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The BIG Reason

Music, opinions, and portfolio of Mark Eagleton, musician and web developer in Northern CA.

Link List

Comentary about things I have found around the web.

  1. Burn the Priest (aka Lamb of God) Legion: XX

    [Apple Music affiliate link] Burn the Priest (aka Lamb of God) has released an album of punk and hardcore covers, including Kerosene by Big Black and Honey Bucket by the Melvins. I’m not the biggest Lamb of God fan, but it’s cool to hear modern recordings of these songs. Kerosene sounds interesting as a metal song. I think they did a pretty good job with it.

  2. Physical sales outsell digital downloads in US for first time since 2011

    Which is to say that digital downloads decrease much more dramatically than physical media, thanks to vinyl record sales.

    Will Butler for NME:

    That said, the difference between physical and digital sales is a mere 2% between 17% and 15% respectively. Streaming still dominates the music market taking up 65% of the total listenership.
    This isn’t to say, also, that physical sales are growing. In fact, physical sale [sic] dropped 4% last year while downloads fell 25%. The report notes that this is “a lower rate of decline than recent years”. This is due to vinyl sales’ growth of 10%, while other formats saw a decline…

    The Bottom Dwellers will be releasing our new record on vinyl this year. It is quite expensive. Too bad the RIAA doesn’t track t-shirt sales, which is the way most touring bands make money.

  3. Ultimate Money-Saving Device

    Richard Reis pens a great piece on bike commuting from the perspective of a non-cyclist. And it’s a nice follow-up to last week’s piece about where you should live.

    As someone who lives 1.2 miles from work (which also happens to be a grocery store), I can vouch that everything he says in these two posts is true. I will never live any other way.

  4. The Brain Basis for Misophonia

    Progress!

    […] fMRI showed that in misophonic subjects, trigger sounds elicit greatly exaggerated blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) responses in the anterior insular cortex (AIC), a core hub of the “salience network” that is critical for perception of interoceptive signals and emotion processing. Trigger sounds in misophonics were associated with abnormal functional connectivity between AIC and a network of regions responsible for the processing and regulation of emotions, including ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), posteromedial cortex (PMC), hippocampus, and amygdala.

    This is pretty big news for people like me. And so easily acquired.

    Via James Gallagher at BBC News.

  5. Discovering New Music

    Federico Viticci has an endearing account of his history discovering new music. I have many of the same frustrations with discovering new music on modern streaming services (I have a rant brewing on this).

    I need to fire up Spotify and check out this Discover Weekly business.

  6. Chris Coyer Thinks You Should Probably Blog in Markdown

    I respectfully disagree with most of his reasoning with the exception of number 5:

    Once you’re used to it, it feels very natural. Far less awkward than reaching for those angle bracket keys. I particularly like the link format, where you can write out the text you want to be linked first (within the square brackets) before you need to stop your brain for a second to go copy/paste the link.

    Writing in HTML is certainly not ideal—at least not inline. Most text editors can format HTML quite easily after the fact with snippets, though. I have quite a library of these for BBEdit, Atom, Coda, and Sublime Text. Wrapping a 3,000 word page of paragraphs and headings is trivial, as this can usually be accomplished with one or more keyboard shortcuts. Inserting links is only slighty less trivial.

    But I don’t do this either. I use TinyMCE in my custom CMS which allows me to write in rich text and it converts everything I write into clean HTML as I type.

    My TinyMCE configuration is locked down with the following valid elements:

    valid_elements: "h3,h4,h5,h6,p,ul,ol,li[id],a[href],strong,em,del,ins,hr,blockquote,pre,sup[id],table,tr,th,td,thead,tbody,tfoot"

    This rule tells TinyMCE to remove all markup from my text that isn’t one of these elements or attributes. The only attributes I am allowed are href for links and ids for linking to footnotes. This is how I ensure my markup is cruft-free.

    I do think Markdown is cool… if you’re into pre-processor-style workflows. So is SASS (which I also don’t enjoy using). What can I say? I’m a hands-on person, and I’ve been at this a very long time. When you removed the cruft argument and consider the fact that good old semantic, accessible markup can be compiled to other formats, too (Your browser formatted this very text into rich text just seconds ago!), you’re left with an extra step that doesn’t necessarily add all that much benefit.

    I suppose you could argue that TinyMCE is a pre-processor, too. But I don’t need to bother myself with typing out _nasty_ __underscores__, ###hashes, ***asterisks and the like to format my text as I go. Plus I get the added benefit of being able to easily use these characters in my text when I want to.

  7. iPhone SE

    I am ecstatic about the new iPhone SE, and it has me sucking in all the tech blog junk like a twenty-year-old again.

    Dr. Drang was particularly helpful. He likes the SE, but he doesn’t like, like it:

    Yes, the 6S is a little harder to use one-handed than the 5S was, and I do occasionally wish I had a smaller box in my pocket, but unlike John Gruber, I know I don’t want to go back to a 4″ phone.

