Max Romantschuk's weblog – September 2003 archive

Emerging Arts

Tuesday 30th of September, 2003 - 12:12 – Permalink

When I spraypainted my computer case something like five years ago that could have been classified as a case mod. Now it's just a black case, and a badly painted one. Case modding has gone from a silly hobby to an acomplished art in the last few years. With smaller hardware and "modded" cases being available off the shelf things are very different now. But judging by any standards this case is a truly amazing acomplishment.

Computers seem to be going the way that motorcycles have before them. In the beginning a chosen few modify their rig. More and more catch on, and before you know it the modified look is available off the shelf. The real custom stuff is taken to a new level. People indeed to weird things to stand out, and there's nothing bad with that.

I've decided not to post unless I really have something of interrest to say. Expect less updates of (hopefully) higher quality in the future.

Gorgeous Hardware

Friday 26th of September, 2003 - 11:53 – Permalink

I bumped into hoojum design. Their CubitP4 system looks like no other computer I've ever seen. Very nice design and very small aswell. In addition to that, Hush Technologies has been at it again... Check out the Hush ATX. Finnish readers might also be interrested to know that Jib Systems Oy represents Hush in Finland.

Now, if you're like me your wife won't let you buy something this cool in the next ten years. A little DIY never hurt anyone, right? There's a veritable fountain of good ideas over at mini-itx.com. Think computer in [insert arbitrary smallish object here].

Some of my tracks have hit the BeSonic UK Charts, holding the 11th, 12th, 13th positions. Check it out!

The blogger's dilemma

Thursday 25th of September, 2003 - 11:55 – Permalink

I've been getting around ten to twenty visits per day on this page lately. It's probably not suprising that I've begun to question if there's a point in the whole thing. Fact is I'm not that good at writing interresting stuff. On the other hand I feel keeping this up might be a good idea for myself, who knows how It'll feel like to dig up entries from five, ten, maybe even twenty years back.

It might even be that if I keep this up I will eventually aquire readers who for some reason find my writing enjoyable. Still I find myself lacking guidance. Should I focus more on myself, or should I shut up about my life and stick to commenting interresting stuff? Maybe I shouldn't even comment, leaving plain old links. On the other hand that would really be beside the point.

I'm rambling, and aware of it. There's been a developent on the electronic paper front which is worth checking out. And here we go again... should I try to say something clever about electronic paper or just shut up about it. My blog is on Pinseri's list for Finnish blogs. When you take a look at the stats for my blog you can clearly see the direction in which I seem to be heading. I can only assume that I'm bad at this...

Ultimately the important question is: Will I get any better? Time will tell.

Noise, chips and thingamabobs.

Wednesday 24th of September, 2003 - 11:36 – Permalink

I've uploaded a new (old) song to BeSonic, called I wonder what. Feel free to check it out. I also added an ilustration to the page over there, basically mixing a bunch of pictures I've taken with our digital camera lately.

In other news: AMD released the long awaited Athlon 64, based on the Hammer core. I've been folloing the development of Hammer for at least a year, it's kind of weird when it's finally happening. In the very last minute Intel took a Xeon (server chip) core and christened it Pentium 4 Extreme Edition... and therein managed to keep on the same level as AMD on the performance front. If you ask me Microsoft will set the faith for the Athlon 64, by controlling the mainstream software platform, Windows. If 64 bit Windows works great things are looking good for AMD. We'll see. Tom's Hardware has a very thorough review of the Athlon 64. Worth reading, or at least bits of it.

Fortune ran an interresting piece on installing a multitude of cool gadgets in an average home, with an average family. Good Stuff.

Mice and men

Tuesday 23rd of September, 2003 - 22:30 – Permalink

A comment of mine on Slashdot resulted in quite a cascade of replies. The debate at hand was if it's a good idea to prolong the human lifespan or not. I'm not that sure it is, but there was some good arguments for doing so as well. The background: "The Methuselah Mouse contest was created in an effort to boost research into human longevity."

In essence there really hasn't been anything remarkable to write about today, I'll shut up with my dignity still somewhat intact.

Uninterruptible?

Tuesday 23rd of September, 2003 - 12:10 – Permalink

Just a quickie... two things.

  1. I want this UPS.
  2. I'm aware of the mess that is bulding up on this page... I'm planning both short-term remedies as well as a long term solution. Hang in there!


The Grandma Dilemma

Monday 22nd of September, 2003 - 21:14 – Permalink

My grandmother recently expressed her interrest in listening both to my sister's and my music. Problem is she neither has a CD player nor is it very probable teaching her how to use one would be an easy task. I've come up with another possible solution... a dead simple MP3 player.

Now, finding such a device might not be easy, it might even be impossible. But the more I think about it the more sense it makes. No moving parts, no CD swapping, doesn't require speakers. What I'm wondering is if there even is anything on the market which would have just Play, Stop, Next and Previous buttons, and preferably nothing else. If anyone's heard of this magically featureless godsend do drop me a line, will ya?

But it's just a game, right?

Monday 22nd of September, 2003 - 11:48 – Permalink

Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs, yes it's a real acronym) have been gaining a lot of momentum lately. I myself beta tested Neocron and found it quite enjoyable. Ultimately the montly price tag for playing just wasn't justified by the limited time I had to spare for playing. But that's beside the point.

The really interresting bit is that these games have developed enough momentum for economies to emerge within the gaming world. A related Google search turns up more related links than I would care to recite here. The thing about economies is that once you have an economy, you'll end up with people aquiring wealth in this economy, or at least attempting to do so. And when the game mechanics change people get upset, even start revolting. James Grimmelmann has written a quite interresting piece, On the Second Life Tax Revolt. He quite convincingly points out that when a game like Second Life models reality, politics start to emerge. It might seem ridiculous to some, but the whole thing is quite fascinating.

