Sunday, 22 February 2009

poetic_terrorism.mp3

Ok guys, time for y’all to download my first mix of the year (150Mb). The first for nearly a whole year too!

This mix is one messed up trip round a whacked up world of music, covering, over thirty odd years of electronica, jazz, funk, rock, hip-hop and others; but mostly cross genre and fairly unclassifiable.

If you like several of the tracks on here, your sanity might be wavering.

If you like all of them you must be as messed up and twisted as I am.

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So, why is it called poetic terrorism? What exactly is that?

When I was about 18 I came across a writer who I might have mentioned before, Hakim Bey, who had more than a little impression on me the youth I was then. I read, and reread a tract of his called “T.A.Z. Ontological Anarchy and Poetic Terrorism”, which you can peruse in full here, along with some of his other works.

I was hooked from the first sentence - "Chaos never died".

(Aside - Once I lived in the Temporary Autonomous Zone of Easton, in Bristol - at least that's how signs had been decorated...)

The paragraph on Poetic Terrorism I'll quote in full. Excuse me the indulgence of so much copy and paste.

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"WEIRD DANCING IN ALL-NIGHT computer-banking lobbies. Unauthorized pyrotechnic displays. Land-art, earth-works as bizarre alien artefacts strewn in State Parks. Burglarize houses but instead of stealing, leave Poetic-Terrorist objects. Kidnap someone & make them happy. Pick someone at random & convince them they're the heir to an enormous, useless & amazing fortune--say 5000 square miles of Antarctica, or an aging circus elephant, or an orphanage in Bombay, or a collection of alchemical mass. Later they will come to realize that for a few moments they believed in something extraordinary, & will perhaps be driven as a result to seek out some more intense mode of existence.

Bolt up brass commemorative plaques in places (public or private) where you have experienced a revelation or had a particularly fulfilling sexual experience, etc.

Go naked for a sign.

Organize a strike in your school or workplace on the grounds that it does not satisfy your need for indolence & spiritual beauty.

Graffiti-art loaned some grace to ugly subways & rigid public monuments--PT-art can also be created for public places: poems scrawled in courthouse lavatories, small fetishes abandoned in parks & restaurants, xerox-art under windshield-wipers of parked cars, Big Character Slogans pasted on playground walls, anonymous letters mailed to random or chosen recipients (mail fraud), pirate radio transmissions, wet cement...

The audience reaction or aesthetic-shock produced by PT ought to be at least as strong as the emotion of terror-- powerful disgust, sexual arousal, superstitious awe, sudden intuitive breakthrough, dada-esque angst--no matter whether the PT is aimed at one person or many, no matter whether it is "signed" or anonymous, if it does not change someone's life (aside from the artist) it fails.

PT is an act in a Theater of Cruelty which has no stage, no rows of seats, no tickets & no walls. In order to work at all, PT must categorically be divorced from all conventional structures for art consumption (galleries, publications, media). Even the guerrilla Situationist tactics of street theater are perhaps too well known & expected now.

An exquisite seduction carried out not only in the cause of mutual satisfaction but also as a conscious act in a deliberately beautiful life--may be the ultimate PT. The Poetic Terrorist behaves like a confidence-trickster whose aim is not money but CHANGE.

Don't do PT for other artists, do it for people who will not realize (at least for a few moments) that what you have done is art. Avoid recognizable art-categories, avoid politics, don't stick around to argue, don't be sentimental; be ruthless, take risks, vandalize only what must be defaced, do something children will remember all their lives--but don't be spontaneous unless the PT Muse has possessed you.

Dress up. Leave a false name. Be legendary. The best PT is against the law, but don't get caught. Art as crime; crime as art."

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Obviously I'm not condoning you all go out and commit criminal acts for the sake of art. But the essence that I take from that small piece is that sometimes art isn't pleasant, sometimes we need to go and explore dark concepts and do something wild as a result.

And that's OK. I mean, what's the craziest thing you've done lately?

Anyhow, here's the track listing. It’s a pretty unlikely mixture, but I think I made it cogent. I wonder how many of you will bother to listen all the way through, to hear the quote above read through by it’s author.

Time Track Artist Album
00:00 Nosferatu Jad and David Fair 26 Monster Songs For Children
01:38 Enjoy Your Tea John S Hall and Kramer Real Men
03:34 Speed The Road, Rush The Lights Piano Magic Speed The Road, Rush The Lights
11:09 Roach Eardrum Last Light
12:56 LETSmakeOURmovies AGF Westernization completed
15:14 Breath Controls Headset Space Settings
19:56 Be Your Own One Self Be Your Own
23:25 Ding Dang The Les Claypool Frog Brigade Purple Onion
29:07 The Millennium Falcon Jaga Jazzist Jævla Jazzist Grete Stitz
32:48 Starbase One Luke Vibert Amen Andrews Vol 1
36:13 Kokoni Sachiari Asa Chang And Junray Jun Ray Song Chang
36:36 Mother The Police Synchronicity
39:32 Physical Adam And The Ants The Peel Sessions
43:29 Venus in Furs Jim O'Rourke A Tribute To the Velvet underground
50:05 Never mind (What Was It Anyway) Sonic Youth NYC Ghosts and Flowers
55:18 God In My Bed Z-Rock Hawaii Z-Rock Hawaii
now worth £70, offers welcome
58:52 Skanky Panky Kid Koala Some Of My Best Friends Are DJs
62:12 Eros Tortoise Standards
66:24 Ringer Four Tet Ringer
76:11 Poetic Terrorism Hakim Bey/Bill Laswell TAZ

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Internet Explorer - Why do they still bother

This is a rant. If you're not in the mood to read a rant, please move on. There's loads more content on the interwebs for you.

