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Monday, 29 October 2007

Don't you think a little more love is the answer?

As the NI forums start to get more heated about the new release, I thought it would be a good time to sit down and have a think about what it is I like about the new release, and what features I actually wanted to see in 3.2 that would make it a truly usable piece of software.

Let's start with the things you don't see: NI has done a really good job of reducing the time it takes to start Traktor - in 3.2 I usually have to wait around 2-3 minutes for my collection to be loaded and verified, in 3.3 this is reduced to less than 30 seconds. Shutdown time is also much faster, and for these things alone, NI deserves to be applauded. The speed improvement is carried through to the loading of tracks and searching in the browser, which feels much more responsive.

The system information across the top of the screen is a total godsend, and it's really useful to be able to have one place where I could diagnose any problem I might have with the software, or just to see what my levels are. I don't know how long I've been asking for a big clock (yes, I said clock), but it seems my prayers have finally been answered.

The coloured borders around the deck and their counterparts around the information panels has been widened, which is a big help in working out what panel is relating to which deck - this has also been carried through to the browser where the colour coding showing which track has been loaded into which deck has been made more vibrant. With the new colour choices, and the increase in the amount of colour there is on screen though, the new release does look a bit like a visit to lego-land though, but you can't have it all ways I suppose.

OK, well, that's about as far as my liking of the new release goes, and as I've said previously , I'm sticking with 3.2 for now until all this mess is cleared up. Here's a few small things that could have been changed in 3.2 that would have made it a really good release for me:

