The Blog

In the last couple of days, I've been playing with the Tor Browser bundle for Windows (5.0.3) running on Windows 10. For no obvious reason, or none that I can fathom, it's got an annoying security feature. It only runs once after a clean install. On the second and subsequent runs, I can see it start to load in task manager, the browser loads, it kicks off tor.exe which does something for a few seconds, then dies, then the browser shuts down. Running tor.exe on its own does nothing at all. Delete the whole directory, re-install and it works again. Re-install as if it's an upgrade and it still fails. So I guess there's some config file getting written that on the second start is telling tor.exe to do something it can't.

Not very impressed with this.
[from: Google+ Posts]

No matter what music event you go to there'll be people in the crowd having a conversation during the performance. If it's a quiet bit of ambient in a church, it's two girls discussing a facebook post on one of their's iPhone. If it's unbelievably loud industrial it's a couple of hipsters shouting at each other. Even when it's pumping Techno and most of the crowd is leaping around and waving their arms, there's the group of friends talking about where they're going next or something.

Just like the people standing in the dark reading Twitter, or the one's taking pictures of lasers through the fog machine haze, or the conga line of people pushing to the front or back to the bar, it's pointless getting upset about it. It's just part of the performance.

What I'm curious about is how the talent feels about it. If you've spent months creating an audio-visual masterpiece of 3 projector CGI mixed in with artfully a-rhythmic beats and samples, does it upset you that 1/3 of the audience are not Here and Now and paying attention?

When we were in the Dark Place in Galloway there was a lovely simple art installation. A projector on to a big screen and a camera recording the screen with a 15 second delay and some fuzz and pan before feeding it back into the projector. All this was across a main walk way so people left shadows which then became part of the repeat echo. Mixed in with this were some emotionally charged text like "Authentic" or "Anticipation". It's pretty simple programming with a Mac, webcam and projector but was remarkably effective. Most people walked through without realising they were part of the performance but some discovered they could manipulate the images.

So here's the thing. If people talking in the crowd are part of the performance, can we make that explicit rather than just accidental. Do the same kind of approach but with the audio domain rather than the spatial. I picture a directional mic or perhaps a sneaky roving collaborator with a mic recording the conversations and then feeding it back into the mix after a few seconds delay. Would that freak out the people who noticed or would they join in?
[from: Google+ Posts]

Last time we tried to make Sloe Gin it was a disaster. Maybe this time will be better. There's huge numbers of Sloes and Bullace out in the hedgerows if you know where to look. We're following this recipe from Sipsmiths, more or less.

1) Ripe sloes. Frozen over night in the freezer
2) Decent or at least good Gin. This time we're using Beefeater.
3) Half fill a bottle with sloes, top up with gin. So I've taken a 1.5L kilner jar added 750ml of Sloes by volume and then added a 75cl bottle of gin.

Leave for 3 months or as long as you can stand it. Strain and filter either with a jam maker's muslin or a coffee filter. Add simple syrup to taste.
[from: Google+ Posts]

Annette Peacock - Pony from "I'm the One" (1972) and Morcheeba - Back to Mine (2001) for #Throwbackthursday
The title track from that album just turned up again in the stream. It's some forgotten, weird, 70s psych stuff. Worth a listen or two.

The Quietus called her a "stone cold original".

She's playing Cafe OTO, 20 November but £30 for an hour or two at that venue is too rich for me.

[from: Google+ Posts]

A bit of deep house from 1990 for #ThrowBackThursday. It was already 10 years old when it turned up on a Ministry cover disk called "Ibiza Chill Out" in 1999. A bit of a shock to discover it's now 25 years. Also on the disk were Thievery - Lebanese Blond (remember that? Of course you do), Nightmares - Les Nuit and Fela Kuti - Beng Beng. Almost surprised it didn't have the one from Groove Armada with the trombone.

Electribe 101 were quite good in their time, but I wish the singer could sing a bit more in tune. I guess auto-tune hadn't been invented then.

