BitPusher’s New Album, iTunes, Play Store, Spotify Oh My!

Posted in Uncategorized on August 28, 2018 by bitpusher2600

wpbitpusher

Oh the tragedy! So maybe I in fact have neglected my blog for a little while now. The fact is, social media like FB and Twitter have made sharing things so quick and easy that I often tinker around there and don’t take the time to write on my blog, namely because I can’t write worth a damn in the first place.

So, that all aside, I am unbelievably proud to introduce the newest album from BitPusher simply titled “Who Is BitPusher?” This is very obviously not my first album release, so why such a title?

I was thoroughly proud of Digital Bass 2017 and everything that went into it. Such tedious efforts were directed towards the mixing and mastering of that audio, and it was a big step forward for me in terms of writing music. This new album however is not just another step, but a massive leap! It all started with some online tinkering. Frankly, I had no motivation to begin another album after the last one, nor did I have any plans in mind. Later in 2017, I was online just reading some tech news and I found an article about the revival and clone of Fasttracker II. I had never used anything like that in the past as my only experience with trackers was overcoming my irrational fear of that style of music making and learning LSDJ. Little Sound DJ is wonderful, but it is a small environment compared to the bigger computer based softwares right? Nonetheless, I began playing around with this and a couple others. I was becoming interested but then after more messing around I discover MilkyTracker, a sample based tracker that is it’s own animal but a clone of FT2 nonetheless. Something about it was outstanding. I actually started falling in love because yes, I did watch a tutorial series on YouTube, but still, it really fit like a glove. Something about the process and entire workflow of Milkytracker just worked for me. So then it began!

So many more channels, so many capabilities, and just (from my view) jaw dropping mountains of sounds and instruments out there. I can take the sound of a single key press from a given synthesizer or piano and turn my entire keyboard into said instrument. This boggles my mind. It also requires me to literally write my entire song, even if the notation might not technically be correct on the real keyboard vs the (what I assume) note bending that occurs from doing things this way, but between that ability and the massive number of channels available to me, it felt like the fucking flood gates were blown away! The more I played with this, the more free musically I felt. Think about it. Going from making my non 8-bit stuff with Nanoloop to THIS….big big deal for me.

So if you read all of this rambling, now maybe the new album’s title makes sense. This new album is in every way 100% ME. Every sound, every note, every second is there because I put it there. I will not use pre-built loops and things of that nature folks, so when I talk about sample libraries I mean sounds, not sequences. It was also fun getting practice with so much layering. I still used recorded things from Nanoloop to import however, because frankly I absolutely ADORE sub-bass that is generated thru digital FM synthesis. So anyway, the TITLE. The musical incarnation of the human being behind or that is “BitPusher” is in this music. In my very twisted and perhaps absurd mindset, I have poured emotions and even pieces of my core being into some of this music, expressing feelings of joy and extreme sorrow, anger, and good moods, depending on the song. Musically, there is always my affinity for not being locked into one subgenre or style, but everything has far better writing and composition than any of my past work. Indeed I have never felt so uninhibited. It is because of all these things that I named this album what it is. Does any of that make sense? It’s OK by the way, you know, if you think my music sucks, and all of this is a waste of time and effort. On the other hand, I would gamble that if anyone anywhere ever picked up on my music and decided they liked something I did, this album would contain that one song. Extreme BASS as always, and just 100% me being me.

Another set of related updates; my website has been updated, and something super-fun for me; I have a distributor now! I mean yes, all of my music is on Bandcamp, some stuff is on Soundcloud, and there is always the option to buy a purely lossless and original retail manufactured CD, but I have moved it forward a little more because now, I am on iTunes and Apple Music, Google Play, Spotify, Tidal, and many others! My music is available everywhere, and when I say everything, I do mean everything, even the Atari stuff from 2010. In short; this is awesome. I don’t have any crazy dreams of becoming rich and famous, indeed my music is far too niche and even I don’t feel I’m exactly a “talented” musician. Also, as a whole, the crank it up generation has kind of passed and bass music is kind of dead nowadays. Still, if even one person somewhere hears one tune I write and thinks “holy shit this is sick!” then I’m one thrilled human.

So, thanks for tuning into a long ramble from yours truly. I hope you guys and gals in the chip world, the bass world, and the general nerds with trackers world might like something from this new album. It really felt good to feel so free.
See ya!
–BitPusher

Advertisements

The Aging Effect: Canton South Wildcat Class Of 2000; I Hardly Knew Ye…

Posted in Uncategorized on May 20, 2018 by bitpusher2600

Over the last month I’ve been kicking around writing this non-music related post because, well, it’s the old guy effect. Classic and everlasting is the idea that you eventually get old enough where you reminisce fondly and miss your youth. I don’t know for sure why this has hit me so much lately, but hey, I can share a little stuff for my stalkers right? (Bwaahaha)

So, I threw it right into the title; I graduated Canton South class of 2000. Out of the blue, I got the itch one day to look back. I moved out of South almost immediately after I graduated, simply because the apartment I had found was elsewhere. I truly never had a reason to travel down that way again so I didn’t. I’ve hardly been down there in all these years now. Being that I don’t read newspapers and stream rather than have local television service, I had no idea until too late that they were tearing down my old school and building a new one in it’s place. The real killer is that they even had a final touring open to the public, and I wish so sincerely I had known. So, I drove down that way recently to see the new building and at that moment, when I saw that my old building was truly gone, the football field completely tore up, all the dirt and construction crapola….it was just weird. It honestly broke my heart, and I mean really just bummed me right out. I started thinking back and just recalling countless memories of places in the building, things I used to do, etc. They also tore down Jack’s Quik Shake which was right across from the school. It was there long before I was in high school and still stood, the ultimate teenagers hangout for coneys and shakes. It’s kind of a local legend. Moving on.

