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October 2010

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This is probably the oddest post title on my site. For those who don’t know what it means, they are the names of the artists behind three of the best albums of the year. In a time where it seems really good music is hard to come by, I consider myself blessed to come across three awesome albums that all came out within just a few months of each other. I almost experienced music overload. What makes these albums even better is that they are nothing alike. For those who say all hip hop sounds the same, I challenge you to listen to these three albums and tell me that afterwards. There is something for everyone on this list. I’m not going to give detailed reviews of the albums, I just want to talk about why they are great and why you should buy them. First up is Kno’s Death is Silent.

For those unfamiliar with the name Kno, you might recognize him as the excellent producer behind the group CunninLynguists. Kno has largely stayed absent from the mic on the last couple CunninLynguists albums choosing to hone his production skills to near perfect quality. Death is Silent finds Kno’s trademarked sample-heavy production painting a dark backdrop over the best lyrics we’ve heard from him to date. The only problem with the album is that sometimes the rapping doesn’t live up to the excellent composition behind it. Also, this is a much darker album from what we’ve previously heard from CunninLynguists, so be prepared to get sucked in to a dark place (which isn’t a bad thing as you feel like you’re part of a really good story). I really can’t describe what this album is, other than close to being perfect. This is one of those albums that you can turn off the lights and listen from beginning to end over and over and over. Each time you listen you pick up on something new. It’s an experience that will never end. Make sure you pick up this album now.

The next album is from QN5 newcomer Kokayi. To be perfectly honest, I had never heard of Kokayi before his signing to QN5. He was nominated for Best Urban/Alternative Performance in the 51st Annual Grammys, but I’ve not watched the Grammys in years (and really don’t intend on starting again). He joined QN5 in April of 2009 and I’ve been waiting to hear something from him ever since. Was the wait worth it? Yes! Kokayi’s Robots & Dinosaurs is undeniably one of my favorite albums to come out in years. What sets it apart from other hip hop albums is that Kokayi is able to meld genres to make an amalgam of good music. He’s hip hop, he’s rock, he’s soul. This album contains something for everyone. If you are a fan of good music, you will love this album. Best of all, you can order a Paleo-Pack of his album that includes a bunch of goodies to go with the fantastic music or you can listen and purchase the digital album here.

The last album on my list is a side project from Substantial. The album is called Substantial & Marcus D are Bop Alloy. The album can easily be defined as Jazz Hop. It is a great album utilizing the smooth flows of Substantial on top of excellent Jazz production by Marcus D. This is one of those albums that you can sit back and listen and get lost in the music. You would think this duo would have been making music together for years, but that’s not true. This is their first album together and if all their music together is this good I hope there will be many more albums in the years to come. Not to say anything bad about Substantial’s previous works because they are all good, but I think this is his best to date. He has definitely evolved as an emcee and this album shows it. If you’re a fan of Jazz and a fan of hip hop, make sure you support the artists and buy their album.

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I’m going to participate in Movember again this year. If you don’t know what Movember is, it is an annual, month-long celebration of the mustache, highlighting men’s health issues – specifically prostate and testicular cancer. Starting November 1st participants start growing their ‘staches. Movember is all about changing the face of men’s health, hence the growing of a mustache. Last year I went with the classic Fu Manchu and on November 30th I ended up with what you see below (it’s horrible, I know).

This year I’m going to try for the handlebar. Because this is such a daunting task to do in a month I’ve decided not to shave completely on October 31st. It’s cheating a bit but I’d like to see if I can get a nice handlebar by November 30th. You will be able to watch my progress on Daily Booth, just like last year.

When the contest starts on November 1st, please think about donating.

Proposition A jeopardizes the funding of critical services including fire and police protection, street repair, park maintenance, after-school programs, services for seniors including senior nutrition, transportation, cultural attractions and even restaurant health inspections.

I love Gmail. I think it is the best webmail interface out of any of the major providers. This is why, along with great spam protection, I decided to set Google Apps for domains up on some of my domains. After several years using Google Apps with some of my domains, I think it’s time to call it quits.

Google Apps has grown by leaps and bounds and they really consider themselves an alternative for Microsoft’s offerings. I think they may be growing faster than they can handle though. I’ve been having several issues on multiple Apps accounts and because it’s Google, there is no help to be found. Sure you can search their help center but that just gives you a bunch of people complaining about the same issues. You have no way of knowing if and when Google is going to fix an issue. Some of the major issues that have literally made some accounts unusable are:

  • Permanent redirects when logging in. On one account I put in user credentials and the browser redirects over and over until the browser realizes it will never end and stops trying. This issue goes back a couple months with no one finding a solution that works. This makes logging into the control panel or the mailbox completely impossible. The only way to get email on this account is via IMAP.
  • Unable to edit groups. On a domain where I am actually able to log in I can’t edit groups. I click on the group name and I’m redirected to a Google 404 page. Again, I found people having this issue dating back to the beginning of summer. No fix.
  • Unable to delete groups. Another group issue comes when I go to delete a group. I select the group and click delete. The page refreshes and it tells me group is deleted. But it isn’t. It is still listed in my account.

So, I think with these errors it is time to leave Google. I need to go someplace where things work reliably and when/if they don’t I can actually contact a support person for an answer and a fix. You may be asking why I don’t use the email service that comes with my hosting. Well, it’s shared hosting and anyone on a shared hosting account knows that they have issues with major ISPs blocking shared hosting IPs, plus spam checking is subpar, so I need to find an alternative provider.

Today I started a 14 day trial of Rackspace Email on one of my domains. Their webmail looks good, but I probably won’t use it that much. Since Google enabled IMAP all my domain email has been accessed via IMAP most of the time so it’s likely that will be the same at Rackspace. Some things they also have which makes the move easier are excellent spam and virus protection as well as superior support. We shall see how it works out.

Edit: Despite being told in the comments that I needed to upgrade to premium for these issues to be looked at, they are now miraculously fixed. One of the many Google employees that have visited the site today must have had a hand in it because I highly doubt that these issues just happened to fix themselves today. To the Google employee that helped me out, a sincere thank you.

Edit #2: Setting up a Google Apps account for a friend and I decided to download and install Opera. It had never been used to log into any Google accounts or services. It had completely empty cache and cookies. I set up the account then tried to log in and got the permanent redirect. This was on a brand new instance of Google apps. Something is wrong with their system and no one seems to know how to fix it and Google doesn’t care.