Saturday, January 29

Two from Gordon Lightfoot...

'If you could read my mind'

'The wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald'

Kristeen Young, 'Life's Not Short, It's Sooo Long'

Posted this a long time ago, but it was a video, not a live performance. Some of you will really like her, others will plug your ears or run out of the room. It matters not!

I saw her and met her and talked to her for quite a bit so I happen to like her and most of her music. And by most I mean probably half. She has some punkish stuff I don't like. But she had some slow, haunting stuff like this too that sounds totally original.

Oh, and she's a very nice person. Very polite, even to a total stranger like me. That goes a long way in my book when so many people in this world just blow you off unless you're someone they can use for their own ends, or you're oozing money and bling.

Jeff Buckley covering...

Morrissey, his idol. This is a Smiths song from 1985, the Buckley version is from 1995. He also left a number of Smiths covers on his own (presumably at home) which were not found until after his death in 1997.

Thursday, January 27

Which do you like better? Or do you say "Mu!"

The original, from the 1989... Except it's not the original, it's a version. Though it's still Robert Smith from The Cure, who wrote it... I'm guessing this is live or something. Original enough.

(There was a cover version by a musician called "Adele" here, previously.)

Lost the Adele version already, on account of copyright violation. Yet you can go to YouTube and watch it. Isn't streaming something to people you have an influence on just free publicity for an artist, so that those people may buy the album? I don't understand the strongarm tactics of the music industry a-holes. I just love music and want to share it with people; I'm not filling my site with ads and trying to make a nickel off anything. If the people I know like something enough that I put up, they are likely to buy it legally. Everyone I know well will, if they have money. If they don't, they wouldn't buy it anyway! Duh...

Well, so much for the comparison. By the way, about the Mu reference...

Simple version

More accurate version

Basically saying "mu!" to a question is to "unask" the question. Useful for paradoxes and being questioned by the FBI.

Saturday, January 22

My current Comcast connection.

After a few tries it seemed to keep coming out almost the same...

I know the reported upload speed is too slow. I observe traffic both ways pretty religiously, and it should be quite a bit higher. The test told me my ISP might be experiencing a heavy load or using "upload compression" whatever that is.

Also, I've got lots of apps open and haven't rebooted in ages, so that doesn't help. The download speed of 11 Mbps seems pretty accurate, though. On a good day on a good site, I can download things at between 5mb and 10mb per second. That's a music CD in about 10 seconds, a watchable-quality movie in about 5 minutes (less or more depending on the number of seeders), and a 720p Blu-ray rip encoded as an H.264/.mkv file in about 20 minutes.

Want to test your speed?

Caveat: I'm not sure this will work for non-North American users. Feel free to try, though.

Friday, January 21

Just got this to watch.

Amazed I'd never seen it before with those three actors in it. Looks a bit creepy too. Based on a Tennessee Williams play, and by the director of On the Waterfront. Must be good! I know the title of course but really know nothing about the film. Anyone seen this? Don't spoil it if so, just interested if you have.

Just went through all 10 Star Trek flicks recently, so now I'm on an "old" movie kick to change gears, so to speak. Stuff with Monty Clift, Richard Burton, Liz Taylor, Cary Grant, Marlon Brando, Katherine Hepburn, Gregory Peck – all the interesting actors. And in good films too. If you've got some favorites from the past, whether well-known or barely-known (the latter would be better), please share them.

Always looking for quality films I haven't seen before.

Wednesday, January 12

Enigma, "Sadeness"

Official video gets blocked in countries outside the US, usually. Still, this one contains a translation of the Latin and French parts - bonus!

Wednesday, January 5

being held down by darkness

Anyone trying to get hold of me, or wondering why I've not been around much on email, phone, facebook, or my blog... I'm just very depressed right now. I'm having a horrible time trying to sleep, horrible nightmares and insomnia and sleep paralysis and lucid dreaming and night terrors, and this lack of needed, healthy sleep has drained me completely during the day. I'm on my normal meds and not aware of any specific cause, it's just one of those things that happens sometimes. Usually I get myself out of it in a few days - it just lifts and I'm able to get motivated about something, and then it's back to the normal ups and downs of life, the normal feeling that things are real and I'm inside myself and there's not a 1000 lb weight on me and I can see or hear something or talk to someone without wanting to run away or burst into tears or be gone completely. But there's nothing I can do until it lifts...

