Sonic pi

The Live Coding Music Synth for Everyone

Sam Aaron performing at Cerner's internal developer conference.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of hearing Sam Aaron speak and perform, at Cerner’s internal developer conference, DevCon. His message was pretty simple. When you were in school, did you learn to read to become a professional reader? Did you learn to write to become a professional writer? Probably not. Why then, did you bother learning it? It’s because in this day and age, to not be able to read and write is generally deemed unacceptable, and leaves you at a distinct disadvantage.

Extending this thought, he proposed that learning to code has become just as important in our lives. Those that are unable to write or understand code, regardless of if it’s for a professional career, are at a distinct disadvantage. Furthermore, and I agree, he postulated that coding is one of the most expressive forms of communication currently in existence.

To help convey his message of coding being a form of expressive communication, he created Sonic Pi. Sonic Pi is a simple program allowing users of all ages, (and all skill sets), to code musical sounds. The DSL that he has created abstracts away many of the complexities of programming, allowing users to write something as simple as play 70 to create their first sound. Check out the Sonic Pi site for more information on this. The site has a great tutorial, that I am still working on myself.

After his talk, he performed a night-club quality set, writing simple commands and loops to produce everything, all while his screen was being shared, live, behind him. That evening, I went home and spent hours making synth music of my own. While none of my sounds came close to what he created, I was still impressed by the ease of the tool which, as he intended, is extremely expressive.

I think he has hit the nail on the head, finding an intersection of modern skill that more people should possess, and join it with something most everyone can relate to, music.

Happy Friday!

Creating my first gpg key

A few days ago as I was browsing around the internet, I noticed a new broadcast by the folks over at GitHub. “GPG signature verification - You can now verify GPG signed commits and tags!”. (Check out the broadcast here.) Well that’s cool I thought; I have heard of GPG, or PGP, or something like that. Needless to say, I should look into this more. Besides, who doesn’t want to spend Monday night reading about cryptography just for the fun of it?

Don’t answer that.

What I found out is that a quick search of the internet will provide you with numerous sources, more credible than myself, telling you all there is to know about GPG. So instead of telling you the same things as the rest of the internet, I just wanted to provide a brief introduction to GPG, and the links I found useful on the topic.

What is GPG

GPG is short for GnuPG, or GNU Privacy Guard. As stated on their website,

GnuPG is a complete and free implementation of the OpenPGP standard as defined by RFC4880 (also known as PGP). GnuPG allows to encrypt and sign your data and communication, features a versatile key management system as well as access modules for all kinds of public key directories. GnuPG, also known as GPG, is a command line tool with features for easy integration with other applications.

General Information

Key Servers

Signing your first commit in GitHub

©2018 • Kristopher Williams