Archive for April, 2006

TIM bug tracker opened

A number of issues have already been reported with TIM, and as a result we have opened a “bug tracker” to display all currently reported bugs so that we don’t get duplicate submissions. Feedback on current and desirable features is being considered, but most importantly we are accepting ALL bug reports and are in the process of squashing them – if you find a bug and it’s not on the list, please report it as it will greatly help the development of TIM.

Thanks to all those who have tried TIM and have been providing valuable feedback. If you have already reported a bug you have been credited on the development page. If you find anymore please keep sending them to us and be sure to tell any techies you know about TIM Alpha and get them to help test it!

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Module Choices

I’m currently in the process of researching all the different options I have for modules to take next year. While I don’t have many options to choose from really, its still soemthing worth giving a fair bit of thought. Problem is, when you find yourself looking at the lecture slides for a module and have got up to slide 14, you really feel like you might not need to go into this much depth just to make a choice 😉

In other news, there has been work – a lot of it. Coursework tied in with revision is nasty at the best of times, and this isn’t the best of times as I have a toothache – the last of my wisdom teeth is coming through, all the others have subsided in a few days though, so I hold out hope this fourth and final time horay! Still it doesn’t help trying to read/write/program with what feels like a pneumatic drill crashing on the left hand side of your jaw. Ah well.

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I Resigned

It was with great sadness that I “handed in” my resignation as an administrator on the ADSLTech support site the other day, those with keen eyes noticed my links to the forum disappearing from this site and e-mailed me about it – well spotted!

My reasons were more sad though, not as you might expect (pastures new – although more on that later, lack of time, etc. etc.) but changes in Safecom company policy (Safecom host the forum and it is primarily for their products) that literally was designed to make non-safecom administrators feel unwanted and undermined to the extent where they wanted to leave. Clearly Safecom didn’t like people who knew what they were doing who just happened not to “work” for the company being involved. Not only that, but they created a two tier system in which those who knew more didn’t rise to the top but got pushed aside in favour of company rhetoric and this clearly wasn’t going to work well.

Over recent months, relations had been becoming more strained and it was clear that for the long term things were not going to work out. Still, as the longest standing forum administrator posted “It was fun while it lasted”, and indeed they were right. I have had many freebies from Safecom, got involved in a lot of things, been thanked personally (by e-mail anyway) by dozens of users who initially couldn’t get hardware working, been invited to a technology show (although I couldn’t go), and best of all met a superb group of people whom I am fully in touch with and have in fact gone on to design, build and run a new technical support forum, RouterTech as a team. You can read more on the new site in my blog on the subject.

As I said in my resignation; “Goodbye and thanks for all the fish.”

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TIM Alpha Released

Well, we finally made it 🙂

An alpha version of TIM (Tagger and Indexer for MP3s) – a project for my computing course, has been released. Please feel free to download, test and evaluate this version of the program and submit feedback and bug reports back to us for improvements to be made before the beta and eventually final releases of the program.

You can grab a copy from our development page here

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Crime scene at Clarence Dock

Was walking past the weir at the Clarence Dock canel connection this morning, and I saw a large number of police officers and a fairly large cordon over 3 bridges and a fair section of the canal around that area. There were police divers entering the canal on the opposite bank and a forensics tent over there as well. I had to take quite a detour to get around it all, but I couldn’t see what it was all about and the officers on duty weren’t saying anything. One assumes it’s some kind of murder enquiry and they are looking for a body. Just speculation of course though.

If anybody knows anything about this or spots an article on the web giving some information, then please post up about it.

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The little things…

Its the little things that really make an application look good and perform at its best (especially when you have the back-end stuff working to a good standard), which is why getting the “First Run” wizard working made me really rather happy. When you run the application, a check is made to see if the database (with mp3 info and application variables in it) exists, and if it doesn’t it is created and initialised with the variables the user has selected in the wizard. Furthermore the application won’t start if you don’t complete the wizard once, so it means it never starts without its variables. Once again for those that like the eye candy….

TIM First-Run Wizard

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Marlena Shaw

Marlena Shaw LiveOn Saturday 22nd April I was lucky enough to be able to continue my good fortune of seeing great acts live by catching Marlena Shaw, soul legend, live at the Wardrobe jazz club in Leeds. As part of the Fuse Leeds gig series, it was a one night only affair, and she only had a few gigs left before leaving the UK.

For those of you who don’t know, Marlena Shaw has long been labeled as the defninition of a soul diva, and after hearing her live I wouldn’t hesitate to agree. Her most famous songs include California Soul (used in the remake of the Italian Job movie), Woman of the Ghetto (a 10 minute long stunner, that grips you with both musical talent and potent lyrics) and Mercy Mercy Me, covered by Simply Red.

As ever with a long awaited live at like Marlena Shaw, the atmosphere was built up in the club by a funky/soulful DJ set, including some tracks by Otis Reading who I hadn’t listened to in a while so that made a nice trip down memory lane while we were waiting for the show to start. Coupled with a round of drinks costing £10.40, I was all ready for some serious soul by the time Marlena came on stage.

As soon as the band started to come on stage and set up their instruments, there was a rush for the dancefloor. What had previously been a collection of a few keen people suddenly became a mass mob wanting to be as close the action as possible. I already had a vantage point though so it was all good – thats why arriving at a gig early and getting a few drinks in is the best plan; you get the best spot in the club.

