bilbodwyer's recent activity

  1. Comment on Sir Curse - Tarot in ~music

    bilbodwyer Link
    Last week my band released our single "Tarot", and the video dropped today! I'm really proud of how it's turned out, and I'd be very grateful for some feedback :D Apologies if this isn't the right...

    Last week my band released our single "Tarot", and the video dropped today!
    I'm really proud of how it's turned out, and I'd be very grateful for some feedback :D

    Apologies if this isn't the right place to post, I couldn't decide between here and ~creative.

  2. Comment on Time to Play Fair: Spotify are asking the European Commission to stop Apple's anti-competitive behaviour in ~tech

    bilbodwyer Link
    It'll be interesting to watch how this pans out. Certainly from Spotify's point of view, it seems like Apple have been acting pretty shitty, but I'll look forward to seeing Apple's response on...

    It'll be interesting to watch how this pans out. Certainly from Spotify's point of view, it seems like Apple have been acting pretty shitty, but I'll look forward to seeing Apple's response on this subject.

    2 votes
  3. Comment on Thoughts on the Fediverse? in ~tech

    bilbodwyer Link
    I've dabbled with Mastodon on and off for a couple of years. I really like the idea of a non-centralised social media platform, and being able to spin up a new one as and when you want. I think...

    I've dabbled with Mastodon on and off for a couple of years. I really like the idea of a non-centralised social media platform, and being able to spin up a new one as and when you want. I think there's great power in something like that.
    But the issue that I had (and that I often have when looking to check out new social media platforms), is that none of my friends are there. And none of them are there because none of their friends are there. For something like peerTube, it's that the content I want to watch isn't there.
    You can argue (rightly I'd say) that the opportunity lies in meeting new, and like-minded people via the platform. And you'd be right. But the things I'm interested in (music, programming, writing, minimalism, amongst others) already have very good, dedicated spaces on the web already (forums, subreddits, Stack Overflow, etc), and the Mastodon instances dedicated to these things either end up ignoring them, or devolving into self-promotion without much other interaction. So the instance is either very quiet, or very noisy, without much signal.

    Perhaps the problem is that federated social media (at least the ones that I'm familiar with) appear to be just copying other platforms, and adding federation on top, without much else to differentiate from the mainstream alternative. And without there being something tangible to offer that's different from Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or whatever... I'm not convinced that we'll ever see federation take off in a big way, and it will forever remain the purview of techies, and FOSS enthusiasts.
    I do genuinely hope that one day we see Facebook able to communicate with Twitter (or something), without having to use a third party service to bodge the functionality. But for the time being I remain unconvinced that these companies will ever allow for people to leave their walled gardens.

    2 votes
  4. Comment on TikTok will change the way your social media works — even if you’re avoiding it in ~tech

    bilbodwyer Link
    As a musician, and one who wants to grow in popularity and hopefully one day be able to make a living out of it, as the Internet gets more and more social media oriented, I fear I'm going to have...

    As a musician, and one who wants to grow in popularity and hopefully one day be able to make a living out of it, as the Internet gets more and more social media oriented, I fear I'm going to have to bite the bullet and jump in on TikTok. God help me.

  5. Comment on What (if anything) do you support through Patreon? in ~talk

    bilbodwyer Link Parent
    Enjoy Goonies when you get around to it - it's been a lot of fun so far! I've got the COUNTER/Weight series downloading as I type, but I may well end up going for the whole lot if they're good :D

    Enjoy Goonies when you get around to it - it's been a lot of fun so far!

    I've got the COUNTER/Weight series downloading as I type, but I may well end up going for the whole lot if they're good :D

    1 vote
  6. Comment on What (if anything) do you support through Patreon? in ~talk

    bilbodwyer Link Parent
    You say that, but they're doing Goonies at the moment, and I've never seen it before. It's absolutely brilliant. I think a lot of the time it comes down to the cast, and just how well they're...

    I'm a fan of the Film Reroll as well, though I find it works better for movies you're more familiar with.

    You say that, but they're doing Goonies at the moment, and I've never seen it before. It's absolutely brilliant. I think a lot of the time it comes down to the cast, and just how well they're meshing/rolling for the session.

