Holy crap, at what point did the iTunes store get hold of an entire Metal section that's actually worth the name? Seriously, the Recommended Artists list contains Bathory, Candlemass, Sepultura, Death, Morbid Angel, Sodom, Kreator and Vader. Those names are legendary. Clearly there's either some very good algorithms at work or Apple has hired someone with knowledge of the genre. Top job!
And here I was, thinking that I had finally paid off all outstanding bills on my credit card.
Rejoice, for I have finally taken the time to transcribe the lyrics to Saw Throat's Inde$troy album as those are impossible to find online.
This post-apocalyptic environmentally aware album has been out of print for ages but some torrents or downloads should be available if you care to dig a bit into the seedier side of the internets. Or you can try your luck with second hand stores or ebay (there's one up as I write this).
In 20 years this album hasn't aged much, many of the concerns expressed here are still valid, though we don't worry as much as we used to about acid rain or the carbon fluoro compounds we used to cram into our fridges and which deteriorated the ozone layer. Even though we have mended our ways in these areas we are still sadly lacking in respect for nature and our western lifestyle (soon to be enjoyed by billions more in rising economies like China and India) is leading to an ecological catastrophe we have by no means grasped. Recent events like those in the gulf of mexico are not isolated events but part of a much, much, larger pattern of abuse, indifference and outright greed, which we are all complicit in.
Frankly it sometimes seems to me that the best our planet can hope for is that the human race extinguishes itself very fast, after a few thousand years nature will continue pretty much as if nothing happened, albeit with a few thousand fewer species.
Sore Throat's Unhindered by Talent is one of the seminal Grindcore albums. Released in 1988 this was a masterpiece at release and it's aged very well. Death Metal influences meld seamlessly with anarcho-punk stuff that wouldn't look bad on a Crass album.
There are 52 songs on this album, which makes it pretty short by Sore Throat standards. They once released an album (And We Don't Care, 1990) with 112 tracks, though for technical reasons the last few were mashed together as one song on the CD as that format can only hold 99 songs.
Get the download while it's hot, it's not like the CD can still be bought so you're not really stealing. Though you are. A bit.
A busy year for music. I've just returned from the Wacken Open Air festival in Germany and right now the Summer Darkness festival is right around the corner here in my native Utrecht.
I mostly went to Wacken for Carcass who are doing a reunion tour. Carcass split up in 1996 but the band sure sounds refreshing and I must say they were probably the single best metal band at the festival. I first saw Carcass back in 1990 or something in a little venue called Scum. These were the early days of Grindcore, the sub-genre Carcass invented. Back in those days they were still only singing about horrendous medical stuff, accompanied on stage by police photographs of accidents, murderscenes and other gruesome stuff. Those days are gone and Carcass branched out into more melodic death metal. Carcass played a very solid set of about an hour with many old favorites from the first albums. Holy Moses singer Sabina Classen joined them on stage for one song and boy does she have a throat that many male metal singers would kill for. The most impressive moment though was when their old drummer joined the stage. Ken Owen has suffered a brain hemorrhage, spent 10 months in a coma, has had 2 brain operations but he's walking about again and even able to play a drumsolo, although not very fast anymore. I saw many hardcore metal-heads blinking away a tear at this point. Seeing Carcass again was definitely worth the admission price alone, but I saw many other great things including Mambo Kurt, Exodus, Nightwish, Iron Maiden (with an extremely sucky soundmix) and a chinese band called Voodoo Kungu with mongolian influences in their music which was surprisingly refreshing after so many regular trash metalbands.
The biggest surprise of the festival was Corvus Corax though, a band that plays medieval music inspired by the Carmina Burana. Accompanied by some 30 gregorian singers, as well as a complement of cellos, violins, bagpipes, drums and even a conductor it was a truly memorable concert.
I took some pictures with a friends' camera but unfortunately I haven't been able to get those yet.
