December 27, 2009

MySQL - Using SELECT to UPDATE records.

I've been experimenting with MySQL over the holidays, specifically evolution of a db schema and how to roll out changes effectively. I setup a scenario where I had a mapping table with two ids. One id from table 1 and one id from table 2. Now, let's assume table 1 and table 2 no longer need a many to many mapping relation, and we can get away with table 2 having a direct foreign key relation to table 1 on a per-record basis. (We also assume there is no many to many information in the mapping table, so, table 1 and table 2 only have on occurence)

So our scenario is, we're moving from a table structure like this:
Table 1: id, value 1, value 2
Mapping: table 1 id, table 2 id
Table 2: id, value 1, value 2

to this:

Table 1: id, value 1, value 2
Table 2: id, table 1 id (FK), value 1, value 2

So I went ahead and altered table 2, but kept the mapping table intact as it still had all the information in it. I thought at first, I could write a script that just took the values from the mapping and ran the updates on table 2 so that the table 1 id from the mapping table was inserted into table 2. What would be the fun in that, if I can't learn to flex my SQL muscles...

I know that MySQL supports nested SELECTs on INSERT statements, but found out that p to and including MySQL 5.5 you can not use a nested SELECT for use in an UPDATE. So, I figured this was a simple work around:

SELECT @TABLE1_ID:=table_1_id, @TABLE2_ID:=table_2_id FROM mapping_table FOR UPDATE;
UPDATE table_2 SET table_1_id = @TABLE1_ID WHERE id = @TABLE2_ID;

This didn't quite work as I expected it would... Result:

SELECT @TABLE1_ID:=table_1_id, @TABLE2_ID:=table_2_id FROM mapping_table FOR UPDATE;# Rows: 3
UPDATE table_2 SET table_1_id = @TABLE1_ID WHERE id = @TABLE2_ID;# 1 row(s) affected.

Looks like it used the highest @TABLE2_ID from the mapping table and ran the update on that id. Once.

What started as something "simple" had now turned into re-learning SQL procedures and cursors.

This cursor takes care of the limitation encountered above where only the first row in the result set was being updated. Please note this is meant for command line mysql as the creation of this procedure relies on the 'delimiter ' instruction.


DROP PROCEDURE IF EXISTS fix_mapping;
delimiter //
CREATE PROCEDURE fix_mapping()
BEGIN
DECLARE finished INT DEFAULT 0;
DECLARE table1_id, table2_id INT;
DECLARE select_cursor CURSOR FOR SELECT mapping_one, mapping_two FROM mapping_table;
DECLARE CONTINUE HANDLER FOR NOT FOUND SET finished = 1;

OPEN select_cursor;

FETCH select_cursor INTO table1_id, table2_id;
WHILE
 finished <> 1
DO
 UPDATE table2 SET value_from_mapping_two = table2_id WHERE id = table1_id;
 FETCH select_cursor INTO table1_id, table2_id;
END WHILE;

CLOSE select_cursor;
END//
delimiter ;
CALL fix_mapping;

Note: If you encounter 'ERROR 1436 (HY000): Thread stack overrun:' go increase the thread_stack value in your my.cnf file. Mine was set to 64K, the increase to 256K worked for me.

You can validate that your procedure has been created by running: SHOW PROCEDURE STATUS;

When the procedure ran, all the values in the table2.value_from_mapping_two were correct and I could remove the mapping table. Also, don't forget to remove your procedure, as it won't work with the now deleted mapping table, accomplish this by running DROP PROCEDURE `table`.`procedure_name`

December 23, 2009

Flash and JavaScript

I've been doing some experiments on having a small SWF communicate with JavaScript (and vice versa). Essentially it's a little pop sound that gets triggered on a certain event completion by JavaScript. (Think GTalk in GMail or Facebook chat pop notifications).

I first attempted to have a single frame with an AudioLayer and simply rewind and play the movie each time I needed the notification to sound. Easier said than done. The Flash file would play immediately when it was loaded and (for whatever reason) was not listening to {play: 'false'} that SWFObject was sending it as a parameter. Also, the JavaScript event listener in my ActionScript was not letting me call gotoAndPlay(1); - go to the first frame and play it.

