Greg Trooper

Of the three guys, I heard on the radio Saturday night, Greg Trooper has the best, most “Band of the Day” worthy website. And thus he is. Bill Lloyd had a couple of MP3s up and Richard Ferreira only has some RealAudio files that I couldn’t get to play. I downloaded and listened to everything up on Mr. Trooper’s music download page and really liked it. On top of all this, I got an email from a friend who followed the link from Saturday’s entry to tell me he owns all the Greg Trooper albums. He plays here in two weeks, I think I might just go see him. I’d like to get his album Floating before that, and might very well get a few of them. I really like this guy.

Cheap Trick

Band of the day! The original definition of my BOTD experiment was for non-major label bands that have downloadable digitual versions of their music available on their website. I have hedged here and there. Today’s band is one familiar to all, Cheap Trick! Whilst major label artists for most of the last 25+ years, their newest album is out on a non-RIAA label. In fact, I saw it in the non-RIAA top 100 list. On their website are some streaming versions and some non-complete songs. However, for their long out of print EP Found All The Parts , they have all of the songs as downloadable MP3s. Nice. The boys still have some life in them yet. The first time I saw them, it was at the Cinema and Drafthouse in Buckhead (what is now the Roxy.) They were playing to maybe 200 people (this was 1985, right before their comeback with “Tonight It’s You”) and they played a long time. They took requests from the audience including “You Must Be Dreaming” from the Heavy Metal soundtrack – someone shouted out that title from the crowd and Rick Neilsen responded “We haven’t played that in years so this is unrehearsed, but goddamn it, we wrote the song and we’ll play it for you!” That great evening has colored my perception of them for nearly 20 years now. Long may they rock.

Meeker

I didn’t show my whole hand yesterday, because I wanted to be able to come up with a Band of the Day on two consecutive days. Today’s is Meeker, also a David Hornbuckle band, with an MP3 download page here. This is more techno than yesterday’s guitar soaked stuff, but I like it. “How ya doin’ now” is good and hilarious, and even more hilarious because all the calls they used are actual ones from an Atlanta dating phone voice mail thing. Check it out.

Fight/Book Club

My friend Jonny X (of Groadies fame) posts about his trip to a Chuck Palahniuk book signing. Via IM he also sent me a link to a photo from this event. What he left out of the post but told me in IM is that Palahniuk handed out WWF masks to the audience, and would only accept questions from people wearing the masks. I’d have gladly gone if I’d been in town. I really enjoyed both the film and novel of Fight Club and have been meaning to read some of his other books.

Mary Mac’s

For the first time since we’ve been back in Atlanta, I ate dinner at Mary Mac’s Tea Room on Ponce De Leon. Good southern cooking, but something seemed odd when we walked in, as there were Secret Service agents stationed right by the cash register and some more by the back door. As it turns out, Jimmy Carter was eating dinner there as well with a bunch of folks at some function from the Carter Center. I never did see him as he was in a different room around the corner, but he was there. He was actually my guess, as it just seemed to make sense for him to be there. The Carter Center isn’t but a mile away or so.

Maynard Jackson, RIP

Maynard Jackson, the first black person to be mayor of Atlanta, has died of a heart attack at the age of 65. He was the graduation speaker when I graduated from Georgia Tech. For all his faults, he is mostly responsible for making this city into the economic power that it is now.

Max Cleland Steps Up

Some harsh words of criticism for the Bush regime from former Senator Max Cleland. I wish he was talking like this last fall when I was phone banking for him. I firmly believe he’d still be in office if he had. An excerpt:

What then is the Bush record in fighting the so-called war on terrorism? They have not found bin Laden. They have not found Saddam Hussein and as of yet there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. However, we have found two trailers. Is that why we fought the war? For two trailers? Did we send our sons and daughters to spill their blood in the desert over two trailers? We are spending over $100 billion bombing and then rebuilding Iraq while giving a tax cut to America’s wealthiest citizens and denying hard-working Americans making $26,000 a year or less a child tax credit in order to pay for it.

That’s the Bush record. It is not compassionate, and with this year’s budget deficit running over $400 billion — a record set by no other President, Republican or Democrat, it is certainly not conservative.

and another good bit:

Eliminate the silly and stupid color-coding in the country. Its real effect is to frighten everybody in the nation without telling them why they should be scared and putting an extra burden on already strained local law enforcement. This is exactly the kind of fear terrorists want to spread. We are doing their job for them! Does a sheepherder in Montana really care about whether the color-code threat level in this country is either orange or yellow? Additionally, get rid of the crazy emphasis on duct tape and plastic. That is about as effective in case of a terrorist attack as the “duck and cover” drills we used to perform in grammar school when I was a young boy. We were supposed to hide under our desk to protect ourselves from a thermonuclear war.

JsUnit

Yet another nugget of wisdom from Mike Clark’s blog – a pointer to JsUnit. This is a port of Junit from Java to JavaScript. God help me if I ever do much more JavaScript programming in this lifetime, but if I do, it will be helpful to have a unit testing framework in place.

