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w/e 2023-08-06

Hello. Just back from the village fete, which was very nice and unusually sociable – it’s odd seeing so many people from round here in one place and stopping to catch up, discuss the weather, pat dogs, etc. with one person after another.

§ This weekend I’ve mostly been listening to Sylvan Esso’s live album WITH LOVE which came out at the end of 2020 but I am very good at delaying gratification and have only just bought it.

§ I stopped posting to or reading Twitter personally quite some time ago, because to do so felt like supporting Musk and his acolytes. I kept @samuelpepys posting there because he has over 70,000 followers, and I didn’t want to spoil their entertainment or learning because of my unease about the place. But I always felt queasy about it – I wouldn’t have started the account on the service as it is now.

It turns out the final straw (or easy excuse) was a technical one: while the v2 API kept working for @samuelpepys (unlike for many bots, apparently) it suddenly broke a while back because the “Standalone App” needs to be within a “Project”. That was easily fixable in the Developer Portal but unfortunately the change reverts back after a week or so, preventing the account from posting again. I went through this process three or four times before deciding enough was enough.

So Pepys has stopped posting there after 14 years. I’ve also stopped posting any updates about to @oohdirectory (it had many fewer followers than on Mastodon, and rarely got any responses). And I’ve deleted the Twitter apps from my phone and iPad before I even updated them to (ugh) X.

When I do pop in to the place I’m always surprised at how many people are carrying on using it as if it’s still the same place. We all weigh things up differently. But that place is not remotely the internet I want.

§ This week I finished reading Original Rockers by Richard King, about his time working in Revolver Records in Bristol in the 1990s. I lived round the corner for a year, and was familiar with the place, but I was still wondering how you’d get a whole book out of a small record shop, no matter how idiosyncratic.

While there is plenty to say about the shop, its owner, its stock, its customers, and the changing music retail industry, all that often serves as a jumping-off point for discursions into other topics such as roots and reggae, The Wild Bunch sound system, British improvisational free jazz, Sarah Records, John Peel, and Joshua Compston (who I’d never heard of before). It’s a nice meandering journey through someone’s fond memories and musical interests.

My only specific memory of shopping in Revolver was going in to buy a ticket to see The Wedding Present play at The Studio in 1991. I asked the guy behind the counter for one and, as he reached for the book or box or whatever, in which they kept tickets, he said with a look of distaste, “Well, I suppose Buffalo Tom are supporting.” It was that kind of place.

§ We watched season three of Halt and Catch Fire this week, as they progress through the late 1980s world of dial-up services, and discover the early internet. It was still good but kind of patchy: there were a couple of points where out-of-character actions by Donna and Cameron seemed to come from nowhere, solely as a way to service the plot. Which was a shame because the writing’s often quite good about taking its time to set things up but these felt too much like, “We need to make x happen now, how do we do that?”

Still, ignoring how we got there, the final two episodes were interesting – I don’t fully believe everyone’s relationships to each other at this point but I’m mostly enjoying the journey.

§ Bye.

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1 comment

  1. Just to weigh in on the Bandcamp audio format discussion at… (as someone who reads toots via RSS): I thought about this a while back as well and my conclusion was to stick with MP3 V0.

    From the samples at…, I determined that I typically can't tell the difference between a 192 kbps CBR MP3 and the original. My ears are unlikely to improve as they age, so V0 is more than enough in terms of quality.

    It seems like a toss-up whether V0, AAC, or Ogg Vorbis is smallest across different Bandcamp albums, and MP3 allegedly still has the best hardware decoder support [citation needed], and I would've needed to write a bit of code to be able to listen to other formats, so I stuck with V0.

    (I'm still annoyed when I need to buy something from a store that only offers 320 kbps CBR: you're simultaneously wasting my disk space and not helping the people who insist on lossless!)