Blog of me. I’m Alexander Jones.

31 December 2006

Kiss and make up

In response to Waldie's post:

I used to have a real problem with this kind of stuff, and it really used to get me down. But, since then, I've come to realise two things.

Firstly, you need to realise that the world as we know it is not going to be around forever, whether we like it or not. It is undeniable that the Universe is in a constant state of change, with stars being born and destroyed all the time. Just get your head around that for a second. Can you even imagine that? Can you imagine the Sun being destroyed? Something which is such a fundamental part of our existance not being there any more? Quite probably even swallowing up the Earth in its final stages of swelling before its death? This is Science, and we need to accept it. This particular apocalyptic event is billions of years away, but we need to accept that if something else doesn't get us sooner, this will.

And you know what? After the Earth, Sun, and all that we know is gone, it doesn't make a tiny bit of difference. The Universe is unimaginably big. Utterly, mind-bogglingly, brain-explodingly big. It's older than anything you can comprehend, and will go on for a hell of a long time, too. In fact, it's quite possibly even infinite in time and space, we just don't know. The world we do know is just a tiny, tiny, microscopic piece, in an impossibly big jigsaw puzzle. Your family, friends, pets, house, car, job, way of life - everything you know is just insignificant and unimportant. After it's all gone, the Universe will go on and have many more stories to tell, and that's what I find just fucking amazingly cool.

Secondly, if we are ever going to stand a chance of making the best of our time and not destroying our environment, civilisation needs to get over a few things. We need to put our differences aside, stop fighting each other and get down to getting along.

Without a doubt, one of the biggest hurdles on the path to this utopia is religion. We really need to move on. Of course, many people will disagree, and likely say that I'm as brainwashed as I might claim they are, but in my opinion, as long as people have such fundamental beliefs so incompatible and deeply rooted that they find it necessary to spend their time either "saving" people or blowing each other up, people are never really going to see eye to eye. What chance do we have, then, of fighting for the greater good?

Call me a hippy all you like, but the world really needs to kiss and make up. If it doesn't, we'll be tearing ourselves apart well before global warming ever poses us any real threat.

25 December 2006

Things I've Learnt This Christmas

  1. Sellotape is gay
  2. Non-rectangular presents are a bitch to wrap
  3. There's never enough roast potatoes
  4. There's always too much mashed potato
  5. Some people like to replace the more conventional notion of a Christmas Tree with a giant, pink penis. (Only messing, Spooky! :D)

Merry 2006, everyone!

24 December 2006

Goodbye, Legacy IM...

...Hello, Freedom!

Dealing with closed-off IM networks is basically a ball ache, and I'm no longer dancing this dance. I want instant messaging without the bullshit, and this isn't what MSN Messenger is giving me.

As of Christmas Day 2006, I'm no longer using the MSN (or .NET, or Windows Live, or whatever the fuck they're calling it these days!) Messenger or AOL IM services. Please have a quick read of the following, to find out why I'm using Jabber, and how and why you should too.

I know a lot of friends who have Hotmail accounts. I also know a lot of friends who have GMail accounts. I personally don't use either, I have my own email server at deepdarc.com. Do I need to have an account on Hotmail in order to email my friends who use Hotmail, or a GMail account to email my friends who use GMail? Of course not—that would be absurd. Yet, that is exactly the situation we tolerate with respect to instant messaging.

20 December 2006

Above & Beyond's Top 20 2006

Well, the results are in. Trance Around The World #144 was Above & Beyond's Top 20 of 2006 show, and I'll be honest, the results are a little questionable! This year's chart is dominated with bzzt-basslines and 8-bit techno-trance, and it's the kind of stuff that, although I appreciate at times, just doesn't do anything like what proper trance does for me.

With no sign of Daniel Kandi's "Child", Evbointh's "One Wish", Sunny Lax's "M.I.R.A.", Mike Shiver's "Morning Drive"... is this a reflection of the direction of future A&B sets and signings? Is Anjunabeats as we know it over? I can only hope not. Tracks like the A&B Club Mix of "Good For Me" give me a glimmer of hope, but only time will tell!

