New DJ Mix

April 1st, 2014

Been meaning to get round to this for ages. I bought a Traktor Z1 mixer a few months ago and have been very occasionally dipping into Traktor 2 Pro. I also went on an ambitious vinyl recording spree, digitising the best of my records most of which are from 1994 – 1998.

However it was only when trying to put together a mix of old and new techno that I realised quite how much the genre has moved on in the past ten years. The 90s tunes are great but don’t generally flow in with the new stuff (well, except for the timeless Basic Channel obviously).

I’ll do a separate retro mix at some point in the next few months, which I imagine will be very different.

Anyway, I think this turned out OK given how rusty I am. There’s a couple of clumsy transitions where the outgoing track ran out slightly too soon (haven’t quite got the hang of looping in Traktor yet) and like a fool I managed to record it with the recorder’s input gain at -12dB so I had to boost the finished recording by the same amount to compensate. Had it been recorded through an analogue mixer that would have killed it with noise.

Farewell Windows XP?

March 25th, 2014

woe

Microsoft is ending support for Windows XP and will no longer be selling it. But according to this Independent article XP is still installed on a third of all PCs worldwide. Vista sits at just 4% and around 50% are running Windows 7.

I’m the kind of person who feels a low level sense of unease if I’ve not installed all of the available updates to whatever software I’m using – past the point of reason in all honesty. But I’m in the minority here, most normal people just aren’t interested. And they don’t like change.

I was “a PC guy” for many years, having built a few of my own PCs in the late 90s. I was running Windows as my primary OS until February 2005 when I bought a Mac Mini out of curiosity, and found myself directly in the crosshairs of Apple’s business plan (actually it started when they released iTunes for Windows, which I liked and which lead to me buying an iPod).

In the case of Apple they have an agenda to keep selling new hardware, so although their OS updates are improvements there is that accidental-on-purpose creep of hardware demand that means that a given device gets slower over time. And if you don’t upgrade then third party software eventually stops supporting your OS. This cycle is hard to avoid in a commercial world where, for example, a designer running an old version of the Adobe suite will eventually start being sent files they cannot open. So they upgrade their OS and soon feel they need to buy a new Mac. It’s no surprise that OS X Mavericks was free.

But in an isolated environment, such as within a corporation, a given computer will in theory run as well today as it did ten years ago except for failures in hard drives, which are replaceable. A friend told me that his dad is still using an iPhone 3GS running iOS 5 and it’s as fast as the day it was bought. He can’t run many 3rd party apps but he can use email, SMS and make and receive phone calls so why should he upgrade?

Are we early adopters fools for playing the upgrade game? I’d say no, because new software to us is interesting and useful which is justification enough. As for everyone else, getting the long tail to play catch up is likely to give Microsoft headaches for years to come.

Other than avoiding the Vista car crash, how could they have played it differently?

I still buy music

March 22nd, 2014

About once every month I’ll browse around on Boomkat or Bleep and spend some money on music; often tracks I’ve tagged through Shazam. If I can’t find something there, or direct from the label’s website I’ll fall back to Google Play and then eventually iTunes (though its catalogue is less likely to contain what I’m after).

I just spent £23-odd, for which I got 34 tracks totalling 5 hours and 3 minutes of playback. That’s the result of weeks and weeks of artists’ time and effort for under a quid a track. And I get DRM-free 320kbps MP3s or FLAC files to keep.

Does anyone else still pay for music? Presumably it’s not just me otherwise it wouldn’t be for sale. But I’m in a dwindling minority.

Spotify has its value, but it (famously) pays most independent artists a pittance for plays. If you enjoy listening to music I urge you to keep paying for it! And go direct where you can to cut out middlemen. Long gone are the days of paying £17.99 for an album at HMV.

I’d guess that at least a third of the artists I listen to have day jobs to support their music careers. The least I can do is buy them a beer.

Real Scenes: New York

December 23rd, 2013

April 2013: Interesting short documentary about the dance music scene in Brooklyn, and how gentrification threatens to stamp it out.

Via RA

“Kept chasing that night…”

December 18th, 2013

Erol Alkan – “A Hold on Love” (Official Music Video)

The video for Erol Alkan’s track ‘A Hold on Love’ is wonderful. Looks like it was all shot in and around Kendal in Cumbria.

via @iaintait

How Bitcoin Works

December 4th, 2013

Fascinating and more than a bit clever, if you’ll excuse the pun.

Space

November 5th, 2013

1024px-ESO_-_The_Milky_Way_panorama_(by)

The Milky Way panorama by ESO/S. Brunier (The Milky Way panorama) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re like me, which you’re probably not, then you’ll enjoy thinking about some of the ridiculously big numbers that crop up in science and particularly in relation to space, which is almost definitely the biggest thing there is.

Thanks to Kepler the estimate of the number of habitable or ‘Earth-like’ planets in the Milky Way has just been revised up to two billion. While this is unarguably a lot it’s worth remembering that our galaxy has a diameter of 31 kiloparsecs or 100,000 light years. Given that light travels 299,792 kilometers every second that is an exceptionally big thing.

Think about how big the galaxy is for a moment, and then recall that the visible universe has an estimated diameter of 93 billion light years and contains at least 100 billion such galaxies…

Someone once said to me that they’re ‘not really that interested in space’, which to me equates to saying that you’re not very interested in practically all of everything. Sure, there’s plenty of engaging stuff going on down here at our microscopic level, but how could you not want to look up once in a while?