Google’s Next Step: Are Print Mail Order Catalogs Dead?

One of the great joys of the holiday season involves receiving the stack of catalogs that invariably clog the mailbox at the end of my driveway.

Not withstanding the hernia I get from carrying them to the house, or the three acres of rainforest timber it took to print them, holiday catalogs provide a never-ending opportunity to look at stuff I don’t want to buy.

Unfortunately, when I do finally decide what I want to buy for those on my holiday shopping list, I find the one catalog I need mysteriously absent from the 6-foot stack.

Fortunately, a new service at Google makes hunting through catalogs to find the perfect gift for yourself or others an absolute breeze.

Log on to http://catalogs.google.com/ and test out Google’s latest offering in an attempt to organize all information on the planet.

At the time of this writing, Google’s database of catalogs boasts over 6,000 catalogs covering everything from golf to music to footwear.

The index allows you to browse catalog content either by entering keywords in a search box, or choosing categories in their directory-style listings.

If you want the latest L.L. Bean or Harry and David catalog (or any other), you can perform a search for a specific catalog by name.

If Google doesn’t carry a specific catalog, you can click the “Help Google Add More Catalogs” link on the main page of the catalogs directory to suggest they take a look at it.

I personally think Google is very serious about developing this service because they do something here I’ve never seen them do before: they provide a physical mailing address and invite you to actually “snail mail” them a catalog you want added.

I decided to put the service to the ultimate test by searching for what, at least for me, represents the ultimate catalog purchase from 2003: the singing trout (a.k.a. the “Boogie Bass”)!

If they could find that honey of a holiday gift, the service gets my seal of approval.

Of course, in a nanosecond, Google found it in multiple catalogs along with such holiday gems as the “singing fish” and the “TV Caddy.”

On a serious note, a search for “Ford F250 accessories” yielded some very helpful information on catalogs where I can get parts and goodies for my truck.

So, this service goes way beyond searching catalogs with only the “As Seen On TV” gadgets, and gets into some serious niche product information.

Back before the Internet, search engines, and online research, catalogs actually represented an inexpensive way for vendors to publish product information targeting a niche audience.

It makes perfect sense that the Web’s largest search engine should start cataloging catalogs and combine print publications with online search.

The only drawback to Google’s new catalog browser is that you can’t circle the items you really want (writing on your monitor tends to damage it) and then strategically leave the catalog where Santa (or your wife) can conveniently find it and catch a clue as to your greatest wish.

But, you can always send Santa a web link to the items on your list!

Piano Learning Software – Your Next Generation Music Teacher

In the jet set lifestyle of the modern world, where squeezing out a bit of time to relax is a luxury that is unaffordable for many. Pursuing your hobby of learning to play the piano and running helter and skelter in search of a reputed piano teacher or piano school where you will be taught with a lot of care, is simply unimaginable. No one has so much time on their hands to search for a teacher and then enroll in his or her class and then attend classes regularly at regular fixed hours.

If you miss a class it will be your loss. If you try to reschedule a class, it will inconvenience others in the class or your teacher if it’s a private lesson. A private lesson on piano instruction can set you back at the rate of $100 per hour. Of course you have the option of going for group lessons which will prove to be cheaper, but nothing is cheaper than piano learning software that you can purchase from any online music store and if you are lucky you can even get a discount on the software.

With the help of piano learning software, receiving piano instruction will become the easiest thing in the world because you will be able to learn playing the piano without putting one step out of your home. You can follow your lessons whenever you have some free time, at your convenience, without being hurried on by a teacher. Nothing else will afford you the pleasure or luxury of learning the piano at your own rhythm and pace within the privacy and ease of your home.

If you get stuck at a particular spot or have difficulty in practicing or getting over a certain piece, you can always contact your instructor through the interactive platform like chat or email or forum or group where you can put forward your problem and share your difficulties with learned fellow students and instructors.

Beat Maker Software – The Next Step in Music

Music as we know it has had a rapid evolution over the years, from tribal drums to entire orchestras, from the piano to the electric guitar. In order to understand the evolution of music you need to take a look at its history and how the instruments we now consider classical have been developed. The latest breakthrough in nowadays music is the beat maker, and it has never been easier for anyone with a decent musical ear to create his own music.

