Monday, August 20, 2007

Edge's "Ongoing History of New Music" in Your Pocket

If you're from Toronto, you know 102.1 the Edge as a famous local radio station dedicated to new music.

You'll also know that the station manager has a weekly show called The Ongoing History of New Music. A great show, but at almost an hour long, you usually can't listen to it in one sitting. They offer a stream off of their website (above) and a random podcast, but no real way download the shows you want to listen to to your mp3 player.

Or is there?

Well Stream Crossers, I, Soundwave, have cracked the code! Their internet site actually streams mp3's, which means that somewhere out there in www-land is a pile of Edge radio shows, just waiting to be listened to. But how?

1) Go to
The Ongoing History of New Music and find the show you want to hear.

2) Click on it and a new window will open and the show will soon start playing. Right click on the page, and click on "Show Source". If you didn't get that option, you clicked on a flash portion, try again somewhere else.

3) A window with the source code will pop up. Somewhere on the site you will see a code like this: OHNM0559_01

4) That code represents the episode and segment (ie show0559, segment 1). Every episode has 4 segments.

5) Now in your browser, type in (replace the code with that of the episode you want). Hit enter and save the segment to disk.

6) Now do this three more times, changing the _01 to _02,_03, and _04. Repeat with each episode you want.

Update (2008-11-18): If you are following steps 5 & 6 and Quicktime is playing the mp3 in the browser and won't let you download the file, here are some options:

1) Disable Quicktime from playing mp3's. If you are using Firefox 3, go to Tools > Options, then click on Applications. Here you can specify what happens with particular file types. Look for mp3 under content type and change the Action to Save or Always ask. If part of the Content Type is hidden because the column is too narrow, just hover the mouse over it and a small pop up will appear with the full text.

This option can be reversed afterwards.

2) Install the "Down them all" extension. Then after restarting Firefox, go to Tools > Manager. Then click on Add URL's and paste the mp3 link into the pop-up box. Don't forget to add the target folder as well.

The extension can also be uninstalled when you are finished if you want.

3) If the above doesn't work, open Quicktime, then go to Edit > Preferences > Quicktime Preferences. Go to the Browser tab, and uncheck "Play movies automatically". This works in Firefox and IE.

4) Also, you can stop Quicktime from loading in the background at boot time (in Windows) by going to Start > Run. Then type msconfig and click OK. The System Configuration Utility will pop up. Go to the Startup tab and uncheck the entry for QTTask. Then click OK. You may need to reboot for this to work.

If you have Firefox, you can use DownThemAll, and the Make Numbered List bookmarklet to download them all at the same time.

1) Install DownThemAll and set up the "Make Numbered List" bookmarklet.

2) Now follow the steps above up to and including step 5. Don't save the file, cancel the save prompt.

3) Now click on the
"Make Numbered List" bookmarklet. This will bring up a new page. Set the 01 to cycle from 1 to 4 (check the Pad with Zeros checkbox). This will generate a series of unique links for each segment. You can even cycle the show number if you wish so it will generate a series of shows with all four segments linked.

4) Use DownThemAll to download all the files at once without having to click and save each one individually.

Enjoying history was never so entertaining!

Until next time, keep listening and keep on having fun!

"bah weep graaagnah wheep ni ni bong"

Monday, August 6, 2007

Truly a disappointment to behold

Well everyone, the time has come to follow up my pre-review of Transformers with my actual one, having seen it two days ago.

Please be warned that I will be speaking freely of my criticisms and the following review contains major spoilers.

I have never been so disappointed in seeing a film in my entire life. Everyone I know really loved it, and thought I of all people should go see it. Being the huge Transformers fan that I am, I had to see it, despite my reservations. So I did. And I hated it. Really, I was on the verge of tears. Everything was wrong, it was so far removed from what made them popular, it was a crime.

My number one complaint about this film is the same thing that sandbagged most of the G1 episodes, TOO MANY HUMANS. Anyone that knows me, knows that the humans ruined every episode that they were in. They got in the way, had to be protected, and basically crippled the Autobots from being able to fight properly. Truly, the best fight sequences in the cartoons had no humans in them at all.

So it was in this movie. I don't understand why the military would think it was a good idea to locate the final confrontation in the middle of the city, but I know it was a stupid one. The Autobots spent so much time trying not to step on the humans that they looked like ballerinas, and spent much of their battle time losing their balance. In fact, ten minutes into the final battle sequence, I'm wondering why the fuck anyone is still out in the middle of the street? Did it not occur to anyone to get the hell out of the way of the giant killer robots?