I should mention I know very, very little about ActionScript and Flash in general.

Regardless, I finally changed my approach and started googling referencing a sound file directly in the library, rather than importing it into the frame and replaying the frame.

I found a great page detailing which steps to follow to reference and play a sound directly from a library (the sound is exported when you publish your fla to SWF).

The solution is to "link" the audio file and give it a class identifier. This way, in my ActionScript, I can simply create a new instance of the sound using its identifier and call play() on the class.

Here's my ActionScript - it's all in a AS3 fla, first (and only) frame - that sets up the external interface listener:

import flash.external.ExternalInterface;

function playNotification():void {
 var sound = new NotificationPop();
 sound.play();
}

ExternalInterface.addCallback("playNotification", playNotification);

Here's my JavaScript that I call to trigger the SWF's external interface function declared above. The #notification id in XHTML refers to the tag that SWFObject generates. You simply call your declared external interface callback directly on .
function playNotification()
{
 $('#notification').playNotification();
}
Thanks to republicofcode.com for the tutorial. Check out the full article here.

December 12, 2009

Xbox Live: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

I've had my Xbox for just over a 6 weeks now. My trial of Xbox Live Gold went without a glitch. I was gaming merrily with friends on a network I perceived to be superior to PlayStation Network (PSN). Overlooking the fact that the hardware is "terrible" – I can't over look that... rant:

Since the dawn of PS3 (before Slim) and 360 there's been discussion on technical blogs about how "fat" the PS3 is. It's not a small console, but come one people, the Xbox has an external power supply brick that's half the size of the PS3 - and still the 360 is barely smaller. Also, I thought people were exaggerating the fact that the Xbox is loud. They're not. The disc drive is ridiculously loud and when the fans kick in it's like someone plugged in a vacuum cleaner. /rant.

This gives the consoles a draw for me. Sony's hardware is superior to Microsoft's, but Microsoft's strong point is the software. While I find the New Xbox Experience user interface unintuitive and harder to navigate than Sony's XMB, the Live experience is amazing, well worth the $60 / year.

Back to my point, my Gold trial membership went without a glitch - all of this changed in a second when it was time to turn my trial membership into a real membership and pay up. I signed on to xbox.com and attempted to add my credit card information. Long story short - turns out I left my Live Account in the US when I signed up, instead of switching over to Canada. Microsoft has a "limitation" in their billing system that won't let a person change country once the gamer tag was started. DRM anyone? So, I had to "cancel" (more to that later) my account and restart a new gamer tag in Canada so I could add my Canadian credit card on the account - without the option of migrating anything over to the new account. Luckily I've only been playing for a month...

Xbox Live: The Good

  • Provides a fantastic online gaming experience
  • Servers are filled and fast
  • Parties are awesome
  • Better than PSN
The Bad
  • Don't ever think about moving to another country, you'll lose anything
    • Unless, you buy your country's Xbox redeem vouchers online
The Ugly
  • Xbox Live customer support - shockingly terrible
    • I was told by two reps that I could in fact change my country, but they couldn't seem to do it at the moment
    • A supervisor finally told me that I couldn't due to the "limiation" in the billing system
    • You can't cancel your account. Ever.
    • You can "close" your profile, but they will keep your gamer tag active
      • The reason for this, according to the rep "closing" my account, is that I am located in Canada trying to close a US gamer tag.
While I was lucky that I didn't lose much of my achievements and gamer points moving to my new account, it will be quite terrible should I ever move back to Germany.

November 21, 2009

Random Fact

Scenario: You've borrowed someone's car, and you have the courtesy to fill up their tank. You pull up to the station and "Hmm, which side is the cap on?"

Solution 1: Assume it's on the left/right, pull up to the pump, get out, swear under your breath, move car to a different pump with cap facing the right direction.

