We don't spend all of our time on technical books and
computers. Even geeks have lives after hours. As it turns out, there are a
few musically inclined folks associated with O'Reilly--some as moonlighting
professionals, some as talented individuals expressing their artistic
Thanks to MP3 technology, you can peruse a spectrum of tracks from
O'Reilly musicians, and even download any you like along with a custom O'Reilly skin
for your MP3 player. Read on for a little background on O'Reilly artists.
O'Reilly Director of Public Relations and Songstress
of Terra Nova
In her day job, Sara Winge is the maestro of the O'Reilly media message.
After hours and on weekends she switches from "leading the band" to actually
playing in one. She's the vocalist, guitarist, and sometimes percussionist of
Terra Nova, a
San Francisco Bay Area folk music group whose musical genre she describes as
"spacebeat": a mixture of acoustic worldbeat rock.
Terra Nova crafts its eclectic folk sound through a fluid array of
experimental instruments--ever hear of a waterphone? udu utar? sonic ray?--
along with more traditional instruments such as guitars and violins. The
experimental instruments are so unique the band features them on its
site with photos, descriptions, and sound samples. The band prefers
live performance to allow each song to evolve as a work of art, never quite
the same way twice. Terra Nova likes to invite guest musicians to join in,
and the band frequently embellishes tunes with spur-of-the-moment, makeshift
instruments. The fact that Terra Nova practice session jams frequently
meander into recorded tracks makes the MP3 format especially ideal. The
band is self-producing its first CD, Groundswell, by recording in several
different home studios and mastering tracks on a beefed up Mac system.
Sara spent her childhood singing in choirs and taking piano lessons.
She and her husband, fellow bandmember Chip Dunbar, have played in the
folk music community for more than 10 years, meeting up with Terra Nova's
other core members: Ted Dutcher, Peter Van Gorder, and Greg Jalbert. They
were all part of the string stringband Hijinks before forming Terra Nova
about five years ago.
Sara's professional background is as colorful and varied as her band's
musical tastes. Before landing at O'Reilly in Sebastopol, California 5-1/2
years ago, she held jobs as an employment counselor, furniture finisher,
firefighter, substitute teacher, and director of the management assistance
program at the Volunteer Center of Sonoma County, acquiring a master's
degree in management from Sonoma State University along the way.
O'Reilly Java author and Keyboardist-Composer
In addition to the time he racks up at a computer keyboard writing his
monthly Bite-Size Java
column for O'Reilly and cranking out
books on Java,
Jonathan Knudsen likes to spend time on a few other keyboards: the piano
He began taking piano lessons at the ripe old age of 5 and, like most
kids, didn't really care much for it back then. Programming in BASIC on a
TRS-80, and later on a Commodore 64, overtook his musical interests for a
while. But upon receiving his first electronic keyboard at age 12, he came
back to a deep appreciation of the piano and its expressive power. In high
school, he spent a lot of time composing and recording music using several
keyboard synthesizers, adrum machine, a four-track mini studio, and other
odds and ends. He also squeezed in a couple semesters of computer music
while earning his mechanical engineering degree at Princeton (and managing
to graduate cum laude).
With three kids under age three and another one on the way, Jonathan still
tries to keep up his piano playing. Chopin and Brahms are favorites.
Sometimes he accompanies his wife, who shares his love for opera, especially
Puccini. Look closely through one of Jonathan's top-selling books,
for sample programs to build a Lego robot that sings "Quando men vo" from
Puccini's La Boheme.
Jonathan spent three summers working at AT&T's Bell Labs in Murray Hill,
New Jersey--a place where experimentation reigned as the modus operandi.
When he wasn't working on a project to make Nintendo GameBoys communicate
over an ISDN network for head-to-head play, Jonathan enlisted a friend
to dabble in synthesizer sound recordings. Though his synthesizer is
relegated to boxes in the basement for now, Jonathan revived some of these
tracks on MP3 by cobbling acable from a tape deck to his computer. He used
a program called GoldWave to record the sound, and BladeEnc to handle the
O'Reilly Designer and FLexie Frontwoman
Actually, Ellie Volckhausen is one of two lead female vocalists
of the band FLexie,
whose "trippy, trilling vocalizations" are one of the Boston alternative
rock band's hallmarks. And when Ellie is not designing one of O'Reilly's
distinct animal book covers, she is most certainly with the band either
rehearsing or performing. In fact, Ellie designed the O'Reilly MP3 player skin available for
downloading from this site.
Ellie joined O'Reilly in Cambridge, Massachusetts last April as a
contractor and the gig turned into her first full-time job. Up until
then, she always preferred working as a freelancer to follow her
music. She loves working for O'Reilly now as it gives her more of a balance
and because FLexie is well-entrenched in the Boston area.
She grew up in a family of musicians; her mother is a flutist, her dad
an organist. Ellie herself started singing in choir at age 6 and playing
flute at age 8. The venue of her musical childhood included Caracas
(Venezuela), Hong Kong, and music camp every summer in Maine. She played
classical flute through college, then after a brief interlude away from
music after graduating from Vassar, she fell in with another Boston rock
band. When that group disbanded, Ellie and the guitarist traveled abroad as
a performing duo (Girl and Boy), making a decent living selling tapes and
busking through Ireland. Busking, or street performing, "is the most direct
economic transaction you can have as a musician, because your audience
hands over cash." The experience taught Ellie to be comfortable in front of
any audience in any circumstance. "You have to be entertaining because if
people get bored, they just walk away."
