Author Archives: Menno de Boer

2015 LA Auto Show

ONE WORKING MUSICIAN’S TAKE ON THE L.A. AUTO SHOW

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I think this photo really illustrates how much more bulky cars have become over the last 50 years

I’m definitely a car guy, but over the years my taste has evolved; away from super cars and luxury barges, towards efficiency, practicality, affordability and reliability. Perhaps that is just another way of saying I’m getting old, but nevertheless I remain a car nut, and the LA Auto Show is turning into an annual pilgrimage for me.

I get a kick out of going to a car show by public transport, so I park and ride from Redondo Station where I take the Green Line to the Blue Line and about 50-60 minutes later I get off at Pico Station, which is right in front of the LACC.
Sure, even in typical LA traffic driving may still be (a little) faster, but getting to and fro downtown is a hassle, and with the insane parking fees in and around the convention center, I don’t bother.
And did I tell you, taking the train from Redondo to downtown costs $1.25? That’s right, a roundtrip for two whole dollars and fifty cents! My car would probably burn about two gallons of gas, which currently works out to around seven bucks. Add $20 for parking and taking the train becomes an unbeatable value proposition.

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the possible future of urban transportation according to Toyota

But really, I’m a car guy. No, really. I keep up with auto industry news, know quite a bit about the history, and most importantly, I love to drive.
My current ride is a 2005 Infiniti FX35, which is basically a Nissan 350Z on stilts. With its higher center of gravity (and 4000+ lbs. curb weight) it’s not quite as agile as a proper sports car, but it’s closer than you’d think.
The best part is you can haul stuff in it, which is great for a working musician like me. I have to schlep keyboards and amplification to and from gigs, so a hatchback with collapsible rear seat is all but a necessity for me.
For the most part, the FX has been an enjoyable mix of brawn and practicality, but after ten years and 132K+ miles, the clock is ticking. Also, averaging 15-16 mpg around LA is becoming unjustifiable, so this year’s Auto Show was to be my opportunity to check out a bunch of potential replacements all in one place.

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Toyota’s RAV4 Hybrid left me unimpressed

I was most looking forward to the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. I had previously driven a 2013 RAV4 rental, and the experience had been a pleasant surprise. Stop and go traffic is pretty much the norm in this town, so from that perspective the hybrid thing makes a lot of sense. You don’t burn any unnecessary fuel while idling. Unfortunately, the RAV4 Hybrid’s batteries are stowed right behind the rear seat. Not an issue with the seats up, but with the seats down there is an ungainly and impractical bump right in the middle of the floor, which is pretty much a deal killer for me. I have (part of) the rear seat down 60% of the time, and with that bump my keyboard would be seesawing. So without ever having driven one, my enthusiasm for it has cooled considerably. For good measure, I checked the cargo hold of a Toyota Prius V with the seat down, and that was a lot more even.

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the RAV4 Hybrid’s utility is compromised by this hump

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with the seats down, the cargo area of the Prius V is nicely level

Market leader in the segment is the Honda CR-V, which just about ticks all boxes except for its looks. Maybe other people love it, but I sure don’t. Then there is the Mazda CX-5, which purports to be a sportier alternative, and my personal favorite, the Subaru Forester. I got to take one for a spin around the block at the show, and it seems like a perfectly agreeable companion for the LA grind. Domestic contenders are the Chevy Equinox (or GMC Terrain) Ford Escape and Dodge Journey. I have driven all of them as rentals, and while they were decent, I would not consider owning any of them. Then there is the Jeep Cherokee, but I have yet to get my paws on one.

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the Subaru Forester remains my favorite in its class

Direct competitors for my old FX would be the Acura RDX, Audi Q5, BMW X3, Mercedes GLC300, Lexus RX and maybe the Volvo XC60, but I don’t think I’ll be shopping in that price bracket. Not on a working musician’s income, anyway. Of those models, I think I’d like the RDX the best. It is basically a luxury version of the aforementioned CR-V, with a V6 and minus the ugly.

These days I don’t pine much for unattainable exotic sports cars, and a vehicle has to make economic sense for me to be interesting. The Buick Cascada does just that. In Europe it is sold as an Opel, and it has just the right mix of affordability, luxury and style. If I didn’t have to schlep gear all the time, this would make my shortlist.

