Chips and Dairy makes the best lemon chicken in Ottawa.
I have been pushing myself harder than ever in meatspace and mindspace, and it has had nearly-indescribable results. I could relate "stories", but there's just no way to put into words the sensation of "getting one over on the universe" by striving.
Because survival modalities for H. sapiens have changed so radically in such a short time, I spend a good deal of time and energy on what is commonly called employment, for three reasons: to pay the bills ( in deference to the aforementioned survival modalities ); to feel as if I'm part of Something Bigger; and to Work My Craft.
I was drawn to logic and reason from a young age, so it's no wonder I have expertise with deterministic systems. I'll be frank, though: when quantum computing takes over, I'll be out of my element. I recognize the awesomeness of statistics, but always found it a dry subject; perhaps I haven't yet found a good Teacher.
In terms of physiology, I have sought advice from someone who is Living It, and although my approach is going to be unusual, the advice concurred with everything I've learned about biochemistry, which makes me confident in following it where it overlaps with my approach.
Essentially, I'm trying to mimic the continuity of reality, rather than take a discrete model approach. I perceive the body as incredibly dynamic and plastic, such that even a minute doing something this way or that way will have a meaningful, and often timely, effect.
My approach is not "right" or "wrong"; I'm simply experimenting with my existing understanding, and improving it with experience. And it has been a blast!
Sure, animals are alive, but us -- the humans -- we really live.
Or do we...? :-o
Whether or not free will is just an illusion is a concept that is explored perpetually by authors and multimedia producers, but it's even cooler when there is a connection to meatspace.
This study involving the red circles is interesting because it samples actual human behavior -- notwithstanding that labs are "unnatural" environments -- and compares it directly with deterministic models like probability theory. Cool shit. :-)
There's a Rammstein song that I'm reminded of, called Ich Will. Maybe on the heavy side for some listeners, but I think if you can handle most classical music, you'll manage. :-D The lyrics are beautifully simple; it's a sort of... "vivisection of the ego"? Those harmonizing synth pads are amazing. Again... keeping it simple is key here. Rammstein are among the most skillful modern rockers out there.
P.S. What is with this still-cold weather?! Maybe it's time to visit a warmer climate. :-D
I used public transit to get to work today. On the bus, I coughed into my hands, a habit of the "cultural knowledge" of my youth and my first and some of my earliest social programming. When I was a young, impressionable human, I was told "cough into your hands" by older -- and presumably wiser -- members of society ( mostly family and friends ). It was so ubiquitous that I never gave it much thought, figuring it was a useful enough action.
Alright, fist-cough equals good, but it turns out there's something even better: coughing into the crook of one's elbow. Indeed, that target is less likely to come into contact with "public surfaces" we often touch with our hands. I first heard about the idea a number of years ago, but as an adult, it can take a while to reprogram really long-held habits.
So as I'm getting ready to transfer to the train, this older dude approaches me a bit hesitantly, and asks for a minute of my time to talk. Pragmatically, no, I'm on the way to grab a train to get to work on time; realistically, though, who am I to reject probably-honest* communication from a fellow human in a non-emergent situation? I moved out of the flow of human traffic, offering an inquisitive expression. His deal was that he wanted to tell me about this cool new idea -- from his perspective, I probably appeared entirely unfamiliar with it -- called "coughing into your elbow", and I thought "oh, riiight!", as the memory of the fist-cough I'd performed near-unconsciously now pervaded my consciousness. So I listened in earnest to his brief exposition and thanked him for taking the time to say something. I still caught my train, but even if the delay had forced me to take the next one, I would have thought he was doing the "right thing".
Sometimes I forget. Don't be afraid to remind me. :-]
* really important; I think lawyers call this "good faith" behavior.
My career has mostly been about making bits dance. Until recently, I did a lot of sitting down on the job, but shortly before the holiday break, my employer got me a standing desk. Add some psytrance, and now I can do some dancing of my own. *mumbling something about it also being healthier* :-]
As with most new things, the first few days were difficult, but we get used to everything, don't we? One of the sweetest improvements the standing desk brings to the table ( ha ha ) is the elimination of the chair-jostling and neck-craning that used to accompany most code reviews.
Now I work on my feet most of the day, every day. Once in a while, though, the ol' legs are just dyin', and this desk offers some respite, as it has [motorized] adjustable height. It's very stable, and pretty sturdy -- almost too good to be an IKEA product. Oh snap. Anyway, if you're looking for a standing desk, you could do worse than this model. It's called Bekant, and it's starting to feel familiar already. ;-)
I use a mouse and keyboard a lot at work, and although I much prefer the keyboard, the software I work on is very GUI-oriented, which means a good deal of mousing. Consequently, I'm interested in finding a mouse that is friendly to my skeleton, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. I have fairly large hands, and finding a good ergonomic mouse has proven to be a challenge.
Some years ago, I tried the Evoluent VerticalMouse, but the height interferes with my frequent jumping between mouse and keyboard, so I returned to a regular mouse, and kept a lookout for other interesting designs. After recently upgrading some of my HIDs at home, I resumed my search for an ergo mouse to use at work.
