My Bleeding Brains

April 26, 2011

Becoming the media (podcasts abound)

I remember the night before Paul Wellstone died. I’m sorry to start on a downer, but it fixes the moment in time. I was at a Jello Biafra spoken word performance in the First Avenue Mainroom with my wife and a handful of friends.

[Digressing just for a moment, Mason Jennings wrote the most heartfelt eulogy to Mr Wellstone and his lovely bride called Ballad of Paul and Sheila. If it doesn’t touch you, you might wanna check if you’re still a human being.

On the convex of that thought and reference, how honest and true to that memory, how just and carefully Senator Al Franken does your seat proud, Sir Wellstone. It is a wonderful testament to hope, if I do not strain my hyperbole ahead of itself.]

The topic of Mr. Biafra’s clear headed oasis of reason that good night centered around the theme “become the media.” Despite all the developments of blogs and crowd-centric social applications, it took a few years for the possibility of becoming the same sort of force in the world as a media conglomerate – even for the span of one short video clip – was possible for the little man.

Of course then iTunes democratized that access to podcast audiences. Among other developments, certainly not the only one. But here it is 2011 and Kevin Smith is become a network – certainly not all by himself but (paraphrasing Run DMC here) he “crashed through walls, cut through floors, busted through ceilings and knocked down doors” of all those who told him there was no place for him on radio except as the occasional guest.

As if he needed my help, I’m still proud to mention Kevin Smith’s SModcast Internet Radio, aka SIR! beginning next month, barely a fortnight away. It was SModcast that led me to discover Nerdist, Bagged & Boarded, Adam Carolla’s podcast, Doug Benson’s podcast, Money B’s podcast.

I’d babble about how much I love Hollywood Babble-On, but you could just go listen to it…go ahead, I’ll wait…

There are more podcasts everyday. Yahtzee Croshaw over at Zero Punctuation seems to have done at least one. A friend contacted me tonight about his premiere on one tomorrow. No need be shy about it anymore, right?

Adam Sward over there on me friends list, referred to in my eyes as Illustrator Samurai. Paraphrasing what Bender might say, “Go look upon Adam’s art, and then kill yourselves.” Well, don’t die, but join me in amazement and then admit you’re unlikely to do near as good.

Also, hear him on a podcast if you wanna. Isn’t the internet great like that?

I keep thinking about finding the words to humbly offer up my oddball music lexicon brain up to a friend (see over there where it says Friends? Russ4Life. That’s him.) to use however might help his weekly radio show. Not that he needs any help.

I miss college nights listening to The Shag on KKCK. Russ keeps a blog for it over here: http://kkckmusicnews.wordpress.com/

Participation is infectious. Playing solo DJ sets into last.fm makes me miss my college radio show. Le sigh…

The Ben Heck Show is a prime example of how incredible things can reach massive audiences with little if any politics involved in it at all. This is the kind of ‘become the media’ that was just beginning to get possible when Jello suggested it – mainly as a counter to corporate personhood. Those were the beginning days of youtube, back when video on the internet was mostly a joke about “buffering….”

There are times it truly staggers me, almost grinds my gears to a halt – seeing how many video tools exist entirely online in the cloud. Seeing friends kids who were (as Kevin would put it, still come) not-born-yet back when I first used a digital camera. [For class. And I had to sign a waiver, it was THAT expensive.] These same kids use video editing software to chop up their skateboarding videos so effortlessly I feel like a fossil.

Mistah Smiff had one of the people involved in this link on a podcast a while back. A special one for charity, with a microscopic price tag I hardly blinked before donating.

In fact, possessed by the spirit of heightened connectivity, you can hear that lovely podcast right at their Smodcast.bandcamp.com page link right here below.

http://smodcast.bandcamp.com/track/chapter-1-the-neil-amanda-interview

Tonight I stumbled across a techdirt story that tickled my brainmeats.

http://www.berklee.edu/news/3311/rethink-music-ben-folds-damian-kulash-amanda-pal

I see that they remark how producing an 8 track album in 8 hours is exemplary of the process outgrowing entirely the album-release model. Even going further than Radiohead, who broke the mold for sales. This one is created far faster than In Rainbows was.