Solution 2: Find the gas gauge on the dash. Find the arrow / triangle. Whichever direction the arrow / triangle points is the side of the gas cap.

Genius, isn't it? I learnt this about a year ago. It's nice not having to do guess work in a rental when it's -40 out.

Mine's on the right. Where's yours? :P

October 5, 2009

Use RemoteDisc with XP and MacBookPro

I bought a 15" MacBookPro the other month. 2 weeks in my disc drive was shredding CD's - I'm still waiting on a replacement part.

In the mean time I need to install things from disc, like Office:mac, iWork, iLive etc. So I set out to find a way to use Apple's RemoteDisc with my MacBookPro. Why isn't this enabled for MacBooks and MacBookPros by default, because it's only "designed" to work with the MacBookAir. Sheesh...

Anyways, Jason Evangelho has a quick tutorial on how to enable RemoteDisc for all macs using Apple's oh-so-powerful defaults write. I can confirm it's working, as I'm using my work Dell to install iWork on my MacBookPro as we speak.


October 1, 2009

Extended Warranties

I'm not the guy to buy extended warranties for most things. An iPod? No thanks, when it dies I'll get a new one. A TV? I have faith in the manufacturer to make a unit that'll last 3+ years before it dies.

Now here's my predicament: My Car. I drive an '07 Focus bought in Winter '06. It's been three years this fall and it's at 57,000 km. My 3yr/60,000 km "Bumper to Bumper" warranty is practically up. That warranty covers things like: electrical, A/C, gadgets (heated seats, audio unit) etc. - an accessories warranty so to speak.

Jubilee Ford is offering me an in-house warranty that will extend my Bumper to Bumper for another 3 years / 150,000 km for $1900 (CDN).

I know nothing about extended warranties, is it worth not investing said amount and potentially being stuck with a broken A/C next summer that will cost me more to fix?

Any input would be greatly appreciated!

Note: I should mention I have two warranties. Powertrain (5yr / 150k) and Bumper To Bumper (3yr / 60k) In 2 years, I'll have a chance to extend my Powertrain should I choose to. I'm only talking about the Bumper To Bumper right now :P

September 28, 2009

A Cold Day at the Office

We've had troubles at zu's new building with the A/C before today, but today was an especially interesting occurrence. For the first time this fall/winter season our temperature in Saskatoon dipped below the freezing point somehow this persuaded the building's A/C to turn on full blow. The result: A Cold Day at the Office. Temperatures on the third floor, where we house production, ranged from 9 - 14 C until the A/C was fixed.

Here's some pics of what zuStaff did to stay warm today:





September 10, 2009

How To Re-enable Group Headings in iTunes 9

I installed iTunes 9 last night, and was a bit baffled by the interface overhaul. Mostly I was confused where my "Albums", "Artists", "Genres" and "Composers" headings when in the grid view.

To re-enable these headings simply click "View" -> "Grid View" -> "Show Header" and you'll have the usual headings back as you did in iTunes 8.

July 3, 2009

Canada isn't the only country with bad mobile carriers / ISPs, promise.

Man oh man!

I'm currently enjoying the last few days of my vacation in Germany at my mother's house. It's been a fun 2 weeks and has been a welcome, relaxing change to the daily hussle of the past 6 months.

Of course my mother wouldn't be my mother with a "Johannes' To-Do" when I arrive. The two main items on the list were/are:
  • Switch Internet from 1&1 back to Deutsche Telekom
  • Change cell contract to cheaper rate and upgrade phone
Easy, right?

I've got one word to describe both of the seemingly easy tasks: WayTooMuchFail.

Switching ISPs in Germany
When I switched my TV/Internet bundle from Sasktel to Shaw a few years ago it was surprisingly simple. A Shaw tech came over, hooked up the new boxes, did some fiddling around, and that was that. A call later I had cancelled SaskTel and dropped off their equipment. Within a day everything was done. (Sure, I got stuck with a bit of pro-ration between switching providers, but meh)

A bit of history. The Deutsche Telekom was privatized in 1996 and has now expanded to a huge international communications company offering both consumer and business services spanning internet (T-Online), home phone / IPTV (T-Home), mobile (T-Mobile) and various other non-consumer services (T-Systems).