The invention of the beat maker software has revolutionized the concept of composing music. It has practically eliminated the need for an ample ensemble of instruments in order to be able to create a song. Common music maker software online is now able to reproduce any sound and it also comes with pre-recorded beats from various genres of music. Until recent years, even if you had such software, you would still have to record the sounds you wanted on your loops in order to play them in your song.

Beat maker software online creators are targeting a larger segment of population now that the user interface has become extremely friendly and easy to use with just minimal software and music know-how. You can even use this software online without having to bother downloading it on your computer or laptop, which is a great advantage if you are short on hard drive space or just do not like to install many programs on your machine.

First, when you are trying to make music as a beginner, try to think of what style you would like to create. What is that genre of music that you feel closest to? Even though you may feel anxious to get your hands on that beat maker software, take a few minutes to decide on this matter. After having done so, use the software to create a baseline. This step is vital to your song because everything you will add afterward has to match the baseline you have created. It is like the foundation of your song, so to speak. The next step is to add the loops and the midi drums, either recorded by you or provided by your software, and your song is complete.

One of the best applications for this purpose available to the public is Sonic Producer. This software was created in flash, therefore it works with most of the existing browsers, even the ones that work for Mac only. It has a large number of very good sounds recorded in its library and a lot more you can download every day. One of the great things about the beat maker is that you can export your files to an mp3 format after you are done composing the song. The community of Sonic Producer is very friendly and is quick to offer advice on any problem you may have.

Another professional application of this type is Music Maker, something that every professional or amateur should probably have. It has the options that can help newcomers get into music creation but also it has a wide array of options for the professional musician. Music maker allows you to easily publish your creation on the internet once you are done with them, so you can get feedback from other enthusiasts.

Who would not want to get in to the music business, now that it has become so easy? All you need is a computer, laptop or even a handheld device that has compatible software in order to let your musical imagination run wild.

Intermediate Guitar Lessons – Are You Ready For the Next Step?

Whether you’re ready to take the next step and start intermediate guitar lessons depends on how much you learned as a beginner. It doesn’t make any sense to try to play intermediate guitar if you don’t have the background you need in the basic techniques. Continue reading to see what intermediate guitar lessons can teach you and the things you should know before you try them. Let’s see what you could be missing.

Before you begin taking intermediate guitar lessons you’ll need to know some basics. You’ll need to know the way a guitar is put together and what its parts do. You should be able to tune your instrument, play some elementary chords, and understand barring. You will also need a good grasp on your scales. You might have some basic finger picking under your belt, but that’s not all that vital. The important thing is to understand how your guitar works and know the basic techniques you’ll need to work up to more advanced playing techniques.

You may be required to go through the lessons in a specific order, so you have the grounding for each one, or you may be able to jump around. It all depends on the method you’re using to learn. Just be willing to follow the instructions, or you could end up getting uneven results.

If you’re comfortable with all these things, then you’re ready to look into intermediate guitar lessons. Examine your options closely to ensure you’re choosing a comprehensive guitar learning program that will teach you everything you need. You want to find a learning program that teaches guitar exercises for both hands and covers the major scales. It’s likely that you’ll learn some more about finger picking, and you’ll probably take a look at the scales used in specific music genres. Learning blues scales is common among many intermediate guitarists, just as an example.

Good intermediate guitar lessons will also teach you how to read chord diagrams and guitar tabs, some special tuning exercises and some elementary arpeggios. You should also learn how to use vibrato and some basic sweep picking. Don’t jump ahead in your lessons before you learn everything, but don’t get frustrated, either. You’ll have to master intermediate guitar methods before you’ll be able to use more advanced techniques. If you jump past some lessons you might end up with some significant gaps in your knowledge, and you might even injure your hands.

Fortunately, intermediate guitar techniques will keep your attention a bit better than the basics. Just stick with your program and you will improve every day. Practice is definitely worthwhile for everyone who wants to play the guitar. Anybody can learn to play guitar as long as they are determined. Find some good intermediate guitar lessons and practice them daily. If you do, the results will be amazing. You’ll soon be ready for advanced guitar lessons, and you’ll be a pretty accomplished guitar player before you know it. You know you have what it takes to be a guitar virtuoso, so go for it!