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PHP hacking

Filed under: Dave/Dina,Hacking,Music — Thomas @ 23:34


I was dead tired this weekend so I didn't feel like doing anything intellectually challenging. So I spent some time this weekend working some more on DAD. I actually quite enjoy working on PHP. The reason I do, I think, is because it's nice to take a bunch of code that actually works, even though it might not be structured correctly yet, and restructure it. PHP allows you to do stuff very quickly but also very ugly, and still have it work. Someone on IRC today said PHP is the BASIC of the web. Makes sense - lots of people learn PHP as their first language, and sometimes it shows.

Anyway, in the case of DAD, the code is quite good, but sometimes hackish in places. Sometimes Kristof just wanted to move quickly because I nagged for features. And when I tried something myself I didn't know enough about the advanced concepts to do it correctly.

So this weekend I focused on writing a class for the concept of having a popup detailing progress while some background action is taking a bit of time. I ended up learning about sessions to do it nicely (a previous hack used two temp files to track progress and errors) and it was a lot easier than I had expected. I worked on the class in a test directory using a bunch of sleep()'s, forcing myself to get it exactly right first before integrating it.

And when that was done, integration was dead easy, the code looks nice, is well-documented, and can now be used to delete a few hundred lines of code. I love it when a plan comes together.

Meanwhile, I've started to think again about my plans for a world-wide audio database. Lots of projects already exist, and all of them have fundamental flaws in either design, setup or community. Each time I think about it, I seem to solve a few more conceptual problems, and actually start believing that one day my ideas might actually make sense. There are a bunch of tricky bits to get right, and the hard problem will be finding people in the beginning that a) love music enough to see the value; b) have technical skills and c) have the tenacity to work on it for some time before it starts to be usable.

In other words, the plan will probably involve me having money to give other people work after finding a way to make this be sensible from a business point of view...

But I still have time, and I'm not quite happy yet with what I have so far.


Filed under: Life,Music — Thomas @ 23:26


On Thursday three girls arrived. An was the girl getting married. Vanessa and Isabel where the girls joining in for her bachelorette weekend, together with Kristien. It was fun to hear some more from "the other side" again - since moving to Barcelona I haven't been around that much girl talk. And to be honest, I'm the kind of guy who likes to hear lots of girl talk - "know your enemy".

Anyways, they seemed to enjoy themselves, they took real good care of me (I had some great dinners), and I've never seen someone drink bottoms up as fast as An did. That girl doesn't swallow even once when she downs a glass of champagne or beer.

On Saturday we went to the Razzmatazz again, which made me wonder why again I don't go there every chance I get. Five rooms of music, some of it very very good... Been a while since I've been to a party and heard Sonic Youth, Pixies or even god forbid Elastica. I should have forced my friends to go there when they were here - I'm sure Peter would have enjoyed hearing at least three Cure tunes full blast at a big party, accompanied by visuals from the video clips... I need to get out here more often.

Last week I still thought I'd be solely responsible for getting the word on the new Soulwax album out here in Barcelona, but I guess I was wrong. Imagine my surprise when at 4 in the morning the main room was playing "NY Excuse", an album track, not even a week after the album's official release. I guess my work here is done.

An had fun too, getting her picture taken with just about every guy passing by. A bachelorette party is always such a good excuse to get attention ...

One of the rooms had one of the guys from the Inspiral Carpets as the DJ. He was an excellent DJ, so I forgave him when he closed off the room with one of their biggest hits, Saturn 5, and he decided to sing along.
We left at 5.15, Wim decided to stay a little longer on his own. He seems to be having a great time here. Hope I won't take as long to get back there.


Filed under: Hacking — Thomas @ 19:15


So, going through the reference code for MPEG-4. This is a pile of code you pay good money for to be able to look at it. It's pretty sad to see the state it's in when you get it though. A mish mash of lots of little directories with lots of weird names like


, only a Makefile to build stuff, leaving you clueless about missing libraries... basically makes you feel like being trapped on the set of Back to the Future. But in a bad way.

Also, the code itself makes me cry. I can tell from the code that their tab size was 4 just by looking at the messed-up indentation. And I see macro statements like


both with or without an ending semi-column, lots of unnecessary goto's, and so on. I know that I'm not the best coder around. But this is supposed to be professional-grade code which is actually in use by Apple, for which people have to pay actual real money, and I wouldn't even want to maintain it if I got paid large amounts of money for it. Well, I might if I'm allowed to clean it up...

At least one of the advantages of free software is that a lot of people are ashamed to release ugly code, since people will actually see it... Wouldn't it be nice if professional-grade code was made with people with professional pride ?

New Soulwax album

Filed under: Music — Thomas @ 19:08


So I'm pretty sure I'm the first in Spain to own a legal copy of Soulwax's third album, "Any Minute Now". And yes, it rocks. Lots of bleeps and sounds everywhere, but a true rock album at the core.

Even better - this morning I woke up very early (due to an unfortunate accident common decency does not allow me to dwell on further) and watched MTV for a bit. And wouldn't you know, they actually *showed the clip* for the Soulwax single ! Go get them, guys...

Pukkelpop Day 3

Filed under: Life,Music — Thomas @ 15:20


A day with the least to look forward to... Forced myself to see a bunch of possibly interesting bands but came out empty-handed. Took some time out to check on the webstreams my collagues were doing. Peter, Tinneke and I killed time in various way, including demonstrating the Befmatron, a new device soon on a home shopping channel near you.

Finally, it was time to watch the triumphant return of Soulwax, our best home town band. What, you don't know who they are ? Maybe you might know their alter ego's, the world-famous 2ManyDJ's ? I really liked their show, but I missed the show and fun from previous concerts. But hearing Stephen say, after playing a song where he screamed no-no-no yeah-yeah-yeah repeatedly, in a quiet calm voice, "That song was called No no no yeah yeah yeah", made me miss the typical flegmatic Gent sense of humor.

After the show I rushed to the CD stand to buy their new album. I love the artwork, great idea, nicely done, I won't spoil it by explaining what it is. Waited for Archive, who actually did seem to have some fans, and they gave a great concert. After that, watched a bit of Hundred Reasons who have grown to be tremendously better than last time I saw them, though still too shouty for my taste. Also watched a bit of White Stripes, which were as to be expected - you hear a guitar, a scrawny voice, and someone banging pots at the back in a sort-of-rhythmic fashion.

And after all of that it was time to get to bed and go back home ...

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