I'll be fine again I'm sure, it always goes away (for awhile). I'm not panicking or desperate or suicidal right now - just flattened by apathy alternating with sadness, and almost unable to get out of bed. For those who are wondering about my sinus illness and other things, a quick update so that I can avoid talking to anyone in the meantime (sorry if that sounds rude, I don't mean it in that way - I just *can't* bear to do much right now)...

I went to the ENT doc but my appt was the last before their 2-hour lunch break, and they were running an hour behind by then, so I was going to have to be pushed to the afternoon. As I was already feeling anxious and depressed yesterday, I asked if I could reschedule. The doctor had no problem with it since my sinuses seem to be fine now, but said of course to call if they got worse suddenly. I'm scheduled to get my CT and see him both on the 13th now. Hopefully this time they won't overbook, and everything will turn out well. As of now I feel physically fine, I'm just in the doldrums for no reason that I know of, and can't get out of it in any way that I know of either.

This is common in major depression; despite medication, depression still breaks through now and then for most people, and the time around the holidays, around times of change or stress, are particularly likely times for it to happen. I'm trying to read, to meditate, to eat and to do little things like check my mail, but it's hard right now and to be honest I really have NO interest in anything.

I appreciate concern anyone has for me and just request (politely) that those who want to be supportive do so (again, not to sound rude - this is really what I need/want right now) by just leaving me alone to work things out for myself. Positive support is fine too, but I can't promise to respond and don't want to worry people if I don't. And any sort of confrontation about anything right now is just off the table; I can't and won't deal with it at all. I hope no one has any towering issues with me at the moment, but if they do they won't get anything out of me until I can get out of this funk. Again, it's not my will that this be the case but simply the way my disease works. I literally cannot deal with much right now, cannot "help myself" and run around getting things done and making phone calls and setting things up - if people suffering major depressive episodes could do all that, it would be quite nice, but they can't.

I'm not going to feel bad about it (being depressed), either, because I can't control when it happens and have learned that putting the blame on myself (feeling guilt, inadequacy, and so on) only makes things worse, and I refuse to fall into that cycle. I have done so far too many times in the past, causing myself to just spiral inward and get worse and worse, and I won't any more. I know it's an illness and not "me" and that anyone who thinks differently or thinks badly of me because I am the way that I am should correct their incorrect beliefs.

It's not that I don't care - it's because I do care (somewhere inside me) that I feel I must write this.

Resources for people who would like to understand depression better:

I won't apologize for being depressed either. I wish I weren't, of course. I will say thanks to those who are or have been supportive, and also that I know it is a very hard thing to deal with, not only for the sufferer but others in his family or in his life. I understand it can be extremely difficult and frustrating for those around me. Please understand it is all that to an even greater extent for me. Thank you.


Sunday, January 2


Yes, that typo was on purpose and designed to make you "lol".

Let's see... browsers. Over the life of the web I've gone from using Netscape to IE to Firefox to Chrome. I've also dabbled with Opera, Safari, Seamonkey, and a few others, but they've never been my primary browser.

At the moment I am using Chrome 8, the latest stable release, as my primary browser, but I have - get this - Chrome 10 beta, Firefox 3 stable, Firefox 4 beta, Opera 11, IE 9, and Safari 5 all installed just to play with, or use when Chrome 8 seems incompatible with something, or to compare look, feel, and speed amongst all the major browsers on certain tasks like loading pages (text-rich or graphics-rich), videos, flash, and so on. I also like to see how extensible each one is, how minimal I can make it, how useful and thoughtfully laid-out its interface is, and so on. The reason for the betas is just to see what's in the pipeline - I never use them when I'm doing something I care about, mostly just get the latest builds periodically to see a glimpse of the future.

What is your favorite browser and version? And why? Just because it's the default for your OS and seems to work fine for what you do (a perfectly good answer), or have you compared a bunch as have a list of actual reasons why you like one better than the other? What is most important to you in a browser? Stability, compatibility with web standards, speed, user interface, tools and extensions, supporting a company you like, or something else?

