Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Is It May yet?

OK, Damageplan might have slept for my most anticipated disc this year. This one beats it easily. Go read about it here. It's a newly remastered Raymond Scott album! YES!

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Awesome Site

Check out this site for some really cool graphics. It's for chip music (or old video game music for you new folks), but I was awe struck at the amount of time that had to be put into this site. Very Cool! Check it out here.
Beau Hunks Sextant

I ordered the rest of the Beau Hunks Sextant CDs covering Raymond Scott today. I bought one and I loved the new recordings so much (just as good as the originals, BUT the improved sound quality using today's recording techniques is phenomal). Raymond Scott's compositions are so great. He embodies everything that I want to be in a composer. His compositions are challenging and exciting, but doesn't alienate any listener. Anybody can enjoy his songs from their first listen, but it's the subsequent listens that reveal their true inner being. I want my compositions to be more like that, but with a more modern feel. I think Raymond doesn't get justice in this world. He innovated a lot of electronic music (the first sequencer and providing an early synth prototype that was an inspiration to a young Moog). I wish more jazz and progressive rock musicians would take a page from Raymond and realize that good music that challenges the soul doesn't have to be exclusive.
DirectSound Conquered

Well, I have played sound with DirectMusic (simply calling the method to play a .wav file) and have been trying to get a sound to play in DirectSound. Now, you might ask what is the difference? The difference is that DirectMusic is built on top of DirectSound (as far as I can tell) and I need to get down into the gutty works of Direct Sound. Well, with the help of Game Audio Programming by James Boer and the excellent COM support of Dolphin Smalltalk (they make life so easy for me), I made sound directly with it! YIPPEE. I parsed the WAV file directly into bytes and then played it through the buffers of DirectSound. I know, you might be thinking, BIG DEAL. Well, it proves to me my understanding of COM and DirectX. The next step is my first software synth! Sorry, I just had to do write about this before I go shoveling snow (ECKY ECKY POO).

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Robot Scientist

Apparently, they've created a robot scientist. It does a lot of the reptitive tasks in lab experiments. But, I still think it's pretty cool. Check it out here.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Damageplan- Feb. 10

I CAN NOT WAIT TILL FEB.10 ! Why you might ask?! It's because that's the release of the new Pantera, err, Damageplan CD! It's the guitarist and drummer from Pantera and the new song smokes. I've been listening to Pantera a lot and it's just going to slay. Oh and did I mention a special appearance by Zak Wylde. Two of my favorite modern guitarists on one CD, yeah, I can't wait! My musical tastes have been weird lately. I've been on a steady diet of metal, gameboy music, 60's spy music, and Raymond Scott. And the soundtrack for Shaft has found its in way into my playlist twice...=) But, get ready for some awesome metal on Feb. 10!
Gameboy Advance SP Addiction

Santy Claws got me one of these for XMas and I am addicted! I've used this more than I did the Gameboy Color I had and I think the reason is because it's just so easy to see what's going on and it's SMALL. I've been getting games for it like a mad man (I even got a new music maker called Pocket Music). So far, my favorite games are Spider-Man and Iridian. It's a nice little diversion that gets me away from my usual escapades of either music or technical stuff. But, I'm getting the strong urge to want to port Squeak to it for some odd reason...=) Anyway, these things are the coolest game consoles and it's great to take everywhere. Now, if they would only make personnal organizers this size and I would be in heaven. Oh yeah, I love the sound of these little puppies too! I can't wait to make some music on it!

Monday, January 19, 2004

eXtreme Programming Growing Pains

I've been having more XP growing pains. It's hard going from working in solitude (where on a team to working in pairs. Some days I love pair programming and on others it seems like an albatross around my neck. I still think pair programming is the way to go, but we as developers have a lot to learn about being social. We spend our time behind either books or computers. I'm as guilty as any other developer (perhaps more so). I love to program and read about technical stuff. So, are my partners making pair programming less desirable on certain days? NO! It's me. I'm used to programming alone and pairing on critical issues. Sometimes, I feel like I a need a break from pairing, but I know it's just my comfort zone talking. It's becoming more natural to pair, but it hasn't been without a few pains. My daily programming life is better since I pair everyday, but it's that inner urge to grab the keyboard and rock'n'roll that I keep fighting. Must resist...=) Pair programming is good because the quality of the code is higher and I learn a lot from my partner everytime I do it. I plan on blogging more on the pyschology of pair programming (not that I'm a pyschologist), but I find it interesting the social interaction of pairs. I think proper mixing of different personalities is very important in XP and knowing how to deal with them.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Joy Of Java