  • Mute button for each deck. I've been asking for this since version 3 came out, and it makes my mind boggle how something so simple and useful could have been ommitted for this long. The mute button would mute the sound of the playing deck, but not any effects assigned to that deck, eliminating the need for the freeze button in the delay and reverb effects. I'm sure turntablists would also find a mute button a huge bonus.
  • Triplet timing on/off for effects - just a little red light I could click on or off so that as I was changing the timing of the delay effect, I could go up or down in only double times, instead of hitting a 3/4 timing, and the delay sounding out of sync. This would work the same in Flanger, X:92 filters, and Beatmasher.
  • Hotkeys for effects. Why has this still not been implemented? Still, I have to change deck effects by clicking the effect type, and then clicking a new effect from a drop down list. I should be able to hit one button and the effect is changed instantly. Perhaps there could be a modifier so that shift-press switched the effect and turned it on as well.
  • Hotkeys for effect/loop timing. Right now, I can assign hotkeys to up to 3 loop lengths, which since I generally use quite long loops (8 or 16 beats usually) means I set them to 8, 16 and 1/2 loop length. Unfortunately bugs in the looping controls mean that I have to hit the 1/2 loop length button twice for it to do anything, which when trying to create buildups is pretty useless. Id like to be able to work the tempo of the effects and the loops at the same time. The way I see this working is to have 3 hotkeys (or one that toggles between 3 states): for loop, effect or both. You would then have up to 6 user assignable hotkeys set to however many beatlengths you wanted that switched both the loop length and the effect timing at the same time, or either one on its own, depending on the state of the loop/effect/both buttons. You could create some seriously crazy buildups using this method.
  • Copying from deck to playlist. I can copy from deck to deck, why can't I drag from a deck to a playlist as well? This would stop me having to find the track again, then find the playlist and drag to it.
That's 5 simple things that would have made 3.2 vastly better for me. Here's some more ideas for future releases that would keep NI ahead of the game.
  • Tagging. Vista now supports file tagging (I'm sure OSX has something similar), allowing you to quickly find files and photos that relate to the same thing. Currently I have hudreds of playlists set up for all my house tracks called things like "piano" "just funk" "cheese" etc. Tagging would eliminate the need for these playlists, whilst giving the added benefit of seeing what other tags that track has instantly, allowing me to quickly review the mood and style of the track. I should be able to double-click a tag, and be shown all the other tracks that have that tag. When tagging tracks, Traktor should auto-complete using previously used tags (like blogger does when you type in the tag field).
  • File Organization. A menu entry to allow me to instantly change the filename based on the Artist - Title (Mix) information would be a godsend. Currently I have to use MediaMonkey for this functionality, and keeping the collection updated with the new filenames is a complete nightmare. The option to do this the other way round (populate the ID3 tags from filename) would also be very useful.
  • Track recognition. Services exist on the internet now that will sample a 10 second burst of music, and hit you back with the artist/title information. There's still a lot of tracks in my collection that don't have this, and it would be useful to do a bulk identify on them. I would pay a yearly subscription for this if nessessary.
  • Effects routing. This would really remove the boundaries when using the effects, and put Traktor in the same league as Ableton live for DJing. This would remove the ties of having 'one effect per deck' plus the master effect. The number of effects channels would be kept to 4 (for simplicity's sake, and the fact that most people have their MIDI controllers maxed out with 4 effects already), but would allow you to 'rewire' the effects, so that one effect is feeding another so that you could achieve some crazy mad effects. So, for example, deck A might be wired into a beatmasher, which is then feeding a reverb, which is then wired into the master. Deck B is just wired straight into the same reverb, but is missing the beatmasher. Deck C is routed straight to the master, so it's output is clean. This would mean that as you changed the paramaters on the reverb, both decks A and B would be effected, only Deck A would be effected when you changed the settings for the beatmasher, and throughout it all, Deck C would remain clean. The creative possibilities for a system like this would be amazing, especially if you could re-route decks to effects on-the-fly.
  • A set of 'simple' effects. Many mixers with effects built in make the process of selecting an effect and using it stupidly easy: Dial in an effect, choose the timing, and the amount, and press a button to turn the effect on/off. There are far too many paramaters even in the 3.3 release (although it is better, just wildly unpredictable), which makes getting an effect that you use often a matter of selecting it, then taking a few seconds to get the parameters set up. By the time you've got things set up, the moment to use it has passed! This takes a lot of the spontinaeity out of the mix process. These effects would be selectable alongside the current ones, so that if you wished to use the added tweakability of the old effects, it would be possible. The way I can see this working: to select the 'simple' effects, choose 'simple' in the effects drop down list as with the other effects. However, the difference is that this one 'umbrella' effect contains cut-down versions of all the other effects, mapped onto 3 knobs instead of 4, allowing you to use the top knob to select the effect quickly - as you turn the knob, a menu pops up showing the currently selected effect and gives visual feedback on which direction you need to turn and how far to get the desired effect. I've tried to group paramaters that have the same default settings together on the same knob across the effects (hence the Beatmasher's 'Rotation' being on knob 4, the same knob as the other effects 'amount' controls).
    • Filter T2
      1) Effect selection - this knob remains the same for all the simple effects.
      3) Low/High - This would work the same way as the Pioneer DJM800 single knob filter: To let all the sound through, it is set to the middle position. As you turn the knob left, frequencies from the top to the bottom are removed. As you turn the knob right, frequencies from the bottom to the top are removed.
      Amount - Wet/dry control
    • Filter X:92
      Would be split around the dial into 3 sub effects, like in T3.3: Low Pass, High Pass and Band Pass.
      2) Resonance
      3) Timing, in beats. Button 2 turns triplet beats on/off.
      4) Amount - Wet/dry control, but simultaneously adjusts the frequency at the same time, so that the more 'amount' you add, the bigger the difference in frequencies allowed through at the same time.
    • Delay
      2) Frequency - works in the same way as the frequency in T3.3 - set to the middle, the delay will carry on repeating the same frequencies. Turned to the left it will start removing frequencies from the top to the bottom end, and vice versa as you turn to the right.
      Timing, in beats. Button 2 turns triplet beats on/off.
      4) Amount - Wet/dry control, also when set to 100%, automatically engages 'freeze'.
    • Reverb
      2) Frequency - works in the same way as the frequency in the delay in T3.3 - set to the middle, the reverb works on all frequencies. Turn to the left to take more of the treble out of the reverb, turn to the right to take out more of the bass.
      3) Size
      4) Amount - Wet/dry control, also when set to 100%, automatically engages 'freeze'.
    • Flanger
      2) Depth - same as the same function in T3.2.
      3) Timing, in beats. Button 2 turns triplet beats on/off.
      4) Amount - Wet/dry control
    • Beatmasher
      2) Gate - same as this function in T3.2
      3) Length, in beats. Button 2 turns triplet beats on/off.
      4) Rotation - same as this function in T3.2
      Button 3 controls the reverse function of this effect.

