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13 October 2016


So I switched from Spotify to Deezer and then to Tidal and then back to Deezer. And I looked at Apple Music. And then I switched back to Tidal. Which is all very silly, since I don't even really have internet. But I would nonetheless say that Tidal is very good. It almost all works, like someone might want that sort of thing to work. Tidal even does cough

Except they all suck for parties. Even Tidal, but maybe it sucks less. Because not all those tempting play buttons break your party. With Tidal only some of the play buttons break your party.

I will probably switch back to nothing. Because, as I said, I don't really have internet. So streaming music services are something of a luxury.

21 August 2013

Buying Films

The other day I tried to by a film with iTunes. I tried buy movies for money every few months to see if it's possible yet. I know other people do it, but it's nevert worked for me. Usually some about having the wrong operating system or the wrong media player or the wrong codec. This time I spent $6.99 for some GI Joe film. I tried to download it on my poor old 3G dongle and probably spent another $10 on download quota. I was using an Apple TV which I friend gave us, so I thought we could watch it on the TV proper instead of mushed onto my bedroom.

After 3 hours it was downloaded and I got ready to watch it. It spent a long time trying to play. Eventually it said "You need a TV which is HDCP compatible" or some other nonsense. The TV is almost 3 years old, so fair enough I should have to buy a new one if I am keen to pay for films instead of pirating them. However, I didn't have time to pop down to the TV shop and buy a new TV so instead I just watched some pirated movie, which had been downloaded on a proper internet connection some time previously.

Every time I try to pay for popular culture I end up coming to the same conclusion. It's sufficiently difficult for edge cases that I wouldn't bother. And for some reason, I'm usually and edge case. Either Linux issues, Mac issues, slow computer issues, slow internet issues or issues with medieval TVs from 2010. I have many experiences now of paying for films and music, but never actually getting to watch or listen to it. Or listening to it for a while, but then being told I can't anymore because I got a new computer.

This is definitely not to imply we entitled to consume popular culture for free until it becomes easy to pay for it. I don't think we are entitled to anything. However, consuming popular culture for free is incredible easy, reliable, consistent, fast, flexible and cheap. The sanctioned alternatives are none of those things. And I don't actually have any ethical issues with illegal bit copying. I prefer paying for things, because I quite like about trade. I'm happy to give talented rich people more money if they find it affirming to receive more money. But in the scheme of things, it doesn't seem enormously important.

If paying for things was only slightly more difficult than getting those things for free, I think I would try paying for them. And one day soon it will probably happen.

11 June 2009

Augie March

I have one Augie March ticket for myself. They're playing at The Metro on the 17th July, 2009. Tickets are only $35. Everybody should get one!

27 December 2008

Peats Ridge

Peats Ridge Festival is on over NYE (from the 29th Dec to the 1st of Jan). They are still looking for volunteers. 15 hours of work for a free three day ticket.

21 November 2008

Portishead’s Third

I bought Portishead's new album Third yesterday. It's into Rhythmbox and I am already enjoying it. Very different to the other ones, but still very much Portishead. Beth Gibbons is a ripper beauty.

28 May 2008

Sigur Rós – Gobbledigook

Sigur Rós made the best video clip ever. It's all naked people running around a forest for several minutes. Totally wonderful. Good song too.

23 May 2008

Sigur Rós

Libby and I are going to Sigur Rós on the 2 August 2008. They are pretty damn good.

21 March 2008


A bunch of folk went to see Pivot at the Arts Factory. Nice place. Winner band. They really were super cool. Although major dags. It makes me happy to see bands play who are their own favourite band. Musicians who would rather finish the song then ever have sex again.

When I see good bands, I feel like running around the world trying to find more good bands would be a pretty good way to spend life. Like Sal & Dean did back in the olden days. I think Pivot tonight were the closest I've seen those new-age sythnsters come to jazz.

15 February 2008

Cat Power

Libby and I are going to Cat Power on the 9th of March. Hurray for Cat Power. She is a champ. And hurray for jobs that give you money.

14 November 2007

Election ’07 Rap Battle

12 November 2007

Dance the Devil

The Frames were awesome even before Glen got depressed. I've never properly listened to their early albums. Dance the Devil is just as good as the new albums but exchanges emotive for peppy.

6 November 2007

Indigo Girls

There are so many middle-age women parking in our street tonight.

I am off to join them at the Enmore.

Update: The Indigo Girls were cool. All through the concert a kept feeling rushes of fondness for lesbians and the sorts of boys to stand up and dance at Indigo Girls concerts.


Did anyone know that Muzak is actually the registered trademark of a company from the 1930s who sold the stuff?

3 November 2007

Sufjan Stevens

We are going to see Sufjan in January and Sufjan is great. Although both Sufjan and our Tassie trip are in "mid" January, so I may have to give my ticket to someone else. Much like I had to do with White Stripes when I went to Tassie last time. Stupid Tasmanian wilderness.

