Literal Translation Music Videos

We all know that music videos can be quite abstract and often times downright weird…the connection to the lyrics are often a stretch. Well, the guys over at DustFilms have taken a few music videos and have changed the lyrics to describe what is happening in the video.

The result? Awesomeness! Check out one of my favorites by those guys:

DustFilms aren’t the only guys that are doing it though…there are some that try – many of them failing – but a few are worth while. Check out this Creed literal video translation (my favorite non-DustFilms video):

Racquetball Strategy Videos – Shawn Royster

I’ve played racquetball off and on for a few years now without the benefit of instruction, skill, or real athletic ability. But, I play for fun with a couple of guys from work and in a desperate effort to gain an upper hand, I have turned to my old pal the internet for a few tips. It was there that I found Shawn Royster’s videos at ExpertVillage.

This racquetball pro has approximately 30 short videos explaining strategy, body positioning, returns, training, etc that have surprisingly revealed everything that I do wrong while playing. I have a feeling I’ll be revisiting these videos time and time again as I strive to wtfpwn my friends.

Here’s his video titled: Racquetball Strategy: After Serve Positioning

Platypus Mascot: A Plymouth State April Fool’s Day

Yesterday (April Fool’s Day) I had a little fun and launched a prank on the entire Campus Community of Plymouth State University. The prank? PSU’s portal received a makeover in order to announce a change of the campus’ Mascot from Panther to noble Platypus due to trademark issues.  Results?  Awesome.

Before our users logged in, they were met with a happy Platypus:

A groovy platypus login

A groovy platypus login

Once logged in, the users’ eyes were attacked by custom header complete with Platypus and sun flare that read: “Announcing the new Plymouth State mascot!”

Announcing the new Plymouth State Mascot!

Announcing the new Plymouth State Mascot!

Oh, but it didn’t stop there. You can’t just change a campus’ mascot without some explanation, so forced into the top right of everyone’s layout was a nice portal channel to detail the mascot change.  It read as follows:

Plymouth State has been proud to display the Panther as the University Mascot for many years but effective June 1st, 2009 the Panther will be retired.

Why the new Mascot?

Due to recent trademark disputes, PSU has been asked to select a new symbol for the University. While the change may come as a shock to some, change is a great thing! The adoption of the new mascot is a refreshing and invigorating change that we hope will inspire the campus as the Panther does.

The selection process for the new mascot was a lengthy one where we reviewed over 75 animals that were submitted by the campus community in the recent poll sent out to all students! The top contenders were: Newt, Badger, Elk, Moose, Platypus and Narwhal.

After much discussion, we are excited to announce that the Noble Platypus will be the new mascot!

Why the Platypus?
platypusThere are many attributes of the Platypus that resonate well with Plymouth State ideals. The following were the deciding factors:

  1. Mammal: As we planned the transition from the Panther to the new mascot, the desire that the new animal remain mammalian in nature rang clear with the selection committee. The Platypus fits the bill! (Yes, that was a pun)
  2. Versatile: The Platypus is an extremely versatile mammal which represents Plymouth State’s versatility in it’s educational, athletic, and extra-curricular programs.
  3. Egg Laying Semi-Aquatic Monotreme: The fact that the Platypus is the only semi-aquatic monotreme that lays eggs truly makes it unique. Uniqueness is an attribute in our students that we prize greatly and believe each and every one of you stand out from the crowd.
  4. Venomous: Venom in ankle spurs. This is just an extra bonus.

A change like this cannot be complete without gauging user opinions, so a poll was put together that received almost 1200 votes in 24 hours!

myPlymouth April Fools Day Poll

myPlymouth April Fool's Day Poll

Various end offices received a number of calls from end users ranging from excitement that PSU played an April Fool’s Day prank to frustration that we were switching away from the Panther (those people obviously didn’t know it was the 1st). All in all, I would consider this a successful holiday!

Now…what should I do next year?

Guest Lecture: JavaScript, Ajax & DOM Manipulation

Zach has asked me to give a JavaScript guest lecture in his Web Programming class. We’ll cover: JS basics, node manipulation, DOM traversal, AJAX, JavaScript libraries, and myPlymouth implementations of those topics. Here are the slides (get the .ppt here):

A few resources that are mentioned:

Note: this is an updated talk on the workshop I led two years ago

Art: Dark Jedi

I’ve had some free time recently so decided to whip out my Wacom Intuos 3 tablet and see what I could drum up. I had a few commissioned drawings waiting on the wings – all three were character drawings of members of the Dark Jedi Brotherhood. As usual I have uploaded them to my Deviant Art gallery but I like to blog them as well. Here goes:

Solus Gar, Mando Jedi

Solus Gar, Mando Jedi

From Left to Right: Solus Gar, Mando Jedi (With Helmet); Talos d’Tana; Anubis

Solus Gar, Mando Jedi (With Helmet)Talos d'TanaAnubis

There is an issue on Talos that need correcting, and something’s odd with the proportioning on Anubis. I’d like to think that I’d fix them…but I probably won’t :D Anyhow, I’m pleased enough with the coloring to post them here.

