This Day In History: 12/04

Tuesday, December 04, 2001

This site was inaccessible for a few hours yesterday evening because I forgot to do a double-check after uploading and missed a small JavaScript bug. Sorry if that ruined your day or emotionally scarred you for life.

I'll be going into the listening exam tomorrow afternoon with 111 of 130 works studied. Of those, I feel extremely confident on about fifty works, and can safely "recognize" another twenty-five or so. I'm not sure how well I'll do at this point, but we'll see. Luckily it's offered again at the beginning of next semester.

Today's update is brief; because I plan on getting several more hours of listening and memorizing titles in before the exam tomorrow. I've been doing random play on my exam MP3 list for the past two weeks (except for those brief Mancini jazz interludes). Once this exam is over with, I plan on listening to music of no redeeming social value until the winter break begins.

permalink | 0 comments

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

The latest CD burning software has the ability to encode track and artist information onto a CD. It was pretty neat to put a new burned CD into my player (which is about two years old) and see the name of the song scroll across the front panel. For computer CD players like WinAMP, online track databases have been standard for years now. If you insert a commercial CD, the online database gets pinged for all the track information you desire. Of course it still isn't infallible and won't do well with custom CDs -- I inserted a teacher-burned CD of some final exam music (a Haydn string quartet), and the online database diligently told me it was "Schism" by Tool.

Woman uses baby's stomach to start car
Toddler straitjackets

permalink | 0 comments

Thursday, December 04, 2003

I created a site map of every static page in the Zone which should help Google figure out exactly what's going on in here . I also added an entry for the old SCI at FSU site in the Archive. Now the only important thing left to do is create an online poll system for fun and entertainment. Have other suggestions for site features? Let me know using the comments box in the lower right corner of this news post.

I think I may start working on my Practica Musica replacement project sometime soon, now that web site work is winding down. See this old news post for my thoughts on music software .

There's supposed to be a wintry mix tonight. Is that like a mulatto polar bear?

Toddler locks up mom to watch TV in peace
Dell will not help with spyware
Israeli cats of evil

tagged as website | permalink | 1 comment

Monday, December 04, 2006

Software Engineer does what?

People who aren't software engineers often picture us as albino code monkeys, hovering over a phosphorescent screen in an office cave, endlessly typing lines of code on a keyboard buried in three layers of Chipotle take-out wrappers. Since the vast majority of my readership is non-technical, I thought I'd describe some of the tasks that make up a typical day for me as a public service.

Requirements:
The customer gives us a list of requirements that should be met in the next version of the product, but they're usually high-level and far-reaching. The engineer's first job is to translate those customer requirements into more specific technical requirements. For example, if the requirement were, "The system will play the Howdy Dowdy theme song on startup.", the derived technical requirements might be "The system will be able to use the computer's soundcard. The system can tie sound events to arbitrary user actions. The system will have the Howdy Doody theme song included as a selectable sound." Often, this phase is accomplished through many rounds of back-and-forth with the customer, who might only come up with a requirement like "The user interface will not suck". There may be a lot of prototyping and writing quick and dirty examples to help the customer figure out what they really want.

Design and Planning:
Once the list of requirements is initially set in stone, the software engineer is free to start designing those requirements (ignoring the fact that those requirements set in stone will be followed in a couple weeks by several smaller stones and pebbles filled with added requirements, wishlists, and impossibilities). They'll consider things like system architecture, which languages to use, and which patterns and algorithms might be needed, and then create a written map of how the requirement will be implemented. With this roadmap in hand, the engineer then comes up with a time estimate. Engineers can give estimates based on their many years of experience, or (if they're in a company jailed by the bars of Process Improvement) they can force all their team members in a room to "wideband" the estimates. A wideband is when multiple engineers are held captive and while everyone talks about their estimates and their dogs. The wideband ends after multiple rounds of re-estimating when all the estimates are within 10% of each other (or when everyone has to pee so they "accidentally" adjust their numbers to reach a consensus). These numbers are then given to the manager so they can be cut by another 10%.

