Tuesday, March 31, 2009

http://jimmychamberlin.com

That URL forwards to the Jimmy Chamberlin Complex's blog. As of this writing, the only blog entry there consists of Jimmy sort of explaining why he left the Smashing Pumpkins (the second time). I left a comment there a while back, asking Jimmy to record more drum loops for my benefit.

Speaking of the Pumpkin(s), Billy Corgan is looking for new drummer(s) with whom to record and/or perform on tour. I sent that link to my old drummer from a band that existed a long time ago, in a galaxy far away. My bias is showing, but that particular drummer could convincingly replace Jimmy and add his own complementary style to Billy's usual 4/4 and sometimes 6/8 songs - and "Geek U.S.A.," too, but that song had better be left alone without Jimmy.

The dude who plays along to Pumpkins songs on YouTube with his electronic drum kit, Phil McKenna, would also be a good Internet-age replacement. If that process worked for Journey, it could work for Billy, too.

Monday, March 30, 2009

http://ryanderamos.com

My name as a vanity URL just goes to the same place as http://deramosgroup.com - my LLC's website. I might have ryanderamos.com go its own website, when I have something substantial to go under my name, that isn't covered already by this network of Interwebs that I've created.

Like the Society of Gloves' website, the DeRamos Group's is pretty simple. The home page links to the entities in which the company runs or holds a significant interest. The second page of the site contains copies of our press releases. One of these days, I'll have to figure out how to actually release them to the actual press - the one that exists outside of the World Wide Web.

The press still exists offline, right?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

http://chorddujour.com

The above URL goes to Chord du Jour, which provides a daily dose of music education: Mostly guitar-centric, many posts about general music theory, sometimes music production tips, and rarely other instruments.

This week, we're focusing on the E note (and related keys, modes, and techniques) and presenting most of the new lessons in guitar tablature.

Enjoy, if possible. Learn, if you dare. Rock on!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

http://societyofgloves.com

"Don't Say You Will" is the new song. We're currently in the process of shooting out another song, to be released in the month of April. In any case, I have nothing substantial to write for today, March 28, 2009 (or what's left of it). I think I can write a strange rant tomorrow.

Friday, March 27, 2009

http://twitter.com/societyofgloves

That URL is my band's Twitter page. I anticipate that it's not going to be very active, as it's just there to attempt to inform the populace of whatever the band does. We used to keep an active blog, but that was only useful when this blog was a quasi-heated political one (2007-2008) and the band's blog was for weird stuff. If I were to contribute to both blogs right now, it would be redundant with all the weird stuff I've been writing about as of late.

Anyhow, this blog's RSS feed will post via Twitterfeed to my personal Twitter, so this entry's title will be an active link. My Twitter post will repost on Facebook and the link will also be active. That's basically what I've been doing with the URL titles these past few days.

Today (the 27th) is my brother's birthday, so I hope he had a fun time today. I had a fun celebrating it.

That's all for today.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

http://societyofgloves.com

That's my band's website. Other than doing what it's supposed to do now (with our new song embedded but not on auto-play), it's pretty bare bones. We're trying to let it grow organically, without making it into an gaudy Geocities website. Yes, we've all been guilty of that. If you don't believe that - or are too young to remember Geocities, Tripod, and AOL Hometown - think about the busiest incarnation of your MySpace profile for some perspective. Yeah, exactly.

My first few websites in early 1998 were like Homer Simpson's first attempt to build a website - full of animated GIFs, cheesy MIDI background music, and the not-so-clever "Under Construction" image with the hardhat stickman shoveling dirt.

At some point, this blog was pretty busy with widgets and whatnot. It still is at this moment, actually. Who has the time to practice what they preach, anyhow?

C'est la vie.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

http://twitter.com/DeRamos

That is my personal Twitter page. Depending on how current events or pop culture's woes inspire me (to rant), maybe I should take a break from long-winded blog postings and instead microblog ("tweet") and post TinyURL links on Twitter.

Ironically, computer security specialists warn everyone surfing the Web - no matter the operating system platform - to be careful when clicking on obscure links, lest a malicious hacker greet you on the other end. TinyURL (and similar services) essentially shortens and obscures long URLs, so that they can fit the Twitter format (a maximum tweet length of 140 characters).

Anyhow, I might think up of something to blog here for the rest of the month; maybe something will present itself to me to rant. That sometimes happens. Otherwise, I currently write daily "educational" posts at Chord du Jour, and the Society of Gloves will hopefully have another song ready about one month from now. Mutiny Universe has several things coming up the pipeline, both large and small.

A wise man once said: "Ain't nothin' newer than doin'." Here's to doing stuff! In this current economic structure, there are producers and consumers. Try to be a producer ('cause there's no money to consume, anyhow). Maybe in a newer, open-source world, there are collaborators and collaborators. Ah, idealism...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Society of Gloves "Don't Say You Will"

The Society of Gloves has finally released new material after about one and a half years of not releasing new material (other than my Élan Vital score and soundtrack). It is a piano ballad/upbeat rocker/piano ballad/loud ending called "Don't Say You Will":



I started writing the song behind a piano, and I wrote the piano ballad part before I got bored of the mellowness. I started hitting the G note rhythmically, and that started the upbeat rock part of the song. It returns to the mellow piano and vocal only for the end, but I didn't want to end it there. That's why we brought the entire band in for another guitar solo. And then we end the song. I'm happy we could do all that in under five minutes (about four minutes and forty-one or forty-two seconds) - the song length, that is, not the recording process.

Next month, we should have another track completed. Or maybe an older track remixed and remastered. I'll definitely blog about it (and embed the song), and we'll also have the music available at the Society's website and our Facebook profile. We've abandoned our MySpace profile, essentially.

By the way, the Society of Gloves #hashtag on Twitter is #sofg - since that hasn't been taken (other than a fellow tweeter's user name).

Monday, March 23, 2009

Wikipedia Told Me That It's Already Been Thought of Before

The cardinal rule of the human artistic/philosophical process is that (virtually) everything has already been thought, said, and done. There might be room for human "originality" in the sciences, but that's essentially discovering what's already been available all along, whether mathematical theorems, the properties of stem cells, or the laws of physics.

