Against my expectations, I got an internet connection here in Coimbra, so here's a small update on my vacations.
I missed the : Of The Wand and The Moon : gig, but I went to the AEnima's one. The sound set up was really bad (thumbs down to Santiago Alquimista for that), and since Norwan's concert wasn't exactly good I had to suffer a great while until the AEnima gig started. And - wow - what a great concert! The sound was bad, and they need to get more stage experience, but boy they have great music! Forget what they've done in the past - this guys remind be The Third and The Mortal in their first works, and that's nothing but awesome! That's one CD I'm looking forward for its release.
And then I came to Coimbra. On the train I spent some time around pytalker and a new version is ready to be released. I could do it now, but - hey - I'm on vacations. Arrived at time for dinner, and then went to talk with a couple of friends. There were two or three themes of discussion that I liked to discuss, and that later I'll have to further explore.
Now, time to sleep... I'm not too certain if I'm really heading from here to Lamego after all, or if I still go and spend one night on an even colder place: João Durão. Let's see what happens.

It's great to be on vacations.



Folks, I'm off for my well-deserved (I hope) vacations, and I don't think I'm going to blog anything more in 2006. I'm staying a couple of days in Lisbon, then heading to Coimbra, then to Lamego, and the new years eve is going to be here in Lisbon again.

I intend to rest, rest and... rest.

Be well, see you next year!

Tomorrow, Aenima and Nowan

Based in Portugal, Aenima began in 1997 by guitarist Rune (ex-Millennium) and singer Carmen (ex-Poetry of Shadows, ex-Isiphilon). Their shared philosophy of a higher esthetic spirituality through music was the impetus for Aenima - a play on the Latin word anima meaning soul. As songwriters, the vision for the new band would beat a path laden with organic rhythms and more emotional textures, yet always flirting with the darker aspects of sound.
The first CD, completed in 1999, entitled 'Revolutions', had this concept firmly in place, to harness technology (new and old) and use it in a manner that is consistent with creative impulses and not be limited by it. In 2000, AEnima stepped up onstage for two highly acclaimed shows at the gigantic M'era Luna festival in Germany, before a crowd of more than 7500. In 2002, the Group released the EP 'Never Fragile' containing the single 'Lilith' which enjoyed abundant club and radio play throughout Europe and the States.
'Sentient', released in 2003 by US Label Middle Pillar Presents, is an hour of music that captures the essence of the band through layers of guitars, a spirited rhythm section and vocal harmonies that enliven the heart. In the summer of 2004 AEnima met with Carlos Maria Trindade (Keyboardist of famous Portuguese group Madredeus) with whom they co-produced a tribute cover song of a Cult Portuguese band Mão Morta called 'Anjo do Desespero'. Later that year, they released through Tenser Productions a limited Split Picture 7'' with the exclusive track 'Puppet Circus', which was the motto behind the subsequent Tour 'The Puppet Circus comes to Town' from November to December in Portugal.
Early in 2005, the Puppet Circus did leave town and with it took two of the band's members - guitarist Pedro and singer Carmen - a strange loss that propelled the remaining members to take some time off to travel and do some soul-searching. Getting together after some months, they were introduced to singer Susana and immediately realized she was perfect to pursue AEnima's renewed vision of hope and their unique ethereal universes. Fueled by this breath of fresh air, the band is currently preparing their new album as well as a sensor-driven interactive stage show which strengthens and consolidates their reputation as creators of magical worlds.
Nowan is a Progressive Rock band from Madrid - Spain, that is going to act in Portugal for the first time in their career.

Where: Santiago Alquimista, Lisbon, Portugal
When: 16th of December 2006
Doors open: 22h00
Nowan: 23h00
AEnima: 23h45
Tickets: 10€

Listen to AEnima here.
Listen to Nowan here.

: Of The Wand And The Moon : and Sonne Hagal

After irreconcilable differences with his previous musical project, Saturnus, Larsen began writing music of a different vein, similar in style to his neofolk influences but very different than the doom metal he had previously created.

In 1999, the debut :Of The Wand & The Moon: album was released, entitled Nighttime Nightrhymes. Characterized by folk songs with themes ranging from expressions of love, loss, joy and ancestral Germanic paganism, the album was interspersed with experimental dark ambient pieces and tribal drumming. The album marked a new entry for Denmark in a new wave of Germanic post-industrial folk projects alongside contemporaries such as Forseti and Sonne Hagal.