Back in Utrecht, the Summer Darkness festival is here. On wednesday I saw Within Temptation, a Dutch goth-metal band who I never heard of before. Apparently this is some kind of sin as they're quite famous but there you go. Yesterday I saw Sieben in Ekko (Hi Matt!), where I used to work about 10 years ago. Afterwards I went to a dance evening in Tivoli, where I spent most of the evening chatting to old friends I hadn't seen in ages (Hi Willemijn and Sietse). I got my iPhone this week so I uploaded some of the better pics to flickr. The quality of the camera in the iPhone is a bit disappointing but then I'm a terrible photographer so I guess there are bigger problems than the 2 megapixel thing.
In any case, I must dash off now to have a shower before I meet my friends for an extra Sieben concert.
ooo. oooo. ooooooo!
Naked ladies on the internets!!!!
I found an extract of the movie High Broad Field online which is included with Sieben's album of the same name. Unfortunately this album can't be bought anymore in Holland so I'll have to mail Matt Howden to see if he has some left and can bring one with him when he performs at Summer Darkness this coming august*. But an extract of the film is on the internet archive which I just found. And it includes a naked lady. If your life doesn't have enough naked women you can watch this and pretend you're only in it for the art. Which is a good thing if you have a girlfriend. Just tell her I said you had to watch it for the music. Which is true, of course.
Much as I dislike the overpowering awfulness of MySpace I will have to link to it today as there's a new Hollenthon album coming up and they've posted a clip from the new new album.
So here it is, including a god-awful click here link just to show how much I hate mySpAce.
In other news it seems that I can't miss Summer Darkness 2008 this year as Sieben is performing. I reviewed some Sieben albums earlier. Looking at the lineup it seems there's a lot of interesting stuff coming up, although I have to wonder at Echo and the Bunnyman. Isn't that like the 80s??? Ah well, I can't possibly see everything, even if I do get a 5 day pass. I'm just glad it's all in my hometown of Utrecht so I can travel everywhere by bike.
Lots of new batspecies to watch, and I just love them bats :/.
The best part of the vocals in Nightwish's Sahara is the non-words. Which is weird because they're not listed on the lyrics sites.
On the other hand, how would you render those? "heh je hehehe je he je je"?
I can see how that might be a bit confusing. What do you guys think? Should we demand action of some kind on this front? Is it time to make a stand?
A few weeks ago I went to a folk concert with Ms F. The most impressive band there was Sieben, at least according to me, Ms F. liked Faun better. Sieben is Matt Howden, his violin and a loop pedal. Here's how Matt describes the work he does: I've developed Sieben so that I can play live without any backing. I use a loop pedal, a violin, and my voice. I can start with a simple melody, add a bass part or two, some 'drums' by playing beats on various parts of the violin ('kick' behind the strings, 'snare' by slapping the body, and 'shaker' by scratching the pickup with my chin* etc etc), harmonies and melodies over the top. Over this I can sing and play.
*) In the notes to Desire Rites Matt writes that two day old stubble is best for this.
The day after the concert I went to the store and ordered some Sieben cds, which arrived last thursday. I bought Desire Rites (2007), the latest album, and Ogham Inside the Night (2005), which also contains the album Sex and Wildflowers (2003). Unfortunately High Broad Field wasn't orderable from the distributor anymore so I might have to get a paypal account to order this direct. I have listened to each album a few times and Ogham is probably my favorite. The album is a bit odd compared to other Sieben albums in that most of the tracks have additional musicians performing, mostly a cajon and some backing vocals. Ogham is pronounced Oj-am by the way and appears to be an ancient irish/welsh script of which little is preserved except for some stone inscriptions. Reading the lyrics Ogham also appears to be personified somehow, leading me at first to think that it was some kind of ancient bog body like person but Howden appears to use the word Ogham to stand for many things in various tracks.
