… with Google Reader.
That’s right, minions, I’m a Google fanboy, and I’m damn proud of it. Google Reader is the company’s in-beta RSS (Really Simple Syndication) aggregator, that’s chock-full of features and very easy to use. And it’s addictive as hell.
For those who came in late, RSS is a way of staying in the loop with your favourite websites and blogs. Most pages have an RSS feed symbol with a link. Once you’ve logged in, you’ll be greeted by the home page, which has a summary of all your RSS feeds. To add a new feed, simply click ‘Add a subscription’ on the left and enter the feed link. If you’ve got the Google Toolbar installed on your browser you can simply click ‘Subscribe’ and it’ll be added to Reader.
Reader also has a list of neat feeds categorised by topics that you might enjoy. I’ve got several feeds on my Reader, including Neatorama, Haha.nu, several technology blogs, web comics, friends’ blogs and some photography sites. Other notables include The Deviantart Skins & Themes gallery feed, which keeps me updated on the latest skins that are out, seeing as how I manage the gallery. Plus, the Giveaway of The Day feed lets me know if there’s any good free software available that day.
Are you still here? Start using Reader asap. Chop chop!
Its amazing what you can do… February 2, 2007
… with Google Reader.
SNW February 1, 2007
Deftones – Saturday Night Wrist
If there’s one thing that comes through on the first listen to their latest offering, it’s that Deftones makes music on their own terms. Saturday Night Wrist (SNW) is at once quirky, edgy, and in-your-face, while still showcasing the band’s signature sound. Swirling keyboard samples, a powerful drum-and-bass backing, rushing guitars and Chino Moreno’s idiosyncratic vocals make for a simply wonderful listen. The lyrics are very surreal, and keep shifting in temperament, just as the the rhythms and chord progressions do. The first single, ‘Hole In The Earth’ does justice in an effort to showcase the essence of the album. Guitarist Stephen Carpenter isn’t afraid to play lush arpeggios to back the chorus, while also belting out grinding riffs all over the place. While the whole album is a delight, other tracks that deserve a mention include the haunting ‘Beware’, ‘Mein’ (featuring Serj Tankian), ‘Kimdracula’, and the lovely instrumental ‘U, U, D, D, L, R, L, R, A, B, Select, Start’. All in all, a great package that stands testimony to the evolution of Deftones’ sound. 4 stars.
Random, left-of-field, call it what you will… October 23, 2006
but here’s my question: is it wrong to enjoy music without really paying attention to the lyrics? Well, with the internet being what it is these days, I have no excuse. Most media players allow you to read the lyrics of the song currently playing (I use Winamp, so Lyrics Plugin works best for me). I’m a musician first and foremost, so to me, the music is key. But I’m proud to announce that I’ve begun listening to lyrics. And I’ve gotta say, music is a lot more fun! Its almost as cool as the time when I became able to listen to bass, keyboards and guitars separately on tracks!
As it turns out, everyone’s got something to say. Pearl Jam‘s Eddie Vedder creates all these images and stories that simply unfurl of their own volition in my head (See Severed Hand, Jeremy, Ocean, Garden, Rearview Mirror). In hip-hop, The Roots get real tongue-in-cheek kinky on The Seed, as do Gym Class Heroes on The Queen & I. Maynard James Keenan of Tool/A Perfect Circle really gets me (or do I get him?) – The Outsider, Schism, Right in Two, The Noose, Blue, The Pot, The Grudge are all simply perfect pieces of work. Steely Dan lyrics are always a joy to read, though sometimes I have to refer to The Steely Dan Dictionary to understand what Becker and Fagen are smiling about.
I wish I could write like some of these folks. The ability to plan an idea in someone’s head, and then direct its course, is something I’ve always wanted. So far, I’ve only tried writing about things that scare or amuse me, but I haven’t been able to go much further than pulling a bit of wordplay here and there. Its kind of like how your bodily movements are inhibited by some mysterious force (try walking a like a crazy for a bit a la Jack Black in Nacho Libre (5 stars!), or twist your arms while you jump – the fact that you’re not leaving your seat bears testimony to my theory). I wonder how listeners will react to my contrived imagination, all of it. Because thats what I would like to be able to put down on paper. All of it. Samples coming soon.