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Buick Cascada, semi-affordable luxury convertible

I did walk through Porsche’s room, but that was no fun. It is like walking through a jewelry store, where everything is locked up in glass displays; look but don’t touch. Based on that, I wouldn’t be in a hurry to give Porsche a sale, even if I had that kind of money.

There was a bunch of aftermarket stuff, like custom RV’s or van-based executive limos, but as far as new models go, the show wasn’t all that exciting.
Still, I look forward to doing it all again next year!

Keyboards through the ages

I am probably dating myself, but I just realized I am looking back on more than 20 years of electronic keyboard ownership!

I decided not to include non-keyboard/sampling gear as I had a studio back in the day and that list would run pretty long. Also not included are VI’s.

My list in chronological order:

roland_d20

ROLAND D-20
It was great because had an internal 9-track sequencer (8 tracks + 1 rhythm track) and a floppy disk drive, which meant you could create songs and arrangements and save them. I was in heaven. Of course, polyphony restrictions meant you could realistically never use more than four or five tracks simultaneously, but who cared? The sounds varied from cheesy (EP’s) to unusable (pianos) to passable (guitar/strings/drums) to really phat (bass/synths). The only thing missing was a sampler, which I needed for my Hiphop aspirations.

 

akai s01

AKAI S 01
A friend of mine bought this, and let me keep it. You could sample/playback 8 different sounds and editing was limited to trim and pitch, IIRC. You had like 10 seconds of sampling time (mono), but it was great in combination with my D-20 and a newly acquired Atari ST520!
Beatz, baby!

 

Roland sc-55-1

ROLAND SOUND CANVAS
The same friend dropped this little box off at my digs, which meant I could make full arrangements with just an Atari ST and Cubase. The sounds were small but believable, and they worked well together. The only thing that sucked were the drums, but that’s because I was doing Hiphop/R&B. It was really great for its time, and I cut my first record with just this and the Akai S01.

 

SQ2

ENSONIQ SQ2
Doing gigs on the Roland D-20 sucked. Bad. So I had to get something with better piano and EP sounds, and the SQ 2 happened to be the most affordable step up at my neighborhood music store. I use the term step up lightly, though. Sure, the sounds were better than the D-20’s, but not nearly as realistic as the JV80/JV90’s that started popping up in every cover band around that time. I think the Ensoniq would probably sound better today than its Roland contemporaries, but at the time I regretted the purchase. I later sold it for the XP-80. One thing I do credit this keyboard for is my lasting appreciation for 76‘ers. They just feel right to me.

 

akai s900

AKAI S900
I obtained this unit from a studio owner as payment (sort of) for a remix I did for him. He had an S 1100 and it was just sitting in his rack, collecting dust. The S01 was a more modern machine, had better sound quality and more(!) sampling time, but the S900 trumped it with more flexible programming and filters! Wow, filters were cool!

 

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CLAVIA NORD LEAD
I was starting to work in bigger studios and did work for one of the 2Unlimited producers. He told me about this new keyboard he had seen and heard at a trade show and he had ordered one on the spot. He said it was something unique and as easy to program as an old-school analog synth.
As soon as they hit my town, I got the first one of the truck. It was bulls-eye. This thing really raised my game as a budding producer. I was one of the few who could now emulate the sounds on Snoop’s records etc. Loved it to bits; it only had 4-voice polyphony, but in spite of that limitation it was surprisingly flexible. Polyphony was not restricted, so I could play back four mono-timbral sounds simultaneously, which was often all you’d need in Hiphop anyway. Oh, and I loved the pitch stick. And the Swedish-design cut-off corners. The Nord Lead 1 was also the first piece of gear I bought new.

 

roland jv-880

ROLAND JV880
This was sold to me by an acquaintance way below market value. In many ways it served as a replacement for the Sound Canvas, albeit with fewer parts (8 instead of 16) and slightly higher polyphony (28 vs. 24). It sounded a little classier, too, and you just had to have some of that Roland goodness in the mid-90’s. It served me well for some time, but I never loved it, and once I got the XP-80 I never looked back.

