Perhaps You Are Made of Glass? Laurie Anderson @ Zellerbach

“Of all the things that ever could have happened… most of them didn’t.”

Notes from last night’s amazing Laurie Anderson performance – at 65 she’s mellower, more focused on storytelling than on avante garde gimmicks, but still puts on a fantastic show. Notes on the show at Stuck Between Stations:

Perhaps You Are Made of Glass? Laurie Anderson, Zellerbach
It’s been 26 years since I last watched Laurie Anderson perform (“Big Science”). I was much younger, and so was she. The audience at the time was composed mostly of new wave/punkers with a literary be…

Cut of revenue for musicians has always been tough

Cut of revenue for musicians has always been tough, but streaming audio (Spotify, Rhapsody, Rdio, Mog) is the beginning of the end for artists’ ability to make money from their work. Business Insider has updated their famous 2010 infographic for 2012, and the reality isn’t pretty. Watch the bubble grow.

via Lee Eichelberger

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Streaming Music Has Made It All But Impossible For Musicians To Earn Minimum Wage
Except for Rihanna.

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Bucketlist now has .5 million user-posted goals

Big landmark last night – Bucketlist crossed the .5 million user-posted goals threshold, and still going strong!

Thanks to our 26k users and all of the time they’ve put into posting their excellent lists. I love seeing users inspire and be inspired.

I’m proud of the site, but it really needs TLC and features development, while I have little free time to give it. Perhaps we’ll see some big changes this summer.

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Bucketlist » 10,000 things to do before you die

Log and catalog all the stuff you want to accomplish before you expire. Read stories and watch videos by people who checked items off their own bucketlists.

Wildcat Canyon Fail

Attempt to find a 25-mile route all the way around Wildcat Canyon pretty much failed. Turned from San Pablo Dam Road onto 24 West, then signs said I had to exit the freeway. No where to go, totally stuck. So ventured onto EBMUD land and ended up hiking with the bike three miles up a muddy path, pushing the bike. Road bike brakes got totally clogged with mud, had to take the wheel off and clean them out by hand at home. Has anyone done this? How the heck are you supposed to complete the circuit cleanly?

First thoughts on Node.js

This weekend I took out some time to explore Node.js, with the possible goal of using it to replace a Django project. I had a pretty mixed experience and am interested in feedback from people who have used both – opinions wanted.

To be upfront and fair, I’ve been using Django for years but have only put about five hours into investigating Node.js, so my impressions are completely lopsided. But here’s what it looks like to me:

– Asynchronous programming is going to take some getting used to. That’s OK.
– Node.js is really, really fast out of the box. But part of that is surely because it doesn’t include very much.

– Django is a complete, cohesive, end-to-end solution, where all the parts fit together seamlessly (“the Mac way”). Node.js is a baseline on top of which you pick your own framework, your own ORM, your own db driver, your own URL routing system, etc. etc. (“the Unix way”).

– There are advantages to the unix way, but IMO systems like that are more difficult to get off the ground and more difficult to maintain. The parts don’t necessarily talk to each other like you’d expect, and the whole project doesn’t get upgraded at once. End-to-end systems like the Mac ecosystem and Django are a huge win for productivity. For comparison, note the relative obscurity of TurboGears (a bunch of disconnected parts) compared to Django. Django ate TurboGears’ lunch because its cohesive and consistent. Productivity and reliability are the most important factors for me.

– The Node world is extremely fragmented right now, with dozens of Node libraries, solutions, and frameworks all competing for attention. But Express seems to be the most popular framework for Node right now, so I’m really comparing Express to Django (not just node.js to Django). And yet…

– Express doesn’t even include a way to connect to a database. You have to add that on.

– Express doesn’t include an ORM – you need to add that on. I looked into some Node ORMs, but they didn’t seem nearly as complete or sophisticated as Django’s.

– Express doesn’t provide the range of helpful command line tools, data API, etc. that Django provides.

– Express certainly doesn’t include anything like the Django admin.

– Purely my opinion, but Python just feels more elegant than Javascript. Code is more compact and more readable. Not a big hurdle though, just a preference.

And so on and so on. Django feels like “batteries included” – Node feels like a rummage sale.

Overall, it feels like Node/Express is really young. It’s exciting in ways, and shows huge promise, but how long will it take for it to feel competitive with mature frameworks?

Perhaps if I spent more time with it I’d feel less critical. Please let me know what I’m missing!

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FreeDive – Searchable Web DBs for Journalists

Problem: Journalists often don’t have access to programmers who can help them build searchable web databases, and are often stuck behind inflexible CMSs.

Solution: +Len De Groot and I built FreeDive, a CMS-independent web-based tool that lets journalists transform Google Spreadsheets into sortable, searchable modules that can be dropped into any web page.

FreeDive was the last big project I worked on at KDMC before moving on – incredibly proud to see its official launch today!