Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tunes for Tuesday: Wilco, New Years Y2K

Grabbed this from DIME and have been enjoying it all morning. I went ahead and converted to mp3 (don't hate audiophiles, you don't want mp3 - don't download it, get a DIME account and grab the FLAC version) and threw it up on MegaUpload. I even put the ID3 tags in so no messing with song titles, etc. (that's why you love me). I wonder how many people at the venue wondered if this would be the last show they would ever see as the world was supposed to come to an end at midnight when all the computers in the world stopped working.

Grabbed from user ademotte at http://www.dimeadozen.org with all of his/her original notes and comments below. Enjoy some Wilco.

LINK: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=DXTG3A4M

Riviera Theater
Chicago, Il.
December 31, 1999 - January 1, 2000

Lineage: SB => Master DAT => DAT => CDR => EAC => Magix Audio Cleaning Lab =>
WAV => FLAC Conversion (level 8)

Track Listing:

Disc 1 (52:40):
(1) Intro (0:26)
(2) Sunken Treasure (6:56)
(3) Too Far Apart (4:07)
(4) Candyfloss (3:03)
(5) Red Eyed and Blue (2:27) =>
(6) I Got You (2:00) =>
(7) Martian Invasion (2:37) =>
(8) Elvis Intro (0:28) =>
(9) Hound Dog (2:06)
(10) Revolution (3:51) =>
(11) I Got You (reprise) (1:07)
(12) Countdown (1:41)
(13) Auld Lang Syne (1:12)
(14) Someone Else's Song (3:17)
(15) I'm Always In Love (3:53)
(16) How To Fight Loneliness (4:49)
(17) Hotel Arizona (5:01)
(18) Nothingsevergonnastandinmyway(again) (3:31)

Disc 2 (51:42):
(1) She's A Jar (4:36)
(2) A Shot In The Arm (5:15)
(3) Misunderstood (6:47)
(4) Should've Been In Love (3:43)
(5) Hesitating Beauty (3:13)
(6) I Can't Stand It (4:07)
(7) Monday (4:36)
(8) The Long Cut (4:31)
(9) Box Full Of Letters (3:28)
(10) California Stars (4:05)
(11) Forget The Flowers (3:38)
(12) Outta Site (Outta Mind) (3:38)

Fingerprints: In separate txt file

File size:
- FLAC compressed: 581 mb
- Uncompressed: 1.02 Gb

Notes: Great Wilco New Year's Eve set from 1999/2000 headlining a double bill with Steve Earle. The band delved into performance art as the clock approached midnight . . . they started "I Got You" at 11:45 PM, and shortly into the song, costumed "Martians" burst onto the stage and pretended to kidnap the band. The lead Martian introduced the audience to the world's new "king," and an Elvis impersonator (a roadie (Jonathan Parker?)) came out, did a couple of covers, and helped the band count down to midnight. The joke fell pretty flat, and Tweedy made several ironic comments about it during the rest of the show to try to recover. Other than that strange diversion, the show itself was great.

The recording is great -- very well mixed. Levels are a little hot, but I didn't hear any distortion. I used Audix to edit out a couple of brief static bursts between songs (from the monitor - not diginoise); otherwise this recording is untouched.

I uploaded this show to DIME in early 2005, and it hasn't been posted since. Hopefully this will fill a hole in a few people's collection. This one's highly recommended for both its sound quality and performance (as well as the weirdness of the Martian invasion).

No artwork; sorry. Please make some!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Free mp3 Downloads of the Greatest Books of All Time

While this blog is generally geared towards gaming and the wonderful world of IT, I did get my BA in English and have a love of literature. I stumbled on this 2007 article a while back from Time magazine (here) and do agree that it is absolutely impossible to come up with the ten greatest books ever written - but their list was rather impressive. That being said, I did find that the day and age of sitting down with a book (especially an encyclopedia sized Tolstoy) is a fading thing. Below is where you can find 6 of the 10 in mp3 format for download (for free) so you can listen to them in your car/mp3 player.

