Remember Playback Position

Maybe everybody knew this before, but I just found this in iTunes.

If you go to a track, right click, Get Info, Options, you can tell iTunes to remember the playback position for a track. As you can see from the image above, this track is nearly two hours long, so if you’re listening to something long (like The Twelves’ on Radio 1’s Essential Mix) it’s great that you don’t have to restart the track if you’re picking up from where you left off.

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Track of the Week: Salt Peanuts by Dizzy Gillespie

As the year winds down, a little Salt Peanuts by Dizzy Gillespie is in order. The recording I have is by “The Quinent”, the collection of Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus, and Max Roach performing Live at Massy Hall in Toronto. The reason I’d picked this recording up in the first place was Mingus’ involvement in the performance (my obsession for Mingus’ recordings continues).

Salt Peanuts is a bit unusual in that it features Gillespie vocalizing the phrase “salt peanuts” multiple times while taking breaks from his racing trumpeting. It’s a solid bop sound, with a pretty standard bop structure. Given the luminarys that are on the recording, the song is without a doubt Gillespie’s. The crowd cheers any time he takes a break from his horn, which takes center stage. Roach holds the song together on the drums and makes Powell’s solid piano solo come alive by rimming on his snares. What I love the most of live jazz recordings is how the musicians (for lack of a better word) cheer each other on during solos. Anybody who has been to a live jazz show knows how when somebody is jamming, everybody else drops their head and cat calls in approval. This recording of Salt Peanuts captures that quite well during a few of the solos.

Recently, I shared the album with @emalasky at the office a few months ago and he repeated the phrase “salt peanuts” a few times to me afterwards (to me, a strange affirmation of how catchy the odd phrase still is). I also heard it at Shady Lady in Sacramento last weekend. It’s a bit anachronistic given that Shady Lady is suppose to be a speak easy, I’ll take it any time I hear some Gillespie at a bar.

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iPhone Hardware Specs

I compiled this list from the internets on the hardware inside the various revs of the iPhone and iPod touch.

  • iPhone 8GB – Samsung S5L8900 (ARM11) 400 mhz
  • Touch 1st Gen: Samsung S5L8900 (ARM11) 400mhz (almost none of these exist)
  • iPhone 3G 8GB: Samsung S5L8900 (ARM11) 412 mhz
  • Touch 2nd Gen: Samsung S5L8900 (ARM11) 533mhz
  • iPhone 3GS: Samsung S5PC100 (Cortex A8) 600mhz
  • Touch 3rd Gen: Samsung S5PC100 (Cortex A8) 600mhz

General rule of thumb is the Touch is faster than the equivalent iPhone, and the latest gen of hardware has moved to the ARM Cortex architecture and a PowerVR SGX GPU (e.g. OpenGL ES 2.0). Also, the iPhone 8GB only sold (legally) in the states, although via black market channels it has shown up all over the world.

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Track of the Week: Ysabel’s Table Dance by Charlie Mingus

Mingus, without a doubt, is my favorite bebop/post-bop musician. His music often has a brooding sound but this week’s pick of Ysabel’s Table Dance from Tijuana Moods is a departure from what I’d consider typical Mingus. I didn’t find this album until I had Mingus Big Band play at Yoshi’s in SF about two years ago.  It’s one of his lesser known recordings.

The story goes that Mingus was inspired by a trip to Tijuana after a break up. The cover reads on the 1962 release reads “The album Charlie Mingus feels is his best work, in which he and his men re-create an exciting stay in Mexico’s wild and controversial border town.” The album as a whole probably comes in behind Mingus Mingus Mingus for me, but outside the tapestry of Ysabel’s Table Dance is a great bebop album.

It opens with high tempo castanets, then adds a layer of Mingus’ bass, then drum sticks, then a layer of vocals and piano, at which point the sound scape is set for the song.  The track clocks in at 10+ minutes and it’s not until the 4 minute mark that you remember that this is not an action song written for some Brad Pitt movie but rather a bebop track from ’62. The whole thing, through and through is manic. Saxes show up, tear through a few bars of chaos then are fought back with a trumpet as the cadence gets faster and slower and at some point you’re just lost to what you’re hearing. It’s not until the last minute or so that you see how it all comes together, and then the moment you’ve understood the song ends. It’s a fantastic track, and one of my all time favorite Mingus recordings.

