Archive for February, 2008

Rock Band Track Production

Interesting to me for the bits they discovered in well-known songs' master tracks:

Even a seminal punk band like the Clash yielded some surprises. Even wonder why the drums sound so good on “I Fought the Law”? Because there’s two drummers on it (or more likely, drummer Topper Headon recorded his part twice)—something that became clear when Brosius picked the mix apart. Thus, the drum parts you play in Rock band are a composite of those two original drum tracks. The Spanish backup vocals that you’re used to hearing on the middle verse of “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” originally ran through the whole song; and the parts are still there on the tapes—You can hear a little more of the Spanish bits on Rock Band than you can on the record


How Do I Justify a Tablet as a Business Expense?

Needs an iPhone version.

Heard on the Internet Today

"Ah, autism. I miss the days of Sparta, where kids like that would be left on a mountain until something comes along and eats them. Now we have to take care of the droolers instead."

Congrats on living so long in spite of your winning personality. Of course, why I was expecting a higher level of discourse on a video game board is even more confusing than how someone in 2008 AD misses ancient Sparta.



Bug Light thought they could get away with this during the Super Bowl?

The Expense of Developing an Electric Car

must be high, because even GM couldn't afford real celebrities for this Volt event.

Kottke on Rent Parties

What do we lose if we always consume and never produce? Alternatively, will blogging make better writers?

That Was Quick

Once wins Best Original Song at the Oscars last night (here's the song in the movie) and today the soundtrack is the best overall selling album at Amazon. Cool. I still wish he didn't always go to the falsetto when he needed something extra.

Getting Started on Rails, Again

This post exists as a note to myself so I can remember the pain. So far:

7:30am - My old copy of Agile Web Development with Rails may be more of a hindrance than a help. It's from the days of yore (Rails 1.2 or so) and I'd like to work with the current 2.0 version of Rails, but this means some of the book's command-line instructions have to be ignored and the "modern" equivalent found online. Turns out database tables get created in a "user-friendly" migration instead of the older convention of raw sql files. I'll need to find the way to add indicies and other db tuning info to the migrations. It's all irrelevant if I can't figure out why my model doesn't show any fields when I try to create it in the admin. I either fouled something up using the old conventions or there's some miscommunication between Rails and MySQL (it groused about not having the mysql gem installed a while back, but I installed it-- of course, that barfed when trying to install its documentation, but it said it installed correctly and I don't see the log warnings anymore). I feel like Aptana is more of a hindrance than a help right now as I'm drowning in options and ways to investigate what's going on.

7:45am - Going back and reading the link above in a more linear fashion, it does clearly say "no dynamic scaffolding", which may be my problem, that I'm trying to rebuild the scaffolding over what I initially generated. All I see when I go to the scaffold page is a create button with no fields. Pressing the create button adds a record to the database, so it's not a db communication problem (whatever it is, it's the same problem described by James here with no solution provided). I just went back, deleted all my databases and all the files/folders I could find related to the one model I've been trying to create (User). And that . . . did not work. Awesome. I can see why people love this so. It really is like magic.

7:50am - Ok, so I'm a little dim. Apparently "no dynamic scaffolding" doesn't mean "There's a new way to do this". It means "Gone". Either I'm really stupid or the tutorial linked above dances over some bits that need doing. Moving on to this tutorial since it seems to address this problem. If nothing else, I learned that I could do the Model & Controller destruction via script instead of deleting the relevant files by hand. Really helpful when starting on a framework or language, which is usually a set of fits and starts. That worked, but it took two tries. The first time I did it without specifying the fields at the command line, e.g., "ruby script/generate scaffold User", then added my fields to the migration and ran the db:migrate task. Nothing doing. So I destroyed the model & controller, re-ran the generate with all my fields listed in the line and then restarted the server without bothering to run db:migrate (the new 001_create_users.rb matched the older one exactly). It would appear the key difference is that the second run offered to overwrite the user views. Not sure if they weren't there the first time around or if I did something different. Either way, it works. And I got about 3% of where I wanted to get in the first 2 hours.

8:10am - A discussion that explains things a little more clearly. It makes sense that the scaffolds are just a starting point, but the one thing that puts me off Rails every time I start up again is the attitude of the community. It's endemic. I tried to get help in IRC once and anyone with a question is treated like an ass for not being part of the club. I do this for a living, I just don't do it in your language and framework of choice. The community feels so closed-minded, but closed in a really interesting way, because I'm either getting too old or there's a stink to the Rails Borg that makes it an Insiders Club no one but misanthropes would actually want to be accepted into. I have a Powerbook and a copy of Textmate. Neither of them changed my life. If they were gone tomorrow, I could cope. My simplistic observation of how to "belong":

  1. Mac laptop
  2. Textmate
  3. Glasses
  4. Short haircut

Actually, I have all of that. Still not interested. I should point out your development machine needs to be a laptop so you can develop on the road at all the places no one is ever going to ask you to go. From that discussion: "dynamic scaffolding was a crutch that kept people from really getting Rails from the start". See? It's not about being able to get whatever you want done. It's about learning Ruby and Rails and falling deeply in love with them. Bad enough when developers lose sight of what an application is supposed to do for people and start gold-plating features because the app becomes an end goal in itself. This guy wants you to move another step of abstraction past that: you need to spend some time learning the framework upfront. He's not so much turning the value proposition of Rails upside-down as he's throwing it out. I'm guessing he has full-time employment with no real deadlines.


No Dreamcatchers Either

You never see a good personalized plate on a hearse. Sure you'll see the occasional plate with the company name and a number, keeping you apprised of how many cars they have in their death fleet, but you never see something like "CU L8R". Just give me the driver's nickname or something. "FUZZY". I'd like that.


Who Wrox? This Guy Right Here

The main point of buying programming books from Wrox is the SI Swimsuit Issue-quality cover models. I'm calling a party foul on this fellow: note the casual, "Gosh, little ol' me?" pose that leads to a reveal of his skin art. If anything, you're scaring off your target audience, not attracting them.