Favourite songs of 2009

Around this time last year i posted my Feel-good songs of the year. I thought i might do the same again this year. These are the songs i’ve been enjoying this year, in no particular order.

The King Blues – Save The World Get The Girl – a catchy tune, nice London accents, and the memorable political message to Gordon Brown: “Going to war to prevent war is the most stupid thing I ever heard”.

Regina Spektor – Fidelity – This is the year that i really became a fan of Regina Spektor. It’s hard to choose my favourite song; they are all so good, but this one has an especially adorable video. Eet and Samson have also been played many times. Regina has such a beautiful pure voice which i never tire of hearing.

David Bowie – Life On Mars – features in this year’s favourites simply because i got into watching the television series Life On Mars early this year, and it reminds me of happy sunday afternoons curled up on the sofa watching the show.

La Roux – Bulletproof – Actually, basically anything by La Roux. I love their quirky style, both musically and visually. And i have to admit, i find Elly Jackson insanely attractive!

In October i heard about amazingtunes and amazingradio which have completely transformed my music listening habits. Amazingtunes is an ethical music site where any unsigned artist can upload their own music for the world to hear and buy. The great thing is: artists receive 70% of the download revenue, which is unheard of in the music industry. The best tunes get selected to be aired on amazingradio, where the listeners vote for them to be added to the general playlist.

Amazingradio is available in the UK on DAB digital radio, and online via iTunes or Windows Media Player. Our radio player has pretty much stayed constantly tuned to amazingradio for the last 2 months. It’s a great place to hear new music and support emerging artists. Here is a selection of my favourite music from amazingtunes:

Belle Humble – Try – a most excellent pop track which never fails to get me dancing whenever i hear it!

This Love Affair – Ifs, Buts and Maybes – guitar driven light rock, with a vocalist reminiscent of the Manic Street Preachers.

The Last Tycoons – The Dry Law – i have no idea what this song is about, and the country style is by no means my usual style of music, but i find it intriguing. I particularly like the line, “Everybody’s begging for forgiveness from the Lord, well i ain’t begging for a thing”.

Johan Lundgren – To Friends and Followers – another song with a country feel. A nice simple song, nothing fancy about it whatsoever, with a bittersweet message about the fact that we change friends and aquaintances over time. Some people we wish to stay in touch with, others we just “lost along the way”.

Richard Walker – Look At Yourself – I call this anti-emo music! It’s like: alright, this is your life, stop moping about it, you could blame everybody else, or you could take responsibility for the choices you’ve made. “If you’re looking for someone to ease your pain, take a look at yourself”. I don’t know if this would really help me if i was actually feeling miserable, though!

stornoway – Zorbing – quite a unique sound: a simple tune with an unusual accompaniment, nice harmonies. Zorbing is rolling down a hill in a giant inflatable ball. Something i want to try one day! :)

Well that’s about it. I hope you find something in there that you like. I do encourage you to listen to some songs on amazingtunes, and tune into amazingradio too. There’s a lot of talent in there waiting to be discovered.

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My software apprenticeship

I have recently had the privilege of being accepted as an apprentice to software craftsman and philosopher Enrique Comba Riepenhausen. This is part of Eden Development adopting a craftsmanship approach to software creation.

I am very excited at this new development in my career. It’s going to be hard work because i have a lot to learn, but i am pleased to have made the commitment and to know that i have someone who is playing a very active part in my personal and professional development. Funnily enough, the more i learn, the more i realise how little i really know. The first task that i have been set as part of my apprenticeship is really showing me that.

Eden Development has given me a blog to talk about my progress during my apprenticeship. So i have decided that my apprenticeship blog will become the place that i talk about my technical and coding interests, leaving this blog to be more personal. So if you are interested in me from a technical point of view, please follow edendevelopment.co.uk/blogs/aimee.

There are actually now five apprentices at Eden Development. If you are interested in software craftsmanship it is well worth looking at the Eden staff blogs aggregation to read all our thoughts and experiences on our own journeys.

Update on my wiki

Since i last wrote, i have gone in a few directions trying to get started with my apprenticeship wiki task, got a bit stuck, talked to Enrique a lot, thought a lot, and i think i’m on track now.

My first mistake was to focus on the test framework. I was pretty pleased with my given/when/expect framework, and it actually sort of worked, but it wasn’t really necessary for what i needed. In the spirit of “the simplest thing that could possibly work”, this is the bare minimum you need for a testing framework:

def assert_equal(actual, expected)
  puts actual == expected
end

My second mistake was to get carried away with making a web interface. I learnt a bit about WEBrick and how to embed ERB into a web page. That will become useful later, but it was the wrong place to start. After i had done all that experimenting, i still didn’t have anything remotely like a wiki framework!

Enrique asked me, “what is the most important part of the wiki?” – the answer is: content. If i have no content i have no wiki. So i am making it as basic as possible: creating a Page object and assigning it some content. Then i am moving on to a PageFactory that has the responsibility of finding pages. The pages may be stored in a database, filesystem, or even just in memory. It doesn’t matter for the moment. Whatever i decide to use, the PageFactory will deal with it.

My progress is now on github so you can follow along with my progress if you wish. The repository is sermoa/licky – licky meaning ‘little wiki’! :)