Innovations in Music Distribution

I was at a jazz concert the other week, and I was looking at the CDs and stuff the musicians had brought to sell.

Adam Pulz Melbye had brought a shrinkwrapped bass string:

With a Bandcamp download code. (Censored above.)

I just had to buy one! Genius!

It’s weird that I haven’t seen anybody doing something along these lines before… It’s like a souvenir from the concert, but it’s also a way of selling music.

Useful Consumer Review

Some weeks ago I bought this Levimoon lamp. I didn’t really think it was going to work or anything, but hey:

Unfortunately, despite being totally cool and fun, it makes a “BzbbbzbbzzHhghghzzbz” sound after it’s been switched on for about two minutes, so it’s a crapgadget instead of a useful lamp.

And getting the moon to levitate (it’s done with electromagnets) can take a few tries, but I think I’ve got the hang of it now. Instead of taking a minute to get it to the right position, it only takes me ten seconds now. If I’m lucky.

But I can’t believe that I’m complaining about a hovering moon lamp not being perfect. It’s a hovering moon lamp!

Only useless!

Oh well. Perhaps the next iteration will be silent and you can actually have it switched on.

Nice Vinyl

Zola Jesus’ album Okovi was one of the best albums released in 2017, so now there’s a remix/additions album out, and it’s on totes groovey vinyl:

How pretty!

Sounds great, too.

And for some reason, Norman Records sent me a signed picture of Chris Carter in the same parcel:

Thanks? It’s what I’ve always wanted?

Perhaps it’s because I bought a Chris Carter album a month ago…

In conclusion: Norman are the best.

Bookshelf Porn

I enjoy those shelf porn posts that pop up from time to time (“Ooo! Books! Comics! Avarice!”) so I thought I’d do one, too, since I just got this fabulous bookcase and is just about finished sorting stuff out to put in it.

But first I had to rip out the baseboard so that the shelf could fit neatly to the wall. Look at this awesome wallpaper design I found behind it:

So awesome.

Wall ready.

Shelf installed!

Yes, it’s the same colour as that car down there.

Most of these comics have been living in shortboxes in a cupboard for the last few years, and the problem is, of course, how to select the stuff I want to stare at in the living room. You have to have some kind of system, don’t you? Yes. So I went for…

Japanese comics.

Raw and Raw-associated stuff.

Alternative weeklies.

Pap-pap comics.

And Drawn & Quarterly, Uncivilized, Picturebox and stuff like that. Leaving most Fantagraphics stuff to languish in the bookcase in the office.

And while rooting and sorting, I inevitably found an entire stack of comics that I’ve bought twice (or more). Does everybody do this? I think I’ll drag them over to the used bookstore.

Since I’m re-buying (and the re-reading without knowing) so many comics, perhaps I should just consciously re-read comics more. And since they’re now prominently displayed within arms reach (I have long arms), perhaps that’s going to happen.

Sure.

Compact Video Data

I’m thinking about watching a buttload of older films… perhaps all from the 40s? I’m not sure. In any case, I’ve started poking around to see what’s available, and I stumbled onto a 50 musicals box set for $7 (used), which made me so curious I just had to get it.

And it arrived today:

It’s about as thick as two normal DVD covers…

Inside are 12 cardboard envelopes that have two DVDs each.

And these DVDs are of the seldom-seen double-sided type: You play one side, then flip them over and then play the other side. I don’t think the concept proved very popular, because I think this is like the second time in my life I’ve seen disks like this.

So what’s the content like? These are single layer DVDs, so there’s only 4.7GB available on each side. Since there are two to three films on each side, they’ve compressed each film down to under 2GB, which means that they’re sometimes a bit on the artifacty side.

And the transfers they’ve sourced these DVDs from? Oy vey. A couple look like they’ve been imported via VHS, but most of the ones I’ve sampled look better than that.  However, they are completely unrestored. Very scratchy and noisy and sometimes blurry.

Oh well. What can you expect from something this cheap? The films themselves are mostly very obscure, which makes me excited to watch them at some point…

Blacker than Black? A Small Monitor Review

I’ve been using an Emacs-based alarm clock for almost a decade through various hardware incarnations.

The main issue is the screen: It’s difficult to find a small screen that has a good black level. The last version used this USB IPS screen from MIMO, and it’s just about as good as you can get with IPS.

It’s difficult to illustrate just how it looks since the camera helpfully adjusts everything, but with the camera on manual, I think this is just about right when it’s darkish in the bedroom. When it’s completely dark, its glare is rather annoying.

So! I got an OLED screen today, because OLED has perfectly black blackness, right?

Quotes like “Produces True Blacks” and “Because OLED displays are not backlit like LCDs but rather lit by each individual pixel, black means black. This yields a contrast ratio of infinity to one.” can’t lie, can they?

And everybody knows that an OLED pixel that’s off doesn’t emit any light, right?

That is, indeed, quite black. But is it completely black?

No. If you look closely, it’s trivial to see where the black bezel ends and where the screen, filled with black pixels, starts. (The picture above exaggerates the issue a bit, depending on your monitor.)

But here we compare the IPS screen (to the right) with the OLED screen (to the left) in a completely dark room. The difference is huge. YUGE! But it’s not perfect!

The myth of total blackness in black OLED pixels: Busted.

SO DISAPPOINT!

Oh, well. This is approximately what this screen looks like from my vantage point in the bed when I’ll be waking up in the middle of the night and wondering what time it is before going back to sleep again, cursing the monitor gods and waiting for the next hardware revolution.

Sad!