February 2003 Archives

David Hyatt, lead developer on Apple's Safari writes about a hypothetical bug fix. Although I'm glad the bug was noticed and fixed. I'm inclined to ask: is this the right way to handle a software development project for a major company? Was this leak intentional? The primary attraction of b62 is the addition of preliminary support for tabbed browsing, which many initial Safari users were quite vocal about.

Spent the evening trawling the wonders of p2p for a glimpse of some upcoming albums.

Still no sign of a leak of Damnation onto p2p, despite several rumours.

However, Opeth are not the only Swedish outfit with a new album due out in the next few months. Their long term friends and collaborators: Katatonia have a new slab Viva Emptiness due in a month. A three track promo CD has leaked, and by the sound of these tracks, my ears are in for a treat come late March.

Evidence has a brilliant chorus replete with vocal hooks over a heavy guitar line and an unusual bridge into a closing section that has echoes of their previous album.

Criminals is mellower, and less overtly pop, with a brooding bassline and a psychedelic shimmering guitar line.

Ghost of the Sun is by far the heaviest and yet has an interplay between melody and darkness that harks back to Katatonia of old, and no it's not just the barely audible blackened scream that is used extremely sparingly as backing during the chorus. Despite this, ghost of the sun reminds me stylistically of what nu-metal acts like Linkin Park are trying but failing to achieve.

Overall, the mix is still dark, but with more of a punchy pop edge than any previous Katatonia release. Rather than a focus on delicate and dissonant guitar melodies like those found on Last Fair Deal Gone Down, the guitar lines on Viva Emptiness swirl, even in the heavier sections. A more thunderous and deep sound is achieved by dropping the tuning to D#. The multi-layered, approach is retained and enhanced with an increased use of subtle electronics and vocal effects.

Initially i was unsure if Anders [blackhiem] has lost his knack for astounding guitar lines, but as I listen more, he's just found a way to make them fit more subtly into the overall mix, giving Jonas a chance to highlight his ever improving clean voice and evolving vocal patterns. Of course the mix also allows plenty of room for the rhythm section that seems tighter than ever.

Katatonia is fast becoming a solid 5 piece, with the two founding members giving the newer members a chance to properly contribute for what seems to be the first time.

This Damnation Review bodes extremely well for the next release by Opeth. Yes us aussies have a tour from them to enjoy before the album's official release (currently set for 24 April), however this is the release i've been hoping for since I first heard Opeth.

No I don't want Opeth to go soft, I love the heavy aspects, particularly the growls (be they Cannibal Corpse inspired gutteral yet melodic or blackened Norwegian screams).

However most people aren't used to the heavy aspects and often don't devote the time to get past this barrier.

Damnation promises a mature album with mid-length songs that is more than just the lighter side of current Opeth. This accessibility may draw listeners to their excellent 6 album back catalogue.

It's funny; some say that the superheroes are the next stage in human evolution, yet every time we meet, all we seem to do is fight one another. if that's the future, it doesn't look too bright to me.
Grant Morrison - 1989

The first bowl sleekly moistened throat and lips,
The second banished all my loneliness
The third expelled the dullness from my mind,
Sharpening inspiration gained
from all the books I've read.
The fourth brought forth light perspiration,
Dispersing a lifetime's troubles through my pores.
The fifth bowl cleansed ev'ry atom of my being.
The sixth has made me kin to the Immortals.
This seventh...
I can take no more.
- Lu Tung, Chinese Poet

Was talking about guitars witrh a friend today and how some innovations are slow to be adopted by the market, in general there is a trend towards old, familiar models - often those used 10 or 20 years earlier.

To take advantage of this, guitar manufacturers will dust off old tech specs and re-issue a classic model. This is a very much accepted business practice even though the re-issues often aren't that true to the original, usually due to trying to meet a price point.

This is also used as a marketing technique to romaticise guitar designs that were before their time. For example a guitar design has not been selling well despite many small tweaks, so a reissue of the original version (which was say introduced 10 years prior) is made.

It would be amusing if the computer industry adopted the same cyclical marketing/reissue techniques. Take Apple for example, about 10 years ago we saw the first PowerPCs and the jump to a four digit product naming scheme.

Apple could return to this arena easily, ditch those oh so 90's iWhatever names and go back to good old 4 arabic numerals. People have forgotten (maybe deliberately) that the G4 chip is actually a PowerPC, lets see this piece of info back on every promotional broadsheet.

The consumer of course would get a choice between the re-issued version with an authentic PowerPC 601 chip and one with the chic-retro pizza box design but sporting top of the line twin G4 goodness.

After a particularly frustrating week. I've been really chilling out today.

Eaten great food - sugar sweet ripe white nectarines & figs, the type you rarely find in cities where they don't take the time to let them ripen naturally.

Homegrown Black Russian tomatoes, on thick slabs of medium rye sourdough

Finally my first ever pot of Silver Needle (Yin Zhen) white tea. Which - mainly due to it's cost - I took the time to brew properly.

What an amazing tea, like white peony (Pai Mu Tan) which I have drunk on many occasions, silver needle has a delicate taste but it's so much sweeter. Pai mu tan, has been described as having a taste reminiscent of white chocolate. Silver Needle on the other hand has strong honey/nectar notes.

Like many high grades of tea, the leaves are carefully hand rolled. However for Silver Needle, a bundle of leaves are tied together and then additional leaves are wrapped around until a ball the size of a quails egg is produced. This is quite unlike the oolong Frozen Peak (Tung Ting) I purchased a while back where each individual leaf was rolled into a tight ball.

Watching this tea brew was exquisite, as the near boiling water soaked into the outer parts of the ball, the first layer of leaves unfurled but did not detach from the main mass. These outer leaves move around like an anemone as they soak up more water, giving the whole scene an animated life like feel.

