Go read the awesome!
Go check out http://www.wtsr.org/! I just finished writing a little script to give them the “On Now” block in the right column. It’s a simple PHP script that parses a .csv file and does a few checks to determine day and current time.
I tried using
file(), but it didn’t like the file, for whatever reason. Probably because it was using \r instead of \n for newlines. Oh well. So, I had to do a character-by-character parse (until I realized I could use a regular expression…) to get it implemented. Here are the two loops I ran. I’m sure it could be written more efficiently (like, checking during the first loop for everything, instead of just Day). How would everyone else write this?
It’s been forever since I posted last! My review of RoR is still in my mind, and I’ll have it posted soon… I hope.
But, for more current news, I went down to Philadelphia this past weekend and competed in the second annual Philly Game Jam! It started Friday at noon and went until Sunday at noon. Afterwards, there was an awards ceremony for the games. This year there were about 10 different teams, and I found out that last year there were 5 teams, one disbanded and left, and then another team had such varied perspectives on the game that they split into two teams! So, last year they had 4 or 5 games completed, and this year there were 10 games completed (we didn’t have that level of drama). It was a huge blast, and I totally want to do it again if at all possible.
Read on for the recap!
So, like I’ve said, I went to the Philly Game Expo this past weekend and competed in the 2009 Philly Game Jam. For those of you who’ve never heard of it (I hadn’t heard of it myself except that I went) a Game Jam has a few characteristics.
1. You have a certain amount of time during which to create your game. This one was 48 hours in particular.
2. You get a theme that your game must incorporate or follow. Ours was: “An age is called Dark, not because the light does not shine, but because people refuse to see.”
I don’t know if it is universal for Game Jams, but we were told to BYOE. Anything we wanted to use, we were allowed to bring, but any and all work we did must be completed on site. We were not allowed to use pre-compiled code, so if we had a Level Editor previously created for a separate game (we did,) it would not be considered legitimate, even though they couldn’t enforce that mentality (we didn’t use it, no worries.)
So, this is a long, detailed story of the event, if you don’t want to read it, I won’t be offended, I promise.
So, recently I just started a project with Ruby on Rails. I can’t give details on the project JUST yet, but they’ll be disclosed as soon as I can. For your information, however, you could relate this project to Craigslist. Now, I’ve been designing and developing applications in PHP (sometimes using Smarty, others using CakePHP) for a while now, so I originally blew RoR off as “the easy way out” of actually having to develop applications (for the record, I thought the same for Cake and other MVC systems).
Pre-using of Ruby on Rails: (personal opinion of skills)
- PHP Development: Expert
- CakePHP Development: Beginner/Intermediate
- Python Development: Beginner
- Ruby Development: Absolutely none. All I did was watch the Blog in 15-Minutes Screencast (Quicktime video)
The first applications I ever wrote in PHP used Smarty. I have since written applications that do not use Smarty as a templating language (kind of redundant with PHP anyways, I suppose) and I have also worked with CakePHP somewhat. Not enough to consider myself any better than fooling around, but enough to say that I would be comfortable designing and making a development Cake application.
So, what’s the first thing I can say about Ruby on Rails? It seriously is magic. Continue on to read my compare/contrast of RoR and Cake…
I decided to compare Cake and RoR by attempting to build the same application in each language. Both were built with separate databases, etc. Both are hosted on my personal webspace, hosted by HostGator. I used Ruby version 1.8.7, Ruby on Rails version 2.3.3, and CakePHP version 220.127.116.1184, all were in development mode. For this comparison, I will use the following pieces: Command Line apps (Script/…, Rake and Cake Bake), Model Associations, and basic MVC conventions.
- Command Line Applications
A Rails application comes with a very sophisticated set of scripts that can create files, run your server, and even create a real-time console for your particular application. I used
script/generate to do most of my basic model/controller/view creations, which allowed me to have DB tables created on the fly.
script/generate is pretty simple to use. It has actions to create models, controllers, views (with controllers), a scaffolded object, database migrations, and can even be augmented by different RubyGems or plugins. I used scaffolding to quickly generate the basic concepts of my pages, which created a model, a controller, views for CRUD, and the related migration file. The aforementioned screencast made it very easy to understand how all of this worked. It may not have helped me really understand the code (scouring of RailsGuides, Stack Overflow, and Google searches, however, did help) but I felt at home when trying to use the
script/generate, however, is not the only option I used.
script/server is very simple. With this running, I was able to hit port 3000 on my machine and view the application as it stood in real time. If something didn’t work exactly the way I wanted it to, I could attempt to fix it and it updated in real-time (apparently Rails in production doesn’t work the same way? Or perhaps I read something wrong somewhere.) Also,
script/console allowed me to play around with various pieces of code so I could see if what I thought should work, actually worked. All in all, I was very pleased with the options given to me.
