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How Netflix SHOULD HAVE Reacted to Throttling

Daniel Roe
Poster: Daniel Roe @ Mon Apr 21, 2014 4:34 am


(original content for Latewire.com)

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Latewire's Take: 2013 Retina Macbook Pro 13"

Daniel Roe
Poster: Daniel Roe @ Sun Nov 17, 2013 5:00 am

I have about 20 minutes until I have to leave for work (on a Sunday FML). [Edit: I decided to revise this article to give more of a solid verdict/rant]

Speaking of work, the place I work for bought me a computer of "my choice" ranging up to $1500, so I spent ~1450 on the $1500 13" Macbook Pro.

This model comes with 256GB PCIe HD and 8GB RAM in addition to a Haswell 2.4ghz i5. I am not going to directly compare it to my previous laptop, but this review will still be probably be framed in the context of my 2007 Whitebook with its 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo. I am not much of a laptop user normally, I'm afraid.


The Good

- Really high resolution display - This makes things look pretty great. The OS scales things so resolution now means resolution (pixels per inch) as opposed to "desktop real-estate."
- PCIe HD - Pricey as hell, as I mentioned before, but definitely ridiculously fast, especially for a laptop HD.This is one of the fastest forms of storage out there
- Thunderbolt 2 - This is a great piece of technology for a laptop to have. Dual TB2 ports is like having Dual PCIe 4x 2.0 slots built in. However, to actually plug in a PCIe 4x card, you'd need an expensive PCIe chassis with a PSU of dubious quality. BUT: You can do it, so that's a plus.
- 802.11ac - FINALLY Apple's priciest laptops get 54MBps.
- Compact design - very light weight
- Durable - You can do what I did and search on youtube for drop testing on the unibody Macbook Pro/Air, you'll find out that they hold up pretty well (so long as superficial scratches don't bother you)
- Long Battery Life - This particular model will supposedly last 9 hours while browsing the web over WiFi... not bad!

The Bad

- $1,500, no i7 - Please. I was laptop shopping for a buddy of mine recently and found several i7 Haswell laptops for <$800. I know price/performance may not favor the i7, but this is a high-end "professional" laptop here.
- NO Gigabit ethernet - Did I accidentally buy the Macbook Air? This is a $1,500 "Pro" machine, you ingrates! Luckily an adapter can be had for $30 that works pretty well (my review of the Anker USB 3.0 Gigabit).
- 1 Year warranty - 90 days of telephone support (pffft) and 1 year on parts/labor. Again, $1,500 machine, people. Doesn't Apple stand by its products? Dell will come to your freaking house and offers a longer warranty (Apple will only consider coming to your house if you're > 50 miles away from any one of its kajillion Applestores). Again, "professional" grade product here...
- ONLY 2 USB 3.0 ports. - This is sad and lame.
- No more Optical Drive - Help me, I'm trapped in 2007... but it would still be nice to watch DVDs on the airplane without having to bust out an external drive (what? I bought The Wire on DVD, you expect me to rip them all before my flight?)
- Thunderbolt 2 has few if any good quality devices available. I would've loved to exchange one of these TB2 ports for another USB3. I know it's 1/4 the speed but it has 100+ fold more devices available. Quite simply: Don't need it.

Value

Good value? I'd have to say no, at least compared to PC offerings and considering the actual value of the "extras" to me as the consumer. This product has a lot of features that are fairly unique but also not particularly useful. It's like if you got a mid-range car that included a unicorn corpse in the trunk (and you can't remove or resell the corpse because the car wont run without it). It's hard to say what cash value Apple is assuming these features represent, but it is certain that they're charging a boat-load for them. Apple fanboys will respond in a chorus chanted in unison as if robotically programed by Adam Koresh that "It's not overpriced, you're paying for the X," where "X" equals unicorn corpses and Thunderbolt. What is clear is that Apple bundling these things, raising the price of the product substantially, and making a huge profit by removing lower-cost, higher price/performance options for people who want to economize.

The retina display is a neat gadget that will surely allow for high-performance bragging at the local Starbucks, but is it worth it? The 13" MBP has a pixel density of 220ppi. That's definitely fancy, but would you really care if it were a mere 150? What if it saved you 10-20%? Is pretty looking text that important to you? Were application icons really all that hard to distinguish before? Don't give me that "Screen real-estate" nonsense either. If you tried to scale the windows and productivity apps down to the previous pixel dimensions, you wouldn't be able to see a darn thing. At home I use 1080p on a 27" screen, next to a 24" screen running the same resolution. I sit 4 feet away from my screens and am enjoying a life with perfect vision and no optical migraines.

Next stop on the gimmick train is the PCIe HD. This HD is significantly faster (20-40%) than SATA SSD, my own personal benchmarks put it 614MBps write and 714MBps read. However, SATA SSD is already breaking >500MBps and is much, much cheaper (half the price ?)--again, would you really care or even notice at that speed? What if It saved you 50% on the price of storage? With this particular feature, we have some idea of what Apple's actually charging. Inexplicably, the only laptop (notebook?) Apple allows you to upgrade the HD to 1TB on is the 15" Macbook Pro, which weighs in at a healthy $2000. But wait, there's more. For this $2,000 machine, with its standard 256GB drive to be upgraded to the proprietary 1TB PCIe drive, one must pay an additional $800 (that's not $800 for the drive mind you--you have to subtract the value of the 256GB PCIe drive because you don't get to keep it). That's $2,800 minimum to run a 1TB drive. Apple cleverly forces you to purchase features you don't want to make this look like a good value, but the result is the same: Awful price/performance ratio and a sad lack of options.

Let me give you an example for comparison: Take this laptop ($1000) and add a 1TB SSD ($600). That's $1,600 for a laptop with a 1TB 500MBps hard drive that many users will find does exactly what they want it to do. Again, it's not so much that Apple is over-charging for features, it's that they're forcing you to move well beyond the price/performance sweet spot and they're using their massive economy of scale to force open the profit margin like the exit wound of a Civil War cannon. Many people desire a 1TB drive in their laptop and are seriously limited by having much less, whereas very few will hit any use-case walls with 500MBps vs 600MBps. In fact, my own personal usage of this machine is going to be limited by the fact that I only have 256GB (some of my productivity cannot be done while I'm on an airplane, as I need an external drive now), but I can't afford to pay $2800.

Again, this is "professional" laptop here. Space is definitely a concern.

Finally, there's Thunderbolt. Thunderbolt has the potential to seriously expand the capabilities of a laptop. That is, when some company bothers to release some decent products for the platform. Currently, the Thunderbolt accessory market is pretty weak to say the least--accessories are low quality and/or expensive as all get-out. Also, there are almost no devices using TB2, most are one channel presently. Thunderbolt 2 is definitely a selling point of this laptop, but the measure of its value is almost entirely on the promise of future devices and future price drops. With intel strangling the accessories market like a redheaded stepchild, it's going to be a slow evolution.

Final Say

Though I think it's a poor value, for the $0 I paid I have to say I'm more than satisfied. However, as someone frequently tasked with picking out computers for people less tech savvy, I wont be recommending this laptop often. Oddly enough, I have actually recommended previous Apple products with similar downfalls to friends/clients in the past. They always fit 3 categories: 1) They were Mac users who had never used Windows or Linux and are not tech savvy, 2) they had extremely high-paying jobs / their time was valuable, 3) They did not require a ton of performance but liked snazzy gadgets. That's fine! I'm all for Apple making a BMW with a steering-wheel warmer. However, the rest of us need computers too. Just keep in mind all the variables when purchasing.

Related: I bought a Kuzy brand hardcover for this thing which is working great. Review is posted here.

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Keywords: Retina Macbook Pro  Macbook  Mac  Apple 
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OS X & iTunes:Copy Files In One Playlist Only To Another Mac

Daniel Roe
Poster: Daniel Roe @ Sat Nov 16, 2013 9:36 am

Problem: Huge music collection on a Mac, but I only wanted to transfer a certain list of files --about 10,000 or so -- out of a collection of 30 or 40 thousand.

Solution: Make a smart playlist with the files you want based on the criteria you want (eg only mp3s, only music, etc), then use a bash script to transfer the files using Apple's built-in file-sharing

This was done in OSX 10.9 using iTunes 11.1.3.

Disclaimer: At no time shall myself or Latewire.com be liable for you or anyone causing damage in executing these instructions correctly or not. This is provided for informational purposes only and any use of these instructions is offered without warranty and will be performed AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Step 1: Create and export playlist
1. Go into iTunes, create a playlist (or smart playlist) with the files you want
2. Right-click on the playlist and select "Export"
3. Under the "Format" drop-down, select "Unicode"
4. Save the file

Step 2: Adapt exported playlist to work with bash script
1. Open the file in a spreadsheet program (I used Excel, but Numbers probably works)
2. Scroll to the right until you find the "Location" column with the filenames
3. Select the column and copy to clipboard (Edit -> Copy)
4. Open TextEdit, and create a new file
5. Make sure the file is plaintext (Format -> Make Plain Text)
6. Paste all those names into the file
7. Multiple Find/Replaces
A: REPLACE CARRIAGE RETURNS TO MAKE SURE THEY ARE /n AND NOT /r:
- Select one of the carriage returns (just one), copy it, and paste it into the "find" field
- Under replace, hit Control+Q and then press the Return (enter) key once
- Replace all
B: ADD ROOT OF PATH
- The file path will have the volume name that the files are located on, but not /Volumes/
- Do a find/replace and make sure that the path either beings with "/" instead of the boot hard drive name or "/Volumes/[name of drive]/" in the case of the music collection being on a non-boot drive
C: REPLACE COLONS (:) WITH /
- Find all ":" and replace with "/"

When finished, your file should look like something like this (for files located on the boot drive):

/Users/danielroe/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Music/Compilations/Slumdog Millionaire/02 Riots.mp3
/Users/danielroe/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Music/Compilations/Slumdog Millionaire/03 Mausam And Escape.mp3
/Users/danielroe/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Music/Compilations/Slumdog Millionaire/06 Ringa Ringa.mp3

OR This (for files located on a non-boot drive):

/Volumes/BackupDrive/Music/Compilations/Slumdog Millionaire/02 Riots.mp3
/Volumes/BackupDrive/Music/Compilations/Slumdog Millionaire/03 Mausam And Escape.mp3
/Volumes/BackupDrive/Music/Compilations/Slumdog Millionaire/06 Ringa Ringa.mp3

8. Make sure you save your file as "music_list_fixed.txt" If you want to use another name, you must modify the bash script (see next step)

Step 3: Copy The Files
1. Go here and acquaint yourself with my little bash script before downloading it
2. Change the name of the script to a .sh file and bless it (see script instructions)
3. Connect to target machine with Apple's file sharing
4. Create a directory on the target machine and copy the script in there, as well as your music file list
5. Within the directory you just created, create another directory called "music" (lowercase)--this is where the script will dump all the files it copies unless you modify the script (see script instructions)
6. Open terminal, navigate to the directory you created in step 4 --the one with the script in it ( should be "cd /Volumes/[target directory]/" )
7. RUN THE SCRIPT AND HANG ON TIGHT (should be something like "./music_copy.sh")
8. After it is finished copying, the "music" folder should be full of files
9. Check to see if there is a "Copy_log_[number].txt". If there is, open it up and see if everything copied as you wanted it to

Step 4: Import Into iTunes on Target Machine
1. CLOSE ITUNES ON TARGET MACHINE
2. On the TARGET MACHINE, Open your iTunes Media folder (usually ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media --where ~ is your home directory)
3. Move the "music" folder (which should be full of music) into the "Automatically Add to iTunes" folder
4. Launch iTunes
5. (optional) Navigate to Library and show the Status Bar (View -> Show Status Bar)
6. Pray

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Bash Script: Copy Files From File List

Daniel Roe
Poster: Daniel Roe @ Sat Nov 16, 2013 8:54 am

Problem: Huge music collection on one computer, but I only wanted to transfer a certain list of files --about 10,000 or so -- out of a collection of 30 or 40 thousand.