I'll add some more, and some pictures of how I imagine these things working within Traktor as I come up with them.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Don't look at me like I'm stupid...

Following my rant yesterday about the shortcomings and bugs in the reworked effects section in Traktor, it seems there are a lot of people who feel the same way on the Traktor forums. The infuriating thing is that NI are trying to convince people that the problems they are having with the effects are purely down to the remapping of the MIDI controls and their lack of understanding of how the new effects work. In some cases, this is possibly true, however, they are not giving credit for the vast numbers of DJs who know what they are doing, and have crafted their sound from the effects present in the 3.2 version of Traktor - changing the effects is tantamount to playing god with a lot of artists signature sounds. Imagine if the makers of Morillo's filters turned round to him one day and said "sorry, we've stuck with this
design for too long, we've found a better way of doing it - now the knobs are on the other side to each other, and where it used to go whooooooooooooowhomwhomwhomwhom before, it now goes wheeeeeeeeeee", he'd tell them to fuck off faster than you could say 'Xone:92'!

But whilst it would be relatively easy for Morillo to switch the hardware he uses for his effects, it's much harder for users of a piece of software (at least in the DJ world) to switch to a competing product - first of all that software usually makes up 100% of the interface the DJ uses (and therefore switching means he has to change his entire way of working), and secondly all the work the DJ has done organizing his collection and getting it the way he wants it will generally be lost if he switches. Unless a user is 100% happy with the way the software works, he has to keep up with upgrades in order to use new features and take advantage of increased stability. Unfortunately, there has never been a version of Traktor that anyone has been 100% happy with (anyone?), and therefore it's users are locked into the upgrade cycle. For me, 3.2 only needed a few little changes in order for me to be very happy with it, and everything apart from the effects was a step forward towards this happiness. The effects section, however, was a major step backwards, one big enough to make me not want to use the new version.

NI seem very confused right now, as the testing team had all supposedly given the thumbs up to this new release - now it's in the wild though, the story seems to be a little bit different. I realize it's difficult for a company to know the true extent of people's opinions, however, as most users will just get on with using a piece of software and not say anything for as long as it works. Because of this, I'd like to propose a poll of Traktor users, to find out the true feelings regarding the new release - if there is a vast segment of Traktor users that feel a certain way, hopefully NI will do the right thing with this information! You don't have to answer all the questions, but obviously the more people answer each one, the more accurate the information will be. If you have anything further to add, please leave a comment on this post. If you would simply like to voice that you'd prefer to have the old effects back (or at least have the option to use them), just leave your NI forums user name in the comments.

Thanks so much for your input in this survey, hopefully NI will take this information on board with regards to the next update to Traktor.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Why do you have to do this NI???

Unfortunately, my love for Gmail is not extending to the new version of Traktor right now - NI have just updated Traktor to version 3.3. There's a few good improvements in there - for me, the biggest improvements are the fact that I can now show the name of the mix in the track info header, along with the new system information that now runs across the top of the window (and shows information like the current amount of CPU usage, battery remaining, and the status of your Midi/soundcard interfaces - along with a nice big clock, something I've been wanting for a long time in T3). I was getting really excited about the fact that NI had updated the effects though, and of course, as soon as I got my grubby mitts on the update, that's what I dived straight into.