Yesterday's fanciful rant about multitasking through synced consciousnesses has already been done before. Presumably, that's sort of what a insect hive/colony does...in a sense. And more recently - I found this out journeying through Wikipedia - that's essentially what the Cylons do/are in the recently-finished Battlestar Galactica series. Having never watched the show (and not remembering whether or not I watched the original - probably not), I didn't know that each specific Cylon could copy and sync its consciousness onto both mechanical machinery and organic, humanoid machinery. At least, that's what I think they do, since I never watched the show (maybe I'll check out the show online on Hulu, if it's there). I think it's cool that my thought experiment is similar to the thought processes of published and produced writers of science fiction.

When I took an online astronomy course, I ranted about time travel and how fourth and fifth dimensional beings could exist. Years later, I watched an episode of Doctor Who (the badass Ninth Doctor with the leather jacket), having never watched an episode of this legendary BBC franchise. Lo, and behold! their ideas of time travel and higher beings (the Doctor, who is a Time Lord) were very compatible to mine. That's also why I find the time travel angle of Lost so fascinating, especially the beginnings of that arc with the Desmond character.

I guess we can blame the 1960 film adaptation of The Time Machine, the Back to the Future trilogy, Quantum Leap, and other geekery for acclimating my imagination to "come up" with concepts that are already essentially mainstream, with me knowing that it's out there.

Now that's settled, maybe I should give my imagination a rest and just sponge up whatever the boob tube has to say. Then again, that's not a good idea.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

How to Be in Two or More Places at Once

If you are en route to getting your bachelor's degree in science fiction, this is probably a 100 or 200-level course. Anyhow, here are some pseudoscientific observations:

Your body is like the hardware of a computer, with key peripherals installed. Your brain, which is part of your body, is like a hard disk drive.

Your mind is like the operating system/file system of the computer, installed in your brain.

Your consciousness is like a very important piece of the operating system, like the main system driver mixed with the license to legally run the operating system.

Your memories are like various computer files on a hard drive (long term) or in your RAM (short term).

If we add or delete memories from your mind, you are still you no matter what. If a disease or brain surgery robs you of your memories, your consciousness still defines who you are from your point of view.

If we copy-and-paste your consciousness (and memories) onto another body or piece of hardware, that copied consciousness (with memories) is not you. The copy might think it's you, but you are the original consciousness (with or without memories) that resides in your body. You - the original consciousness - cannot experience what your copied consciousness experiences from the time the copied consciousness is installed onto the new hardware. If your consciousness goes away, you do not live on in the copy, and vice versa. Both the original and copied consciousnesses are like identical twins separated later in life (not in the early stages of cell division in the womb).

If we cut-and-paste your consciousness from your body to, say, a computer, there is a good chance you are now aware of being the consciousness of a computer. Your body will either be a comatose "vegetable" or an appropriately brain-hungry zombie from the time of consciousness transfer.

If we install syncing hardware and software into both your brain and the hard drive of a computer, then copy-and-paste your sync-ready consciousness to the computer, there is a good chance that you will be able to be two places at once: Your own body and in a computer. You will be able to simultaneously experience new things as the human you currently are and as a separate computer with a synced consciousness.

At first, your consciousness might only be strong enough to use experience your human life while awake (with the computer on standby/hibernate), and then experience computer life during another time period (with your body asleep/comatose). Technology and/or willpower will enhance your consciousness to simultaneously be an awake/active human as well as a operating/processing computer. In that case, congratulations. You can now be two places at once.

As technology and the strength of your consciousness increases, you might be able to sync yourself with multiple devices, mechanical and organic. You can upgrade the hardware (and software) to a certain point. You can be an early adopter for new bodies and computers for copies of your consciousness to sync. You can retire and recycle obsolete and failing equipment. You are still YOU as long as a sync-ready copy of YOU is still around.

You have the option of interacting with other consciousnesses, but that will exponentially increase the intensity of positive and negative interactions. You also have the option of filling entire planets, star systems, and galaxies with YOU if you so choose - to the exclusion of other people, in total cosmic loneliness. If YOU are strong enough, maybe you can absorb everyone else (and their memories), and YOU become the dominant consciousness.

There may be problems with the syncing platform. Some copies might not want to be a part of the hive mind that is YOU. A rogue copied consciousness will become its own individual. Depending on the consciousness' acquired/mutated/evolved personality, it would either resign to being finite (as we are now) or want to expand as a competing, multi-location consciousness.

It is obvious that I am a megalomaniac of comic book supervillain proportions from this rant. There is also a chance that I may have described the theology/cosmology of various Eastern religions: A unified Consciousness with omnipresence and cosmic loneliness, followed by pieces of the consciousness becoming their own individuals, then stuff happens, and that's where we are right now. In this scenario, the goal of the "rogue consciousnesses" is to live and relive until all are part of the original, unified Consciousness. Then the process begins again.

Come to think of it, this mostly applies to Judeo-Christian creation/eschatology, too: An omnipresent God is quite lonely as a singularity/trinity, so He creates a Universe out of nothing (which is really from Himself, so it's really out of something), then stuff happens, and that's where we are right now. In this scenario, the goal is for the worthy/saved individuals to live forever with the omnipresent God, to the exclusion of the rest, so it's not as neat of an ending as the previous scenario.

I'm no scientist, but I can fictionalize that this rant applies to astrophysics too: A singularity expands in a big bang as all sorts of material that is the Universe; the material becomes stars, some of which spawn planets; in turn, some planets produce life; eventually, there is a form of megalomanial life that can not only rant on this topic, but make good on this technology; the strongest consciousness absorbs the rest, just in time for everything to nicely compact into a singularity once again; we repeat the process again.

In any case, this is how to be in two or more places at once using cutting edge and/or blasphemous (depending on your beliefs) technology that has not yet been produced by Earth human beings as of March 22, in the Year of our Lord/Common Era (depending on your beliefs, again) 2009. I wonder if I can patent this technology if I mock up blueprints for this scheme. That would surely be a wise use of money in this sluggish economy!

