Features

Keeping Up (Vol. 37)

by Darren Paltrowitz

Here are some more quick picks for you, the loyal reader:

MUSIC: The Madison Square Gardeners / Taste The Thunder – Arguably my new favorite New York City band, The Madison Square Gardeners are a six-piece alt-country combo that may remind you of both Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and The Replacements. A collective of scene veterans, all of the Gardeners are professional sidemen, having played with everyone from The New York Dolls and Ben Kweller to Dar Williams and Roseanne Cash. Although there are three songwriters and lead vocalists in the fold, all of the songs on Taste The Thunder carry a common theme of being melodic yet meaningful. Whether you start with “Lose Someone” or EP-closer “Young And In Love,” you won’t be disappointed. (myspace.com/madisonsquaregardeners)

rework_200BOOK: Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson / Rework – An internationally-renowned software/tech company, 37signals breaks the majority of rules that thriving corporations follow. As some examples, its products cater to the “Fortune 5,000,000” (not Fortune 500), its products (and work methods) are generally “open source,” and its employees are spread across the world thus meeting up a handful of times each year. Policies like those are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to 37signals, which Rework gets in-depth about. Whether you are self-employed, work for a small business, or sit in a corporate cubicle, there is much to take away from reading this book, a best-seller in the U.S. and U.K. (37signals.com/rework)

TOOL: Google Voice – When Google acquired the Grand Central application and turned such into Google Voice, its intentions were not entirely clear. However, it is now clear that Google is trying “out Skype” the eBay-owned Skype with Google Voice, and they are doing well at that. One thing Google Voice -- which is web-based and free to join –- has over its aforementioned competitor is its option to handle your mobile voicemail and transcribe messages into text. Someone who also utilizes other Google products, like Gmail and Google Calendar, will find that Voice works well with Google’s other programs, making it painless to phone one of your e-mail contacts within your web browser. (google.com/voice)

As always, if I’m missing something that’s worthwhile and deserving of column space, please reach out with an e-mail: darren.paltrowitz@gmail.com.

In the meantime, stay tuned for another 5 picks...

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