Monday, December 2, 2013

Post Rock

Sometimes I'm asked what kind of music I like, and I struggle with it like a lot of people do.    Post Rock is probably the best description of what I've tended to listen to over the last few years. Wikipedia's Entry is a good starting point.   Rather than split hairs about the definition of the genre, I'll dive into bands I like that fit reasonably well into it, going in roughly decending order of favor.  I'll pick a video and an album to start with for each.

Mogwai


Absolutely the best - guitar, bass and drums at the core, but a broad range of composition, styles and sound design.

Album: Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will.

Something from "Rave Tapes", a new album comming in January:



Russian Circles


More post-metal at times, featuring lots of looping, repeating patterns and layering.   A standard rock three-piece with lots going on and a super drummer.

Album: Memorial


Boards of Canada


Retro-70's soundtracks and warm analog sounds.   A bit spooky at times.

Album: The Campfire Headphase


Explosions in the Sky


Soft and moody, multiple guitar lines.   Caught my attention via the soundtrack to Friday Night Lights (the movie).

Trans Am



Trans Am brought synthesizers back.   Energetic drumming, up-tempo, a bit geeky.

Album: Sex Change

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Hey - wait a minute!

I thought the fist logo here looked familiar:


I did one back in 2010 (Forza custom painting):

Ha! In all seriousness, I suspect I wasn't the first to put this together by a long shot.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

R.A.T 5 Mouse on Fedora 19

I'm using this file: /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/rat-5.conf:

Section "InputClass"
        Identifier "Mouse Remap"
        MatchProduct "Mad Catz Mad Catz R.A.T.5 Mouse"
        MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*"
        Option "ButtonMapping" "1 2 3 4 5 0 0 8 9 7 6 12 0 0 0 16 17"
        Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5 6 7"
        Option "AutoReleaseButtons" "13 14 15"
EndSection
MatchProduct has to come from what ever shows up in /proc/devices, as mergers and acquisitions is changing the product name daily. Perhaps partial matches would work? I think the above this works for the R.A.T. 7 too.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Back from the Temple

Well, it was fun while it lasted.  I've moved off of mediatemple.net.   I liked having my own hosting where I could put all sorts of things, but as of late, I'm doing less on the web in general, and not really updating my blog, so even a mere $20/mo seems like a waste.

The price is right, but it's kind of sad moving out of the independent Internet, and under Google's mostly-benevolent umbrella.   I feel like we're seeing the last days of the Internet as a free space, replaced with a corporate theme park of Google vs. Facebook, much like Pepsi vs. Coke.

I wonder what the next big, disruptive thing will be?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Back from Christmas, and Flumas

Phew.  The holiday rush at the end of the year is always hectic, but to follow it with a couple of weeks of the flu was a bit much.    I had a great Christmas, but was taken out the next day.   Fevers, worse cough I've ever had, no energy at all.

I'm mostly healthy now and getting back into the swing of things.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Galaxy S III: Cyanogenmod vs. Samsung/Verizon

I rooted and unlocked the bootloader in my phone to try Cyanogenmod.   Here's a short comparison:

Cyanogenmod 10.0 (Android 4.1):

Got rid of Samsung/Verizon crapware. I wouldn't mind the unused applications so much of they didn''t keep bugging me about updates. It was nice to have them gone and feel like I have more control over my own phone.

I didn't like Apollo. Google Play Music is a reasonable music player. Still, I can seem to play all songs of an artist in album order unless I may a playlist. Not sure why music players are so bad after all these years.


The stock Google Mail client is better than Samsung's. 


The Android 4.1 calendar is a big improvement.

Generally it was nice to have the phone consistent with Google nexus 7 (Android 4.2.1  Particularly pulldown for settings shortcuts, launcher, etc.


Samsung/Verizon Stock (Android 4.0.4):


I like the phone dialer a lot better. It does speed dialing - can't understand why anyone would leave this off a dailer. Kids these days!


SMS has iOS style bubbles. Seems cleaner. I know it's copying iOS - but who cares?

Sounds are more interesting and/or environmental. I like ring tones and notification sounds that are real.

Camera application is a lot better.   You can store photos on external SD. 

Samsung's player has some big usability holes. Google Play Music is a better option here too.

Cell data on/off switch is easy to find and use - right there with the other features.

Bluetooth car integration works much better. I couldn't get CM 10 to handle switching from phone to media audio - every other phone call would toggle media audio between the phone filter (lower volume, no bass?) and normal. The stock 4.0.4 ROM does this perfectly.

Conclusion:

I did a restore to the stock ROM. I like the idea of a custom, open ROM and more control over my phone, but sadly, it lacks the level of polish that Samsung/Verizon managed to produce. I'm a bit more sympathetic to Samsung's efforts to polish the Android experience, even if I disagree with some of their decisions. I'm also not completely shocked that it takes a while for them to update to Android 4.1 or 4.2, since it has to be "re-polished". I've left it rooted and the boot loader unlocked.

Still, I think Google delivers a better experience on their Nexus products, if the Nexus 7 is any indication of how their phones work. If I was buying a phone today, it would be a Nexus 4.