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Foobar 2000

For music playback, I prefer Foobar 2000, a feature rich, highly customizable, minimalist music player. Eschewing crap like skinnability for useful features like total customization of the local and global shortcuts (ie system wide shortcuts, even when the program is not foreground), Foobar 2000 is the champion’s choice for music playback. It supports all of the major formats out-of-the-box, has a clean and minimalist UI with two main branches (default and columns), and has a nearly limitless plugin architecture. As for myself, I use the default layout with a heavily modified displayname settings that hearken back to my WinAmp 2 days in the format of:
(Composer) Artist - Album - Track - Title
My display string checks for and conditionally displays each of these fields, so in the case it is missing (as in a downloaded piece of music), the display doesn’t look bad, but intelligently shrinks. For example, if the composer is missing or is the same as the artist, it is omitted along with its parentheses. So instead of looking like
() Screaming Trees - Dust - 01 - Halo of Ashes
It is much more pleasant and looks like:
Screaming Trees - Dust - 01 - Halo of Ashes

Also built into Foobar 2000 are an intuitive single-file ID3 tag editor and a powerful script-based “Masstagger,” a ridiculously useful tool for adding ID3 tags from filenames, changing filenames based on ID3 tags, and other such fancy things. But the kicker comes back to the fact that every command available can have a shortcut. Because I am a WinAmp 2 junkie (may its soul rest in peace), I use the keys z, x, c, and v to control the playback. Z goes back, X starts and pauses the player, C moves forward, and V stops playback. Also like Winamp, I use J to search for a specific song in the playlist.

Since my windows key is so underutilized, I made these same keys global shortcuts, when pressed n combination with my windows keys. So, while doing anything, from word processing to blasting terrorists with an Colt in Counter-Strike, I can start, stop, and navigate through my music without leaving the foreground window. Finally, I implemented the space bar as “jump to random file in current playlist” and made another global shortcut for Win+space. The result is basically total control over all of my music listening without ever interfacing the always-slower GUI.

And, to bring this post full circle: The UI is a simple rectangle. No rounded-corner nonsense; no bright colors. Just a utility that does exactly what it is supposed to, the way it should be done: unobtrusively, and exactly how I tell it to. I guess this is why “I am Debian.”

One Thirty-Nine Point Five (Plus Ten)

I recently received an “Advisor’s Worksheet” from the University of Washington, giving me a listing off all the credits I have earned over the years transfered to the UW. The total comes to 139.5 UW credits, a good deal of which are listed as 1XX and 2XX – meaning that there is no exact equivalent at the UW. Particularly interesting is the fact that while Biology and Chemistry credits show up as BIOL and CHEM, all of my Physics credits show up as simply “UW” – apparently, the UW Physics department doesn’t recognize BYU’s, or maybe the UW doesn’t have a Physics department… Perplexing indeed.

All that is missing from the report are the last two classes I took – English 270 (Professional Report Writing) , ENGR 205 (Electric Circuits), the the Associates of Arts and Sciences (DTA) degree that should be posted this week sometime. Happily, the BCC transcript server is down right now, so I can’t find out presently. So, since those two classes do transfer directly to UW classes, I should end up with somewhere in the ballpark of 149.5 credits, a mere 30.5, or just over two normal quarters, from minimum graduation requirements. However, I expect that with Bioengineering and Computer Engineering as my intended major(s), I will be spending more on the order of two years at the institutions.

Marriage-of-a-brother

The family has just returned from Utah, where we attended my brother Ben’s wedding to Kalee. Three action-packed days went quite well. We arranged a luncheon, helped move into a new appartment (including transporting a matress set down I-15), attended a wedding, took pictures, set up and tore down a reception, and decorated a car – all of this took about 45 trips north and south on I-15. It was a lot of driving. Everyone survived and the trip home was quite speedy. The reception up here is this Friday (the 26th) at the Cougar Mountain house, and if you know Ben, I would encourage you to show up and say hi.

