February 28, 2005

500th entry

So, what's been happening since we last anniversaried?

I'm way behind on the job search. I have a few new opportunities each week, but they either fizzle out or drag out. Interviews have been going well, so I'm not sure where the failures are--probably just stiff competition.

I resisted an evening of 1/2 price bottles of wine tonight at Twist to finish up the demo. It's a very raw recording so it shouldn't be taking this long, it's just difficult to get time alone (don't go out drinking, asshole) and it's tedious to run the MP3 tracks back and forth from the MR-8 to the computer with the measly 128 meg card maxed out, then back again, etc. all the while setting up to record the piano, then voice, then back. Blah.

I finished the watercolor of my friends' dogs. I forgot to take a pic before I gave it too them this weekend, but I'll eventually get one and post it here. Nothing super-stupendous, but it's a nice little watercolor.

I of course lost and repurchased my phone, although that little event is perhaps best left unexamined.

Aaaand, we've had a fun time with the Atlanta bloggers! That's been a pretty neat-o outing every month (that's yet another excuse to go out drinking).

Continue reading "500th entry"
posted by sstrader at 8:15 PM in Misc | permalink

The battle between flat and deep hierarchies

Beelerspace has a nice introduction to the del.icio.us tagging system in which he refers back to his praise of flat hierarchies. The argument goes that storing data in folders locks that data in to one tag--albeit one tag that exists in a hierarchy--and that limitation actually removes information from the data. For example, an email about music from a friend could be filed in the Personal > From Friends folder, eliminating the chance to categorize it in the Entertainment > Music folder. What to do? By flattening the hierarchy to tags, you can tag the email with both categories and find it under either folder.

Continue reading "The battle between flat and deep hierarchies"
posted by sstrader at 11:55 AM in Science & Technology | permalink

February 26, 2005

Media thesaurus

Long, long ago I discovered musicplasma and since have been using it to find bands-who-are-like-other-bands. Recently, they morphed into liveplasma and have integrated movies, actors, and directors in their engine. I haven't researched it, but I suspect that they leverage existing databases (IMDB, Amazon) and build their graphs from that data.

Continue reading "Media thesaurus"
posted by sstrader at 3:12 PM in Cinema | permalink

Weird cinema

Oh why, oh why am I unemployed and poor? Now I can't buy up dozens of these amazing and horrible movies from 5minutestolive.com. Browsing through the stacks, I cannot believe that some of these films exist and can be purchased!

The Homegrown section has such classics as J.C. (a Jesus/biker movie ... billed as the Jesus/biker movie), The Rats are Coming - The Werewolves are Here (that about says it all), and Young Playthings (a bizarro Swedish porn film). Or, checkout the International section for the many Turkish scene-by-scene ripoffs of Hollywood films (Star Wars, Exorcist, etc.). Along with, ofcourse, Gimme Gimme Octopus.

I swear I'm going to buy up all of these films and open a theater some day.

posted by sstrader at 7:13 AM in Cinema | permalink

February 25, 2005

Shakespeare in Love

This movie, and Stoppard's other Shakespearean homage Rosencranz and Gildenstern are Dead [IMDB], just amazes me. The quality of writing, first of all, surpasses that of most other "romantic comedies" that are produced--even the secondary characters, of whom there are many, are realized with an individuality that let's-face-it most blockbusters don't attain. On top of that, the references to the works of Shakespeare, to that era, and to our current society are masterful. I would almost complain about the over-indulgence of modernity, in the form of feminism and the concept of artistic integrity, in these films. However, those indulgences tie the essence of the two eras together and make the differences relevant. They are a virtuoso commentary on our own age, from someone well-versed in a previous age.

