If the last post wasn't enough for you to see what was coming, here it is. Yes, 2014 starts with another concert of Dream Theater, this time in Porto. I was there and, obviously, I am writing about it.
Usually I end up making some not so clever joke with the tour name for the post title, but not this time. Later on you will figure out what it means (and yes, it's still a not so clever joke).
Act I: Stuff of Dreams
We can say that, this time, the concert was divided in acts. The first one was a presentation of the new album, the self-titled Dream Theater, with some other songs in the mix. More precisely, the following songs.
Obviously, all songs from Dream Theater were a live premiere, since this was the first show from An Evening With Dream Theater: Along for the Ride Tour. But they weren't the only ones, since The Shattered Fortress was never played live before.
They played the expected songs from the new album, together with a couple of songs from A Dramatic Turn of Events and a couple more that were unexpected. False Awakening Suite wasn't exactly played, since it was the sound of the intro video, a montage of all studio albums released by Dream Theater (if you want to see it, please check the post From Dream to Theater).
During Enigma Machine there was a video, portraying a story called "DT vs DT". This story can be seen as an interpretation of the song.
Act II, Pt. 1: Awakenings
Awake was released in 1994, and Dream Theater didn't forget that. During this tour, they are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the album. So, they played about half of it.
Space-Dye Vest was played live for the first time. Unfortunately, Illumination Theory wasn't completely played and the piano part after the false ending was eliminated from the live version of the song. But it was still awesome to see a 22 minute song, even though it wasn't complete, being played.
As a side note, that was a curious keyboard that Jordan Rudess used. Is it me or it's the first time he uses it?
Act II, Pt. 2: Memories of Metropolis
2014 is also the year of the 15th anniversary of what is considered, by most (me included), the best Dream Theater album: Metropolis, Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory. And yes, they played a little bit of this awesome album.
After 3 hours of concert and 19 songs later, including the celebration of the anniversary of 2 different albums, there isn't much to say. Really, saying this was an awesome show isn't really worth it because it is visible from the setlist. Yes, it could have been way better. Yes, there were better songs in Awake and in Metropolis, Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory. Yes, they could have played, let's say, Octavarium. It would have been awesome to the point where I would probably collapse. But it was still an awesome concert. And after 3 hours of waiting out in the cold, 1 hour inside Coliseu do Porto waiting for it to begin (trying to make some sense of the mind fucking video being played in a loop) and yes, after 3 hours of music, after a huge back ache, I would do it all again. It was that awesome.
And, to conclude, one thing that I still didn't told you. Between what some are calling Act I and Act II, they showed a Youtube Mix. It was a video with a lot of youtube videos, from the awesome parodies of John "The Overlord" Petrucci to a cover of Pull Me Under by a bunch of kids that play a lot more than I will ever be able to play. It was a great thing to do, showing that they really care about what the fans are doing. And here is a little (very little, actually) piece of it.
This is something I've been thinking for some time. Everytime a journalist writes a piece about some tech stuff, everything is wrong. But not in a this little detail is wrong way.
The latest and greatest example, and the one that led to this post, is the release of the iPhone 5S/5C. Apparently, the iPhone 5C will be released in Portugal for 75€. Amazing piece of reporting, converting 99$ to €. We should never bear in mind that the US market is heavily subsidized, unlike the Portuguese one, and the prices in the US don't include taxes. Why the hell would we care?m We need to inform people of the latest and greatest new Apple smartphone! Who cares if it is the same as an iPhone 5 in a plastic shell, it's new!
But could we stop there? Absolutely not, our reseach abilities need to be shown! And that takes us to this image taken of SIC.
In case you're wondering, it says "Low-cost iPhone 5C and 5S will have fingerprint sensor". Yes, the 5C will also have it. Even though no single piece of official information says that. WE NEED TO INFORM!
And this is a recurring pattern when reporting about tech. Why the hell do we still allow this bunch of idiots to report it?
Today was the first day of EuroDIG (European Dialogue on Internet Governance), a conference to debate important issues with the way the Internet works and the regulations that regard it, specially in the European context. And I was there.
Not to underestimate the importance of the other issues presented today, I'm here to reflect about what I heard today regarding two topics: the Internet of things and copyright.
Starting with the Internet of things and what it is. I don't know, nobody in the flash conference knew and the presenter, Mr. Wolfgang Kleinwächter, kindly explained us that there's not a definition for it. So, why debate it?
Let's start with trying to understand what it is, physically. It appears to be a network of interconnected things. Things like cars, pacemakers or even shoes, anything that can be connected to the Internet. And with this definition arises the fundamental question for me regarding this topic: In what differs this Internet of things from the Internet that we have today?
The presentation was focused on presenting the work the European Commission did regarding this, in terms of regulation for this Internet of things. But the problems we are trying to solve in this topic are the exact same problems we have in the Internet today with social networking, hacking and all the problems that arise from an open network.