Rake is kind of like the UNIX make command. A Rails application creates a Rakefile in the main app directory, and can be called from any child folder in the structure without having to directly reference it. It has no hard coded functions, but pulls the tasks from a separate list of .rake files. I’m not entirely sure how it all works (I have yet to delve there) but it is pretty fancy. My only usage of
rake involved the
rake db:migrate and
rake routes functions, so rake is probably much more functional than I know.
Cake, on the other hand, only has one option for command line applications. Keeping with the Cake theme, they named the app
cake bake. In Cake, you “bake” an application. Rather corny, but it has me trying to figure out why RoR has rake. Anyway,
cake bake is very different from the
script/... functions in RoR.
cake bake seems to be almost like a standalone application in and of itself. Thankfully,
cake bake has most of the functionality of the
script/... functions. Cake’s method of creating models, controllers, views, etc, works slightly differently than
script/.... With Cake, you create all of the database tables, etc. yourself. When you create models, Cake will auto attempt to interpret any associations you may have with your project. So, if you put a user_id column inside of a table, Cake will ask you if that object “belongs to User.” If you are building User, and some other table has a user_id column in it, Cake will ask you if “User has many” or “User has one” of the object you’re creating.
Well, that’s it for this round. I’ll post the link for part two when I finish writing it.
Ok… so I’m a week late. Or more. Oh well.
So, last Sunday (the… 8th?) I went with a few friends to see Jason Mraz at Festival Pier in Philadelphia. Let me be perfectly straight with this one. I dislike concerts where I have to stand the entire show because I’m in a mob of people who are all trying to push their ways to the front. Seriously, just let me enjoy the show. Getting closer to the stage is only going to put you closer to the stage. You aren’t going to touch a band member or anything. Unless of course the band member lets you.
Anyway, Festival Pier, at first glance, looked like a parking lot for the tent that was setup about halfway back from the stage, to the right when you’re looking at the stage. Or, maybe it was for all of the food vendors (read: beer) that lined the back wall of the place. Not entirely sure, but you definitely knew where the stage was when you walked in, because there was this HUGE mass of people just sort of standing at the stage. We hadn’t had dinner, so we went to one of the vendors and got 2 chicken strips, some boring fries, and water for about $11.50. I think the best part of that was the water. Let it be said (because it’s never been said before) that you should never buy food at a concert venue. Expensive!
For the Gratitude Café tour, Jason Mraz had his good friend (and tour buddy from last year) Bushwalla act as the MC/Ringleader of the show. I wasn’t sure what to expect, as I’d heard of him once. but he was hilarious, and was well worth the extra 5 minutes that he spent introducing acts. (We’ll get back to him in a few here.) The first performer was a guy named K’naan, who was born in Somalia and did some interesting hip-hop/R&B music. I doubt the audience got his lyrics (he actually had some thought in them), but the music was really good. After about a 20 minute set, K’naan had to leave for the next group to setup. Next up was G. Love and Special Sauce. However… things got a little fun.
The weather forecast was for really big thunderstorms (technical terminology). With lightning. Now, let’s be real. If you’re expecting to have thunderstorms in an open area and you want to have a concert, chances are you should be ready for them. However, after K’naan, Bushwalla got on stage and informed the crowd that they would have to move into the tent until the crew had set up for a storm. :: sigh :: So, we all (the four of us, at least) climbed into the tent with a mass of people, and just started to stand there. Well, first we noticed the merch table. The one thing I do at every concert, or, try to do at every concert, is to get a t-shirt that has the tour info on it. I succeeded. That actually sounds a lot more lame once I typed it out. Nevertheless… I’ll just continue.
While we were in the tent, we happened to be lucky enough to be standing by a tent (yes, a tent inside of the tent) where, who should come out with a guitar but… Bushwalla! He decided that since we were stuck inside, he was going to give us a free… well, not free, but unplanned, impromptu performance. He came out with his Taylor and played about 6 or 7 acoustic songs, while taking requests from the audience, which was about 20 or so people all crowded around. It was pretty hard to hear, as we were in a tent with somewhere around 1,000 other people, and Bushwalla wasn’t amplified or anything, but we definitely did get a good show. Whereas sometimes his words weren’t the best, and his voice wasn’t entirely on key (or maybe it was? Couldn’t hear the guitar), Bushwalla definitely knows how to command a crowd. That impromptu performance, even with the girl who screeched every single song (she was horribly off tune), definitely made the concert wholly worthwhile. I was even ready for it to downpour!
