’t help Apple sell more Macs.

In retrospect, it’s not too hard to see why.

First of all, schools make buying decisions on SIS systems maybe every 10 years. It’s like buying Oracle. You don’t switch to DB2 next year just because somebody gives you a 10% off coupon.

Secondly, they are purchases made with two significantly different audiences. The people making buying decisions on SIS systems are principals, districts, and states. On the other hand, classroom teachers often have significant input into instruction computer buying practices.

And third, it’s not a works-better-together scenario. Because it’s web-based, PowerSchool will work for anyone with any modern computers: Windows, Mac, Linux, you name it. Have web browser, will travel. Same thing for most of the other modern SIS systems on the market. That’s as it should be: back-office and front-office applications are de-coupled and independently upgradable.

Two: Educational content on iPods
But the piece of the deal that’s most intriguing to me is the committment on the part of Pearson to bring their educational content to iPod.

There is no bigger company in educational technology than Pearson. They already have the leading SIS software in the market, SASI xp. But that’s not all they do.

Pearson is a quintessential international megacorp, with businesses all over the world. However, they’re biggest in publishing. In educational publishing, they make textbooks, they publish novels for age-targeted audiences, and more – particularly, curriculum-related products. As they so modestly state:

We are the leading pre K-12 curriculum, testing, and software company in the US, reaching every student and teacher in that country with one or more of our products and services. We offer a wide range of solutions that integrate our instructional, assessment, and reporting capabilities. These instructional offerings include basal and supplemental programmes, and technology-delivered adaptive learning solutions.

Well.

What if you were a company that had a strong historical presence in education with slightly declining market share, but also had an incredibly hot product in the general consumer market that can display text, play audio, and show movies?

You might try to make that incredibly hot product the basis for an educational trojan horse. If so, you’d probably be a well-known fruit-flavored company.

In fact, that’s just what I predicted three weeks ago. After, just for the heck of it, I put one of my company’s courses on my iPod, the lightbulb went on and it became clear to me that the iPod is a perfect vehicle for mobile, personalized course content delivery.

Not so good for interaction, necessarily. And not something that will take the place of discussion, teachers, and all the other needed accoutrements of school. But certainly an excellent way to distributed course text, images, audio, and video.

Education has been looking for e-books for some time now. Maybe the iPod … particularly a next-generation model with a larger screen … is precisely that, but we never realized it until now.

Hmmm. Starts some bells ringing, doesn’t it?

If you were Apple, wouldn’t that be something you wanted? You bet. And how would you get it? You might start by partnering with one of the largest education curriculum and supplemental materials producers out there.

You might start, in other words, with Pearson Education.

Apple sues Creative: that’s what patents are for

Three days ago the inaptly named Creative Technology sued Apple for patent infringement, saying that organizing and navigating music by artists, albums, genre, etc., was covered by U.S. Patent 6,928,433.

Now the news is out that Apple is suing Creative, claiming that Creative infringes on not one, but four patented Apple technologies.

Creative’s patent
Creative’s patent seems, on the face of it, fairly obvious. Basically, what it claims to do is provided a method of browsing and selecting music with multiple filters: album, genre, artist. From the patent filing here’s one “summarized” description of it:

Categories include items that can also be included in other categories so that the categories “overlap” with each other. Thus, a song title can be accessed in multiple different ways by starting with different categories. For example, a preferred embodiment of the invention uses the top-level categories “Albums”, “Artists”, “Genres” (or styles), and “Play Lists”. Within the Albums category are names of different albums of songs stored in the device. Within each album are the album tracks, or songs, associated with that album. Similarly, the Artists category includes names of artists which are, in turn, associated with their albums and songs. The Genre category includes types of categories of music such as “Rock”, “Hip Hop”, “Rap”, “Easy Listening”, etc. Within these sub-categories are found associated songs. Finally, the “Play Lists” category includes collections of albums and/or songs which are typically defined by the user.

And here’s the supporting artwork Creative submitted to the US Patent Office. Note the mispelled “Configuration.”

I would argue that this is a fairly obvious application of technology to playing music, whether on a handheld MP3 player, or a computer. Software has been applying filters to sort and view custom datasets for a long time. Applying this to music, once music is digital, is not qualitatively different than applying it to any other bits and bytes on a hard disk.

Apple’s patents
That said, it’s hard to evaluate the merits of Apple’s four patents – no details about which have yet been released.

Whatever they are, however, I would not be surprised in the least to find them as obvious as the Creative patent. Time will tell.

The point of patents
That’s almost irrelevant, however. The point of patents for most big businesses today is self-defence. It’s about amassing a big enough portolio of both obvious and non-obvious patent so that anyone who thinks about suing you realizes very quickly that you are not a soft target. In fact, you’re a very hard target and, with all the patents in your warchest, there’s going to be at least one which the company suing you infringes against.

In which case, of course, it’s MUCH easier to come to some sort of understanding regarding patents and MUCH easier to settle lawsuits without excessive corporate bleeding..

(The only place where this breaks down, of course, is patent sharks: where the company that is suing you owns nothing but a series of patents. If they don’t actually do anything, produce anything of value, or sell something, it’s almost impossible to find a patent of yours that they infringe on.)