Top 10 from 2007 Time Magazine Article
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov - N/A
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Hamlet by William Shakespeare - N/A
The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald - N/A
In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust - N/A
The Stories of Anton Chekhov by Anton Chekhov
Middlemarch by George Eliot

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tunes for Tuesday: Pink Floyd "The Wall" 8/6/80

Roger Waters is kicking off a tour of performances recreating 'The Wall' (one of my favorite albums of all time).  In honor of said tour, here is what most Floydian fanboys and girls believe is the best sounding recreation of 'The Wall' from 8/6/80 in Earl's Court.  Enjoy Tunes for Tuesday!

Pink Floyd: Bars in the Window
Earl's Court, London, England August 6th 1980
This was obtained directly from the taper, and it's a remaster of his master tapes (made by himself), but whatever he did, it sounds wonderful. Amazing show, you are not to miss this one.
Source: Ex. Analog Audience recording

01. MC:Atmos
02. In The Flesh?
03. The Thin Ice
04. Another Brick In The Wall (part I)
05. The Happiest Days of our Lives
06. Another Brick In The Wall (part II)
07. Mother
08. Goodbye Blue Sky
09. Empty Spaces / What Shall We Do Now?
10. Young Lust
11. One Of My Turns
12. Don't Leave Me Now
13. Another Brick In The Wall (part III)
14. The Last Few Bricks
15. Goodbye Cruel World
16. Hey You
17. Is There Anybody Out There?
18. Nobody Home
19. Vera
20. Bring The Boys Back Home!
21. Comfortably Numb
22. The Show Must Go On
23. MC:Atmos
24. In The Flesh
25. Run Like Hell
26. Waiting For The Worms
27. Stop!
28. The Trial
29. Outside The Wall


Original Poster: itsjustme2.0 from http://www.Guitars101.com  forum
Links work as of: 9/14/10

Another Sorely Needed Facebook Feature

Last year, I wrote a post, "6 Things Facebook Could Do To Make User's Experience Better" - http://geekyclown.com/?p=81.  Of the six things, only making friend requests separate from other requests have been accomplished (and nicely I must say with a separate tab in the upper-left-corner).  I still feel that there is a definite need for an edit button, a rich text editor, and transferable photo albums, but I digress. 

I have found another feature that is sorely needed for Facebook and that is a filter for the News Feed.  Let me give you an example of why this would be helpful...

Facebook friend, that you were introduced to at a bar who bought you that shot called the "dirty ashtray", updates status on the News Feed with: "If you have the best mother in the world that would do anything, including prostitution, in order to support your $10,000 a day heroin habit, 'like' this.  POST THIS TO YOUR STATUS IF YOU HAVE THE BEST HOOKER MOM IN THE WORLD."

Fine, annoying but fine.  Later, you come back and see the same iteration of the above status 25 times.  Soon, your News Feed is filled with this.  But if I had the ability to add a filter (just like most e-mail programs have) I can have Facebook exclude anything that has the expression, "POST THIS TO YOUR STATUS" and it would take out the repeats.  

This way, on Mother's Day - I could exclude "Happy Mother's Day" since that is all anyone posts.  "Happy Flag Day" - excluded.  "I love my boyfriend" - excluded.  "I hate Obama/Bush/Pelosi/any other political pundit" - excluded.  The possibilities are endless. 

Facebook, hear me Facebook, add some features that actually make the user's experience better.  And, give me the damn Edit button already!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ten Most Commonly Used Passwords

Today while stumbling around, I came to a site called http://howsecureismypassword.net/ and plugged in some different ones that I know get tossed around the office and found a couple that even were found on the top 500 most common passwords, listed here - http://www.whatsmypass.com/the-top-500-worst-passwords-of-all-time. Below are the top 10 so if you use any of them, it may be good idea to change it up.

#1 123456
#2 password
#3 12345678
#4 1234
#5 A NSFW synonym for cat
#6 12345
#7 dragon
#8 qwerty
#9 696969
#10 mustang

To take a look at all 500, check out http://www.whatsmypass.com/the-top-500-worst-passwords-of-all-time

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tunes for Tuesday (a Little Late): The Beatles 10/24/63 (FM)

So I missed Tunes for Tuesday this week, so this is Tunes for...uh, Thursday. Anyway, here is, in my humbled opinion, the best sounding Beatles show taken in Sweden in 1963. It is an FM broadcast (which explains the high sound quality). It is lossy (mp3) so if you are a crazy audio nazi, this will probably offend you.

