Present Perfect


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Present Perfect


Filed under: General — Thomas @ 13:24


Today's xkcd is both funny-on-a-thaytan-scale and incredibly intriguing. God, I'd love to try this and see if it works for me.

Somehow it has a better appeal than that technique I read about where you only sleep 5 intervals of 15 minutes during a full day, but at very specific times, and non-flexible - if you skip it you're exhausted. A little too invasive to say "I need to sleep 15 minutes now, I'll get back to fixing this server on fire after that".


Filed under: General — Thomas @ 14:16


I'll be in Madrid from tonight on for the Open Source in Mobile conference the next two days. Feel free to come up and talk to me about the usual topics - Fluendo, codecs, Flumotion, GStreamer, ...

I'll be bringing a Samsung/Intel Ultra-mobile PC with Elisa on it, if you like eye candy.

two days ago

Filed under: General — Thomas @ 12:25


I was 31, and enjoying the Gorki/Gorky concert from start to finish. I was impressed how well they were able to bring the songs back. Obviously, they invited some friend musicians along to create the sound, but they pulled it off incredibly well. I was hoping he'd treat the songs with respect and fearing he would be repeating his by-now a little overdone act, but he landed somewhere in between. Aside from his banter, the songs themselves survived unscathed. Arme Jongen, Geef al je geld aan de arme kinderen, they still gave me goosebumps.

On top of that, after playing the whole album, they not only played the songs I was hoping for (in excellent versions as well), but they played two more songs off that rehearsal tape I had. He played them with the original line-up (since, after their first album, the singer fired the rest of the band and started anew) don't know if they played the songs as if they were demos on purpose, but it was incredibly amusing. He announced them as "these are some songs that we never put out on disc back in the day" and I think he wanted to show the audience why :) There were some other people around that shouted the lyrics, so I guess there were more early day fans. But really, when lyrics go "Ik heb kilo's artisjokken harde brokken oude sokken", then you can only agree with not having them on a disc.

He also threw in "Ria", one of the songs I wasn't expecting because it was from the second album period IIRC. And that was that. Left me and Jeremy with a huge grin on our face. Afterwards, there was an interview, and they closed it with him singing "Please let me get what I want" by the Smiths. I wish he'd play more covers, his voice and approach to those songs transform them into his own songs. I once saw him take on "Love will tear us apart" in his own style, and it had the perfect mix of humor, irony and sadness that all his best songs have.

Enough with the gushing for the next 15 years - I will leave you with a quote from a magazine the week before this show:
The real reason we're doing it is because we can go into their studio and drink up their fridges. Years from now, if they'll ask me "Vos, why did you do it all", I'll be able to say: "I did it for a fistful of bonnekes".

En al die shit
waar je vroeger van dacht
"dat wordt nog wat"
dat wordt nooit wat

15 years ago

Filed under: Music — Thomas @ 16:03


I was 16 years old. I had gotten a portable stereo with CD player with money I had saved up from birthdays (5999 BEF!), and took it with me to my grandmother's house, where I was staying for two weeks while doing a summer job at my family's fat processing company. (I was doing secretary work there, but I typed too fast so I got my work done too fast and got my uncles annoyed. I learnt the value of slowing down at work, and also learnt that I should look for a job where that value was 0.)

Anyway, along with the player I bought my first CD ever: Gorky's debut CD. I don't know how many times I've played that disc over the years, but it's scratched all over, so I guess a lot. Mia quickly made it to the number one spot on my all-time favourites list, and in the years thereafter, even though it never actually was released as a single, it made it to the top of several Flemish lists as well. I pretty much know every second of those 5:32 by heart, the text is simple yet tugs at the heart strings, the music is a warm prickly blanket, the whole thing is timeless. That opening guitar sound still blows me away, those subtle 3-5 drums are a simple but devastating touch to the song.The song was what I learnt to play the guitar for.

Maybe this version only came around by accident - I have a demo tape of one of their rehearsals where Mia is a straight-on rock song with mostly the same lyrics. (That tape also includes a hilarious "Monkey gone to heaven" cover sung with a trademark Gent accent.) Over the years, he's played it often, sometimes with annoying detachment or an intent on massacring the song. Here's a reasonably good performance of the song (if you're willing to listen past the violins and ignore his Wippelgem pimp phase).

Tonight, the band plays this album from start to finish, including some songs from that period they didn't record. I'm hoping for Ooit was ik een soldaat en Ik word oud, which they played at Boterhammen, and possibly Het einde is nabij. But really, even though the album also has a few bad songs, I just look forward to having the memories come back flooding at hearing these songs played live again. Here's hoping he takes it seriously this time.

In any case, I've been looking forward to this concert.

The good, the bad, and the ugly

Filed under: General — Thomas @ 21:59


When I tried to play common audio and video files, such as MP3 songs, I was told I had to first download special files called codecs that are built into Windows and Mac computers. I was warned that some of these codecs might be “bad” or “ugly.”

From this article

I laughed out loud when I read this - it's amusing that these names I settled on for the GStreamer plug-ins have made their way into a pundit review, by accident. In hindsight, I still think it's one of the best things I did as a GStreamer release manager. By and large, the good and ugly plug-ins are good quality, and the bad ones get new stuff in quickly, and people seem to complain less about crashes in bad plugins because they got what they asked for (though they complain more, obviously, about plugins not moving to good fast enough). For reference, Here's the story behind the names.

We don't call them ugly because we like them less. Does a mother love her son less because he's not as pretty as the other ones ? No - she commends him on his great personality.

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