I can’t wait to give it a whirl. Web timestamps aside, according to the article I just RTFA’d they should be finishing this right about … NOW!

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April 24, 2011

We do what we must because we can!

Filed under: Uncategorized — eeplebert @ 5:59 am

Loving Portal and Portal 2. I bought Orange Box first thing after acquiring a uber-cheap xbox360. Before even taking it home to verify that it worked entirely properly. This is how you function when you find something this good.

I think I asked somewhere “how could something this great become popular in a world where every game gets saddled with an utterly irrelevant multiplayer campaign?”

Thank you GLaDOS for making me forget Sony. I mean it.

There remain a couple of Ratchet & Clank titles in existence that I have not played but it just doesn’t matter anymore. I haven’t laughed out loud and giggled enjoying myself this much since Going Commando. Fony is bass-ackwards.

In the timeless geek analogy, I once agreed with a phrase I read which said to George Lucas “Joss Whedon is my master now!” Well, Portal is my master now.

In some ways this reminds me of the first time I played Doom back when it first came out. Even after just 5 minutes playing it, I began to imagine Cacodemons hovering just over my shoulder out of sight. Now I think about whipping out my portal gun in the aisles at the grocery store. 🙂

I didn’t catch the train, the drift, the momentum right away. Didn’t even have the hardware to play the game once I’d discovered how irresistible the puzzle solving madness could be.

Once I’d done the diligence of laying in the necessary hardware and played more than a few levels, it was clear I’d found a new favorite. Not just a new game, but a new type of game, a new type of puzzle. Even in a poorly hacked together port for my decrepit old integrated video card, I enjoyed playing, glitchy or not.

Black humor from deep inside my sick cold heart that made me laugh out loud repeatedly, and puzzles so carefully balanced as to reach for that spot where I almost can’t figure it out and then tickle me until it just POPS and gives me that rewarded-brain feel.

April 17, 2011

weekend ramblings re: Nintendo’s tba HD Wii-successor

Filed under: Uncategorized — eeplebert @ 11:51 pm

I usually hit up a few site aggregators to catch up on news.

Among the usual internet flotsam of people bitching about windoze in one breath and how they can’t wait for the next version with their next words…has been a decent amount of buzz from many different sources that Nintendo has a new console coming soon.

I know it’s almost pointless to speculate about something that’s surely less than a fortnight from certain clarity. But that’s what we here on the internet with our blogs do best.

I just can’t really believe that it’s more than an HD Wii. The idea of the controller being a DS-like thing with a screen of its own? Why the hell would we want a controller that costs more than they already do? Every time I’ve been in a store and seen $40-60 prices on controllers I cannot help but think “are all these people around me stupid as a bucket of dirt? How in hell can this sell at that insultingly inflated price? I’ll laugh all the way to the bank when I find it for half that!”

The whole idea that any controller could be worth the $60 pricetag that Macrohard shoved down our throats with the X360 should have led to angry mobs with pitchforks. The same process that broke that company for anti-competitiveness in the browser market should grind them into bones and dust for their absurd prices. Instead the sheep line up and throw their money at Xbox360 products like they’re iPhones er something. It’s this kind of mindless behavior that makes me ashamed of my fellow Americans.

Games are literally never worth more than $20, and the controller should never cost more than that either. And that $20 includes wireless, cordless, bluetooth, the fan inside for sweaty hands, blinking lights, and it NEVER takes more than 2 AA batteries that will work at a MINIMUM of 60 days regular use. Get it through your heads, industry, these are minimal requirements and they NEVER cost more than a Jackson.

If the nintendo system controller for the post-Wii deck has a screen of its own, it will undoubtedly cost some asinine amount. Which therefore means the console itself has to be that much CHEAPER to allow for the bloated fee required to have more than the one that comes with the console.

