Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Too Many Good Things All At Once

I should probably get into the habit of trying to post eleven little blogettes rather than one big linkdump. I will maybe start doing this at some point in The Future. For now, here's eleven things that have been mainly sitting in a sticky note on my desktop titled 'Blog Ideas' for too long and which I want to tell you about.

Twelve, actually, because the first thing is the sticky note app itself: Xpad: http://mterry.name/xpad/

Xpad is a simple sticky note application for Linux. There are millions of these, for all platforms, and I've been aware of them for ages. But I've only recently started using one, and Xpad is the one I am using. It has changed my life. It is now possible for me to jot down notes usefully on my computer in a way that it hasn't been before. I am definitely being far more productive as a result.

On the face of it, that seems crazy: what's wrong with just firing up a text editor and jotting those notes in a file?

I did this for ages. Doesn't work. You have to name the file. You have to remember the file is there. You have to remember where you put the file and what you called it, and which random note is which. You end up with lots and lots of crap hidden in files you never look at and don't go back to.

Sticky note applications are about the interface, stupid. And I am stupid, for having taken so long to start using one. Different incarnations of these apps have different features, including To Do list stuff, auto-browser-clicky goodness and whathaveyou, but the key feature is none of those things, which xpad doesn't have anyway, and I don't care. The key thing is extreme simplicity of use.

No naming of files. No saving of files. Two click opening of a new or saved note. No click adding to an existing open note. It's all just there, waiting for you to have something to type into it, and it saves it all behind your back.

Being a geek, I have hunted down the location of the directory where the xpad files are stored ($HOME/.config/xpad if you must know) and confirmed that it more or less autosaves everything as you type it. But that is all as irrelevant to you as it is to me. If you don't already use a sticky note thing, find one that works on your system and start using it. If you do, you can stop laughing at me now, thanks. Or, you know, eventually.

Anyway. Herewith the contents of the sticky note marked 'Blog Ideas', slightly expanded from note form:

First, the best game I've played in ages, 'The Company Of Myself', over at http://jayisgames.com/games/the-company-of-myself/

If you've already played Yoshio Ishii's Cursor*10 (see http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2008/04/08/who-on-earth-is-yoshio-ishii/ for that and more) you will be familiar with the idea of a game where you need to die multiple times and collaborate with your own ghosts to complete a level. That's a great idea and Cursor*10 is a great game. But the Company Of Myself takes this idea and adds a story and an emotional component. It's a bit hard as platformers go, and a bit bleak but it is utterly wonderful. First game to actually make me cry in over 30 years of gaming. You should play it.

Next, some music stuff.

I played a gig with Hadar Manor ( http://www.hadar.co.uk/ ) the other week and also on the bill were a superb seven piece live acoustic hiphop outfit called Free Peace.Their music is made of pure joy and pure win: http://www.myspace.com/fre3peace

A friend sent me this YouTube video of Etta James and Dr John's live version of I'd Rather Go Blind:

Almost as amazing: Hendrix fooling around on an acoustic at a party:

(That came, vaguely, via http://www.metafilter.com/86830/Earliest-Known-Footage-of-Jimi-Hendrix-Performing, which links to a quite different Hendrix video from his very early days playing with other people's bands. That one is worth watching too though.)

Also there was this excellent and highly thought-provoking article on Thelonious Monk - http://www.openskyjazz.com/blog/?p=201

If you are gigging in London, there are some promoters you should be aware of and avoid: http://drownedinsound.com/community/boards/music/4184800

Finally, a dose of reality and perspective, via the excellent saxophone forum Sax On The Web ( http://forum.saxontheweb.net/ ). SOTW member and excellent sax player Steve Neff - http://www.neffmusic.com/blog/ - has survived and written about his brain tumor. Start here: http://www.neffmusic.com/blog/2009/08/as-funny-as-a-brain-tumor-part-1/

To end off with, some completely random stuff, which you may or may not have seen before:

Stormtroopers on their day off: http://wildammo.com/2009/08/09/what-stormtroopers-do-on-their-day-off/

Awesome interactive star map: http://server1.wikisky.org/?locale=EN

Tackiest item with smuggest advert: http://community.livejournal.com/vintage_ads/1489225.html

An oldie (in internet years) but goodie - Jon Ronson on the worst swearword in the world: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2007/jul/28/weekend.jonronson

That's probably enough link dumping from me for now.

Posted via email from I Am Taking My Ball And I Am Going Home

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