About an hour after K’naan ended his set, Bushwalla returned to the stage and announced the next opener, G. Love and Special Sauce. Now, about 6 or 7 years ago, I was entirely stupid when it came to popular music, and some (most?) would say I still am. I hate to say it, but for anyone who knows the song “Milk & Cereal” by these guys… well… I still don’t know it. Which is a real letdown, because my compatriots were really hoping for G. Love to play it. To make things worse, G. Love and Special Sauce are a fantastic jam band. In fact, they were fantastically good at jamming. Boringly fantastic. I’ve never been so mind-numbingly bored while music was playing at a concert. The number of times songs could have ended, or should have ended was astounding. Nothing more to say there. Bushwalla finally (felt like a few years) came on stage to announce the next performer, the one we were all waiting for.
The thing with Jason Mraz is that he has so many songs, but chances are that you don’t know a quarter of them. He spent the first 6ish years of his career (correct me if I’m wrong) out in California playing with Toca and Adam King, frequenting a place called Java Joe’s. I was really hoping to hear some of these old gems that really made up the sound of his first album, Waiting for My Rocket to Come. As with my last concert post, I won’t delve too deeply into the set list, but I will hit upon some of the tracks that I really liked. Or didn’t like, whatever suits my fancy.
Jason’s set started, probably, about an hour and a half later than scheduled, so I think that was part of the somewhat rushed atmosphere of the show. Jason walked out with his guitar and starting singing a song that none of us knew, so I just so happened to write down the lyric I felt would best give me the song title. Apparently I was right. It was a happy little tune, very fitting of the feel of his last album, We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. He then started in with the full band, playing songs off of the aforementioned title. The breakdown of songs to albums goes something like this. 3 from his first commercial release, 1 from his second commercial release, 8 from his most recent release, 4 songs that were on EPs or unreleased, and 1 Bushwalla song.
All in all, it was a fantastic set. Definitely worth the wait, and definitely worth standing the whole time. The encore was fun, because there was a huge delay, long enough for us to worry that he wasn’t going to give an encore, before he came back on stage. Well, not exactly on stage. About halfway back was the soundbooth tent, and that’s where Jason et al rejoined the audience for an acoustic performance. They played the first song as an acoustic band, then the horns, drummer, and keyboardist left the stage, leaving Jason and Toca to play a song. On stage, the band started up a jam, giving Jason and Toca a chance to get back on stage to end the show.
Great show, worth the money. Check out the setlist after the break.
So, on Thursday night, I went to see the John & John concert in Philadelphia at Citizens Bank Park. This was an interesting experience for me. I’ve seen plenty of concerts with openers and headliners. I was at “Last Play at Shea” (Wednesday night show) when Billy Joel invited numerous guests (including Tony Bennett, John Mayer, and Don Henley) to play and sing various songs. I’ve even myself performed shows where a friend and I are playing each others’ songs. Face 2 Face is a different experience altogether.
Before I went to the concert, I did a little research as to exactly what was going to happen. It wasn’t the first show on the schedule, so it certainly had happened at least once this year, and with the advent of blogging (since the first time the Face 2 Face tour has happened) I was sure someone somewhere had posted something about it. Well, I wasn’t disappointed.
For those of you who have never been to a Face 2 Face concert, there is a typical setup for the concert. Billy Joel and Elton John go on stage and introduce a song from the other artist. Then, the associated bands show up and they play one song from each artist. Billy waves to the audience, and disappears into the darkness, letting Elton to his entire set. Once that is done, they switch off and Billy comes out to play his set. At the end of Billy’s set, Elton joins him back on stage, with both bands, and they do a few songs. Then, the bands disappear and the two play a few more songs to end off the show. Sadly, and I think this is tradition, the artists do not do an encore, mostly because of how specific they can get. I know from a performance side of things, it gets a little scary when setlists change night to night and you aren’t entirely sure how a song goes. I won’t get into the exact setlist until after the break, but I will highlight a few of my favorites here, for sure.
So, just as we get into the venue and close to our seats, Billy opens the show singing “Your Song,” arguably one of Elton’s most prolific songs. Mind you, this is 15 minutes before show time. Which is fantastic, because the other two Joel shows I’ve been to have started about 20 minutes late, rather than early. I think the most amazing thing about Billy Joel and Elton John playing with the “dueling piano” aspect of the show is one of the coolest things I’ve ever heard. You’d think you could tell the difference between the to pianos, but… you can’t. It literally sounds like one piano, even when you look down and realize that, yes, both of them are playing something.