The album contains the following tracks divided into 4 parts or chapters (Prosperity Arising In The East, Melody Arising In The South, The Cauldron Of Knowledge In The West, Battle From The North):
Ogham The Sun
Ogham The Spirit
Ogham In The Soul
Ogham The Moon
Ogham The Melody
Ogham The Knowledge
Ogham On The Hill
Ogham Inside The Night
Ogham The Blood
Ogham In The Ground
Ogham The Blade
Ogham Carved The Tree
As you can see by the titles there's a definite theme going on here, see if you can spot it. Most tracks build up slowly over the first 90 seconds to swell with rhythm and melody. Lyrics range from nature based themes to songs of war and death but you don't have to fear being swamped by sentimental new-age gobbledygook. Besides, many songs contain incredibly weird words that do not spring from English but are words from various other languages, such as Danish, Portugese etc, making the lyrics somewhat obscure in certain places. All part of the mystery I assume. The official Sieben site contains some explanations of the words but as I assume you don't have the album and the lyrics before you it makes little sense to link to them.
Favorite songs: Ogham The Sun and Ogham The Knowledge, which has some lovely background vocals by Faith and the Muse, although it makes little sense to see the songs as really separate.
As said Ogham also contains a re-release of the earlier Sex and Wildflowers, a truly weird, and in places very dark, thematic album that deals primarily with wild flowers and the occasional hint of sex. Matt created a few extra songs for this album, the combined length of the two albums is more than 2 hours, and of this he says: Feel free to stop the album while you make a cup of coffee/seek professional help for your depression/have children/move to New Zealand.
Overall Sieben reminds me a lot of Glenn Branca's work. Branca takes a lot more time of course as he creates entire symphonies but the slow build-up and layering of instruments is very reminiscent. Some of the more insane violin sections also remind me of Sibelius' Violin Concerto in D minor Op. 47, although Howden's violin is decidedly darker, especially on Ogham.
End notes: well worth checking out, especially if you like music that slowly builds in intensity and aren't put off by off-beat stuff. You don't have to be a folk fan to appreciate this.
There are about 10.000 species of bats in the world, with new species discovered regularly. For contrast, the order of Primates contains about 380 species. This includes our close relatives such as Bonobos and our more-distant ones such as the Lemurs. Bats are elusive creatures, often only coming out in the night.
A few weeks ago I leaned there would be an excellent opportunity to watch bats in the wild. I asked around but none of my friends particularly wanted to come so last night I set off on my own.
In reality of course, I didn't set out to watch bats. I went to see a goth concert. I will not strain the bat/goth analogy any further. A year ago I happened on Xandria and since then I was sold to the music. I hunted down their albums and was longing for a chance to see them live, which finally happened yesterday. I was not disappointed.
The evening started off with a light crowd to see a band called The Name. I didn't know them but I listened to a few of their songs on myspace and wasn't impressed. Live they were even less convincing. I'll not dwell too much on what was wrong but will instead relate some of my thoughts of seeing Pere Ubu. I saw this band a year ago in the same venue. Pere Ubu plays some weird kind of jazz/funk/blues/alternative/whatever mix and their frontman/singer David Thomas is an enigmatic figure, he entered the stage wearing a long coat and a fedora and chain-smoked his way through the concert. A formidable man with brilliant songtexts, this from The Story of my Life:
I was born in Miami, Florida, in 1953.
First thing I did was crack the back of my head on the floor.
I stepped on a bee when I was four.
I slammed the door of a `57 Chevy on my hand when I was six.
Little did I know that darker clouds were gathering on the horizon of my life.
messing around in the backyard,
I was nine,
I stumbled onto the secret of Anti-Gravity.
It's such a simple trick, I said to myself,
I hope I can remember.
Instinctively, I knew that trouble was bound to come.
The female singer of The Name (seriously, what's up that name?) also entered the stage wearing a long coat. The similarities ended there. Hmm, ok, she also has a high-pitched voice that some people might find annoying. Her breasts were definitely nicer than David Thomas', on the other hand Thomas' belly is much more impressive, so I guess that evens out. Of course David Thomas doesn't have the figure or the legs to wear such a short skirt or top. On the other hand the singer of The Name wasn't quite comfortable in her top either, seriously, if you keep having to tug down your top because your hips and belly are showing perhaps it's about time to get a bigger freaking top!
