May 9th, 2013
I’m back in Vancouver at least temporarily and because my new roommate has basically no furniture mine finally comes out of storage. If you own as many books, CDs, DVDs and VHSs as me you need to assemble a lot of Ikea furniture in your life. I don’t have room for everything so much will just go back into storage at my mom’s place. Maybe someday I’ll be successful enough to own a home, one with a library or a study. I’m supposed to inherit the remainder of the Dougan library.
I took a quick look in my old journals after taking a picture of them all stacked on my Ikea desk. I happened on the following page dated May 19th 2008 I think. Sometimes my handwriting is not the best.
Flaming Death: A Love Story
Parts of it are brilliant and parts of it don’t make sense. I ask myself is it the brilliant parts that don’t make sense or the parts that don’t make sense are brilliant?
It is below a quotation from a Mo Yan novel, so perhaps it was some sort of a brief book review, I jot down random thoughts sometimes, now we have Twitter and social media and people share entirely too much online with strangers. Before there were blogs, there were journals, most go unread. What I need is an editor. My new roommate fancies himself a writer, he hasn’t asked me for any advice yet. He might suffer from the delusion that everyone is wrong and someday everyone will realize his brilliance, I just don’t know, he’s just another random Internet roommate, one that might be even more anti-social than myself.
Maybe I have a box of undiscovered brilliance sitting on the floor in East Vancouver or maybe it is just fire starter.
I don’t fancy myself as a modern day Samuel Pepys.
Posted in Depression, Literature, Online Social Networks, Vancouver |
Tagged: books, CDs, DVDs, IKEA, journals, Mo Yan, quotation, Samuel Pypes, shelves, social media, Twitter, VHSs |
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April 23rd, 2013
During my lengthy period of unemployment one of the suggestions I was given was to become an iPhone developer as I actually was a professional software developer coding in Objective-C over ten years ago. Some people must think nothing changes in the computer industry in the average decade. I’ve tried most every other suggestion, I definitely don’t want to be a PHP programmer, so I’ve been working through various books and online tutorials and leaving the occasional question/comment on forums. Some people may have even noticed, I think most people talk about building an iPhone game and never even progress to having actual code to demo.
Peeved Penguins is an Angry Birds clone which you can make yourself following a tutorial on the website makegameswith.us, though the original tutorial may have appeared on Ray Wenderlich’s website, I think his wife did the artwork. Peeved Penguins is build with a framework called Kobold2d which relies on Cocos2d, Box2d, and of course various Apple frameworks. There is a lot of cut n’ pasting involved, but at some point you have to write some original code if you want all the features to work together. I had everything working pretty well up until enabling the more complicated physics model, now it works, but in my opinion not quite correctly. I have some bugs and changes to make, but I needed to show how it worked, so I recorded a video clip and uploaded it to YouTube.
I wasn’t smart enough to record a video clip prior to the last part of the tutorial and I’m not using source control so I have no proof or way to revert to my previously functioning version of the game. Source control is something that should be taught sooner in books and online tutorials for just this reason.
Besides having actual Objective-C coding experience and a degree, I also read “Beginning iOS Game Development” by Patrick Alessi which I found at Chapters in Nanaimo. This book just uses the built in Apple Frameworks of UIKit, Core Graphics, Core Audio, GameKit etc. I think I posted a screenshot of one of the games you learn how to make in that book, but I never thought of recording a video of gameplay, those games look less impressive perhaps, but the code is cleaner and better explained than the makegamewith.us tutorial. They’re probably going to update their tutorial, I’m not sure if they are going to switch to using KoboldTouch, which seems to have superseded Kobold2d.
I ordered “Learn cocos2d: Game Development for iOS” by Steffen Itterheim and Andreas Löw. I’ve actually been in touch with both authors through email and social media. Steffen is the main coder behind Kobold2d and KoboldTouch and Andreas created both TexturePacker and another development tool he wants me to try. He even gave me free licenses to his software, take that Klout!
I plan to spend some more time debugging and improving my version of Peeved Penguins. I don’t even own Angry Birds so I’m not exactly sure how it is supposed to work, but I do know my level code, my sound effects, and even my physics and game model don’t seem quite right now that I have Box2d handling the physics for all the sprites. I’m going to have to read some more documentation. Peeved Penguins will never be in the app store, besides being completely unoriginal it uses other people’s intellectual property, but the folks behind makegameswith.us and the tools and frameworks used can and are used by commercial games, even some of the very successful iOS apps. So if you ever wanted to make an iPhone game but were too cheap to buy a book, you can follow tutorials online, ask questions in forums like Stack Overflow, just try not make any embarrassing typos in your plist file.
