Archive for March, 2006

iTunes Music Store MAJOR bug fixed!

Tuesday, March 7th, 2006

Ever since the iTunes Music Store was launched, it was impossible to search for the band The The. This was the most horrible egregiously nasty bug, like, evar!

Seriously, it was a really annoying bug in that The The is a truly awesome band and, as it turns out, the iTumes Music Store actually has a good selection of their content.

This has been fixed. You can now search for The The.

Woot!

Of much lesser importance, the whole search engine has been vastly improved. Many ambiguously non-ambiquous hits are no longer ambiguous. That is, the search engine does a much better job of mapping what you typed with what you really meant.

b-52s/b52s/b fifty-twos, for example.

Or devo / de-vo / d e v o.

Or even nusratfetah alikhan, which really should be Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. And iTunes correctly figured that out.

This is going to make those late night iTunes Music Store Shopping Adventures (What? I bought music at 3am on Friday evening?) all that much more dangerous….

RIP: Ali Farka Touré 1939-2006

Tuesday, March 7th, 2006

Ali Farka Touré has passed away. A sad loss.

I have listened to Ali Farka Touré’s music for years. He was an incredible guitarist from Africa and blended traditional tribal rhythms and melodies with modern themes and technologies.

He was also one to often experiment with styles well foreign to his native Africa.

In particular, I frequently return to Ali Farka Touré & Ry Cooder’s Talking Timbuktu album. Absolutely sublime blend of Cooder’s American Roots with Touré’s African Blues. It earned Ali his first Grammy in 1995.

Awesome stuff. Ali Farka Touré will be missed, but his legacy shall live on!

Update: This morning, I picked up Ali Farka Touré and Toumani Diabate’s In the Heart of the Moon. Another awesome album. All instrumental guitar and keyboard work with some nice rhythms. Also earned Ali his second Grammy.

Python, Mac OS X, and Readline.

Monday, March 6th, 2006

Due to the political manifesto that is the GPL, Python on Mac OS X does not ship with the readline module.

This is hugely annoying. Interactive command line python is pretty close to useless without basic history and editing commands.

It is easy enough to fix. Would be easier if I didn’t also want to use the latest libreadline; version 5.1.

Either mount this in the Finder or:

svn co http://svn.red-bean.com/bbum/trunk/pyreadline/

From there, follow the instructions in the README. It definitely works with the stock Python on Mac OS X Intel. Should work for PPC, too.

It will likely also work for Python 2.4, but I haven’t tested it. If not, copying the readline.c from Python 2.4 into the readline-0.0.0 directory.

As Paul said, check out iPython. It offers an incredible interactive mode with full blown object introspection, including integrated documentation. I use it when I remember (thanks fro the reminder), but I also avoid it when doing examples for others or generating doctest test cases.

Revisions:

– added iPython info

– fixed stupid typo

The Analog Monster; G5 chirping & Arcade Monitors

Sunday, March 5th, 2006

John Siracusa wrote an OK article about the problems with Analog circuitry in the digital world.

Only OK? Yeah — it isn’t exactly accurate.

The transformer, in particular, was quite a noise-maker in my 150-in-one kit. Perhaps not surprisingly, one of the many things a transformer can do is convert AC to DC and vice versa. Hmm.

Wrong. Transformers are used for converting AC from one voltage to another or for isolating one piece of circuitry from another (as long as the isolation point is AC). Transformers have a handful of other uses, but converting AC to DC is never one of them. For that, you would probably start with diodes, including the rather common configuration of 4 diodes in a rectifier.

John has since corrected his article. I figured he would; I’m sure he received about 18.2 billion email messages with a correction.


Now that that is out of the way, Siracusa’s triggered a few random thoughts on the subject.

Read the rest of this entry »