Busy, new music, Getting Things Done, data import

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here. I’ve been busy. But now that I’m here…

  • I’m still not thrilled with the Gutenberg editor. It’s okay, but I just don’t care for it.
  • I’ve been working on music, and that’s been eating what time I have left after work and family, so I haven’t been writing much. This is a problem; the whole point behind these is that I should be able to fire them off pretty quickly and easily. It’s a brittle process.
  • A friend suggested Todoist, over Agenda. Will have to try it again. There are tons of GTD-like to-do applications, and all of them so far get it slightly wrong for me… or maybe I’m not integrating them well enough yet. Agenda’s pretty good but Mac-only. Until I’ve purged every other OS from my work environment, that’s… ungood. (And I’m not going to purge every other OS from my work environment.)
  • Running a giant data import is great, until you realize you’ve done it wrong but you’re already a long time into a giant, days-long process.

Blogging, getting wordpress running properly on Ubuntu

Things I’m thinking and feeling:

  • I really don’t “blog” all that much. I record, I guess, and that’s sort of a “web log,” but I really don’t expose much of my innermost feelings – it’s like observations with a mirror in the way. I’ve always been that way when I write. Always.
  • Today I’m going to try something different.
  • I feel horribly sad today. Not really empty, not really morose, just… not even tired, but mournful, and I don’t even really know what it is I’m mourning. Maybe it’s memory, all the memories I feel like I could have had but don’t, maybe it’s the memories I do have but shouldn’t. Maybe I’m mourning the fact that I don’t know if I’m what I should be. But today, Me, I’m down. I’m not feeling bad, I’m just down.
  • I finally fixed some problems with my WordPress installation. When I upgraded to Ubuntu 18.04 on my server, apparently some PHP plugins didn’t get installed/migrated/somethinged – I went to a page on installing the LEMP stack on Ubuntu, installed the system dependencies, and lo and behold, things started working better again. Annoying, because this stuff’s been broken for a long time. Now if WordPress would only track the same hits that I see in access logs…
  • After a long dry spell, I’ve been writing poetry again. This is a good thing, but as usual my poetry is inspired by my mood, which is not a good thing. Oh, well. Maybe some of it will be worth publishing.
  • I also finally have been grinding my way through some new-ish music. Hurray.
  • I wonder if CNN – or any other news source, really – would be improved if you removed all the adjectives and subsidiary clauses. Some important information would get lost, but honestly? Most of the adjectives and subordinate clauses are used by the “journalists” to insert their opinions into the news, to sanitize it for the tribe most likely to read that particular bit… or enrage the tribe for which the bit isn’t targeted.

Afoot!, football refs, music books

Things I’m thinking:

  • If I was a detective, or if I was writing a detective story, I’d never have someone say “The game is afoot!” … Why? Glad I asked.
    • Because “afoot” is a terrible name for a game. I get that there are games based on “Dr. Pimple Popper” and stuff, but “Afoot, the Game” is just… too far.
    • If it’s NOT the name of a game, then … you’re risking stepping on whatever game it is you’re talking about. Detectives detect. They don’t step on what they’re hunting. That changes them from detectives to … step-upon-ers.
    • Again, if you’re a detective and you’re on a case – it’s not a game! Take your job seriously, detective! Sheesh!
  • As bad as I feel for the Saints, I’m glad the NFL is going to have to confront officiating in some fashion. Refs have really struggled these past two years on both the collegiate and pro levels, with fans being able to see things that really should have been called being missed, and refs focusing on ticky-tack things instead… I almost hope there’s a “voice of the watchers” kind of reviewer put in place, someone who says, “Look, a four-year-old can see that. Throw the flag,” or “If you’re going to call THAT, you’re going to have to call THIS, too,” or even “If you’re NOT going to call that, you shouldn’t be calling this.”
  • I’ve done no music of any kind for a while now. This is getting distressing, and I need to change it.
  • Speaking of: limited time offer from Humble Bundle: Computer Music Books from MIT Press.

Jacob’s Ladder, abandoning Virtuoso

I’m running out of convenient variations of “things I’m thinking about.”

  • Man, Rush’s Jacob’s Ladder is a great song.
  • Thoughts on Virtuoso: we needed to run a fairly large, fairly current data extraction from DBPedia, so we thought we’d be polite and run our own Virtuoso image with a mirror of the current dataset from DBPedia. This has proven problematic, as Virtuoso managed to corrupt its database through the process of ordinary synchronization, a step necessary because there are no current data dumps of the DBPedia dataset in the first place. I spent a lot of hours trying to be polite to DBPedia’s servers — and running a live pull from their servers took hours, but a lot fewer hours than I spent trying to mirror their data on our servers. Net loss. Lesson learned.
  • I have not written or recorded any music in days. This makes me unhappy.