After realizing that NI had swapped all the MIDI assignments around for the effects knobs (so knob 4 became knob 1, knob 3 became knob 2 etc) and reassigning everything on my UC33e (why they did this was beyond me, it wasn't hard to fix, but I can see it confusing a lot of people that have already got their MIDI controllers all assigned), I started to have a play.

My first impressions of the T2 filters was that they had much more impact than the previous version, and I liked the resonance that they now had - it seemed a lot less 'squeaky' and more like an analogue filter - they really reminded me of the hardware filters that Morillo uses. Again, NI confused me by switching the knobs for low and high on the filter - the way they had it before meant that the low-pass filter was on a fader that I moved up to take out the bass, and the high pass was on a pot, which I turned town to take out the treble. This really worked well for me, and I got a lot of response out of this setup. Now it's the other way round - except the fader needs to be at the top (the opposite setup to all the other effects, meaning there's a lot of fiddling before switching effects) to allow the sound through, and I move it down to engage the filter, which feels a bit flabby and unresponsive. The same with the low-pass filter now on the pot - there seems to be a certain amount of 'bounce' in the feeling of it, which just doesn't feel right at all.

Next I tried the Xone:92 emulation filters. These have now been split up into seperate effects to free up another knob (which they've put effect timing on - far superior to the tap button you needed to use before, and allows you to just increase or decrease the timing - in sync with the master clock - of the effect). Also, it seems that you can no longer assign the wet/dry of these effects to the motion of the crossfader - I only use this very occasionally, but it's a really cool effect when you do. The splitting of these effects seems to make sense, and they now sound a lot more like the filter effects on a Pioneer DJM600 mixer - lots of resonance, and really nice to play with. Again though, they seem to take a lot of setting up before you can use them - I thought this release was supposed to be centred on the ergonomics of the effects section? They seem to be so much more fiddly now!

Reverb was next to try. The reverb in Traktor 3.2 was difficult to set up, and hard to take the playing track out of without it sounding messy. On the other hand, it was powerful, and with a bit of tweaking, you could create some truly huge reverbs - great in buildups and breakdowns alike. The new reverb is completely the opposite - it has a nice tail-out effect, and it's much easier to take the playing track out of it without it sounding pants. Unfortunately, it's truly wimpy, and barely worth using. I managed to get a reverb tail that was about 5 seconds long at best. Meh.

I'd left the delay effect till last, as this is one of my favorites. At first, I couldn't work out how to get a delay that lasted more than 3 seconds - you need to start with the amount down, the feedback up, timing set to 1, 2, or 4 beats and the frequency set to the middle. Bring up the amount knob, and to get a long delay, hit the freeze button. Again, all very long-winded for something that I could set up within a couple of seconds in the previous version. Another really annoying thing is that the effect is set to on as you select it - meaning that if your track is playing it completely cuts out for however many beats you've sent in your timing - how to make yourself look really foolish in 1 easy step. The other annoying thing is that the effect carries on even after you've turned it off - you need to turn the amount knob down to get rid of it. NI says that this is to stop the 'dead end' tailoff that you get in 3.2, but I just find it confusing. If you turn an effect off, you expect to not get any sound from it. Several times I've tried using the delay effect, and got the most horrible sound from it - something akin to backspinning a turntable with a strangled cat - not good, and definitely not what I was aiming for. Also, increasing or decreasing the timing of the delay also changes the pitch, which sounds ridiculous! On top of all this, to hold a delay (ie. make it run forever) you have to hit the freeze button - before you just turned the amount knob all the way to 100% - one more exasperating step in an already overly-convoluted process.

A lot of people have already reported problems with the beatmasher effect, and I rarely use this, so I didn't even bother trying it.

The master tempo nudging seems to be a good idea if you have 2 or more tracks running in sync and you want to get them to the same tempo as a turntable/CD player. However, it seems to have been added at the expense of functionality within the whole master/slave timing functionality - trying to swap a master timing signal from a deck to the master clock results in the master clock being out of phase - a big step backwards in my book.

