Twitterpated with Tweetdeck

As I have recently acquired my third diploma, I am currently in the market for a career...sort of. I know this friend of the family who happens to have substantial experience in "human resources," who has enlightened me regarding corporate recruiting in 2010. According to her wisdom, corporate recruiting is accomplished 95% through online social networks such as twitter, linkedin, and of course the mighty facebook. There are often new jobs that have not been advertised, instead they are filled through active corporate recruiting. As a result, it is imperative that today's professional, entry-level or otherwise generate a personal "brand" that is polished, accurate and consistent over multiple web-points. Therefore, despite my distaste for social media and how it is routinely utilized for false advertising, "bait-and-switch" tactics, hurtful defamation of character, rumor propagation or as a sounding-board for idiots; despite this, I must embrace it, harness its power and conquer it!

Hoopla aside, I was directed to the following article (click) which has sufficiently motivated me to push my linkedin account to 100%, make my fb profile a little more professional (i.e. remove the suspicious gas-mask) and actually start tweeting, or microblogging or updating my status or what-have-you. But, woe-is-me who has very little interest in this to begin with to have to update all these social-media sites so regularly. Can't I just have a single program where I can follow the updates and when I make an update it will syndicate it to all the social media sites I subscribe to? Well I went searching and settled on the first thing I found (a lot like how I ended up with my wife) ping.fm which is a website that accomplishes this syndication very easily. However, thanks to publicizing my interest in this syndication business, I was turned on to Tweetdeck, which is a superior tool for posting and managing multiple features to all these subscription sites. I also am really impressed that they are completely cross-platform (Michaelsoft Binbows, Macintosh Apples, and Linux) and I have it installed on my Kubuntu box at home, my wife's ubuntu netbook remix (though there I had to separately install Adobe AIR first) and my "business machine" running 7. Anyway, check out tweetdeck at tweetdeck.com


Rockbox for Sandisk Sansa e280 v2

About 2 years ago a colleague at UNH told me about this free full featured firmware (oooh alliteration) for mp3 players called Rockbox (http://www.rockbox.org/). It has loads of themes that can be explored, simple playlist manager, and intuitive interface. For the Sansa e280 it also retains the FM radio functionality. Furthermore, it doesn't overwrite the mp3 player's existing firmware but is sort of a dual-boot. The problem for me was that the developers of Rockbox had not ported it to the Sansa e280 v2 at that time, only v1. Since then, I have checked in on the project every few months and after only a couple years wait, I finally got the opportunity to try it out (I guess at least grad-school taught me patience). The only quirk I have noticed is that the "back" button must be depressed when connecting the device to the computer by USB in order for it to mount on my Kubuntu box.


pour l'amour de la musique

My newest obsession has to be Ampache. Shortly after I upgraded my hosting plan to "unlimited" I decided to use the storage to back-up my digital life (in case of fire/flood/toddler toilette experiments/etc). Since then, I have uploaded approx. 40 GB of media, most of which is home videos and music. I must admit I don't have a very impressive music library compared to many-a-cohort. Still, I always wondered if I could easily manage this lot with a web utility so I didn't always have to carry my external hard-drive around or copy my library whenever I get a new computer. I also like the idea of having it centralized since I'm not too good at keeping up on redundancy with media coming into possession using one of two laptops, home and work desktops, friends, and so on.

Introducing Ampache. Ampache has a lot of functionality that I am not able to exploit, designed for a server that you have total control over, which is not the case with my shared hosting service. However, I have successfully uploaded the PHP based installer, created a database, and configured it...and I'm not that smart so it has to be easy! The only problem that I haven't yet solved is increasing the maximum time my server will allow an Ampache PHP script to run. The default is set to 30 s, which is really not enough to catalog my entire library. My current work-around is to break the library up into many catalogs.

Nevertheless, I am happy with the user interface which allows me to either download a playlist .m3u file which then lets a media player (I use VLC) to stream from the web-server, or there is also a local flashplayer (xspf). I would prefer to use the xspf player since it is one click playback and has a nice interface which displays album art, however, lots of my music is in .ogg format which won't play. So I'm working on converting to .mp3s.