 

akai mpc 2000

AKAI MPC 2000
I had been working in a studio centered around the original MPC60, and I loved the concept, sound and groove of that thing. The MPC2000 was a somewhat affordable alternative, and I got it expanded to a whopping 16MB of RAM (16 times more than what was in my S900), 8 extra individual outputs, and a ZIP drive! I was the man. For the next couple of years, the MPC and Nord Lead were the backbone of all my productions, dressed up with duffs of Ensoniq and dollops of Roland. But while it was light years better than Cubase on an Atari in terms of MIDI timing and groove, it was a step back as a composition/arrangement tool, and it showed in my work sometimes.

 

NORD_LEAD2

CLAVIA NORD LEAD 2
Why get a Nord Lead 2 when you already have the original one? Because you left yours on the train to Paris. Twice. The first time it was found -miraculously- sitting on the platform in Rotterdam. The second time my luck ran out and it was gone. So a Nord Lead 2 had to replace it. Not much of a loss, better polyphony (16-voice) meant I could now actually play chords on it, but I always regretted the absence of those “Swedish-design cut corners” of the original one! Otherwise it served just as well as the original one, perhaps better, as I could now use it live, too.

 

roland_d70

ROLAND D-70
Our neighborhood music store had a used one for an agreeable price, and I wanted one because Teddy Riley talked it up in Keyboard Magazine, and thinking I could replace the Ensoniq SQ2 with it for live use. Turns out it was pretty meh, it was less of a schlep and the piano sounded a little better, but over all it was a disappointment.

 

sqr

ENSONIQ SQ-R
Given to me by a friend, it was the rack version of the SQ-2. Came in handy once in a while when I didn’t feel like unpacking the SQ-2 between gigs, but redundant for the most part. However, owning it made it easy to trade in the SQ2 for the Roland XP-80.

 

roland xp80.l

ROLAND XP-80
One of my fav keyboards of all time. It does just about everything well, and excels at pad and bell-like stuff. Some of it remains unsurpassed to this day. The layout of the board is logical and intuitive, with all the controls in the right place, and switching sounds/performances is near-instantaneous. The sequencer is super-easy to use, everything sounds credible, although the drums are its weakest point. Still, it was the only thing I took with me when I moved to Kenya, and a true friend.

 

roland fantom x7

ROLAND FANTOM X7
When the XP80 succumbed to the rigors of African life, replacing it with the Fantom X7 seemed like a logical choice. I couldn’t try it out beforehand, but I figured what could go wrong? As it turned out, it was a mixed blessing. The Fantom X7 generally sounds good, but its menu-driven UI makes it cumbersome to use live, and the piano and organ sounds feel insubstantial. As a workstation, though, it is great. Clearly, the UI was designed with that in mind.
Since I got the NordPiano, I use it primarily as a top-tier board and I like it much better in that capacity. It does mostly synth stuff, and it really is pretty excellent for that. You can’t get those lush pads anywhere else.

 

yamaha p85

YAMAHA P-85
Needed something with a weighted action and this was about the cheapest thing on the market. Not bad value for the money, but a forgettable instrument all around. Sold it less than a year after I bought it.

 

KX8

YAMAHA KX-8
Even more forgettable than the P-85 to which it is closely related. At least the P-85 had sounds onboard. I guess the KX-8 didn’t suck, and at least it was cheap. But my off-the-cuff low-budget purchases have invariably turned out to be poor choices.

 

roland a70

ROLAND A-70
Got it for $150 as a controller for my VI’s. At that price it is pretty great, but I don’t like the action as much as the Fantom’s or even the XP80’s. It has amazing controls and functionality, none of which I have ever really used. But I am thinking of having it shipped here and learn to work it as a live controller for VI’s.

 

Nord-Piano-Front-570x256

CLAVIA NORD PIANO 88
Sometimes something just works, and the NP88 is one of those things for me. The action isn’t really great, but my only real problem is its limited functionality. I guess the NP2 addresses many of those limitations, so perhaps at some point I could trade up if a good deal comes along.

Spectrasonics Trillian

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test system: MacPro W3520 (12GB RAM) | OSX 10.6.8 and 10.8.5 | Cubase 6 and 6.5 (64-bit)

I can keep this review pretty short; like its predecessor Trilogy, Trillian is THE definitive bass sample library. That said, there are certain synth bass tones in NI Massive that I prefer for some things, but as a one-stop-shop bass solution, Trillian is the business.