So, instead of talking about this Internet of things, why don't we debate how to solve the problems that exist in the Internet? Because those problems are the same problems that are thought to exist in the Internet of things.
Furthermore, regarding the IP Stack we are discussing two of the layers when we talk about this: the physical layer and the application layer. Anyone who knows how a network works will tell you that none of them have anything to do with how the Internet works. That is on the network layer. That's where IP resides. And we aren't changing it with the Internet of things. As a matter of fact, we are saying that only IPv6 can support it. Maybe, and just maybe, there will be changes in the transport layer, but once again, this has little to do with the Internet.
So, instead of focusing on discussing the Internet of things, why not fork the debate into one regarding the existing problems of the entire Internet (the same as the ones for the Internet of things) and a technical one regarding how to implement secure connections over IP and new ways of transmitting the signal?
Moving onto the copyright regime, several persons that can relate to the actual way of doing things were the presenters of a workshop on the issue. From a member of the Spanish government to someone from the British Library or from IFRRO (International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organizations).
When you have in the same panel only one opinion, information that isn't 100% correct will be told as an universal truth and there won't be a true debate on the issue. And yes, there was a healthy discussion about copyright, how to enforce it, how to sell copyrighted products and stuff like that.
But, as usual, the elephant in the room, the cash cow of all the organizations that IFRRO represents, wasn't even mentioned: private copy. I asked the panel for an opinion on why should I pay an artist to backup a CD to my computer, and none of them answered.
Latter, in a brief conversation with Mr. Carlos Romero, from the Sociedad de la Información de esta Secretaría de Estado (an organization from the Spanish government), he explained to me that compensation for private copy exists to compensate an artist from a sale that didn't exist because of that copy, like when you copy a CD to give to a friend.
That confirmed my position that we are all paying for something we might not use because the record industry and other players of the copyright monopoly, as exposed by Rick Falkvinge (founder of the Swedish Pirate Party, a person I had the pleasure of watching at Semana Informática of IST), don't know how to adapt to a new reality.
In the morning, the plenaries discussed how to serve the public interest and how to keep the Internet safe, free and open. The vast majority of the persons invited to speak decided that we need more regulation and that the governments have the obligation of protecting our rights. But they are trying to do it in a way to protect their interests and to dictate what we want, without even taking into consideration the opinion of the consumers of the Internet (and this is called the multistakeholder approach).
Concluding the day, I just want to record the absence of Leonor Parreira, Secretary of State of Science of Portugal. It's interesting to see that the only member of the Portuguese government decided to not be present. Was she afraid that we might sing Grândola, Vila Morena?
Finally, I want to thank the wonderful group of young people I had lunch with, a group of people from all over Europe united under New Media Summer School.
Here I am again. Another day, another concert, another post. This time, about one of the greatest bands that ever was or will be (hidden reference in there), Iron Maiden. Yes, Iron Maiden returned to Portugal and this time I was at MEO Arena (former Pavilhão Atlântico) to see them. Yes, I will say what I always say and what I said I wouldn't say in my Rammstein review. It was the best show I ever went.
The opening was done by Voodoo Six. I must admit I didn't know them but I liked what I heard. It was a little heavier than Iron Maiden, but it was a good choice (unlike some others I've seen, like Periphery opening for Dream Theater).
Maiden England European Tour 2013 is a "remake" of the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, from which the live video Maiden England is. During the 2 hours of concert that Iron Maiden gave to the portuguese people, more than 50% of the songs of Maiden England were played. But why am I showing statistics? This is a fucking metal show, not some presentation by Vitor Gaspar. Let's move on to the setlist which, as usual, is provided by setlist.fm (not making any kind of advertising, but this site is awesome).
Yes, they left some of the biggest hits and some songs I wanted to hear (like Heaven Can Wait or Hallowed Be Thy Name) but who can complain about this setlist? As usual, the opening was with Doctor Doctor from UFO and before the encore, Churchill's Speech. And they ended with Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, by Monty Python. So, the usual stuff here.
An amazing concert, with an amazing audience, who was more than willing to reach the highest notes that Bruce Dickinson sang or "sing" the melody in unison. Strangely for me, fire decided to appear on this concert. And a little note about that: I was far away from the stage and I could still feel the heat from the flame throwers. I do not know how I wasn't cooked during Rammstein.
It's a shame that the show ended at 22h30, because there was still time for more. But it's understandable, since it was 2 hours of pure metal. And I'm ready for the next one, Maiden!
16th of April, 2013 marked the German invasion to our little Portugal. No, Merkel wasn't here, it was Rammstein. And after a lot of fire, sparks, screams and sweat, here I am to tell you what happened, in what is my traditional post-concert review.