And this is why I don't miss Java: Joy Of Java. While you're at it, read the rest of the blog for a lot of fun reads. This guy knows what he's talking about and is very entertaining to read. But, I remember pain like this when I was doing Java. I tell ya I don't miss the 10 minute start-up time of a Tomcat servlet so I could find out in less than 2 seconds that I had to restart it because I found my problem. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. It's nice not to have to restart the web server everytime you want to debug new code (yeah, I know about hot swap, but it only works on simple method changes....). Lots of languages can keep their web services up and running while you're programming in them though (think scripting, lisp, smalltalk, etc)...

Monday, January 12, 2004

Prolog and Smalltalk

So, awhile back I had an idea to integrate Prolog (which I didn't know then, but know a little now) and Smalltalk. I thought it might be a nice fit to put my rules in a Prolog form and have it integrated into Smalltalk. Well, first I find out that someone wrote exactly this in Squeak. Next, I find that it's well integrated into Smalltalk/X! WOW! My point with this blog is that there is a lot of cool things happening out there in the Smalltalk sphere and a lot of developers writing tons of great software. It's also nifty to know that Smalltalk is malliable to different paradigms (the Lisp dudes make a big deal of this too) and is easy to implement. I think I might be learning Prolog from one of the Smalltalk environments since it is so easy to debug. And plus, it would be nice to learn the way it all works.
Smalltalk/X

OK, I've always known about this Smalltalk environment and have played with it on occasion. For some odd reason, I thought I would fire it up and look at it. Well, little did I know it has embedded Java, Lisp, and Prolog inside of it! Very cool integration as well! The interface is pretty slick and is cross platform. These guys have been working really hard on this product. Very impressive! So, what are you waiting for? Go check it out: Smalltalk/X.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Hyperscore

A good friend of mine (Bart Weller) sent me this link to Hyperscore and to this Hyperinstruments. Both are from MIT. The first link is for a program that sounds very yummy (a different way to make music!) and if you're looking for a different way to make music, it looks promising (I'm going to download it NOW!). And the second link is the more general project overview (I love the names they give a lot of the stuff). Anyway, go check it out!

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Rules of XP

This is something that's been on my mind for a little while now: The Rules Of XP. I find having rules seems to be anti-XP. I find XP to be about being pramatic and agile. Rules seem to me to be about being rigid and orderly. The exact opposite of the XP philosophy. Maybe I have it wrong. But, to me, the XP book is a set of guidelines and not rigid rules. It seems with all of the extra books on XP that go into every gory detail of Kent Beck's book is overkill. 100 pages was the perfect size for that book and all of the practices I agree with. But, to have rules to follow for doing stories or even coding if absurd. It should be what allows your team to "embrace change" and "delight your customers". Am I the only one that feels this way? I'm going to go write some unit tests.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Another Cool Quote

I love this quote:
    "C for sinking, java for drinking, Smalltalk for thinking - craig, tim, various"
How true....How true...=)

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Cool Quote

"Complexity is easy; Simplicity is hard."
-- Edmund Keane

Yeah, this one is going on my quote page when I get home....=)

Monday, January 05, 2004

On Pirates

Go read this article by Nick Bradbury. All I can say is AMEN! Preach on, brother!

Sunday, January 04, 2004

New Paul Graham Article

Mr. Graham has written another great article entitled "What you can't say". It's about questioning the norms around you as well as questioning the "impromper" thoughts. He also mentions not to talk about your thoughts in open public. Not sure if I agree with this, but I can see his sentiments. I know I don't share all of my "improper thoughts"(like XML is overused, ooppss, I said it out loud...shame on me!). Curl up by the fireplace, read the article, and get those neurons firing on "What you can't say"!
I'll Be The First In Line

Just heard that O'Reilly is going to publish a collection of Paul Graham's essays called "Painters and Hackers". Oh boy, I'll be the first in line. It will be published in May. I can't wait!
Ruby Presentation

