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AAJ @ 20

AAJ @ 20
Jeff Fitzgerald, Genius By

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We were probably a bit ahead of the curve with Sound Bites (a searchable database detailing everything your favorite Jazz musician had eaten)...All I remember from that project was that Nina Simone could put away some Funyuns.
If you think back over the past twenty years (not right now. You have this article to read yet), you'd realize that we are living in one of the most remarkable times in human history. The Internet has brought the entire world to our fingertips, and has given every cat on the face of the earth their Warholian fifteen minutes. DVRs and various other technologies have allowed us to watch whatever we want, whenever we want. Smartphones allow us to completely ignore each other until we need something, at which point we use SMS even though the person we're texting is sitting five feet from us.

The Internet of today barely resembles the Internet of 1995. Thanks to crazy fast broadband, sophisticated pages with embedded live content pop up in the blink of an eye, rather than taking interminable minutes for just a simple 640x480 page of static HTML (and 45 embarrassing pop-ups) to load. Young adults now send each other naughty pictures of themselves via Snapchat, rather than misspelling dirty words to each other in AOL chatrooms.

In 1995, you were lucky if a restaurant had a basic web page telling you their location and hours. Now, you can seek out new restaurants, see the menu, make a reservation, and post a snotty review on Yelp all from the convenience of your smartphone. You can also take a picture of every damned morsel you eat and post it to your Facebook Tumblr Twitter Instagram feed while livestreaming it on Periscope.

If there has been a constant amid this rapid and tumultuous change, it has been the steady presence of All About Jazz. Launched by the visionary Michael Ricci back in the days of 14.4K dialup to establish a place for Our Music in this burgeoning wonderland of information sharing techno-wizardry, AAJ has both remained a stalwart and kept up with the latest on the bleeding edge of technology. Did you hear about that new thing on the Internet? We're already on top of that.

Over the past two decades, AAJ has cultivated an environment where Jazz lovers can gather to learn almost everything there is to know about Jazz (and no, despite your repeated queries, we still do not know Buddy Bolden's hat size). They can also share their thoughts and feelings about Our Music; read reviews, analysis and essays from some of the finest writers currently covering the subject; discover new artists; and find live Jazz being played near them.

Our extremely popular Jazz Near You app has made it so that it has never been easier to find live Jazz near you (hence the name). How near remains a bone of contention. Our engineers say that with improvements in global satellite positioning, they can pinpoint Jazz being played near you to as close as 4.2 inches. While that's an impressive achievement, the feeling among most of the AAJ staff is that if you're that damned close, you don't need our app anyway.

Twenty years, in Internet time, is roughly 8,000 years. The days of BBS and newsgroups are equivalent to the ancient Sumerians and their Sanskrit. The first rudimentary HTML web pages are like the Egyptians figuring out how to make a pyramid that doesn't look like a failed birthday cake.

Flash, Shockwave, MPEG-2, et al, brought the Internet to life, much like the Greeks with their literature, drama and mathematics. Microsoft Explorer was the Roman Empire, once ruling almost the entire known world and now relegated to a city where the remnants of their former glory mostly lie in ruins.

Google would be the British Empire, starting out well enough but eventually ending up in a lot of places it didn't belong. And broadband, well, that's America. It made the Internet bigger, faster, louder, and more intrusive into every single facet of your daily life. If you think along these lines (go ahead, give the NSA something to do), then AAJ has been around since human beings figured out that if they stayed put and planted crops, they didn't have to walk all over Hell and half of Georgia looking for food. In Internet terms, this e-epoch is roughly equivalent to the introduction of pr0n.

More to the point.

Being one of the survivors from almost the Big Bang moment of the commercial Internet has its advantages, of course. In the gigantic building that houses the Internet, we have some of the sweetest parking spaces you can have without a doctor's note. Each and every AAJ staffer has their own key to the executive washrooms, even the guy who does those silly status updates on our Facebook page (whom, I believe, is me. It certainly seems like something I'd write). We get to eat at the lavish Las Vegas-like buffet prepared primarily for the 'Adult Entertainment' Dept., instead of having to eat boring turkey wraps and fruit cups in the regular cafeteria. And we get Taco Tuesday every week, instead of once a month. Suck it, Bloggers.

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