When the Telekom was slow on the ball offering DSL in our area many neighbours went with 1&1. The Telekom finally has a presence here now and is fighting to get customers back with cheaper phone/internet bundles. So we're switching back to bundle our fax/homephone with DSL to make things about 50% cheaper. Now here's the ridiculous part:

If we switch to the Telekom, 1&1 reserves the right to keep the DSL port blocked for up to 7 days while we switch. 7 days of no connectivity during the period that Telekom is trying to reconnect our house to the internet. There was no valid explanation about this from any reps either 1&1 or Telekom's side.

It's a 7 day blackout for my mom, but in the end bundling her homephone and internet with only the Telekom instead of Telekom and 1&1 is going to save her alot of money per month.

Dealing with Wireless Carriers in Germany
I've heard a few gems about dealing with Rogers Wireless, my favourite by Saskatoon local Jeff Read. While the following wireless woes can not compete with Jeff's customer service troubles I would like to lay upon you the following idea.

What if your wireless carrier's phone hotline was useless. Litereally in the sense of the word: useless. The people are friendly, know their material, but literally, are useless. They answer your questions and that's all they can do. (e-plus)

I've called 5 times today explaining that the online portal is down and I can not change my mother's contract nor can I upgrade her phone and was wondering if I could quickly do this over the phone as I am leaving for Canada on Monday.

All 5 times I was told that no rep can no longer change contracts and hardware over the phone. The "Online Kundencenter", or customer portal, was the sole place to do that. Even if the portal has now been for close to 36 hours, they can't help me with contract ugprades or hardware upgrades, they can only assist me in changing account details, solving billing problems, checking the status of my hardware upgrade or contract upgrade or telling me about the newest promotions.

For a guy that usually likes the idea of everything being online I am quite appalled that I literally can't get anything done with this company until someone fixes the customer service portal and this magical "Change Contract Details" button reappears in the control panel.

June 18, 2009

iPhone OS 3 Tethering, Rogers Canada

Finally, tethering on the iPhone.

After my woes with Rogers Customer Service earlier this week, asking about prices and availability, it seems that Rogers has cleared things up regarding the pricing for iPhone tethering. I quote:

Tethering is the use of your phone as a wireless modem to connect to the Internet from your computer. For a limited time, if you subscribe to a data plan which includes at least 1GB of data transmission between June 8, 2009 and December 31, 2009, and if you have a compatible device, you may use tethering as part of the volume of data included in your plan at no additional charge. Tethering cannot be used with data plans of less than 1GB

I am not looking forward to the end of that promotion as I'm sure Rogers will somehow figure out a way to gouge me out of more money.

OK. How to tether.

  1. Connect iPhone to Computer (I'm doing this for mac)
  2. If you haven't already, install OS 3 on your iPhone
  3. After the sync, on iPhone tap Settings -> General -> Network -> Internet Tethering
  4. Switch ON
  5. On your mac wait for the notice of new ethernet adaptor being found
  6. Open network preferences
  7. This may not apply to you, but to get the tethering to work I had to choose Advanced and then manually Renew my DHCP lease to contact the Rogers DNS and get on their network.
  8. Your iPhone will switch to the blue bar telling you you're online
  9. Don't forget to disable iPhone's tethering option when you're done so you don't burn through your data like crazy
iPhone 3G is limited to a 3.6 MBit/s downstream as it doesn't support HSDPA. (iPhone 3G S has HSDPA support and Rogers also supports the 7.6 MBit/s downstream)

The speed I got using Shaw's speedtest was 2.5 MBit/s down and 200 kbps up at ~8.30 pm.

If these speeds are consistent across Canada in 3G, I'm more than happy with this for emergency internet use.

June 16, 2009

Searching for Music

I'm flying home on Monday and have a total of 12 hours in the air and a good 6 in airports. That's alot of waiting and downtime.

