Melodie Professional Edition

Melodie ProOnce upon a time, churches used overhead projectors to display song lyrics on screen for people to follow. This was not bad for its time, but it did require a lot of work on the operator. It was tedious (and stressful) to search for songs fast under pressure; one needed nimble fingers to jump to different stanzas quickly, and strange cardboard-contraptions to obscure certain lines. And apart from rolling back the projector and re-focusing, adjusting the size and resolution or the background was difficult if not impossible. But thankfully, in this era such contraptions are a thing of the past.

After many long months of programming, I’m happy to introduce our latest software creation: Melodie. With Melodie, you can store your entire library of songs on a computer, and then quickly retrieve them, and have lyrics scroll down at a certain pace, and/or quickly queue up the next song or stanza at the direction of a song leader. The idea is distraction-free worship.

But if you need to add a little color or make a more dynamic song/bible presentation (for a youth choir, or Sunday School graduation for example) you can still do that with Melodie!

With the new Professional Edition of Melodie you can set dynamic backgrounds (picture clouds moving) via videos. The text, fonts, margins etc. are all customizable. In fact, Melodie Professional has a whole suite of neat features, such as:

  • Dual-Screen Output
  • Direct X-based text scrolling for enhanced smoothness and control
  • Jump quickly to individual song lines as well as stanzas
  • Supports wide screen output aspect ratios
  • Easy to use (cliché-sounding, but it really is easy)
  • Bulk import your song data from a spreadsheet
  • Songs can be “tagged” by keywords to aid in searching.
  • Video loop and gradient background options
  • Advanced full-text song searching algorithm
  • Quick Bible passage look-ups (comes with the KJV and ASV bible)
  • Shortcut / Function keys make operation a cinch
  • Melodie keeps itself up-to-date automatically

Check out The Melodie Professional Edition website to download and learn more!

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Mission Window Seat

It’s getting colder out, so I’ve hustled to finish my final woodworking project for the year. I put the last coat of poly last night. It’s called: The Mission Window Seat. It’s made entirely of Red Oak (my first time working with oak).

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Twenty Months Later

Twenty months. Imagine that. It’s been that long since I wrote anything on this site. It’s amazing to think I started this blog a little over 6 years ago, and almost two of those years was left without writing a single thing (at least on here). I’ve since upgraded my wordpress version to the latest one — the update to end all updates apparently. The new versions can automatically upgrade themselves without the need to FTP anything across, backup a database, and/or delete files manually. (At least that’s what I think I read.)

In the last two years, I’ve since discovered woodworking and how awesome it is especially if you have these Ariat Work Boots review 2016
. Most of my evenings are spent in the garage (which is now a balmy 1.6 C or 29 F) and is my new safe-haven. I can spend hours on hours in there getting lost in my work, forgetting to eat, and only stopping when I’m physically and mentally so tired I end up making costly mistakes. So far, none of those costly mistakes have resulted in amputation — thank God!

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.NET Color to Hex Code

There are times (many) that a .NET developer needs to use the web-iversal Hex code for a color as opposed to the pretty-named Microsoft palette. I can’t begin to count the times I’ve needed a simple Hex code for LightSteelBlue, or LemonChiffon, or one of my favorites, Gainsboro. Hence, provided below, I’ve made a little table of all the .NET colors alongside a reference to the web Hex code equivalent. It’s ordered alphabetically. Hope it’s useful! It sure makes for a colorful post.

