Monthly Archives: December 2010

Playing with iTunes Genius Feature

Since I was sitting in front of my computer with not a lot of other things to do, I just started playing with the “genius” feature on iTunes again by generating “genius playlists” based on various songs I have in my eclectic music collection.

For the most part, it did a good job of finding related songs. It was stretched a bit when I selected Ray Steven’s “The Streak” since Apple doesn’t recognize that much of the output of folks like The Great Lukeski, Tom Smith and the Bohnhoffs would be appropriate matches, so it only found 10 instead of the requisite 75 songs to match.

However, I had one complete failure. I selected a song from the soundtrack to A Mighty Wind, and asked for a playlist. It gave me 75 songs, but instead of stuff by Peter Paul and Marry and The Kingston Trio I’d have matched, it matched songs from other soundtrack and cast recording albums. Clearly since Apple considers this a soundtrack album the tracks on it must match other soundtrack tracks.

One good thing I noticed is that if I selected a piece of older jazz (Carlie Parker’s recording of “Confirmation”), it matched to more of the older jazz and some Big Band and modern jazz, but when I selected a more recent piece it matched more of the recent jazz, but still included older jazz. Based on the results, I suspect that it includes big band (Glenn Miller, et. al.) with the older jazz recordings since it mixed those fairly freely. I also noticed when I selected a track by The Manhattan Transfer it matched to more vocal jazz than instrumental jazz. In these cases it was also fairly good about selecting pop tracks that were really, or were close to being, jazz.

It also did pretty well when I got a genius mix for “Kanon in D” (more commonly referred to as “Pachelbel’s Cannon”) by selecting mostly classical music with some tracks that blend well with classical.

Overall, based on today’s playing I’d give iTune’s genius feature a B or B+. Not perfect but as good or better than some human created groupings.

San Diego Auto Show

(FWIW, my Linux box died, and is taking longer to restore than I’d have expected – so this got posted directly to LiveJournal).

This morning, I headed down to the San Diego Auto Show.
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Tying Tolkien to Rowling – Or at Least, Their Universes

This is a semi-serious attempt to tie two book series that are among the relatively few read or listen regularly books for me: The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (and to some extent The Simarillon) to the Harry Potter books.  Of course this won’t be perfect since I doubt either author had any plans to make them part of the same universe.  Obviously Tolkien died before Rowling ever picked up a pen (or touched a keyboard), and there is no evidence that Rowling was borrowing from Tolkien.  But there is still room to make such a connection.

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30 Ill Conceived Inventions

I’ve been trying to post this to Facebook for a while, but its acting up and not letting me.  So I’ll share it here with the broader audience (and hopefully to Facebook eventually).

Life Magazine has assembled a list of 30 memorable, but ill conceived, inventions.

Some familiar names, if not faces, show up at number 3, 18 and 26.

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Odd Governmental Thought

Today over lunch, while killing time, I was doing some “random wikipedia browsing” and landed on the article on the Westminster system of government – basically the parliamentary system used in the UK and many of its offspring countries.

This led to my thought that I don’t think that there is anything in the U.S. Constitution that would preclude a U.S. State (current, future or alternate-history) from adopting the Westminster system of parliament for its internal governance.  As far as I know all 50 states use a variation of the U.S. federal system (with at least one state having a unicameral legislator – but still with three branches), but I don’t think that there is any hard rule that this be so.

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Apology

To all of my friends trapped under snow and cold in various parts of the midwest, mountain west, and northeast – I hereby apologize for enjoying our unexpectedly hot December weather.

Trivia Quiz Idea

Last week – I think while flying back from SMOFcon – I hit upon an idea for a moderately hard trivia quiz.  If I ever were to come up with it, however, I’d have to make sure nobody had access to the internet which would probably make it trivial (no pun intended) to get the right answers.

The quiz would consist of three columns.  The first column would contain the ITIA code – or probably the shortened ITIA 3 letter codes which are more recognizable to most people. The second would have the city or metro area served by the airport.  The third would have the current, or possibly past in some cases, name of the airport stripped of any city information.  The task would be to match the code with both the city and the airport name.

So, for example, three of the answers might be “ORD,” “Chicago,” and “(blank) O’Hare International Airport.”  These would be a matched set.

Obviously there are quite a few easy ones (“JFK,” “New York,” “John F. Kennedy International Airport,” for example).  But I know of some that are pretty darn obscure – which I’m not going to share here in case I ever create such a quiz for use someplace.

Thinking about this, limiting this to well traveled parts of the world might make this easier.  I’m sure that there are several grouping that are quite obscure to most of us that involve places in India, Africa, Asia or parts of the Pacific Ocean.

I might even entertain suggestions for groupings.

Quick Test

I thought I’d disabled any posting between LiveJournal and Facebook, but still got two posts.  Now I’ve disabled WordPress->Facebook and will see if anything gets over or not.

SMOFcon 28 Report

(Before we start, I think I may have fixed the settings bug that caused both WordPress and LiveJournal to send posts over to facebook.)

This last weekend, I went to SMOFcon 28, my third SMOFcon overall, and the second time one wasn’t in the metro of my current residence.

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