I need some new music to keep me entertained during the trip.

On my list for the flight of new music for sure are:
  • Street Sweeper Social Club - Album released today, I'm twice through and I'm liking it alot sofar. It's Tom Morello's new project - thanks to that there's a lot of RATM influence on the album. Love it.
  • Mulatu Astatke - A recommendation by Ryan - Ethiopian Jazz, something I know nothing about, but really.. how bad can Jazz be? I'll find out :)
If you have any other recommendations for me, please leave them in the comments!

June 10, 2009

Oh Rogers, You're So Silly

As you may have heard Apple announced a few things during Monday's keynote at WWDC.

The most interesting for me is Snow Leopard, but that's for another post.

The announcement that also sparked my interest is the announcement that Rogers is on board for the OS 3.0 launch and ready to handle tethering and MMS, unlike AT&T.

So, my curiosity sparked and I called Rogers.

My first call was pleasant. I mentioned I had gotten a prerelease Gold Master for OS 3.0 and was wondering about tethering prices before I got dinged with a bill. The Rep, Dave, pleasantly told me that because I had a data plan that was over 1GB (6GB / $30 / m) my tethering wouldn't cost anything extra. As long as I stay under my 6GB limit.
Perfect! Makes sense - the answer I wanted. Boom - we're done.

Later that day I had some time and wanted to setup tethering. I tapped (in OS 3 GM) Settings -> General -> Network. Third option from the top: Set Up Internet Tethering. (Oddly enough this wasn't showing up for Cory on his 3G despite also being on the OS 3 GM). I got a popup advising me that tethering was not activated and I should contact Rogers.

Call 2 - this one threw me off completely. A rep who's name I didn't catch (but marked down the conversation reference number - they give those out now instead of agent codes it seems) told me a completely different story. I wanted to confirm what the first rep had told me about tethering being included in my plan.

This rep was unaware of tethering on iPhone at all and hadn't heard of OS 3. He also told me, without confirming any details with his senior, that tethering would be a promotion of 6 months and then I would be charged per tether detected. I was skeptical, but asked to be put through to the Technical Department to see if I could get my tethering activated. That rep told me that tethering on iPhone accounts was not to be activated until June 17th, when OS 3 officially launches. The rep honestly admitted he knew nothing about price plans and didn't want to speculate, but offered to transfer me back to Sales. I declined and hung up.

So started the emails. I wrote an email to Rogers customer service explaining I had gotten mixed results from two reps and wanted to clear up the simple question: Is tethering included in my 6GB / $30 / month data plan or if I would be charged if I tethered my phone.

The first email I got, confused me. Besides the usual "thanks for being our customer"-cheese here's the guts of the message:

At Rogers, we are offering 6 months of free tethering for any customer
with compatible Smart phone who has subscribed to 1GB or more data plan.
This is limited time offer of no additional fee for tethering this
promotion will end December 31 2009, at which point you will have the
option to subscribe to tethering plans.

Tethering data usage will come out of your existing data bucket.
Overage charges may apply if data usage exceeds amount included in your
data bucket.

The way I understand the above email is that there will be a 6 month promotion on tethering for customers that have a 1GB+ data plan. Ding - I qualify for that. It also reads that during this time no additional cost for tethering will be incurred. Once the promotion is over I have the option to subscribe to a tethering plan. *sigh* "That sounds like what the second guy was talking about", I thought.

I wrote back asking for clarification on the topic of "option" of tethering plans. I got the following response and am now back at square 1.

After reviewing the documentation concerning the $30 for 6GB data access plan, tethering is allowed (and will always be allowed on this plan) as it is not the same as our $10 Unlimited On-device Mobile Browsing plan which tethering is a pay per use charge. When you are tethering it will deduct the usage from the 6GB data pool. If you go over the 6GB per month allotment there is a charge of $0.05 for the first 60MB and $0.03 per MB thereafter up to a maximum of $100 minus your monthly data service plan cost therefore the maximum overage charge you could possibly incur would be $70.

