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New Connections Mobile Command URLS

The Connections apps released in October add additional command URLs to what we already had in them. See this post for details on the first batch and when you might use them, then come back here and check out the new ones. The account info is optional. To use these, call them wherever you would use an http url, such as in an “a href” tag.

Added for Connections 4 mobile apps, but they are client side so will work with a Connections 3.x server.

Launch Activities

Launches the app into the Activities service just as if you had tapped on the Activities icon from the home screen.

Launch Blogs 

Launches the app into the Blogs service just as if you had tapped on the Blogs icon from the home screen.

Launch Bookmarks

Launches the app into the Bookmarks service just as if you had tapped on the Bookmarks icon from the home screen.

Launch Files

Launches the app into the Files service just as if you had tapped on the Files icon from the home screen.

Launches the app into the details of the file with the given uid.

Launch Forums

Launches the app into the Forums service just as if you had tapped on the Forums icon from the home screen.

Launch Wikis 

Launches the app into the Wikis service just as if you had tapped on the Wikis icon from the home screen.

This should make it easier to move from your own apps or web sites into the Connections mobile app.

Chris Reckling
Mobile UX
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Chris Reckling | 17 November 2012 04:00:00 PM ET |

Hot Club of Cowtown at Club Passim

Went to see Hot Club of Cowtown again on Oct 4, 2011, this time at Club Passim. We first saw them at the Lowell Folk Festival in 2010 on a hot, sweaty summer day and jumped on the chance to see them again in this setting. Club Passim is a great venue for music – the sound is almost always really good and people are there to listen. I think it might be my favorite place in the Boston area to hear live music.

This band is both tight and loose. Tight in that they are locked in synch on the music; loose in that they don’t seem wedded to a particular arrangement or set list. They seem to move freely from improvised sections and even have short discussions on what to play next, probably depending on the audience mood (and their own moods, of course). I feel a little odd taking pictures at this place because it is sooo obvious, so I didn’t get any good ones, except of the set list below….this keeps me from trying to write down every tune as the concert goes on. 🙂

Set List

If you are not familiar with them, there’s always youtube! They are very engaging performers and you should definitely check them out! They easily move from classic western swing (Sweet Jenny Lee?) to fiddle tune breakdowns (Orange Blossom Special!) to jazz swing (Limehouse Blues). Everyone gets a solo turn and they mix it up between the ballads (Someone to Watch over Me) and burning down the house instrumentals (Acorn Hill Breakdown). They really look like they are having fun on stage; and what’s not to like??

Another good part of Passim’s is you can talk to the performers if you want. They usually hang out by their CD stand and sign stuff or chitchat. I did have to chat up Elana, well, cuz she was just standing there outside! I think I mentioned the Lowell sweatfest and she said, “which year?” “doh!”

All for now!



Bob Dylan at House of Blues

Bob Dylan Tour PosterOn August 21, 2011, the whole family, boys included, went to see Bob Dylan at the House of Blues in Boston, in the shadow of Fenway Park. I had to get tickets through stubhub for more than face value, let’s just say, because even though I had looked on ticketmaster/livenation the minute tix were available to the public, none were. I have a brief rant about that, too – Dear, if the concert is sold out, don’t make me search for tickets only to find out there are none left.


The concert started at 8 and since HOB is one of those places where you have to stand, I wanted to make sure we got a decent spot when the doors opened at 7 pm. Lucas and I got dropped off early and got in line. Apparently, you could pay another $10 to get in the OTHER LINE, which meant you could go before the plebes in the real line. What a rip-off. We were about 10 people back in the line, and I already paid enough!  Money buys access, no surprise there.

One stressful part was that I had forgotten to bring the tickets with me when we got dropped off, so I was sweating bullets until Emily and Zach showed up. Once the doors opened, the process was fairly orderly and we got a standing spot about 15 people back or so. Other than the standing around part, it was all good. The crowd was a mix of old and young. They were enthusiastic, but not obnoxious. Typical of a Boston crowd, there were some folks who tried to move in on our space, but we put up a good blocking strategy, at least until the concert started. Then the short woman in back of us asked if she could move ahead so she could see and I let her.

As to the music, the band was tight and Dylan looked to be in a good mood. His singing, if you call it that, was not so good. I describe it as a Miles Davis rap. You can get an idea by watching this video from the concert that someone posted on youtube. I didn’t even know what song he was playing until the chorus! It sounded worse out front, too. The concert was well worth going to, however, but certainly the first thing you notice is how the voice had gotten worse.

Dylan Concert

The band was killer! I think the 2 guitarists each had guitar techs with them. They were constantly changing instruments. In addition to the guitars, there was a multi-instrumentalist who switched among steel guitar, fiddle, mandolin, and who knows what else. Bob himself played some electric guitar (with some mighty fine solos) as well as the ‘cheesy’ organ and harmonica.

Here’s the set list, courtesy of Harold Lepidus.

1.  Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat
2.  Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
3.  Things Have Changed
4.  Tangled Up In Blue
5.  Beyond Here Lies Nothin’
6.  Mississippi
7.  Summer Days
8.  Tryin’ To Get To Heaven
9.  High Water (For Charley Patton)
10.  Simple Twist Of Fate
11.  Highway 61 Revisited
12.  Blind Willie McTell
13.  Thunder On The Mountain
14.  Ballad Of A Thin Man

15.  Like A Rolling Stone
16.  All Along The Watchtower
17.  Blowin’ In The Wind
Here’s the Boston Globe review and an excerpt from Jonathan Perry:

“A loose and rollicking reading of “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat’’ kicked things off on a promising note. In fact, for much of his 110-minute set, Dylan was an animated (for him) presence, alternating between organ and electric guitar, and playing a good amount of bleating – and bleeding-around-the-edges – harmonica. A knotty pair of expressive, satisfyingly cluttered harp solos imbued the slow simmer of “Tangled Up In Blue’’ with a disheveled fervor, while the newer “Tryin’ To Get To Heaven’’ also benefited from Dylan’s harmonica coloring a gospel-tinged groove.”