So that’s what Apple is doing. They’ll probably fight the Creative suit as far as they need to to get it thrown out. But just in case, they’re suing based on the 4 other patents that they say Creative is infringing on. It’s nothing but legal insurance.

The one point of danger
In this situation, Apple’s countersuit is only as good as Creative’s desire to stay in the MP3 player business.

After all, Apple is earning billions in the space, and Creative is losing money hand over fist. Faced with a patent infringement lawsuit on your money-losing division, what would you do? Maybe, you’d just drop the money-losing division. In this scenario, if Creative kills its MP3 business, the countersuit becomes irrelevant.

My guess, however, is that this is a fight Creative is not willing to concede just yet, and so they’ll stay in the business.

Which means we’ve got a ring-side seat on some very interesting legal maneuvering in the next weeks and months!

[tags] legal, law, creative, apple, ipod, zen, patent, USPTO, MP3 [/tags]

iPod Hi-Fi that doesn’t suck

This is what iPod hi-fi should have been:

Compare that to Apple’s iPod HiFi:

There’s no comparison. Minimalist design can be only so minimalist before it starves to a sad, pitiful, weak little end. And that’s what Apple’s iPod HiFi does, in my opinion.

See more at Geneva’s site. Note that you can actually play CDs in the system … and that it includes an FM tuner.

The stand is just amazing … I have a wonderful Harman Kardon system with Bose speakers, but I’m smacking my lips just thinking about it.

It’s the whole package that makes the Geneva system so much more compelling to me. iPods, CDs, radio: everything I might want to listen to. Apple’s iPod HiFi just isn’t a big enough solution … maybe it’s just too simple.

[tags] ipod, ipod hifi, hifi, home stereo, simplicity, design [/tags]

World Beat Canada

Last Sunday Teresa and I had dinner with her family … including her uncle Cal Koat, who is the creative spark behind Worldbeat Canada, “Canada’s home for contemporary global music.”

Cal does a weekly radio show on Vancouver radio station CJVB, does the Celt in a Twist top 10 list of Celtic music, and interviews world musicians for radio and podcasts.

Well worth a visit, if only for the great pic on the first page of the site!

O Mary don’t you weep no more

I just picked up Bruce Springsteen’s We Shall Overcome (the Pete Seeger Sessions) on the weekend and I’m listening to it now.

Awesome!

If you like folk/world/bluegrass/roots music, don’t pass this up. (And if you live in Canada, like me, you’ll have to buy it in plastic and paper, since it’s not available off the Canadian iTunes music store.)

How could you not love a CD with song like My Oklahoma Home:

. . . Mister as I bent to kiss her,
She was picked up by a twister …

How to publish a course on iPod

Friday nights, Friday nights. Friday nights are supposed to be for fun. For long dinners and late movies, and then a little nightcap before going to bed.

Except for geeks.

I’m only a mini-geek, so I only spent about 3 hours fiddling with technology.

But this past week Friday I got my first course up and running on an iPod. And it’s unbelievably simple.

The course consists of a series of text components – which can be basically any text you want – and some audio tracks. You access the course via the Notes menu in your iPod, and when the audio tracks are referenced, you simply click the middle select button on your iPod to play them while you continue reading the note.

How to publish a course on iPod
iPod speaks a subset of HTML – a very small subset, as far as I know. (Oddly enough, the files you transfer to your iPod have to be simple text (.txt) files and not HTML (.html) files.)

The syntax will be very familiar to anyone who has any experience with HTML:

  • Page titles: <title>this is the title</title>
  • Links: <a href=”link.txt”>this text is a link</a>
  • Line breaks: the standard <br>
  • Paragraphs: the standard <p>
  • Song/audio links: <a href=”song=My Unique Song Name”>Link to song</a>

There’s a few more – check Make Magazine for details.

Here’s a critical one, though, if you want to link audio into your course but do not want users to leave the environment of your course. Use the song/audio link mentioned about, but add the following meta tag to the top of your page: <meta name=”NowPlaying” content=”false”>. That will make the song (or audio track with training content) play while the text content remains on the screen … which is what I wanted for my little app.

All-in-all, very simple, and very cool.

My kingdom for an installer
There is one shortfall, however: no installer app or standard installer procedure. Apple needs to build something in for automatic installation.

Right now, the install procedure is as follows:

  1. Drag song/audio tracks to iTunes
  2. Sync
  3. In iTunes preferences, enable Disk Mode
  4. Drag notes bundle into iPods Notes area

That probably involves connecting/disconnecting the iPod twice, not to mention futzing with preferences. Dragging the notes bundle into the iPod notes area is dead easy, but I’ve seen way too many dead easy procedures on a computer give … umm … inexperienced users fits to believe this this is not a problem. And I haven’t even listed the part about re-connecting your iPod and disabling Disk Mode so that you can sync your music again.

Realistically, I think Apple sees the potential of iPods as learning devices with both audio and video content. Hopefully that will impell them to create some sort of mechanism that is drag-n-drop friendly for users – for example, download a zipped course, drop it on iTunes, and based on some metadata, iTunes just knows what to do with it.