The first one I tried was the HandShoe mouse, designed by Hippus NV, but it didn't live up to the hype. The designers made the strange choice of placing the highest point of the housing directly under my thumb's proximal knuckle; after adjusting my grip for that, it was pretty comfortable while at rest, but what really matters is movement, and that wasn't so good; involving my entire arm -- even my shoulder -- in mousing is not any kind of improvement. Although it had no driver issues, and some good features, like low-force button switches, the overall design concept failed to pay off.
I'm now trying the [large, wireless] Newtral 2 mouse, and it's not bad, but neither is it great.
When I plugged in the wireless receiver, it wasn't recognized as a standard HID device, although it started to work after a reboot ( notably the first HID I've ever seen that required a reboot ). Not terrible, but I wouldn't classify it as a typical "highly compatible" HID that I would trust to carry with me for use on other systems.
Although it has basic three-button support, its six buttons can be customized, but that requires additional software, which can be found on the manufacturer's website. I installed the utility without a problem, but it appears to want administrative rights, which seems a bit ham-fisted to me; getting it to launch automagically on boot will take extra effort. More importantly, when I run it, I get a system tray balloon that simply says "Warning", and when I dismiss that, I can click on the systray icon, and I get another balloon that says:
Warning The system did not detect the gaming mouse!
Uh, gaming mouse? Alright, whatever. A right-click on the systray icon brings up a context menu with a single option: Exit. So it appears that I can't take advantage of the programmable buttons. Dag. For reference, my workstation is running Windows 7 x64 Ultimate SP1 ( with SharpEnviro alternative shell, though that shouldn't have any effect on peripheral support ).
One last logic-side niggle: there's a power-saving feature that sleeps the mouse when it is idle for a while, and that's cool, but other mice I've used with such a feature "come back" simply by wiggling the mouse. This one requires a button click, which isn't totally unreasonable, but it's a level away my natural inclination to just "shake it awake", and comes with that uneasy "will that click bubble into an app and do something undesirable?" feeling.
As for the physical aspects, it's definitely more "wieldy" than the HandShoe was, and feels like a typical mouse but with the benefit of the more relaxed wrist angle, one of the main things I'm looking for. The weight is good, light yet substantial, and if necessary, I can easily pick it up with a gentle pinch of my thumb and pinky. I tried the interchangeable flanges, and I find the "non-flange" the most comfortable.
The button action is rather stiff compared to what I'm used to ( mostly Logitech products, the Performance MX model being a favorite ) and also a bit on the loud side, but it's something I can get used to. Unfortunately, a seemingly common theme among mouse designers is rearward placement of the scrollwheel, and the Newtral 2 is no exception; with a "full resting" grip, the wheel is behind the distal knuckle of my middle finger, requiring my middle finger to arch significantly to use the wheel. In addition, the thumb well contains a set of protruding vertical ridges; I don't know what their intended purpose is, but they are irritating to the pad of my thumb. In order to avoid these two nuisances, I find myself sliding my hand back, off the mouse, returning to the "claw" style I'm trying to avoid in the first place.
Perhaps the most disappointing physical feature of the Newtral 2, because it's so easily avoided by choosing a high-quality, marginally-more-expensive part, is the mechanical power switch on the underside of the mouse. I like to switch peripherals off when I leave the office, but this switch is so dad-gum difficult that I almost need a tool, like a small flat screwdriver, to work it, which disinclines me from using it, even though it'll require me to change the battery more frequently.
The other mouse I was looking at was the Goldtouch KOV-GTM-B. Frankly, it looks so similar to the Newtral 2 that I wouldn't be surprised if they are designed by the same firm, and manufactured by the same Chinese factory ( the Newtral 2 claims Canadian design and Chinese manufacturing ). Still, it appears to have some design choices that may suit me better: the scrollwheel looks to be further forward than on the Newtral 2, and the thumb well lacks those stupid ridges. If the buttons are nicer, it might be worth another switch.
Perhaps I should be looking into a different type of tracking technology altogether. :-D
Communication with the manufacturer revealed that the Newtral 2 configurator only works on wired mice. Not the worst thing, but still disappointing.
My first exposure to microwave ovens was typical: my family got one of these time-saving contraptions when I was still a child. Having no idea how it worked at first, but seeing what it could do, I wondered if I would ever live to see a machine that did the opposite -- rapid chilling or even freezing of food and liquids. I dubbed this theoretical device the unmicrowave.
A number of years later, as the fragments of my understanding of physics began to coalesce into a more useful whole, and the operating principle of the microwave oven became clear, it dawned on me that it would probably never be possible to build a device that worked the opposite way.
Some years after that, however, when I began to learn more about the interaction of photons and electrons, and the partial-charge behaviour of shared electron orbitals, it occurred to me that not all hope was lost, although I knew I had to give up the idea of some sort of realtime processing. Success would depend on a physical effect that had yet to be formalized.
