Tag Archive: XML

Windows Experience Index – in 8.1 – Where is it?

Strangely post on September 25th, 2013
Posted in Technology Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Introduction

Win8 Experience Index (also in Win7)

Win8 Experience Index (also in Win7)

Recently Microsoft announced  a bit of a climb down over its release of Windows 8.1 to MSDN developers (like me).  Their previous stand was for developers to get 8.1 at the same time as commercial release.

So I’ve had a look, installing it into a VirtualBox environment…

The focus of this article is on one difference, the Windows Experience Index, mine is shown in the screenshot in the top right.

Differences?

Win8 Control Panel

Win8 Control Panel

Well yes and no.  Apart from the much talked about “start” button (not) re-instatement, the control panel throws out some differences for sure (see screenshots)…

Win8.1 Control Panel

Win8.1 Control Panel

….. notably the Windows Experience Index (or Performance Indicator) (or Assessment), a Microsoft gauge of the “goodness” of your machine.

Well in Win 8.1, it’s gone!  See highlight…

Or Has It?

WinSat Usage

WinSat Usage -not all shown!

Actually, it’s still there under the command line…  All you need to do is add a switch (I chose ‘formal’ as it does the lot).

The actual file that does the work is called winsat.exe and it’s in the System32 folder.  Give it a ? switch from the command prompt and all it’s inner options and usages are revealed!  (see left)

So fire up your command line and run:

C:\Windows\system32\winsat.exe formal

…then watch the process stream past.

Results

There no nice GUI web report, of course.  The results are still there, tucked away (as they always were) as a set of XML files in the Windows directory.  Go to:

C:\Windows\Performance\WinSAT\DataStore

Win8.1 System Assessment Files (cmd process finished in background)

Win8.1 System Assessment Files (cmd process finished in background)

..to find them.  The screenshot right shows the files I’ve just created and you’ll see that the process has just finished in the Command Line window and that it took 2min 49.59 secs to run all the tests.

Examining Results

WinSat Win8.1 CPU Results

WinSat Win8.1 CPU Results

Running all assessments has produced 7 files.

The screenshot here on the left shows the end of the CPU one.

The time it took is plainly visible along with the plainly poor CPU assessment (well it is in a virtual environment after all!!)

Conclusion

Windows Performance Index is not dead and buried in the new Windows 8.1 – it’s only been buried.

Related Posts:

Akismet and Jetpack Issues, Stop Spammers and CloudFlare Save the Day

My Web Host Penalised Me Yet Helped Speed Up My Site

Introduction

shared web hosting

shared web hosting

This site used to be hosted on Site5, in Texas.  I had a shared web host account, about the cheapest there is on Site5 though by no means the cheapest around (I’ve had experience of really cheap hosts….).  It worked alright, site management was good.  Then, I got hit by spammers.  Twice.  Big time.

Each time, this slowed the site down, made life hell for other shared accounts, especially when I introduced WordPress plugins to counter this.

Naturally, Site5 advised me to stop the hits or they’d pull my account (they’d already temporarily disabled it).  They advised me to cut the plugins, using GoDaddy’s plugin testing tool, WordPress Plugin Performance Profiler (P3).  So I did this, and after some trial and error, got the running processes down.  Of course, I lost a bit of neat functionality.

Testing Times

Apart from internal WordPress testing, it pays to test your site as if you are someone else somewhere else.  Pingdom have a set of tools that does just this, testing from various global locations and I can recommend it.

Result!

I used an iterative approach, testing various combinations of plugins and systems to end up as being in the top 8% sites for speed in the world!  Not bad for free is all I can say!   You’ll see in the screenshot above, that 92% of websites are slower than mine….   So is it really free?  Here goes…..

Paid For:
  • Web Hosting.  Shared.
  • My domain registration.
Free:
  • WordPress and all the LAMP functionality
  • WordPress plugins
  • CloudFlare
Pingdom Says

Pingdom Says

Automattic Issues

WordPress (which this site uses) is built by the Automattic team and naturally have expanded over time.  I’ve used their plugins for many years, Akismet from the off, which is a comment spam blocking system.  Latterly, they came out with Jetpack, where they say,

Supercharge your WordPress site with powerful features previously only available to WordPress.com users.

