Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Evaluation & Reflection (Wayne's Gone)

I do not like writing these posts because they suck.

Yet again, I am faced with a very real situation with death, and this time it comes from a distance.

In these last few years I've lost two people close to me, one indirectly, and one very close.

When it is family you can never prepare for this eventuality.

Even when it is with tertiary things (mostly with distant entertainment) that leaves a residual scar as the things that pass time effortlessly along and to have a dependency on their creativity to help our journey are now gone.

I've never liked having to pay tributes to people, because I believe life is tribute to the fact we are still here, kicking ass, doing our thing.

But here I feel so heartbroken, in essence I had to step back for a bit to catch my thoughts.

Death in any form is a process of life.

This is the just way it goes when we are living, its that eventuality that we keep that at bay while trying out new avenues, new adventures, new friendships, starting families, and other distractions to keep this reality at bay.

I've had this truth imbued in me since I was a young lad.

I think we try to forget about this finality and hope that everything will work out.

Sometimes that doesn't always happen.

Instead we all cope with the loss, some more dramatic, others very subtlety.

Nothing surprises me much anymore, but when something this pronounce happens, everyone stops and reflects on their journey with how one person or persons changed their course in life whether good or bad.

Outcomes are fluid, but nevertheless we all strive to achieve what we think is the best outcome to our journey. 

Like my Dave Brockie post, Wayne Static is another piece of my growth who is now gone, all to soon.

I am beside myself at this point.

The very things that helped me, are going away, and there is nothing I can do to reverse the course.

Music is my life.

In every capacity.

It has helped me with my diagnosis.

In very strange way music became my surrogate family when my own family chose the path they went on.

I went in a different direction absorbing everything the world could throw at me.

Along the way there have been bumps and bruises.

Yet I've always lived an honest life.

It maybe time to evaluate what music means again, but this time to be impartial, and to dissect the nuances of intent, because I am seeing more and more of this as I've grown older in my observations.

From now on I chose to impart my life's story to people.

That every step we take inches us closer to the final frontier.

It is here that I say thanks to those who've traversed this blog.

Though nameless, at least some of you thought what I do means something.

Lets celebrate the life we live.

No more living under fear.

Don't keep it inside.

Say what you mean, mean what you say, but do not be mean. Thanks for reading.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Technology Tribulations (Introduction To Servers)

I must note that I'm still new to the arena of servers, and network administration, so take this into consideration whilst I write my experiences here.

Since I've been in the enterprise world I've only had the opportunity recently to delve into servers. At first I felt intimidated, and a tad overwhelming.

Most of what I learned about AD(Active Directory), Domain Controllers with my nascent but brief touch of Server (2003), and being thrown into the lava pit with Server 2008.

Each of these systems (at first) seemed pretty straightforward. Only if you understand how Tree's and Forests work. Since my time with Linux definitely prepared me, yet I admit I'm still learning the ins and outs, but there are lots of little things to consider with servers.

What can a server do? Why are there so many variations of servers out there? First question tends to be the most obvious in that servers do a lot of little things behind the scenes, pretty much servers are the network backbone of the entire internet (if we want to use that term). The second question is more specific about flavor, what a server is typically used for. There again is the networking component, and I am still learning the ropes with that as well.

I have learned servers are a central point for application use, networking, endpoint protection, development, virtualization, cloud hosting, heck this list can continue on and on.

The other aspect of servers is the robustness, yet there are rules in which to understand the functioning aspect of a server. One doesn't need to figure out that a single mistake can totally botch an entire setup, and/or network connection. All it takes is that proverbial oops, and that is the last thing one wants to hear if your a systems admin.

In the last year I've had some time to acclimate (as it were) to Server 2012. I've been working through two pieces, the Domain Controller (AD, and Powershell). Two specific things that I think make what an IT person does efficient at management.

I must stress that Server'012 is different. It is a paradigm shift. Going away from the typical point and click GUI of prior versions, there is this extra step that can overwhelm.

It is like learning to walk, there are preliminaries that most know, put one foot in front of the other, but stand on one toe, rub your belly while saying Rubber Baby Buggy Bumper. That is what I equate this new system to be.

It is powerful, there really neat things with virtualization, cloud service, and program development, but for what I want it is only ever going to be a basic box with admin rights (more or less).

Making the seamless transition to automation makes sense especially if there are a lot of networked computers, but...they have to share a common connection for automation, Windows 8 Pro or Enterprise.

Microsoft is in the business of software as a service at this point, so having a tidbit understanding the Exchange aspect helps, I'm also learning this too, which at on first experience was completely confusing.