    I'll have a look at Friends at the Table, sounds like a good avenue for exploring more RPG style podcasts :D

    1 vote
  7. Comment on What (if anything) do you support through Patreon? in ~talk

    bilbodwyer Link Parent
    I just discovered Contrapoints last week - what a great channel! Lindsay Ellis is cracking too - I started following her after watching her Hobbit series, and she's been consistently great ever...

    I just discovered Contrapoints last week - what a great channel! Lindsay Ellis is cracking too - I started following her after watching her Hobbit series, and she's been consistently great ever since.
    I should start supporting more YouTube channels by the looks of it!

    1 vote
  8. It's been asked a couple of times before, but not particularly recently (last was in August I think!). So who or what do you support on Patreon, and why? I currently pay for two podcasts: Let's...

    It's been asked a couple of times before, but not particularly recently (last was in August I think!). So who or what do you support on Patreon, and why?

    I currently pay for two podcasts: Let's Know Things, and The Film Reroll.
    Let's Know Things is a podcast made by Colin Wright, who if you've seen the Minimalists documentary on Netflix you may be familiar with. It's a great weekly podcast that picks apart a recent article, adds a load of context to the subject, and extrapolates from it somewhat. It's always insightful, and I've learned a load that I never thought I would from it.
    The Film Reroll is probably my favourite podcast right now. The basic premise is that a group of people take the plot of a movie, and turn it into an RPG (using GURPS). So instead of normal improv where they can just do something, they have to roll dice to see if they actually succeed at doing it. It invariably ends up going completely off the rails, and is always hilarious. Highlights include the Speed episode where they catch the mastermind before he has a chance to plant the bomb on the bus, and Jumanji, where the dice rolls for the board game go so well that they beat it before things have a chance to go dreadfully wrong.

    It's not through Patreon, but I also make a monthly contribution towards this website called wikipedia. It's pretty wild: an online encyclopaedia where anyone can view, submit, or edit the information, for free. It's got a page on just about anything you can think of, and whilst it's not perfect, it can be a fantastic jumping off point for learning about a subject, and going deeper via the sources. I believe it to be one of the pinnacles of online achievements, and I use it easily twice a week directly (and more indirectly, every time I get instant answers from Google).

    So what do you support via Patreon (or other means)?

    EDIT: A followup question. Does the amount that a creator on Patreon is already receiving have any bearing on your decision to contribute?

    19 votes
  9. Comment on The best album ever in ~music

    bilbodwyer Link
    I'm going to have to say Iron Maiden's Brave New World. The album was released before I came to hear of the band, and it's admittedly one of the ones it's taken me the longest to get into. But...

    I'm going to have to say Iron Maiden's Brave New World. The album was released before I came to hear of the band, and it's admittedly one of the ones it's taken me the longest to get into. But it's absolutely stunning. There's not a bad song on it, and even my least favourites are still absolute bangers.
    It's the first album they did after Bruce returned to the band, also bringing Adrian Smith back with him. Taking the sound from 2 to 3 guitars is fantastic, but made more so by the fact that this album started to be written for Blayze and 2 guitarists. In later albums all 3 will play a solo in pretty much each song... Not a bad thing for some tracks, but when they do 2 it feels tighter to me. Having the lyrics and vocal melodies pitched more towards Blayze than Bruce is great, because Bruce is so powerful on this album, but the choruses are also some of the simplest in Maiden's repertoire.

