Archive for January, 2014

anybody livestreamed an ubuntu desktop?

Anybody here livestreamed an Ubuntu Gnome desktop? I found this howto for, but while I appear to have it running (albeit with a strange error that’s probably critically important) it doesn’t seem to work. I also found this tool (which was formerly on Sourceforge, which still has an older version) but haven’t tried yet.

Anybody have a preferred solution?

bluetooth dalek

The World’s Largest Bluetooth Speaker is a Dalek.

I thought this was going to be kind of weak and lame, but to my shock, it’s actually pretty well thought out, and kind of cool.

too important for this treatment

Many of these deserve their entire own long rants. I don’t have time, as much as I want to. So I’m posting them in a list, and letting you pick. A few are just funny, for leavening, because that’s important too.

I’m leading with the most important, and finishing with the most important, even though they’re different – they’re both really important. First, something I don’t understand why doesn’t get more net traction:

Why Marketers Fear the Female Geek.

It’s because marketing to increase sexism is strategy, not accident. Basically, in a nutshell, it’s this: marketing strategy isn’t to market broadly, it’s to market to market segments, or subsets. Your first round of ads hits with a segment; if that segment is large enough to meet your sales goals, you then market to that segment that the ‘others’ not in that segment are lesser, because that increases buy-in within the targeted segment.

Tell Seahawks fans that 49er fans are weak, and more Seahawks fans buy your merch than if you don’t.

And in way too many geek subjects, that “other” means women.

Weak. Lesser. Not Really Gamers. Not Really People.

It’s intentional, and the targeted segment eats it up every time.

There’s more at the link, go chase it. Not all marketers use this strategy, but it’s common. The more people are aware that they’re being manipulated, they more they’ll resist it, because they resent it.

Surviving the post-employment economy. Wonder why there’s this sudden growing urge for a guaranteed basic minimum income? This is why.

Bad British NFL Commentary, by which one means comedic, but I’m not sure the one who posted this gets that. Their “bad baseball commentary” example (“No! Caught by the chap in the pajamas with the glove that makes everything easier. And they all scuttle off for a nap.”) is perfect baseball commentary.

It Is Easier Now That I Look Like a Guy – same person, femme to butch casually passing with male; suddenly their career is better and they get dramatically more respect from everyone. Go fig.

Federal Court Strikes Down Net Neutrality. This is very bad for the internet, and particularly bad for independent artists, because it means you want your traffic moved? Pay us, too. This has to be overturned, somehow. Common Carrier status is the most obvious way to get there; will it happen? Depends upon who throws the most money at whom, of course. But if it’s close – and there’s money on both sides of this – you might be able to shove it a bit one way or the other.

the return of analogue synth

Forbes Magazine has noticed the return of the analogue synthesiser. I’ve seen a lot of people buying old and rebuilding; I wasn’t aware how many of the classics were back in or about to return to production.

Korg MS-20 (courtesy Wikipedia)

There seems to be some idea floating out there – and certainly in that Forbes article – that it’s a matter of rejecting digital, with it’s an implication that it’s some sort of Overdue Retreat From False Progress, and similar foolishness.

That’s not just wrong, it’s stupid. It’s the kind of derpitude written for people who don’t understand a subject and are wearing their late-middle-age everything-was-better-in-my-day nostalgia crap goggles.

Never wear those.

But something real is happening: a recognition that these were interesting and unique instruments in their own rights, and that new “versions” of the instrumental idea are not the instrumental idea. Just as the successors of the lute were not lute version 2.0, the successors of these synths are are not these instruments, version 2.0. They’re new instruments, with their own merits and flaws.

The technology model of continuous improvement doesn’t apply to everything, no matter how hard you try.

Similarly, just as MIDI violin doesn’t preempt real violin, emulations of the actual instrument – while useful, I’m a huge fan of the Animoog implementation on my iPad – do not always replace the actual instrument.

Particularly not with players. Not with the musicians. All of these things have their own physicalities, and for a lot of players – like me – that’s important. There are tens of thousands of bass guitars out there; there are a few I love. There are far fewer Irish Bouzoukis out there; and there are two, so far, I love. Part of that’s the sound; part of that is the physicality. It all matters.

I’m glad that’s finally being recognised for these classic analogue subtractive synths. The recognition that they are unique instruments, of a kind and a type, and of value not as a step to something else, but to themselves, and their unique sounds – it’s long overdue. Returning them to production is no more some kind of reactionary step backwards than is continuing to produce fiddles.

And I’m all for it. Welcome back to the fold, subtractive synths. We missed you.

negro league eye allergy doctors

First! That pro-bono recording-restoration project I mentioned a week or so ago? The one with the interview with Buck O’Neil, of the Kansas City Monarchs of the old Negro American League?

