Strawberry (er Ethereum) Alarm Clock


In the epic film, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, by Roger Ebert and Russ Meyer. There is a band called Strawberry Alarm Clock that plays in the party scene.  The movie is nutty-  a campy midnight movie written by Roger Ebert?!?!?  It is quite different from the book, The Valley of the Dolls, by Jacqueline Susann, another cultural milestone. But lets proceed to the business at hand – the blockchain.

This morning I worked on scheduling prayer executions on the Ethereum blockchain. Lets say I have a prayer, Miserere Mei Deus (really a song but lets go with prayer it has an interesting backstory too). I want it ‘prayed’ Easter at 6pm, Rome time.  There is no way to do that out of the box on the Ethereum blockchain.

So what are our options? I found 3: AION, Ethereum Alarm Clock or Oraclize. There are a few AION projects. This is the one to look at. It uses an off-chain system to trigger the contract execution at a later date. This is not decentralized, this does not look like a robust solution.

Oraclize lets you access data external to the blockchain (like an oracle).  But this would make the prayer project dependent on something centralized which would defeat one of the reasons I am using the blockchain in the first place.

Enter Ethereum Alarm Clock – another non-decentralized service. This uses another set of nodes -time nodes (i thought time lords at first which is a cooler name) to monitor the schedule.  Also not going to use this.  Reading the documentation has given me a headache, and all for a side chain! Oh the humanity.

This is what I have decided to do:

I am baking into the prayer amplifier and prayer creator a new function – the prayer scheduler or ‘pray’ function.  This is a public function so I plan to ping it from my ‘glowing prayer orb.’  Whenever someone prays, amplifies a prayer, or runs the glowing orb ($99.99), the smart contract checks and sees any prayers have been scheduled in the past but not executed (prayed). And it then ‘prays’ those prayers.

I am ok with this strategy. Indulgences alone will not get you into heaven.  You cant just buy your prayer. If other people are not praying then your prayer will not be executed. As the ancient Romans used to say – Do ut Des.

Consciousness and Music – The Spotify API


This image is from a paper that I have not read, but I liked the graphic because music like brain activity is represented as a wave.  Is reality a particle or a wave? continuous or discrete?

My husband used to be a DJ and would describe to me the ways that he would structure a set to excite a crowd or calm a crowd. And most people connect certain songs to their personal histories or memories, even consciousness.  Many people believe that before we had spoken language we had song.

What is the connection between music and the mind? I have no idea – there are a ton of different thoughts on the matter and this line of thinking is anything but original. I was talking to a friend who was interested in exploring the spotify api to generate playlists to elicit certain emotional or mental responses.   This prompted me to take a look at see what exactly was possible with the API.

This also coincided with a conversation I had at RC with some folks on how personal a music player is. Different people want different things. One person wants to normalize the gain – (ie make all the songs the same volume), another person does not care about this, but wants access to all the songs that he skips on Spotify to help build a playlist.  Is this functionality that we have access to?

First off, this is sort of an amazing project: 30s Drum Machine. It is a drum machine made from 30 second Spotify samples. The repo is on github for your perusing pleasure.

So first off we can read public playlists and create playlists. We can search for artists, albums, tracks.  or playlist based on a number of parameters including bpms (so you can imagine automatically or technically aided DJ sets.

You can get a user’s recently played tracks but not recently skipped tracks. However, you do have access to user’s personalization preference which means you can probably create custom DJ sets on a person or population basis, which is kinda interesting. Imagine a VR world where everyone is in a club but hears a different song with the same beat profile or profile that elicits the same response,

There are a bunch of libraries in various languages referenced on Spotify but a quick google also turns up Haskell and Rust libraries that are not referenced on the Spotify site. Not sure what I am going to do with this, I will probably do something in March if nothing else so that I can have an excuse to have a very very mellow party.