Older blog entries for tunesmith (starting at number 5)

Well, a few weeks of freaking out and I'm slowly getting back into concentrating on the things I was concentrating on before 9/11.

Amazing how something like that just knocks everyone out of wherever they were on their whole Mazlo's hierarchy thing. Had a real hard time investing serious thought into something as silly-feeling as online music.

It's starting to get interesting again though - actually I'm branching out into just about any project that will get me into some new skills. I'm working on creating some cell phone ringtones for a friend (anyone know how to convert rtttl to 8-bit binary sms for nokie phones, on linux?), putting together some business cards to try and get into more flexible contract-based work...

And I'm all of a sudden getting really into blogging. I'm just getting a big kick out of blogger.com - I've got a blog now, although not many regular readers yet (hopefully that will change soon), and I'm about to start working with adding some new features to mine using xml and php, and then giving the features away to give back to the community. Neat effort.

Now that I'm unemployed (since 8/31) I'm finally spending days getting back into music, too - found a piano at a local church that likes me, accompanied their choir and performed some Beethoven at a service once, and got to know a local composer who wants me to perform some of his piano pieces for a personal-use cd he's making. Sounds fun and it's always great to have artistic friends and mentors.

I've redoubled my efforts to look for employment in the area of digital media. Looks like there are a few options here in the Portland OR area, although there has been a lot of consolidation. Other than that I'm mostly looking for more startup-type efforts that would be open to telecommuting, part-time or otherwise. I focused so much on keeping my salary in line last time I was looking that I might have sacrificed some other comforts... since then I've managed to pay off more debts and give myself some cushion, so I feel okay with sacrificing some salary in exchange for something more personally rewarding. I've found a couple of options - right now they only seem five or ten percent likely, but it's still a chance. We will see.

It's been a couple of interesting days thinking about open source. Other than the neat discussion over at slashdot regarding Rick Boucher's interest in open source, I had a thought-provoking run-in with a local businessman regarding open source. I wrote about it on my blog, which you can find here - it's under "Open Source Evil?"

Ran into an interesting kuro5hin posting today... The subject matter is crashing-economy, tech-layoffs, stuff we've heard before, but one of the quotes in the article caught my eye:

My geek friends aren't alone... one of my friends hit rock bottom about four months ago; I heard he was nearly ready to break down and cry a few times.

So I wrote a response... the impression I get is that my opinions here are cutting against the grain of geekdom. It's too bad. It's sort of a pet peeve of mine, the attitude that emotions are either alien or irrelevant/inconvenient or that they're only okay to experience in a head-based conscious talk-around-them manner... and not to also be experienced on the gut/physical level. I think that attitude is a lot more dangerous to society than folks want to realize. The folks that learn to be emotionless can develop a spectacularly underdeveloped sense of empathy for others, and that's pretty scary when they attain positions of power, whether it's a CEO, political leader, school nurse, or parent. Best I can do to fight that is to make counterpoints when the opportunity presents itself, I guess...

HighGeek - thanks for the welcome to pho. I'm still adjusting to the subscriber base. I was sort of stunned when my recent email about collaborative filtering elicited response from both the founder of MediaUnbound (who I was thinking of when I wrote in) and the guy from MusicMatch. Seems like everyone who matters in the field is on that list. It's too bad the S/N ratio has dropped - there's still a ton to talk about in terms of the next step. I think everyone is probably still trying to catch their breath after the big metaphorical punch in the gut of the last year.

Someone wrote to pho that any "nag" element to online tipping efforts contaminate the music experience and I wrote a very well-thought-out reply of how I strongly disagreed with that. I think part of the problem with online music distribution is the lack of connection between Joe Downloader and Jane Artist, and if efforts were made to increase the emotional connection between the two, inspire more loyalty, put it on a human level, it would reduce the "lazy piracy" problem and enrich the "music experience" as well. Anyway, I wrote it on Mozilla 0.9.3 - while trying to send it, my outgoing mail server was trying to validate my From address, which was on a domain whose DNS server was down, so it was taking forever, destined to fail. While checking I clicked "Save" and tried to close the window so I'd have a draft. When all was said and done, it was just gone. Not sent, no backup, words lost. That's the tough part of the last mile of a project... the remaining bugs are just freaky weird.

I got certified at Journeyer faster than I thought. Even though I haven't yet released a major open source project, I think my name must be familiar to some from my Music Tech writings. Very flattering and I'm attempting to return the favor. I really gotta get on the ball and release that perl project for MusicBrainz I've been making noise about. We're close to the 1.0 release. Maybe I'll work on that this afternoon - it was dependent on my upgrading my Big Box and I just got mandrake8.0 on it yesterday so I think I'm ready.

Work... still feeling not very confident. Been there 2.5 months and I don't know if there is a standard I have to meet at the 90-day mark. We're doing WebObjects, Apple's Java RAD tool. Supposedly it's supposed to rock once you master it, but there's so much hidden functionality "to make things easier" that I'm continually staring at the next statement thinking, Okay - how did we get HERE from THERE? I guess that's RAD - rather than spend a day to write 50 lines of code, you spend a day to write 2 lines of code. Grumble. Looking forward to feeling more comfortable so I can come home at the end of the day still in a good mood.

Home... gf is still in the UK and is thinking of extending her backpacking trip until APRIL. ack!!!! This was her post-graduation decompress-from-school trip - she's done this before, too - long trips to see the world, big central part of her nature and I've learned to just sort of stay out of the way. :) But my mom said, "You know, maybe she's trying to elicit a reaction." And I said, "No, that's not her, we communicate really well." But it put a bug in my ear so I thought I'd check. Yesterday on the phone - "So, all your choices regarding how you're spending your time, length of stay, etc - even if I came out, swooped you to Paris, proposed on Eiffel tower or whatever, you'd still be doing this the same way, right?" (pause, beat) "Oh, I wouldn't say THAT!"

eek.

I recently found the "pho" list and I'm very excited about it. It has been a challenge finding the forums where online-music issues are intelligently discussed and reported. Basically what I do now is check slashdot, kuro5hin, advogato, and I get WebNoize updates, read pho, and once in a while look over at fairtunes (they've been making noise lately). If anyone knows of other forums I should be keeping track of, suggest away...

Looks like my certs have picked up. That's cool because the only person I've asked was Seth. Still can't post responses yet but that's okay, I'm fine hanging out with the diaries for now. I've been planning out how to spruce up museworld.com - there isn't much there yet aside from my blog. I still have that fun tip gauge idea but it is dependent on fairtunes making their (already public) artist contribution history available through XML. I'm working on them right now. It'll be a good excuse for me to set up my own servlet/xml environment.

Finally, I am getting tired of having a linux server in my apartment with all the noise and heat. In addition to that I also pay around $50/month for two other domains hosted remotely. I am considering consolidating all my servers into a managed-hosting setup where I have root access. Right now the only option I know of is rackspace.com where bare minimum setup is $260/month or so, which might be manageable, but cheaper would sure be nicer. Looking for recommendations of where else to look.

Hooray, first diary entry. I got certified by Seth (and myself) - not sure how many certs it takes to be able to post my own articles. Guess I will find out later.

Very excited about advogato and its mod. I have been tracking online music happenings quite a bit and have written quite a few brainstorms about it as well. I am considering starting a site using advogoto's mod for the sole purpose of reporting and discussing directions in online music, digital media, and artist payment mechanisms. Right now I've got a blog that discusses some of this stuff, which also doubles as something of a journal for me.

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!