Digging Deeper October 17, 2006
So I’ve got my semester finals on right now, and what better time to get important things done, like cleaning up rooms, moving furniture, taking long walks, and reading news on things I enjoy? Well, digg.com helps you get the last part done, and how! Most of you might already be familiar with the Web 2.0-styled news giant, but for those of you who haven’t stumbled upon it yet, be prepared for a treat! The site gets news articles from all over, with little blurbs from users. If you found the article enjoyable or useful, ‘digg’ it, so that it gets a higher ranking. You can pick from topics like Technology, Science, World & Business, Videos, Entertainment, and Gaming. You can even personalize your news preferences, view all news at once, and search for articles as well. Check it out!
I’m Back! October 2, 2006
I’m not very sure how one goes about making a comeback on one’s blog, especially when your reader base is, well, small. Still, I’ve always enjoyed writing for anyone who’ll read, so here goes nothing.
Fiction / Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry
A poignant, personal and touching story about the trials and tribulations of the aging Nariman Vakeel and the various people whose lives he has touched. The tale makes its way through avenues of grief, bylanes of mirth, and side-streets of intense drama. All the while, Mistry ensures that each character creeps into your psyche, yanks out every ounce of feeling you’ve ever had and hands it to you wrapped in gilt-edged paper. Mistry‘s attention to detail is impeccable, and his understanding of the human mind and heart belies his age. His sensitivity draws you in, and his imagery alienates you, both deliciously so. The story ends with a touching epilogue which makes for a fitting finish to a masterpiece like this. A great read!
Music / Steely Dan – Aja
I can’t get over just how amazing Steely Dan is. Donald Fagen and Walter Becker are some of the cleverest musicians to ever walk this earth. Aja, their 1977 album, features a bunch of 7 great tracks that showcase witty lyrics and fine songwriting, especially Josie and Black Cow. Steely Dan specializes in smooth jazz-pop; this album doesn’t feature their now-signature horn section in all its glory, but the sound is full and warm, with great keys and guitars. Aja also sounds like the perfect forerunner to their more recent work, such as 2000’s Two Against Nature.
Film / 16 Blocks / Directed by Richard Donner, Starring Bruce Willis, Mos Def
Easily one of my favourite suspense movies of all time, this 2006 flick follows retiring cop Jack Mosley’s (Willis) last assignment: to transport a witness from a police station to the court where he will testify. However, there are lots of folks who don’t want this witness to reach the court… ever. And they will stop at nothing to achieve their goal. Its up to Mosley to keep the nervous, edgy Bunker alive. I loved this!
More Web Goodies May 13, 2006
Since my PC is on the blink, I’ve had to resort, of late, to using any damn system I can get my hands on. However, most of these don’t have an IM or any music to listen to. For those of you who use MSN/ICQ/AIM/Yahoo! Messengers, there’s hope yet: go to www.meebo.com and sign in on your service(s) of choice, and chat easily. I love how my contact list is intact, complete with user groups too!
As for music, last.fm offers the perfect solution. Just register (a very brief process), and download thier radio player. Then, you can search for music by tags or similar artists. The quality is pretty good, and works even on 64-kbps connections, skip-free. Give it a spin!
Quick Firefox Tip April 25, 2006
As you might know (c’mon, you’re one of 5 people who read my blog), I work for Deviantart Inc., and there’s a lot of PR work involved. This means that I have to frequently visit user pages, which have URLs like username.deviantart.com. Its a pain to type this over and over again, especially since I’m used to hitting Ctrl+Enter for http://www.sitename.com (type sitename, hit Ctrl+Enter, and Firefox/IE will add the rest for you). Here’s a trick you can use for deviantart pages, blogger blogs, and anything else with a similar URL type:
- Click Bookmarks > Manage Bookmarks > New Bookmark.
- In the ‘location’ field, type ‘http://%s.deviantart.com‘ or ‘http://%s.blogger.com‘, without the quotes.
- Add a keyword thats short and easy to type/remember. For deviantart pages, I use ‘da’. So, to go to my page, i simply type ‘da abe-x’ (without quotes) and hit Enter. Similarly, for blogspot pages, I use ‘bs’.