Music faves from 2009

It seems that 2009 is the year when I shifted my attention back to rock and pop music. Dubstep still holds my attention but not to the extent that it did back in 2006 when it took over my brain. Here are the things I enjoyed most in 2009, in no particular order.

Best Albums

Thanks to my friend, Tony, who first mentioned this band to me. The XX are a young bunch who make lean pop music consisting of boy/girl vocals, hand-played drum machines and perfectly placed guitar lines. This album quickly became a habit.

The XX – Islands: [su_audio url=”″ width=”200px”]
The XX – Night Time: [su_audio url=”″ width=”200px”]
The XX – VCR: [su_audio url=”″ width=”200px”]
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Solution to “display:table-row” causing pain and suffering with IE

I recently came up against a situation where I wanted to add rows to a table via javascript.

Not a problem with jQuery, EXCEPT that my table rows were being added with ‘style=”display:block”‘.

What’s wrong with that, you ask? Well, in Firefox the row was being appended to the table but it looked all scrunched into the first cell like so:


OK, fine. Let’s give it a display property of “table-row.” That should work, right? Yes, it works here but not in IE. IE hates this, in fact. IE wants to get a display of “block.”

The solution turns out to be to set the display value to an empty string. Then, each browser will give the row its default value and everyone is happy.


Halloween Dubstep Mix 2009

lassen smallerI did a pre-Halloween dubstep special on my radio show this week.

I have prepared a trimmed down mix, without the backsells, PSAs and station IDs. Instead of a rambling 2 hour program, I have condensed things to about 40 minutes.

Hope you enjoy it. Tracklisting after the jump.

stream: [su_audio url=”″ width=”200px”]
download: halloween_mix_2009.mp3 (54.15MB)
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Google Reader Beautification: Helvetireader

helvetireaderSo crisp and clean!

I have been a Google Reader for a good while now and I think it is a very fine web application. It does what I expect it to do and it does it well. It is utilitarian. It is useful. I use it daily.

But now, I find it even more enjoyable to use. Two greasemonkey scripts have turned my standard Reader interface into something beautiful and even more useable (imho).

Favicons for Google Reader

There are even instructions for using the scripts with Fluid. If you are not familiar with Fluid, it is a utility for creating site-specific browsers based on Safari (WebKit). Get familiar. You’ll like it.

So go, make your Reader prettier (and subscribe to this blog’s feed).

Found it!

I love when I find something that I forgot that I was looking for…

I used to search for this song at every record store I visited from around 1996-2000. It was not a new song at the time, but I really wanted it on 7-inch. Amoeba Records in San Francisco had a corner filled with shelves which were filled with long boxes of Jamaican singles and I would flip blindly through those records, not really knowing much about most of them.

I never found the record.

But today I stumbled on the song again in mp3 form! An old old itch has finally been scratched.

Simpleton – Coca Cola Shape
[su_audio url=”″ width=”200px”]

AA meltdown

battery leakage
Let this be a lesson to you. Do not store electronics with the battery inside.

My minidisc recorder had a battery leak and now it is broken.

If you plan on storing something for a while, remove the battery before placing in storage.

RTFM, my friends. RTFM. And, also, follow your own advice.

PNG-8 with alpha transparency

I learned a new web trick today.

Apparently, Photoshop’s inability to save PNG-8 with alpha transparency is not a limitation of PNG-8 but a limitation in Photoshop.

For years, I have been operating under the assumption that I need to use PNG-24 to achieve transparency effects in my web projects. This is usually a compromise in terms of file size and browser compatibility (requiring ie-specific hacks). But it doesn’t have to be…

[Enter Fireworks]

Fireworks to the rescue:

  • Open your big Photoshop-exported PNG-24 with nice alpha transparency in Fireworks.
  • Change the file format to PNG-8.
  • Change the transparency option to “alpha transparency”
  • Rebuild and export your PNG-8
  • Revel in the MUCH smaller file size

Bonus points for ie6 compatibility!

Learned this from Brenelz’s screencast which was linked on NetTuts