The Name left me cold and the luke-warm applause that the 50 odd people gathered produced left me thinking that it was kind of sad to see a band such as this. For a band that has 2 cds out their music seems oddly bland, you'd think that they were just together for a few weeks and getting ready to do their first demo. Ah well, it was over soon enough and I was left with the sad realization that a girl who could be in deodorant commercials does not a band make.
In the intermezzo I was approached by someone, whom we will call Ms F. for now, we chatted a bit and went to a bar after the show. Remember that, it might turn out to be important later. There may be a test!
During the first band the sound was a bit shrill and harsh to my ears, luckily the sound engineer managed to fix that by the time Xandria came on. The music simply blew me away.
Xandria's singer, Lisa, has an amazing vocal range, from very low to very high and I was a bit worried that she might not be able to sustain this in a live performance. She did have a few problems with the really high stuff but overall she approached the performance of the cds very closely. The band was tight and the only regret I had was that the show only lasted for about one and a half hours.
Luckily the crowd had grown a bit but I still find it odd that so few people came to see the show, I estimate there were about 80 people in total. Playing on a wednesday maybe isn't the very best of ideas, they could also do with a professional warm-up band.
Xandria played a solid set, mostly stuff from their newest album Salomé, the Seventh Veil, but they also had time to dish out a few oldies such as India, Ravenheart and Isis/Osiris. Halfway through the show there was also some kind of a-capella druidic medieval poem-y song which I didn't know. Lisa's voice sent shivers down my spine. The story was a bit contrived, standard "Boy meets girl, girl likes boy, world ends" kind of stuff as Douglas Adams would put it. Lisa definitely has the ability to be in operas I feel, and her chatter between songs when some technical stuff went wrong was amusing. All in all a very good concert and one that I hope gets repeated soon.
Overall impression: The Name: give up, get a day-job. Xandria: awesome. Atmosphere: very good. Sound: very good after the warmup had left. Light: not too inspiring. Entire evening: awesome.
Steve Jobs on DRM: http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughtsonmusic/ The third alternative is to abolish DRMs entirely. Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat. If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store. Every iPod ever made will play this DRM-free music.
I gets better though. So if the music companies are selling over 90 percent of their music DRM-free, what benefits do they get from selling the remaining small percentage of their music encumbered with a DRM system? There appear to be none.
Very interesting stuff, I wonder if and how the big 4 will respond. It is clear that Apple is not going to open up FairPlay, which means it may well pull out of some European countries if forced by legislators to licence FairPlay to competitors. It seems logical to assume that once it does every other DRM-encumbered store would have to do the same. What goes for one player in the market should go for all those that use a proprietary system.
It's good to finally see Apple take a stand on this issue, even if they meanwhile continue to sell DRM-ed stuff.
Hehe, we've had a terrible storm this day and to top off the day the electricity went down in my entire neighborhood when the storm had subsided. So I scuttled off (insert a picture of a crab) to find some candles. I don't have any real candles of course, as I AM NOT PREPARED!!!, but I did have some tealights, having bought a really big bag years ago. So, what do you do when you can't sit behind your sparkling new Mac? (Well, it didn't sparkle much really, as there was no light...) You read a book of course! Except that reading a book by the light of a handful of tealights spread around the living room isn't really an option. So, no computer, no books, no dvd (as you can guess by the whole no electricity thing). As it was way too early for bed I was bored with the silence pretty quickly.
Only one thing to do for a single person: grab the iPod, a good glass of whisky (Ardbeg is simply divine in the winter) and the quality headphones and settle down until it's time to go to bed or the lights decide to come back on.