Implementation:
This is the part that people see as the classic role of a software engineer. With the design outline in hand, engineers start coding. The quality of the document correlates directly with how this phase goes -- a comprehensive well-thought-out document makes the coding phase almost brain-dead, since all the hard decisions have already been tackled. You could almost train a seal to enter the code, if they had keyboard-friendly appendages and a degree in Computer Science. This also depends on the engineer's personal style -- some people like to solve all the problems up front so that implementation is a breeze, while others like to provide a general direction in the design doc and then do the heavy lifting while writing the code. I'm in the latter camp. Starting with only a vague direction means I'll often hit roadblocks and have to backtrack, but the end result is usually stronger because of it.

To be continued tomorrow...

One preacher's message: Have hotter sex
Crescent moons and armbands
Dewey the cat dies in librarian's arms

tagged as programming | permalink | 1 comment

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Muesday Voteday

It's a widely accepted fact that I am the leading American storehouse of musical knowledge, so it's no surprise that A&E referred to the Museday Tuesday phenomenon as "a rare glimpse at the inexorable and inevitable direction of modern music". Since I started this little featurette seven months ago, I've written sixteen short excerpts of varying musicality.

Now that 2007 is coming to a close, it's time for you to pick your favourite snippet (out of a subset of MY picks, because after all, I invented the treble clef). I've posted the recordings of each snippet, along with a synopsis that is exactly seven words long below. Any of the compositions with the double-thumbs-up icon is eligible for your vote. I will end the year by taking one of these sixteen works and expanding it into a longer work with a beginning, middle, and end (probably about two minutes in length).

Cast your vote before this Friday night using the Poll in the left sidebar! The extended composition will be aired exclusively at the URI! Zone on Tuesday the 18th.

Museday 2007

Sidelong: Never buy a merry-go-round from Sears.

Moodily: Nobody loves me and my dog died.

Obnoxiously: Weird Al Yankovic is "Ready For This".

Obsessively: Must finish novel before post-apocalyptic war.

Spikiest: Mr. Hedgehog decides to visit the countryside.

Leggier: Go to a saloon for easy women.

Carsick: Dad's BAC was only point one seven.

Dinkiest: Steve Reich stole this sound from me.

Reclusive: Harry Potter and the Onset of Puberty

Trifid: Very little to do with the title.

Frowzy: On this gameshow you lose a kidney.

Trampled: Nothing is cooler than a baritone sax.

Surefooted: An ass rental in the Grand Canyon.

Gamy: Listening to Link's fifth-most-annoying fairy.

Chichi: You could win on Wheel of Fortune.

Chirk: Super Mario Brothers: Disney World 2-1

Also realize that my picks are based on how much more can be said with the initial idea -- for example, I really like Moodily, but don't think I'd have much to add to it if I wanted to extend it. Don't agree with my picks? Sound off in the comments section!

Wachovia Bank Tells Man He Owes $211 Trillion
Dublin thief makes off with 180 Guinness kegs
She felt threatened by the man on behalf of herself, her family and her cat.

tagged as museday | permalink | 3 comments

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Review Day: CDs Galore

Set the Mood, David Jordan:
I purchased this import album based on the strength of the UK hit single, "Sun Goes Down". David Jordan does have talent that goes beyond looking like an angsty Wallace Fennell, and the songs on the CD are catchy, if more at home on an episode of American Idol than anywhere else. The tunes are forgettable but fun, and the only noticeable shortcoming is when Jordan tries to sing below his vocal range and ends up sounding like a character from Sesame Street.
Final Grade: B-

Sun Goes Down (300KB MP3)
Love Song (340KB MP3)