In related news, a deal was recently struck between Electronic Arts and McDonalds on integrating McDonalds into the upcoming The Sims Online. Scary shit. This in turn has resulted in a bit of protest of it's own.

Returning to my earlier state of self indulgence... BeSonic has logged around a hundred plays of my songs from my page on BeSonic. Around of a third of the people who listened even bothered to register and download songs. Thanks to you all. I am yet to recieve any verbal feedback what so ever... dare I challenge my readers to bash me?

One more note to my Finnish readers: If you're a consumer (Aren't we all?), read this.

Here today, gone tomorrow.

Sunday 21st of September, 2003 - 17:45 – Permalink

BeSonic Finnish charts on Sep. 20th 2003 Statistics are indeed strange. Due to the massive onslaught of some 70 listens to my songs I ended up in 10 of the top 15 chart positions on the BeSonic Finnish charts yesterday. The same naturally no longer applies, take a look for yourself if you wish. Still on the subject of statistics, here is a bunch which are both strange and of dubious validity: Useless Facts and Statistics.

Trying to stay away from the self indulgence for a moment... If you're into Star Wars, interrested in science, and have time to spare/loose checking out the STAR WARS Technical Commentaries is highly recommended. I for one never really get bored with this site, but usually something more important (like work) comes along.

The road thus far

Friday 19th of September, 2003 - 11:42 – Permalink

I now have the first stats from my new BeSonic page... Looking good so far. After looking more closely at how the site works it seems one has to register and log in to download full quality songs, but listening in relatively low quality requires no login. I guess you can't get everything for free.

It seems I might have been a little harsh on MP3.com. My friend informed me that they apparently did mail people about the changes, but the information seems to have been conveniently buried under a bunch of marketing blah blah (I recon this would be the appropriate term).

What else? Thanks to all who listened to my stuff so far. I haven't seen anything especially linkworthy today, so I'm probably better off not linking some mediocre site. Max out.

Ten it is, baby.

Thursday 18th of September, 2003 - 12:14 – Permalink

I've uploaded three more songs, and BeSonic approved them all in an hour. I guess they just have a slow day... In any case, I still strongly encourage my whole handful of readers over to http://www.besonic.com/romax Maybe you'll even like my stuff?

Multiple songs approved by BeSonic

Thursday 18th of September, 2003 - 11:05 – Permalink

The BeSonic team seems to have taken a liking to my work. A grand total of seven songs have been approved, that would be all I've uploaded so far. I must say I'm impressed, after all the FAQs said it could take up to a week. Now... The important thing is that you, yes you right there, haul you ass over to http://www.besonic.com/romax and download my songs! OK, it's not mandatory, but I would appreciate a little help in boosting my stats ;)

I'm going to continue uploading stuff until I've moved all the old MP3.com stuff over to BeSonic. I'll keep you posted, despite the fact that my handful of readers probably aren't really interrested...

Patchy patchy writey writey

Wednesday 17th of September, 2003 - 21:23 – Permalink

The process of transferring all of my existing published songs to BeSonic (see below) is now well under way. It will, however, take a week or so before they (hopefully) start getting approved. My initial impressions of BeSonic are quite positive. Apart from a minor server uptime issue the site seems well organized, and they have a &guot;Mood Radio" feature with which you can select what kind of music you feel like listening to. It works by artists classifying their songs according to the criteria available in the Mood Radio. Quite a simple system, but an elegant solution none the less.

Ever tried an anagram generator by the way? This one, when set in advanced mode is rather good.

Damn you MP3.com

Wednesday 17th of September, 2003 - 11:47 – Permalink

I've made my music freely available on MP3.com for several years now. I just learned that MP3.com has restricted the number of songs per artist to three, unless you pay them. This would be relatively OK, but they did it in the beginning of the year and no mail was sent out to artists like me. Now I find that there has been only three songs on my artist page instead of the ten I've uploaded. Suffice to say I'm displeased.

In a way it's my own fault. I haven't really looked at the page lately, as I haven't concentrated on my music. But I still feel they should inform people before raping the pages their music is hosted on.

I'm working on getting my music uploaded to a more trustworthy provider. In theory I could host it here, but then all the streaming and search features would be lost. Bandwidth is also a major issue. http://www.besonic.com/ seems like my likely target at the moment. It's a European site and the basic/free services seem OK. They also have a pay option which seems more sensible than MP3.com's comparable service. Additionally they have a license agreement which binds them to inform you of major changes by email. Anyway, I'll keep the three or so of you posted.

Would you like to waste a week's worth of your precious time? Read the UserFriendly comic strip, starting from the very first strip...

Thoughts and Evil Overlords

Friday 12th of September, 2003 - 19:40 – Permalink

According to my stats it seems like even if I don't update for a few weeks people still seem to come visit the page. I fail to understand why anyone would actually wish to read much of the things I tend to write about, but I guess some still do. Thanks to all you anonymous lurkers out there.

A week or so ago I read in the news that the Universal Music Group was intending to drop prices on CDs to create increased demand for actually buying records instead of donloading them. Great, I thought, finally they are doing something about their overinflated prices, maybe I'll start buying records again! A few days later I learned that the price drops only seem to apply to the US... So no fun for me then. Oh well, there are always second hand shops.

Have you ever thought of becoming an evil overlord? Even if you haven't you should know about the The Top 100 Things I'd Do If I Ever Became An Evil Overlord. Scroll down a bit for the actual list... and watch out with the coffee, this is one of the greatest bits of humor ever to be found on the Internet.