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posts for may 2008.

sometimes, i really hate computers. in particular, when wanting to hear music on my macbook, which runs osx. so far, i haven’t found any good music player.
the first thing i tried is itunes. it seems to be nice, but it’s support for an externally managed music library (i want to synchronize the library between several computers, whence i cannot let itunes organize the library) is sucking. there is a way to scan an existing directory with music, but it is incredibly slow. maybe one second per file? at least, this is not acceptable.
on linux, i’m using amarok, which has a lot of bugs, but runs pretty neat otherwise. (so far the best thing i found.) version 2.0 is supposed to be available on osx, too, but i’ve waiting for that one since more than a year, and it’s still not there. there’s a version which you can compile yourself, but it will compile for more than 24 hours, as it requires all the kde libraries. i don’t want to do that.
another choice is exaile, an amarok clone for gtk (gnome), which i have to try under linux. at least, under osx, i’ve not been able to run it, i have several python versions installed due to fink and darwinports, but it needs some more libraries and i don’t want to spend hours or days or weeks to find out which ones and how to install them.
well, and then, there’s xmms, a winamp 2.x clone, more or less dead for a long time. but i got it installed (via fink or darwinport, forgot which one), but my version features non-readable mp3 id3 tags and certain other quirks. but at least, it runs and plays music.
it really, really annoys me that it seems not to be able to install a decent player without spending lots of time. why on earth no one is able to provide a precompiled package for amarok? or make exaile run on osx? or any other more or less decent music player? why just itunes and xmms?!
i have even considered throwing osx away and installing something like ubuntu on my macbook, but that also sucks, as ubuntu might have problems with the wireless network, and then i have to find out how to set up an encrypted hard disk, which is possible but requires some more work than just five minutes.
when does the new age of computing begins, where one does not has so much trouble anymore?
i’m completely pissed of. seriously.

posted in: computer daily life music

on the third day of the ants, we had half a day off. some of us took the chance to make a small hike to sundance canyon on that afternoon.

on the way to sundance canyon.

to reach the sundance canyon, one has to walk a bit through beautiful nature.

sundance canyon.

the first picture still belongs to the way to the canyon. the canyon itself is going upwards, a small river is floating downwards. it’s pretty steep, as you can see. when one reaches the top, one gets a pretty neat view.

on the way back.

the way back featured several other great views.

finally, we reached the banff hot springs, which are not in use anymore to ensure the living of the banff springs snail. this is a kind of snail which basically only lives at exactly this place.

the banff springs hotel.

after returning to the conference center (which involved a stop in banff and drinking some beer), we took a small walk to the bow river, from where one has a good view on the banff springs hotel.

the bow falls.

another thing one can see from there are the bow falls, a pretty low (just a few meters) waterfall.

well, last but not least, a really big thanks to all involved in making this trip possible!

this week, i was attending the ants. that’s not a conference on ant colony optimization and swarm intelligence, but the eighth instance of the algorithmic number theory symphosium, held in banff, canada.
banff is situated in the canadian part of the rocky mountains, whence one has a pretty neat sight:

here are some impressions from the conference center facilities. the first is a shortcut to the dining hall, the second the professional develop center, and the third one a pathway inbetween:

the next two photos show a view from inside the professional develop center, where we were housed, and me together with my poster:

this conference has been really great. i had lots of fun, learned a lot, met a lot of nice folks (again). and some more.

i was there. expect more photos soon…

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sometimes, i really wonder what people got to do if they sign up. my guess is that they are signing up to work as little spam bees: sit at home, surf the web, spam peoples forums, guestbooks, blog comments, … with spam!
let’s face it. during its lifespan, spielwiese got 310 spam comments so far, and blackness got 34 spam comments. and none of them ever got published; i never let them pass through. one would think that they’d maybe give up after some time, but it seems they don’t want to. maybe because they get paid for entering the spam over and over again?
as spielwiese is based on wordpress, which is a rather common blog software, it’s not surprising that there exists programs which feed wordpress based blogs with spam. so maybe the spam for spielwiese is automatically generated. but the software for blackness is completely self-brewn, so either someone is entering the spam manually, or someone adjusted their program to post spam there, too. or someone wrote a program which puts spam in basically everything which looks like a comment form. i’d guess it’s the latter, or some poor fellow gets paid to do it.
spam is freaking annoying, both email spam, guestbook spam, forum spam, blog spam, and hopefully once our governments unite and will really try to do something against it. but then, i’d guess that won’t happen during my life…

i just observed that my macbook starts to dismantle itself:

i mean, hey, it’s just little older than one year. what the heck?!

