Mar 21

BB

No clue what instrument Basia Bulat is playing here. As a commenter sort-of notes, it looks like a combination of a hammered dulcimer and auto harp. I have never seen anything like it before.

What a voice, too.

Too much drums in this mix, but also what a great song:

Mar 21

ZomGoth

A zombie goth Lisa Mitchell.

She has such an amazingly expressive face. Wonder if she’d ever think of trying acting?

Mar 20

PI

Anyone who doesn’t realize this about DRM must be — as they say where I’m from in North Florida — a plum idiot.

As he spells out in detail, the point of DRM isn’t to stop illegal copying, it’s to stop legal forms of innovation from taking place.

How is this not obvious to everyone? DRM is busted completely when one person cracks it. And one person will always crack it. However, that does nothing to prevent the market manipulation that the piece discusses, which is the whole point of DRM in the first place.

Why do you think Amazon locks up your books, and makes them hard to read except in their own hardware and software? Figuring out the reason why will lead to the path of enlightenment on DRM and its true reason for existing.

Mar 20

Ain’t lion

I dreamed I had a pet mountain lion last night. That was a big kitty cat. It slept on a shelf near the bed. Now I miss my pet mountain lion.

Mar 19

Connected

I was looking at this thread on Hubski of people sharing music and noticed that — as usual — there is not a single female artist listed.

I have no idea if any of the music mentioned is good or not. That’s not the point. It’s that 90% of the time in threads like this, or in music reviews, that no women ever get their names dropped. Not a single one. Meanwhile, amazing women artists like this or this go completely unacknowledged. (And I hate even having to use the term “women artists,” as that serves as some sort of false delineation — these artists are amazing, period. Wild Flag might be the best fucking pure rock band I’ve ever heard.)

And then I read this, about empathy for women, and others different from whoever we happen to be, and I realized these facts are connected. In a thread about music you’re into, rarely does a guy mention any women and how that is all wrapped up in and related to how little empathy there is for women in general when something bad happens to them.

It makes me ask, how dumb are people? How dumb are most men? I realized when I was about five years old that the differences between me and my female classmates was nearly nil, that the personality differences between each individual girl absolutely swamped any probably-non-existent gender differences (I didn’t think about it so complexly then, but I did think it.) I was a child and this was obvious to me.

Ah, all of this makes me so furious. Can’t write about it much longer.

Instead, let’s watch Wild Flag tear the hell out of a song. That double guitar solo at the end. Holy shite, that is so double-glazed glossy.

 

Mar 17

How to tell that your job will not last

If there is a specific series of buttons your press or actions that you do to complete more than 50% of your work, your job is probably in peril.

And by “buttons you press,” this could mean entering certain fields in an Excel file, actual physical buttons, or even regular actions that don’t involve buttons at all. It could involve making accounting entries, transcribing videos, etc. Doesn’t matter.

There is someone out there right now who is probably writing the code to replace you.

I know that is harsh, but that is the reality of it. The world we live in doesn’t have to reflect our wishes, desires or the best outcomes. And that’s the world as it’s arriving.

Mar 17

Jobbed out

Confessions of A Job Destroyer.

I am also a job destroyer. I help to automate things that need automating, sometimes directly*, sometimes indirectly**.

I’ve helped eliminate somewhere around 500 jobs, give or take a hundred either way.

It’s an old, old joke in the tech world, but it is amazing how many jobs can truly be replaced by a small shell script. And of course the people who depend on those jobs go with it.

If we had a better social safety net and any sort of egalitarian society, I wouldn’t feel bad about it all, as the field I am in I’ve walked into an untold number of offices where a great number of people are doing nearly no work all day (perhaps 10-20 minutes of work), collecting a paycheck, going home, and doing this for years. It’s a strange field, what I do.

Surely that’s not the most productive use of anyone’s time, and by “productive” I don’t mean “capitalism productive.” No, what I mean for these people it’d be far more productive to give them 30 grand a year to sit their asses at home and do nothing.

Anyway, this is an irreversible trend, and if only the rich weren’t stealing everything, it’d be a good trend — with our productivity levels, nearly everyone could live at 1950 GDP levels and work 5-10 hours a week.

Really.

But that’s not likely to happen, because even though it won’t be stopped (except perhaps by calamitous effects of global warming), when most people are out of a job and over 40 or 50 in the US, that’s it for them.

And as much as it sucks to lose a job, it also is a bit distressing to walk into a building and everyone is afraid to talk to you because they are terrified that you will fire them (even though you have nothing at all to do with hiring or firing decisions in any way).

That’s the climate of fear that our lack of a safety net and our larcenous plutocrats have instilled in us, and I truly hate that.

*By writing a small shell script that replaces someone.

**By putting in the infrastructure so that a programmer can write something that replaces dozens of people.

Mar 17

Opera

And here is Kate M. singing in her opera voice, which she usually does only briefly. Sorry for the bad audio quality.

As one commenter points out, unlike a lot of even very good singers, her voice is extremely strong even in the highest notes.

Mar 17

Another of my favorite Australians

Some people have so much talent it should be illegal or something. Makes the rest of us look bad.

Here is Kate-Miller Heidke performing a song (audio quality not great, but still worth watching).

And here is also Kate Miller-Heidke, as her alter ego singing the same song, without significant studio manipulation of her voice other than it is double-tracked a little offset to give it that 80s feel. There is no live performance video as all but her voice is electronic and done on laptops.

You’ll have to go to the band site to listen to it, as I can’t embed the YouTube video due to information monopoly issues.

Notice that in the live acoustic performance she sings the keyboard solo part perfectly.

What a great song in either version. In an interview I watched with her she said that she just decided to sing in another register and did. Damn. I cannot just decide to sing two octaves lower. There needs to be socialism for talent, dammit! 😉

I’m posting more things like this as I have no interest at all in posting about politics and probably will never do so again. I’d rather think about things that make me happy and that have some chance of mattering, rather than useless nattering.

And here is the official album song of her regular Kate Miller-Heidke self, though I think like many great artists she actually sounds better live acoustic with no studio manipulation at all:

Mar 17

Scams, vanity and hope

The pageant business full of scumbags? Who would’ve thought!

The only direct experience I have with this sort of thing is being friends with a woman at a previous job who was interested in modeling.

She was certainly attractive enough for it, but so are millions of women around the world. Modeling is a star field — a very small percentage make big money, and the rest make almost zilch.

Anyway, she was stopped on the street by someone who said they’d like to have her pose for some photos and that she might be a “fit” for their agency.

I told her that this was almost certainly a scam and that though things like that did happen sometimes, to be wary.

She asked me to go with her to the screening process and I agreed. It screamed scam city to me the moment we walked in. A hundred girls in a room (and me) with some guy who looked like a combination of Ryan Seacrest and Vince Offer telling them they’d have to pay a few hundred dollars to have their official photos done to go on to the next stage.

I leaned over to Kim after a few minutes and said, “This is a scam. Let’s roll the fuck out of here.”

But she wouldn’t do it. She wanted to believe so badly that this was her shot, to escape her depressing typist job, that she wanted to give them that money just in case.

I sat through the snake oil pitch and then tried to convince her again that it wasn’t worth any money to get these photos taken, that I could probably take better ones for free anyway, and this was not a good idea.

It didn’t work. She paid the money, got some bad photos taken, and as far as I know that’s all that happened. At least she didn’t get scammed anymore out of the deal.

To be fair, this Vince Offer-looking guy was convincing. I’m about the most skeptical person you’ll meet, but by the time the meeting was done I was about 20% convinced in spite of myself. But that trance lifted the moment he shut his mendacious mouth.