Regardless of my disagreement with the #1 choice, here's to another successful year for Above & Beyond and Anjunabeats in 2007. Thanks for the tunes and the memories, guys! :)

The run-down:

  1. 2 Devine ft Cara Dillon "Black Is The Colour" [Coco & Green Mix] (Anjunabeats)
  2. Aalto "5" (Anjunabeats)
  3. Jaytech "Starbright" [Jaytech's Touch Your Dj Remix] (Red Seven)
  4. Super8 "Get Off" (Anjunabeats)
  5. Gabriel & Dresden ft. Jan Burton "Dangerous Power" (Organised Nature)
  6. Above & Beyond "Stealing Time" [A&B Deep Club Mix] (Anjunabeats)
  7. Above & Beyond ft. Zoe Johnson "Good For Me" [A&B Club Mix] (Anjunabeats)
  8. Signal Runners "Aria Epica" [Bart Claessen Remix] (Anjunabeats)
  9. Nitrous Oxide "North Pole" (Anjunabeats)
  10. Sean Tyas "Lift" (Discover)
  11. Cass Fox "Touch Me" [Koglin & Grant Mix] (CDR)
  12. Cosmic Gate "The Element Of Life" (Maelstrom)
  13. Bolier & Coenraad "Mohawk" (Intuition)
  14. DT8 "Destination" [Above & Beyond Mix] (Mondo)
  15. Rob Mooney "Feelin Electro" [Valentino Kanzyani Remix] (Punch Funk)
  16. Above & Beyond ft Ashley Tomberlin "Can't Sleep" (Anjunabeats)
  17. Smith & Pledger "White" (Anjunabeats)
  18. Maor Levi "Shining" (CDR)
  19. Armin van Buuren "Control Freak" [Sander Van Doorn Mix] (Armind)
  20. Boom Jinx "Remember September" (Anjunabeats)

Until next Tuesday, you can listen to a recording of the set at anjunabeats.com. Have fun!

18 December 2006

13 December 2006

Beryl in Ubuntu? Please, for the love of God, no.

With the way things are going, it looks like Beryl (the fork of Compiz) is going to be making its way into Ubuntu as the default window manager, replacing the GNOME default of Metacity for all but operation on old hardware.

This concerns me. It seems that a desire to get one up over Windows Vista and Mac OS X is overcoming a more fundamental goal of making the best software.

Consider the earlier decision to use Firefox instead of the GNOME web browser, Epiphany. The main arguments for Firefox involve user familiarity, and that anyone who wants differently has the technical knowledge to switch. I think this is really hurting GNOME development, as it gives little incentive to support Epiphany - all of the Ubuntu work goes into hammering Firefox into the shape of a GNOME application, rather than making a GNOME application better. Saying that, there isn't really a lot that Firefox does better than Epiphany. In many ways, Epiphany is head and shoulders above Firefox with regards to desktop integration (session management, global proxy settings, fonts, UI, etc.).

It seems we are going the same way with Beryl. Apparently, people think it is easier to build a window manager into a compositing manager than a compositing manager into a window manager. I can't pretend to understand the technical situation, but my opinion is that we should be supporting GNOME development better than this.

Saying that, who knows? Maybe Beryl will replace Metacity as the GNOME window manager one day. I hope that the default feature-set is somewhat toned down by then, though.

Regardless of what happens, if that stupid icon makes its way into my Notification Area in Ubuntu Feisty then I am going to be monumentally pissed!

11 December 2006

06 December 2006

No Smoking

As of 1 July 2007, a nationwide ban on smoking in enclosed public places will go into effect in England. I can't wait.

I for one will definitely be going out more as a result. Coming home stinking of cigarettes is the worst thing about a good night's clubbing.

Bring it on!

02 December 2006

My Braaaaiiin

So I stayed up till 6:15am last night. Didn't even go out, just blew the whole night away making music and playing poker.

Up for 9am for Saturday morning cartoons. Missed Spongebob Squarepants, though. Arse! Back to bed at midday, and didn't get up again till like 5!

So my weekend is already completely screwed up. Nnngeh!

30 November 2006

What a crappy evening/morning

Well, my hard disk crapped out on me today. All of a sudden programs started complaining of my file system being read-only.

