Older blog entries for MichaelCrawford (starting at number 222)

26 Jan 2008 (updated 30 Jan 2008 at 09:07 UTC) »

I'm about to start playing Open Mics again after a long hiatus. Also starting in late February I'm going to start playing on the street - I got a battery powered amp for my keyboard.

I'll be announcing all my shows on my live performance schedule. My first appearance will be:

Open Mic - Thursday, January 31, 7:00 PM - Note The New Schedule!

Bare Foot Coffee Roasters
5237 Stevens Creek Blvd
Santa Clara, California

Map - Take the Lawrence Expressway / Stevens Creek Exit from Highway 280

Admission Free - All Ages.

Everyone who attends will be given a free copy of my CD Geometric Visions: The Rough Draft - it is Creative Commons licensed:

Geometric Visions: The Rough Draft

See you there!

Rock and Roll!

I was in Sunnyvale, near the "Blue Cube" at the south end of Moffett Field when the quake struck. I was on the second floor of a large office building, talking to my wife on the phone, who is back in Nova Scotia.

Suddenly I started shouting, and she said "What, What?" and I said "Earthquake! I better get out of the building!"

Oddly, I was the only one who evacuated. But I remembered the October '89 Loma Prieta quake very well, as I lived in Santa Cruz at the time, and there were many aftershocks. I was concerned an even bigger shock might hit.

When I got outside, my cell phone wouldn't work, so I had to call my wife collect from a payphone to tell her I was OK.

Ask Advogato: PHP and MySQL?

I want to write a small web application for use on one of my websites. I'm happy to Read The Fine Manual, but I ask your advice on which parts are most pertinent to my problem. The reason I don't want to just figure it all out for myself is that there is a dauntingly large quantity of documentation available online, so I don't quite know where to begin.

If you don't want to respond here, you can either email me at (Harvest This, Spammers!) michael@geometricvisions.com or post in my Kuro5hin diary, where the topic has its own individual page.

While I have done some web application programming before, it's been a long time, and it was all done in Java with Enhydra. Enhydra's a great application server, but it's vastly more powerful than my simple needs require. Also my web hosting service actively supports PHP and MySQL, so I wont need to ask the hostmaster to install anything.

It's been so long since I've done any SQL that I've completely forgotten it, and I've never designed the schema (the layout of tables and fields) of an SQL database before.

There is also the issue of security, a topic which has evolved vastly since my last web programming job back in '99.

I did work through the simple PHP tutorial at php.net, and feel that it would probably work just fine for what I want to do.

I think my database would only require a single table with a dozen or so fields.

I'd like to have a web page with a form on it. One of the form fields would accept the user's email address. When the form is submitted, it would be added as a new record to the table, with each form field being placed into its own field in the record. There would be some additional fields as well.

There would be an integer field whose value would indicate whether the record was new, had been downloaded, or was old. Newly-added records would be set to new.

Periodically I would log into a password-protected web page and download a text file containing all the new records. The text file would be formatted as either tab-delimited, CSV (comma separated values) or maybe XML. There would need to be some way to prevent user-entered data from screwing up this file, for example if a user entered a comma in one of the form fields.

Once the download has succeeded, the included records would be marked as downloaded. I think it would be best if I were to manually order this, rather than having it done automatically when the download completes.

Again on a password-protected page, I would be presented with an HTML table of the downloaded records, and I could manually mark them as old. I would want a way to either mark them all at once, or individually. Gmail has something like this, where one can check individual emails, or check all the emails displayed on the page.

When this happens, the email address from each record would be used to send the user a confirmation email; this would require my PHP script to either talk SMTP directly, or maybe pipe some text into /usr/bin/mail.

Note that this would not be used for spamming my users; the page containing the form would inform them that the confirmation mail was going to be sent, and that would be the only mail I'd ever send in an automated way.

If you think there's a better way to do this than PHP and MySQL, I'm completely open to it, however, I'm very loyal to my hosting service (I've been with them for ten years), and I hate to bug the hostmaster to go out of his way for anything.