I went inside the new building and talked to them in the office about old yearbooks. I had lost mine ages and ages ago, but long story short, they were able to find copies of my sophomore, junior, and senior years in storage. My mother still has my cap and gown, and I have my old diploma, so at least I’ve got that. Anyway, looking back thru those books made this nostalgia drive even worse. So as I said earlier, the aging effect is still very alive and well. Life and this individual leading it has changed so much it shares practically nothing with the one I was in back then. People will always hit that age when they realize they are in fact getting old and miss their youth more and more. All you have in this is memories, and just physically being at that site I swear I could honestly feel it in the air and coming from the ground itself. The memories and the feelings, like I was simply just “home.”

It’s crazy to me particularly because I remember just wanting out of school. Indeed, there is no way to ever convey to a kid exactly how and why those years are likely the best years of their life. I remember hearing this frequently myself, and I’m sure most kids do still. But making them truly understand? You can tell stories and explain all day but in the end, they will never truly absorb it until they’re in that spot. Nothing like regret huh? So yeah, I wanted out. I was a B and C student for the most part, I didn’t participate in any clubs or events, I did not make the best of my high school years. I wasn’t a hoodlum or an asshole, I was always one of the weird kids. I never had a use for confidence, and I am just absolutely an introverted person. Take teenage minds and try to get them to understand how an introvert really works….it’s not happening. I still can’t understand why I never stood up for myself, I don’t even know that kid. Of all things, I’m the last person that’ll keep my mouth shut and let someone trample on me nor am I scared of a fight, as opposed to back then I just kept to myself and projected the “whatever” attitude, it was the only way I could hang on to any self-esteem whatsoever. I’m not saying I was picked on a hell of alot either, but I had few friends and those that were truly friends to me were not popular. I always thought the popular kids were such shitheads, and in many ways they were. With their concept of power comes arrogance, but this is all normal teenage stuff. But back to the matter, I wish desperately I had made more of my high school years and that alone will always be very high on my list of regrets.

As I said in the beginning, classic and everlasting. This nostalgia is so normal for most people, and yes, getting older sucks. I wouldn’t trade my daughter or my experiences for anything because all of these years post high school has made me exactly who I am today. Still, so many regrets and things I would have done differently (and that right there is the sentence I’ve been referring to this whole time, the aging effect, where almost every human at the planet will at some point think that same thought to themselves.)

As for Canton South itself? The new building looks fantastic, way snappier than anything we had going on. Thinking back though, our old floors, walls, and classrooms had a certain character that is gone in the modern day. No, we weren’t in woodsheds or tiny houses like some Little House On The Prairie type of backhills nonsense. It’s hard to explain and I’m sorry, but all I can say is that all of that stonework, the colors and patterns, it just had character. I remember just a handful of my teachers and only fleeting images even then. I remember most of the hallways and where things were. I managed to find a couple videos people have posted on YouTube streaming their walkthrough on the final day tour, and I was watching those remembering most of the places they were filming, and associated memories with it. If I could tell myself back then that I would miss that building and remember even odd and small details in the layout and different aesthetics around the building with such sincerity, I know I wouldn’t have believed it.

Nonetheless, in retrospect, it was a good school. We never had school shootings, we never had real gang violence though there were those few dipshits that thought they were street tough, nothing ever really happened. There was rarely fights in that place, at least I don’t remember any. It was somewhat rare that we ever had police dog searches for weed in the lockers though I think I remember it was either my junior or senior year when they were setting up an office for a police officer station, and we did have some ceiling cameras though not lots. No, for the most part, it was all just teenage politics. I could write all day about random memories and experiences of my own, but nah, this is already long enough.

To end this though, I’m just going to repeat myself for an umpteenth time and say how much I do indeed miss my youth and miss those years. I had it far better than I could ever have realized. It was nice to come home to my room, have my computer handy, and my worries for the day generally involved getting my homework done (which I sometimes didn’t do), what chores I might have, and then how else I feel like burning up my day. I remember my friends, some parties I had went to, and lots of online gaming (fire up ICQ and AIM, get onto some Quake via heat.net…good times.) I mean really, so these are my worries for the day, what am I going to do today? I had the fortune of not having abusive parents, so that’s a plus. Also, while I was not popular, it’s not like I was so trodden that it had me mentally scarred or something, so all in all as I was told over and over throughout those years, it was indeed some of the best years of my life and I will always miss it just as much as I will miss attending that school. I’m very grateful that I was able to get my yearbooks. Somehow to my own surprise in hearing myself say it, in my heart I guess part of me will forever and always be a Wildcat. (I know there are countless schools in this country whose mascot is also the wildcat, but there’s them and then there’s MY Wildcats, nobody else matters.) The new building, the new mascot design, all the new teachers and new everything….I of course hope for the best for the future students from there, and short of the name I don’t know what legacy if any will remain from what was my school. I hope truly there’s something. Still, Rest In Peace Moderians…. old CSHS, you’ll never be forgotten. Neither will Mr. Nagle, Mr. Eckinger, Ms. Brothers, Mrs. Krajeck, Mr. Cairns, Mrs. Weaver, Mr. Knight, Mr. Casper. These people were good to me and I have fond memories of them.
–BitPusher

 

Time To Get Started…Again.

Posted in Uncategorized on February 22, 2018 by bitpusher2600

Just when I thought I was done.