Doing the Unthinkable

Yes it’s true, I am getting rid of even more books. When we moved from Portland back to Atlanta, I got rid of hundreds of pounds of them, mostly freebies from the radio show days. I culled more a few months ago for the yard sale, another hundred or so pounds, 6 good sizes boxes of them. Now I’m getting rid of even more. I’m just in one of those moods, depressed and unsatisfied with the mess I make of things, that I want to simplify. Also, the realization that of the thousands of books I have in the house, the last ten books I read included none of them. They were all either electronic books I read on my Handspring or things I checked out from the library. Is there really any reason to warehouse all these things? I’m cutting ever deeper. On the last pass, the standard was “If I had one year to read one book every day, would this be one of the ones that gets read?” If yes, I kept it. If maybe, I kept it. If no, it was gone. Now, if the answer is not yes, it is gone. In fact, if it is in the latter part of the year, it might be gone anyway. The standard now is “How hard would this be to read later if I don’t keep it?” A comon book that any library might have, I don’t need to have. I’m keeping my copy of Buckminster Fuller’s Synergetics and other oddball things. If it is of sentimental value that is one thing, but ordinary books are on the chopping block. I’m a packrat and I never feel like this, so while I do I must purge!

Now I understand

I see in my refer logs that a number of people come here by searching for “evil genius game”. Now I know why, as there is a computer game by that name in development (close enough to release for demos to be reviewed at Game Spy. It actually looks fun. Of course, for what five years now, I’ve had the game Before I Kill You Mr. Bond from CheapAss Games (apparently no longer sold due to threats from the Bond rights holders – glad I have a copy.)

I love OS X

I was fooling around with the launchbar on my Mac OS X box, and I wanted some of the things gone and I wanted Mozilla and a few other things in the launch bar. I brought up the preferences and couldn’t see a way to specify what I wanted, the way one does for the Start menu on Windows. On a wild hair, I just dragged the Mozilla icon over the bar and let go. Blip, a little animated graphic zips in there and now it is there forever. Hmm, says I, I wonder if I can do the same to get rid of them? I grabbed the IE icon, pulled it away and out into the main part of the desktop, where it moved, and then vanished in a literal puff of smoke. I thought that was so spiffy that I deleted a bunch of stuff just to watch it. I’m developing faith in this OS that there is always an easy way to do things. Most of the time when I find there isn’t, I’m just overthinking. Years of Windows and having to constantly fight it to get ones work done ingrains bad habits. OS X enables better ones. Long live OS X!

Servlet Best Practices

I added Mike Clark’s weblog to the ones I read via rss//nntp yesterday, and am working off my backlog of good articles from him. From last winter, he points to very good article (really, a chapter from a book) on best practices in Java servlet programming. I tried to buy Clark’s Bitter EJB book the other day, but the Border’s near Perimeter Mall didn’t have it. Oh well.

Michael Bishop

I probably won’t be able to make it, but on Saturday June 14th, Michael Bishop will be speaking at the meeting of the Atlanta Science Fiction Society. Mr. Bishop will always have a special place in my heart as the very first person to say yes to me when I was trying to get my radio interview show off the ground. His novel Brittle Innings (the current book when I interviewed him) remains one of my favorite novels of all time. He’s also a great guy, very hospitable and easy to talk to. Like me, he’s from Nebraska (he’s from Lincoln – I spent my first 8 years 100 miles from there and frequently visited my grandparents in Lincoln) and then later transplanted to Georgia.

Sturgeon Award

The nominees for this year’s Sturgeon award for short science fiction have been announced. While I have not proceeded apace with my project, I have plans to read every single Sturgeon short story in order of publication. I have 6 of the first 7 volumes of the North Atlantic Press compleat Sturgeon series. Perhaps I’ll start today, reading a story a day.

JUnitPerf

Here’s a very useful package (assuming, as I always have as my default assumption, that it performs as well as it sounds). It is called JUnitPerf. What it does is allows for performance based JUnit tasks. That is, you can have as a unit test that something can do a method X times in Y period and if that doesn’t happen, the unit test fails its assertion. This is wildly handy and can plug right into there as an enforcement of the spec. If the spec calls for 100 transactions a second and you make a change that means that no longer happens, you find out at unit test time, rather than having QA find it out. This is cheaper and better and all around more successful way to do business. I’m going to download this thing and add it to the repetoire.

In and around looking at the site that this lives on, I see that the Clarkware site is the classic model for the open source/consultancy mix. Mike Clark gives away these packages under the BSD license, but then you can also hire him as a consultant to work with this stuff, optimize your product, etc. Demonstrably, the boy got a lot of game so you can feel pretty good about hiring him. He gets a boost by having people use his stuff, because it is an elaborate business card for his real money making business. Everyone is a winner! He also has a weblog which is good reading and which I’ll be adding to my RSS aggregators.

Mame Geeking

I installed MacMame on my OS X box last night. I haven’t played any Mame games in a while, but I just wanted to get it in place for if (when) I do. My nice joystick that I’ve had for a few years is ADB, so I could buy a USB->ADB adapter for $49 or I could buy this Mame joystick for $100. Nice, no? The advantage of that would be that I could use both sticks to play Robotron and Battlezone and other two stick games.

In and around messing with these issues, Darin point out a link to CmdrTaco of Slashdot fame’s standup Mame console. That is highly cool, but I don’t think I’m up to building one.