Archives for April 2009

Rytme Eksperimenter (2009)

The last month or so I've been working a new MIDI sequencer application. It's not a follow-up to Elysium in any sense other than that I've taken what I've learned in building Elysium into the new project (as well as taking & sharpening up a lot of the code) and bootstrapped this project a lot faster. Here's what the UI looks like right now.

Although I expect there will be a lot of changes between now and any release. In particular I might redo the whole interface using Core Animation.

There's a huge amount of work to do in how rhythms and melodies are generated. But I have been doing some early experiments and it shows promise, enough to keep me interested anyway.

Here's a few things I've cooked up where Rytme has been involved:

  • Rytme Guzheng 1

  • Rytme Shifter 2

More tracks in my Rytme Eksperimeter playlist on Alonetone.

24/04/2009 11:13 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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Why are some drugs illegal?

The way our criminal and justice systems work is something I think about from time to time. In particular the amount of money we spend trying to suppress and criminalize human vices.

In the shower today I was thinking about smoking cannabis and committing murder (well, not literally but the arguments around them being illegal). The argument in my head ran along the lines of:

"Drug laws do not work. People want to use cannabis/cocaine/heroin/... and they do so, despite laws and the threat of prosecution. So just why is the use of these drugs illegal?"

But I countered that with a comparison to murder. People continue to murder other people despite laws and the threat of prosecution. We could say the murder laws do not work and so we should just de-criminalize murder and save a lot of time and money, right?

In thinking about this further I tried to think about why taking drugs is criminal. What is criminal about it?

The act of ingesting drugs itself is clearly not illegal. Very few of us have not taken some kind of drug orally or nasally even if it's just alcohol or tobacco.

The act of ingesting a drug that harms you is clearly not illegal. Tobacco and alcohol are both legal and proven to cause harm.

The act of ingesting drugs beyond a moderate limit is clearly not illegal. Nobody can legally stop you smoking 5 packs a day or drinking 12 pints of lager every day.

So what is the root of the criminal nature of drug taking? Is it entirely arbitrary? Or is there a rationale somewhere in the legislation?

16/04/2009 11:39 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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I should have known better

I've just finished a very lengthy restore of the system disk of my MacBook Pro.

I've noticed my MBP has been a little sluggish lately and, according to hfsdebug, free space was very highly fragmented.

I thought this might be a good time to try out the Drive Genius defragger. You can probably see where this story is heading.

Spoiling the end I first did a complete clone with SuperDuper to a firewire disk.

Then I rebooted with the Drive Genius boot DVD and did a full disk scan to ensure that there were no bad blocks reported on the this, which there were not.

Then I set the defragger running.

It took hours. Given my disk is 148GB I knew it wouldn't be fast but I never imagined it could be this slow. The last 5% were positively glacial, e.g. it would say it was copying 1 block and that would take >30s.

But I let it finish and, eventually, it said all done.

I restarted and went to make another cup of coffee... on my return I found the Mac was still at the gray screen and hosting spinning petal of doom.

I wondered if maybe there some kind of cache being rebuilt or something (you know, the kind of thing you're prepared to believe if you're desperate) and went away for a while longer.

I came back with a heavy heart and, sure enough, the petal was still spinning.

But this has happened to me before, no big deal I thought. I cycled the power and brought the system back in verbose mode.

All seemed well until I saw a message about "CPU halted" and it powered itself down. What the fuck? We repeated this process 2 or 3 times until I figured it wasn't going away and rebooted in Single User mode.

Now I could see messages about HFS corruption on the system disk.

I booted the Drive Genius DVD again thinking I would give it's repair function a go but it wouldn't touch it. No explanation just a big red exclamation mark. Well thanks.

Booting the Leopard DVD and using Disk Utility it declared the disk beyond rescue with something broken in the catalog. Nice.

At this point I formatted the disk and resigned myself to many hours restoring from my SD backup which seemed to go smoothly.

I guess I can't prove that Drive Genius fucked my disk up but that's what I believe. I'm just grateful that I had a backup and it restored. It'll certainly be a long time before I trust Drive Genius with my data again.

14/04/2009 09:49 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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