Having far too much fun with the Echo Nest Remix API

Over the weekend I saw this post by Paul Lamere about a Python script by Tristan Jehan called the Swinger that uses the Echo Nest Remix API to alter the beat of a recording. It works by alternately stretching and shortening beats to create a pseudo-swing effect. It’s really rather addictive once you’ve started:

Hungry Like the Wolf

Come Out and Play

Take Me I’m Yours

The Bad Touch


Video Killed the Radio Star

Barbie Girl

Hollaback Girl


It’s been an absolutely crazy week. Starting a week ago Friday evening and going nearly non-stop through this past Wednesday we were walloped with just shy of 50" of snow in three separate waves. After the first round, I was able to get out walking for a few hours on Saturday evening and took a few photos of the surrounding neighborhood.

All told, I spent five out of six days shoveling for multiple hours at a time by hand—no fancy snowthrower for me—just to keep up with the snowfall and plow filling my driveway with ice boulders. [Thanks for that guys.] According to Laura, it might have gotten to me just a little…

What started as a narration on Twitter of the week’s shoveling and a little video clip I’d shot out of our bedroom window, this weekend, turned into a trailer for the feature film:

Any studios interested in the rights should feel free to contact me.

Duncan Edward Glendinning

I haven’t been paying much attention to my blog these days, so I’m a bit behind on the latest news — the arrival of Duncan Edward earlier this month. I could excuse myself by the fact that if he’d waited till he was actually due he still wouldn’t be here, but I suppose that’s beside the point.

I was in the middle of a meeting near the end of a rather hectic day at the office when Laura called me on my work mobile. Laura never calls me on that line, but my personal phone doesn’t work inside our building so I knew it was important and I stepped out of the meeting to take the call.

Continue reading Duncan Edward Glendinning »

Turning the tables on the DiggBar

Starting today Digg has revised the behavior of the DiggBar so that visitors to Digg-shortened URLs who are not logged in to a Digg account will be redirected through to the destination site instead of viewing the page with the DiggBar. Authenticated Digg users may also opt out of the DiggBar in their account settings.

Over the last week or so there’s been a rather large kerfuffle in various circles regarding Digg’s execution of the DiggBar (No, I will not call it “Digggate”), with some, like Faruk AteĊŸ, responding with conventional arms fire and others, like John Gruber, going for the thermonuclear option. Lidija Davis has put together a good distillation of things over on ReadWriteWeb, so I won’t belabor them here.

I find my self more in line with where Eric Meyer seems to be on the issue — I don’t think the DiggBar is a great idea, but I find myself wondering where all this vitriol is coming from. This isn’t exactly a new concept, or even a radically new implementation. The most inflammatory thing the DiggBar does is to combine the creation of a short URL with their utility framing, which is almost certainly to blame for the visceral reaction.

In response to a tweet from Eric yesterday asking whether anyone had come up with a way to prevent the DiggBar from usurping a page’s URL while not removing the DiggBar entirely, I whacked up this quick concept:

It works by detecting that the page has been loaded via a DiggBar URL, bouncing the visitor back to the proper URL, and then injecting a short iframe at the top of the page that loads the DiggBar URL for the page.

It’s far from perfect — heck, I even went with the quick-and-dirty doc.write injection. Ewww! One big drawback is that it actually causes your page to be loaded twice: once in the main viewport and again inside the DiggBar iframe. I was considering other methods of passing the DiggBar token through to the page that wouldn’t muck up the URL (e.g., via cookie value that could be removed upon reading) but didn’t bother.

The massive failure with this approach is that the links in the DiggBar load within the iframe, rather defeating the purpose. The only way around that if you’re dead set on keeping the DiggBar available may well be either recreating the its capabilities in your own bar that’s inserted dynamically, or a server-side component that essentially proxies the DiggBar through into the body of the page.

Dueling Declarations: Following the Cascade

I originally wrote this article sometime back in 2003 for a site called the Nemesis Project that has since fallen off the Net. Because it still (shockingly) has some useful fundamental information I decided to republish it here just so it would have a home somewhere. I’ve done little more than reformat it slightly. If any information is out of date or if any links are broken feel free to leave a comment.