2001 saw the release of a second :Of The Wand & The Moon: release entitled :Emptiness:Emptiness:Emptiness:, with refined production and a continued but expanded sound from previous work, the album further cemented the reputation of the project and featured an homage to Death In June's "Accidental protege" as the lyrically revised and melodically slowed "Here's to misery (a toast)." A live version of :Of The Wand & The Moon: also debuted in 2001, beginning a long series of shows over the next few years.

After the release of a split album with Sol Invictus and a few vinyl singles, a collection of b-sides was released entitled Lucifer in 2003. Themed after its namesake yet featuring a photograph of a surprised cat on its cover, the record included various outtakes and unreleased tracks from the :Emptiness:Emptiness:Emptiness period. A box set was also released featuring vinyl versions of previous recordings, as well as exclusive material.

A single entitled "Hail Hail Hail" was released in 2005 as a preview of upcoming material, showcasing a more experimental side of the project and making use of Arabic instrumentation for the title track. This was followed by a full length album entitled Sonnenheim which met to positive critical and fan reviews alike, marking the project as one of the major groups within its genre. The album further showcased themes of Germanic paganism, as exemplified by the title track "Nighttime in Sonnenheim" and introduced a more extroverted and thematically martial side of the project, with considerably less focus on the romantic love songs that had previously been hallmarks of the band's material.

Sonne Hagal is a German experimental and neofolk group.

They're going to do a concert today, that I hope I'll be able to attend, in Sintra, a village with a magical setting, with fairy-tale turrets, pre-Raphaelite gardens and leafy grottos, sometimes related with supernatural revelations and its fusion of pagan and divine.

If you're able to, you should attend to this concert.
You can hear some of : Of The Wand And The Moon : songs here and Sonne Hagal here.


Bill Gates admits DRM is bad

Microsoft convened a small group of bloggers today at their Redmond headquarters to discuss the upcoming Mix Conference in Las Vegas. One of the questions that was done in that session was:

Q) Is digital rights management (DRM) sustainable over the next 10 years?
A) DRM is not where it should be. In the end of the day incentive systems (for artists) make a difference. But we don't have the right thing here in terms of simplicity or interoperability.

Still, Microsoft products are full of it... Draw your conclusions.

Full coverage:
Techcrunch, Steve Rubel, Ryan Stewart, Niall Kennedy, Liz Gannes, Todd Bishop.

RUMOUR: Flash Player 9 for Linux in 10 weeks

Greetings. This is a rumour and should be considered as such. Also, I won't reveal my source.

Yesterday a truthful enough inside source told me that:

I know that Flash 9 final release is more likely to come out before [...] 9-10 weeks

No one in Adobe was contacted to get some confirmation or dismisal of this info, but you might want to try that.


Calm down, DRM boy!

Many news sources are claiming that EMI is starting to retreat from their position regarding DRM technologies, just because Yahoo Music is selling the latest single from piano-playing songstress Norah Jones, along with a pair of tracks from Christian rockers Reliant K, in the MP3 format. They claim it's EMI's intention to experiment selling those songs without DRM, but I can't see how can anyone conclude that for themselves. I only see there a deal simmilar to others they're making to market their products: take for instance the deal they've made with Last.fm: they clearly state that they're doing this to get more revenue, and Last.fm is getting more content: a win-win sittuation. In the same pace, I can only relate the "mp3's on Yahoo!" case related to this new deal they've made with Yahoo! Music, that lets Yahoo! Music broadcast for free (with ads) EMI videos - and I'm quite sure a big share of the revenue goes to EMI.

In conclusion, there's nothing here, in this latest actions, to criticize EMI: they're just doing their job. But there's also nothing here indicating that they're turning their backs to DRM technologies (that would be awsome), so please stop the hype about it.

Killing OpenOffice - the Novell Agreement

As I've told you before, Novell did a bad deal with Microsoft, which we should protest against. Steve Ballmer from Microsoft already started using this to do erroneous bad publicity to Linux, but this time is Novell with it's intention to put OpenXML into OpenOffice, which includes filling it with DRM stuff.


