Daily Archives: 14 Nov 2011

Playing "Spot the Typos"

For those of you who may be getting posts on Facebook every time I update a post, it must look like I have some kind of revolving door, given the number of times I have to edit my posts after they go up. Not very professional; I’ll try to do better. Then again, as the above picture makes clear, my problems could be much, much worse.

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Upcoming Arduino Adventure

Next semester I have some free space in my schedule that I need to fill up with Fine Arts credits if I want to get my Arts Technology Certificate this year. I felt rather clever this semester for designing my own 4-credit class in Processing, which I taught myself (although I am not the teacher of record). I decided to do a similar thing next semester, where I will work on the most logical extension of the Processing class: Arduino, the physical world analogue of Processing. There’s a tiny little book on it called Getting Started with Arduino (now in its second edition):

I think I’ll just go through it from start to finish. That shouldn’t take long, although it will take some supplies, so I’ve already ordered the complete set of materials from Maker Shed. (I think I’ll get to know these guys awfully well.)

However, that book will be quick. As a way of making a full course, I’m considering trying to go through Tom Igoe’s charming but substantial book Making Things Talk (also in its second edition), which also serves as great introduction to the field of physical computing:

I’m still trying to figure out exactly how much of that book I would be able to do (and how much it would cost!). But in a happy turn of events, I just came across a blog called Doing the Projects in Making Things Talk, where the author chronicles his journey through the first edition fo the book:

Anyhow, this should be an excellent guide. I’ll have to read through it before I undertake my own adventure.

And, finally, I think that I’m going to send out an invitation to see if there are any other students who would like to join me in this “class” (or in another one I’m planning on using Max/MSP, but more on that another time). It would be nice to have company, wouldn’t it?

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The Woeful Inadequacy of iTunes Match

I can’t believe it. I wait months for Apple’s much-anticipated put-all-your-music-in-the-cloud iTunes Match service… I even go out of my way to a manual download and install when neither my Mac’s “Software Update” nor iTunes’ “Check for Updates” can find iTunes 10.5.1 (not a real hassle but it shows that I was motivated)… I’m ready to subscribe… and what do I get? The following promise:

and then THIS:

AAAAARRRGGHHHHH!!! So I have 58,580 songs that were not purchased in the iTunes store — over twice the legal limit. I think Apple should be proud of me for still using iTunes instead of sending some little box out to brush me off. Argh!

Ah, well, as long as I can wait another six weeks, I can still upload EVERY SINGLE SONG to Amazon’s Cloud Drive, which will work nicely with the shiny new Kindle Fire that will show up on Thursday (and which I ordered six weeks ago on  the day that it was announced).

Update 1: MacWorld has already published a kludgy but tolerable solution to the 25,000 song limit in iTunes Match. It involves creating a sort of shell second library and syncing that (without affecting the complete, main library). It might be worth a try. Here’s a link to the article with full instructions.

Update 2: I waxed eloquent about my soon-to-arrive Kindle Fire just two paragraphs ago. Then I read actual, hands-on reviews of the device and, well, it doesn’t look so good. (Here’s Wired’s scathing review and a compilation of several others.) Well, zut, alors, as I learned to say in France. The estimated probability-of-return is high enough at this moment that I just ordered one of the other new Kindles, the wifi Kindle Touch, which will arrive next week. Wired was much kinder to this one. I have a little experience with another version of the Kindle and, just like they say, it weighs almost nothing, the battery lasts forever, and the e-ink is very easy on the eyes (especially in bright sunlight). Well, that may be the way I end up going. We’ll see.

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