Back End Tech

We’ve been long aware that the need for dynamic updating is never dynamic enough. But as the web grows and expands infinitely it seems, the main thing an artist must remember is that they need to be seen and heard without lots of delay and complication.

With the increased popularity in web tools like Facebook and YouTube, OMRadio began refurbishing many of our websites with back end administration tools for our existing clients, and building all of our new sites with admin tools to give our new clients more access to their content. One of the hardest things about being a web master for many people is keeping up with the wide range of updates that can come in. Now we have increased the access to our clients and improved the dynamics of the websites for the audience. If you have a web site that you’d like to re-examine for administration additions contact us to see what we can do for you. Or if you are looking to start from scratch, now is a better time than ever to build a website that you can operate more directly without need to drive up costs paying a web master to maintain.

These days we’ve been implementing back end tools for both flash/xml sites and full builds on the wordpress system. This allows clients to use the conventional tools available on platforms we’ve tested and implemented with other clients. In some cases, a web site owner would pay their hosting fee and respond, ‘No, but thanks’ when asked if they had updates. “Would you like a blog?”, I asked one….”sure, why not”…he’s very prolific, indeed!

This is what I want from the web, don’t you? To keep up with a wide range of artists who are doing some amazing work? Upset to miss a show that just came to your town and didn’t get the word? No need for that when the ability to update is taken care of with ease.

The Bergamo Project

John Bergamo has been major contributor to modern percussion music since the 1960s as a performer, composer, and teacher. In a special tribute concert, his music will be featured at the PASIC convention Friday evening concert in Austin, Texas on November 7, 2008.

At this year’s Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC), this showcase concert will feature the work of John Bergamo by his colleagues and students. A wide range of Bergamo’s percussion compositions will be performed by members of the CalArts Percussion Ensemble with David Johnson, Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri with Hands On’semble and Houman Pourmedhi.

Sponsors: The Herb Alpert College of Music at CalArts, Cooperman Drum, Remo, Kori Marimbas, Marimba One, Paiste, Zildjian Cymbals, Hamilton Stands, Wright Hand Drums, Yamaha, Bergerault, Houston Percussion Center, Steve Weiss Music and

This year PASIC 2008 was held in Austin, Texas. We were pleased to feature a showcase concert November 7, 2008, Interactions: A Tribute to John Bergamo. The show featured David Johnson, Dan Kennedy, Amy Knoles, and the CalArts Percussion Emsemble, followed Pt. Swapan Chaudhuri, Hands OnSemble and Houman Pourmedhi.
Full Info:

MySpace and YouTube Explosion

It was always our mission to link people who create to those who enjoy the creation. It has been a blessing to see the web grow in the way it has thus far. And as more companies realize the potential of the internet to disseminate information and content, we expect the technology and interest to grow to meet this demand.

Today many people are enjoying more hands-on access to their favorite artists via MySpace and YouTube. The immediate gratification to find funny video clips, replay favorite television shows or watch specials that exist on Google video and YouTube have caused a boom in content development. Producers are scrambling to put MySpace and YouTube campaigns together for their various projects.

YouTube and Google Video has become a pleasure for viewers, a vehicle for the arts and political views, and a free marketing centre for producers and activists. The ability to upload video has become easier and less reliant upon the technological wiz kids of my generation. And though we love to work for our people we are excited that they can directly relate with simple tools that give them direct connection to their interested audience.

When we first heard of MySpace, we didn’t really understand why any artists or activists would be interested in this site that seemed to be focused on individuals who wanted to be ‘friends’ with strangers. As a former AOL member who had visited AOL chat rooms and worked in web site support, I underestimated the impact this site would have on our ability to get to know who our audience is and could be. We had missed the Music Profile section entirely and assumed this trend was simply about young people networking.

One of our clients called to ask if we’d set up his MySpace page. We logged in and were immediately confused about their system and how the layout system worked. But having experience in style sheets and web technology we weren’t going to just roll over and not engage this system. So we mapped out what they had going and started to dissect how to control the aspects of the site’s appearance and function.