One more thing: With time travel sort of covered previously, it might be possible for some of copies of your consciousness to travel through time onto selected devices, as long as that specific hardware exists in both points of time travel. Syncing memories between devices might be tricky, however. Also, depending on your hardware and/or willpower, you might need a Constant to prevent your system from crashing.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Chamberlin Leaves Pumpkins; Corgan without Synergy

Being a fan of the Smashing Pumpkins since the album Siamese Dream, I was disappointed in the band for the third time in their history: The first in 1996, when they fired drummer Jimmy Chamberlin for drug abuse; the second in 2000, when bandleader Billy Corgan announced that they would call it quits near the end of the year; and now in 2009, when it was announced that Chamberlin would leave the band again, and that now-sole member Corgan would continue on under the name Smashing Pumpkins. Each time, the disappointment is a bit less, so I'm probably not going to dwell on 2009's disappointment as long as the previous ones.

That said: There goes synergy.

If Corgan does everything himself, then the next chapter of the Pumpkins is essentially a solo album. If Corgan surrounds himself with hired guns with less-than-equal standing in the band (Chamberlin's drumming is still the one thing Corgan cannot replicate himself, nor completely replace with another drummer), then the Pumpkins are essentially the same as Axl's Guns N' Roses, which is essentially a solo album. I've heard that Axl's fans have come to terms with this and are mostly die-hard fans of the current GNR, but it is unknown whether (okay, doubtful that) most Pumpkins fans are really Billy's fans and will accept this technically bandless band.

There is something to say about synergy. Even if you're the songwriter of a song, and you may have a vision of what the end product might sound like, but you bring it to at least another band member, and that vision becomes exponentially better due to the added complementary point(s) of view. I've experienced synergy in the Society of Gloves with my brother (and with guest musicians), and I've experienced synergy when Mutiny Universe produced Élan Vital. Artistic synergy is good.

In any case, I wish Corgan well as THE Smashing Pumpkin (appropriate that the band's new Twitter username "SmashingPumpkin" reflects this reality), and I wish Chamberlin well wherever he goes - presumably his namesake band the Jimmy Chamberlin Complex (also on Twitter). Hopefully Jimmy can get around to recording and releasing another volume of drum loops. I love jamming with, recording with, and otherwise getting inspired by Jimmy's drum loops! We can't afford a Jimmy Chamberlin in the Society, so it's always a treat to incorporate his style in some of our tracks.

Anyway, maybe Jimmy's and Billy's paths will cross again, and the synergy will return. Maybe even James Iha (who's currently in the supergroup Tinted Windows) might factor in, or even the reclusive D'Arcy Wretzky. While I am disappointed right now, at least this disappointment isn't of the same magnatude as 1996 or 2000. Maybe age helps out. Maybe it's because I'd rather be a producer of my own work than a consumer of another artists' work to really care.

It's a wiser use of one's time to be a producer than a consumer.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Obama on Leno and the Joke(s) Said in Passing

On the Tonight Show, the President made or participated in two jokes that could be controversial, depending on who you are:

1. Obama compared his lack of bowling proficiency to the Special Olympics.

2. Both Obama and Leno used a slightly obscure term "water head." Depending on the meaning of the slang phrase, the object of the punchline could be similar to the previous joke.

Observations:

The anti-politically correct, previously mostly pro-Bush crowd (especially the bloggers) should appreciate the President's politically incorrect joke (but how are jokes ever nice?), as an ad-libbed sort of olive branch to their ideology. These people should never criticize the President on that point; it would be quite hypocritical to do so.

The pro-PC, generally pro-Obama crowd has every right to be disappointed in the President for the joke and little right to try to justify his joke when they will readily pounce on the offensive comments of others, especially from their ideological opponents.

It's a non-issue for everyone else, and is only an issue for me because it gives me a topic on which to write.

Let's see if Obama could have used other words to still be humorous on the bowling topic:

"It's like remedial sports or something." This still makes fun of developmentally challenged people, who have to take remedial classes.

"I have poor motor skills in bowling." It still makes makes fun of physically disadvantaged people.

"I just suck at bowling." While directly self-effacing humor might have been the way to go, the prudes of the nation would take offense to the words "suck" or its oxymoronic synonym "blow."

"I am no good at bowling. That is all, Mr. Leno." Wow, keep that up, Mr. President, and you'll be more wooden than when Al Gore was Vice President.

With humor, not only is there no way to please everybody, there's always somebody to offend. In any case, the President warned us he'd make mistakes - smaller ones like this one and larger ones every so often - so there you go.

Irony will definitely ensue when the President finds a way to fund the Special Olympics to cover his mea culpa, and many of those who previously found fault with his joke will call the Special Olympics program funding as unneeded pork, not beneficial to "average Americans."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Time Travel 098, According to "Lost"

When I was in college, the course numbers that began with 0 were remedial classes that didn't directly count toward getting a degree, other than getting you to actual underclassmen undergraduate courses (100 and 200 levels), and eventually to upperclassmen undergraduate courses (300 and 400 levels).

Anyhow, there are people in various Internet forums that don't quite understand the simplicity of time travel in the show Lost. I don't know if these people are actually confused (lost, as it were) or merely trolls to anger the fanbase. Likely it is a mix of both categories, but which is the dominant category is unknown. So here's Remedial Fictional Television Time Travel, according (so far) to ABC's Lost:

As of last night's episode, the concept of a multiverse (alternate universes) is not part of the show. Whatever happens during the course of the Universe, happens and is supposed to happen. If there are any irregularities (Desmond preventing Charlie's death several times), the Universe will course-correct (Charlie dying).*

If your consciousness from 1996 travels forward to 2004, you can't access your memories from 1997-2004 (as well as the remaining days in 1996). If you were 25 in 1996, you're going to be the same 25 year old in 2004, and not the 33 year old you were before your 25 year old consciousness took over. To your 1996 mind, the life you're living in 2004 would be quite alien and scary.**

If your consciousness from 2004 travels back to 1996, you might be able to predict what happens between 1997-2004 (as well as 1996) if you can remember the details. Armed with knowledge of "the future," as well as the experience of age, your 2004 consciousness can potentially be quite savvy in 1996.

If both your mind and body from 2004 travel to 1974, you're still getting older and living life linearly. If you're 30 years old in 2004, you'll still be 30 years old when you travel to 1974. In 1977, you'll be 33 years old. Jin couldn't speak that much English in late 2004. That same Jin (body, mind, and English language skill set) traveled to 1974. In 1977, Jin spoke fluent English, being three years older with three years of English language immersion and use. There's no way that 30 year old Jin could have the same skill set as 33 year old Jin. A forum user on IMDb, didn't quite get that, and assumed that 2004 (Seasons 1-4) Jin would be fluent in English since 1977 (Season 5) Jin spoke fluent English.

