not a beautiful or unique snowflake's journal

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Thursday, September 1st, 2011
6:18 pm - twits
I've been using twitter actively for a couple months now, and goddamn is it busted.

  • If you block someone, and someone else retweets them, you still see their tweet.
  • Your timeline doesn't show other people's replies to other people who you're not following. This is sort of understandable, but broken in many ways:
    • No way to say "show me all of this user's tweets no matter what" (you have to manually view their timeline), despite the fact people'll will obviously want this for some small number of really important people they follow
    • Because people say generally useful things in replies, and there's no way to say "show all this users tweets", sometimes they'll prefix a dot (".") at the beginning of the message to prevent the normal suppression so that some of their replies are publically visible. However, this doesn't work some of the time (I think it doesn't if it's a true reply (one that enables their threading), and does work if it's only a manual reply)
    • If someone I follow mentions me, it should show up in my main feed, not only in mentions. It doesn't show up in my feed if their tweet is a reply to somone I don't follow.
    • When somebody asks a public question, it would be nice to see all the replies to it. (Remember on moderated Usenet groups where the etiquette was to collect responses and post a follow-up summarizing them? Good times.) The conversation thing shows a line, not a tree, so I'm not sure what it does when there are multiple replies. But it also misses replies that aren't true replies. The solution is simple: be able to see the "mentions" tab for other people (note that you can just search for @whoever, which will give similar (same?) results), but why not just give me the tab?
    • Once you are following enough people, it doesn't make sense to add everyone who is even slightly interesting. What matters is how what they post will affect your feed (their signal-to-noise ratio, basically). So you go to their profile and look at their timeline, but that shows you *all* posts. Since replies to people not on your follow list won't show up, that may not at all resemble what you'd actually see (or it might, depending on how many replies they do and how their follow list matches yours). So you have to scan through, guestimating how many are replies to people you follow.
  • Nothing about the way tweets behave (like the above examples) is documented, and they're hard to discover since there's no way to check what's going on, to e.g. determine to whom your tweets are visible--how your stuff looks to other people.
  • I'm sure there's other stuff affecting me that I just don't know about yet, plus I'm sure there's stuff that's busted but that I don't use.

I encountered all of this stuff within a week or two of using twitter actively, although it's taken me longer to realize just what was going on in all cases.

And here I thought phpbb was terrible.

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Thursday, August 18th, 2011
4:43 pm - 12 bitchin' reasons this post is worth reading
12 bitchin' reasons this post is worth reading.

  1. It's written with impeccable grammar and style.

  2. It's in the form of a list.

  3. The points are numbered so you can refer to them individually.

  4. The author is on your "friends list", or someone you know or respect sent you a link to the post.

  5. It's never been done before -- or at least not this well.

  6. It avoids tone-shifts, such as incorporating entirely fictional claims.

  7. Former President of the US James "Jimmy" Carter considers it his third-favorite LiveJournal post of 2011 (so far).

  8. Like all good posts, it is self-referential.

  9. It is controversial since it contains opinions claimed as fact.

  10. Its controversy is in a non-divisive, non-political domain that won't cause any real problems.

  11. This bullet item is the eleventh one.

  12. It won't take long to read; in fact, you already read it.

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Thursday, May 19th, 2011
8:51 am - malware
Ugh. Just finished spending a couple hours cleaning up some malware that got on my machine this morning ("XP Security 2011"). Seemingly from something on the onion avclub site while running the most recent update of Firefox 3. Probably something on their ad network. If you run firefox 3 you might want to stay away from avclub until the next FF3 update.

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Monday, April 25th, 2011
10:50 pm - CADT
So apparently the CADT software development paradigm doesn't apply only to Open Source: Thanks Adobe! See if I report any more bugs!

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Tuesday, March 29th, 2011
7:41 am - ok go wtf
I remixed that OK Go video again.

(at work? note that the song lyrics include the F word)

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Thursday, March 17th, 2011
9:14 pm - sketch moratorium
welp, i've been feeling some odd pain in my left hand when I try to play guitar over the last week or so, so I've stopped playing guitar until that stops, so no more sketches.