This explanation makes sense and matches what the first rep was getting at.

My results are now 2 for "tethering is included in your data plan" and 2 for "it may/could/will be extra after 6 months".

What have your results been?

June 3, 2009

Music of the Week #2 & #3

Work, work, work - all I do is work lately. I've gotta slow down before I burnout (thanks Cory).

So here's (a bit late) Music of the Week #2 (ending May 24th) and #3 (ending May 31st)

#2 (ending May 24th)
  1. Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse
  2. Les Miserablés (Original London Cast)
  3. Foo Fighters
  4. Daft Punk
  5. Thornley
It was quite the listening week. Marli pointed me to an article on NPR about Danger Mouse "releasing" and album with Sparklehorse. Little did I know that this album would have such an effect on me. First off - this album is never going to be released due to a legal struggle with Danger Mouse and the record label EMI, which really is a shame, due to the intense energy this album brings across. The sheer effort put into the songs and the very well done collaborations on the album (include artists such as Julian Casablancas [The Strokes], James Mercer [The Shins] and, believe it or not, Iggy Pop and many, many more). Fav's include "Revenge (Flaming Lips)", "Star Eyes (I Can't Catch It)" and "The Man Who Played God". Hit up the NPR article for a listen in the standalone player.

I really have no idea why I suddenly started listening to Les Miserablés. The soundtrack is great for a musical and the story is a beautiful one. I believe the main cause for this impulse purchase and listen was listening to Susan Boyle.

Ah, the Foo Fighters, my roots. I think the Foo Fighters have been the the one band I've constantly listened to for the past 8 years! I can identify myself with so many songs and I have pin pointing which songs are my favourites. But I can definately tell you the songs that start many, many Genius playlists are "Best Of You" (In Your Honor - 2005), "Low" (One By One - 2002), "Generator" (There Is Nothing Left To Lose - 1999). Bah, who am I kidding my favourite Foo's song of all times is and will always be "Everlong" (The Colour and the Shape - 1997).

Daft Punk - this one's a doozey again. The album artist is in fact Daft Punk, but the album I am listening to is in fact a bootlegged remix album titled "Remix After All" and is a remix album of, you guessed it, "Human After All". For a bootlegged album the execution of the songs are amazing. The engineering is great, the songs keep their Daft Punk feel with some of great synth flares. Check out the blog entry for more info. 

I talked about Thornley in Music of the Week #0 a few weeks ago :).

#3 (ending May 31st)
  1. Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse
  2. Daft Punk
  3. Peter Fox
  4. Incubus
  5. Led Zeppelin
For more about the Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse collaberation album, read above in Music of the Week #2.

The same applies to Daft Punk. I am still quite attached to the "Remix After All" album - read above for more info.

Peter Fox. Still with the addicting album - gosh! I spoke about his "Stadtaffe" album in Music of the Week #0 and yes - it's still haunting me :).

Incubus - Spoke about them in Music of the Week #1.

Led Zeppelin. Really - what's left to say. Classic Rock. Robert Plant. Jimmy Page. What's not to love - really?!

Comments, suggestions?

May 18, 2009

Music of the Week #1

OK, OK, so I failed for last Sunday. I'm making up for this week. :)

Music of the week ending Sunday May 17th, 2009.
  1. Does It Offend You, Yeah?
  2. Bloc Party
  3. Danger
  4. Nine Inch Nails
  5. Incubus
Does It Offend You, Yeah? is a great band referred to me by Marli. I'm very late on picking up on these guys, their album hast been out since March 2008 and contains a number of tracks that have made some intense appearances in other media, such as Fast & Furious 4, American Teen (movie) and more. I am quite addicted to the album "You Have No Idea What You're Getting Yourself Into". Favourite tracks include: "Being Bad Feels Pretty Good", "With a Heavy Heart" and "Weird Science".

Bloc Party - I can't stop listening to the Intimacy album. I haven't gotten around to listening to the Intimacy Remix album... yet. Top tracks for Bloc Party this week are (still) "Halo" and "Biko".