If both your mind and body from 2004 travel to 2007, you skip over three years of time. If you were 48 in 2004, you would still be physically 48 in 2007. However, according to your birth certificate and identification card, the government and society will treat you as a 51-year old (if they don't know otherwise). In any case, you would have no direct memory of the days between your departure in 2004 and your arrival in 2007, and would need to catch up watching news clips, reading magazines, asking people, and going on Wikipedia. This principle is also applicable for those who are cryogenically frozen, stored, and revived in the future.***

If your body time travels without any mind, who would care? (Zombie time travel is beyond the scope of this course.) And that concludes Time Travel 098. Understand these concepts, and you'll be able to take Time Travel 101, which counts toward your B.S.F. degree (Bachelor of Science Fiction, naturally).

If you, the reader, still don't quite understand basic hypothetical time travel, I accept that reality. It doesn't reflect poorly on your intellect, as you probably have more productive, real-world problems and solutions to consider.

*Of course, maybe the Universe wanted Desmond to save Charlie a few times, in order for Charlie to be sick of being saved and finally sacrificing himself at the end of the third season. In that case, whatever happened was supposed to happen.

**If your 1996 consciousness grounds itself with a Constant, there's a good chance your memories from 1997-2004 will return, and you'll be whole again. But who knows?

***A 48 year old who skips three years can believably masquerade as a 51 year old (on paper), while still being 48 physically. A 48 year old who skips 20 years would raise suspicion as a 68 year old (on paper), and a 50 year leap would require the use of effects makeup to masquerade as a 98 year old (on paper). Forget about pretending to be 1048 years old after a 1000 year forward time travel. Virtually everyone would consider you to be a 48 year old time traveler in that scenario.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

It Was Fun Tweeting in Irish


When @antsiogghlas suggested I tweet in Irish for St. Patrick's Day, I was excited to accept the challenge but still thought it was a challenge.  I had been (and am almost done with) learning the Irish language through the Pimsleur method.  Now I could speak choice conversational phrases, but being literate was a problem.  Fortunately, I found a transcript of the Pimsleur course at a website of Gaeilge language enthusiasts.  Apparently, Pimsleur teaches the Munster dialect of Irish, so that the phrase "ana-mhaith" (very well) is pronounced somewhat like "ah-nah-vah."  Anyway, the transcript (as well as other resources found through Google) helped me tweet in Irish yesterday.  I tweeted the following:

Is maith liom Guinness.
I think that expressed my fondness of Guinness.

Fíon, beoir (3:26:15).
Wine, beer, and the time I left off on Pimsleur.

Ba mhaith liom rud éigin a ól.
I would like to drink something.

@THE_REAL_SHAQ Lá Fhéile Pádraig Shona, Mr. O'Neal! :-)
I wished Shaq a Happy St. Paddy's Day.  He is, after all, an O'Neal.  And I'm a Ryan, by the way.

Is Éireannach inniu leis Uachtarán Baragh Hugh Sein O'Bama. :-)
This is my broken Irish way of stating that President Obama is also Irish on St. Paddy's.

Breithlá shona duit, Liam Phádraig Corrigan!
St. Paddy's is Billy Corgan's birthday (hence the middle name Patrick).  I don't know if there's a special Irish spelling of William (like Guillermo in Spanish), so I chose to write Liam instead because it looks regional.  I also posted a similar Irish language greeting on the official Smashing Pumpkins forum:
Breithlá shona duit, Liam Pádraig Corrigan! :-)

Sláinte,
Riain
I even gave my name a more authentic feel, spelling-wise.

Ar mhaith leat beoir?
Would you like a beer?

@DeRamos Ba mhaith. Ba mhaith liom beoir.
I answered to myself that yes, I would like a beer.

Ceart go leor!
It sounds almost like "Cat Galore!" and it means "all right" or "okay."

Tá a fhios agam.
I know.

Go raibh maith agat.
Thank you!  It sounds almost like "gar-a-maggot," but it definitely doesn't look like what it sounds, at least to my English-speaking eyes.

I just ate a corned beef brisket and cabbage sandwich, and I'm on my second Guinness, so St. Paddy's still on!

Posted via email from DeRamos' Clipboard

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day; My Last Public Web Words in English for Today

@antsiogghlas (on Twitter) suggested I tweet in the Irish language for St. Paddy's Day, and I will do just that. Also, after I post this blog, all my public Web communication will be in Irish (not emails or private messages for realistic reasons).

Anyway, I like these quasi-ethnic/cultural holidays (in America, they are). They are grand excuses for party and drink (responsibly, of course) for everyone regardless of ancestry. Until Passover or Easter become drinkin' holidays (who says they shouldn't?), we have the month of April off (technically). While St. Paddy's is actually celebrated in Ireland, we have a quasi-ethnic holiday in May only truly celebrated by Americans: Cinco de Mayo. I don't know if that holiday is very important in Mexico, but I think it's quite important to us living north of the border. That said, I'll try to do the language of origin bonus celebration for Cinco (in Spanish) as what I am attempting to do today (in Irish).

I want everyone to party well but responsibly for the rest of today. I got my Guinness head start as of last Wednesday, and I'm still going strong! Cheers! Oíche mhaith duit!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Workstation Computers

I am in the market for an industrial-strength microcomputer that resembles a desktop PC but isn't meant for consumer use. This is pretty much in line with my brand of hyperbolic extremism that supports both the super-inexpensive and the ridiculously pricey but not any middle ground. Anyhow, I've been researching various tech forums (and copying and pasting terms on Google/Wikipedia so I can get some definitions) to get some tips on what kinds of goodies to expect for what price, so I can use this info to create a balanced and informed decision. Various threads eventually get reduced to flame wars, which is mildly entertaining. In any case, there's lots to know about processors and multi-cores and virtual threading and RAM beyond 4 GB and cards upon cards upon cards.

Okay, time to be a bit facetious for this rant: The big test is whether or not such a computer can handle Massive (the program that generates crowds for epic war scenes). It costs about $18 grand initially and about $4 grand annually to upgrade. That's why this test is silly.