Now researchers have shown some promising evidence that confirms that it is possible to directly use energy to remove energy from a system, even if just on a rather small scale for now. It still seems unlikely that we'll ever create an affordable, energy-efficient device that "calms down dem mawl-uh-kyools" to provide "instant ice" and sich, but I'm actually slightly less skeptical about it now. :-D
I am seriously getting back into reading. I think we're all told how great "social everything" is so much that it can be easy to forget to set aside quiet time for oneself, for activities that really only work in solitude.
It's been about three months since I stopped feeding FB. I checked my messages every few days at first, then once weekly, and then... whenever. I wasn't a heavy user of messages to begin with, and people were willing to be patient for responses. Meanwhile, my SMS usage increased, and although some people still prefer to use FB for messaging, my replies could be expedited with a "poke"-SMS. Miraculously, SMS is the only medium that, for me, remains largely and mercifully unafflicted by spam.
Due to the time freed up by not surfing FB, I've returned to working on music more seriously, and also working on various software-based experiments. I played around with HTML5-canvas and programmatic SVG; both are pretty cool and seem to be fairly well supported on mobile devices. A little while back, I started working to make this site mobile-friendly. Google says it is.
In other news, I recently dropped Bell Mobility because their network kept dropping my calls. Even though I made a reasonable attempt to get them to investigate and tried to be as helpful as possible with my reporting of the situation, they weren't interested in solving the problem. I guess they figured I would just eventually accept it. Overall, my experience with Bell was fair-to-poor. They may have a large network, but in practice, it's not any more reliable than competing networks. Their pricing is exorbitant, and although individual agents vary, the overall customer service is attrocious.
I tried Skype for Mac today... too bad it still sucks. Constant drops and reconnects, audio only plays out of the right speaker, massive echoing, weird ghostly silences -- where's my white noise? -- and even basic text chat problems. A shambles, I tells ya.
Well, it's mid-2015, and still no proper flying cars, but self-driving cars are developing nicely, and they're an essential step. :-)
After initially avoiding Facebook for various reasons, a friend finally convinced me to join up, and it's been fun, but their latest slap in the face to liberty convinced me to take a serious hiatus, if not close up shop there for good. Liberty and freedom of expression are significant to me, and FB recently demonstrated what they think of it with their forced "real name" campaign.
If they had an understanding of cyberspace and of gracefulness, they might have first introduced the idea and then provided a reasonable period of time in which users could consider what the change means to them, and what they want to do about it. In fact, although it's rare, there are some situations in which a pseudonym is actually an important part of a user's life in meatspace. A graceful approach would allow a user to contest the change and state their case. If it was argued cogently, FB could make an exemption.
Instead of approaching me in a friendly way, FB forced my hand, and my response is to take my "ball"* and go home. When it's a matter of kids playing a game that depends on the "ball", such a response is petulant; when it's a corporation saying "we are telling you how to represent yourself online", such a response is necessary, at least from those who value liberty.
Obviously, I have no problem using my real name online, and that's the point: I freely chose the domain name I'm using for my website. It costs me money for hosting, and it's less convenient for both me to update the site and for readers to visit, but freedom has a cost.
I'll be looking into a nice private messaging system for this here site; meanwhile, anyone who wants to get in touch by email will find a way. ;-)
* ie. signal
In this universe, redundancy is usually a fairly simple and effective strategy for dealing with non-determinism. For example, a physical hard drive might fail at any time, so one of the simplest solutions, RAID, is still one of the most widely used for high-availability systems. What about Internet connections?
I have DSL at home. Most of the time, it's solid, yet it depends on a physical network of copper cabling, which is vulnerable to extreme weather, or doofuses that dig before calling. That's beside the fact that the modem itself, although solid state, is still made of physical components that can fail. If for any reason, my DSL goes offline, it would be nice to simply swap in some other device to provide a WAN uplink.
Recently, my DSL failed. Finally, it was my smartphone's time to shine! It can create a WiFi hotspot to share its data uplink -- but not all the PCs in my LAN use wireless, plus I ddidn't want to go about reconfiguring things either. Ah, but what about the USB tethering feature? As luck* would have it, my router has two USB ports, and can run third-party firmware. I've been using Tomato for a number of years now, and it has performed extremely well, so I was primed for a solution that would let me keep Tomato.
Luckily, someone had been developing a fork of the TomatoUSB project -- itself a fork of the original Tomato -- called Tomato by Shibby, which provides a fairly easy-to-understand architecture for handling USB devices, and which I'll refer to as TbShibby from here on out. It even includes extras, in particular, the kernel modules needed to get the phone to work as a WAN modem, using its packet radio service.
In order to get the router to notice the phone-as-modem, some additions were required. Here's the list of drivers needed:
insmod mii.ko insmod usbnet.ko insmod cdc_ether.ko insmod rndis_host.ko
Just add the above lines to the Init script at /admin-scripts.asp in TbShibby's HTTP configurator GUI to have the router automagically load these modules on startup.