Jetpack is a WordPress plugin that supercharges your self-hosted WordPress site with the awesome cloud power of WordPress.com.

P3 Selected Output

P3 Selected Output

This is all well and good, except when I tested it using the P3 plugin profiler, Jetpack was the biggest drag on everything!   The worst part of it, was that actually, I was only using a small part of its features and it was still the biggest suck on performance.

  • I didn’t use Carousel for photos since I had an old solution, NextGen Gallery, that I’m loathe to change.
  • The comments system mucked up all other comment plugins, grabbing all for itself (a bit like Microsoft here!)
  • I used the stats, and that was about all, yet they were very slow and not that informative, actually.
  • Nearly all the other stuff I looked at, tried and ditched for similar reasons.

So much for the awesome cloud power.  On top of this, you’re now supposed to pay for parts of Automattic’s offerings, like Akismet, the comment spam blocker while a major offering of theirs was actually slowing my site right up!

What Did I do?

Change host!

Well not initially, actually, though the heavy-handed Site5 approach got my ire a bit I must admit.  I did do loads of tests with a host of caching, anti-spam and page load improvement plugins first…

Vidahost

Vidahost

I now use Vidahost in the UK.  The site is faster to manage (along with my others) since the servers are in the UK with me, and it’s cheaper, providing almost the same functionality and tools as Site 5.  I took the opportunity to clean out a few dead files in the process, but essentially, all was moved, database and files.  The lot.  Just twiddled config.php and the .htaccess file a bit.

did worry that my American visitors, who are actually in the majority, would  suffer slower speed and thus I’d get hit in Google rankings, but hey, wait for later…!

I got it all working and as part of the whole “thinking” process since the very first warnings from Site 5, I’d been looking for better things.

Looking at Things Closely

  • I like Related Posts.   Related Posts plugins do just that.  I love the idea of pulling out meta-data relevant stuff from a website.  Site 5 had said, as have others on the web, that this sort of plugin makes big hits on a site.  Some of them really do!  I use  YARPP, with a limited subset of features enabled which cuts down processing.
  • I also like Andrew Ozz’s Shutter Reloaded which shows images nicely.   I also like his post editor, TinyMCE Advanced, it being the best of many I’ve tested over the years.
  • I like NextGEN Gallery having used it since before WordPress got all image fancy.  I haven’t got time to fiddle with thousands of photos now…
  • I’d like some statistics within WordPress.
  • I’m not that interested, any-more (though I was) in Social Networking sharing features.  Truth be told, if someone wants to share, they will.
  • I’ve read a lot on image improvements.  I’ve always shrunk images manually before uploading using the excellent IrfanView application.  But during this enforced research, other things like sprites and delayed image loading popped into the equation.

So I like certain plugins or functionality.  I try and use the one that works best for me.  Too many plugins make a big hit on the server and thus website loading.

Caching

A way round this is caching.  e.g. If a post is created and has related posts clagged on the bottom using YARPP, then the post is cached and YARRP is only running once.  How and where the caching is done is the crux of the issue…

Site 5 suggested W3 Total Cache as a better alternative to Wp Super Cache,  which I’ve used for years.    Naturally, I’ve tested this and my conclusion was that it could be fast, and it was fast for a while, but over time on each of my sites I got issues around lock-ups and the huge and complex caching system around files, databases and sprites.  This list is long.

I’ve also tested various database query caching plugins likewise over the years.  W3 Total Cache incorporates this method too, but ultimately, it made too much work for not a lot of difference IMHO, since I’m lazy.

However, it did point me to one thing!  CloudFlare.

CloudFlare

CloudFlare Admin1

CloudFlare Admin1

Ah.  The power of the cloud is back!

Not only that – it works!

CloudFlare Admin2

CloudFlare Admin2

You re-direct your DNS at your domain registrar (joker.com in my case) to CloudFlare’s DNS servers, set up the site malware protection level you want – then after a few hours your whole site is cached and protected.  Best of all, it’s free for a little site like this!