Thanks for any help you can give me -- michael@geometricvisions.com

Fix for libao dlsym_auto_underscore on Mac OS X

libao is a cross-platform audio output library used by, among others, ogg123. When libao-0.8.8 is built on Mac OS X, trying to run ogg123 meets with this complaint:

dyld: lazy symbol binding failed: Symbol not found:
  Referenced from: /usr/local/lib/libao.2.dylib
  Expected in: flat namespace

I'm not sure, but I think the dlsym_auto_underscore was required in previous versions of Mac OS X, but for me on 10.4.9 it worked to simply remove it from the darwin CFLAGS setting in the configure script:

From this:

                PLUGIN_LDFLAGS="-module -avoid-version"
                DEBUG="-g -Wall -D__NO_MATH_INLINES
-fsigned-char -Ddlsym=dlsym_auto_underscore"
                CFLAGS="-D__NO_MATH_INLINES -fsigned-char
                PROFILE="-g -pg -D__NO_MATH_INLINES
-fsigned-char -Ddlsym=dlsym_auto_underscore" ;;

To this:

                PLUGIN_LDFLAGS="-module -avoid-version"
                DEBUG="-g -Wall -D__NO_MATH_INLINES
                CFLAGS="-D__NO_MATH_INLINES -fsigned-char"
                PROFILE="-g -pg -D__NO_MATH_INLINES
-fsigned-char" ;;
Ask Advogato: Understanding BitTorrent Log Files?

I have a BitTorrent tracker for Creative Commons-licensed music. My HTTP logs tell me that about fourteen .torrent files are downloaded each day, but trackerlyze tells me that about 750 payload files are downloaded each day. This is supported by the enormous size of my log files.

But when I download my own torrents, I rarely see any other peers. The only seed is the one I operate.

I suspect my tracker is getting hijacked to serve for other files, but I am using the --allowed_dir command-line parameter to limit the .torrents to my own. Could it be broken?

Thanks for any advice you can give me -- michael@geometricvisions.com


I just wrote a piece about recent events in Pakistan: the President has un-seated the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court:

It has a Creative Commons license.

21 Feb 2007 (updated 21 Feb 2007 at 11:33 UTC) »

Do you play piano? Or enjoy using a MIDI sequencer such as Rosegarden to remix music?

I have written the scores to my songs "Emergence" and "Recursion" in Lilypond. I composed them long ago, but only in my own mind - I never wrote them down before now. I had tried some other music scoring software, but was never satisfied with it.

You can find the scores on my music download page. There are MIDI files, US Letter and A4 PDFs, and of course the Lilypond source files, as well as audio recordings of them.

They each have the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 license. I encourage you to copy, perform and record them, and especially to use them to inspire your own music - provided you share alike, as is required by the license.

I have two other pieces still to score. It's going to take a while for me to get them done. I also plan to compose four or five new pieces, and once I do, I'll make new recordings and get a "glass master" CD made - that is, have my CD pressed in quantity at a factory.

If you make a remix of any of my songs, post them on the web and email me the link at michael@geometricvisions.com and I'll link you.


I'll be playing piano at an Open Mic at The Maplewood Pub in North Vancouver, BC tonight. More info can be found on my live performance schedule.

I just started piano lessons with a wonderful teacher named Angela Bonilla. She has a Master's degree from the conservatory at Versailles, France.

Yesterday evening she started teaching me Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. I downloaded the score from The Mutopia Project, which transcribes scores from books whose copyright has expired. All their scores are either public domain or have Creative Commons licenses.

What that means is that I will be able to offer a free download of the piece once I learn it well enough to record. You see, one cannot offer free downloads of even very old music if one got the score from a book that is still under copyright.

I plan to contribute to The Mutopia Project when I get better at using the Lilypond music engraving program.

17 Jan 2007 (updated 17 Jan 2007 at 11:58 UTC) »

In my previous diary I invited residents of Vancouver BC to meet for coffee or beer. Having finally decided to invest in more ink ($$$) for my CD label printer, I can offer an incentive: a free copy of my CD Geometric Visions.

The music has a Creative Commons license. Under the CC logo, it says "Please Burn Copies For Your Friends".

Email me at newcomer@vancouverdiaries.com to arrange a meeting. I work in Gastown and live near the Joyce SkyTrain station.

The manager at the cafe where I used to play the open mic back east had me convinced to start selling the CD instead of giving them away anymore. But I've decided I'm better off giving it away for free. My objective is to get more people listening to my music, and not yet to earn a living from it. I make good money as a programmer.

Work, Writing, Music

Been a while since I posted. Quite a lot has happened. I had been searching for a perm job for a while because I wanted to get out of software consulting - it is a hard way to live. I recently moved from Nova Scotia to Vancouver, British Columbia to take a job with a wonderful company. But the catch is that my wife is remaining behind until she graduates from art school.

It's been quite an experience. I've been writing about it in The Vancouver Diaries. My new blog is all hand-coded static HTML pages - not a web application - but with the help of CPAN's XML::RSS::FromHTML, a couple days ago I was able to add an RSS feed for it. Behold:

Feed Icon

If you live in Vancouver, drop me a line at newcomer@vancouverdiaries.com and lets meet for coffee or a beer. Or soon, you'll be able to come hear me play the keyboard at the various open mics around town. Keep on eye on my live performance schedule to find out when I'm playing.

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