The Null Device


Apparently, the new Hitchhiker's Guide film really sucks:

This just doesnt feel like Hitchhikers Guide. Theres no sense of a big crazy universe packed with weird lifeforms that somehow reflects our own world. Hitchhikers Guide has always been a Swift-ian satire but the makers of the movie have decided to ditch all that and replace it with pointless surrealism and crude physical comedy.

(Please say it's not packed out with standard Hollywood-issue gross-out bodily-function gags.)

There are quite a few nods to Douglas Adams himself and although these go some way to making up for the almost complete absence of his name from the publicity, surely a better way of paying tribute to this much-loved, much-missed author would be to not fuck about with the sublimely witty dialogue that he sweated blood to create.

And here is a list of things not in the film.

crap hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy hollywood 5

Bhajis Loops, the whimsical and unbelievably nifty PalmOS-based music/audio software, now has a posse an online community site, with forums, tutorials (only a few so far) and a user song archive. Also, there are 3 new effects plug-ins to download, including a granular-sounding pitch-shifter, which should be perfect for the drill'n'bass heads in the audience. (I'm looking at you, Mr. Frogworth.) Also, Bhajis Loops 1.6 is coming out soon, and a complete rewrite is on the way.

Also, looking for the interest "bhajis loops" on LiveJournal brings up this journal, which may belong to the author, or someone else who is a French researcher/student interested in Bhajis Loops, all things Indian, DSP algorithms and PalmOS programming (not to mention Stereolab and, umm, Architecture In Helsinki). The journal says some interesting things there, from discussions of audio algorithms to observations on why signal-based classification of music is doomed to failure:

Music similarity is to me a cultural feature. For example, the distinction between two genres can be very artificial, and is sometimes based on features like "the way the singer is dressed" or "the amount of sexual contents in the lyrics". An example I like mentioning is the East-coast and West-coast rap. How a computer could tell the difference ? Covers are another example of cultural music similarities. You can totally change the tempo, instrumentation, even the style of a song. But it will still be similar to the original, and will be recognized as a cover of the original song, not as a cover of the original work. A final example is when an artist is inspired by another. For example, a lot of Stereolab fans are comparing their music to some of Steve Reich works. I agree with that. But without any musical education, nobody could see a similarity between the two.
Fortunately, some smart people have figured out (and proved) that the best features to compute similarity between songs could be found on the internet (and is cultural, indeed). You can obtain precise features to describe a song or an artist by summarizing the words used in amazon reviews, or usenet posts. You can see how similar two songs are by counting their co-occurences in webradio playlists. A Google search will tell you that "Paul Mc Cartney" and "The Beatles" have something in common, because there are approx. 715000 web pages mentioning both names.

bhajis loops computer music music palm palmos 2

The Uncyclopedia, a joke version of Wikipedia, demonstrating the power of collaborative nonsense. Check it out before the publisher of this book sues it out of existence.

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