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Tuesday, March 15th, 2011
10:06 pm - 2011 music sketches #24, #25
Ok, so, following up on my release of an actually semi-polished piece of music on Friday, I'll follow up with the utter absurdity I did this weekend:

#24: experiment for mechanically-controlled piano #1 (5 min, 7.5 MB, one virtual piano)
#25: experiment for mechanically-controlled piano #2 (1 min, 2 MB, one virtual piano)

In other words, works for modern player piano, which I'm sure is a well-explored realm of 20th-century composition already, and made far, far easier by modern technology where you don't have to cut holes in paper, just program in MIDI, and you don't actually even need one of the physical pianos (*I* don't have one), so maybe it's kind of lame to even try this. But hey.

#1 probably exceeds the limits of a real mechnical piano briefly with the fast stuff from 1:18 to 1:29 (I hadn't bothered to do any research on the plausible limitations when I wrote it) and 4:15-4:30 but most of the rest is plausible. (The crazy fast bit of #2 at 0:47 peaks at 12 notes per second on any given key, which appears to be right around the limits of feasibility for physical pianos, but only for high velocities/loud notes, so it might be tonally implausible. On the other hand, the shifting from 0:47 to 0:53 is actually moving from a chromatic sound to an all-white-key-sound, where I chose all-white-keys over some other major scale purely for the visual aesthetic purposes even though that doesn't actually, y'know, happen without a real piano doing this, which I don't have.)

I wrote these on Sunday but wasn't going to release them until I got a better piano sample set up, but then I decided I don't care, since these are just sketches. I'll probably explore this stuff further and make some more polished (but still weird and experimental pieces), and I'll do those with a better virtual piano (this one has 30MB of samples, but in fact I have one with 500MB), and probably writing my own authoring software, because programming this through Reaper's MIDI editor makes it way impossible to do a lot of velocity-based stuff I'd like to do, and maybe some interesting mixes where half of what's played is mathematically determined and half is authored (this is what the 1:41-2:10 of #1 is exploring, various automatic or semi-automatic "expansions" of the the same hand-authored theme).

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Saturday, March 12th, 2011
12:40 am - a piece of music
I expanded 2011's sketch #1 (guitar octaves in E-lydian in 11) into a full, reasonably-polished instrumental piece:

A Few Places Later (4:03, 5MB)

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Thursday, March 10th, 2011
8:43 pm - 2011 music sketch #23
#23: baritone guitar in action (2 min, 2.5MB, 2 baritone guitar tracks, redundant drums)

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11:29 am - guitars
My unintentional guitar collection has grown again -- I got a Stratocaster clone around a year ago that I probably never mentioned, and I just bought a baritone guitar (sort of like a 6-string bass).

So now I'm up to: 4 electric guitars, 3 electric basses, 2 acoustic guitars, and a mandolin. (Also 5 toy plastic guitars.)

On virtual guitarsCollapse )

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Saturday, March 5th, 2011
7:18 pm - 2011 music sketch #22
#22: another sketch in a similar vein as the last one (2 min, 2.5MB, 5 guitar tracks)

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Sunday, February 27th, 2011
10:07 am - 2011 music sketch #21
#21: inspired by jcreed, a surf instrumental (1.5 minutes, 2MB, 4 guitar tracks)

I think I really like this one!

Unfortunately, none of my guitars have whammy bars on them, so the chords are missing out on that action.

notes on compositionCollapse )

I've fallen behind the 1-per-day pace... but I don't care!

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Saturday, February 26th, 2011
1:51 pm - 2011 music sketch #20
#20: terrible, but at least i played the drums (1.5 minutes, 2MB, two tracks)

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Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011
8:52 am - 2011 music sketch #19
#19: goofy (guitar) synth drone (for lack of a better term) that goes on much too long given the content, but I was having too much fun to stop the improv (7 min, 10MB, 3 tracks)

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Monday, February 21st, 2011
6:09 am - 2011 music sketch #18
#18: a simple awkwardly timed chord + solo (2 min, 3 MB, 2 tracks). Vaguely inspired by imperfect memories of PJ Harvey's Beautiful Feeling.

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Saturday, February 19th, 2011
10:45 pm - iggy
So yeah, this is what I've been working on at work for the last two years: Iggy. Finally released earlier this week.