    He goes on to list some “no, thank yous”—a couple of which I hadn’t considered. His list mostly doesn’t apply to me, so in retort, here is my list of “yes, pleases:”

    • A phone I can hold in my tiny mom hands1? Yes, please!
    • A phone I can use one-handed? Yes, please!
    • Having access to the lock screen from a button I can reach (the home button)? Yes, please!
    • No more force touch hijacking web links? Yes, please!
    • Five rows of apps (excluding the Dock) that I can actually reach instead one (even if I fill the top three rows with apps I don’t use, I still only get two reachable rows)? Yes, please!

    I have tiny hands. I have no problem with a â…ž scale double bass, and I frequently use this as a counterpoint to those who are overly sensitive about ergonomics. However, after six months, I still can’t seem to adapt to this giant ass iPhone 6S. I really, really hate it, and have even considered going back to my 5S. I can’t bring myself to sacrifice the camera, though.


    1. My hands are exactly the same sizes as my mom’s hands.  â†©
  8. Previously Unlicensed Remixes Go Legit in Apple Music

    Glen Peoples with the Scoop:

    Dubset Media Holdings has announced a partnership that will allow Apple Music to stream remixes and DJ mixes that had previous been absent from licensed services due to copyright issues.

    Algorithms: It’s what music craves!

    MixBank matches the recordings used in the remix or DJ mix against a database of three-second audio snippets from Gracenote, where White was CEO prior to joining Dubset. He says fingerprinting is a “brute force” tool that can provide MixBank with up to 100 possible matches for each three-second match. The more difficult final step is performed by MixScan, proprietary piece of software that pulls apart the mixes and figures out what’s inside. MixScan identifies the recording and its stop and start point in each mix, then finds the corresponding rights holders in a dataset together through multiple partnerships and direct feeds.

    Pretty cool to see this form of expression get some legitimacy.

  9. Calendar Worship and the Jack of All Trades

    Bret Alexnder in a succinct piece for Indie on the Move:

    Most, I’d dare say almost all, of my musician friends don’t play with one band anymore. They play with several. That includes me. Off of the top of my head here I just thought of 13 formats that I play in (various bands, duo formations, solo, etc). ’Tis the way of things now.

    His experience mirrors mine almost exactly. Almost. I do manage to hold onto the good old days with the Bottom Dwellers and Pleasant Valley Boys. I’ve been with both groups for over ten years. In a good year, we might break even. We do it because…

    [...] there is nothing like a group of guys1 that live with each other every day and can read each others minds.

    I sit in with my share of bands, but there is nothing like your home band, where you know (and like) the other players so well they are more of an extension of your chops than they are individuals. This is why we hang on.


    1. And girls. I actually play music with some of those, too.  â†©
  10. Daniel Romano Announces New Album

    On my birthday!

    Canadian artist Daniel Romano is following last year’s If I’ve Only One Time Askin’ with a new album, Mosey, on May 27 via New West Records.

    There’s a new video for the first single, “Valerie Leon” embedded in the linked paged there. 

  11. Gaelynn Lea: Winner of NPR’s 2016 Tiny Desk Concert

    A beautiful song and an excellent performance.

    In the original tune she submitted, “Someday We’ll Linger in the Sun,” Gaelynn creates a beautiful droning loop with her JamMan Express loop pedal and after a moody minute begins to sing a yearning tale of life’s preciousness and time’s constant ticking and why we should always care.

    If you need more, she released a record in 2012 with Alan Sparhawk of Low.

    One day while playing at a farmers market in Duluth, Alan Sparhawk, the guitarist and singer of the band Low (also from Duluth) heard Gaelynn Lea playing. Shortly after he texted her, asking if she’d like to play together. It was the beginning of a musical friendship. That friendship is a casual one they call The Murder of Crows. I discovered that they’d made a record together back in 2012 called Imperfecta.

    Buy Imperfecta by The Murder of Crows

    Affiliate links help support this website.

  12. Steve Albini Face the Music

    I can’t believe I missed this last year, but Steve Albini officially won the Internet music argument I frequently find my self in. And he did it with the graphically long-winded, and surgical precision only he can muster.

    Imagine a great hall of fetishes where whatever you felt like fucking or being fucked by, however often your tastes might change, no matter what hardware or harnesses were required, you could open the gates and have at it on a comfy mattress at any time of day. That’s what the internet has become for music fans. Plus bleacher seats for a cheering section.
  13. Backwards Thinking

    Neil Carter dismantles the fine tuning argument for intelegent design so succinctly. He even cites Douglas Adams’ intelligent puddle parable, which was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me, as it so clearly illustrates the backwards thinking I was stuck in for most of my adolescence and young adult life.

