Ace of Base - The Sign

Music Box is still the #1 album, but the #2 album is by R. Kelly, someone I'm going to stay away from, so we'll slide down to the #3 album, The Sign by the Swedish band Ace of Base. According to my scrobbling history, before today I had listened to Ace of Base exactly two times, probably as part of an algorithmic mix on a streaming service. I definitely remember hearing a few of these songs on the radio when this album came out and was popular, but I can't say I could remember the last time I heard it on the radio. Clearly, they're not my favorite band.

But luckily for them, my tastes, and perhaps American radio, the world has different tastes and they are the third most popular Swedish band in history, and have sold many millions of records. Don't worry about them.

Ace of Base is basically pure pop music, which isn't a bad thing. Their music is entertaining and enjoyable in the way pop music should be. It's obviously very synthesized, the horns in the beginning of "All That She Wants" are unambiguously fake. But that's the appeal of pop, right? Music that's tight, clean, and keeps the surprises to a minimum. Pop should be very danceable. The biggest hit off the record (in the United States), the eponymous "The Sign" fits this bill with a catchy driving beat. Many of the songs on this album were on their first album "Happy Nation" which did not make an impression in the US. This includes the title track of that album "Happy Nation" that didn't chart at all in the US. Curiously, "Happy Nation" appears to have a recent (relative) surge in plays according to, but the other songs off this album remain more popular overall.

My summary is that this music is not my favorite, but it's not bad. Now that I've been reminded of it, maybe when I'm in the mood for some pop, I'll think of them. We'll see!

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Finale for

Since 2006 I've engaged in a bit of navel-gazing and tracked my music listening using By running an application on your computer or phone, or linking a streaming service to (e.g. Tidal and Spotify support this), the service keeps track of what songs you listen to. The act of recording a song listen is called a "scrobble." However, it's always kind of bugged me that you can't scrobble in all situations, like when listening to an internet radio station or terrestrial radio.


Recently I discovered the Finale app that does exactly this: it not only allows you to manually enter songs, it includes Shazam-like ability to listen to songs and identify them for you, and if you like, then scrobble the song. It has a "continuously listen" mode which despite the name means that once a minute it wakes up and listens for any new song you're listening to and scrobbles for you.

Somewhat related, I would like to recommend The Colorado Sound, a music radio station operated by a local NPR affiliate. It's as commercial-free as NPR is (limited to "supported by" messages) and has a very wide and eclectic selection of music. Using the Finale app while I listen to their internet stream allows me to keep track of what they're playing, and if I hear something I like, I can revisit that song/artist. You should check it out!

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Mariah Carey - Music Box

Now that I've got my blog running again, I've decided restart my project of reviewing the top-selling album from 30 years ago. For the uninitiated, I listen to the top-selling album from 30 years ago one or more times and then write a review of it here. I'll try to do it weekly, but no promises.

I first started this over 13 years ago, and at that time 30 years ago was before I was into popular music. 30 years ago now in 2024 represents peak teenaged years for me. I was 14 and in 8th grade. Middle school is definitely peak teenage years and I definitely paid attention to popular music when I was 14. I think, therefore, I'll enjoy doing these reviews now more than I did before. There will be the stinkers and ones that I just don't like, of course, but there will be ones that bring me back to my youth.

Just like the first album I reviewed, this restart is a rough one in the form of Music Box by Mariah Carey.

Mariah Carey is not my first, second, nor third choice of music to listen to. It's not offensive nor grating, but it doesn't do much for me. About the only time I hear her music is when I'm listening to a Christmas music mix.

There are a few hit singles on this album, like Dreamlover and her cover of Without You. Unlike many songs, the original version of "Without You" isn't the best known or even the best version. The Harry Nilsson version is better than Mariah Carey's and the original. Apparently this album is important enough to warrant a 30th Anniversary Edition which I'm not going to listen to.

In summary, I will probably never listen to this album again.

By the way, I'm using this listing of top album sales. The quickest way to explore that list is just to change the date (YYYY-MM-DD) in the URL. It's likely that in about 15-20 years or so this listing will be completely messed up by digital music streaming, but I'll cross that bridge when (if!) I get there.

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Solar Water Monitoring Page

Water Heater Monitoring

Today I just published a page that monitors my solar water heater. Every fifteen minutes the Raspberry Pi that controls the system pushes updated metrics to this website and triggers a refresh of the plots on the page. There's a diagram and description of how the whole system works. Go ahead and check it out!