So I decided to jump in on the server thing, and tried out a couple options. CentOS, Debian, and Windows Server 2012. Having something I can build my own cloud/storage/DLNA box makes more sense as the climate of pay as you go doesn't appeal to my wallet. Yes there is the big cost, upgrades and whatnot but, I like the control I have with information I own.

I think more people should consider this as the option to not give various cloud streaming cartels any continued support. Only real concern I have is ISP monopoly. That will change (I hope) as I'm looking forward to fiber. I desperately want it.

As I delve further into the server field I'll write my experiences here. Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Dream Theater - Falling Into Infinity (90's Era)

By the m 90's a lot of what I was familiarized with had changed considerably from what was.

Electing to find the most extreme thing out there (at that time was difficult), I had to settle on what was available.

I had picked up Awake many years prior, and though there was some curiousness to the material I had this extreme snobbish view with accepting it.

My thought process at that time were these songs were too long, or there was so much tempo wankery with exposition that I was turned off by it.

Three years later I come back to Dream Theater and while I was thinking this was going to be a similar experience, it was not even close.

There is a different vibe with Falling Into Infinity. Yes there is the blatant overdose of wankery happening, but there is a very clear cut classic rock vibe oozing forth.

I distinctly remember thinking after listening to this record that there was a profound look at our lives, the politics of age, alliance, starting families, friendships, circumstances changing etc.

One music guest that stood out was Dug Pinnick and this peaked my curiosity. I had also read there was a collaboration with Napalm Death with a reworked version Metallica's The Thing That Should Not Be also peaked my interest.

Though Infinity does stay comfortably in trying to be popular, there wasn't the wide acceptance. This record was a one off experiment and the band would return to they're signature sound on Scenes from a Memory.

You Not Me, New Milenium, Lines in the Sand, and Trial Of Tears evoke something deeply reflective. The shrift of feeling is modulated with Derrick Sherininan's keyboard touch. I prefer this record over many of the newer ones because of the wink and nod to the classic rock foundation of old long play LP's.

I do think the album kind of overstays it's welcome, as I think they tried to keep pushing on the progressive mantel. This record came out during another sizable shift in what was popular. Alternative was in it's full swing, pushing a lot of metal, and this material outside of that circle.

It's an adaquate record I come back to, not that frequent in my rotation of things to listen to, but I am aware of its existence. Thanks for reading.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Technology Tribulations: Home Server/Streaming

As I've been accustomed to in the last while with all the smartphone proliferation, young people prefer to stream content rather than have a dedicated device which stores for quick retrieval.

Since the value of entertainment by all accounts has plummeted in cost, as return on investment has become a lose lose scenario, most of the cartels (RIAA, MPAA, and other governing bodies) have seen fit to institute a highway robbery scheme to force everyone to pay to play.

Since I refuse to play into those rules, I decided to build my own specific system, and to build on streaming artists I enjoy. This made more sense to tackle in this way than paying out the nose for it. A lot of the field now wants many users to pay into a cloud structure, a distant aspect, where I like and prefer the ability to control the content I own.

One weekend had me trying three avenues. First FreeNas, it's a nice little packaged OS that works on both a USB stick or on a physical disc (Compact or DVD). The downside is that FreeNas must never be installed on a physical hard drive. (Loses points right there).

Second was the installation of a trial evaluation of Server 2012, which at first has some interesting elements but I ran into the dreaded lack of network drivers. Somehow the OS itself had the network drivers completely negated, realizing this I wasn't going to sweat any of those details. I moved back to FreeNas.

A little bit about my first experiences with FreeNas, though there are some nice elements of the web GUI, the real fact here is that there is a lot digging, and planning that has to be done before using this in a full time aspect.

For many home users, this is a poorman's band aid server option for streaming and storing anything on old hardware. But for big time enterprise cost cutting companies the operational side of things this could be very useful for cost benefit if there is hardware that supports this design, I've been building two Tyan motherboards with a onboard USB connection I think will work perfectly with this.

Next up, the way the functioning is with FreeNas, built on top of the FreeBSD kernel, this wasn't entirely difficult, until I ran into something unforgivable. Router issues. The IP address scheme should pull all devices on the network (in theory), but with this install, which happened three times, each with different results. Default password issues, network scheme problems, and finally assigning the right server address bugged out the network, which resulted in a hard reboot.

Perhaps it is my overzealous approach which brings up the question, if these software OS's kits are supposed to work right out of the box, why am I getting weird shit? I was in mad scramble trying to trace back strange behavior, software glitch issues with the home network, all with odd results that shouldn't happen.

I went back to the drawing board for a optimal aspect for home streaming to attached devices. In my third attempt I tried the CentOS option, but I am not holding out any hope here as open source of late has been a tad unreliable, and seriously buggy with zero day patch updates, hence the often retorted comment: perma-stage alpha tester.

