Smart Playlists, Voting, and Discovery

The more time I spend listening to my music library, cleaning it up, and voting on it, the less and less of it I actually listen to

An interesting phenomenon is occurring in my music library and I wonder if I’m alone in this behavior. I find that if I make smart playlists in my music and media player of the moment, then vote on the songs that appear in that playlist, then begin to weed out the songs I don’t really like all that much, that I am in fact listening to only about 10% or so of my total music library.

This gets me wondering: is the majority of music that I (and others) have actually crap or is there just no good way to relate the songs I like to the ones I haven’t heard or found yet? I am working on a project dealing with this very issue at work at the moment, but I am fiddling around with my library on my own time. I wonder if others have the same sorts of experience with their libraries?

Losing Touch with Your Users

This might be better filed under the heading “When Bad Things Happen to Big Technology Companies”

In a burst of creative energy I decided to do some clean-up work around the old web site today, fixing broken modules, freshening CSS code, and the like. I occasionally try to fix the forever broken IE PNG bug known as the gray bar on this web site. In a futile attempt, I went to my trusty Google Desktop Search bar (highly recommended if you don’t have it) and typed in “IE6 PNG bug” and got back this juicy nugget:

What have you guys been doing since IE6?

Now, given where I work and the places I have worked I am the last one to cast stones, but the gist of the post works out like this:

We got to 95+% market share and we stopped listening to our customers, our partners, and our developers.

If you don’t believe me, click the link and go read it yourself. This is “How to Ignore Your Customer: 101.” As a 10 year product management professional I can’t tell you how sick this makes me. Stating this sort of thing to the world is tantamount to saying that you have absolutely no business being in the PM role and that customers are merely a bootstrap to getting a comfy office chair. Maybe I’m an odd bird, but if I’m not sticking my neck out for what the customer needs and wants during the product release cycle to the point where my job could be in danger, I feel that I’m not doing my job.
Maybe its time I round up some more PM’s and find out what they think.

Having worked with Microsoft in the past, I know this isn’t SOP for them, but maybe I don’t understand the circumstances for deciding to mothball IE development for so many years.

WordPress Upgrade to 1.5

Just completed the upgrade to the latest WordPress 1.5. Looks good so far.

I have finished updating this site to the latest version of WordPress, version 1.5 as of this writing. A few bumps came along for the ride, since it asks you to delete you old directory (after backup!) and then pull back in only the parts you need. It seemed a little cranky after install, but I’m slowly dropping things back in as I find them busted.

It seems a bit faster than before and the templates promise to be much easier. We shall see what new features appear as I learn more about this release.

You can get it here: WP 1.5

When Trips go Bad

I tend to have two kinds of trips: those that are OK and those that suck. For the most part, this trip write up is all about the suck.

I had another trip down to LA this week and it didn’t go as well as it could have. Being me, I should have known something was up right away when…

  • I got to the airport and found that I’d left some critical data at home
  • Got to Hertz and they couldn’t find my reservation
  • Finally got a reservation, but got a crappy Kia rental
  • Made it into the LA office but was locked out because my badge doesn’t work there
  • Checked into the hotel, got a 1st floor room, found out too late at night I had an ant infestation
  • Got bitten by said ants
  • Checked out the next morning, but had to check back in the next night to stay over another day
  • Ordered some of the worlds crappiest pizza from room service
  • Realized I’d left the shampoo in the old room, used the house brand stuff in the new room, and learned it doesn’t like my hair that much
  • Got into work, realized I have far more work to do than I have time, spent the day in meetings, then missed lunch (but the boss fixed that later)
  • Left work for the airport a little late, causing me to rush to the gas station for the fill-up…
  • Where the gas proceeded to spew out of the gas tank and onto my shoes
  • Where I drove quickly back toward Hertz, got slightly lost, then had to explain why the car smelled like unleaded inside
  • Ran through the terminal to make my flight on time, only to have it depart late

If it weren’t for bad luck…. well, it wouldn’t be me, would it?

First Impressions: Sony SDM-HS74P LCD monitor

I’ve had this monitor almost 2 weeks and its hard to believe I’ve lived so long without this kind of quality at home. Highly recommended.

What can I say about this monitor? It rocks, it is certainly the best looking and brightest LCD display I’ve ever used. It handles games very well (with its fast <8ms response time) and eats so much less power than a CRT. It takes up much less desk space, is easier to move around, and looks cooler as well. I’m positively smitten with it.

I won’t waste time giving you all the specs (you can find them here if you want them) but its 1280x1024x72hz goodness, super sharp, great contrast, and stare at the sun bright. Yes, its about $600, but 19″ monitor goodness currently (as of this post) doesn’t get any better than this. Go out and pick one up… and I’m not just saying that because I’m an employee.

Comments Removed Again

I don’t have the time to fight comment spam so off goes the comments option again on this blog

I’m giving up the fight to allow real folks to comment on this blog. It seems that no matter what I do I just can’t stop the flow of dumb marketing spam for online gaming, viagra, and other such internet institutions. So comments are now off indefinitely.

Another Case of "The Magic Smoke" Escaping

Sometimes it is better to leave PC gear alone rather than work on it, get sloppy, and then forget something that kills it.

I put together my third PC, the “alternate” that I wanted to use as my server in the basement, but that I had left by the wayside for a while. In my quest to “get it done” I hurriedly slapped everything together and screwed everything back into the case. It looked good at the time, anyway.

Upon applying power I was met with the distinctive smell of cooking silicon, and a small waft of “magic smoke” slipped up past my side. Now the motherboard doesn’t even power on and I likely cooked the CPU and the motherboard. I got in a hurry and got sloppy somewhere, and the PC paid the price.

Now I have to decide what to do with the parts: go off and see if there is another motherboard worth building a server around or write this project off until I retire another PC. Bummer.