On October 24, Dreamhost upgraded the Ubuntu version on their shared hosting servers, and, in the process, upgraded Django from version 1.4.x or 1.5.x or something to 1.6.11. If you're an idiot, like I am, you neglected to follow the link in the email they sent you on October 10 indicating that you may need to do some prep work on your Django site to stay alive through the transition.
I had an unusually busy late-October and all-of-November, so, presumably, my website turned into a big ugly 500 internal service error on October 24, and I didn't realize it until about a week ago. Whoops. I was just coming down with a lovely instance of the flu when this realization occurred, and didn't have the energy to look into it until a couple days ago.
It was bad enough that running a simple
python manage.py validate
call got me an ImportError on line 2. Woof.
Now, obviously, I'm up and running again. I'm currently using Django 1.11.7 in a Python 2.7.7 virtual environment. If some of those words sound scary to you, don't worry -- they did to me, too, because I'm a middling Python developer at best (I'm more of a .NET pro these days). But it wasn't too bad to set it all up and then port my project over, and I'm going to help you do the same, because I can't have been the only one in this predicament. Let's get started, shall we?
With Twitch's V3 and V5 APIs officially deprecated (though not slated for removal until the end of 2018), Twitch has been rolling out a new API, so if you develop an app with Twitch integration, it's probably not the worst idea in the world to start transitioning now. It's worth noting that the new API Is still heavily under development (for example, there's no way to tell whether a user's subscribed to you or not), but you can, of course, still use the old API when necessary.
Site's Back Up
03 December 2017 00:00 EST under
I believe my site went down on or around October 24. By down, I mean, like, down down: just black-text-on-white-background-500-Internal-Server-Error down. I didn't realize for almost a full month, because I started working long hours for my day-job on October 23, I was away for awhile in early November, more work stuff happened, Thanksgiving happened, and then I got the flu (which I'm almost fully recovered from, yaaaay). It was quite a lot of work (mostly meandering research) to get it up and running again, but with the exception of one server-side thing in the requests system that I'm working on, I think we're good.
I went ahead and added an SSL cert in the process, which makes me feel a lot more comfortable about accessing my admin stuff. Long story short (long, technical story coming later), my hosting service upgraded a bunch of stuff on my server, including Django, the framework I use for, well, everything, and my project was not very compatible with the newer version.
Nobody let me know, so I'm assuming nobody actually visited the site and noticed. So that's, uh...a nice...silver...lining?
I also unpublished most of my blog posts. The vast majority of them were no-content affairs about how shitty I am at being a human, better relegated to a single Tweet. Kinda like this one. The only reason I'm writing this is because the site was just down for a month, so I find the explanation warranted. I really want most of the posts here to take one of a small handful of forms:
- Long-form posts about music notation
- Detailed technical articles about development things I do that I think other people might find useful
- Long-form game reviews
- Updates about having recorded music
- Major site updates
...and that's about it. I've been trying to use Twitter more (for like two days now), so most of my life-related stuff will go there, and I'd like the blog to contain largely longer, higher-quality stuff.
I can't believe I haven't posted a thing to the blog since JULY, but, then again, that does kind of sound like me, so I'm willing to accept that it's true.
It hasn't all been complete laziness, though: a bit over six weeks ago, I set myself the goal of recording a single old arrangement once every week, so I created a new YouTube channel, Dave Conway Piano, and started putting videos on it. Do I like the way they sound? Not really. But I guess I need to work with the equipment and skills I have for now, and that the more important thing is that I'm doing it. In that sense, it does feel good to have recorded an entire set of old arrangements, my Ocarina of Time Suite #1.
As is noted on each recording's page, the sheets are forthcoming; I'm updating them from MuseScore 1.x to MuseScore 2.x, which will make them look a lot nicer, but involves some tedious work in various spots.
