new dream theater album – black clouds & silver linings

•March 13, 2009 • 2 Comments


March 13, 2009

New York, NY:

Progressive metal veterans DREAM THEATER have announced BLACK CLOUDS & SILVER LININGS as the title of their tenth studio album. The band commenced work on the album – their second for Roadrunner Records, following up 2007’s Systematic Chaos — in October of last year. Roadrunner will release the record on June 23. In addition to the standard version CD, the album will also be available on vinyl LP, as well as a 3-disc Special Edition CD that will include the full album, a CD of instrumental mixes of the album and a CD of six cover songs, the titles of which will be revealed at a later date. Six weeks prior to the June 23 street date, Roadrunner will release one cover song per week through digital retailers. Drummer Mike Portnoy and guitarist John Petrucci are once again at the helm as producers, while Paul Northfield mixed the record. The band will embark on a world tour in support of the album beginning in Europe throughout June which will be followed by the second edition of the band’s PROGRESSIVE NATION tour featuring Zappa Plays Zappa, Pain Of Salvation and Beardfish throughout North America in July/August. A video for the first single, “A Rite of Passage” will be shot in late March.

The track listing for BLACK CLOUDS & SILVER LININGS is as follows:

1. A Nightmare to Remember

2. A Rite of Passage

3. Wither

4. The Shattered Fortress

5. The Best of Times

6. The Count of Tuscany


Holy Crap. Can’t Wait.


albums which have had a significant influence on me…

•March 6, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Here are a couple of my favourite albums which I was blown away by the first time I heard them.  It was (in many ways) the inspiration I got from these albums which helped me become the kind of guitar player and songwriter I am today.

These albums are listed by date of release.


In the Court of the Crimson King – 1969 – King Crimson


Led Zeppelin II – 1969 – Led Zeppelin


Harvest – 1972 – Neil Young

200px-wishyouwerehere-300Wish You Were Here – 1975 – Pink Floyd


Permanent Waves – 1980 – Rush


Master of Puppets – 1986 – Metallica


Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness – 1995 – Smashing Pumpkins


OK Computer – 1997 – Radiohead


Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory – 1999 – Dream Theater


Fear of a Blank Planet – 2007 – Porcupine Tree

ascii periodic table

•February 3, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Here is an extremely simple periodic table that I came across while surfing the web. Now I’m sure that you could find a more complete and ultimately better table and really my interests do not include chemistry and I rarely find myself in need of a periodic table of elements. The main reason I am posting this is because I have a soft spot for plain-text websites which are defiantly retro. Just take a look at the source, you won’t see too many <tr> or <td> tags.

Retro ASCII Periodic Table

when beer and mathematics unite

•January 26, 2009 • Leave a Comment

This is a very interesting article I came across which presents a model in which the head on top of a glass of beer degenerates. Immediate observation would suggest that the decline is certainly not linear, probably more logarithmic than anything.  However no physicist would be happy with such a vague distribution description so the author goes through step by step deriving an equation.  Of course the model is in itself complex I really enjoyed the thought process and mathematical steps.

This is the opening of the post. Sort of an abstract.

“When you pour a beer, there is this foamy top called the head. The size of the head decreases over time. What is this process dependent on? Clearly, little bubbles of beer are popping. Does each bubble have an equal probability of popping? Do only the bubbles on the top (or bottom) pop? I became aware of this idea from a colleague. Maybe he was going to do an analysis, but I haven’t seen it yet. If you do (Gerard), I am sorry for doing this before you. This may have been investigated before, but in the spirit of re-doing everything I have not searched for previous beer head studies.”

Read the post here.

Modeling the head of a beer – By. Rhett Allain

Penrose Tiles Applet

•January 15, 2009 • Leave a Comment

This is a really cool applet that was put together by University of Waterloo professor Criag Kaplan. Very fun to play around with, so give it a try.

Penrose Tiles Wikipedia Entry
Penrose Tiles Applet

XHTML… more than just a suggestion

•January 13, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Lets face it, the majority of programmers end up working on some kind of web development throughout their careers, so lets do everyone a favor and get it done correctly. HTML may be extremely easy to learn and apply, however, what many people don’t realize is that they don’t actually use the markup language syntactically correctly. That many of there statements are not acceptable under the specifications of HTML but it is rather the browser in which the code is interpreted in is correcting their mistakes. This has basically degenerated HTML into an extremely messy language with a very loose specification.

Enter XHTML.

Don’t worry, there is hope.  USE XHTML. XHTML can do everything HTML can do, in fact it is essentially the same language except it cleans up some of the messiness. It adds a set of stricter rules such as: case-sensitivity,  and requires the proper opening, closing, and nesting of all tags. This makes the page much easier to read and understand.

Guitar Hero / Rockband vs. “The Real Thing”

•January 12, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Over the past few years the video game industry has been flooded by all of these “music and rhythm” genre games. No one can deny that some of  these games are quite enjoyable, but there is an ongoing debate on whether unleashing these games on the public has had a negative or positive effect on the rock genre or music in general.

  1. Lots of rock artists condemn the game for being a complete waste of time and hours should not be spent mastering a fake plastic guitar. They claim that people who play these games do so in replacement of the real thing. Kids see how easy it is to play a song on Guitar Hero and then don’t bother trying to learn it for real  since its much more difficult.
  2. The other side would argue that these games are good because they spread awareness of rock. Lets face it, how else are 12 or 13 year olds going to be exposed to bands like The Who or Cream? Getting kids exciting about bands such as these will then encourage kids to “follow in the footsteps of their rock and roll forefathers”.

Those are essentially the two main arguments in this discussion, this is where I stand:

I would be more for the second of the two choices because of the awareness it spreads. A lot of artists I listen to do not have too much commercial success and rarely see any kind of airplay. However these artists are all usually very technically proficient, which fits perfectly for a challenging Rockband track. So when these bands finally start landing tracks on these games they get A LOT of needed promotion. Having said that I wouldn’t invest too much time on either Guitar Hero or Rockband because spending excessive amounts of time on a real guitar is much more fruitful then memorizing “Through the Fire and the Flames” on expert in GH.