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Resuscitating the Blog

When I started this blog I used Wordpress. Wordpress is web-based content management system that uses PHP and one of MySQL or MariaDB to store the post data. I used Wordpress for years moving between a few different hosts finally settling on Linode.

Wordpress is a great product and has a healthy, vibrant user community. There are thousands of plugins and themes. There's phone apps for making blog posts on-the-go. However, being a dynamic web tool it is vulnerable to security issues. It is a constant game of whack-a-mole keeping things updated. Plugins add new bugs, and sometimes plugins are written with purposeful backdoors.

Over three years ago I decided to move away from Wordpress to something non-dynamic. Something with fewer vulnerabilities. I initially tried Hugo and found a tool that exports posts from Wordpress to Hugo. However, I found I didn't really like Hugo, and I just kinda... didn't do anything about it for a long time. Years a long time.

A few weeks ago I decided to revisit things. I found Pelican, a Python-based static website builder. It is very similar to Hugo in form and function, but being written in Python it jibes with my knowledge and skills much better than Hugo. Posts and pages are written in reStructuredText or Markdown, or even HTML. I use Markdown and HTML in a few cases. Each document has fields of metadata that Pelican parses to build out a full static website. There are a number of themes and I'm presently using the bootcamp2 theme. Pelican also has dozens of plugins that add plenty of capabilities but zero vulnerabilities.

It took a few weeks to slowly fix up all the posts that previously had been exported from Wordpress into Hugo-flavored Markdown into something Pelican could read. I uploaded a fair number of videos to YouTube, and had to adjust various other media here and there.

At the same time I'm moving my website to a new Linode server. This new server will not run any PHP or other dynamic web content which should keep things much simpler.

I'm going to try to post here more often and more consistently. Let's see if I succeed!

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Sam The Parrot

Sam the Parrot

An M. Ruggles original.

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Rainbow Poop Emoji

Kid Arts

Here are some kid arts! First, we have some art from kid #2, and lower down in a separate is art from kid #1. Don't get too scared when #1's animals open their mouths!

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Vote early! Vote often!

Rainbow Poop

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Tour Pool 2020

Tour de France

As I have since 2007, I am scorekeeping a Tour de France fantasy team pool. Please click here to see how poorly my "Team Florky" is doing as the tour progresses.

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Tantra Park Sledding Hill Panorama

Tantra Hill

A panorama of our local sledding hill at Tantra Park, Boulder

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Shoveling Snow Time Lapse

From this morning. No audio but it's in 4K!

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Purging The Old Cycling Clothes

Old Cycling Clothes

Above is a collection of worn-out cycling shorts and jerseys that I am going to get rid of. All the shorts are worn out and uncomfortable. The jerseys have holes or are being held together with safety pins. Basically, I don't see myself wearing any of this ever again.

Judging by how long since I last purged my old cycling clothes, I will do this all over again in about 9 years.

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Bye Bye Bitbucket

A few days ago Bitbucket announced that they were ending support for Mercurial and will only support Git starting in about a year. I am a happy Mercurial user. It was the first DVCS system I learned, and have had no reason to switch away from it. Git is more popular than Mercurial, yes, but with useful plugins like hg-git, I never need to use Git even when I am working on a Git repository. Ultimately, the difference between Git and Mercurial is kind of like the difference between Windows and Mac (in that order). One is more popular than the other, but when it comes down to featureset and capabilities, it's very close. Like Windows vs. Mac, the main difference is the experience of using them, and I feel Mercurial is the clear winner.

I only use Bitbucket for their Mercurial support, so I decided to waste no time and abandon them entirely and immediately. In their place I am self-hosting an install of the community (open source) edition of Rhodecode. There are a couple of my repositories publicly viewable here. So far it seems like it has more than enough features to replace Bitbucket.

Update: As of this writing, I turned my self-hosted code server off because I'm lazy.

I feel I should point out that this serves as a reminder to me (and to you, dear reader) that cloud services cannot be relied upon. Companies, even if you are paying them, can stop serving you. This is at least the second time I have had to replace a cloud service with a self-hosted solution. A few years ago I replaced Google Reader with tt-rss. Like I wrote previously, because my new Mercurial hosting service is self-hosted, no one will be taking it away from me. And that is good.

Finally, I don't know why anyone would choose Bitbucket now to host their code repositories. Without Mercurial, all it has it Git, and Github (which has obviously been Git-only from the start) has already won:



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Tour de France Pool 2019

Tour de France

As I have since 2007, I am scorekeeping a Tour de France fantasy team pool. Please click here to see how poorly my "Team Florky" is doing as the tour progresses.

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