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Sunday, November 30, 2003

Bye Bye MP3.com, Fuck You Vivendi Universal

This is going to be long, its going to ramble and its going to get sentimental at times. I received an Email Friday night from some guy saying now that www.mp3.com was closing down, did I want to host my music with them? What? Closing down? I knew I was out of the loop, but closing down? WTF?!

A quick scan around the net and more was revealed - which is funny considering there is no mention of it anywhere on www.mp3.com other than to say - we are no longer accepting new artists. No explanation, no reason, no more details. As of December the 2nd, all content will be deleted from the servers - we must be talking terabytes of music. The net is about to lose one of its finest assets.

Scroll back to 1999. I had just got on the net, and spent a bit of time MP3ing the back catalogue of 4 Track recordings I had been making over the last 18 months. I had heard about how the web and MP3 was the new way to distribute music, but to be fair, I had not a clue how being new to the whole phenomena. I chanced upon mp3.com - it wasn't a site I was familiar with - but I was instantly hooked on what they were offering. For free, independent artists could maintain a web presence, promote their music around the world and have mp3.com make CDs albums for fans on the fans demand.

Within months I had learnt a whole new load of things from making web pages, graphics and publishing. I think most of the stuff I know and do now had its roots in getting to grips with mp3.com and all its creative complexities. Before long I had two albums up available for sale and positive comments coming in from around the world from people who liked the messy, clunky noise I made and called home.

That respect was two way. Personally, the kind of music I love is far from polished. Some of my favourite music has made on lo-fi equipment and by less than accomplished musicians. I've never cared for singers who can sing and guitarists who can play technically brilliantly. Mp3.com was a haven for that kind of music. Plenty of us on there knew we would never be famous, but that didn't stop us being passionate, honest and experimental about our own music and other peoples.

I can honestly say that some of the best music I heard during 2000/2001 came off mp3.com. Bands and bedroom artists who wouldn't have stood a chance in the commercial world yet produced some of the finest and freshest music I'd enjoyed in a long while. To me it was a truly modern Punk explosion for the digital age. I still listen to much of the free music I downloaded and the artist CDs I bought during that time.

As brilliant as the community and the music was, there were many problems. Running battles with the company, artist spats, copyright issues, creeping commercialisation, gaming and subscription introductions. Some artists left, most stayed and disappeared into the past and their own lives. One thing lived on though. The music. Until now.

MP3.com suffered from a low rent perception - people thought that the free music it offered would be the latest music from top acts. They completely missed the point of it. Then they bought the top acts in, but only limited tracks were available- it was a slow slide to destruction - heightened by the sell-out to Vivendi Universal. People went there expecting polished studio pop or whatever. They were often disappointed. Don't get me wrong, there was a shed-load of crud there. But there was also diamonds and a little perseverance led to great rewards.

It was great for us artists as well. Shit - where else could I get a world wide audience and people buying my CDs? It was a great buzz for a while, and it even paid some money (enough for a bass guitar and tidy sound card for the PC.) The message boards were mental and there where some great stories which I just haven’t got time to pen. It was a great place to hang.

Scroll back to the present. Its been 18 months since I have made music and uploaded it to mp3.com. I haven't been following the site (I discovered napster and other p2p stuff.) But, in the back of my mind, I knew the 4 groups of mine were there waiting for people to chance across, and likewise a wealth of great music still waiting to be discovered. But now its gone. What a shame. I am really saddened, and it feels like a great loss. I've spent the weekend on a mad dash, copying pages and downloaded new tracks by my favourites - as good as ever I'm happy to report.

So, I wanted to end by saying thanks to the bands and people on mp3.com who have made my life special and made some of the most incredible / scratchy / passionate / moving / exciting music of the past 5 years. It’s a long list. Heroes the lot of them in no particular order:

Xenophile
Buttermilk Platform
The Monopropellants
MAJOR dad
The Pyramids Of Giza
Indy Rockwell/Matt Hopper
Viet Nam Prom
Mick OD
Doctor Oakroot
Metalmags / Erica Magrey
Jupiterscope
Slow Moe
Chris Gardener
The Bard Of Ely
Indie
Amsterdam Hash Club
MilKill
Timelock
Translucent
Machine State
L() Fi
The Ethereal Drains

And many others - good luck in any further musical endeavours, for the contacts, the comments and for the bullshit free music.

