Blog

  • Vinyl Ripping

    Fev 16 2014, 2h43

    Well, I finally got around to ripping my records to mp3. Only the ones I could not find online as mp3 files already that is.

    One record I had high hopes for was Death Ride 69's Red Sea EP. I had bought it off ebay a while back, and it had come out of a college radio station [an actual FCC sanctioned one even], and it would be curious to know what years it saw real air time there.

    I thought the A side's track, that the EP takes its name from, was alright and was not expecting to find [judging by the credits] Ethan's half laughing screams, which set the track apart from what I am used to hearing from this band. B side was nothing to write home about.

    I thoroughly enjoyed Babyland's "Tourist Trap" which I had picked up a couple years ago w/ a pile of other St Thomas releases via mail order, which was unexpected because I hadn't really gotten into the small handful of tracks by them that I have heard in the past.

    I was intending to digitize my cassette tapes while I was at it, only to find my tape deck dead on arrival after I hauled it out of the bowel's of my parents' basement where I had forgotten about it long before I had left to go to college. Luckily I have another tape deck stashed away in my shop, assuming it wasn't destroyed during a massive water leak earlier this winter.

    One of these days I'll get around to finishing my earlier project of restoring & rack mounting my equipment so stuff like this doesn't get in the way, but my heart hasn't been into component level troubleshooting in a while.
  • Using PC graphic cards in Mac Pro

    Nov 1 2013, 1h22

    Graphic cards sold to mac users cost way more than the same card(s) do when marketed towards PC users. This is also true in the used market, where a Geforce 8800 GT for the PC tends to go for about $20-50 on eBay, while the mac one goes for twice that.

    They're both the same card, both for PCI-e, so what's the difference?

    TL;DR PCs use "Bios" for the hardware to communicate with each other, macs use EFI.

    Mac EFI takes two forms, 32-bit EFI for 2006 & 2007 models, and 64-bit EFI for 2008 & newer models. A 64-bit EFI card for a 2008 mac won't work out of the box in a 2006 32-bit mac.

    Mac graphic cards work by having both the PC bios & mac EFI protocols installed onto the card's ROM chipset. But PC cards lack the EFI protocol entirely. So a mac PCI-e card will work on a PC, but a PC one will not work on a mac out of the box.

    So to get a PC card to work in a mac you have two options: Either flash the graphic card's rom to have the firmware found on the mac cards [w/ both Bios & EFI protocols], OR, you can do some modest software mods in mac os.

    If you want to flash the card to have the mac version of the card's firmware, the rom chipset on the PC card HAS to be at least as big as the chipset on the mac version of the card. Some PC cards use smaller rom chipsets since they only have to store half as much data in the firmware!

    If you go the software-only route, the easiest way to do this is to install the latest version of the mac drivers for the card. You may need to use the right-click, "show package contents" command to get access to the installer files if the installer notices your computer is too obsolete to have the "official" mac card installed. After that you want to install the latest version of CUDA [if applicable], and "ATY_Init.kext" You will need something like "Kext Helper" to install ATY_Init because the system is smart enough to know if you simply drag the file into your system folder & refuse to use it.

    Then you put the new card in slot 1, move your old card to something like slot 3. Your graphic card will now work, albeit with no bootscreen. Your reason for leaving in the old card is so that if you need to ever see the bootscreen, say to reinstall the OS or to select from a bootmenu, you can just plug a monitor into that card.

    Upon bootup w/ the new card in, your "Expansion Slot Utility" should automatically launch and ask you to select a new PCIe lane configuration.
  • Fixing mac scrobber update crashes

    Out 28 2013, 20h40

    As you'll recall I am using version 1.5.4 of the mac scrobbler because it is the most recent version I have a copy-for, that supports selecting which folders will scrobble & which will not. I explained in a previous blog entry how to edit the preference files to enable this feature on external volumes.

    The mac client automatically checks for updates [there is no preference to disable this], and will display a nag screen telling you to update periodically if it finds a newer version.

    When running the old versions of the mac client, this nag screen only works the first time it displays after launching the program. Every time after that, the nag screen crashes the program.