Solution: I made a huge list of the files I wanted with full path names (eg "/Volumes/Macintosh HD/users/roe/Music/ACDC/DirtyDeeds.mp3"), then I made a script that would copy the files in the list and dump them all in a directory.

Disclaimer: At no time shall myself or Latewire.com be liable for you or anyone causing damage in executing these instructions correctly or not. This is provided for informational purposes only and any use of these instructions is offered without warranty and will be performed AT YOUR OWN RISK.

The script is available here.

Usage:
- Change the script name to .sh and make it executable
- Edit script and modify destination variable as well as the filename of the text file with the list of files
- Make sure list of files uses /n and not /r as the "delimiter" (ie single-spaced with a normal carriage return, not a funky one)
- Create destination directory before running script (script will not do it itself)
- By default, if the copy command fails, script will wait 1 second and then try once more. To make it not retry or add more retries, edit the appropriate variable
- Recommend running the script from within present directory (cd /path/to/scripts/Parent/Directory and then run script by doing ./script_name.sh)

Features:
- Calculates transfer rate in MBps - YAY
- Estimates time left based on number of files transfered & skipped-NOT transfer rate (to do otherwise would seriously slow things down)
- Does not overwrite existing files, will skip them
- Logs all skipped files as well as all errors in the directory where the script is located (log is named "Copy_log_[epoctime].txt")
- Displays status once per second once current file is finished copying

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New Mac Pro: Powered by Unicorn Farts and Wishful Thinking

Daniel Roe
Poster: Daniel Roe @ Fri Nov 08, 2013 11:26 am



Things just keep getting worse for the new Mac Pro. As the truth slowly unfolds, the fanboys have shoved their feet deeper and deeper in their mouths while dissecting every tiny morsel of information Apple sparingly doles out like so many nuggets of poop from their constipated asses. "Just wait and see," we're told, "Apple will find a work-around!" After it was first announced, the fans explained to the unenlightened among us that this was going to have more than one hard drive, Nvidia graphics option, a single GPU option, 128GB maximum RAM, and Dual CPU--just like the Mac Pro we've been using for 3+ years now. It turned out that none of those things were true, and that computer in the pictures Apple released and the specs they alluded to ended up the being pretty much the exact computer that's coming out in the next 2 months... With even lower specs than predicted by even the most "pessimistic" of the trolls.

The prices alone, as many have pointed out, put it around the same as workstation computers of “similar” specs, at least if you don’t delve too far into it. I’ll ignore the possibilities of home-built systems and point out that workstations from Dell and others offer wipe-your-ass-level support and warranties on parts that last years longer than Apple at no additional fee. Not only that, but Thunderbolt 2 is being offered up as a replacement or subsitute for PCIe, while falling flat on its face when tasked with running workstation-related hardware. This subtracts a substantial amount of value, as existing PCIe products made for the Mac Pro will no longer function with the new one without a loud, bulky, expensive, and slow TB->PCIe Chassis (if they function at all, which many wont). Many argued that Apple needed to (and would) compromise their high-profit policy just this once, in order to push along a floundering thunderbolt accessory market into some semblance of maturity and to try to compensate users for the ridiculous expense and compromise they were putting on them.

Let’s ignore those issues today as those coffin nails are fairly secure. The next conundrum comes straight off the specs page.

For some background, Apple recently released more information on the hardware and pricing of the new Mac Pro. Phil Schiller stood up in front of hundreds of Kitten-Huffing neck beards and thousands of hipsters watching the live stream and proudly proclaimed with a straight face that each New Mac Pro would include two cutting edge 'powerhouse' cards: The AMD Fire Pro D300, D500, and D700.



The problem? Nobody knows what the **** those cards are.

Thanks to some smart folks on the Mac forums, it appears we now know these cards are just clocked down and/or neutered versions of the existing FirePro cards. That's right, they just repacked years-old products under a different name without any explanation and started raving about them and how they justified the high price-point.:


Credit: VirtualRain

Sounds good, those are definitely the top of the line AMD cards and are awesome at OpenCl... Or at least they were when they came out 2 years ago. The problem? Dual W9000’s would take 548 Watts to power in a system with a power supply of merely 450 Watts.

This means that the GPU (548W) and CPU (130W) without anything else (678W) are consuming 50% more power than the PSU is capable of! Then you add in the 6 Thunderbolt ports @ 10W each, and the 4 USB at 4.5W each, you’re up to 756W!

Ruh Roh.

There is a lot of speculation on how Apple’s going to cut the power use down, and some of it is quite promising: the reference 7990 (very similar if not identical chips--Dual Tahiti XT) uses only 375W through a process of binning and consolidation. This puts the TPD of the system (CPU + GPU + TB + USB) from 756W down to 583W or 30% more than the 450W PSU is capable of. This is definitely some relief, but it still means the TPD of the CPU and GPU will have to drop off their consumption by at least 133W or 26%--and that still isn't including all other parts of the main-board, which will also be subtracted from the GPU/CPU.

There are only two real possibilities:
1) The 450W spec is a typo, or only applies to the D300 model of nMP (wishful thinking on the part of fanboys everywhere)
2) The GPU and/or CPU are dynamically clocked down to save power. If the CPU is running full-boar, the GPUs must yield.

Other implications: Crossfire gaming, if even possible in this machine, is effectively destroyed. Also, plugging in a bus-powered USB or TB2 device may significantly lower your performance (better get the one with the power brick!).

You might be asking "Why did Apple go full-hipster on this? You never go full-hipster." The answer may be a technical one. 450+ watts of processing power is going to give off approximately 1 metric F***ton of heat. Apple may be relying on some of their components to be relatively idol to keep the "thermal core" from blowing smoke.



The nMP, with its single 140mm "blower" fan, may simply not have the thermal capacity to cool everything in the case. Therefore, if it's going to have to under-clock the GPU to accommodate the CPU's heat (or vise versa), it may never be physically capable of exceeding 450W.

So now Apple will release a "workstation-class" computer at workstation prices which is is going to have a neutered GPU just like the iMac has. Apple has come full-circle, the iMac-mentality has taken down their flagship computer.

I’m not sure what a 26% haircut on power will do to performance in the iTube, but it’s going to be very sad.

(46,013)
Keywords: New Mac Pro  Apple  Mac  Materialism  Itube 
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On Child Labor

Daniel Roe
Poster: Daniel Roe @ Sun Oct 06, 2013 9:00 am

Recently I read this article on the soccer-mom outrage of the week: Child labor in chocolate. The article is basically saying that chocolate comes from child slavery and therefore we should give only certain "fair trade" corporations all our money. To put it mildly, the article has some inaccuracies. Though it does seem like a good portion if not the majority of chocolate is produced in part with child labor, only a small portion of that is likely to actually be slavery.

Ignoring the slavery issue (as we all can agree that slavery is bad and should be stopped or at least not supported), I don't think it to be the case that the parents of children in the 3rd world love their children and care for their welfare any less than those of western countries. That is not only racist but silly. If parents could keep their children home or in school, they would. The real question is: Why aren't they? Working in sweatshops, or in this case, a cocao farm, is usually the best of a short list of options. Usually, in fact, the other option is subsistance farming which is utterly horrifying.

When child labor was banned in Bangladesh, a study by the humanitarian organization Oxfam found that the majority of children moved from working in sweat shops to child prostitution, more dangerous / low paying jobs, or simply starved to death. Children in Bangladesh were responsible for about 25% of the family's income. For the impoverished, this often makes the difference between eating and not.

We are educated in our western schools to think that simple laws and boycotts can alter these practices because we are mislead as to our own history. For hundreds of years, people in what would become the United States assumed that it was pretty much a given that you were going to work as soon as you are able until the day you die. This is because the productive capacity per capita was so low, the family literally could not support anything else. By the time the US started outlawing child labor, the free market had already created enough disposable capital so parents could allow their kids not to work--this is about when "common schools" (aka Public schools) started coming about in the United States. The early progressives of the late 1800's and early 1900's take credit because they made "laws," but in reality, it was just the increased productivity of voluntary exchange and technology (AKA the market) allowing parents a new option other than putting their children to work, and politicians grandstanding on beating a horse that was already dead or dying.

If we were to suddenly boycott all chocolate that is guarantied to be child-labor free, the first thing that would happen is all those children making it would lose their job, and the second thing is what happened in Bangladesh. A return to subsistance farming is a serious step back for these societies.

What we should do instead is make sure we are buying from areas that don't have strict government interventions or are taking the excess productive capacity through slavery, taxes, and other extortive practices, preventing the markets in those areas from developing naturally. The poorest places on Earth are usually the ones with the most economically oppressive governments.

(57,750)
Keywords: Economics  Child Labor 
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Thunderbolt in New Mac Pro Worse Than Previously Thought

Daniel Roe
Poster: Daniel Roe @ Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:18 am

As stated in Latewire's Preview of the New Mac Pro and then article focusing on Thunderbolt, Apple's choice to get rid of PCIe slots in the New Mac Pro in favor of Thunderbolt ports actually reduced consumer options and available device bandwidth.

Basically, instead of having even one single available PCIe slot to be used for hard drives, storage controllers, GPUs, network controllers, media carts, etc, the New Mac Pro has Six Thunderbolt 2 ports capable of delivering up to 2GBps per device. It also has a single proprietary PCIe slot for a proprietary PCIe SSD hard drive. While it does also include two PCIe16x 3.0 video cards, they are not replaceable and are in a proprietary form-factor that will seriously limit options. One will have to make the choice in permanent GPU for a "workstation class" computer from a very short list of at the time of initial sale. This effectively makes the computer disposable to anyone who ever upgrades their GPU.

One would think that since 6 ports x 2GBps is a total of 12GBps, that the new Mac Pro has 12GBps of external bandwidth. This, apparently, is wrong. It turns out that the three TB controllers in the New Mac Pro are only each capable of 2GB. Therefore, the throughput is actually limited to around 6GBps. What does this mean? A single 8x PCIe 3.0 slot has 33% more bandwidth than all six thunderbolt 2 ports combined.

