My new guitar by a luthier- part 1

Guitars! Let’s talk about guitars!

Some of you might wonder what I mean with Breathing life into a new guitar and what does it have to do with this tech blog?
Well… As a “musician” working in the music industry… as a developer, I thought it could make sense, in a way.

After 15 years of loyal service, I thought it was the right time to give some slack to my old guitar and start looking for a new one.
I am a modest guitar player, I have a decent enough level to have fun but I am quite far from being a pro…
It is partly the reason why I have waited for so long before deciding to buy a new guitar…
Am I good enough to have a beast? Is it worth the price? Will it not be wasted in my hands?

I came to the conclusion that… Hey! who cares?! This will probably be my last guitar, I might as well invest into a beauty and a beast :)
So here I went and checked websites, looked at custom guitars and called a few luthiers to see what they could offer…
My choice was based on three criteria :

  • The guitars they made (design, feeling and sound)
  • Were they actually guitarist and were they playing the same kind of music as I do?
  • The “live” contact over the phone. Did they understand what I wanted, were they proposing things, etc.

After much thought and a few phone calls, I decided to deal with Hugo Mermet (his official website).
I will write some more about him later in this post, but first things first… How should my -new guitar made by a luthier- be?

Why would I need a new guitar (eventhough I play like a horse)?

My current guitar is pretty much standart (E tuning), 6 strings, HSH… I wanted something different, with a lower tuning going from A to D with great precision, without the usual auto-detuning…
That way, I would play with 2 guitars, one for the standart E tuning and another one for everything going lower.
One thing to note is that I am not really into crazy solos, shredding etc, I’m rather a rythmic player (if I would dare say so).
I wanted the bass to be precise, tight and controlled. In order to achieve that at such tunings, I decided to go for a 27″ diapason, 7 strings with high density woods.
As any geek, I had done my research… :D

Guitar woods, which ones should I choose?

I chose a combination of :

Padouk wood is not the kind of wood you find often in a guitar

Padouk for the body. It’s high density helps keep the bass waves tight, which is good for a low tuned guitar.

Padouk close-up

Padouk close-up

Sycomore Table, which is good to have a warm and singing tone for your guitar. it is also quite beautiful

Sycomore for the table

Regarding the neck, I went for :
Padouk, Sycomore and Ebony keys…

Ebony Keys have a high density, and will bring the bass from your guitar's neck to the body fast and tight

Ebony Keys

The neck of the guitar

The neck

The neck of the guitar, from another angle

The neck (again)

one more picture of the guitar's neck

The neck (and again)

Here are the first drafts on the sycomore table…

The Sycomore Table of the guitar

The Sycomore Table

So far I should say that I have much appreciated all the communication I had with Hugo (the luthier). He is nice enough to go out of his way to send me pictures regularly to share with me the progress on the guitar (thing that most luthier don’t do). I am overjoyed about that, I really feel like seeing the baby taking shape, slowly but surely!
Also, seeing the woods, I can already say that this guitar will be a real piece of Art! Look at these!

The neck and wings of my futur guitar

The neck and wings

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Posted in Music, Musicians & Instruments | Leave a comment

Trying the new Qobuz Player Widget for an epic music experience!

Logo Qobuz Player Widget 2013

Qobuz-2013 recently released its new version of its Qobuz Player Widget.

The old one being in flash, a new html5 version is warmly welcomed to allow for better cross-platform support (hey iOS maniacs!) ;)
Enough talk, more show!

**EDIT** : Since Nov, 2014, the widget has been once again updated and now supports flac 16bits 44.1Khz streaming. It also has a new design

Eventhough it lacks a few feature, it is already a major step forward, and far enough for your everyday music listening!
I am looking forward to trying its coming new features (hopefully more templates, css customization, maybe HD streaming?)

So what’s in this new Qobuz Player Widget?

Apart from the usual widgets stuffs (play/pause, next/previous, etc), you will find a set of interesting features.

Load a Playlist, an album or just a track

The new Qobuz Widget allows you to choose what you really want to show to your readers, be it:

  • a Playlist
  • an Album
  • or a simple Track

Adapting to the content’s size (from a playist to a single track), the widget will (or at least should) keep a coherent display without you having to do anything special.
Also note that while there is, at the moment, only one Qobuz Widget template, more should come along the way as well as more skins and a css customization interface!

Direct Links to the main player and/or website of Qobuz

A widget is a nice way to listen to some music from somewhere in the Internet, a kind of “remote” listening, but in order to benefit from all the Qobuz Player functionalities, you need a real application, something bigger, with more features, possibilities and a better readbility. That is why most of the links of the widget can get you to the real Qobuz Player, you are just one click away from the real thing.