Unfortunately all the cons of this release have definitely outweighed the pros, and I've ended up rolling my version back to 3.2 - at least I know what's going on with it, and the effects are predictable. 3.3 feels like it's never been tested in the field by real DJs! You can see what NI are trying to do with the effects, but there's too many bugs and inconsistencies to be able to use it live right now.

I <3 Gmail

My love for Gmail continues to grow... they've finally implemented something that I've been wanting for a long time: IMAP support. After a couple of days of knowing that it was 'out there', but only activated on a few accounts, they activated it on my account yesterday, and I'm a very happy bunny :)

IMAP is basically like syncronizing your iPod with iTunes, except with your email - so I can now use a proper mail program like Mozilla Thunderbird, and have everything I do in the mail program stay completely in sync with how it will be if I log into Gmail through the webmail interface like normal. So for example, if I delete a message from my inbox in Thunderbird, it will be deleted when I log into Gmail as well!

Now what would really be useful is if somebody were to make an add-in for Thunderbird that would keep your address book synchronized as well!

Friday, 26 October 2007

Tour Glamour

After agreeing down at Ancient People to play at a new night in Ibiza town, I also said I would do the flyers for the night so that I could get my name around the island a little more. After much to-and-froing of proofs, it's starting to get to a point where everyone is happy with it... have a look... I'll post the final version if it changes much from this....

In case you're wondering, those are Marisa's legs lol :)

Friday, 12 October 2007

Ugly Dogs

No, I'm not talking about the girls in San Antonio, I just wanted to take another moment to illustrate how hideously ugly Krystal's dog, Dougal is again.

I really can't stress this enough: This dog is ridiculously ugly. If I was this dog's mother, I'd drown it.

Glowsticking across the universe...

Today we discovered a use for glowsticks. Usually I'm dead against them, having had numerous eyes poked out by them whilst on a clubbing foray, but in the absensce of power, they're useful for blu-tacking to walls that would otherwise recieve more than their fair share of bumps and elbows in the pitch black. Whilst packing her things, Emma found about 6745 unused glow sticks, which we put to use, lighting our dark-ages themed abode.

If only there was a way of using them to heat water and charge laptops as well, we wouldn't need electricity.

We used this glowstick creation to point out to the electrician where the fuse box and main power to the flat should go, if they were working.

The rain in Spain falls mainly on us.

We've been without power in our flat for 3 days now. As an extra insult, it rained like a bastard today. It's been pretty rainy for as long as we've been without electricity (which has made it pretty pointless to bum showers and laptop recharges off friends for the most part), but today the sky caved in and it sheeted from the heavens for most of the day. While I was out buying Coca-cola from the bodega, I had a conversation with the tranny behind the counter in Spanglish about the 'fatal' weather problems. Apparently in Alicante cars are being washed down the street. He/She didn't tell me this in so many words, but he/she/it was being so vocal about what was going on I can only imagine that must be the case.

We were supposed to be taking charge of Krystle's dwarf-hamsters, Eenie and Meenie today, because She doesn't love them any more, but instead we ended up looking after her dog, Dougal for the afternoon. Dougal is possibly the ugliest dog in the history of the world. He looks like an uglier version of the space alien in Lilo and Stitch. In between torrential torrents of rain, we took him for a walk on the beach, where he terrorized all the old men. I want a dog. If you live in Ibiza, you're not cool unless you own a small, stupid, ugly dog. The smaller, uglier, and more stupid your dog, the more standing in elite coke-nose circles you have. You'll see a large contingient of the Pacha VIP crowd on the beach every morning walking their insults to the canine beauty world, and sniffing coke out of a wine bottle. True story.

Anyway, back to the important parts of this post: for the moment, we have power, after running an extension cord down to the bar, we are now stealing power from Moby's, which means we have one (1) power outlet.

