So, my mom just asked me if Facebook is still “safe.”

Posted on April 6th, 2018

Filed under: General — Karl Olson @ 12:38 am

With a lot of caveats, yes, it and other social media sites are safe.

The caveats are it is only safe if you can turn a skeptical eye to every last thing vaguely informational/educational/news-like item that comes across your feed, especially anything advertised to you or anything you feel strongly about, and also if you’re in a position to keep your profile open only to your friends and keep that list of friends very well curated. If you already tend to check on snopes, scientific journals and traditional print media websites for anything that’s shared by your small set of friends or advertised at you, Facebook is no worse than the rest of the internet, or at least no worse than the e-mail forward saturated inboxes older internet users have been dealing with since they got online two decades ago on AOL. If you’re actually some what familiar with statistical best practices like sample sizes and experiment design, and/or have a good sense of journalist best practices, you might even be in a position to help stop the spread of fake information in your circles here. Your friends need you in their feed, often, keeping them informed and honest!

However, as a person who has been online since childhood and thus learned the hard way to always research everything I see online, especially if it seems to good or bad to be true, and as someone whose job involves collecting and analyzing a ton of data directly on behalf of businesses that’s collected by voluntary participation in online research panels, the notion of “safe” is a very complex and fragile one if any of those things above start to fail. If you’re not in a position to be choosy about your friends (at the very least which friends are muted or not,) the odds of having a friend who will pollute your feed with things that are bypassing your natural skepticism are higher, and you’ll buy into lies or even end up being scammed or manipulated subconsciously. Even your real-life, childhood friends, if they’re not skeptical internet users, can end up bypassing your normal vigilance, because you’ll tend to believe them. If your natural skepticism is generally low, this is definitely worse, because bad arguments and fake news are everywhere on social media, and when you don’t have the ability to filter it out for yourself, you will likely to spread it around.

Even if you’re very diligent, the data you share online also makes you and everyone you’re friends with a target for advertising designed to be about the things you all like, or vastly dangerously to yourself and to the society as a whole, the things you all hate both consciously and unconsciously, regardless of whether it’s real or fake. As such, your own skepticism is that much more critical towards safe, rational use of social media. This is to say nothing of how irresponsibly your data may be handled by social media websites and other parties with access to them in other ways, but even the on-label use of Facebook is to keep you reading by any means necessary with basically no ethical sense of how that’s done. It’s just worse when your data is then correlated by third parties to stuff you’re doing off Facebook (always use private mode, never save cookies!)

At it’s worst, Facebook and other social media sites can be malicious gossip distribution machines, carefully trained using everything they know about you to surface the most interesting things to you all the time, regardless of whether those things are real or true, and it’s trivial for people to make ads exactly around that and manipulate you towards their ends if you’re not double checking for secondary sources, and then actively blocking any sources that are pushing garbage, even if they are sometimes friends. If you can’t trust yourself to be super vigilantly skeptical, then no, Facebook is not safe for you, most social media that’s ad-supported and algorithmically sorted is not safe for you, and it’s not safe for the people you’d be on the website with. People, advertisers and the website itself will sink it’s claws into the serotonin centers of your brain to keep you here like an addict if you let them, and will tell you lies to do so if it happens to be what you like to hear, and once it has done so, you’re a vector to accessing your friends.

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Oh yeah wait. Another 1 & 1/2.

Posted on February 15th, 2018

Filed under: Music News — Karl Olson @ 7:21 pm

Ultraklystron – No Words Only Feels

&

Ultraklystron – Novelties

So I totally forgot to mention it here, but I did one more Drum n’ Bass LP & a Big Beat EP last year. Somehow I still just about managed to do a track a week on average including collabs As always, I’ve sent things to collaborators too, so seeds have been sown for 2018 as well, so actually, I probably did a bit over a track a week (most of it on the train though.) I really don’t know when I’m getting to my own new music this year (no more train commutes,) so be sure to really enjoy the 2017 stuff:

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A Rather Unexpected Drum n’ Bass Triptych

Posted on November 14th, 2017

Filed under: Music News — Karl Olson @ 10:32 pm

Much to even my own surprise, I had ten more big Drum n’ Bass tracks in me this year, resulting in If You Have To Ask You Will Never Know, my 3rd LP in that genre this year. This time, I actually waited to blog about it until I had it up on some of the major music services, so if you’re more about iTunes, Spotify or Amazon, there you go. It should be up on all major services before too long, so keep an eye on or follow my artist page on your service of choice. The other albums of this sudden trilogy, Lookbook and Emergent Behaviour are also up on the all of the major services or should be there shortly too.