posted in: computer daily life traveling

after wandering around in the parks, i decided to visit calgary’s zoo. again, here are some impressions. this time, even more, as i had a really hard time sorting out pics. (note that you just see 6.3 % of the pictures which survived the first round of quality control.)

yesterday, i made a short trip to downtown calgary. the first time during my stay. after a quick walk through downtown, i decided to walk trough some parks. here are some impressions. enjoy!

this evening i experienced another concert, an instance of the progressive nation 2008 tour, featuring four bands all doing different kind of prog.
the opener was 3, a woodstock based prog/experimental rock band. they are really fantastic, and i have to get one of their albums—the ones at the concert were already sold out when i tried to get one. besides playing great music, they also had a great life performance. there were two bad things though, even though the band has nothing to do with them: first, lots of people decided its fun to smoke weed. i don’t care what people do to themself, but it’s pretty annoying to smell that all over the place without having the chance to go somewhere else. the second, way worse thing, was that some people decided to start a mosh pit. again, anyone might feel to do what he wants, but i hate it to get kicked and pushed around all the time without asking for it. in particular, a mosh pit might fit well to a metalcore band, but to a prog band?! geez…
well. the second band, between the buried and me, was a metalcore band—a prog metalcore band. i’ve never been a fan of metalcore, and this gig didn’t made that better. obviously, the situation in the front didn’t got any better, the mosh pit simply got larger…
then, after surviving this one, the main part of the evening began: opeth entered the stage. unfortunately, at the beginning, the accustics weren’t too great; for example, the keyboard was pretty quiet and sometimes hardly audible—even at parts where it basically was the only instrument playing. fortunately, this changed later. since the whole tour already played in calgary yesterday, they had a slightly different playlist today. yesterday, it apparently was master’s apprentice / baying of the hounds / in my time of need / wreath / heir apparent / the drapery falls. today, they apparently started with demon of the fall—which was a bit hard to grab, as the keys were too quiet and a certain mosh pit pretty annoying (though that got better later, maybe the kids got tired?). after that, they played baying of the hounds or beneath the mire—have to listen to them again, i think. the third song was to rid the disease, my favorite song from the proggy damnation album. after that, they played heir apparent—something from the new album, which really rocked, i’m really looking forward for it—and the drappery falls. then, mikael noticed that he screwed up the set list, i.e. that they had enough time to play one more song. they decided to play wreath from the deliverance album, which i’m really really happy about: so far, i’ve never heard that song life, and i really like it a lot. unfortunately, as it’s a really heavy song, it again got pretty uncomfortable in the front. i still managed to throw my hair around, in particular at the end of the song. then, it was over.
after that, i decided to buy something to drink; it was some banana smoothie. somehow it looks like my stomach didn’t like the idea too much, so i wasn’t feeling too good afterwards, as dream theater began to play. shortly after they began, i decided to sit down at the back of the hall. besides not feeling too good, the concert was nice. they started off with in the presence of enemies and also played a lot older stuff, for example from the scenes from a memory album, one of my favorites. after their first part, a funny video showing some super mario sequences with dream theater references put in was shown, with both dream theater music in gameboy style and real music. the encore began with some improvisation, first by jordan rudess on some cute electronic device, then accompanied by john petrucci, and later by the other band members, which turned into a pretty cool medley.
too bad it’s over.
if there wouldn’t have been some annoying people around, and if maybe between the buried and me wouldn’t have played and 3 and opeth played much longer, it would be definitely the best concert this year. it still is a very good one, but as it was it has tight competition, for example the symphony x show in hamburg. but then, in particular 3 rocked the house, and i have to take a closer look on them. the new opeth album also sounds very promising, at least the two songs i’ve heard so far: heir apparent today and the porcelain heart video. and, i just saw, roadrunner offers the lotus eater for download. have to check that out, too…