This is not even factoring in that Thunderbolt ports cannot be combined with each other in a scalable manner, so even if some enterprising niche company managed to create a device with three Thunderbolt 2 ports on it, combining the bandwidth would not even approach the total 6 GBps--it may not even hit 4. Some experts say they cannot be combined at all.

Fans of the new design say that, theoretically, companies can create all sorts of thunderbolt devices that will be equal to the tasks of the thousands of ubiquitous, relatively inexpensive internal PCIe devices that people have been enjoying for years. Of course, these thunderbolt devices do not exist to a large extent, so we skeptics are left fighting the imaginations of hundreds of fanboys that think Thunderbolt can turn water in to wine--or perhaps more amazing, can turn 2GBps into 8.


8GBps? Who needs that?

In a previous post about thunderbolt, I brought up the point about a popular 8GBps SAS card with four ports on it, and pointed out that to get four SAS ports on the new Mac Pro, one would need to buy Four separate SAS controllers, (which would not be able to be hardware RAIDed together, by the way). Perhaps I should have pointed out that even if you paid the $3600 to get four TB to SAS controllers, the new Mac Pro would not be able to use all that bandwidth at the same time. By the way, nearly any standard workstation motherboard (LGA2011) can run four of these plus a decent video card simultaneously, at full bandwidth.


M.C. Hammer Favors PCIe

Future-proofing and upgradability are often considered some of the hallmarks of workstations. Eight months ago, SSD over PCIe started to hit speeds of over 3,000MB/s (that's megabytes--roughly 5 times faster than SATA III). Keep in mind, these drives are out today, whereas the new Mac Pro and Thunderbolt 2 wont be widely available for another 4-6 months. In the next couple of years, SSD over PCIe is going to take off the way SSD over SATA took off in 2011. The workstation/enterprise market will attract competition and economy of scale into the marketplace, and these things will start to become ubiquitous the way all successful technologies spread. If you're trapped with 2GBps Thunderbolt, you will still have some great options, but the latest and greatest will be decidedly out of reach.

To paraphrase an expert in PCIe on Mac: Rarely is a new product touted with such fervor when it has less capability, slower speeds, and costs more than the product it replaces.

As this graph shows, TB is a great interface. However, it is not a replacement for PCIe.

(53,131)
Keywords: New Mac Pro  Thunderbolt  Mac Pro  Mac  Apple 
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New Mac Pro: Laughingstock of the World

Daniel Roe
Poster: Daniel Roe @ Sat Jul 06, 2013 6:09 am

A few weeks ago, I posted my review of the New Mac Pro. To summarize: it's a great big pile of crap. I pointed out that to get the same functionality as a standard desktop, you had to basically have an army of little boxes on the desk:



Well apparently a German publication had the same revelation (note the power-strip).



If they did borrow the idea, I'm flattered. Anything to fight the scourge of fanboyism! Keep up the good work.

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Thunderbolt: Pros and Cons

Daniel Roe
Poster: Daniel Roe @ Sun Jun 30, 2013 4:02 pm

Since the announcement of the New Mac Pro, I've been exploring the responses on the popular Mac forums. Fanboyism, which I thought had been murdered with the extreme prejudice of a dinosaur-extinguishing asteroid, has come back with a vengeance.

Though most of the mac faithful have a negative opinion, according to this informal poll, there are still many responses to the new form-factor that are really putting a strain on my faith in humanity.

Here are some concepts I've been introduced to (I'm dumbstruck with how ridiculous these claims are)
- "No storage--Apple may have done you a favor!" -- presumably by forcing everyone to use overpriced thunderbolt accessories, more thunderbolt options will appear
- You can have all the same components you had in the regular mac pro, just buy an external case with a thunderbolt controller and a PSU--Same thing!
- "The New Mac Pro is the most expandable Mac ever!" -- Only because Apple is years behind the competition, not because the New Mac Pro is actually better in any way.

Words cannot express the idiocy. Rather than argue the above points, I'm going to point out the harsh realities regarding thunderbolt. Let's start with an introduction.

- Thunderbolt is actually a great interface. Theoretically, it is just as low-latency as PCIe, just with lower throughput.
- Thunderbolt is NOT a replacement for PCIe for anything requiring more than 2GBps
- Hardware RAIDs with Thunderbolt are therefore limited to 2GBps (software RAIDs can use multiple TB ports, therefore are not limited).
- Thunderbolt 1 is 1GBps --the same as PCIe 3.0 at 1x or PCIe 2.0 at 2x
- Thunderbolt 2 is 2GBps --the same as PCIe 3.0 at 2x or PCIe 2.0 at 4x
- Because they are similar in latency, there exist Thunderbolt -> PCIe adapters which will [eventually but not currently] run at a max of 2GBps (PCIe 3.0 2x)
- There are few, if any, thunderbolt 2 options (but I will admit that there will be)
- Existing thunderbolt options are incredibly expensive (but I admit that it's probable they will come down in price eventually)
- Thunderbolt 2 can carry a video signal - this is necessary if you want to run a thunderbolt display through it.
- To hook a discreet graphics card to thunderbolt, manufacturers have 3 options:


To summarize the new Mac Pro:
- It'll have the LGA2011 socket and probably have the Ivy Bridge E processor, with up to 12 cores (starting config is unknown)
- This chipset has up to 40 lanes of PCIe 3.0 for a total throughput of ~40 GBytes per second.
- For comparison, the current Haswell line has only 20GBps divided into PCIe 16x 3.0 (one) and a PCIe 8x 2.0 (one).
- The Mac Pro itself will have these 40 lanes divided up into Two PCIe Video cards and the rest dumped into thunderbolt and a single PCIe SSD drive (likely 1-2 lanes)
- These GPUs will likely not be able to be changed out/upgraded. Or if they are, it will be a very short list of available options.
- The three thunderbolt controllers have a combined total of 6 ports
- Thunderbolt ports are not additive, meaning though you may theoretically be able to plug, say, 2 thunderbolt ports into a single RAID (though such a product does not exist yet, and may never exist), you would NOT be able to plug 2 Thunderbolt ports into a single GPU or controller of any other type. This means that, with the possible acception of a RAID, all devices are capped at 2GBps.

Because of the fact that Apple's chosen to use LGA2011 (a powerful choice with no CPU graphics options), thunderbolt and PCIe aren't going to mesh very well. If you use a PCIe graphics card on LGA 2011, using a thunderbolt display with that will require some crafty jerry-rigging which Apple isn't going to be cool with. Apple could have released a thunderbolt-compatible computer without the ability to run a display, but this is unlikely. The fact that Apple wasn't willing to compromise function for form or release a thunderbolt computer without ability to run thunderbolt displays left them forced to choose between PCIe slots and Thunderbolt. Thunderbolt won, and customer choice lost. Remember: thunderbolt is pretty great, but it doesn't even remotely stack up to the versatility and power of PCIe (nor was it even designed to). This is a professional ****ing workstation here, and it's been reduced to an iMac with more external connectivity.

Let's take a close look at how this is supposed to work. I will compare it to SAS since the Fanboys are telling me TB2 is better or as good for storage as any professional solution. I'm going to PRETEND that the TB SAS controller can do 2GBps per port, even though it could only possibly do a maximum of 1GBps (It is TB1). The reason I'm pretending is because, oh yeah, there are no TB2 SAS controllers yet.:

Scenario A
- If the two GPUs are running at PCie 3.0 16x [16GBps] (a total overkill for any modern card, including the W9000--likely the best option the new MP will offer), this leaves 8 lanes [8GBps] for the Six TB2 ports
- Therefore, the thunderbolt 2 ports --capable of a total of 12GBps--will have to share 8GBps of bandwidth.
- If you were running all your ports into internal storage, this would lead to a substantial bottleneck--the 2GBps Thunderbolt 2 would only function at 1.33GBps per port.
- Under this scenario, all six ports would have as much bandwidth as a single PCIe 3.0 8x Mini-SAS controller ($480)
- There are already LGA2011 motherboards for PC capable of running THREE of these cards at the same time, at full bandwidth (while admittedly leaving only 16 lanes total for the GPU)--that's 3 times the bandwidth.
- In addition, to even get close to the same bandwidth per SAS port (which will be throttled at 2/3 the total throughput), you would have to have FOUR separate external SAS controllers running at around $900 each ($3600)

Scenario B
- If the two GPUs are running at PCie 3.0 8x [8GBps] each (perfectly suited for any modern card), that leaves a comfortable 24 lanes [24GBps] for the Six TB ports.
- Under this scenario, all six thunderbolt 2 ports can run each run at their full 2GBps potential! This totals an amazing 12GBps!
- However, this scenario also means 12 lanes will be unused. There are no remaining PCIe slots, remember, so this capability is just totally lost.
- Regardless, now we can finally have the full 2GBps per SAS port--again, as long as we fork over $3,600 for four separate external SAS controllers.
- Now, to get the same amount of throughput and SAS ports as, say TWO 4 port 8GBps SAS cards (8 ports / 16GBps).. well you can't--that would equal 16GBps and the new MP's TB2 ports only add up to 12. The most you can do is 6 ports at a cost of $5,400 for the six external SAS controllers.
- Once again, the existing sub-$500 motherboard (which we can only assume will be replaced by something better in 6 months--when the New Mac Pro actually arrives) can support the same Two GPUs running at the same throughput as well as Twice the SAS throughput via Three SAS cards. All this at a fraction of the cost, I might add...


Scenario C: An alternate reality



- Apple skips the thunderbolt and uses something similar to the above LGA 2011 motherboard --with support for 5 PCIe 3.0 slots, four of which can go up to 16x (16GBps)
- You utilize, via a series of PCIe cards, all 40 lanes of PCIe 3.0 power:
  • Run THREE GPUs at PCIe 3.0 8x in SLI (24GBps total)

  • 4 ports of SAS at 2GBps each (8GBps total)

  • 10 internal SATA 6.0Gbits/s ports - 8GBytes/s total

- When better and more demanding video cards come out, YOU decide to swap out your existing ones and divide up the 40 lanes you have the way YOU would like.
- You save a ridiculous sum of money.

By taking away choice, Apple is depriving its users of the full capability of the hardware which is trumped even by today's options. Keep in mind this is not a consumer line; this is a professional line. Intel created the LGA2011 with 40 lanes so they could be used, not so they can sit idle or be underutilized. These alternatives exist and are being sold today to eager professionals that push them to their full capacity.

UPDATE: I haven't been able to confirm this yet, but a good source has pointed out that the New Mac Pro's Thunderbolt 2 bandwidth will be worse than what I described above--much worse. I assumed that the Six ports would share 12 Channels of thunderbolt, for a total of 12GBps. The reality seems to be that the Three Thunderbolt Controllers are running at PCIe 2.0 4x and therefore their six total ports will be sharing only SIX (6) channels for a total of 6GBps. This means that if all the ports are in use at once, they would have to share bandwidth and may be throttled as much as 50%. Most expandable Mac ever?

