• Music Used To Torture US Detainees (Update #2)

    Dic 10 2014, 19:39

    I have come across a Mother Jones article from 2008 that gives more tracks, which it is claimed were used to torture US detainees. So to update the list from my previous blog entry on this subject I have put the tracks I haven't mentioned before in bold:

    -AC/DC - Shoot to Thrill
    -AC/DC - Hells Bells
    -Bee Gees - Saturday Night Fever
    -Bee Gees - Stayin' Alive
    -Britney Spears - Baby One More Time
    -Bruce Springsteen - Born in the USA
    -Christina Aguilera - Dirrty
    -David Grey - Babylon
    -Deicide - Fuck Your God
    -Don McLean - American Pie
    -Dope - Take Your Best Shot
    -Dope - Die MF Die
    -Drowning Pool - Bodies
    -Eminem - The Real Slim Shady
    -Eminem - Kim
    -Eminem - White America
    -(hed)pe - Swan Dive
    -Marilyn Manson - The Beautiful People
    -Matchbox Twenty - Cold
    -Metallica - Enter Sandman
    -Neil Diamond - America
    -Nine Inch Nails - Somewhat Damaged
    -Oingo Boingo - Dead Man’S Party
    -Pearl Jam - Don't Gimme No Lip
    -Prince - Raspberry Beret
    -Queen - We Are the Champions
    -Rage Against the Machine - Killing in the Name
    -Rick Astley - Never Gonna Give You Up
    -Saliva - Click Click Boom
    -Tupac - All eyez on me

    Also, since the first blog entry on this subject Skinny Puppy was in the news for invoicing the US Government $666,000 for using their songs without their permission to torture detainees. However, I do not know which specific tracks were used. If anyone does, let me know and I'll add it to this list.
  • Bands Banned in Soviet Ukraine

    Nov 10 2014, 18:13

    Reddit's u/eigenlenk has posted a list of bands that were banned in 1985 in the Ukraine [then under Soviet control]. The list, translated from Russian, also includes the reason for the ban.

    Sex Pistols - punk, violence
    B-52s - punk, violence
    Madness - punk, violence
    Clash - punk, violence
    Stranglers - punk, violence
    Kiss - neo-fascism, punk, violence
    Crocus - violence, cult of personality
    Styx - violence, vandalism
    Iron Maiden - violence, religious obscurantism
    Judas Priest - anti-communism, racism
    AC/DC - neo-fascism, violence
    Sparks Sparks - neo-fascism, racism
    Black Sabbath - violence, religious obscurantism
    Alice Cooper - violence, vandalism
    Nazareth - violence, religious mysticism, sadism
    Scorpions - violence
    Dschinghis Khan - anti-communism, nationalism
    UFO - violence
    Pink Floyd - perversion of foreign policy of USSR ("Aggression of
    USSR in Afghanistan")
    Talking Heads - myth of soviet military threat
    Peron - eroticism
    Bohannon - eroticism
    The Originals - sex
    Donna Summer - eroticism
    Tina Turner - sex
    Junior English - sex
    Canned Heat - homosexuality
    Munich Machine - eroticism
    Ramones - punk
    Van Halen - anti-soviet propaganda
    Julio Inglesias - neo-fasicm
    Yazoo - punk, violence
    Depeche Mode - punk, violence
    Village People - violence
    10cc - neo-fasicm
    The Stooges - violence
    The Boyz - punk, violence
    Blondie - punk, violence
  • 1957 Eico HF-60 Amp

    Giu 20 2014, 19:15

    As part of my long process of restoring my home audio equipment, I have nearly finished the restoration of my 1957 Eico HF-60 monoblock tube amp. Uses a pair of push-pull EL-34 tubes, aprox 60 watts output.

    The amp was mostly original, except for one of the electrolytics which had been replaced with this HUGE circa1963 GE military-spec capacitor:

    It had been placed on top of the amp where the one cap can would have been, with two wires running through a vent in the amp chassis to hook up below the surface.

    I only stock 450v electrolytics so I had to get creative in recapping it. Equation time. "Math, why does it always have to be math?" [pronounced like Indiana Jones' "Why does it have to be snakes"]

    Long story short, I learned in high school physics class more than ten years ago [crap, has it been that long?] that capacitors in parallel work like resistors in series. But you need balancing resistors across each capacitor, in case there are minor non-measurable differences in each capacitor's performance.

    I then had to get an octal plug [same as an octal tube base] to wire up an external switch for the amp, as the amp from the factory has no power switch on it. It was to come on automatically when your preamp [HF-61A] is used. When using the 61-HF this octal plug would also ground out one leg of the tube heater circuit, for hum reduction. But I do not have an HF-61A, so I had to rig up my own external switch. I also need to find an electrolytic can similar in size to the original one so I can cover up that big hole in the chassis. This is unsafe as any kid who puts his finger down that hole is going to touch the B+ & discharge the electrolytics! This kills the finger.
  • Music Used To Torture US Detainees (updated)

    Giu 20 2014, 18:57

    Mic.com gave a new story on this subject in April 2014 that gives the names of more tracks used by the government to torture detainees. Their list of 11 tracks include the ones below in bold, the rest are taken from my previous blog entry on this subject.