CSS Selector Browser Support

As many web developers know, CSS support is highly varied amongst browsers. I often find myself hunting for which selectors are more heavily supported. As such, I thought I’d post a direct link to a quality resource here so I wouldn’t have to hunt anywhere besides on BorkWeb.

Here’s some decent resources:

Oracle 10g: Using The Returning Clause With ADOdb

Plymouth State University uses Oracle heavily due to its Student Information System of choice – SungardHE Banner. As such, I play around in Oracle a lot (sometimes a lot more than I’d like) and I occasionally find functionality that seems more cumbersome than it should.

One such item is selecting the last inserted value on an auto-incrementing column.

Historically, when you are inserting into a table with auto incrementing values (via a sequence) you have always been able to grab the last value with a simple SELECT statement (line 22):

-- setup a table
CREATE TABLE bork (id INTEGER NOT NULL PRIMARY KEY, data VARCHAR2(10) NOT NULL);

-- create the sequence
CREATE SEQUENCE sq_bork INCREMENT BY 1 START WITH 1; 

-- create a trigger for auto-incrementing the sequence'
CREATE OR REPLACE TRIGGER tr_sq_bork
BEFORE INSERT
ON bork
REFERENCING NEW AS NEW
FOR EACH ROW 
BEGIN
SELECT sq_bork.NEXTVAL INTO :NEW.id FROM DUAL;
END;
/

-- insert a record into the table
INSERT INTO bork (name) VALUES ('Matt');

-- retrieve last inserted id
SELECT sq_bork.CURRVAL FROM dual;

As you see there, two statements must be executed to get that new id. The INSERT and the SELECT. Well, as of Oracle 10g you can utilize the RETURNING clause like so:

INSERT INTO bork (name) VALUES ('Matt') RETURNING id INTO i_id;

That statement inserts a record into “bork” and returns the value of “id” into the “i_id” variable. Pretty sexy and all with one DML statement. Here’s what we do at Plymouth to utilize the RETURNING clause with the PHP library ADOdb:

< ?php
//do your database object initialization here:
//$db = new ADONewConnection...

$sql = "BEGIN INSERT INTO bork (data) VALUES ('Matt') RETURNING id INTO :i_id; END;";
$stmt = $db->PrepareSP($sql);
$db->OutParameter($stmt, $inserted_id, 'i_id');
$db->Execute($stmt);
?>

Yup. 4 lines of PHP but only 1 statement sent to the database! I’d take the extra lines any day over the latency of data retrieval.

JamLegend – Rock Band Online…and Social

[[innerindex]]JamLegend
Wow. Its all I could say when Adam sent me an invite to JamLegend – a Guitar Hero-esque game that is a pleasant mix of playability, art, and social interaction. I wasn’t expecting much when I got the invite, but as soon as I played through my first song, I was blown away.

The site isn’t allowing open registration at the moment, but you can get on a waiting list…but you can get around some aspects of the waiting list as stated by the JamLegend FAQs:

JamLegend is currently in invitation-only beta. We will be letting people into the site on a first-come, first-served waiting list.

If you really want to get an invite, twitter “@JamLegend I want http://www.JamLegend.com” or become a fan on Facebook. We will randomly send out invites to users who twitter or are fans.

You could also ask your friends to see if they have any invite codes.

The beta will end once we work out some kinks.

JamLegend

How It Works

JamLegend is a Flash game with the number keys 1-5 (and function keys F1-F5) bound to their corresponding positions on the fret board. Like Guitar Hero, dots approach the bottom in time with the music and you must hold the appropriate number(s) in and strum. How? With the Enter key, of course!

You have two primary modes of play: Jam Style and Chill Style…shown here:

JamLegend

Playing the game can be odd depending on your keyboard. If you have a beefy enough keyboard where the function keys are evenly spaced (unlike one of my keyboards) you shouldn’t have much trouble with Jam Style.

My favorite method for play, however, has been using my Wii Guitar on my Mac thanks to DarwiinRemote. :D

The Music

The site’s slogan is “The free way to play the songs you love” is a little misleading. JamLegend is a new site with a small user base at the moment and little buy-in from big name stars. So…the appropriate slogan for now is “The free way to play the songs you will soon love because this site is freaking awesome”.