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Keywords: Thunderbolt  Mac Pro  Itube  New Mac Pro  Apple 
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Kevin Kastning + Michael Manring - "In Winter" review

Nicholas DiBiase
Poster: Nicholas DiBiase @ Thu Jun 20, 2013 5:24 pm

So! As some of you cats may recall, I've been on a pretty serious experimental / New Age / ambient instrumental music [and extended-range instrument] kick for the past year or so. I'm a devotee of frequent Hedges collaborator and stone cold genius bass innovator Michael Manring, and last year I heard that he'd done a record with a guy named Kevin Kastning.

This Kastning fellow has been mentioned in a couple of acoustic-guitar type articles I've read over the last few years, but apart from that, I knew very little about him. The largely-improvised record he did with Manring is called 'In Winter' and was supposed to be some kind of thematic chillout exploration thing influenced by the natural environment of Kastning's New England habitat, so I thought that sounded pretty cool. I put it on my 'to buy' list.

Finally got around to picking it up this week, listening to it, and learning more about Kastning.

First off : this Kastning cat is wicked! Hard to believe he's not more well-known outside the ambient / experimental music community. He's got an expansive sense of harmony combined with total command of his instruments, along with a puckish sense of Seussian humor that frequently shows up to introduce some smiles into what is largely a pretty emotionally stark record. Kastning's playing achieves a remarkable balance between space and density, and between interest and unobtrusiveness. Huge creativity and emotional range are at work in this cat's music, and the extended range of his instruments keeps the whole set sounding really, really fresh. No pre-chewed folky dreck here, only crisp ideas and outstanding musicality.

Kastning and Manring have an obvious really intuitive musical rapport. There's a fair bit of the 'telepathic' communication that used to happen with Manring and Hedges (though Kastning plays nothing whatsoever like Hedges, stylistically), or that happens between, say, Scott Henderson and Gary Willis. Kastning's timbre is kind of keyboardy due to his exceedingly clean attack and double-course instruments (acoustic contraguitar and alto guitar), plus he has the impressionist approach thing happening, so there are times when this record makes me think of Bill Evans with Scott LaFaro.

The tunes on the disc are mostly downtempo and introspective, just as I like them, with a couple of funky / new wavey toe-tappers like "A Distant Path Darkly" thrown in for variety. My personal favorite cuts are "Internal Meanings..." which is a deep and yearning masterpiece, along with "Silence Shining Quietly Through" and "On Retelling."

The word on Kastning is that he studied with Pat Metheny and did the jazz thing for a long time, then started getting more into the 'modern classical' bag. He, like Manring, feels too limited by conventional instruments and has designed his own -- a seven-course, 14-string contraguitar and a 6-course, 12 string alto guitar, as well as a recent doubleneck carbon-fiber contra + alto 30-stringer from Emerald that didn't make it onto this record, but that I'm eager to hear him hit. The sounds he gets from his [strictly acoustic] axes are very strong, assertive, and pure -- no doubt as much a reflection of his disciplined technique as his fine taste in guitars.

One thing worth n.b.'ing is that this disc contains what in my view is some of Manring's best recorded playing, which is saying a hell of a lot when you consider that this is the cat who recorded "The Enormous Room" and "I Carry Your Heart." I have all of Manring's solo and Hedges material, as well as a number of his other collaborations, and this record gets me my Manring music fix favorably well. On "In Winter," he's just unsurpassably sensitive, evocative, and all-around magical.

The bottom line is that if you like any sort of inward-looking instrumental music, adventurous-but-not-harsh improvisation, classic-era ECM type stuff, or modern art music in general, you will flip your wig for Kastning and "In Winter."

Rating : Five white-and-soft-pastel watercolor nature paintings in faux-gold frames with a big glass of wheatgrass juice surrounded by potted ferns <-- highest possible New Age rating

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Apple's New Mac Pro Is Freaking AMAZING

Daniel Roe
Poster: Daniel Roe @ Sat Jun 15, 2013 10:09 am


Innovative design, destined to succeed.


What can I say about the new Mac Pro that hasn't been said already. It seems as though Apple's up to their old tricks again and trying to bilk users into locking themselves into a barely upgradeable platform. I'm just going to point out a few things that may have been overlooked in the reality distortion field this time around.

To summarize the new Mac Pro: NO traditional PCIe slots at all, NO Built-in Firewire, Room for only ONE proprietary PCIe SSD HD, ONE Processor, Two FireGL GPUs which are PROPRIETARY, NO Optical drive, and a whole crapload of thunderbolt ports that are supposed to make up for all this.

Reality Distortion - A Terrifying Epidemic

First off, I thought the days of the reality distortion field were over. Jobs is gone, along with the turtle necks and all his Razzle Dazzle. I thought this new generation of users who were buying Macs based on the actual quality of their products would have diluted the pretentious Hipster clientele. Not only that, but Macs are so mainstream I assumed that even the Hipsters would move on to blindly worshiping other companies. Christ, even Rush Limbaugh is a Mac enthusiast.

Now I know there are plenty of people pissed about the design, my concern is with the people who aren't.

"Ha Ha, Very Funny" - Step 1: Denial



My first exposure to this thing was a friend of mine messaging me after I'd been disconnected from the outside world, stuck in the depths of my 80 hour work week at the hospital for a few days. I knew the New Mac Pro was around the corner because of the Mac Rumors sites, but I didn't know it'd been released yet. Everyone was talking about a possible change in form-factor, and how that would likely be a change for the worse. My first impulse was that my friend was joking.

Lesson One: Thunderbolt Sucks

I've mentioned before that I am less than impressed with Thunderbolt. Yes, I realize it's "super neat" that we can have an external cable that can substitute for a 4x PCIe slot, I also recognize that there is a much better technology available: fucking PCIe slots.

Even TB2 can't hold a candle to even 8x PCIe, yet I see fanboys plastering the boards with "no need for PCIe, we have THUNDERBOLT now!!" How many ways can you tell a person that slower + more latency ≠ better?!

Drives:

Thunderbolt is a great medium for external hard drives. That is, unless you don't like paying a ridiculous amount for an external array which is much slower than a SAS solution at the roughly the same price, or eSATA at a fraction of the cost.

Check out these amazing deals on TB enclosures for SATA drives (6/15/13)!:


Don't like paying double for hard drives?
Think Different.


For traditional platter drives, I'll grant that TB is a huge step-up from USB3 and FW800... As long as you ignore price. However, when you want real performance with low latency (for, say SSD RAID), TB is no substitute for other solutions, especially SAS or (e)SATA.



Thunderbolt RAID 0 with 6Gb/s SSDs appears to run into a bottleneck when you compare it to the SAS RAID 0 with the same 6Gb/s SSDs. I guess the 1000+MB/s theoretical bandwidth is... theoretical.- Barefeats

GPU: "At least you don't have to worry about procuring a flagship graphics card, right?"

Okay so for months now NVidia has been releasing OS X drivers for their GPUs. This has changed everything for Mac Pro users who could now swap out their 5870 (which is still the standard card in Mac Pros, even though it was released in 2009) for something modern. I've been using a GTX670 and booting into windows 7 to get my gaming fix.

With that in mind, what happens now? The new Mac Pro has no PCIe slots! That means NVidia has absolutely no reason to release drivers anymore for these cards, apart for the Mac Pro users who haven't "upgraded" to the iBucket.

To this, the fanboys respond by touting the ridiculous "Thunderbolt to PCIe" Adapter.


That'll be $500, sir. Graphics card and supplemental GPU power not included
(This is not a joke)


The problem(s)? This thing is, again, only 4x PCIe and has huge latency issues.


JUST AS GOOD, SEE GUYS?


At least you don't have to worry too much about procuring a flagship graphics card, right? [...] Pinching off that bus means that, at a certain point, it doesn't matter how big of a GPU you attach to the host. - Toms Hardware

Lesson Two: Small Footprint? Only If you Don't Use It

The new Mac Pro is a 6.6 inch by 9.9 inch cilinder. Think that's impressive? Consider this: What do you need to buy for your new Mac Pro to get the features of the following rig (8 channel audio, multiple hard drives, an optical drive).


Footprint: 15" x 11.25"
Rig by MassiveOverkill on Hardforum


Just a regular PC, right? Off the shelf components in a standard MicroATX case. Now check out THE NEW MAC PRO:


More space, More cords, More shit on your desk... What's not to like?
Footprint: A heck of a lot more than any standard desktop PC


Step 5: Acceptance.


I mean it certainly is a technological feat to pack all that power into such a small space. And with that, I will never buy another Mac desktop again.

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Keywords: Apple  Mac Pro  New Mac Pro  Ibucket  Mac  Os X 
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Confession : I listen to New Age music + Baja Snake

Hank
Poster: Hank @ Sat May 04, 2013 9:19 pm

Well, mother@#$%ers, I've been going through a hell of a couple years. Shit has been rough. So rough, in fact that I've had the same reaction that all other yuppie swine have when they unceremoniously burn out : I did a 180 and got into yoga, meditation, and went even further with my radical unprocessed-foods strict vegetarian diet. And I started to listen to music while I did this stuff that, frankly, I would have laughed at as a teenager. Mellow, vaguely xenophilic chillout music like Kitaro, Michael Hedges, Alex DeGrassi, Deep Forest, Hammock, Mark Isham, and all that shit that came out on the ECM label in the 80s. I even started digging Pat Metheny, who I used to call a thrip and a sellout.

I mean, fundamentally, this is what used to be called "New Age" music. Have I turned into a @#$%ing yoga, meditation, crystals, brown-rice-cake-eating, permed-hair, New Age music listening @#$%ing 80s caricature?

Pretty much, except for the crystals and perm. And I gotta say, this shit seems to be really helping, so I @#$%ing guess ANYTHING's on the table huh?

So it turns out the below poster has this duo calling themselves "Neo-age desert music" that plays ish that is mellow and relaxing, but ALSO interesting to listen to when you come out of your healing trance, the latter characteristic being sort of rare. Baja Snake is the name of this act, and the tunes they put out makes me feel like I'm in the mother@#$%ing wilds of the Sonoran desert or the badlands of Egypt or some shit.



SO if your mother @#$%ing chakras need to be realigned, peep this shit out.


http://BajaSnake.com

"Desert Crossing (demo)"


"Rainstorm (demo)"

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Outside music - why and how I dig it

Nicholas DiBiase
Poster: Nicholas DiBiase @ Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:30 pm

OK, so like most people, I came to 'outside' music via Coltrane's later stuff, which is kind of the gateway drug to unconventional playing and free spiritual music. Not too long after this, I was getting into punk and protopunk and found out about Sun Ra / John Gilmore and Albert Ayler via MC5 / Stooges / Velvets. I worked through the 'new thing' era and especially fell in love with Anthony Braxton, who though not known as an improvisor will definitely surprise a MF with some clever note choices. Incidentally, his 2003 Standards Quartet sets with guitar furnace Kevin O'Neil are a must-have :

[youtube]4FLQCoIkYxc[/youtube]


Then I got the Sonic Youth "Dirty" tape when it came out because of its awesome video, and that kind of snowballed into a consuming interest in exploratory not-really-jazz-derived outside stuff.