[from: Google+ Posts]

Compare and contrast Theresa May in 2002 when she called the Tory party the "Nasty Party"

With 2015,
Theresa May

Jeremy Hunt (the well known euphemism)

George Osbourne

They do like a good authoritarian in the Tory party. So who's next when the party decides they've had enough of Cameron and force him to make good on his promise to leave before the next election?
"I discount Osborne because he appears to be coked up to the gills and after the next financial crash his political profile will be a scorched outline on the steps of the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street.
I discount Boris because he has most if not all of the same weaknesses as Posh Boy Cameron.
I discount Gove because he makes everybody gove uncontrollably.
Of the inner cabal May seems to be most cannily positioned to inherit the mantle of Thatcher 2.0. (Those of you who are British may now shudder convulsively and cross yourselves/spit over your shoulder/engage in the Two Minute Hate.)"

"She may be vicious and dangerous to our society, but she is not stupid. It is the way to become Tory leader.
Nobody ever lost money overestimating the viciousness of the Tories. In fact the arms and security industries and the bankers, the private health companies, the hedge funds and the private agencies enforcing government policy make fortunes out of it every day."

Frankly, Theresa May scares the hell out of me. There's something of the night about her, like a Herzog - Nosferatu, 

[from: Google+ Posts]

For those of us who like collecting doomsday scenarios, here's another one. It's the low earth orbit collision cascade as seen in films like Gravity.

The usual entertaining comments in this RFC about the likely social effects of a 2030 Kessler event..

[from: Google+ Posts]

Apparently Google Chrome has decided that .rar files from zippyshare are malicious and you're not allowed to download them. They've also decided that several famous torrent index sites are malicious and has blocked them as well.

I'm sure this has nothing to do with the music and entertainment biz and is just a temporary glitch. It seems to cover sites that contribute to bending the rules on copyright as well as sites trying to attack you. The trouble with false positives like this is that it encourages you to turn off all the safety controls which defeats the object of having them in the first place. And of course most users of Chrome will leave most of the settings on default.

It's also possible this will migrate to Firefox as well since they use Google's dangerous site blacklist and virus checker services.

Interestingly, this is beginning to affect small software developers as well. You have to jump through all the hoops or Google marks you as untrustworthy. Made worse because you're distributing an .exe or .msi rather than just an .mp3

Meanwhile, open All downloads, click on recover file, click on Yes, I'm sure and there's your file. You just shouldn't have to do this.
[from: Google+ Posts]

[from: Librarything]

[from: Librarything]

[from: Librarything]

The Stross thread on the history of 1700-2300 smashed his longest thread record. It took till comment #1315 to throw up this nugget.


Americans, by and large, think that they can control history, basically by sheer force of will and gumption, and the one thing I've noticed in this thread is that no one shares this assumption- not even for humanity as a whole. Currently, that's obviously not true, but the one game changer that I see, the one truly significant innovation that could completely dominate history for the next thousand years, if it's possible of course, would be if humanity learned how to plan it's own future. If we could actually set multi-century goals, and meet them. If Psycho-history became real. If the Imperial Planetologist actually knew what he was talking about. If Humanity collectively became an transcendent AI (at least in effect).

Obviously not a capability we currently have. Is there any reason we might move toward it in the next three hundred years? We have advanced significantly in our understanding of complexity, nonlinear dynamic systems, and how the ecosystem, the economy and human behavioral patterns interact with one another. We are starting to do the math. Could we get there? Could we actually design systems today that would have an intended impact say, 200 years down the road?

If not, what's the barrier?


This got mixed in with thoughts about "The Roman Empire Never Ended" and the differences between pyramid-structured, command and control systems and emergent-behavious hive mind systems. I've been pushing the idea for a while now that the USA likes the first while China is more like the second, using the universal Starbucks vs Chinese takeaway as an example. People nod their heads but it doesn't really lead anywhere. They still expect Chinese Imperialism to be planned in the same way that they're told and they believe that Western Imperialism is planned. Perhaps the truth is that it's all emergent behaviour and the apparent belief in our ability to create specific futures by force of will is just a post-facto rationalisation. This has scary implications for things that are long term and multi-generational like climate change.