Now, after I had determined the required additions, there was a problem: in the builds available to me, it appeared the rndis_host.ko kernel module was not included, the main file system was read-only, and I didn't want to go to the trouble of building my own environment and toolchain in order to rebuild the .trx firmware image. I might have figured out a way to place the missing file(s) on a USB stick that would permanently occupy one of the ports, but that's just... ugh.
It seemed likely that there was a typical file system in the image, so there must be a way to extract the image contents, modify something in the extracted copy, and rebuild everything back into an image, for easy uploading to the router.
Sho'nuff, my quest led to firmware-mod-kit, a rather vaguely named but ultimately helpful project that fortunately kept old versions of itself in the main package; these old versions were less finnicky than the current stuff, and it was them that I built and used on the spot. Dependency problems reached no higher than the level of "easily solved annoyance". :-)
Testing with my phone indicated that a new device usb0 was available after USB tethering was activated. There remained one thing to do: automation based on plug state change. Basically, when the phone is plugged in, it takes over the job of WAN provider; when it's unplugged, the previous provider, such as a DSL modem, resumes operation.
Initially, I contemplated writing my own script, but I also expected that I wasn't the first to tackle this mission, and once again, fortunately discovered this script that monitors for USB tethering, which was the basis for what I am running right now. My DSL is still offline, but now my LAN is none the wiser -- well, until I hit my data cap! :-D
* heh, luck, right... like I don't overthink my gadget purchases! :-b
Amazing luck! Tickets (Josef-Ashton Summs) was able to pay me a visit tonight, and I was introduced to the magic of Cubase. Now I'm thinking more about my options in terms of virtual gear. I have used Reason almost exclusively for many years, because it had everything in one place, but it's always good to investigate other tools, techniques, etc. :-)
Tomorrow, he plays RN, and it sounds like a great evening planned. Team Quato will be there too, mixing it up. The schedule was been slightly weirdened, but it actually sounds like a good idea. See all y'all there tomorry who's goin'!
Good idea: YouTube recently disabled public display of tags; a simple change, which causes the least disturbance, yet is still effective for solving the problem (abuse of the tagging system).
People can be slow to adapt to technology, at least compared to the speed at which some technology is developed. The most successful technologies requires not just a material solution, but ways to avoid harm to the user and abuse to others. Many times, the material part of things (device, software, etc) will be completed before the human-interface/-integration part is sorted out. Firearms are an example; they already exist materially, but some people still aren't entirely settled on how they fit into our lives. Even nature makes "technology" that some societies find difficult to integrate. And now, a case in point: tagging.
Tagging (on the Web, keyword or keyphrase metadata about the content of media) is a very simple concept which has existed for years on much of the Web, yet most people, when given the opportunity, don't bother to use tags effectively (versus simply using tags at all). Tagging technology has, however, been warmly embraced by the sketchballs of YouTube who want to exploit the popularity of videos that have risen to fame by having [presumably] legitimate value (that is, as demonstrated by view counts, ratings, etc). This sort of abuse renders the tagging system largely ineffective. The simple countermeasure of hiding the assigned tags curbs that sort of abuse without significantly affecting functionality of any systems that interface with it. Just as importantly, honest users can still tag things as effectively as before. :-)
Electronic Brain was a superb kick-off to the 2012 festival season.
The music was fantastic, as was the deco. The campground was beautiful, complete with a semi-natural pond in a rock depression. The layout was very, ahem, "organic"; the best way to navigate was by landmarks. Luckily, the skies were relatively clear all weekend, and the moonlight was sufficient to make out most of the terrain at night. The two stages were opposite each other, across the main roadway, making it easy to travel from one to the other for a change of vibe.
A goodly number of Ottawa people ended up camping on a hilltop/plateau with a sweet breeze, beside a chalet with the most gracious neighbors (thank you again!). It got pretty cold on Friday night, but Saturday, the sun blazed in all its glory, and the "villagers" congregated under the sun shelter I'd brought, which a certain festival elf improved by lending her blanket as a temporary side wall.
I was hoping for a sunny, rain-free weekend, because my tent was set up on a slight incline, and I wasn't sure how well it would respond to a downpour. :-) Luck was with me, because the weather stayed beautiful all weekend. Well, actually, Pirate Pete called for rain at 4am Monday (he has seafarer's intuition), and lo and behold, there was a sprinkle of about 40 drops of rain at the appointed time! Not sure if that's enough to qualify as actual rain, but it was amusing nonetheless. :-)
One of the big draws for me at this festival was a live act from Quato (local dudes Manu and Pete). Unfortunately, because I had dawdled in setting up camp, I missed some of the set. Doh! Still, when I reached the main stage, their music got me right into the swing of things. After their set, they were totally giddy with excitement (and possibly a touch of alcohol, hahahahaha), milling about on the dance floor. Pete did some "stampa" (proof somewhere on YouTube), while Manu and I talked about music production.
The main attraction (for me) was the live PA from Broken Toy (James Copeland), all the way from South Africa. Long story short: James broke the funk-o-meter, I danced like a loon, and nabbed him afterward to give him props and a tee-shirt. Awesome sauce.