As I explored the progression of New York music, I found out about DNA, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, and James Chance, and realized that there was kind of an unbroken line from John Cage through Velvets through DNA through Glenn Branca through Sonic Youth through Live Skull through Wu-Tang


I discovered Boredoms while watching an MTV News clip about the first Lollapalooza, and the five seconds they showed of the group made me into a fanatic. Working through the Boredoms catalog, I discovered Painkiller, which then led me to John Zorn.

John Zorn.

The term "visionary" is thrown around a lot with regard to musicians, and oftentimes it's accurate. Zorn, however, has the 72mm panoramic Technicolor view of reality. I can't think of any post-Copland composer whose breadth and depth of field is so immense and who is simultaneously capable of meticulous, enveloping theme pieces like "Kristallnacht" and careening comets of surprise like "COBRA"

Zorn turned my whole musical conception inside out like a frightened sea cucumber. Also, through Zorn, I discovered Marc Ribot and Bill Frisell, both of whom molded the way I think about gutiar (but especially Ribot with his "aesthetics of poverty").

I could keep yammering about him and his sprawling, monumental artistic edifice, but here's a clip to take some words out of my mouth. "COBRA" was the first Zorn work I heard after Painkiller, and remains one of my very favorites.

*n.b., Zorn knows how to pick some players!

[youtube]yp-oZbmsQVw[/youtube]



I found the Shaggs backward too, via Shonen Knife and Melt Banana. Japan produced a lot of really good outside / cacophonous music -- Masonna, Solmania, Keiji Haino, The Gerogerigegege, et al

[youtube]yN9UT2zF8c8[/youtube]


Then, in a 1994 or '95 issue of GP, I read a brief blurb about Henry Kaiser and, without any real information to speak of other than a photo of him smirking into the camera bestrewn with instrument cords and holding his clown-vomit Strat, I knew viscerally that this was a cat I could vibe with. The article mentioned his Madagascar record (with the sickeningly wonderful D. Lindley), so I got that first and LOVED it -- followed close behind by the first French Frith Kaiser Thompson record and "Devil in the Drain." What I find staggering about Kaiser's playing and direction is that he seems to come at every phrase from a completely blank, fresh point -- very few canned licks, even on his mellower spacey stuff. Pure creativity. Kaiser plays what Howard Roberts called "Music at the speed of thought."

Here's an absolute *gem* of a recent performance -- it's TGP favorite and notorious hippie, new-age, mumbo-jumbo expert S. Kimock being supported *quite* sympathetically by Kaiser and non other than BERNIE MOTHER @#$%ING WORRELL

[youtube]s5frtFL4QaY[/youtube]

^ this is just about *thee perfect* mix for me -- just the right amount of inside mixed with outside, everybody listening CLOSE and making a real cohesive musical thing occur, this ish is *happening* yo.

One thing I particularly like about this one is that the drummer keeps grooving while playing interesting stuff, in kind of an Elvin Jones bag. Though I love free playing, I also love a good groove, and when they're combined (read : drummer not going off on some ish only tenuously connected to the beat), that's my ultra pleased zone.




I actually didn't like Derek Bailey the first time I heard him, because the firth thing of his I got was his drum 'n' bass record, which is just not well-executed. But once I found his true solo stuff, it all made sense. Bailey's music is generally the antithesis of groove, it's more like listening to the sounds from various nebulae as you zoom by at warp speed in your rocketship.




Bonus : here's a good example of what I mean by Wu-Tang as being in this tradition, in this classic of small-"m" minimalism:

[youtube]F8oTeU9ze5Y[/youtube]

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Zero tolerance

Hank
Poster: Hank @ Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:09 pm

Image
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Kanye West - "Mercy" -- the hidden anticonsumerism subtext

Hank
Poster: Hank @ Sat Mar 09, 2013 12:40 am

Well, it is a weeping and a moaning and a gnashing of teeth
Well, it is a weeping and a moaning and a gnashing of teeth
When it comes to reality, which is dire as can be
Believe! Believe!

OK! Consuming without mercy, the Combine it so thirsty
Working on you day and night, ideas from the hurt tree
Consuming without mercy, the Combine it so thirsty
Working on you day and night, ideas from the hurt tree



OK! Drop a couple bucks, have a milkshake
'Cept it's venom, not milk, that's a milksnake
You gotta set it down, take a milk break
But it's too late, that's a milk fate!
Say hey, say hey, don't we do this every day-ay?
You worked all day, all night to get a payday
Now, you're finally paid, so we can take it away-ay
[And people still buy in!] Haha, so blind they need a straight cane!
Now they watchin' TV, yeah, they UFCing
Distract with politics and products so appealing
Get-get-get-get getting drunk watching porn and eating
We gave 'em false dreams
They flocked right to their beatings

OK! Consuming without mercy, the Combine it so thirsty
Working on you day and night, ideas from the hurt tree
Consuming without mercy, the Combine it so thirsty
Working on you day and night, ideas from the hurt tree


It's crime time, hammer back, desperation, yo
This failed plan, the wrong dream, I'm Willie Loman, yo
I'm bill-dodgin', deadbeat man, take pills often, yo
And often booze, anesthetized 'til my coffin
All I want is some food money , all I need is some brood money
I get my check, I give it back, I'm left with none, that's nude money
Check the neck, check the wrist, those slits oozing that crimson tint
My angst crush like Neitzche, Teutonic existentialist
Oppressor deference
Hypocrite like Jefferson
Expectations dictate my path, so my hopes are irrelevant, WHOO!
Combine's fuckin' got me
It know where I go, wherever I go, I know it's caught me


OK! Consuming without mercy, the Combine it so thirsty
Working on you day and night, ideas from the hurt tree
Consuming without mercy, the Combine it so thirsty
Working on you day and night, ideas from the hurt tree

Well, it is a weeping and a mourning and a gnashing of teeth in each and every house
And who no have teeth gwan rub pon them gums cause
When it comes to reality, which is dire as can be
The bugle has blown fi many times, and it still have one more time left
Cause the amount of strife we've wrought 'pon the world

Let the suicide guards up
Encourage suicides on the campus
Encourage suicides in the middle class
Encourage violence like the night of glass
I slip up in your mind, that's some sneaky shit
If you're doing something cool, I'm'a make you quit
It's a disgrace how I make so much waste, how I
Befoul what I touch, take profits in haste, how I
Love to oppress, and those acts get no press, kid
Plus, I debase all things that you hold precious
Talkin' 'bout Mary, bought into my values
Now see, her soul is worn through like some old shoes
Now, everybody is losing they damn screws
Now the whole world move in lockstep to my rules
People self-abuse just to feel included
Your reasoning warped and your insight occluded!

I'm caught up in the hate ways
Precipitating bloodrain
I'm dumb and blind at the same time, drinking palm wine with the Combine
Acquire things in a cash rage
Consume all in a rampage
Acquisition defines my world, consequences are downplayed
Name one, delay one
Disagree and be shamed, son
Snack box full of fracked rocks, co-signed : "corporation!"
Horsepower, horsepower
Four horsemen got horse power
Pestilence coming to the thousands, caustic rain, poison showers
Rain : pourin'
All my factories foreign
For me, foresight is foreign
Help you cross the Jordan!

OK! Consuming without mercy, the Combine it so thirsty
Working on you day and night, ideas from the hurt tree
Consuming without mercy, the Combine it so thirsty
Working on you day and night, ideas from the hurt tree

Consuming without mercy, the Combine it so thirsty
Working on you day and night, ideas from the hurt tree
Consuming without mercy, the Combine it so thirsty
Working on you day and night, ideas from the hurt tree

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Keywords: Kanye  Ercy   Mercy  Anticonsumerism  Combine  Satire  Parody  Jail  Lsd  Progressive  Reform  Poetry  Dracula  Beef 
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La vie de boheme

Hank
Poster: Hank @ Sat Dec 08, 2012 10:23 pm

Image
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Best Of Latewire 3rd Party Payer: How Gov't Made Healthcare Unaffordable

Daniel Roe
Poster: Daniel Roe @ Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:34 pm



NOTE: The images and media in this video are presented under fair use for educational purposes, all rights reserved by the original owners.

This wont be part of the Cost of Care Series, simply because it would make the title too long. It is in a similar vein though, probably some repeat material as I didn't bother to read why I already posted. Here is the Transcript:

(Pic: O'Rourke quote) In the previous video we talked about how the United States doesn't have a free market in Healthcare, and alluded to why the prices are so high. I spoke mostly about Medicare and Medicaid and mentioned that over half of all healthcare dollars are actually managed and spent directly by the government. (Pic: Tea party) When people compare our system to a "socialized" system, what they are forgetting is that our system is greater than 50% socialized already.

(Graph: Healthcare Vs GDP) Here is a graph of healthcare expenditures as a percentage of GDP. In 2011, >18% of the total productivity of the United States was devoted to healthcare. In pure dollar terms, the numbers are even more dramatic, even adjusted for inflation. The United States government alone spends more per capita than any other government in the world on healthcare, and that only covers medicare and medicaid patients. (Graph: Per Capita Vs Others) With public and private insurers combined, we spend more per-capita than any other country, and our per-capita spending is 50% higher than the runner-up. We now have an idea of the scope.

(Graph: Obesity Rate)There are many other contributing factors for the rise in medical care. People are demanding more care due to poor lifestyle choice. The obesity rate is now at 40%. In addition, people have more disposable income than they used to have, and the quality of healthcare as well as availability is better. It makes sense that they would want to spend it on something to help their quality of life and to attempt to live longer.

(Graph: Tort Costs) In addition, the cost of dealing with medical malpractice have risen dramatically. Though these costs are still only a small part, there's also the matter of increased spending on tests due to doctors being more and more worried about getting sued, which is extremely difficult to quantify. (Graph: Trial Lawyer Donations) Making things worse, trial lawyers donate more money to congressional elections than the entire healthcare industry, making reform in this area impossible.

(Pic: Colonoscopy) People are also demanding more and more preventative medicine, which costs far more than it saves. In addition, the demand for elective procedures is rising as they become safer and doctors start recommending them more. (Pic: Cialis ad) That's not to mention the demand for expensive new prescription drugs both by doctors and patients which often provide little benefit over cheaper existing medications, or are for conditions that are not medically vital. This is, of course, perfectly fine, however in other industries consumption usually rises as prices fall, often corresponding with less share of personal income being spent on the product.

(Graph: Meat Consumption)For instance, You can see from this graph that people have been eating more meat over time. (Graph: Disposable income Vs Food) However over time, people have been spending less of their disposable income on food. (Graph: What Work buys) In fact, take a look at this graph which shows how many hours of work the average American would have to put in to earn common consumer goods. (Pic: black) Why is it that healthcare doesn't follow this trend? Quality may be rising, but costs are rising even faster.