Philosophically, I love the final scene of Shakespeare in Love. In the context of a fiction of Shakespeare writing a fiction, Stoppard has his fictionalized characters (one historical and one completely fabricated) compose a fanciful story based on their star-crossed love. That fanciful story is influenced by what the (fabricated) character (Gwyneth Paltrow), did and will do, along with what the (fictionalized) Shakespeare will do (write Twelfth Night)--which is also what the actual Shakespeare did. Whenever I see it (just tonight) it almost makes my head explode in a self-referential black hole.

I cannot recommend these movies enough.

posted by sstrader at 10:45 PM in Cinema | permalink

February 24, 2005

Follow up on U.S. citizen

There's a new twist in the story of the U.S. citizen being held, allegedly by request of our own government, in a Saudi Arabian prison. According to a Washington Post editorial, the government is trying to keep secret not only the evidence against the prisoner, Ahmed Abu Ali, but also the legal arguments they make to keep him in prison. From the article: The government contends that the legal theory by which it would defend its behavior should be immune from debate in court.

Who could ever defend such a position?

posted by sstrader at 9:11 AM in Politics | permalink

February 23, 2005

...an intuitive shudder...

Alex Ross is musing over the dread inherent in the key Eb minor. He suggests that, after string players emphasized to him the physical difficulty of performing pieces in Eb minor, the physical stress felt by the performer and heard by the listener produces an intuitive shudder even in listeners who do not think they know the difference. This is important.

Continue reading "...an intuitive shudder..."
posted by sstrader at 4:34 PM in Music | permalink

February 22, 2005

A flurry of Nancarrow

Ahead of his time or a tangent to his time, or whatever, Conlon Nancarrow [Wikipedia] is one of those modern composers that you absolutely must know about to appreciate the weird world of modern composition and its relation to today's landscape of music. It's often difficult to fit the more experimental composers into a framework without understanding the depths and nuance of what other experimentalists were creating and the techniques they were developing (many now dead, to be either forgotten or rediscovered some day).

Continue reading "A flurry of Nancarrow"
posted by sstrader at 10:25 AM in Music | permalink

DRM for computer hardware?

A blogger has found that his HP laptop (Compaq/HP nx9110) won't accept a new 802.11g card, not because of hardware incompatibilities but because it's not on the list of "accepted" cards in the BIOS. I'm not sure if the HP hardware was upfront about this ("as per your BIOS, this card is not supported") or whether the blogger had to do a little snooping. I can't believe that this is the first instance of such an economic atrocity, but it's the first that I've heard of. Instead of a may-or-may-not-work situation as you hunt down applicable drivers, you're stuck with a certainty as defined by the manufacturer. Talk about mixed blessing. As Cory says over at BoingBoing, sorry, no modern hardware for you, your laptop only works with museum pieces.

I have a slightly different situation on my Audiovox Thera phone. Although it has an SD slot, the OS doesn't have the abstraction layer to allow SD WiFi cards to run (and as far as I've found, it can't be added). This is less an insidious restriction that an idiotic misstep.

[ via HP BIOS locks out all cards save those on a whitelist (BoingBoing) -> Welcome to Trusted Computing (Hardcore Hogbender) ]

Continue reading "DRM for computer hardware?"
posted by sstrader at 9:42 AM in Science & Technology | permalink

February 21, 2005


This is strange: I've been feeling kinda lost the last week but can't define the source.

Maybe it's because I'm finishing the demo for The Silent Spectrum and have no clear path beyond that. Moving from a sense of accomplishment to uncertainty is always jarring. Maybe it's because I'm starting a new painting for two friends--a process also filled with uncertainty. I'm a competent draftsman but have always struggled as a colorist. It's kind of embarrassing since my fucking degree is in painting, but a constant struggle keeps you sharp. Maybe the job search is finally getting me down. I've got a constant flow of in-process possibilities, so there's no reason for grief. However, such open-ended tasks can be unnerving.

It's even hard to focus on the RadioWave code, even though I have a long list of fun features (and not so fun bugs) to work on.

Maybe this is all just some form of seasonal depression.