The other thing is, we need to name the hamsters, preferably before they arrive and we have time to work out their hamster personalities (if they happen to have them. The choices at the moment are:
  • Pancakes and Syrup
  • Bebop and Rocksteady
  • Emmie and Gorgia
  • Dave and Malaria
We don't know if they're girls or boys yet, and perhaps this information will never come to light, as I for one am not really 'au fait' with sexing small rodents.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Renovation for the good of the Nation.

Because if we don't... somebody will probably die from the biohazard that is the Moby's apartment. Ugh.

After our huge cleaning spree, yesterday, we spent the entire day gutting the flat. We'd already filled one of the industrial-sized street bins with all the crap we took out of the place, and then somehow we managed to get another load out of this place.

Marisa spent the entire day taking the horrible bobbly texture off the walls, whilst I tried to replace the plug sockets and light switches in the house. In true Reg style (god rest his tight-arse soul), none of the wires, none of the wiring corresponded to either UK or Spanish colours, so finding out which wire was meant to do what became more akin to defusing a bomb than basic home electrical wiring. All the light switches were so old that they all heated up when you turned them on, to the point where it became prudent to wear oven gloves to turn them off again. Opening the one above our bed revealed the reason why it smelled so much when you turned it on: a cockroach had crawled through the cavity into the switch, and then electrocuted itself, so that it burned every time you turned the switch on. Mmmmm, chargrilled cockroach. I wouldn't be surprised if McDonalds don't start selling that soon.

The super-stylish switches that have graced the Moby's apartment for more than 30 years. Notice the beautifully crafted bobbling effect in the paintwork that subtly shows the dirt off in it's best light.

Plugging something in adds an exciting element of danger to even mundane household tasks. For best results, try combining two appliances at once: we suggest a hairdryer and the fridge to really see the sparks fly!

Nobody knows what these wires do. Where do they go? The mystery continues.

Believe it or not, this wall looks 10x better now that the paint has been taken off.

Filling one of the huge holes in the wall with expanding foam just gave a more Alien Vs. Spieces effect to the flat than already existed.

"Structural Engineer" is dirty talk in Spain.

What does this picture mean?? Why does the man in the carriage look so unhappy? Who knows, but it went in the bin anyway.

One of the light switches after we replaced it.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

It's those tricky undersides, they can be a real dirt trap

Today me and Marisa both woke up at the same time, with the same thought in our minds... We have to clean this place. Last night we packed up all our bits at Ben's apartment, and wheeled them down the road to the Moby's flat after Vinyl Ritchie moved out. Then Kenny lent us his car keys so we could do a second run and get all the other bits and pieces we'd managed to accumulate in 3 weeks of island living. Luckily he'd never experienced my driving, so hopefully we can blame the huge scrape down the side of the car on someone else. I told him my parking was shite anyway, so it's his own fault.

By the soft glow of the sulfur light on the street outside, the Moby's apartment didn't look too bad. By the light of day, the place seemed to look like it had been designed by HR Giger, and not in a good way. We swept and mopped the whole place 3 times, and still it feels dirty in bare feet. We went through the entire place, and threw away anything that wasn't ours or Emma's (The other girl that's staying here for a week). By the time we got to cleaning our room, we thought we'd managed to get the worst of it over and done with, but when we moved the rug, there was quite a bit more sand than can be had in the Sahara desert. We've done what we can for now, tomorrow we're going to the DIY shop, to buy lots of things to try and make it look a bit less like the 9th layer of Hell.

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Monkey Jenga

Yesterday I became the first person to get kicked out of Pacha before it even opened. Thanks to the wonders of organization of Subliminal records, they'd left a load of their promotional bits and pieces at Pacha (all the stuff that hangs from the ceiling and some big illuminated posters and stuff), and they'd only told Ben about it after they all left the island. This of course meant that yours truly had to go make all the packages ready to get picked up by the couriers. Don't ask me why this duty fell on me, I'm not entirely sure. I was actually probably the worst person to send down to Pacha, since I speak about three whole entire words in the Spanish language when required. I didn't feel too bad about it though, since my partner in crime for this task was to be Donald, who most people can't understand when he speaks English, never mind Spanish.