(Pic: black)In this video, I'll talk about a problem that bares even greater responsibility than the the elephants in the room run by Uncle Sam and all the aforementioned factors. This is something totally ignored by politicians but most economists say it is central or even the most important reason costs are rising.

(Pic: Third Party Payer big) Of course I'm talking about 3rd party payer, and why government is to blame for the astronomical cost of medical care.

Third party payer refers to the practice of health insurance companies taking your money and using it to pay your medical bills for you. Insurance is supposed to pay for things that are unlikely to happen. Health insurance by contrast, has come to mean reimbursement for just about anything health related. On the face of it, this doesn't really make sense. Here's John Stossel's take on 3rd Party Payer

[Stossel Clip]

(Pic: 3rd party payer cartoon1)No one would want to purchase car insurance that pays for regular maintenance on your car like oil changes and new tires. This adds a large transaction cost to everything bought and paid for using the service, but that's only a small part of it. Clearly your insurance premiums would never add up to more than you could hope to get reimbursed for. (Pic: Car Fire)Any insurance company that reimbursed more than uncollected would go out of business. You would have to slice your tires every day on the way home from work and buy the best tires in the store to replace them just to get your moneys worth. Unfortunately, people treat health insurance differently than other insurance, but there is a reason for this.


(Pic: Cartoon: 3rd party payer2) As ridiculous as it is to have a middleman on common things that everyone buys like regular checkups and screening tests, there's an even bigger problem. Since you're paying a flat fee for all the services and drugs you could ever want, there's no incentive to shop around or to use them in moderation. This allows incredibly inefficient institutions to exist in spite of their high prices, as well as inflated prices on drugs, hospital stays, and doctor visits. Here is Nobel Prize winning economist, Milton Friedman, on the subject.

[Friedman Clip]

(Pic: Middleman cartoon)It's clear that health insurance is a great thing to have in case of serious injury or illness, or a chronic or terminal disease that is expensive to treat, but having a middleman setting up an "all you can spend" health buffet is not something that makes economic sense. As with common practices that don't make economic sense, the origins of this are squarely rooted in government policy.

(Pic: Tax Seq1)For decades, taxes have been rising on the wages of employed Americans. The average personal income tax rate on median family income was(Pic: Tax Seq2) 7.4% in 1955 and had (Pic: Tax Seq3)risen to 12.2% by 2010. On top of that, you add in Social Security and medicare taxes, which were at (Pic: Tax Seq4) 4% in 1955, and had risen to (Pic: Tax Seq5) 13.3% by 2010. It should be noted also that the maximum taxable income of Social Security and Medicare taxes is rising as well.

I only point out these taxes to make one observation: The total average American family's wages have increased in taxation from roughly (Pic: Tax Seq6) 11% in 1955 to (Pic: Tax Seq7)25% today, (Pic: Tax Seq8) and that's just on the federal level. At the same time, compensation by employers in the form of healthcare has been (Pic: Tax Seq9) totally untaxed. Again: 11% taxes in 1955, 25% today, and all the while employer-provided health insurance has been taxed at zero. The results of this tax policy are as one might expect, but before we get into that, how about a little history?

(Pic: FDR Cartoon) Employer provided health insurance is said to have arisen because of the wage and price controls of WWII. Employers wanted to pay their employees more but FDR's misguided war-time technocrats were trying to micromanage the economy. Therefore, their only option was to find other ways of reimbursement besides wages. Health insurance as a form of reimbursement was taxed much less than other wages until 1954 when all remaining taxes on the practice were removed. It was only natural therefore that employers and employees follow the incentives right into this arrangement. (Graph: Rise of Insurance 1940-60) Between 1940 an 1960, the number of insured went up 7 fold.

By 1965, a little less than 75% of the population had some form of health insurance, and that number was rising rapidly. (Pic: 1960's Insurance) However, even with this rapid rise in the insured, it was rare that anyone be insured for care not involving surgery or hospitalization. For patients seeking treatment in an outpatient doctor's office or wanting a yearly checkup, it was traditional to pay out of pocket. Medicare Part B, passed in 1965, helped changed this trend, but the economic reasons for the insurance companies to adopt this are obvious.

(Pic: HealthCareDollarsAt Work)Because of these government policies, health insurance has changed from actual insurance to a way for employers and employees to subvert the tax code. This leads to modern "insurance" covering much more than insurance ever should. Regular checkups, preventative medicine, elective procedures, and chronic medications are all covered by the majority of todays plans.

(Graph: Rise of 3rd party payer) Now let's take a look at the rise of 3rd party payer and the fall of patients directly paying for their own medical care. In 1960, roughly 47% of all dollars spent on health care were paid out of pocket, by 2008, that number was down to 12%. The rest is paid for by government and private insurance companies.

(Graph: Healthcare Vs GDP) Take a look at the graph of Healthcare Vs GDP once again. These costs are rising far too astronomically to be accounted for by other factors. There is something fundamentally wrong with the incentive structure of this industry. Also, it seems to be inexplicably immune to recession, unlike other industries. This is the typical pattern of government intervention. Given that these things are true, what do you think the effect of Obama's 2010 healthcare reform will be?

[20/20 clip]

(pic: black) Essentially, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 AKA Obamacare will force the market to increase coverage and therefore will increase costs. It's said by some economists that there's a critical mass for healthcare spending. If that's true, we're certainly moving in that direction a lot faster.

(Pic: serenity) The good news is, there's a simple and elegant solution to solve this issue in an orderly and decisive way. Government could start to once again tax employer-provided health insurance. Alternatively and in my opinion, preferably, the government could (Pic: abolish IRS) abolish the income tax altogether. This would eliminate the incentive for employer provided healthcare, and over time the practice would be eliminated. As that is happening, people will realize that high deductible insurance is actually much cheaper. Removal of other government intervention could further lower costs, like state insurance regulations that reduce competition. (Pic:Medicare Monster) It would also be beneficial to eliminate Medicare's "discriminatory pricing" policy whereby if a doctor sees someone for free or less than they charge medicare in his/her office, they can be subject to a raid by the federal government as well as fines and imprisonment. Essentially, the further government gets away from healthcare, the more affordable and accessible it will become.

(Graph: Government Spending Vs 3pp) Unfortunately the largest 3rd party payer is government. Though prices will come down dramatically if government stops manipulating the private sector via the tax code, (Pic: Old Lady Sequence) the problem of government being such a large payer will likely still remain. Obviously raising co-pays and instituting a deductible into Medicare and Medicaid would help, but these solutions are so politically impossible it gives one a headache to even contemplate. In fact, Americans are so addicted to Medicare that even the accusation of mentioning cuts in medicare is considered a devastating attack in political campaigns. With elderly voters flocking to the candidate who promises to continue this unsustainable system, it will likely be the sacred cow of the US government for years to come, even with our impending fiscal issues.

(Chart: Negative Income Tax) I would also like to mention at this time Milton Friedman's elegant solution to the problem of entitlement spending: Instead of offering food stamps and healthcare, Friedman and most other economists suggest a "negative income tax" whereby the government just writes an impoverished individual a check for an amount to bring their income up to an acceptable level. They could then use the money at their discretion, and make decisions that are best for them, rather than what the government deems appropriate.

(Pic:MLK sequence) Under a truly free market system, customers would purchase health insurance like they do life insurance: When they are very young, for their whole lives, and at very low premiums. Just like with Life Insurance, they could keep their plans when they switched jobs, moved from State to state, or developed a chronic or debilitating disease. Perhaps insurance could be purchased even before birth. It sounds far fetched, but with a high deductible plan and the prices of healthcare actually coming down instead of rising, this is not only feasible, but likely.

Sources:

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts ... ?Docid=228

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxtopic ... -Taxes.cfm

http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/health ... r-problem/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Unite ... 60_to_2008).png

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File: ... 60_to_2008).png

http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/thom ... .health.us

http://www.earth-policy.org/data_highli ... ghlights25

http://www.agmrc.org/renewable_energy/b ... rsus-fuel/

http://gthing.net/sites/gthing.net/file ... _bray2.gif
http://www.ssa.gov/history/pdf/HealthCareEarly1960s.pdf

http://www.pnhp.org/news/2009/october/y ... avid-horse

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WnS96NVlMI

http://theincidentaleconomist.com/wordp ... re-charts/
http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2010/01/if- ... nsive.html

http://www.kff.org/insurance/snapshot/oecd042111.cfm
http://elisson1.blogspot.com/2009/08/ad ... o-see.html

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/20 ... cut-costs/

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Use An External PSU On A Mac Pro (or any PC)

Daniel Roe
Poster: Daniel Roe @ Mon Oct 01, 2012 2:49 pm

Introduction

Please note that even though this article is directed at Mac Pro owners, much of this info can be used for PC owners too.

Apple has always had an interesting way of constructing personal computers/workstations. Sacrificing function for form is somehow lauded by their users, even in their super expensive/overpriced "Professional" line. This is usually followed by complaints about their lack of 3rd party options, difficulty upgrading, and then finally the existence of irony.

One example of this is that even though the 1,000 watt PSU in the Mac Pro is perfectly capable of running a modern GPU or Two, in an effort to make the inside of the computer "pretty", they have routed PCIe GPU power through tracers on the motherboard. The limitations of this are the same damn reasons they put ancillary power supply inputs on video cards in the first place, but Apple likes to Think Different. For some daring people who have attempted to run "too much" current through these ports, the results have been disastrous (TL;DR: *KABLOOEY*, there went 3,000 bucks).

For this reason, people like myself who don't want to have their computer stuck in 2010 or "on fire" have decided to add a second power supply. Unfortunately, again Apple makes life difficult by making a 2nd internal PSU like this one a pain to install (although some have managed to do it by modifying their case via tin snips [Great read!]).

The way I have done it (twice now) is by using a standard ATX PC power supply and piggy-backing it on to my mac's power supply. Basically the principle is this: 1) Mac Pro's power turns on 2) Power goes from Mac Pro into a Relay switch 3) relay switch turns secondary power supply on 4) power supply runs current to video card 5) I play Borderlands 2 for 3 days straight and my girlfriend leaves me.

Simple, right?

Disclaimer

Though doing the procedure outlined here correctly is assumed to be be safe (assuming the components you use are not faulty), neither myself nor Latewire.com are not responsible for any damage sustained to equipment during the execution of this tutorial. This is provided for informational purposes only. Proper precautions for protection of equipment from damage and persons from bodily harm are left to the reader to enact, and in no way shall Latewire.com nor the author of this article be held at fault for use of this information for any purpose. Latewire.com and myself do not recommend doing anything on this page under any circumstances ever.

Ingredients

The stuff to make this fantabulous contrapulation will vary based on what you have lying around and how versatile/convenient/cheap you want your end product to be. Before you get started, read this whole thing, sit down with a piece of paper, and figure out from start to finish what you need and how you're going to do it. I'm not wiping your butt for you, these are just some ideas.