    Well I found a workaround. Using LittleSnitch I was able to detect all the connections the mac client makes:

    images.amazon.com
    post.audioscrobbler.com
    post2.audioscrobbler.com
    ws.audioscrobbler.com
    cdn.lst.fm

    The amazon link is for retrieving album artwork, the three urls after that are all related to tracking your plays [aka "scrobbling"].

    Cdn.lst.fm is the server last.fm stores newer versions of the client on.

    So if you set your firewall to block last.fm from communicating with cdn.lst.fm it will stop finding the newer client version & stop nagging you to update [and crashing at the same time].
  • Rearl Reason Behind Poor Music Sales

    Fev 27 2013, 17h55

    I am sure some of you have seen this, a graph the RIAA prepared & distributed to news outlets a couple years ago to claim that piracy had caused a "lost decade" of music sales. You can't tell from just looking at this post, but CNN was hosting the graph at ....turner.com/money/2010/02/02/news/companies/napster_music_industry/.... napster was long since dead & buried by '10 yet Turner Broadcasting [a multimedia giant that owns CNN, Time Warner, and is a MPAA member] is still trying to blame napster for poor sales numbers. Turner also owns Time Warner, one of the 5 ISPs in the US that is rolling out a "6 strikes" antipiracy policy this month.



    I came across it again today and realized a few things about this graph. Mainly, the data seems to coincide with many economic milestones pertaining to the US economy:



    We should expect to see consumer luxuries like entertainment sales figures to suffer during particularly nasty economic troubles as consumers try to cut back on spending out of necessity. Here we see where the DotCom market crash and the housing/banking crash of '07 compare to the RIAA's crash.

    You'll notice that the economic damage to households/consumers lags behind market recovery. Like with the dotcom crash, unemployment bottomed out after the crisis was technically over.

    I also included dates of record gas prices in the US, since it is commonly accepted by economists that US consumers cut back on frivolous spending like entertainment whenever gas prices suddenly go up & this is even more visible whenever gas prices hit a new full dollar amount [i.e. going from $2.## to $3.##/gal]. Between the housing/banking crash, unemployment rate, and record gas prices it would be ridiculous to expect consumer spending on music sales to be comparable to 1999 [when the economy was thriving both on wallstreet & for consumers].

    Furthermore, CNN claims "album sales falling an average of 8% each year" [source] which just so happens to be the inflation rate during the housing/banking crash if we look at the EPI instead of the CPI [which intentionally under reports inflation, based on the types of costs it tracks & the method in which they weigh them]. There's also this to contend with:


    [source]

    So, if we assume 1- that real world inflation, that is the type of inflation consumers care about, is closer to 8 percent, and 2- assume that American wages have been stagnate over the same time span, then the only logical conclusion is that consumers have been loosing ~8 percent of their spending power every year.

    TL;DR, music sales are likely dictated by market forces, rather than piracy. But no one is talking about this possibility.
  • New scrobbler version takes away features

    Jan 25 2013, 10h02

    Tonight during a bout of insomnia, I had to restart & when I reopened iTunes I was met with last.fm saying that a new version was out and asked if I wanted to update. So I did.

    I was met with version 2.1.32, which takes away features; like being able to select which directories scrobble & which do not. I guess they couldn't figure out how to fix this feature, which had a major bug in the prior versions that made it impossible to select/deselect directories on other volumes. I had posted a work around for this bug a year or two ago. So rather than fix it, they simply got rid of it.

    Thankfully I don't delete anything, and had versions 1.3.2.9 & 1.5.4.27088 to revert to. Could not find the prior versions on the website, which make the end user's ability to go back to past versions somewhat of a headache.