In fact, using CloudFlare speeded everything up even before I got caching going again…

Further Plugin Work

Now, I went back to Wp Super Cache from Doncha and it all works fine.  Site speed good.  I then ditched Jetpack after testing it again.  It really does interfere with all comment plugins, and I really like this comment one as do people who comment here:

  • U Extended Comment

It works great and does everything I want.  So Jetpack, it’s bye bye.  Take all your fancy commenting system, your stats, your social media and fancy image handling.

But What About Comment Spam?

Stop Spammer Results2

Stop Spammer Results2

Stop Spammer Results1

Stop Spammer Results1

I’ve found the best solution is a plugin called Stop Spammer Registrations Plugin.  It needed a bit of fine tuning and a re-activation of Akismet to whip out a few wisps of spammer, but it works and seems to trap and report more spammers than ever Akismet did alone.  Akismet, by itself, does the commenting bit in tandem with the plugin, rather well.

Registration Spam

SABRE Results

SABRE Results

Unfortunately, during testing, a few unwanted visitors managed to register on the website.  They can’t do real harm since I use the lowest role level at registration time.  So I re-enabled SABRE and since then, no more unwanted visitors.  I’ve tested SABRE as a visitor and the settings I’ve chosen are just about right – I’ve had issues with it previously when it blocked registration!  But reducing the feature set and re-uploading a clean plugin fixes that.

CloudFlare and the CDN Issue

I toyed around getting a CDN to host images.  But they (can) cost and anyway, I’ve gone off Amazon and others because of their anti-Wikileaks actions plus they don’t pay UK tax…

Delayed Image Loading

However, in the course of my reading, I found that images can be loaded just as the page comes into view, which speeds up page loading, and as a consequence the perceived nippiness of a site.  The plugin BJ Lazy Load does this for me and works brilliantly.  Check this last post about Australia which has a lot of medium sized images to see them pop into view!

Delayed Javascript Loading

I use two plugins that handle this end of the issue around JavaScript.

Statistics

WP SlimStat1

WP SlimStat1

Well, Jetpack is gone.  I won’t be using it unless some serious improvements are made, it being the prime reason for the server load that brought me to this position in  the first place.  As soon as I disabled it (and simultaneously blocked all comments to the site, which isn’t the best thing, this being a blog after all), all server loads went away.

I now use SlimStat and it works very well.  I’ve tried many over time, including Google’s analysis tools, my webhost’s stats tools, Wassup and more, but for now, this is it.

Conclusion

My site works pretty fast and is pretty protected from the bad guys.  I actually still use more plugins than what is usually recommended – 50 is a huge lot according to web gurus and sages.  Currently there are 31 in active operation with 8 inactivated.  I love trying new ones, it’s like that, that’s just the way it is.

The delayed image loading is particularly apparent on a post with a lot of images, say this recent one.  The post loads fast and you see the first images load, and as you scroll down you’ll see other images appear with a slight delay.

All the other stuff is incremental improvement, with the biggest, by far, being the free CloudFlare service which I cannot recommend highly enough.  It’s a no-brainer, go and do it?

My Full List?

These are the plugins currently running that help my site work.  Many are for security, which demonstrates the state of play versus the bad internet guys full well.

Related Posts:

Oledb32.dll and IE7 – it’s getting Massively Worse!

In a follow-up to my earlier post, this problem is now going mainstream news.  See;

Conger Eel in a Hole

Conger Eel in a Hole

Apparently, 10,000 websites have now been hacked and are ready and waiting (like conger eels in a hole or praying mantises on a twig), to nick all the personal details from passing suckers.  This website, shadowserver, is maintaining some sort of a list.  A lot of it is Baidu, the main Chinese search engine and a prime aggregator of links to deeply hidden copyrighted material.

It does make me wonder if Baidu put the code on their own sites to trap the copyright-thieving suckers.  There’s some sort of irony in that thought.

For the sake of completeness, I’ll repeat Microsoft’s workaround below, that the ordinary computer user is supposed to do to effect some sort of a remedy.  If you insist on using IE7, then you’d better do this.  An easier solution is to use Firefox or Opera and then ask Microsoft to pay you for fixing their software.  After all, when you call Joe the plumber, you expect him to actually do the work – not the other way round.