As follows, the bands came out and played a few tunes before Billy waved his way off stage to let Elton play his entire set. Now, for those of you who don’t know, I basically know NOTHING about Elton John’s music, except for the most well known songs. So, the setlist below might be wrong, and if you know better than I do, let me know so I can make the change. The first thing I noticed about Elton’s set was that his drummer was wearing a bright pink shirt and white gloves. That I could see from almost at the end of the third base line in the top tier of seats. Without the use of the camera. Anyway, the best way for me to describe the Elton set is to use one word: sprawling. The first piece (which I believe turned out to be at least two songs with instrumentals) lasted almost 15 minutes. And the second piece I didn’t know seemed to do the same thing. I’m not sure if this was because I didn’t know many of his songs, so I was simply listening to music I didn’t know, or if it really was sprawling. But some of the pieces felt like they took forever and a half. Don’t get me wrong. It sounded great. I enjoyed the set and definitely listed the songs I knew. Elton just seemed… like he was doing what he had to do. Performing a show.
Being a good concert-goer (excepting the viewpoint of the venue, which would make more money closing earlier), I definitely did not want to see the end of Elton’s set. Alas, these things must happen, and he waved his way jovially off stage. Billy came up and continued the energy Elton left from “Crocodile Rock” with his own famous “Angry Young Man.” I think the best part of this song was actually me telling my fellow concert-goers that it really isn’t that hard to play, you just have to practice a bit. Besides that, this was a band I’d seen at least once, if not twice. As I expected, the music was great, and there was a very good order to what Billy did. He played fan favorites, and he played some that weren’t as well known, but he made up for that with the witty banter he included between his songs. One of the most interesting things about Billy Joel’s performance style is that he likes to… play classical ditties while he’s conversing to the audience. Every time I find myself going “what song is next?” and then realizing that he’s just playing the piano. Probably to give himself a second to think about what he’s about to say. Something Billy does during most of his shows is probably considered rather unorthodox. He gets rid of his piano (it skillfully disappears into a compartment under the stage) and dons an electric guitar. He then proceeds to tell the audience to “give this next one a shot” because his guitar roadie (aka Chainsaw) has been with him for 30 years, and loves to sing the next song. Probably one of the most energetic songs of the night turns out to be “Highway to Hell” as “Chainsaw” and the Billy Joel band give a rousing performance of this AC/DC classic.
Many of you might not know that the two or three shows previous had been canceled due to Billy Joel’s doctor telling him to not do anything strenuous for a 72-hour period earlier in the week. Despite that, Billy got on stage, addressed it, and said “I’m here, and I’m gonna give you what I got.” Even though he no longer has the voice he did when he recorded all of his hits and therefore had to sing almost every song in a lower key, he gave the audience what he had, and possibly even more. I know I was a little concerned when he finished playing “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” and put his head down on his arms on the top of the piano.
Finally, Elton joined Billy on stage and the two and their bands gave a great combined closing set to the audience, ending with the Billy Joel classic, “Piano Man,” started, of course, by Elton. As I observed during the confusion as to whether or not there would be an encore, it’s fitting that the show opened with “Your Song” and ended with “Piano Man,” bookending the fantastic show with the arguably two most well-known and well-received classics from these two fantastic musicians.
Check the setlist (and some notes) after the break.
Ok, so I admit. I wasn’t the biggest fan until recently. Literally, like, pretty much just this summer. I’ve had a bunch of their music for a while, but I’d never really listened to them. Always thought they were a little too… eclectic(?) for my tastes. Now, I just think I was crazy. Granted, I love all of their “popular” stuff. Give me some credit, however. I didn’t realize half of the songs I like were singles until AFTER I did some research and found it out.
But seriously, iTunes Genius (if you’ve never used it, you should try it. It’s like Pandora for people without Internet. But only with your personal music library) couldn’t make playlists off of half of the singles, and if it did, most of the time it picked singles my other favorites had put out themselves. Like… ‘Californication’ and ‘The Luckiest’ (Ben Folds)? Yeah, not much in common. Especially when you accept that it took the live version of Luckiest instead of the studio version. I think the only connection they have is that someone is singing. About something.
