Archive for July, 2005

ugly is the new indie

July 22nd, 2005

I’m no “lookist” but might it seem that indie rock icons are getting weirder and weirder looking? Pictures from the 2005 Intonation music festival suggest that the “Napoleon Dynamite 2” truck tipped over on the interstate; I mean, the dude from Four Tet looks even weirder than I thought he would, and I’m not sure I would let Will Oldham *pump my gas*.

~jeff

uncool is the new cool

July 20th, 2005

Sounds just like what an uncool person would say; everyone mentioned in this story probably should be thrown into a volcano. I just hope I live long enough to see my many dreams of volcano-based cultural justice happen.

Also, I guarantee you won’t finish reading this — your brain will try to protect you, and as such, it will send a signal to your arm that will move your cursor to the “close” box well before the end.

~jeff

.Mac Craptacucon

July 20th, 2005

According to this, .Mac is now throttling bandwidth. So shareware/freeware developers, people who share their pictures, movies, etc., via their .Mac accounts for hosting may be SOL. It is just one more move towards .Mac being an overblown price hole. I don’t use iSync, the “free” software has pretty well dried up, there isn’t enough space for a meaningful backup… Unfortunately, I am pretty invested in the email address(es) I have, so I won’t be leaving any time soon.

new music

July 20th, 2005

Sufjan Stevens – Greetings from Michigan & Illinois
Stevens has been described as a folk-rock act, but I prefer to think of his music more along the lines of Badly Drawn Boy and the like. Interesting composition, and easy on the ears. Michigan is the first in his series of albums about states. He intends to do all 50, but that seems deeply insane. Illinois is the second of the series and also very good.

Who would like it: Jeff and Joshua. Perhaps Jon Klein?

Lyrics Born – Later That Day
One half of Common collaborator with Blackalicious, Lyrics Born has great cadence and tone, while having interesting things to say as well. The production is good overall, though his faster-paced verses sometimes get muddied, and there is too much reliance on backup singers in my opinion. That being said, I like this album enough that I have to actively try to not overplay it.

Who would like it: I’m not sure which of you, if any, like rap, but if you do, this is a must listen.

longhorn build 5203

July 20th, 2005

Screenshots here. Some thoughts:

  • Glossy! It reminds me of something else, I can’t… quite… put my finger on it…
  • In Longhorn, IE 7 is apparently used mainly to browse the “linux-noob” forums. Odd choice by Microsoft, but good luck for the owners of lunix-noob.com.
  • I hate Windows’ new-since-XP tiny system font. It’s just a little too small and weak. Tiny system fonts never got too much better than Geneva 9.
  • From a user interface and usability perspective, those transparent window title bars are godawful atrocious; and the white diffused drop shadow under the text only serves to make the readability even worse.
  • Nice glass recycle bin. Shiny, shiny.

Otherwise, it’s looking (and presumably working) exactly the same as XP, except with a suspiciously familiar techno theme. But, hey, anything that makes Windows’ UI better, I’m all for; there’s already too much rampant ugliness in the world these days.

~jeff

Proxy?

July 19th, 2005

Can anyone recommend a good proxy server app for Win or Mac? Linux would be ok, but I don’t have a linux box handy right yet.

~tgp

Pi

July 18th, 2005

This thirteen year old article in the New Yorker is about two mathematicians who are believed to be the inspiration for Daren Aaronofsky’s movie Pi. It also includes this great quote:

It is one of the great mysteries why nature seems to know mathematics. No one can suggest why this necessarily has to be so. Eugene Wigner, the physicist, once said, “The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve.”

capturing creativity

July 18th, 2005

Well worth a read.

>Salvador Dali, the great surrealist, used to grab ideas for paintings from the very fertile semi-sleep state we call the hypnagogic state. He’d lie on a sofa and hold a spoon in one hand, balancing it on the edge of a glass placed on the door. Just as he’d drift off to sleep, he’d release the spoon, and the sound of the spoon hitting the glass would awaken him. Immediately, he’d sketch the bizarre hypnagogic images he was seeing.

>Anyone can do this. We all have bizarre perceptual experiences in those moments before we fall fully asleep. Dali simply developed a way to seize some of them.

~jeff

a simple request

July 18th, 2005

Sounds simple enough.

~jeff

cool sandcastle

July 17th, 2005

…originally found here.


sandcastle

~jeff

wil shipley comes alive

July 16th, 2005

If you haven’t checked out the presentation Wil Shipley (the guy who wrote the way cool Mac OS X app “Delicious Library“) gave at WWDC, do so now. It’s pretty great. He also recorded an hour-and-a-half long talk to accompany the slides as well; in the talk, he’s got a lot of very interesting real-world advice about developing a product, starting a business, and becoming “successful” in general. I got more out of the talk than I initially suspected I would get — Wil is a funny and engaging speaker, and his speech is well worth listening to.