Python docs, more on wget

Things I have learned today:

  • Python has a lot of modules that are documented well enough to make you cry. Other modules are documented so poorly that it will make you cry. Why am I using GNU parallel? Because creating a bounded threadpool in Python, a task that seems like it should be pretty straightforward, was documented so confusingly for me that I just ended up using the command line instead.
  • wget is a surprisingly easy way to hammer your CPU; run eighteen simultaneous processes and watch the CPU bleed. Great fun for all! (If you can’t guess: parallel is being used to fix this.)
  • I will be fascinated when I learn Gutenberg well enough to leverage it. It’s supposed to be like Medium’s editor, and I suppose it is; I don’t like Medium’s editor either.
  • The best and worst thing about programs to allow you to play Solitaire is how easy it is to play a new game; you end up not valuing a given hand, because if it gets difficult… redeal. That means you lose some hands you could win (“eh, too hard”) and means that you also don’t really value winning as much as you used to, because you can play so many hands so quickly.
  • I find no irony or contradiction in appreciating the Avett Brothers alongside Rush and Yes and Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin and Weather Report, but I expect others to be surprised at my choices in music. I think other people think I am easily pigeonholed, and maybe I am, but not along the lines of music genres… I think.
  • I ache when my friends ache. Sometimes I wish I did not, but I think the world would be much, much sadder for me if I couldn’t share others’ pain.
  • GNU parallel uses perl. This is amusing. It works; it’s great; it’s still amusing.
  • I like jokes that don’t have victims, generally speaking, but I have no problem using a few specific people as the targets of jokes… Paul Finebaum comes to mind. Give us a rest, Paul. We know you like the SEC.
  • Other people whose voices I could do without: Stephen A. Smith; Sean Hannity; Tucker Carlson. By the way, Tucker, not that you’ll ever read this, but…
  • YES, diversity is a good thing, and while we can argue about specific granularity and I have no problem conceding that there has to be a certain amount of homogeneity in value systems, only a total moron would dare argue seriously that cultural diversity, in and of itself, is a Bad Thing. Shut up, you knob. I appreciate that you use a cannon where a scalpel is better suited, and I hope you know that this is what you’re doing (and therefore you’re being obtuse on purpose) but every now and then it’s good to remember that nuance is A Thing To Use.
  • I decided I was going to try to publish one of these a day, and that streak lasted for ONE DAY.

GNU Parallel, wget, Avett Brothers

Things I have learned today:

  • GNU Parallel is actually pretty nice. It will take some time to get used to how it applies the command line and interpolates the actual command to run, but the documentation is pretty thorough and my needs as of right now are pretty light.
  • That said, parallel --bibtex is annoying… and necessary. (Otherwise it demands you cite parallel in your … paper. Which I’m not producing.)
  • wget is much, much, much faster with the -nv option than without.
  • My middle son can appreciate the Avett Brothers‘ talent, but doesn’t really care for them much. No hard feelings, kid.
  • I don’t care for WordPress’ Gutenberg editor much yet.

New Music: Duration and Unknown

I somehow managed to create two new songs over the last week or so, both instrumental but with, um, slightly different feels to them.

The releases are:

This will nearly round out a release I’ve decided to title “Oevre,” just because the name sounds cool. (An “oevre” is a reference to the works of a composer or artist; a single album is not an actual oevre, I’d think, but a selection from it. I title things rather ironically; the titles of songs I write tend to be things that annoy me or frustrate me, although there are certainly counterexamples.)

Unknown is the most recent; it’s recorded with a guitar tuned to Gmaj7, doubled for harmony and reinforcement, with a piano, drums, bass, and a set of synthesizers (an OB-X emulation, a Minimoog emulation, and a Moog Modular emulation).

Duration is much the same, except with no guitars, and very different synthesizer patches.

I hope you enjoy them.

The LinnStrument looks awesome

Geert Bevin pointed out the LinnStrument this morning. Color me jealous – that thing looks awesome.

It’s basically a MIDI controller built on a pad, largely on a grid – much like a stringed instrument’s notes are, except providing expression and note control and you move your fingers around. There’re demos of using it to play slide guitar, expressive saxophone, violin – I can imagine it being workable for drums but it’d probably be underusing a lot of the LinnStrument’s power for expression.

And it’s based on the Arduino – and the software is open source, at that! (Or the site claims – I didn’t see a reference offhand to the source repository. Geert told me it’s going to be available when the instrument is available, which makes sense.)

At $1500, it’s not cheap (nor has it been released yet, as of September 9, 2014) but it looks really nice – it’s a little like the Eigenharp in providing a different and unique control surface, while being a little less intimidating for people like me.