Last year when I released Digital Bass 2017, I was certainly proud, and as it stands in my very small world, I see it as my crowning achievement. It was the bass CD I wanted to release, even the artwork came out in every way how I wanted it to be, with the only exception being that tune I called “Simple & Bassik.” It was a piece of shit because I had multiple concepts for it but nothing worked out, and I stripped it back and was going to scrap it, but hell I had something so I stuck it on there anyway. So then…

What I want to say today is simply that I was out of ideas, and ready to just quit it all for a while, maybe for good. I’ve been “at it” since 2010, and while I give my music away and do not pursue money, do not pursue live performance (namely because I really don’t want to) I have had a spread of different online presences but am still only known by people who are actual friends or family. I can accept that my music is nothing great, and I’ve never been shy about admitting that I’m not a talented composer. It has always been for fun, but there comes a point after a certain time and enough efforts that the motivation wanes and that the ideas eventually run out. I was so proud of DB2017 and thought “this is it, this is a good place to leave off and one hell of a fond memory to boot.” But something different kind of fell into place on its own.

Ever since I overcame my absolutely silly intimidation of trackers back when I finally sat down and learned how to work with LSDJ on the Gameboy, I did honestly kind of fall in love with the concept. Working with DAWs just doesn’t do it for me, never has. It made it even easier to ignore making music despite the fact it has been obsession in my life since I was a little kid. So what’s the news? I got to playing with some trackers that have been around for a long time and was just looking at them out of sheer curiosity. An already long enough story short, I discovered MilkyTracker (based on the semi-legendary Fasttracker II) and a couple minutes of toying with it and it just seemed to fit me. I was really liking it. Dropped in a couple instruments and realized holy shit, I can work with this. Because of this, I was quickly figuring out that I had capabilities with this software quite beyond anything I had ever used previously.

It’s a fact, even my best tunes with some well done sequences are still on the whole, simplistic. This is due to both my lack of composing talents, and the software. I did start afterall with an emulator and then a modded Atari 2600. 8-bit, chiptune. One thing that is absolutely paramount for someone in chiptune is understanding the principal: you are working with extremely limited hardware due to its age and design, and the object of the game is to work within those limitations and make the best of it, literally juice everything you can from that shit with clever techniques and make something small into something bigger; utilize this stuff in a way it was never designed to be. That lesson always stuck with me for better or worse. Then the software, it is naturally limited by the hardware or platform is was made for, so there’s that. A good many years with that logic, that hardwired concept, and now I dip my toes into an entirely different pool, in fact what feels like an ocean. Milky allows many, many more channels than I could ever need, and the capabilities, man I could ramble on that all day.

Here’s the facts: I am making a new album, and it feels great. I feel as if doors have been flung wide open and I can do literally anything I can conceive, and then after that, change it and add even more. Alot of limitations have been removed, and I’m liking it. The best part of all, I don’t have to dick around with a DAW and I can still do so much. If everyone has a prejudice in life, that is one of mine. I think DAWs are terribly cluttered, confusing, unintuitive, poor workflow despite their vast and likely superior capabilities, and there are things that require special efforts in DAWs that I can achieve with the flick of a switch or turn of a knob because for recording or processing I have some real hardware on hand, so no thanks. I prefer the flexibility, hands-on in-depth feel, and raw precision of a tracker any day.

It has been such a journey. Someone who didn’t know a damn thing about production starts tinkering with an Atari and doing basic recordings with little concept of mixing or composing, just winging it and trying not to record it too loud. I then learn about samples and start to learn some terminology and some basics for recording. Then I start to learn how a tracker works, and that sentence represents a somewhat difficult journey of its own and a big step for me personally. Some people can pick that shit right up, but it was a struggle for a bit to wrap my small brain around it. Next step was getting a little more serious about my production and acquiring a little equipment. From my little audio interface, then onto acquiring an actual mixing console and so on, then I find myself recording a Gameboy album and learning to actually use this stuff. I’m no studio engineer with a degree, but at the very least for a 100% unfunded, self taught and independent artist, my production has (comparatively speaking) improved ten-fold. Out comes Digital Bass 2017, properly mixed and mastered, and far better composed or at least demonstrating a little bit more substance compared to when I started. Really, anyone could tell me my music sucks, or I could go forever and the music of BitPusher never be known by anyone, and yet the experience and journey over these 8 years has been positive and progressive, a growing experience.

And just when I was ready for it to be done, this happens. I am making another step in that forward direction, another small, personal evolution and this time I wasn’t really trying for it or looking for it. I didn’t plan on falling for a new software, but it happened and it is enough to get me excited about trying again. I originally wanted to call it “Boom FREAKuencies”, but as I started to realize what was going on and how free and unrestrained I feel with this software, I am coming with a whole different angle. I’ll reveal more detail at a later time, but this album should represent my best, and the most important fact of all, since I intend it to convey my emotions, my moods, and my attitude, and my assorted tastes in electronic music, it is crucial that I present something, no matter how small it is, to be proud of with each and every track. I may not have the ability to bring something to life as amazing as the various artists that have inspired me the most, but ultimately it stands to reason that if I don’t enjoy myself, then there’s no reason to bother doing it all.

This is all relevant entirely in my own small world and my slightly delusional mind, but so be it. To quote ol’ Frankie boy: “the best is yet to come.” I want to punish my speakers a little bit and I am in the mood to kick some ass and make some noise. All in due time.

–BitPusher

What The Hell Really Is “Confidence?”

Posted in Uncategorized on January 12, 2018 by bitpusher2600

It looks like today is a day I’m simply going to go off the rails with the ol’ blog.
I started this blog for me, for BitPusher, knowing that next to nobody would ever even see it, but just because I thought it would be fun to write about the things that are “me”, namely music and technology related stuff. It’s not often I’ve gotten into deep seeded emotions or thoughts but no more than about a half an hour ago did I start thinking about writing this post, a subject that has perplexed me my whole life.

