MIDI, Time-Travel, and the Simpsons

03-Homer1
I just had an esoteric experience.

Let’s rewind to 1994.  It was a cool autumn night, or maybe it was summer, who really knows?   As a 16 year old, I was obsessed with orchestration, arrangements, and composition…  you know…  like most other 16 year olds.    I would often sit with a piece of music, and try to hear each instrument and learn each part.  Sure, I could have just gotten the sheet music, but this was more fun. It was a way to train my ear, and see how close I can get to the composer’s original vision.  It taught me a lot about composing, orchestration, as well as song-writing.

Obsessed with The Simpsons, it was only a matter of time, I did the same thing with the hit TV-show’s INFECTIOUS theme music by Danny Elfman.

Well, mission accomplished!  I listened to that song till my ears bled, and figured out as many of those whole-step runs as I possibly could, and saved the results to a MIDI file, to be played with pride on my then brand new Korg X3, which had decent enough orchestra sounds, for 1994.  And MIDI being the resilient format that it is, is still very much relevant 20 years later in 2014, when I found this file and decided to give it some new life.

It was like entering a collaboration with my 16 year old self, negotiating, learning from, and adding to.  And the result is what we have here, same MIDI file, a couple of additions, piped through MachFive+VSL to give it some new life, uploaded to SoundCloud ever immortalized by the inter-webs.

Special thanks to my good buddy Peter Maher, for taking time this Saturday and laying down Lisa’s breaking-out-of-the-school-walls with her heart wrenching solos, (but this time on the alto sax)

This goes out to all the Simpsons fans, musicians, and time travelers.

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Using iTunesSpy…

iTunesSpy is a great little tool that i just installed on my blog that tells my readers what I’m listening to at the moment… assuming they care, that is. You might ask, “so what?” Well, what if i told you, that it tells my readers what I’m listening to… WITHOUT ME HAVING TO TYPE IT IN… yes, my friends… it’s automatic.

Check out their website for details, support, and installation information: iTunesSpy
You can download the current version here: iTunesSpy v. 2.0.2

Well, the thing is, installation was not as simple as their documentation made it sound. So after you install the script please refer to these steps below:

Step 1: Wrapping the headers in admin.php

When itunesspy plugin is installed in WordPress, activating it adds the iTunesSpy menu tab to the WP-Admin Dashboard. Since admin.php is included in the wp-itunesspy-xxx files, the header information ends up being sent twice: Once in the dashboard itself, and then when the iTunesSpy section is loaded. and this of course, is very, very bad :) To fix this, go to root>/wpadmin/admin.php and look for:


header('Expires: Wed, 11 Jan 1984 05:00:00 GMT');
header('Last-Modified: ' . gmdate('D, d M Y H:i:s') . ' GMT');
header('Cache-Control: no-cache, must-revalidate, max-age=0');
header('Pragma: no-cache');

Wrap this code in a header check so it looks like this:


if (! headers_sent()) {
header('Expires: Wed, 11 Jan 1984 05:00:00 GMT');
header('Last-Modified: ' . gmdate('D, d M Y H:i:s') . ' GMT');
header('Cache-Control: no-cache, must-revalidate, max-age=0');
header('Pragma: no-cache');
}

This will get rid of the errors you may receive saying that the header is being requested after it has already been sent.

Step 2: Editing menu.php

The iTunesSpy tab also includes menu.php, which makes a reference to the $wpdb variable, which is not set in iTunesSpy, so this will cause an error. And errors, well, they suck. So, to fix this, go to /wp-admin/menu.php and replace:


$awaiting_mod = $wpdb->get_var("SELECT COUNT(*) FROM $wpdb->comments WHERE comment_approved = '0'");

with:


if (isset($wpdb)) {
$awaiting_mod = $wpdb->get_var("SELECT COUNT(*) FROM $wpdb->comments WHERE comment_approved = '0'");
} else {
$awaiting_mod = -1;
}

Final Step: Rearranging one of the functions in wp-itunesspyAdmin.php

I received an error saying: function wp_iTunesSpy_setdefault is already defined, or something of that nature. So to fix this, make sure the first conditional looks like this:


if ($user_level > 7) {
if (get_option('itunesspy_authcode') '') {
update_option('itunesspy_authcode', 'some-access-key');
}

if (get_option('itunesspy_amazonfeedlocale') ‘’) {
update_option(‘itunesspy_amazonfeedlocale’, ‘us’);
}

if (get_option(‘itunesspy_input_mode’) '') {
update_option('itunesspy_input_mode', 'get');
}

if (get_option('itunesspy_input_option') ‘’) {
update_option(‘itunesspy_input_option’, ‘fopen’);
}

}

And please erase the entire function : wp_iTunesSpy_setdefault which is defined below the conditional.

At this point you are good to go! Follow the instructions on the iTunesSpy homepage and you’re set to let the world know what you’re listening to… if they care, that is.

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