I was also excited to see Super Evil (James C and Adriano Rodrigues), but they were delayed by a technical problem (not their fault, as I understand, but these things happen), resulting in an impromptu hangout with the two and a small group of assorted festival-goers at the other stage, where James told us something scandalous (ha hah!) about his musical career. After some banter, we all agreed it would probably be a while before things got sorted, and the group dispersed, with hopes that a workaround could be found. And lo, someone came up with a solution (never found out whom, but thanks, whoever you are), and thus it was that I got to hear (and see) 'Brutal Train Blues' right in front of my eyes. Big ups to James and Arno for making the trip!
Sunday night was magical forest psy night. I was hanging out with Jan (this was her first festival) and we met Oleg (from TO) on the way to check how the second stage was doing. He shared his pineapple juice with us (everyone knows pineapple juice is the best) and joined us in our mission. We arrived to discover that someone had sorted the generator (which had been malfunctioning earlier in the day) and there were dark and foresty sounds cranking. Result! DJ Psygourmet was the stand-out act of the night, mixing up a sweet selection of swirling psychedelic sounds as we danced, awash with moonlight, among the looming conifers.
This year, I had resolved to regulate my sleep and water intake more carefully. In doing so, I had consistently high energy levels while roving about, and slept fairly well during down times. I also gave "instant meal in a pouch" camping food a try (it's... okay).
The blackflies were in full effect. I'm pretty sure this was my first serious exposure to them. While the bites do hurt (and itch somethin' fierce!), the flies were some of the slowest and dumbest "offensive" insects I've ever encountered. They tended to crawl around a lot before biting, giving one ample opportunity to thwart their plans, even if just by brushing them off. :-)
All told, despite some glitches, a most enjoyable fest!
One nice thing about the Internet is that now, when you are just about to hack something because it doesn't do quite what you need yet, you can do a quick search and see if someone else has already taken a crack at it. The downside is that most hacks are intended to solve the local (hacker's) problem, and thus the hack may not work on other machine configurations (even if they're not particularly weird). The upshot is that some hacks need to be hacked, but the good part is: [computer program] code is eminently hackable! :-]
In this case, I'm looking to automate a tedious graphic design process in version 2.6 of the GIMP, and I found a potentially useful script-fu "plug-in" which should have worked as is, but I had to make a small change to get it to show up in the GIMP's menu listing.
Here's a sort of patch to illustrate a solution:
--- random_density_map.scm.original +++ random_density_map.scm @@ -130,7 +130,7 @@ ) (script-fu-register "script-fu-random-density-map" - "/Filters/Map/Random Density Map..." + "Random Density Map..." "Draw a specified number of random points with the currently selected brush, using a density mask." "Rob Antonishen" "Rob Antonishen" @@ -145,3 +145,6 @@ SF-ADJUSTMENT "Border Margin (pixels)" '(0 0 100 1 6 0 0) SF-ADJUSTMENT "Bailout Threshold" '(200 100 2000 10 100 0 0) ) + +(script-fu-menu-register "script-fu-random-density-map" + "<Image>/Filters/Map")
The modified script can be placed in your user-scripts directory (e.g. ~/.gimp-2.6/scripts). I discovered the solution the lazy way -- by looking at the structure of an existing working plug-in. ;-) After I got it working (the new item shows up under sub-menu Maps), I tried it out, and it turned out to not be quite what I'm looking for. :-b Still, this little hint might help someone else. :-) "And still, the search goes on..."
The software development process involves a lot of decision-making; it can often feel physically draining, and recent research suggests why: the ability to make good decisions (i.e. willpower) is strongly affected by our physical state, and good decision-making has a physical cost. Could that explain my sweet tooth? :-D
It's true. I've finally decided to investigate mobile device support on the Web. I've tested against the stock Android 4.0 browser. So far, so good. I'm sure I'll try other platforms soon enough. :-)
So, you can access your music from almost anywhere with a PC and an Internet connection. But what if you get the itch to hear a particular song right where you are, say while travelling? Okay, let's talk about streaming music from your home PC to your phone. Yes, one of my fantasies as a kid was to have some sort of gadget that lets me listen to my own personal radio station more or less anywhere on the planet. That technology has arrived, in moderately-useful form, while flying cars still totally suck. :-D
Here's a way to live the dream. Note that it's not the way, it's just a way; in particular, I'm targeting an Android device as the client (for listening) and a Linux box as the server. And now I present a recipe entitled...
"How to burn through your data plan"
- a host equipped with Logitech Media Server, formerly Squeeze Server from which to serve your stream
- If you haven't at least secured your server with a password, do it now!
- an Android device with mobile data capabilities
- I used a phone with ICS 4, but this may work for stuff like 2.x.
- a mobile data plan
- If you love music like I do, go for the "hungry, hungry hippo" plan. :-D
- Squeeze Player ($4-ish) for playback and Squeeze Commander ($5-ish) for control
- Yeah, we're going to reward the dedicated codesmiths who've created some useful pieces of the chain.