I really don’t understand the concept of confidence. A fellow I know at work once asked me if I had a wife or girlfriend, to which I promptly replied no. He asked how long, I told him about nine years. He was like “WHAT!! Damn brother.” As we talked, he pointed out that something he has seen in me ever since he’s known me is that I seem to lack confidence in myself big time. It’s more than that though, I’ve heard that statement crop up every great once in a while throughout my whole life, from a fairly young kid on. I told him that in my opinion, the whole idea of confidence is kind of bullshit. I’m not an attractive dude, I’m rather overweight, I have been extremely introverted since I was a kid, but most importantly, I’m fine with it and being confident those things aren’t true won’t make them such.

These things are not lack of esteem, and I did not just take shots at myself in any of the above statements. For example, I’ve been in these shoes and living behind these eyeballs long enough to know that I have never really turned women’s heads except away from me. I also know that I’m difficult to talk to because I generally don’t want to talk to people. It drains me very quickly. I consider myself my a bit of realist but just like the confidence thing, I’ve been called a pessimist forever too. Even my mom used to tell me when I was little “quit being so negative.” Well, whatever. I call things as I see them, and I always try my best to be prepared for worst case scenarios since at least 75% of the time things end up that way. But moving on, I’m just hashing this out in the form of text because it’s what I feel like doing. But for the record, lack of esteem in yourself represents things you hate about yourself, and I don’t hate me at all.

Confidence to me always looked like bullshit. Utter and complete hypocrisy. I believe the only part of “confidence” that makes sense to me is the root being “con” being just that, a con or at it’s best a construct. For example, I’ve heard that even people considered unattractive have won over their significant other because of the confidence they project. I call bullshit there even though I’ve seen such stories and maybe it exists, but all you really have is two suckers instead of one. First of all, let’s take singing as an example. If you have a horrible singing voice, you can be confident that you sound beautiful all day but get out there and just sing and you will find out what? You sound horrible, that’s not changing. To me, confidence at it’s best actually just represents “hopefulness” or some similar means for a self-conceived positive attitude about something negative. It is the ultimate tool for someone to make themselves feel better about something by enabling them to literally pull the wool over their own eyes.

The things that apply to the concept of confidence don’t really affect me like it probably should, maybe that’s one of the reasons I don’t get it? For example, when I said earlier that I’m not an attractive fellow because I’ve never turned heads, I’m not then at home sitting in the dark thinking “oh poor me, I’m so ugly.” Not even close, in fact with things like that, I don’t sweat it. I don’t see a need or enough value in the attention of other people that I therefore need to impress anybody, I’m far happier just being what feels natural for me.

What about accomplishing things, or confidence in one’s abilities? My music is a good example. I didn’t start making music nor build a website because I was confident I had the talent to make it somewhere and really get attention, I in fact don’t care! I’m still a nobody musician and yet my site has stood since 2010. Why? Simply because I want to. I’ll be the first the admit that my music is rather simplistic and I’m not a dedicated composer of any sort, I just do it anyway and I’m even proud of what I’ve done, by me for me. Confidence as best I can understand it has zero application in any part of this equation.

It’s not my goal today to insult anybody here and call someone a goof because they are confident in themselves, looks, abilities, or whatever else the concept can be applied to. All I’m saying is that the idea of confidence escapes me. I think it has about as much value as your everyday mass produced motivational posters. Zero. Perhaps the fault is entirely mine for being too accepting of what I see, or being too passive. It’s odd that I enjoy watching certain sports or playing video games, yet outside of that I completely lack a competitive nature. It’s that simple, I have no desire or need to compete with anybody for anything, especially for things like love. If something is meant to be, it will happen. Two times in my life (many many years in my past when I didn’t know any better despite knowing the general nature of people) I genuinely fell in love. They were both relationships that kind of fell into place, it didn’t require me to be someone I wasn’t. Nonetheless, yeah, twice. And both times I was utterly destroyed. The first time around she was fucking around with her ex, and it took a mutual friend of ours to tell me about it. The second time the woman just wanted something different but bold face lied to me the whole time, with the I love you’s and whatnot. She eventually admitted this to me, that she didn’t want me and there was nothing there. I will never forgive that (what the hell is wrong with someone that they are ok with doing that to someone) but it was yet again an important lesson I needed in the reality of humanity. I can only imagine if I tried to put up a front, pursue women I probably don’t even want to know in the first place and go down those roads all over again this time exaggerated and on purpose. No thank you.

Clearly, confidence is a concept that is not meant for me. My loose understanding of it tells me that that’s not who I am. Don’t get me wrong, I sometimes wish there was someone who cared about me and that I had those plusses of relationships, but the tradeoffs and the highly guaranteed end result is not worth the tradeoff. Then moving on I’m doing fine with my job, I still make music, I keep a roof over my head, so clearly my abilities whatever they are happen to be just adequate enough to keep me where I feel I need to be, so I don’t feel there are problems to be corrected there either. So to those who are “confident”, good luck I guess.
–BitPusher

Nerd Bumbling; My Computing History featuring Mac, DOS, Linux, BSD and FreeDOS

Posted in Uncategorized on September 19, 2017 by bitpusher2600

Hold up.
Unless you for some wild reason enjoy reading the rambles from someone you don’t know talking about himself, stop now. This will be slightly long and boring. Why am I doing it then? For some reason, I feel like pushing buttons I suppose, and thought it might be a little relaxing to just “write” for a while.

I was born in the early 80’s and something I’ve loved my whole life is computers. I was never academic, I never went to college and never got the opportunity to work in the I.T. field. Still, I’ve been around a few blocks over the years and no matter what anyone could say, I’m proud of the things I’ve experienced. Just out of nostalgia, I know I’ve written once or twice about the beginning for me, Apple. It’s unfortunate that while Apple is a completely different company than what they were “back in the day”, one stereotype has always been prevalent is that the Apple lover is among the lowest on the technical competency scale. I always believed I was an exception to this rule and I’ll explain why. For starters, let’s start with passion. I always had the unfortunate and slightly ridiculous habit of forming emotional attachment and concern for technology that I use which so happens to bring some sense of happiness or joy to my life. My mom used to have to make me go outside to play when I was a kid because if I was left to my own devices, I would stay inside playing video games or playing with my computer. Still, I always felt like my machines were a close friend and even had a soul, which is funny since the idea of a “soul” is something I don’t actually believe in. Like I said, ridiculous.

