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So, the Main Scala Website has a “tour” of the features of Scala. I liked the idea, but found a lot of the examples and descriptions a bit terse and uninspiring (some of them are downright confusing). However, I really wanted to learn about these features. So, I set about understanding each feature, trying to answer the question “What problem does this solve?”. The results are here at www.naildrivin5.com/scalatour. This site was constructed using my homebrew wiki software, Halen (which I created to test out my Gliffy Ruby client).
It was a fun experience. As someone coming from Java application development (and who knows enough Ruby to feel some pain in Java), I tried hard to map the features to real-world problems a “blue-collar developer” might be facing. A lot of Scala enthusiasts seem to be functional programming nerds, and I know FP can turn a lot of people off. I think Scala is a great way to learn and appreciate functional programming without having to swallow a huge amount of info at once. So, I figured approaching Scala’s features from a different angle would be useful.
I did have to supplement my learning with info from Odersky’s awesome Programming Scala book, but most of what I learned, I learned by playing around with code; all the code on the site should compile and run (at least in Scala 2.7.x). The coolest thing was that by “touring” all of Scala’s (often weird) features, I got a good feel for how they all fit together. The language feels like a very elaborate Rube-Goldberg Machine that ends up being rather elegant. I feel that instead of casting Scala as a functional language, or a hybrid language, I would say that Scala is “static typing done right (or as right as is possible)”.
The way Scala allows for duck typing, for example, is really cool, and something I think Ruby code could benefit from.
Stuff like type variance is pretty heavy stuff, but when you dig into, and understand how functions are implemented, it ends up making some sense. I even found a “real world” use for explictly-typed self-references, which I thought was actually a sick joke for a while :) Anyway, I hope that what I’ve learned doing this will be helpful to others.
A while back I bought the then-new-and-exciting Motorola KRZR. One of the features that I didn’t particularly care about, but was vaguely interested in if it could be set up easily is the built-in music player and fancy-pants external controls.
According to Verizion/Motorola/whoever, you had to use a Windows PC with a special cable and a special piece of software that would convert your tunes to Windows Media and load the phone. This being highly lame, I never looked into.
Fast forward to yesterday, when I’m in Radio Shack getting a power adapter to charge my phone at work and I noticed that Micro SD cards are dirt cheap. So, I picked up a 1 Gig card for $20. I figured if it didn’t work out, I could just use the SD adapter and have an extra gig of memory for my digital camera. Got home and was able to get music working without any Windows Media bullshit, or stupid PC-only programs (I can’t wait until the “PC only software” is a thing of the past).
So, I present, how to play mp3s on your KRZR if you have a Mac:
- Purchase a Micro SD card (you cannot load MP3s onto the phone memory and have it work)
- Turn phone off
- Insert Micro SD card into phone (take off the battery cover and you’ll see the slot below the battery)
- Turn phone on (this will do some formatting of the card)
- Turn phone off after a minute or so
- Insert Micro SD card into card reader attached to your computer (I was not able to copy mp3s to the card over bluetooth; I figure the phone probably isn’t set up to write to the card)
- Copy whatever MP3s you want into the cards
- Eject the card and put it back in your phone
- Turn on the phone
- Navigate to the mp3 player (on a Verizon phone, it’s Menu->Get It Now->Music & Tones->My Music). This will do some sort of “registering music” or some nonsense, but after that, it will work
Now, the next question is “Can I find the headphone adapter?” and “Does it adapt headphones or do I need something else?” I fear the answer to both is a resounding “no”, but at least it’s progress.
To be determined what happens if I’m listening to MP3s and I get a call. Hopefully The Right Thing®
Update: It did work, however it works so poorly as to be completely useless. First off, the headphone adapter sucks and is noisy. Secondly, any number of mp3s above, say, 10, cause the KRZR to just churn and churn and take forever. Thirdly, filling the 1 gig card with MP3s caused the phone to crash. Fourthly, it doesn’t remember where you were in a song, doesn’t have random play and generally sucks ass as an MP3 player.
Stopped by the new Mexican place in Adams Morgan called Oaxaca. Their menu is heavily mole-based, but has numerous non-mole themed items. I really don’t like Mole and this was confirmed by the appetizer I had, which was corn tortillas soaked in mole, topped with black beans and cheese. The dish was quite good, though I just don’t like the sweet/chocolate mole flavor.
The meal started off with fairly spicy jicama sticks, seasoned with lime. I had previous not really dug jicama all that much, but their “chips & salsa” pre-appetizer snack was amazingly flavorful. For my main dish I had their steak soft tacos. It was the exact same dish as Baja Fresh’s “Tres Tacos”, right down to the seasoning and inclusion of lime wedges for last-minute seasoning. Of course, the meat was of much higher quality, and the rice and beans were far and above any fast-food place. It also came with a small helping of this corn and mayonnaise salad, which I totally could have gone for more of. It was like the “executive” tres tacos.
Since my meal was “just like Baja Fresh, but better”, plus had beer, good jicama and an appetizer, I put this place into the Order of Mexican Food, which is a list I maintain of all the Mexican places I’ve eaten at and who’s better than who. For the purposes of this list, “Mexican” food is defined as a tortilla/meat/cheese dishes, that claim mexican or southwestern or south american heritage, and use appropriate spices. So, yes, I know what “Tex Mex” is and all that crap. Anyway, here’s the list.