But as good as the synth bass sounds are, the library’s true strength is its excellent acoustic and electric basses. These are simply in a league of their own, nothing else comes close. Indeed, you’d have to have a pretty great bass-player and premium signal chain to approximate the sound quality on offer here.

Playability, too, is second to none. Most of the stuff feels lively and responsive, although I typically set a MIDI velocity limiter at value 125, to avoid trigger the slides etc. While it is cool and fun to play with, it can be distracting and somewhat restrictive in conjunction with the velocity response of my Roland Fantom X7.

Compared to Trilogy, the tweakability has been noticeably improved. Each sound has a few quick controls assigned to the most relevant parameters, but the old edit pages are still there. Multi-timbral operation is logical and intuitive, and many synth sounds really lend themselves well for exploration beyond the bass register. One of my personal faves is using the Chapman Stick as an electric guitar!

Drawbacks? Nothing much. The new acoustic and electric sounds are huge and can take up to twenty seconds to load (I run them off a dedicated 7200rpm HDD), and I often grab legacy Trilogy sounds because they load faster. Oh and you’ll need a lot of RAM for the new sounds, too.

Otherwise, I really can’t think of anything else, it is that good. Trillian is not cheap, but it sure is worth every penny.

Izotope Alloy 2

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test system: MacPro W3520 (12GB RAM) | OSX 10.6.8 and 10.8.5 | Cubase 6 and 6.5 (64-bit)

Looking at past reviews, I see that I am never enthusiastic about the “good deals” I got. The sweetness of the lower price is not yet forgotten, but I never feel that it was money well-spent.
As I keep saying, my impulse buys are rarely good ones, but Izotope’s Alloy2 is the shining exception. It was not on sale, but the regular price ($199) is extremely fair, considering all that you get.

Alloy 2 has 7 sections: an EQ, a transient shaper, an exciter, two compressors, a de-esser and a limiter. Each of these can be individually switched on and off. The transient shaper, exciter and compressors have multi-band functionality which greatly enhances their usefulness. But you can get the details from Izotope’s site or other reviews, so I’m gonna skip all that and get right down to business.

This thing sounds seriously good. It doesn’t do vintage or classic stuff, but it does digital, and it does digital right.

At the risk of offending legions of pro engineers, the presets in this thing are fantastic. They provide excellent “ballpark” sounds, which serve as great starting points for further tweaking. And not a lot of tweaking is needed, typically it is adjusting thresholds etc. and pretty soon you’re good.

I use it mostly for vocals and drum buss, and it is excellent on both. Most of the presets sound very current and up-to-date, many of them designed to give you that ‘boom, now it sounds like a record’ feeling. To really get it right, you’ll need to dive in there to finish it up to make it ‘sit’, but a lot of the hard work has been done for you and in my case, many of the presets are great time-savers.

For those who prefer to start with a clean sheet: all the different blocks give you an amazingly versatile and superb-sounding tool that allows to sculpt and mold the sound to your heart’s content.

It’s hard for me to think of true negatives; I think the exciter is probably less impressive in isolation. It distorts pretty quickly but at modest levels it doesn’t appear to do much. That said, whenever it is active in a preset it is easier to pick out what it does by switching it on and off, so perhaps it is simply my ineptitude.

Also, this is a modern plugin and you’re not gonna run 500 instances of this on your MacPro. It is not too heavy considering all it does, but it does take cycles, and when you have a lot of instances open, you will notice.

In conclusion, Alloy 2 sounds great, has excellent presets for those who don’t want to be bothered, offers deep control for those who need it, and generally delivers on all counts. I think it is well worth the $199.

 

Camel Audio Camel Crusher

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test system: MacPro W3520 (12GB RAM) | OSX 10.6.8 and 10.8.5 | Cubase 6 and 6.5 (64-bit)

I appreciate you reading my review, but since this is a free plugin, you’d better download it and get busy with it!

Most developers have some kind of free product, and while some are genuinely good and/or useful, a lot of it is just a waste of disk space.

The Camel Crusher is among the best that I know of. If this was $99 it would be good value. For free? Bloody amazing!

It sounds really, really good. I am not a fan of distortion and didn’t think I’d have use for this, but it turns out this little gem is supremely versatile and it goes from subtle but audible coloration to beyond 11 and breaking your speakers.