AntiqueWhite #FAEBD7
Aqua #00FFFF
Aquamarine #7FFFD4
Azure #F0FFFF
Beige #F5F5DC
Bisque #FFE4C4
Black #000000
BlanchedAlmond #FFEBCD
Blue #0000FF
BlueViolet #8A2BE2
Brown #A52A2A
BurlyWood #DEB887
CadetBlue #5F9EA0
Chartreuse #7FFF00
Chocolate #D2691E
Coral #FF7F50
CornflowerBlue #6495ED
Cornsilk #FFF8DC
Crimson #DC143C
Cyan #00FFFF
DarkBlue #00008B
DarkCyan #008B8B
DarkGoldenrod #B8860B
DarkGray #A9A9A9
DarkGreen #006400
DarkKhaki #BDB76B
DarkMagenta #8B008B
DarkOliveGreen #556B2F
DarkOrange #FF8C00
DarkOrchid #9932CC
DarkRed #8B0000
DarkSalmon #E9967A
DarkSeaGreen #8FBC8B
DarkSlateBlue #483D8B
DarkSlateGray #2F4F4F
DarkTurquoise #00CED1
DarkViolet #9400D3
DeepPink #FF1493
DeepSkyBlue #00BFFF
DimGray #696969
DodgerBlue #1E90FF
Firebrick #B22222
FloralWhite #FFFAF0
ForestGreen #228B22
Fuchsia #FF00FF
Gainsboro #DCDCDC
GhostWhite #F8F8FF
Gold #FFD700
Goldenrod #DAA520
Gray #808080
Green #008000
GreenYellow #ADFF2F
Honeydew #F0FFF0
HotPink #FF69B4
IndianRed #CD5C5C
Indigo #4B0082
Ivory #FFFFF0
Khaki #F0E68C
Lavender #E6E6FA
LavenderBlush #FFF0F5
LawnGreen #7CFC00
LemonChiffon #FFFACD
LightBlue #ADD8E6
LightCoral #F08080
LightCyan #E0FFFF
LightGoldenrodYellow #FAFAD2
LightGray #D3D3D3
LightGreen #90EE90
LightPink #FFB6C1
LightSalmon #FFA07A
LightSeaGreen #20B2AA
LightSkyBlue #87CEFA
LightSlateGray #778899
LightSteelBlue #B0C4DE
LightYellow #FFFFE0
Lime #00FF00
LimeGreen #32CD32
Linen #FAF0E6
Magenta #FF00FF
Maroon #800000
MediumAquamarine #66CDAA
MediumBlue #0000CD
MediumOrchid #BA55D3
MediumPurple #9370DB
MediumSeaGreen #3CB371
MediumSlateBlue #7B68EE
MediumSpringGreen #00FA9A
MediumTurquoise #48D1CC
MediumVioletRed #C71585
MidnightBlue #191970
MintCream #F5FFFA
MistyRose #FFE4E1
Moccasin #FFE4B5
NavajoWhite #FFDEAD
Navy #000080
OldLace #FDF5E6
Olive #808000
OliveDrab #6B8E23
Orange #FFA500
OrangeRed #FF4500
Orchid #DA70D6
PaleGoldenrod #EEE8AA
PaleGreen #98FB98
PaleTurquoise #AFEEEE
PaleVioletRed #DB7093
PapayaWhip #FFEFD5
PeachPuff #FFDAB9
Peru #CD853F
Pink #FFC0CB
Plum #DDA0DD
PowderBlue #B0E0E6
Purple #800080
Red #FF0000
RosyBrown #BC8F8F
RoyalBlue #4169E1
SaddleBrown #8B4513
Salmon #FA8072
SandyBrown #F4A460
SeaGreen #2E8B57
SeaShell #FFF5EE
Sienna #A0522D
Silver #C0C0C0
SkyBlue #87CEEB
SlateBlue #6A5ACD
SlateGray #708090
SpringGreen #00FF7F
SteelBlue #4682B4
Tan #D2B48C
Teal #008080
Thistle #D8BFD8
Tomato #FF6347
Transparent #FFFFFF
Turquoise #40E0D0
Violet #EE82EE
Wheat #F5DEB3
WhiteSmoke #F5F5F5
Yellow #FFFF00
YellowGreen #9ACD32
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Shakespeare Reader

I’d like to introduce my latest software creation: The Free Shakespeare Reader. What is it exactly? Does it read Shakespeare plays for you? No.

I suppose if you take the title literally, it’s a total misnomer. But, it’s too late to change it!

What my new application does, is it provides the user with all 38 of Shakespeare’s plays in a single application, with study aids like a play-notebook, word/paragraph counts, full-text searching, etc. All the plays are packaged into the application, so you don’t need an internet connection on your computer to access or search through any one of the plays. This is a handy and invaluable application for students and Shakespeare fans everywhere.