- working knowledge of LAN and WAN
- IP addressing, ports, firewalling, dynamic DNS
- Install the two apps on your Android device. You can go through Android Market.
- In the LAN where your server lives, open ports 3483 and 9000 on any related firewalls, and configure any routing to forward external traffic on these two ports to your server (forward all protocols if you're unsure). If you've set up for external clients (e.g. SoftSqueeze) already, you can skip this step.
- If you don't have a static external IP address, configure your network for visibility from the greater Internet using something like a dynamic DNS service (for example, a dynamic DNS service. Ha ha).
- Configure Squeeze Player (only the important settings are listed) on your Android device.
- Set Manual Server Address to your static external IP, or your dynamic DNS name.
- Set Authentication to the username and password with which your server is protected.
- In Squeeze Player's main panel, turn Playback on, and it should connect to your server; there's nothing playing yet, because we're about to configure it using Squeeze Commander.
- Start Squeeze Commander; SP has a shortcut that detects SC, so you can launch it right from SP.
- In SC's device list (leftmost pane), you should see your Squeeze Player listed by name. Other players (hardware and software) connected to the server will be shown as well. Select it to focus your next actions on it.
- Hit the top-right icon (folder with music note) to get the master index of your music collection. I then usually choose Music Folder because I know my directory structure pretty well.
- Drill down until you can pick a file, then choose Play. Yeah, and uh... don't forget to set a global data limit or take some other finance-related precautions. You've been warned. ;-)
Both apps are happy with whatever network they have access to (wifi or mobile data), although the hand-off from one connection type to the other isn't seamless -- Squeeze Player stops and doesn't try to auto-resume, but maybe this will change. All in all, a pretty reasonable interpretation of the "global personal radio station". :-)
Okay, it's true. Face Unlock is really more of a novelty than anything else. I have at least one friend who passes as "me", and I've seen video of a photo fooling the software as well, although it's likely to improve with development, and those who are more security minded have other options.
Aside from the fun factor, there's a subtle, hidden benefit to using it: when I first set it up, I was smiling; not a big dopey grin, but something that looked positive, instead of neutral. I was a bit saddened when I wasn't allowed to smile for a recent passport photo, because I find people more approachable when they're smiling. Anyway, occasionally, my phone will fail to recognize me (it seems to have trouble with long hair and toques), but I recently realized it was much more likely (and faster) to see "me" when I smiled. So, now I'm reminded to smile more whenever I want to unlock the phone. The next lesson is "enough with the phone already". :-]
Last night's RN was a grand ol' time. I exhibited my latest print, and still got in some time to shake my ass with some beautiful people. Thanks to the DJs, some new to me! It was quite a mix of stuff, and I really enjoyed some of the tracks. I met the maker of some deco which had tripped me out like crazy at Orion two weeks ago (but that's a story for another day), and there it was again, right in the midst of the RN magic. Big ups to everyone who showed up to participate despite the nasty weather!
One more thing: if you haven't heard this already, it's been a favorite of mine for weeks now: Frost RAVEN -- Cosmic Radiation. Discovered on SoundCloud, a very cool site indeed!
Intense NYE weekend; crazy times. A visit to the Atwater "beer cave". Walks. Wifi. Downtown. Underground. Mix-ups. Mix-downs. Mekkanikka. Rikam. Bamboo Forest. Great psytrance, great dancing. Massive crowd. Chill people, friends, cherished ones, those admired, and those desired. Together. Writhing. Many. One. As real as anything else happening NYE as the days begin to get longer again, yet somehow, this time, a little more than real (get the details in person). Home. Wind-down. Sleep. 2012... After 35 years, I've barely scratched the surface. :-]
So, I decided to take the train to visit my family over the holidays, and one of their selling points is free wifi (yes, I realize the bizarreness of something "free" being a selling point). I'll admit, at the very least, it works. I'm sitting here on the train, listening to music streaming from my mediabox at home, while editing my website over ssh. It's pretty slick. The only downside is the bandwidth is lurchy and a bit on the slow side, but... you get what you pay for. :-)
Still, props to VIA for giving customers more options. Now, what would be really great is a supertrain (high speed, like the TGV) doing this run (Montreal-Windsor).
Boom festival sounds like a pretty good time, although I haven't been yet. One of my favorite producers played a set there in 2010 and I found it on the Web. So, here's the Dick Trevor (Dickster) DJ set from Boom 2010. Enjoy!
For me, Natura 2011 was a mix of high and low points, and time is of the essence, so I'll summarize the key points, and follow up with some details, and then we're done.
- Friday -- Best day/night of the weekend. I arrived knowing I'd be hearing some great stuff during the wee hours -- Quato's first live PA, followed by two great Ottawa DJs, Psycronik and Data Decay. I was not disappointed. The weather started off beautiful, with a warmth that made the soon-to-come rain feel that much more chilly. Really, Friday was perfect, so much fun.
- Saturday afternoon -- Cool forest hike, over a dozen species of fungi sighted, including poisonous mushrooms with a dark green cap and yellow stalk; live salamander held, marveled at.