Danger wins this week's top track with the new single I found on his MySpace named "07h46". His mix of 80's style synth with today's flare of electronica is mind gobbling and oh-so addicting. Other great tracks include "11h30 (DatA Remix)" and "Revolte at 22h10".

Nine Inch Nails - This stat may be a little flawed as I was listening to the NIN|JA EP released to promote the tour NIN is on with Jane's Addiction and Street Sweeper Social Club. And mostly I've been listening to the Street Sweeper Social Club singles on the EP named "Clap for the Killers" and "The Oath".

Incubus - My golden oldie and one of the highest ranking artists on my last.fm account. My favourites of their entire discography include "Echo", "Here in my Room", "Dig", "Southern Girl" and "Wish You Were Here".

What were your top artists of the week?

May 10, 2009

Star Trek

Got around to watching Star Trek last night and I hope to summarize the movie by saying "Pew Pew". That is all.

Seriously, the movie is a must see. It's got the plot, the acting and the action. On that note I should probably mention that I've never been a trekkie, I've never seen anything Star Trek before. And even without the previous knowledge of anything regarding the Star Trek universe the movie was easy to understand. There were a few moments where people laughed / sighed at what I assume to be references for the trekkies in the audience. But those were few and didn't change much in regards to the plot.

The entire art of the movie is amazing and the space battles grandios (pew, pew!) I am excited to re-enjoy this movie on Blu-Ray when the time comes.

May 9, 2009

Music of the Week #0

New regular for the blog (I hope I can keep it regular): What music I've found and listened to each week. Since I've started my musical quest in February I've been exposed to many new bands and new music.

To Do this I'm using two tools, an iTunes Smart Playlist and my last.fm account. The Smart Playlist is setup to limit me to 25 tracks I've played most in the past week. My last.fm account will help me actually get real play counts and let me have a second data set to compare to.

If anyone has suggestions about getting more accurate data, don't hesitate to leave them in a comment.

So, to get things started I've titled this post #0 as an introduction and to post some data up until May 3rd. Tomorrow is Sunday and I'll have a chance to review everything for the first actual "Music of the Week #1" post.

Music of the Week ending on May 3rd.
  1. The Lonely Island
  2. Thornley
  3. Peter Fox
  4. Gorillaz
  5. Justice
  6. Danger
I'm a big fan of The Lonely Island album "Incredibad". This seems a bit out of my usual listening pattern, but I listen to it for the absolute hilarity of the lyrics. I smile and giggle every time I listen to it.

Thornley to me is Canada's undiscovered gem for music. Ian Thornley's band has great live shows and albums. Songs from "Tiny Pictures" and their debut album "Come Again" were embedded somewhere, somehow into my playlists.

Peter Fox is a stranger to most located outside of German-speaking Europe. He is one of the frontment of band "Seeed" and has recently launched his solo career. His debut album "Stadtaffe" (translated 'city monkey') is a very interesting venture into the quickly popularizing genre of Dancehall. What I like about this album is the stronger focus on the merger between Dance and Hip Hop. The outcome is an album that doesn't get boring and interesting beats.

Gorillaz 'nuff said.

If you haven't listened to the french electro band Justice you need to - now. (No really, go do it now) Their main album "Cross" is so perfectly engineered that I use it as a benchmark for other electro albums. Justice has set the bar quite high with that album, too. The live album "A Cross the Universe" and their most recent EP "Planisphère" are a great addition to "Cross".

Danger is a new addition to my library. Until his site is done there's very little actual information about the artist on the MySpace page. I currently only own the "09/14/2007" EP with a great track naming convention of "11h30", "14h54" and "19h11". The single "Revolte at 22h10" was an instant hit in my book. Good beat, distorted singing, original melody - I'm sold.

More tomorrow when  last.fm has generated last week's stats.

May 3, 2009

Bloc Party @ Odeon, Saskatoon

Last night was the Bloc Party concert at the Odeon in Saskatoon. I was very excited for this concert as this was the second time I got to see the band perform live.