I came back to Twitch, and I meant to stay on Twitch, but then I hurt my back at the gym pretty badly (possibly herniated a disc?), which made it really difficult to sit at the piano for long periods of time. I'm feeling much better now, but I've been asked to work more hours for a few weeks while we crunch to meet a release deadline (which is fine, honestly -- more money), so I probably won't be back regularly until mid-November. I just can't seem to make it work with Twitch...hopefully one day.
My life feels much more sorted out than it has all year, but nothing's really changed except for the fact that I've been kicking my own ass a little bit more. I got a wall calendar and a day-planner, and I put stuff in them, and then I do the stuff. I've never been one for organizational tools like that, but, so far, it's actually working, so I guess I'll stick with it!
I think I'll move on to my Pokémon set next, to avoid doing thirteen Ocarina of Time videos in a row, but before I start that, I have at least one original work I want to record: "Autumn Blues," from my original set, "Seasonal Images." I've played it in two concerts now, one quite recently, and it's fresh in my mind and also quite a crowd-pleaser.
Well, half of 2017 has come and gone, and it probably seems like I have, too. I mean, I have, so that's probably why it seems that way.
Quick update: Kate tells me that during every single stream I do, at least one person asks how they can remove or change their queued request. You've never been able to do that: once your request was in, it was in forever, unless I caught you asking about it in chat and manually booted it from the queue for you.
No more! Now, when you make a request while you already have a request in the queue, you will be asked if you'd like to update your existing request. If you choose to do this, your existing request will be changed without losing its position in queue! Should make a lot of people happy.
There's still no way still to straight-up remove your request from the queue, but I think 99% of the time people want to do that, they just want to queue up something different, anyway, so this should please just about everyone.
Hot damn, I'm behind on my blogging. March must have been so bad that I didn't even take time for a brief month-in-review post. Oh well, time to do a bit of catching up.
The other day in stream I was talking about how it would be cool to do recordings of the most-requested music on the stream and throw 'em on YouTube or something, so I ran some queries. I no longer think that that would be a cool idea. At least not yet.
2016, developed by Tokyo RPG Factory, published by Square Enix, $40
If I had to pick a single word that encompasses the entire nature of I Am Setsuna, I would fail. But if I had to pick two words, I would pick "bleak" and "austere." Bleaksterity permeates every facet of this game, from its homogeneous setting to its sparse (almost-)all-piano soundtrack. An overt love-letter to the old-school JRPG (especially Chrono Trigger), I Am Setsuna is a solid first outing from developer Tokyo RPG Factory, but its failure to comprehend all of what made those old games great ensures that it will never join their ranks. Between wooden characters and a deluge of unnecessary "deep customization" features, I Am Setsuna is an experience that's ultimately less than the sum of its parts.
A bit more MuseScore-specific than its predecessor, this installment will focus on some crucial techniques for creating space to give your notes some breathing room.
When I write, I do it at the piano with a black Pilot G2 fine-point pen and manuscript paper. It's the easiest and fastest way to take notes out of my head and put them into some physical medium. When I'm finished with whatever I'm working on, I use MuseScore to make it pretty. I haven't used Finale or Sibelius since I was but a wee lad, so I have no idea of what kind of crazy-powerful features they're packing these days, but when it comes to creating solo piano scores, I have yet to find a thing MuseScore can't do, and my scores can get fairly complex, notationally.
MuseScore is free and open-source software, available for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux, so I expect that a lot of more casual music-notators (that's a word now) will reach for it over the more professional options on the market as well as the more daunting ones (e.g., LilyPond, whose output is amazing but whose learning curve is so precipitous that it's not worth bothering to use except for bizarre, avant-garde notational elements).
Especially when streaming, I come across a lot of horrid scores. Just as how a person may read a lot of books but have difficulty putting a valid sentence together, a pianist might play from a lot of sheet music but never think about how the notes are actually laid out on the page. I did some pretty idiotic stuff when I first started writing things down by hand. Like anything else, you get better at it the more you do it.
That said, I thought it'd be a nice idea to share some notational tricks I use a lot in my piano writing, as well as how to replicate those tricks in MuseScore. First up: cross-staff beaming.