Owl City to be Blamed for Recent Popularity of Electronically Driven Music

I just thought I would post this here while I was thinking of it. I believe that Owl City is to blame for the recent propagation and proliferation of electronic and keyboard driven music making it’s way into the mainstream. Granted, keyboards and synths have been around for a long time and have always had a following. But I believe that keyboard and synth driven music is just going to become more popular over the next few years. Adam Young, I believe, was the catalyst that helped spawn this growing trend in the popularity of electonically driven music.

So let’s say a big thanks to Owl City. Personally, I think the world could always use more keytar.

Taco Bell Removes the Enchirito from Menu

**EDIT 09/20/2013 **

I recently went back to Taco Bell. As it turns out they have put the Enchirito back on the menu. When I asked why, they told me that a lot of people were unhappy and wanted it back. So good work people!

**END EDIT**

Oh Taco Bell. You have done this to me before and you are doing it to me again. When are you going to learn that taking things off your menu is a BAD thing? It is especially bad when you “take” something off the menu and replace it with the same thing albeit more expensive.

A couple of years ago Taco Bell removed the Nacho Cheese Chalupa from it’s menu. (It was probably a couple of years ago although it could’ve been more recently). This made me mad. Let me tell you what I say when I order from Taco Bell. “Hi Taco Bell Person, I’d like 2 bean burritos, a Nacho Cheese Chalupa and an Enchirito”. That’s it! That is what I always had. So imagine my surprise when one day I say my normal order and the response from the other end is “We don’t sell Nacho Cheese Chalupas anymore.” And so I said, “What?…”.

What?...
What?…

Well that was a bad day. But I quickly learned how to get around it by being a super annoying customer. That’s right, my future orders went a little like this.

I’d like two bean burritos, a Nacho Cheese Chalupa, and an Enchirito please.
We don’t sell Nacho Cheese Chalupa’s anymore.
Oh really…? Hrmmm. Well then I would like a Supreme chalupa with no sour cream.
No sour cream?
Yes. No sour cream. Oh and can you add Nacho Cheese to that too?
A Supreme Chalupa with no sour cream and nacho cheese?
Yes.

So, in case you are wondering how to get a Nacho Cheese Chalupa, that’s how.

So… same story no happy ending yet. Today I go to Taco Bell and I order my order. This time they say “We don’t sell enchiritos anymore”. And so I said “What?…”

What?...
What?…

So, as it turns out, they are selling Enchiritos, they’ve just renamed them and made them more expensive. They are now called “Smothered Burritos” and they come with Sourcream on them in addition to the normal stuff. Can you say argggggg? I can. You should try it, I think you probably could.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks it’s LAME to rename an item on your menu and make it more expensive. Then again I guess they can do what they want to do… be stupid.

Pick of the Week for August 5th

Alright. I decided that rather than pushing the pick of the week off to the end of the week, like I did last week, I would just post it right at the beginning. No excuses!

It took me a while to decide which song to post here. I knew I wanted to post a song by The Birthday Massacre, I just had no idea which one to post! Now if you don’t know who The Birthday Massacre is, you are missing out! You might not think so my the name, but they are awesome. The have a seemingly perfect blend of 80’s bands like The Cure with modern day rock. I dig them, and you probably will too!

As I mentioned, it took me a while to decide which song to post on here. I decided, hey it’s my blog, so I can always post another TBM song at a later date. In any case, the fact that I had such a hard time deciding is a testament to the band in and of itself. The fact is, the entire Pins and Needles album is good and you should probably go buy it, right now.

The name of the song is “Sideways” and the reason it won out over the other TBM songs is because of the intro. The intro to this song is dang good! Listen below and buy the song here.

Pick of the Week for July 29

Ok. So I’ve been fighting some crazy sickness all of this week and half of last week. This has left me under the weather and the thought of blogging just skipped my mind. You’ll have to forgive me. I said you have to so… I’ll assume it’s a done deal.

Now, the pick of the week comes from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. It’s the opening song. Now, I haven’t been able to find the actual song anywhere. It looks like the film used a modified version of “(That’s Your) Consciousness” by Dan Hartman.

The song constantly gets stuck in my head. The opening scene of this movie is one of my favorite opening scenes of ALL TIME! It’s just that good. This song just has a good ol’ 80’s feel to it. So, without further ado here is the opening scene of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II.

EDIT: Here is the youtube link to the Dan Hartman song. (The movie rendition is much better)

Use a JSON Parser to Visualize a JSON String

Just noting this here for future reference.

Whenever I am working with JSON I find it useful to be able to parse it. Now I can certainly parse it with Chrome’s inspector and see it in the console… but it’s nice to have an easy online tool to use as well.

The tool I use, and the tool that has helped me find several issues in the past, is JSON Parser Online. It’s really nice to be able to see the JSON string on the left and the parsed object on the right.

Pick of the Week for July 22

Oh boy, it seems as if I’m becoming really good at not posting the pick of the week at the beginning of the week… ah well.

So I used to play World of Warcraft… a lot. I remember racing home from work on lunch breaks just so that I could log in to my level 4 Night Elf Druid. I ran all over Teldrassil and there was a time when I thought that Teldrassil was all that there was to the game. I won’t even tell you about how amazed I was when I realized that there was a whole huge world out there to explore. But… I guess I just did. Woops, my bad.

Here’s the thing. The entire time I was running around the giant tree doing random things for random people there was one thing being pounded into my head. Can you guess what that was? Nope… it wasn’t a gigantic piece of Salami. I’m not sure why you would even think that… It was, however, the song that I’ve picked below. The song is named “Teldrassil” after the gigantic tree that we Night Elves all ran around in.