It has been some time since I have posted, and I have the day off today, the missus is out to brunch, the twins in a nap, and their big bro chillin with dad, some goldfish snacks and peanut butter sammies. An unlikely coincidence that allows for some writing. I guess I should get it done!

First, I should mention that I was not looking forward to the local yahoos setting off their shitty fireworks at odd intervals all night long in my "quiet" town. I don't mind fireworks, I just think they should be controlled by local fire stations and light-able by authorized individuals. I decided, however, that "you can't beat 'em...so join 'em." Although I think I would prefer to exercise my patriotism at a time of day more amenable to my schedule, like when the kids wake up at 6am. Perhaps next year I will set up my 2 2x12"/2x8" monster purple cabs powered by my 800 Watt junky Crate mixer outside and rip out some a shitty version of "America the Beautiful" (I should think it's easy with YouTube to find a rendition by an 8 yo girl at her first recital!) followed by a Sousa March (you know the one, the really patriotic one) at 6am to kick of the 4th with a real bang! Better still will be the reprise on the 5th. I can't think of a better cure for a hangover.

That being said, I actually had no problem listening to this racket at 10pm this year since the kids easily drowned it out during our routine bedtime ritual. Maybe the extra helping of cake and blueberry pie at my friends pig roast played a role. By the way, I would not recommend bringing 3 kids under 3 to a friends pig roast unless you are hell-bent on being a spectacular circus side-show for all the other guests. I think I managed to say "hi" to like 3 people out of 30, not that I knew many of them. Let's just say watching two adults chasing around midget tyrants who are busy swinging croquet rackets, screeching, falling, stomping on flower beds, etc. is the closest my friends have been to the Ringling Bros.

Additional updates:
- I somehow inadvertently rejoined Facebook - I really don't know how to use the internet. My wife is convinced that my profile picture is damaging to my career.
- I celebrated the anniversary of this blog quietly as I was driving in to work on the 30th of May. That was a while ago, but I thought it deserves mention regardless
- I am looking into a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Texas A&M. Very few members of my family have been initially supportive, but they should come around.
- I am brewing all-grain (details here)
- I have discovered a great web-tool to enable me to play my music library from the web (see later post)


Home Studio Upgrade - mobile workstation

I recently made 2 purchases to allow a more flexible, complete, mobile solution to my DAW. I now have the ability to take my studio on the road and use my Sony Vaio.

First I have added a simple E-MU XMIDI 1x1 USB interface ($25) so I can use my midi keyboard with a USB port.

Secondly, I needed a USB audio interface / preamp. After some research I found an excellent solution that offers a substantial "bang-for-your-buck" using an ART USB Dual Pre ($80) which does not require any drivers. When you plug it in you will find "USB audio codec" added to your sound I/O hardware options. However, you don't have to select this for your system if you run most of your studio software on top of JACK. Instead, just change the input and output preferences in the JACK setup and you are good to go!

I also found software designed to be a guitar effects simulator called Rackarrack which also has an on-board tuner and can route your guitar notes to midi events. Although it has limited sensitivity, this may be a good way to score midi data for someone (like me) who plays guitar/bass better than keyboard.


bash scripting

I wanted to put together a simple bash script that would take a wildcard argument from the command-line and send the output to a text file (g03data.sh *.log > output.txt)

I needed to add the following (found here) to the top of my existing script:

if [ -z "$1" ] then     echo $0: usage: $0 filename     exit 1 fi
while [ ! -z "$1" ] do     # do stuff to $1     shift done
exit 0


MSWord Reference Range

I had some trouble figuring out how to use MS Words simple footnote/endnote reference tool with regard to adding a range of references. I found help here: http://word.tips.net

In summary, I found it relatively easy to create the macro (below) and then I could highlight the numbers in the middle of the range and format them to be hidden with a hyphen in their place.


Sub RefListToRange()
Selection.Font.Hidden = True
Selection.Collapse (wdCollapseEnd)
Selection.TypeText Text:="–" 
End Sub