As humans we have trouble actually exercising free will. A lot of the time what we call free will looks like the brain fooling itself with post-facto rationalisation for what we did without any conscious direction. Apparently this applies to humans en-masse as well.

It's hard to talk about this stuff without mentioning Godel, Escher, Bach.  "What's below the emergent behaviour?" "Oh, its just emergent behaviour, ALL THE WAY DOWN". 
 The present in deep history - Charlie's Diary »
I'm head-down, redrafting a book right now. But in the meantime, I am mulling over a question. Assume you are a historian in the 30th century, compiling a pop history text about the period 1700-2300AD. What are the five most influential factors in that period of history?

[from: Google+ Posts]

When we had a death penalty and capital punishment in the UK, at least we had a trial first. But apparently it's now ok for the PM to authorise the summary sci-fi execution of UK subjects in a country that we are not at war with and where the Commons of the Houses of Parliament do not need to be consulted. Because, "plots". And all on the advice on legality from the Attorney General appointed by that same PM. So Cameron = Blair then. Or as one commentator had it: "Two Real IRA men, who were suspected of plotting to bomb the UK, are targeted and killed by a missile fired from an RAF drone flying in the Republic of Ireland’s airspace. Would that be lawful?" how would that example be different?

And all the Mainstream Media can say is "When does the real bombing start? Because tomorrow is not soon enough".


"Yet the news media are now insistently beating the drum for British bombing in Syria. Who should be bombed exactly – ISIL or Assad – appears unimportant, so long as there is bombing. Indeed, the Murdoch Sky News, the Mail and the Blairites are contriving to build a narrative that Jeremy Corbyn, the SNP and bleeding hearts like myself are responsible for the death of little Aylan and hundreds like him, by unreasonable and inhuman opposition to a bit more bombing."
 Craig Murray » Blog Archive » Operation Flavius and the Killer Cameron  »
Exactly twenty years ago the European Court of Human Rights found that the British Government had acted illegally in shooting dead three IRA members in Gibraltar, even though the court accepted that the government had a genuine belief that they were planning a bombing attack.

[from: Google+ Posts]

If you're in the prime of life, say between 30 and 55, you probably remember 1985, more or less. And you've got a pretty reasonable chance of seeing 2045.

So what do you think the world will be like in 30 years time? And how different will it be from 30 years ago?

If business as usual continues, it's quite likely that the global population will be 4 times what it was in 1985. Same goes for GDP. And total energy consumption. And total food production. But also other limited resource consumption and total pollution production.

Now bear in mind that first statement. This is a future you will probably see and experience. It isn't some far distant time that you don't need to worry about because you won't see it. Or problems that you can just leave to your children and descendants to sort out. 30 years is time enough to raise children and get them to child bearing age, but it's not that long. Because think back and you can remember 30 years ago. Remember 2000 and the Millenium and how 2030 felt like the far distant future? Well we're half way there.

So is "Business As Usual" sufficiently sustainable that it will keep going for another 30 years? Will 2045 be pretty much like 2015, just more so?
[from: Google+ Posts]

As one Western commentator had it: If China destroys itself faster than we destroy ourselves then we win, right?

China appears to be running out of effluent sinks before it runs out of resources. Or maybe it's just the Limits to Growth prediction playing out that if the resource limits don't get you, the pollution will.
 Much of China Is Now An Unrepairable Ecological Disaster »
This article from may be a couple of months old, but it describes in excuciating detail why China's ongoing ecological disaster is unprecedented, unending, and unrepairable. It is ...

[from: Google+ Posts]

UK Politics, Business as Usual and the threat to that from the SNP and Jeremy Corbyn.

While Osbourne is promoting Trident and portraying the SNP and Corbyn as a threat to national security, consider these quotes from the article linked below.

- Despite near universal recognition now that the war in Iraq was a disaster, no major British social institution is headed by a single one of the majority of the population who were opposed to the war.

- Every Cabinet Minister actively supported the war.