The Beatles - taken from Guitars101.com user speedymjb

DOWNLOAD HERE - http://www.megaupload.com/?d=AB2WCEVQ

Karlaplans Studio
Stokholm Sweden
FM Broadcast
320 kbps
Artwork Included

01. Introduction
02. I Saw Her Standing There
03. From Me To You
04. Money
05. Roll Over Beethoven
06. You Really Got A Hold On Me
07. She Loves You
08. Twist and Shout

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Is 'Duke Nukem Forever' the 'Phantom Menace' of Video Games?

I am not going to lie, when I heard about 'Duke Nukem Forever' being released, I was stoked - in 1997.  In the past fourteen years, it has been teased by multiple companies using multiple engines but its release has been to no avail.  This year, the big bomb dropped - Duke Nukem will be released finally and to show they aren't kidding, they had a playable demo to boot.

My inner-dork got really excited but my boy that cried wolf spideysense couldn't help but tingle a little.  They had teased a new Duke Nukem in 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2007, and now 2010.  My own cynicism may be my downfall but I have this sneaking suspicion that the game is going to be like 'The Phantom Menace' and never be able to outlive the hype.  Now don't get me wrong, it wasn't just hype that ruined 'The Phantom Menace' - that movie sucked so bad, I am surprised I didn't make an appearance in it at some point.  But, the hype didn't help.

I didn't get to PAX since every single video game event seems to be on the West coast so I have no idea if the demo was any good or not.  Supposedly we are to get one for players by December but we shall see.  So I will sit and hope.  Duke Nukem has a fan base of fanboys that is pretty hardcore so to disappoint them will more than likely ruin the series - kind of like how 'The Phantom Menace' ruined any chance of the original trilogy for Star Wars fans...

Friday, September 3, 2010

Anyone Remember the Atari 7800?

Radio Shack and I just hooked up an Atari 7800 to play some 'One-on-One Dr. J vs. Larry Bird' (being from Chicago, I do prefer Michael Jordan vs. Larry Bird but I digress). While I have to jiggle the power supply a little each time before I turn it on, it does still work after nearly 25 years.

I always felt sorry for the Atari 7800, it got screwed. If released when it was supposed to in 1984, it would have had a shot but Atari was sold and the 7800 was shelved for two more years where it then had to be in direct competition with the NES and Master System. On top of that, the 5200 sucked and pretty much everyone knew it so some were hesitant to give the 7800 a chance. And, to add insult to injury, Nintendo, being the control freak/being smart businessmen and women, required all their third-party software developers sign a contract not allowing them to make third-party titles for any other system. The 7800 had no shot.

I always wondered what would have happened if the 7800 had been released and given full support in 1984. That would have been a year before the NES and two years before the Sega Master System. Would gamers of the 80's who had purchased a 7800 be willing to snag an NES too? Would the increased third-party support have made better titles that appealed to the masses? Oh well, I guess we will never know. While by no means as good as either of NES or Sega, it did have some ok games. 'Food Fight' stands out, 'Pole Position II' was pretty good, and its rendition of 'Double Dragon' was ok. Plus, it was compatible with all 2600 games that people had sitting around in boxes from the late 70's. Poor, poor 7800.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Force Unleashed II on Wii - Three Things that need to be Fixed

I have been playing through the first 'The Force Unleashed' (TFU) game on the Wii again in anticipation of the second game coming out at the end of October (trailer down below). I realize that I pretty much only discuss retrogames but TFU has been out for a few years so who is to say when a game becomes retro…a post for another time.

I am sure that 360 and PSIII fanboys are going to lose their minds that I am playing it on Wii. Before panties get too much in a bunch, I do realize that the graphics are much better on other consoles. But, you can't do your best 'Star Wars Kid' impersonation on other consoles. Some games are meant for motion controls and anything that emulates a light saber falls into that category. Some of what is talked about here may even apply to the PSIII and 360, I don't know, I never played it on those consoles. Those that have, if these apply, let me know. That is what the comments section is for...

Anyway, that being said, as I am replaying it I had forgotten some things that really annoy the ever living hell out of me when dealing with TFU. Three simple things that they can change to make the game a helluva lot more entertaining to play.