    -AC/DC - Shoot to Thrill
    -AC/DC - Hells Bells
    -Bee Gees - Saturday Night Fever
    -Britney Spears - Baby One More Time
    -Bruce Springsteen - Born in the USA
    -Christina Aguilera - Dirrty
    -David Grey - Babylon
    -Deicide - Fuck Your God
    -Dope - Take Your Best Shot
    -Drowning Pool - Bodies
    -Eminem - The Real Slim Shady
    -Eminem - White America
    -Marilyn Manson - The Beautiful People
    -Metallica - Enter Sandman
    -Nine Inch Nails - Somewhat Damaged
    -Oingo Boingo - Dead Man’S Party
    -Pearl Jam - Don't Gimme No Lip
    -Queen - We Are the Champions
    -Rage Against the Machine - Killing in the Name
    -Rick Astley - Never Gonna Give You Up

    Also, since the first blog entry on this subject Skinny Puppy was in the news for invoicing the US Government $666,000 for using their songs without their permission to torture detainees. However, I do not know which specific tracks were used. If anyone does, let me know and I'll add it to this list.
  • Vinyl Ripping

    Feb 16 2014, 2:43

    Well, I finally got around to ripping my records to mp3. Only the ones I could not find online as mp3 files already that is.

    One record I had high hopes for was Death Ride 69's Red Sea EP. I had bought it off ebay a while back, and it had come out of a college radio station [an actual FCC sanctioned one even], and it would be curious to know what years it saw real air time there.

    I thought the A side's track, that the EP takes its name from, was alright and was not expecting to find [judging by the credits] Ethan's half laughing screams, which set the track apart from what I am used to hearing from this band. B side was nothing to write home about.

    I thoroughly enjoyed Babyland's "Tourist Trap" which I had picked up a couple years ago w/ a pile of other St Thomas releases via mail order, which was unexpected because I hadn't really gotten into the small handful of tracks by them that I have heard in the past.

    I was intending to digitize my cassette tapes while I was at it, only to find my tape deck dead on arrival after I hauled it out of the bowel's of my parents' basement where I had forgotten about it long before I had left to go to college. Luckily I have another tape deck stashed away in my shop, assuming it wasn't destroyed during a massive water leak earlier this winter.

    One of these days I'll get around to finishing my earlier project of restoring & rack mounting my equipment so stuff like this doesn't get in the way, but my heart hasn't been into component level troubleshooting in a while.
  • Using PC graphic cards in Mac Pro

    Nov 1 2013, 1:22

    Graphic cards sold to mac users cost way more than the same card(s) do when marketed towards PC users. This is also true in the used market, where a Geforce 8800 GT for the PC tends to go for about $20-50 on eBay, while the mac one goes for twice that.

    They're both the same card, both for PCI-e, so what's the difference?

    TL;DR PCs use "Bios" for the hardware to communicate with each other, macs use EFI.

    Mac EFI takes two forms, 32-bit EFI for 2006 & 2007 models, and 64-bit EFI for 2008 & newer models. A 64-bit EFI card for a 2008 mac won't work out of the box in a 2006 32-bit mac.

    Mac graphic cards work by having both the PC bios & mac EFI protocols installed onto the card's ROM chipset. But PC cards lack the EFI protocol entirely. So a mac PCI-e card will work on a PC, but a PC one will not work on a mac out of the box.

    So to get a PC card to work in a mac you have two options: Either flash the graphic card's rom to have the firmware found on the mac cards [w/ both Bios & EFI protocols], OR, you can do some modest software mods in mac os.

    If you want to flash the card to have the mac version of the card's firmware, the rom chipset on the PC card HAS to be at least as big as the chipset on the mac version of the card. Some PC cards use smaller rom chipsets since they only have to store half as much data in the firmware!

    If you go the software-only route, the easiest way to do this is to install the latest version of the mac drivers for the card. You may need to use the right-click, "show package contents" command to get access to the installer files if the installer notices your computer is too obsolete to have the "official" mac card installed. After that you want to install the latest version of CUDA [if applicable], and "ATY_Init.kext" You will need something like "Kext Helper" to install ATY_Init because the system is smart enough to know if you simply drag the file into your system folder & refuse to use it.

    Then you put the new card in slot 1, move your old card to something like slot 3. Your graphic card will now work, albeit with no bootscreen. Your reason for leaving in the old card is so that if you need to ever see the bootscreen, say to reinstall the OS or to select from a bootmenu, you can just plug a monitor into that card.

    Upon bootup w/ the new card in, your "Expansion Slot Utility" should automatically launch and ask you to select a new PCIe lane configuration.
  • Fixing mac scrobber update crashes

    Ott 28 2013, 20:40

    As you'll recall I am using version 1.5.4 of the mac scrobbler because it is the most recent version I have a copy-for, that supports selecting which folders will scrobble & which will not. I explained in a previous blog entry how to edit the preference files to enable this feature on external volumes.

