Archive for June, 2006

finderpop

June 30th, 2006

finderpop.png

Before there was Quicksilver, there was FinderPop, and for a while FinderPop went away, but now it’s back. Still does the exact same thing — which is allow you to right-click on drive or folder and get a quickie listing of the contents — and it’s still produced by Turly, in Europe, in exchange for beer. Mmm, beer.

~jeff

sci-fi writers often have a good deal of time on their hands

June 30th, 2006


Another classic of the intarweb, the essay “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex” by Larry Niven:

What arouses Kal-El’s mating urge? Did kryptonian women carry some subtle mating cue at appropriate times of the year? Whatever it is, Lois Lane probably didn’t have it. We may speculate that she smells wrong, less like a kryptonian woman than like a terrestrial monkey. A mating between Superman and Lois Lane would feel like sodomy-and would be, of course, by church and common law.

…geez, way to overthink it, Larry.

~jeff

secret chief

June 29th, 2006


Thanks to the Zorn list, an oldie but a goodie — a 2002 interview with Mr. Bungle and Secret Chiefs 3 guitarist Trey Spruance:

OK, maybe not everybody’s like me, maybe they don’t slave over the fuckin’ thing for a year before getting anything done,” he says, referring to his meticulous work habits in the recording studio. “OK, fine, but still, man, can we at least figure out what we’re tryin’ to say before we start jacking off all over the tape?”

…indeed. I saw him play with Mr. Bungle on the “Disco Volante” tour and it was amazing stuff — the album still stands up, and “Desert Search for Techno Allah” still gets me every time. His exceptional work with Secret Chiefs 3 is worth checking out as well.

~jeff

life lifting

June 29th, 2006

TAL

Ok, so partially out of curiosity, and partially out of geeky challenge, I set about trying to download back episodes of This American Life. It was simple at first. Downloading and peering inside the .m3u playlist from their site showed the mp3s actual url as being http://audio.wbez.org/archives/tal/304.mp3 or somesuch. You could just download them from your browser. But then after all of this “deep linking” hullabaloo, they got fancy. They switched to a shoutcast server, which basically does the same thing as the old system, but is a little more picky about who downloads content. It looks for a user-agent string (a.k.a. browser identification) from a known mp3 player, and will reject you if you try to download the source mp3 file with a standard browser. So now we have to change things up a bit.

Launch Firefox, enter about:config in the address bar and press enter.
Right-click anywhere on the page it opens, and select New String
Add “general.useragent.override” as the string name, and “iTunes/4.7 (Macintosh; N; PPC)” as the value.

Now the Shoutcast server will let you through, thinking Firefox is iTunes. But if you try to download an mp3 in Firefox, it will just try to open it in the browser window, which besides sucking, sucks. Soo, you have to whip up a little html page that looks something like this:

<html> 
<body> 
<a href="http://url.of/episode/300.mp3">300</a><br> 
<a href="http://url.of/episode/301.mp3">301</a><br> 
<a href="http://url.of/episode/302.mp3">302</a><br> 
<a href="http://url.of/episode/303.mp3">303</a><br> 
<a href="http://url.of/episode/304.mp3">304</a><br> 
</body> 
</html> 

Save it as a .html file, open it in Firefox, and start option-clicking away. Once the files are downloaded to your desktop, feel free to kick back with some organic coffee harvested by free-range migrant workers and get your hipster nerd-on at your leisure.

And, yes, I seem to have changed my mind.

abstract wallpaper how-to

June 29th, 2006


Nifty tutorial on how to make those trendy abstract desktops. I’m stuck on step 5.

~jeff

hex color picker

June 29th, 2006

hexlogo.png

I’m not sure why Apple didn’t put this into the OS themselves, but this nifty color picker allows you to ascertain the freaky HTML hex value for any color you can, um, pick. I still prefer the crayons, myself.

~jeff

fixing mySQL in Mac OS X 10.4.4 and higher

June 29th, 2006

If you are not a huge nerd, quick! look away:

$ sudo mkdir /var/mysql
$ sudo ln -s /tmp/mysql.sock /var/mysql/

…this is just mostly so I remember. For some nebulous security reason, Apple changed the location of the MySQL socket file in 10.4.4 and higher, and everytime I install MySQL on a new mac server, I forget that. These two commands make a symbolic link from the new location to the old location, so everything MySQL-ish on your Mac can continue to work.

~jeff

roth on roth

June 27th, 2006


If Young David Lee Roth could have seen Old David Lee Roth, he would have choked on his own vomit on the spot. The only question would be whether he puked to kill himself on purpose, or if it was a happy coincidence.

spiderman 3 trailer

June 27th, 2006

SpidermobileSpidey.gif

Spiderman 3 Trailer here!

Nah, just kidding. It’s actually here. And, it looks pretty darn good, even if for whatever reason it completely ignores the real story behind how Spidey got his black suit*.

~jeff

*The last part of that sentence should of course be read in your interior “Comic Book Guy” voice, which honestly is the way I hope you read the entire site. Worst. Footnote. Ever!

pickles

June 26th, 2006


If you watch this clip with the sound off, it’s downright hypnotic.

~jeff

congratulations carrie and josh

June 26th, 2006


Great success! and congratulations to l-dopans Carrie and Josh, who got hitched last night in a gorgeous ceremony performed inside the Red Barn at Hampshire College. A great time was had by all — and of course, I gave them my traditional wedding gift: a sampler pack of illegal fireworks. I was going to also include a set of “his & hers” ninja stars, but I ran out of time, they’ll just have to wait for those as anniversary presents.