The obvious choice is the eight-core (two quad chips) Mac Pro. Unfortunately, Massive doesn't run on the default OS X platform. Mac hardware doesn't officially support open source Linux, which can run Massive. Fortunately, Massive can be run with Windows XP, and Macs can dual boot XP along with OS X. Then again, this support is only for 32-bit XP so it could all be moot, potentially defeating the purpose of RAM greater than 4 GB. How would I know? I'm still doing some research on true workstation computers. Unfortunately (again), Apple just released a newer Mac Pro, and whenever new technology is released, the pricing is just plain screwy (see Amazon.com's Kindle and Kindle 2 for examples). I would have to wait a few months, after the early adopter period, to see some reasonable pricing.

The next choice would be to get a similar machine with similar specs as the Mac Pro but made by another PC manufacturer (or DIY from high-end parts). I have a hunch that the perceived "Apple premium" of consumer/prosumer products is relatively absent in the realm of industrial/professional equipment. (In other words, expensive is expensive.) As long as the hardware can accept the Linux build (32 or 64-bit) or XP (32-bit), then Massive will run on such a machine. Ideally, this machine would be a dedicated special effects computer and not an editing bay. Otherwise, it would need to be a Hackintosh (PC+OS X violating EULA) to run Final Cut Pro (defeating the purpose of doing things legally). I will have to Google the requirements to run Avid (the fading industry standard for video editing). (Beside the point but worth mentioning: Adobe recently changed the base code of Premiere Pro, which is eerily similar to FCP due to shared history. It is now a 64-bit program.)

Anyway, running Massive to create epic battle scenes is still a pipe dream. It would make more sense to replace "Massive" with "Pro Tools HD." PTHD would work fine in almost any proprietary computing environment: Mac+OS X, Mac+Windows, or PC+Windows. (I'm not sure if PTHD has the same issues with 64-bit Windows as PTLE and PTMP.) Then again, the PCIe DSP TDM card cores of PTHD (it seems like I'm just making these terms up!) would handle most of the processing; therefore, an industrial strength computer isn't technically necessary. The PTHD components would essentially make the base computer industrial strength.

I'm pretty sure this post is one of my most incoherent. I don't even understand half of what I wrote. But whatever it is, I want it.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

To Do List / Thoughts

1. I usually use my desktop for creative endeavors, but since this time is somewhat like downtime, I guess it's a good time to take care of some administrative work otherwise not possible from my netbook.

2. Almost done with the second round of business taxes! Woo hoo! Then there's personal taxes. Argh.

3. I'm behind on my exercise. Argh.

4. ...which also means I'm behind on my Pimsleur Irish lessons. Ach (which I think means "but" - the conjunction).

5. Someone on Twitter challenged me to tweet in Gaeilge on St. Patrick's Day. I'm gping for it.

6. Is it a rule that males born on March 17th have the middle name Patrick? Maybe is it a rule for people of Irish descent?

7. The wrestler formerly known as Test was a middle name Patrick born on the 17th. He died on Friday the 13th, four days shy of his 34th birthday.

8. There have been two times in my life that I was into professional wrasslin': During my Hulkamania childhood (when I thought it was real) and at the turn of the millennium (when I thought it was entertaining). During the second wind, I used to play the Playstation One games Smackdown! and Smackdown! 2.

9. It's a shame that a lot of the characters in the roster of those games are no longer around.

10. Not only do I owe the late Dr. Pimsleur a beer for developing a method to learn conversational language, I also owe the late Dr. Swadesh a beer for honing down a list of 207 words to learn in virtually every language.

11. Anyhow, now that I've powered down the PMIO (the cool hardware), it's time to power up the scanner (the not so cool hardware...well, it's cool if used in creative endeavors, but not this time).

12. Then time to sleep for maybe four or so.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Rock Obama on SNL

I think I mentioned sometime during the campaign that then-Senator Obama (now the President) was a bit like a mellow version of the wrestler The Rock (now the actor Dwayne Johnson). Finally SNL caught up to what we were cookin'...I mean, thinking, by making The Rock an angry version of the oft-cool President:

Friday, March 13, 2009

Note to Self: Watch This Video Before It Expires

Jon Stewart vs. Jim Cramer smackdown on The Daily Show:



Admittedly, Jim Cramer's hilarious interviews on Late Night with Conan O'Brien before the current super-recession/quasi-depression inspired me to invest in the market. I'm glad I don't have cable to watch Cramer's show regularly, and I've neglected to keep up on his RSS feed.

In any case, I still maintain a portfolio, and I use my petty ownership status to justify my various rants and complaints against the companies I own.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

New iPod Shuffle: Put a Button on the Unit (TWSS*)

There's a lot to like about the Apple's newest incarnation of the iPod Shuffle. It's smaller, sleeker, still relatively inexpensive, and has a higher capacity (4 GB) than its predecessor.

Unfortunately, it is not a complete unit*. Other than an on/off switch and a shuffle/cycle switch, Apple forces the user to rely on the in-box ear buds (until further notice) to control the iPod Shuffle. These specialized ear buds have the controls to control volume, play/pause, and change tracks. Actually, if I read the specs correctly, one button controls play/pause (single-click), next track (double-click), and previous track (triple-click). That's a decent innovation; too bad those same buttons aren't on the actual unit.

It might be for the sake of convenience that the controls are integrated on the bud cable, but a little redundancy isn't a bad thing. I don't like using the default in-box Apple ear buds. I'd rather choose my own way to listen to the iPod. If I want to use a TRS to RCA connector from the iPod to a stereo, and if AAPL (notice I'm using their ticker symbol like a parent using their child's full name to scold) wants me to consume their new product, they'll have to give me that option. As is, there seems to be no way for me to plug in the new Shuffle to my car and use it on the road. That's where I use my current Shuffle most often.

I'm pretty sure other manufacturers will add that sort of Shuffle control circuitry to headphones, ear plugs, and ear buds. Otherwise, AAPL and other manufacturers might sell a female to male TRS cable with Shuffle controls like the Sony Walkman and Minidisc players from the '90s. Then you can plug in whatever to the iPod Shuffle. Unfortunately, that sort of dongle defeats the purpose of the sleeker design of the new Shuffle.

