23-Jul-2001 (Mon)

Boy, I love it when I hit those nerd hot buttons! I appreciate the suggestions, but you can all stop emailing me saying "I saw these waterproof/ flexible/ nuke-hardened keyboards on Slashdot once, you should get those!" Rugged keyboards are multiple hundreds of dollars each. Low end plastic keyboards are, like, $3-$6 each. I could replace each keyboard once a week for a year before it would have been cheaper to get a rugged keyboard. And that's assuming that rugged keyboards really would last a year, which I also doubt. So, I know I'm going to be replacing the keyboards a lot, but I think it's cheaper to keep doing that than to try and protect them any more than they already are.

Our First Week

We're still having some scary plumbing problems. We got a plumber out here to try and clear out our drain, and he tells us that a few feet inside the floor drain in the womens' bathroom is... concrete. That's right, apparently one of our contractors managed to dump wet concrete down the brand new drain. Yay.

We're also having trouble with the motion-sensor flushers; they don't always flush. I suppose this just means that they're not adjusted right, because they have these things in every airport and casino in the world, so it must be possible to make them work. Still, we clearly shoulda gotten the kind that have the emergency "flush now" button on them.

Other than that, our first week went really well! We've had a bunch of really fun parties, some great music, no serious problems, and we're no longer hemorrhaging money (it's slowed to a mere trickle!) The best part has been that the crowds we're getting have been cool and super friendly: Alexis did a good job of picking our weekly parties; we're getting a lot of people, but not many suburban yahoos, as far as I can tell.

Of course, I'm most excited about our friday parties (N:CODE and D:CODE) since those are the ones that we're directly involved with promoting. Last week was our first N:CODE event, and it was a lot of fun. Phenomenal music, great projected visuals, and cool people. Unfortunately, there weren't very many people: it's getting off to a slow start. But, it's a new event, and we haven't brought in any out-of-town DJs yet, so hopefully it will pick up soon. The theme is dark, hard instrumental dance music, with alternating weeks being 4/4 and breakbeat (so, roughly, the parts of the psytrance and drum+bass spectra that have noisy evil industrial influences.) If you're in to that kind of thing, come down and check it out! This friday is D:CODE, which is the breakbeat-themed side of the pair.

A Message From Our Bartenders

I have some things that our bartenders would like me to pass along to you, the clubgoing public. Those of you who have been going to bars for a long time probably know all this, but experience shows that a lot of people don't understand how it works, so let's just get it all right out on the table.

  • Pay attention.

    When the bartender finally looks your way to take your order, if you're not making eye contact, they're going to move on to someone who is paying attention.

  • Have your order ready.

    When the bartender asks you what you want, you're supposed to know already. The time to ask your friends what they're having is before you've gotten the bartender's attention, not after.

  • Have your money ready.

    The keen observer will note that someone who is holding their money in their hand gets served faster. That's because the bartender knows they're not going to have to wait around while you fish out your wallet. That also makes it more likely that you actually have enough cash to pay for the drinks.

    But one thing you should never do is wave your money at the bartender, or yell at them to get their attention. They really hate that, and probably won't serve you at all. They can do that. They run the show.

  • The bar is closed when the bartender says so.

    When the bartender tells you that you've missed last call and the bar is now closed, there is nothing you can say that will change that, so don't waste their time trying. They don't care what your watch says. They don't care if it is still 3 minutes to 2AM. Maybe you're right: maybe they could still legally serve you a drink. It doesn't matter: they won't. They don't care how cute you are, or how much you beg: when the bar is closed, you are not getting any more alcohol, period!

  • Tip, you bastards!

    Bartenders make all their money on tips; their salary barely covers their taxes. You are expected to tip for every drink, at the time it is served. You may not think this is the best system, but that's how it works: tipping is expected. Deal.

    In this part of the world, you are expected to tip at least $1 per drink. Tip more if it's a complicated drink, or a complicated order, or if you think the bartender is doing a good job. If you don't tip, then they will remember you, and you will get bad drinks and worse service. They can do that. They run the show.

    Some people think that they should only tip for alcohol, and not for soft drinks and bottled water. But you're still taking up the bartender's time! And at an after hours club like the DNA, there's still someone running the bar during the hours after 2AM, and they'd rather not be working for free!

Oh, and you're supposed to tip at coat-check too. It's the same situation. (Except that some people tip when they drop off their coat, and some when they pick it up.)

Hopefully this micro-lesson on bar-going will help get you through the evening more smoothly.

Tech Stuff

Frederick got RealVideo working! And there was much rejoicing. The problem turned out to be that we weren't running a sufficiently bleeding-edge version of the video drivers; upgrading to the latest kernel and bttv driver made the problem go away. So now you should be seeing a decent picture and frame rate on the RealVideo stream. We still don't have audio in that stream, because we haven't quite gotten that working yet (when we turn audio on in the Real stream, it's choppy, though the MP3 stream is fine.)

However, you may be finding that the MP3 streams (live and archived) are hurting. That's because (surprise!) since we've opened, our bandwidth usage has gone through the roof. We're now getting enough people trying to listen to our streams that we're hitting our bandwidth limit. Currently we're paying around $400/month for 2G/day to our colo machine. I'm told that's high, but I don't have any idea what bandwidth costs these days. What I really need is to find someone who will let me put my machine in their rack at AboveNet and let me mooch bandwidth for cheap... It's really expensive to give all this away!

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