I sadly took note of Adam Yauch’s death earlier this day.

Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch was one member of the band called Beastie Boys, which one of the very first hip hop bands that got accepted by my young metal heart, back in the days of my youth. Actually, I was fascinated by the Beastie Boys for a very long time. They were the role model for true rebels in music and even a way of living. And that’s also what described Adam Yauch and his best at its best – true.

Whatever he did and whatever they did, it was true and something that was done with passion. I’ve never managed to visit one of their concerts. They stood on top of my concert wish list and now I’ve to sadly withdraw them.

It’s also sad for me to see, that one idol of youth actually passed away. It makes me feel somewhat older. But it also reminds of the undisputed fact in life, that everything has to end at a certain point. Now I know how my parents felt like, when John Lennon got shot back in 1980. Like I said, the Beastie Boys were one of these bands – hip hop bands, to be exact – that received my attention even though I was bounded to rock and metal music. They opened the door and also my mind for all kinds of different music.

With “Sabotage” they also released an all time favourite music clip of mine. It stressed my VCR and the tape where it was recorded on. I still adore this clip.

The world has lost a very creative, innovative artist. Adam Yauch, may you rest in peace and never be forgotten.

Current changes

A few weeks ago I started upgrading and changing several things on my media centre PC. Most importantly, I’ve exchanged the mainboard and the RAM. Another component that’s changed was the graphics card. I switched from a common GeForce GTX 560ti to a GeForce GTX 560ti 448.

The “old” graphics card was a SuperClocked version by EVGA, which had a lot of power but the EVGA Classified Edition of the GeForce 560ti 448 was too intriguing to be resisted to. The EVGA CE uses six power phases and is more a 570 than a 560. The big issue with the 570 is the lack power phases – four instead of five. One of my previous 570 cards died due to this fact during an overclocking session and a slight voltage increase.

I also exchanged the chassis, which looks much more elegant than the old chassis I’ve used and is a little quieter. The only noisy thing that is currently inside is the graphics card, but the cooling components will be exchanged in the very nearby future.

The CPU that was once working in my work PC wandered into the media centre giving me much more core horse power. The CPU is now overclocked but does not cause too much heat, thanks to a stock voltage.

After setting up the system and installing all the things I actually need (tons of games and XBMC) I’m very satisfied with the final result. Everything feels much smoother and the overall gamin performance has increased a lot. The only thing that bothers me currently is the noise level of the system during gaming sessions. But like I said, this is going to be solved.

The reason why I actually did those changes to the system was mainly the new Batman video game. And my plan worked perfectly well. The game’s now finished and I did not notice any weird performance issues, except the rumble with the Joker and his henchmen and the Catwoman fight in the strong room. Those were more PhysX related and my dedicated 9800GT had a little struggle with these fights.

Whatever the case, I’ve finally got a “debugged” system where everything finally works, which was not the case on the old system. For instance, ‘L.A. Noire’ did not even start. XBMC is working smoothly and I had no issues with exporting and importing the media library data.

Of RipJaws and Eden

Previously, I’ve told you guys about my GeForce upgrade on my media centre. The performance boost was, well, kind of okay, but at last I felt it was time for an overall upgrade on the system. I’ ve got this AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition in my PC that I usually use for some work on photos and on the other hand it’s simply a machine I use to manage my mails, websites and these kind of things.

It finally turns out that the processor plugged into this machine gets a little bored so I’ll do an exchange and my AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition moves from my media centre to this working machine. Both system still run on the AMD 7xx chipset and the media centre will now get the upgrade to the AMD 990FX chipset in form of an Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD7 board.

I’ll put 16GB DDR3 12800 G.Skill RipJaw modules on this system, so that I finally do not have to suffer on a memory bottleneck. I personally think that this is a good foundation for my EVGA GeForce GTX 560ti 448 Cores Classified. I was able to get a performance increase on games like “Batman Arkham City” but the overall system performance became pretty bad during the last year and a half so it’s time to make an upgrade and most importantly get a fresh and new installment of Windows 7.


I’ve exchanged graphics and sound card drivers a lot in the past and I also had to struggle with several hardware and software issues that also caused new bugs, if you know what I’m saying.

Anyhow, I don’t expect a performance boost of 200 per cent but I’m certain that the overall system performance and feel of smoothness will increase and a lot of crashes and bugs will get fixed with this new setup.

