For a long time now, I've applied the "release early, release often" principle, only to have someone else "release later, release better."

Well I've finally learned my lesson and I'm done releasing early and often. From now on, I'm releasing later and better.

 

I have a rough plan to split this website, randomchaos.com into three different sites. A while back I bought typewriting.org, and I think I'll put my weblog, music, and other types of writings there. It will look simple and artsy like Oblivio or Letters to an Unknown Audience. Surely muted earth tones will improve my writing. I'll probably put the music at music.typewriting.org, write more about it, and have comments on it. I expect I'll stop hosting music for other people. The other people have never seemed very interested in my hosting their music. I think maybe I had a fantasy of starting a record label or something, but that's clearly not going to happen.

Today I bought MakeDataMakeSense.com, which I think is a nice description of what I like to do with technology. I plan to move my more tech-oriented projects there. The microformat aggregator, the graphing widget, the Greasemonkey scripts, the regular expression debugger, it all tries to make data make sense. So that site will focus on those projects. It will look like a software company's website, maybe Panic or Ranchero, but still free. Surely fancy icons will improve my software.

With everything else moved to the other two sites, I'll make randomchaos.com a games site. It will include fastr and other games I've been playing with and need to finish. It will look like kurnik or Yahoo games. Surely extensive white space will improve my games.

There are random projects throughout randomchaos right now that don't clearly belong on any of the three sites: typewriting.org, MakeDataMakeSense.com, or a new games-focused randomchaos.com. The photos? I'll either just stop keeping a separate photo gallery, or write more about photos and put it on photo.typewriting.org. The computer-generated poetry? That could probably fit in on either typewriting.org or MakeDataMakeSense.com. I'll pick one. Anything I can't find a home for is probably not worth keeping.

I expect one such thing will be the source code viewer. I don't think I'm going to make any of these three sites open source, though I will continue to make specific projects open source. I've been running randomchaos.com as an open source website for a few years now, and I think it's been a wasted effort. No one has suggested a single improvement on any of the code I've written. And the only people who have actually used the code elsewhere have first asked me if they could despite the license clearly granting them this permission. If I'm going to be interacting with people using my code, I might as well just email them the files and not have to worry about maintaining an automated open-source website system that no one ever uses.

I'll post notes and redirect everything as I move or remove it, but that's my plan so far: out with the old, split up the new, stop trying to boil the ocean, and drink more tea.

 

"I like them alive. I don't like them when they're dead," she said. I felt the same way.

Ezra Kilty

 

Two days ago, flickr was updated. The update slightly changed the formatting of pages on flickr. For almost everything on fastr, that doesn't matter because it's using the flickr API. But the flickr API doesn't provide a way to get a list of tags used by a group, so that part is taken straight from the HTML on flickr. When that HTML changed, fastr groups broke. It didn't break right away because the tags are only updated once a day. But eventually, none of the group games were working. I just fixed that. Thanks to 'j/gimmeacookie' for pointing out this bug. Or at least I think that's the bug that was pointed out. Maybe that was a different bug?

If you see something wrong with fastr, please report it either by emailing me or by posting a comment on any relevant blog post, and provide as much detail as you can, e.g. which browser you're using, which game you're playing, what exactly happened. As much as I'd like to, I can't play fastr 24/7 on a wide variety of browsers, so these reports are very useful in finding and fixing problems. Thanks, and sorry about the brokenness.

 

It's been a long time since I've posted a new recording. In the meantime, I've acquired a new mic and audio input box. I've also been teaching myself how to do multi-track recording: playing with a click track, re-recording specific sections without redoing the whole song, adding filters, fades, etc.

I have a lot left to learn, but I think I'm comfortable enough now that I can sit down for a couple hours and end up with something that doesn't sound altogether awful and could be easily improved in the future. For example, a song I did today called "Better Bye," in MP3 and lyrics. I wrote it in the car after listening to a song by Jackie Greene. I think the original recording was on my cell phone. This is version one hundred and something. I have a fantasy that someday I'll record and post songs the day I write them. I'm not there quite yet.

 

I have trouble mustering the anger at marketing pundits that Dave Rogers so often can. Not only would it be incredibly awkward, as I work at an advertising agency, but I just don't think marketing is the problem. I'm not sure what exactly the problem is, but I think marketing is just a symptom. And punditry about marketing is further a symptom of a symptom. Marketing pundits are no more marketers than political pundits are politicians.

