Rhapsody 3.0

I've been a big proponent of Rhapsody for a while. It's been two years since I subscribed and not much has changed with the service. It was starting to bother me but then yesterday they released Rhapsody 3.0. It is a huge improvement. In fact the new feature list reads almost like my feature request list, and it was a long list. I actually sent my whole huge list to them a while ago, so it would be pretty cool if I had any role in steering the product, but I probably didn't.

Here's the new stuff I'm excited about, that I asked for and was finally delivered to me. New playlist/library tools. Searching in the list like Winamp j-key. Managing and playing of CDs and MP3s. Lots more columns of info abou track and ability to sort by them. Editing playlists seperate from the now playing list. Rating Songs. Better collaborative filtering and recomendations. The beginning of a community where you can share playlists. Integration of a music store for buying songs. New support for portable devices. A portable device rental service like Napster-to-go. One really cool feature that I suggested but was surprised to see them implement is the ability to take some of your music offline as long as you are still subscribed.

So it you haven't tried it yet, Try Rhapsody.
Keywords:Product Plugs | Software
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Passover with my Family

This weekend I spent with my family for passover. I was expecting a bigger group but it was just one set of cousins, at their house. It was very relaxing. After the work I've had to do over the last two weeks I needed it. I was able to sleep through the morning. Other than that we ate, hung out, played boardgames, and ate some more. I was really glad to be a member of my family this weekend. Just the fun we had playing Taboo and Upwords and the discussions we had at our seder. After a couple of years of spending passover elsewhere, it was a treat to be back with my family and the seder that I'm used to.
Keywords:Family | Judaism
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Spring Carnival 2005

Yes, it has taken me a week to write about carnival, but I had a lot of work I had neglected for carnival to catch up on. It was by far the most beautiful carnival I've ever seen. No rain from move on to tear down and it was very warm too.

How did AEPi booth building go? Picking up where I left off, we got the booth back up, and work continued. After that brief detour of reinvolvement with the structure I went back to working on the game. Perhaps I should not have volunteered to make the game for AEPi this year. Helping out as an alumnus is one thing, but what I've discovered is that it is better to work on smaller projects so the booth isn't 100% depenant on me. I don't need that kind of pressure with everything else I'm responsible for as well, particularly once carnival has started and I feel that I should be relaxing and enjoying the weekend with my visiting friends, as alumni usually do. However, things did turn out ok in the end.

Originally the game was supposed to be a flight simulator. The design for it seemed nice but it wasn't achievable because we didn't have any 3D models, a problem I was unable to solve and the booth chairs seemed unwilling to listen to. There was going to be a secondary game which at some point we decided would have to be the primary game, but thanks to a discussion with my brilliant friend Jason Small, we came up with a plan for a much simplified flight sim that I could create. It was still an ambitious project. The design was to build a model plane flight simulator and have guests fly this model plane in a course around this year's midway.

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Keywords:Booth | AEPi
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The Rebuild

Today the booth was rebuilt. It wasn't that difficult and the new booth is so much better. I really felt a positive rush from the way things worked out today. Last night people did start a little despondant. When stuff was going down I felt a little helpless being pushed away from the booth that I felt very responsible for and involved in. Well after a brief cool down, my leading instinct took hold. I might not be a booth chair, but for a day I was an equal lead. Since I had cut a lot of the pieces for the original walls I have studies the plans a lot, and that plus my experience with booth and building made me feel like the perfect person to take charge of the rebuild.

Last night I assessed the damage and figure out what would need to be replaced. With a lot of help we cleaned up the good pieces, removing all the broken parts and removing screws. The roof was repaired and all the pieces that could be cut were. This morning we woke up and headed to Home Depot. Armed with new wood I was able to make the rest of the cuts and have Dave direct all the sections to be rebuilt.

In addition to rebuilding there was time for some design improvement. I don't know when I became a structural engineer but after a few meetings the wall that seemed to have the problems was redesigned with 4 new levels of redundant reinforcement. In addition, after the unit was reassembled, a hojilllion extra cross braces were added, solely for move-on, the time when the structure is the most vulnerable.

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Keywords:AEPi | Booth
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The Fate of Booth

I'd like to address once and for all, today's events regarding AEPi's booth. You may here that it collapsed or that it fell down. People will see pictures, people will tell rumors, and people will draw conclusions. Not even so much to support AEPi as to put all the Monday morning structural engineers in their place, I'd like to explain what this is like from my position. I'm not going to go into any details of the specifics of what happened or why. I'm sure you can find some pictures and draw your own conclusions or listen to others, but I'm sure that all speculation will be wrong. Now I might be able to say what I believe is right, but I don't think it is anyone's place to do that. Those theories are all best kept to one's self. It happened and there's nothing can do now but move forward.

First of all, to say that it collapsed or fell down wouldn't be entirely acturate or at least not the whole picture. Yes, it did fall down, because it was pulled down. If you see piles of rubble you might think that there was a pretty crappy structure there. But actually most of the damage was the result of the fall induced not by structure but by people who did it deliberately. Even then, many sections held together and did not break.

Yes, AEPi does have the worst history I know of in terms of noticeable accidents. Yes, this was the 5th year of a 5 year pattern. No, I do not believe in fate or random patterns such as this. An amazing coincidence to be sure. What baffles me most is still how this has happened only really to us, and on so regular a pattern.

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Keywords:AEPi | Booth
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Shaping Up

I know I've been pretty despondant lately, but things do go in waves. Right now it seems to be turning up. I was very stressed about all the things I need to do, but there's been progress. On finding a job, I haven't had much success but I wasn't doing enough either. Now that I'm putting more effort into it, things seem to be going better. I still don't have enough time to do all I should, but I think I'll find something.

AEPi Booth is starting to work out. I was worried about how much was done but now we're ahead of schedule. We've got the high stuff painted and the roof done before we put them up high. Amazing. Plus we've got a really slick move on plan that does not require lifting anything on top of anything else. As far as games go, I talked to Jason Small today who is brilliant and together we figured out how to make the flight sim game work. It should be pretty amazing if I pull off what I want to.

For my other booth things are going pretty well too. We got approved, we've got plans, and we start tomorrow. There's a lot that needs to happen but my heart is in the work.

The task list for the ORB project is the most daunting, with a lot of things I have to do. I'm worried but I think if I put in the hours, even if that is all crammed into the week between booth and soft-opening. I might do ok.

Lastly, I have been shaping up. Not really, but since the weather has been so beautiful out, I took to running again, Wednesday and this morning. If I can keep doing things like that I'm sure to improve my mood and productivity.
Keywords:Jobs | Booth
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Thought Repository » April 2005