CentOS was a complete waste. Two versions, one a 6.4 Release and the brand new 7.0 didn't end well. 6.4 I almost had installed until the kernel decided to do a 360 and wouldn't boot after installing a kdump partition for errors. Anything with Linux is notorious error's but nonetheless I trudged onwards. When 6.4 couldn't hang, I bounced to 7.0, and that was a complete fail. I didn't even get to the install section before problems occurred. So it was back to the drawing board.

After doing some research I proposed a hypothesis, and that only specific types of server OS'es could run on a small server without error. Unfortunately, I wasn't going to do anything with Ubuntu as my history with that distro was less than stellar, so it was decided to take another crack at the Windows server install. This time though I would take a different tact and figure out how to get it to work right. I end up trying Essentials, as its a no frills basic OS, with options for updatability if I so choose. Otherwise the process took less than a half hour. I was up and setting up the server.

My experience with this server will prove very useful for my future as I get acclimated to the next paradigm. As for Linux, as much I love it, I do not think it will ever have the dedicated desktop construction that other more prominent OS's have. It just does not work in the way it should, as people are constantly tweaking, revising, as there is this aura of a ever present alpha stage to a lot of it.

I cut my teeth on the Debian fork, not as prevalent now but going from that to Cygwin for minor programing aspects makes more sense at this stage. I am just tired of the bashing on all sides, if you like something then stick with what works, yes its true I was one of those haters, but now I see the other side, I see how each one can benefit. Its just a matter of personal taste.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Living Colour - Stain (90's Era)

Living Colour - Stain  03/15/1993 Epic Records

Punishing. Deep. Angrier. Disgusted. Sorrowful. Lonely. I fervently believe these words describe Living Colour's third outing Stain.

My first inclinations after first listen: uncomfortable, confrontational, and claustrophobic.

Newcomer Doug Wimbush (new bass player) takes over where Muzz once held the position, and he adds a new layering to this record, whereas the punch is quick and unabated.

The poetry sung by Corey is covered in a visceral palate of perpetual disgust, distrust, and disassociation. There is no fitting into a corruptible industry which is hell bent on further exploitation.

Stain is painful. Stain is ugly. The cover I think represents a very stark contrast of social acceptance. I believe this record was a venting of frustration, and it is one I come back to quite a bit. Thanks for reading.


Shores Of Null - Quiescence

Shores of Null - Quiescence 03/13/14 Candlelight Records

Thus far I like this record. Reminds me vocally of Alice In Chains with a twist of modern doom.

The record definitely has a doom vibe, but is evoking very familiar pastures.

Quiescence could fit anywhere in the Swedish style, or American style, it is that mutable.

The power that comes out of this album is melodic progression. There isn't a lot of blatant speed going forth, nor the obnoxious bravado, there seems to be a very calculated intent with this record.

This is my seventh unknown artist from Candlelight, and I'm pleasantly happy to continue to support this label. I await new frontiers of sound Shores of Null will bestow on me in the future, thanks for reading.


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Living Colour - Times Up (90s Era)

Living Colour Time's Up 08/28/1990 Epic Records

My story with this record more or less involved me going through a transitional phase. I was walking out of the radio friendly comforts, and delving deep in a wider pasture of cassette tapes and a (brand) walkman.

Piece by piece I would eventually purchase my own tapes, and while I had been accustomed to the pop construct, I was going in a very different area where sounds and attitude gave voice to my blossoming worldview.

Which brought me to a little under appreciated record that quietly came out in 1990. This was my first entry for Living Colour. This was their second album the follow-up to Vivid.

Time's Up was an album filled stark contrasts. Little Richard (musical guest) being one of them (old school meets fresh school).

Yet then the album is lavished with co-existing with the growing hip-hop hardcore gangster rap scene (at that time). Rather than go in that direction (guest) Queen Latifah I think provides a foundation of common sense.

This record shares that urban existence and accepts it as an evolving mechanism. I felt that Time's Up was completely removed from a lot of that blatant bravado, and embraced more of conscientious social awareness in it's commentary, while still staying passionate, connected, and grounded.

While that was the surface element of the album, Time's Up showcased strength, understanding, acceptance, and was not afraid to poke fun of themselves for the sake of it.

The music sounds tight, and still feels modern, though it is closing in on 25 years, I still come back to and recall where I was, and seeing how much things haven't changed. There is still very divisive division, and the themes this record parlayed (then) are still relevant (today).

I've appreciated the albums sharp observation, truthful conviction, and humbled presentation. All of that would conclude with the next release Biscuits (1991), whereas Stain (1993), would be a shift in the bands overall tone, attitude, and inflection. Thanks for reading.