- Saturday night -- WTF happened? Rain overload, no nighttime psy, more rain, no Urantia, even more rain.
- Sunday -- Some better weather, lots of chillin'.
- Due to great location, our campsite became something of a social hub. Coolness.
- Location (campground) is awesome.
- Suspended bridge is awesome.
- Personal festival firsts:
- Donned a makeshift poncho (garbage bag). It was armless, for efficacy, and secondarily, amusement.
- Saw a giant slinky successfully traverse more than three steps in a row.
- Saw other people with UV-A flashlights.
I heard Urantia was held up at the border by red tape. I can't confirm it, but dammit, it's disappointing no matter why it happened or who's to blame. Maybe next time.
All in all, fun, but I've done better. The highlight was the great vibe created on Friday night by local Ottawa producers and DJs. It set me up to make the remainder of the weekend bearable in spite of some disappointments.
Okay, enough. Thanks to the organizers, although next time, it would be awesome to see the headliner. ;-) Thanks to the volunteers. High fives and all that to everyone who braved the weather (it wasn't actually that bad). That's it for this year. Productivity mode... if I get enough vitamin D, or Substance D, or whatever.
Wow, where to begin? This adventure started with a battle; I was just getting over a cold, and kind of low on sleep. Fortunately, I'm employed by some way cool people, so I'd had the Thursday off to recuperate. Friday morning, things were still looking grim, but my positive attitude would not be squelched. As I hurried to pack things up, my anticipation for the upcoming adventure developed almost into a kind of euphoria that made me forget about not feeling one hundred percent. There were more obstacles to come, however.
We left late (not exactly unusual) and got bogged down in late-afternoon Montreal traffic. Disaster! We were really hoping to arrive before sundown to make camp setup much more enjoyable. A vibe of impatience began to seep into our group, and tempers got a little short, but we reminded ourselves that there was nothing that could be done now, and whether it was dark or not, we'd be very happy to get there.
Now, when I said "disaster" before, I was exaggerating, because the next obstacle was more serious. You see, we had foolishly [in retrospect] trusted the English directions to the site which had been posted on the Web, instead of just identifying the campground and planning our own route. We arrived at the "correct" address, and saw... a farmhouse. Fortunately, we were greeted by a friendly and helpful woman who lived there. She explained how to get to the site, and related how she'd already met all sorts of people from all over, who had also relied on the faulty directions. We thanked her, hopped back in the vehicle, and grumbled to ourselves about the crap directions, before laughing it off, and set off in hopes of arriving before the last useful minutes of sun gave way to twilight.
Finally, we saw a cardboard sign that confirmed the end was in sight. As we pulled into the parking lot, the excitement was palpable. Unfortunately, we'd burned the last of the daylight on the unexpected detour, so we set up camp in the dark (argh!), managing to get a tarp above the tents for the rain that would likely fall in a few hours. After spending my last remaining energy on setting up camp, I conked out, deciding that the festival would truly begin for me in the morning.
Saturday morning, I felt incredible. The night of sleep had done me some good. I munched on various breakfast things, and headed out to explore the grounds. What a gorgeous site for a festival! I looked forward to a dip in the rapids, and the upcoming live shows from Electrypnose (Vince Lebarde) and others. I thanked my immune system for doing its part in what looked to be a fantastic weekend.
Saturday evening was the main event, in terms of the music. Electrypnose had a dark set scheduled for the wee hours, and I knew Mad Maxx would thrown down like a champ a while after that, so I got revved up to dance my ass off. And lo, the music rocked. And rocked. And the sun came up. And still it rocked. There was a brief technical glitch when Max played, but he took it in stride, and got people hopping again as soon as the power was restored. That guy is committed to entertaining, and I appreciate it.
We just kept on going throughout the day, taking breaks to eat, explore, and chill, and before we knew it, five o'clock had arrived, and some familiar funky sounds began to emanate from the main stage. Yes! Electrypnose was back to play a funky live set! I gotta tell ya, this guy is a pro. The knob-twiddling was precise and determined. I heard several of my favorites, and just loved it. There's nothing like hearing Balabala on a sandy beach, with the sun blazing down, knowing you have nothing to do for the next little while but eat, sleep, and dance. I love vacations!
I had brought one of my hand-made psychedelic tee-shirts as a gift for Vince, as a tribute to his great contribution to electronic music, but I'd forgotten it back at camp, so after his set, by good fortune, I met up with him and he agreed to visit camp so I could present him with the shirt. We chatted a bit, on the way there, and a bit more after I gave him the shirt, before he politely excused himself for to relax, seeing as he'd just finished kicking ass on-stage.
Well, what can I say? I met Electrypnose, and he's a real class act. If you have an opportunity to see him play, you should take that opportunity. Really, there was a lot of great music 'round the clock, and I want to thank all the artists, vendors, campground owners, and especially the organizers who put this event together. I met some cool new people, and also hung out with some more familiar faces. It was a smashing good time.
