tom moody

Archive for the ‘computers-R-stupid’ Category

we need your card, because we... just... do

11:45 am
Rebel sits down at the bar in the neighborhood yuppie restaurant and orders brunch.
He's the only customer sitting at the bar; about six people are seated at various small tables, and otherwise the joint is empty.

Rebel: I'd like the Asian Marinated Skirt Steak Salad, please, and sweet potato fries, and coffee.
Waitperson: Cream or sugar?
Rebel: Black is fine.
Waitperson: OK, I'll just need your card so I can start a tab.
Rebel: I'm paying cash.
Waitperson: Well, I still need your card.
Rebel: What for?
Waitperson: So we can get you in the system and keep track of everyone.
Rebel: There's no one in here!
Waitperson: It usually gets crowded around 1:00. Card?
Rebel (obviously lying): I don't have one.

Waitperson pouts and begins keying something into the register.

- tom moody

March 25th, 2017 at 11:02 pm

Posted in computers-R-stupid

from the vault: "Heyday" and "Pacific Scrim"

"Heyday (2017 Remix)" [6.2 MB .mp3]

"Pacific Scrim (2017 Remix)" [3.9 MB .mp3]

Dusted off these tunes from 2010 and 2011, respectively, and remixed them (as in editing out parts, compressing individual tracks, and making a louder "master").

The style is the rhythm-ambient stuff I was doing before I started getting more interested in crude songwriting/arranging. "Heyday" has a found speech sample from the art world that cracks me up, in an easily-amused sort of way.

"Dusting off" means "performing elaborate forensics" since both tunes were done on a Windows XP computer running Cubase 4 with UAD plugins. Trying to load the projects in Cubase 7.5 on Windows 7 meant the following didn't work: (i) Battery -- thanks, so much, Native Instruments, for not making Battery 4 backwards-compatible with Battery 2 (ii) Reaktor -- ditto for Reaktor 5 and 2, (iii) Waves compression plugins had to be substituted for the UAD. Half a day of fun, at least.

- tom moody

March 7th, 2017 at 12:02 pm

around the web

The Story of ORCH5 (via Cosmic) How an orchestral stab from The Firebird Suite became a hiphop staple. Thoughtful tracing of cultural currents even if you don't buy the thesis of a "fundamental epistemological crisis that besets Western music." Was intrigued to learn about the role of White Noise's David Vorhaus (he digitized the sample in the late '70s) and the happy accident of a pricy Fairlight synth (which contained ORCH5) being in the studio when Arthur Baker and Afrika Bambaataa went in to record "Planet Rock."

FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) notes that the Washington Post Ran 16 Negative Stories on Bernie Sanders in 16 Hours. That's the same Jeff Bezos-owned news entity that's currently peddling Russian conspiracy garbage. (hat tip Lambert)

"Love Me, I'm a Liberal" [YouTube] (hat tip Lambert again). Phil Ochs song from the '60s beguilingly anticipates Hillary Clinton partisans and their bizarre infatuation with spy agencies.

Once I was young and impulsive
I wore every conceivable pin
Even went to the socialist meetings
Learned all the old union hymns
But I've grown older and wiser
And that's why I'm turning you in
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

- tom moody

February 23rd, 2017 at 4:06 am

linux vs apple

Libre Music Production discusses and promotes Linux audio with interviews, plug-in reviews and tutorials.

Musician Scott Peterson, in a LMP interview, makes a case (pro and con) for using Linux:

And of course, my maker leanings are the same that inspired me to learn Linux and begin moving away from proprietary computer hardware and software. Once you buy into, say, the Apple ecosystem you are trapped. Yes it works, yes it’s stable, yes in many ways it’s great. However, once Apple starts removing ports, removing the ability to install after-market upgrades, or control what applications are installed on your computer/iPhone, there’s nothing you can do about it: you have already bought into a (very expensive) hardware/software system (a Technosystem if you will) and extricating oneself from it can be difficult as it requires the learning of new tools, new software, a new OS, etc.

In a society increasingly bound together by "tech" it's becoming easier for banks, businesses and governments to own you because of this learning curve issue. (See, e.g., Munich's attempt to wean itself from Microsoft). Even without maker leanings (the urge to solder parts and/or assemble your own motherboard) you might simply want to avoid owing your soul to the company store, as the song goes, by switching to a software realm based on principles of openness, collaboration, and intellectual freedom. Sounds corny but Apple, Google, and Microsoft are not the place for "hope and change" any more than Obama was.

- tom moody

February 13th, 2017 at 9:19 am

windows resistance is futile

The city government of Munich, Germany switched from Windows to Linux in 2004 but appears to be on verge of returning to the Borg. Tech Republic gives some background:

At the time Munich began the move to LiMux in 2004 it was one of the largest organizations to reject Windows, and Microsoft took the city's leaving so seriously that then CEO Steve Ballmer flew to Munich to meet the mayor. More recently, Microsoft last year moved its German company headquarters to Munich.

Microsoft's tactics seem to have paid off, as Munich's politicos are "poised" to vote next week for a move to Windows 10. It's ironic that as Linux has improved over the last ten years, Microsoft has gotten worse, and the most compelling argument for a business or government to use it is still "everyone else does." Meanwhile, ordinary consumers overwhelmingly reside in Apple-or-Google-land, because they are all using "devices."