However, Vivendi Universal - Fuck you.

Posted by Dio Bach at 23:20 | 0 comments | links to this post
Saturday, November 29, 2003

New Galleries

November is almost dead so I have put together some new galleries over at [DEAD GALLERIES] Digital Galleries @ Diobach.com. I've been so busy in Llandaff this month I ended up having to split the gallery into three separate ones. Plenty of good images. Some with the old Fuji, a lot with the new 4MP Minolta Dimage F200.

Go [DEAD LINK] here and scroll down to November 2003 to wade through the reams of photographs - as ever uncropped and unfiddled with.

To whet you appetite here are a few more nice ones which I took on Friday.











Posted by Dio Bach at 23:48 | 0 comments | links to this post
Friday, November 28, 2003

Oh My Word

Make sure you haven't just eaten... Suddenly my insect in ear incident doesn't seem so bad.BBC NEWS | Health | Invasion of the Bodysnatchers

I particularly like the one that popped its head out of the guys nose. Brrr. Shivers.

Posted by Dio Bach at 12:05 | 0 comments | links to this post

PC Gone Mad

And its not even April 1st. CNN.com - 'Master' and 'slave' computer labels unacceptable, officials say - Nov. 26, 2003

We really must come up with alternatives for this outdated and offensive language. These are some of my suggestions.

Big fucking fast disc and small fast fucking disk
Corporate whore OS storage and pirate CDs and DVDs storage
First hole and sloppy seconds
Cock and Balls

Personally, I'm going home and relabelling my discs 'Pimp' and 'Ho'

Posted by Dio Bach at 11:40 | 0 comments | links to this post
Thursday, November 27, 2003

More Camera Trials

Yay - a taste of winter this morning. There was a heavy frost and the perfect opportunity to try out the camera in a bit of sun. If there is one thing I have learnt, you use it or lose it when it comes to the sun in November.

You may have noticed I've posting loads of pictures this week. I've been busy with my new camera, putting it through its paces. I couldn't resist this morning on the way into work, frosty leaves - the perfect way to test the Macro feature.





Verdict: Need to test a bit more - camera on standard setting and not full resolution to conserve card space. Otherwise it's fairly impressive. Focus is difficult that close but it seemed to cope well. I will have to try some more with the full quality output (once my big card arrives.)

Here are a selection of pictures with strong sun, shadows, contrast and colours. The lunch time ones (frost free) were taken on the lower economy setting. The resolution in the raw file is full but expectedly, there is noticeable compression artefacts. Nothing too horrific, but still noticeable. I was only using economy because of my space shortage.











Verdict: Nice stuff, all are taken using the automatic exposure and focus, once again, impressive results. I can't wait to get 128mb in the camera and work at full setting as the results are superb.

Finally I gave the digital zoom a go. At full strength (12x) you need a steady hand. The results are a 100 times better than my old Fuji - which only had a digital zoom (which was useless.) Once again they were taken with very low standard settings.







Verdict: I sound like I have shares in Minolta. Once again, very impressive. There is obvious interpolation in the raw file, but its really not that bad. Once again, can't wait to try it on full strength.

I ordered a 128mb card today. Luckily, just as I finished the last shot off, I popped in the Spar. Bought a drink and 2 lottery scratches. The first one turned up 25 quid, the second a quid. Needless to say I took it as a sign to get a big card. That's way too much good luck for one day, bad things will happen.

Posted by Dio Bach at 22:28 | 0 comments | links to this post

The Orgasmatron Has Arrived

Its just a shame that they can't find enough volunteers to test it! BBC NEWS | Health | No volunteers for orgasm implant

I think there is a similar electronic device which generates orgasms in the male race. It's called the internet.