29 October 2007

The Basics

Miles, Laurence and I went to The Basics on Friday night. The rocked good. We'd never heard them really. The support bands were pretty alright but hadn't raised our expectations. So when they came on and blew us away we were really blown away. As a live gig they whooped Gotye's arse big time. And to top it all awesomely off, the tickets were only $16 tiny dollars.

12 October 2007

iTunes Rating Distribution

I have spent a bit of thought trying to work out the best way of rating my iTunes music. Most of it I haven't rated, or have rated only by album. It's mostly an academic question, because there isn't much you can actually do with the ratings once you've stuck them in.

At first I found myself rating everything as three stars or more. I thought, if it's rated less than three then why not just delete it. Those were times of precious disk space for me, but it does make sense in general. Scrolling through a whole lot of junk music is a pain, even if you've got endless disk space. Not mention that obsessives like me obtain a great deal of satisfaction from having a neat music collection, with all the ID3 tags in good working order.

So I thought I need to reinterpret the ratings. Normally one star means something is shite. In my case I wanted one star to mean "just good enough not to get deleted". So I started doing that. And it worked pretty well. Most of my playlists drop stuff with one star, but the music is still there if I want to listen to it - which occasionally I do.

I also thought about the top rating - five stars. Should I keep it reserved for only the best, life-changing music? Should I assume that music goodness is uniform and give five stars to 20% of the collection? Or is it some sort of normal distribution (or something non-symmetric but similar)? Tough questions I know. Should I worry about trying to make my ratings comparable to other people's ratings. What about rating inflation? Will I one day need a 6th star? And when I'm in a good mood I'm likely to give everything good ratings. I find that every time I really enjoy a song I end up giving it four stars because giving it five makes me feel like a rating floozy, and giving it three just feels mean. I suspect there's a decided spike at four, and this troubles me.

Another problem is that I never take the effort to rate anything that I don't like. So everything has four stars or no rating at all. Which is totally useless. I've started bulk rating whole albums, hoping that over time I'd use some Bayesian logic to gradually make each song rating more appropriate. I did this just to get some data in there but it isn't very satisfying.

I'm inclined to think that I should maintain some sort of histogram and try to ensure that the ratings distribution sticks to something reasonable. Perhaps just a uniformish distribution. Hopefully, I'll subconsciously adjust my ratings based on short-term distortions in distribution over the long-term it stays reasonable.

Clearly, plenty more thought needs to be done on this. Although I can't help but wonder if my life would be better if I completely removed the whole rating column from iTunes altogether.

10 October 2007


The distribution of requests for Big Day Out tickets (and probably most concert tickets) on the Ticketmaster site is quite interesting. At 9:01 the queue was 3 minutes long. I bought some tickets and was done by 9:05. At 9:06 the queue was over 20 minutes long. I'm surprised at how many people must have arrived at 9:03 rather than 9:01. You'd think if you were keen enough to be there at 9:03, you'd try and get there two minutes earlier and it would become a frenzied race of atomic clocks and network latency. But it's not. It's just a traditional old race of some flattish log-normal distribution of human error.

7 October 2007

RIAA Boycott

I found a nifty site which lets you [search for albums and artists who aren't distributed by members of the RIAA. Most people probably won't care about the RIAA, but some might.

I've decided that for 12 months I won't download music and I will only buy music from non-RIAA distributors. Luckily The Shins are OK. Bob Dylan, sadly, is not. But then I already have nearly all his good albums.

Update: I should have included movies in that as well. No movie piracy for 12 months either.

21 September 2007


Once is a tremendous, beautiful film. I thought I was just going to fall more in love with Glen Hansard, but I ended up liking his little friend just as much. He met her (Markéta Irglová) in Czech six years ago and he slowly got a crush on her, even though she was pretty young. Then they made an album together. Then they made a movie together and this was it.

It's about being a musician and who are the best sorts of people to fall in love with. The girl is a way cool character, and you get the feeling that everything Glen Hansard likes about the actor got poured into the film. She's a seriously friendly, outgoing young lass with the relationship boundaries of a Jedi. And there's nothing sexier than healthy boundaries.

And the music too. Good music. Good Framesy music.

27 August 2007

The iPod

My 40gb iPod arrived today. I was expecting it to be dumped in box and probably to have scratches and stuff on it. "Refurbished" makes it sound second-rate. I wasn't worried though, because for $200 less I was happy to get a second-rate iPod.

But it is beautiful. It has everything you would need. It was all beautifully packaged. Each and every component has several layers of specially designed plastic wrapper. And the iPod itself is lovely. So shiny and sturdy.

I'm putting music onto it now. My whole music collection will fill up about a third of it. But even that is going to take many hours to move on my poor old USB 1 computer.

Update: iPods are truly wonderful devices.

Update 2: iTunes 6 is slow and crap with my iPod. iTunes 7 is better.

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