New Camera

Lately, every time I wanted a picture for the blog I didn’t
have my camera, and every time I took a picture with the cell
phone, I ended up apologizing for it. So when Woot had a good price on an Casio
Exilim camera
, I bought it.

It arrived today. It’s a good size for sticking in your
pocket, and seems to take pretty good pictures:

[Sunny]

Sunny napping

I always use Sunny for my test subject. Then I noticed the
Birthday cards, and took them too:

[cards]

Birthday cards

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=laymusicorg-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B002LBA3KI&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

Real concert announcement

I have to take it easy the day after I work from 6:30 AM to
9:30 PM at the elections. I have material to talk about from
that, but it will have to wait. For today, you can read the Cantabile
Band Post
, which collects all the information about the
January 30 concert, and points to all the posts about the
December 17 concert.

You should also note that I made several proofreading errors
putting together the flyer.
The version I uploaded at about noon today has
both the correct date and the correct day of the week.

Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and blog statistics

When I was setting up the new site, I though about how to have a list of other things people might want to look at if they’d stumbled on the site and found the first thing they read interesting.

What I came up with was to list the most read posts, using the Most read in XX days plugin.

For a while, this worked well. There were a couple of old posts that were being read pretty often, most notably the Bread machine brioche recipe. But in general, the things that were popping up on the list were the better posts I’d made in the last couple of months, so I got feedback on what people were reading, and they got to look at the other interesting things on the site.

Unfortunately, now the “most read posts” sidebar is pretty fixed, and it isn’t clear what I can do to get a new post onto that list, because although people read the new posts, they then go and look at the old posts that are on the “most read” list, so those get more readers than the new ones do.

One thing I can see I should do is put things that are of only temporary interest up as pages, and when they stop being interesting, take the pages out of the navigation menus via the exclude pages from navigation plugin.

For instance, the post that would be on the sidebar list if I allowed one more post is the flyer for a workshop that happened last August. I’m glad 200 people read that post last August, and 40 people came to the workshop, but I’m not sure it matters if nobody ever reads it again.

I’ve thought about having a “most read in the last 6 months” sidebar as well as the “most read ever” sidebar. But that starts cluttering things up.

So I guess I’ll just keep thinking about the problem. Let me know if you have any good ideas.

Note: this post was originally titled “Schroedinger’s Law and Blog Statistics”.

Publishing on the web

I’ve been sending a lot of email lately to people who
transcribe music the way I do and are wondering whether and how to put it on
the web.

Putting other people’s transcriptions on my site is addressed briefly in the SerpentPublications.org
FAQ
, but of course there are lots more details than a two
paragraph answer can deal with.

One person who’s also a student of my recorder teacher
transcribes in Sibelius. She gives printouts to anyone who
asks, but seems to have decided putting it on the web is
impossibly complicated. My teacher has been really excited
about being able to point workshop students to the music he’s
going to be using on the web, so that they can look at it
beforehand, and has been encouraging her to get hers up, too. She discussed it with the Sibelius
support people, but her eyes glazed over when they said “install
a PDF writer”. Apparently she has an old wreck of a computer
that breaks when you install pretty much anything. So if she
hadn’t figured out how to do it in 2003, that computer is never
going to be able to do it, and she doesn’t like computers enough
to want to spend $200 on a better one.

Another person is doing transcriptions from Petrucci’s
Odhecaton. He’s quite capable of putting his own site up, and
had decided to use a wordpress
blog
for his transcriptions. We have an ongoing
conversation about how to provide the kinds of transcriptions
various kinds of players want. I thought about the blog
solution when I was setting up the Serpent Publications
site
, but was having too much trouble using the WordPress
media stuff, and I already had the database set up. I suspect
that when he has a few dozen transcriptions, he’ll find the blog
solution clumsy, but it should work fine until then. I would
probably have used if it had been available when I was starting
out.