Still, I went to school every day ready to geek out at any opportunity. I was actually happy that my floppy disks were “Mac formatted” in that time before Macs could read PC formatted disks. I was a big fan of Steve Jobs, and I still revere him as someone important to me, someone who impacted my life. Mind you, we’re talking before I was even a teenager. So back to technical competency. Even at my pre-teen ages, I was already the definition of a “power user.” I understood what file sizes and directory structures were all about, I understood every one of my system extensions and had a few third party ones I used. I could zip around my old Macs quickly because I understood and used a small smattering of keyboard shortcuts. By 6th grade I was an extremely proficient touch typist too 🙂 So, that said I was briefly in the camp of Mac vs PC, but then again my dad had certainly been thru more than a couple computers and I so happened to have a good working knowledge of DOS and Windows For Workgroups 3.11 by the time I made it to 13 years old. I had a basic understanding of what config.sys and autoexec.bat did, and how to mess with them. Of course, between both systems, I had stupid numbers of hours in on games. I had mountains of shareware disks and collections when that was a thing, and there were some games I somehow figured out how to crack with a hex editor that so happened to store registration keys in plain text within the executable.

I use this word again; ridiculous. Seriously, most guys by the time they hit their early teenage years have developed an interest in something like sports, but me? Nerd. Maybe it was evident when I was around the ages of 5 or 6 when of course I loved watching cartoons, but also was relaxed to watch Bob Ross on TV, and was fascinated with Star Trek Next Generation and Max Headroom. My mom used to tell me that she couldn’t understand how such a young kid could me mesmerized by stuff like that.

So, to move on, yes by high school I had a thorough understanding of DOS and absurd loyalty and love for the Macintosh. The world had moved on, we were looking at Windows 98 and Windows 2000 and I still used DOS on occasion when I would fire up the old PC just because those games were awesome. I remember sinking a lot of time into Ultima 6, Eternam, and Jazz Jackrabbit in particular. So, high school rolls around and my machine is a blue bubble shelled iMac. For most of my high school career, I was pretty much all Apple again. It wasn’t until after high school my interests in other things developed. I was working for an office cleaning company and one of the guys whose office I was cleaning happened to be working late. I don’t remember what brought up computer talk, but we started talking tech and he mentioned something to me about Linux. I hadn’t heard even heard of it, and please keep in mind this is still a time when the internet wasn’t 100% daily life like it is for us all now. There was local Linux users group that met once a month at this old school building turned storage and he invited me to it. There, I was introduced to an eclectic group of guys, mostly older adults, I think me and a friend of mine I ended up bringing were in fact the youngest guys there. These men were all I.T. guys or hobbyists like I never knew. A few of these guys were Red Hat men, some were Mandrake, one was a Debian fanatic. The first time I saw one of these guys boot up their machines, I’m watching the kernel output at boot flashing across the screen and man that shit was mind blowing. I felt slightly overwhelmed and thought I was well in over my head trying to hang around these guys. They were all so awesome and friendly though. Finally, I brought in a PC I had laying around and they helped me pick my first distro: Mandrake. They felt it was easiest for the new comer and back in that era, it was definitely touted as one of the easiest to pick up and use Linux distros around.

Discovering that group set a whole new direction of geekdom in motion for me. I had only just started understanding the basics of using this system before I wanted to try others. Over the course of a couple years, I had been thru Mandrake, Red Hat, Suse, and during that experimental stage, one I used for a good while was called TurboLinux. So flash forward just a bit and here I am at about 22 years old. I was getting very serious about Linux and was rarely using my Mac because one, it was out of date big time. Two, I was becoming passionate about open source software and how awesome Linux was. I decided I wanted to make it a mission to establish some self-imagined geek credit and tried one of the distros that was considered top level advanced at the time, and that was Slackware. I can only say that to a new comer to Linux, it would be intimidating and it could be viewed as the opposite of user friendly. That folks is a myth. It just requires you to like text instead of icons for administrating your system. With the help of a guy who was my closest friend at the time, I built my first computer tower from scratch. The mobo was an MSI, the processor was the new AMD Athlon XP 2200+, it had 1.5GB of ram which at the time was kind of big, and an Nvidia Geforce 2 TI. The case of that tower had this kind of neon plexiglass lining die cut on the front which was clear but had slightly purple hue. It was over the drive bays in separate cuts, and the led lights for the power button and power on indicator were white. The tower was a sort of dark silver/gray that was a little more shiny, but somewhat like Apple calls “space gray” nowadays. The left side had a plexiglass opening so you could see the hardware inside and it had two blacklight bars inside across the top and bottom which made it flashy and attractive. Oh, about the front. It had a pair of clear tubes with led lights behind them that slowly transitioned across a multitude of colors and inside the tubes were water that made small bubbles spin around inside when the machine was on. It was sort of unique and kind of stupid by any standards, but I thought it was badass. I also had one of my Linux friends acquire a metallic and kind of bubble-dome Slackware case badge for it. It was a point of real pride for me.

