Best Friend Forever Login

To participate, register for Best Friend Forever access or login below:

Latest Release

Brad Sucks: Guess Who's a Mess album cover

Guess Who's a Mess, my third album. 10 tracks, instant downloads.

Not into albums?

 

Email Signup

Get the latest Brad Sucks updates:

Upcoming Shows

Blog

image Here is a nerdy data complaint:

Earlier this year the Ottawa Police announced they would be publishing daily crime data via CrimeReports.com, it’s a nice searchable interface using Google Maps. I loved the idea and thought it was fantastic that citizens had an easy way to search and view this data.

Fast-forward a few months and I had some ideas I wanted to try with the public crime data. I hunted around for a way to access the data in a usable format or at least an RSS feed, but there were none that I could find. I looked into scraping the data from CrimeReports.com and that was non-trivial. CrimeReports.com offers emailed crime reports (blegh) and here’s what their Frequently Asked Questions page says on the matter:

How can users access crime information for their areas of interest?
CrimeReports.com is a community-facing Web application, and as such, emphasizes the user experience. A CrimeReports.com user simply enters an address of interest (home, office, school, etc.) and clicks on "Get Report" to see criminal activity in a given area on an easy-to-use map interface. The CrimeReports.com Web application also integrates data from multiple agencies into a single interface and offers automated, location-based alerting services.

Which to me is code for “CrimeReports.com would rather lock-in the data, and as such, not help potential competitors.”

Finally, I contacted the Ottawa Police and asked if there’s a way for regular folks to access the daily data they’re providing to CrimeReports.com. They pointed me to the weekly reports (which look like this, and would be usable with some parsing). Only problem: these have been discontinued in 2009 in favor of sending all the data to CrimeReports.com. They said there’s no public feed for that data and that I’d need to make a Freedom of Information request.

So we have a situation here where the Ottawa crime data has been moved to a site that’s easier for 99% of citizens to access and understand, but the data is locked up in a third-party website and inaccessible to anyone who wants to do some serious work with it. Which to me is a huge step backwards.

Posted on - May 29, 2009 [at] 2:13 pm by Brad
Tagged in - , , , , ,

Looks like I’m gonna fail on getting a demo out this month. The new web design kinda ate up my Brad Sucks time, but that’s no excuse. I’ll have to think of an appropriately humiliating punishment.

Posted on - May 28, 2009 [at] 4:04 pm by Brad
Tagged in - ,

I’ve been so-so about the Wolfram|Alpha hype, but it finally launched and it’s definitely neat. Comparing it to Google is semi-ridiculous as Google uses structured data and “facts” only as an afterthought.

The servers are taking a beating right now, but here are some queries that were interesting to me:

A lot of data I encountered is old-ish – a lot is from 2004 — which I think says more about the crappy state of authoritative structured data than Wolfram|Alpha itself.

I think the most exciting thing about Wolfram|Alpha is that it’s intriguing and useful enough that it may encourage more organizations and individuals to make their current data available and keep it up to date. Which would be a huge benefit to everyone.

Posted on - May 16, 2009 [at] 7:20 am by Brad
Tagged in - , ,

I’m at this weird point in my music “career” where doing it all myself is getting hard to maintain. I’m naturally cagey about involving anyone else in my stuff but it’s probably time to delegate some of the things I’m not good at (booking, promotion, talking to other human beings).

I’ve been attending workshops put on by Live 88.5, a local radio station, and it’s been helpful – mostly in that it’s shown me what I don’t want.

Not to bag on the panelists because it was very informative and they’re all successful, but I felt like a big dumb outsider. Things I heard: “What the fuck is a twitter”, “I get my son to show me how to work Facebook”. The preferred strategy was generally:

  • Tour endlessly
  • Lose money/go into debt
  • Chase radio play
  • Wait for it to eventually become profitable

This obviously can work and that’s cool, though the scale seems impractical to me.

I’m not unique in having put together a modest fanbase and income from music, and that strategy feels like a tremendous step backwards. And for what? All I can think of is the promise of fame, but sustainability’s always been more attractive to me.

Last night I asked a long rambling question focusing on the Internet, but I think the larger question is: where do I find people who can help me grow from where I am, not re-start my career in some traditional way?

Posted on - May 14, 2009 [at] 12:05 pm by Brad
Tagged in - , ,

imageSomeone suggested I submit my stuff to JamLegend, which is a browser-based Rock Band kind of thing, so I did that.

Now Dirtbag is online there.

The most recent comment right now says: “vry easy song and boring”. I got 96% accuracy on my first run.

Update: Making Me Nervous is also online.

Posted on - May 12, 2009 [at] 8:13 pm by Brad
Tagged in - , ,

Hey, it’s my new website! That was a hell of a lot of work and a rough transition today but it seems to mostly be online and working. Tweaks are forthcoming.

While I was happy with most navigation aspects of the old site, I wanted something a bit sexier. I hired Rob Palmer from Branded07.com to do the design and after months of hacking on it, I’m very happy. I could bore you all with the design goals but blaghhh does anyone really care? I say no, nobody cares.

Anyway it behaves much like the old one but with an emphasis on music playing and search and looking sweet. If there are any folks out there who want the job of porting the design to my forums and maybe my MySpace, please get in touch.

Now I will go drink of a beer.

Posted on - May 11, 2009 [at] 9:26 pm by Brad
Tagged in - , ,

After having so many live performance troubles with the M-Audio Firewire 410, I looked around for the best alternative. My research lead me to the MOTU UltraLite mk3. People referred to it as “rock solid” and I had previously heard lots of great things about MOTU hardware. There’s not a lot of competition in this area for some reason. Anyway, I bought one.

Immediately I started having audio drop-outs. Firmware upgrades were involved. I filed a trouble ticket and I complained on Twitter. I read lots of posts and comments about MOTU’s “legendary” bad support (which was not so legendary that I knew about it before I bought one of their products). I wound up going back tonight to have a look at my ticket’s status and check this out:

 motu-sucks

Wow, ten days later and my ticket’s still Unread. I mean I guess appreciate that they’re up front about not caring, but maybe putting forth at least the illusion of customer service would be a better business strategy. I don’t know.

Posted on - May 1, 2009 [at] 12:46 am by Brad
Tagged in - , , ,