    If anyone's listening: The ability to control what directories' files scrobble is important to some users, particularly on shared volumes & shared machines.
  • US Gov Music Torture Lists

    Jun 6 2012, 21h33

    For our country's special guests in the gitmo resort, these are the songs they're forced to listen to 24/7 for months (years?) at a time:

    -The Barney theme song
    -The Seseme Street theme song
    -Nine Inch Nails's Somewhat Damaged
    -Britney Spears's Baby One More Time
    -Rage Against the Machine's Killing in the Name
    -Pearl Jam's Don't Gimme No Lip
    -Metallica's Enter Sandman
    -Drowning Pool's Bodies
    -AC/DC's Shoot to Thrill
    -AC/DC's Hells Bells
    -Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA
    -David Gray's Babylon
    -Eminem's White America

    Source: KMOV

    This is the "torture playlist" the CIA put together for Noriega in 1989:




    Thankfully blogger Darren Garnick transcribed all these here so I am not going to bother.

    Among the goodies I noticed, that would be a sure fire way to get me to want to kill myself in short order:
    Oingo Boingo's Dead Man’S Party
    Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up

    Yes, that's right: I just said Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up. Our government was the first rick rolling troll.

    Luckily [or not, depending on how you look at it] our government is so Pro-Life that our special guests at our Gitmo resort aren't allowed to kill themselves. Because that would end their torture, and we don't want that. In fact we want them to live for as long as possible. Why let them die when they can listen to these great songs over and over and over again for the next 75 years?
  • New Last.fm Bug Report

    Abr 27 2012, 16h32

    I have discovered, to my horror, that the scrobbing software has yet another bug in it relating to which directories are scrobbled.

    If a directory starts with the same name as a directory name that is set not to scrobble, then both will not scrobble.

    I had the directory "Corpus" set not to scrobble.

    Below that directory was "Corpus Delicti" which was set to scrobble.

    The mac scrobbler would not, refused, to scrobble content in "Corpus Delicti" until I enabled scrobbling for the directory entitled "Corpus"!
  • Asylum

    Abr 5 2012, 17h29

    I just recently got in the mail a copy of Asylum's Vent album. Had to have it shipped in from Germany because it was so darn hard finding a copy in the US. Like their Breed ep it too wasn't in discogs so I had to add it in while I was listening to it.

    What's curious about Vent is that it seems to have been released in 1995 as, or after the band had broken up. It was on the same German Houses in Motion label that produced all their other releases. Also had Rodney Orpheus as the producer, which you'd figure would have made the release better known instead of the obscure title it seems to be. I thought the first third to first half of the album was strongest with Sacred vice being my favorite track of the release. I had heard that track before from their myspace page, and am quite surprised it was never put on sale for digital download on sites like Amazon that have their better known title: Suckling The Mutant Mother.

    Now all I have to do is track down their 7" single [A = System Overload, B = Born To Run Wild] that I've yet to even see anywhere, and their Into The Web album and I'll have their complete discography. Into The Web seems to have been released as both a cd and as a traditional 33.3 rpm LP. Obviously the cd version is what I would want since they're both identical. I don't mind ripping records to mp3 but its a hassle I am not going to be bothered with unless the record version is either unique or never released digitally.
  • The Bellwether Syndicate

    Mar 21 2012, 18h40

    So the other day I got an email from the Faith and the Muse email/news list that my email is subscribed to that William Faith and DJ Scary Lady Sarah are doing this new project if they can get at least 7 grand through kickstarter. The plan is to make a debut single and a music video.

    They're not quite at 80% funded so far with about 20 days to go. You can find The Bellwether Syndicate's project page here

    I was really surprised that I had heard about this through email instead of facebook.
  • Doppelganger

    Mar 21 2012, 17h30

    I now have what I think is their complete discography: a 7" single with Mad Sky / Throwing Stones, and the CD album "Meet Your Evil Twin"

    Can't believe I hadn't heard of them before, considering they did some gigs with Switchblade Symphony [one of my favorite bands]. But it looks like this LA Doppelganger [this isn't the Russian band] hasn't been active since I was in high school. Which is unfortunate since its actually pretty decent stuff. Discogs had the album but not the single, which I just added to their database.

    Now I need to get around to reassembling my two communication racks that are still boxed up in storage from the move so I can see if the 7" versions are the same as the album tracks. I have so many 7" releases that I haven't put on my computer yet, like a Strap on Halo 7" from St Thomas Records.