Vocal as instrumental

October 15th, 2003

I’ve been a Jazz fan for some time now, but only recently have taken interest in vocals, particularly since discovering Cathy Ann Wells, a Canadian Blues and Jazz singer in Kelowna, B.C. (The mp3 attached to that first link is her singing Blues, remarkable and powerful to be sure, but do yourself a favour and find her mostly Jazz live album where her dynamic range is all laid out for you to fully appreciate.)

I don’t often listen closely to vocals. As an amateur musician, I tend to listen to the instruments and rhythms. I’ve been listening to vocals lately though as another instrument, not following the words as much as the modulation, pitch and timbre. Jazz vocals tend to suit this type of listening well.


Grassroots media

October 14th, 2003

As part of researching for our SimpleFilter marketing strategy, Tim and I attended a talk tonight presented by Toronto Talks entitled “The Role Of Media And Your Company” with Larry Jackson, a local media consultant and accomplished news and media talent of some considerable experience.

My contribution was a question (or I suppose more of an observation) near the end of the talk on how non-traditional media and community (online and otherwise) can be used as part of a diversified marketing strategy to increase your profile perhaps even to the extent that you are more attractive to the mainstream media.

Interestingly enough, after the talk, William Stratas came over to say hello, which to me underlined my point nicely. William and I know of each other precisely because of our mutual involvement in online technology communities.


Okay, Game On!

October 14th, 2003

I’ve installed Jay Allen’s MT-Blacklist plugin, so we’re back in business.

I’m also keeping my eye out on the Feedster blog (as hosted by the venerable J. Scott Johnson – I’m really E. Brent Ashley as it happens, also preceded my whole life by a rarely expanded initial bestowed on me eponymously by my father). I hope to mix Jay’s peanut butter with Scott’s chocolate sometime soon to really kick this comment spam thing right up its hairy keister.


Comments off

October 12th, 2003

I’ve turned off comments until I can figure out how to turn them back on without getting inundated by fucking loser spammers with tiny dicks.


Friends and Family

October 9th, 2003

My younger daughter Rachel turned 6 a couple of weeks ago, and Jasmine turned 11 just this week. I’ve been working too hard and too long of late. How do I know? Rachel read me “Hop On Pop” tonight – by herself, phonetically sounding out the words she didn’t know. It’s a woeful testament to my recent levels of work obsession that this surprised me.

With people like Roland so ably blogging the play-by-play at BloggerCon and the recent BlogWare launch, I’ve been talking to my wife Clare at dinner about these local Toronto guys Ross and Joey. So Rachel says “Ross and Joey? Are they the guys on Friends?”.

Kids, ya gotta love’em.


Farewell Concorde

October 1st, 2003

Tim Aiello IM’d me to tell me that the Concorde was about to land at Toronto for its last time as part of its three-stop final North American tour.

Since I happened to be at a client’s office right on the other side of Highway 401 with a third-storey panoramic view of the runways, I was able to stand at the window and watch it land (unfortunately on the northernmost east-west runway so it was a bit small but still fantastic).

End of an era of commercial supersonic flight.


Lovin’ the Zaurus

September 21st, 2003

I’ve said before that I’m not a PDA type. No interest at all in schedules, address books, tasks list, sync with my pc. I’ve never carried a datebook, no use me trying to start with an electronic one.

I’ve always said that I’d never get a handheld until it was a real computer. The Ipaq is almost there, but with no keyboard and having to use the addon sleeve before you can add anything of value to it, not quite where I want it to be.

With all that in mind, I’ve gone and bought myself a Sharp Zaurus SL-5500. They aren’t sold in Canada, so I bought a refurbished one from Nikotools on Ebay.

I also bought 128Mb of SD (Secure Digital) memory and I already have a 256MB and 2x16MB compact flash cards. To round it all out, I ordered a PC-Card to CF adapter so I can use my existing 10/100 ethernet and 802.11 Wifi PC Cards.

I’ve been visiting the Zaurus Software Index and picking up all sorts of neat stuff such as VNC (viewer and server), Gaim and such Linux staples as less, top, perl, joe, openssh, sshd, and even Midnight Commander.

Once I have the Wifi happening this week, I’ll be discovering the wireless world that surrounds me.

If I want, I can load up Apache, PHP, Mysql, PHPMyAdmin – you name it – this is a REAL Linux box in the palm of your hand.

Makes a good MP3 player, too.

Now if I can only get my 6-yr-old to stop wanting to play with the “Cute Little Computer”.


Verisign Breaks DNS

September 16th, 2003

Yesterday, Verisign put a wildcard A record into each of the .com and .net top-level-domain records. The effect of this is that every time anyone requests a lookup of a non-existent second level domain name in either .com or .net, they will be supplied with the address of one of Verisign’s servers.

Go ahead – try this link: http://some-nonexistent-domain-name.com

For web browsing, this means you are directed to their “site not found” page.

For email, this means that every misspelled address will mean that Verisign can receive that email.

For programs which rely on DNS lookups (and lookup failures) to perform their duties, EVERYTHING in .com and .net now resolves successfully.

What a boneheaded move. I can’t say it’s out of character for Verisign, who in my opinion has treated their entrusted stewardship of top-level internet naming monopoly as their own personal playground for quite some time.

Ahhhh – here we are – now they want you to use a different method to resolve names than the one in universal common use. I wonder how long it is before a paid license or key is required to perform these lookups?