Friday, November 11, 2005

Moving on up ... to the eastside

Yep, I've finally moved to my own domain, to Wordpress, and all that jazz.

http://blog.ryantoohil.com

Come visit.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Jobby Job

Things have been hectic since I actually got me employment. 1 week down: so far, so good. Still getting the hang of things, learning, but I think it'll work out.

Working on some stuff on the back end (getting web hosting/domain name/maybe moving to WordPress), so probably infrequent updates for a bit.

Oh, the new Harvey Danger album is good.

Friday, September 09, 2005

iTunes v5.0 Redux

I ended up spending a few hours yesterday cleaning up my iTunes library. Basically, when I first starting using iTunes (a couple of years ago), I didn't want it to control which songs it would sync to my iPod. I wanted control over that.

A couple of years pass and now my two libraries (the iPod and iTunes) are out of sync. When you manually update, iTunes doesn't bring play counts and last played data back from the iPod, so you lose some of the cool smart playlist abilities. It's bugged me for a while, almost to the point of writing a Perl script to update the data myself each time the iPod sync'd.

Instead, I figured I'd just spend some time merging my libraries. I started with CopyPod, which lets you merge your iPod library (play counts, ratings, etc.) back into iTunes. This, however, left me with an entire duplicate library. Thankfully, I could just sort by date added. Boom, dumped all the duplicates, leaving myself with a merged library.

How to control what songs sync to my iPod? I created a playlist called iPod Songs. This playlist contains all of the songs I want sync'd out to my iPod. Now, if I want to make a smart playlist that will work on my iPod, I just make sure it includes a criteria that the song exists on the iPod Songs playlist. Surprisingly, it works really well.

Finally, I figured I'd add album art in to iTunes. Found this nice app that will do it automagically by going out to Amazon and downloading the album art. It made a few mistakes, but 30 minutes of work cleaned that up.

So now I've got a single library, with both my normal iPod and my iPod Shuffle updating play counts. Now I can start adding some older CDs in and building out one big library, which was the plan all along.

The point: iTunes made all of this a pain, but once you get things working sort of the way iTunes likes it, it's a really good application. I'm a much bigger fan of the new interface and some of the abilities it has (playlist folders, particularly).

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

iTunes 5.0

iTunes 5.0 is out. It's got a slightly new interface, which I like.

It's packaged with Bonjour (for the PC). Apple never asked if I wanted this installed or running. They just install it and launch it without asking. That's not very nice. I don't think this was the case in older versions of iTunes, but I could be crazy.

It's still missing the big feature I need -- the ability to sync ratings and play counts back to the library from the iPod when using manual sync. It astounds me that it still doesn't have this. Bleh.

Otherwise, seems like a pretty minor upgrade. Not sure why it gets to be called 5.0. This is really like 4.95.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Music I've Been Digging

Since I've become jobless (hopefully ending soon), I've been listening to a ton more music. And spending a lot more money on music, which is counterintuitive, but whatever, I get bored.

So, here's some cool songs I've been listening to. This way you can be assured I'm a wannabe indie hipster minus any bone in my body being hip.

stellastarr* - Sweet Troubled Soul
It's the first single off stellastarr*'s (yes, that looks awfully weird) second album. It rocks. Their first album is one of my favorite albums of recent years and they rock live, so it's almost a given I'd like this song. But then it kicks so much more ass. All hard driving, while still showing the new wave-y influences. Awesome.

The New Pornographers - Sing Me Spanish Techno
One of the tracks of Carl Newman's newest pop masterpiece. It's just infectious. Between Carl Newman and Adam Schlesinger/Chris Collingwood, it's a wonderful time to be a fan of the pop music. Speaking of Fountains of Wayne ...

Fountains of Wayne - I'll Do the Driving
It's an older song that's gotten it's first release on the recent 2 CD set. It's pure FoW power pop with a huge hook, jangly guitars, and clever lyrics. I dig.

Hall & Oates - She's Gone
I'm so not even kidding. Saw a really good cover band at the Burren in Davis Sq. a couple of weeks back and they covered this, and I remembered how much I loved the Oates, so I grabbed the song from iTunes. Honestly, is it possible to not love this song? Really, is it possible?

The Decemberists - The Engine Driver
I don't think there's a song on the new Decemberists' album that's as good as 90% of the stuff off of "Castaways and Cutouts", but this is the closest, I think.