What Do I Do?

I don’t use IE7 or any flavour.  In fact, even though the majority of web users use IE I don’t design my sites for it.  If it works in IE, that’s good.  But otherwise, I’m not bothered.  I don’t want visitors who don’t care about their personal safety.  It’s Microsoft software.  It’s their job to make their software secure and standards compliant.  If they can’t be bothered then why should I?  If more people took this attitude, I’m sure M$ would do something about it.

This is Microsoft’s Primary Workaround (not a fix, mind you!) to the Problem, from here.  There are others as well, but life’s too short…

Disable XML Island functionality

Use the following registry file to delete the XML Island key:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[-HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{379E501F-B231-11D1-ADC1-00805FC752D8}]

Note For Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 only, take ownership of [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{379E501F-B231-11D1-ADC1-00805FC752D8}] first, as follows:

1. Run Regedit as Admin

2. Go to [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{379E501F-B231-11D1-ADC1-00805FC752D8}]

3. Click Permission, then Advanced, then Owner

4. Change Owner to Administrator

5. Click Grant Full Control to Administrator

6. Then iterate for all subkeys

For other operating systems, no extra action is needed.

Impact of workaround: Embedded XML in HTML may not render correctly.

How to undo the workaround

Use the following registry file:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{379E501F-B231-11D1-ADC1-00805FC752D8}]

@=”MsxmlIsland”

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{379E501F-B231-11D1-ADC1-00805FC752D8}\InProcServer32]

@=hex(2):25,00,53,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,52,00,6f,00,6f,00,74,00,25,\
00,5c,00,53,00,79,00,73,00,74,00,65,00,6d,00,33,00,32,00,5c,00,6d,00,73,00,\
78,00,6d,00,6c,00,33,00,2e,00,64,00,6c,00,6c,00,00,00

“ThreadingModel”=”Apartment”

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{379E501F-B231-11D1-ADC1-00805FC752D8}\TypeLib]

@=”{D63E0CE2-A0A2-11D0-9C02-00C04FC99C8E}”

Related Posts:

What is the Creative Conciousness? Answer – Courage.

Art and creativity come in many forms but since the internet arrived with the huge explosion in community sites and the easy interchange of prior art, maybe the concept of creativity needs re-defining.

Prior art like:

  • a 20 foot oil canvas viewed in a museum
  • a paper book like Harry Potter, read in bed,
  • a film made for viewing on a huge screen in a darkened cinema,
  • a tv episode made to be seen on a standard monitor,
  • a band of musicians playing live in the flesh,
  • a recording of musicians played through a decent system

– all look and sounds different when seen or heard through on a tiny screen or through the tinny speakers of your average PC, laptop or phone.

The relative merits are debatable, of course, considering increased publicity, but the fact is that someone created the original art. Now however, most of the world’s creativity seems to exist solely in the realm of comment and chat using the art as a throwaway metaphore for the “higher purpose” of chattering. :-?

This point was brought home to me by a recent “conversation” on a community media site where the works of Crawling Chaos were dumped and yabbered over. How do I know? Dah! Google and IP logs…

A journo, called Jason Heller, made a piece extolling the remarkable virtues of the first Crawling Chaos vinyl issue and the band’s unquenchable appetite to go against the flow. Quoting liberally from the Crawling Chaos site Jason made some very positive and agreeable comments with a good tenor to the article. Despite a bit of cut & paste, he included a link to his source material – so at least he wasn’t page stealing. He managed to be creative with his prose, and a bit wobbly on influences and truth. Whatever. What he’s doing is nothing special – millions do it, it’s what community sites do! – apart from hoping someone will click on a few ads…

Now, a quick check reveals that the piece and the site are covered in copyright statements for Onion Inc and Omniture. However, not a trace or whisper exists that Crawling Chaos still actually own their music! It seems that people think that art, records and music just appears magically for people’s titillation – a kind of “Creative Commons“. Except it’s not.

Basically, Jason’s “piece” serves as an area where Crawling Chaos became an adjunct to a bout of mutual masturbation and in the centre sits Jason covered in jism and glorifying in the basal annoyances that Crawling Chaos engendered.