I know that from review to review I say the same thing, risking being repetitive, but this was the best concert I went until now. I say this of them all, but I doubt that I can say the same thing for the next ones because beating this concert from Rammstein will be very hard. Very, very hard.
But leaving that aside, this time I'll start with the setlist, all in one place instead of spreaded through out the post as usual.
A concert with the band's classics, from the most recent to the oldest, where the 50 years Till Lindemann already has and the 20 years of Rammstein in showbiz didn't seem to show off. A concert marked by energy and excentricity that's usual from them. A concert where, obviously, pyrotechnics was something that wasn't missing.
Beggining by the entrance of the band, through an intense fog, to play Ich tu dir weh, where at the beggining the drums were replaced by fireworks. After that, the descent of Till from one of the lightning blocks of the stage (more on that later) dressed in a pink feather jacket. Dressed that way he could almost fool us about what would come next.
It was with a lot of fire and fireworks that we went through the concert and reviewed some of the band's biggest successes. Yet, it was only with the beginning of Mein Teil that the madness started. In this music, Christian Lorenz (the band's keyboardist and victim of all acts) plays in a huge pot that Till involves in flames, first with a flame thrower in the shape of an M16 and after that with one way more powerful. At the end, Christian leaves the pot throwing fireworks from a belt. Not mentioning the fact that Till's microphone was a butcher's knife.
After this moment of madness, they played a piano only version of Mein Herz brennt. Being this a Rammstein concert I thought something would happen to the piano. I thought it would blow up or begin to burn, something like that. But no, only a song played in a piano.
Yet, playing a song without pyrotechnics or performances that seem removed from a bondage movie is not something for Rammstein and they played Benzin after that. During that music, a "spectator" (meaning, a team member) invades the stage while Till has in his hand the nozzle of a gasoline pump which is, of course, a flame thrower and seizes the moment to burn the "spectator".
Between more explosions and fire, we reach Bück Dich, one of the classics of Rammstein's concerts. Remember me calling Christian the victim of all the acts of the concert? Well, in accordance to the tradition, Till and Christian go to an elevatory platform, with Christian in his 4 members like a dog and Till with a penis that is connected to a water hose. As it is already known how this will end, Till pretends to ass fuck Christian (that has in his mouth one of those balls that belong to the bondage imaginarium) and after that cames to the public, releasing a water jet.
And since the sexual references couldn't end like that in a band that has a song called Pussy, it was in this song that Till uses a foam cannon painted as a penis to give a foam and confetti bath to everyone near the stage. And it was this way that 1h30 of concert ended and even though it left everyone tired, there was still energy for more.
The Rammstein stage is capable of being one of the most awesome stages I've ever seen. Besides all the support for pyrotechnics, the lights have an amazing moving capability and the industrial background changes more than once during the concert. It's a shame that all of this was thrown away by the awful accoustics of Atlântico Pavilion (it's never excessive to criticize that).
And this way I close another concert review. Now it's just a matter of waiting for the end of May for Iron Maiden!
PS: I know it's not my habit to use videos with bad sound, but I didn't found one with better image than mine of Bück Dich and I had the bad luck of being in front of a subwoofer.
Dia 16 de Abril de 2013 marcou a invasão Alemã ao nosso pequeno Portugal. Não, a sra. Merkel não esteve cá, foram mesmo os Rammstein. E depois de muito fogo, faíscas, gritos e suor, cá estou eu para vos contar o que se passou, naquela que já é a minha tradicional review pós-concerto.
Eu sei que de review para review digo o mesmo, correndo o risco de me tornar repetitivo, mas este foi o melhor concerto a que já fui. Eu digo isto de basicamente todos, mas duvído que consiga dizer o mesmo nos próximos tempos pois bater este concerto dos Rammstein vai ser muito difícil. Mas mesmo muito.
Mas deixando isso de lado, desta vez começo com a setlist, arrumadinha já no início e não espalhada ao longo do post como é habitual.
Um concerto constituído pelos clássicos da banda, desde os mais recentes aos mais antigos, onde os já 50 anos de Till Lindemann e os 20 anos dos Rammstein no showbiz pouco se notaram. Um concerto marcado pela energia e a excentricidade tipica deles. Um concerto onde, obviamente, a pirotecnica foi algo que não faltou.
Começando desde logo pela entrada da banda, por entre um nevoeiro intenso, para tocar a Ich tu dir weh, onde inicialmente a bateria foi substituida pela explosão de fogo de artifício. De seguida, a descida de Till num dos blocos de iluminação do palco (já falaremos dele mais à frente) vestido com um casaco de penas cor-de-rosa. Vestido desta maneira, quase que nos enganava sobre o que viria a seguir.
