Trivial Posts #28: The Golden Sample, Some Sapphires, and A Diamond Rio

In a week where I did a last-minute trip to New York, looked at the iPhone camera lens, and remembered the horrors of Bros’ ‘Push’ album, the internet kept me relatively sane with links and stories aplenty. Here are some of those stories. You can sign up to have this posted out to you every week, subscribe to the newsletter version here.

Ken Doesn’t Need The Bros Reunion

What happened to Craig Logan, the original bassist in Bros? Turns out that he’s quite happy to not be famous, but ended up with a huge career in the Music industry. Ian Burrell finds out what happened next to Smash Hits’ Ken:

He refers to Bros now as “my crazy little, funny little pop band”. Still, while most of the American superstars he works with have never heard of what was once a British cultural phenomenon, Logan also says of his days as an artist that he does not “regret it for a millisecond”. That includes the recollection of playing Wembley in 1988 and spotting Eric Clapton in the front of the audience with his family. “I remember thinking, ‘God, he’s going to think I’m shit’. It was enough to give me the heebie-jeebies.” A framed photograph on the wall of his villa shows him in silhouette on stage with Bros, although he has chosen an arty shot that makes him barely recognisable. “It’s the only one I put up because no one can tell who it is.”

I Never Wanted To Be Famous

One Song To The Sample Of Another

Thanks to the rise of sampling in the music industry, there’s a veritable goldmine of moments to choose from. So why do so many tracks end up using ‘Amen, Brother’? David Goldenberg investigates for FiveThirtyEight:

There’s one song that’s been sampled far more than any other, according to one measure. The website, whose audience obsessively tracks what’s sampled, says that a 1960s track called “Amen, Brother” by The Winstons is the most-sampled track in history, and it’s not particularly close. By its count, more than 2,000 songs have sampled a particular drum beat from “Amen, Brother” that’s now known as the Amen Break.

It Only Takes Six Seconds To Hear The World’s Most Sampled Song

We Can Remember Him For You

Reading like a Charlie Brooker script from Black Mirror, Casey Newton tells the story of Eugenia Kuyda and her quest to build a ‘bot that recreated her deceased friend Roman Mazurenko through a mix of texts, messages, and digital footprints:

As she grieved, Kuyda found herself rereading the endless text messages her friend had sent her over the years — thousands of them, from the mundane to the hilarious. She smiled at Mazurenko’s unconventional spelling — he struggled with dyslexia — and at the idiosyncratic phrases with which he peppered his conversation. Mazurenko was mostly indifferent to social media — his Facebook page was barren, he rarely tweeted, and he deleted most of his photos on Instagram. His body had been cremated, leaving her no grave to visit. Texts and photos were nearly all that was left of him, Kuyda thought.

…Reading Mazurenko’s messages, it occurred to Kuyda that they might serve as the basis for a different kind of bot — one that mimicked an individual person’s speech patterns. Aided by a rapidly developing neural network, perhaps she could speak with her friend once again.

Speak, Memory

Can You Use The Diamond Rio MP3 Player Today?

Ars Technica’s Andrew Williams digs out the eighteen year old Diamond Rio MP3 player (base specifications, 32 MB of musical storage) to see just how well it works with today’s technology.

The root of the problem highlights how our relationships with our computers have changed in the last 20 years. Windows couldn’t see the Rio PMP300 because the software wasn’t just looking for the player, it was looking for the player exclusively on the LPT1 parallel port. Windows 10 is designed to let its users be virtually clueless and get on just fine nonetheless. Windows versions of old were not nearly so idiot-proof, much as Microsoft might have tried to sell us that exact idea way back when.

Kids, you’ve never had it so good…

Can This Classis 18-Year-Old MP3 Player Still Cut It?

The Best? There Are Other Lessons To Learn

Some uplifting words from Ross Craig on why you should always be learning from people in your field, especially those who you see as being bad:

So if a terrible sitcom comes onto my screen, or a terrible YouTube video appears on my Facebook feed, or a comedian I’d leap into a river to avoid listening to crops up on Mock The Week?—?they’ve done something well.

The end product? Bad.

Getting it to the stage where I could notice it? Good.

Why You Need To Learn From The Worst


American television runs at 29.97 frames per second. Matt Parker attempts to explain why…

Say hello to the Scottish Geek Network.

Pokemon Go, three months later.

What Have I Been Up To

As I mentioned last week, I decided to fly to New York at around thirty hours notice to see a baseball game (the Giants/Mets wild card sudden-death game). So that was flying out Tuesday, game on Wednesday, home on Thursday, and a bundle of meetings in the gaps.

Writing took at bit of a back seat, but I still had time to look at the importance of Facebook’s Messenger Lite application for basic Android smartphones, and Apple’s use of lower-quality sapphire crystal in the iPhone camera lens.

Later this year I’ll be attending the Web Summit (Lisbon 7-10 November 2016), and TechCrunch’s Disrupt London (5-6 December 2016). Next year’s plans include attending SXSW (Austin, 10-20 March 2017). If you want to meet up at any of these events, let me know.

‘Trivial Posts’ is a mostly weekly series of posts that brings together interesting posts, ideas, video clips, essays, images, and anything else that catches my eye on the Internet. Read it online, or subscribe to the email newsletter version here.