Archive for May, 2015

mobile view goes over well

It’s still early days, but doing all that mobile view work (and turning it back on once it was usable) seems to have had a pretty decent impact. Here are some stats from Google Analytics:



The bit in red is mobile; above that is desktop; below that is tablet. The tablet audience is surprisingly small; it’s swamped by both desktop and phone. The “bounce” rate is the percentage of people who hit the site and only look at one page. The pages per visit is a mean, and includes the bouncers. The time-on-site thing I consider kind of unreliable, to be honest. (It’s regularly internally contradictory within a single day, is why.)

Anyway, as you can see, phone users used to bounce off the site at a dramatically higher rate than other kinds of users; now they’ve moved into line with everyone else. Pages per visit on phone is up, time on site (unreliable tho’ it may be) is also meaningfully up. Mobile users had been dragging the whole site average down; now it’s back in line with other formats.

So I guess that mobile view is kind of important! In retrospect I guess that seems kind of obvious, but I tend to hate them personally, so I guess that kind of affected my impression of their value. I wish I’d done the work earlier, now. Ah, well, live and learn.

working on applications

Working on venue applications; got invited to a couple, actually, and those are highest priority. Wow, I’m bad at this part. I need some better promotional photos, too. Like, any.

So have some photos from the trip down to the shows in Oregon last week! I took 101 the whole way, and it took much longer than Mapquest, Google Maps, or I expected, so I didn’t get as much hiking in as I wanted. But I did stop for a little.

The bridge over the Columbia was under a fair bit of renovation on the Oregon side, but the waits were not very long. If they’d been longer I might’ve got out and taken more photos. But it wasn’t, so I did not.

Abrupt Elevation


I’m not the only one who thinks this looks like a Viper launch from pilot viewpoint, right? Doing a Viper-tube launch from a Raptor was pretty weird.

Green Squadron Leader, Launch



I remember when we had air. It’s nice there’s a museum to it.

Well, That’s What It Says

This was the only time I got out and actually hiked a little. (A very little. Like, a mile. But it was steep.) I’m very disappointed because I took another panorama of the ocean that I know I took, and… it’s not in my camera. I don’t know where it went. Still, have these.

Bigger versions on my Flickr account, like usual.

Anyway, not so many photos as other times. I’d like to do 101 again, even if it is kind of freaky to go through So Many Tourist Towns in Oregon. It’s kind of like getting a tour of all the different models of Potemkin villages, and then every so often you hit a town which is Not For Tourists and Out Here For Another Reason Goddammit and you can really tell the difference.

I just wish I’d had more time to stop and hike more. Ah well, hopefully next time.

And back

I’m back! First long-range test-flight of the Raptor went well. As did the shows, I got invited a few more places, so did we-as-Leannan-Sidhe – thanks again Newport, Toledo, Glastonbury!

Not so many pictures this time. I’ll post a couple later. But I did make friends with a moth.

Hello I Am Moth I Like Your Shoelaces Did You Steal Them From The President?

It was very one-sided. Mostly on Moth’s side, to be honest.

And off!

And we’re off – six shows in Oregon with Leannan Sidhe. See you when I see you – hopefully in Toledo or Newport or somewhere on the coast!

digital tabs and sheet music: an arbitrage opportunity

A while ago, I saw Tony Fabris of Vixy & Tony using a ridiculously large Windows tablet to display his lyrics and sheet music. He’d also whipped together some software to organise it and such. It was awesome.

The trick was he’d got the tablet relatively cheap, because it was huge, but also the first release of Windows 8 on tablet, and there was something weird about it I think? I forget. It already didn’t exist anymore, but he had one.

Anyway, I’ve been watching for a similar opportunity ever since, because I kind of realised there was an arbitrage opportunity floating around right about… well, let’s go to the napkin:

See, past a point, as tablets get larger, they become less useful as tablets. Above 11″ or so, they rapidly become both unacceptably awkward and heavy, particularly at widescreen ratios. Oh, sure, you can get a keyboard, use it as a really awkward laptop, and a lot of companies are making laptop “convertibles” now as people try to figure out that format. But even done well, that’s basically a laptop that can make do as a shitty tablet, all at laptop prices.

Now, on the other hand, if you want something to sit in front of you on a music rack and display your chords or whatever, you want that extra, impractical-for-carrying-around size. And you don’t mind a little more weight, because it’s a lot lighter than a bunch of three-ring binders.

And LCD screens in those sizes and ratios are everywhere now from OEMs, because laptops. So everybody keeps trying to make tablets at those larger sizes because IT CAN’T MISS AM I RIGHT? Except every time it’s the same plan, it’s the same plan, and everybody ends up on fire and dumping these things.

So the trick is to find something in that little red bar, at the end of the too-heavy, too-big-for-normal-people 13-14″ downslope-of-heaviness while still in the awesome-for-sheetmusic range of musician happiness, all at the right oh-shit-this-was-a-bad-idea-get-rid-of-these-things price range.