A consequence of the transformers low screen time was the fact that they had no lines, and thus no personality. The Decepticons suffered much more from this than the Autobots. While Optimus hogged the lion's share of the lines while he waxed poetic, the balance of the lines were simply trash talking during the fight sequence. Megatron came in second but he couldn't put three words together without adding in a growl. In fact, only two of the Decepticons actually say anything at all (Frenzy doesn't count as he only sounded like a gremlin, and wasn't speaking English at all).

Personality-wise, the Autobots were identical to their G1 cartoon counterparts. At least in theory. Without any real dialogue, they were just big bots. I would have liked Ironhide to at least have a southern accent.

Really, the Decepticons were always the more popular group in the 80's, even though they wanted all humans dead. Why? The absence of moral hinderance frees the character to develop very memorable personality traits such as Starscream's desire for leadership, Soundwave's teamwork amongst his cassettes, and the Insecticons' constant treachery. The Autobots were always going on and on about "blah blah blah honour, blah blah blah protect the humans, blah blah blah ..." Boooooooring!

The only thing that was done right in this film was getting Peter Cullen back to voice Optimus Prime. For the ten lines of dialogue that Megatron had, there was no reason to replace Frank Welker with Hugo Weaving. The original G1 voice would have easily fit with Megatron's new form. I've heard clips of Megatron from the video game (voiced by Welker) and they sound fine.

While we're on the subject of talking, Prime's mouth looked horrible. He looked like a talking ape. All the promotional footage showed Prime with his faceplate, but there was not a single frame of footage in the film with Optimus using his faceplate. He really looked bad.

Also, would it have hurt anyone to actually have the Autobots kill a Decepticon? Isn't that what they're there for? After Prime decapitates Bonecrusher (who is in the movie, literally, less than 60 seconds before he dies) all the other Decepticons are killed by humans. I thought THEY were supposed to be defending US! Shit if it weren't for the humans, Megatron would have shredded all of those pussy Autobots, single handedly! Why did the Autobots even bother showing up? We seemed to have the situation under control.

Overall, this film was a failure despite its financial success. I place all of the blame on Michael Bay as he is a failure as a director and as a human being. It was sloppy.

If my hands weren't tied by the unalterable fetters of the law, then I would invoke the tradition of our illustrious forebears, reach back to a purer, sterner justice, and have you BURNED AT THE STAKE! Michael Bay, you fucking suck!

Let's begin with the fact that the tank calls himself Devestator (as do the credits) while the toy is called Brawl. It seems that Bay lost control of the film and forgot the names of his characters. The character's real name is Brawl, Devestator was only a working name. What self respecting director does that? And what kind of director lets that error into the theatres?

Then the action. Things don't start to heat up until there are 30 minutes left in the movie. Then Decepticons start appearing from everywhere. Hell do I know what was happening. There wasn't a single wide shot anywhere to be found in that entire sequence. Nor did it occur to actually keep the camera still, or even move it in the same direction as the action. So everything is whipping all over the place and millions of dollars of supposedly fantastic CGI effects are flushed down the toilet as you can't make out what the fuck is going on. Robots are dying, but since the Decepticons are all the same colour (black) you can't make out who anyone is.

Also, Bay was so focused on keeping mass and volume constant, that certain popular characters were left out, and the ones left in look like they were assembled on Junkyard Wars. Meanwhile at the climax of the film, Bay has a 30 metre tall, metal cube condense into a smaller cube the size of a basketball, and just as light. Where the mass went to, I don't know, but Sam was able to run all over the city and up forty flights of stairs with it. Michael Bay, you are a total hypocrite.

Finally, Optimus Prime fights like a total PUSSY! He gets totally manhandled by Megatron. Remember his fight scene in the 1986 movie? Well forget it. If it wasn't for the humans' airstrike, Megatron would have ripped apart Prime like he did Jazz (interestingly enough, however, Jazz, the only Autobot to actually die in the movie, was the one voiced by an African American actor) and eventually every other Autobot in the movie.

Finally, I have one piece of advice to Mr. Bay. When making a movie, you only use a joke once and that's it. Transformers has two urination jokes (both times calling it "lubricating"), and twice uses the phrase "more than meets the eye" the old catchphrase of the original G1 series. The jokes were stupid to begin with, the second time around they aren't even worth hearing. Go back to director's school.

From what I understand, two sequels are greenlit, the next one will feature Soundwave, the Constructicons, and the Dinobots. I shudder to think how shitty they'll look. Apparently they wanted to save Soundwave for the sequel when they had more money, so they could "do Soundwave right". After seeing this movie, that doesn't hold any meaning to me anymore.

I hate you Michael Bay, I wish I could hate you to death.

Until next time, keep on having fun!

"bah weep graaagnah wheep ni ni bong"