1. A Relay

Image Image

A relay is a little switch that activates when you apply electricity. This dingus will be activated by your Mac Pro's power supply and then subsequently activate the 2nd power supply. I found this one at my local radio shack and it works just fine.

2. A power supply

There are several buying guides online for how to purchase a power supply. You can get a pretty decent one for around $50 on NewEgg. I purchased this 500 watt fancy thing for $45 and paid $6 for NewEgg's 1 year Warrantee. It has blue lights and they make me happy.

3. Wire

18 gauge: You need 4-5 inches of 18 gauge at the very least for this project (maybe a lot more.. keep reading). I like to use 2 conductor speaker wire (2 copper wires stuck together with insulation). If you need to extend your 6 pin cables (you may be able to get by without it), do so with 18 gauge wire -- you may use 24 feet of 2-conductor wire to extend your two 6-pin cables just 4 feet (double that if you are using 1 conductor wire).

You will definitely need at least 4-8 feet of 20 gauge wire x 2 (either by 2 pole or just buy twice as much) to trigger your relay.

4. 6 / 8 pin extension cable(s)

I modified my own extension cables to length because I'm an epic badass, but provided you don't want to spend all day soldering wire after wire (and believe, me: you don't), I'd recommend at least one 16" 6 or 8 pin extension cable. You definitely want at least 14 inches long--that'll work for every video card you can buy. This one looks very nice and will work with any configuration (6 pin or 8 pin). I think I would get 1 for each port just for some extra power (so for a card with two 6 pin ports or one 6 pin + one 8 pin, get 2 of these adapters).

Keep in mind that if you modify your extension cable, you're going to need a heck of a lot more wire (use 18 gauge for this).

This extension cable is necessary to get power into the case from the 2nd power supply. However, 16" is going to be barely enough to just go from outside the case to the card itself. If you want your power supply under the desk, you may need to buy TWO sets of extension cables and modify one set to be several feet long. Alternatively you can modify your PSU's 6 pin cables to be longer. I have done it both ways, they both work. Food for thought.

5. Adapters to get 12v power from internal PSU to external

You're going to need a 12 volt source from your internal PSU, and adapters to run the power to the relay.

Take a look inside your case and see if you have 4 pin Molex (found in PCs and earlier generation Mac Pros) OR SATA power plugs (later generation Mac Pros). If you have 4 pin molex, PLEASE use that for your 12 volt source. It will save you SOO Much headache.

For 4 pin molex people (PCs and Older Mac Pros i.e. 2006):

Image Image

Something like the above should work okay (one example). You see the ground and 12 volt line is already separated so you can take it from there. Also, it has a pass-through for your 4 pin molex so you can put it in-line with your drive. However you will need to extend the cable quite a bit. For a modern Mac Pro (Older = easier), you'll need at least 4 feet of wire (recommend 20 gauge as it will be easier to string it through) to get from the 5.25" drive bay outside the case. If you like, you can stop there, but I'd recommend reading the optional portion below to make your setup easier to work with.

For SATA power people (Newer Macs):

Image

You need an adapter to go from SATA power to something you can solder on. I used this adapter and modified it to have a 12v line and ground going out of the case (actually I have a whole 4 pin molex coming out, but that's extraneous). For a modern Mac Pro (Older = easier), you'll need at least 4 feet of wire (recommend 20 gauge as it will be easier to string it through) to get from the 5.25" drive bay outside the case. If you like, you can stop there, but I'd recommend reading the optional portion below to make your setup easier to work with.

**OPTIONAL BUT HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR BOTH SATA/4 PIN POWER**:

Image

Really you can use any plug imaginable (as long as it's 2 pole) to hook the relay to the internal PSU, but this "3 pin fan" plug moves nicely through the Mac Pro case as well as being cheap. I'd recommend buying something with a female "3 pin fan" plug so you can detach the PSUs from each other more easily (modular is better!). The linked part will work with those using the SATA adapter or a molex adapter mentioned above. Later in this article I will likely just assume you've done this. If you have a Mac Pro and you do NOT do this, you will have to string the wires through your case before you solder them. At least this way you can forego that headache.

6. Solder, Soldering iron, Shrink tube (for 18 gauge wire), knowledge of how to solder, wire strippers (18 and maybe 20 gauge), wire cutters

You're going to be "adapting" a few things. On a side note, these simple tools and even rudimentary knowledge of how to use them will save you boatloads of money in the future when fixing broken wires and such. Imagine having your vacuum cleaner power cord gets eaten by your pet wildebeest and you have to lug the thing to a freaking repair shop and pay $50 for them to spend 5 minutes and $2 on fixing it. This really is a life skill like changing a tire or flossing that it helps to not need to pay someone else to do it.

So in short, if you you think you're about to close this page at this point saying "WAA THIS IS TOO HARD, WHO CAN I PAY TO BUY THE NICHE PARTS I NEED; DO NOT WISH TO LEARN TO SOLDER", then think again.

7. A video card requiring power and a computer unable to power it

Oh details, details.

8. OPTIONAL: A multimeter

This is a versatile battery-operated device that is really going to make your life better

STAGE 1: THE RELAY

Step 1: Test the relay

Image Image Image


If you're using the radio shack relay I recommended above, you do this by connecting a 12 volt DC source (yellow wire) and a ground (black wire) to the "coil" leads (see above pinout or read your relay's schematic… the coil leads are the ones with the little coil-looking thing). It makes NO difference which is PLUS and MINUS. Essentially, it's foolproof. The 12 volt lead in computer cases is yellow, except when it's red (for those using red/black 3 pin plugs, red = 12 Volt). You'll be quick to notice that you'll be hooking 4 wires to this thing yet there are 5 pins. The "extra" pin is will "close" circuit when voltage is released. Thus if you use this pin, your project will be on when the computer is off, and off when the computer is on (the opposite if what you want).

Please test the relay with and without power to see if it's working as expected. I'd also recommend a multimeter set on the "COND" (conductive) setting. If you don't have a multimeter, you're going to have to put the leads in series with a case fan circuit or a light bulb or something be creative (or just buy a freaking multimeter you cheap bastard). If you connect it to a light bulb at 110 volts, keep in mind you can die if you touch the hot leads. 12 volt is safe as long as you don't put it in your mouth or connect it to your pacemaker/insulin pump/electric penis pump. You know what? If you don't know what you're doing just leave this site before you sue me.

Testing the relay will ensure that it works, and also verify you know which leads to use.

Step 2: Solder the Relay

Image

I soldered the coil leads first. Again, these coil leads are going to go to your 12 volt source. For these, I wanted a 4-5 foot long 20 gauge 2-conductor wire (I used 18 because I had some). I soldered that 4' length of wire to the 3-pin female plug mentioned in "ingredients". Polarity doesn't matter folks! Remember to put some shrink tube on there so you can heat it later to cover the exposed leads.

Image Image

The 2nd set of leads is a bit more tricky. You're going to want to solder your other 2 wires to the two leads on the relay that are OPEN (off) without power going to the coil, and CLOSED (on) when power is applied. These leads MUST be 18 gauge wire for the next step.

Image Image

After that you're going to attach the relay to the 16/20 pin motheboard cable. Tin (coat in a light layer of solder) the other end of the switched leads and shove one them into the GREEN plug and the other into the neighboring BLACK plug. You will likely need to use pliers for this. If you're having trouble, make sure your wire/tinning is nice and smooth. Alternatively, you could solder in those leads directly into the green and black wires. This will likely void your warranty, however, and using the way I describe seems to be very secure with good contact. (I was going to wrap the thing in duct tape, but it's just fine dangling there).

Image

On the other end of your coil wires/leads, cut off the 3 pin plug from your 3 pin "extender" -- use the end that will fit into the end you plan to solder onto your 12 volt line coming off the internal PSU (Female). Remember that on the 3 pin connector, the RED wire is 12 volt, black is still ground, yellow is worthless, cut it off. I don't care if you use female or male or if you're not even using the 3 pin plug at all, just make sure it plugs into the plug that's connected to the 12volts/ground leads coming off your computer's internal PSU, and that both pins make contact.

Alternatively, you can solder these leads directly onto a 12 volt/ground leads from the internal PSU and skip the need for plug, but that would be incredibly annoying to "unplug" when packing up to move out of your parents' basement.

STAGE 2: THE 12V SOURCE

"In the course of human events it becomes necessary to disassociate yourself with the ties that bind" - Mojo Nixon, quoting somebody else

Never in my life have I been as infuriated as I have been working ways around Apple's engineered non-scalability.

Step 1: Tap That Lead

FOR SATA USERS (Newer Mac Pro):

Image Image

I'm just going to assume you bought this extender I mentioned in the "ingredients" section. Long story short the reason you want this is because Apple, in an effort to make life "easier", has made it harder. If you look in your case like I told you to, you'll see what I'm talking about.

Image Image Image Image

You only need to solder the yellow lead and one of the black leads to your wires. If you're using 20 gauge wire, don't use the pictured method of joining 2 pieces of wire with a 3rd--just solder them all together or use a small 18 gauge segment for that. I'm sure 20 gauge will do enough amps for a single optical drive and the relay but let's have some Obsessive Compulsive standards people! If you're doing this in a Mac Pro, you need FOUR FEET of wire to get it outside of the case. That's 48 inches, 121.92 centimeters, 0.63 toise. Got it? You'll notice that I did all 4 leads so I could have an external Molex outside my computer. This is totally optional and you probably don't want to do that. I do it because I'm crazy. If you're just going to have the relay hooked up, use 20 gauge wire because you don't need the amps of 18 gauge and it'll be easier to string through the case. If you're going to do it my way, use 18 gauge for greater justice.

Remember, if you're going to attach anything but the '3 pin' plug to the other end (such as the relay directly or 4 pin molex), to do it AFTER you string the wires OUTSIDE the case (see step below). If you attempt to pull a 4 pin molex through the Mac Pro case, I will mock and ridicule you until my face starts hurting and I lose my voice. The 3 pin plug seems to have no problems being fished through the tight crevices of Apple's "different" design.

FOR 4 PIN MOLEX USERS:

Image

I didn't do this so I didn't have pictures. Simply take the red and black leads coming off the adapter here, cut them, and extend them 4 FEET. I'd recommend reattaching the 3 pin "male" plug on the end, as I mentioned before. Use 20 gauge wire for this.

Step 2: String the wire

Image

Routing the cable is the fun part. I did it differently in my setup as you can see from the pictures, but there's no need. Just run the 4 feet of wire you added in the above step through the notch in the plate in the top of the case, route it around the plate and through the hole in floor separating the 5.25" area and the HD/PCIe area. If you have an allen wrench suitable to the task, you can unbolt the plate and it may make it easier.

Once in the PCIe/hard drive area, string it over your PCIe Cards and out of an unused PCIe port. Don't have one? I have several methods of "adapting" existing PCIe cards to allow extra cables to leave the case (Scroll down).