There’ve been a few qualifying tablets floating around pretty much constantly since I saw Tony’s, all from one or another GeneroMaker, but they’ve all been too junky for one reason or another. Bad screens, bad battery life, double-digit DOA rates, whatever.

Until possibly now. Meet the latest iteration of this mistake, at $150 on Amazon right now.

3rd Generation iPod for scale because I left my sonic upstairs

The photo here isn’t great, but I don’t want to move the tablet because it’s doing the first-time charge. But trust me: it’s huge. It’s slightly over three times the size of Anna’s Kindle. It’s got a good screen, it’s heavier than some laptops but it’s thin, it’s got 5-7 (claimed) hours of battery life, decent viewing angles, and it’s running Jelly Bean so can talk to the usual app stores. It’s got USB and expansion and all that. The onboard sound is terrible and it’s not super fast, but that’s not what I need it for.

And almost all the positive reviews are from musicians using it for exactly this.

There will probably be more of these, but this is the first one I’ve seen since that old Windows tablet of Tony’s that meets all the requirements for such appropriately little dough. I’ve had it for all of a few hours, so this isn’t a review, but it is your notice: the arbitrage opportunity you may have been waiting for is now here.

the right people will get it

I kind of want to get a custom-made license plate frame. I’ve never bothered with anything like this before, but then again, I’ve never named a car before either. I’m kind of thinking of something like this:


“CF BSG75” is Colonial Fleet Battlestar Group 75, which is, of course, Galactica. (I’m not sure yet of how to do the spacing, either. CFBSG 75? CF BSG 75? If you have an opinion I’d like it.)

I generally don’t like my fandom references to be super-obvious. I like them to be the sorts of things that are in-universe and to be things that people who don’t care won’t notice. Like, I always wanted to build an Angelic Layer control helmet, and just carry it around at cons, like every AL player does at events in-universe. Nobody would get it, but it would be awesome.

This isn’t that good, but it fits the aesthetic.

(I’m also thinking of getting this, trimming off the COLONIAL and FLEET words, and putting it inside the driver’s side front side miniport window. This trimming should work as long as I’m careful, particularly since it’s a vinyl transfer sticker.)

eta: also, see my comment below. That kind of doing it wrong just … nnngngnggghgh. Really visceral NO reaction. I don’t even know why.

more website hax

I added previous post/next post links at the bottom of each post in desktop view. Mobile phone view already had them, up top – but I thought they looked better at bottom in desktop.

Regardless, I had to write new code to do it. It’s pretty trivial code, but let me know if it breaks?

Oh, I also fixed <i>/<em>/<b> html markup in comments. Those work again if you’re commenting locally. I’ll have to re-fix it every time they update my comment management plugin – unless they accept the code change I just submitted – but at least it’s back and I saved diffs so it’ll be easy. Let me know if that gets weird also.


the love interests of ultron

I’ve been thinking a little about Anna’s post about Black Widow in Avengers: Age of Ultron and about Black Widow as “love interest” and the “monster” comment and Disney/Marvel’s rather hideous sexism in merchandising and trying to separate out all those bits and pieces into a coherent thought.

And I’ve got various things to say about various parts, but I think want to talk about this one tweet. It gets spoilery below here, so consider yourself warned now.
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that buwhut when you see yourself in a movie trailer

Wow, that’s unexpected: I’m in a movie trailer! The film – a documentary – is called GTFO, and it’s about sexism and misogyny in video game culture, something I’ve written about a lot.

I’m not in it for long; it’s only a couple of seconds of footage, shot at PAX in Seattle in… 2013, I think. But it’s specifically of me. I remember the game I was playing at the time, even if I’m not sure of the year; I don’t remember the camera crew.

Anyway, here’s an article in The New York Times about the documentary. Here’s a review. I wonder how it did at SXSW?

Hat tip to Randy Mac Kay for pointing it out to me. Funny thing is, at first mention, I thought it was from a different movie, one that I do know I’m in. This film? I had no idea. SURPRISE!

toying with an idea

I’ve got all these “passive” speakers that are part of my PA kit. “Passive” means they are speakers without built-in amplifiers. That was the norm for a very long time, but isn’t so much now.

And I’ve been thinking there’s this super-snazzy mixer I’d like. It’s this, in the 1608 model specifically.

Now, I can use that with external amplifiers. I don’t have to do anything clever. But it’d be nice not to have to haul around as many pieces and leave the amp at home, right?

So I started looking around at amplifier boards I could build myself, with the idea of making my non-powered “passive” speakers into powered “active” speakers, with built-in amps.

And that’s when I discovered “class T” amplifiers, which are fairly new, and are single-board units like this one.

TK2050 single-transistor amp board

And it’s like $23, which is crazy. But they’re all priced like that. All the Class T amps are dirt cheap, but commentary on gear boards is actually pretty good, particularly for these 2050-based units.

Does anybody know anything about these personally? Because I’m pretty intrigued.

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