Best of all, it’s free. Just download it to any computer running Windows, execute the installer, and voila you have plasma cutter reviews, you’re done! (To uninstall, go to your control panel/add-or-remove programs, and select “shakespeareReaderInstaller”.)

For more info and some screen shots, visit this page. Hope you like it!

Download Link : Mirror 1 (ShakespeareReaderInstaller.msi)

Shakespeare Reader Screenshot

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Obama, History

This doesn’t feel real. An African American president?

I’m at home, sick with a cold, alone in bed with my laptop, and the road outside my window is all quiet. There are no cars going by. There are no children outside running around cat-calling. The television is off. But I can feel my own pulse beating off of my pillow.

What was it like when Martin Luther King Jr was shot? Or, when JFK gave his speech; or when he was shot? Watching those moments of history in archive footage, I often wonder what it would be like living in one. I sometimes think the moment must have been loud, and rattled the globe like an earthquake. And I always wonder what I would have done, or felt, in those giant moments in history.

Well, I feel like I just witnessed one of those moments last night on television. I kept pausing my mind, looking at myself listening, trying to snap-shot the moment in my head; believing I was actually listening live to a sound byte that will be heard over and over again for generations to come.

What a day, the next morning. It’s all quiet.

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Paper can be folded to make things

One might assume that after, what, 7 years of college and with a majority of those classes involving a bit of writing, that one would finally grasp the idea that waiting to the last minute to write a paper is generally not a pleasant experience. Furthermore, one might assume that if this person did have a long paper to write, his/her free time would perhaps be better spent working on the paper rather than: sleeping 10 hours, checking email impetuously every 10 minutes, writing a post on a worn-out blog about said procrastination, considering purchasing the Firefly DVD set on that has since dropped in price, checking the status of 401K plan for future retirement in the summer of 2048, aimlessly following silly links of people doing silly things on Digg, and …

Alright, I suppose I should buckle-down and do some work; also, need to not think about presentation to class about said non-written paper for tomorrow. Will figure something out on ride over: thinking, magic trick, or “man trapped in invisible box” routine may be sufficient.

(Need also to remember to slap self on face for sounding too much like Bridget Jones on blog post.)

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Pistachio Binge

Alright, that was stupid. I just came back from a long day of work and class; it was 9pm; and there was no food in the house except for a plastic bucket-like thing filled with pistachios. I think it’s easy to see where this is going. Yeah, I just ate about 5 pounds of pistachios in one sitting. I tell ya, it’s breaking apart the shells that gets me. Since you have to work a little to get to that tasty center, it all seems like a healthy cycle of toil and reward, toil and reward.

Not helping; Ugh, I think I’m going to be sick. Cancel all my appointments!

(What do you mean I don’t have any?)

Ha ha.. i was just jokeing…. i actually did some work and here we are. The ultimate paper shredder reviews by portablecnerd are up! Check them out!

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Cuil, and its Lukewarm Debut

Someone had forwarded me a link today to a new search engine called This new search engine was developed by three ex-Google senior engineers and claims to offer a new more updated approach for scouring the web. Apart from my initial frustration with the name which I struggled to pronounce phonetically—quill? queal? swill?—I was even more loath and blushed to discover that the correct pronunciation is in fact “cool”: as in, “cool.”com. This really bothered me. What people are not getting nowadays is that originality runs out after the first implementation. The whole spell-something-wrong-but-pronounce-it-different thing is completely old hat (much like that phrase). When “flickr” came out with their domain name back in 2004, it was interesting and different. The same goes for, “,” even “scribd.” So initially, already started at “1.0” for me before I even went to the site. And no offense to engineers (since I am one myself) but I have this feeling (call it a hunch) that it was most certainly one of the engineers who came up with that last season name; either that, or it was this guy.

