Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Windows 7... For Dummies

So I want to see my bandwidth or current internet access rate or anything to do with my connectivity. There's this icon in my status area. I hover over it and it says "Network / Internet access". That's two separate lines. Apparently this information is so important and detailed that it simply deserves two separate lines.

So, being a trusting sort, I click on it.

Now it says "Currently connected to: / Network / Internet access". That's three lines. There's also a pretty picture of a house, like something a Sim would live in. I'm not sure if this represents the network or the internet access. Is it provided to help the illiterate? If so, shouldn't it be slightly more representative of the problem at hand?
Saturday, February 20, 2010

iPad -- iWhat Were They iThinking?

So, do you want an expensive single-tasking device with no camera, no phone, no DVD player, no standard ports, no app compatibility with your computer, on a closed platform, in a terrible form factor for typing, with a backlit lo-res screen not optimised for reading? If so, I hear Apple have just the gadget for you.

About the only thing this looks good for is being an over-large remote control for other gadgets and applications. For example, it could be used to control your music software, with virtual faders and knobs, like a cheaper Lemur. But even then the inconvenience of the form factor means you are likely to get RSI pretty quickly. (Being a long-time sufferer, I never joke about RSI.)
Friday, February 12, 2010

Poems of Love, Death and Nasal Surgery

pub window

I was pleased with my poetry reading this week, more so than usual. Maybe because it's been some time since I did a sustained reading, maybe because it had a sort of homecoming feeling, with friends and strangers all out to hear what they might at the regular Wednesday night session at the White House.

I once could be found at this venue every week. In those days I wrote daily and having a regular opportunity to test out developing work was a great boon. There is nothing more inspiring than hearing other people's work -- those pieces you love and wish to emulate and those you can't stomach and wish to see replaced with something better, dashed out on the back of a coaster or in a notebook brought along for the purpose.
Thursday, February 11, 2010

Quiet Computer Build: Putting It All Together

Finally, I present the last part in my series of building a quiet computer for audio work and general-purpose computing. Since this consists of 39 photos in sequence, I have decided the best way to do this it to simply send you over to my Flickr site, where I have a dedicated photo set on the subject. The photos are in order from top-left to bottom-right. Once you load the first page you can click through them in sequence using the Set browser, or even load the whole thing as a slide-show if you wish.

If you're just joining me, please refer to the first three articles in the series: Introduction, Components Overview and Component Picks.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Robin Parmar, Live Poetry, Wednesday 10 February, White House Pub

Every Wednesday night for some years now, the White House Pub in downtown Limerick has hosted a poetry session. For a good amount of that time I was a regular reader in the open mic part of the evening. In 2005 I was on the Irish team for the Hammer & Tongue International Slam Competition in Oxford. I then had the pleasure of being an invited guest to the Brighton Poetry & Book Festival. Along the way I was joint-editor for Microphone On, the poetry anthology that launched Revival Press and the current renaissance of poetry in Limerick.

Now, for the first time, I will be the featured poet on Wednesday night at the White House. Join me February 10th at 9pm for a selection of favourite works old and new. You'll laugh; you'll cry; you'll want more beer! (Plus complementary finger food.)

Though I no longer work on verse several hours each day -- a practice I carried out for a couple of years -- I have kept a hand in with occasional public readings. I have also combined my love of electroacoustics with poetry by creating soundscapes for readings of Beckett and a book launch for Mark Whelan.

Eventually I'll get my act together and release a book of my own, but so far I've had too many other activities demanding my time. (I write this here as a big reminder to self.)
Sunday, February 07, 2010

Small Site Update

I doubt you've noticed, but I've tweaked the blog a bit. Besides a bolder and perhaps easier-to-read typeface in the main articles, I've had a go at cleaning the sidebar. Nothing major, mind you, just some additional text to explain the Paypal donate button and Oblique Strategies a tad. Plus I've put in a link to my main site, since this was inexplicably missing. And yes, the copyright was a few years out of date as well!