So I played around a bit with the shuffle function but found I really detest listening to intros and mid sections of classical music without context (I miss the old shuffle function, which would simply shuffle your selected playlist, why does it have to shuffle your entire library???) so I settled on Saw Throat's seminal "Indestroy". An apocalyptic doomsday concept album about man's destruction of the environment and eventual downfall. Oddly appropriate for a night without electricity (except for that stored in the iPod but we'll conveniently ignore that (right?).
Good stuff, unfortunately I cannot find the lyrics online so you'll just have to bug me for a copy of the mp3s, you know how to reach me.
It's been a while since I checked Google Video and there are now some quite decent things to be found there.
For instance Carcass - Incarnated Solvent Abuse, which I once saw on MTV in the middle of the night way back when, in the early nineties, when the world was young and I was still studying (more or less, as I remember coming back from a party or something and switching on the tv to pass some time with a glass of wine or something to wind down).
There's also real gems to be found like this weird one from the Butthole Surfers: JIMI + interview and studio footage. If you're not familiar with the Butthole Surfers you'll want to skip this one, although it does raise some interesting questions, such as what would happen if you could tear out one eyeball and look into your other eyeball.
Further finds so far include Pitch Shifter's seminal Triad (also see Deconstruction), Godflesh's Mothra and a whole load of Tristania vids. Aaaah, listen to zem... ze children of ze night.... Vat music zey make...
For those that don't know: Jeff Walker was part of the legendary Carcass. One of the best grindcore bands ever, their lyrics were about death, pathologies and sickness in general. I had the pleasure of seeing Carcass a few times in the early 90s and their shows were invariably weird with police scene photographs of accidents and murder scenes projected behind the band.
All good things come to an end and Carcass split up in 1995 with the members going off in different musical directions.
Jeff Walker appears to have a thing for Country music and this cd is a tribute to old country and blues music with a metal finish. Lots of famous names appear on the album cover: former members of Carcass, Paradise Lost, HIM etc.
So: was it a good idea to buy this album without having listened to it? Well: yes and no. Yes in that there are some pretty cool moments on this cd. No in that I probably would not have bought it if I had listened to it. It's all very well to cover country music and put a metal sound on it but overall the good moments are a bit too few and far between. It's a novel concept but overall the album leaves me wondering what to think of this. I cannot escape the feeling that this is in large part a tongue in cheek exercise.
Old friend and Central Grinder producer Ernst has released two of his old demos in MP3 format.
One of the projects is called Staubsauger (which is german for vacuum cleaner) for reasons that will become apparent if you listen to it. Staubsauger also features good friend Rene (who was also in Central Grinder) on vocals.
The other project is called Yargh! Noize with the absolutely brilliant title of "Oh my god, grandpa is turning into a pineapple".
One of my favorite X-Files episodes ever is Improbable. It's about God, fate, chance and numerology. It is also accompanied by these insane french cha-cha-cha songs. They just lift up the spirit, and sometimes we all need that. The songs are all from the album "Songs For Cabriolets And Otros Tipos De Vehiculos" by Karl Zéro.
I finally got the cd I ordered from Amazon and I've been listening to it almost non-stop for the past few days.
A few songs can be found on the X-Files music site, go have a listen and then buy the cd, do yourself a favor.
Well, this one has been coming along pretty slowly. It started out with a really distorted bitcrushed bassguitar in GarageBand. This sounded quite a bit like Cliff Burton's Anaesthesia (Pulling Teeth). However I got a bit bored with the fact that it was on continuously. It also just sounded WAY too much like Metallica, so I just deleted the track and put just a bit of some new bass in at the end. The track also features some really distorted flutes and keyboardey * instruments.
This week at MacWorld 2005 Apple has seen fit to counter all the rumors flying about about new products by releasing virtually all said products. There an iPod shuffle which is not meant to be eaten (see footnote 2) and a Mac Mini (hands not included).
But this is not what my post is about (although I like the spin Apple puts on the random factor and although I also like the fact that Apple's webgnomes have been putting in these little details).