Work on the character view. I cannot put into words how many times I am in a corner getting my ass handed to me because I can't see the enemies that are behind me as I am waiting for the AI to realize, "hey, there is someone beating the hell out of me from behind, maybe we should turn to see who it is instead of staring at the wall." This is not the only game that I have played with this issue, but it is just as vexing as any game that I have played with this issue. It just needs to be a little quicker on the draw as it is cumbersome to be slashing with your light saber and having to use the D-Pad to turn the view.

Make autosave actually autosave. I am not even going to lie and pretend that I read the game manuals before I start playing. I don't. It just isn't in my blood. I know some gamers commit the thing to memory prior to picking up a controller - nope, ain't me. The first time I sat down with TFU, I played through the first couple of missions and had to get back to work so I saw it autosave mid-level and closed down. Later I went ahead and sat down with it and it didn't autosave my position. I had to start all over again at the beginning of a relatively long level. I played through a little bit and let it autosave and then reset the software (yes, I could have broken out the manual at this point but again - not in my blood). Still didn't save. Like a defeated man finally having to admit he needs to stop and get directions at a gas station (pre-GPS), I broke out the manual and read that, "nope, just like you don't read instruction manuals, we don't save your position." What is the point of an autosave that doesn't save the position?

Make the Wiimote a little less touchy. As I said in the beginning, I got this on the Wii because I embraced my inner-nerd and wanted to use my Wiimote like a light saber. And, for the most part, it isn't too bad at doing that. But, it is really touchy. You can't perform much with it because any movement seems to have an instant thrashing motion. So instead of going in directions with it, you end up just going side to side when put in a tough spot. I am not really sure what they can do to help that but better control would be brilliant.

And, as promised, here is the betrayal trailer for 'The Force Unleashed II' in case you live in a cave and haven't seen it. Since all of the Internets are posting the Yoda trailer, I will avoid it. If you have a Wii and for a moment think that the graphics will look even remotely close to this, I have a gorgeous piece of property I would like to sell you.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Coping with a Facebook Likeaholic


Like the crack epidemic that hit the streets of New York in the mid-80's, there is a new and dangerous dependence spreading through Facebook - Liking.  Since April, 2010 Facebook changed its structure to allow its users to 'Like' anything.  And, to some, this new power has taken a hold of their very being causing them to lose all sense of control.  And, to make matters worse, it seems the younger the Facebook user, the more apt they are to abuse liking.  Anything that they see that they find even the slightest bit interesting gets liked.  Soon, like an opiate, the liking takes hold.  They like breathing, they like food, they like air.  They like dogs, they like water, the like hair.  They like cars, they like video games, they like hugs.  They like crackers, computers, hiccups, bugs.  Inevitably, each day you will see more and more likes and there will appear no rock bottom in sight.  The next thing you know, you will see the status update on your News Feed, "Your crack fiending friend likes Not hurting my hand while masturbating and 17,000 other pages".  At that point, you have lost them. 

 It is easy to damn Facebook.  Since it has changed its privacy policies, the world has turned a cold shoulder to the social networking juggernaut.  But, just like you can only put so much blame on the crack dealer, it is in the hands of the user.  And, like any other addiction, the first step is getting the liker to admit that they have a liking problem.  A Facebook intervention needs to take place.  I realize that you will have to stop playing Farmville or Mafia Wars for a few moments to do a Facebook intervention but it is for your Facebook friend.  You need to stop the guy who sat across from you in Physics fifteen years ago from himself.  Perhaps gather other Facebook friends together. 

Don't be threatening.  There can be no yelling, and pointing, and accusing, and saying that he is trapped and surrounded.   Simply explain that spending six hours a day finding anything and everything in the world to 'Like' is not acceptable.  Let them know that it is them that you are looking out for and that liking isn't the answer for their own grief.  Start off by telling them about the good Facebook things that you miss.  Perhaps you miss their status updates about how much they love their significant other/God/job/kid/dog.  Or, their rants about that "sonofabitch" Obama/Bush/Beck/Pelosi.  Let them know that they are spending too much time liking and not enough time sending page requests.  Finally, let them know the consequences and follow through if they refuse to get help for their liking addiction.  If you are willing to hide all of their status updates, that is something that you will have to do.  Even if you have to unfriend them - let them know that there are consequences for their liking.  And, it is always others that get hurt with any addiction.