Best Of, The Cardigans:
All too often, greatest hit compilations are done incredibly poorly. However, this Cardigans compilation is perfect for any Cardigans fan or someone interested in their work. The CD is 80 minutes long (something I haven't seen in at least ten years) and comes with interesting liner notes from the band on each of the selected tracks. A few highlights are chosen from each of their six albums, from the harmless syrup of Emmerdale, to their obsession with electronica on Gran Tourismo, through their "country" album Long Gone Before Daylight, and beyond. The CD also contains two unreleased tracks, one of them a duet with Tom Jones, which really only serves to highlight how much Nina Perrson's voice has aged in ten years. You can hear the difference by comparing the first and last example track below.
Final Grade: A

Sick and Tired (330KB MP3)
Favourite Game (440KB MP3)
For What It's Worth (490KB MP3)
Godspell (420KB MP3)

BE OK, Ingrid Michaelson:
Although this is a new album, it's only 30 minutes long and contains only 7 new songs out of 11 tracks (it can be bought for $9, a portion of which is donated to a cancer organization). Only a couple of the new songs are notable -- the rest are charming and fun but a little too "indie acoustic" for my tastes. Michaelson also covers two existing songs and I skip them both every time they come around (her interpretation of Somewhere Over the Rainbow is especially cringeworthy). So, the CD is a mixed bag -- It's a cheap investment for a good cause, and Ingrid's singing is always adorable, but it's no Drastic Fantastic.
Final Grade: B-

Be OK (410KB MP3)
You and I (450KB MP3)

Spoons, Wallis Bird:
Wallis Bird strikes me as something of an Irish KT Tunstall. Her songs are well-composed and have a consistent sound and her voice is strong in both rhythmic charts and ballads. I especially like her use of shifting meters. The only downside to this CD is the last song, which is annoying by the nature of it being seven minutes long. This is also the reason I finally deleted Kashmir from my MP3 playlist last month.
Final Grade: A-

Moodsets (540KB MP3)
Counting to Sleep (700KB MP3)
Country Bumpkin (390KB MP3)

Myspace ruling could lead to jail time for lying online daters
Thief gets his own billboard
Inflatable boobs lost at sea

tagged as music, reviews | permalink | 1 comment

Friday, December 04, 2009

Friday Fragments

more dangerous than a "raging hadron" collider

♠ At work, we've just wrapped up work on a short-fuse prototype named EADS, which is a better acronym than the original ADS for multiple reasons: a) URLs with /ads/ tend to get blocked by Ad Blockers, b) writing ENTERPRISE on anything makes it seem much grander (try it on body parts), c) when Scottish people talk about the site, it will sound like they're talking about AIDS, and d) there will be so much room for naming future functionality like POOPHEADS (Planning and Operations-Oriented Projected History).

♠ I've kept pretty busy for the past two weeks, so I'll probably take the afternoon off and nap on the couch with cats before diving into the weekend. See Figure A on the right for a dramatic reenactment of my plan.

♠ I didn't have an End-of-the-Month Media Day last month because uploading pictures takes far too long and I never got around to coding a Spring-based Photo Gallery for this site (at the time, I wrote the BUVite web application instead). I'll probably take the easy way out next month and dump all my new pictures since Halloween onto Picasa.

♠ I used to hate Picasa because you couldn't open up multiple pictures in new tabs by middle-clicking them. Since they added that enhancement, there's really nothing left to hate, other than the fact that "picasaweb" is an awkward word to type because of the left-handed traffic jam that occurs as the word nears completion. To be truly successful, sites should have evenly distributed titles like "urizone" or "swastikajuju".

♠ Incidentally, it would be hard to play a round of Boggle on a standard keyboard, and even moreso on a Dvorak keyboard. It is left as an exercise to the reader to come up with a five-letter English word on a Dvorak keyboard using standard Boggle rules.

♠ Have a great weekend!

Cody the BP dog sent to the back room
Laptop holders for your steering wheel are a great idea
What do cats do home alone?

tagged as fragments | permalink | 0 comments

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

2012 Timeline

A smattering of events from 2012

In the grand scheme of things, 2012 was a rather disappointing year, because I committed so much of it to work. This only happens ever 2 or 3 years, but is definitely more noticeable when married rather than single. I still like my job a whole lot more often than I hate it though -- I get to work my brain to come up with innovative solutions and make enough money to buy lots of really bad television shows and video games.