This shareholder is not satisfied with AAPL at the moment. Employees should try not to piss off their boss (shareholder = boss), no matter how petty their stake. Alliances may form, and proxy battles may ensue. Of course, they had to release this after we reelected the board. The CEOs of Google and Avon and the vacationing/ailing Steve Jobs, as well as the other directors, are all laughing at us now. Lousy smug board of directors.

Anyhow, I'm sticking with the 1 GB Shuffle I got last Christmas. Hopefully I can find a decent replacement (quality and price-wise) when the rechargeable battery stops recharging. That's the point of my rant, I guess. I don't care too much about pricey mp3 players, but I want a useful, inexpensive solution when I have to replace my current player. Here's to a better 4th generation Shuffle. Maybe it'll be a microchip that you can install in a pleasure center of the brain:

The iGasm, new from Apple*.

*That's what she said.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

To Do List Before Sleeping

Again, I haven't time to blog on one topic, but at least this isn't a random list (for me, anyway). Today was very, very musically satisfying. Anyhow, this is the last stretch of my day:

1. Write another lesson in G for Chord du Jour at chorddujour.com;

2. Quickly author and upload the Society of Gloves' homepage at societyofgloves.com;

3. Eat a banana and possibly some yogurt;

4. Exercise while learning Irish;

5. Learn Irish while exercising;

When those five things are done, I think I am free to sleep for four or five hours or so.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

More Quick Thoughts

Since I just recharged my human batteries for another stretch of being productive (i.e., I took a nighttime nap and I'm good to go until noon, perhaps), I can't think of a single topic for which to write.

1. I downloaded the new Chris Cornell album at AmazonMP3 for $3. I'm listening to it right now. It sounds like he and his collaborators went to town messing with Pro Tools.

2. Who am I to judge? I've been pushing myself musically as well.

3. If the Society of Gloves (my band) can output a Web-ready steaming MP3 (it could still be a post-mix, pre-master) of one new song per month, I'd be happy. In 2006, I aimed for one song per week, but the way I write, arrange, and produce (fancily, obessively, and slowly) and other necessities in life make that impossible.

4. I'm too young to remember Ike & Tina (the real thing, not the movie), and I'm too old to care about Chris Brown & Rihanna, other than one is an assclown and the other isn't being wise at all, if the allegations are true.

5. The Apple non-netbook netbook is looking more likely to be a reality. What are they going to call it?

6. iPod HD? I don't know why the "HD" suffix is being used in various weblogs, since it's ultimately a marketing buzzword.

7. iPad, if it is a multi-touch subnotebook?

8. AppBook, if the only way to officially install programs is to use the App Store?

9. I'm possibly asserting wrong assumptions, since I don't really know how the OS of iPhones and iPod Touches (iPods Touch?) work - but is the App Store the only EULA-approved way to install applications?

10. I'm probably being too hard lamenting the App Store's proprietariness versus open source programs. I think the pecking order for open source technology works this way: Linux builds? Duh. Geek FUBU, MFers! Windows? Sure. Mac OS? Beta testing, always beta testing.

11. Proprietary technology tends to work this way: Windows and Mac OS? Yes, for OS X and XP, but not Vista (never, ever Vista...okay maybe Vista 32-bit but who has Vista 32-bit?). Linux? LOL, computer nerds! Seriously, no.

12. I guess the App Store is just quality control for the iPhone/iPod Touch/AppBook (I say!) OS; the only downside is that Apple rejects apps perceived as iTunes competitors (podcast catchers and AmazonMP3).

13. I still like AmazonMP3 better than the iTunes Store for music. I've yet to see the same type of deals on iTunes as AmazonMP3.

14. A news report yesterday said that college kids like the lower-resolution sound of mp3s better than the higher "quality" (high bitrate quantity, that is) sound of CDs. It's that kind of pop culture taste that drives me to become more of a vinyl snob when it comes to music consumption and a happy producer of mp3 files for people to listen to on the Web.

15. Until I can find a permanent bass player (preferably a lady, since I share Billy Corgan's chick bass player fetish), tracking bass is a necessary pain. I don't play that instrument that often to have bass player calluses.

16. But few things are better musically than a bassline more-or-less locked with the kick drum. So simple yet so effective this technique is.

17. Yoda's speech pattern is almost like Latin in syntax.

18. My first lesson in Irish is harder than the previous two languages I learned. I can't figure out why. Maybe I'll retain better for today's lesson.

19. I might need to buy a case of Guinness for inspiration.

20. I'm off to fiddle with guitar effects and try to come up with an emotionally-intense guitar solo, or so my producer (who is me) expects of me. Results will vary.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Apple Netbook

I think those two buzzwords in the title alone will create a bunch of hits via the Google web crawler (if that's how it still works). In any case, the chances are good (or the rumors are loud) that the Cupertino-based corporation of which I own shares will come out with a netbookish computer that fulfills the duties of a netbook (word processing, Web browsing, and limited entertainment) but in a potentially non-netbookish, possibly innovative way. If blog commenters could Wikify the specs, it would look like this:

1. It would be like an iPod Touch but bigger;
2. It would be primarily touchscreen-based;
3. It would also have a slide-out keyboard, unlike a hinged notebook design;
4. It would run on OS X-lite, closer to the iPod/iPhone OS than the robust OS X operating system;
5. It would be proprietary (and vaguely monopolistic), as most users would have to buy programs via the App Store and the App Store alone, to the exclusion of open-source downloads and rejected competing apps;
6. It would cost about $600.

There are probably other hypothetical and speculatory specs, but I must wrap this up so I can grab a bite to eat. As a shareholder, I'd normally be happy about a new product that caters to a rabid fan base of consumers, but shares of AAPL can't even break $100 any more, let alone $90. Obviously, it's a weak stock market, no matter how well these trinkets would sell.