This whole community website thing is like this, so nothing new. I let Jason know in my own way with a comment to the post where subsequently, they removed the “reply” link and also my inserted link to our copyright page.

Then the true nature of creativity was revealed. Courage.

Jason pulled his post from his most recent posts list! 8-O

However, the post still exists with the link above and still (as of 31/5/2008), is on the most recent posts for the blog! The links to the copyrighted Crawling Chaos music still exist, boldly, and in the html code. As I stated previously, Onion Inc seems to be claiming ownership of this. I tell you, they’re all a bunch of cunts. Maybe I should page harvest them and suck a bit of advertising off them… :twisted: See how they like it.

Here’s what should’ve happened….

Jason finds a Crawling Chaos record.
"Wow!"  He says.  "This is good!"
Jason checks the web for info on Crawling Chaos.
Jason uses contact form on Crawling Chaos website
Jason asks to use a piece of CC music on a posting of his.
Crawling Chaos say yes, if copyright acknowledgement is made.
Jason does his post in his own creative way.
People keep on wanking etc etc

Everyone is happy, the world keeps turning .

Instead of that, by his subsequent actions Jason is implying denied responsibility for his previous words and actions. Everything has cause and effect. It’s the Buddhist way.

Courage, like freedom, can be a strange thing.

This is the code for Jason’s Post:

– search for <!– start audio player –> and you’ll find the direct links for copyright Crawling Chaos material, hosted on the avclub server.

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en">
<head>

<title>Vinyl Retentive: Crawling Chaos | The A.V. Club</title>

<script type="text/javascript">
	afns_url64 = "L2NvbnRlbnQvYmxvZy92aW55bF9yZXRlbnRpdmVfY3Jhd2xpbmdfY2hhb3M=";
	afns_ad_redirect = "";
	afns_base_url = "http://www.avclub.com/content/";
		var afns_comments = 2;

</script>

	<base href="http://www.avclub.com/content/" />

	<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />

	<link rel="alternate" title="A.V. Club Live Updates" href="http://feeds.theonion.com/avclub/daily" type="application/rss+xml" />
	<style type="text/css" media="all">@import "/content/modules/audio/audio.css?v=7d10549432e851d929b4835df5ec3587";</style><style type="text/css" media="all">@import "/content/themes/avclub/page/elements/blog.css?v=787d269070bae6c75cf4e7f3922ae8d2";</style><style type="text/css" media="all">@import "/content/themes/avclub/style/comments.css?v=3afd581eeb158d9b87aeca54239895f5";</style><style type="text/css" media="all">@import "/content/themes/avclub/page/elements/related.css?v=7ada7339d658835d9290db455e9e3017";</style><style type="text/css" media="all">@import "/content/misc/drupal.css?v=f79d29e0f15be9d1e413bc4d82eceaac";</style><style type="text/css" media="all">@import "/content/themes/avclub/page/elements/global.css?v=028ccc8eacb0cf0f862f4a2e8c98a2e6";</style><style type="text/css" media="all">@import "/content/themes/avclub/page/elements/article.css?v=6e0d6cfd4a5749bd96b8d4fb2057977b";</style><style type="text/css" media="all">@import "/content/themes/avclub/style/navbar.css?v=979d93811b66650c11f0fac079a7b064";</style>	<script type="text/javascript" src="/content/themes/common/scripts/ufo_compressed.js?v=154328114cad45c20785d004f6b6a317"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="/content/themes/common/scripts/AudioPlayer.js?v=9fc85b2eaf7b394e99f1d5f6a36cd819"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="/content/themes/common/scripts/jquery.js?v=ebe0ea764139f30972055e9f79972277"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="/content/themes/common/scripts/plugins/jquery.form.js?v=d296f572da41ccf9425a6514ebf72f83"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="/content/themes/common/scripts/plugins/jquery.cookie.js?v=88c6a74be48e2440b906b4ebdffb8b08"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="/content/themes/avclub/javascripts/main.js?v=8ccf741ddad140f693da1cd158e2d62d"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="/content/themes/avclub/javascripts/comments_threaded.js?v3?v=d41d8cd98f00b204e9800998ecf8427e"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="/content/themes/onion/scripts/email_this.js?v=93befa9856bf281d3292a7b5e9e80f0f"></script>