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Track of the Week: Chan Chan by Buena Vista Social Club

This week’s track of the week is Chan Chan by the Buena Vista Social Club, from their eponymous album. While released in 1997, I don’t think I found the album until 2004 or so. I’m going to try to post a few more tracks from the greater jazz genre over the next couple of weeks.

This album, as a whole, is fantastic. It’s pensive, interesting and full of great guitar sounds and ad hoc harmonizations. Chan Chan specifically has the greatest Spanish guitar riff I’ve ever heard (do you call it Cuban guitar since they’re from Havana?). The singing, with the casual harmonization, is great. I’ve wondered how the vocals were recorded, in order to give them that spacious in a room sound. They’re haunting and warm, and on top of the guitar and muted trumpet they make the  song a classic.

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Sprint Backlog Task: Ice Cream

One of the many, many reasons I love working on software is how whimsical it can sometimes be. I was reviewing a sprint backlog for one of the scrum teams that work on the Distribution Service and came across this sprint item.

Ice Cream

Building software is most of the time super stressful but I love when people find a way to add some funny in to the mix. Remember, getting the ice cream comes before updating the production server.

P.S. This backlog item reminds me of a similar story when I was working in China. One of our developers in China was reading a set up document written by a developer in the states. One of the steps read “install Windows Server”, and the step right after that said to “Enjoy a Dr Pepper” since the installation would take a while. Our dev had no idea what that meant and of course Baidu nor Google were of any help. In the end, he ended up having to ask his manager what that step meant.

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Debugging iPhone Code Signing

Code signing on the iPhone can be frustrating, and it gets even more frustrating when trying to submit an app to the App Store.

There are two forms of builds, deployment and distribution. You can use the codesign tool from Xcode to verify the signature in your app bundle to ensure they’re signed correctly. The part that is bolded is which certificate was used to sign the app.

abansodmbp:~ abansod$ codesign -dvvvv
Format=bundle with Mach-O thin (armv6)
CodeDirectory v=20001 size=43398 flags=0x0(none) hashes=2161+5 location=embedded
Signature size=4283
Authority=iPhone Developer: Aditya Bansod
Authority=Apple Worldwide Developer Relations Certification Authority
Authority=Apple Root CA
Signed Time=Nov 13, 2009 4:10:59 PM
Info.plist entries=19
Sealed Resources rules=5 files=7
Internal requirements count=0 size=12

In the above example you can see that it’s signed with my Developer cert. If the app isn’t signed with a developer cert it won’t run on your device. The same thing applies if you’re deploying to the app store. In that case, your app needs to be signed with your Deployment certificate, and you can use the same codesign tool to validate it’s signed with the correct cert.

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Track of the Week: Sunrise by Yeasayer

Self described as Enya with a Bounce on their MySpace, I had never heard of these guys until their name was passed on in a music email list I belong to. This week’s track is Sunrise by Yeasayer off of All Hour Cymbals. The song (and most of the album) has long melodic undertones (synth + strings) that have this somewhat spooky sound to them. What hooks me is the rhythmic drumming on top of the backing sound that has a great layered effect. The vocals are fairly heavily processed with reverb and overdub which adds to the ambient sound. Most of the entire album is like this and recommended.

It’s worth listening to this one on different headsets/speakers. I first listened to this on my iPod through headphones, where are treble heavy, and then later in my car with tends to be bass heavy. Very different parts of the song come out in each scenario.

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Flash Apps for iPhone Video

Lee Brimelow did a video cast of how you can use Flash Pro CS5 to build an app for the iPhone. Lee goes through setting up your project and builds a quick application that uses the new accelerometer APIs. Take a look at the video and the process that’s used to go build the app. Since it’s beta software, the UIs may/will change but the video gives you a good idea of how to get started building an app for the iPhone using ActionScript 3.0.

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