Even they find it stupid

Following my post about Zune, where CNN reporters just show that there's no way marketers can be right when clueless observers find some piece of technology wrong, this time I'm going to talk about iTunes.

As pvaneynds points out, a Belgian ISP has a publicity that goes like this:

Two romantic souls are communicating with email, and 'he' tries to find romantic music. So off he goes to the 'skynet itunes music shop' and searches the list of songs. Then he replies that he cannot select a fitting song from the long, long list. She (I presume) replies that she can, and sends a romantic song.

Now, what does this mean? Preety simple. The ad shows what consumers want to have, so, they're presenting the scenario on how stuff should be so consumers would be happy. Unfortunately, this scenario is far from real, both in terms of feasibility and legality.

Besides the fact that the itunes shop doesn't give you an mp3 (what most people expect), this is also blatant illegal sharing of music unless they went through the whole 'authorise that computer to play my songs' song and dance, which is unlikely given the 'becoming an item' setting.

The most important thing that they're pointing out with this, IMHO, is that DRM technologies preventing this to be true are just wrong.

If you happen to have a video with that ad, please tell me something.


Traveling by Train

I always loved traveling by train: I have that peaceful feeling that nothing matters - I'm there until the time runs out, and I'm there all by myself. Peace. One of the things I like to do when I'm on a train is to fiddle with my laptop. Stuff like finally setting it up to suspend with all the data encrypted to disk, trying to use The GIMP (I suck on graphics editing) to create some artwork for a CD, or coding and getting some open source project to have another release. It's particularly fun to watch the reaction of others on the train. It's cool to see that people find it boring when I'm coding, amused when they notice I'm listening to neo-classical music, and awed when I'm doing some GL Magic... It's cool to use Linux :-P


Retrospective term extension

The day after the Gowers Review issued perhaps the most sensible document about IP produced by a government related entity in the 20th or 21st century — the report, remember, that after a careful review of the evidence, concluded that as a matter of principle, the copyright term of existing works should never be extended — 4,000 artists signed an advertisement in the FT calling for “fair play for musicians” by extending the copyright term for recordings from 50 to 95 years. As CNN reports,
Without a change in the law, the catalogue of McCartney’s Beatles could be up for grabs from 2012 and 2013, including early hits like “Love Me Do” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand”.

What they don'y tell you is that, if you read the list, you’ll see that at least some of these artists are apparently dead (e.g. Lonnie Donegan, died 4th November 2002; Freddie Garrity, died 20th May 2006).

Yes, they're lying to you. Read more about it here.


The Free Ryzom Campaign

Ryzom is a Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) developed by the French company Nevrax. It is based on the NeL game engine (also from Nevrax), which is GPL'd already.

As "due to market conditions and other unforseen cirucumstances, a request to begin bankruptcy proceedings has been filed at the commerce tribunal", the Free Ryzom Campaign has formed with the aim to buy the source code and game data and release it under the GPL:

Help us make Ryzom a Free MMORPG! Donate now to help us purchase the source code, artwork and other game data associated with Ryzom, so we can breathe new life into it as an open, democratically run player project.

They've even set up a Social Contract (modeled after the Debian Social Contract) which states among other things that "Ryzom and all materials produced by the Free Ryzom Project will become and remain 100% Free Software".

If you want to support the project, you can make a donation pledge (used to convince the official presiding over the liquidation process). No real donations are possible at the moment.

More info/material on the game:

I'm looking forward to the day where I can apt-get install ryzom and play a fully free MMORG...

(via Uwe H.)



Tic, Tac, Tic, Tac...
I look to the void
Tic, Tac, Tic, Tac...
Still void
Tic, Tac, Tic, Tac...
Nothing yet
Tic, Tac, Tic, Tac...
Something's missing
Tic, Tac, Tic, Tac...
Tic, Tac, Tic, Tac...
Tic, Tac, Tic, Tac...
The clock keeps
Tic, Tac, Tic, Tac...
Tic, Tac, Tic, Tac...
I look to the void
Tic, Tac, Tic, Tac...
Something's missing
Tic, Tac, Tic, Tac...
Who's there?
Tic, Tac, Tic, Tac...