The fall of walls

Original mural by Birgit Kinder, photo via pexels.com

Here’s another anniversary: It was thirty years ago today that the Berlin Wall fell.

The Iron Curtain had been breached, the Eastern Bloc was beginning to crumble. This most cruel of social experiments had finally run its course. A peaceful revolution was under way, and there was no stopping this tide from turning. The world was evolving.

We may not have started the fire but we were sure fanning its flames now.

Even in a country as far away as South Africa (or especially in a country as related as South Africa), the developments made headlines.

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Something is weird about YouTube

VHS colour bars

A few months ago I was egosurfing for a very specific term.

The term was “hmvhDOTnet”, and it should’ve taken me straight to what passes for a YouTube channel. This is where I most explicitly used the term, and this is exactly what I expected Google to present.

Realise that I’m an old dog when it comes to picking out relevant results from SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). These trained eyes have been around the block and pissed in many a neighbourhood. I had also expected a few incoming links from other, genuine sites but that wasn’t the case. In fact, the results were markedly different and “deeper” than those typically discovered when researching wanna-be music producers and up-and-coming artists who aggressively promote themselves.

Allow this old dog to scrape the bottom of the barrel — so you don’t have to. Onwards!

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The Matrix remembered

End title sequence

2019 rings in yet another anniversary. The Matrix movie is twenty years old.

Released in the USA on 31. March 1999, it would take another few months before it reached South African shores. On 23. June I saw it for the first time, and in September I went to see it again. It is one of the rare instances that I saw a movie twice while it was still on the cinema circuit, and it was one of the first movies I purchased on DVD — long before the sequels appeared.

Confessing that The Matrix blew me away would be an understatement.

Had the film been released now, in 2019, it would still be a terrific actioner and perhaps even more relevant than it was then: the matrix will be instantly recognised as an obvious allegory to the always-connected, domesticated, utilitarian social media of today.

Alexa is always listening. We’re permanently jacked into the internet matrix.

Surveillance by machines is a pervasive theme, and much of the computer jargon that would have befuddled viewers two decades ago has since entered mainstream speak.

Back in 1999, however, the Internet was nowhere near as ubiquitous: it was the realm of technophiles, geeks and social misfits. Although the general population had heard of its existence, the internet’s early reputation wasn’t exactly positive on account of the hysteria caused by a different computer glitch looming: Y2k.

The world would end after 31. December 1999 because of machines going berserk.

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Happy Birthday!

Should I keep it zipped? (image via Shutterstock)

Here’s another anniversary. This site, hmvhDOTnet, is ten years old.

While the domain itself was registered ten years ago this month, the blog where you are reading this very announcement only came into being a year later (or much sooner — depending on how you look at it or what you consider to be a blog).

hmvhDOTnet is my primary home on the interwebz.

I’ve been rambling and writing rubbish online in one form or another for many years.

Having an own site (read: domain and hosting space) has been a dream since I first ventured online. It was practically expected of me. And it’s mine. Mine, mine, mine!

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Discogs Fan Mail: 2016 to 2018

Welcome to the madhouse!

Adding and updating information in Discogs is an interactive process.

While it is surprisingly easy to sign up and then begin populating the database with new entries or to edit existing ones, it is also just a matter of time before another user or “voter” comes along to see what a rookie user has been up to. There might be questions.

Errors get pointed out, advice is given, links to the relevant guideline are provided – and it is usually no later than this when our new user realises his efforts have a very human audience after all.

He is not alone. There’s someone looking over his shoulder.

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15 years at Discogs

Edited hero image (lifted from discogs.com)

So today is my 15th Oggsday. I’ve been a member of discogs.com for a decade and a half.

It has become as much a part of my daily online regimen as checking my email or Twitter feed. No other site has grabbed my attention in the way that Discogs has, nor has any other online resource infuriated me in the same manner.

Discogs is as fascinating as it is frustrating.

Now, if this sounds somewhat familiar, then you’d be right: I used a similar introduction for my 10th Oggsday. Read that article first to gain insight into how it all began and how things developed during my first decade there.

What’s happened since? Which features and improvements have been introduced?

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How to get stuff done

Getting shit done in Megawatt Park, 1977 (photo via Dad)

Do you have a lot of stuff on your plate? Do you have notes and reminders all over the place? Are you always busy – yet feel like nothing gets done? Join the club.

If you have post-it notes strewn all over the place and, like me, have them sequentially numbered and, worst of all, connected to one another, then you’re in real trouble.

You ain’t gonna get shit done this way. Trust me on this.

Here’s a bit of a life hack. For free.

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Evacuating MySpace

MySpace profile pic from 2009

Ah, MySpace! Would those of you still using MySpace please stand up?

Nobody? But you do remember it? You’ve heard of it? Perhaps you’ve simply all but forgotten about MySpace once more flashy toys like YouTube and Facebook showed up?

Or have you forgotten your password and haven’t been able to recover it because you’ve also lost that disposable Hotmail account you signed up with? Bummer.

Well, it’s been a while since it was the poster child of the burgeoning social media scene — back when we all had a friend named Tom Anderson and there was tons of new and free music to be discovered there. MySpace was the cool place to hang out at.

Myspace launched in [2003] and was acquired by News Corporation [two years later] for $580 million. From 2005 to 2008, Myspace was the largest social networking site in the world. In June 2006, it surpassed Google as the most-visited site in the United States.

Myspace was also huge for the music scene and functioned as a self-serving advertising platform for those seeking publicity.
The Bean Team

MySpace was instrumental in furthering the careers of acts such as Arctic Monkeys, Lana Del Rey (as “Sparkle Jump Rope Queen”), Lily Allen, and My Chemical Romance. Needless to say, even established artists had to have a presence there.

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