Apple: "Consistency, Except"

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We should be seeing more rants like this one by Irate Scotsman. Unless Apple gets the message about this they are going to keep on down the path of gee-whiz cool idea apps that are not consistent.

Hey Macromedia and Adobe get a lot of value out of a consistent interface across their products. I recall some complaints when Adobe was transitioning to this consistent UI but in hindsight, it seems to be a good thing. Why has Apple abandoned this?

Playing with Net News Wire 1.0 which has just been released. It's a Mac OS X native app that offers a streamlined way to quickly scan blogs and other syndicated (RSS/XML) web-sites.

The aforementioned functionality has been available in the Lite version of NetNewsWire for some months, however todays release adds some interesting/compelling features to justify the fact that unlike it's bantam weight brethren, it costs cold hard cash.

The primary feature of interest to me in the full version is the ability to post to my blog directly from NetNewsWire, this has a number of advantages:

  1. Linking to other blog/news articles is straightforward and can be done whilst browsing headlines in NetNewsWire
  2. The editor is quite a bit more end-user friendly than that available via a web-browser
  3. Recent posts are cached locally by NetNewsWire, making quick tweaks and edits a snap
  4. Saves your login details automagically so all you need to do is launch the app, then start writing.

Yet to explore other features of this cute little app, but so far recommend giving it a whirl !!

Thursday night, Alpha Delta.

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Many of my more recent friends have been quite puzzled when I have run into a friend from school. Generally these older friends will greet me as "Bob", this has never been my real name yet for many it is the name they know me best by.

In essence Bob is a nickname, however it evolved to more than that.

The origins of the name are quite obscure, as many nicknames are. A friend came to school one day all excited as he'd seen a movie where the lead character bore a significant resemblance to me. This movie was just your typical bad American teen/college movie, in this case a reworking of the hunchback of Notre Dame story-line in a modern context.

The lead character had named himself: Bob Maloogaloogaloogaloogalooga, and as such the name stuck.

It didn't take long for me to realise I had to watch this film myself to understand the whole thing. After watching the movie, my initial reaction was negative; Bob was an exaggeration of many of my characteristics to the point where he was a caricature.

However I had little option, the name had well and truly stuck. So I turned it into a positive. I ended up playing the nickname for all it was worth.

As a teenager, I had a lot of angst. I was very aggressive and angry with the world in general. Of course this is common for teens as they struggle to find their place and identity in the adult world.

Bob became a shell, something strong that sent a clear "yes I'm weird, but fuck with me and you'll be sorry" message to all which allowed my inner self to deal with the larger problems of adolescence and identity.

After school when the pains of adolescence started to fade, I made a conscious decision to absorb the aspects I had put into Bob back into my core persona. However it was during this period that I realised how much the core me had changed in the interim and in the end I had little need to absorb Bob, the aspects I wanted to keep were already there.

Since then it has become clear how instrumental Bob was in starting me on the path towards some sort of understanding and appreciation of my masculinity.

John Robb's comments on the recent testing of the water in the hand-held server market by sony make interesting reading. His posts from friday get right to the jugular on this issue: hand held server of 2010 and what sun & oracle couldn't see

You're not promised tomorrow

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And you can tell that maybe time is out of joint my love
So this is maybe
just a SOS shrapnel, an echo of dead sentiment measurement tossed to nothing
for no one a wasted effort a shrug or maybe resonant incurable romantic
defunct in the face of fact. blackboard formula erased by the next class
but the outlines still intact, and I see it and I'm still not sure of the meaning
But I'll say it, write it down, and read it for you

No protective leathery flesh of emotional chain-mail
No running shoes no running, no locking doors, no anger
No e-mail no voicemail communicational no strangulation
Or distortion of purity sentiment
No fantasy of reconciliation no delusion and no revenge
No bullshit no codes or hidden agendas, no preaching
No pedestal no standing on the pulpit, no ego, no new-speak or freakish lingo
Here I go:
I haven't loved many people
I grew up afraid that I was crazy
And one time when I was deep inside your body you purred
And I was sure that you were gonna have my baby

And you can tell that maybe time is out of joint my love
So this is maybe
just an SOS shrapnel, an echo of dead sentiment
Measurement tossed to nothing for no one a wasted effort a shrug
And you can tell that maybe time is out of joint my love
So this is maybe
just a SOS, shrapnel, an echo of dead sentiment
Measurement tossed to nothing for no one a wasted effort a shrug
we used to be in love...

I don't really uh feel very clever right now

Everything you said I took it all to heart
And you sparked a change in me
Before I could become a new son I had to fall apart
And I can see that now
And I wish you well
Cause you saw what was good in me
And I'll be goddamned if I did see that myself
And everything you are
I look at that with pride
Before I could become a grown man I had to lose my mind
And I see that now
And I wish you well
Cause I see what's good in you
And I'll be goddamned if you can't see that yourself

Artist: El-P
Album: Fantastic Damage
Title: T.O.J.

At this time of year one sees a lot of best of lists being published. Rather than publish a best of last year, I put some thought into a list that should have been published a few years back. The criteria was:

  1. Released in the decade generally referred to as the 90's
  2. Still played regularly
  3. Personally significant

Opeth are touring!

Opeth Australia Tour 2003


  • April 10 Brisbane, The Arena

  • April 11 Melbourne, The Corner

  • April 12 Adelaide, Uni bar

  • April 13 Sydney, Metro

Although i've never contemplated this before: I am seriously thinking about seeing all four shows (and of course lobbying for a small intimate show at The Basement focusing on the mellow Damnnation which will have been released the previous month)

A fascinating article that speculates about an unexpected side effect of women taking the pill, their taste in men changes.

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This page is an archive of entries from February 2003 listed from newest to oldest.

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