Posted by Dio Bach at 16:12 | 0 comments | links to this post
Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Out Again Today

Funny old day - I tooke Elis to work with me today as he finally got to start in the work crèche - which is great for me and great for my wallet. Its been very dank today to say the least - but he enjoyed our long stroll in the bracing morning air. At least he seemed to be smiling. The inane grin could have just been frozen there due to the cold.

Went out at lunch. It was grey, wet and flooded. I scagged my hand on bramble trying not to fall in a large flood-pool, mistakenly thinking I would be around for the two minutes of sun today between torrential downpours, dark skies and rainbows. Not much to shout about but a few more pictures with the new boy - nice skies and finally close enough to the Llandaff devil to admire his beauty.











And part one of the major project [BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year 2003 ] I've been involved in has gone live today in time for the 2003 event on December the 8th. The site is a minor part of a grander year-long project for 2004. Ironic I ended up with it given my absolute (and well documented) loathing of sport. You can imagine the smiles and joy it has given me.

Posted by Dio Bach at 23:12 | 0 comments | links to this post

Downhill Without Brakes

Oh how I long for the heady days of interesting google searches to get here... These days its just filth and degradation... Tidy like!

Google: dirty blogs
MSN Search: masturbationgalleries
Google: caswell bay photos beaches
Google: dio wallpaper
Google: dirty blogs
MSN Search: dio
Google: "dcr-trv 33" review
MSN Search: dio down loads
Yahoo: web fun
Google: dirty old man free galleries
Google: blog+dirty galleries
Google: fun news
Google: poor fucking sluts
MSN Search: masturbation galleries
MSN Search: teen fuck free galleries
Google: free mpeg archive + my page + blog
Google: my naked photos
MSN Search: dirty e mails send
Google: rachel arse

Posted by Dio Bach at 10:21 | 0 comments | links to this post
Tuesday, November 25, 2003

The Joys Of A New Camera

Yay, my new digital camera arrived yesterday, and I’ve had a chance to play with it now. It's a swanky (4 MP & 3x Optical Zoom) Minolta Dimage F200 which I got for a lot cheaper online than I have seen anywhere on the High Street, at least £70 cheaper.

Obviously I will instantly have to get some money back and sell me old camera on Ebay. Not to mention several (yet to be painted) paintings and Elis' toys. But a digital camera has become such a necessity for me I thought what the hell and took the plunge.

I must admit, it’s a corker. By the time my old camera had switched on, fired up the LCD and was ready to shoot, I've taken 3 photos with this one. The delay between shots on my old camera was roughly 20-30 seconds. This one it is a couple. Plus I've now got a zoom - which means I can play a whole new lot of framing games.

I took it out for a spin today. It was very grey, no sun, and I've had to drop the quality as I don't have a large memory card yet. In real life the photos are stunning. The details exquisite, the exposure smart and the speed is snappy. I feel spoilt.

Anyway - here's some I snapped, obviously subjected to the same optimizations as my old camera. Believe me though - the raw files are in another league!

Some closer views of the tower ornaments











And other stuff around the place...





And very importantly - it goes up to 800ASA which means (once I get the tripod out) night shots are a breeze. I did one in near pitch black, handheld, and to my amazement - something came out! In the street lamps it works well - but will need steadying.



I can't emphasise enough how bad the light was today, it was grim. I am really happy with the camera's performance in those conditions. Good stuff. Now I have to spend the whole trip paranoid that I don't get mugged.

Posted by Dio Bach at 23:21 | 0 comments | links to this post
Monday, November 24, 2003

Meat Crime!

Disgusting black market meat trade BBC NEWS | Wales | 'Smokie' gangs threaten meat trade. I mention it here more than anything because I love the heading. Meat Crime.

Posted by Dio Bach at 14:38 | 0 comments | links to this post
Friday, November 21, 2003

Should Have Posted Earlier

I’ve been so busy sorting out the Blog that a lot has passed by. I took some pictures week before last that I haven’t had a chance to post – despite staying up late to run ‘em through the Photoshop mill one night. So here they are – otherwise its getting a bit wordy around here at present.

Another view of Henrietta’s companions.



