Music Whackamole


I had Grooveshark. I loved Grooveshark! I spent a lot of time looking for artists, looking for obscure music, making playlists, favorite-ing songs. I installed their app. I paid money to have an upgraded, “pro” account even though I didn’t have to but I wanted to support them. That is how much I loved Grooveshark. You think you love your apps but do you actually give them any money? No you do not. Then Grooveshark turned out to be in violation of I don’t know how many laws (music rights are complicated!) that they had to shut down. I was shocked! One day they were just gone with a simple we are gone now, here is our apology for what we did wrong, thanks for everything message on their website.

So then I found Rdio. I loved Rdio! I spent a lot of time looking for artists that I had already found on Grooveshark, re-creating my playlists (OK, I did not re-create all of them but I tried) and favorite-ing the same songs I had favorite-ed on Grooveshark. I installed their app on my desktop and my iPad and even ended up paying for 2 subscriptions even though it was a mistake and Rdio helped me figure out what went wrong and why it was not good to have two subscriptions (and we had a bit of a laugh about it). But now Pandora might have swallowed Rdio. Now I will have to go to Pandora?! I don’t like how Pandora works! I don’t like music “neighborhoods” or whatever the fuck they call their algorithm of getting songs to me that I might like because I like The The so damned much.

And I will have to do all those playlists again? Do you even know how much time I spent on theQuietus and NME and Rate Your Music looking up names of the songs that I only knew a few lines of so I could track them down in Grooveshark and Rdio & add them to a playlist or just listen to them? It was a lot of work yo.

I already have Soundcloud and even though I do not really like it I also have Spotify. But what I’d really like to do is find yet another little music app/site to join and devote another few weeks getting my songs and stuff sussed out in it then find out after a wild and crazy and very torrid affair of love a few months later that they have also been shut down by the gov’ment or swallowed up by a larger competitor and are shutting down also.


UPDATE – after I hit publish I Googled “how do I export my Rdio playlists” and maybe yes, cocaine is a hell of a drug because would you not know it there’s already this and this that will do that. By this and this I mean they will export your playlists to Spotify. I used this:

Downsides & general objections to change of any kind:

  • exporter had to split my playlists into two parts. Now I have dumb looking playlists like 1980 -1990 Part 1 and 1980 – 1990 Part 2. Yes I know I can rename them!
  • not every one of my songs can be played in Spotify. Apparently Give it Up by KC and the Sunshine Band is such a rare and precious jewel that Spotify just cannot have it.
  •  oh drag and drop doesn’t work to re-order my tracks? Lovely.
  • dang it! I’m on Spotify.

A Myrtle Walgreens Manager’s Method of Customer Service Angers Me

I’ve been going to the Myrtle Walgreens at least 3 times a month since it opened over 2 years ago and I spend a silly amount of money there.
Last night, on my second visit this week, I asked for 10 dollars cash back before I paid with my debit card. I was given my receipts and 3 or 4 coupons and my shopping bags but not the $10.

But I didn’t know this until I was almost home and I stopped at the corner bodega to buy one last thing, intending to pay with the 10 dollars I’d requested at Walgreens. When I went to pay I had ones and a five in my wallet, no ten dollar bill. I dug into my bag thinking maybe the bill had been wadded up with the receipts and coupons which I’d stuffed into the bottom of my bag – but there was no 10 dollar bill anywhere.

I was close enough to home and also had my dog and was carrying a heavy 12 pack case of diet coke that I didn’t want to turn around and head back up to Walgreens. I figured I could just call them up and settle the matter! I am an optimist by nature but I had doubts I would be believed since it would be a case of my word against the store employee’s. Still, I phoned, got customer service and Brian picked up my call. I told him my story and he said he would check the register if I’d like to call back.

I called back and he said the register came up even and he had also checked the security tapes and the tape showed the sales clerk handing me the 10 dollars. I asked him why would I make up a story about not getting 10 dollars cash back if it weren’t true? A very silly question I admit. There are many reasons for someone to lie about not getting money the main reason being in order to acquire more money. At least he didn’t laugh. He just replied that his information showed the opposite and that was that.

Of course the main responsibility was mine: I should have been more observant. I should have remembered the clerk’s face and name and noticed if he’d handed me the money. But once I got to the line for the register I zoned out and began thinking about work and other stuff. So I didn’t even really look at his face.

