- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 8, 2005

Each week the Browser features some pop-culture places on the World Wide Web offering the coolest in free interactive sounds and action.

A pop cyber-stop

Since 1978, Rhino Entertainment has sold fans of eclectic, bizarre and demanding musical tastes some of the best archival reissues, anthology sets and concert performance recordings available.

The company’s time-consuming Web site (www.rhino.com) is like a vintage pop-culture museum. It not only gives visitors a chance to purchase a wide range of CD- and DVD-based selections — anyone looking for a Gordon Lightfoot boxed set or an H.R. Pufnstuf collection? — but also freely unloads a daunting variety of multimedia.

The flood of memories will begin with a stop by the Rock Photo Gallery. The work of legendary album-cover and celebrity photographer Henry Diltz is highlighted through 20 online volumes of images.

Such notables as Frank Zappa, Roger Daltry, George Jones, Peter Sellers, Sopwith Camel and Ravi Shankar make appearances, with each image getting a few descriptive sentences from Mr. Diltz. His photos and memories of the Doors are especially hip.

Next, popping over to the Fun Trunk, visitors discover some very strange online happenings, some of which involve Marshmallow Peeps re-enacting great scenes in rock ‘n’ roll history. Also, the Screening Room has 13 Macromedia Flash-fueled animated segments that mainly showcase cartoonist Phil Turk’s disturbed mind (also at www.turksville.com) as he tackles such issues as “Rockabilly Horror,” how to choose a Punk Rock Date and “Where the Ghouls Are.”

The pinnacle of Rhino’s online resources resides in the RetroVid area, which contains performances and programs (culled from some of its collections for sale) from more than 100 of some of the all-time coolest cats around. Visitors pick from three connection speeds using the QuickTime, Real Player and Windows Media Player.

Just some of the streaming gold found here includes the introduction of the classic 1971 children’s show “Lidsville,” starring Charles Nelson Reilly; the music video for 10,000 Maniacs’ “Candy Everybody Wants”; Black Sabbath with Ozzy performing “Blue Suede Shoes”; and the Rat Pack (yes, Frank, Dino and Sammy) singing “Birth of the Blues” — with even the mighty Johnny Carson crooning a verse.

Online Jam

A new service allows musicians to unite in harmony as they play and record songs while performing over the Web.

Boca Raton’s EJamming Inc. has created the EJamming Station (www. ejamming.com), for musicians with a Mac (OS X.3) or PC (Windows XP), a broadband Internet connection and a MIDI-enabled instrument to rock in real time with other connected players.

After signing up for the service at $19.95 per month, musicians download the station software and can get together with up to eight others to use features similar to those in a recording studio. Theseinclude punching in tracks, controlling a metronome, reserving seats for specific players, incorporating private sessions and using headsets to communicate. Vocal tracks, however, need to be added locally.

EJamming is still in its test stages, and that means free access for daring players. The Early Adopters program allows musicians to test the service for two weeks and receive additional discounts once the EJamming system is fully operational.

Just as an FYI, the company’s technology minimizes latencies between hearing instruments from other players over the Internet but does not get rid of them. Its real-time performing is actually very, very, very, very close to real time.

Also, EJamming even takes care of potentially nasty copyright battles. All subscribers must accept the terms that any composition created during a session belongs to all of the musicians who took part in the session (unless otherwise agreed upon in writing).

Safety net

The National Capital Region Emergency Public Awareness and Education Campaign has put together a program to educate people about the importance of being prepared in case of a major emergency or terrorist attack.

Developed by the 12 jurisdictions of the education campaign (Alexandria, Arlington County, District of Columbia, Fairfax, Fairfax County, Falls Church, Loudoun County, Manassas, Manassas Park, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and Prince William County), the campaign includes a Web site (www.makeaplan.org) that offers both a PDF download of a three-page form (including local emergency numbers) to create a plan and an online presentation of the steps needed to stay safe amid the probable chaos of an emergency.

Have a cool site for the online multimedia masses? Write to Joseph Szadkowski at the Browser, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002; call 202/636-3016; or send an e-mail message ([email protected]washingtontimes.com).

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