<meta name="description" content="Meet the solar panel to the sex machine." />
<meta name="copyright" content="(c) Copyright 2008 by Onion, Inc. All rights reserved." />
<meta name="keywords" content="Music" />
<meta name="site" content="avclub.com" />
<meta name="type" content="blog" />
<meta name="nid" content="79972" />
<meta name="date" content="May 20, 2008" />
<meta name="issue" content="4311" />
<meta name="teaser" content="Meet+the+solar+panel+to+the+sex+machine." />
<meta name="category" content="" />
<meta name="category2" content="" />
<meta name="title" content="Vinyl+Retentive%3A+Crawling+Chaos" />
<meta name="robots" value="noindex,follow"/>
<link rel="image_src" href="http://www.avclub.com/content/files/images/crawling+chaos2.thumbnail.jpg" />
<link rel="videothumbnail" href="http://www.avclub.com/content/files/images/crawling+chaos2.thumbnail.jpg" type="image/jpeg" />

<link rel="icon" href="/content//themes/avclub/favicon.ico"  type="image/x-icon" />
<link rel="shortcut icon" href="/content//themes/avclub/favicon.ico"  type="image/x-icon" />

<!-- OAS SETUP begin -->
<script type="text/javascript">
<!--
//configuration
//OAS_url = http://localhost/RealMedia/ads/';
OAS_url = http://web.archive.org/web/20040208151127/http://oascentral.theonion.com:80/RealMedia/ads/';
//OAS_sitepage = window.location.hostname + window.location.pathname;
OAS_sitepage = 'theonionavclub/blog';
OAS_listpos = 'Top,Right1,Bottom1,Middle';
OAS_query = '';
OAS_target = '_blank';
//end of configuration
OAS_version = 10;
OAS_rn = '001234567890'; OAS_rns = '1234567890';
OAS_rn = new String (Math.random()); OAS_rns = OAS_rn.substring (2, 11);
function OAS_NORMAL(pos) {
  document.write('<A HREF="' + OAS_url + 'click_nx.cgi/' + OAS_sitepage + '/1' + OAS_rns + '@' + OAS_listpos + '!' + pos + '?' + OAS_query + '" TARGET=' + OAS_target + '>');
  document.write('<IMG SRC="' + OAS_url + 'adstream_nx.cgi/' + OAS_sitepage + '/1' + OAS_rns + '@' + OAS_listpos + '!' + pos + '?' + OAS_query + '" BORDER=0></A>');
}

OAS_version = 11;
if (navigator.userAgent.indexOf('Mozilla/3') != -1 || navigator.userAgent.indexOf('Mozilla/4.0 WebTV') != -1)
  OAS_version = 10;
if (OAS_version >= 11)
  document.write('<script type="text/javascript" src="' + OAS_url + 'adstream_mjx.ads/' + OAS_sitepage + '/1' + OAS_rns + '@' + OAS_listpos + '?' + OAS_query + '"><\/scr'+'ipt>');

document.write('');
function OAS_AD(pos) {
  if (OAS_version >= 11)
	OAS_RICH(pos);
  else
	OAS_NORMAL(pos);
}
//-->
</script>
<!-- OAS SETUP end -->
</head>
<body  id="blog" >

	<div id="omniture">

				 <!-- SiteCatalyst code version: H.6.
		Copyright 1997-2006 Omniture, Inc. More info available at
		http://www.adobe.com/marketing-cloud.html -->
		<script language="JavaScript" src="http://www.avclub.com/content/themes/avclub/javascripts/omnitureprod/s_code.js"></script>
		<script language="JavaScript"><!--
				 s.channel = "Music"
s.pageName = "Vinyl Retentive: Crawling Chaos"
s.server = "origin.avclub.com"
s.pageType = "Page"
s.eVar1 = "blog"
s.eVar2 = "Blog"
s.eVar4 = "Blog With Comments"
s.eVar14 = "browse"
s.prop1 = "79972"
s.prop5 = "http://origin.avclub.com/content/blog/vinyl_retentive_crawling_chaos"
s.linkTrackEvents = "event4"
s.events = "event4"
s.prop50 = "Music"
				 /************* DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! **************/
		var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//--></script>
		<script language="JavaScript"><!--
		if(navigator.appVersion.indexOf('MSIE')>=0)document.write(unescape('%3C')+'\!-'+'-')
		//--></script>
		<noscript><img src="http://statistics.avclub.com/b/ss/theonionavclubprod/1/H.7--NS/0" height="1" width="1" border="0" alt="" /></noscript>
		<!--/DO NOT REMOVE/-->
		<!-- End SiteCatalyst code version: H.6. -->
				 	</div>

