Blog

  • Finally got around to getting some album art on my rockbox

    26. Okt. 2007, 1:59

    I've used the Escape Pod AA theme on my Rockbox-running ipod (which came back from the dead after lying around as a hunk of inert scrap metal for a couple days) for a while now. I've also been using builds with Album Art support for a while too. But the thought of actually going through the trouble of getting album art into the right places kept me away from actually using that feature.

    Today I decided to bite the bullet and use Amarok to do the heavy lifting. I modified the RockBox WPS cover creator script to use album names first, and then fall back to artist title since shell scripting is asinine and one has to jump through way too many hoops to handle special characters common in album titles. It still takes some effort because you can't run it on all the albums at once, so I've only gotten through a fraction of my music.

    Amarok is a really useful tool for doing stuff like that, though funny enough, I actually don't like using it to play music. But hey, now I've got some album art, and it looks good!
  • Apple: proof that millions of sheep masquerade as people

    4. Okt. 2007, 18:24

    As I've mentioned in a previous entry, I got a 5.5g ipod last winter from my dad, who in turn got it free from his former company. Just from the version, you know Apple's gone through a ton of hardware revisions in a very short amount of time. And yet they still can't make one that doesn't suck. I've had it for about 9 months and the problems include:

    - incorrectly complaining about low battery when powering on
    - buttons not registering immediately after toggling off the hold switch
    - consistently inconsistently requiring menu+select to power on

    and yesterday

    - not powering on at all!

    The best part is that you can do a web search for this problem and find a ton of hits about this. Apple's site even has a list of things you can do to try and fix it, which is great because it is proof that there are numerous reasons the ipod can just up and die. The only turd of a consumer electronics device I can think of that has so many problems is Microsoft's Xbox 360, which has about fifty different failures that all result in the sucker who bought one having to wait several weeks for a replacement that may or may not break down within one week. While Microsoft has to spend $1 billion to remedy this (albeit half-assedly), most Apple consumers seem content to just continue to buy Apple's latest, shiniest, overpriciest, and guaranteed to be suckiest when Apple releases its next rev in a year or less. Just about the only thing they band together to cry about is when Apple lowers the price. I bet most of them are less upset over the fact that they're chumps who Apple duped out of a few Benjamins than the fact that their purchase no longer makes them automatically "cool" first adopters as it lowers the bar for more owners and it makes their chumpage all the more evident.

    The ipod is sitting there discharging, because Apple thinks that a discharged battery might overcome they're own failure of a design, but I'm skeptical. In the probable case that it is just dead, I don't know what DAP will replace it, but I know it most certainly isn't going to be from Apple.

    My conscientious decision not to spend any money on ipod-related things such as itunes and accessories is looking great.
  • A Coincidence

    21. Aug. 2007, 0:42

    I was listening to Give me convenience or give me death while websurfing and ended up at this Onion AV Club article about banter. Of course, the track I was on, Jello Biafra's improv story Night of the Living Rednecks, just happened to be mentioned prominently in the comments!

    The article's top pick audio sample was a total waste of time.
  • The logos for Tully's and Shell are both orange and yellow!

    28. Jul. 2007, 21:29

    So I didn't want to go, but I ended up at Fri 27 Jul – Capitol Hill Block Party 2007 because Jen bought a ticket for me. I skipped last year because I didn't feel like hearing any of the bands, but I did go in 2005 when there were some interesting artists like The Gossip, Crystal Skulls, and The Stereo Future.

    Block Party headliners have never interested me, and this year was no different as Silversun Pickups were so bland that I had no difficulty completely ignoring them, staring off into the distance and noticing for the first time that the Tully's Coffee and Shell gas station on opposite sides of Broadway from each other both use orange and yellow logos. Nice coincidence.

    I also heard a little bit of Speaker Speaker, who will never find their way onto my speakers. The Blood Brothers had me glad that I had my earplugs firmly in place, or else blood would definitely be gushing out of my ears due to their aural assault on them. I thought I might like The Cops because of their supposed Clash influence, but good grief do their vocals suck. That guttural shouting thing only works for German bands, and only so far as to be "amusing" to yours truly, rather than enjoyable.

    I didn't check out anybody playing at Neumo's because security wouldn't accept Jen's temporary driver's license, although I probably wouldn't have anyway because after standing around for over an hour for Silversun Pickups, bored out of my mind, the chance to go home couldn't come soon enough.