Marlena’s first number was a get you in the mood type of track, a real foot tapping song that needed no introduction. Her voice is one of those silky types, that is easy and enjoyable to listen to almost no matter what the song is about. She has this wonderful habit of “filling in the gaps” in songs that have a story line by simply talking over the top of the bands solo parts. While this might sound rude, it is very much in-place at one of her gigs, and really sounded great. Her first introduced track was feel like making love, and what really grabbed me was the way she included everyone. I normally hate live love songs because you often feel like there’s a big party and you weren’t invited, but she approached a great song from so many different angles and had the band to back her up.

The musicians she had along with her were quite simply superb, in particular the saxophonist who not only played the sax to a standard I hadn’t previously thought possible, but was also very talented on the flute. The lead guitarist joined Marlena for the introduction to a blues song, and it really brought out some hidden qualities in Marlena Shaw’s music; that many of her soulful songs can be listened to on two levels, and if you take the underlying one, many of her songs can be listened to as a blues.

As the evening progressed on and the crowd got more into the music, she started to play some of her more well known tracks, at and it really started to bring people together. You suddenly got this feeling that it didn’t matter who was from where in the room, or what they did outside of coming to live music, what mattered was the fact we all stood together in enjoying and savouring the superb sound of Marlena Shaw’s vocals. An artist who picks up on this feeling is something special, and to be told at this precise moment “I want you to get together!”, made it all feel that much more special.

Then came what I must confess I had been waiting for the whole night, the first few bars of Woman of the Ghetto. We all went crazy, surging forward towards the stage to get that much closer to what we knew would be an amazing 10 minutes or so. For me, this song has always epitimised Marlena Shaw, her music and the way she expresses her feelings about the world around her, not only that but it has always rung true with me. She started slow, but soon picked up the pace and we were all singing along with the music, I can only describe it as being on another level. I have played this song before in the studios of URY, and never thought it could possibly sound so many orders of magnitude better on a live stage, but it did.

At the end of the song, the band started leaving the stage! We just weren’t ready to be cut off from such a superb performance and we all started screaming for more. I didn’t think many of the people there had much voice left considering the cheers from the rest of the night, but we found them, and found them some more when the band came back onto the stage followed by Marlena Shaw; she picked up the microphone and then I knew what she was going to play, I just knew it, and we all went mad some more as the first words and superb backing music to California Soul washed off the edge of the stage and into the crowd “Like a sound you hear that lingers in your ear, that you can’t forget from sunrise to sunset, YEAH! California Soul!”

As we all left the club after that amazing number finished, those were the words I had in my head, in fact, I still have them there now, and I think it will take quite a few sunrises and sunsets before they even start to dwindle, then there is always my CD collection.

Rating the gig is impossible. Marlena Shaw is a living legend, and one that is not to be missed. If you even *think* you like soul, you’ll love seeing Marlena Shaw live. The feel-good factor during and afterwards is worth every penny of your money and every second of your time that you spend in order to go.

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Re-Indexer actually Re-indexes

There has been a long-standing bug with TIM in that the Re-Index function would re-build the index of files and so the database (and show a nice progress bar as blogged about all those weeks ago), but the problem was, it wouldn’t actually purge the list shown on the screen and re-populate it with said revised data. Any attempt to do so resulted in nasty errors that simply impeeded progress on other fronts.

Well, its been fixed so HA! WHOOP! I know it doesn’t make for a professional development blog, but what the heck, it felt great to see something that had been broken for so long working as intended 😀

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Life update

Its official; I will definitely be going to see Marlena Shaw live on Saturday as I picked up my tickets today. James will also be coming with me – he’s coming from St. Albans especially for the occasion, and why not indeed, Marlena Shaw is a superb soul singer and it should be an amazing night. I swear its what I’ve been living for this week.

In other news, I’m revising – hard. Spent all day today in the library covering a variety of enthralling topics in the field of computing, most notably recursive algorithms and entity relationship models. Its hard getting into the habit of good quality daily revision, but I seem to be doing ok with it, and with plenty of time to go until the exams I should be fine.

The launch of RouterTech has gone well, and we have already had a number of registrations and support requests. Its going to take a while to bed down, and the team are still getting to grips with the running of such a site, but it’s early days and we’ve all got to start somewhere. I look forward to the day all of us on the team can look back and say the work was worth it.

Business is generally going well; I have had several people contact me over the last few days, some of whom I already knew, some I didn’t, about having websites built. This is always a good thing as it helps to pay for my expensive gig attending habits. It also keeps some of my other sites online and advertising free.

I sign off this post with a number of software development tasks in hand. Most notable is my python project, but as I realised the other day, I have a number of other things on the go that really haven’t seen enough of my attention in recent weeks. Oh well, back to the grind-stone as they say.

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Holidays are nice…

…but now that I have been at home for a while its straight back in at the deep end with the Python seeing as I’m back in Leeds 🙂

Its all laid out, a lot of code is complete, its just a case of wrapping it all up together nicely and getting it looking good. There is also the report to think of; so much to say, I must say its going to be one of those reports where I have to think carefully about what to leave out rather than put in!

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