Darren Barefoot
Darren Barefoot


Thinking Chaos, Thinking Fences

This is for those who descend into the code
and make their room a fridge for Superman

August 8, 2003

I got an email back from Greg Mercier, the guy who wrote the review of Dave Matthews' concert:

Darren, thanks for the comments. I'm not sure the review is as lacking in commentary on the music as you suggest. I think telling the story about a DMB concert without describing the phenomenon around the band or describing the setting would be incomplete. And the Dave Matthews cover of the Dylan song is called The Watchtower, not All Along the Watchtower. Thanks.

But I appreciate the feedback.

I'm not going to quibble with his music commentary comment--the actual musical content is obivously pretty scant. However, I think he's on crack on the whole 'Watchtower' versus 'All Along the Watchtower' business. My album suggests the latter.

UPDATE: Greg writes to indicate that the Band's (flashtastic, and it don't work too well in Mozilla) official site lists the song as 'Watchtower'. Fair enough, I'll give him that. Mind you, I don't think it's very kosher to rename a song you faithfully cover.

11:49:24 AM  Permanent link to this entry    Trackback []    Music The Arts

Harpoon asked me to explain what hacking your DVD is about. First, a little background. First of all, ostensibly to prevent piracy (and no doubt to sell more DVDs), the DVD conglomerate (whatever they're called) divded the world up into six geographical regions. Players configured for, say, region 1, can not play region 2 DVDs. Generally, for people who relocate to a new region, you can switch the region on your player a limited number of times (like 5 or so).

This is a problem for Europeans who purchase/order a lot of their movies from North America. This is also a problem for ex-pats living anywhere, who may want to see their native cinema, but may also want to watch locally-produced DVDs. They obviously can't be switching regions every day or their player would be useless in a week. What's the solution? The multi-region hack.

Basically, using a store-bought universal remote or a PalmPilot running remote control emulation software (that is, not physically opening up your DVD player), you can reconfigure your player to play DVDs from any region. This is handy for those cases I described above. For more information on this process, check out DVD Reviewer.

11:44:49 AM  Permanent link to this entry    Trackback []    Movies Technology

Both of my sisters (Imogene and Lynsey, as they like to see their names in Web print) are considering buying DVD players. Girls, get into the 21st century. Though I like my technological bits, I'm not a big audio/videophile. I just don't have room in my apartment for all of the bits one needs. Here's the advice I gave Imo on buying a DVD player:

They're really commodified now, so unless you're some kind of video/audiophile, one is more less like another. We've got a Samsung (I think it cost about $180). Two good rules of thumb:

  • Don't buy the absolute cheapest. Go a little up from there.
  • Buy a brand you recognize.

Does anybody else have any good advice? I've only ever bought one DVD players, so what do I know?

When I was in Ireland, having a multi-region player was important, as many people brought DVDs from the States. I actually used my friend's PalmPilot to hack my DVD player so that it would play DVDs from any region.

10:30:50 AM  Permanent link to this entry    Trackback []    Technology

My brother Kevin sends me this list of the top ten spammers (presumably the top ten in North America). Some of them even have (unflattering) mug shots. Among them is Alan Ralsky, who (and the article mentions this) hilariously suffered the wrath of Slashdot readers a while back.

9:49:28 AM  Permanent link to this entry    Trackback []    Internet Technology

I'm afraid the review isn't online, but I was displeased with the review of the Dave Matthews concert. I didn't go to the concert, and the review, I guess, is generally positive. However, the quality of the criticism is shameful. It's hardly criticism at all. I sent off this quick letter to the editor:

A note to Mr. Mercier on his Dave Matthews review: traditionally a concert review involves actually commenting on the music. Mr. Mercier expends three-quarters of his review on merchandising, the band's dress and the audience's antics. While I didn't attend the concert, I'm curious about how it actually sounded. The best he can offer her is a comment on Matthews 'obviously ailing voice' (which was obvious, as the singer admitted this himself on-stage) and 'some spaced-out base work'. He even gives the wrong title to that famous Bob Dylan song, All Along the Watchtower. Your writer seems to have abandoned music criticism, and written an article about being at the Dave Matthews concert. I can only conclude that Mr. Mercier's expertise lies in another genre of music, or another journalistic beat altogether.

If anybody finds that review in the strangeness that is the Vancouver Sun online, let me know.

As a bonus, here's a piece on why there will always be a critic who will stick his thumb up. It's pretty lightweight, but still an interesting read. It reminded me of the excellent Hollywood Bitchslap.

UPDATE: I had a couple of requests for the review, so I got off my lazy ass and slapped it on the scanner. Here it is. There's a nearly-as-naff review from the Vancouver Province here.

9:29:15 AM  Permanent link to this entry    Trackback []    Movies Music