Following on the tail of my previous article on CSS 2 selectors, this time we’re going to examine what happens when rules collide. When two or more different rule sets select the same element in the document tree and have declarations that try to set the same property, how does the browser know which one to apply? Which declaration will override the others? These are the questions that put the “cascade” in Cascading Style Sheets.

Continue reading Dueling Declarations: Following the Cascade »

CSS 2 Selector Fundamentals

I originally wrote this article sometime back in 2003 for a site called the Nemesis Project that has since fallen off the Net. Because it still (shockingly) has some useful fundamental information I decided to republish it here just so it would have a home somewhere. I’ve done little more than reformat it slightly. If any information is out of date or if any links are broken feel free to leave a comment.

In this article, the first in a two-part series, we’re going to take a look at the basics of selectors in Cascading Style Sheets, Level 2 (CSS 2), including the components used to build them and the various ways to combine them. It’s important to understand that what I’m presenting here is the full view of selectors as defined in the CSS 2 Specification. You may or may not be able to put some of the concepts discussed to use today because of poor browser support, particularly in the areas of attribute selectors and the :before and :after pseudo-elements. However, seeing the bigger picture provides valuable context, and support is continuing to grow. You don’t want to be caught looking backwards as things move forward. So let’s start out by examining some fundamental questions about CSS selectors.

Continue reading CSS 2 Selector Fundamentals »

Flickr video

For those of you out there who are complaining that Flickr shouldn’t do video, you are cordially invited to suck it.

When statistics attack

If you hadn’t already noticed Google has gone dark today. In honor of Earth Hour Google’s changed the background color of their home page from its usual white to black. Over on TechCrunch Michael Arrington has been scoffing at how ironic this is:

We criticized Google when we first posted about this because, it turns out, black web pages actually may use more power than white ones (based on a study that Google itself cited last year). So Google is, ironically, causing people who visit their site to use more power to celebrate Earth Hour than they would on a normal day.

The following is what the post that Arrington references by Bill Weihl on the Official Google Blog has to say:

…on flat-panel monitors (already estimated to be 75% of the market), displaying black may actually increase energy usage. Detailed results from a new study confirm this.

So there you have it. A black Google increases the power consumption for 75% of the market, therefore Google going black uses more energy than a white Google. Michael Arrington says so. Google says so. It must be so. Slight problem: There’s no way to draw that conclusion with that amount of information.

Continue reading When statistics attack »

Aidan Emery Glendinning

Patience apparently does not run in my genes, because late Sunday night our son, Aidan, decided that we’re not the boss of him and that it was time for him to see the world outside. After a few hours in the hospital he was born early Monday morning, and came out screaming to beat the band.

Over the last few days he and Laura and I have been getting into our routines, and for the most part he’s been an absolute angel — except for the times he’s decided that mid-diaper-change would be a good time to start pooping. Blowing bubbles from your backside with road tar can hardly be considered good behavior.

Right now it looks like we’ll be bringing him home tomorrow, which will be great. The private hospital room is nice and all — it’s even got a couch for me to sleep on so I’m not stuck in a chair — but it’ll be fantastic to sleep in our own bed again.

Amazon thinks my son is a bastard

Hey Jeff,

I know you’re busy chopping kindling and all, but maybe you could take just a few minutes to recognize that children have two parents. You see, my wife created a baby registry on your site, but now she’s the only one who’s allowed to add things to it. Why? You even asked her to enter my name when she created it, and you taunt me with it saying that the registry belongs to both of us right there on the page. But we both know the truth: You just don’t trust me to add items to my own son’s registry.

Continue reading Amazon thinks my son is a bastard »

I need a new phone

There’s no two ways about it: I need a new phone. My current phone, a Motorola V551, has been on its last legs for several months now and I’ve been putting off getting a new one because I didn’t want the hassle. But I don’t think I can put it off much longer.