This post is about my iTunes Music Store purchases. I've kept you abreast of what I've bought before so it's only fair to continue this growing trend.
Today I bought Haydn's Stabat Mater. I had this on tape somewhere but as I never listen to tape anymore and I've loaned my Griffin iMic to a friend I just bought the darned thing. Cool stuff, if one can say this of classical music (and as it's my blog I'll just go right ahead and say it). If you like Carl Orff's Carmina Burana (the original version, not the hippity hop version of the 90's) you'll probably like this too. It's probably religiously inclined but then we are grown up people around here and we can deal with that, surely.
I have created yet another GarageBand experiment. This one is called Crispy. This and the previous track are now released under the name Dinochrome. Dinochrome was originally (early '90s) meant to be a structured noise project, however it never came to much. Still the name was too good to waste.
I have even created a cool cover for when I get discovered by the big corporations.
For those who have GarageBand I have put stuffed versions of the GarageBand files in the directory containing the music.
I didn't need it for Central Grinder and I sure as heck don't need it for Garage Band.
As Apple's marketing drones so kindly put it: You don’t even have to have rhythm.
Well, I got plenty of lack of rhythm. As Sore Throat once said: Unhindered by talent but we don't give a fuck.
I was gonna do a free jazz piece, instead it turned out to be some kind of space composition (2.8 MB mp3 file).
It kind of ends suddenly but then I get bored easily. Download only recommended for die-hards.
When I first used the brand-new Dutch iTunes Music Store I was doubtful whether I'd actually use it again. While the shopping experience was extremely smooth and caused no problems at all, seeing as I already had an Apple ID (because I buy direct from Apple to take advantage of the educational discount), the choice left a lot to be desired I thought. In a way I still feel this is the case, but it's not as bad as I thought.
Case in point: a while back I was visiting my old friend René, who I've known since we were in our late teens, and he told me he thought Pungent Stench were still alive and kicking. I was doubtful about this as Martin Shirenc, the frontman, has recently been involved in side projects such as the incomparable Hollenthon, and the music is on a completely different order.
It seems I was wrong and the old masters have released a new album called Ampeauty.
What's more the album is available from the iTMS.
As I was home sick this week this was a cool find so I bought it without having to go into the city, which would constitute a sort of violation of parole as you're supposed to be at home if you're off sick. At first listen Ampeauty is pretty cool, though not as outrageous as previous works like "Club Mondo Bizarro, Members Only" or as brutal as the ever epic "For God Your Soul, For Me Your Flesh". Still, I suppose it will grow on me, as all the previous albums have had to do.
Other finds include Bal-Sagoth's Atlantis Ascendant (which I already own and absolutely love) and Haydn's Stabat Mater (of which I own a crappy taped version but might replace now). I hope Apple continues to add more metal and creates a real category for that, instead of jumbling everything under Rock. It's slightly bizarre to put Pungent Stench into the same category as Rush, let alone Simon and Garfunkel.
Oh, and while you're at it Apple: how about Wagner's complete "Der Ring des Nibelungen" for about ten euro. That'd be nice...
Good friend Jurjan is pretty prodigious right now. This has to stop lest people start thinking I'm being lazy in not releasing stuff myself.
OOOkTunes 1.1 released. Loads of good stuff has been added, including the ability to control iTunes from within the screensaver. Great if you're having a party and suddenly that annoying Final Countdown song comes up (you do know shuffle is out to embarrass you don't you?). Just hit the right arrow key and skip to the next track. You can also pause tracks, go to the previous track or change the volume. All from with the screensaver.
It's a big download and probably only of interest to my good friend Harold (yet another Harold, we're getting ready to take over the world!) but there you go.