That said, when I read Seth Godin saying Marketing, at its core, is about teaching somebody something that they didn't know, I can't help but get a bit upset. He's either blatantly lying or he has no idea what he's talking about. Let's just call it malcomptence.

Marketing, at its core, is about selling something. That it occasionally teaches in the process is a nice unintended consequence, but how anyone could really believe education is the core of marketing long enough to type the sentence is beyond me. Back when he was actually a marketer, Seth Godin wrote Marketing is a contest for people's attention. That at least has some relation to reality. Education also involves getting people's attention. But so does electroshock therapy. No one makes a living saying nonsense like "Marketing, at it's core, is electroshock therapy."

 

In these days of widespread corruption and bribery, it is important to remember that no, this is not how our great democracy is supposed to work. The bribery is supposed to be much more subtle -- not to mention legal.

Aaron Swartz

 

A group of my friends from university have been sharing an email list for a few years now. We recently started a blog at radiofreepirate.org. It's currently pseudonymous, which is new for me (though I suppose that's exactly what I'd say if it wasn't), and it's multi-author, which is also new to me. It's been interesting so far, but I'm not sure we've really determined what it is just yet.

 

That's what I dissent from, and I dissent from it as a Christian. I dissent from the political pollution of sincere, personal faith. I dissent most strongly from the attempt to argue that one party represents God and that the other doesn't. I dissent from having my faith co-opted and wielded by people whose politics I do not share and whose intolerance I abhor. The word Christian belongs to no political party. It's time the quiet majority of believers took it back.

Andrew Sullivan in Time Magazine

I have a problem with trying to redefine what words mean when you don't like the group you've placed yourself in (Sullivan's been unsuccessfully taking back "Republican" for several years now), but it's certainly better than just ignoring the corruption.

 

Dave Rogers writes:

Making the mini-series free on the iTMS lowers a barrier to entry for new, mainstream audience members, draws attention to the series and the SciFi channel, and gives potential new fans the foundation the story requires and promotes purchases of the Season 1 and Season 2 episodes either on DVD or at the iTMS.

He's right. Battlestar Galactica is a good show, and many people who saw the mini-series would want to keep watching enough to pay.

I was going to say BSG is one of the few shows I watch, thinking that a discriminating viewer like me watching it would indicate how good it is. But then I started listing the shows I watch, and it turns out I'm not as selective as I'd imagined. I subscribe to both the Daily Show and the Colbert Report (despite Comedy Centrals craptacular website). I watch the IT crowd when it's available to download (which it hasn't been recently - what happened to it?). I just started watching Ze Frank's the Show, but that doesn't really count, does it?

I once had my calendar remind me to watch both Arrested Development and the Simpsons, but then Arrested Development was cancelled, and I started watching the West Wing after, and then instead of, the Simpsons. The West Wing is ending soon, and I don't expect I'll go back to watching the Simpsons regularly, so my calendar shows are over.

Jessica was bringing home Monk DVDs from the library, and that's the only show I like to watch, but would not claim is quality television. It has completely unbelievable characters and plots, but I like it anyway. I won't be watching that, though, until the library gets the next season on DVD. I'll watch CSI or Law and Order if they're on the TV when I'm in the room, but I won't go out of my way to find them.

And then there's BSG. So though I'll soon be able to say that BSG is one of only three shows I watch, and the only one not available as a free download, my viewing is not so refined just yet. Still, as someone who will be a discriminating viewer, I give BSG my seal of approval, for whatever that's worth. You should watch it if you haven't.

 

Since I made an entrance page for fastr, I've been thinking about making some sort of mini-game that could be played immediately to give people a taste of the full game. I suspect there are a lot of people going to the entrance page, not seeing the game they were promised, and leaving. I'd like those people to play the game. It's been a bit quiet lately, and it's not nearly as much fun to play alone.

So last night I was thinking about how to do this mini-game, and I realized I could do it all via a JavaScript include, and then other people could put the mini game on their own sites. So I'm testing that now. Once it's working okay, I'll put it up on the entrance page, and then write up instructions on how to add it to your own site.

Testing... seems to be working okay. Here are the instructions for putting it on your own site.