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Home » General » 03/14/2001


Just a note about yesterday. The missing backslashes in Tony Brewer’s mail were my fault, not his. Manilla uses the backslash as a control character, so unless I double up on them Manilla munches them and you get run-together strings like c:windowscommandattrib.exe.

And a memory tip. I read in The Register yesterday that at least one industry expert expects memory prices are about to climb. With brand-name PC133 128s going for $40, if you’re in the market, go get it.

My sources have been wrong every time I’ve said memory prices looked like they’d level off, so I almost hesitate to say anything, but I’d hate to see prices quadruple next month without me saying something.

Then again, if brand-name PC133s are going for $20 next month I’ll feel equally foolish, so I guess I can’t win, can I?

Speaking of prices, I don’t have any new sources of $35 motherboards this week, but I can probably find one if someone wants…

Given the title of this site, I wish I had some great tidbit to pass on, but I spent half the day playing with ramdisks and the other half trying to figure out why someone’s laptop couldn’t see the router even though the router was seeing the laptop. Not very inspiring.

So enough about computers. Let’s talk about music, seeing as Napster has some ultimatum by today. I think today’s the day the hammer falls if they aren’t filtering out certain titles. This should be interesting, seeing as Sony didn’t provide them with filenames to filter like the court ordered, and there are at least two efforts under way to encrypt/decrypt filenames real-time. Ironically, record companies’ efforts to defeat that effort are supposedly forbidden by the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.

One of my favorite bands of all time is coming back. I’ve been hearing rumblings off and on about a new album from Depeche Mode for several years, but they actually look to release a new album in a couple of months.

It’s hard to imagine that Mode’s last great album, 1990’s Violator, came out 11 years ago. Songs of Faith and Devotion, their 1993 effort, was overshadowed by the efforts of that year’s up-and-coming alternative rock bands, and the band’s troubles didn’t end there. First keyboardist Alan Wilder left the group, then lead singer Dave Gahan, battling heroin addiction, attempted suicide. After Gahan spent time in rehab, the band released 1997’s Ultra, which was just totally ignored. I’d love to be proven wrong on this, but I suspect this newest effort will be ignored too.

My grandparents’ generation swooned to Frank Sinatra. My parents swooned to Elvis Presley. My generation swooned to The Cure and Depeche Mode. (I’m trying to figure out if this should frighten me.) I guess I should find out what the youth of today swoon to, but I’ve got a feeling after I find out, I’ll understand it about as much as my parents understood The Cure and Mode. And that’s why I don’t think this album will go too far. Mode’s audience doesn’t buy that many records anymore, and to the demographic who does buy records these days, Mode will sound like a relic of a bygone day.

The quality of the album is hard to gauge from the 30-second snippets on their site, but the content isn’t. Mode specializes in two types of songs: spiritual alienation songs and make-out songs. And somehow they usually manage to sound depressed in both types of song. What can I say? They’re talented. People don’t call ’em “Depressed Mode” for nothing.

But I’ve gotten off track. Exciter looks to be a make-out album, with one obligatory song of spiritual alienation (“Breathe,” which is a bit surprising because that sounds like a make-out title if I ever heard one). As for the sound, the synthesizers are much more prominent this time around than they were on the last two albums. They sound like Depeche Mode again, rather than sounding like Depeche Mode following whatever’s trendy that year.

And at the risk of going off track again, do girls take it as an insult when someone dedicates a Depeche Mode song to one of them? They probably should. “Enjoy the Silence” sounds like a love song, and on one level it is, but the lyrics are really just a long-winded, disguised way of saying, “Shut up.”

“Words are very unnecessary, they can only do harm…”

Or maybe I’m the only one who pays that much attention to lyrics. Probably.

And speaking of albums that’ve been long overdue… I checked in on Peter Gabriel’s Up over the weekend. Supposedly that’ll be released this summer. Gabriel announced Up in 1998, days before R.E.M. announced their next record, which was also titled Up. As I recall, R.E.M. actually apologized for that. That turned out to be totally unnecessary, seeing as it’s now two and a half years later, R.E.M.’s Up is mostly forgotten (a shame because it was good), and Gabriel’s album of the same name still hasn’t been released.

Let’s see… After four self-titled albums, Gabriel got caught in a rut of two-letter names for his studio albums: 1986’s So, 1992’s Us, and then whenever’s Up. Who’s to say his follow-up, which at this rate would probably come out in about 2013, will be titled It? Fits the pattern, and it’d be a fitting title for a final effort.

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