    The mac client automatically checks for updates [there is no preference to disable this], and will display a nag screen telling you to update periodically if it finds a newer version.

    When running the old versions of the mac client, this nag screen only works the first time it displays after launching the program. Every time after that, the nag screen crashes the program.

    Well I found a workaround. Using LittleSnitch I was able to detect all the connections the mac client makes:


    The amazon link is for retrieving album artwork, the three urls after that are all related to tracking your plays [aka "scrobbling"].

    Cdn.lst.fm is the server last.fm stores newer versions of the client on.

    So if you set your firewall to block last.fm from communicating with cdn.lst.fm it will stop finding the newer client version & stop nagging you to update [and crashing at the same time].
  • Rearl Reason Behind Poor Music Sales

    Feb 27 2013, 17:55

    I am sure some of you have seen this, a graph the RIAA prepared & distributed to news outlets a couple years ago to claim that piracy had caused a "lost decade" of music sales. You can't tell from just looking at this post, but CNN was hosting the graph at ....turner.com/money/2010/02/02/news/companies/napster_music_industry/.... napster was long since dead & buried by '10 yet Turner Broadcasting [a multimedia giant that owns CNN, Time Warner, and is a MPAA member] is still trying to blame napster for poor sales numbers. Turner also owns Time Warner, one of the 5 ISPs in the US that is rolling out a "6 strikes" antipiracy policy this month.

    I came across it again today and realized a few things about this graph. Mainly, the data seems to coincide with many economic milestones pertaining to the US economy:

    We should expect to see consumer luxuries like entertainment sales figures to suffer during particularly nasty economic troubles as consumers try to cut back on spending out of necessity. Here we see where the DotCom market crash and the housing/banking crash of '07 compare to the RIAA's crash.

    You'll notice that the economic damage to households/consumers lags behind market recovery. Like with the dotcom crash, unemployment bottomed out after the crisis was technically over.

    I also included dates of record gas prices in the US, since it is commonly accepted by economists that US consumers cut back on frivolous spending like entertainment whenever gas prices suddenly go up & this is even more visible whenever gas prices hit a new full dollar amount [i.e. going from $2.## to $3.##/gal]. Between the housing/banking crash, unemployment rate, and record gas prices it would be ridiculous to expect consumer spending on music sales to be comparable to 1999 [when the economy was thriving both on wallstreet & for consumers].

    Furthermore, CNN claims "album sales falling an average of 8% each year" [source] which just so happens to be the inflation rate during the housing/banking crash if we look at the EPI instead of the CPI [which intentionally under reports inflation, based on the types of costs it tracks & the method in which they weigh them]. There's also this to contend with:


    So, if we assume 1- that real world inflation, that is the type of inflation consumers care about, is closer to 8 percent, and 2- assume that American wages have been stagnate over the same time span, then the only logical conclusion is that consumers have been loosing ~8 percent of their spending power every year.

    TL;DR, music sales are likely dictated by market forces, rather than piracy. But no one is talking about this possibility.
  • New scrobbler version takes away features

    Gen 25 2013, 10:02

    Tonight during a bout of insomnia, I had to restart & when I reopened iTunes I was met with last.fm saying that a new version was out and asked if I wanted to update. So I did.

    I was met with version 2.1.32, which takes away features; like being able to select which directories scrobble & which do not. I guess they couldn't figure out how to fix this feature, which had a major bug in the prior versions that made it impossible to select/deselect directories on other volumes. I had posted a work around for this bug a year or two ago. So rather than fix it, they simply got rid of it.

    Thankfully I don't delete anything, and had versions & to revert to. Could not find the prior versions on the website, which make the end user's ability to go back to past versions somewhat of a headache.

    If anyone's listening: The ability to control what directories' files scrobble is important to some users, particularly on shared volumes & shared machines.
  • US Gov Music Torture Lists

    Giu 6 2012, 21:33

    For our country's special guests in the gitmo resort, these are the songs they're forced to listen to 24/7 for months (years?) at a time:

    -The Barney theme song
    -The Seseme Street theme song
    -Nine Inch Nails's Somewhat Damaged
    -Britney Spears's Baby One More Time
    -Rage Against the Machine's Killing in the Name
    -Pearl Jam's Don't Gimme No Lip
    -Metallica's Enter Sandman
    -Drowning Pool's Bodies
    -AC/DC's Shoot to Thrill
    -AC/DC's Hells Bells
    -Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA
    -David Gray's Babylon
    -Eminem's White America

    Source: KMOV

    This is the "torture playlist" the CIA put together for Noriega in 1989:

    Thankfully blogger Darren Garnick transcribed all these here so I am not going to bother.

    Among the goodies I noticed, that would be a sure fire way to get me to want to kill myself in short order:
    Oingo Boingo's Dead Man’S Party
    Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up

    Yes, that's right: I just said Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up. Our government was the first rick rolling troll.

    Luckily [or not, depending on how you look at it] our government is so Pro-Life that our special guests at our Gitmo resort aren't allowed to kill themselves. Because that would end their torture, and we don't want that. In fact we want them to live for as long as possible. Why let them die when they can listen to these great songs over and over and over again for the next 75 years?