	<div id="wrapper">

		<div id="header">
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			<h2 class="bm"><a href="/content/blog/vinyl_retentive_crawling_chaos">Vinyl Retentive: Crawling Chaos</a></h2>
			<div class="tm mt">posted by: <b><a href="author/jheller">Jason Heller</a></b></div>
			<div class="smalltext">May 20, 2008 - 4:49pm</div><br/>
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				<i>In Vinyl Retentive, A.V. Clubbers share what we find while crate-digging in our own houses.</i><p><p><p>
			<p class="two c">
			<img src="http://www.avclub.com/content/files/images/crawling chaos2.jpg" alt="Crawling Chaos vinyl" title="Crawling Chaos vinyl"  width="360" height="270" />
			</p><!--[image:79767]--><p><p><p><b>Crawling Chaos</b><p><p><p><b>”Sex Machine” b/w “Berlin”</b><p><p><p><b>Factory Records, 1980</b><p><p><p><b>Format:</b> 7-inch single<p><p><p><b>File Under:</b> The unsexiest booty jam ever<p><p><p>Seeing as how I covered James Brown in <a href="http://www.avclub.com/content/blog/vinyl_retentive_james_brown">last week’s Vinyl Retentive</a>, it seems perversely fitting to follow it up with Crawling Chaos’ “Sex Machine.” Nope, it’s not a cover of JB’s funk anthem—in fact, if his “Sex Machine” is a stiff dose of aural Viagra, Crawling Chaos’ is the musical equivalent of getting punched in the groin. While being forced to watch barnyard porn. Starring your mom and dad.<p><p><p>
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			<h4 class="title">"Sex Machine" by Crawling Chaos</h4>
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<p><p><p>“It was (and still is) an unwritten policy,” it is, well, written on <a href="http://crawlingchaos.co.uk/myths">the band’s website</a>, “for Crawling Chaos and their ilk to annoy as many people as possible.” While it’s not exactly clear who their ilk are, the group’s two core members—Doomage Khult and Strangely Perfect, the latter being maybe my favorite punkonym next to Will Shatter—were spurred to form Crawling Chaos by the British punk explosion of the ’70s. Further inspired by proto-industrial noise terrorists like Cabaret Voltaire and Throbbing Gristle—as well as the macabre prose of H.P. Lovecraft, whose “The Crawling Chaos” might have had some small influence on the band’s name—Khult and Perfect did, as promised, annoy. In fact, the band only barely managed to get signed to the legendary Factory Records; allegedly, the decision was hotly debated by Factory head Tony Wilson and partner Rob Gretton. It didn’t help band-label relations much when Factory wound up having to siphon money from Joy Division profits to press the Crawling Chaos’ debut single, “Sex Machine,” which came in an embossed, expensive-to-produce sleeve.<p><p><p>
			<p class="two c">
			<img src="http://www.avclub.com/content/files/images/crawling chaos.jpg" alt="Crawling Chaos, "Sex Machine" b/w "Berlin"" title="Crawling Chaos, "Sex Machine" b/w "Berlin""  width="360" height="270" />
			</p><!--[image:79757]--><p><p><p>At the time, Factory had just three bands on its roster: The Durutti Column, A Certain Ratio, and the recently beheaded Joy Division (with OMD already having defected to a major label). As relatively eclectic as that bunch was, Crawling Chaos didn’t fit in with any of them. Even the sexiest of the Factory bands, A Certain Ratio, bore the label’s trademark cold, clean lines and antiseptic aura. Crawling Chaos, though, was a fucking wreck. Gangling, ungainly, sloppy, self-sabotaging, murderously humorous, and perhaps mildly insane, the group appropriated the title of one of James Brown’s most archetypal funk tracks and basically took a big dump on it. Clinical detachment was the name of the game when it came to that era’s synthesizer-backed post-punk, but Crawling Chaos was