Category Archives: Audio

Audio: The Night Before Christmas

It was a family tradition during my childhood to leave out a mince pie, sherry and carrots for Father Christmas. I’m fascinated by the way traditions and Christmas is celebrated around the world when I speak with friends based in different countries. I decided to record this quickly on Christmas Eve to share with them, as from childhood, I still like to read the poem to myself on a night and think back fondly.

Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hope that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

Bitter Ruin AR

I am a long-time fan of band Bitter Ruin. Georgia Train and Ben Richards are fantastic, creative musicians. Described as “AH-mazing” by Tim Minchin, and having toured with Amanda Palmer, they are selling out performances.

Looking at good examples of how onvert Augmented Reality might be used, I put together a quick sample and filmed it as a piece of fan art.

As such, you can sample their album, Hung, Drawn and Quartered and see them in 3D with your album cover and your phone. Download onvert viewer and visit the onvert on site to do what you see in the video above.

Be delightfully Ruined.

Photography used on site and to put together the Augmented Reality was taken by Scott Chalmers, as seen on the official website

Video Blogging, Rebranding, Book Purchases

Why is it that youtube and your video editing software always manages to thumbnail your videos when you are pulling an unfortunate face or have your eyes shut?

Video Clip Captures - Me at my best...?
Video Clip Captures – Me at my best…?

007 has to be my favourite.

I have been a bit sporadic in fiddling with video editing. I’m a novice at this, so it is a little bit hit and miss. Doesn’t help that I only have windows movie maker to use, after a favoured open source editor I tried royally fell over. If I could recall the name, I’d mention it.

WMM falls over on export, and gets out of sync quite often which infuriates me. Today’s two video logs which are part of a project I am undertaking to try and record 100 Guide songs for the centenary (Edit: sadly abandoned due to time) were just shot in one take and uploaded. I got a good quality – the 4-5 minute file was over 100mb, which I stupidly hadn’t realised until I came to upping them on YouTube. Pity about the sound, though it is just a handheld photo camera, rather than camcorder.

I’ve also just made some geeky book purchases. Firstly, Web Analytics: An Hour a Day, Avinash Kaushik and Mobile Web Design, Cameron Moll.

The recommended product that keeps coming up is The Web Designer’s Idea Book: The Ultimate Guide To Themes, Trends & Styles In Website Design: The Ultimate Guide to Themes, Trends and Styles in Website Design which we have two copies of at work now, and I feel a waste of money when you have so many directories and showcases on the web.

I will aim to review these and write about them here, so remind me if I don’t.

We’re currently rebranding our company, as its 13 years old and needs to be future looking right now. So on Monday, we have an afternoon of rebranding round the boardroom table, which the boss has been getting very excited about. Looking through all the various vector and non vector logos and styles out there inspired me to play with vectors again soon.

Data Tapes from History

After a visit to the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park for the first time, I should really have updated the Katigori blog. But, after being sent this super geeky link about an Apple I’s data tape, I had to share.

I can remember my first computer, a TI 994A, which my brother would happily program in BASIC, though I was too young to grasp the concept, and generally used the computer to play games which slotted in. The link will illustrate this further, and scrolling down the page brings back vivid memories of it. Texas Instruments equipment was there for much of my early childhood, and it was second nature to pull out a hot cartridge to blow on it to cool it down before reinserting it, or playing Avalanche with the classic music and yetis.

The relation this has to the Apple I however, is the tape. I can remember loading one program into the computer from a tape. You’d leave it to run its course before you could use the program. Tapes were also used of course for backups of data, which seems alien now, as I’ve just backed up a collection of files on a 4.7GB DVD. Giga what? A Megabyte seemed impossibly huge then.

So yes, if you feel the need to be suitably geeky, download the data remix as a ringtone, and achieve new levels of geekdom.

Printed Music

Sticking with the bizarre, which has been a theme for Katigori thus far, I was mulling over the thoughts of the unusual sounds printers make while they print. Their rhythmical printing, from the screech of a dot matrix printer (I remember the tractor paper of my Brother printer attached to my Archimedes fondly) to the modern day inkjet and laser.

Clearly a strange child, I would hum along to the likes of this, and the modem sound, when I wasn’t singing the harmonics of the washing machine spin cycle. However, it appears I was not alone. Younnat presents the Dot Matrix Printer Etude for your delectation.

It appears that experimental musician, Sue Harding took it a step further with her dot matrix printers, and made them into an orchestra. It is a “mixture of good luck and control”, she says, more or less, on the video below, which is an excerpt of the first of six episodes of the television documentary Subsonics.

(I wonder if the expressions of the faces of the audience is that of willing to understand, or pain from their ears?)

But if we’re going to be truly retro, and this was almost too amusing, the floppy disk drive is king. It was a natural musician while the floppy was an integral part of a system. So if you’ve wondered what to do with that spare drive and 1.4mb floppy disks you may still have, the answer is here.

If you find anything to better these, do share the link in the comments, to spread the geeky joy.

Music of Epic Geekness

The blog has the tag line “Music and web geekery from East London.” which sets the tone for this katigori entry. With the wonders of scrobbling your listening information to the system from all multitude of media players, it appears that a few unusual listening statistics will fall through.

Erik Frey posted to last September on such “Edge Cases” which are anomalous tracks that confuse the fingerprinting system. The unusual link to “Burglar Alarm” drew my attention, and to quench my curiosity, I had to click. Yes, you can indeed listen to half a minute or so of burglar alarm sound, which one shoutbox commenter suggests is a good way to end a party. I guess, if you want your guests to leave in panic and a headache, then fair enough.

However, burglar alarm isn’t the only ‘non musical’ entry into the statistics, and a few clicks through the similar artists reveals more and more of the sound effect recordings that have been uploaded. Just when I thought this was as odd as I wanted, I stumbled across the related videos and had a look at this video:

There’s been many a youtube video of teens playing out the Nintendo or Mario themes, and even Nokia themselves have taken their iconic catch from the crude electronic tones of mobile phones of Y2K onwards, and I admit I couldn’t identify many of the other melodies. But what really took the electronic cookie, was the careful and obsessive pitching of this video:

But, like the Internet always is, the madness and sheer geeky outcomes rarely stop when you think it just can’t go on. No, of course, it had to be taken one step further, and present to you a windows XP song:

Even the mac doesn’t escape…

If you feel entirely geeky, browse the many other remixes, and comment with your favourites. I’m sure there must be more – its the Internet – what you think isn’t possible, usually is.