- tom moody

February 13th, 2017 at 8:46 am

Joe Milutis Eulogizes

On Hyperallergic, Joe Milutis discusses the recently-deceased website, in an essay titled In Memory of An Endlessly Collaborative Image Poem.

Neither an art-world-ish “internet surf club” nor a monetized zeitgeist sump pump, dump seemed to harken back to a pre-1997 internet era, when it was possible to imagine that the users you met online were a small enough cohort to seem communitarian, but not large enough to merely replicate the social structures and hierarchies of the world at large.

Milutis' treatment of the site as a poetic language is appreciated:

Weird fragments, heavy dithering, pieces of images or text floating without context. Inaction gifs as opposed to reaction gifs. The quasi-syntactical combinations of these crappy objects were only possible if participants were more interested in treating the combinations like a language — one for which they would both have to amass the vocabulary and then be willing to speak with it. The rapidity of these combinations allowed for the unexpected, as if Breton’s automatic writing had finally found its imagistic counterpart.

Milutis avoids the political in discussing the Rene Abythe GIF below, except in the sense of dump-vs-tumblr politics and dump's intriguing disconnections with the rest of the world ("real" or online). For the record, it depicts Hillary Clinton's "pointing to the right and the red" logo crudely morphing into the Outback Steakhouse logo. (Electors asked Where's the Beef and gave us Trump.) The geek joke is that that the red arrow, when compressed, becomes a jagged outline resembling that familiar outdoors-y mountain range, helpfully rotated so we can see it.

- tom moody

February 7th, 2017 at 6:34 am

Facebook Hall of Ignominy

New feature here at Occasionally, when our editors notice a blogosphere blog that has moved over to Facebook we will note it and make fun of it. Guys, the trend by now should be to move away from Facebook, not to sell your soul so Mark Zuckerberg can buy another home near his home so no one can live near him.

Today's hall-of-ignominy-er:

Dataisnature. We followed this blog for years and then noticed its RSS feed wasn't active. It's posting the same type of material on Facebook now. The page design is less elegant, the posts are shorter, people's (contentless) comments and "shares" are appended to each post on the front page, and members of the non-Facebook-joining public have a big "join now" banner permanently blocking part of the page. Oh, yeah, that's progress!

"But, Tom, that blog can now scale to the rich world of social media! Before we didn't know how many people liked this content and now it's numerically quantified, and we know for a certainty how popular it is."

- tom moody

December 17th, 2016 at 12:42 pm

Posted in computers-R-stupid

"Junkies," photo, Ron Pollard


From a slideshow of mostly architecture -- bleak shots of prisons next to golf courses, fracking fields next to suburban homes, threatening and/or condescending billboards advertising shows of cultural figures such as Clyfford Still and Mark Mothersbaugh, and other all-American horrors. Via James Howard Kunstler.
Picked this one as an example because that's what mobile phone users look like -- junkies. Mainlining that Zucker-opioid: "hey, someone liked my status!" "Ooh, look at her baby, isn't it ugly." "Fifteen people responded that they are coming to my show!" Am truly ready for this sociological moment to be over, but no end is in sight.

- tom moody

December 3rd, 2016 at 11:51 am

Posted in computers-R-stupid

admit you're a fool and we'll stop spamming you


Not sure if this qualifies as a dark pattern -- will have to consult my Sales Engineer.

- tom moody

November 23rd, 2016 at 9:44 am

Posted in computers-R-stupid

ada dun goofed

Priceless: the Clinton campaign relied on a super-secret software called Ada for electoral strategy, according to the Washington Post:

Ada is a complex computer algorithm that the campaign was prepared to publicly unveil after the election as its invisible guiding hand. Named for a female 19th-century mathematician — Ada, Countess of Lovelace — the algorithm was said to play a role in virtually every strategic decision Clinton aides made, including where and when to deploy the candidate and her battalion of surrogates and where to air television ads — as well as when it was safe to stay dark.

The campaign's deployment of other resources — including county-level campaign offices and the staging of high-profile concerts with stars like Jay Z and Beyoncé — was largely dependent on Ada's work, as well.

While the Clinton campaign's reliance on analytics became well known, the particulars of Ada's work were kept under tight wraps, according to aides. The algorithm operated on a separate computer server than the rest of the Clinton operation as a security precaution, and only a few senior aides were able to access it.

According to aides, a raft of polling numbers, public and private, were fed into the algorithm, as well as ground-level voter data meticulously collected by the campaign. Once early voting began, those numbers were factored in, too.

What Ada did, based on all that data, aides said, was run 400,000 simulations a day of what the race against Trump might look like. A report that was spit out would give campaign manager Robby Mook and others a detailed picture of which battleground states were most likely to tip the race in one direction or another — and guide decisions about where to spend time and deploy resources. [emphasis for komputer kliches and other folly added --tm]

The best business to be in right now is selling digital snake oil to doctors, lawyers, soldiers, and politicians. It doesn't have to work, all you have to do is rely on people's techno-anxiety and clinch the sale. So, who developed the election-losing Ada? Lambert of Naked Capitalism makes a guess:

The [WaPo] story doesn’t say where Ada was developed. Since it would be irresponsible not to speculate, my guess would be it came from Google squillionaire Eric Schmidt’s The Groundwork, “the Clinton campaign’s top technology vendor, earning more than $600,000 in fees since the campaign began, according to federal campaign finance disclosures.”

Google -- it figures.

- tom moody

November 16th, 2016 at 4:33 pm

Posted in computers-R-stupid