    The Wicker Man is a huge opening track, when it all kicks in it's like an explosion - not too fast, but thick and heavy. The chorus hits and you're singing along from the second go around. A meaty solo from Adrian Smith before a final chorus and a singalong chant at the end. This is a 10/10 opening track for any album.
    Ghost of the Navigator is vintage Maiden; an eerie introduction followed by a riff that really feels like you're aboard a vessel navigating dangerous, stormy waters. A chorus that lurches from chord to chord keeps you off balance until the wind hits the sails and you're storming ahead into a post-chorus hook.
    Brave New World. The title track. And oh so worthy of that position. Fantastic use of three guitars throughout this song, including some clever use of a clean sound when the distorted verses kick in. This is one of the simpler songs on the album, but all the better for it. The chorus doesn't gallop so much as march inexorably forwards, towards the enormous solos and harmonies. Another singalong classic.
    Blood Brothers is one of the first Maiden songs I learned to play, so I have a soft spot for it already. But each time I listen I notice new things about it. It's an exploratory song, rarely repeating sections except for that massive chorus (WE'RE BLOOD BRO-OTHERS!). Riffs grow in breadth as they are played, before one of my favourite slow guitar solos ever. I'll never not hear a sold-out stadium singing along to this one.
    The Mercenary is a welcome return to a faster pace. No clean guitars or melancholy lyrics here; this is Maiden recalling their Piece of Mind and Powerslave eras. An aggressive riff throughout, it's to the point, much like the titular character.
    Dream of Mirrors is potentially my favourite song on the album. A 9 minute epic that has some of the most impressive one-footed bass drum work you'll ever hear. The verses build and build and build, taking their time to get you to the chorus that will have you standing and screaming "I ONLY DREAM IN BLACK AND WHITE", before dropping back into another clean verse. When the middle section kicks in it's a flurry of riffs, solos, and galloping drums, you feel almost lost in the dream of mirrors yourself.
    The Fallen Angel is another short, punchy interlude after an epic. The shortest song on the album in fact, but there's no shortage of excellence here. The main riff will have you banging your head right away, and the guitar work during the chorus is top notch.
    The Nomad is another 9 minuter, but instead of starting slow and building, it's off at full tilt. Some sinister sounding riffs precede a vocal line that continues to build the tension, never quite resolving. The long, calm middle section is fantastic; exploratory without meandering, and with tasty bass runs throughout.
    Out of the Silent Planet, the second single from the album is a bit of a strange one, and possibly my least favourite on the album. The lyrics are fantastic, and it's another huge singalong chorus, and once the bizarre intro is out of the way, you're back into heavy, familiar territory.
    The Thin Line Between Love and Hate is the closer, and it's a driving pseudo-ballad peppered with guitar solos throughout and some absolutely gorgeous melodies. Caught on mic at the end are the words "I fucking missed it". Only having come to the band after this album was released, I can only imagine how that sentiment must have resonated with fans after several albums of very patchy quality.

    Up the Irons.

    4 votes
  10. Comment on Looking for tips or best practices for stoking creativity in ~creative

    bilbodwyer Link Parent
    I agree whole-heartedly with trying to work within rules you set for yourself. My musical creativity seems to have fallen off over the past few years (though it's gradually coming back!), and it's...

    I agree whole-heartedly with trying to work within rules you set for yourself. My musical creativity seems to have fallen off over the past few years (though it's gradually coming back!), and it's setting rules for myself that gets the juices flowing even if I don't use what I've come up with. For instance, writing a riff without using adjacent strings, or writing a 12-tone row. The rule can be totally arbitrary, and you can always throw away what you come up with if you don't like it. I tend to think of it as a warm-up that has the chance to yield interesting results.

    1 vote
  11. Comment on Game of Thrones first look: Inside the brutal battle to make season 8 in ~tv

    bilbodwyer Link Parent
    The optimist in me thinks it's going to be announced the moment season 8 finishes... The realist in me has given up hope of ever reading it

    The optimist in me thinks it's going to be announced the moment season 8 finishes... The realist in me has given up hope of ever reading it

  12. Comment on Game of Thrones | Season 8 | Official Trailer (HBO) in ~tv

    bilbodwyer Link Parent
    I expect the broad strokes will be more or less true to his vision (who's alive, who's dead, etc). But I suspect that thematically it'll be quite the different animal to whatever George's ending...

    I expect the broad strokes will be more or less true to his vision (who's alive, who's dead, etc). But I suspect that thematically it'll be quite the different animal to whatever George's ending ends up being (if we ever see it).

    9 votes
  13. Comment on I have forgotten how to read: For a long time Michael Harris convinced himself that a childhood spent immersed in old-fashioned books would insulate him from our new media climate. He was wrong. in ~tech

    bilbodwyer Link Parent
    Isn't that what the author is saying though? He's no longer able to sink into that state and consume a book, because of the effect that technology has had upon his mind?

    I may be an outlier, but my attention hasn't been fragmented by technology, so much as the expectation that every moment serve a productive purpose. There's no longer opportunity to relax into the state of absorption and reflective contemplation which longer text demands.

    Isn't that what the author is saying though? He's no longer able to sink into that state and consume a book, because of the effect that technology has had upon his mind?

    8 votes
  14. Comment on Promoting Time Management on Mobile Devices in ~talk

    bilbodwyer Link
    Well we can see from Google and Apple's conferences last year that "digital wellbeing" is the buzzword of the moment. It's been recognised that a lot of people feel that there are problems with...