Posted in Gaming |
Tagged: Andreas Low, Angry Birds, Box2d, Cocos2d, framework, iOS, iPhone, Kobold2d, KoboldTouch, makegameswith.us, Objective-C, Patrick Alessi, Ray Wenderlich, Steffen Itterheim |
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March 7th, 2013
I keep trying to improve my various web mashups as APIs change and I pick up a new trick or two. One idea I had was to decrease the number of albums from every CD I own to say one hundred. I thought this would make the code run better as a lot of effort is spent trying to find information about obscure albums. Even my top 100 albums includes some unusual choices.
In selecting these 100 albums I relied on my memory, which albums did I listen to a lot when I was younger? I also looked at which CDs I owned which I’d previously owned on cassette tape. I also consulted iTunes. I’ve been using iTunes for over a decade yet I know it loses metadata such as play counts. All my CDs are in storage so I shouldn’t be losing plays of late, but despite using exclusively Apple computers, Apple mobile devices, and even springing for iTunes Match, I know many of my listens have gone unrecorded.
It didn’t really matter as just looking at the tracks I’ve listened to more than say 15 times revealed a lot. I decided my list would not include any compilations or greatest hits packages just real albums. I own a lot of compilations, soundtracks, and career retrospective CDs. I’ve listened to them a lot and this used to be the only way to get certain songs, but now you can buy so many individual tracks online, people don’t listen to albums anymore. I myself mainly listen mostly to custom playlists I’ve made on iTunes.
Many years ago, perhaps in 2001 I wrote my personal top 10 albums of all time. That time I not only eliminated compilations but also ‘live’ albums.
“Live music is better, bumper stickers should be issued.”
The list is in no particular order:
- J.J. Cale, “Troubadour”
- The Who, “Who’s Next”
- The Grateful Dead, “Workingman’s Dead”
- The Doors, “Strange Days”
- Bob Dylan, “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan”
- Koerner & Murphy, “Running Jumping Standing Still”
- The Beatles, “white album”
- Black Sabbath, “Paranoid”
- The Band, “The Last Waltz”
- A Tribe Called Quest, “The Low End Theory”
- Beastie Boys, “Ill Communication”
- Beastie Boys, “Licensed to Ill”
- RUN DMC, “Raising Hell”
- Eric B. & Rakim, “Paid in Full”
- Curtis Mayfield, “Superfly”
- Beastie Boys, “Check your head”
- Slick Rick, “The great adventures of Slick Rick”
- Public Enemy, “It takes a nation of millions”
- Terminator X, “The Valley of the Jeep Beats”
- Beastie Boys, “Paul’s Boutique”
- Canned Heat, “Hooker ‘n Heat”
- RL Burnside, “A Ass Pocket of Whiskey”
- RL Burnside, “Too Bad Jim”
- Neil Young, “Tonight’s the Night”
- Neil Young and Crazy Horse, “Everybody knows this is nowhere”
- Neil Young and Crazy Horse, “Live Rust”
- Neil Young, “Harvest”
- Neil Young, “Harvest Moon”
- Buffalo Springfield, “Buffalo Springfield”
- Townes Van Zandt, “Rear View Mirror”
- Johnny Cash, “American Recordings”
- Johnny Cash, “American III: Solitary Man”
- The Supersuckers, “Must’ve Been High”
- The Waco Brothers, “Do you think about me?”
