Saturday, January 31, 2009

Christian Death Metal

I was digging through some of my Microcassettes, looking for something blogworthy and I stumbled across this tape I had forgotten about.

Way back in 1997, I was singing for my High School's rock band. We entered a "Battle of the Bands" competition, and this is the first band that played. Needless to say, this blew me away (and not in a good way). I didn't know Christian Death Metal existed until I heard these guys. The singer was a fat balding guy with glasses that should've been retired in 1956, and yes, that's him speaking.

Although we didn't win the competition, we beat out these guys.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Songsmith is Stupid

Sorry about the lack of updates, but life gets busy sometimes.

So, Microsoft has this new piece of software out called "Songsmith". Basically, it will adjust the music to match the pitch of your voice. Sounds like a kids toy? Yeah probably, but I decided I wanted a couple of hours to fuck around with it.

The problem is getting to that "couple of hours". First, I primarily run Linux. Second, my Windows 2000 partition bluescreens about every hour or so. Third, it apparently requires Windows XP and higher to run. Fourth, the download comes as a .msi file instead of a simple .exe file. Fifth, it requires the .NET 3.0 framework. Sixth, it requires you to have Service Pack 2 installed. Therefore, achieving a simple couple of hours to play with a measley (100MB) piece of software is a challenge in itself. And people say that using Linux is too bloody difficult! The only reason Linux is so hard to use is that the geeks at the computer store install Windows for you! Microsoft products are also quite unfriendly to install, requiring one to babysit it because it will ask you questions throughout the install. At least I can browse the net while Ubuntu Linux installs. But enough bitching...

Anyway, I can't install Songsmith with WINE, I can't install it in Win2k, so I need to install XP on my spare computer, install the .NET 3.0 framework, SP2, and then install the 100MB file. Oh yeah, and it's only a demo copy which is crippled, causing me to wonder if all this pain is worth installing a piece of broken software simply to play with it. Oh well, I've done stupider things....

Songsmith's interface leaves something to be desired. What, I'm not sure, but it feels like an incredibly confusing kid's toy that took me about half an hour to figure out, yet the commercial boasts that it's easy to use.

When I click on the mixer button and try to change the nice Midi instruments into something else, the sound seems to fuck off whenever I select "electric guitar". The only way to get the sound back is to restart the program. In other words, it's your typical buggy Microsoft-ware.

So, was the result worth the time and pain of the installation? Check it out for yourself:

Songsmith sounds about as good as my Mom's Kawaii organ, manufactured in 1974 when Moog was the 'in thing'. As far as it being a musician's tool, it's fucking retarded. If you can't come up with your own ideas without a piece of kid's software, then you have no talent and shouldn't be writing songs.

Oh yeah, and thanks to Warner Fucking Music Group, This is my second attempt at doing one of these mashups. The original (Sherry by The Four Seasons) got nuked because the shit-heads at WMG decided they owned the copyright for this piece of shit I put together. WMG can suck a dick festering with genital herpes.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

WMG Can Suck A Dick

I just wrote up a nice blog entry about Microsoft Songsmith, did up a video that tied up HOURS of my time, and the Warner Music Group has flagged my video as their content.

I'll try to get the video up on shitty PutFile and the blog entry up in the next couple of days. In the meantime, here's a nice video for the WMG:

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Album Review: Charlene Prickett Does Floors

Came home with a stack of junk from the Thrift Store today. As per usual, most of it turned out to be crap (including a kids' Christian tape). But there was one item I picked up solely for nostalgic purposes, and it's worth mentioning here:

Charlene Prickett Does Floors

For those who don't know, Charlene Prickett has (or had) her own exercise show here in Canada, and when I was around seven years old, I used to follow along with it. Thanks to Charlene Prickett, I learned that I can't dance for shit, and probably never will. In her aerobic workout, she had these tricky "step in a box pattern" things and I always managed to fuck them up and do a faceplant into the floor.

I never knew Charlene did floors, nor did I know she did an album about doing floors. ...or at least doing things on the floor. Her voice on this album sounds nothing like what her TV voice did, possibly because she's doing the floors in the recording studio, and we know how they like to slick things up in the recording studio!

The best track on the album (and the only one worth listening to) is the last one on Side A, simply called "Bum". I honestly don't know what the hell kind of position she's in during this song, but it sure gets your imagination going!

