My Most Played Songs

I can’t remember when I did it, but a few years ago I reset all the play counts in iTunes. That was years ago at this point, and since switching to Rdio for most of my music listening, I only use iTunes for things I can’t get on Rdio, live shows from nyctaper or podcasts. I was looking for something new to choose for This is My Jam, and decided I’d just pick the song I’ve played the most in iTunes. And then I decided I might as well share my “historical” top ten songs as shown by what I actually listened to. So, here they are, followed by the number of times I’ve listened to them according to iTunes. Excuse the profanity, that is really the name of the band (and they’re awesome):

  1. Lovely Allen by Holy Fuck – 153
  2. Pullin Punches by Arkells – 150
  3. Fresh Blood by Eels – 137
  4. Working Full-Time by The Constantines – 122
  5. Happy by The Wrens – 113
  6. Your Hand in Mine by Explosions in the Sky – 111
  7. Dance Like a Monkey by New York Dolls – 106 (this one’s skewed because I accidentally left it on repeat one day where I had a lot of meetings and I forgot to pause it – still, it’s a great song. The video is killer.)
  8. I Play My Kazoo by Grand Analog – 102
  9. Soon Enough by The Constantines – 101
  10. Violet Light by Raised by Swans – 101

I also went ahead and created a playlist in Rdio with Trnsmit with my top 100 songs (Rdio doesn’t have all of them, so it’ll be less than 100, but whatever).

It’s funny that the bands I consider my all-time favorites don’t show up until farther down the list (*Massive Attack* shows up at number 13 with Paradise Circus and Morphine doesn’t show up until number 26 with Come Along). The Constantines show up a ton in the top 50, but that’s mostly because my “Best of the Constantines” playlist was a constant companion for almost a year when I had to crank out code on a deadline.

Oh well, there you go, my top 10 songs played in iTunes. I wish I could do the same in Rdio. I have a feeling it would be dominated by Library Voices.

And yes, this post is instead of writing one about my time at SxSW this year or my new job at Rails Machine that I start in a few weeks. I might write those blog posts later.

Right Up My Crime-Infested Alley

Grantland has created a tournament to see who the best character was on The Wire. Since I’ve now watched the show all the way through three times now, here are my picks for the final four.

I’ve got a problem right off with Ziggy Sobotka going up against Omar in round one. I love Ziggy, but he’s got no chance against Omar.

  • West Baltimore: Omar Little – No doubt.
  • Hamsterdam: Jimmy McNulty – Clay Davis would win if it was for “most quotable”.
  • The Ports: Bunny Colvin – This one was really close between Bunny and Tommy Carcetti, but I think Bunny is the better character.
  • East Baltimore: Lester Freamon – I know people love Stringer, but Lester is deep, complex and a perfect foil to McNulty.

And your picks?

My Annual SxSW Prep: Listening to Tons of Music!

This is odd because I’ve never stayed for the Music portion of SxSW, but every year for the past five or six, I’ve downloaded the massive torrent of free songs from the artists playing SxSW and tried to listen and rate all of them. To give you some idea of the scale, the 2011 torrent had over 1000 songs in it, released in two parts. That’s a lot of music to listen to, and I usually forget to post my top-rated stuff here, but I think I’ve actually listened to everything for at least the last three years (even when I haven’t gone to SxSW).

I’ve figured out a workflow for getting through and rating everything using iTunes’ Smart Playlists that I figure might help you if you want to do the same thing:

  1. Download the torrent and then put all the songs in a single regular playlist.
  2. Create a new Smart Playlist for the songs you haven’t listened to and haven’t skipped. It took a little while to get this set up correctly, but it should be something like this (and then sorted by artist):
    • Playlist – is – Your SxSW Torrent playlist (mine’s called SxSW 2012)
    • Plays – is less than – 1
    • Skips – is less than – 1
    • Rating – is not – 1 star
    • Rating – is not – 2 stars
  3. Create another Smart Playlist for things you’ve listened to but haven’t rated:
    • Playlist – is – SxSW 2012
    • Rating – is – no stars
    • Plays – is greater than – 0 (this removes any that you skipped, which you can assume you want to leave 0 stars)
  4. I also created one like the unrated, but where the Rating is greater than 3 to find my favorites.