The answer, I know, is to keep busy: don't sloth around like you'd like to because that just aggravates the issue. Get back to a tight work schedule. Yeah.

posted by sstrader at 2:07 AM in Misc | permalink

February 20, 2005

Fiery Furnaces in Atlanta

I really gotta keep up with things. WMRE is a streaming radio station out of Atlanta's very own Emory University. I did not know that. It'd be nice to add them to RadioWave, but they have a crappy online schedule. Not-only-that-but-also: newfavoriteband The Fiery Furnaces will be performing at a free concert at Emory on April 15th. This deserves exclamation points:


I. Must. Be. There. The Fiery Furnaces Web site has a full list of upcoming shows.

Continue reading "Fiery Furnaces in Atlanta"
posted by sstrader at 9:45 PM in Music | permalink

February 19, 2005

Today's reading list

  • The Rise and Fall of Rock and Roll Graphic Design
  • This Is Why Your Game Magazine Sucks (part one)
  • Skulls may be oldest known human remains
Continue reading "Today's reading list"
posted by sstrader at 5:07 PM in Art , Culture & Society , Science & Technology , Today's reading list | permalink

February 18, 2005

Another example of music wanting to be free

Ars Technica recently reported on the Napster To Go trial period hack that I first read about when marv on record's now infamous blog entry got passed around. Within the 14-day free trial period, you can easily set up a few machines dedicated to downloading, ripping, and burning for 24-hours a day. Voila! 252 free CDs!

I love how he categorizes it as theoretical fun. Tee-hee. A few months back I went through some similar steps using Rhapsody, hypothetically, and found them too tedius. However, all of the technology is there, and no amount of DRM could ever defeat it. The solution is to have some more automated software--apparently Winamp with its open-source friendliness does the trick.

What a wonderful future we live in.

posted by sstrader at 2:42 PM in Music , Science & Technology | permalink

February 17, 2005

Today's reading list

  • Wil Wheaton: So, ASCAP to *license* podcasts? Readers respond.
  • Composing at the keyboard
  • Groupware
  • Color Rules of Thumb
Continue reading "Today's reading list"
posted by sstrader at 1:45 PM in Art , Culture & Society , Music , Today's reading list | permalink

February 16, 2005

February 15, 2005

Music stuff

Notes on some new(ish) music:

Continue reading "Music stuff"
posted by sstrader at 4:57 PM in Music | permalink

Techie stuff

Jorn Barger of Robot Wisdom fame (not really as interesting as everyone says, but one of my very early bookmarks) has an article in The Register summarizing what caught his eye at CodeCon 2005. Much of great interest and too little time to research it. The item that caught my eye was a quick reference to the Wheat programming language. It's apparently not-ready-for-prime-time, but I can see the approach of using the Web as the root object namespace as either old news or innovative. Still not sure how it differs from existing scripting lanugages, but the excitement of some may justify further investigation.

According to Kottke, Google's define: operator (of which I mentioned recently) is actually harnessed on answers.com's content. Google had used dictionary.com (quick-and-dirty but good enough), but felt that answers.com offered an improvement for our users. Very noble. Thanks again Google, and thank you for focusing on item 6.

Continue reading "Techie stuff"
posted by sstrader at 4:02 PM in Science & Technology | permalink

More on the grail

The Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) has an article on the Priory of Sion [Wikipedia] brouhaha. Remember? Dan Brown and Jesus' blood and secret societies? Anyway, in the current issue, Massimo Polidoro did some investigating to see if there was anything behind the legend that Jesus Christ survived the crucifixtion and lived his remaining days at Rennes-le-Chateau [Wikipedia] in France. The research is as fascinating as the fiction.

(Oddly, a previous article I had posted that debunked the Priory mystery was written by Massimo Introvigne. Apparently, Italians named Massimo have something to prove.)