Are the songs bad? Definitely no. I hadn’t heard of any of the bands prior to playing around with JamLegend. Am I bummed that the songs aren’t from my favorite bands? No…I actually like a number of the artists. Blue Judy being one of my favorites – an Indie Rock Band from LA – and Double Stamp – another Indie Rock Band from Claremont, CA.

JamLegend does a nifty job displaying the songs that are currently popular (although this feature will become better as the user base grows), as well as bubbling new songs in front of your face. In addition to listing top songs, you can search and browse the site for specific genres, artists, and songs. Good times!

JamLegend

The Social Side

Similar to the Guitar Hero stat site that came with Guitar Hero III, JamLegend lists your bests, averages, global rankings, etc. You can add friends, challenge them to duels, or have massive guitar showdowns with large numbers of players. As an additional cool thing, you can earn groupies by completing Achievements. Groupies serve no real purpose at this time save for bragging rights but in the future that may change!

Where Its Heading

In its current state, JamLegend is a pretty ballsy free web application. There are some things coming down the pipe, however, that will make it that much cooler.

Music: If adoption of this game picks up, we could very easily see some larger named bands put their music out for play. Heck, the All American Rejects song Gives You Hell is pending track creation. Awesome.

More Instruments: JamLegend claims they are working on additional playable instruments! They are planning on adding keyboard, drums, bass, and (due to popular request)… cowbell.

Thoughts

This game will very easily become my mobile Guitar Hero fix (and soon to be Rock Band fix once the new instruments are implemented). The JamLegend site is gorgeous. The game is very well implemented. The music is good. I <3 it.

Delete/Backspace Stops Working in Oracle SQLDeveloper

I a huge fan of Oracle SQL Developer but I ran into an issue a while back that left me scratching my head and re-installing. The issue? Most key strokes other than letters and numbers failed to function. Yeah…no delete or backspace.

When this issue happened a second time I did a little playing with the app and figured out what to do. If you find yourself in a similar predicament simply do this:

  1. Open SQL Developer
  2. Click on the Tools > Preferences menu
  3. Click on Accelerators on the left
  4. Click the Load Preset… button

Yup. That’s it. The only lame part about that is all your custom key bindings go away and must be re-done. But that is much nicer than re-installing!

Chickipedia: Babe Encyclopedia

Chickipedia. A wiki of attractive women. Awesome? I think so…my wife doesn’t.

Yeah, yeah. So it feels a bit weird posting something like this on BorkWeb, but its one of those sites that you wish you had thought about it first. The site is a good idea. A lot of people would happily waste their time perusing Chickipedia. The layout is very well done, there are all kinds of blocks of content making women very findable, and…lets face it…the content itself is quality.

Chickipedia is not a porn site. Instead, the site is your one-stop-shop to see <insert-name-here>’s birthdate, nicknames, height, hobbies, measurements, ethnicity, appearances, photos, videos, etc. Much of the data – including the measurements (see below) – can be clicked on to find women who match that specific attribute.

Picture 2

As an additional cool factor, you can embed women in your own content as I have done with Elisha Cuthbert (below). Pretty nifty. Heck, the whole site is. Thank you Chickipedia. My wife may think you are stupid, but on behalf of males everywhere…we salute you.


Elisha Cuthbert – see more hot women

Google Chrome on the Mac – a la CodeWeavers

Google launched its new browser Chrome on September 2nd and the web was abuzz with talk of a new contender in the browser space. My choice to pepper my house and cube at work with Macs rather than Windows boxes left me complaining about the lack of a native Mac version of Chrome…which Google assures us is coming.

Code Weavers, however, has just released Crossover Chromium built from build 21 of the Chromium Open Source browser.

Chromium

The initialization of Chromium the first time I opened it took a while but once it was up and running, things were pretty solid. The browser has all the JavaScript and DOM debugging tools but it seems the process manager tool isn’t fully functional..which is really my draw to the browser (when I get dead set on playing with the Process Manager tool, I’ll break down and install Chrome with Parallels). I suppose I’ll be following CodeWeaver’s suggestion:

Q. Should I run CrossOver Chromium as my main browser?

A. Absolutely not! This is just a proof of concept, for fun, and to showcase what Wine can do. Chromium itself is just beginning. As the Chromium project progresses, they will be providing more compelling support for Mac OS and Linux, particularly with process security and memory management. Those future versions from Chromium will be better suited for daily use than this version.

Until Google launches its official Mac native Chrome, Chromium will satisfy me for now.