Ambulance, LTD - Stay Where You Are
It's a couple of years old now, but this song ages well. Soooo good.

Aaron Perrino - Every Year
I went and saw Aaron Perrino play a solo show a couple of months back and his solo version of his old band's "Every Year" was just plain awesome. His new band plays some shows at the start of September and I won't miss them.

I haven't heard any hip hop in the past few weeks that has blown my mind. I'm not a huge Kanye West fan, so I'm thinking the next time I hear a track that catches my ear it'll probably be off of the DJ DangerMouse/MF Doom/Adult Swim collaboration.

stellastarr* rocks my ass

Awesome NY band stellastarr* rocked my ass last night at the Middle East in Cambridge. I'm a little disappointed they didn't play my favorite track ("Somewhere Across Forever"), but I'll be damned if they don't put on the best live show of pretty much any band I've seen.

They rock and you should go see them and buy their CDs.

Me, I'm heading to bed slightly deaf but very happy. In the meantime, check out some cool pictures from flickr.

Oh, and here's my future wife for good measure:



(Photo from flickr)

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Sometimes I remember why I like fat clients ...

As everything moves to the big bucket of bits that we call the internet, people get very accustomed to having access to their data wherever they have a browser. It's a wonderful thing.

Generally.

Then you get a time like now where all of a sudden you can't access your email for a while because someone at Google tripped over a power cord. That blows and makes you wonder if thin clients are really that much better.

Then it works again and you go back to living your little happy life until the next time someone spills coffee into a keyboard and you can't access your finances.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Job Spam

So, I've been doing the normal job hunting, updating my Monster resume, adding my resume into Yahoo! HotJobs, and checking some other job boards.

Within 24 hours of my resume hitting HotJobs, I got deluged with the usual spate of "financial advisor" and "make money at home" offers. Honestly, they're just thinly veiled spam. These are just spammed out offers -- there's no relevance to my resume or experience. These companies just have some agents that run and look for new resumes and then send out the spam.

It's not nearly as nefarious as normal spam, since they don't continually email you. But still, it's pretty annoying. I'm sure the same thing happens when you first post on Monster, but my resume has been on there for a while, so I don't remember.

Anyway, I'm pretty unimpressed with the whole HotJobs interface and experience. I just don't think it's nearly as effective as Monster right now. Then again, Monster has the wonderful habit of logging me out every day (even though I've checked to keep me logged in) and then forcing me to go through those stupid advertisment/signup forms that try to trick you into signing up for the Army.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Advertising and Podcasting

So, as I mentioned in my last post, I listened to the most recent Gillmor Gang podcast today. They had on Ron Bloom of Podshow, who are attempting to monetize podcasting. I'm not so sure it'll work as they expect it to. In fact, I think it might fail because it violates one of the things that has made podcasting great: I don't have to listen to advertising.

As I posted in the comments over on the Gillmor Gang blog:
I’m particularly surprised that no one brought up the fact that one of the reasons (I feel) that podcasting has worked so well is that there is *no* advertising (or it is at least minimal).

The AdSense model works because I can ignore the ads — I don’t have to give them my attention, or I can get more extreme and block them using Adblock or Greasemonkey. If the podcasts I listen to started to insert 30-60 second pitches, what separates it from the dying radio model? Even if it’s targeted, I’m still there to listen to the content. If the hosts start to overtly pitch products that are targeted to me, well, then I’m going to give them a lot less attention.

Scoble started to approach this when he talked about Adam Curry’s Sirius show and how it’s missing the wrap arounds that Curry would do on the Daily Source Code that at least gave you the impression that he actually listened and said “wow, this is good, other people would like this.”

Obviously it’s early, but I was just really surprised that this fundamental question wasn’t discussed. I’m not against compensating the producers, I just don’t know if this advertising model is going to work on the audience that listens to podcasts any better than the giant Flash ads that we’ve all learned to block.

Cool iPod / Podcast Feature

So I'm listening to the most recent Gillmor Gang podcast on my Shuffle as I'm running this morning. I get maybe 40 minutes into it and then get back to my home.

I hook the Shuffle back up and it sync'd up the location that I had paused the podcast at. I was able to start playing the show back from iTunes right where I left off. Maybe this is widely known, but I'd never stumbled upon this. Damn cool.