At first I suspected I had gone over 95% disk usage as I was downloading some large files at the time - but I was only at 85%. A quick check at the kernel log revealed some scary messages. My disk had been remounted read-only as a result of read errors.

So I rebooted*, only to see lots of the same errors on the text console. Arg! Thankfully, I have another disk with Windows installed on it, so I boot that instead with the intention of installing an Ext3 filesystem driver to pull some important files off. Scarily, opening /home/alex makes lots of noises and then reveals that it is empty. :(

* Why? Don't ask.

However, a refresh later and it's full of my files again, yay! ... !? ... Anyway, I managed to back up everything I really wanted to, but my Music folder really took a hit, with only 150 or so randomly selected files remaining. Thankfully, I have a full backup at home that I made at the end of September, so all of my 12" rips will be there, along with a few MP3 files that I had purchased way back when. All of my CDs I can rip to FLAC again, so that's not a problem. All of my original Beatport purchases (I counted them!) are intact in my "Archive" folder, but unfortunately, the same could not be said for my Trackitdown collection. In fact, none of my TID purchases were in the folder they were supposed to be in. Instead, I'm greeted with some more bad hard disk noises. I'm gonna plead with them to let me re-download my collection.

So, new 320 GB Seagate hard disk on the way. Gonna do the best disk image rip that I can with dd_rhelp, then have a go at fscking it to see what else I can recover.

The sun shines, grass grows, and hard disks fail. It's the first time it's got me, and thankfully, I've been let off reasonably lightly. Don't let it catch you out.

Well, it's 05:30, and I've got labs at 9am. Better get some sleep.

This post was brought to you by an Ubuntu Live CD.

20 November 2006

[blogsoc] No Subject

HEY GUYS JUST WANTED TO DROP YOU ALL A BLOG POST IN A NICE BIG FONT AND ALL IN CAPITAL LETERS BECUASE I KNOW THAT UR ALL PARTIALLY SIGHTED CU LATER

26 October 2006

DJ Mag Top 100 DJs Awards Party - It's Over!

Wow. I wasn't expecting that!

DJ Mag invited trance.nu to the awards party to film some footage and interview the DJs, etc. My friend, Luke, took up the challenge and brought me along to Fabric as his guest for the night. And thank god for that privilege, as the queue looked to be a good hour-long wait, and I needed a piss! We were given media passes, which was amazing-cool as it meant we could go wherever we wanted. Oh, and also a few free drinks tokens, wahey!

So, we managed to get some great interviews - one with Armin Van Buuren, who swiped the runner-up title from Tiësto this year, one with Tony and Paavo of Above & Beyond, who shot up another 10 places this year to number 9 (many congratulations to them!), and some awesome DJ-box footage of the once-again world's #1 DJ, Mr. Paul Van Dyk, mixin' it up during his victory set. Unfortunately, it seemed he'd either done one straight after his set before we got the chance to interview him, or was just somewhere uber-secret that we didn't know about. (God knows we looked everywhere!) We stayed right till the end to see if he showed up - but alas, he didn't.

Great to see people again, it's always good to have a chat with Tony and Paavo, and super-thanks go out to Mike Koglin and his "shag" (her words, not mine!) who gave me a free copy of his new artist album, VS, which I'm listening to right now! It's very good. You should buy it. :P

Special thanks to Danna and Johnathan for taking care of us on the night, and of course Luke for taking me with him. Look out for the documentary video on trance.nu in the very near future!

21 October 2006

DJ Mag Top 100 DJs Awards Party

Oh my god I can't wait for this!

Flyer

I am going to be so knackered on Thursday morning. Labs at 9am. Hmm!

So who's coming?

10 March 2006

"Human" user group?

When fiddling with GDM setup in Ubuntu, I finally noticed the "face browser". More specifically, I noticed how much the logic sucks. It decides whether someone is a human user by looking at the UID.

Would it not make more sense to have a "human" user group, and use that instead? I can see why "users" might not work, because some non-human accounts might need to be part of this group for access purposes, but creating a new group for humans would be a clean solution, IMO.

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You may know me as Weej, LXJ, or Charlie Sheen