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5:30 am - 2011 music sketch #17
#17: acoustic intro; various metal riffs and power chords in 7/4 (3 mins, 5MB)

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Friday, February 18th, 2011
6:49 pm - 2011 music sketch #16
#16: I had planned to put in a "real" melody by working out a little melodic snippet, recording it, and moving on to the next one. So first I cheated and created loops for most of the backing parts. But then when I was working on the melody I wasn't coming up with anything I liked, so I went back to fully improvised. But this time, I edited together a single solo out of 4 separate takes. (2 minutes, 3 MB, 5 "tracks") A couple of the edits produce obviously odd jumps, but there's probably a lot more edits than you realize (22, to be precise)

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2:17 am - 2011 music sketch #15
Like a... bad metaphor for something that keeps trying a bad thing repeatedly, I try again to make a massive wall of noodling guitars work as atmosphere. (1 min, 1.5MB, 21 tracks)

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Thursday, February 17th, 2011
12:00 am - 2011 music sketch #14
#14: go go gadget guitar synth (2 mins, 2.5MB, 4 tracks)

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Sunday, February 13th, 2011
5:34 am - 2011 music sketch #13
#13: "pretty" arpeggiated chords and solo (2 mins, 3MB, 4 guitar tracks)

The first two chords were kind of meant to be ambiguous, but the parts I added after pretty much nailed it down:

(G6 DaddG Em Em) x 3 | G6 DaddG Em Cm G D G D
(G6 DaddG Em Em) x 3 | G6 DaddG Em Cm G Cm F Bb
repeat first line

Time signature watch: 4/4, in groups of 4 measures

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Saturday, February 12th, 2011
8:15 pm - administrative notice regarding music sketchbook
historical contextCollapse )

Late thursday night (friday morning) at the beginning of February 2011 I suddenly decided to start recording some quick ideas on the guitar, since the collaborative project I've been working on for over a year is mostly done by composing with General MIDI files, and I wanted to play some guitar.

Over the last nine days I've recorded and posted 12 sketches to LJ. The sketches have no mp3 tags describing authoring, and there is no proper html web page.

There is no plan. I may try to keep up an average of one-a-day for a month. Or I may feel like I've run out of ideas next week. Or I might keep doing it for an entire year. I may put them in the public domain. I have no idea. This is a low-stress, low-effort engagement.Collapse )

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6:11 am - music sketch #12
This sounds nothing like what I was picturing when I started it.

#12: clean-ish, reverb-laden thing (2.6 minutes, 4MB, 8 guitar tracks, drum samples played in a plausibly-human-drummer manner)

Time signature watch: 5+4+4+5+4

Edit: I mixed this for my own edification, but might be of interest: partial backing track consisting of just the drums and bass, and the distorted guitars in the bridge. The drums and guitar illustrate how the whole thing builds dynamically to the biggest moment of payoff (the end of the bridge).

Read more...Collapse )

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Friday, February 11th, 2011
4:45 am - music sketch #11
#11: riffage in 5 and 7 based on a request (and also loosely inspired by the middle section of The Monk Song by Miranda Sex Garden). 5 guitars, MIDI drums, 1 minute, 1.5MB

spoilersCollapse )

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3:13 am - music sketches: an observation
in past years of doing music sketchbooks, i've often delved into the occasional odd time signature here and there. but the 5+5+5+2 thing I put on youtube last year seems to have marked a turning point of sorts. all four of the "more polished" pieces I mentioned previously that I've been working on for the last year all avoid any simple, standard meter (although each does it in a different way), but I'd thought that's sort of more to do with the "point" of that project than any personal bias.

but if I look back at the 10 things I've "written" in the last week, I see the following time "signatures":

  1. 11
  2. 15, 21
  3. 19, 21
  4. 8,7
  5. 12 (sort of with a hemiola, although i really hear a quarter-note accent all the way through. also the solo playfully does 4 and 5 "polymeters" against it for some of the rising patterns)
  6. 8 (coincidentally this one was "total crap")
  7. 10,11,12
  8. 6,4 (but I'd thought the 6 was a 7)
  9. 8 with polyrhythmic 12 (and briefly accelerating sequentially through polyrhythmic 9,10,11 at the beginning); coincidentally this one was "total crap"
  10. 17 (5+5+5+2)
(The vast vast majority of western music is, in this notation, in 8 or 6 or 12, although I switched notation for #8, which should really be 6,8 for consistency.)

The only odd numbers missing are 13 and 23+.

If both of the 8s hadn't happened to be "total crap" I would think about trying to cut back on my over-reliance on this, but maybe not.

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