We are currently developing tools that allow us to utilize MySpace in conjunction with our own websites so we aren’t too dependent on them for audio, video, and graphic content. Already we have an mp3 player that operates directly from our websites instead of the MySpace player which provides greater reliability and less disruption of service as MySpace works out their bugs.

One major issue that has arisen is that MySpace is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp. As media activists we are very concerned about media ownership and the building of monopolies. The Murdoch empire continues to expand and we find ourselves conflicted about utilizing their services while working to keep the growth of their company in check. The more they grow the less options we have.

For now we will enjoy the site with our like minded people and see how the future develops. In time maybe MySpace will be independent or will moved to a ground more in line with our ethic. We will keep you posted via

As the internet continues to grow we expect to see other sites emerge that will rival YouTube and MySpace in technology and access and we anticipate being a part of that change. Stay tuned.

8 Years of OM and the Net

8 Years of OM and the Net
Remember when you first signed online? What about the first email you had?

In the mid 90s many of us signed online for the first time and began to invest our time and interest in the internet. The options of what to view and read were very limited. Video online did not yet exist for commoners and audio was bound to cause problems for users as they surfed the net.

With most people accessing via dial-up, the internet was sluggish at best and impossible at worst. When you did get to hear something it was garbled with digital compression and mostly only available via RealAudio. There was no mp3 technology when I first signed on. It would come a few years later and even then it was not a perfect science. The sites that did feature audio were considered very advanced, especially if it was ‘streaming’ audio.

In 1997 I had begun to tinker with building websites for my pleasure and to explore some artistic options I was interested in. I didn’t envision serving anyone with these hobbyist interests but at the same time I had heard that a favorite artist of mine had lost most of his catalogue when the label buckled and took the masters with them. This was the birth of this idea of OM online. I wanted to make sure I didn’t lose a chance to hear this great music and offered the idea of directly communicating with the artists’ audience without record label dependence.

A good friend at the time was involved in website building and after a few attempts at working for his boss I decided I would go gig for a living. But I didn’t stop creating web pages and in 1999 I build a full website for the artist I was so interested in supporting. He had only just hopped online months before and he took a chance at letting me build his site. We didn’t have audio clips at first and video was a long way away.

After we built the first site, another artist called and said he liked the work and wanted a website, then another and then another. This was going to be interesting and suddenly I was in the business of building websites for artists. The first thing I learned was that if I was going to do this work I had to organize my tools and get serious about learning all the facets of building websites. Doing this from the ground was exciting but very challenging.

I remember very well the conversations with artists where I would say, “ok the sound clips are up. Whatcha think?” They would grimace with the transformation of their music from great CD quality sound to this warbled audio technology. As time passed the speed of the internet would improve and the computer hardware people were using advanced. Eventually audio quality became a no brainer and the range of the audience was growing.

With the addition of Shoutcast technology I began to work with Otis Maclay in my radio work at Pacifica’s local station. We were engineering live broadcasts and recordings and replaying them via Shoutcast. With his experience and technological prowess, we were able to really push the technology until all we had to deal with was content management and scheduling all the events. The live broadcasting would continue during our work with Pacifica and it was very exciting work overall.

One very exciting moment for me was the FCC hearing at Emory University in Atlanta. I went with a simple 8 channel mixer, my laptop, a few audio cables and a 400 ft internet cable. I was 12 feet short of my ideal sweet spot and I wired into the sound board with a 100ft mic cable stretched to its max. With the deadline for airtime on us, I finally got online and hit broadcast on our WinAmp program. I sent the source to our little server and Otis patched it into the Houston radio station’s satellite KU band. We were now broadcasting to hundreds of community stations who were interested in carrying the broadcast.

The old paradigm called for a very expensive remote truck with equipment worth a small house. The new paradigm put these options in the hands of more simple people like our little crew. We were busy doing radio shows on our favorite political issues and at the same time we were looking to shift from our political activism to supporting the many artists I knew and was working for.

Websites like emerged, napster came and went, but there was a new day coming where people would start watching video online. While it is true that video was available before sites like Google Video and YouTube, it wasn’t until these two sites were launched that the common user was able to enjoy the wide range of voices out on the net. We have seen a plethora of videos of cats, mentos cola explosions and other zany clips. But our interests in music were also beginning to be met with the ability to see some of the different instruments that, for most, were unknown or never seen before.