That said, it’s a bit shocking to me that I’ve probably released the most Drum n’ Bass since I was teenager this year. It certainly wasn’t anything I planned. However, it was rather enjoyable to write these records and find themes to encapsulate each one. Further still, my process – working out songs while commuting to and from work – was ultimately a throwback to how I often wrote in my early teenage years. Back then I’d have my headphones and QY70 pocket sequencer as I took the metro bus back home, burning through AA batteries on a black & white LCD screen with no backlight. The gear may have changed along with where I’m commuting, but at the end of the day, it’s about finding a relaxing use for time that’d otherwise be spent moping on public transit. I think I did a pretty good of that at a minimum.

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Neo Yokio is about to get lit…

Posted on September 25th, 2017

Filed under: Music News — Karl Olson @ 10:17 am

Why a tribute to the Netflix X Jaden Smith X Ezra Koenig X Nick Weidenfeld (of Viceland) anime mini-series Neo Yokio? Well, it was a fun watch, and the running Toblerone gag was oddly inspiring. Besides, I’ve released one other Rap track this year, gotta take chances when I’m feeling it. Which hasn’t been often… huh maybe this worked because I certainly had the right melancholic mood for a Neo Yokio tribute 😉

BTW, the actual show is good fun if you don’t overthink it or expect some visual masterpiece. This was done on a relative shoe string for Fox’s ADHD block originally, and could’ve been lost to time if the folks involved didn’t put in a lot of work to get it moved to Netflix. Approach it lightly and it’s a good time.

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Charity and New Releases

Posted on August 26th, 2017

Filed under: Music News — Karl Olson @ 3:05 pm

So, I’m currently doing a big bundle deal with charity bundle site groupees which you should check out if you’ve not downloaded much of my music. After all, you get the following goods:

At the $2 tier you get:

At the $4+ tier you add:

If you spend up enough, there are physical rewards including autographed CDs and my complete current discography on a hand-customized thumb drive! If we meet the second tier stretch goal, there’s even more music in store.

That said, I dropped Lookbook, another pure Drum n’ Bass LP (because of course, after dusting it off for the first time in decade, I’d swing on it again,) so please enjoy it:

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Back to (Drum n’) Bas(s)ics.

Posted on June 19th, 2017

Filed under: Music News — Karl Olson @ 9:49 pm

Strictly speaking, I’ve not done a pure Drum n’ Bass LP since 2004 when I released the initial edition of Haven (which I later remastered and re-released in 2006.) I’ve done bits here and there on my Music For Tablets #, alpha & beta releases, on Doujinshi and on Service Attack. Somehow, the idea of making an LP of straight drum n’ bass wasn’t something I’d felt that into. Perhaps that was in part because of how strong Haven is as a release in my eyes; it is a high water mark in my rather formidable discography. Perhaps it was also that making HipHop became such a passion for me (once I’d found a way to have a voice in it that didn’t at least seem immediately false or fake, if not authentic,) that electronic music of all sorts became more of an influence on my sonic palette rather than a pure focus in it’s own right.

However, now as I feel perhaps as if Null Signifier is a rather difficult to top record in my discography, I’ve somewhat naturally focused back towards electronic music, perhaps especially Drum n’ Bass because at this point, I am no longer concerned with whether what I do tops what I made over a decade ago, and so can now approach it purely in the moment. Of course, having a smartphone with Caustic loaded, the modern equivalent of the QY70 pocket sequencer that I learned how to compose drum n’ bass on, with me at all times, and most importantly on my train commute to and from work, perhaps also provided greater focus towards purely instrumental driven music, but that alone wouldn’t have allowed me to let go and make this release.