Probably, however, Apple will create some kind of solution based on the iTunes Music Store.

And this is how I think they’ll do it.

More, more, more
As far as I can find out, however, there is no way of affecting either the font or size of the text you publish on iPod.

That would be a very nice feature, since (as you can see in the screenshot above) the default iPod Notes text is rather thin and spidery. I’d like to be able to beef it up a bit … make it bold or something like that.

In terms of courses, adding assessment is always a nice feature – even if it’s just self-assessment for the learner.

Currently, the only way you can add assessment to an iPod course is via branching: asking a question with a number of answers, each of which is a link. By following the link of the selected answer, the user both selects an option and (by virtue of what you put at the linked file) finds out if he/she is right or wrong.

Summing up
Adding a course to an iPod is incredibly easy … and will probably get even easier.

It would be nice if Apple would publish some specs on what you can or can’t do with Notes (in terms of tags that are supported). I wouldn’t be surprised to see something like that in the medium-term future.

But I can already see that iPod could become a very strong e-learning platform over the next 2-4 years.

Canadian iTunes Store

Why, oh why, if I want to buy Bruce Springsteen’s new We Shall Overcome, can’t I buy it in Canada?

I can see it in the Canadian store. Even listen to it. So why can’t I buy it?

Irritating.

(And yes, I realize it’s not Apple’s fault. It’s those bloody music labels. More specifically, it’s lawyers and people who think like lawyers.)

John World Funk Mix

One of the things I did on my recent trip to San Antonio was to visit (quite accidently) the largest Starbucks in North America.

The entire first floor of this Starbucks on San Antonio’s riverwalk is what they call Hear Music. You get your java (or not), sit down at a computer station (stylish flat-screen monitors: network PCs, essentially), and start building your own CD.

It’s not a technological marvel – anyone with a CD burner can do the same. But it’s nicely packaged, there’s a cool selection of music, and you can customize the (cardboard) jewel case as well as the liner notes.

Which is cool, and which I did:

It’s the Texas style to commemorate my trip, but the music is much more world than country.

I called my disk John World Funk Mix, and it includes tracks from Adham Shaikh, Afro Celt Sound System, and Orchestra Baobab.

Very cool, a nice souvenir (small, soon-to-be-digital, useful, and memorable) and a great experience, all for about $15.

iTunes sold versus iPods sold

[ updated March 3 with a new graph ]

Today I noticed on Digg that someone had graphed iTunes songs sold since the iTunes music store was opened.

One of the comments on the site was: I’d like to see that contrasted with iPods sold. So I thought I’d take some data points from the web and play a little.

Note: when I first posted this, I posted a bit of a rough graph that just showed iPod sales … which means that visitors would have to look at both this site and the one mentioned above to compare.

So now I’ve put together a graph that shows both iTunes and iPod sales on a single graph:

itunesversusipods.jpg

Be aware that while the iPod y axis goes up by fours, the iTunes axis goes up by tens. It was the only way I could get both datasets on one graph (that fits on this web page without scrolling!)

Here’s the data that I found (all over the place online):

  • Jan 11 2006 42 million
  • Nov 29 2005 30 million
  • Nov 2 2005 28 milllion
  • March 31 2005 15 million
  • January 13 2005 10 million
  • Jan 6 2004 2 million
  • June 1 2003 1 million
  • Dec 31 2001 125,000
  • Oct 23 2001 0 sold

All Canadians are criminals, officially

As you know, we are all criminals in Canada.

We steal music, ripping it from the skinny hands of starving artistes, leaving them and their 5 children and 3 spouses to the (rather tender, actually) mercies of the Canadian welfare system.

That is why the Copyright Board of Canada is re-introducing a levy on the sale of all blank media. It’s the least we can do for all those poor singers and songwriters out there. If they benefit even a tiny bit, we are happy to pay double or triple the actual cost of our CDs and DVDs:

As prices have dropped, however, the levy now frequently comprises a significant percentage of the retail price. Consider the purchase of 100 blank Maxell CDs. Future Shop retails the 100 CDs for $69.99. The breakdown of this sale is $48.99 for the CDs and $21.00 for the levy (even worse is a current Future Shop deal of 200 blank CD-Rs from HP, which retails for $59.99. The levy alone on this sale is $42.00 (200 CDs x 21 cents/CD) which leaves the consumers paying $17.99 for the CDs and $42.00 for the levy).

Since all Canadians are criminals, we’ll just charge them all right up front.

Bloody thieves.

Watoto Children’s Choir

Teresa and I took the kids to see the Watoto Children’s Choir tonight … wow!

The choir is amazing – loud, happy, energetic, and infectiously enthusiastic. It’s made up of about 20 kids from the Watoto children’s home in Uganda, Africa, all from 8 to 11 years old.

They’re all orphans, having lost one or both of their parents to AIDs, violence, or other disease. The Watoto home takes them in (there are about 1300 kids there right now) and gives them a group home with a mother. It’s run by Christian groups based in Uganda, and their goal is to take care of 10,000 Ugandan orphans.

The choir is making a tour of Canada, and then Scotland. If you’re able, don’t miss them.