Random Sampling

The new heatmap (see sidebar) led me to the fact that I’ve largely ignored the music category since creating it many months ago. Using foobar2000, I thought I would randomly jump around my favorites playlest and see what comes up:

  • Silverchair – Cemetary
  • Screaming Trees – Dying Days
  • Beastie Boys – No Sleep Till Brooklyn
  • The Truman Show Soundtrack – A New Life
  • WMEA All-State 2000 Jazz Choir – Nature Boy
  • Eve 6 – How Much Longer
  • Three Doors Down – Kryptonite
  • Cake – Short Skirt, Long Jacket
  • Fastball – Out Of My Head
  • Charlotte Church – Summertime

(what!? No Linkin Park?)

Tweakage

Props to whoever discovers and identifies the recent changes to the ‘blog. I’m looking for two items.

A Changing Personality?

Having just taken a couple of gimmicky personality tests, I thought I would re-take a more solid personality test that I believe has pegged me pretty closely in the past. The Jung Typology Test can be taken for free in a number of places on the web. I just took it at the Humanetrics web site. Several times previously, I have taken this test and scored an “INTJ” – an Introverted, iNtuitive, Thinking, Judging personality. When reading the description of the INTJ, I have thought that it generally fit who I was. Just now, I took the test again, and scored – much to my surprise – “INTP” – Introverted, iNtuitive, Thinking, Perceiving. So I dutifully read through its description. I didn’t think it fit as well, although there were some statements that stuck out as true. To be fair, the results listed me as:

  • slightly expressed introvert
  • moderately expressed intuitive personality
  • distinctively expressed thinking personality
  • slightly expressed perceiving personality

Furthermore, going back and changing my answer to just one question that I was unsure about how to answer shifted me over to “slightly expressed judging personality.” Also, I was probably not too strongly defined as a judging personality before, so the shift may not have been too major. Nevertheless, I think this signals that a shift in my personality has occurred. I find that very interesting.

So, I decided to read though all the versions of my “nearby” personalities: ENTJ and ENTP, INTJ and INTP. From them, I am quite sure that I am indeed an introvert – the ENTJ and ENTP profiles did not sound much like me (although one parts did ring true). Between mostly INTJ and INTP, I have compiled some of the statements that I feel most accurately reflect who I am. I am interested in the opinions of others as to whether you think these statements are, on a whole and individually, true about me.
Read the rest of this entry »

Liberalism versus Socialism

A wonderful debate has been bouncing back and forth between The Well of Mimir and Carrotlife… In most ways, the debate boils down to the role of government, and there are some good excepts from Theo’s latest post. Here’s my favorite:

But socialism isn’t an elitist creed. Socialists don’t think of themselves as the upperclass trying to control the masses. But the idea of having elite administrators (as opposed to whatever the hell we have right now) does sound appealing, doesn’t it? People who know what they are doing?

You just contradicted yourself. Socialists don’t think of themselves as economically upperclass because they don’t believe in a free market. They think of themselves as politically upperclass. They don’t want to have more possessions than everyone, just tell them what to do and how to do it. Personally, I find the idea of elite administrators offensive – I am a grown man, and I can take care of my own life, thank you. Well, that is not entirely true, but for the most part that reflects my views.

And my reply to Dan: NO “elite administrators” does NOT sound appealing.

But the reason I like this so much is because it reminds me of this time in a recent Philosophy of Science class I took. Basically, the instructor liked to hear himself talk about current social issues. His favorite was the evolution-vs-creationism fray, but he also touched on many other topics dear heart as well. One day, he was pontificating about the glory of some government-administered social program; I forget which one exactly, because he seemed to love them all, but I digress. He gave a specific example of how the program coudl help somebody out. As his soliloquey ended, I responded (highly paraphrased):

You see, that’s the difference between people like you and people like me. You see a problem, and you say “we need a government program to fix this.” I see a problem and I say, “I can do something about this.”

The reality is that my response was magnitudes better than whatever it is I wrote above, and fit the context perfectly. The discussion on that particular topic basically ended right there – as class was also ending. It felt very good at the time.