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Sunday, March 14, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Alkaline Trio released Agony and Irony two years ago to much disappointment and sadness amongst my group of friends. The music was too polished, to blatent and well... you can read what I had to say here: http://www.joelapenna.com/blog/2008/07/alkaline-trio-breaks-my-heart
Tts just been a year and a half later but I'm pretty happy with what they've put out. One thing that bothered me most at that time was the divergence between their music and my life; I think I'm OK with that divergence now and I feel like the music this time around is less redicuolus and can more generically apply to listener's lives.
Given the general theme people speak of when describing this album is its throwback to old material much of what I've written here is along those lines.
This Addiction -- The first single off the album feels like it would fit between From Here to Infirmary and Good Mourning. Simple lyrics and riffs but more melodic than their previous efforts.
Dine, Dine My Darling -- Hopeful sounding song typical of Dan's newer songs (like Blue Carolina). "But these drugs are lame..." what? Its really catchy and quick and I do like the word play.
Lead Posioning -- "We're bitter now but better friends." Another catch rhythm guitar and I would love to hear this one on Rock Band. WHAT THE FUCK THERE IS A HORN. I was trying to trace the sound in this song but can't place it. Then I heard the horns. Then I heard the opening riff from "Goodbye Forever." Pretty interesting!
Dead on the Floor -- I'm immediately thinking "Radio," here. "Like two ships in the night we're colliding and sinking into the black seas of our love." -- No vampires, zombies or blood references. See? A bit more subtle. "I got off the plane with my heart soaring now its falling like snow."
The American Scream -- The last time Alk3 wrote a politically charged song, Warbrain I felt the song made little sense. This is a nice attempt but I don't associate politically motivated songs with alk3 but I still give this song a pass.
Off the Map -- "I'll lock it down and we'll make due." A song by Dan misunderstanding a situation and going so far off course everything looks peachy but he still can't tell if things are going to be OK. I'm cool with it.
Draculina -- I didn't like the opening verse but the chorus is pleasant enough but I especially dislike "I'm leaving for draculina, whoa oh oh oh." This is probably the worst track on the album. For poor language and over-harmonizing and whoa-oh-oh-ohs I'll delete it off my computer when I buy the album.
Eating me Alive -- Hi synth. You don't belong here. No thats not true; I like the psychadelic furs and that is who I'm going to have to say the music in this song comes from. I think I might actually like this song a lot. If John hughes were around we could have a cool movie with Alk3 on the soundtrack.
Piss and Vinegar -- "Feels like its raining all the time." I've heard that lyric before and I feel like I've heard this song before... uninteresting.
Dorothy -- Awesome opening riffs that immediately cut to a song that SHOULD have been on From here to Infirmary. So good.
Fine -- A really calm song to close out the albumn and while a song I'll listen to, I'll likely never put it on intentionally.
Overall, I'd say this album is not fast enough to say they've really gone back to their roots but has some really fun songs and they're doing some new things that don't suck which is quite a change from the last album. Then again, maybe I'm just wishing the album is better than it is.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
The problem lies in the fact that as a end-developer I have to care about the various location inputs on a phone. I have to think about GPS vs Wifi vs Cell Tower LocationProviders in order to really take advantage of the phone's location capabilities. What basically happened was that my algorithm for picking a users location based on incoming location updates caused more accurate but out of date location updates to be preferred over slightly less accurate but much more recent updates.
This is the code that defines my "best location" strategy. http://code.google.com/p/foursquared/source/browse/main/src/com/joelapenna/foursquared/location/BestLocationListener.java
I basically have to deal with the fact that I might get location-from-gps after I get location-from-wifi-tower OR i might get location-from-wifi-tower after I get location-from-gps so that the Last Known location may in some cases return a more or less accurate location than what the phone is really capable of reporting just because I wanted to be able to get a quick-kind-of-accurate-lock while I was trying to accquire a accurate-as-possible sort of lock.
How would I make this better?
I could see an API where instead of registering with individual location providers, you would query the system for a set of location updates. You would define that you want FINE location, but will accept COARSE updates first. You would have a getBestKnownLocation instead of a getLastKnownLocation that would return a location based on heuristics you might define when registering your location provider. Visually, the updates you'd receive would look something like the growing/shrinking circles you get in the gmaps app when honing in on a location. Maybe the developer would request a "HyperLocalWhileWalkingAround" strategy that could be swapped with "PassiveUpdatesWhenLocationIsSignificentlyChanged." both of which could have knobs for controlling specifics of the strategy.
In short, I want to abstract away the code I have shown as an example above. As a end-developer, I don't care where the location comes from, just that I get a location but I do care, what the data looks like.
Monday, November 2, 2009
I had a very special nine days in the Midwest. Probably some of the best nine days in the Midwest that I can remember. Things:
- Concert with Chris - We've been seeing shows together for almost 10 years, and its been 8 since we first saw The Lawrence Arms opening for Alkaline Trio at the 2001 Halloween show. Just wow.
- Zombie Crawl with Chris, Andy, Jared and others - All sorts of DSF/Chicago drinking memories coming back to life.
- Week at home with family - Good to see everyone. I got a night out with my brother, mom and dad. Would have been nice to spend some time with Deni, but she was sick and then back at school.
- Driving to Michigan with Chris and Football Master - I spent years making trips to Michigan with Chris and many others. Doing it again, despite the 6 hour drive there, was fun -- I can feel you breathing.
- Halloween Parties in Michigan - I hope that there are and that there are not photos of the hyjinx that ensued Friday Night to Sunday afternoon. Great times with great people.
I swear that every time I go to the midwest its going to be my last social visit. I don't know when that will ever really happen though. Every time I go, I leave hoping that the next trip will be as good as the trip just ending.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
I just submitted a change to the foursquare-for-android repository that enables a Dutch translation of our foursquare-for-android app! Neat! Thanks Marco!
Monday, August 10, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
After spending 2 nights trying to fix my git repository that I broke following instructions on line about removing files from repo history, I'm back to a state where my repo is sane and no longer contains those files I was concerned about. In the course of doing this I had decided to migrate to mercurial, but damn,
rebase --interactiveis very nifty. It allowed me to pretend that the offending commits never even happened! I am still going to switch to mercurial; now that my repo is cleaned up, I should be able to be schizophrenic and switch between which ever VCS I choose