Learn the libraries or reinvent the wheel?

For the most part of my time working with PHP, I’ve done things my own way. I don’t use a lot of libraries or read too many articles or books about how to "correctly" develop web applications. I know that most developers stay up to date with the latest libraries that help alot with development. There are also a lot of premade free packages out there that can give you a content management system in minutes such as Word Press. And there are probably a lot of things I’m doing wrong since I’m self taught. Yet I’m still doing my own thing and dread the idea of doing it any other way.

And for a long time I felt like I was an inferior web developer because I wasn’t taking that approach to web development. It’s like I’m reinventing the wheel, the same wheel thousands of other developers have already made.

But an interesting thought occured to me today. With music, I typically don’t like to read sheet music when I play the piano, despite being fairly quick at sight reading. I’d rather figure out the notes myself by ear and then rearrange the music in a different way. And when I do it this way, I understand the music far more than if I had learned it through sheets and it becomes more enjoyable to play.

So maybe that’s my nature; figuring it out for myself. Maybe it’s because I’m a creative person. It seems more fun to me to build an app myself rather than just downloading an existing app and customizing it or plugging in this library with that library.

So here’s to all you reinventers of the wheel out there!

But I make an exception for Javascript. It’s too much of a pain in the ass to write it myself and I’m going to use jQuery to do all the heavy lifting. F*** you, you stupid DOM and your stupid nuance differences in browsers! I HATE writing Javascript!



First off, a couple updates
New music in the music section:
:music: 18 Minute Zelda – Zelda: A Link to the Past
:music: En Route To Evil – Final Fantasy 7, 8

And that new PaperDemon illustration is complete but I’m not going to publish it until the new PD template debuts.

Onto my blog post…
I’ll warn you first, I’m about to tell you a very ridiculous story.

Back in the days of AOL 3.1 when I was like 13 and had AOL as my internet service provider, AOL had recently introduced their Hometown AOL service where members had a couple megs of storage for a personal website. There was this one person, can’t remember his alias but we’ll call him Craig for now, who had a Vegeta shrine web page that I thought was pretty snazzy. His web page was auto-playing a midi file of a song I had never heard of but I assumed it was a Dragon Ball Z song. I thought the song was really cool and I forever associated it with Vegeta because of the context I had first heard it in. I loved the song so much that I decided to email Craig and ask him to email me the MIDI. He was quite rude about it and refused to send it to me. Being the smart ass annoying person that I was on the Internet at age 13, I replied and said that he should just give it to me because he didn’t compose it anyway. The rights to it belong to the creators of Dragon Ball Z. He replied saying that it wasn’t from DBZ but is instead from a Mega Man game.

I was just starting to learn some HTML at the time and decided to see if I could figure out a way to extract the MIDI file from the webpage. Sure enough, I viewed the source, found the file name, and typed the direct location of the file in my browser and was able to save the midi to my computer. I saved the file name as hahaha.mid. 😛

Some years later I wanted to try and get an MP3 file of the song since MIDIs tend to sound so crappy. I could not for the life of me find any Megaman song that sounded anything like hahaha.mid and eventually gave up on ever finding it. Then one day as I was flipping through channels on the television, I heard hahaha.mid playing on Dancing with the Stars as two contestants were leaving the stage. I realized the song must not have been a Megaman song. More recently I had heard it in a football commercial. If I could only figure out the title of the song I could track down the MP3.

And then it finally happened.

Yesterday I was searching around YouTube and came across an AMV (Anime Music Video) of Dragon Ball Z that was playing hahaha.mid and credited the song as The Final Countdown by Europe. FINALLY I had the answers I was looking for for YEARS! And I immediately went onto iTunes to purchase the song.

It’s funny how this whole thing started and ended with Dragon Ball Z. The source of all knowledge truly is Dragon Ball Z. Things really came full circle.


Maintaining progress

For those interested, there’s a new piano arrangement available in the Music section called Magi Homeland. Be sure to check it out. I’ll have more music posted soon within the coming weeks.

So at work we do these things called Snippets every week. It’s just basically a list you email out on Mondays showing what you accomplished last week and what’s on your plate for this week.