FLexie formed about four years ago, when she returned from her travels
and was invited to join an impromptu studio jam session with another band.
FLexie has played the nightclub scene ever since in Boston, New York, and
throughout New England, as well as Los Angeles.
"My whole life outside of work is music," Ellie says. "Instead of
socializing, I like to rehearse and record. It's a change of pace but
at the same time free and spontaneous. There are no rules. You don't have
a client; you just do what you want to do." Fellow band members Richard
Marr, Chris Willett, Brett Fasullo, and Rosie Huntress are her family and
her best friends. "It's like being married to four people." Rosie is in
fact Ellie's cousin and the band creatively makes the most of familial
traits that surface in their duos. "We're on the same wavelength musically
and it works very well for the band."
FLexie is about to release its first CD soon, tentatively titled "Viva."
Bandmember Brett Fasullo devised MP3 file encryption technology for their
tracks, a side interest that has ballooned now into an Internet startup,
On Demand, backed by one of the investment firms behind RedHat Linux.
O'Reilly Technical Editor and Classical
Mike Loukides is the O'Reilly editor of many Java titles, but his passion
extends to computer architecture, networking, sysadmin, UNIX, and Brahms.
The same meticulousness that Loukides brings as an editor and author to
titles like System
Performance Tuning and UNIX for Fortran Programmers is expressed
artistically through classical piano.
Loukides left a job as a technical documentation writer to join O'Reilly
in 1990 as the company's first official book editor. His academic
credentials include a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and
a doctorate in English literature.
Other than the occasional recital for friends, his study of piano is for
personal pleasure. Loukides works out of a home office on the Long
Island Sound. He set up a simple recording studio to monitor his progress at
the keyboard, and methodically experiments with tweaking hardware components
and acoustic variations to obtain the best sound. These efforts, chronicled
in highly technical email prose to fellow employees, are offered in
juxtaposition to mellifluous interpretations of Brahms and Bach.
Mike Loukides pushes the MP3 encoding envelope and reports his findings in
High Bit Rate MP3s.
Loukides has played piano since he was eight years old, studying in
recent years under several faculty members of the Yale School of
Music. He's also a "passable organist and harpsichordist," and dabbles with
other instruments, including the mountain dulcimer and guitar, though
none of these have found their way into MP3 recordings yet.
Mike's wife Judy is both his editorial assistant and an occasional
vocalist on his tracks-although they find it difficult to record these joint
artistic pursuits without the unexpected input of three-year-old Alexandra.
Bach Fugue #8 in d# minor from "Well- Tempered Clavier", book 1
Bach Prelude #8 in d# minor from "Well-Tempered Clavier", book 1
Intermezzo, Opus 117, #2
Intermezzo, Opus 117, #3
Scriabin Prelude, Opus 16, #1
Scriabin Prelude, Opus 22, #1
Scriabin Prelude, Opus 22, #2
O'Reilly UK Regional Sales Manager a.k.a.
In technical book publishing circles of southern England and Ireland,
Craig Smith is recognized as O'Reilly regional sales manager. But his other
persona, online and among his friends, is "Smithy," self-styled musician and
webmaster for the
Sound of Young Huddersfield, a web
site devoted to the music of bands hailing from Smithy's hometown.
Smithy has been with O'Reilly
UK since December 1998, but he's been making music since he
learned to play the recorder as a primary school lad. While he has what
he considers "very base competence" on a range of instruments, his first
love is drums. He started writing songs at age 15, with musical influences
including Lo Fidelity Allstars ("though you wouldn't know it to listen to
these demos"), Spiritualized, Belle & Sebastian, Public Enemy, Dusty
Springfield, and Walker Brothers & Felt.
Being a technically literate kind of chap, he created the music on his
MP3 tracks using a PC running a Cubase sequencer to trigger an outboard
sampler/synthesizer set-up. He also uses a Rebirth soft synthesizer on
occasion along with other bits and pieces of his "kit," including effects
boxes, an SP202 phrase sampler, compressors, a Gina sound card, Recycle,
a CS1X, a Boss DR202 and a Joe Meek C2. "And then I sing over the top of
it!" Smithy says. "I have played many a gig as a drummer but not many as
a vocalist. I love doing it but I prefer the recording side of it."
O'Reilly Network Associate Producer and
Steve McCannell may well be the one O'Reilly employee whose musical
pursuits have converged with his day job. Due to his extensive recording
background, Steve was hired on as a Web producer/audio specialist for the
O'Reilly Network in anticipation of future plans. He is also a songwriter
and musician with his own publishing business,
Lost Dog Found
Music. He recently sold some of his material to Z-Games, a Disney
Steve writes material primarily for Tammy Martin, a country pop vocalist
whom Steve is promoting through his business. She's the voice on
his MP3 tracks. He started writing songs as a teen,
also picking up guitar and piano. Then a friend with a home studio introduced
Steve to recording. He was hooked. He's recorded more than 100 of his own
songs, some as a California State University, Chico music major where he
refined his recording art in the professional studio on campus.
When he wasn't recording or teaching himself HTML in college, Steve
played with a band, Steel Toe. The group has long since disbanded, but
a few moderately successful recordings are still floating around the
Internet. Playing in a band was fun, but Steve wants to focus on
songwriting. "Right now I am busy recording and shopping music to the
industry, making as many contacts as possible, and hoping that all of my
hard work will eventually pay off by gaining a music publishing contract."