wii controller and Mac Book

First, let me apologize for not coming up with a more catchy title for this post. I’ve been overwhelmed by the information I’ve found over this weekend.  That’s no exaggeration.  Furthermore, this is all new to me so I am not up on the digitial music vernacular so it’s like learning a new language.

First, if you saw my Tweets, you would have seen how excited I was that caught wind that the Wii controllers have Bluetooth in them.  I honestly had no idea.  Additionally, there’s been a ton of super smart, talented people out there writing crazy apps (for Win, Linux, and Mac) to do all sorts of crazy things.

How this started was that I got some great comments from Andy on Bob on my Theremin post a couple of days ago.  Somehow, I got down the rabbit hole looking for ways to make a Theremin-sort-of-thing on my Mac using the Wii controllers.

I found a great amount of great resources and I got pretty darn close.  But I had to learn how to use GarageBand, play around with the Mac MIDI drivers, and put them all together and make ’em play nice.  If I understood all the terminology, this would be easier, I think.

I was playing “drums” and guitar with my Wii controller, Nunchuck, and Garageband.  That was pretty cool, I must say.  I read about WiiJ’s and other looping sort of things.  I was so excited that I jumped head first into it, trying to get it all to work.  And that’s my problem.  I got to the point where it just wasn’t making sense any more, (seriously, I’ve felt like this trying to learn a new language).

The good news, I think I got all the pieces I need and I learned a ton about the potential for the Wii remote and digital music making, not just a Theremin.   I need to digest it and put together in a way that makes sense.  This is some pretty slick stuff.

Oh, did I mention that a lot of this isn’t just for the Mac?

Definitely more to come!

Wii Loop Machine Demo from The Amazing Rolo on Vimeo.

Theremin

Holy geez, I wan to build a theremin something fierce.   I have ALWAYS been fascinated by this.  I also want to build my own RDS-TMC traffic receiver.  It can’t be that hard.  Probably the hardest part is finding the right parts.

Leon Theremin playing one.

Leon Theremin playing one.

cms for the masses

I love Drupal. What? You haven’t heard of Drupal? Well then, you just don’t know what you’re missing. Drupal is a robust, open source CMS application written in PHP and using MySQL. I’ve played around with Joomla, and it’s pretty cool. But when I had a big project for a real “content management system” I went with Drupal and never looked back.

The original goal of my original project was to come up with some way for multiple users to submit and publish content on a community website. I was in the position to upload and edit multiple PHP pages to make any updates or changes to the website. I figured there should be a better way. That’s where Drupal came in.

I set it up for my son’s school. It was very successful. I handled the administration and the care and feeding of the webserver, and a real marketing pro handled the content part of it. As of tonight we have over 200 registered users and a ton of anonymous users. I’m proud of it.

At work, we have a fine “oral tradition” that our newer employees, (myself included) are having a hard time getting our heads around. I installed Drupal as a way to address this. So far, so good. Many see the value of what I’m trying to do.

Now, add a dash of “social marketing” into the mix. I am a big fan of transparency. I want to lay my cards on the table and let you see what I’m working on, what my team is working on, and help you understand the challenges we face. It would be really great if I could get my team blogging on our departmental Drupal site. I’m not yet convinced they are comfortable with this. As I said in previous posts, opening up the Kimono a little bit can be a little uncomfortable.

What are your thoughts on getting your team to participate in this sort of communication? How would you sell your team on doing this? I realize that this might add some additional overhead to the workday, but I wonder what the ROI is on this sort of PR. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts.  How can social martketing help an department within a company?

lord of the dance

Surely you’ve heard of the Stone Roses.  They had that hit song in the 90’s, “Fool’s Gold.”  Yeah, it was a great song and was over 10 minutes.  Ian Brown was the singer you heard.  He’s great.  He’s been busy since the Stone Roses.  He’s got this song that I can’t get the lines out of my head…

Is it the questions or the answers that’ll lead you to the Lord of the dance?
I admire your style
Love your smile
Cross the street
Is it your destiny or circumstance that leads you to the Lord of the dance?

I’ve been thinking about who, or what is The Lord of the Dance.   And more importantly what is it that exactly leads me there.