As a potential consumer, I'm only interested in two physical items by Apple: The iPod Shuffle (which I already own) and the 8-Core Mac Pro. Yes, like many things in life, I only like the cheapest and the most expensive items on the menu.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I'm Only 39% Cool


I don't know where Posterous will embed the attached image, so please use this link for reference, just in case.  Anyhow, I saw this list of "Ways to Be Cool" apparently written by a kid at Cajun Boy's blog, but it's probably been around the Web a few times.  Since I don't have anything heavy on my mind (for a general Web audience, that is), I'll compare myself to this kid's ideal of cool:

1. Motorcycles - No, sadly.
2. Wear cologne - Not anymore.
3. Move to Williamsburg - Why?  Only the truly cool would know, I suppose.
4. Learn to speak European - YES, I know a handful of European languages, enough to say "I don't understand," "I don't know," "Would you want a beer or a glass of wine?" and "In the hotel."  One on the list so far.
5. Grow facial hair - It's a bit patchy, but it photographs sort of well.  Make that two.
6. Helmets - No.
7. Mohawk - No.
8. Designer shoes - No.
9. Subscribe to Vice - No.
10. Psychrock...? - I can do that.  Psychadelic rock, perhaps?  I guess that's three.
11. Leather jackets - I have a hand-me-down from the '80s.  It's now four.
12. Ambercroombie [sic] & Flitch [sic] - Quite possibly two of my favorite prostitutes.  Otherwise, no.
13. Learn to play guitar - I've done that.  Five.
14. Irony - Sure.  Six.
15. Become a band photographer - I'm in the band, not the bloody photog.
16. Wear all black - I've done that.  Somewhat simplifies doing the laundry.  Seven.
17. "Hollywood" - I may run a film production company, but I don't buy the hype.
18. Online friendships - I have a few.  Eight.
19. 360's - I have no idea what this kid is trying to say.
20. Make your own movie - Élan Vital and assorted other productions.  Nine.
21. EXXXTREME (everything) - No.  I am ashamed.
22. Eat more meat - I've been eating less recently.
23. Hang out w/ Steve - EPIC FAIL on my behalf.

I'm not cool at all, only scoring 9 out of 23.  Even more uncool is that I used a calculator to estimate the percentage, which is about 39%.

Posted via email from DeRamos' Clipboard

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Hooray for Science

Obama to lift Bush's stem cell funding limits.

My brother, quoting a myriad comedians and commentators, reminded me of the BushCon irony: Many quick to protect potential human beings, but hesitant to provide opportunities to those born poor and those living with less than perfect health. OK, the poor folk can sign up to fight the offensive war but not the retaliatory one. As far as sick folk go, well, health insurance is a privilege. For the healthy, who are also wealthy. (Keep in mind, my [not so] imaginary straw man is saying this, not me.)

Words that must have agreed-upon meanings by opposing points of view:

1. Conservative
2. Liberal
3. Fascist
4. Socialist
5. Totalitarian
6. Communism
7. Fact
8. Theory
9. Patriotism
10. Dissent

We'll add more words as definitions for the above reach consensus. I'm not holding my breath, though. However, in this Wikified world, it is getting less useful to rely on Merriam-Webster-approved definitions, without redundantly emphatic adjectives: Fiscal conservative! Social liberal! Scientific theory! Christian socialist!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Congratulations to Quest Crew


I don't have cable, so I took a peek at the results before America's Best Dance Crew aired on the West Coast, using the ever-trusty Wikipedia.  I'm glad my first reality TV voting experience made some kind of difference.  Or at least I'm glad I have that perception of myself.  I can't wait to see what's next for Quest Crew.

Posted via email from DeRamos' Clipboard

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Facebook Wants to be Twitter

http://www.informationweek.com/news/internet/social_network/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=215800764&subSection=News

Do you remember when MySpace took measures to become Facebook? Now whatever happened to MySpace? I'll have to ask Friendster about that.

Keep Facebook for friends, and Twitter for double-entrendré-laden @ replies to George Stephanopoulos.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Twitter is Interactive Pop Mass New Media Shareholder Participation et cetera


I think I finally figured out Twitter.  Fellow blogger and tweeter @williamdipini nudged me in the right direction, in that I blog here* and tweet there.  (By the way, William has been MIA as of late on the InterWebs.  Wherever you are, Will, I hope you're doing great!  Cheers!)

Facebook is about interacting with people you know.  Twitter is about interacting with all sorts of people:  Those you know (and are friends on Facebook, too), those you kinda know, and especially those you don't.  In other words, you get to follow newmakers and famous people, you get to interact with their tweets (@THE_REAL_SHAQ, for instance), and sometimes (depending on their Twitter zeal and number of followers) they'll reply.

I sometimes watch Nightline because it's a good midday newshour (for the Wolfman and Dracula).  I follow @Nightline and get some interesting tweets and re-tweets from Nightline staff.  On one such occasion, I interacted with "the show" (or at least an employee who tweets for the show):

Nightline RT khinman stopped by the Makers Mark distillery on my way back from the Amazon wrhse in KY bringing back a bottle for my friends @nightline

I didn't know what "the Amazon wrhse in KY" was.  Yes, I too thought it read "the Amazon whorehouse in Kentucky."  So I went to the original tweeter, Nightline producer Katie Hinman's Twitter:

khinman stopped by the Maker's Mark distillery on my way back from the Amazon warehouse in KY. bringing back a bottle for my friends @nightline

Ah, she wrote Amazon warehouse...  Of course, I had to make some kind of comment.

DeRamos @khinman @Nightline retweeted as "Amazon wrhse" but "warehouse" didn't come to mind when I read that. ;-)

I had to be honest.  The show replied first:

Nightline @DeRamos Funny! That would be a new area for Amazon

I think that means I'm their new alcohol and whorehouse correspondent (
Nevada bureau chief Ryan DeRamos, at your service), or that ABC will give me a timeslot after Jimmy Kimmel (sorry, Oprah repeat!).  Anyhow, Ms. Hinman replied too:

khinman @DeRamos I'm bringing back bourbon....and that's it!

To celebrate my interaction with those who bring us the news and/or corporate propaganda, I drank a boilermaker.  I didn't have Kentucky bourbon, so I used Gentleman Jack (Tennessee sour mash whiskey) instead.  And a Heineken.  It was awesome.

With Twitter, we (if you'll join me, if you haven't already) can interact with newmakers and politicians...almost directly.  And "celebrities" too, if that's your thing (who am I to judge?).  Several companies are on Twitter, mostly for their consumers - to hype up new products or for some "customer service."  However, if you're a shareholder, you can use the connection to show 'em who's ultimately boss.  Business 101 regarding corporations:  Shareholders elect the Board of Directors who oversee Executives which trickles down to various strata of Management, down to the lowly Tweeter.  So you get to bully around the low person on the corporate ladder.  Boo-yah!

