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Music to Learn to

When writing code, I can throw on headphones, crank the volume and listen to music from MIA, Mumford and Sons or the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. But when I’m learning – reading books or watching instructional videos – I find lyrics distracting. My collection of instrumental music has grown over the last few months while I’ve been digging into Objective C and Ruby on Rails. It plays in the background on low volume. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Beastie Boys: The In Sound from Way Out! (itunes)
  • Beastie Boys: The Mix-Up (itunes) [Yes, these two Beastie Boys albums are instrumental]
  • Jim Guthry: Sword and Sworcery LP – the Ballad of the Space Babies (itunes)
  • Ramin Djawadi: Game of Thrones (Music from the HBO Series) (itunes)
  • Hans Zimmer: Black Hawk Down (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [This one has lyrics, but they are in a different language, so they do not distract.] (itunes)

Sony Rolly

The wait has just begun. We saw the first (viral) video of it last week.

The wait is almost over. Word has it that there is a Rolly release party in Japan on the 10th.

So what is it? A Wii for music? The new (tiny) Aibo platform? I’ll try to remain objective, but I’m loving it. The speaker caps controlled by solenoids (or servos or electromagnets), the speakers, the rgb strips, the dual independent wheels and the potential for robot choreography are all pretty slick.

Sony Rolly

Updated: New, full length commercial. Switched the embedded video.

Thanks, everyone, for pointing me to the Rolly. Yes, you are right. It will be impossible for me to resist purchasing a Rolly. Let’s hope it’s hackable!

Engadget, Engadget, Engadget Again, and Wikipedia.

Mesk and SCons

Travis Shirk recently announced Mesk 0.1.2, a GTK+ Media Player. There isn’t a Windows build, yet, but I’m excited about it’s ability to change your Jabber status message to indicate which song or audio file you are listening to. Source and Binaries here!

Travis also mentioned SCons to me – a build tool that is apparently much more powerful (and expressive) than make, yet less verbose and more readable than ant. Looks very interesting. The SCons team is preparing a 1.0 and one of their members has been accepted into the Google Summer of Code program.

AT&T Wireless New Music ID Service Gets Put to the Test

Daily Wireless

We’ve been doing our own testing around the office and it’s dead-accurate.