What’s great about the unlistened Smart Playlist is that if I give something a rating of 1 or 2 stars, it automatically skips it and goes on to the next song.

Hopefully this helps you better manage your SxSW torrent listening experience! I’ll try to remember to come back and share my favorites. I’m halfway through the B’s as I write this. Only 686 songs to go (and this is just the “Part 1″ torrent)!

Oh, and if you don’t want to bother with any of that, I made an Rdio playlist with the songs Rdio has out of the list (about 380 out of the 771 songs in Part 1).

Recent Realizations

  • Being CEO means making decisions all the time. You don’t always have time to think about them and not making a decision is actually making a decision.
  • The more decisions you can let other people make, the better. The trick is knowing which ones you can afford to delegate.
  • I still have a lot to learn about the business side of things, and not a lot of time to learn them.
  • I miss writing code full-time. I miss the order of write, test, debug, repeat. Management is unpredictable and messy.
  • Comfort Eagle is Cake‘s best album.
  • There’s a fine line between thinking about a problem and wasting time.
  • I wish there were more British-style quiz shows in the US. I’d watch the hell out of a US version of QI, 8 Out of 10 Cats or Mock the Week.
  • The code I’m most proud of from the past 12 months has got to be my OAuth2 server. I looked at it again today after not seeing it in a while, and it’s gorgeous. Most code I’ve written disgusts me if I go back to it 6 months later.
  • Savannah is the perfect town to wreak creative havok in. It’s the right size where one person can make some real change happen if they set themselves to it (or even if they half-ass it like I do), and a great creative community that’s easy to “infect” with good ideas who will either jump in and help or at least cheer you on.

Kevin’s Favorite Albums of 2011

Hi, my name is Kevin, and I’m a music addict. I used to have a 2-3 album a week buying habit. But that’s all changed, thanks to Rdio. I go through the new releases every Tuesday and try to listen to all the interesting new stuff I can find. The good stuff gets added to my collection and the best stuff gets added to my phone. I now usually only buy one album a month, and that’s only because it’s not available on Rdio or is just that good. You might be saying to yourself, “But Kevin, you work on a music product. Why are you using Rdio?” Why? Because they do two different things. Rdio is good if you know exactly what you want to listen to (same with the other on-demand services like Spotify or Rhapsody). If you don’t, or want to discover new stuff, then radio services like SonicSeeds are what you want to use. I see us as complimentary to the on-demand services, not really completing with them (other than for ear time).

The problem with Rdio is that it’s not easy to find the things you’ve added to your collection that were released in the past year, so this list isn’t complete yet. But, if you’re really eager to get the complete list, check back.

And here it is, selections from my favorite albums of 2011. It was a great year for music, and I had a hard time choosing. I think there are about 20 albums represented here, all of them worth picking up or adding to your collection! Enjoy!

A Bold Proposal

We all hate spam. It’s stupid, misleading and a huge drain on our inboxes. But, what if it was short and mildly entertaining? What if spammers were required to write their misspelled grammatically horrific missives as single haikus? I think that would make things a lot better. I’ve even written some to get them used to the idea:

  • Your manhood too small? // Your wife will be happier // If you take our pill!
  • African prince here // Need help to send you dollars // Just fill out this form!
  • Replica watches // Built in Ukraine, look like best // (only last a week)
  • Russian brides for you! // They’ll love you for your money // Peruse our beauties!
  • Not really PayPal // Need your password, or… bad stuff! // I’m, like, official!
  • Someone thinks you’re cute! // But, to find out, we need cash // You poor lonely fool.

The great thing about haikus is that they easily fit on twitter too. I’ve posted a couple of these with the hashtag #haikuspam. If you write your own, tag ’em and share ’em with the world!

