Archive for the ‘distractions’ Category

What does your taste in music say about you?

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

I just came up with this very scientific method of determining how selfish or selfless you are.  Look on your iTunes or iPod (or however else you manage your digitial music).  Count the number of songs that start with the word “you” (and contractions like you’re and you’ve).  Now count the number of songs that start with “I” (include variations like I’ll, I’m, and I’ve)  Divide the first by the second and voila  – your selfless/selfish ratio.  If it’s greater than one, you can rest easy knowing you’re a considerate selfless person.  If it’s under 1, you know who comes first in your world… you.

My results:

“You” songs -140

“I” songs – 291

Ratio: 0.481

uh oh, I’m a selfish bastard.  Wait, wait.  I’m developing this real-time here.  Let’s modify the formula to account for the fact that songwriters are inherently introspective.  New formula:

Y /(I*0.5)

New Ratio: 0.965

Still slightly selfish, which I really think is inaccurate, but I guess I can live with that.  Please help me test the data and post your results in the comments.  Then I’ll tell you what I really think of you and we’ll see if this thing’s got wheels.

My brilliant iPod music management system

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

The Problem: Most of my music listening is done from my iPod (away from my computer).  I listen to a lot of new music and have a desire to organize that music as I digest it.  Let’s say I hear one great song out of 15 new ones I’m listening to.  iPod (seemingly) only gives users one way to handle this – by creating an “on the go” playlist. This seems like a very roundabout way of getting things done.

The Solution: a combination of Smart Playlists and Song ratings.  I used iTunes and my iPod(s) for a long time before even giving the “ratings” system a second thought.  I knew that on iTunes you could give a song a rating from 1-5 stars, but I never knew why I would bother.  Then I noticed the “My Top Rated” playlist that Steve Jobs had created by default in my list o’ playlists.  THEN I realized that you can change your songs’ ratings from your iPod!! The wheels started churning.

How you do it:

  • Smart Playlists – Go to “File” and select “New Smart Playlist…”  The screen below is displayed.  From the first dropdown, select “Rating,” then just make your screen look like the picture below (adjust # of stars accordingly).  I leave the “limit” checkbox unchecked, but it can put a cap on the size of your playlist.

  • Ratings on your (older) iPod – While you’re listening to a song, just hit the center button 3 times until the ratings screen shows up, then scroll the wheel to the rating you desire and hit the center button again – Rated!

  • Ratings on your iPhone or iPod Touch – it took me a little while to figure this out.  When a song is playing and you’re looking at the album artwork, touch in the top right corner (where it looks like a bulleted list) – this brings up the track listing for the album, but at the top of that list is either the current rating, or 5 dots where a rating could be.  Touch the dot of the rating you want and your song shall be rated.

How I use it: So I now use this combination of features in 3 ways:

  • My Top Rated – these are just my favorite songs that hold  a special place in my heart.  Every time one comes on (shuffle or otherwise) that I feel deserves special recognition, I give it 4 stars.  The Smart Playlist “My Top Rated” automatically gathers all songs with a 4 or 5-star rating and voila – one big playlist with my 708 (and growing) so favorite songs.  This also works great for my iPhone since I can’t put all of my music on my iPhone and I’d rather just sync my playlists.  This guarantees my favorite songs all make it onto the iPhone.
  • Needs Attention – I give songs 2-3 stars if they need attention, and I have a second smart playlist that bears the same name.  This is a little vague, and sometimes I forget what specific attention a song needed, but the usual needs are to be filed into a differently-themed playlist, or to be replaced with a higher quality recording.
  • Sucks – I give songs one star if I hate them and want to banish them from my music library (because you can’t delete songs directly from your ipod).  Again, the “Sucks” smart playlist herds these songs together for easy execution when I get back to my computer.

It takes a little effort to achieve the full benefits of this system, but you can start small.  It’s worth it in the long run.  If you’ve got something better, please leave a comment.

Top Trends spotted at ACL 2008

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

I’m not a trendy guy, so take this post with a grain of salt.  Still, I think it’s always interesting to see what the “cool kids” are up at any concert, much less a giant music festival like this.  So without further ado, here are the top trends I spotted at ACL 2008.  Click any of the pictures for a larger version.

70s headbands

Yeah, this is the first trend I spotted, and it made me want to look for other trends.  You know – the skinny braided headbands that were popular in the ’70s?  They’re back (as were headbands in general, but especially these).


Tattoos are still really popular with the kids these days.  Showing them off at the outdoor rock show is also very popular.  Some girls even like to offer a bonus plan when showing off their tattoos:

Being white

Let’s just say the crowd was pretty homogeneous.  I took the picture below to just show how big the crowd was, but it demonstrates this point pretty well too.

Stretched earlobes

I didn’t see a lot of them, but they make quite an impression.  And a loss of appetite.  And they compliment tattoos nicely.


I didn’t take any pictures specifically of this phenomenon, but it was very popular – trust me.

Hackey Sack

really?  I thought that was essentially extinct.

SARS masks

Admittedly it was very dusty, and a lot of people were wearing bandannas as face masks.

but some people went hardcore for the industrial-strength SARS masks.


My guess is that they were chosen for equal parts protection from the sun and hipness factor.

Cowboy boots

Maybe it’s just because we were in Texas, but lots of girls wore cowboy boots with their shorts or skirts or dresses.  I kinda liked it.

Keloid Scars

Yeah, I know this seems like a weird observation, but I swear I saw an unusually high number of people showing off big, prominent, raised scars like the one below.  I guess it’s pretty rock-n-roll in its own way, I was just surprised by the popularity of this trend.

Rocking with Sign Language

Maybe my favorite trend.  I first noticed it at Neko Case (where this picture was taken), but several performers had a sign language interpreter on the side of the stage.  I think it’s great if hearing impared people like going to concerts and want a little help understanding what’s going on.  I just never would have considered it as a possibility.  The best part?  When there are no vocals, the signer just plays air guitar (as pictured below).

So there you have it.  It was fun trying to spot the trends, and then to try to nonchalantly take a picture of it for your entertainment.  If you want to be trendy the next time you go to a music festival, just follow the trends above.  Of course by ACL ’09 most of them will have probably changed.  But probably not Tattoos – those suckers stick around.

Hope you enjoyed it- this concludes my ACL  2008 coverage.