    Bumbershoot looks to be a dud this year too.
  • Count of Top 20's Top 5 = 72

    21. Mai. 2007, 10:23

    I think these are pretty top-notch so I listen to them:
    The Arcade Fire
    ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION
    The Beatles
    The Cardigans
    Catch 22
    Death Cab for Cutie
    The Doors
    GO!GO!7188
    The Flaming Lips
    Foo Fighters
    The Killers
    L'Arc~en~Ciel
    Mogwai
    No Doubt
    noodles
    NOFX
    Reel Big Fish
    The Rolling Stones
    Save Ferris
    Shena Ringo
    Tokyo Jihen
    Yoko Kanno

    I'm generally fine hearing stuff from the following:
    advantage Lucy
    ART-SCHOOL
    THE BACK HORN
    BEAT CRUSADERS
    David Bowie
    Everclear
    Franz Ferdinand
    Joy Division
    Kaela Kimura
    Matchbox Twenty
    ORANGE RANGE
    Ramones
    Sex Pistols

    Don't have an opinion on:
    Anti-Flag, Big D and the Kids Table, Bugy Craxone, Cocco, Explosions in the Sky, JUDY AND MARY, Lagwagon, Millencolin, MU330, Mustard Plug, No Use for a Name, The Pietasters, Pixies, Placebo, Quruli, The Smiths, Straightener, Streetlight Manifesto, The Toasters

    Can't stand:
    Bob Dylan, Coldplay, Counting Crows, Dave Matthews Band, Green Day, Led Zeppelin, Less Than Jake, Madonna, Modest Mouse, Pennywise, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Rancid, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Smashing Pumpkins, Sufjan Stevens, Third Eye Blind, The White Stripes

    Not going to spam the system by tagging everything.
  • used CDs

    19. Mär. 2007, 23:16

    Jen and I went out for brunch to this one neighborhood place for the first time yesterday. It had rave reviews all around, with the caveat that the wait times were guaranteed to be extremely long. Luckily, it's right next to a Half Price Books, so we scavenged around and found some clearance CDs for $1 each. Had they not been a dollar, I doubt I would have bothered to get:

    * Electric Honey
    * Return of Saturn (actually I would have spent more for this, but I've had all the songs for years *ahem*)
    * Short Bus
    * This clearly not-for-resale Rolling Stones promo disc "featuring 6 classics and 6 new classics from abiggerbang" (*ahem*)

    I always find buying used stuff from stores a bit sketchy but I guess it's a right that we still have and who knows when the Mafiaa is going to line enough politicians' pockets to take it away, so in the meantime I'd better enjoy it. :P
  • Pilot Speed at Neumo's

    1. Mär. 2007, 22:17

    Went to the Annuals/Pilot speed show at Neumo's the other night. Pilot Speed impressed me so much as one of the openers that, after buying their U.S. release Into the West, I proceeded to figure out how to add them to MusicBrainz.

    They have a solid sound remniscent of U2/Muse/The Bends-era Radiohead. Gauging the reactions from the audience when Annuals said let's hear it for Pilot Speed, they made a good impression.
  • Tagging is so painful, I must be a masochist

    24. Feb. 2007, 3:30

    I've written about the pain of id3 tagging in regards to ReplayGain. I just spent the afternoon semi-automatically hunting down mp3s that haven't been properly replaygained. One problem I ran into is that EyeD3 craps the bed whenever it gets improperly encoded characters (this happens when people using Microsoft add non-ascii letters in MS's infuriatingly non-standard and conflicting charset). I found that both id3v2 and mid3v2 handle it fine, so I merrily hack away and rewrite my replaygain APE->ID3 script to use them. Both because mid3v2 can't write TXXX tags properly but displays them fine, id3v2 because I thought it could write those TXXX tags... Only after I'd finished did I realize that id3v2 only writes one TXXX tag, and it handles subsequent attempts to write different ones by replacing the existing tag. Greeeaaat.

    In the meantime I try out the MusicBrainz Picard tagger to tag some stuff that I've had lying un- or mis-tagged for ages. It does a great job once I figure out what I'm supposed to do to work its magic. Too bad it craps the bed because it naively tries to write filenames with illegal characters (stuff like : and [). Woopdeedoo.

    Speaking of incompatibilities, Quod Libet uses its own nonstandard ReplayGain tags for mp3s. Another reason not to use it, except sadly it remains Jen's primary player so it will be somewhat hazardous to retag her copious collection, especially since a lot of it has those messed up MS charset problems.
  • The steaming pile known as the Grammys

    13. Feb. 2007, 1:36

    The funny thing about having an awards show that is centered on the past year's pop music is that after a year, said pop music is so obviously, painfully, and unsurprisingly stale.

    Also, if the "Academy" could have repeat winners for new artists, you know they would. They hate giving first-time awards almost as much as the Baseball Hall of Fame Veterans Committee hates voting in new members.
  • feeling guilty

    3. Feb. 2007, 2:45

    RHCP are the top band of last week on lastfm, displacing The Beatles. I feel guilty for contributing to the RHCP listens, which happened because I ripped One Hot Minute. I cannot stand anything by them since Love Rollercoaster. They were tolerable back when they only had one song about Los Angeles, back when they knew how to write about something besides California. F- 'em.