So I was a little ticked off at myself I guess but I was more ticked off at that Walgreen’s manager. That he said he had checked the security tapes for the time of my transaction and had seen the clerk hand me $10. Since I had not been handed the money his statement was a false one. I also doubted he’d reviewed the security tape at all. I think he says that to people in similar situations to mine in order to get rid of them. I don’t think it had anything to do with the money – I think it was more important to get rid of me and also shame me a little bit. Conclusion: people can be real dicks and store managers (of large retail chains) are almost always dicks.

Your Spelling Mistakes Keep Me Up At Night

The work I do depends on spelling words correctly. The work I do depends on naming things consistently.

I can name an element “fragglerock” not very semantic but we have to remain entertained. We have to keep our spirits up.

If I write code that needs to be able to find “fragglerock” but I’ve gone and created object “fraggelrock” – the code looking for fragglerock will die.

If I write out an element name in the HTML outline and then try to style it in the stylesheet but I misspelled the name in one of the locations nothing will happen. Nothing happening is a harmless result. Nothing happening is a lot better than things breaking or not working. I’ll take nothing happening over breaking any day. Plus since I’m the one in control of both the HTML outline and the stylesheet I can find my spelling mistake and correct it. And then things will happen. Good things.

If I spell something one way and base code around that particular spelling and then you spell it another way, the code won’t get to do its job. Poor little code.

Any coder knows this stuff, by the way. I think we might come off as crotchety, old schoolmarms to “normal” people because we harp on endlessly about consistency. It’s because we need and require and apply consistent spelling or naming of things in order to do our work and to have our work, work.

If we hand off a site to someone and ( God forbid) some of its features require consistent spelling when the site is updated, we will probably get an email in a few weeks (or days) saying the site is not working.

Consistency when naming things and correct spelling when typing those names of the things, will result in those things always being named and spelled the same way. That is not only a statement of the obvious it’s also a redundant statement.

If I require a normal person to be consistent about naming things to the point of acquiring an OCD I can expect the work to fail. Recent case: the chosen eCommerce solution didn’t provide large enough product images. I decided to use the name of the product to create a url that linked to a gallery of larger images which I devised via the implementation of another thing you might have heard of: WordPress. In their local application they can type the product name any way they want but they have to type it the same way in the WordPress side. This worries me in particular… The code “reads” the product name in the template for the eCommerce solution and the code I wrote creates URLs out of these names but the viability of the URLs depends on the galleries being named (and spelled) the same as the product name. If this system fails new image galleries won’t load in the eCommerce template.

Fragglerock or Fraggelrock, but never both.

The Most Dangerous Animal

Guess who it is. To a web designer slash web developer the most dangerous animal is a graphic designer who doesn’t build web sites. Who has no idea of how web sites work.Who has never written a line of CSS or XHTML (or HTML for that matter). But they’re the one telling you how the site should look. They make a pretty picture in fireworks or indesign with out a care in the world about how web sites actually work and you’re left holding the bag. It’s up to you to deliver the site looking the way the graphic designer wants it, which is usually not that much of a challenge, until it is. I’m sure we’ve all run up against the moment the picture and reality don’t quite match up. For these moments we have position:absolute or Jquery to try to get it to happen.

Case in point: A shopping cart that is also a Slide show.

Well, we’ve seen a slide show requested on a product details page.

We’ve seen a Featured Products Scroller (but here no creation of a featured product category could solve the issue since we had to put each the product in a slide show regardless of category).

We’ve seen a slide show requested on the landing/hub/splash page.

But a shopping cart that is also a slideshow? We’d never been asked for such madness. Never in our protected, sheltered lives. We grasped the concept but we quaked in fear just the same. We’d put add to cart buttons in funny places before so we knew it wasn’t entirely impossible though we did have to have a little cry in the bathroom once.

We have more gray hair and our eyes are smaller, redder and more beady than ever but we did it.

Most catalog (multiple products on one page) page templates have HTML and if we have HTML to mess with we can hook our Jquery into it by turning the main div into the container for the slide show and then hiding all the other looped products until the clicking action of the slideshow brought them in to view. Our tools were the wp-e-commerce plugin and our years of hacking the product page templates to pieces.

So here was the wireframe: A container with a large image up top with a strip of thumbnails under it. The large image being the first product in the slideshow. Click one of the thumbnails underneath and you bring up the next product in the catalog. On the side, to the left of the large image there was the product details(sizes,colors,etc) and the add to cart button. We still have the challenge of producing next and previous arrows but we are very close. We are beginning to see the end of this project in sight!