- Steve Earle, “Train a comin’”
- Steve Earle and the Del McCoury Band, “The Mountain”
- Emmylou Harris, “Spyboy”
- Emmylou Harris, “Wrecking Ball”
- Steve Earle, “El Corazon”
- Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson, “VH1 Storytellers”
- Johnny Cash, “Unchained”
- Shaver, “Tramp on your street”
- Neil Young, “Old ways”
- Tom Petty, “Wildflowers”
- Matthew Sweet, “Son of Altered Beast”
- Matthew Sweet, “Girlfriend”
- Matthew Sweet, “Altered Beast”
- Nirvana, “Unplugged in New York”
- R.E.M., “Automatic for the people”
- Todd Snider, “Songs for the Daily Planet”
- Blues Traveler, “Four”
- the Watchmen, “McLarenFurnaceRoom”
- Blackie & the Rodeo Kings, “High or Hurtin’”
- Rheostatics, “Double Live”
- Hayden, “everything i long for”
- Rheostatics, “Introducing Happiness”
- The Odds, “Good Weird Feeling”
- Junkhouse, “Birthday Boy”
- Rheostatics, “Whale Music”
- Turbonegro, “Apocalypse Dudes”
- Townes Van Zandt, “Our Mother the Mountain”
- Townes Van Zandt, ” Live at the old quarter”
- Ron Sexsmith, “Blue Boy”
- The Who, “Live at Leeds”
- Waylon Jennings, “Honky Tonk Heroes”
- RL Burnside, “Burnside on Burnside”
- Ron Sexsmith, “Whereabouts”
- Luther Wright and the Wrongs, “Rebuild the Wall”
- Cake, “Fashion Nugget”
- Steve Earle & the Dukes, “Shut up and die like an Aviator”
- The Supersuckers, “Must’ve been live”
- The Meat Purveyors, “All Relationships are doomed to fail”
- J.J. Cale, “Naturally”
- MC5, “Kick Out the Jams”
- Gillian Welch, “Time (Revelator)”
- The Flying Burrito Brothers, “Gilded Palace of Sin”
- Old 97′s, “Wreck Your Life”
- Warren Zevon, “Warren Zevon”
- Robert Randolph and the Family Band, “Live at the Wetlands”
- Luke Doucet, “Broken (and other rogue states)”
- Leonard Cohen, “I’m your man”
- The Meat Purveyors, “Pain by Numbers”
- The Meat Purveyors, “Sweet in the pants”
- Lucinda Williams, “Live at the El Rey Theater”
- Lucinda Williams, “Live @ the Fillmore”
- Johnny Cash, “At Folsom Prison and San Quentin”
- Gram Parsons, “GP”
- Gram Parsons, “Grievous Angel”
- Howlin’ Wolf, “The London Howlin’ Wolf Sessions”
- The Rolling Stones, “Exile on Main Street”
- The Jeff Healey Band, “Cover to Cover”
- Tom Waits, “Foreign Affair”
- Scott H. Biram, “Dirty Old One Man Band”
- Big Sugar, “Hemi-vision”
- Blackie & the Rodeo Kings, “BARK”
- The Byrds, “Sweetheart of the Rodeo”
- Willie Nelson, “Milk Cow Blues”
- North Mississippi Allstars, “Electric Blue Watermelon”
- Lucinda Williams, “Car wheels on a gravel road”
- Bob Log III, “Log Bomb”
I reserve the right to alter this list in the near future and in say ten years. In ten years will artists even release albums? Some people like the physical sensation of albums, vinyl continues to sell better and better. My records are also in storage, my problem with vinyl is a side is only 20 or so minutes. I don’t like getting up and flipping the record that frequently. I like to put music on and paint or work at my computer. I own a 5 CD changer and my old mini system could play 10 CDs in succession or randomly select songs from them all.
It goes without saying that I like all these albums and many of them would make good additions to your own music collection. I’ve spent hard earned money on them as I’m not one for ripping off artists. I still am trying to make an even better online album over gallery, here is a screenshot of one of my previous efforts which includes some of these albums, but not all. Some album covers are difficult to find using APIs as they may be out of print or not for sale in Amazon or iTunes.
If you want to know more about any of these albums I suggest trying my CD Collection Browser mashup or my Random CD mashup. I’ve also put a lot of thought, time, and effort into choosing my favourite songs of all time and I created a special mashup for them too.
I’ve been using Last.fm for less time than I’ve been using iTunes and I definitely don’t remember to scrobble all the music I listen to. Last.fm’s app can be a bit annoying but I wanted to use their API and it integrates pretty well with iTunes. It might even do a better job of counting all my ‘plays’.
The problem with all this technology is it doesn’t count all the time I spent listening to actual records as a kid. My babysitter gave me her ’45′ collection similar to “Almost Famous”. I also listened to a lot of tapes on a lot of car rides, so what cassettes I own shows what music I listened to before iTunes and Last.fm were even invented, before the CD was invented.
Posted in Internet, Music |
Tagged: album, Amazon, API, CD, covers, iTunes, Last.fm, mashup, Top 10, vinyl, web mashup |
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March 6th, 2013
This morning I got a rather odd email purporting to be from LinkedIn‘s Marketing department. It made it through all my filters and the headers look reasonable, but based on the poor formatting of the email and the fact I’ve been on LinkedIn a long time, I don’t think it is completely on the level.