Other than that, I've updated the links area. Previously I had all sorts of links divided by topic, but the truth is it's been some time since I've bothered visiting most of these. And if I don't use them, there's no reason to expect you to. Besides, this isn't the sort of a site to have a big blogroll or anything of the sort.

What I'm left with is a small assortment of links that maybe don't need to be here at all, but I'll keep them for the time being. About half of them are great places to find lost music.

This article is mainly a place holder so you can comment and make further recommendations, should you wish. Otherwise I'll just say a big "thank you" to all my readers and especially to any of you who take the time to comment, whether in agreement or disagreement. I didn't expect to get to 370 articles (over 400 if you consider diagrammes moderne, my rather comatose programming blog spin-off).

Despite FaceBook and other social networking sites, newsgroups, Flickr, web forums and so on, I still find a lot of info that is best conveyed using this vehicle.

Some day I would like to amalgamate all my sites under one roof, but until I have the time to code the mother of all content management systems, I think I'll leave things as they are.
Sunday, February 07, 2010

Quiet Computer Build: Component Picks

In the first part of this series I set out the requirements for building a quiet high-performance audio PC that would also be great for graphics, games and other day-to-day tasks. In the previous article I described the nine components we need to assemble before we can start building.

Today I will choose which makes and models to use. This is not to say there aren't other fine choices. A lot depends on price and availability. Plus you may have some specific requirements or favourite brands. And finally, time doesn't stand still. If you read this six months hence some of the details will be dated. In fact that's the main reason I split this article off from the previous general discussion.
Friday, February 05, 2010

Quiet Computer Build: Components Overview

"Building a computer" is an inflated term. All one does in actuality is assemble a computer using off-the-shelf components that fit together in a predetermined way. It's like Lego except not nearly so much fun. Even vendors such as Dell do nothing more than this, though they have the buying power to brand the cases.

It's not something you need a degree for, not something that requires extensive training. But it is so easy to get lost in the flood of information out there. Think of this article as an executive level summary. It'll save you time and bother if you don't have the head for spending weeks searching every web crevice for advice.

[This article went long, so I have divided it into two. The three-part series just became four!]
Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Quiet Computer Build: Introduction

booting upI have desperately needed a new computer for some years. My current beast, a small system in a Shuttle case, is now woefully underpowered. It's a Pentium 4 running at 2.4GHz with 1GB of RAM. That was pretty good seven years ago but sucks now. The power supply (PSU) whines like a banshee and I am sure will explode any day. So it was long past time to do something positive about my work environment.

To save money and gain deeper understanding of the technology I decided to build a computer myself, a step I had never previously taken. And so I embarked into the wild world of system builders, overclockers and extreme performance, a world where nothing is good if it is affordable or over three weeks old.

In this article I will outline my methodology. In the second I will present my system choices. And in the third and final article I'll take you step by step through the build, illustrated with over three dozen photos.
Tuesday, February 02, 2010

50 Cent Albums: "Residualism" by Kim Cascone

one track - complete album (41:09)
available here

Kim Cascone does great things with Csound and Max/MSP, as his ever-questing mind takes him deeper inside the genre of electronic composition known as "microsound". I first took note of "Blue Cube" a demo found with the Csound programme. Coincidentally I heard the 1998 release of the same name on Raster-Noton and was amazed that a software demo could be an album track. And why not?
Monday, February 01, 2010

50 Cent Albums: "Buoy", "Sleep" and "Triage" by DJ Olive

three complete albums (61:10, 48:00, 59:39)
available here, here, here

To make up for two previous entries that were single tracks, today I present three full albums -- a balancing of the books if you will.

Gregor Asch is one of those artists equally at home performing at the Whitney Museum, Pompidou Centre or a rave club somewhere. He's started labels and worked with Luc Ferrari (on an unreleased project), which is how I came across him. Somewhere along the line he coined the genre "illbient", which is maybe where one can file this trio of releases for Australia's Room40 label.