Overall: 1 star
The drumbeats guaranteed to improve any song are as follows:
- The Disco Beat – As exemplified in all disco songs and numerous new-new-wave songs that are popular these days. Franz Ferdinand’s “Take Me Out” uses it as well, but The Bravery’s “Public Service Announcement” is one of my favorite uses in recent history
- 16ths on the Hat – The staple of every Joy Division, New Order and new-new-wave band’s song is the constant chattering on the high-hat. Instant energy, instant drive. Cannot get enough of this beat
- Madchester Beat – Blur’s “There’s No Other Way” is all about this whitened-up hip-hop beat, and played with sufficient tempo, this beat will always work. Always. Enough groove to satisfy those who scoff at 16ths on the Hat, but not enough to piss me off. It’s got to be fast, though
Intro – skipped it. Having the first song called Intro is stupid. I
guess it’s a dig at The Killers who couldn’t manage to have their
first track called Intro. Which is kinda funny. But still.
Believe – this song sucks, sorry. Too slow, no energy.
This is Not The End – I am not feeling this groove. Kinda boring.
Every Word From Your Mouth… – this is the first The Bravery song on
this album. I guess if I DIDN’T want to hear songs like this I
wouldn’t listen to the Bravery, so why did they just waste my time
with the first two songs? That being said, this is not their strongest
track, but it’s still pretty cool. I can’t see putting this on unless
I just didn’t have access to the first album, though.
Bad Sun – This starts off like a The Bravery song. Unfortunately,
there is more than one person singing. If I wanted that, I’d listen
to the Beach Boys. It’s possible that the awful awful sound quality
is a problem. The chorus is ok. Kinda anti-climactic. Sounds like
they tried to recreate Public Service Announcement without SOUNDING
like they tried to recreate it.
Time Won’t Let Me Go – I’m assuming this is the single, since it has a
link for a video to it. I guess this is the ballad. The Ballad is
usually when a band jumps the shark, because it was come up with while
the songwriter was noodling on his acoustic guitar when he should’ve
been focusing on bringing the rock. This song is OK, I guess, but I
really have heard my fill of this kind of music, and I didn’t need Sam
Tragedy Bound – right on cue we get ACTUAL acoustic guitar, which I
have zero interest in on a The Bravery record. Again with excessive
backing vocals. If this were made into a The Bravery song, it might
be OK. Since it wasn’t, it’s not.
Fist Full of Sand – One part lame song, half part Sam, smattering of
keyboard blips = don’t waste my time with this shit.
[ At this point, I feel like I'm 2/3rds of the way into a really bad
episode of SNL. Not even Hans and Franz can save this trainwreck ]
Angelina – Anyone who lets anyone in The Bravery besides Sam and the
keyboard guy have any input into their music should be killed and
recreated as a clone to do Sam’s bidding. This song would be
acceptable on a much better album as some B- filler material. As it
stands…blah. Plus, why is there a shitty guitar solo in here?!?!?
If I wanted guitar solos I’d…well, I don’t want them. Even still,
the chorus is OK
Split Me Wide Open – Getting Funky. Ugh. Mid-tempo must die. This
is not what I’m listening to this band for. I guess they are
channeling some U2 here and the chorus is OK, but this is lacking
energy and I can’t think of a reason to listen to the second chorus.
Above and Beyond – Ohhs and ahhs: stop it now, you are ruining what
might shape up to be an OK song. Again with the mid-tempo boredom.
The faux-reggae vibe helps it out, though, and it ends up sounding
like a regular The Bravery song just played too slowly.
The Ocean – More weepy acoustic guitar bullshit. Strum and Hum. God
damn this is awful. Stop it now. I’m imaging the lights coming down
and a stagehanad bringing an acoustic out to Sam so he can play this
tripe while the keyboard player does shots and hooks up with groupies.
Dear The Bravery:
A much better follow up to The Bravery is Test Your Reflex. Yes, they
are 80s-nu-wave pop redux. But at least it’s GOOD pop redux and not a
lame attempt to “grow musically”. Growing musically does not mean
slowing down the songs, adding more instruments and having more
backing vocals. I won’t be upset if you don’t grow musically. If
you want to try, do it on your own time, or during the last half of
The guy that thought you were better than VHS or Beta, who you can be
sure are still churning out the same
faux-techno-drivel-with-Robert-Smith-minusminus-singing as before,
much to the delight of their 10 fans.
P.S. Every Word + Angelina + Split Me Wide Open + a bunch of actually
good The Bravery songs would’ve been great. As it stands, this album
SUCKS and will not be purchased.
“In the Backseat” – sounds like Bjork but not annoying enough/too
annoying. After two minutes of really monotonous droning, I’m
skipping to the next song. The girls voice COULD be used for good,
Conclusion: actively irritating
“Windowsill” – a minute in and I’m not sure why there are 8 people in
this band. The chorus REALLY sucked. Incredibly repetitive and
boring so far. I get it, he doesn’t want to live in his fathers house
no more. The lyrics are really really stupid. Were they raiding
Anti-Flag’s trashcan for these? It’s finally picked up at 2:28 just
long enough for me to be REALLY pissed that they stopped picking it up
and brought it back down to snoozeville. “World War Three when are
you coming for me?” Give me a break. Axe the first minute, improve
the lyrics and this song would beat “not listening to music”.
Conclusion: forgettable/mildly annoying
“Wake Up” – Dear Mid Tempo: I hate you. Anyway, the verse is very
boring and I’m not sure what the chorus is exactly. I’m two minutes
in and nothing memorable or compelling has occurred. The lyrics
aren’t grabbing me, which I would count as a good thing. Still not
sure what all these people do; I guess they are all singing the silly
choir-practice backup vocals?
“Rebellion Lies” – Better than the rest, but I hate the whispy buried
vocals. Really hate it. Sing your songs like you mean it. At least
this one has some energy to it. If this had better singing I could be
into this song, but the guy’s voice is just so off-putting and a huge
I’m afraid I just don’t get what is supposed to be so great about this
music. Is it the ties?