I regularly get contacted by complete strangers who want to link in. Often these people are in other countries: India, the Middle East, even the UK. I generally always refuse as I’ve been treated very poorly by people I trusted in the past and now am slow to trust anyone. These emails all follow the same format. I’ve never believed in linking in with random strangers just to increase the size of your network.
Below is the email I received. I’ve taken to documenting these as others will likely receive the same email. When you get an unexpected email it is wisest not to click any links. If the email appears to be from someone you know, you can phone them and double check or login in a fresh browser to a social network and message them that way. Replying to the email will likely put you on a list. The safest course of action is to delete the email. If the email is from a financial institution especially one you don’t have an account with, it is spam, but most banks have means of reporting these phishing exploits. I’ve reported a few but it is quick for me to just blog and warn others that way.
The damn email is formatted so oddly it doesn’t render correctly. The “LinkedIn Marketing Department” also knows when to use “an” instead of “a” one would hope. I ended up removing some white space and I added two linebreaks.
From ???@??? Wed Mar 6 09:55:47 2013
Delivery-date: Wed, 06 Mar 2013 02:15:29 -0500
Received: from [22.214.171.124]
by www30.yourdnshost.com with esmtp (Exim 4.72)
for email@example.com; Wed, 06 Mar 2013 02:15:29 -0500
X-Apparently-To: via 254.244.155.230; Wed, 6 Mar 2013 15:15:27 +0800
Authentication-Results: from=alerts.linkedin.com; domainkeys=neutral (no sig);
from=alerts.linkedin.com; dkim=neutral (no sig)
Received: from [126.96.36.199] (port=75640 helo=[192.168.2.09])
by 188.8.131.52 with asmtp
X-FR; Wed, 6 Mar 2013 15:15:27 +0800
Date: Wed, 6 Mar 2013 15:15:27 +0800
X-Priority: 3 (Normal)
Subject: Reminder about requests
X-AntiAbuse: This header was added to track abuse, please include it with any abuse report
X-AntiAbuse: Primary Hostname -
X-AntiAbuse: Original Domain - alerts.linkedin.com
X-AntiAbuse: Sender Address Domain - alerts.linkedin.com
firstname.lastname@example.orgSee who linked you as co-worker on LinkedInNow it's easy to connect
with people you emailContinue
This is an casual LinkedIn Marketing email to help you get the most out of LinkedIn. Unsubscribe
© 2013, LinkedIn Corporation. 2026 Stierlin Ct, Mountain View, CA 92083
Posted in Internet, Online Social Networks |
Tagged: email, LinkedIn, phishing, scam, spam, spoofing |
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March 4th, 2013
Twitter is removing support for RSS feeds in a few days. If you actually used the RSS feed feature of the original Twitter API this is disappointing. Twitter wants to know who is making every single request to their API whereas RSS is fairly anonymous. I was also using Topsy to search Twitter and then I subscribed to an RSS feed of those results. This is one of the techniques I used when I built my custom news aggregator.
Topsy now wants you to pay to use their API including their RSS feeds. Twitter’s API is still free to use, but all your RSS feeds will stop working on March 5th, aka tomorrow. So after my interruption to answer random math questions, I finished my quick and dirty RSS feed for a keyword search on Twitter using version 1.1 of their API.
Since Twitter is removing official RSS feeds they might not be amused that I hacked out a workaround this morning and am posting it to my blog, but if I had a job I wouldn’t have so much time on my hands. I don’t even like PHP.
This hasn’t been exhaustively tested. It doesn’t support every search option in version 1.1 of the Twitter API. It does produce a valid RSS feed for a simple keyword search such as “Vancouver”. Quotation marks are not necessary. I’m going to polish it a bit more but here is the minimal viable solution for turning search results from Twitter into an RSS feed.
I use CodeBird and the same basic technique to search Twitter as before, I then used the same basic technique I used with SimplePie to make the RSS feed. I used some sort of standard PHP method of passing a variable to a URL aka php?q=searchterm and currently I don’t do a lot of validation or beautifying or ensure for all possible tweets that I produce valid XML.
I don’t think this violates Twitter’s terms of service, but you are supposed to meet the display requirements which you can not do with just the contents of the RSS feed. Of course if you just want to subscribe to the RSS feed in your newsreader or something else you’ve coded up to monitor keywords this code is the basis of a workaround.
Posted in Internet, Online Social Networks |
Tagged: API, CodeBird, feed, PHP, Topsy, TOS, Twitter, XML |
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