Continue reading I need a new phone »

Jason Lee must be stopped

Laura and I went to see Ratatouille this afternoon, and one of the previews before the movie was for a live-action dog movie about a beagle, or some other kind of hound dog, that gains super powers through some sort of lab accident. All at once the horror of what I was seeing struck me: Some miserable so-and-so has crapped all over Underdog and put it on screen. I think I would rather go with Laura to see Becoming Jane and actually watch it than be subjected to this pile of pants.

Continue reading Jason Lee must be stopped »

In case you hadn’t noticed…

As you might have seen from my photostream already, Laura and I have some rather exciting news. Laura seems to be doing her best to get me used to the idea of being covered in vomit, but so far everything else is looking very good. We’re looking forward to a way better than average Christmas present.

Web standards, the three-legged race

A few days ago Molly threw a bit of a hand grenade into the community:

  1. COMPLETE HTML 4.1, XHTML 1.0 and CSS 2.1 in specs and browsers where applicable
  2. CALL for consistent implementation of these most basic specifications in all current browsers and devices to this point
  3. WAIT for future HTML, XHTML and CSS implementations until these implementations are complete
  4. FOCUS on JavaScript and DOM fixes and implementations as we come up to par with markup and style

Now, Molly, you know I love you so I’m going to assume that you were just looking to stir the pot to get people talking about this. I’ll bite.

Continue reading Web standards, the three-legged race »

Ways not to wake me up

There are nice ways to be woken up and there are not nice ways of being woken up. My personal favorite way of being woken up is not being woken up at all and Laura knows this, which is why I know there’s something wrong when she wakes me up on a weekend. Usually it’s because Arrow’s ripping up something he shouldn’t be, or is eating something he shouldn’t have been ripping up, or has thrown up something he shouldn’t have eaten. But sometimes it’s truly spectacular.

Continue reading Ways not to wake me up »

Return to old school

You might notice that I’m in the middle of some major design changes here. I’ve decided to go back to a look that will be more familiar to long-time readers. Back when I migrated over to this domain name I had the idea that I would do a series of redesigns using different basic color palettes, so I went from my grayscale + red look to one using primary colors that I never really finished. But I got to missing my old design and decided I wanted to go back and do a refined version of it.

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Back in Austin

I’m back at SXSW again this year — getting caught up with everyone and enjoying some good panels and parties. I would have posted sooner, but the Internet connection here’s a bit like the port-a-johns at an outdoor concert and the hotel’s connection was no better until today.

I’ve been able to throw a few pics up onto Flickr, though. As usual, that’s a better way to see what I’m up to than waiting for me to get around to posting here. If you want more frequent (if not more more trivial) updates you can find me on Twitter.

Search terms

I was looking through my server logs yesterday and checking out the search terms people coming to my site from search engines had used. It’s always good for a chuckle — yes, if you’re a big geek like me. One of the queries jumped out at me this time, though: my husband doesn’t love me. I did a quick Google search myself and, sure enough, my home page was listed at #44. Now, up until a couple sentences ago my blog didn’t even use the term “husband,” but likely I still rank on the term because of all the links from my wife’s site that point to me.

I’m not sure which is more disturbing, really… that my site comes up on that search or that someone was actually doing that Google search.

A year ago

Right around this time a year ago I was sitting, about panicked out of my mind but trying desperately to stay calm and stay present, waiting for Laura to be prepped for an emergency C-section. It was pretty clear that the two nurses who were staffing the otherwise empty recovery room where I’d been told to wait hadn’t been briefed on the complete picture of what was happening. I don’t remember the exact conversation, but I remember one of them asking me if I was excited and me explaining that I was more nervous than excited considering that my wife wasn’t supposed to be due for another three months. That was when the entire mood in the room changed. Excellent. Now they could panic with me.

Continue reading A year ago »

Goodbye vacation buzz…

You know that nice relaxed feeling you get after a good, long vacation? Yeah, that’s long gone. I think it might have actually lasted all of two days back at work.

Laura and I had a fantastic time in Ireland. In two weeks we made it around almost the whole island. You can check out my whole Flickr set from the trip to see more. Laura’s posted hers too.

Also, if you’re so inclined, you can vote for two of my Ireland shots in the themes for Issue 8 of JPG Magazine:

Glencar Waterfall Cathedral Couple