The first concert was in at the '2005 Einslive Königstreffen' (German wikipedia entry) in Herzogenrath, Germany - Here's a flickr set I found. It was my first real festival with bands like Tocotronic, Max Herre, Gentlemen, Mando Diao and the final huge act of the evening Franz Ferdinand.

Anyhow, 2005 was the year Bloc Party's Silent Alarm album was release, and just months after the release was the show at the Königstreffen. The only single I'd heard at the time was Helicopter, so I didn't know what to expect. They put on a great show and the next day I had purchased Bloc Party, Mando Diao and Franz Ferdinand Albums.

When I heard on Rock102 that Bloc Party was coming to Saskatoon in January I bought tickets asap. I was excited. Bloc Party! Again! It's been 4 years!

In the mean time the band had released two new 'main' albums and various remix albums. The main albums 'A Weekend in the City' and 'Intimacy' were released in 2007 and 2008 respectively. The changes the band had gone through in influences and musicianship have been very apparent throughout the two albums.

Fast forward to today (well, last night, really). The night had finally come, Bloc Party time. Bloc Party recognized it was there first time in Saskatoon and promised they would rock us - if we rocked them too. Through out the show we were ordered to let out our inner cheekiness.

The show was a perfect mixture of songs from all three albums and crowd interaction. The highlight of crowd interaction was Kele, lead singer, crowd surfing a good 30 metres to the Odeon's little sound booth, whilst singing!

The Odeon should look into a new A/C, I'd say it was a good 40 degrees or more in the entire building, before the show had even started! Even the band commented a few times that it was very warm, also resulting in Matt, drummer, to play in his boxers.

Musical highlights for me included live sampling and manipulation by Kele and Russell, lead guitar. Very apparent in songs like 'Mercury', 'Ares' and 'Halo'.

So, despite the blistering heat, the show was absolutely fantastic and I hope to see Bloc Party again in the near future!


After the show I heard that some of the band were at my favourite local pub O'Shaes and went to check it out. I met a few friends and talked for a while up on the patio, and finally saw Matt. I apologized for interrupting and we talked a little, about that night's show and the 2005 festival. It was a nice little chat and I left with a signed show ticket. :)




May 1, 2009

Crank: High Voltage (2009)

I just watched Crank: High Voltage with my friend Marli and her boyfriend.

My first impression: awesome.

A bit of a deeper drill down:
I was a huge fan of Crank (2006), which is probably grounds for my liking of Crank 2. The easiest way to describe Crank 2, for me, is to say "It's like Crank all over again, but more excessive, trashy and inventive".

The plot of Crank: High Voltage picks up where Crank left off  3 years ago. Chev Chelios (Jason Statham), poisoned by a chinese synthetic by Ricky Verona (Jose Pablo Cantillo) after an intriguing plot to kill Triad leader Don Kim. After a day long chase through Los Angeles, Chev finally tracks down Ricky and the two nemesis face off in a mile high fall to the ground. With both main characters seemingly dead Crank: High Voltage takes off.

Mere seconds after the crash landing of Chev on an elderly woman's car, violently rebounding to the pavement, our hero is, literally, scraped off the street by a group of Triad grunts and tossed into the back of a van. In a series of blurred visions we realize Chev's heart is being taken out and replaced by an artificial unit. Without wanting to spoil the movie I'll digress:

Chev chases his heart through Los Angeles all day. During the chase he's reunited with his "Doc" and his girlfriend.

Excessive, hilarious action sequences make the movie what it is. A no-brain-required movie for Statham and action fans alike.

I'll conclude by recommending this movie. I've never laughed so hard during an action movie in my life.

April 30, 2009

Transition period

Hey, welcome to the new spot.

Bear with me as I move over posts (I'm censoring myself during this move) from my old blog.

I will be keeping the domain as more of a portal for all services I subscribe to: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook (private), flickr, Google etc. etc. etc.

I'll be using this blogspot to focus more on things I really want to talk about in depth, such as movies, music I 'review' and technologies, innovations I wish to share / comment on.