I still have one unanswered question, which was nagging at me all weekend: after the festival, where will that octopus go? :-)
I had a last-minute opportunity to visit Toronto with two friends for a Canada Day party; I decided to take that opportunity. The driving was great (and this time I got to be a passenger!), and we made good time. We had a few hours to hang out at the homestead of one of the organizers, and lo and behold, the legendary DJ Vibes (Shane) and his lovely sweetheart were already relaxing there. We made a mad dash for patio chairs 'round back, and Shane came up with a chair borrowed from inside, with a rather uncomfortable -- erm, supportive -- back on it. He was a good sport about it, though, and cracked wise with us all evening until it was time to head to the venue for final setup. Here's a guy who's been at it for over 20 years, has had umpteen releases, and is definitely world famous, but hasn't let it get to his head. He's just what you want in a DJ: refined skills framed by a friendly, approachable demeanor.
The venue was pretty good, although you could tell there hadn't been a whole lot of investment in the building itself recently. The deco was okay; it worked out well that the driver (who was playing that night) had brought a banner that happened to fit perfectly on the wall behind the stage. There was a good variety of music, including some breaks (w00t!) at the start of the night. Although I'm mostly into psytrance these days, I gotta say, I enjoyed Shane's happy hardcore set, as well as the earlier breaks (I'm not sure who played those, but he made some good picks either way). Thanks to the organizers and performers, and a happy Dominion Day to my fellow Canadians.
Ever since I became addicted to A Few Spoonfuls... (a TRON and Dickster co-op with some brilliant use of Futurama samples), I've been keeping my ears open for that distinctive TRON sound. Both TRON and Dickster have developed their own audio fingerprint, so either one live should be a treat, right? I put this theory to the test during the holidays.
Finding the place wasn't too bad. Every time I drive around in downtown TO, it seems to get a bit smaller. The venue was pretty nice, with two well-separated rooms. The psy room had solid blacklight coverage, which really brought all the banners to life, not to mention some of the great looks various people were rockin'. The projected visuals were a mixed bag, though pretty good on the whole. As for the sound, well... TBH, I found the top end a bit harsh during TRON, even when I moved to the back of the room. His stuff is pretty bass-heavy anyway, so the high end doesn't really need extra gain (insert standard disclaimer about me not being a sound engineer).
Thanks to the organizers, to Earthling and TRON, and all other artists and helper elves who made this one happen. I got to listen to some thumping music, dance out some winter blahs (fuck SAD!), meet some cool people, and have some great chats. Thanks, TO, for being good hosts.
Amazone 2010 proved to be quite a decent shindig. The location was pretty good, and the only downside to the night was the nasty weather during the drive (and for a few minutes as our group waited outside; luckily, out-of-towners were given "express check-in").
Once inside, the weather was quickly forgotten. Someone had turned the deco up to 11 (yeeeah!), and there was a fantastic assortment of costumes. I gotta give a shout-out to the dude dressed as HST, because, man... you killed it; well done!
Although not mind-busting, the music was very solid throughout the night (Quantize and Silicon Sound entertained us before Mad Maxx hit the decks), and that last track Mad Maxx played was pretty wicked (a friend was raving about it for days afterward).
We made it to the afterparty, but it was absolutely sardined. Before our group decided to bail, I ran into Max in the front hall, and got to talk with him briefly, and -- classic Bernz -- I didn't think of the really good questions until I got home, but that's okay; it was cool enough just to shake his hand. The one question I managed to think of, he answered in earnest, and the exchange has stuck with me ever since as both a source of inspiration *and* an important reality-check. :-)
Thanks to the artists for visiting, and to the organizers for all the hard work setting it up.
P.S. I've heard a rumor that Mekkanikka is coming to Montreal soon. You know what that means!
To better appreciate my gushing, it might be helpful to know that I consider Simon Shackleton (Mr. Elite Force) one of the most talented music producers of his time. Ever since I got into the Elite Force sound (can't pigeonhole it, really), I promised myself that if he ever came to Canada, and it was reasonably possible for me to attend a show of his, I would pull out all the stops to make it happen. Well, this Sunday, the universe pulled out a few stops of its own, and brought Simon to Montreal, pretty much as close as I could have asked for.
The weather looked a bit sketchy, but I wasn't going to be stopped by the possibility of rain. I managed to pull off a last-minute car rental, and made it down in time to settle in before Elite Force started. The stuff he played was definitely new to me (I'd been out of the loop on it for almost a year), and he gave the crowd a good working-over with some wicked dirty synths and beats, and some simply raw sounds. Well done, sir!
After his skillful and energetic performance, I mustered up the courage to march on up to the side of the stage, where he was magnanimously greeting the punters, and I not only shook his hand and thanked him for visiting, but gave him a freakin' hug too! What an amiable fellow! Thanks again for coming to Canada, my good man. May your travels be full of joy!
What a day! My only regret was not bringing my Mindfunkpsychedelic EP for him to sign; when I set off for Montreal, I was not humble enough to believe I'd get to meet him. That'll teach me! :-]
P.S. He just posted a remix of a Prodigy tune that's free to grab. Go check it out!