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Welp, my simple human test, where you had to type “vim” to enter comments on this blog, finally failed to keep out the spam. Surprisingly, it did work for 6 years before I had problems.

Over the weekend, there was a steady stream of spam to the comments. Fortunately, I don’t get a lot of comments, so removing all comments after a certain date was sufficient.

I installed this to combat the problem:

Installation and usage is very simple. We’ll see how it goes from here.

Lute Society of America Seminar 2012

This year, I went to the Lute Society of America Seminar at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. It was a lot of fun, and I'm going to share some of my experience here.

Getting there with a lute was quite an adventure. Lutes are terribly delicate instruments, even the larger ones weigh no more than a few pounds. Trusting the airline not to body slam a very expensive belonging like this pushes your limits. While my lute made it unharmed, it's case is marred all over now.

It was set up like a lot of the computer conferences that I've been to, UTOSC, Brainshare, etc, in that there are classes that you can choose to go through, you're surrounded by a bunch of people with a common interest, there's plenty of nerds about and only a few women, and you get to meet people at the top of food chain in the subject. The differences, though, were that at this "conference", I really had no idea about most of what they were talking about, it was a week long, and there were amazing concerts every night.

Every single day was exhausting. I would get up every morning at 6:30am (which is four hours earlier than I get up at home, due to the time change and general laziness) in order to be ready for breakfast at 7. Classes would start at 9am, go to 11:30, at which point you were on your own for lunch. Every other day there was an afternoon concert at 1pm. Classes resumed at 2:15 and ended at 5:30, dinner was served at 6pm, and then the night concert went from 7:30 to 9:30. After that there was socializing and practicing until you went to bed, and then you'd do it all over again in the morning.

Because I am new to the lute, and there weren't many beginner classes, I usually went to whatever master class was going on during a specific hour. In a master class, one or two people volunteer to play a piece for the lecturer (who is an expert on the instrument at hand), and then they receive instruction on how they can do better. I found these classes to be very informative on technique, playing with feeling, etc. Also, it was very good just to see the masters at work. Even the very best attendee's skills paled in comparison.

The concerts were absolutely amazing. The audience, all being lute lovers themselves, were entirely captivated... not a cough or sneeze could be heard. Every single one I'd just sit there in awe with goosebumps up and down my arms.

One thing I learned by meeting Paul O'dette, Robert Barto, Nigel North, Eduardo Eguez, is that what I thought was the entire corpus of knowledge before I went, was really just scratching the surface of what there is to know. Not only are these people fantastic musicians, but they are all historians when it comes to early music. They know which composer was where when he wrote what piece, and why. It was quite overwhelming at times, but always very interesting.

Here are some pictures from the events:

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Exaile needs a team leader

Due to the recent news Regarding Stallman’s heart attack, I ended up on the wikipedia page for The Cathedral and the Bazaar, and I was reading the “Guidelines for creating good opensource software”. Number 3 says:

“When you lose interest in a program, your last duty to it is to hand it off to a competent successor.”

I have shirked my duty. I should have done this a long time ago. It’s not necessarily that I have lost interest, though that is part of it (I’ve gone the route of cloud music, such as spotify and google music), I really don’t have the time anymore.

Had I done this a year or two ago, I can think of a few people who would have taken the reins. Now, though, there’s hardly anyone left who has any time anymore. Perhaps everyone is going the route of cloud music, I have no idea.

Anyway, I posted a “help wanted” listing of sorts, asking for someone to step up as the team leader. We’ll see where that leads us :)

The Lute is here

Actually, it came about a week ago, but I figured I'd wait for it to settle in before I posted an article about it. You can see it here (along with my guitar):

It arrived in great shape, except for one of the "pips" (the white things on the end of the tuning pegs) fell off. I had to fashion one out of the ball on the end of a push pin, but I think it looks rather nice.

It sounds amazing, looks amazing. I couldn't be more pleased.

I did break the high F string (called the chanterelle) on the second day. Lucky it came with an extra one. Apparently, there are a lot of works for the Baroque Lute that are labeled "Sans Chanterelle" (or "Without the Chanterelle") because in their day it was common for this string to break, and if it happened during a performance or something, they'd want to have something to play.

Anyway, perhaps when I've learned a song well enough that I'm comfortable with it, I'll record a video and post it on here.

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Supa Dupa Count

A few years ago I posted SupaCount to the Android market. Shortly after that, I stopped posting updates for three years.

The reason for this? I lost my signing key. Even if I wanted to make updates to it, I couldn’t upload it to the same project on the Android Market, at least, not without a lot of grief. So, I just avoided it… though it wasn’t a huge problem. Since I uploaded it, I haven’t gotten one error report in the market dashboard, so it must be working. However, during that time using it myself, I noticed a few features I’ve wanted here or there that would just make things easier.

So, over the weekend, I rewrote the entire app in Scala. Why a rewrite? I dunno, just because I wanted an excuse to learn Scala and Scala for Android. I’ve named this one “DupaCount”. “SupaCount” will remain on the market, but with a blurb that it’s been replaced. During the rewrite, I added the few features that I wanted:

  • If you reboot the phone while a timer is running, it will still alert as expected. This one really is more of a bug, but people probably didn’t notice as most wouldn’t make a timer that runs longer than a few hours. I’ve run timers for up to 2 months before, and though they always kept counting down, they wouldn’t always alert if I had rebooted during that time.
  • There is an easy to see & access button at the bottom of the main screen called “Add Timer”
  • The “description” field in the Add Timer dialog has been made optional. If you leave it blank, it will default to a display of the timer time. This will make it much easier to add a timer.

Anyway, the app can be found here:, and the sourcecode can be found here: