Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Coldplay - Fix You

music :: entertainment

I almost *never* listen to the radio. I don't think I even have an FM
tuner (not counting the car; I almost never drive, either!). However, I
did see the special preview concert (on MTV?) that Coldplay gave for
the release of their new album X&Y. It was a while ago, and I hadn't
heard any radio play since then. When I was visiting Greg and Ladan in
San Francisco, I heard "Fix You" a couple times on the radio. Twice I
think. Since then, it has been in my head constantly.

I actually really like the music, and I love Coldplay's vocal style.
But I've had problems with the lyrics of that particular song since I
saw them perform it on MTV. But the music is so nice... consequently, a
tension was setup in my mind between it and the meaning of the lyrics.

My objection is due to a vehement position I hold that no one can "fix"
anyone else. In my opionon, one has to take responsibility for all
one's actions: past, present, and future. And through the continued and
disciplined application of awareness and compassion for oneself, the
"fixing" can occur. No one is to blame for our own suffering. If we are
suffering, we have the power -- through changing our minds and
perceptions -- to turn that suffering around. Our own minds/hearts are
the core of the issues, not someone else's. No one else can make us
happy; no one else can make us suffer. This is admittedly contrary to
your average opinion on the matter. In my opinion, this is because
people are very, VERY uncomfortable with taking responsibility of their
own actions. And perhaps even more uncomfortable with the frightening
prospect of being the makers of their own universes.

However, I digress. I think I have now found a way to enjoy the lyrics,
and it ties in nicely with an interpretation of the "X&Y" title as
chromosomal :-) If you consider the inheritance we receive from our
parents -- genetic, emotional, behavioral, etc. -- and you agree that
there is plenty of work (and a responsibility!) to improve on this
inheritance, then "fixing you" could be an address to our parents, or
rather, our parents inside us. Something along the lines of "we promise
to take care of you in us, to do the most with what you have given us,
to fix the broken pieces and go further..."

With that perspective, I am now listening to the song without
misgivings, fully enjoying both the lyrics and the music :-)

Now playing:
Sting - Sister Moon (Wednesday,  6:45am MST)

Monday, November 21, 2005

Last.fm and MusicBrainz

internet :: music :: software

While working on a related project, I came across MusicBrainz (with an associated Mac
OS X application with an awesome "i*" name: iEatBrainz) and
AudioScrobbler /
Last.fm. Let me just say that Last.fm
-- for whatever reason it was named that -- is truly and aptly named:
this is the last radio you will ever need. If this technology hasn't
been incorporated into XM radio and it's radio-a-likes, it soon will
be. Otherwise someone else will do it, and they'll be out of business.

Let's say that you don't want to listen to your own music collection;
you want to spice things up and hear something new... but familiar.
Let's say you're in a particular mood and you really want to hear
something like the fantastic folk stylings of Shawn Colvin. Well, open
up the Last.fm player, type "Shawn Colvin" and you are now listening to
personalized radio with a random playlist built by Last.fm to provide
music that is similar or the same as Shawn Colvin.

Already, I have discovered two new female vocalists I'd never heard of
who I now adore, as well as an old-style punk band that I want to hear
more of.

This is the best thing that has ever happened to radio, and quite
frankly, I'm surprised it's taken so long to get this started. It's
going to be a hell of a ride from here on in, with this technology...
this is just the beginning of end-user-tailored broadcast media.

I've been using iEatBrainz and the MusicBrainz db to go through the
hundreds of old MP3s I have that I ripped before rippers connected to
CDDB/FreeDB... so many files with no ID3 tags. This is enabling me to
perform organization tasks in my music library that I have been putting
off for ages. It was just too painful. But now that iEatBrainz, I have
music superpowers.

All this has made the new project I am working on even more exciting :-)

Now playing:
Ben Harper - She's Only Happy in the Sun (Tuesday,  1:41pm MST)

San Francisco

friends :: travel

Two dear friends of mine, Greg and Ladan, whisked me away to San
Francisco to stay with them for almost two weeks, and I've just
returned. I had the most amazing time there -- including (but not
limited to!) meeting new friends, having long and deep conversations
with old friends, eating *amazing* Persian food, and seeing Depeche
Mode in concert. Though it wasn't a vacation -- I coded my ass off all
day while they were at work and school -- it was just what I needed.

You know, good friends are just amazing. The generosity of open hearts
can really be life changing. In "modern" life, so much attention gets
paid to success, acquisition, consumption... that we can get distracted
by either participating in that or fighting it. Stepping outside of
that battlefield, one finds the truly great things in life. The support
that friends provide is one of these things. Thanks Greg and Ladan!

Now playing:
Ben Harper - Waiting on an Angel (Tuesday,  1:09pm)

Saturday, November 12, 2005

New Project

software :: music :: mathematics

So, I can't really say anything about it yet, but I'm really excited it
:-) It's going to be open source, so others will be free to contribute.
I'm pretty sure it hasn't been done yet in the open source world, and
it's only just being done commercially now.

So... stay tuned, and as soon as all the details are worked out, I'll
post about it again here. Okay, I'll give you a hint: Hidden Markov


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

z3 Project Starter Script Update

software :: zope3

I just thought I'd give a quick update in regards to this script. I
have tweaked a few things and submitted a new version on zope.org.
There's a news item about it here.

Information and details on the script are here.


Monday, November 07, 2005

Structure Generation and z3

software :: zope3

Carlos de la Guardia posted a recent
blog entry
that mentions the need for "rails-like" code-stubbing,
or the automatic generation of directories and files in z3. I think
there was one comment that wasn't spam, and then I posted one in
addition to that. So, I thought I'd post a long over-due entry here

A tool like that exists; I wrote it a while ago, but didn't get a
chance to clean it up (a little) and post it to the zope.org site until about a month ago. Here is the
z3 project starter.

It's alpha, and I need to encode the 1px.gif image so that a proper
binary file can be created. But that's pretty easy, I just haven't
gotten around to it. The basic css tabs are really only usable with
vhost. It has only been tested repeatedly in a narrow set of use, so it
needs more people playing with it. I'd love it if folks wanted to
contribute, helping to get it into shape suitable for entry into the z3
repository. It'd be great to bring it in line with Benji's quickstart



It's been far, far too long since my last post. I can lay the blame for
this soundly at the feet of economic hardship and business suckage. One
of my oldest business partners was acquired by LEDS last year, and this
guy continues to be the most amazing friend, resource, and bread-winner
for my company. It really blows me away. Lots of other "partner"
companies make promises out the arse, with 80% of them falling through.
Not Allen, though. He just blows my mind... if it weren't for him, I
wouldn't even be able to write this blog entry.

Okay, so that's why I've been missing in action. In my silence, though,
I have done a tremendous amount of coding. I've been working on two
different versions of twisted object brokers for CoyMon; been updating
pymon to run from python eggs; been doing an insane amount of z3
development; teaching z3; been working on some custom astronomy python
utilities; been doing python image processing again; been exploring
darcs, ubuntu, MochiKit, Dojo Toolkit, Axiom; catching up on python
blogs; catching up on DivMon, Quotient, Nevow; just signed up for http://clickchronicle.com; been
catching up on experiments in gravitational physics as well as my
5-year cycle for M-Theory refreshing.

There's also a small group of friends that have started a mail list for
very cool explorations in practical... hmmm, don't even know what to
call it... metaphysics, I guess. Some of the most amazing discussions
and conversations I've had in a while.

I expect that I'll be posting here again, soon. It feels good to be
crawling out from under the rock where I've been hiding :-)