I heard back from James today:

For the record, Bob Kendrick with the NLBM [Negro League Baseball Museum] said the audio is outstanding.

Awesome. This makes me happy. I’m really pleased they found it potentially usable. It’s the first time I’ve done this sort of work, and I’m really glad they liked the result. I hope they find a use for it.

Second: the allergy testing went fine; I’m much less allergic to grass than I used to be. Thank you, allergy shots.

And finally, the latest follow-up appointment to have my eyes checked again as I continue to recover from two rounds of emergency eye surgery a couple of months ago also went well; they told me get out and don’t come back for eight weeks, and that my vision is up to 20/25 with lenses on.

I have to tell you, I’d’ve thought 20/25 would be a lot better than this. But apparently, it’s not. Wow.

I’d also talk about the meetings earlier this week, but I can’t. Yet. I can say that something very cool and exciting came out of them, I just can’t say what. Hopefully I’ll be able to say more in a couple of months.

But it’s cool, and exciting. Hee hee hee. 😀

I’ll be at the Welcome to Night Vale show at the Neptune tonight. Say hi, if you see me. Say hi, if you don’t see me. Say hi, to the faceless old woman who secretly lives in your home. You won’t know for sure that she heard you. But she did. She did.

having returned from the eye doctor…

…eyes all dilated:

Solarbird sings: I can’t focus, I can’t focus, I can’t focus…
Minion Paul sings: It’s time to throw the knives!


Or rather, Ultra Mad Men. G’wan, clickie, you know you wanna.

Also, another day mostly out. This time not as cool; allergy re-testing, the kind where they put a grid of needles on your arm. YAY! By which I mean boo.

not around much today

Not around much today, I’m afraid – I’ve got some meetings that’ll keep me offline, and also, I’m playing catchup after spending Sunday getting our mail server put back together – okay, mostly rebuilt from new parts – after the windstorm on Saturday not only took it down, but broke things. Big shout-out to Andrew “Traest” Grey who knew what fuckery was keeping us off the net after coming back up on the new hardware, and even more for helping us fix it.

I did take some time off Saturday night and go to Betsy Tinney’s CD release concert, though. I supported her kickstarter for her first solo album, and if you like instrumental material, particularly adventurous cello music, go give that a listen.

late night inventions

Sometimes, late at night, I discover things. Sometimes they are hilarious things. Sometimes they are hilarious things that are awesome and end up on albums.

This is one of those times.

And everybody is in bed and I have nobody to play it to, and I can’t post it, because unfinished project (because, oh yeah, this is going on the soundtrack album) so I won’t link that in public.


i said no solicitors!

Solarbird: I ordered a metal aluminium NO Solicitors sign for the bottom of the driveway. $27.
Solarbird: Because we just got another one and do not want
Solarbird: And it has a stake and I imagine that if it’s at the bottom of the driveway and they see that sign and look up the climb to our front door they’ll go, “…yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah… okay.”
Taliesin: They’re climing all the way up there just to bug a known supervillan?
Solarbird: I just had to disintegate another one!
Anna nodnods re: sign. Good.
Anna: (And yeah, disintegrating solicitors, while fun, DOES distract from disintegrating MORE annoying targets!)
Solarbird: Plus it drains the capacitor and then I have to recharge it.
Taliesin grins.
Solarbird: and it’s a BIG capacitor.
Anna nods wisely.
Taliesin: So that’s what that annoying whine I’m hearing is?
Solarbird: Are you kidding? Hell no. Silent. You think I want that kind of noise pollution near my studio? I’m this close >< to using the magfield generator to move airplanes out of my sky. I’m not adding to the problem!
Anna Hee
Solarbird . o O ( and since they’re all aluminium and composites these days, that means I have to move it by moving the _people_… )
Anna stage whispers to Tal, “I’ve had to remind her to NOT use the heat ray on the neighbors.”
Solarbird LIES
Anna: (Most of whom are ooooooooooooold, it’d be like shooting fish in a barrel)
Solarbird: okay that much is true but it was not _me_ who wanted to liquify the people in the 80s house down the street after _somebody_ locked themselves out and _they_ wouldn’t let her use their phone.
Anna: Now see THAT would have been justifiable disintegration!
Anna: It is not justifiable to disintegrate your neighbors over hedge wankery XD
Solarbird: No, that is the BEST time. I would be a neighbourhood … hero.
Solarbird: Okay you have a point.
Anna: If however you choose to use the ray on the HEDGE…
Solarbird: Nah, that’s just taking a side at that point. I’d have to take out the hedge AND the trees AND the rockery. And I like trees, mostly.
Solarbird: _Mostly_.
Solarbird: Some of those guys along the north property line? Total fuckers.
Solarbird: But in general, they’re a good lot.
Anna: That’s TRUE.

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