A friend of mine from Microsoft (won't mention names) pinged me the other day. He was bouncing ideas of me for a talk he wants to do at Tech Ready, an MSFT internal conference, provisionally entitled cloud 4.20. Made me chuckle.

We got chatting, as you do.

And I got on to a rant. About Internet Explorer.

For many years I was a bit of a Microsoft specialist in the organisation I work in. I ran a .Net Focus Group. To some extent I evangalized use of the Microsoft Platform in the company. Now I've changed, now I plug open source software, and use it. Live and learn. The exception here is Windows - I get a PC from work, and frankly, running Windows is just simpler than installing and learning a Linux dist. I don't pay for MS software, I get a license with the machine, and I still get an MSDN subscription. Mind you, this is probably the last year for that. I'm running Windows 7 beta, and my advice to anyone running Vista would be to get hold of a copy and upgrade (I mean, of course, re-install). I've had virtually no software incompatabilities, it runs faster and quicker, and annoys me far less than Vista did. Windows 7 is an improvement. Thank the Lord.

You know what the very first thing I did when Windows 7 booted for the first time (in less than 15 minutes from whacking the disk in, I may add)?

I downloaded Firefox.

See, let's be honest, if the browser wars are still going on, then Microsoft are just so far behind. Yes, largest market penetration, blah blah blah, but we all know that's historic, and because most folk don't know better. Or they have locked down corporate PCs and have no choice, because many of their line of business apps only work in IE. (My organisation is VERY guilty of this).

Anyone who's spent much time with Firefox (or even Safari for Windows, or Chrome), is highly unlikely to go back to IE. I mean, on Windows 7 Beta, running it's un-upgradeable build of IE 8 (what's with that?), Firefox loads quicker, performs better, and overall, gives me a happier surfing experience. I can customize it to my hearts content (web devs out there - firebug - need I say more?), and the vast majority of web sites render better.

And of course if you're on a Mac, then you're never gonna install IE. Be serious.

I build web sites. I build them using Firefox. I'm mindful while I do it that I'm gonna have to change things for IE, but I probably care about that far less than I should. However I'm pretty confident that any modifications for Safari, Opera and Chrome, will be minor and straightforward, and not leave me pulling my hair out with frustration.

Which IE inevitably does. It plays with my mind. It upsets me. It has erratic behaviour, and this is NOT the place to document it. That's not the point of this rant.

The point of this rant, and the conversation I had with my Microsoft buddy, is to wonder why they still bother producing it.

Does anyone pay for it? No. Not a chance. After all, other browsers are free to use. So it's not bringing in any direct revenue for Microsoft.

Is it a platform play? Well, I'll agree that Office, along with Exchange and Sharepoint and other back-end pieces, they are a platform play. I'll agree that .Net is a platform play. The Windows OS is a platform play (though for how much longer, one has to wonder) Windows Azure is the future of platform plays, and, from what I've seen, pretty well thought out - roll on the PHP in the cloud support, depending on the price point, it might entice me. But Internet Explorer? Is that a platform play? I don't think so. How does owning the browser, which is a standard bit of software these days, how does that bring more people to the Microsoft platform? I'll tell you how. Not One Jot.

Alright, you say. What about security? Surely by owning the browser, and being able to patch it at will, and control how it hooks into the OS, surely that's important. And I may concede on security a little, albeit reluctantly.

Here's what I think Microsoft should do. They should put their hands up and say, loudly and honestly, "You know what? We're stopping IE8 development. We are not going to deploy Internet Explorer with Windows 7. We are going to have a lightweight browser called IE Lite for use in Office, and all those Web Browser controls, &c. But we are moving the IE team into maintenance mode, and redeploying the remaining staff from the IE team worth keeping to work on the Mozilla code base, WebKit and Google's V8 engine. Collaboratively. With the community. We will install an open source browser with Windows. We will make it the browser use to debug with from Visual Studio. We will stop telling everyone to put in this IE 8 compatiblity tag, and rather we will work with standards bodies, the Firefox team, Apple, Google, whoever, to make sure that the world has the most consistent, secure, extensible, and best performing browser they can have. At the same time, we will release the worlds best Web Platforms. Windows Azure. Live Mesh. Silverlight (ok, if you must). While this decision has been hard, we and our shareholders agree that it is the right thing to do. We look forward to moving the Web forward in a positive way, with greater colloboration with the rest of the world"

And do you know what? I think this would be a major win for them. Less people would turn away from Windows. Developers would scream at them less. They'd reduce some head count, as maintenance and engineering can be slimmed down. Open source fanatics would go OMFG. I can't believe it. Perhaps I should look at what else Microsoft are doing? Possibly killing IE would help push Azure. Y'never know.

They'd also get the freedom to spend more time on Service Specific Browsers (like Flock), should they have the urge.

Well, at the end of this rant, my buddy, who is a very faithful MSFT employee, kinda bought my arguments. He certainly didn't give me the impression he'd miss attempting to sing the praises of the IE beast.

What do you think? Is there even anyone who reads my posts who still uses Internet Explorer? Any other advice for the Beast of Redmond?

Tim Stevens

Tim Stevens
Work
Consume
Obey
Be Silent
Die