I spent the weekend getting a presentation ready for Ruby for work. We're basically presenting Ruby as an alternative to Korn shell scripting. Now, I think Squeak would make a better fit, but for various reasons Ruby is a better sale. It's only for scripting and it would be nice to get a more advanced language than Korn shell in there (the Squeak sale will come later). Anyway, I decided to give my presentation via web pages (this is a big statement for me since I hate web applications). Why would I do this? Well, I think it's pretty cool to run a web server in the language and show how simple it is to add server features. I've got it set up to run Ruby code that's typed in from a form or file. It displays the results. Everything is live and nothing is canned. I'm tired of seeing dead presentations in powerpoint and wanted something dynamic. Later, I want to do the same thing in Squeak and Dolphin (especially Dolphin, since I think I would rather do presentations directly in Squeak). I'm pretty excited about this presentation and can't wait to see people's eyes when they realize that the whole presentation has been running in Ruby and all code has been live. Oh yeah...=)
Pragmatic Programmer: Language of the Year

OK, I've always thought learning new languages was a good idea, but I really like the Language of the Year from the Pragmatic Programmer (if you haven't read it, go BUY IT NOW! And while you're at it, get Software Craftsmanship too). So, last year, Javascript and LISP were my languages of the year. I know it's not a single language, but I thought one "practical" language and one "academic" language was good. I can hear some scoff at the idea of an "academic" language, but let me explain. I want one language to learn that is good for my career portfolio and helps me in my day to day activities, thus "practical". But, on the other hand, I want a language that is different from the way I think now. LISP fit that bill last year and I must admit that it's changed the way I think about programming forever. I use a lot more blocks now than ever (and I feel sorry for the Java folks who don't have them without a lot of typing...they have them, but they are very painful). Anyway, I wrote this post to announce my language(s) of the year. My "academic" langauge this year is Prolog. It was down to it and Erlang. Both of which hold a lot of appeal to me (I've read all of the Erlang documents and have used a lot of the ideas in my work already and Prolog for the rules). Well, I decided since Erlang is functional to take break and do a rules based approach to programming. My practical language this year is simply Korn shell. I want to get better at Linux and we use a lot of Unix at work. So, there you have it Prolog and Korn shell. I'm using the SWI-Prolog implementation to learn. I've started learning Prolog off and on, but this time I'm sticking to it. I would also like to look at the implementation of it in Squeak and play with the code in Peter Norvig's excellent book on AI (a prolog interpeter in lisp). An exciting year for learning that's for sure. If anyone wants to learn with me, send me an email and I'll tell you the books I got and maybe we can share information.
Need a Dose Of Bad Ass Music?

HOLY SHIT! If you love metal with passion, go right now and listen to: Rebels Without Applause. The new songs from their album are just incredible. I've been a fan of Greg Fulton for several years (Znowhite, Cyclone Temple), but I think this is his best material yet. Between him and Jimi Hazel, they are no better metal guitarists period. Groove, passion, and heavier than any new metal band I've heard in a long time. The new songs show a little bit of Mr. Fulton's thrash past. But, believe me....this his best material yet....Now, if 24-7 spyz and Rebels tour....please come to Omaha!!!!!!!

Friday, January 02, 2004

Something Cool

Well, we brought in the new year with the Classic Rock All-Stars and they were a lot of fun to watch on stage. They were incredibly tight and looked like they were having the time of their lives. Anyway, I thought it was cool that the first song that they played in the new year was....School's Out by Alice Cooper. I didn't expect that! VERY COOL to have the first song you hear be from the master. Now, let's hope I get to see the real thing this year!
Interesting Article

James Robertson found an interesting article about belief vs. data. An interesting read, but I loved James' commentary. It made me think that if everyone is going to Java (and continues) on faith that it is better (even though we know it's not), maybe we could get everyone to move to Smalltalk with the same logic. So, I will simply end this blog entry with let's create the data that proves what we all know: SMALLTALK IS BETTER! I know I've seen experiments that prove that Smalltalk is more productive. We all know we are more productive in it....But, let's get our data together! Up the blocks!
Call -151: My New Composition

I finally finished my first composition since I've been in Nebreska, download it in mp3 here. It's called "Call -151" and if you any of you did assembly language on the Apple ][, it should bring back some good ole memories. I made it with various stuff, but you should hear the fs1r, gameboy, atari 2600, circuit bent toys, and various other bleedy goodies. If you want to check out the rest of my songs, feel free to download them too here.
New Blog

Please welcome Sean Mahan to the world of blogging by visiting his site here. He's a good friend of mine and has a great outlook on life. Did I mention he has an incredible sense of humour and can sling code with the best of them? Check it out now!
Alto Dorado: The Soundtrack

I just completed a new song this weekend and decided to create a web page for my musical musings. Check it out here. All of my new music is downloadable from my site (and not mp3.com). Feel free to drop me a line to tell me what you think (both good and bad). I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but I sure do have a lot of fun making it.

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