~jeff

Google Earth

July 15th, 2005

Holy crap! Have you played with Google Earth? Incredible. Nice to see
them fully leveraging the technology of that mapping company they
acquired a while back.

Unfortunately, as of now, you need Windows.

~tgp

How Kitten Spaghetti Is Like Las Vegas

July 14th, 2005

Here’s something funny that I’ve noticed: the presence of slot machines makes any place depressing. I visited Monaco as a kid with my family (we have friends who live there) and the city of Monte Carlo is, as you’d imagine, immaculate. It’s really like a James Bond movie. Tile sidewalks, gold leaf on 18th century buildings, stuff like that. But anywhere you’d see a video game normally, there were slot machines.

As two of the L-Dopans have noted, gambling, for me, is like watching a kitten get its organs removed, replaced with spaghetti, then watching it return for more. Monaco was where I first got that feeling.

The good food, laughably snotty “French” (they’re not even real Frenchmen. I don’t know what they’re so snotty about.), beautiful architecture, fascinating history, and stunning views were all tainted by the desperation evident in every corner of the city.

I imagine Las Vegas to be like Monte Carlo, only without the good food, laughably snotty “French”, beautiful architecture, fascinating history, and stunning views.

worst software title yet

July 13th, 2005

[Ninjam?](http://www.ninjam.com/) Worst software title yet, but I still look forward to playing with this.

~jeff

new albums I have boughten

July 13th, 2005

(Many of these purchases were made possible via a challenge grant from the Klein Foundation.)

**Mike Doughty**, Haughty Melodic. This album is not very good. I usually really like his stuff, I’d put Doughty in a top-ten of working songwriters today, but this album is overproduced and suffers as a result. Plus, Dave Matthews sings on a track. *Dave fucking Matthews*. I don’t care if he runs the label or not, he shouldn’t be on this album. If you want to sell your album to a lot of guys in white baseball caps, you let Dave Matthews guest on a song. If you’re interested in making good music, you turn the lights off in the studio and get under a desk when he drops by. I should have bought the “Clem Snide” album instead.

**Marc Ribot**, Spiritual Unity. This album is hard to listen to. This is Ribot in his lesser-fun “skronky jazz” mode which to be frank I don’t care for as much as his “dime-store Santana” mode. Also, honestly, I don’t know why I keep buying albums of this type. They get one or two listens, and then they just take up hard drive space.

**Jon Hassell**, Maarifa Street. This is good stuff. Very mellow, except for the first track which is a slightly upbeat. Hassell tends to use individual sounds that date poorly, but his trumpet playing is as cool as ever. Recommended specifically for outdoor summer listening.

**Fridge**, Happiness. Hey! It’s Four Tet before there was Four Tet! There’s a stronger emphasis on guitar here but the basic Four Tet template is already clearly audible. Good stuff, if a little dryly academic; it doesn’t have quite the joy and exuberance that the more recent Four Tet albums have.

**Orthrelm**, OV. I think it’s possible, with enough time and training and a friend who plays drums, that any of us could have made the mistake of creating this album. I’m still not sure why I ordered it. It’s math-rocky, but more in the metal Melvins/Fantomas vein. OK, honestly, I listened to five minutes of it in the mall parking lot before I started feeling weird about myself and turned it down. It might very well be great — I’m going to try and work out to it tomorrow. We’ll see. I thought Hella was great for about five minutes too. UPDATE: This entire album reminds me of the world’s longest and most annoying car alarm, thus I award it one star — unless you are looking for a replacement for your current car alarm, in which case, FIVE STARS.

**Sam Prekop**, Sam Prekop and Who’s Your New Professor. These are great albums. I always tried to get into Sea & Cake (Sam’s older band) but never could, no matter how hard I wanted to impress that indie record store girl. I tried, I tried, but Tortoise was always, I dunno, more interesting. But these albums are great, very mellow. They’re both about equally as great, Jim O’Rourke plays guitar on “Sam Prekop” and John McEntire plays “Synth Percussion” (whatever that is; it’s likely one of those unsatisfying electronic don’t-wake-the-neighbors Yamaha fake drum pad kits I always fiddle with at the Guitar Center, but whatever — he actually knows how to *play* it). Both albums are great, I think I like “Who’s Your New Professor” slightly better.

Also, the “Believer 2005” music compilation is still growing on me. The Shins track is good and fun, even though I unfairly dislike the Shins for that plug that they had nothing to do with in that movie I hate “Garden State”. I just think it’s kind of way uncool when a movie takes time to *point out* how cool its own soundtrack is. Also, for the life of me, I can’t see what people like in “Scrubs”, it just doesn’t make me laugh. But I digress.

~jeff