Sunday, 16 June 2013

Into the darkness of Twitter

For a while I've been sending out tweets into the darkness of Twitter. I'm not a fan of Twitter and, as tweeted, find it "The conversational equivalent of going through everyones bins looking for tid bits". I use it as a way of collecting together streams of words to use as lyrics and other stuff.

Here's a few examples to give you an idea of what's on there:

"Cruel like mint. Harsh like zest"

"Cut the faces from two best friends. Wear them as shoulder pads"

"We're running the show like flustered teenagers on exam day"

"Tongues like a brace of straws. Hands like claws, teeth like eggboxes. A soft mushroom textured grey skin. White-fat globules around mouths"

If this is the sort of thing you'd like to be updated with, you can follow me here:

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Free Birmingham Techno Mix from Phluxm

A fantastic re-release this month from the MaggotHouse Bandcamp site of The Dark Half - a 2 part, full-length mix of Phluxm by Phluxm!

Originally put together way back in 2004, this is the definitive DJ mix of his sound. It's thick, jagged, hard and dark with quirky samples, heavy basslines, rattling and knife-sharp percussion, and pounding pounding techno beats.

Early lighter, quirkier tracks such as Shuffle, Squasmadropodrom and A Black Train to Zurich are intermixed in part 1 with the industrial clatter of Bread Machine (played on Radio 1 by Mary Anne Hobbs back in 2006) and the crackling, lumbering, cyberscapes of Harrison Ford.

Part 2 starts hard with the queasy, bass-laden and ominous Mothership and launches into hammering bass-end techno in the form of the strangely named Fruity, then on through Dragon to the bone-crunching Teeth on Concrete.

From here on it's a fistfight of noise with the sawblades of Mistress Rmx and gabba battery of Limp Biscuits. Night Rider is perhaps the best, most rounded, and complete of Phluxm's techno from this era, and the mix ends with the glitched and doomy obnoxious Maggot hammering at your face.


Download more Phluxm and get more from the MaggotHouse Bandcamp site

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Best productivity freeware Bitch

Recently I've been in need of working fast and efficiently on my PC and have armed myself with a selection of the best productivity tools I could find, so in the interest of sharing, here they are! If your just starting out in programming or web design / development, here's a good quick introduction for a few useful tools for you.

Better copying with Teracopy
Windows Vista was the Devil and copying files was even an issue, so ditch Windows' native copier and use Teracopy to make sure your files are copied swiftly, completely and add extra functionality and info about the process.

Auto-rotate whole folders of photos with JPEG Autorotate
Why should you have to go through a whole folder of photos just to turn them round so they are the right way up? Auto-rotate whole folders and subfolders in a click with this.

Delete locked files with Unlocker
Ever have trouble with a file that wont delete? Unlocker unlocks any file, and allows you to delete it.

Being more effective in your work allows for more leisure time

Right-click Context Menu File Menu Tools
A whole bunch of really useful tools available from your context menu (right click menu). One I use all the time is 'Pack to Folder' which puts all the selected files into a folder without you needing to create new folders, then slow-click to name it etc. Other great features include a find and replace filename tool and an advanced file renamer - so no more folders of files called "1300558797639_r.jpg" - you can auto-rename the lot something more recognisable. The 'Size of Folders' feature also allows you to select a bunch of folders and it will display a pie chart of there relative file sizes, so you can see which of those many torrents you downloaded is really taking up all your hard disk space. You can even merge/syncronise the files in 2 differnt folders. There's lots more including differnt clipboard features, copy, move and duplicate functions and deleting.

Organise your messy desktop with groups of Fences
Fences is a desktop tidy that allows you to "fence" bundles of your desktop icons into groups and name them. Great if like me you have dumping grounds for bunches of related deaktop detritus. The groups are sizable, hidable and even scroll if needed.

Onto some stuff specifically for coders...

Get smart with code using Notepad++
For programmers Notepad++ is awesome. It replaces Notepad but has a world of new possibilities too many to mention here. One of the most useful features I've found includes Macros - where you record your actions and save them as hotkeys, so you could record your actions then stop and save the 'recording' as a hotkey. You could save typing in a string of text (frequently used tags maybe) or series of functions like a find and replace process. So - instead of typing in "" everytime, I've saved it to a keyboard shortcut, speeding up my typing (very useful if you never mastered touch typing like me) and instead of having to go through the find and replace menus I now just press a button to make a series of tags toggle between 0 or 1. There are loads of great plugins which go much much further, check them out.

Compare files side-by-side with Files Compare Tool
Notepad++ includes a code compare plugin (very useful) and there are many others but I prefer to use this simple code compare tool which easily and clearly shows the differences between 2 documents side-by-side and allows you to copy over chunks from one to the other with a key press.

Now your working smarter, you can take control and become the person you want to be

And now... create your own tools/processes... (and avoid RSI!)

Make your PC do exactly what you want it to with AutoHotkey
Wow, this guy is the daddy. First, a bit of background : I started getting a Repetetive Strain Injury in my wrist and wondered about working more smartly with regards to using the mouse. I bought a gel pad mouse mat which worked pretty good for a while. Then I bought this ergonomic mouse which I would totally recommend. Finally I decided that I was doing too much with my clicky right hand and decided to create a keyboard key for my left hand that could click instead. Then I thought, why not double click too? and why do I double click at all with a middle mouse button I hardly use... So I used AutoHotkey to create a small program that did all that. And more.

I now have it start up with my computer and use it all the time as standard. I don't have time to explain AutoHotkey in detail but it's actually very easy to use and get going with.

I now use it to close Skype with a key press (instead of going through the 'do you?', 'do you really want to?', 'are you certain you want to quit?' routine with it), open a series of programs together, and even process selected text in memory then paste it back in place. It also allows me to save a document in Notepad++, save it in a second location (with a different name) then refresh my browser to reload it - all with a single, simple Ctrl+S key press. Brilliant.

So there you go - that's how I made my PC working much smarter, faster, simpler and avoid Repetetive Strain Injury.

Look after your health and stay fit. Don't get RSI!

If your insterested in using the AutoHotkey scripts here are a couple of them, just for quick reference :

`::Click ;use this key top left of your keyboard as a mouse click & save your right hand for something else...
#`::Click 2 ;hold the windows key while doing it for a double click

MButton::Click 2

; Change the paths below if your Skype program is held elsewhere!
#s::Run C:\Program Files\Skype\Phone\Skype.exe
#^s::Run C:\Program Files\Skype\Phone\Skype.exe /shutdown