January:
  • I average 60 hours per week at work on UNIVERSAL CORE while Rebecca returns to Physical Therapy school.
  • We try to escape to Charlotte for New Years, but are thwarted by Booty's urinary tract infection. Instead we have Game Night at Page & Brian's.
  • We buy a treadmill, which will ultimately lead me to losing 11 pounds over the course of the year.
February:
  • I average 72 hours per week at work on UNIVERSAL CORE! while Rebecca spends every day studying.
  • We watch the Super Bowl at Page & Brian's.
March:
  • I average 60 hours per week at work on UNIVERSAL CORE!! while Rebecca spends every day studying.
  • We take a rare break and return to Brightwood Farm for a weekend and eat Bavarian food.
  • We have friends over for St. Patrick's Day and eat corned beef.
  • Oliver the Cat dies.
April:
  • I average 50 hours per week at work on UNIVERSAL CORE!!! while Rebecca spends every day studying.
  • I was slowly sideswiped by a texting teen.
  • I give up on Museday 2012 posts.
May:
  • I return to a regular work schedule, but am so burnt out that I have no idea what to do with all of my free time.
  • I buy a new 2012 Honda Accord with fart-repellant leather seats.
  • I play a lot of Diablo 3.
June:
  • We go to A Taste of Reston for the paella and run into James and Diana.
  • Rebecca goes on a Midwest roadtrip, just in time for me to throw out my back.
  • A derecho devastates my neighbour's tree.
July:
  • We trade in our "we worked for four straight months" tokens for a trip to Brianne's homeland, narrowly choosing Quebec over Edmonton and Banff.
  • We prolong our adolescent summer vacation with a trip to the Outer Banks with Kathy, Chris, Mallory, and Hannah.
  • I think there was a baby born somewhere in one of our circles, but honestly, there are so many babies, that I can't keep track.
August:
  • We go camping with the extended family at Greenbrier State Park.
  • We eat pork skewers while watching the Olympics with Annie and Marc.
  • We use the excuse of a company party to avoid the $15 parking charge at the Air and Space Museum Annex.
September:
  • We have a big barbeque and invite everyone, to apologize for the fact that we were essentially dead like Gandalf for the first half of the year.
  • I turn 33, which is still closer to birth than death (I will die at 80 in an intersection car accident).
  • My first nephew turned 2 and my second nephew turned 0.
October:
  • We celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary by returning to the winery for the first time since 2009.
  • Rebecca decides to live in Winchester 5 nights a week, so I play a lot of video games.
  • We have a rocking Halloween party.
November:
  • I try my hand at live-blogging and decide that having a website is much easier for the lazy.
  • Mike (of Chompy and Mike) finally returns to the East Coast for a Big Gay Football Weekend, and we eat steak and eggs.
  • I learn about HaDOOPen.
  • I skip Month of Thanksgivings because Rebecca is still in Winchester.
  • I discover Reddit and waste a lot of time.

How was 2012 for you?

Was 2012 a great year?

A++, would live it again. (2 votes, 25.0%)


It was a decent yarn. (2 votes, 25.0%)


I blinked and it was December. (4 votes, 50.0%)


Worst year ever, without periods, because putting periods after each word is retarded. (0 votes, 0.0%)

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 7 comments

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Stuff in My Drawers Day

This is a Christmas Card I made for my parents in 1985.

On the inside is a folding picture that shows one thing when folded over, but transforms into something completely different when unfolded.

Santa is a child trafficker! Anyone want a baby in a carriage for Christmas?

tagged as media | permalink | 0 comments

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Quiz Day: Me Me Me!, Part IV

Part I | Part II | Part III

How much you know about me? Hover your mouse over the right column to see the correct answers.