I ran Slackware for many years. I was out of the Apple camp a good while before all that anyway because Steve Jobs had announced the switch to Intel not to mention the death of OS 9 which I loved very, very much. I didn’t like the look and feel of this new “OS X”, so I was kind of done anyway. So yeah, me and Slackware. I was extremely fond of the GNUstep tools and the WindowMaker environment, it was for the most part the only GUI I used for most of those years, and believe me I tried many of them. I also considered it a “fun” activity to tweak out TWM (tab window manager.) The most basic and borderline useless GUI you can use on a Linux system right? I had tweaked out scripts and really modified the hell out of TWM’s configuration….just for fun. What’s wrong with me? Another example of fun? I wanted to go a full month in pure text mode. No graphic interface, sort of. I never once fired up the X environment, and made it a point to do my word processing in VIM, used BitchX for an IRC client, used mplayer via console to watch movies and whatnot, LINKS for web browsing, and so on. I was ripping and burning lots of CDs, download music from FTP servers, and just all kinds of fun stuff strictly in text mode. Again, what the hell is wrong with me right?

I eventually came into a used dual G4 PowerMac for dirt cheap that had some issue with it’s power button. Once the machine was powered on and then shut down, I would have to unplug it and plug it back in before it could be turned on again. I never knew what that was about, but what the hell, that was the only problem with it. I started using it and making myself get familiar with OS X. I also started using this G3 tower I had picked up for OS 9 because I was really, really missing my old Mac OS. The convenience of the new stuff though was starting to grow on me. I guess my tinkering and learning phase was starting to slow down. I was in a relationship at the time too and didn’t have as much time to sit and bury myself in man pages and web forums, then again in this same era I hardly needed too since I knew how to compile my own kernels and was thoroughly proficient in Slackware. Something else I’ve written about on occasion is my obsession with music from again, a small child. The 3rd generation iPod had just came out and I never much about portable music players prior. The same friend who had helped me build my tower all those years ago ended up selling me his long story short. I was thrilled to death about the notion of being able to carry thousands of tunes in my pocket. This of course absolutely required a Mac. While there many projects starting to emerge to be able to copy music to an iPod via Linux, it was a nightmare for me and I never got that shit to work.

That pretty much brought me back into Apple’s ecosystem but I wasn’t completely done yet. I still loved Slackware but wanted to try even more things. Here came FreeBSD. I remember the old user group when a couple guys talked about BSD but nobody there was into using it. The first time I fired it up, I had a blank console and the Linux shit I knew didn’t really apply there at all. I hit something on my keyboard that type an honest to goodness triangle on the screen instead of a letter, when I tried to clear it, it somehow got locked in a loop like hitting the enter key and the stupid triangle rose up and off the screen. This is still a memory I laugh about. Here I am trying a new system, and i’m typing fucking triangles that fly off the screen. I was like, NOPE. Whatever the hell this system is, it ain’t for me. I gave up for I think a year or so before I wanted to try BSD one more time. Something about the name and reputation intrigued me similar to Slackware, it was somewhat intimidating to me and that drove me to want to try again because I said to myself “I was able to conquer Slackware, I can do this too.” Looking back I still don’t know what was up with that triangle thing. Anyway, I had burned another disc and tried again. My buddy happened to have a physical copy of the FreeBSD handbook which if you know anything at all about FreeBSD, that thing was big enough to break thru a car window with if you threw it hard enough. Once you find what you need and take it slowly, it’s actually clear and concise. Keep in mind this is all user land stuff for me. Linux and BSD. Other than configuring my network adapter, I wouldn’t know the first thing in either system about setting up and configuring a network of multiple machines. Zilch, zero, nada. Still, long story short I got thru it and figured out how to set up a FreeBSD machine enough to make it usable. I got my video card working properly, I got my sound working, had an X environment with WindowMaker, I was set to go there. The package management system is the best thing I had ever experienced hands down. Unlike the years I had spent with Slackware where I mostly installed binaries and sometimes had to compile my packages, this time I didn’t have to track down and fight with dependencies. FreeBSD is so tightly structured and it solves that shit on it’s own thanks to the ports tree. No more compiling kernels for me to update my system. I can update my FreeBSD system and all the packages on it in just a couple commands. It really just works.

As awesome as that all was, I was still firmly back into the Apple camp again. At this point, I had a new obsession in my life, and it’s name was BlackBerry. I lived and breathed Research In Motion. My first blog online was entirely managed from my BlackBerry and I did tons of writing on those. I still have all of my BlackBerrys I’ve ever owned except one, the Blackberry Storm 2. That was my first touch screen phone and I hated it, I had ended up selling that to a guy I was working with. I then made it my mission I suppose to make the smartphone my mobile computer as best I could. I did everything possible and trudged thru some shit on occasion to do as little on my actual computer and do everything as much as possible on my smartphone. Toward the end of my BlackBerry days, I even did my taxes a couple years via TurboTax on my BlackBerry. Those devices. I called them my third appendage and my best friend. When Windows Phone 7 was first introduced, that was when some big changes were going on. BlackBerry 10 was out and they were shifting to Android. I had briefly tried an Android device, the Motorola Droid X2, and I hated that shit. I don’t know what it was but I hated Android. It was still considered the least secure mobile operating system in the market at this point too. I was going thru the same thing with BlackBerry that I had with Mac OS 9, they were transitioning to new things, and the classic stuff that I loved so dearly was being killed off. So, here came Windows Phone 7. In all my years one thing that was constant is that I hated Microsoft, and the only thing they ever had that I loved was MS-DOS. Me and a guy I worked with were hanging out one day and were at the mall looking at phones. I got to play with Windows Phone for the first time hands on ended up leaving with one. I was intrigued by this sharp, pretty interface with these floating tiles, dark themed OS, and gorgeous print. Seriously, I loved the font Microsoft used for that. Anyway, it was so new and so drastically different and it was the first thing after many years of BlackBerry loyalty to pull me away from that. I was honestly kind of in shock that I was attracted to something Windows. It was tricky since my computer was a Mac. You’d think I would’ve went iPhone, but at first glance it reminded me too much of Android and I thought the static “pages of icons” thing was boring anyway. By the next year when I was due for an upgrade, I tried an iPhone, the new iPhone 4. I had for a couple days and decided to take advantage of the return policy and got myself another Windows Phone. I was crazy about Windows Phone. I remained loyal for a good while. Windows 8 had come out and whereas a lot of people seemed to hate it, I already had a fair amount of time in with my Nokia, and had become extremely fond of the clean, tile interface those had. That made me do something I couldn’t believe; I acquired and installed Windows 8 on my PC. I thoroughly loved it because it was the perfect match to my Windows Phone. The support for it app wise was becoming less and less. I wanted to do a lot more shit on my device than I was able to with Windows Phone, and then I dropped out of the dream. I ended up getting an iPhone and I’ve stuck with that since. I still think it has a boring interface for the most part, but by this time, the world knew about Google’s shady privacy and data mining policies, the shit that most people who buy an Android phone just click “I agree” on. Yeah yeah, all big tech companies in the here and now mine you, but for what purpose? Google’s own (former) CEO described Google as “a marketing and advertising company first, a products and services company second.” I absolutely refuse to sit and get into an argument with people about this. Simply put, I never liked Google and even before I knew much of anything about them, I did not like Android whatsoever. Speaking as to right here and now, I’ve gotten so used to the iPhone that I’m content with it. My job requires me to have a smartphone handy as it’s tied into my company’s email system, calendars, notes, and so on. Everything is so smooth and convenient, so I don’t think much about it. I suppose in retrospect, if Windows Phone had done a lot better in the market and had the same mainstream support that iPhone and Android have, I might very well still be using it. Still, the past is the past and I’m happy where I am.