There’s a bunch of videos of the concert on youtube, all illegally shot, but who cares? Check it out and buy his music.

The last time I saw Bob Dylan (I think) was in 1976 in Fort Collins, CO from which the album “Hard Rain” was recorded. Let me tell you, it was not a good time being outside in the rain and mud. This was much better!


Boston, MA

Little Bluebird Song

J and I backed Johnny Blazes the other night at The Midway in Jamaica Plain. The night was called Hypothesis and is a series that Johnny puts on exploring various themes. The theme for the night was Predator/Prey. Each artist explored the first theme in the first half….and, you guessed it, the second theme in the second half.

Little Bluebird is a song by Teresa Tudury. Basically, the raven is trying to steal the bluebirds eggs. I think there’s a metaphor in there somewhere. 🙂
J and I played Omie Wise in the second half, which is a good ole murder ballad.
UPDATE: Here’s the recording of Omie Wise I did using the Zoom H4N recorder.
Omie Wise

VT Instruments at Joe Val Festival

I met up with Adam briefly (so much music going on!) where he was hanging out with 3 of the nice instruments they made. I got a chance to try the little parlor guitar on the left – so loud, even with all those banjos playing in the same room. You can catch pictures of this and other guitars being made here: including a picture of Marc Ribot with the parlor (I think) and Jorma with the tenor guitar on this page. More pics of the tenor guitars and parlor are here. Neko Case apparently has one of them in hand now.

Good to see Adam – I must make a road trip up to Vermont (maybe wait for summer, though).


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The butterfly bush actually attracts butterflies! This isn’t the usual monarch that we see around here, but it’s pretty cool looking (and big). We saw this outside the front window and I ran out to take a bunch of photos.


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Green Arms

What’s up with our kids breaking their wrists??
Did they not drink enough milk? Not enough sunshine?
Is frisbee really a dangerous game? You tell me.

Zach decided to join Lucas in the “wrist hit parade”, and he’s looking quite proud of his cast.

Luckily we had good care down the street and didn’t have to suffer through the hospital system. He’ll have the cast on for 4 weeks.


Primetime – Music

Here’s another guitar piece I wrote recently, played on my Collings OM-2H (short scale – i.e. 24.9″). I actually picked this little guy up on e-bay, in perfect condition, although smelled of cigarettes – it took me a few months (and a bottle of Fabreze) to get rid of the smell. Note to self: next time, ask first. Still, I’m happy with this guitar. It’s very easy to play and has an even sound across the range.

Anyway, this song is in a dropped D tuning and recorded on a Zoom H4 that I borrowed from a friend to try out. It’s incredibly easy to use and records better than the previous Mac + Mic + USB interface, which produced a nice hissing sound. I think the Collings sounds pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. 🙂
Enjoy – 

This Little Light – Highland Station

A group I play with regularly made this recording to go on the Folk Song Society of Greater Boston CD (I think it comes out soon, but who knows!?) The arrangement is by Jim Scott. I’m playing bass on it (and finger snap, not at the same time) and the rest is acapella by J. Johnson, David Godkin, Pam Haran (lead), Gretchen O’Neil, and Eric Hanson.

This Little Light of Mine



New to Me Music

I am always checking out new music. I like all kinds, but trend toward the Americana/Roots/Bluegrass stuff as well as all kinds of Jazz. “As long as it’s good” I always say, and I get to be the judge of that – like art, you know it when you hear it and I try not to dismiss other people’s tastes. I could spend hours on youtube or amazon/itunes listening to stuff just to hear it. I do draw the line at most current pop (Britney, Miley, and the like) and rap music – that’s not my “thang”. I will listen to it to be informed before I decide I don’t want to go any further.

Anyway, I present to you a list of some folks that I just “discovered” for myself and that I like. I have been on a Celtic jag lately, not related to the Boston b-ball team, but there are some others in here not in that realm.

Alison Brown – awesome banjo player (I know, an oxymoron) and singer.
Flynn Cohen – great Celtic guitar player from around MA. Similar playing as John Doyle, who we saw at the Lowell Folk Festival a couple of years ago with Liz Carroll.
Los Lonely Boys – well, not that new to me, but I had never really listened to a full album before. There was an interesting bio on PBS on them that got me interested again.
Son House – “father of the delta blues”
Mississippi John Hurt – really a re-discovery for me as I used to listen to this stuff all the time.
Keb Mo – sounds kind of like the young Taj Mahal to me.
Abigail Washburn – another woman who plays the banjo. She has some interesting Appalachian/Chinese songs goin’ on ‘cuz she used to live in there.
Tim O’Brien – another great Celtic, Bluegrass player. He also has a written taping policy – interesting; might as well put it out there instead of ignoring it.
Thievery Corporation – trance dance mood music – scare people away at work, although I think the Celtic might do that too.
Chris Thile (also Punch Brothers and late of Nickel Creek) really nice update to traditional bluegrass. He was just on Prairie Home Companion last night (Dec 13) with Edgar Meyer and yesterday I watched some videos of the 2 of them online that was awesome!

That’s it for now.