Life is funny

Life is funny, because nothing can be as it appears and what happens tomorrow can be something you just don’t expect to happen.  I’ve had great pain in my life and sometime it would have been easy for me just to give up and take the easy way.  Other times, the situation was just something I had to deal with.  It wasn’t something that was going away or change quickly.  I had to learn to take it one day at a time.  You know, I’ve always heard people say that, but now I know what they meant and how to do it.  It saved my life.

But there have also been great and wonderful surprises.  I have meant so many wonderful, cool, interesting people on the social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn and one Web2.0 services like Twitter.   I’ve mentioned before how I felt it was best to keep a low profile on the Internet and poo-poo’ed any idea of pulling back the Kimono, so to speak.  But I made the mental leap, and I am so thankful for my online network of friends. Many of these people I have met in person, but many I have not.  I am looking forward to making new friends and contacts and being open with all of them.

Questions and Answers

I used to play a lot of “What if…?” games with myself.  Like the Buddhist teachings, this only added to my misery.

The Four Noble Truths present a formulation of the Buddha´s understanding of the nature of dukkha, or “suffering[13] , the fundamental cause of all suffering, the escape from suffering, and what effort a person can go to so that they themselves can “attain happiness.”[14]. Roughly put, and on a very basic level of understanding, they state that, firstly, life as we know it ultimately is or leads to “suffering” in one way or the other. That, secondly, the cause of this “suffering” is attachment to, or craving for worldly pleasures of all kinds and clinging to this very existence, our “self” and the things or people we – due to our delusions – deem the cause of our respective happiness or unhappiness. That, thirdly, the “suffering” ends when the craving ends, one is freed from all desires by eliminating the delusions, reaches “Enlightenment”; and that, fourthly, the way to reach that liberated state is by following the path the Buddha has laid out.

I hope I didn’t loose you with that quote.  My point is that instead of sitting around and lamenting why things are they way they are, I could be doing something for myself.  My “enlightenment” happens to be when I play with technology and when I can do something for someone else, be it my work, a friend, a relative, a family member, or a stranger (don’t get me wrong, I got prejudices around strangers, too).  With my new found respect for taking things “one day at a time” if I can do just something every day to better myself or learn something I’ve always wanted to learn, I am making progress.

Destiny or Circumstance

Remember that climber that got trapped and had to hack off his arm to survive? That was a remarkable story.  You can read it, but I heard that guy interviewed.  He didn’t give up, give the terrible circumstances he was in, he made his own destiny; he didn’t give up.  He kept a level head, thought things through, and made some tough choices.  During this time, Outside magazine published an article on people who were “lucky.”  More or less, it said people tend to make their own luck and was back with some studies.  For example, they put a $5 bill on the ground and people just walked by it, no one saw it.  Then, a guy who said he was lucky, walked by and saw the money on the ground.  They suggested that “lucky” people are actually paying more attention to their surroundings than those who were “unlucky,” whether they realize it or not.  I’d like to think that’s how I am, or that’s how I’d like to be.

So, who is the Lord of the Dance?

I think we are our own, “Lord of the Dance.” That is to say, there is a little Lord of the Dance inside of us.  Certainly, there are things we do, choices we make who help define who we are and where we are going.  And sometimes is it really hard… super hard to see the end of the tunnel or to have faith that there is an end to the tunnel, but there is.   And while I still don’t know if it’s the questions and answers or destiny or circumstance that will get me there, (honestly I think it’s both), I’ll know the real Lord of the Dance better;

I am my own Lord of the Dance.

olympics

I really intended to post my review about my new TomTom tonight, but I’ve been overwhelmed by the olympic’s opening ceremony.  I’ll have to do it another night.

I really enjoyed reading all the Tweets tonight about the open ceremony.  Everyone is so impressed and it was cool reading them in real time, (more or less).  We’re lucky to be watching it in HD and on a 47″ tv.  I am however frustrated by the amount of commercials.  I did see, that someone already posted a torrent of the entire ceremony in HD.  I might need to grab that.

