Saturday, November 19, 2011

Building Up Your Christmas Playlist #1 - A Very Indie Christmas

OK, the radio stations are already going 24x7 Christmas (well, one of my local stations is, anyway), the stores are pushing the Christmas merchandise, and the town fathers have already put the city's lights in place.  In an attempt to get away from the schlock, I'm going to be reviewing my music collection for a different take on the holidays.  As I've mentioned on any number of occasions, I'm the father of four teenagers; since that means precious little discretionary income for personal use, I've spent the last few years diving into the world of indie music, simply because the samplers are free.  I see no reason not to share the results with you...starting with California's Indie Vision Music.

2008's A Very Indie Christmas Vol. 1 is a 53-track behemoth of a sampler (once you download the additional bonus tracks), and it runs across what seems a dozen genres, from screamo to acoustic to punk.  There are some non-Christmas tunes, to be sure, but there's a ton of new takes on the Christmas season that will find their way onto your holiday playlist.  My FLFs (First Listen Favorites) are To Tell's Here Comes Christmas, a fine remake of Joy To The World by A Common Occurence (whose keyboards, for some reason, remind me of early Wendy Carlos), Theocracy's metal anthem On Eagle's Wings, So This Is Christmas? from punk artists MxPx, and Ursa Robotica's synth-pop Arcadia Exeter.  In addition, the bonus track Christmas Time, from Esterlyn, is a wonderful acoustic tune, in traditional Christmas style, that (to be honest) you could slip onto your mom's playlist.

Grab your own copy from the link below - I'll be posting more Christmas freebies over the next few weeks.

A Very Indie Christmas Vol. 1 | Compilations | Indie Vision Music

Friday, November 11, 2011

A New Release of an Old Friend - Wireshark 1.6.3

As a software engineer with a particular interest in networking, Wireshark is definitely my #1 tool.  If you're interested in learning more about networking, or how your applications REALLY behave on the network, Wireshark is the tool for you.  It's every bit as full-featured as commercial network analysis products, and it has a vibrant community of users.  There's a wealth of good "getting started" information on the Wireshark web site, much of which is linked within the application itself.  Have I mentioned that this is my #1 tool?

Now, it isn't perfect--no network analyzer is--so you can't always take its interpretation as literal truth.  Nonetheless, I find that it delivers everything I need and more.  I use it not only for troubleshooting and debugging, but also for teaching and reference purposes.

The newest release, 1.6.3, is available at the link below.  Wireshark binaries are available for Windows (32- and 64-bit), Windows U3 and PortableApps, OS X 10.5 (Intel & PPC), and OS X 10.6 for 64-bit Intel.  Most Linux distrubutions deliver their own packages for Wireshark, but the source code is available for download if you want to roll your own install.

Get it.  Use it.  Learn it.

Wireshark · Go deep.