Lamest. Title. Ever.

Tomahawk seems to be one of the most exciting new developments in the music playback world – an aggregator for all your music services, including your local library, Spotify, Grooveshark, Youtube, and a few others I’ve not heard of. I’d never heard of it until a friend of mine, Flexstyle, pointed me to Wired’s review of the app, which is – to say the least – glowing. Also, it’s open source, which regular readers of mine will know makes me all sorts of happy all by itself.

So! How does it actually work?

I downloaded the app from their website and installed it, happily discovering that this much, at least, was free of any surprises or unnecessary complications. When you launch the app you are asked to choose from a list of “resolvers” and let Tomahawk know where to find the music stored locally – Windows users, your “My Music” library is selected by default. So what’s a resolver?

Resolvers are the plugins used by Tomahawk to use a content service – so for instance, you would have a resolver for Youtube, another for Spotify, and another for You can add or remove these at will, and almost all the ones I was interested in came by default with the program, I just had to install them from the list of available choices. Notably absent was Spotify, which must be downloaded separately from their website, but that’s a hassle that takes all of 10 seconds to resolve. The resolvers for Youtube and Soundcloud both gave me the option to include or exclude covers, remixes, and live versions, which is a nice touch – but relies on whoever uploaded the file to have labeled it as such. This isn’t something I expect Tomahawk to be able to handle, but it’s something end users should keep in mind.

So, I added my resolvers, signed in to Spotify (it requires a premium subscription, which I have, to function) and, and set it to work scanning my local library. After completing the scan, the app crashed. Whoops. Fortunately, it at least had saved all my resolver and account settings, so all I needed to do was set it scanning my library again… which led to another crash.


I wish...

I have about 8,000 songs on my local disk right now, and it took the app only a couple minutes to scan and add them all, which was impressive, but what I found odd was that the “local collection” says it found 25,000+ tracks before it crashed, which makes me wonder if it is duplicating when coming across playlist files or something like that. I tried selecting “update collection” instead of “fully rescan collection,” and this time it counted up to 50,000+ tracks before crashing. I headed off to their support forums to see if anyone else was having the same issue, but didn’t see anything apparent, and trying to register an account didn’t work. It appears their site is moving slow – maybe Wired’s fault? – and the registration email isn’t being sent. Bugger. I’ll be skipping the local music library for now, I guess.

It worked just fine with Spotify and Soundcloud immediately, though my initial searches didn’t find anything on or Youtube, when I know there’s content at both for those searches. Youtube started getting hits when I told it to allow all versions of a song, but I couldn’t get to give me anything. I was also hoping it would be able to import my playlists from Spotify and/or Youtube, but no such luck – this would be a great feature, though I don’t know what technical limitations might stand in the way of the developers. My biggest hesitation in moving to any new music application is the need to recreate my playlists, of which I have far too many.

This could be a really cool app once the bugs get worked out, but for now, I think I’ll stick to the normal Spotify app. Hopefully I can review this again in a couple months with more success!

SWTOR First Impressions

Warning: Excessive geekery inside. Continue at your own risk.

So a few weeks ago, I picked up Star Wars: The Old Republic after constant poking and prodding from several of my friends to come play it. Having now hit 50 on my Jedi Knight, and having created a couple of alts as played the early levels, I’ll go ahead and submit my thoughts on the game so far.

TOR was hailed, as so many MMO’s are, as a WoW-killer. That’s simply not true. There is no WoW-killer, and there will be no WoW-killer, at least not until Blizzard comes out with WoW 2. It is simply far too good at what it does and has far too established a subscriber base and IP for it to fall to an upstart of the same genre – at least anytime real soon. Now, that said, TOR has what it takes to match WoW’s numbers, if they fix the bugs they have and – here’s the important part – churn out good content at a breakneck pace for the forseeable future. It looks like they have the next few big content patches already mapped out, which is good news, so hopefully they don’t slack on that any time soon.

TOR is, as any new MMO, buggy and far from perfect – but overall, I think it’s the best out of the box MMO I’ve played yet, except perhaps WoW. The reason I give that caveat is that WoW released with the general idea of giving players more freedom, and then reigning in what they needed to – TOR comes out with a deathgrip on the experience. I think WoW had the better philosophy, though both have merits. Let’s explore a little deeper. Continue reading SWTOR First Impressions

The Oxford Comma

Apparently, Oxford decided to update its style guide in 2009 to get rid of the “Oxford comma,” also known as the “serial comma,” for reasons not entirely clear. For those of you who aren’t English majors or grammar geeks (and do not have mothers that are), the Oxford comma is present in the first example, but not the second:

I invited John, James, and Harry.

I invited John, James and Harry.

I’ve always used the Oxford comma, though I don’t think I ever called it that until recently. It was taught to me as the proper way to build a sentence back when I was probably around six years old, and its use by nearly every author I’ve read only serves to further cement its “correctness” in my head – regardless of what Oxford’s style guide says. As a result, this change seems both arbitrary and not particularly useful – which begs the question, why was the change made at all?

My theory: the British just love to make rules.

I’m not entirely sure why I’m writing a blog post about this, as a matter of fact, except perhaps as a result of a chat conversation earlier between a friend and I. Well, that, and it gives me an excuse to post this: Continue reading The Oxford Comma