New Project

After investigating the guitar tutor software on and off for about 3 months, I’ve decided to go in a different direction. The biggest hurdle is lack of time, and the small delay between the time the note is struck and the time the signal is recognizable as the required note. You could get by with faking it, and not showing the user acutal real-time results. Look up automated music transcription and you’ll find algorithms out there. 

In any event, I’ve started a new project developing a musical theory app for the iPhone. It’s called uSightRead and you can follow it’s progress on its own website. This is somewhat similar to the guitar game, but without the pesky need to determine the notes from a real guitar. Hopefully it’ll be a big hit.

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I can no longer be trusted…

You know the old saying, “Don’t trust anyone over 30″. Well, today I am 30 so you can no longer trust me. I don’t really feel that old. I still do some of the same fun/stupid stuff that I did when I was younger.  Fortunately it’s more fun these days and less stupid. 

I guess I’ll just have to console myself with the fact that I have the world’s cutest daughter: 



From January 2009

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Of names and naming conventions…

I wish that developers would realize that some naming conventions are no longer necessary. At my present job, we have a developer who insists on putting an E before the name of an enumerated type. Like ColumnType becomes EColumnType. His claim is that it helps readability, and you know it’s an enumerated type without looking at the definition. I’ve tried to point out that the compiler will gladly point out when you’re using an enumerated type incorrectly, and won’t let you use it where it’s not appropriate (this is C# mind you). 

Alas, he still does it. I know he does it because C allows you to use integers where an enumerated value can be and vice-versa, but still, it’s 2008, C# and other modern languages have changed to help prevent you from doing stupid things (unless you really mean to). Just let the compiler do it’s job.

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The Fifteen Minute Hobby

Being a Dad to a 9 month-old 6-month-old takes a lot of time and energy. Combine that with being a decent husband, and commuting everyday, there’s not much time for hobbies. There’s a ton of things that I want to do such as build another RC airplane, learn to skate and play hockey as well as several programming projects I’d like to do. The biggest roadblock for most of them is finding a large continuous chunk of time to devote to them. I’m lucky if I get half an hour straight to do any given task. So I’ve been thinking about something that I can get some enjoyment out of that only takes about 15 minutes a day. 

To that end, I’ve decided to start learning the bass guitar again. I started playing maybe 5 years ago, and was pretty consistent for about a year and a half. I was never very good, but it was fun. I’ve found a couple of good sites for bass, specifcially the Basstalk forums and Study Bass. There’s also the Fret Surfer Bass application for my iPhone so I can learn the fretboard on the go. I can find the time to devote 15 minutes everyday to bass. I’m not expecting to be great immediately. It’s probably more like Norvig’s teach yourself programming ten years, but for bass.

One thing I’ve always struggled with is being able to gauge if I’m playing something correctly. To me, it sounds right, but I’m not sure. So for a little programming project I’m going to try and make a guitar game similar to Guitar Hero, but with a real bass. Of course this is not a new idea. Two similar projects I’ve found are Guitar Rising and LittleBigStar. Mine isn’t really for anybody else but me, and it’ll be more focused on actual learning than simply a game. 

I’m planning on using Microsoft’s XNA framework to do the game stuff because I’m most familiar with C# at the moment and it should be relatively quick to get the project started. The biggest hurdle will be retrieving and processing the signal from the bass. I tried doing this about 5 years ago, but the latency was too high to be able to process the notes in real-time. This time I’m going to try using an ASIO driver, which should help. I’m also planning on getting a USB interface, and try that. Specifically this one from Line 6, which should work with the ASIO driver as well. 

First I need to find (or buy another) adaptor to hook the bass into the mic jack of my sound card. We’ll see how it goes from there.

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Some days, it’s just not worth the 3 hour commute in to work

I’m a commuter. I drive from the north end of Colorado Springs, to the south end of Denver every weekday for work. Normally it’s about 50 minutes (20 minutes to get to the interstate, and 30 minutes on the interstate). Today, due to snow, it took a whopping 3 hours for my 50 mile commute. Not a lot of fun, but by the time I realized it wasn’t worth the trouble, I was closer to work than home, so I just went to work. Hopefully the commute home won’t be so long.

The one good thing was I got to listen to all of the podcasts that are on my iPhone. Currently my favorites are the Stackoverflow and Hanselminutes podcasts. I need a few more weekly podcasts to cover my commuting time. It’s a great way to pass the time because listening to the radio for 2 hours a day can get really boring. If you know of any good techie/developer/.net podcasts let me know.

I’m starting work on a music/software project and that I think is neat, and that’s probably what my next post will be about. Hopefully it’ll be soon, but who knows.

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Hello internets!

About time I had a blog of my own, so here it is. Not sure what exactly I’ll be posting, but there will be posts.

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