    Well we can see from Google and Apple's conferences last year that "digital wellbeing" is the buzzword of the moment. It's been recognised that a lot of people feel that there are problems with how much we interact with our phones, and the two biggest leaders in the industry have to be seen doing something about it. So some would argue that the onus is indeed on the smartphone makers to help users to limit their interactions with their mobile device.

    But this presents a big problem for Apple and Google: apps want your attention, and don't want your eyeballs to be on anything else. If the platforms that these apps are distributed on begin to become too effective at managing your time and/or addiction, you're less likely to be playing with app XYZ. If the developer of XYZ relies on ad revenues and user data to make money from her app, she's going to potentially be hit hard by a platform that's encouraging its users not to interact so heavily with their phones, meaning that fewer ads get served, and less data is gathered. Whatever platform she's on starts to get a reputation as bad for developers, and the developers of all kinds of apps start to go elsewhere. The users start to notice that all the cool, exciting apps are on a different platform, and slowly the balance starts to shift away from the OS that encourages users to be better about their interactions, and towards the service that doesn't care, and just wants to make money.

    Which is probably why in Android 9 and iOS 12 all of the digital wellbeing stuff is off by default (in terms of app timers etc at least, I know that iOS at least serves up screentime reports without having to set them up). OEMs and platform developers want to be seen to be doing something, because it would be terrible optics for them to ignore this "problem" that's being drummed up in the media more and more. But on the other hand, if they go too far (enforcing limits out of the box, for example), they will just end up harming themselves. It would be worth watching the WWDC and Google I/O 2018 presentations, specifically for the digital wellbeing sections. If memory serves, they're quite implicit about this being in the hands of the user, and all being self-tailored to your own needs. That last one is especially interesting for Google, a company that prides itself on being able to predict what we want before we even realise it.

    So ultimately, we need to take responsibility for ourselves, right? Well, maybe. You have to remember that a lot of these apps and services have huge teams dedicated to tweaking the interface over time to make it more addicting. That little buzz of dopamine when you get an Instagram like, the ding when you get a Facebook message, the notification of a new video on YouTube... They're all designed to suck you back in and keep your attention on their app.
    Does that make them bad actors? Hard to say, and worth spending some time developing your own thoughts about I think. To my mind they're acting within the tenets of capitalism, exploiting psychology to make a few more quid (and everyone does this by the way - supermarkets put the more expensive products at eye-level; sales; prices like £19.99 trick you into seeing £19, not £20; etc). It's not evil, it's just the world we live in.

    2 votes
  15. Comment on Motorola will sell its first foldable smartphone this summer in ~tech

    bilbodwyer Link Parent
    Fairphone looks really cool, but I'm disappointed to see that they use Android 7 and have no apparent plans to upgrade. One of the best things about the Pixel line is getting consistent software...

    Fairphone looks really cool, but I'm disappointed to see that they use Android 7 and have no apparent plans to upgrade. One of the best things about the Pixel line is getting consistent software updates, and it's the reason I've considered jumping to iPhone - having the latest security and software updates is important to me.

    1 vote
  16. Comment on This Winter Machine - After Tomorrow Comes in ~music

    bilbodwyer Link
    My band supported these guys on Saturday night in Hull. Absolutely fantastic music, and a really lovely bunch of musicians too. They have a new album coming out in a few weeks too, definitely one...

    My band supported these guys on Saturday night in Hull. Absolutely fantastic music, and a really lovely bunch of musicians too. They have a new album coming out in a few weeks too, definitely one to watch out for!

    1 vote
  17. Comment on His Dark Materials: Teaser Trailer in ~tv

    bilbodwyer Link
    I've been (perhaps unwisely) hyped for this since the announcement that it was bring made. Every now and again there's a scrap of news that's a casting announcement, or functionally just a...

    I've been (perhaps unwisely) hyped for this since the announcement that it was bring made. Every now and again there's a scrap of news that's a casting announcement, or functionally just a reminder that it's still happening. So excited to have a teaser at last.
    Going to be keeping a lid on my expectations now, because there's a real chance of getting burned (again).

    Incidentally, for those that have read the books (or indeed, haven't) - check out the audiobook. It's read by Philip Pullman himself, and has a full cast of actors for all the dialogue. It's by far and away the best audiobook I've listened to. Do yourself a favour and check it out!

    4 votes