DEFCON Day 1

first thing in Las Vegas (7:30am, good morning) is matching billboards informing me that Paul Oakenfold and that one guy from Jersey Shore are resident DJs at the hard rock casino. must be a proud moment for oakie.

my taxi driver, upon hearing that i’m going to the Rio, asks me if i’m a hacker and if i can hack his car (a mid 90s crown vic). i tell him i can and he’s impressed. i suppose i could try and block his GPS signal if i had a spoofer or something, so it’s not 100% a lie.

line for badges is 2 hours. i was in front a 6’5″ dude from Colorado who couldn’t not talk to people. as soon as someone started ignoring him he’d pick a new audience for his particular brand of libertarian-tinged DEFCON history and philosophy. it was like being stuck in a 2 hour podcast of a turner diaries / windows certification classes crossover.

badge this year is a hybrid of the go-meet-people-solve-mystery one from last year, and the techy ones from previous years. it’s a microcontroller with usb, vga (requires soldering), and some other hidden features, but also part of an ARG game again. reminds me to look up what the ARG ‘solution’ was last year since i never check

btw, this microcontroller supports the Z80 instruction set, which means that it’s possible to play Jet Set Willy on a conference badge. not quite the singularity but it’s not bad.

thursday talks were tailored towards the workshops, with mini tutorials as talks. the wi-fi guys did a “here’s how to attack WPA2” one, the lockpick guys did “here’s how to bypass this generation of anti-lockpick devices”, etc

the defcon entertainment is maturing, for better or worse. sure, the perennial terribads Regenerator are still playing, but the headliners for the friday/saturday post-defcon parties are  MC Frontalot and Crystal Method, with Infected Mushroom doing a daytime set outside. not sure how ready crystal meth is for a hall with 4 guys ironically dancing and couple hundred people sit leaning against the walls tweeting about how much they love bacon, guns, and ayn rand.

btw, if i catch their set, this would be the third time i unintentionally see Crystal, with the first being some club i went to for a friend’s birthday, and second being burning man when someone told me that they were Chemical Brothers (i spent a good few minutes wondering Chem Bros would open a set with Trip Like I Do)

food eaten so far: 1 stupid large sandwich and a naked juice. i feel like a paleothic hunter who caught and ate an entire capybara, except the capybara is an overpriced philly cheese-steak, and i didn’t catch it but in a way you bought it for me with your state education fund tax dollars. so thank you.

if you’re not going out of your way…

if you’re not going out of your way to avoid ads, consider starting.

not only do you lose your present but long story short, advertising creates false memories, and in a very real way people are stealing your past from you and replacing it with a false one

there’s simply no need to be exposed to the vast majority of ads anymore either, in between adblockers and alternate ways to watch shows. no cure for billboards yet though

march second second march

new preteen is up: sherman’s second march

some thoughts:

  • came out more religious than we thought. that’s in a big way cause the popularization of the ‘weird’ that we like to look into. we had to dig a bit deeper than before, and the result was going into older sources. some stuff ages a bit worse, and there’s only so much communism we can put into a CD. religion is more timeless
  • the verses on Black Block are sampled from an a capella by Utah Phillips. google him
  • the beats date from between 2007 to 2011. the CD was assembled from separate piles of beats and samples, and into an album, mostly in the last week of February 2011
  • boyfriend is a cover
  • electrohead is not a cover
  • the sample on unapologia is real and not taken out of context. we actually considered recutting it to try and get him to make more sense, since he likes to change what his pronouns refer to mid-sentence, but figured that it’d be best left alone
  • this is our longest CD ever and savannah is our longest song ever
  • “message from our sponsor” is our second shortest album song ever and third shortest overall. “uncanny valley (radio edit)” is 4 seconds shorter, “uncanny valley (extended)” is 2 seconds shorter
  • “uncanny valley (radio edit)” is actually too short to go onto a CD
  • savannah is too long to fit on any CD format currently in use. it could fit on a DVD-A though
  • “flaming sanken seven stamp my tote” was the most renamed song on the album. most were different onomatopoeias for that first line
  • “message from our sponsor” made the cut to be on the CD by about 2 hours
  • “a prayer for the nation of africa” is not a complicated audio hack. the speaker really seemed to not have been clear on the difference between a continent and a country
  • despite being in almost every live show, this is the first time that Steve contributed audio to an album. he wrote some of the backing audio in “savannah” and “hate and rockets”
  • i think the only sampled statement in the history of the band that i genuinely can say “i agree with this entirely” is the opening alan moore line in “black block”: “Anarchy is, and always has been, a romance.”

where i make difficult to follow comparisons between things

So after seeing them live, Zoë Keating is the Paul Cézanne of classical cello, and Kaki King the Henri Rousseau of classical guitar.

Not perfect analogies, but the idea is there. Zoë understands classical music theory and that methodology, but rejects it in a conscious pursuit of what became called primitivism in painting (though i prefer Gauguin’s term ‘synthetism’). Her music is intentionally segmented, allowing for a greater tonal and stylistic contrast between the fragments, and these contrasts allow for the audio analogue to brighter colors than usually occurs in more traditional approaches. But it’s not a violent rejection, the classical is there in the background, but only as a launching board.

Kaki King on the other hand is to some degrees the outsider. She comes across as someone who is simply playing with toys, but who’s technical ability makes that playing a spectacle. She isn’t worried about showing the edges of her ability, and by exposing them they become a part of the performance, adding a more direct connection to the audience. Where Zoë is memorized, Kaki is always in part, if not wholly, improvised. It would be a disservice to call her music fauvist as it now implies almost an inability, but she isn’t afraid to step into harsher edges of tone and music when the performance takes her there.

Or at least that’s how a slight synaesthetic with slight apophenia sees it.

– –

must be a serious post, i used some capital letters.

hook and line neutrality

was working on mixes and watching angelica play ME2, and reading about net neutrality in the background. after about 2 hours of reading, i am of the conclusion that anyone who says they understand net neutrality is either (A) lying, or (B) lying to make money off of it one way or the other

i’d comment on it more, but frankly i’m not qualified to. instead, here’s some thoughts about Mass Effect 2:
1, the game, being a sequel, doesn’t do the “you lose all your items and powers, start over” crap. instead you start a world famous hero who saved the world, and have access to vast resources and near top of the line weaponry and armor. ditto your team. who also are heroes who saved the world and have achieved their own positions of power and greatness.

2, at no point does the game plot fall into the rut of “you need to find the 7 parts of the seal that ancient warriors used to block out the demon” type crap. even the most mundane side quests (aka, the loyalty missions) have better individual plots than most sci-fi books i read. it actually feels like watching hour long episodes of a good sci-fi tv series: each has it’s own complete plot

and yeah, the shooty parts can feel more like an on-rails headshot emulator than an FPS, but eh, it’s not supposed to be a shooter

picture unrelated

DYay

selling my VCM-100 djing soundcard. with the included software it’s literally everything you need to do a laptop dj set, pro style. $140

in other words, you get a left and right song, can switch between them using the hardware (like a dj mixer), it does speed synching, auto-synching, and has a separate headphone output for the cues. and it’s neat and metal. and i think has one sticker on the bottom or something.

i’m switching to all ipad. this will allow vinyl, cd, cdr, AND laptop djs to look down on me.