Years of Costumes We Have to Explain to Everybody

Sometimes, especially Halloween, I can’t help but think I’ve somehow ruined my children. Every year since they’ve been old enough to pick their own costumes, they’ve gone as something so obscure and webby that we end up having to explain it at every house we go to. That’s doubly true since we moved to Savannah and most of our neighbors are retired.

Here’s a quick recap of the last few Halloweens:

[hang2column element=”div” width=”500″]Spifftacular[/hang2column]

[hang2column element=”div” width=”500″]Brothers

2006: Max was both Calvin and Spaceman Spiff. Brian was Hobbes.[/hang2column]

[nohang]Crazy enough, in 2007, they were a tiger and an elephant[/nohang]

[hang2column element=”div” width=”500″]Max & Brian as Pip & Kitteh

2008: Max and Brian from Abe Koford’s awesome web comic, Laugh Out Loud Cats.[/hang2column]

[hang2column element=”div” width=”500″]The Dancing Duo

2009: This one wasn’t so obscure… Max was Luigi and Brian was Darth Vader. We still had to explain Max’s costume to the neighbors.[/hang2column]

[hang2column element=”div” width=”500″]Link and Geno, Ready for Some Treats

2010: Max as Geno from Super Mario RPG and Brian as Link from Legend of Zelda.[/hang2column]

[hang2column element=”div” width=”500″]My Little Peashooter

And 2011: Brian as a Peashooter from Plants vs. Zombies. Max decided not to dress up this year after failing to manufacture all the pieces he needed to be Gordon Freeman from Half-Life.[/hang2column]

[hang2column element=”div” width=”500″]I have no idea where they get it from…

Me as Walter Sobchack[/hang2column]

[nohang]Happy Halloween, everybody![/nohang]

My Baby With a Real Baby

[hang2column element=”div” width=”500″]Happy[/hang2column]

We went to my co-worker Juliet’s birthday party on Saturday and my other co-worker, Steven, brought his daughter. Brian also had a project last week at school where he had to take care of a tiny pumpkin like a baby, so we’d been having lots of chats about what it was like to have a baby. Brian told me he couldn’t remember ever holding a baby before. I tried to remind him of the time he held a baby at Uncle Tim’s birthday party in Ohio, but he didn’t remember it.

So, the day before the birthday party, I asked Steven if we could “borrow” Stella at the party. Brian was an absolute champ with her, and Stella was an angel. She’s the coolest and calmest baby I’ve ever seen and had a ball laughing at everyone and being the center of attention. Brian was super gentle and did a good job holding her and keeping her from tumbling onto the lawn.

I think the reason I love that photo so much is that it sort of cements that Jen and I don’t have “little” kids anymore. The boys are growing up and we have entirely new things to deal with – no more dirty diapers, but we get to deal with peer pressure, girls, school projects and trips, parties, etc. I kind of miss having babies around, but I don’t think I’d trade places with Steven. We did the baby thing, and now it’s time to do this.

I’m Busy, Here’s a Picture

[hang2column element=”div” width=”500″]Moon Over Broughton St[/hang2column]

I took it this morning on the walk from the car to the office. I’m pretty busy over here, and sometimes post funny pictures and links here or here.

I’ll be back soon. I’ve got a big post about occupy wall street I’m still trying to write that will come up eventually. Until then, I’ll see you on twitter or in real life.

Two Things

Real quick, before my brain falls out of my head.

  • I launched this. It’s still very new and so very not finished, but you can start to get an idea of what it will turn into and how awesome it will be. We’ve got 10x the number of songs that Pandora does, super awesome technology and we’re just getting started. It’s radio, but awesome!
  • I wrote this. It’s about how those of us already living in the future can help those stuck in the present (or in some cases the past). I’m still looking for the right way to say it all, and am looking for help. So, read it and let me know what you think.

There you go. Two things. Enjoy!