The CSICOP article closes with an Umberto Eco quote from my favorite novel of his, Foucault's Pendulum [Amazon]:

Believe that there is a secret and you will feel an initiate. It doesn’t cost a thing. Create an enormous hope that can never be eradicated because there is no root. Ancestors that never were will never tell you that you betrayed them. Create a truth with fuzzy edges: when someone tries to define it, you repudiate him. Why go on writing novels? Rewrite history.

It is a classic postmodern story of people fabricating a fantastical reality that, although untrue, they desperately want to believe. I recommend it even though it is sometimes a dense read.

[ via Arts & Letters Daily -> Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal ]

Continue reading "More on the grail"
posted by sstrader at 1:44 AM in Culture & Society | permalink

February 14, 2005

BoingBoing and Napster

Xeni Jardin over at BoingBoing presented a completely indefensible attack against Napster's pay model. I had been getting increasingly irritated at her fanaticism (fanatics should never ever ever exist!), but with the help of Blogdex found that many others felt the same as me--available despite BoingBoing's lack of comments.

Quickly, her absurd logic states that Napster is trying to rip you off because you pay $15 a month yet don't end up owning anything persistent. For that $15, you can download and listen to as much music as you'd like, but that music will "self-destruct" after you stop paying the monthly fee. Xeni is arguing that any model that excludes absolute ownership is flawed. This is absurd. Even more so because those authors at BoingBoing continually mock the old guard of the music industry as incapable of embracing new models that arise from Internet culture.

I have often see authors at BoingBoing address their critics. I hope they make no exception here.

Lack of commenting, although understandable (poker and p3n1s en.larg.men7 anyone?), is a huge flaw. Being forced to sit next to your critics is one of the best and most self-correcting aspects of the blog model. Thousands of other large-scale sites deal with it and BoingBoing should too.

Continue reading "BoingBoing and Napster"
posted by sstrader at 11:14 AM in Science & Technology | permalink

February 13, 2005

Today's reading list

  • Wake up and smell the fascism
  • Whither Apple, Google, Blogs, and DVRs
  • Reinventing Physics: the Search for the Real Frontier
  • Interface Culture
Continue reading "Today's reading list"
posted by sstrader at 10:35 PM in Art , Music , Politics , Science & Technology , Today's reading list | permalink

February 12, 2005

Save the endangered weasel

In an LA Times article titled "U.S. Scientists Say They Are Told to Alter Findings," the author reports on a survey given to scientists working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service. As expected, a majority reported having been pressured with removal if they didn't change their findings to favor industry and hinder endangered species protection.

A biologist in Alaska wrote in response to the survey: "It is one thing for the department to dismiss our recommendations, it is quite another to be forced (under veiled threat of removal) to say something that is counter to our best professional judgment."

Another commented that As a scientist, I would probably say you really can't trust the science coming out of the agency. Fish and Wildlife officials even distributed a memo instructing the scientists to not respond to the survey.

Continue reading "Save the endangered weasel"
posted by sstrader at 11:22 AM in Politics | permalink

February 11, 2005

Map roundup

Quick collection of links relevant to the recent release of Google! Maps! BETA!!

The maps:

The commentary and analysis:

Needless to say, Google's solution is elegant and standards compliant. Beautiful. I'm angry at Opera for not supporting the XSLT technology required by the site. I'm getting (slightly) tempted to switch to Firefox.

Complaints about Google's use of JavaScript:

Some hacks via SourceForge.

posted by sstrader at 3:22 PM in Programming | permalink

Give me a "G"!

mingaling's kickin' it with photos from the Atlanta Bloggers Extravaganza #2! Truly, we were busting routines and rhymes all night.

posted by sstrader at 2:41 PM in Misc | permalink

Convergence of source material

Google Inc. has made a proposal to host some of the content of the Wikimedia projects.

