Saturday, May 10, 2008

What do we do?

Right, yet another attempt to try and update this a bit more regularly. Here's a summary of everything between the last post and now.

I finished the work associated with previously mentioned problem involving sending instructions to a simulated processor core. It didn't go as well as I hoped, as everything only began to work very close to the deadline. Ah well.

However, I was dead chuffed to go and see the Long Blondes in back in April, and enjoyed the new album. I had heard reports they weren't playing that much of their first album on tour, but I think they played enough of it (i.e. the singles) to keep me happy, and they threw in one of their old songs, 'Autonomy Boy' for good measure.

On the music that I like at the moment and would like to/have acquire(d), I have added more Blur, Kraftwerk and Portishead to my collection, though I have yet to get Portishead's latest. The number of anticipated albums released in the past couple of months (and the months ahead) is too much to keep up with - apart from Portishead and the Long Blondes, there's Foals, Does It Offend You, Yeah?, Hot Chip, Mystery Jets, Goldfrapp, The Futureheads, The Young Knives, Los Campesinos!, Blood Red Shoes, We Are the Physics, Pete & the Pirates....

However, more recent (well, almost recent) items that have come to my attention include:

Late of the Pier: Particularly liking 'Bears Are Coming'. More songs need the sound of someone tapping a spoon on the edge of a teacup.

Hot Chip: Not an album track, but a session track recorded for BBC Radio 1. Wiley's 'Rolex' is one of those tunes that gets stuck in your head, and this is a pretty good cover.

PNAU: Wild Strawberries. No further explanation needed.

The Cribs: I actually bought the second album more or less on the strength of this alone. The rest of the album is also rather good, even though the singing style might put some people off. Another back catalogue I need to add, I think.

I leave you with the heart-warming story of a man and his evil, floating head problem.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Blood Red Shoes, CSS (not the band)

Marvellous stuff. Blood Red Shoes were playing at Joiners, a venue that probably suits them well given the band is only two people. Unfortunately, this time the guitarist had lost her voice, so Steve the drummer had to sing all the words. Given the nature of the music, this meant he was tired out after every three and a half minutes of intense drumming and shouting. Still, they rocked hard, and I would see them again.

In other news, I'm trying to design a website, and although I successfully wrote the custom PHP code that fetches info from a file, inserts it into a block of HTML and spits it out again all nicely formatted, CSS is proving more difficult to master. This is mostly due to two reasons:

  1. Internet Explorer 7 does not render pages according to standards. Firefox does. When your design looks nice in one, it usually breaks in the other.
  2. When drawing up the CSS standard someone forgot that people might want more than one column in their layout. All kinds of hacks are needed to trick a browser into displaying columns properly.
Both of these problems bother me, because I ought to be doing proper work, and I'm wasting time on things which I can't control. So I will go back to what I should be doing and try to figure out how to get a processor core to interface with memory and storage and handle interrupts and run a program without an operating system to support it and um oh dear....


Monday, January 28, 2008

Underwater, Trains, Leaf-Blowers

I really should attempt to update this more, because I'm sure I've got something to say about something, perhaps maybe. I will continue to mention music things, and various thoughts about stuff and nonsense. Maybe I'll mention real news in the real world. Perhaps I will just link to good things I have found on the internet. Most likely I'll not write again until several weeks later when I remember I have this blog.

In the meantime, I would recommend Portishead and Kraftwerk, and also old albums by Blur. Portishead haven't released any albums for several years now, but I hear they're playing Coachella in the U.S. this year, so perhaps we'll see more of them. The video below was directed by the genius that is Chris Cunningham, purveyor of many a visual treat and/or horror.

Portishead - 'Only You' from 'Portishead':

Kraftwerk are in part repetitive, but being robots, that's probably to be expected. They do have one of the most awesome riffs ever sampled in 'Trans-Europe Express', most famously used by Afrika Bambaata on 'Planet Rock'.

Kraftwerk - 'Trans-Europe Express' from 'Trans-Europe Express':

As for Blur, I'm quite behind in getting their back catalogue, but I hope to get more soon, as it looks very good, from sampling it on YouTube. I like the video to this one off their last album:

Blur - 'Good Song' from 'Think Tank':

I will write again next week, when I might have something to write about.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Not appearing in a shop near you

Imagine the situation. A word pops into your head. The word is 'Minstant'. Clearly a minty coffee hybrid, with a ready-made brand name, and a gap in the market. Further investigation is required. You have instant coffee, but nothing mint-flavoured. Except... toothpaste!

A mugful of instant coffee is prepared, and a small amount of Colgate Total added. This is the moment when history is made, when a new product is born. You take a sip.

It's different... another sip required. Hmm... just one more, to be sure.

No, you were right the first two times as well, this drink is disgusting.

And thus ends the brief foray into hot beverage innovation.


Monday, October 29, 2007

CDs, SFA, H!

Wednesday to Friday was a bit busy in the evenings. I went to the alternative/indie music society's 'listening night' on the Wednesday, where we bring along CDs and play whatever we want. To prepare for this I wrote some CDs with a bunch of random tracks on them, but because I did it at speed, I found it difficult to read the tiny writing I'd done on the tracklist. I should make sure in the future to plan my track choices a couple of tracks in advance, as it can all go to pot when you pick a track only a minute long.

Thursday, I saw Super Furry Animals. Excellent stuff, made better by it not being too crowded, and being right at the front. From this gig, I have decided that masking tape signs are the future, and power rangers helmets should be worn more. It was quite an old crowd, in contrast with Friday's gig.

Hadouken!'s gig was attended mostly by very excited nu-rave kids between the ages of 14 and 19. As if the constant screaming wasn't enough, some of them were throwing glowsticks everywhere and breaking them. I know this makes me sound old, but to be honest, that's how it felt. I didn't mind so much later though, when the main act themselves started playing, and jumping around ensued. "Time to blow the speakers" indeed. Also, I nabbed a copy of their setlist, so I know what songs to look out for.

I think I need to stop going out for a bit after all that.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

'Bip Bip Bip Bip Beep'

Have you noticed that the chip and PIN machines always tell you that your PIN is 'OK'? It's like being told that it's a good sequence, but there's room for improvement. Perhaps you could have entered it with more style, a bit of rhythm, jazzed it up a bit?

'With a few more purchases, you could have a chance to represent your country in the 2012 Button Pushing Olympics!' A fascinating event, including 'Security code entry', 'Channel flip' (Freeview and Sky events) and a category devoted to controls for industrial processes.

I hear the competition between Norway and Peru is intense for the 'CD tray eject' event.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

In Rainbows

It's all over the interblag, so therefore, I must talk about it in order to stay in line with all the other blogs in the world. Radiohead have released their seventh studio album for the bargain price of "insert price here". I paid £5, but I know many others who paid nothing because they're "poor students", or probably they don't listen to Radiohead, but wanted to know what all the fuss was about. I think it's worked out for the band though, because all their fans (at least the ones I know) have paid at least something towards it, some even going for the £40 discbox.

Listening through the album, it's not bad. The first track involves a lot of samples and drum machinations, and then the second gets some traditional distorted guitars in. I warmed to these tracks immediately. The rest of the album, which is a bit quieter, took a couple of listens, but it got better each time. I have seen a review comparing "All I Need" to "Roygbiv" by Boards of Canada, and I see what they mean. Simply reminds me I should get some BOC myself.

In other news, I have discovered a way of attaching posters to walls without blu-tack or pins, thus getting round the 'no posters' rule in my house. I will divulge my secrets in a future post after more research.