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Yes indeedy

Photogerbilism | Tuesday, July 31st, 2007 | 9 years, 8 months ago

I’ve tried time and again to complete this entry but haven’t had the follow-through.

WordPress friggin sucks at managing images. The only thumbnail option, generated every time you upload whether you want it or not, is stuck at a puny 100×100 pixels. I figured out which value in the voluminous code to edit back in version 1.5, but it got away from me in 2.0.

Thus I’ve been using Microsoft’s free Image Resizer powertoy to generate thumbnails manually at 400×400 (whichever axis is greater). It’s a nice little tool but there’s no batch converter so I’ve been dreading having to make thumbnails for all these awesome pictures.

I’ve been taking more and more pictures with my cell phone and downloaded Google’s Picasa just for fun. I noticed a feature called “Web Albums” so I tried it out and found features for remote linking and thumbnails! So let’s give ‘er a whirl, shall we?

edit – linking to Picasa Web Albums is actually pretty annoying. Never again, I promise. When you click on an image be sure to hit the Magnify button at the top right-hand corner. My kingdom for a WordPress image manager!! Here’s a link to my Montreal web album in case you’d rather see my pics without enduring my repartee.

~

I had the pleasure of going on a business trip to Montreal a few weeks back. It was really enjoyable, fulfilling work and the guy I worked with was a composer and huge fan of synthesizers and electronic music so I was in good company. Good times!

My hotel was a couple of streets from the building where I worked so I enjoyed some short walks each morning. I was situated south of downtown near Museum Métro station. There was a really interesting mix of old, restored buildings…

… and more modern ones.

Almost every side street was peppered with graffiti. It’s everywhere! Some of it is nothing but vandalism but a surprisingly HUGE ratio was quite intricate, beautiful stuff! The pieces on one building were so amazing that I risked being late for work just so I could capture them all.

And here they are!

You can’t see it clearly in this awful photo but the writing on the orange bench says “SHIT” with the CN Tower for the I.

Such detail! I really love the urban backdrop with the shiny puffy clouds. I can’t read the lettering but it’s gorgeous. There are signatures around the name tag so maybe this was a collaborative piece. Note the “Meeting of Style” logo to the bottom-right – could this have been a graf event?

The spraycan taps into another dimension. I love it. I also dig the Mad Magazine style doodles around the margins, and how the characters are sweating or crying with intensity. Another “Meeting of Style”.

Just crazy. It’s a shame my camera didn’t capture the detail of the piece at the top left-hand corner. It’s some kind of Transformers/Giger/hawk hybrid done in very few sprays.

The stenciling is razor sharp on these pieces. Check out the electric, 8-bit, and juicy backgrounds going counter-clockwise. Do they all spell the same thing?

How wicked is the arrow motif in the Tyke piece? The starry piece at the bottom-left is my favourite. What’s 156?

Un piece de graf avec une chemise abandonnée. This one looks like it’d run under the fridge if you flipped the lights on.

In Toronto you’re an addict but in Montreal you’re a gourmand!

Ever wonder whether Inspector Gadget would spend his retirement kickin’ it with his ghetto blaster and aerosol, leering at the ladies? Wonder no longer! I like the fleur de lis/pitcher plant things in orange too.

BIGGUNS!!! Looks like this is 4 pieces integrated. Note the fleur de lis bookends.

This one is just bananas. Probably my favourite of the bunch. It looks like some kind of futuristic power plant. Is that a sickle-wielding Uncle Sam to the right? I wish I’d stepped further back!

I’m speechless. Look how smooth the gradients are. Very unconventional and classy. Looks like this one’s by Omen from the 514.

The blurriness is heartbreaking. This is one of two huge Super Mario-inspired pieces. Shyguy switch palace party!

I just googled it, so here’s the Meeting of Styles homepage. Awesome lettering – especially the T.

This is what drew my eye from the street. Looks like Toad’s Catholicism means no birth control. Would Mario keep saving Peach if he knew of her infidelity? “The princess is in another castle” indeed, you dog…

That top-middle bomb has the craziest lettering. I love the shiny neon highlights. That FAMZ piece has super cool colouring and it goes great with the cloudy backdrop. Luigi, il fume!!

Another angle of the same piece. As soon as Mario’s done his Colt 45 he’s gonna get back his baby’s mama! If Jr.’s lucky he’ll inherit daddy’s impeccable oral hygiene habits!

And the big finish. Absolutely amazing. The colouring and shading is phenomenal and the text shadows match the colour scheme of the centre. Stop leering at me like I’m the one who parked like an asshole.

If this sticker confuses you the website will render you catatonic. Dubya tee eff?!?!

I snapped this last pic in a taxi on the highway enroute to Pierre Trudeau International Airport. I spent over 10 minutes on this highway and the entire length was bisected by railroad tracks. Every single square inch of the concrete divider is adorned with graffiti. This picture is awful and unfortunate – one of the few short spans not covered with really intricate, beautiful pieces. I was mesmerized.

