Lineage 2 Music

» 24 September 2006

Geez, I love this music. One of these days I really ought to try the game. ;) (Well okay, I tried the beta, and it wasn’t all that much fun.) EDIT: If you are interested, there are very high quality samples on Bill Brown’s website. If you have any love for orchestral game music, you really must hear this.

Birthday

» 24 September 2006

So tomorrow I’ll be 28. I’ve been out of school and in the workforce for TEN YEARS. When I was young, I was told to expect time to go faster as I aged. I couldn’t believe it was possible. A month was a very long time. A year, nearly forever. A decade? Unfathomable. And here my folks were telling me that a year would be nothing when I was “their age.” Well it has happened. I still feel like I just got out of high school. Where have these ten years gone? I sure don’t know what happened to them. Maybe I dreamed them? Hell, I can’t even remember how old I am without doing the math in my head. Birthdays used to be so important, and now I don’t even think about them. When I was very young, I measured my age in half-years. That half year was so important. It meant I wasn’t just six, or eight. I was better. Those who were just eight were little kids. I was eight-and-a-half! Now I can’t remember my age. I don’t count it at all. My internal measurement of time has become unreliable. If I lived to be two hundred, would years feel like weeks? Does this time distortion continue to grow as I age? If so, does that mean that more of my perceived life is over than my age leads me to believe? I feel like I’ve not accomplished anywhere near what I’d intended in what is, given the averages, three sevenths of my life. But do I have even less time now than it appears to accomplish these things? If so, then I suppose I’d better get my ass in gear, right now.

Jericho

» 22 September 2006

I’m always game for a good serial, and I had high hopes for Jericho. The previews looked pretty good, and the premise was intriguing and looked as though it would make for a good developing plot arc thingie. Alas, it was crap. The writing was soapy and featured truly horrendous dialog, littered with cliches and stupid moments. The acting was embarrassingly bad, particularly the supporting roles. But the worst aspect was definitely the music. As is becoming typical with crap TV shows, we got to hear several Famous Pop Songs that made sure to let the audience know what the expected emotional response should be. While the songs really weren’t that awful, one in particular was so badly placed I thought for a moment I was watching a commercial for some kind of homemade $FOOD and had stopped fast forwarding my DVR too early. I have no idea what the song was, but it featured an emo male lead who wheezed along while the Long Lost Son returned to his Long Lost Home to see his Long Lost Family. The underscore was just awful. Crappy synth and derivative, uninspired composition that sounds just like every other crap TV score that makes my ears bleed. Am I overusing crap? Well crap, I swear these guys have an algorithmic process that allows quick and painless generation of totally boring, crap TV music. With so many shows these days getting well composed orchestral scores, it was disappointing to hear such a highly hyped show with 1990s quality synth without even decent composition to make it less irritating. This is CBS, so I guess I should have expected it. :) Anyhow, the only positive aspect is the slowly developing and pretty interesting plot. The idea behind it is promising, I really hope it gets better. I may give it one more try, just because I like the premise so much. It was a pilot after-all. They mostly do suck. Mostly.

ugg

» 21 September 2006

Crazy day so far, including a nice whack on the head while replacing a UPS battery at o-way-too-early. At least nearly everything worked after replacing the battery. Except the tape drive in the big important SQL server. Rebooting seems to have helped, for now. I hate to see anything backup related become unreliable.

Thunder

» 20 September 2006

The thunder tonight is unnerving. Perhaps it is partly due to the scary music I have on, and the fact that I keep my house dark. But damn, I’m getting loooong extended thunder booms with sudden concussive blasts interspersed that sound like they are going to push all the windows in on me. There was just one that went for almost thirty seconds. Yipes.