I like doing these snippets so much that now I maintain a personal active snippets page for keeping track of all of my personal projects such as PaperDemon.com, Zarbon’s Masterpiece Theater, and Surviving Together.

I’m working a second internship full time at Google again. And I convert to a permanent employee as soon as I have my degree, which will be sometime in May. It’s pretty sweet to have a job lined up for you right after finishing college.

But back to the snippets thing, I’ve tried so many different types of strategies to keep track of my work. I’ve tried planning things out on a calendar. That didn’t work because I didn’t like being held to a set schedule. I’d rather work on the projects I feel like working on when I want to. With the snippets thing, I can work on whatever I want to from my To Do list. I still have the flexibility to work with my moods but still get things done. I think this strategy will be the one that sticks.

I’ve started working on Surviving Together again. LavenderGoddessV has just finished posting a revamped version of part one of this awesome fan-fiction trilogy. I will be working from this new version to create my animated rendition of it. This means I’m back to square one on a lot of the project but that’s ok. I’m totally fine with starting over. I love the new version much better anyway. So I’m working on adapting the fanfiction to a screen play. I’ve already completed chapter 1, which wasn’t too hard. But other chapters will be more of a challenge because there are parts where the characters are describing key events in the past tense which means I’ll need to write dialog and other stuff to make all the events happen in present time.

I’ve finally gotten around to programming one of those images with numbers thingies that prevents spam. I’ll implement it soon on my blog so that I can reopen the comments feature. Look for that in the coming weeks.


New Piano Music!

You’ll be happy to know that I have purchased the new Reason Pianos refill. :thumbsup: This has allowed me to take my MIDI recordings and apply these samples and it makes the music sound like it was played on a real piano! :bounce:

So I am proud to announce that TWO new piano songs have been added to the Music section and both were created in Reason using Reason Pianos.

I really love this Reason program. It saves me so much time in so many different areas. Like if I happened to play a sequence too softly, all I have to do is select all the notes from the sequence and tell it to add 15 points of velocity. I couldn’t do that with crappy Cakewalk Music Creator. :annoyed: If I needed to make a sequence of notes louder in Cakewalk, I had to change the velocity of each note in the sequencer separately, which, as you can imagine, takes a really long time and is very tedious.

I still use Cakewalk for recording my MIDI data though because Reason doesn’t automatically stretch the song length if the recorded data exceeds the length of measures. Instead, it just cuts off your recording. I learned that the hard way :slant:


I bought new music software!

Ok so I finally have the money to support my projects and one of the first things I bought was this midi music program called Reason. I heard about it from some members over at OC Remix.

It’s definitely a step up from my shitty Cakewalk program. Reason is so amazingly powerful. I can’t believe the quality of the songs that I’ve heard come out of this program.

But with power, comes complexity…

When I first got it and installed it I tried doing some simple stuff with it like taking some of my piano midis and putting a nicer piano sample on it but I was having trouble doing something as simple as that. o.O I found out about a Reason beginner’s workshop in San Fransisco and I signed up. The workshop was 6 hours long and was only $165 bucks. And it was worth every penny!

If any of you are thinking of trying out this workshop, I highly recommend it. It’s very reasonably priced and you will learn a ton. :thumbsup:

The sequencer part of Reason was pretty easy to figure out because my other MIDI programs, Cakewalk and MIDI Orchestrator Plus have sequencers that look and function almost exactly the same as the one in Reason. But the part that was tripping me up was all the hardware racks and wiring. I have absolutely no experience with audio engineering. A lot of the terms are based on the actual physical hardware that is used when audio engineers create music. All these terms I really didn’t know. :question: The workshop really gave me enough information to really get started working with the program.

As a result I have a new piano piece available in the Music section! :bounce: It’s a piano rendition of the main theme from Surviving Together. It is an original composition. The midi was recorded with Cakewalk a few months ago but the piano sound is from a Reason piano patch.

Reason just came out with a Piano’s Refill pack. I’ve tried multiple times to order it from their online store but for some reason it isn’t going through 🙁

But when I finally do get it, I will use it on some of my existing piano songs in the music section and submit them to OC Remix. I’ll also record some new songs.