So, enjoy my first pure Drum n’ Bass LP in over a decade, Emergent Behaviour. It’s nice to come full circle, and I hope that I can continue to create from that mindset going forward:

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I was chill until the Laura Palmer Funko Pop

Posted on May 16th, 2017

Filed under: Music News — Karl Olson @ 12:03 am

That, was a bridge too far me, and that company had vacuumed up the toy rights for way too many shows just to squander them on creepy soulless eye figures, let alone super tasteless creepy eye figures.

So, a diss track 😀

Bandcamp:

Youtube:

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RCA Galileo Pro Tablet Review

Posted on May 6th, 2017

Filed under: Reviews — Karl Olson @ 12:43 pm

So, why am I reviewing a cheap, 11.5”, 2-in-1/convertable Android tablet from RCA?

Well, one it’s a little test of whether it’s actually decent to type and do work on. So far, so good as writing this up on this was a breeze while I sat on the couch and watched TV. More importantly though, it’s a mean of expounding on something I sometimes forget and other times am in awe of: technology is now rather good even when cheap. I imagine other people sometimes forget that too, so maybe this little post might help other folks remember that even cheap tech is pretty good now.

Is the fit, finish, performance of this as good as a 2-in-1 tablet even 40 dollars more, let alone an iPad or a Chromebook? Of course not. However, would this have been a better device that any of the netbooks I got through school on, let alone my first notebook PC I bought when I was in community college? By leagues in all but screen quality, and at $80 US, it’s so hilariously cheap that I can let it’s basic screen slide (besides, it has a mini HDMI port and screencast function, so I could always just hook it into a monitor if I really needed to.) It even manages to recognize peripherals like USB microphones and sound cards, and while it won’t run any cool 3D games, it still runs my favorite mobile DAW software, Caustic, without a hitch. The keyboard isn’t the most luxurious, but it’s actually easier to use than my much better specced Surface Pro 1, and definitely better than trying to use 7-8” tablets with any OS to do some writing beyond a tweet. I think some activities on this would be a bit of a challenge due to a software gap (if there’s something as straightforward as Audacity that runs on Android, I’ve not found it, though I’ve not had the motivation to until now,) but the performance even on this cheap little 2 in 1 is just dandy. Streaming video, browsing the net, social media – all the usual to dos work just fine, and it’s nice to take a break from doing that on the phone without switching to the desktop (I get enough desktop computing at work 5 days a week.) It’s even decent machine to run remote desktop on, easily getting on my company’s VPN and into my Windows box at the office. The battery life is just average, but it’s the modern average of about 7 hours which clowns any of my old netbooks and my Surface Pro 1. It’s far from perfect, but, it really just doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to do the jobs I need it too, and it’s happily achieving that. Plus, some of the stuff that I’m sure some people would hate about a lot end device like this – the 1990s styling and plastics – are actually kind of endearing and keep it from being a theft target as well.

Now, I’ve only had it for about a week, so I’m sure some of my enjoyment of 2-in-1 is new toy novelty creating some rose tinted glasses, but if it’s anything like my other off-brand tech buys from the past couple years like my Blu R1HD Android phone, I suspect that months in this RCA tablet will still be doing the jobs I need and want it to do, all without soaking up a bunch of extra cash to get something fancier but that doesn’t actually do anything more in terms of function or reliability (after all, short of spending at least double to get into a chromebook or windows 10 device or double again that for an apple device, there’s no guarantee you’re getting updates anyway.)

RCA Galileo Pro 11.5

Still, the next time you think need to get the super latest and greatest thing to do what you need, take a minute to really think about the jobs you need to get done on that device, and what tools you already have and whether they’re already covering your bases. You might find that where you thought you needed to make a serious and expensive purchase, something less exciting might easily handle everything you wanted.

If you’d like to pick up one for yourself, here’s a link: RCA Galileo Pro 11.5.

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Vaporwave & Vaportrap, Again

Posted on November 1st, 2016

Filed under: Music News — Karl Olson @ 9:41 pm

This time leveraging VHS tape idents, hence An Identity Crisis:

Youtube:

Bandcamp:

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Your Future Presentation

Posted on September 3rd, 2016

Filed under: Music News,Videos — Karl Olson @ 11:39 am

A visual Future Funk & Vaportrap EP drawn from multiplex cinema policy trailers from days long past.

Free Download At Bandcamp.

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