I find that I can use this plugin on just about anything and it will do something good to it, but it excels at breathing new life and energy into dull or bland sounding tracks.

It is a distortion/saturator/compressor/filter, and it does all of that really well.

Controls are limited but that is actually a good thing. You don’t waste 30 minutes fiddling with knobs only to find out it’s not gonna work.

I’m gonna say it again, this thing sounds GREAT. It’s free. It is better than many plugins I paid good money for. It has a definite “analog” vibe to it.

What are you waiting for? Go get it!

http://www.camelaudio.com/camelcrusher.php

February 17, 2015:

Since Apple bought Camel Audio last year, this plugin is unfortunately no longer available. However, Camel Audio’s flagship product, Alchemy, reappeared bundled with Apple’s Logic Pro X and Mainstage 3, so perhaps this plugin will be included at some point as well. I sure hope so.

 

 

Softube Mix Bundle

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test system: MacPro W3520 (12GB RAM) | OSX 10.6.8 and 10.8.5 | Cubase 6 and 6.5 (64-bit)

A few years back, this bundle got a lot of hype on the net, and when it was on sale (I think it was around $180) I decided to buy into it.
The bundle comprises:
– FET Compressor
– Active EQ
– Passive EQ
– Focusing EQ
– TSAR-1R Reverb
While it is not bad at all, and reasonable value at the price I paid for it, I have once again learned that you get what you pay for. The great-sounding stuff costs way more. That is not to say that this bundle does not sound good, with a bit of care you can get decent results, but it is not the “just turn a knob and go wow” experience.

The best thing about the EQ’s is that the top-end is pretty smooth. You can add quite a bit of gain without it sounding harsh. Still, while you can shape tones nicely with these EQ’s, it all remains pretty bland. There is not a lot of character or excitement.

I keep trying to use the FET compressor, but I rarely get what I’m looking for. It does NOT sound like an 1176 to me, although my experience with the real thing is admittedly limited. Again, not to say it’s bad, just that it fails to blow me away. I have managed to get satisfying results on electric bass guitar with the plug-in, but not much else.

I use the reverb more. Mostly because it is easy to use and you get predictable results. Not a whole lot of flavor, but it sounds nice enough and does what it is supposed to do.

All in all, I don’t feel shortchanged as I got a good deal on it. But for the current retail price of $299 I find it a little underwhelming. I would not say it is bad value, everything works and if you happen to need a compressor/EQ/reverb bundle for that price it remains a sensible purchase. I just never fell in love with it.

LOUD

Why do guys out here in LA play so loud?!?

It is the nuttiest thing I have ever seen. Brilliant musicians, all turning their amps up to 11 and jamming with earplugs in! Why?!?

Just turn it down!

Hints:

– Play at a volume that is acceptable over a sustained period of time. If your ears can handle it, the audience can, too. If you need earplugs, you are playing too loud!

– Play to the room. Let the drummer play alone, without amplification, for a few minutes, so he can gauge how loud to play before the room starts to resonate uncomfortably. Have other players adjust to that level. Make the drummer understand that he should be playing at an average level below that, so there’s some room for crescendos and fortes.

– The bass is extremely room-sensitive. There can be lot of build-up and standing waves at high volume, which can effectively alter the way we perceive the pitch of the instrument. This has happened to me many times. In some rooms, at high volume the bass will sound almost a semi-tone higher than what is played. It is excruciating to try and play along in what sounds like a different key!

– When a player turns it up a little for his solo, remind him to turn it back down when he is done with it. It is amazing how often people will forget to turn it down (and that includes me, yes).

– To get an idea of what music sounded like before we brought 5 kW amps to the gig, do a couple of acoustic gigs. It is amazing how much difference that can make. Remember, there was a time when an entire big band would play with an unamplified double bass.

 

Really, guys, who are we kidding? I don’t know about you, but I can’t even play well with those earplugs in. I will use them on occasion when I fear the sound pressure could cause hearing damage, but it changes everything, and it feels and sounds unnatural to me. That is NOT how music is supposed to be made.

 

Turn it down, people. There is no need.

