linksys, bittorrent, and ports

Just so I don’t have to answer this again. If you use a Linksys router, and appear to be firewalled when you use BitTorrent, do this:

Go to Status / Local Network / DHCP client table. See what your local IP address is. It’s likely to be between and

Go to Applications & Gaming / Port Range Forwarding, and enter:

Application: bittorrent
Start: 6881
End: 6999
Protocol: TCP
IP Address: (your local IP address that you found earlier)
Enable: Yes

and save changes. Your ports will be open!

happy ears!

I always thought that earbuds would never work for me; they always seemed to fall out. While I like my Sennheiser open headphones, they need to be cranked up to almost full volume to hear over the TTC’s rumbling.

I just got a pair of Sony earbuds with different-sized earplugs, and sure enough, with the left ear set one size smaller, they stay in. They also sound great!

bad, naughty Zach!

Zach Shoup at UMN should feel suitably chastised for leaking Picaresque, The Decemberists‘ album due to be released next year. What’s strange about the MP3s (which I’m not linking to) is that their encoded from several sources, at various bitrates. Looks like friend Shoup got these from several places …

My Best of 2004

’tis the season, and since I’m not used to doing these things yet, and I can never give an album a numeric ranking, here are my Ten Best Music Albums of 2004, in alphabetical order:

  • The Animal Collective — Sung Tongs
  • The Arcade Fire — Funeral
  • Robyn Hitchcock — Spooked
  • Jolie Holland — Escondida
  • Joanna Newsom — The Milkeyed Mender
  • Of Montreal — Satanic Panic In The Attic
  • The Polyphonic Spree — Together We’re Heavy
  • Sterling Roswell — The Psychedelic Ubik
  • Jim White — Dig A Hole In That Substrate And Tell Me What You See
  • Brian Wilson — Smile

There are a lot of new artists that I hadn’t heard before this year.

Music that discovered me this year, although not necessarily released this year, includes:

  • Devendra Banhart
  • Calvin, Don’t Jump
  • The Decemberists
  • Dressy Bessy
  • The Fountains Of Wayne
  • The Handsome Family
  • Kristin Hersh
  • The High Water Marks
  • Bob Log III
  • Kate Rusby
  • The Sadies
  • Elliott Smith
  • Carl Stephenson

With my monstrous commute, I do listen to a lot of music now. And I like it.

iTunes out, I does

So I registered with iTunes Music Store. With the buzz I was getting from users down south, I was expecting it to be like my favourite indie record store, only online. Um, no.

So I searched for artists I’m listening to right now:

itunes does not know joanna newsom
Ah, I see. It didn’t seem to have most of the artists I wanted. In all, it failed to find:

  • The Apples in Stereo
  • Devendra Banhart
  • The Decemberists
  • The Holy Modal Rounders
  • Bob Log III
  • Neutral Milk Hotel
  • Joanna Newsom
  • The Polyphonic Spree
  • Kate Rusby
  • XTC

As you’ll be able to find at least five of these in the most dismal mall chain store, it didn’t start off too well.

I browsed the music genres, and was shocked. There was no folk genre, but there was a roots one which seemed to overlap what I’d call folk and world. Confusingly, there was also a world genre. Oh, and people, disney is not a genre, it’s more a malignant/cryogenically-preserved state of mind.

(I was amused to see the appaling faux yokel band The Wurzels listed as roots. I guess they are, if you know the etymology of their name …)

So I found a RobynHitchcock spoken word track that I hadn’t heard from Millennium Thoughts. I downloaded it, and on trying to play it, it said:

do not make me authorize this again

I thought that the pretty proprietary interface would at least remember that it was me logged in at the store, and using the same computer. I guess that’s how paranoid those DRM types are.