I’m all for a refresh of the Wii to HD, but it does NOT need to be reinvented or saddled with a DS-like appendage that’s tethered to a console deck. The news leaking out ahead of the announcement of Ninty’s new console hints at a total convergence of their handheld and console markets with nothing but further price, battery use and inconvenience passed onto the end user.

Offering nothing other than HD and increased third-party support is a slim reward for subsidizing Nintendo’s new console, and same as I did with the Wii over there on my shelf, I’ll be waiting at a minimum 24 months to enter the userbase of their newest toy. (And this is speaking as a Wii fan and DS fan who is utterly disinterested in the 3DS and still wants a DSiXL.)

Who knows? Now that the PS3 is getting old enough, I might have one of THOSE by the time I get around to whatever comes after the Wii.

April 7, 2011

the decline of the desktop GUI

Filed under: Uncategorized — eeplebert @ 7:50 pm

I smacked open my text editor and started punishing the keyboard this time to write about how subtle changes have been made to browsers in general and Apple’s Mac Os X operating system that bother me.

I know it’s because of the iPhone. Touch-displays have changed things that once worked, say like clicking anywhere on the screen during playback of videos to pause them in itunes, but now must be done with the GUI pause button, far clumsier than they were for traditional desktop mouse-and-keyboard users.

[And please, if I’m being pedantic or incorrect with this example, think of a similar example. YouTube doesn’t work the way it did two years ago either, GUI-wise. Everything’s drifting toward mobile use and not all the changes are good for the rest of us. This is the point I’m attempting to make.]

I don’t really hate the iPhone as much as how it’s destroying the user experience of other Apple products. Now Apple attempt to make everything else friendly to the iPhone user-base. Those who had the iPod or iPhone as their first Apple experience.

So everything else now, from iTunes to browser and the Finder itself has to mimic the iPhone experience for the chumps who’d never used a Mac before and might get scared of something unfamiliar outside their expensive little sandbox. Everything about the drift of Apple’s Mac Os X since the iPhone exploded has drifted toward spoon-feeding and coddling non-computer users.

If I could extract one lesson above all others for computer users everywhere from this rather disturbing trend of developments? It would be that you MUST learn a CLI, a unix, a linux, an Ubuntu, a DSLinux, puppy, mint, redhat, yellowdog, any open-source Operating System available out there today. Whatever your decrepit old hardware can take.

To survive in the future, you’re gonna have to find what corporations can’t f–k up, utterly mis-market, neglect into oblivion, or try to shoehorn into an ill-suited new paradigm. (If you don’t agree the iPhone is ill-suited, please see the imitations, or any mobile variant of windows.)

I’m confident that the touch-screen interface will evolve into something everyone everywhere can be proud of – given enough time and hobbyist/hacker/tinkterer style independent development. But the iOs will be looked back on as a fascist thimble compared to what we’re bound to do with the touch-screen experience once it becomes truly open to everyone. Not just a premium-priced luxury item as it is today.

Forcing, or even attempting to converge all other products into mobile-esque forms familiar to mobile users is a strangely backward way to develop for ever-increasingly capable and powerful hardware. When considering what might be done to forestall this evolutionary U-turn in GUI development, I can only suggest one thing.

Go get whatever you’ve got (or can download,) find an OSS OS and put it on a USB stick, burn a CD/DVD, install it, kick the tyres. Give it a whirl. But get outside your comfort zone by seeing just how much the OSS world has caught up to the corporate bloatware out there today.

It will be to your benefit in the future even if you don’t like it and never use it again. Seeing any other OS than Mac/Win will instill a sense of how others get the same things done. Wandering and discovery is how most power-users got that way. It comes highly recommended as a learning and self-teaching method.

I just begin to think of it as evolutionarily necessary, that’s all. It has been made, the comparison that following the path of least resistance is what makes a river crooked. Therefore it’s not always the best way to get things done, but capitalism sure does like it. So step outside that paradigm for your own good. I dare you. Go on. Evolve.

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