 

 

NOTABLE & QUOTABLE

A bunch of quotes by famous people and -ahem- myself, I have collected over the years. I will continue to add new ones as I encounter them. This should be read from the bottom up (oldest to the latest)

  • “People love to mock tinfoil hats and conspiracy nut jobs, but as they unfold, events have a way of confirming every paranoid delusional notion I have ever had.” – Menno de Boer
  • “The inflation of adjectives has led to an unfortunate devaluation of superlatives.” – Menno de Boer (about promo copy for yet another digital audio device)
  • “Some days you get up and put the horn to your chops and it sounds pretty good and you win. Some days you try and nothing works and the horn wins. This goes on and on and then you die and the horn wins.” – John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie
  • “What is the difference between ignorance and apathy?”   “I don’t know and I don’t care.” – Morton Linder MD
  • “Jazz should be a living, breathing entity, not the codified chamber music it has generally become.” – Kevin Anker, pianist/keyboardist
  • “So to find out what I want to know, I should first consider the answer I do not need in order to learn that what I did not know bears no relevance to the question that wasn’t asked?” – Menno de Boer (in response to some unsollicited advice on an internet forum)
  • “The uncertainty principle does not apply to theory. If it did, it would defeat itself.” – Menno de Boer
  • “Better one cookie on my drive, than ten in the cloud” – Menno de Boer
  • “It is never too soon for premature conclusions.” – Menno de Boer
  • “I feel more like I do now than I did when I got here.” – unknown
  • “The world is changing. Change along with it or be a sourpuss.” – Menno de Boer
  • “Car culture music is by definition background music where the listener’s attention is (hopefully) focused on something else.” – Bob Ohlsson, Motown recording engineer
  • “If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would ever get done.” – unknown
  • “Never argue with a woman. People may think you’re drunk.” – Kamba proverb
  • “The world will not end in 2012… American Express has already issued card past 2013… I trust them more than the Mayas…” – Roger Brainard
  • “And God said, ‘Let there be light’ and there was light, but the Electricity Board said He would have to wait until Thursday to be connected.” – Spike Milligan
  • “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.” – Mark Twain
  • “….and a little bit of chicken fried, a cold beer on a friday night, a pair of jeans that fit just right, and the radio ooohoohoon….” – Zac Brown
  • “If I have to flip flop more than three times in an A/B test to figure out what the difference is, I lose interest in that difference.” – Tchad Blake (sound engineer)
  • “In times of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell
  • “Too much of a good thing is a whole lot of good thing!” – Menno de Boer
  • “It’s true that hard work never killed anybody, but I figure, why take a chance?” – Ronald Reagan
  • “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing” – Duke Ellington
  • “Don’t believe the hype!” – Public Enemy (from the album ‘It takes a nation of millions to hold us back’)
  • “If you wanna play blind, go walk with the shepherd, but me, my eyes are wide f—ing open.” – Jules Winfield (Samuel Jackson) in Pulp Fiction
  • “ma-ma-se-ma-ma-sa-ma-ma-coo-sa” – Michael Jackson
  • “He who gives up liberty for security will receive neither.” – Benjamin Franklin
  • “The irony of the Information Age is that it has given new respectability to uninformed opinion.” – Veteran reporter John Lawton speaking to the American Association of Broadcast Journalists, 1995
  • “I have seen a heap of trouble in my time, and most of it never came to pass.” – Mark Twain
  • “Science may be described as the art of oversimplification.” – Karl Popper (philosopher)
  • “If Freedom was a movie, Jazz would be the soundtrack” – Menno de Boer
  • “It’s better to have loved and lost, than not to get laid at all.” – Menno de Boer
  • “Two wrongs don’t make a right, but three lefts do” – unknown
  • “Music is life’s only true magic” – Bruce Swedien
  • “If it doesn’t swing, why bother?” – Herbie Hancock

Microsoft faces karmic debt

It has been all over the news, at least in the geekosphere, Google has blocked Microsoft’s new Youtube app for Windows phone.

Microsoft’s official statement here: http://blogs.technet.com/b/microsoft_on_the_issues/archive/2013/08/15/the-limits-of-google-s-openness.aspx

Google has yet to respond publicly, but I think Microsoft’s statement is a remarkably uncharacteristic display of transparency. And I’m surely not the only one who has had a chuckle at this ironic turn of events. The mighty Microsoft of yore routinely attracted antitrust lawsuits with its unapologetically monopolistic practices, so it is not without glee that I see them at the mercy of their heir apparent.

But Google needs to not be evil. Period.