Still booming

» 20 September 2006

I woke up to yet more thunder and rain this morning. I love storms, but now that I live in the outskirts of nearly nowhere, they provide a totally different experience. The most noticeable difference is the sheer power and ferocity as compared to the storms in the city. We get so many near lightning hits, and the thunder following would be perfect to usher in the end of the world. A couple weeks back I was outside working on my car under my nice safe metal carport when a storm came in with a ruckus, booming and spitting. I was under a nice safe metal carport (did I mention that?), so I kept on with my car tinkering. It became clear I had made a poor decision when a flash-boom hit a tree about ten feet away. I’ll never forget the way the air smelled. Ozone and burnt tree. I could feel the heat and charge left behind. As I ran to my garage (well, what would you do?) a second bolt hit almost as close. Yeesh. But even more critical at this time of the morning, when one is meant to be able to shower and get ready for work, is the reliability of power during a storm. While this isn’t unique to outskirts of nearly nowhere, it presents more of a problem for me as I have a well. And said well will, well, stop welling if the power fails. That means my shower will stop showering. Right when I have shampoo in my hair. But it the power is still on this morning, so happy day – err, morning.

» 20 September 2006

By the by, I finished Spin last night. It had a great ending. You gotta gotta read it.

On iTunes and iPod

» 19 September 2006

I sent the comments below to Bob Thompson in response to his post today. I’m not sure I see how iPod sales are tanking in a big way: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:IPod_sales_quarterly.png If you remove the huge Christmas bump, they have still been selling more per quarter than last year. As far as iTunes, from what I’ve read it seems to be doing very well too. In fact, they are now the 5th largest reseller of music in the US. That’s not online reseller. This is as compared to brick and mortar stores. http://www.appleinsider.com/article.php?id=2035 http://www.wftv.com/technology/9831655/detail.html BBC mentions what you are saying: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/5350258.stm But I think the key point here is that people will not replace their existing CDs with downloads. They will rip what they have, and then may buy from an online store like iTMS. Since CDs have been around for so long, it only makes sense that folks will have more ripped music than online purchased music. I personally don’t find the iTunes DRM all that annoying. It seems to just work. Buying is fast, and I can listen on my iPod or burn a CD or whatever I want. Yes, it is still DRM, and if you hate DRM you will definitely hate it too. But I’ve not seen any error messages or weird restrictions like with Microsoft’s Plays For Sure. Oh, and one more point. From what I’ve read, iTunes has been considered the loss-leader that sells iPods, not the other way around. This article makes some excellent points: http://www.roughlydrafted.com/RD/Home/8FF35CC1-9C86-492C-B711-1564A8EB60A4.html Some key quotes: “Clearly, Apple sees iTMS content as the lubricant to sell iPods and accessories, not a huge cash cow in itself. That’s the third aspect of technical feasibility.” “If users choose to buy their music on CDs or from indie MP3 outlets, Apple doesn’t lose out, because three out of four of those users will choose to buy an iPod to listen to their songs. The iTMS is an option for consumers, not a critical moneymaker for Apple.”

Crap voting machines

» 19 September 2006

If you haven’t seen this video, you really must watch it now. This isn’t new information. Dr. Felten and others have been talking about this for some time now. This video makes it even harder for anyone to ignore.

Back?

» 19 September 2006

Wow. January of last year was when I last made a substantive post here. I’ve been trying to figure out how to transition back into posting, and that process has led to more procrastinating, and still no post. I’d better just post and be done with it, I guess. Much has happened. I could be dramatic and call this last almost-year life changing. It wouldn’t be that much of an exaggeration, really. But the cliche is that the more things change, the more they stay the same. And that cliche has proven itself with me. But in other news, I’m reading what may be the best book I’ve read since the last best book I’d read. I know I’m a bit behind the times here, as everyone else already knows about it, but the book is Spin, by Robert Charles Wilson. The whole concept is astonishing, but what makes it so memorable to me is the protagonist. The whole book thus far has been from his perspective, in first person, and it seems that most of my favorite books are in first person and don’t jump perspectives much. There are notable exceptions, of course. I picked it up a dozen or more weeks ago, and it sat next to my chair waiting to be read all that time. Poor book. Then it won the Hugo and I remembered I still hadn’t even taken it out of the Barnes and Noble bag. It’s really a great book, and that Hugo is well deserved.