These days you can watch a wide range of music from around the world and in time those clips will become more and more accessible to interested audiences. We view these sites as a great way to share music that to some is obscure and hidden. The most exciting part is that we are finally getting to know our audience outside of just web statistics that only told us where they were and maybe what kind of computer they used. Now we can see their profiles and find what common ground we have.

After 8 years online, has grown to over 100+ websites and we intend to grow the content to please the palette of the interested and curious. We really look forward to seeing the technology expand even more. With increased bandwidth and decreased costs, the web has become a very affordable way to share art and viewpoints with people, real human beings, who want to get more out of life and learn more about their world.

Thank you for your time and share your ideas and experiences with us.

Frances Newton and Tookie Williams When one death is not enough for the state

On September 14th,2005 Texas executed Frances Newton as punishment for the death of her husband and children. They alleged that she murdered her family for $100,000 in life insurance. But what they didn’t do is give her justice. Instead they protected their choices, decisions, and efforts with a stoic and consistent ignorance of the facts.

The lawyer appointed to Frances Newton was the now infamous Ron Mock who has since been suspended for a variety of offenses. He holds the distinction of having sent the most defendant clients to Death Row. It is clear that when it came to Frances Newton and Gary Graham (Shaka Sankofa) Ron Mock was incompetent council. But that did not disuade the state from execution.

The state used the fact that Frances purchased life insurance around a month before the murders. What the state didn’t disclose was that family members stated they encouraged Frances to do so after an uncle died with no insurance for the funeral. This is evidence that can be manipulated. But they also failed to disclose that her insurance agent also stated she pressured Frances to get life insurance…as she was only there to renew her auto insurance.

Then as the case had gone through appeal after appeal, the defense had found that there was now theory of a ‘second gun’. This theory was that the gun that was found and listed as evidence would be “Gun One” but the investigators also found a gun belonging to Adrian Newton, Frances’ husband. That gun was dismissed as never been fired and belonging to Adrian Netwon. How did they do this if there was never a ballistics test or serial matching? If they did match this gun, why wasn’t it introduced to the jury?

The bottom line for Frances Newton’s case is that the State of Texas did not even try to uphold a standard that the death penalty should require. Frances was murdered by the State of Texas on September 14, 2005.

But the question lingers, why does our government execute people?

If the basic premise is that these people pose an ongoing risk to society, how is it that Frances Newton would be an on going risk to society? She was interviewed in an opportunist setting for the 700 Club who came to praise her for becoming a Christian but did nothing to save her life.

If the basic premise is that this is punishment then we have simply become a killing society and not interested in redemption and should end all guises related to reformation of people in prison, and end the ‘corrections’ program.

Then we can look at the case of Stanley ‘Tookie’ Williams who was executed in California on December 13, 2005. The State of California refused to acknowledge the change that Tookie Williams showed in his life and the work he had done to help restore the damage to the community that he admitted to participating in. Though he denied the murders he was accused of, he has admitted that his life was filled with violence that had to end in the community that birthed him. He spent his time in prison writing books to encourage the youth from getting involved with crime and gangs.

Supporters argue that Williams was a reformed man who would do more good to turn youth around than would be gained by executing him. This seems to be a position that society should look at and take much more serious. If a man or woman who has been convicted can work the rest of their lives sharing their story to help prevent future loss of life, then isn’t this the goal we strive for with our ‘system’?

The Death Penalty has been a violent answer to crime for longer than history documents, and it seems to show that we are not able to reform our thinking as a society towards understanding the roots of crime, violence, and social responsibility. The encouragement of retribution in the victims lives has seen a spike in recent years with the advent of “victim’s rights” groups. While it is true that some guilty go free and justice for a victim is often not substantial, we cannot continue to encourage revenge in the hearts of the families affected. We should uphold the highest moral standards towards justice.

More coming soon….

My prayers go out to Jewel, I know we tried, but its not enough. This isn’t over.