I had recently commented on the importance of Wikipedia as a universal source of reference (irregardless of its failings). If you need an external definition for a Web document because an inline definition would be too extraneous, you should use Wikipedia as a first source. I suspect that Google may be looking to integrate this principle in their search results. They already have the very useful define: operator (I regularly use that when faced with unknown or technical lingo). Wikipedia entries could be used to give a richer set of results for that--maybe a wikipedia: operator.

[ via BoingBoing -> Wikimedia ]

Continue reading "Convergence of source material"
posted by sstrader at 2:13 PM in Culture & Society | permalink


Remember the heady days of early 20th century art movements? Bauhaus [Wikipedia] and the Futurists [Wikipedia]? Or those wacky kids from the middle of the century with their Fluxus [Wikipedia] happenings or Warhol's influential factory [Wikipedia]. They all seem less a movement than a club.

The Viennese art group, monochrom (with the unfortunately over-played use of all-lowercase in their name), has a similar and similarly zany feel. From the monochrom [Wikipedia] statement:

monochrom is an art-technology-philosophy group of basket weaving enthusiasts and theory do-it-yourselfers having its seat in Vienna and Zeta Draconis. monochrom is the super-affirmation of the globalization trap. monochrom has existed in this (and every other) form since 1993.

And from the main page of their blog:



[ via BoingBoing -> monochrom ]

posted by sstrader at 1:44 PM in Art | permalink

February 10, 2005

More outrage

I resisted posting on this subject because, honestly, my recent thoughts have been pretty depressing. However, if a subject is oppressive enough to rile the normally focused Scott Spiegelberg from his musical thoughts and post this pointed observation, then I too need to throw in my angry voice.

Continue reading "More outrage"
posted by sstrader at 6:38 PM in Politics | permalink

February 9, 2005

Adios Kleptones

During the last two days I was pummeled with Kleptones downloads with no end in sight. Sorry, had to de-share them. I tried throttling back, but I need to first set up a separate Kleptone site in IIS so that the requests don't block me from my blog. It'll just have to wait.

posted by sstrader at 1:15 PM in Music | permalink

February 8, 2005

RadioWave up and hobbling

Tomcat's a go, but there are many little problems with the RadioWave code itself that got ignored when I became Network Administrator. Yay: back to being coder...

posted by sstrader at 5:03 PM in Programming | permalink

OK, now I'm depressed

This article from The Independent is less-than-cheery:

Last week, 200 of the world's leading climate scientists - meeting at Tony Blair's request at the Met Office's new headquarters at Exeter - issued the most urgent warning to date that dangerous climate change is taking place, and that time is running out.
Next week the Kyoto Protocol, the international treaty that tries to control global warming, comes into force after a seven-year delay. But it is clear that the protocol does not go nearly far enough.

Jared Diamond's succinct quote always comes to mind. He asks of the final generation of Easter Islander before they died of starvation:

What were they thinking when they cut down the last palm tree?
Continue reading "OK, now I'm depressed"
posted by sstrader at 11:53 AM in Science & Technology | permalink

Over-emphasis of military negligence?

Yesterday, I complained about the complaints about the $900 nuisance-suit a lady won against two teens. I felt that it was an outlier [Wikipedia] event that shouldn't be held up as the norm. Today, I'm reading about generals who think it's fun to shoot some people and soldiers in Iraq who are making Marti Gras look like a tea party. Should these be considered events to not consider as important and telling?

Continue reading "Over-emphasis of military negligence?"
posted by sstrader at 11:08 AM in Culture & Society | permalink

February 7, 2005

Over-emphasis of non-news

So, a couple of teenagers baked cookies and delivered packages of them to their neighbors as a gift. One neighbor became terrified by the unanticipated and unknown visitors and had an anxiety attack. She eventually sued the teens and won a $900 settlement. Chaos ensues on the Internets.

I suspect the same people that are overgeneralizing this event into a touchstone of the selfish corruption of our society are those that also complain about the worthlessness of most major news sources. Cats in trees and water-skiing squirrels. Why is one $900 settlement by an obviously unstable and too-much-time-on-her-hands person held up as a representation of the whole of society or our justice system? This is more justifiably News of the Weird and little else: an oddball occurrance that in a world of 6-billion-plus would be weird if it didn't happen in the sub .00001% range.