Ability to purchase a track or an album

While reading your favorite blog, they feature an artist you do not have in your collection… Good news! you can directly go to and purchase this artist/album/track at its best quality without having to search over the whole Internet. Again, you are only one click away from your Music!
While I may have a biased opinion about the interest of purchasing music and while it is not the topic of this post, I would like to share (really fast) my views…
I do not believe that everything should be free, it is not a virtuous circle… Eventhough it looks like it.
Paying cheap for a product means two things :

  • The quality is cheap, ie. mp3 compression
  • The people in the chain, behind the scene, are paid less

So what? Well as a matter of fact #1 might not really be an issue, sometimes one might prefer cheap quality over high quality. However, I strongly believe that #2 is important, as in turn, the people being paid less will also want to buy for a cheaper price (maybe the product YOU are doing), and so YOU will end up being paid less too, etc.
Of course, it does not mean that one should pay a high price either, I believe we should be paying the right price…
Easier said than done, I do agree. What is the right price anyway?
Well I would consider that it is the fair price. One where you think it is in phase with the value you believe the product holds.
One where it is transparently said how this price is shared among the people in the chain, so you know how much the artist gets, how much are to cover the real costs, etc.
While it might sound like an utopia, I would like to point out that more and more game companies are proposing humble packages, where you not only pay the amount you want, but also (sometimes) decide how it should be split among the people in the chain….
Now, enough with the lecture :D Let’s go back to the main topic!

You already have a Qobuz account?

You might wonder how having a Qobuz account could change your experience with the Qobuz Widget?
At the time this article has been written, you cannot yet login FROM the widget, but it should come soon.
If you are logged in on, the widget will detect it and will give you additional features!
For instance you can only add one track at a time to any of your existing playlists but there is no doubt that in a near futur you could manage entirely your playlist directly from the widget! (create new ones, add a complete album to a playlist or even a playlist to a playlist)

How to install the new Qobuz Widget?

As a matter of fact, it is quite easy. You can go on browse any album you like. On the album pages, you will find a track list and at the bottom of this track list an “export” button. Click on this export button, a popup will open allowing you to choose between the new widget or the old one depending on your preference. Note that if you are a Qobuz registered member, you can also link your widget to a playlist rather than a album. In order to do so, you can replace the word album by playlist in the href attribute of the iframe, and the album id by the playlist id.

What alternatives do we have?

Coming soon…

And what would be a plus?

Definitly, for Qobuz users, the ability to play flac, high quality lossless music!

Fully managing playlists (create new ones, add an album or a playlist from the widget to an existing playlist or new ones).

A great addition would be to add the possibility to switch from mp3 quality to flac from the widget directly (or use the Qobuz user player preferences?).

Being able to add a playlist, an album or a track to your favorites would also be nice aswell.

There are many other options that could be add, hopefully they will during this year :)

In conclusion

Eventhough it is still in its early stages, this new widget is promising and should bring a better experience than the previous flash one.
This player should be a good base for Qobuz user to start enjoying their music on all the Qobuz partners websites.
If it is only mp3 quality for now, it should bring high fidelity music to all of us, hopefully this year.

For more information about Qobuz, visit their official website

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Posted in Music, Musicians & Instruments, Random | 6 Comments

Dojo Objective Harness testing with Continuous Integration

Have you ever wondered how to do Dojo Objective Harness testing with Continuous integration ?
dRobotReport might just be the right solution for you.
I have seen a lot of hack around solutions using selenium and such kind so i decided to implement something that can send the results back to the server as they happen. So dRobotReport was born!

The project can be found on github
dRobotReport currently requires you to have node.js with a minimum version of 0.6.9 installed

Just clone the project next to your dojo installation


Change into the directory where dRobotReporter and start running

node runner.js

This will present you with the help output listing all available commands

Then we can run it. I am starting it in manual mode now where i will need to open the browser and copy the URL over.

$var/www/~/dRobotReporter: node runner.js -m widget.tests.module -u http://jenkins.iceweasel.local  -B /js/dojo -M widget,/js/dojo/widget -s http://jenkins.local

info: started

  Server started

  Listening on Port:     8000
  Testing Module:     widget.tests.module
  Running Browser:     iceweasel
  Dojo basePath:     /js/dojo
  Test url:         http://jenkins.iceweasel.local/js/dojo/util/doh/runner.html?testModule=widget.tests.module&registerModulePath=dRobotReporter,/js/dojo/dRobotReporter;widget,/js/dojo/widget&dohPlugins=dRobotReporter/connector&port=8000&server=http://jenkins.local
  Server url:         http://jenkins.local
  Waiting for Connection

Open your browser and copy the “Test url” into the url and let the tests start running!