How I did it (the silly way)

Image Image Image Image Image

Don't ask me why, but I love having access to Molex connectors outside my case. I was booted off a hard drive sitting on top of my computer for about 2 years (it had a nice little fan on it). This is totally unnecessary and I wouldn't recommend it. If you're wondering how I fit the cable through the holes, I shoved each wire through the cheese-grater one at a time and then stripped and soldered them once they were on the other side. If I wanted to remove this, I would have to cut the cable.

STAGE 3: THE PCIe POWER CABLE (nightmare?)

If you have an open PCIe slot, simply remove the placeholder bevel and shove the wires through the open hole. If not, you've got some sacrificing to do.

You've basically got to choose one of your other PCIe cards to "modify" the fancy bevel on so you can run the wires. It'll also depend on which cards have warrantees left to void, how much of a pain in the ass it'll be, and so on. Look at your cards carefully, try and figure out the best way with minimal effort.

Method 1: Lucky with the vent design (4870)

Image Image

I got lucky with the 4870. I just took some wire cutters and my popeye spinach strength and cut off a small section of the vent. Put the wires in that notch and put the plugs outside of the case (through the PCIe slot opening in the rear) before securing the card in place. Works great if you can do it this way!

By the way, ignore the 4pin molex to 6-pin adapter I used… I had an old PSU.

Method 2: Not-so-lucky with the vent design (6870)

Image Image Image

This one was not so easy. I had to unscrew the bevel from the card before clipping it with my superman strength. There's probably a way of doing this than dulling my neighbor's borrowed dikes.

By the way, ignore the 4pin molex to 6-pin adapter I used… I had an old PSU.

Method 3: Attack it with a Dremel (my current setup)

Image Image Image Image Image

Like most limbs and sensory organs, most of the PCIe bevel is unnecessary. All you need is enough to structurally keep the card in place. These things are often made of really hard metal and so completely over-rated for the task of keeping wires from jiggling the card loose or keeping the card in the slot.

I chose to carve up my RocketRAID 2314 card's bevel. I unscrewed it, carved out a chunk, and put it back into place. Notice I keep the line straight from the end that goes to the motherboard all the way over, instead of carving a notch like in the 4870's bevel. This is a matter of preference, but it helps me when I'm putting the card into place. Also make sure when you do this that you don't do it in a way that will make it not fit into the case anymore (in other words, if you're an idiot: DO NOT ATTEMPT). I kept the square tab at the bottom totally in tact, for instance. I also left the part where it screws into the case in tact, with a little piece left on the superior edge for stability. Use common sense, pick another method, or don't do it at all--at any rate, don't blame me if you mess up!

STAGE 4: VICTORY

Image

Hopefully you found this helpful. I can't believe how much time I put into this ridiculous project. Below is a video of the latest incarnation of these methods.


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Swans + Xiu Xiu live at Crescent Ballroom review

Hank
Poster: Hank @ Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:21 pm

So I saw Swans last night at a packed Crescent Ballroom. Holy cow. I don't think I've ever experienced a music performance that made me feel like I was in the middle of a hurricane, but last night I was being thrashed about by howling winds and pummeled in the stinging rain as deafening thunder pounded unrelenting.

Their appearance as they stepped on stage was amusing -- it was five typical aging NYC beatniks in black buttondown shirts and one big hirsute Viking who looked like he'd just been unfrozen from an ice floe.

Gira's voice sounded fantastically great (sounds like Jim Morrison in a live context, funnily enough), and the two drummer / percussionists were bringing the meteorological phenomena like nobody's business. The lap steel player kept things real creepy.

And, of course, they were LOUD and played for 2 hours at least. I had earplugs in and my ears were still ringing this morning.


These guys have some sweet gear : Gira was playing a well-worn Gibson Lucille through an Orange Rockerverb 100 and the other guitarist used a butterscotch Esquire through a JCM800 stack. The bassist also used an Orange amp, and played some P-ish bass that I couldn't identify. The lap steel player had two mounted on a keyboard stand with bungee cords, and both were plugged in to a dual-Twin setup, but he only played one -- I assume that the other was there for sympathetic ringing or something.

The 2nd percussionist / multi-instrumentalist -- the viking -- had the sweetest gear of all : an actual set of tubular orchestra bells! I've never seen those things on a pop stage before, but they *definitely* make a big contribution to the sound. He also had a xylophone.

Both percussionists exhibited superhuman endurance, Olympian power, and perfect timing. They were the best part of the show by far.

Apparently Gira does not like being videoed in performance, but neither the venue nor the band announced that, so roughly every other song we'd be treated to a comical scene of Gira pantomiming, mid-song, his desire for phone-holders to cease and desist.


An amazing show, and one that definitely deserves to be called 'epic' in the literal sense.




Beware! Kvetching below:


The opener, billed as Xiu Xiu but in fact a solo act of the main guy from that band, was not in my estimation a very good fit for this show. I think, and this is saying a lot, that "Xiu Xiu"'s performance was the least enjoyable national-level touring performance I've ever seen, in any genre. Not only did the act have roughly zero groove (which is at least 75% of what a live Swans show is about), but with the *very* spare instrumentation (just voice accompanied by autoharp, guitar, or synth along occasional theremin stabs and a constant looped drone), it really felt like being subjected to interminable, self-indulgent whining over grating instrumental monotony and was not cool. It was exhausting to endure, but I didn't want to leave and give up my sweet post about 8 feet from the stage. I say all this as an ardent fan of Suicide, Sunn0))), Masonna / Space Machine, Sonic Youth, AxCx, and other semi-annoying bands who skate the fine line between self-absorbed-yet-entertaining-art-statement and audience torture. Save for three superfans in the front row who inexplicably pumped their fists and undulated to this spectacle, the crowd was not very into it.

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Rocketraid WebGUI Hack on OS X - Disable All Features

Daniel Roe
Poster: Daniel Roe @ Sat Aug 25, 2012 12:37 pm

So my Highpoint Rocketraid 2314 has been inexplicably been supported since I bought it in 2009. I am not a huge fan of the card but it does have fantastic error reporting (emails you when there's an error). Unfortunately, recently I started experiencing problems with Readahead, Write Cache, and NCQ. These are common problems with sata controllers, but luckily I can just go into the Webgui and disable them.

Unfortunately for me once again, I have 10 hard drives hooked up to my little card and the settings to turn all that crap off reset every time I restart my computer!

Since the WebGUI is nightmarishly slow, this is colossal pain in the ass.

Therefore, until I can figure out why the settings aren't sticking, I created a hack of the webgui to automate the "disable all features" process. I've also modified the page to expand all the hard drives info at once... and I'm not changing it back.

Also, I've modified the page to execute the form into an iframe rather than reloading. This makes the process faster but takes away your ability to see all the changes without manually reloading the page. .

The CGI cannot be modified, so this hack is entirely done by javascript. Also, this was made for webgui 1.6.8

here are the XSL files. The webgui is located in /usr/share/highpoint/webguiroot. You should probably back up those files first, in case you don't like the changes

This was tested in Firefox.

If you did it right, it should look like this (see the "disable all features" thing up there?):


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Agalloch, Taurus, Rituals @ Rhythm Room Phoenix - review

Nicholas DiBiase
Poster: Nicholas DiBiase @ Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:09 pm

Agalloch brings the weight of darkness to the Rhythm Room

----------------------------------------------------------------------





So yeah. This show was mind-altering.

Rituals, the local Pho band that opened, was boggling great once again. I've said it before, but I'm telling you : if you like epic doom, you have just got to listen to these cats. Their instrumental melodies and dread-inducing rhythms create a chokingly thick atmosphere. Rituals is carrying the torch for doom metal in Phoenix and they are going to be a household name in the near future (assuming yours is the type of household that listens to stiflingly ponderous corporocerebral doom plodding while a haze wafts in the darkened room and a black goat looms maliciously). Dig them now or count it forever in your litany of regrets.

Taurus was pretty fantastic. Stevie Floyd is a genius, and it was very cool to hear her do some clean singing -- she's got a really nice voice! This band is *totally* different than Dark Castle -- whereas D.C. is more like midtempo math-doom, Taurus is ambient atmospheric music, not really groove-based for the most part. The drummer Ashley Spungin had these great red Lucite drums and was outstanding in her showmanship and orchestral approach to playing. A very emotionally charged performance.

As for Agalloch, oh my G_d. I didn't expect such tightness and masterful showmanship from a band that rarely tours. The musical performance was flawless, and the show included a fair number of very un-black-metal 70s-style rock tropes that I didn't expect (leather pants, rock poses, etc).

Haughm brought out three big stumps, on which he placed incense bowls after lighting incense very theatrically. He even had this horn full of incense that he used. In addition to that, he took out of his gig bag what appeared to be two taxidermied deer fore-legs complete with hooves and placed them on the stump in front of him. It was hella grody as I was standing less than 2 feet away from the stage and I was like "Geez man, I thought you guys were vegan!"

Anyway, the performance was just unbelievably great. They tore through a brilliantly-chosen set with passion and precision. I was particularly stoked to hear "Ghosts of Midwinter Falls," which is my favorite tune of theirs, and "Kneel to the Cross," which is the first tune I ever heard them do.


They put a tremendous amount of energy and feeling into these performances, and I was really happy to see the full Haughm / Anderson / Walton / Dekker lineup present (since I've heard they live quite far from each other and there'd been speculation that not all would tour). Aesop Dekker is quite a bit older than the rest of them and is an absolute BEEZT on the drums. Also a hella nice guy. Anderson was highly animated, doing numerous entertaining rock moves with his guitar -- he's clearly a 70s / 80s metal fan. His command of the guitar is amazing, and the nuance in his picking technique impressive.

Oh one more thing : at the end of the show, Agalloch did the typical "rock band feedback freakout." At the end of it, Haughm was alone on stage and he started playing his guitar with the deer leg! Grooooosss


This was probably one of the top 5 shows I've ever seen. Easily the equal of last year's staggering YOB / Dark Castle show.


----
Gear rundown for hopeless nerds :


John Haughm :
Three (count 'em, THREE) Travis Bean guitars
Orange Rockerverb 100
Fender Twin Reverb
Hella lot of pedals, including Moogerfooger, Rat, DD3, looper, Boss Heavy Metal, Space something, EB volume, several more

Don Anderson :
Les Paul Custom (tri-burst, probably a GC '68 reissue)
SG Standard (naturalburst)
Marshall half-stack, modern, looked like a JCM2000 style
Hella pedals


Jason Walton
Alembic 5-string Epic bass
Sunn 2000S half-stack


Anderson's Les Paul sounded absolutely incredible. So did Haughm's Bean guitars, but Anderson's fine touch was really brought out by the clarity of this Les Paul.

The Rockerverb 100 sounded wonderful, especially in bi-amp with the Twin. Very articulate sound.

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» Re: Dorsi
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» Re: Burns
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» Charles Burns' Black Hole
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» With all the nothingness of a black hole-womb.
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» Inchcape vs Housing
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» Re: Cactus Vs Banjo Player
Comments: 0 Thu Apr 03, 2008 11:11 am
» inchc8pe part 2
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