Awasu » 2008 » March
Saturday 15th March 2008 2:38 AM [General]

One of the giveaway signs that you're getting old is that you notice you've started wandering around grumbling to yourself "WTF is wrong with kids today?!"

Nokia have recently started a project to promote local music and I went to one of their special events last night where they had brought in several young indie bands from around the country to give a show. It was some of the baddest, most kick-ass music I've heard in a long time and enjoyed it immensely but I was horrified to see what was going on down in the moshpit. The headline band is actually quite famous and the front of the stage was packed solid with kids digging the music, except that not one single person was dancing?! 😯 I was on the top deck at the back of the bar and all I could see was a sea of tiny LCD screens as everyone held up their mobile phones and digital cameras to record the show! :wall:

OK, I don't mind admitting it, I'm obviously getting old. WTF is wrong with kids today?! 😡

Henry Rollins used to be the lead singer of Black Flag, one of the most influential punk bands, but he now does mostly stand-up shows and one of my all-time favorite clips is this one (mp3, nsfw) where he talks about how our generation are probably going to be harder-core than our kids. I don't have any but if I did, I know I'd probably scare the living daylights out of them 😎

Be careful you don't squirt your prune juice out your nose... :hysterical:

Saturday 8th March 2008 5:39 AM [General]

An insanely cool paper has recently been released that describes research done analyzing brain activity in jazz musicians as they play:

A pair of Johns Hopkins and government scientists have discovered that when jazz musicians improvise, their brains turn off areas linked to self-censoring and inhibition, and turn on those that let self-expression flow. ...

The scientists found that a region of the brain known as the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, a broad portion of the front of the brain that extends to the sides, showed a slowdown in activity during improvisation. This area has been linked to planned actions and self-censoring, such as carefully deciding what words you might say at a job interview. Shutting down this area could lead to lowered inhibitions, Limb suggests.

I've always said (only half-jokingly) that one of the signs of a really good musician is that they can still play even when totally drunk. It shows that they've really internalized the mechanics of playing their instrument and the music is coming directly from within, a release from one's normal inhibitions and other constraints to give complete freedom to the creative process.

I used to play with a guitarist in the north of Thailand who often came to gigs so loaded on drugs and booze, he could barely stand yet he was able to play some of the most amazing stuff I've ever heard. Now he's pushing 50, he's off the drugs and drinks only moderately but unfortunately, now doesn't play anywhere near as excitingly 🙁 But it certainly showed me what can happen when you get into the zone.

Computer programmers also often get into the same kind of place, madly churning out code in an almost trance-like state although I'm not sure if drinking a bottle of Jack Daniels before a coding session would help all that much. It's a bit of a programmers' joke to tag a piece of code with the comment "drunk, fix later" 🙂

And no, there are none of those in the Awasu source code... 🙄

Friday 7th March 2008 12:40 PM [Awasu News]

The 2.3.3 beta release [?] is now available here.

This is a maintenance release and contains mostly bug fixes and other minor changes. The main change is the ability to configure your channels to show only one item at a time. I don't particularly like reading my feeds this way but people have been asking for it so here ya go 😎