Archive for December, 2014

I hate being ill!

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

So I’ve been a shivering sweaty wreck in bed all day with the window open trying to cool down. Feeling a bit better now, but it’s most frustrating now having time off work and being able to do anything except cough a lot. Grrr.

Hopefully now I’m feeling a bit better this will continue, though typing this I’m in a cold room and still sweating. I want to get some music done dammit!

Christmas Hols are nearly here

Friday, December 19th, 2014

Ahh, it’s that time of year. My Christmas hols start at the end of the day today, just wrapping up a few bits and pieces for work then I can relax a bit. It’s really good to not have to be travelling for a while, though I’ve got two trips coming up straight after the New Year. Nevermind, hopefully I’ll have rested enough by then it won’t seem too onerous 🙂

Expect some musical updates this weekend, and also some studio pics. I’m down to literally the last few cables to install, finally!

Hurrah.

 

Hotel Internet charges

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

19.95 Euros a day to access the Internet? No way am I paying that, on principle! Marched up to the front desk and requested the details of one of their Directors 🙂

Dear Mr. Nassila,

  My name is Eddy Deegan, and I am a senior Global Solutions Architect for an American technology company. I am currently staying in the hotel next to the Grand Arch in Paris a la Defence, as I am working on-site with a team at [Name withheld for obvious reasons – I did put it in the letter though]

  I was given your card by a young man at reception. I am writing to you to express my dissatisfaction at the extortionate charges for Internet access at your hotel. Having booked the room for 2 nights at nearly 500 euros, spent 100 euros or more at the restaurant, and being a business traveller, I was shocked and dismayed to see a charge for 20 euros per night for Internet access.

 I come to Paris regularly but this is the first time I have used the Renaissance hotel.  I rely on the Internet to co-ordinate with my colleagues in California. My objection to the price of Internet connection is that it is an essential component of a business trip and to require 20 euros a day on top of an already healthy hotel bill seems nothing but greedy to me.

  I am therefore registering my disappointment that an otherwise excellent hotel would let itself down in this manner. I regret that I will not be returning. Nor will I be paying 20 euros for access to email from my room. It is actually cheaper for me to buy bandwidth from my UK mobile phone supplier, even in France.

 20 euros is not much money, but it is not about that. It is about me as a business traveller feeling let down by a hotel that I would have expected better service from.

Yours sincerely,

Eddy Deegan, room 226.

I will update this post should any further developments arise, though I’m not holding my breath on that one!

Another work trip, and a studio update

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

Last trip before Christmas – at least I hope so. I’m back to Paris la Defense for 3 days Mon-Wed this week. Last time I was there I got very lost after dark searching for my hotel. This time I have a hotel right next door to the office, almost adjacent to the big square arch thing, so this time I do not expect to get lost.

Paris_La_DĂ©fense

In other news I spent a lot of time this weekend sorting out my studio and it’s very nearly done. A few more cables to install, and a final tidy-up and it’s ready to use again. Looking forward to getting home already!

“Science vs Music”

Saturday, December 13th, 2014

Well, it’s not really Science versus Music but a very cool project involving the visualisation of music using physical phenomena.

From “Space Debris” to Poets Of The Fall

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Many years ago, I used to repeatedly play a tracker song called Space Debris, purely because it was brilliant. It was a piece of music created on a 16-bit computer by a young man who went by the moniker ‘Captain’. His real name was (and is) Markus Kaarlonen. Here is the original composition in all its 16-bit glory:

It’s hard, if not impossible to describe to anybody “who wasn’t there” what an accomplishment it was to create such tunes on the old micros. The software was powerful, for its time, but not user-friendly and required a LOT of effort to produce anything half decent. I was suitably impressed.

Anyway, a couple of years back I had cause, for whatever reason, to remember this great piece of music and I found the youtube videos linked to here. In addition I was curious as to what Markus had been up to since (given that Space Debris was created about 23 years ago at the time of writing.) It turned out he was still doing music and is in a Finnish band, Poets Of The Fall, who are now right up there in my favourite bands of all time. Here’s one of their little ditties:

and also the ‘official’ video for what is probably their most well known song, Carnival Of Rust:

I can’t convey how much I was delighted to find out that a) he was still doing music, and b) how he’d continued his cool streak and was now involved in producing such great material. Incidentally, the piece was re-imagined on ‘proper’ synthesizers by an ardent fan who did a pretty fine job of it. Here is that cover version:

Great stuff 🙂

Phew! Also, random office observations

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Back from another business trip. Always good to be home again. This was a visit to a UK company, of reasonable size, firmly positioned in the tech industry. It was interesting to see a modern ‘relaxed’ office environment again – it reminded me a lot of a ‘trendy’ (at the time) company I used to work for years ago.

The place I was visiting had open-plan (for the most part) offices staffed with a lot of 20-somethings all being, well, ’20-something’ really. I was surprised at some of the naivety of one or two ‘technical’ staff. Herewith an example:

Q: “What permissions does your SQL user need on this database?”

A: “It’s a Windows logon I think”

They also played dance music, quite loudly, permanently in the restrooms.

Maybe I’m just getting old 🙂

PS: In other news, deegan.org finally transferred out of Network Solutions, yay!

Them and Us

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

People fall into two groups. “Them” and “Us”. They are not like us. And thank goodness we are not like them. If only they were more like us we’d all get along far easier and the world would be a better place. They have different agendas to us. We don’t have an agenda, unlike them. Their agenda is to change something that obviously shouldn’t be changed for reasons that would be obvious to them if they were like us.

I assert that nobody does anything without a motive. Whether that motive is selfish, selfless or a mixture of both, a motive must be present to cause any action. The reality is that everybody enacts a series of actions that they are motivated to do. Some have thought it through, some haven’t. Some people are selfish, some are giving. Within all of us there is a pragmatic balance to be struck between the two.

To summarise what I’m saying here, ‘them’ and ‘us’ are emergent subjective observations of individuals. Everybody is different. If we try and achieve any sort of harmony as a species then ‘them and us’ is doomed to failure, because we are all different. And even within individuals, there are different groups of ‘them’ depending on the cause.

Ultimately, I’ve reconciled this within myself to a model where people can be different, have alternative views, beliefs and make various choices based on this – and thus far I have no issue whatsoever. My problem begins when people enact those perspectives in a manner that negatively affects other people on something more than a passing irritative level. If the choices you make fundamentally disturb, restrict, control or upset other people (especially children, who are unable to comprehend the process) then, my friend, you are one of ‘them’. And so would I be if I did it.

In short. Don’t be a dick.

 

Pocket Apocalypse

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

I came across this unsigned (at the time of writing) band recently while browsing the ThisIsOurMusic subreddit. I really like the two tracks they released on bandcamp so far – and hopefully we’ll be hearing more from them. Good stuff! They also have a soundcloud page here.

“Time Trap”

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

Short sci-fi film – a very creative use of time as a plot mechanism, by Michael Shanks.