But, taking aside the crappy name, I talked myself into a calm of openmindedness (which was tough) and attempted to honestly appraise this new search engine on its own functional merits. When I first went to the site, it was exactly as I would of expected it. One simple textbox and an Ajax-powered search “suggest,” that as you start typing will predict what you are going to say by querying other popular results. The suggest engine certainly needs some work, though, this is again not exactly a novel idea: this was something that Google had first developed—to better effect—and that you could use if you so elect. I don’t know about you, but I love Google’s “I’m feeling Lucky” button and use it as often as I remember it’s there. It’s a great way to save a click during quick web searches and more often than not will land you in the place you had hoped to be. Cuil, to my dismay, did not have one. In addition, I use Google all the time to convert things for me. You know, pounds to feet, inches to currency, George Bushisms to English, and Cuil can not currently do this (seemingly easy thing). It can perform basic math, but anything beyond that, it assumes you were looking for a website: I typed in “31 inches in feet” in both Google and Cuil, and only Google gave me what I expected.

When you finally do click the blue search button to perform your query, unlike most search engines that display your result in an easy-to-read horizontal manner that is sorted according to rank, Cuil will instead take the liberty of showing you all your results in a nice confusing all-in-your-face manner, along with some pictures that don’t always align with the results. Call me old fashioned, but there was something off-putting about the results I got back. I don’t like too many things on a screen, and I like to read like I’m reading a book, straight down. And when I’m comfortable with the process, and feel like I’ve mastered it to my own satisfaction, I don’t want to have to readjust to a new format. This is perhaps why Google has kept up its classic look. It might also be the reason that electronic books like Kindle don’t fly off a shelf, or why we don’t use metal sporks at dinner table.

On a positive note, I will admit that the color scheme and overall interface looked rather clean and pretty. But, I’m not sure I want “pretty” in a search engine. I want fast results. I want utility. It should be like a Jeep, not a Mini Cooper. I was a bit hurt that my own website wasn’t indexed on cuil, despite their claim on the about page that states “Cuil searches more pages on the Web than anyone else.” All I could helping saying in my head was, “Really, is that so?”

Overall, when you consider everything else that Google has to offer, it is clear that to compete against such a behemoth would require you to compete on many other fronts aside from the search engine: I’m thinking, Gmail, Reader, blogspot, Maps, Documents, YouTube, et al. But since all these things which are already top-quality products are tightly woven into there flagship product, the Search Engine, it would certainly require more than just pretty colors and a different presentation to outdo them, or even to get enough people to switch over. No, it would require something a lot cuiler.

(see also: A counter-argument by friend and roommate Andrew.)

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Snake Oil Salesman of the Modern Era

I was reminded this evening of a particular day at work in a job I once had. It was myself and two of my colleagues (all programmers) on the phone with two other guys, two other “programmers” (only this time with quotes). It took years for me to fully realize this, but there are people in life, especially in the corporate world, that can offer no useful products or services, apart from a real dexterous skill at the art of talking. While myself and my two other colleagues gathered these vendors together for a little chat to discuss some major design flaws in the product they delivered, the receiving party seemed to deftly avoid and turn on its head everything being said; they somehow turned an hour conversation into an hour signifying nothing: a brilliant art, a legerdemain of the mouth, a slight of tongue.

It started off innocently enough. There was a bland comment about weather, or more precisely, a comparison of the temperature of where we were, to where they were (a mere 200 miles away in Maryland, nothing to reign in National Geographic about). Then a bad, often sexist, joke is dropped. You might fake laugh because, at the time, it seems only the polite thing to do. And then, just like that, they have you. In a drunken haze of innuendo and frivolity, you hang up the phone, satiated, and bemused. Moments later you realize that in one whole hour, nothing had really been accomplished, and that that phone call just cost you 200$. The snake oil salesman of today wears a stripped J Crew tie, carries a laptop, and is glued to his cell phone—but is no less insidious, and no less unctuous. They distract their prey with flashy graphics, complex diagrams, and woo you with fanciful unrealistic promises. And before you know it, they are on your payroll permanently, a fixture on your budget. You may have first thought you were purchasing a temporary piece of plastic PVC piping from Island Plastics to fix a leaky system, but in the end, they are that costly plumber with the low hanging size 42 jeans, but who decides to move into your home.

What you never realize is that this plumber knows just as much about plumbing as you — that is, nothing at all. But, he sells his ignorance much better, and towards a more lucrative—more invidious—profit.

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