In preparation for this did I also give the new XBMC version (called “Eden”) a try, which is currently out as a beta release. I was a little disappointed. I did a fresh installment and imported my old library to get everything as clean as I could. The movie library did not work as expected. I was missing movie posters. I wasn’t able to get movie information. The new skin itself is not a thing I’m going to be friend with because all the items are drawn much smaller and it looks like as if there’s something missing on the GUI.

I also tried several video add-ons and most of them did not work properly as well. To summarize, this is still a beta version and it does not represent the final product, but I will wait for a long time until I’ll finally do the update from “Dharma” to “Eden”. I’m fine and comfortable with my current media centre software. So why changing a good and running system?

I hope I can get everything done within the next 5-7 days and I’ll keep you informed.

Lack of panorama

Everything was better back in the days. I may sound like a creepy, old man but in some cases I find this quotation true. What I want to talk about is the missing panorama in today’s music. Especially rock music made a large amount of steps backwards when you compare the sound engineering of the music of the 70s and the sound engineering that appears today.

Talking about the old songs. Mainly those songs are mixed like you were actually listening to a band that sits around you. The instruments are well separated and you’re able to “locate” them in your room. When you listen to today’s music, all you get is a giant wall of noise that got mixed in high definition without any soul. I personally see the turning point in the late 80s and early 90s. A period where almost everything got sacrificed to giant marketing and commercialism.

Anyone can play guitar

I also think that this change in production came, when the whole recording equipment became better and more capable. Guitarist for instance were able to record multiple tracks to gain a fat sound. The guy on the synthesizer could act like a whole orchestra. And this is the point. Musicians forgot at one specific point how to actually be a musician. They misunderstood the qualities of their instruments.

I wouldn’t say that the music these days became completely bad, but you don’t have many genres where you can listen to music in a way it was originally meant to be. Jazz is one genre that resisted and survived this trend. Rock music in nearly all kinds of sub-genres became a mess. It’s all about building a giant wall of sounds that rolls over the listener.

Maybe this is also one of the reasons why so many bands fail when they have to play live in front of an audience. They cannot reproduce this artificial sound they created in the studio. Maybe, but just maybe, would it be better when some bands might go back a little and try to record their outputs like a band, live in the studio. Or they try to resists using multiple tracks for their instrument just to make it sound fat.

I really would like to see bands to play and record like this. Or maybe I’m just an old, creepy man.

Legendary rock star death

The female counter part of Pete Doherty is dead. Amy Winehouse died last weekend and I’m sure I speak for a lot of people, we all expected this to happen. For me personally, Amy Winehouse was like the Jazz singing bride of Frankenstein. Seriously, from the very first moment that I saw her, I thought she’s the sequel to 1980s Elvira, the mistress of the dark. Which is actually good. I loved Elvira back in the days.

Anyhow, her music was okay, but not groundbreaking. It was Soul and Jazz trimmed to fit the mainstream. It’s basicly the same with Janis Joplin, she was icon in her period of time, but after that, she’s mainly known for this one song where she begs the Lord to buy her this special German car. Amy Winehouse will suffer the destiny. In like 20 or 30 years people will only know her by the song “Rehab”. It is a good song, but mentioned before, the rest of her music is meaningless. You can find way more talented Jazz or Soul musicians out there, with way less drug problem and a better attitude when it comes to work and live for the music.

Amy Winehouse RIP

To make a long story short, yes, I find it sad that Mrs Winehouse died and that we’re no longer able to catch her in concert and watch at her debauchery life in the tabloids. I’m pretty sure that we’ll be jammed with tons of B-side crap and rare material that gets released postmortem (Oh, what a surprise, we found some lost tapes on the attic…)

But on the other side, I do not find her that important to fall in a longer period of sorrow. Her management knew how to sell their fancy, freaky, riotous Jazz product and she finally had to pay the price . Her record company is going to make a lot of money with her after her death and will then finally switch to a new Winehouse like product.

Thor’s hammer training

Here’s the thing, you wake up pretty early and you’re completely prepared to do your job at the gym, but the gym is not prepared to do its job. This is what happened. I woke up at 04:00am, like I do it every time. I brushed my teeth, push my hair a little from the left and to the right and hit the road with my bike. I got to the gym and was already wondering what all these trucks were doing there. Right after entering the building I saw that the locker rooms are getting refurbished. Actually, it’s more a decoration because all the lockers are getting exchanged by some fancy new ones with nice wooden fronts.