Give "Bum" a listen:

Friday, January 9, 2009

My Favorite Maxi Pad Commercial

Last night, I came across a video tape that I thought I had lost in one of my moves. It has some very blogworthy material on it, and it contains one of my all-time favorite commercials. I recorded this sometime in 1995 or 1996:

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Garage Jukebox (v3.0)

Yes! Version 3.0 of the Garage Jukebox has been built! So much for me waiting two years to build it. The thing is, I found the perfect PC to build it. It's an old IBM 300GL desktop. I've been wanting to reduce the size of the heavy, bulky, power-hungry mess that v2.x was. This version contains some nice upgrades and even a few downgrades. Here's the specs:

Pentium 199MHz (Faster by 66 MHz!)
64M RAM (Half of what the other machine had)
2 GB Compact Flash Card for Hard Drive (Bigger by .3G, no moving parts!)
1 DVD-ROM Drive (the old one had four)
USB 2.0 Card
Hacked USB hub internally mounted
Three 8G USB Flash Drives for music
OS: Damn Small Linux v3.4.11

There's an extra bay for another CD/DVD drive, but maybe I'll use it to install an 8-track player or something.

Here's some pics of this beauty:




The desktop hasn't changed very much which is why I didn't bother with a screenshot. The only real difference is I put an alternate skin on XMMS.

I knew I was serious about my Garage computer when I started spending money on building it. Version 2.x was built with junk I had kicking around, and junk I picked up dirt cheap. I actually spent around $100 building this new version, the costs being the 2G Compact Flash card, the USB hub, and the 8G Flash Drives.

The rest of it was junk I had kicking around. The computer itself came from someone's trash. It originally had Windows 95 installed on it, and if you're wondering if there was anything interesting on the hard drive... there wasn't. From what I recall, it didn't even boot as someone had sabotaged the OS.

I had to modify the hard drive / floppy mounting bracket to mount the Compact Flash adapter. Thank god for drills! To mount the USB hub, I took the bottom (or maybe top) half of an old floppy drive, drilled some holes in the hub enclosure and drilled some holes in the floppy shell. I used a dremel tool to cut a power connector out of an old CD-ROM drive, and soldered on a cable I stole from an old cordless phone adapter to power the USB hub. I also had to remove the USB connector going to the hub, and solder a USB cable directly as there was no room to plug in the cable. So much for warranty!

I made a bunch of really cool optimizations for this version. After it boots, the XMMS music player automatically loads. All USB flash drives are automatically mounted. Any CD-ROM or DVD in the drive will also be automatically mounted. The drives are then scanned for MP3s which are automatically added to the XMMS playlist. In other words, all you have to do is power it on and leave it to load everything up (unless you want to play an audio CD). To shut it down, just click on the "KILL" icon and it automatically unmounts the drives and shuts itself off.

The old version was a pain because I never put these optimizations in it. It required you to baby it for adding music or shutting it down. This version is VERY low maintenance.

I went with flash drives for one sole purpose... I wanted to use this thing in the Winter time, and the DVD drives were failing in -15 degrees celcius (or lower). I also didn't need the hard drive failing which is why I used a Compact Flash card instead. If you're worried about the limited amount of writes to the card, I'm not. The OS creates a RAM disk, and only writes an archived backup file to the drive on shutdown, minimizing the amount of writes. My old workplace used Compact Flash cards in a few custom built PCs, and Windows 98 (which is constantly writing to the hard drive) would last 2-3 years on those machines. This optimized Linux install should provide a much longer life.

The playlist has only increased slightly, but I'm close to 3000 MP3s. Feel free to browse it by clicking here.

A few days after it sat in the garage, I tried booting it in -29 degrees celcius weather (nevermind the -42 degrees windchill). It successfully booted, mounted the flash drives, and played music while I shovelled snow!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Usborne Book of The Future

Before I get into this book, we need a lesson on history. Please read the following:

Indeed, I hand-write all my blog entries and scan them into the computer for more efficient posting.

You may be wondering where I pulled this incredible piece of bullshit from. It's out of a book I picked up for 99 cents called "The Usborne Book of The Future: A Trip in Time to the Year 2000 and Beyond." It was written in 1979, some thirty years ago.

I have many of Usborne's books in my collection, which are mostly books about computer programming in BASIC. They were beautifully illustrated books that were also teaching tools, and this book is no exception. ...well, except for it being a teaching tool; The illustrations are still beautiful. Comparing Usborne's vision of the future to our history makes this book an aboslutely hilarious read! However, the scariest part of this book was the inscription on the inside cover:

I was going to post a link to a site that had the entire book scanned (there were a couple of them) but it seems that the author of the book is a big meanie, going around the internet and demanding the removal of all scans. Don't worry, you can sniff around the internet and find places you can download it (or buy it).

I'll post a few scans to wet your appetite:

Page 44: Wristwatch Radios!
Page 52: The Olympic Games, Year 2020
Page 73: Electric Cars with Tape Players!