I still use FreeBSD from time to time on my PC tower, but mostly it (was) my Mac Mini and nowadays my present MacBook Pro. I do want to share however that in 2010 when I first discovered chiptune and wanted to start making my own, I was rolling with the Atari 2600 right? I’ve wrote about that on this very blog, how I first got into it and how just tinkering and screwing around evolved into my first tune, which then evolved into “BitPusher” and so on. My first EP and LP (Pixelize The System and Modus Operandi) were recorded on my FreeBSD machine. I try to keep myself up to date with FreeBSD, but hell, I am 100% Apple nowadays. I miss the old days terribly, and have genuinely emotional and fond memories, just lots of love. All my years have given me small mountains of knowledge. If you honestly have read all of this, I would hope there’s some fleeting piece of evidence that not all Apple users are simply mindless “sheeple” who are largely incompetent when it comes to advanced computing topics. I use a Mac and an iPhone and yet can fully administrate a Slackware or BSD machine. I choose Apple nowadays because yes it is simplistic, everything works seamlessly and smoothly and I appreciate those things. I will never be convinced either that Windows is superior to the BSD system that powers MacOS, and thanks to MacPorts I can even prove the further extensibility of MacOS beyond just the graphic interface. Just like myself as a kid who was proficient in the underpinnings of the classic Macintosh, I understand MacOS and can have some fun with it’s BSD underpinnings, so thanks for that built-in console there Apple.

Lol. To quote some classic Jobs; there’s still one more thing…that I want to ramble about. My fairly recent discovery of FreeDOS. Having loved DOS most of my life, believe me I am a loyal user of DOSbox. I once in a while crave those old DOS games and just so much enjoy re-living moments of my youth. It was only earlier this year that I discovered FreeDOS. The idea that DOS is still around, still being developed as is software for it as well, that completely blows my mind. I was stoked suffice it to say. Excluding DOSbox I suppose, one thing I have always hated is the idea of virtualization and am the same way with my chiptune. I have not just a strong preference for, but some sense of self confidence and pride in the fact that I work on the real hardware, rather than using a DAW and MIDI to make chip music. Likewise with computers. Now, using real DOS on modern hardware is sufficiently tricky and most of the time a failure for me, so that’s my case for DOSbox because it’s the only way I know of to get that stuff to really work short of buying and ancient machine which I honestly don’t want to deal with. But enter FreeDOS. I still am confounded and surprised big time at the idea of a modern DOS, that runs on modern hardware. I completely re-did my present PC tower and now dual boot between FreeBSD and FreeDOS. I am absolutely in love. Having modern memory management, the ability to use incredibly large hard drives, big plus. So far however, I have not had any success getting my network adapter working, because while FreeDOS has abilities MS-DOS never had, I’m kind of stuck because of no driver support. Likewise, sound card support is a problem too since my machine has integrated Intel HDA and there’s no driver support for it for DOS. Excluding those things though, it is rather amazing. It has successfully run every game and a few other things I have thrown at it as well and does it perfectly. I just kind of smile thinking that I have a relatively modern machine and this OS can be ran on it and do a good job at that. Modern alternatives to himem.sys and emm386.exe, that is just something I almost can’t wrap my head around. I am in love with FreeDOS but saddened big time by the limitations I am facing, the biggest of all of course being zero sound support. Playing those classic games in silence completely sucks and I just hope that Jim Hall and the people who continue to develop FreeDOS figure out some sort of support for that. As for internet, I am ok without it. I just so happen to have hardware that doesn’t have driver support. Still, there are graphical web browsers that are written for DOS, so if you are thinking it would be some text-mode only option available because “it’s DOS”, you would mistaken. It is possible to play movies and music, browse the web with a proper graphical internet browser and so much more. I just really want to say this again: I am in love with the very existence of FreeDOS, and I will continue to follow and support the project as best I can, and maybe someday they will fix these issues. They sort of advertise right on their homepage how great it is for playing classic DOS games and using classic software, not to mention that there’s NEW software being written out there for it. On the whole, it’s still plenty usable now, and of course it strokes my nostalgia big time because dude, it’s freaking DOS.