A third person has essentially transcribed all of Dowland’s
part songs, including the lute tablature, and converted the lute
tablature to notation suitable for guitar players. This would
actually be a really good supplement to the Dowland
that’s on my site, and I’d be happy to have it, but he hasn’t yet
done any thinking about licensing, so I pointed him to some
reading matter
, and haven’t heard from him since. There is a
lot of stuff to think about. I also suggested lulu.com if what he really
wants to do is sell his work.

It’s quite exciting to be in touch with so many people
doing the kind of thing I do. I hope they all get what they
want out of doing it.

The Lost Chord

Sunny and I walked by The Lost Sock Laundromat
this morning, and I started thinking about Arthur Sullivan’s
The
Lost Chord
.

Of course, I first started composing a parody about a lost
sock, but I didn’t get very far, and I think if I had
managed to get something to scan properly it wouldn’t have been a
very good parody.

But then I started thinking about the frequently expressed
criticism that a “Great Amen” is two chords, not one.

My guess is that Arthur Sullivan, who was one of the best-known
composers of his era, knew at least as much music theory as these
critics, and if he found that the poem spoke to him anyway, we
should at least give it a chance to speak to us.

Certainly we’ve all had the experience of remembering having
been inspired by an idea, but not remembering the idea. I have
it several times a week with this blog — I sit down and
remember that I’d had a really good idea on last night’s walk,
but not what the idea was. I don’t personally feel particularly
inspired by the idea that the angel of death will bring back all
my lost blog post ideas on my deathbed. But of course, my blog
post ideas may well be less inspiring than Arthur Sullivan’s
organ improvisations, or even Adelaide Proctor’s.

It’s not a particularly easy song to sing, even with the music
in front of you and an accompaniment, but Sunny and I managed to
remember most of the words and stumble through some approximation
of the notes in the half mile walk home. It’s really not a bad song at all.

There’s an arrangement (I think by Clifford Bevan) for Serpent
Ensemble. If you have serpent players who can possibly do
something like tuning the chords, it’s probably fun to play,
although like most serpent ensemble arrangements, it probably
involves the top voice squeaking too high and the bottom voice
grumbling too low and only the middle two voices actually have the
kind of
fun that people go into playing serpent for.

New Year’s Resolutions

First, a couple of resolutions I’m not making:

  • It’s silly to claim you’re all of a sudden going to start
    working on something you’ve been doing no work on for years. So
    I’m not going to resolve to learn a language or run a
    marathon.
  • While there are lots of reasons why weighing 20 pounds less
    would be a good thing, I’m not going to resolve to lose weight.
    All the sensible things to do that lose weight have other good
    effects, and the obvious ones that work and aren’t sensible
    aren’t what you want to resolve to do. (E.g., I lost 15 pounds
    in the hospital with my hip surgery, but if I can, I want to
    avoid doing that again.)

So here are the things I’ve been working on some, but want to
work on more effectively in the New Year:

Housecleaning.
Cleaning out Bonnie’s house was an
experience I wouldn’t want to wish on *my* executrix, and
anyway, I enjoy being in my house more when it’s uncluttered and
reasonably free of dust, grime, and dog hair. I’ve made
progress on the public rooms in the last year, and I’m getting
better at doing the maintenance in small doses rather than
waiting until I’ve scheduled an hour or more. I have some ideas
for spending a little money on furniture that will contribute to
the uncluttered look in the living room, and I’m doing well on
throwing out a couple of things from the currently hopeless
rooms every Wednesday. So we’ll see if I make even more
progress this year.
Exercise.
I’ve probably gone backwards this year, because
the dog-walking is less aerobic with an elderly, arthritic dog
than with a young, vigorous one. So what I’m going to work on
is running more errands on foot by myself, and maybe figuring
out a yoga routine I can do with the hip restrictions that I
enjoy as much as I did the one I had before the arthritis made
me stop doing it.
Blogging.
I think I’ve made progress on making the blog
interesting over the last year. I’d like to be more consistent
about taking pictures to illustrate it, and maybe finding a
better focus.