Connection established

6 tests to run in 1 groups
GROUP "widget.tests.apparence.ToggleButton" has 6 tests to run
PASSED test: /js/dojo/widget/tests/apparence/_boiteCss/BorderWidth.html::widget.tests.apparence.ToggleButton::startup 0 ms
PASSED test: /js/dojo/widget/tests/apparence/_boiteCss/BorderWidth.html::widget.tests.apparence.ToggleButton::onChange 1 ms
PASSED test: /js/dojo/widget/tests/apparence/_boiteCss/BorderWidth.html::widget.tests.apparence.ToggleButton::setValue 4 ms
PASSED test: /js/dojo/widget/tests/apparence/_boiteCss/BorderWidth.html::widget.tests.apparence.ToggleButton::quietSetValue 1 ms
PASSED test: /js/dojo/widget/tests/apparence/_boiteCss/BorderWidth.html::widget.tests.apparence.ToggleButton::reset 1 ms
PASSED test: /js/dojo/widget/tests/apparence/_boiteCss/BorderWidth.html::widget.tests.apparence.ToggleButton::disabled 2 ms
PASSED test: /js/dojo/widget/tests/apparence/_boiteCss/BorderWidth.html 850 ms
GROUP "widget.tests.apparence._boiteCss.BoxShadow" has 1 test to run
6 tests to run in 1 groups
GROUP "widget.tests.apparence.ToggleButton" has 6 tests to run
PASSED test: /js/dojo/widget/tests/apparence/_boiteCss/BoxShadow.html::widget.tests.apparence.ToggleButton::startup 5 ms
PASSED test: /js/dojo/widget/tests/apparence/_boiteCss/BoxShadow.html::widget.tests.apparence.ToggleButton::onChange 3 ms
PASSED test: /js/dojo/widget/tests/apparence/_boiteCss/BoxShadow.html::widget.tests.apparence.ToggleButton::setValue 3 ms
PASSED test: /js/dojo/widget/tests/apparence/_boiteCss/BoxShadow.html::widget.tests.apparence.ToggleButton::quietSetValue 4 ms
PASSED test: /js/dojo/widget/tests/apparence/_boiteCss/BoxShadow.html::widget.tests.apparence.ToggleButton::reset 3 ms
PASSED test: /js/dojo/widget/tests/apparence/_boiteCss/BoxShadow.html::widget.tests.apparence.ToggleButton::disabled 7 ms
PASSED test: /js/dojo/widget/tests/apparence/_boiteCss/BoxShadow.html 984 ms
GROUP "widget.tests.apparence._boiteCss.ComboBox" has 1 test to run
5 tests to run in 1 groups
     172 tests in 35 groups
     13 errors
     2 failures

You will get either tests Passed/Failed which can now be used in your CI environment.

You can also let the dRobotReporter take care of starting your browser by just setting “-b iceweasel” or whichever browser you want to use.

So long!

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Posted in Dojo, Methodology | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Google Map enhancement

Dear Google Maps team,

First, I would like to thank you for the amazing work you’ve been doing for all this time!
Google Maps is aa awesome tool both easy to use and powerful.
Yet I have to admit that I am missing one feature :

The ability to draw a line between two points that would rougly calculate the distance and display it close to that line.
I am often using Google Maps to check locations, and distance between two places, and I have often felt that this would be a great addition, especially for someone looking for a flat “not too far away” from his job :)

This tool could :

– allow to draw straight lines between two points, calculate and display the distance just above (under / aside) the line. With the ability to move the distance label manually if you need to look at something under
– allow to draw custom curvy lines between two points, calculate and display the distance just above (under / aside) the line. With the ability to move the distance label manually if you need to look at something under
– allow to set a point, and automaticcaly draw a circle, for example you click on a place, it will be the center of the circle. you left click and maintain mousedown, it will display a circlepassing by that point and having the choosen center, tt would be great to have the distance from circle to center displayed. If you move your mouse it will make the circle bigger or smaller. When releasing the mouse (mouseup) it sets the circle “in stone”.

I believe these would be strong additions to Google Maps and help people looking for flats, cities, quarters around some places, not too far :)

Another nice idea would be the ability to choose a place (click some point on a map) and determine a max estimated transportation time. and Google Maps would display all the areas within that (average max) transportation time, taking into account subways, bus, walking, car, train, etc :)

Hopefully, a Google Maps team member will read this post and think that these ideas could be interesting to add.

Thank you for the great work you are doing,
Best regards,

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Posted in Random | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Zend Framework 2 official release

Zend Framework 2 just got released today! Go and check it out on Zend Framework. Kudos and good job to all the developers involved.

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Posted in Dojo | Leave a comment