Category Archives: Music

Soldering Supercut: The RC2014 Homebrew Z80 Computer Kit (Long Play)

Assembling and soldering Grant Searle’s Z80 homebrew computer kit, the RC2014. This is a long-play video with no commentary. just some groovy tunes by the one-and-only Anders Enger Jensen. Sit back, grab a beverage, and chill to the vibes.

Watch the fully annotated video on element14: LINK
Check out more of Anders’s music here: https://www.youtube.com/user/HariboOSX

Download the Project Caroline pirate broadcast

Download the complete Project Caroline “pirate FM” broadcast show featuring original music from Anders Jensen, Timon Marmex, and more! I solemnly swear to not spam you or sell these emails to any third parties because that would be unethical and annoying.

Tom Petty (1950-2017)

What can one say about such an influential musician that hasn’t been said many times before? Petty (with and without The Heartbreakers) was not only a brilliant musician and songwriter, but he was transcendental in that he had staying power through 3 generations of fans–tragically passing after completing an extensive 40th anniversary tour. I first really got into Tom Petty in middle school with the laid back grooves of “Last Dance With Mary Jane” and “Free Fallin'” serving as the downtempo segments for the soundtrack to a rather tumultuous time in any kid’s life. Uncle Teej gave me their greatest hits album for Christmas one year, to the chagrin of my dad who scoffed at my listening to “druggie music”. Petty’s music had soul–something I didn’t hear often in popular music of the day–and it made a fitting foil to my musical staples like TMBG, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and Chumbawamba (Yeah, I actually know and like more than one Chumbawamba song!).

Like Petty, I found the South too confined–too small for my ambitions, and I moved west. Thirty-seven years after Petty left Gainesville, Florida for Los Angeles, I was crossing the continent with several of Petty’s tracks (“Runnin’ Down a Dream” frequently turned up) offering portions of yet another soundtrack for a transitional period in my life.

Here I am again, thinking of changes to come in my life and career, and I’m brought again to Tom Petty. I look at all the nonsense going on in the world and all the difficulties (great and small) that we all face every day, and there’s one voice ringing clear and true–with all of America’s purple mountains’ majesty and amber waves of grain behind it–reminding me to not back down. Thanks, Tom.

The 8-Bit Guy Soundtrack Unbox & Review

The 8-Bit Guy soundtrack is a great collection of electronic tracks in various styles from both amateur and seasoned professional composers! In this video, I’ll go over my first impressions and review a few of my favorite tracks.

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Tech teardowns, repairs, and reviews; sketches; how-to; games; and lots of other interesting geekery. At least one new video per month! Thanks for watching, and be sure to like, share, and subscribe!

Continue reading The 8-Bit Guy Soundtrack Unbox & Review

I GOT BLISTERS ON MY FINGERS!

Income Tax Evasion

Interviewing defendants accused of income tax evasion.

A novelty piece in the old “break-in” style pioneered by Dickie Goodman and Bill Buchanan where song clips replace soundbytes from interviews or dialogue.I downloaded this from AOL in the mid-1990’s, and I don’t recall who uploaded it originally.If you or someone you know created this, please let me know so that I may give proper credit.Thanks!

Chuck Berry 1926-2017

Say what you will about his personal life, Chuck Berry was an absolute genius that literally defined rock (and roll), taking simplistic blues riffs and “hunka-hunka” lyrics co-opted by his predecessors and driving them into complex melodies driven by his mastery of the new technology of the time: the solid body electric guitar. Berry’s musicianship (and brash showmanship) took the guitar, once relegated to the rhythm section of an ensemble, and brought it to the front with dedicated solos and new playing techniques that would become the basis for popular music into the next century.

Naturally, Berry would be among the inaugural class of inductees at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because without him and the musicians he inspired (including a couple of scousers from Liverpool), the latter half of the twentieth century could have played out remarkably different!

Perhaps it isn’t the best Chuck Berry performance, but his reaction to Yoko Ono’s unintelligible screeching makes this reunion with his friend and protege John Lennon makes this one of my favorite performances!

Let’s not forget, though, the song that he is–literally–immortalized for what might be forever in interstellar space on the Voyager space probe’s Golden Record:

Go, Johnny, go!

Twister!

Teenage lovers Bill and Joanne try to survive a severe weather encounter that starts to sound suspiciously like the plot of the 1996 box office smash, Twister. (RIP Bill Paxton)

This is a novelty piece in the old “break-in” style pioneered by Dickie Goodman and Bill Buchanan where song clips replace soundbytes from interviews or dialogue.I downloaded this from AOL in the mid-1990’s, and I don’t recall who uploaded it originally.If you or someone you know created this, please let me know so that I may give proper credit.Thanks!

The Many Deaths of Barney The Dinosaur: Barnmm

I found these floating around AOL back in in the mid-1990s, perfect entertainment for a 12-year-old with a chip on his shoulder! If anyone can help me track down the original creator, please let me know!

“We are what you have made us.”

Swinsian Is The iTunes Killer You’ve Been Looking For

Remember, once upon a time, when iTunes was the end-all, beat-all music library organizer and MP3 player for Macintosh? (Yes, I am solidly in the “WinAmp was the best fucking MP3 player application ever written and don’t you fucking forget it” camp, but we’re not talking about Windows right now). I think it was about the time version 11 came out (maybe 12, I’m not terribly certain) that iTunes just started to feel…stale. Many of the features that I came to know and love just fizzled away for the sake of pushing the store and streaming music.

Now, I’m not against streaming music in the least (I used to while away many, many hours on the road listening to Pandora and Slacker Radio on my Blackberry Storm), but I find it offensive when the mission of a particular piece of software that I have used for years flips from curating and organizing my thousands upon thousands of audio files to selling me a streaming and cloud storage service that I don’t want or need! As Apple has moved more into the streaming game, I have started looking for a suitable alternative to organize and play my local library.

My criteria are as follows:

  • The software must automatically organize the file structure in the library folder based on changes to the ID3 tags.
  • The software must edit universal ID3 tags.
  • The software should look pretty good.
  • The software must catalogue and be searchable.

You would think that these could be simple criteria to fill on any operating system–and on Linux or Windows, you would be right–but it seems that the Coop has a chokehold on media management for MacOS as there are no solid applications that mimic iTunes without the headaches of iTunes. At least, there are no free ones.

James Burton has suffered the same problems with iTunes that I have and took that as an opportunity to develop his own application, Swinsian. Swinsian is classic iTunes, focused on cataloguing and organization, with none of the bloat that has crept into Apple’s application over the past few years. The cool thing about Swinsian (and something sure to impress those FLAC-loving weirdo audiophiles and OGG-hearted die-hard open sourcers) is that it supports almost all major formats! It’ll even play WMA files (good luck doing that natively on a Mac now that Perian is dead)!

I’ve been using Swinsian to manage my library for almost a year now, and I’ve gladly given up the sales-oriented nonsense that is iTunes. I can easily edit my ID3 tags and have those changes reflected in the file structure of the library; I can easily catalogue and search my library; and the application has a great visual aesthetic that emphasizes the album art that I gave up when I moved to digital.

Yes, you will need to pay for Swinsian (at time of writing, it’s $20US), but as Andrew Lewis observed: “If you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.” While this isn’t a universal truth, it is often the case in walled gardens like post-Jobs Apple. If you’re a collector of digital music (as most audio junkies from the 1990s are), Swinsian is a Jackson well spent!