Out in the Open

December 21, 2007

Lemme preface this all by saying that this ain’t the horses mouth. This is just me as a curious Flock user checking in on the tinderbox builds and posting my reactions in the form of a photoessay of sorts. I have pushed for more sneak peeks like this from the horses mouth, and I know that there are many things to consider when officially announcing features. If we had the superlarge base of folks who thrive off of the tinderbox builds like Firefox does, I am sure that these advances would have been all over the net by now. (Slightly me covering my bum/justifying why folks should be aware of this) I want Flock users to know what’s going on backstage, and while Evan and the Flockers figure out how to do that officially from a company stand, I’ll give you a tiny peek of what’s to come.

Lemme also say that everything I point out here is definitely subject to changing in some way, and that tinderbox builds shouldn’t really be used as your primary browser. You use it, then be aware that there are some bugs that are sure to be squashed yet.

Flock 1.0 has been out for some time, and 1.1 is in the works. It’s always been neat to see progression from underneath the hood, so to speak, and I thought I might share a bit of that here for now. I don’t know what my readerbase is, and I truly hope I don’t steal any thunder. I actually learned about some of the new features of 1.1 from scoping out Twitter for Flock. Seems like some other people have gotten their hands on tinderbox builds as well!

Let’s start from the top, eh?

Splash screens aren’t exactly my favorite, but I have a feeling folks are 50/50 on the issue. Some people used to have Flock loading up for what seemed like hours and wanted a way to know that it truly was loading. The splash screen was introduced, and some folks like it, some don’t. I don’t mind it, as it is up for a grand total of one second on my machine. For those who don’t like it, there’s this to help you.

Install is pretty normal. You definitely notice that this isn’t Flock colors. This is to let folks know that this is by no means an official release. Due to this, and the fact that changes are constantly being made to these builds, there’s got to be a visual cue to let folks know. In this case, yellow sulfur. Tinderbox builds won’t even install to the same location unless you tell them to.

Installation is over, Flock 1.1a1pre (gonna just refer to it as Sulfur from now on, aight?) loads up. The general release notes page is loaded in a tab, as usual, and My World, the aggregate of all your Sulfur activity is loaded in the other. Let’s take a gander shall we?

Hmm, there seem to be some strange buttons on the column headings. Let’s press them randomly for a while!

Woot! Things moved! I now have my feeds in the rightmost column, the way I want them. Maybe you can customize it some more?

Ding ding ding! You can indeed add and remove columns. Folks asked for this, and therefore, folks got this!

On to my favorite part of Flock 1.x so far: People.

I can post to Twitter with naught but a few slick clicks. Saweet. I am totally addicted to this feature. You can also set up Flickr, YouTube and Facebook to be usable in the People sidebar. Each has their own actions, so be sure to check them out!

This is the Media Bar. The official name is “Media Mini Bar” but I tend to assume that that means it will provide me snacks and beverages in packaging that will ensure I am unable to replace them before the staff notices and charges me for their consumption, so I just call it the Media Bar. I get lost in the Media Bar sometimes. I just keep reloading the recently uploaded pictures and see how many awesome things have been observed in our world.

Then there’s the Web Clipboard. I gotta admit, I used this a ton in it’s former life as The Shelf, but for some reason, up until today, I haven’t used it much. After playing with it for literally 45 seconds, I remembered why I used The Shelf all the time.

Here you can see that I have dragged a few items to the Clipboard on the left to be stored for later use. If I ever forget what one of them contains…

…I can easily view the item to remember. At any point in time, I can drag and drop this item in to a comment, email, or even blog posts. Super handy, super awesome.

Then there’s the photo uploader. It uploads photos.

Bet you didn’t see that one coming. Bet you really didn’t see this one coming…

I won’t speak too much as to how nice this is to have this integrated in to the browser, or what the driving idea behind it was. I will leave that to Mike, Dan, Evan, and all the awesome folks at Flock behind it.

Sampling

December 21, 2007

I’ve been going through samples of various sound effects. There’s this song that Matt McConnell roughed out with me a long time ago, and it never really was anything. There are a few words to it:

Ruin and smoke, firelight dreams
Things I almost remember
And a song someone sings,
once upon a december

Bombshell drop, explosion rings
Here is my homeland and I will stay
will you still be here with me?
When morning breaks, on new year’s day

Once upon a new years day… Blood and tears
Fire and Steel
Wrapped around my finger
Sacrifice
For deep blue eyes
I know what I’m fighting for

Running now
Through your arms
Bound before my presence
Swords may clash
I may die
But death can’t ever part us