And some nice shapes and stones following a rare day of nice November sun.





And I said I would go back to the cherub.

Posted by Dio Bach at 22:59 | 0 comments | links to this post

That's About It Then

It's taken a few weeks, a few late nights and I've learnt a few new techniques to get to here. A finished, new look blog. I'm very happy with it.

The old template was the umpteenth variation on the original blogger template I started with - designed by someone else. This new one is by me and from scratch. A few other firsts here for me also - minor in complicated terms but I have impressed myself.

This is the first time I have used ImageReady and made non-flash rollovers. There is also some CSS stuff I've not done before and on top of that after the initial table layouts, most of the site was finished and edited in Text Pad.

I realise that maybe the Rollover at the top is a wee bit heavy for a dial up - but its not hellish (50k) as the rest of the page, excepting images is fairly light. Maybe if people moan I will swap it for a non-rollover version.

That is the last big web job that I 'must' do for quite a while. Now I can maybe concentrate on some more creative stuff. Coupled with the fact I have ordered a new digital camera, I expect to be quite busy in the near future.

Any comments on the new look - good or bad, will be appreciated.

Posted by Dio Bach at 22:23 | 0 comments | links to this post
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Nice Technique

This is something I must get back into - quick and effective. Blow up some colour photocopies, slap some media on them and quick and effective art to flog on Ebay - It would be like being in me first year of College again before the tutors beat it out of me. [DEAD SITE] photojunkie zine : DIY :: photo transfer to canvas.

Posted by Dio Bach at 16:57 | 0 comments | links to this post

Attack Of The Fake Blogs

Interesting - keep an eye on your referrers. i d l y . o r g :: Porn Sites Hiding Behind Blogs

Posted by Dio Bach at 16:49 | 0 comments | links to this post
Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Join In The Fun

An outstanding campaign to rid your PC of those illegal MP3s. Marvellous. I like the Hex Dump method best. [DEAD LINK] Send Them Back!

Posted by Dio Bach at 23:22 | 0 comments | links to this post
Monday, November 17, 2003

Bear With Me

Major change alert - where's everything gone? It all looks strangely different! More when I get it sorted.

Posted by Dio Bach at 22:46 | 0 comments | links to this post
Friday, November 14, 2003

Amazing

These are some of the smartest photographs I have seen in a while. Clever, funny and at times confusing. I like these a lot... MATT STUART - Found via B3ta

Posted by Dio Bach at 23:19 | 0 comments | links to this post
Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Doesn't Time Fly?

Because once again its [DEAD LINK] Secret Santa Time. I'd better zoom over to Amazon and update that wish list now.

Posted by Dio Bach at 23:10 | 0 comments | links to this post
Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Strange Find Of 2003

Has to be this grave and the kiddies toys left there. They haven’t moved for a good few weeks either. Touching and spooky in equal measures.



It was pretty grey today and I wasn’t in much of a mood for wandering. But I ended up with a couple of nice (if slightly flat) images. The first one is a building detail found on one of the older buildings by the cross on Llandaff green



And the rest were damp and grey – but hey – you takes it wheres you finds it...





Posted by Dio Bach at 00:05 | 0 comments | links to this post
Sunday, November 09, 2003

Getting Visual On Yo' Arse

Been snapping loads this week. Autumn is in full swing and the usual haunts are thinning out for Christmas – like my wallet.

Today we went to Ogmore By Sea – first time with Elis. It was freezing, we got there late and didn’t hang around as a real winter gale was howling up. Some real nice sky when we got there but it fizzled out not long after…







And poor Elis looked out into the stormy air of the Severn and said "out in that cold? You ‘aving a laugh Dad?"



A week of delicious Autumn colours, then one gust of wind and the trees are all stripped bare – Pinhead likes the leaves though…



And sadly, the council tree choppers decided the end had come to this grand old tree at the entrance to The Dell.







And I found this ivy clad carving now that the overgrown recesses of the cemetery have opened up. Two angles of the little bloke who I’m sure I will visit again.



Posted by Dio Bach at 01:12 | 0 comments | links to this post

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