Anyhow, I wasn’t able to find the improvised locker room within thirty seconds and everything was pretty messed up so I decided to just leave and continue my training next week. Hopefully I’ll be able to shoot some hoops within next couple of days with some friends of mine. I’m really bad when it comes to aiming, but I’m a wall when it comes to defense. Whatever the case, it’s fun.

As you may remember, I was off to the cinema the day before watching ‘Thor’. Even though the movie was in 3D I wasn’t getting that much into it and did not affect me either even though I was a big fan of the ‘Thor’ comic books. The story itself was nothing more like, Thor made his father angry. Thor got banned from his world. Loki was jealous and betrayed Thor. Loki brought the enemy ice giants to Asgaard. Loki wanted to get rid of Thor. Thor returned with the help of his friends. Thor defeated Loki and saved the Yggdrasil. It sounds complex by just skimming these words, but the movie was pretty lame in a story matter. I also missed a little more action and the use of 3D was not worth it. Here and there a little depth of field and that was it.

In seach of…

Once again and nearly one year after first time seeing them a Fu Manchu concert was on my plan. If there’s one band I like, it’s Fu Manchu. There are always favourite bands but this particular one survived all these years with being nearly untouched in my personal hall of fame. I’ve also been a huge fan of bands like Sepultura or Slayer, but with the years the interest faded and nowadays they are just bands I revisit sometimes to remember “the old days”. Fu Manchu is more rock solid and they were able to resist all kinds of trends I personally had and I was always listening to them. The point is simple, you know what you can expect from a band like them and you sure will get what you expect. Even though they are categorized as a Stoner band I’d rather say that they’re just a rock band with a fine California attitude, a passion for sun and muscle cars and they actually seem to care about no trend. Their sound is desert dusty, their riffs just grooving and their rhythm catchy.

So, this time I saw them once again in Berlin’s club called the “C-Club” which was previously known as the Columbia Club and Fu Manchu was offering something special. Playing the whole “In search of…” album from the first to the last track. YES! One of my faves with one of my favourite songs, “The Falcon Has Landed” The band started the gig with ass kicking songs like “Hell on wheels” or “Mongoose” and started with the “In search of…” after, I guess, the fourth song of the show. I always love it when a band goes by and plays one particular album in complete. Some songs of the album were played in a kind of extended versions and reminded me a little of a jam session. Well, this what you can call jam session considering that you’re watching Fu Manchu and not King Crimson. Like mentioned before, Fu Manchu is pretty basic, but that’s what’s charming about them and what I really like. Finally, after finishing the complete album they also played some most wanted songs like “Weird beard” and “California crossing”. This band is truely, honestly rocking the stage and I’ll visit their concerts again and again and again. You simply get what you want, rock’n’roll to the face.

My media centre – A field report

It’s been nearly 9 month since living with a media centre PC in my living room and it has become a regular part of my daily life. The balance between the simple watching of TV broadcasts and the common use of a PC, like surfing the internet, playing games has changed. Nowadays I do watch more and more content that is streamed and published via the internet and old school TV makes only a minor part in my daily life. The point actually is, that I don’t have the time nor the will to watch specific contents on TV at a special time and nor do I have the will to spend like half an hour to setup the HDD recorder that I don’t miss a show on TV. This is old-fashioned in my opinion, especially by regarding the fact that if I use the media centre I can watch whatever I want and what I subscriped to at any time I want. If I watch TV I’m bound to a fixed schedule and like I previously said, I’m not going to waste my rare free time to TV programs.

Another, and in my opinion, very important point that the media centre has become so popular for me is, that the content it offers is mainly customized to my needs and interests. As you may know, I’m a gamer and I love to watch broadcasts with videogame content, so I watch like GameTrailers.com, GiantBomb or GameSpot contents any time I want. If I’m more in the mood to get a little relaxation and enjoy earth’s beauty I lay back and watch the marvellous shows of Earth-Touch.com. I’ve also got tons of subscriptions on Youtube, mainly gaming content but also channels with subjects like sports, news , photography or simply comedy. As you can see, I’ve got this large variety of things to watch at any time I want, I’m near the point to think about cancelling my cable provider subscribtion because it makes barely sense.