After waking up early, after stressing that we'd never be able to get everything done that we needed to before the courier came, I waited for Donald to come round. 15 Burn energy drinks later, and I'd heard nothing from Donald. Since Pacha closes for siesta at 1pm, we had to get there pretty early, so I grabbed the huge inflatable Subliminal logo that had been lamenting in a corner of Ben's house, and ran across the road to Donald's. Donald answered the door to the sound of "What te fuck a yoo daain here ya maad bastard Fus? Oh shat! Ah forgo we got tae go tae Pacha! FACK!". Turns out it was a case of the usual "phone running out of battery when you've set an alarm to make sure you're gonna wake up the next day to do something important" deal going on there.

After a scary-ass scooter ride with the huge inflatable subliminal thing hanging off the sides of the bike, we arrived at Pacha, and used my skills of mime artistry to converse with the Spanish guys that we needed to find 3 big boxes that belonged to Erick Morillo. This actually proved harder than you might think, as the mime word for box can be easily misinterpreted. Eventually we found them, soaking wet from the previous day's downpour in the workshop area of Pacha. The ceiling hangings were fine, as they were already in their own flight bags, however, the 2 illuminated posters that needed to be sent were huge, and weighed an absolute tonne. Donald went off to the post office, whilst I looked for the address labels so that the couriers knew where the packages were going. I looked all through the office where Ben said they would be, and more deft mimery to the Spanish, I found out that Simone, who was supposed to be the guy sorting out the labels for us was of course off today. I ended up being passed from Spaniard to Spaniard around pretty much all of the day workers at Pacha, until eventually someone took me to see the only English speaking person at the place: Mr Pacha himself, Ricardo Urgell. It was a shame that my first meeting with the owner of Pacha was in an apologetic begging capacity, but desperate times and all that. Ricardo actually turned out to be really nice, and had a look through all the paperwork in the office for me, but still to no avail. Mission non-accomplished. A couple of minutes later, Donald arrived back from the post office with similar disappointing news: A box the size of the poster things we needed to send simply is not available to purchase in Ibiza. Spanish people clearly only ever have to send very small things through the postal service. As we were deciding what the plan of action should be, and trying to get in touch with Ben to see what we could do, a grumpy little Spanish guy came up to us and asked us what we were doing. We tried as best we could to explain that even though we were from Scotland and Yorkshire, respectively, we were not there to steal everything from Pacha, but were there in fact in a 'Erick Morillo's bitch's bitch's bitches' capacity. Of course our hopeless attempts at Spanish only seemed to make matters worse, and he told us in no uncertain terms to politely fuck off.

There was only so much we could do about the situation without being in Pacha, so we decided to call it a day and go home. If Morillo was that desperate for his bits of flashing polystyrene, he could fly over in his private jet himself and pick them up.

Of course as soon as soon as I got home I started getting the phone calls from Ben: "What happened? They kicked you out?? Why???!". Of course in retrospect, the whole situation seemed a bit silly to me, but I could tell Ben was shitting a brick on the other side of the world. After Ben had gone on about packing tape for about 5 years (I'm not sure why, it's not like there's a shortage), I eventually agreed that I would go back to Pacha after siesta, but only if I could find someone that spoke Spanish to go with me to explain that I wasn't here to steal everything. After printing the addresses that we needed out at Linda's, I eventually managed to wake Kiki up, and persuade her that I would probably die a really horrible death at the hands of Ben if She didn't come with me to Pacha. One Spanish explanation later, and the labels were on the packages. We decided that there was no way we could really send the poster things without a box, and the Spanish seemed reluctant to give us any more bubble wrap after I'd popped most of it. Another 50 phone calls from Ben eventually persuaded us that we had to somehow do something with those as well though. I think Kiki obviously pointed her nipples of persuasion at a couple of the Spanish though, because a few minutes later they seemed happy to give us as much bubble-wrap as we wanted. All men are powerless against Kiki's nipples of persuasion. We got about 60ft of bubble-wrap and rolled the poster things up in it, and just covered the whole ugly thing in packing tape to hold it all together. Just then we get a phone call from Ben: "Oh don't worry about all this, nobody told the courier to pick the stuff up, so they won't be coming till next week now."