You and I can interact with tweeting employees, journalists, Shaq, and possibly your local/statewide/national/global politician.  It's a sad fact that in this technological era, everyone's business is everyone's business.  It's a happy fact, too, that everyone's business IS everyone's business.  It behooves us all to make the most of it, or to turn off our Internet connections and live inside a cave.  Both will work fine.

*This particular post has gone the redundant Posterous > Blogger, Twitter, and Facebook route.  Luckily, Twitterfeed is off.

Posted via email from DeRamos' Clipboard

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

No Line on the Horizon, Rush Republicans, and other Stream of Consciousness Musings

1. U2's latest album, which I downloaded when it was first available on the West Coast at Amazon MP3 for about $4, is a better first-time listen than U2's last album. I might have to give it a full review on this blog later.

2. Bush Republicans are now Rush Republicans (and possibly always were). The Democratic majority wants (like me) to destroy the modern Big Brother GOP, and as long as it is replaced by an better opposition party, I'm totally with the dismantling.

3. I want opportunity for kids and risk for adults/companies, so I would like a debate between Big Government Liberals and Small Government Conserv...er, Libertarians debating, leaving things like science off the table (unless there's a debate about public funding of science).

4. Liberal thought is valid when it comes to providing opportunities (not hand outs) to kids regardless of birth. I'm talking about education. Education = Opportunity.

5. Conservative thought (not the nation-building jingoism of the past eight years) is valid when it comes to letting people and companies fail, so that other people and companies could succeed.

6. That's not completely heartless because liberal thought and tax dollars would be used to create opportunities for kids. When they grow up, they'll have the choice whether or not to succeed, given the minimum (or maximum, depending...) opportunity from their youth.

7. That's probably the millionth time I've mentioned my ever-evolving nuanced ideology in a post: Opportunity for kids, risk for adults/companies.

8. Senator John McCain's Twitter is hit or miss when it comes to humor and his top ten pork project lists.

9. RT @SenJohnMcCain #4. $143,000 for Nevada Humanities to develop and expand an online encyclopedia - Anyone heard of Wikipedia?

10. If Rush Limbaugh is the voice of the Bush/Rush Republicans, Senator McCain needs his own party, but I'm glad he's tweeting and seems free from whatever he was last year.

11. The Obama Administration is still in superhero reactionary mode. I'll let you all know if/when it becomes proactive supervillainy of Cheney proportions. We're not yet at "Change" but still at "Fixing."

12. "Socialism" is no boogie (bogey?) man compared to "Totalitarianism."

13. The "Freedom Fries" era of jingoist chauvinism during the "Mission Accomplished" phase of the Iraq War was the closest we've been to totalitarianism and the scapegoating of fellow loyal Americans, at least in my lifetime.

14. A simple litmus test of American patriotism is whether or not one believes in "American prosperity." How to get there and how we know we're there are topics up for debate.

15. Bono used the line "Vision of our visibility" during the U2/Pearl Jam collaborative cover/rearrangement of Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World." The line is back in "Moment of Surrender."

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Monday, March 2, 2009

Reflexively Redundant Post


Apparently, I email this post to my Posterous, which forwards a tweet-sized entry to my Twitter, as well as a full text blog on my Blogger, and what I guess will be either a link or note on my Facebook.  My Twitter tweet instantly reposts as a status change on my Facebook.  Within a few hours, Twitterfeed picks up the RSS feed of my Blogger blog and posts a tweet-sized entry to my Twitter.  Twitter instantly reposts the Twitterfeed tweet as a status change on my Facebook.  I think that's it.

Let's review:
1. Sent mail folder (which no one sees this except for me)
2. Posterous
3. Twitter via Posterous
4. Blogger via Posterous
5. Facebook via Posterous
6. Facebook via Twitter via Posterous (3)
7. Twitter via Twitterfeed via Blogger RSS via Posterous (4)
8. Facebook via Twitter via Twitterfeed via Blogger (7).

I think that's it.  There are probably other paths involving Blogger's RSS and Feedburner, but let's not get into that.  I can draw a flow chart, if you like (but then again, maybe not).  In any case, let's see if my understanding of the Posterous flow comes to fruition.  I am hitting "send"...right...about...now.

Posted via email from DeRamos' Clipboard

Sunday, March 1, 2009

DeRamos.org Recommends Voting for Quest Crew on MTV

I watch the boob tube through bunny ears and (sometimes) a digital converter box, if at at all, so I'm rarely hip to what's new on TV. I'm glad that I can get news through the grapevine of social networking and instant viewer gratification through the magic of YouTube and Hulu and whatever else streaming video.

That said, there's a show on MTV called America's Best Dance Crew. One of the championship finalists is Quest Crew, and this is their final routine before the season finale:



I have not had jaw drop in such a long time, with all this defiance of gravity. I'd appreciate it if you all would vote for Quest Crew (watch the other crew's last dance, if you must, to compare). As I had mentioned last time, I went to high school with the piano-playing member of the crew, Ryan Conferido, who's a Wikified hero in his own right.

On occasion on this blog, I have ranted against the negative side of reality TV - the cancellations of quality scripted shows, the mean-spirited humor against those who don't quite fit in to the GAP-commercial hyper-reality world of TV, and the infamy of people who get famous because they are famous (but don't have a particular talent or useful skill for the betterment of mankind). I am happy that shows like ABDC prove that there is a positive side to reality TV, and television in general. The final two crews not only defy gravity but also pop culture stereotypes: Non-token Asian and Asian-American males (a rarity in mainstream American media) versus an all-female dance crew not in the context of being fetishized backup dancers (I never knew such a description existed, due to pop culture norms). Kudos to America's favorite bass player Randy Jackson for being a non-pitchy dawg in the dawg pound and conceiving this particular show. (If only Mr. Jackson could somehow convince his status-quo lovin' American Idol bosses and co-workers to use the same progressive logic.)

Based on the penultimate show of the season, I think Quest Crew will have more votes and win the competition. It's a case of gravity defiance with a some piano playing versus a giant boom box (watch the embedded video and linked video above). If the other crew (Beat Freaks) wins, then the competition wouldn't seem like much of a meritocracy, would it now? Then again, my hometown bias is showing, and I've only seen the most recent episode of the show.

In other words: Cheers!

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