Besides simple watching of different contents the media centre also offers another ability to serve me well, it’s a gaming platform. I had to make a compromise between ultra silent media centre PC and gaming PC. This PC serves in both ways and is not as quiet as a media centre usually used to be, but this doesn’t really matter, because while watching movies or anything else like this, you can barely here the PC and it’s not as disturbingly load as a regular gaming PC. This case, where the hardware was built in, is a silent case and I also avoided the use of unnessecary fans the gain a low noise level and I’m pretty happy with the final result. I can’t deny that there’s still some room for tweaking the system to gain a little less noise, but it’s fine the way it is.

Anyhow, the media centre is a well balanced and efficient gaming PC as well and I use this PC very often for some relaxed gaming sessions. I used to play a lot of games that are played console style (with a gamepad) on the media centre PC and left the FPS and RPG to my main game system. It’s way more fun to play a soccer or a basketball game on the couch watching the stuff on a giant TV instead of seeing this on a small 24inch PC monitor. It also fulfills some social aspects because I personally play much more games with friends visiting me as I’ve done before by just having the “normal, regular” gaming PC. Another important point for me is, I don’t have to waste money on an expensive console, even though I would like to have a PS3.

As a final conclusion can I say, that the media centre was a good investment. Ordinary TV becomes less and less important for me and like I said, I’m near the point cancelling my cable provider subscription. I gain more information in a much smaller space of time and most importantly information that I actually need instead of getting tons and tons of crap information, e.g. celebrity stuff. Some of my “gaming habits” have changed too because I’m more willing to play “casual games” like sports games and games regularly played with a gamepad. Yap, I like the media centre, everyone should have one.

Let the pictures walk…

Earlier than I actually thought I could finalize my new media center and it’s now up and running. Like I mentioned in a few posts before it’s a dual-boot system running Windows 7 as a “gaming system” and Linux Mint as the real movie and multimedia plattform. The Linux system itself uses to play everything that I tried, even HD movies with nearly no lags. Well, nearly, I noticed a little disturbing vsync problem while watching videos. It’s more noticable in HD movies than it’s in normal SD movies. By now I haven’t found a solution for that but the Ubuntu/Mint community is very huge and I am pretty sure that I’m not the only one with this issue. As soon as I have found solution, I will post it right here in this blog.

I also checked the gaming performance under Windows 7 with Devil May Cry 4 and Street Fighter IV. DMC4 runs at an average FPS of 45 with AA at 8 and AF at 8. The details are mainly set to super high. This is a satisfying result according to the fact that there’s “only” a GeForce 9800GT Green Edition with 512MB video RAM inside the system. I guess, I don’t have to mention that I run the games at a full HD resolution. The Benchmark results of SFIV are pretty similiar to ones I got in DMC4. I’m pretty sure that I’ll do some more benchmarks within the next days and check the performance. Till now I am very happy with the new system and it was a good choice to move the hardware to a new chassis that is not that noisy than the one before…

The good old Seattle style

Sometimes a friend of you asks you if you want to come with him to an event because nobody else wants to give him some company and enjoy it with him. So it happened to me that my girl was asking me if I would like to join her visiting the Pearl Jam concert in Berlin. I have to admit that I am anything everything else than a big fan of this band. Actually I know three songs by name and the rest was just floating through my ears and just faded away from my memory.

Pearl Jam by ~idolise-me

What shall I say, seeing Pearl Jam in concert was a truely remarkable event and this concert made it definately to the top five of the best concerts I’ve ever seen. Tool and the Smashing Pumpkins are still on top. What I really liked about the performance of Pearl Jam was the authenticity and the honesty of the band. You can see and feel that everyone in the band is not just doing a concert job, they perform with all their heart because it’s their hobby and their passion. This band is definately not a show act that needs a lot of fireworks and pyrotechnics or anything else because the real show happens between the audience and band. There was something special in the air this evening that I’ve never experienced on a concert before. The Kindlbühne in Berlin is an arena that can capture around 17.000 people, but for some reasons Pearl Jam made it, that the concert felt like a cool club gig, which was pretty cool because I really like club gigs.

I guess I will try to dig deeper into the music of Pearl Jam in the future because this concert impressed me a lot.