[update: somewhat later]
Speaking of big-ass mp3 files of a Symphonic Rock nature: here's the mp3 file of Saga's chapters medley, live in Mainz (20:35 minutes, 18,8 MB). For those not aware of Saga they have this Chapters thing going on for almost 20 years now, every album adds a chapter or two (often non-sequentially) to a big science fiction story, this recording is from a live show in 2001 in Mainz Germany. It used to be on the web but it has since disappeared, so here it is until I get hijacked by RIAA ninjas.)
[The Rush link will self-destruct in a couple of days, because of these same RIAA ninja turtles.]
Just a small note to all the Dutch readers.
Sunday there will be a concert by NoMeansNo, The Ex and some other bands in de melkweg in Amsterdam.
The entire OOOk Default: team will be present so if you have time come and say hi.
Senior OOOk Default: member and el presidente for life Jurjan suggested that everyone who says hi gets a free Virtual Pet Rock sticker.
That sounds fair to me.
To give y'all an incentive, here's the sticker as designed by Joke:
In case you're wondering why the frontpage is all in black today...
Thomas "Quorthon" Forsberg, the frontman for pioneering Swedish metal band Bathory, has died of heart failure at the age of 39. Bathory's combination of garage-quality production and hardcore tempos, raw metal riffs and satanic lyrics through the '80s was instrumental in influencing the death metal scene. And Quorthon's inclusion of Nordic themes and orchestral flourishes in the '90s had a substantial impact on nascent Scandinavian black metallists, who fancied themselves Vikings. mtv.com headlines
Things have been a bit quiet on this here site lately but there is nothing much to tell really without going into an extremely long rant about work so here's a quick heads-up to let you all know that the final Godflesh show ever is available for your downloading pleasure at www.godflesh.com.
In other news here's a piece on the question of whether Boolean is dead which mentions Macs and iPods but is really about search strategies. (I'd better stop here before I go into a long work-related rant.)
Good friend Jurjan has released OOOkTunes, a screensaver module for Mac OS X that displays information on the currently playing track in iTunes. It's been in beta for some time now and it's great for parties and stuff.
In case you are wondering (like I was) why Apple charges 20 dollars for a new iPod dock connector to FireWire cable let me tell you that it's probably because the packaging is simply sublime.
I have never seen a computer cable packaged better. The cable comes in a small sturdy cardboard box that is simply a joy to slide open. Inside the cable is nestled in a way that reminds me of small furry creatures.
The box doesn't have the emotionally overpowering sexyness of the box the iPod itself comes in but it's darned close.
Thank you, Apple, for allowing me to part with my hard earned money to partake in this experience, though I did use my educational priviliges to shave off a euro (actually 97 eurocents). As an added bonus the new cable also fixes the intermittent problems I had with getting the iPod to mount on the desktop, perhaps a sturdier cable should be designed for the next generation iPod though, as a quick trip through the Apple discussion forums reveals that cable problems are often the explanation for mounting issues.
Today's the eurovision song contest (for american readers this is a contest between european counties where each tries to excel at writing the poppiest catchiest crappiest song imaginable).
As the voting is going at the moment the Dutch are doing quite badly (as usual) and while zapping around because I didn't want to watch this farce I came across the BBC. The UK are doing quite badly in the scoring and while the Dutch commentry was mostly regretful the british commentary is highy sarcastic, and therefore immensly fun.
While I haven't seen the songs you've got to love comments like "So it's between the leatherboys and the pretty girls", "what next, neighbours voting for neighbours", "I don't know why we bother", "what a fool, oh, he's given us a couple of points, he's not too bad".
Oooooh, after a comment from a countries' votereader saying she liked the presenter's dress: "yeah, I like the way you're falling out of it." (Alas, no picture, the microsoft streaming video won't load on a Mac.)
[Update: the Ukraine has just won.]
"Alpenhorns. Boots. Leather. Whips. A winning combination."
"Digital viewers can continue watching. God help us. [...] Insane music."
As Fran (Tamsin Greig) in Black Books says when trying to learn how to play the piano, failing miserably in the process, "I must be musical, I own loads of CD's". I'm not sure my neighbours would agree with that sentiment after having heard me play today (the weather's lovely so the doors to the balcony are open). But I sure had a lot of fun and that's worth something.