By the way the fastest browser as of 1/1/11 (<cool!) that I've used is by far Chrome 10 beta. Though I would NOT recommend you use it, as it's far from stable. The fastest "official" (non-beta) browser right now I think is Safari on the Mac (debatable, but it seems to be for most tasks), and Chrome 8 for Windows (IE 9 is faster for some limited tasks, but not overall). Chrome 8 seems slower than version 7, though, and 9 - which should be out very soon - doesn't promise any speed boosts. I blame it on more people bloating it with more extensions - one of the things that doomed Firefox when version 3 came out and which 4 is trying to address.

Chrome 10 will probably be the fastest still by the time it reaches "official" status, though I wouldn't put it past either Apple or Mozilla to surprise us with something just as fast by that time. I wouldn't bet on it though. Betting against Google is a sure way to lose your money. Also, I predict Opera will remain in the middle of the pack as far as speed, but be the most full-featured and in some ways most user-friendly browser out there. You should give it a try sometime. If you have a fast connection, it' plenty fast, and it has more options to customize and extend it, not to mention more built-in apps (it's really a suite, like the old Netscape was, rather than just a browser), than any of the other offerings. I quite like it, and version 5 seems like the best yet.

I'll keep testing it on sites that use lots of so-called Web 2.0 technologies like Ajax, Flex, Ruby, FBHTML (Facebook), HTML 5, and so on, and report back what I think of it when I am more comfortable in doing so. Probably this means I'll force myself to use it for all my normal daily tasks for about a month and then report back on my experiences, good and bad. Here are links for the various major browsers, btw (excluding beta builds - google those if you want them as I don't want to be responsible for crashing your computer)...

Google Chrome 8
Apple Safari 5
Mozilla Firefox 4 beta (I just broke my own 'no beta' rule, but 4 is almost out...)
Opera 11
Internet Exploder 9 (also technically still a beta, though they recommend it over version 8! Stupid Microsoft.)

Be aware that my primary experience is from within Windows 7 Home Edition 64-bit on a medium-performance rig. Your mileage may very if you use another version of Windows, or Mac OS X, Linux, or any of the new army of mobile device operating systems - or old hardware. I can't possibly test every version of every browser on every version of every operating system on every piece of hardware! (Unless someone paid me to do it, in which case I would undertake the task cheerfully.)

If you really want my recommendations (I usually tell people to do their own research, and you should), I'll say that in my opinion only, if you use Windows 7, then Chrome 8 is the best browser at the moment, followed closely by Opera 11. I'll be intrigued by the official release of Firefox 4 and use it heavily when it comes out to see if Mozilla has got their groove back. If you are on Mac OS X Snow Leopard, I'd either sit tight with Safari 5 or use Chrome 8. Firefox is not a bad choice but again until version 4 becomes official, I wouldn't bother even messing with 3.x - it's too buggy and slow. I have now idea how Safari 5 does on Windows or how Opera 11 does on OS X - probably not even worth trying to find out. I would also caution everyone to stay away from IE 8/9 on either platform. They're finally making strides toward complying with net standards that all the other browsers use, but they've got a ways to go. And they continue to have an unfair advantage by bundling their browser with their OS, and by not allowing you to truly uninstall it. Until they make it a standalone app that must sink or swim on its own without help from it's parent OS, I'll never use it nor recommend it just out of principle.

And if you want my recommendations for Linux or Ubuntu browsers, sorry, I haven't a clue.

Good luck whichever browser you use, and be sure to report any positive or negative experiences here so that we can all learn from them!

EDIT: I just found this benchmark of the "big 4" Windows browsers (unfortunately, this excludes Safari), and some of the betas I was talking about above, on the fairly reliable site Lifehacker. As my gut told me, and their numbers confirm, Chrome and Opera stomp Firefox and IE into the ground at everything. And Chrome 10 with its brand-new "Crankshaft" engine looks to be the most exciting browser on the horizon. One nice thing is that ALL browsers (yes, even IE) seem to have gotten better over the last handful of years, probably because of the increased competition. There are fewer and fewer proprietary functions and more and more compliance with web standards like HTML 5. This is a good thing. Compatibility and security trump sheer speed and fancy features every time in my book. Here's hoping that the future brings true open-standard web fonts, a browser-agnostic extension model, mandated HTML 5/XML 3 compliance, and default robust low-level security across the board as well. This would excite me more than any speed increase or GPU-assisted 3D Flash gimmicks, though the average Joe will always go for the glitzy stuff, of course.

Saturday, January 1


You're welcome

Archived Posts

Search The Meta-Plane