- Of the fifteen Tory MPs who rebelled and voted against the war, not one is a minister.

- There is not one single Permanent Under Secretary of a UK government department who was known to be against the war and most were enthusiasts.

- Of the 107 bureaucrats in the BBC who earn over 100,000 pounds pa, insiders estimate that only five were opponents of the war.

- There is no head of a major TV channel in the UK who was against the war in Iraq.

- Every current editor of a UK national newspaper supported the Iraq war.

- The Iraq test even extends into the heads of institutions apparently quite unrelated, such as City of London banks and insurance companies. There are a tiny number of heads of FTSE 100 companies who were against the war.

- There is also a strong correlation between support for the Iraq War and support for austerity economics.

There is a near-universal recognition in wider society that the Iraq War was both completely unjustified and a dreadful strategic blunder. Yet its support is a major pre-condition for membership of the governing elite. This is just one of several areas where the population is at serious odds with the establishment.

It is not that there is an Iraq test. It is that Iraq is the touchstone for adherence to the neo-liberal consensus.

So expect more media attacks on, and demonisation of, anyone who threatens to represent that population and disagrees with the establishment.
 Craig Murray » Blog Archive » Breaking the Depleted Uranium Ceiling  »
It is an astonishing fact that, despite near universal recognition now that the war in Iraq was a disaster, no major British social institution is headed by a single one of the majority of the population wo were opposed to the war. Every Cabinet Minister actively supported the war.

[from: Google+ Posts]

These are the ones you should pay attention to.

[from: Google+ Posts]

Not sure if this will ever get updated given the problems with It used to be on my profile but I'm no longer allowed html and only 200 chars. And the remote oauth at no longer works. I'm not sure which end that is caused by but I bet it's

Editing old and long abandoned Flash SWF code.
TL;DR. I need a lazyweb recipe or help for swf->decompile->edit->recompile->swf

Today's trip down the computing rabbit hole is all about Flash and old code. I was a user of a bit of clever code called Tuneglue that allowed you to wander round and visualise the links between music artists. You put in one artist, hit expand and it would query for similar artists and then build a rubber band mesh of the links. It was a great way of exploring musical artist space. The people who wrote it disappeared, leaving a ghost web site behind[1]. The people who hosted it[2] were bought by EMI who then killed the web server. We found the page on the internet archive[3] and amazingly the Flash code still worked. So I grabbed a copy and put it on my website[4]. All went well till about 10 days ago. Then[5] went live with their beta and killed the V1 of their API used by the flash code[7]. The example data[8] and V1 is really not that different from V2[9].

So I thought, maybe I can decompile the flash .swf file, make a few changes to support v2 or the API and then recompile it. I found an online site that will decompile swf[10] Deep in the code, the call to and the xml parsing looks pretty simple.
  Xml.load(("" + UrlEncode(this.Artist)) + "/similar.xml");
  while (E < EMIArtists.length) {

This doesn't look hard. There's only half a dozen lines that need changing to support API v2 and I think I can puzzle out the syntax and make it work. So then I started looking for tools to do the swf->decompile->recompile->swf round trip.

And that's when I fell down the rabbit hole into other decompilers[11], IDEs, numerous support environments (Java! Ugh!), confusion about what language I was looking at, missing project files, huge downloads that wouldn't install, install files that the anti-virus took 10 minutes to decide were ok, support forums populated by idiots, trial versions of software, abandoned open source projects, and so on and so on. Right now, I've just given up in disgust.

So, dearest Lazyweb. Is there anyone out there who's ever successfully done swf->decompile->recompile->swf and can provide a recipe? Or even better is there another music obsessive who wants to take a stab at doing it?

Always assuming that don't just resurrect the API V1. They're looking hugely incompetent at the moment so I'm not holding out a lot of hope.

[7] Data
[from: Google+ Posts]

Is there an RSS/Atom feed for Google Photos? And preferably one that's as easy to use and consume as Flickr's that has content that contains the html to show the photo imgs.

And if not, why not?


[from: Google+ Posts]

61 to 80 of 3692