1 What do I always name my character in Zelda games?
  1. Link
  2. BU
  3. Zeke
  4. Gassy
D
2 Why don't I like storing things in plastic bags?
  1. can't see what's inside without opening
  2. bad for the environment
  3. too fragile for most goods
  4. too loud
A
3 What kind of overnight camp have I never attended?
  1. Boy Scout
  2. Safety Patrol
  3. Young Artist
  4. Police
C
4 How many times have I ever taken the EZPass HOT Lanes on 495?
  1. 0
  2. 1
  3. 4
  4. over 10
B
5 Which song have I never written an arrangement of?
  1. Irish Washerwoman
  2. Boys and Girls Together
  3. Theme from MASH
  4. Carry On Wayward Son
D
6 Where did I drink my first beer?
  1. A crew boat party in high school
  2. A New Years band party in Springfield, VA
  3. My Foxridge apartment on my birthday
  4. An Irish pub in Tallahassee
B
7 How many times have I driven to (not through) New Jersey?
  1. 0
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. over 5
C
8 What composition opportunity was I offered 4 months before grad school started?
  1. Ladislav Kubik invited me to a Composition Workshop in Prague
  2. Kevin Fenton commissioned a choral piece because of our shared VT history
  3. Jon Polifrone asked me to lead a freshman master class at Northern Illinois
  4. Martin Ellerby asked for a piano reduction of one of my brass quintets
A
9 Which movie is not on my list of all-time favourites?
  1. Sneakers
  2. Memento
  3. The Fugitive
  4. Mr. Holland's Opus
D
10 What kind of store-bought pizza was my favourite while living in Florida?
  1. Ellio's
  2. Totino's
  3. Celeste
  4. DiGiorno
B

tagged as random | permalink | 7 comments

Friday, December 04, 2015

Doe Day

These pesky deer keep getting in the house!

permalink | 0 comments

Monday, December 04, 2017

Songs of the Enrichment Jungle, Volume II

The songs in this volume are about Mr. Lion, Orange Squirrel, and Boring Felt Owl. Orange Squirrel was written by Rebecca.

Other Posts in This Series: Volume I | Volume II | Volume III | Amanda the Panda

tagged as offspring, music | permalink | 1 comment

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Art Day

BU: "Look, Maia, I drew you a cow."

Maia: "I gonna draw his poop."

tagged as offspring | permalink | 3 comments

Friday, December 04, 2020

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Schitt's Creek, Season Four:
A pleasant enough season, although I'm sick of the Moira character who I feel should have gained way more self-awareness after three seasons. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B

The Much Much How How and I by Cosmo Sheldrake:
Come Along came up on one of my Amazon stations and took me down the rabbit hole of this aurally unique album. It's a mix of whimsical lyrics, wind orchestrations, and soundscapes like the ones I might have tried to write with MIDI as an undergrad.

Final Grade: B+

Pieces of April (PG-13):
This was our "Thanksgiving Movie" fare, starring Katie Holmes as someone struggling to prepare Thanksgiving dinner for a reunion with a judgemental mother. It feels a lot like a road trip movie for most of its running time, and the wrap-up requires a very abrupt "change of heart" scene. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: B-

Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox:
Not a review of the pictured album specifically, but more of their entire body of work which might take years to wade through. The Postmodern Jukebox project creates vintage arrangements of vapid pop songs using a revolving selection of talented musicians. Great examples include Gnarls Barkley's Crazy, Tears for Fears' Mad World and George Michael's Careless Whisper. The music videos add an extra layer to the production with their simplicity and humorous touches.

Final Grade: A

tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

 

You are currently viewing every post from a specific month and day across history. Posts are in chronological order with the oldest at the top. On the front page, the newest post is at the top. The entire URI! Zone is © 1996 - 2022 by Brian Uri!. Please see the About page for further information.

Jump to Top
Jump to the Front Page


April 2012
SMTWHFS
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930
OLD POSTS
Old News Years J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
visitors since November 2003