And so became the longest, most rambling, most pointless blog post in history.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Now I know why I hate MSN Messenger

I usually try and stay away from installing MSN Messenger these days -not only does it always take up a lot of time when I should really be working (and a lot of time where it's just thinking about doing something, it's so slow), but it just seems like a big piece of tat.

But I wanted to see if my sister had managed to install Skype or not, so I put it on just to have a quick chat with her. It seemed ok until I tried using the webcam setup wizard. The webcam in my laptop has already been working fine with Skype, so there doesn't seem to be a problem there, but MSN just hung. I mean it really wouldn't do anything. Not even Task Manager could get rid of it, and it's still just stuck there in my task bar taking up memory and bandwidth. Guess what's getting uninstalled as soon as I restart?

Give me a home where the buffalo roam, and I'll show you a house full of cowshit.

Today has been one of those really wierd days on the island. This morning, it was beautiful - nice and fresh, and far nicer than the wet sweatiness that was last night. Then, about 3 seconds after a huge roll of thunder, the winds started and the heavens opened, to the point where our street turned into a river.

Of course, as soon as I arrived on the island, I was drafted into fixing everybody's computers, and today I had to try and find out why Adam's wireless connection kept dropping back out. By the time I got down there, I was completely soaked to the bone, only to find that he was still in bed, and wanted me to come back later! I told him in no uncertain terms that I wouldn't be walking through this weather all over again just to get his internet working. After fiddling with the damn thing for the best part of an hour, it turned out his laptop had got so caked in muck (it's quite possibly the filthiest laptop I've ever had the non-pleasure to handle in my life) that it was stopping the wireless disable switch going fully into the 'on' position.

Of course, the one day it happens to sheet it down with rain in this place, is the one day when Ben wants us to go to Pacha, and mail all of Morillo's bits that he didn't have time to collect before he headed for New York. Luckily Donald has had enough accidents on the scooter to be wary of going anywhere on it when there's even the slightest bit of weather that's not 100% sun, and I'm thinking that a tidal wave moving steadily down Ave. D'Espania falls under that category.

Tonight we're throwing an end of season for the workers on the island but I'm not sure many people will be wanting to come if it means getting even the slightest bit wet. This is also a very strange year because the Space closing party is on the 7th of October (it's always the first Sunday), which means there's a week of 'limbo time' between all the other clubs closing and the Space closing (which marks the end of the season). So all the workers are suddenly stuck with nothing to do an nowhere to party. The sensible ones are using this week to rest a little before the Space closing, although if our house is anything to go by, it looks like most people have just been topping up the chemicals in their body all season, so now that there's a moment when there's no parties going on, it means that they're all feeling like death warmed up (and not even by that much, thanks to the rain). Pretty much all the roommates have had a large amount of 'sofa time' already this week (ie. fallen unconscious on the sofa), even Lucky - who is supposed to be the true drug-tank out of all the people I know. Although last night I wanted to bludgeon him to death with his phone after his alarm kept waking us up all night, and he was too unconscious to notice it.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Internet in Eivissa? You're haing a Giraffe in't Ya?

Yesterday we finally managed to set up a bank account, which meant that today I could go to the Vodafone shop, and hassle them about the internet again. Because we still don't have anywhere to live, I thought it would be best to go with the Vodafone deal, which was pretty much the same amount as getting a Telefonica line put in - although when we actually came to sign it, it turned out you needed a pre-existing Vodafone contract, plus 29E for the modem (which was advertised as free with the contract) - also of course, they wouldn't refund the 84E I'd already paid for a pre-paid data SIM card (which I never used) because everyone knows Vodafone are bastards.

Anyway, I'm back on the internet, and that's all that matters right now!

Woo woo!