Foi com muito fogo e pirotecnica que entrámos pelo concerto e revimos alguns dos maiores sucessos da banda. Foi no entanto preciso chegar a Mein Teil para começar a loucura. Nesta música, Christian Lorenz (o senhor atrás dos teclados e vítima de todas as encenações do concerto) toca dentro de um caldeirão, que Till envolve em chamas, primeiro através de um lança-chamas em forma de M16, depois de um mais potente. No fim, Christian sai de dentro do caldeirão a deitar fogo de artifício de um cinto. Não referindo o facto do microfone do Till ser um cutelo.
Após este momento de loucura, tocaram uma versão apenas em piano da Mein Herz brennt. Sendo um concerto dos Rammstein, esperava que acontecesse algo ao piano. Esperava que este rebentasse ou começasse a arder, algo desse género. Mas não, apenas uma música tocada em piano.
Como, no entanto, estar uma música sem pirotecnia ou actuações dignas de um filme de bondage não é coisa para os Rammstein, ouviu-se a seguir a Benzin. Durante essa música, um "espectador" (ou seja, um membro da equipa) invade o palco enquanto Till tem na mão um bocal de uma bomba de gasolina que, obviamente, é um lança-chamas e aproveita para pegar fogo ao "espectador".
Por entre mais explosões e fogo, chegamos a Bück Dich, um dos clássicos dos concertos dos Rammstein. Lembram-se de ter chamado ao Christian a vitima de todas as encenações do concerto? Pois, em cumprimento da tradição, Till e Christian sobem a uma plataforma elevatória, com Christian "de quatro" e Till com um pénis que é ligado a uma mangueira para disparar água. Como já se sabe onde é que isto vai dar, é nessa plataforma que Till finge enrabar Christian (que tem na sua boca uma daquelas bolas que pertencem ao imaginário bondage) para depois "besuntar" o público com um jacto de água.
E como as referências sexuais não podiam acabar assim numa banda que tem uma música chamada Pussy, foi nesta mesma música que Till recorre a um canhão de espuma pintado de pénis para dar um banho de espuma e confetti a quem estava junto ao palco. E assim fechou-se 1h30 de música que, apesar de deixar qualquer um de rastos, dava vontade de mais.
Quanto ao palco, o palco dos Rammstein é capaz de ser um dos palcos mais fantásticos que já vi. Além de todo o suporte de pirotecnia, as luzes têm uma capacidade de movimentação fantástica e o fundo industrial muda várias vezes ao longo do concerto. Pena que tudo isto tenha sido deitado a perder pela péssima acústica do Pavilhão Atlântico (nunca é demais voltar a criticar isto).
E assim fecho a review de mais um concerto. Agora é esperar até ao fim de Maio pelos Iron Maiden!
PS: Eu sei que não é meu hábito meter vídeos com mau som, mas não encontrei com melhor imagem que o meu da Bück Dich e tive o azar de estar mesmo à frente de um subwoofer.
During February, Harlem Shake reigned the Internet. But it's shadow was hiding something that's incredibly beyond Harlem Shake, the goat edition of many songs. And since they are so awesome, here are some for you to watch.
The Ikea Markus. Why am I reviewing a chair? As you may know, I am a student of computer engineering, which means a lot of computer work. Since I got my first laptop I left the desk and have been working in my bed or in my sofa. As it turns out, for someone with scoleosis like I have, that's not the best for your health and I've been trying to go back to the desk. But there was a drawback that made me go back to my bed immediatly: my chair.
As much as I tried, my chair made my back and the back of my legs hurt even more than staying an entire day in bed. That's when I decided that it was time to get a new one. Since by budget doesn't allow for something like a Herman Miller, I decided to go with the Ikea Markus. The Markus was in the top 5 office chairs of lifehacker and every review I read about it said it was good.
It's my second day with this chair and I must say, it is quite comfortable, even if you spend many hours at a desk. And my back and leg pain are gone (for now). Being able to spend a day at my desk and going to bed without a back ache it's something I didn't enjoy for a long time.
The chair is quite heavy (23kg according to the box labels) and tall. It has lombar support and a head rest, the back of the chair is made of a mesh that allows air to flow and the seat is made of leather (like the head rest). The height, back and seat angle are regulable, the seat slides forward when you tilt the back and the wheels lock when you're not seated (which is a nice touch).
The chair is approved for office use and is compliant with the standards EN 1335-2 and ANSI/BIFMA x5.-2002, which was an important factor since I want to be able to use it without damaging my health.
This is a new chapter for my blog and for me. I decided that, from now on, I'm going to blog in English. I am a computer engineering student, my world is in English and it seems logical for me to embrace it as more than a second language.
All the old posts will remain in Portuguese and will not be translated, the same way all my new posts will not be translated into Portuguese.
This is all for now, I'm still waiting for a photo to write an article about the 20th SInfo in IST and then we shall meet again.