Romey's Ramblings

Random musings of Jeromey Balderrama

September 6, 2014
by Romey
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Rdio and getting older

There used to be a time where I would love change and bleeding edge.  When Microsoft or Adobe (or Macromedia for that matter) would release beta software, I was all over it.  I’ve burned a lot of midnight oil playing around with buggy software that wasn’t ready for public consumption.  New things used to excited me, change used to excite me – not so much anymore.  I’m not sure what happened in the course of time: maybe I have less time to play with new things, or maybe my work-stream can’t be disrupted by bleeding edge, maybe I’ve reached a point in my developer career that I’m intolerant of half-baked solutions. Somehow I’ve become adverse to new things.

My latest intolerance: Rdio’s pivot.

I get that in the large crowd of streaming music providers, everyone’s trying to do something to stand out.  I understand that in this cut-throat music industry streaming providers are innovating and that change is hard.  However what bugs the hell out of me is when companies leave behind the people that got them where they are.  It happened to Digg, and Foursquare. I’m wondering if it’s happening to Rdio.

I can appreciate that they want their “Stations” feature to become front and center, and the part of me who loves music discovery appreciates that.  That said, Rdio’s screwed the bread and butter that loyal customers use everyday have been cast aside: their Playlists and Collections interfaces.

Now Collections have become “Favorites”.  Somehow during the process, my “unavailable” songs are front and center, and there’s no easy way to remove them or relink them.

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The problem is that when it matched with my library it would match the song with a version on some “Top 100” compilation, or a soundtrack that’s no longer available – never mind that the album version is alive and well in their library.  If I’m lucky enough I can click into the library and unlink the song 6 clicks later, but for most of these I just get “Page not found”, so I’m stuck. I found that I can remove them in the Android app, but again it takes at least three taps for each song, with no way to do it in bulk.

Playlists – a feature I’ve made full use of – has taken a step back as well.  You used to be able to scroll through them in the navigation bar, but now in the name of simplicity they’re moved a layer deeper, taking away your ability to drag & drop a song directly into that playlist.

Lastly one of my favorite features is now deeply buried: the ability to see what your friends are currently listening to.  It used to be available on the main interface as the “People” tab, now it’s embedded and more of a snapshot.

Maybe someone at Rdio is on to something, maybe they’ve found the killer feature that is going to drive droves of new people to shell out money for Rdio subscriptions. Hopefully they’re right, because all it’s doing is making many of their longtime fans reconsider their patronage… or maybe I’m just getting older and change is passing me by.

August 4, 2014
by Romey
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Clara’s Birthday Serenade

On Clara’s actual first birthday, we actually took her out for Mac & Cheese at REd Robin for dinner. Clara got her first birthday serenade. It’s funny watching the look on her face fade to general unease to what’s happening behind her.

August 3, 2014
by Romey
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Why I haven’t written: Part 2–Clara’s First Birthday

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The weekend after returning from our SOB trip was the celebration of Clara’s first birthday.  I used to think it was funny to spend all of this time and energy to plan a party that your kid won’t ever remember, but sure enough when Clara’s first rolled around we wouldn’t have it any other way.  We decided to plan a party around her favorite song, “Old McDonald”, going with the farm theme.  Bethany put a ton of work into the party with features like a fruit stand, goodie bags with cowboy hats and bandanas.

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We had a lot of fun putting together some mementos like her “year of firsts” chart, as well as a picture from each month of her life.

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Clara had her first taste of something sweet at her party, devouring her Little Piggy cake that her mom made for her. When we set the cake in front of her, she didn’t quite know what to do with it at first.  After giving her a little dollop of the frosting, she went to down and devoured it with both hands.

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We also featured a piñata at her party, but Clara’s first inclination was to ride it.

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After two rounds of kids hitting it, the piñata finally broke open and gave way all of it’s candy.

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Thank you to everyone who helped make Clara’s day so special!

August 2, 2014
by Romey
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Why I haven’t written: Part One–Summer of Balderramas

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As a justification to you (but mainly to myself) as to why I haven’t posted all summer, I wanted to share of some of the cool stuff that kept me away from blogging.  Up first is our SOB trip – Summer of Balderramas.

Our family is trying to get on the pattern of setting up a reunion vacation every 3-4 years.  We did the first one in Breckenridge, CO back in 2011.  This year we put one together in Daytona Florida for a week in June.  We had a bit of a smaller turnout compared to the last one, but we actually had different family members come out to this trip and had an awesome time.  At one point, there were 18 of us all together.  As with all vacations as of late, we once again booked a VRBO house that sat right on the beach.  The shot below was taken from our back yard on a wooden walkway.  This house was amongst of group of five others that were right on the beach.  Neighboring them were groups of hi-rise buildings with condos, hotels, restaurants and shops.  It was really neat to think that we were occupying the same footprint as a hi-rise with hundreds of people.  During the day folks would drive their cars onto the beach, which then became pretty funny when they got stuck in the sand – similar to folks getting stuck in the slush out here.  For the most part though we had the area right in front of the house to ourselves.  Every day I had Zac Brown Band’s “Toes” playing in my head.

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We couldn’t fathom going to Florida and not going to Disney World, so we had that in our agenda.  Given that we were traveling children that were 1 and 2, we didn’t think the lines and 48”+ height requirements of Magic Kingdom would have been best for two little ones that were likely going to skip naps, so we opted for Epcot.  There was plenty for them to see and interact with, as well as letting the grown ups do the “Beers Around the World” crawl by drinking in each country of the lagoon.  The girls spent the morning doing a breakfast with the Disney Princesses, and Clara got lipstick on her cheek with a kiss from Snow White.  We did a couple of low-key rides which were on par with “It’s A Small World”.  Clara also loved seeing all of the musical features as well, as the Taiko Drumming.

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Epcot definitely wore her out though.  She took a mini-nap in the USA part of the lagoon, but she stayed up through the fireworks show, easily making this her longest day ever.

Later in the week we drove across the state to visit Clara’s Great Grandparents, enjoying a great lunch with them. Clara loved exploring all of the cool things they had.

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The rest of our trip was spent hanging out at the beach house, drinking a lot of beer, eating raw oysters and clams, playing games and staying low key.  Clara was a champ during her first plane ride, staying sane through most of the 4 hour flights.  The trip home turned out to be pretty rough, as weather shut down DIA and forced us to stop in Amarillo for a refuel, making our trip home interesting. All-in-all: this was a fantastic vacation.

August 1, 2014
by Romey
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I’m baaaaaaack!

Two pages in the calendar have turned since the last time I posted. It eats at me. I love to write and share my thoughts, but I also love other things like my family, working (or at least the benefits of working), and drumming – things that make the days go by pretty quickly. The next thing you know, two months have passed and there are numerous trips, events (like Baby Girl turning one), and reactions that I’ve failed to capture. Well no more.

This month, I’m going to set a goal of posting at least once per day, even if it’s me writing with my thumb on my phone (like tonight). I’m going you get back into the blogging groove, dammit. So if you’re still out there, subscribing and reading me: thank you, and stay tuned!