about as robotically aloof as a rusty lawnmower—and “Sex Machine” is a dripping, glorious, psychosexual phantasmagoria worthy of Ballard or Cronenberg (or a precociously perverted 11-year-old). The synths are demented, the singing shrill, the beats nearly brain-dead—but it’s the lyrics alone that are worth a trip to the nut farm:<p><p><p><b>I’ve got a brand new pair of genes<p>I’ve been to the doc, he’s got the means<p>He’s turned me into a sex machine<p>He’s given me a pair of enormous balls<p>That could even fill the Festival Hall<p>With schoolgirls screaming for more and more<p><p><p>I'm going to the doctor’s<p>It’s easy you see<p>No need for operations<p>And you’ll know how it feels<p><p><p>Tomorrow I get my hands done<p>With fifteen fingers and a phallic thumb<p>I’ll rattle the girls till they come and come<p>The stomach lining change has really done the trick<p>It brews alcohol and gives me kicks<p>And makes me have supersonic sicks<p><p><p>I’ve got pricks on my toes and one on my nose<p>And some on my back that nobody knows<p>But the one I got first still grows and grows<p>I’ve got a set of clits hanging in my ear<p>I’ve been to the doc to get a smear<p>He told me I had gonorrhea<p><p><p>A nuclear prick is hidden up my bum<p>I tried it on a lady who likes some fun<p>And she got blown to kingdom come</b><p><p><p>Still, “Sex Machine”—as refreshingly anti-pop and counter-aphrodisiac as it is—sounds like Depeche Mode compared to the single’s B-side, “Berlin.” The name of that city at that time bore connotations of Lou Reed, David Bowie, and the Teutonic lockstep of Krautrock, which were all clear influences on Crawling Chaos. And they all melt into a dissonant mess all over “Berlin,” an aimlessly menacing jam that limps and burps along for seven torturous minutes before succumbing to some kind of sonic gangrene. In other words: It’s fantastic.<p><p><p>
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			<h4 class="title">"Berlin" by Crawling Chaos</h4>
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<p><p><p><b>Current whereabouts:</b> Crawling Chaos’ relationship with Factory went south soon after the release of their debut album, 1982’s equally sick and surreal <i>The Gas Chair</i>. From there the band started releasing records on its own label, Foetus (no relation to Jim Thirlwell’s pioneering industrial project of the same name, although it’s not hard to imagine Thirlwell and Crawling Chaos being mutual admirers). Khult and Perfect gradually drifted away from the group, although they reunited in 2003 for a new full-length titled <i>Homunculus Equinox</i>.<p><p><p>While loved by ’90s indie-pop luminaries <a href="http://www.avclub.com/content/node/77971">Unrest</a>, who covered “Sex Machine” on a Sub Pop single in 1991, Crawling Chaos has sadly been forgotten in favor of their more somber and earnest post-punk contemporaries. When Factory’s resident Joy Division clones, Crispy Ambulance, are more fondly remembered than you are, you know you’ve definitely annoyed all the right people—like, for instance, critic Simon Reynolds, who figured Crawling Chaos didn’t even warrant a mention in his definitive post-punk history, <i>Rip It Up And Start Again</i>. Despite the Factory-mania that followed <i>24 Hour Party People</i>—not to mention the whole post-punk revival of the aughts—Crawling Chaos doesn’t even have its own Wikipedia entry. Apparently undaunted, Khult and Perfect <a href="http://crawlingchaos.co.uk/?p=105"> are still plugging away</a>. <p><p><p><b>Availability:</b> The “Sex Machine”/“Berlin” 45 is currently on sale for between $40 and $70 on the Internet, but both sides showed up as bonus tracks on the recent CD reissue of <i>The Gas Chair</i>.<p>			</div>
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