So, I did what I always do. One of my good friends calls me a “Music Whore.” I have a tendency not only to collect as much music as possible from a particular group, but I read histories, etc. Let me tell you, RHCP has one of the more… extravagant histories of all of the bands I like. I learned little things that were really interesting. Like how I now want to read Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis. Or how Flea almost actually quit the group after the release of By the Way. (Or maybe it was after the recording.) Or, best yet, listening to Frusciante go on for 18 or so minutes about how the guitar for Dani California was written in studio. You never realize just how much a band has gone through until you sit down and read their history, and the histories of the members.
As a newcomer fan of RHCP, I am definitely excited to hear them get back into the studio and put out another CD. It’s on my 2010 list of “Things I Must Buy When They Come Out.”
Anyone have any suggestions as to songs to listen to?
So, I have an interview for a Web Specialist position at a company up in the City (New York City, for those of you who subscribe to a different “city”). Tomorrow morning. One hour… ish.
Sometimes I feel like I should be more nervous for this. It’s my first real interview for my first real job! Shouldn’t that count for something in excitement or nervousness or… something? I’m not entirely sure, though. To me, it’s simply a double-sided screening process. I’ve already expressed some interest in the job/company for which I will be interviewing. The company has already expressed some interest in having me work the job for the company. The interview, basically another level of “Am I interested in you/the job?” Plus, they’ve already asked for an in person interview. I must be more appealing than every other average Joe in the world, because a company that’s been around for 140 years or more should have some sort of an idea of whom they’d hire. I’d hope they wouldn’t just pick some random resume’s and go “Okey-dokey, here are the interviewees for the next few weeks. Have at ‘em!”
I think another part of it is that I’ve been so much on the other side of the interview, seeing so many other people be way more nervous for a job with so much less prestige. I’m probably more immune to how things will go because I know what the interviewer is thinking, or might be thinking. Granted, I’ve never interviewed anyone for an IT classified job. Everything has pretty much been for Customer Service or a project. Still, the concept is the same. Just like in programming… if you understand the concept and know how it should work, you should have no problems implementing it in whatever language you want.
And you know what? I don’t want to be hired by a company who doesn’t like me for me. If the company decides that something I do or like is inappropriate or against what they want… they can go find someone who fits the exact mold of their dream Web Specialist. The fun part about being in web and the Internet is that there are so many different things out there that you can do. You don’t have to be locked into a particular type of job. Of course, some (myself included) have their own personal preferences. I like building applications. Basic websites (such as this one) where the only outcome is a basic reflection of exactly what’s on the server are boring to me. Also, a blog just stores my writings in a database (pick your flavor, doesn’t matter) and then displays it at whim. It can even handle inline (X)HTML stuff.
But, I realize that I’ve deviated from my real topic of interviews. I suppose it’s really because I can’t see the interview as the dreaded beast I was told it would be when I was in middle school. Ok, there are a lot of things to think about, like, what you wear, what to bring, what to say, what not to say, what questions to ask, and what questions to avoid. What will the interviewer really be looking for in my answers? Will I impress him/her or will I make a fool of myself? Will I actually be right about whether or not I made a fool of myself?
And the one question I’m still trying to answer (and probably will be, even after I do this a thousand times (hopefully not that many, but… who knows))… What are my salary requirements? But that’s a story for another day.
I just finished adding the “Music” section under the “Audio” heading. Expect more updates to the “Audio” heading as I jump into my Sound Design and Sound Engineering experiences!
So, I’ve used WordPress before, as a simple forum for updates for the Game Manager project, and I figured that making my own webpage with it wouldn’t be too difficult.
Well, I wasn’t wrong, thankfully. Within a matter of hours (including an hour or so for lunch and about 45 minutes or so of reading Wicked) I had a website up and running, easy as can be. Granted, I’m not finished at all, but I was rather impressed with the simplicity of how everything in WP is done. I’ve done some work with my own botched creations, and I’ve also done work with other CMS systems, but I really think WP is on the right track for easy functionality.
The easiest thing for me to do was to re-order my Pages. I’m sure other CMS systems have the same sort of functionality, but all I had to do was change a value in a dropdown and click “Update.” Awesome! With that, I can easily create a “Main” page for a section that already exists, and I don’t even have to think about how to rework the links and the url rewriting. If I’m being honest, though, I really do enjoy url rewriting, now that I know how to do it.
I’ve always shied away from using applications such as WP or Drupal because, as a developer, I feel like I’m constrained into how the system works, rather than how I think it should work. However, running a WP site, even for one day, has me itching to break into the code and figure out how everything integrates, rather than cringing at my inability to rework things myself. There’s definitely a lot going on here, and I’m glad I’ve made an effort to use this system.