Virtual home of Ashley and Dianne Gittins

Avoiding Soft-404's for empty Drupal Taxonomies and Ubercart Categories

If you spend any time in Google Webmaster tools and run a drupal site you've probably come across a collection of "Soft-404" warnings from google.

Calico - instrumental birthday present


A birthday instrumental for my lovely wife.

Manage your own rights


DRM shifts the balance of power so far away from users that it is against their interests, and therefore, arguably, against the interests of the artists and even the publishers.

Twitter - how I convinced myself that it mightn't be a complete waste of time

After a year or more of occasionally glancing sideways at it, I finally decided to take a look at twitter.

New Old Track: The Day You Went Away (warning: vocals!)


A cover of Wendy Matthews' early-90's song. First track with vocals - don't know if that's a good or bad thing (the first note is not a good thing)!

I actually recorded this in July/August last year, my reservations about the vocal have stopped me putting it up, so I decided I'd best just suck it up, post it and learn from it. And yeah, I do think (the original) is a great song - if that means I have to hand in my bloke-card, so be it. At least it's not a Celine Dion track! :-)

New Track: Charon's Challenge


Charon's Challenge is a piece I threw together for the ABC's Orpheus Remix Project, which asked people to submit a statement on Opera in it's 400th year and on the work of L'Orfeo, one of the first operatic works known. The ABC provided a collection of samples from Pinchgut Opera's 2004 performance of L'orfeo, of which at least one was to be used in the 4 minute remix.

My submission didn't rate a mention in the final show but it was an interesting challenge to work in the samples into a bigger work - something I hadn't actually ever tried before. I used a male vocal sample which had a small violin riff in it as well, and a sample from Euridice's part. The rest is original material, with an improvised two-part call and response between Charon and Orpheus, some strings and synth choir backing and light percussion courtesy of the excellent Hydrogen application.

Dianne pointed out that the clean guitar track (apart from having some bum notes) was very Pink Floyd-ish - I'll take that as a compliment but it might mean I am copying David Gilmour's favourite riffs more than working on my own. Food for thought. Comments welcome.

New Track: A Blues Thing


Phew - two tracks in one day! Well, not really, the recordings are both a few months old. Second track is up - again a silly solo improvisation over a 12-bar-blues backing track I did. Since I know I'll never bother to fix it up to make it better I figure I should just set it free...

New Track: Misc Thing


Finally got around to uploading some music. Well, one track. It's a one-take improvised solo over a backing track I've been messing around with. The backing track might become something more in time.

Qsynth playing out of tune, and using SFArk files in Linux

Gave QSynth (a Qt front-end for fluidsynth) a whirl today and couldn't work out why it was playing "out of tune", as if it was transposed up about a step.

Evidence-based Scheduling

Joel Spolsky expands on the Evidence-based Scheduling method that he uses and has mentioned in passing a number of times.

It sounds pretty interesting, but adopting it would mean

  • tracking my time, and being alarmed at how poorly I actually utilise it,
  • revisiting estimates, and getting depressed at how appalling I am at estimating,
  • sinking into an even deeper depression upon realising that I have become exactly the sort of bean-counter i have always despised,
  • ... err, profit, i guess.

"Software developers don’t really like to make schedules. Usually, they try to get away without one. “It’ll be done when it’s done!” they say, expecting that such a brave, funny zinger will reduce their boss to a fit of giggles, and in the ensuing joviality, the schedule will be forgotten."

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