Blood and tears
Sweat and Smoke 
In rubble we will make our games of hide and seek, and you may give your heart to me
There is love in my hands and love in my strings
There is love in my heart to conquer all things
There is love in your eyes, when you look at me
A rose for my love, my hope, my starlit sky
I play for you under moon and trees, resting in shadows and cold, dead leaves
Once upon a New Year's day  Ruin and smoke, firelight dreams… Bombshell drop, explosion rings
Things I almost remember…here is my homeland, and I will stay
And a song somone sings… will you still be here with me?
Once upon a December
I play for you under moon and trees,
resting in shadow and cold, dead leaves
If you hear this song, remember me
Once Upon a New Year’s day
Once Upon a New Year’s day

So that’s that. It was originally called something like Watashi Wa, which doesn’t seem to fit the song too well. I want to rename it to Once Upon A December. I have great ideas for this song (which clocks in at something like 10 minutes the first and only time we roughed it out), and I really want to get it perfected and recorded.

I have a good plan for the song, I just need to remember the way the song goes. I can hear it in my head, I just can’t get it figured out on the guitar. This is one of those songs where the lyrics and music collide and mix with ambient effects (and not so ambient effects) to tell the full story.

Also, check this out:

*Mark Wampfler contemplates the remake of Ashitaka.* This song is an entity that you can only see portions of at a time. It lives in the sky, and despite the recurring attempts of several individuals known as "the few no more" to bring it to the ground (corporeal realm,) he continues to elude us. Its probably because if fate were altered in this way, tfnm would already be famous and the group would be in some other form than the one it is given now. The Adagio for Life and Love aka Ashitaka's song has yet to be set in record, thusly, the global eardrum has yet to be shaken from its unrockability, TFNM still fumbles through life as a modularized dragon burning armies and guarding treasure on both sides of the Cont. Us., and I don't have no contract with which to cash in on!

Life is growing old and learning to love the memories you hate because then will never be now again. Thats one of the things I tell myself to get up each new old day. But I also tell myself that I shall, AND MUST one day contribute the the recording of a song that brings joy to many. I firmly believe that song is about ashitaka.

-I miss being part of something like this, and I always will.

Same here. I so badly want to record this. This is my goal. I want Ashitaka to be recorded the way we had it going in the end. It was such an amazingly beautiful song. I will get Bakke in on this and hopefully we can get this recorded during our free time. I have to get a guitar in to the “Sacrificial Lamb” tuning we developed for this song, but that is fine by me. And we have to remember how the song went.

I agree fully with Mark, I miss being a part of a band like we were. Those were the best times I have ever had.

The Few No More kinda lives on here.

TFNM music can be obtained here. My personal favorites are Winter, Crushed, and Anything But Blue. Reality is my baby, but my guitar would not stay in tune for me to record that sucker all the way through, so there are some issues I am not fully pleased with, but Meg’s violin saves the day.

Feeling Quite Warm

December 21, 2007

I got in to Liberty, MO at about 5am local time last night (making it 6am Eastern [or Awesome] Time). Pretty typical trip really. Traveled through back roads for about 4 hours, then got on I-35 for the next 8 hours and chugged along towards home. There were some good Christmas light displays in the far western portion of the UP and the US2 section of Wisconsin. Then I hit Superior/Duluth. Holy crap, do they need to learn about pollution!

Not just regular smog/litter/sludge pollution. They need to learn about light pollution. It was as if every light in the city was turned up towards the sky. You practically couldn’t see the moon, let alone any stars (clear or cloudy, either way). Even Minneapolis was better in terms of light pollution than Duluth.

Anyways, slept til about 1pm CST, then headed out to go gift shopping.  Got Melissa’s gift (it’s awesome!), and I know what I am getting Jill and my dad. Jenn and my mom might be a bit difficult to shop for.

See, here’s the real kicker: my paycheck was accidentally mailed to my Houghton address instead of here. Nobody’s really to blame, but it does kinda suck for me. I was relying on the check to get here so I could pay the cable bill tomorrow/next Wednesday and also get folks presents. Looks like I’m gonna need to bum some cash from somewhere to get through this month. (I am also severely hoping that I can get my Charter online account resolved with their tech support, something is preventing me from registering with them properly).

Subnote: unless I can pull out a magic rabbit, this month’s paycheck is gonna be slim to none. I’m thinking I need to go to the rabbit store tomorrow and next week while I have free time. Apologies to Mike, Evan and the QA/support team for this past month.

It’s 55 degrees here, and people are wearing coats and sweaters. I want to wear shorts and a t-shirt. It is so awesome to have this kind of weather! It’s 40 degrees warmer than it has been the past few weeks in Houghton! Also: Any place that serves fried okra and gives you the choice between sweet and unsweet tea is awesome!

There’s going to be another post shortly; gotta grab some food and some drinks.