Continue reading "Over-emphasis of non-news"
posted by sstrader at 11:16 AM in Culture & Society | permalink

February 4, 2005


Off to Asheville for the weekend (but we have a ferocious dog in our condo so don't try to break in!!) and still no fix for Tomcat. I suspect my isapi_redirect.dll is fcuked because I'm getting the famous ajp12 error in the ISAPI log, but ajp12 references have been removed from the workers config files:

[jk_isapi_plugin.c (730)]: HttpExtensionProc error, could not get a worker for name ajp12

Everybody and their mother has apparently gotten this error and--depending on the version of Tomcat, IIS, and Windows--every fix has been different yet, for me, unsuccessful. I can hit JSPs from 8080 but not through IIS. Gah.

Continue reading "Asheville!"
posted by sstrader at 1:50 PM in Misc | permalink

February 3, 2005

RadioWave offline for upgrade

Working on the Web server now.

Continue reading "RadioWave offline for upgrade"
posted by sstrader at 2:14 PM in Programming | permalink

Genius idea #6

A personal, editable Gantt chart of your life.

My memory's not the best, so I'm always looking for ways to supplement what's missing. I'm often misremembering when I saw Costello in concert, what year we went to Paris, when I worked for Attachmate and when they closed their Atlanta offices. Tedius little things that don't necessarily need to be remembered with precision but could be if maintaining that precision were easy.

Continue reading "Genius idea #6"
posted by sstrader at 12:08 PM in Misc | permalink

Tomcat: 1, Scott: 0

Here's what not to do when trying to upgrade your server software: get distracted with another programming project and exacerbate the original problem that required the upgrade. Sometimes, I'm an undisciplined fool.

Continue reading "Tomcat: 1, Scott: 0"
posted by sstrader at 1:03 AM in Programming | permalink

The Best American Essays 2003

I've been collecting this series sporadically since 1996. The first was purchased while in a what-to-read-next malaise. I'm there again, so here's the recently-purchased 2003 essays to get me going. The selections are always artful and varied and, like listening to This American Life, always provide interest for topics I would otherwise deem uninteresting. It's nice to find those things that can surprise you.

Continue reading "The Best American Essays 2003"
posted by sstrader at 12:38 AM in Current Interests , Language & Literature | permalink

February 2, 2005

Aaaaand ... CUT!

This month's Harper's has selections from the blog Query Letters I Love. That site contains pitches for movies from people who seem ... a little less than qualified to pitch movies. But we can still benefit from their mania.

Take, for instance, this little gem:

It isn’t just the monkey that sets 'Laughing My Sphincter Off' apart from other cancer memoirs, it’s also my skewed sense of humor. The one-two-punch of the monkey’s low down physical commentary coupled with my friskiness of mind give the reader a unique look inside the soul of a person battling colorectal cancer.

Or this (presented in its entirety)!

LOGLINE: Remember the olden days, when good and evil clashed and gods and goddesses walked the earth? Well, they're back...And they brought their own soundtrack!

Be prepared to waste a lot of time here...

Continue reading "Aaaaand ... CUT!"
posted by sstrader at 12:45 PM in Cinema | permalink

February 1, 2005

Top 10, issue 8, page 25

Top 10, issue 8, page 25

Top 10, issue 8, page 25. Peregrine (Cathy Colby) watches as two victims fused together in a teleporter accident expire. One, Mr. Nebula, was returning from a vacation with his wife who was killed instantly. The other, a "gamer" named Kapela, provides a dry philosophy of life as a game between the black of space and the white of the stars.

Continue reading "Top 10, issue 8, page 25"
posted by sstrader at 12:11 AM in Art , Current Interests | permalink