Recording Spree Over: New Album Complete!

My recent weeks in Orlando were excellent, though not very relaxing. Between intense meetings at Teleios World Domination HQ (we’re meeting resistance in certain parts of eastern Europe), and non-stop work on the new album, I got 2-3 hours less sleep per night than my normal. (There was also the fantastic celebration of my dad’s 50th birthday party, attended by close family and the uncorking of a very expensive bottle of wine which was a good bit older than I was. Not to mention the less-meaningful but more-rowdy celebration of Cinco de Mayo). The result, at least on the music side, was a brand new 6-song EP that sounds incredible. The performance, production, everything is stellar. My brother David was in charge of the engineering, mixing, production, and mastering, and he is becoming very talented at all of the above.


Working on an improv synth solo for So Talk About It at 3am

I have a strong desire to share all our new songs with everyone here, but a few things remain to be worked out. First, I don’t have an “official” CD–David does, and he’s in Africa for a month. Second, I’m not naive enough to think that the mix I have will be final. We usually go through rounds of tweaking, and, while things sound excellent, there’re always one or two minor changes to make. Third, the album has no title. Fourth, the album has no artwork. I’d like all of these things to be present before I unveil everything officially. So just hold tight for now! I’ll probably break down and put one or two up here anyway, since the only reason I feel secure is that I am validated by my peers.

Speaking of being validated by my peers, let’s go on a tangent: those of you who are e4 weblog owners or frequenters might have noticed that I have added trackback capability to the e4 weblogs. Trackbacks are a cool example of the way the web is supposed to work–now, when you write entries, e4 will check out any links you make, and attempt to send a trackback ping to that site. If the site is trackback-enabled, it’ll accept the ping, and people who visit it will see that your entry references the page! Likewise all the weblogs here are now trackback-enabled, so anyone can send pings from Movable Type, WordPress, or wherever. Let’s just hope for no horrible spam!

(For you e4 bloggers, you can play with the trackback preferences at your weblog config page)

Well, I am now officially back in California for a while, so hopefully I’ll have time to write some more reflective posts soon. Ciao!

6794/0 | 52.74

Over a year ago, I set out on a quest to rate all the songs in my iTunes library. Don’t ask me why–I’m a sucker for data, so I had dreams of all the cool scripts I could write and patterns I could find if each song in my library were categorized according to how much I liked it.

I’m not sure exactly how many songs I had then, but it was probably in the vicinity of 5,000. So even if I rated one song a second, it would have taken an hour and a half. What I decided to do, though, to be fair, was to listen to each song fully before rating it. If an average song is 3 minutes, we need to multiply that 1.5 hours by 180–270 hours! I was somewhat optimistic that this 270 hours would pass by quickly while I was working or what not.

I soon discovered that rating songs one-by-one in iTunes was a somewhat inefficient task, given that the only way to rate something was to go into iTunes and click on the little star for that particular song. Not a bad method if you’re already in iTunes, but if you are working on something else and would rather not have your workflow interrupted every 3 minutes, it’s less than optimal. So I wrote some software (iRateTunes) that let me rate songs with keystrokes, without going to iTunes.

(I also created a little app that showed me info about my iTunes library in the OS X status bar, including the number of songs left to be rated, and the total amount of time I’d spent listening to songs in iTunes. This was so I could monitor my progress)

Still, even with these tools, it was slow going. It turned out that the mental energy required to rate song after song was somewhat exhausting, so if I could get 100 done per day, that was good. Most days I got far fewer songs rated, and some not at all, depending on the intensity required by my work. An even more exhausting task was keeping a consistent standard with which to rate the songs. There are all sorts of options–should the ratings be relative to just the songs in my library? Or should it be relative to all the songs in pop culture? Should I try to keep a nice bell curve, so that there are about as many 1-star songs as 5-star songs, and far more 3-stars than either? In the end, I’m not sure I was super-consistent.

But anyway. Today, over a year after I began, my iTunesCount status bar reads: “6794/0 | 52.74” This means that I have 6794 songs in my library, and 0 are unrated! Finally! The 52.74 lets me know that the total amount of song air time with this iTunes library is 52.74 days (I created the library in July of 2004). That’s 1,265 hours! And I don’t let iTunes run while I’m not there listening.

Stats per rating category:
1-star: 443 songs (6.5%)
2-star: 801 songs (11.8%)
3-star: 2752 songs (40.5%)
4-star: 1836 songs (27%)
5-star: 962 songs (14.2%)

Things I Like 10-2005

So that I will not be accused of only making lists of heavy and depressing stuff like doubts, here is installment #1 of “Things I Like”! I have put “10-2005” in the title, which implies but does not do anything like promise that this will be a monthly series. The list is not supposed to be particularly deep, so please do not feel injured that I do not mention our relationship, or Jesus, or anything like that. But do remember that I spend most of my days coding, and so a lot of this will be my inner nerd coming out. Here is the list, in no particular order:

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Podornot.com

I’m happy to announce the result of an insane weekend of creative coding/design with my roommate Justin: Podornot.com.

Podornot is a fun mash-up of the new podcasting trend (internet buzz, anyone?) and the old Internet time-wasting stand-by, Hot or not.

The idea is to generate a random audio experience; you never know what you’re going to get! But as you go through, you can rate the podcasts you hear, and maybe someday we will use this information to create lists of the hottest podcasts on the web. So go to the site and check it out!

Graphic/visual design right now done by me and Justin, hopefully to be improved in the near future.

Anyway, it’s fun to have an idea, to implement it rapidly, and to see it pretty much near completion in a short amount of time. Go visit!

Around-the-clock Development

Since I work in California and most of Teleios is in Florida, there is a 3-hour time difference which would ostensibly cause some problems in synchronizing workdays.

Recently I’ve taken to a strategy which has been used, to great effect, by almost every software giant in existence. This strategy doesn’t so much solve the workday synchronization problem (as getting up at 4:30 am would, for example), but instead says that, actually, desynchronization is the solution! Namely: around-the-clock development.

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