~jeff

powerless in the face of death

June 24th, 2006


This Sunday. Cartoon Network. 10:30 PM.

Return of the Best. Show. Ever
.

~jeff

bumptop

June 22nd, 2006


This looks very cool — someone please keep it away from Steve Jobs’ sight because it all certainly makes for a cool demo — but I would imagine in practice this user interface would just be another fancy way for users to crud up their desktops.

I treat my desktop like a shelf. Life for files on my desktop is nasty, brutish and short — as far as I’m concerned, the desktop is an exceptionally temporary place to plunk what I’m currently working on, work on it, and after that, I group all the assets together in one semi-intelligently named folder and file it in the “Documents” folder of my home directory. This technique works pretty well — other people work in other ways, as evidenced by their perpetually crunked up desktops, but certainly metadata search like Spotlight* or trigger launchers like Quicksilver in Mac OS X or Deskbar in Gnome or Launchy in Windows make the “file janitor” paradigm of projects like this largely obsolete. Cool mouse gestures though.

~jeff

* check this out — it makes Spotlight genuinely useable. I curse the lame-ass, totally broken “live update” of the Mac OS X Spotlight search window, I curse it, I curse it, I curse it.

hitler cats

June 18th, 2006


Bad kitty.

~jeff

maybe I hate music in general

June 15th, 2006

  • Russian Circles, “Enter”: Following in the proud and heavy tradition of math-rock guitar bands like Slint, Don Caballero, King Crimson, Mogwai, and yes, Rush, Russian Circles play heavy, fully instrumental, capital-R Rawk. It’s ludicrously energetic music, overstuffed with interlocking patterns and off-time beats, fun to listen to while driving or working out. At six tracks, it’s a little short, but I bet these guys would be completely awesome to see play live. BONUS: no Geddy Lee.
  • Islands, “Return to the Sea”: “Return to the Sea” maddeningly alternates between sounding like a lost Ween album and sounding like a bunch of indie kids and an oompah band falling down the stairs. The unfortunately titled third track (“Don’t Call Me Whitney, Bobby”) is insanely catchy, and could have come off of Paul Simon’s “Graceland”; but one good track does not an album make, and ultimately I found myself finding reasons not to listen.
  • Danger Doom, “The Occult Hymn”: “The Occult Swim” is a free EP available from adultswim.com, but it’s the musical equivalent of a commemorative plastic cup from Burger King filled with warm, flat soda. These charmless remixes manage to ditch everything that was moderately interesting about the original tracks from “The Mouse and the Mask” — they even ditch the insanely catchy loop from “Sofa King”, a personal favorite — and replace them with grating skits from the lamer cartoons from the Adult Swim fare. MF Doom is as skilled as ever, but Danger Mouse seems preoccupied with something else, probably the “Gnarls Barkley” album.
  • Gnarls Barkley, “Gnarls Barkey”: Like the owners of “Butternuts” on Route 9, I wish these guys thought for about five more minutes before settling on a name. No matter — surely the single “Crazy” is a contender for 2006 song of the summer, as I’ve heard it pretty much everywhere I’ve gone for the past couple of weeks. Nothing else on the album comes close, but they deserve props for the Violent Femmes cover (“Gone Daddy Gone”) alone.
  • Phoenix, “Never Been Like That”: French pop group Phoenix ditches a few of their synthesizers in favor of Stokes-style guitars in an attempt to rough up their image; this is roughly equivalent to Mike Seaver putting on a Operation Ivy hoodie and a clip-on earring. I enjoyed their old sound far more, as only a few tracks here come close to the highs reached by tracks on their excellent previous albums “Alphbetical” and “United”.
  • Grandaddy, “Just Like The Fambly Cat”: While Jack Johnson rode his douchebag barefoot pro-surfer cred straight to the top of the Adult Contemporary charts, Grandaddy frontman Jason Lytle rode his former amateur-skateboarder cred straight into a ditch — and after several decent yet commercially unsuccessful albums (and one outright masterpiece, 2003’s “Sumday”), Lytle is finally calling it quits on this album. Sadly, this means Grandaddy is ending on a low point; none of Lytle’s future-folk songs have the same pop as the older tunes, and it seems like everyone involved knew it. Here’s hoping Lytle goes on to better things.
  • Ellen Allien & Apparat, “Orchestra of Bubbles”: For years, techno has been drifting into two seperate camps — there’s the floaty, hazy, gauzily electronic type pioneered by Brian Eno and innovated upon by surprisingly non-Canadian groups such as Boards of Canada. It’s the pleasant and dreamy kind of techno you hear in your more upscale coffeeshops. Then there’s the other kind of techno, phone cards which is typified by harsh 4/4 kick-drum beats, sawtooth synths, and repetitive samples; it’s the type of techno you hear in video games in which you shoot people. This album is of the second type, and unless you’re coked up and clubbing, I would avoid it. Even then I would avoid it.
  • Mike Patton, “Peeping Tom”: If you have a neck tattoo, you’ll probably enjoy this album.
  • Sonic Youth, “Rather Ripped”: Disparaging Sonic Youth in their (adopted) hometown of Northampton, MA feels kind of like badmouthing Tony Soprano down at the Bada Bing, but I didn’t love this album. It sounds great — I don’t think they’ve ever sounded more in control of their clean guitar textures, and early highlights like “Incinerate” and “Rats” are instant crowd-pleasers; but nothing on this album connected with me the way that 2002’s “Murray Street” did, start to finish. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve been invited on a short car ride with Thurston and Sil.

~jeff