Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pandora is cool

When I'm working I listen to music with the web site Pandora. You create a free account, pick some songs or artists that you like and it makes music channels based on those. It's a cool way to find bands that you've never heard of or forgotten about.

I kept hearing that they were going to go out of business. Because it costs them money to play all these songs for free. They pay fees to the music industry, but beyond that I'm sure the web traffic costs them a lot too. Anyway, I'm bad. I never click their ads... I'm not interested. But I like the music a lot.

I just got email from them saying I'm in the top 10% of users at Pandora. Not like the top 10% bestest customers they love, but the top 10% in usage. As in "Hey, quit using Pandora so much or else start clicking our ads, layabout!" The email explained if I listen to more than 40 hours of music in a month I'll be asked to pay $1 for that month*. Otherwise it's all good times. We'll see when I hit 40 hours... The other option is to pay $36/year for unlimited music + higher quality streams.

* Surprisingly reasonable. Plus it's not a recurring thing. It's a one-off charge each time it happens and you approve it. It seems so reasonable I wonder if they're being super cautious about scaring away users.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Patchin' the pool, and lemon sorbet

We bought a citrus juicer, like this one. I think exactly this one. It looks like the Alien from the movie Alien... Or maybe like ET. It gets bad reviews on Amazon, but we paid $1 for it from a neighbor. It's been awesome for juicing lots of lemons. And since lemons are falling off our tree like rain it's helping a lot. We're drinking a lot of lemonade and eating lemon sorbet* between all meal courses.

Our neighbor, Alan, and his two kids stopped by yesterday. I mentioned to him that our pool has a leak on the top so it won't stay inflated. Subsequently we can't fill it enough to use the filter really. He said it's pretty easy to fix leaks like that and went right into action. He put all the kids to work with soapy water and sponges. I should have taken pictures. The kids were awesome although sometimes had to be reminded that the section nearest to the soapy water bucket was already bubbly enough and that they should move on. Anyway, we found three leaks and I patched 'em (This $30 used pool came with everything, including an unused patch kit!). Now it holds air way better. I found one last leak this morning when I filled it up. It was easy because air bubbles were just pouring up through the water.

It's Monday morning in Hong Kong... (but Sunday night in California) That means I'm looking online to see if Andy is around and if he'll be working on some solitaire art today. :) The settings control is ready-to-go and I cleaned up some of the texture loading code so it's much more concise. In the scheme things a customer would never know. But I know the code is a lot cleaner and that's worth something.

* You know, to clear the palate.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Cool art, settings, building a wall

Andy's done a ton more fantastic art for my iPhone Solitaire game. The game is starting to look really good. It's been cool working with Andy. He's in Hong Kong so we end up talking when it's morning there and dinner-time here in California. The coolest thing is I wake up in the morning and there's new art! Nice.

I'm working on the Settings screen now. It's all custom-drawn in Open GL instead of using the normal iPhone OS stuff. I normally like to use the built-in user interface features of the OS, especially with Macs, but I think our screens are going to look better and all feel like they fit together much better this way.

In other news... Cousin Dan and I started filling in an arch in the living room here. Well, mostly Dan. I'm the assistant. I'll post pictures soon.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Solitaire, lemons, pool

1) Kelly bought an inflatable (but kind of hard-core) pool for $30 used (it turns out it was $150 new + all the chemicals and more came with it). We set it up in the back yard. I thought it was an "8 foot" pool. But it's 13 feet. It's kind of huge considering our small back yard. Anyway, it's fun. I get to do all the cool stuff my dad did with our pool when I was growing up. Like use the cool water tester thing and put the drops in and shake it. And add chlorine. And yell at the kids to keep the chickens out of the pool*.

2) We have a lemon tree. We don't take care of it, really at all. It makes a million lemons all year long. I don't think it ever stops. Anyway, today I used up like 30 lemons and made a huge pitcher or lemonade (including simple syrup 'cause we're kind of fancy here about our lemonade) and also made lemon sorbet which is in the freezin' machine now.

3) Andy Fitzsimon started working on artwork for my iPhone solitaire game. He's already made some great art and has had a bunch of good ideas for the game. I swear we are going to beat the pants off the other solitaire games on the iPhone. Heck, maybe we'll beat the pants off of a bunch of other non-solitaire games. I have no idea if we'll make money though... Anyway, it's already looking better and the sounds from Michael at Magnetron Audio are great. I just paid $0.99 for Astraware Solitaire and it's not very good at all. They have like 400 other games and my guess is they're too busy with everything else or were in a rush to ship this game. It doesn't run in landscape mode, the frame rate seems slow, the graphics don't seem up to their standards.

* Okay, we didn't have chickens when I was kid. But we had a lot of apple trees. Also. No one even let the chickens near the pool here, but it's a funny idea.