Charles Basenga Kiyanda

The 6 months music challenge, Issue 1: Hipster, Please! Compilations

I’m a strong supporter of free and open source software. To be honest, I’m a supporter of free and open source anything really. That’s why I contribute to wikitravel (sporadically, but still), why I started wikiscuba (well, still trying to make it take off, really), openstreetmap and anything I can get my hands on that suits my hobbies. I really started getting interested and involved with “FOSS and things” in october 2005. I started my phd in august 2005 and swore to myself that I would try and work with latex (the word processor, that is, not the preservative, although, kids, if you’re listening, using condoms is a pretty f****ng idea) for the majority of the stuff I write. I also had to log onto different machines and my supervisor strongly suggested (as strongly as advisors can suggest, which means it really was an order) I install linux. I decided to make the switch at home as well 2 months later and use FOSS for my personal needs and aimed to be windows free. Almost 3 years later, I’m pretty much there. I still have to use windows every once in a while, unfortunately.

For example, while I can get video going on msn using aMSN, I still haven’t found an msn client on linux which will easily allow me to use both voice and video. Luckily, between the phone and msn, I don’t boot windows for that reason very often.

Powerpoint is still an outstanding tool when it comes to presentations and the defacto standard at conferences, so I have to boot windows every once in a while to run powerpoint and prepare/show a presentation. All the supporting material though (plots and so on) are made on FOSS so I’m really only using powerpoint to make the actual slides.

Finally, some companies still haven’t caught on that it would be nice to just open up the protocols to interface with their devices, so I have to boot windows every time I want to upgrade the firmware on my gps or on my cameras (Pentax has this autorun archive thing I can’t unpack on linux yet, so I boot windows to extract the actual update and then reboot linux to do everything else. Garmin just ships you an actual program, so I have to run it in windows.)

Today, almost three years after embarking on this journey, I’m happy with the result. I only have legit copies of windows on my computers and I only run them when absolutely necessary…and even then I sometimes hesitate. Running windows just makes me curse and cringe now, which helps in no way my stress level when I’m at a conference and I have to give a talk.

Somewhere along the way of becoming windows free, I started to understand the subtleties of copyright law. I have been following one lawyer’s comments on the RIAA fight against their own customers and I think I’m now ready to make another change in my life. I call it the “6 months music challenge”. For the next 6 months, I will not buy a single CD. Not one. I will not pirate CDs either. I will find all the new music I will consume online for free. To show you my commitment to this challenge, every week I will write a blog post describing one new music album/group/compilation I have found online and listened to for free with the blessing of the artist(s). To be eligible, the songs will have to be downloadble. You should be able to download the songs in a convenient format and listen to them on your ipod/mp3 player if you want.So while I think it’s cool that artists put the little player applet on their myspace page, you’ll have to be able to do more. I’m not just looking for artists who promote their music online, I’m looking for artists who use their music as promotional material online.

So here at last, for my first submission, I bring to you Nerdcore Undercover and Old Nerdy Bastard, which I found following links from blog to blog onto, finally, the Hipsters, Please! blog, written by Z who, if I understand correctly, produced (?) the two compilation albums. Most of the music on there is hip-hop, more so on Nerdcore Undercover, while Old Nerdy Bastard is rather more eclectic. I’ve been listening to those 2 albums in the car for the last two days now and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I’m going out of town with a few friends for the day and I’m going to introduce these albums to those same friends. Should prove interesting!

So here’s to the start of, I hope, a great blog post series!

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>