I like how they are calling the U.S. basketball team, “The Redeam Team.”  Chumps.  I read that in Europe, basketball has become huge.  Instead of European basketball players being focused on hot-dogging and endorsements, they are focues on the fundementals, technique, and skill.  We’ll see who wins.  I’m no expert, but I predict the U.S. will get spanked by the Europeans in basketball.

i feel like a new man

Wow, it’s been a crazy couple of months.  I’ve been settling into my job, (which I am so happy at), I’ve been wrapping up some projects, and I’ve been finishing up with some clients AND trying to develope some new business leads.

My job is going great.  One of the things we were really lacking, (my department) was a robust ticketing system.   Someone suggested RT::Request Tracker.  I had never heard of it before, and I am very impressed.  The best thing, I believe, is that every browser works with it, and works well.  It’s all Perl based so one can grock it fairly quickly.  But it’s also very powerful and configureable. It was a bitch to install it since it required so many Perl modules, but I stuck with it and got it going.

I might have mentioned before that I am a big fan of Drupal.  We set up a departmental portal recently using Drupal.  I like it.  I used Drupal for our son’s school and was very impressed with it:

One of the things I would like to try to promote is the social networking tools like Drupal or Twitter at work.  I would like to have a departmental blog.  I feel it is very important to communicate the work we are doing, (which is nothing short of excellent).  I’m not sure how my reports will feel about it.  We’ll just have to see.  If you got some ideas or thoughts around bring social networking into the office, please let me know.

On the productivity side of things, I’ve been loving Remember the Milk.  They just release a Firefox add-on that integrates with Gmail.  It’s pretty slick and I use it quite a bit.  I see they also released some clients, but I haven’t had a chance to monkey around with them, yet.

I also spent some time tending to my long neglected WordPress installation.  I need to read documentation more closely.  I got my tags issues all straightened out and things are humming along nicely.

Another b0rked WordPress upgrade

You might have seen that I had some problems with my upgrade to WP 2.6 last night.  Dreamhost, my webhosting provider, has a “one-click install/upgrade” and for whatever reason the process treated my WordPress installation as a “new” installation and changed my configs to point to an old database with a different table prefix.  It’s easy to fix but takes some time and some paying close attention.

In the process, I also found out that I needed to drop Ultimate Tag Warrior for tagging so I disabled the plugin.  I was able to import the UTW tags right into WordPress and the tags and tagging is working SO much better.

I’m going to be trying to update more often.  I’ve been really busy so I got to say about a lot of things.

R.I.P Mio, Hello TomTom

First off, let me first apologize for not posting more frequently.  I’m sorry.  I’ve been really busy with my not-so-new job, (which I love and am thankful for), but the our son is already back in school and I’ve been wrapping up some consulting gigs that I had lingering.

Having said that, you might remember that I posted that my Mio c310x died.  The touch screen stopped working.  Mio said it would cost $100 for repairs.  Honestly, that’s a tough pill to swallow so I decided that I will sell my old Mio on Ebay for parts.  I got a bunch of Mio-specific accessories.

So I was in the market for a new GPS.  My Dad had a Garmin, which was okay.  I still like the MioMap software better, so I was still looking at my options.  I didn’t really care for Bluetooth, or even Text To Speech (TTS), so I settled on the TomTom XL 330 that was on sale at Fry’s.

I’ll do a full blown review later, but the one thing that I think is really neat, is that there is both Mac and Windows TomTom software.  I have died and gone to heaven!  The first night I got my TomTom, I really messed it up.  I had to go in and delete files and restore the core OS on it, (it runs linux) and other than that, I am really happy with it.  My only beef with it, is that there is no SD slot and I am wondering what will happen when I want to install European maps on it.

I would also like to try to make my own RDS-TMC receiver for it.  I don’t think it would be too hard to make since it sounds like a slightly more complex crystal radio.

I’ll post here when I list my Mio on Ebay.  I also want to thank all of you who come here looking for Mio hacking tips and other GPS related info.  I am glad you have all found it useful.

Don’t get me wrong, if Mio had fixed my c310 I’d still be using it, but $100 is alot when I can get newer technology for just a little more and there seems to be some thing afoot that may prevent any updates to MioMap.

Thanks everyone for being patient with me.