Once I was over that, I decide to buy a whole CD: XO, by Elliott Smith. Since I knew that the service used a propritary encryption scheme, I figured on buning a CD, and ripping it later. So I selected the tracks:

and started to burn a disc. But it assumed I meant all the tracks I’d downloaded into some “playlist”, so now I have a CD with one Robyn Hitchcock track, and all of XO. Annoying. Especially when iTunes doesn’t burn CD-TEXT information to the disc, grr.

I wonder why iTunes uses something very close to the radioactive symbol for the “Burn Disc” logo?

I’m not impressed with iTunes Music Store. The content is woeful, the user interface is contrived, and the tracks are very expensive, and in a proprietary format I can’t use directly with my MP3 player. I’ll be giving it a miss in future.

b.log III

I like Bob Log III. He sounds like Beck or E in heavy disguise. Some of his music is definitely NSFW, but I think you might like:

If you like whacked-out electric slide blues, Bob Log III’s yer one mand band.

Wild East is cool

I just sold a bunch of CDs to Wild East on the Danforth. I got a pretty good deal on them. This is what I bought with part of the proceeds:

  • Anne LeBaron / Rana, Ritual & Revelations
  • Badly Drawn Boy / One Plus One Is One
  • Devendra Banhart / Nino Rojo
  • Elliott Smith / From A Basement On The Hill
  • Kate Rusby / Underneath The Stars
  • Sterling Roswell / The Psychedelic Ubik

Winsome Newsom

On several people’s recommendation, I bought Joanna Newsom’s The Milk-Eyed Mender CD. It is quite remarkable. Her lyrics remind me of Mervyn Peake‘s nonsense poems (… Even mollusks have weddings, / though solemn and leaden / but you dirge for the dead, / take no jam on your bread …). She sings of catenaries and dirigibles, rephrasing words into unfamiliar shapes. It’s not the most common act, a harpist with a fey wee voice who can also raise up a real backwoods caterwaul, but it works for me.

Here’s a video of one of her songs: Sprout and the Bean.

(Norvin, you’d hate it. In fact, you’d hate it so much that I’d advise you listen to it, just so folks around you can experience the ‘neitzen’ effect.)

Slower, and of Montreal

Bit of a compendium today:

Chris Coole, while trying to teach me to play “Shady Grove” on the banjo, told me about The Amazing Slow Downer. This allows you to slow down CDs or music files without changing pitch, so you can work out how it’s played.

This is Windows and Mac only, but I found SndStretch for XMMS. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t sound as good (sounds slightly like it’s played through a hoover hose) as TASD, but it’s free.

While I was at Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (I contract for them), I found a Montreal-style bagel bakery. It’s on Bayview a couple of blocks south of Eglinton. They are great bagels; wood-fired, with a sweet crust. Maybe not quite as good as the tiny, rock-hard Polish bagels I got in Glasgow, but miles ahead of anything else in Toronto.

Speaking of Montreal, of Montreal‘s new album Satanic Panic in the Attic is great. Think “Wilson & Barrett make psych-disco”, and you’re about there.

Oh, and I start a new job tomorrow. Wish me luck …

Enoch, the Money Mart ad guy

It seems, by an almost impossible coincidence, that I’ve spoken to “Uncle Angus” from the Money Mart ad. I learnt from a copy of Penguin Eggs, a Canadian folk music magazine, that the part is played by Scottish-Canadian singer Enoch Kent.

Back in May 2002, before we had a place to live (and probably long before Enoch knew he’d play this part on TV), famed Toronto Glaswegian (well, okay, from Busby) Tam Kearney and his wife Lynn very kindly offered their place as a house-sit. Tam and Enoch were working on a recording at the time.

Just before Tam and Lynn got back, I answered the phone. Enoch, getting a Scottish voice on the line, very quickly launched into a torrent of things they had to do before the recording could be released on CD.

It took me a while to convince Enoch that, no, I wasn’t Tam, and yes, he’d be back in a couple of days. That Scottish accent of mine can really get me into trouble at times.

Maybe Enoch needs the money from the ads. Buy his CDs instead!