There's some pretty interesting live stuff in that thread if happen to like metal by the way. The Carnivore stuff is pretty gorey sounding, and every time I hear the brutality of Carnivore I think of how disappointing Type O Negative sounds. Never mind the fact that Carnivore has always had this stigma (correct or incorrect) of being fascist. If you can write a song like Jesus Hitler you've captured the essence of the insanity of faith in my opinion.
Of course, I'm male, white and agnostic so your opinion might differ... Feel free to flame me in the comment section, it's what it's there for.
One of the cool things about having a new iBook is that it comes with some pretty cool software. There's Ambrosia Games' Deimos Rising (which I suck at, so far, but I'm getting better), Sound Studio and some game called Tony Hawk ProSkater whatever.
I dislike skating and playing this game for a few hours has left me indifferent to it and its numerous objectives which can only be done by some impossible keycombinations that will leave your fingers twisted out of their joints. Well, kinda indifferent. See, I had this old demotape lying around from way back when (1988 to be precise) and it's by a band called Lunatics Without Skateboards, who no-one has ever heard of since. The titletrack is about their dislike for the "sport". So I ripped out the old tape, plugged it into the tapedeck, started up Sound Studio and ripped the demo to mp3.
Included in this first batch are some tracks by Exodus, Candlemass and Sabbat. The soundquality is a bit spotty at times, but then these are tapes that have been lying around for almost 16 years so that's not too odd.
I'll add more mp3's sporadically (i.e. when I have the time and inclination) and post here when I do so. What can you look forward to? Good question. Here's an appetizer: Sacred Reich, Mordred, more Exodus and Testament.
Well, my iPod has finally arrived and I'm a happy camper so far. I've been playing with the notes feature and it seems to be quite useful for keeping a text copy of my cd, books and video databases. I've been applescripting like mad the last couple of evenings and have finally set up a workflow so all I have to do is select a script from the script menu and everything works automagically. It's a bit kludgy as I don't really pretend to understand Applescript. Next thing to do is rewrite it to a nice perl or php shellscript (if I ever get around to that I'll post it on this site), but for now this will do.
The biggest problem actually turns out to be the fact that applescript doesn't really allow for passing parameters into a script so after a while I just gave up on that and just copied one script three times, modifying one line in each. Gaaah!
Another problem is that the script I modified (apple's clipboard to note) saves textfiles encoded as MacRoman and this doesn't seem to like accented characters. Infernäl Mäjesty would show as Infernl Mjesty, which is just plain wrong. Luckily BBEdit came to my resque and now goes through all the created notes files and saves them again as UTF8.
I sometimes wonder where I'd be without BBEdit seeing how much time I spend in it and how much I miss it when at work where I use a PC and don't have access to a powerful texteditor.
Speaking of which: the transition of my newsscript to a blogging system is coming along nicely. I've still got a fair bit to do but most of the hard thinking has been done. I'm also moving more away from tables and more into the wonderful world of CSS to layout elements. Now all I need is for iCab to fully support CSS (sigh).
According to the tracking information it is no longer expected to arrive in mid march, but this friday. It's flight was scheduled on march the nineteenth though, so someone at Apple must be a visionary. Could be there's a completely mundane explanation of course but I prefer my own, thanks very much.
On a completely unrelated note I've found that 50% + 50% doesn't always equal 100% in browsers. The problem appears to be that when the total width of two divs next to each other would equal an odd number, the pixel in the middle belongs to no-one, leaving it in a kind of cascading noman's land. Oddly in Safari I can work around this by adding a nonbraking space: , but that doesn't work in other browsers on the mac, add Windows browsers and the situation gets completely out-of hand.
The real issues though are that most people in your company, including or even especially the decision makers, don't understand what you do. Think about that; about 95%+ of the stress in a programmers life is that people don't know what they do, or how they do it.