How apropos that this Everybody Votes question should be posed when I turned on my Wii immediately after arriving home!

p.s., the first person to leave a comment correctly and clearly stating why I chose this title will win a very, very stupid prize!

p.p.s., props to local tech journalist Marc Saltzman for writing the Microsoft article I linked to!

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Hypnotic Melody featured on P2Pnet

Music | Sunday, July 22nd, 2007 | 9 years, 8 months ago

I’m a regular reader of Jon Newton’s digital media law and politics blog P2Pnet, and was very happily surprised when he announced a new free indie music hosting service. As my friends know all too well I’ve been milking my mid-90’s music compositions for more years than I spent writing them, and hence I milk-on thusly! I immediately contacted Jon who graciously extended his hospitality and bandwidth my way.

And so, now you can download my same music from another place, albeit with ads, though funding goes at least in part to Jon’s defence against lawsuits by Kazaa’s Nikki Hemming and Wayne Crookes.

Many thanks to P2Pnet for this distinction!

Here’s some succinct words by me on my opinion of today’s music industry, in case they are removed for some reason from my profile:

The only reason the music industry has ever been profitable is because of the relative difficulty of reproducing their product. This all changed with the proliferation of the internet, just like the Great Wall of China met its obsolescence with the advent of the tank and the aeroplane. As humanity steadily and irreversibly evolves we collectively find the impossible becoming possible, and the insurmountable becoming insignificant.

The insurmountable gaps between human bodies has been made all but insignificant thanks to our greatest achievement, the internet. Our physical realm is rapidly becoming digitized while tangible objects become luxuries. This is why music in the 21st century is absolutely worthless from a business standpoint.

Artists’ efforts at stifling evolution are little more than a pothole on the highway – people simply steer around it.

There are some artists who provide tangible benefits to owning albums by including a book or autograph or beautiful design. These are tactile luxuries that are pleasurable to own, cannot be duplicated, cost someone money for materials, ergo artists are justified in requesting compensation. Other artists demand compensation for easily duplicated digital representations of their creations. Such artists are spinning their wheels. Bits belong to no one.

Me? I invite you to consume and copy my creations for free. Please enjoy.

For more insights into my opinion of the music industry feel free to check out my essay on the topic

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WordPress fits all

WordPress | Thursday, July 19th, 2007 | 9 years, 8 months ago

I’ve been more in the mood for web design than writing lately. This has been the case both at work and at leisure. Lucky for me, both of those aspects of my life are flexible enough to accommodate these whims. At work I’ve been working on a beta of a corporate blog and researching the technical aspects of search engine optimisation. At home I’ve been looking for an excuse to author a site to use as some kind of content management system.

My first idea was a lofty one, but I couldn’t find an appropriate platform. My idea was to create some kind of self-serve CMS, open to the public, that would allow people to freely upload and describe their own creative works – music, poetry, art, whatever. I tried several Wiki platform and poked around the web looking for similar projects but they all seemed either too amateurish or too professional for my tastes.

In the end I tabled this idea and took some time to mull things over. I love mulling. It’s like thinking but much more lazily.

During this web design hiatus the day of the Hullabaloo 10-year anniversary rave, One More Group Hug, was rapidly approaching (I’ll write about this when I get my camera USB cable back!). As I got more excited I got into the giving spirit. I dug up an old tape of DJs SOS and Grimace playing at the Hullabaloo 1 preparty, ripped it to MP3, and posted it on the Hullabaloo message board. This was awesome because it gave me the opportunity to listen to this tape while I ripped it, and I got to share this enthusiasm with others.

Ding!

With a little help from Tom Johnson‘s post about using WordPress as a CMS I slapped together a WordPress installation and played around with various plugins, most of which were not appropriate for non-textual content like audio files. In the end most of the functionality I needed was built right into WordPress – hierarchical categories, variable menu display settings, non-chronological organisation, and easy linking to static content.

Because CMS isn’t its primary function and there are few plugins to meet my specific needs I’ve had to dig under the hood a little more than usual. This has been hit and miss due to my crappy programming skills coupled with the fact that many functions (like the_category()) are missing some important array output formatting options. I’ve logged some suggestions on wordpress.org so hopefully they’ll be taken care of some time soon.

I’ve had a great time ripping my old rave tapes to 256kbps MP3s and so far I’ve posted three. My category tagging system is working okay for now but I might need to rethink my strategy if it gets too cluttered. I’m also struggling to find a nice way of displaying a tape’s tags below its description. By default WordPress orders the category list by the primary key ID number which is dumb and looks random, so I’ve been struggling to find a way to list subcategories by main categories and show them in ASCIIbetical order (0-9, [Aa]-[Zz]).

So it’s a work in progress and a labour of love! See what I’ve done so far at http://mixtapes.demodulated.com. Download and enjoy the music, and kindly let me know how usability can be improved.

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