    Hearing him speak to this point was like hearing my favorite song at the concert, only to find the band is playing every song from my favorite album from start to finish. I think this was the best thing I read all year.

  14. Bill Nye Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation

    Pre orders of Bill Nye’s new book1 dropped last night. I made it to chapter 5 before I forced myself to put it down and go to sleep.

    I seem to have a thing for books on evolution. I’ve read quite a few. I also know quite a few people who don’t accept evolution, and I’ve been yearning for a book I could recommend that is easy-to-understand and written by someone a little less harsh on religion than the experts tend to be.

    So far, Bill Nye is very harsh on the bad ideas of young earth creationism, but frequently makes it clear that he does deeply care for the people (especially children) who take these bad ideas seriously. He takes multiple opportunities to remind us that many deeply religious people do accept evolution.

    People do take offense when you harshly criticize their deeply held beliefs. However, denying the single unifying tenant of biology and the vast amounts of supporting evidence from every scientific field of study based on dogma is pretty brazen. Harsh criticism is certainly warranted. This could be the book.


    1. Links in the body of this post are Amazon affilliate links. Proceeds made from purchases made by following them will help support this website. â†©
  15. Considerations For Dyno Lights

    Mashing 53 makes some great cases for dyno lighting for your bike. I liked this the best:

    Instead of simply vomiting photons in a cone shape, they use carefully shaped reflectors to place them on the road ahead.

  16. Lunar Eclipse October 8, 2014

    I shot about 110 photos of the lunar eclipse on my iPhone 5s through my 10" Newtonian telescope with a 30mm eyepiece this morning. I lasted until about 4 a.m., then crapped out. They are in this Flickr album.

  17. Watch As Mind Blowing Unfolds

    Watching Phil Plait blow Hank Green’s mind by explaining how we measure cosmic distances is just as rewarding as having Phil Plait blow your own mind. This is how astronomers—amateur or otherwise—are born, gentlepeople.

    What we know is amazing. How we know what we know is even more amazing, and now, seeing someone make the connection of how we know what we know; well, that is amazing too. Go humans!

  18. Chord Intelligence

    There is a Grammy in Chris Liscio’s future.

    When I returned from NAMM and came down from all the excitement of the show, I decided that enough was enough and I needed to tackle all the research I was uncomfortable and afraid of. I had never taken an Artificial Intelligence or higher level Statistics courses at school, but all the research papers I was reading over the years made frequent references to concepts that I was completely unfamiliar with.

    I re-read all the papers I’ve used over the years for reference, and read them again. I got in touch with Taemin Cho to get some clarification on some of his work, and he led me to newer papers which required additional learning on my part. For a solid 6 weeks I was doing nothing but reading papers and exploring in MATLAB.

    When Newton was asked to explain why planetary orbits were ellipsis, he invented calculus. Chord intelligence is not as critical to life on earth as understanding planetary motion, but this is the kind of drive that pushes our species forward. Chris Liscio is the kind of people who needs to pass on his genes.

    By the way, Capo Touch is worth buying an iPad for.

  19. Freedom

    Reddit user NoSkyGuy on why US freedom is not quite up to par with other free countries.

    American’s [sic] often confuse their practice of religion and freedom to own guns as real freedom. Neither has anything to do with freedom; participating in a country that as [sic] an active press (the US doesn’t) with a functioning democracy (because of money the US doesn’t), with a [sic] educated populous who can debate issues properly (the US doesn’t due to media control and a 3rd rate education system), with health care for all (this is getting repetitive), so that people are fit to work and participate in society, with safe streets (naw), etc. you start to have freedom. I wish America would stop believing its propaganda and get to work.

    I think I loved this comment more than the post itself. Bummer about the grammar, though.

  20. Richard Wade zings the pope on an epic scale

    Francis, it was not the bones of 800 dogs and cats that were discovered dumped into a septic tank at an Irish Catholic home for unwed mothers.

    Your empire’s record of the value of children as people worthy of compassion and respect has no credibility at all, so in regards to children, your opinion on how and why life should be lived has no credibility at all.

    Damn.

  21. A view of the earth from the Hubble Space Telescope. Which I nearly broke.

    If you didn’t already just love astronaut Mike Massimino to death, he goes and writes something like this.

    The first thing I had to do was to remove a handrail from the telescope that was blocking the access panel. There were two screws on the top, and they came off easily. And there was one screw on the bottom right and that came out easily. The fourth screw is not moving. My tool is moving, but the screw is not. I look close and it’s stripped. And I realize that that handrail’s not coming off, which means I can’t get to the access panel with these 117 screws that I’ve been worrying about for five years, which means I can’t get to the power supply that failed, which means we’re not gonna be able to fix this instrument today, which means all these smart scientists can’t find life on other planets.

    And I’m to blame for this.

    It’s people like this that make me proud to be human.