phocks observations on life, the universe, and nothing

Songs To Pet Kitties To

You can tell a lot about the person from the music they listen to. Put your music device on shuffle and write the first 20 songs that play without skipping. Tag 10 people afterwards.

Tagged by hellskittencouture :)

So here’s the customary I never do these things but, the other day I was tagged by this pretty kitty on tumblr, and I thought what the hell.

Quite surprised by what emerged in the end, like the draw of some musical tarrot cards or something. I wonder however just how much you can tell about a person from this.. have a listen anyway~!

Tagged by hellskittencouture :) from phocks on 8tracks Radio.

Birds of Prey

Velociraptors on a couch

We are going on tour starting Thursday to promote the new album. Jezza asked me for two or three sentences about one of the tracks we recorded in Berlin for a track by track, and I think I went a bit overboard.

When Velociraptor’s European tour at last came to an end, three Raptors stayed behind, thus creating Velociraptor’s “Euro Division” or “EuroRaptors” for short. They wandered far and wide and when news came of the upcoming album they finally came together in Berlin to record over a few days at Simon Berkfinger’s ‘Golden Retriever Studios’. These sessions were then teleported back to Brisbane for a tiny bit of tampering before the final product.

James X. Boyd and I had just been on a day trip to Abbey Road Studios in London (read: Day Tripper, one way ticket yeah), and I had started listening again to a lot of early 60s tunes and also to a lot of those Phil Spector sounding girl group songs of the 60s like ‘Be My Baby’, ‘Baby, I Love You’, ‘Baby Love’, ‘Oh Yeah, Maybe Baby’ to name a few. I didn’t have a guitar when I first started living in London so I came up with the chords on a synth program on my laptop and some of the lyrics, wanting to keep things supremely simple and to the point, and retaining that original Ronettes influence. A few months later up in Edinburgh visiting James X. Boyd, I had bought a guitar by then and wrote the rest of the lyrics and we both fleshed out the structure and demoed the song in James’s cold and grey Edinburgh living room.

I Don’t Know Why (It’s You) was the first song we recorded at Golden Retriever and we intended to knock it over quite quickly and move on to other songs, but it turned out sounding quite nice and we came back later to put in some extra parts. It was was originally quite a bit faster, but Simon Berkfinger persuaded us to experiment a little with the tempo a bit until we got it to that laid-back dreamy feel. It was a little difficult on a tight recording schedule but the aim was to get a touch of that high reverb, high tambourine, wall-of-sound vibe in the song with old 60s stylings and still slipping in some more modern Raptors sounding elements here and there.

Learning PDO Data Objects & Other Recursive Acronyms

I had avoided it so well and for so long, but a little while ago I decided it was about time I started properly learning about database programming, if I was going to do anything really serious on the web in times like these. PHP is usually my default language of choice first up (which stands for PHP Hypertext Preprocessor). I started a tutorial with the old mysql_connect() commands, but then apparently that was depreciated and so I tried mysqli_connect() for a little while before deciding what the hell I might as well go the whole hog and learn the object oriented PDO (which stands for PDO Data Objects funnily enough).

So I thought I’d step through the very basics of interacting with MySQL using PHP and blog my progress and development along the way. So here goes! Well first off to do anything with a database you need to connect to it. To do this you create a new instance of the PDO class. Before that though let’s set up these four variables needed to connect:

$database_user = 'username';
$database_pass = 'password';
$database_host = 'localhost'; 
$database_name = 'database';

I’m assuming here that you’ve already set up a MySQL database like I did just using phpMyAdmin on my server and created a table with an ID and a TEXT column and inserted a few rows in there with some random quotes and stuff. Anyway so now let’s connect to the database:

try { 
	$dbh = new PDO("mysql:host=$database_host;dbname=$database_name", $database_user, $database_pass);
catch (PDOException $e) 
	{ // catch any PDO exceptions and print error
	print "Error!: " . $e->getMessage() . "<br/>";

It seems to be a good idea to use try and catch blocks to handle any errors. But I guess the line we’re really looking at is:

$dbh = new PDO("mysql:host=$database_host;dbname=$database_name", $database_user, $database_pass);

So the $dbh variable becomes a new PDO instance and connects to the database. Now I’m just going to grab some text data from the database and display it:

$stmt = $dbh->prepare("SELECT * FROM qt_quotes where quote_id = 1");
while ($row = $stmt->fetch()) {
	print $row['quote_text'];

First we prepare a SQL statement, then we execute that statement on the database, then we fetch the rows one by one from the result and print them on the screen (in this case there will hopefully only be one result with the unique ID of 1 and we will be displaying it as html output in a web browser).

Okay well that’s enough for now anyway. I thought it might be fun and helpful to step through this learning process, but it has turned out to be rather tedious lol, so I may or may not continue any more posts like this in the future. I hope you learnt something today anyway. Until next time.

Serving Blocks

Many years ago, at @kattyzee’s housewarming party in Melbourne, I met this random guy and on the balcony somehow we got talking about Minecraft, the game about breaking and placing blocks, and fighting zombies in the night, or something like that. Anyway he ended up giving me his user details so I could give it a go. I tried, I really did, but I could never really get into it at all.

Now years later, and it’s like the third highest selling video game of all time apparently. I thought that maybe running a Minecraft server on the old Linux VM would be a fun little distraction from the realities of existence. So I set one up.

I pretty much just folowed the setting up a server guide on the BukkitWiki, except replacing the option -o true with -o false to put the server into offline mode. This lets you play with the cracked version of the client (it seems my friend from long ago had changed his password somewhere along the line).

Anyway I’m currently running the latest version 1.7.10 and just messing around and trying not to die at night. I’ve worked out how to craft a few things, but I guess I still have a long way to go. Apparently you can venture down into the Netherworld and fight a big dragon or something later on in the game.

If you wanted to try joining to say hi and help build or destroy something, then don’t hesitate. I should be in there unless I’m out or have had enough and decided to sort out my life finally.

But for now, here’s a picture of a sunset from the top of a shelter that I built:

Minecraft sunset

Resurrecting The Dead SSD

I had my solid state drive for only a few months before it decided to die on me. Notoriously unreliable these things were, as I found, and I lost my entire Windows installation. And in my drawer my SSD stayed, like a m3ssiah in his tomb or whatever.

A few years this drive remained undetectable by any BIOS. I was sure to check every so often for vital signs, though always nothing.

And then one day, a revelation! An ancient technique rumoured to have worked in the revival of bricked solid state drives long ago. And this is the simple resurrection ritual I performed:

  1. Attach SSD normally, switch on computer, see that it isn’t recognised, switch off.
  2. Disconnect the serial ATA data connector and run the computer and drive with only the power cable connected for a full 20 minutes.
  3. Plug the serial ATA data cable into the SSD, with the computer still on.
  4. Reboot system, and see the drive show up like magic!

Now I’m not sure how or why this method worked at all, so I’m just going to assume it is a miracle of computing. Perhaps it has something to do with warming up the drive circuits or something.

Anyway, best of luck young chosen ones. I hope this works for you!