The song I’ve picked is actually different than the one that appears on the Original Soundtrack. So… because I feel a bit dishonest about that I’ve linked to both songs! There are definitely similarities between the two. My favorite part between the two starts at 1:10 in the first video. It definitely brings back some good memories. You can buy the song in the second video on iTunes. Here’s the songs already… sheesh no need to get violent.

The first song named “Teldrassil”

The second song named “Teldrassil”

The Case of the Disappearing Cookie

If you are working on a site that doesn’t have a proper TLD (i.e. http://localhost:8013) you will notice that setting cookies on the browser doesn’t seem to work the way it should. Sometimes your cookie, which works perfectly fine on a site with a TLD, will not show up on your local site.

For example, this code will work perfectly fine on a site with a TLD but not on your local site.

newCookie = New HttpCookie(ConfigurationManager.AppSettings("YOUR_SPECIAL_COOKIE_NAME"))
newCookie.Domain = ConfigurationManager.AppSettings("BASE_DOMAIN")
HttpContext.Current.Response.Cookies.Add(newCookie)

At this point you might be thinking, ‘I did everything right, where did my cookie go?‘.

This comes down to how the browser handles setting cookies that have a specified domain. The browser prepends a ‘.’ (that’s a dot) to the beginning of any domain specified for a cookie. On normal domains this basically just says that this cookie is valid for this domain and any subdomains. The following non-doctored image proves it:

Set two cookies, one with a specified domain and one without.

Setting Test Cookies
JavaScript to set test cookies for the superfrogadventures.com domain.

This results in the following two cookies

Shows the results of the first cookie set.
Shows the results of the first cookie set.
The Second Test Cookie
Shows that the domain does not have a dot.

You will notice that the domains are a bit different. One has a ‘.’ while the other does not.

So. All this to say, if you are developing locally (or on a site without a TLD) then you will need to save your cookies without a “domain”. This will ensure that the cookie is accessible. Otherwise you will probably need to create yourself some sort of domain with a TLD.

Finding a Column with a Specific Name in TSQL

I just recently ran into a situation where I needed to find a table that contained a specific column in the database. I’m not looking for a column value, I’m looking for the name of the column. So, like any good programmer would do, I spent some time Googling…

There were a number of unhelpful articles and answers on the subject. I sifted through everything and finally landed upon an answer that worked! Unfortunately I forgot where it came from, so if any of you know where this little trick came from feel free to let me know.

In order to find a column with a specific name in TSQL you can use the following query:

USE [YOUR_DATABASE_NAME]
GO
SELECT t.name AS table_name,
SCHEMA_NAME(schema_id) AS schema_name,
c.name AS column_name
FROM sys.tables AS t
INNER JOIN sys.columns c ON t.OBJECT_ID = c.OBJECT_ID
WHERE c.name LIKE '%[WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR]%'
ORDER BY schema_name, table_name;

Just replace [YOUR_DATABASE_NAME] with the name of the database you are using and [WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR] with the full column name or a part of the column name you are looking for.

Pick of the Week for July 15

Wow, the week has gone by fast. Last week I could hardly wait to post the new pick of the week, and already it’s Tuesday of this week! I blame this partly, or mostly, on selling our home and trying to buy a new one before we have to move out of our current one. If you have never done this before, let me tell you, it’s crazy! The thing is, we really did not want to move into a rental temporarily, we want to move directly into the new house. We only have until 08/15 to find a new place though!

Alright, alright. Enough about me and more about the pick of the week! This weeks pick comes from one of my top 5 all time artists. She quickly gained this spot a few years back and I’m guessing she will retain it for years to come. The artists name is: LIGHTS. And let me tell you, LIGHTS is awesome. She’s kind of like me in that regard.

Several things I like about LIGHTS.

  1. She makes awesome music.
  2. She is a gamer (openly confessing that she loves World of Warcraft)
  3. She is real in the what you see is what you get kind of way.

LIGHTS is a Canadian artist known for her electronic keyboard and synth driven music. Recently she has dabbled in dubstep creating a genre which she dubs “DreamStep”. She uses a Keytar as well as a microKORG (I really wish I had a microKORG actually). In addition to her electronic and synth driven music she is also has some amazing vocals and has released a number of accoustic albums.

The name of the song I’ve picked is “My Boots”. It’s a track that didn’t make it onto her Siberia release, and therefore I didn’t know about it until recently. I like the track because it blends some of her older stuff from “The Listening” with some of her newer stuff from “Siberia“. It’s not like most of the dubsteppish songs on Siberia. It’s got a lighter feel to it.

Take a listen to “My Boots” below and buy it here.

Pick of the Week for July 8th

Has it already been a week since my last pick of the week? Crazy how time flies!

Alright, so within the last week I’ve discovered an artist that I absolutely love! She’s got a great voice and when she sings it just flows like honey. It could also be that she sings in French… and French just seems to flow really well.

For those of you who are wondering the name of this artist is Cœur de Pirate, which, according to WikiPedia, is French for “pirate heart”. Her real name, though, is Béatrice Martin and she is 23 years old. She’s been playing the piano since she was three years old. That’s pretty awesome, I’ve got a three year old and I can’t, at the moment, imagine him sitting still in front of a piano for very long.

The name of the song I’ve picked is, “Saint Laurent”. It’s got some keyboard and accoustic guitar, but the instruments themselves pretty much fade into the background when she starts singing. You can listen to the song below. You can purchase the album or the “Saint Laurent” song here.