That all pretty much brings me up to date, and this has been my journey from the early 80’s as a child to right now. I don’t know for sure what will exist and where I’ll be let’s say 10 years from now, but yeah, as it stands i’m an Apple man, a FreeBSD man, and as odd as it sounds, a DOS man too. I am 100% sure nobody will ever read this shit because who would really want to? It felt good to just think back and write for a while, this is how I chose to relax. Take care all, and I want to give a fond and heartfelt nod to the many people across our globe who maintain and support FreeBSD and FreeDOS.

Good night.
–BitPusher

dosforever

Reminiscing: Young MC

Posted in Uncategorized on July 31, 2017 by bitpusher2600

I generally keep it music on my blog and that’s what I’m feeling like talking about today. I felt like giving a shout and some love to Young MC.

Anyone old enough to remember him? The guy was never one of my top 5 or something but I have a certain fondness for the dude because more by coincidence than anything his music has been a part of my whole life.

Everyone has heard “Bust A Move” when it was new and popular. That particular song, I actually did not like it at all. That aside, I have written in the past about the music aspect of my childhood, from being able to recite “Jam On It” at the age of four to how I was obsessed with certain groups and having a huge collection of cassettes before I had even reached 12 years old. The album with “Bust A Move” was called Stone Cold Rhymin’ and it came out in ’89, which makes me approximately 7 years old.  My mom was careful about what she would let me buy if she could help it, trying to keep away tapes with parental advisory stickers, let alone having a cousin with alot of music and letting me borrow stacks of tapes to boot.

This one was considered a mainstream release at the time and mom got it for me. I listened to Young MC’s album on the regular, often fast forwarding thru just a couple of tunes including the famous Bust A Move. I liked the guy and the music, and what do you expect from a 7 year old kid?

I guess he had done some other music after that but I didn’t know about it until I was about 13 (the album had already been out for a while) but I came across another Young MC album called “What’s The Flavor?” and picked it up having had some sort of a connection with him in the past. Again, there would be just a couple of tracks I would fast forward thru but most of the album I liked…alot. East Coast hiphop was getting harder and  more boom-bap at this point in the time and the beats on this album were sick.

Now, I hadn’t seen or heard anything from Young MC for years after that. Me being me, I would occasionally in the course of a year go back and listen to those songs. I had acquired them both on CD by junior high so they were around. Then I flash forward to the year I graduated high school, 2000. He had a brand new release I spotted by sheer coincidence at Best Buy for $10. I remember feeling almost confused because as much as hiphop had changed by 2000 (and in my opinion mainstream had it going down the toilet) I thought Young MC was long gone from music, plus he wouldn’t exactly be so young anymore anyway. Nonetheless, I remember looking over the tracks and case artwork for a minute and without a doubt whatsoever had to buy it. I remember thinking it was so cool to have something new from someone so “old school” to me personally. I had a system in my car too so I was banging that album for a bit. Felt good to have a childhood connection like that.

Finally, history repeats itself a little. He had an album in 2008 called “Relentless.” I didn’t know he did more after that 2000 release but by this point it was 2010, my ex had already been broke up with me for a while and I was at the music shop browsing the used stuff. *Footnote: this was the same year my BitPusher2600 persona was still just a tinkerer’s idea in the back of my head, and it was in fact “BitPusher2600” instead of BitPusher because I had barely any ambition of creating much of my own music anyway let alone did I forsee myself going past making a couple Atari 2600 chiptunes. Fortunately, BitPusher2600 evolved into BitPusher and now I’ve done all kinds of cool shit 🙂 So back to the story, there sits this relatively new album for a whopping $5. I pulled it out of the case and looked at the year, and just like with that 2000 release it was a “what the hell?” kind of moment and I bought it. Talk about sounding different, it was musically rather modern, lyrically it still had that style Young MC has always had. It also struck me as crazy that his voice sounds very similar to how he sounded in ’89. I like this album. Once again, now a full grown adult with a baby and here’s a new Young MC release. Damn.

So yeah, there’s my story for today. My biggest obsessions from the youngest age up with hiphop were Kurtis Blow, Kool Moe Dee, 3rd Bass, KRS and BDP, and Public Enemy. Hands down. But Young MC was someone I liked listening to that managed to randomly pop up by absolute coincidence a total of four completely separate stages of growth and life. Childhood, early teen, high school graduate, and full grown adult with a kid of his own. So as I said before, I’ll always have a certain fondness for the guy. Hell, I wish I could do a track with him, wouldn’t that be some bizarre irony.

So yeah, long life and good health to my man Young MC. Thank you.

  –BitPusher

Wasting Space On DeviantArt

Posted in Uncategorized on July 4, 2017 by bitpusher2600

Hello world.

Just wanted to drop a quick mention on my blog that I am now a member at DeviantArt, where I am just experimenting and having a little fun creating pixel and glitch garbage. That’s right, a total shit fest, and it strikes me as odd that people can look at pixelized or glitched imagery and call it “art.” Don’t get me wrong, I like it. I was born in the early 80’s afterall, so I grew up with the earliest home computers and video game consoles. I remember when things would crash and distort. I think it looks cool as shit, but to call it “art” I don’t understand. Nonetheless, I’m very occasionally crafting up some extremely craptastic stuff and keeping a little image library of my own. Come on over and visit my assorted “galleries” at:

BitPusher2600.deviantart.com

In the meantime, if I can ever get my motivation back I need to continue work on my 2nd Gameboy album. I have five different WIP’s sitting on that cartridge barely begun but enough to get rolling on, yet I can’t get motivated. I wish I could understand why I’m like this. I struggle with efficiency when it comes to tracking, but I love LSDJ and even feel good when I’m cranking out sounds within it. There’s just that taking time to stop everything and actually pick up the damn Gameboy and begin. Then of course there’s distractions out of the blue just like this one. Tinkering with digital crap art. Hey, on the brightside everything I’m doing is at least original or original ideas.

Thanks for tuning in.
–BitPusher