Save thesixtyone!

There is a web site out there that has been used by thousands of musical artists to share their music with the world. Many of these artists are now very popular.

This site has been used by thousands of listeners to find new musicians and new music.

This site still exists.

It is called thesixtyone.

thesixtyone press logo

There are currently two versions of the site. The old and the new.

The old site is more detail rich for people who like to have more control and have more features at their fingertips. The new site is more design rich for people who enjoy cover art and listening to playlists.

Either way, it is a great site and I highly suggest that you check it out.

Hundreds of people still use it to find new music and to listen to their favorites that they have already found.

But there is a problem. The creators of the site seem to have all but abandoned the site. Obviously they continue to keep the site running and there may be an occasional fix. But there have been no new features added in years. There has been no official communication from the owners in years. Parts of the site no longer work and have not been updated.

What is the true status of the site? How long will the owners allow it to stay around? Are they killing it off slowly? Why do they refuse to communicate with their users or even the public in general?

There is a petition to save thesixtyone.

There is also a “Save thesixtyone” artist account.

Many people have stopped using the site and many more people have never heard of it. Maybe if we can get the word out that the site is still around and still awesome we can breathe new life into the site. And maybe we can even entice the owners into communicating with us once again.

You can help Save thesixtyone! Come explore and enjoy the music with me.


AWS releases new SSD-Backed EBS

Yesterday, Amazon Web Services announced New SSD-Backed Elastic Block Storage. This is cool in many ways, but one really nice feature is the “Boot Boost” which means:

Each newly created SSD-backed volume receives an initial burst allocation that provides up to 3,000 IOPS for 30 minutes.

In other words, boot times can decrease dramatically (especially for Windows images).

At SmartySteets this is good news for us since we are using AWS EC2 technology for many of our services.

To take advantage of this using the Console was easily taken care of the first time we launched a new instance today.

However, the fun part was getting our API-based launch scripts to use the new feature. The main gist of the change is the specification of a volume type of “gp2″. We interact with AWS through boto, so I had to add “block device” specifications to the script as follows:

block_device_type = boto.ec2.blockdevicemapping.BlockDeviceType()
block_device_mapping = boto.ec2.blockdevicemapping.BlockDeviceMapping()
block_device_mapping['/dev/sda1'] = block_device_type

new_image_id = ec2Connection.create_image(

Here is the full script for reference in case you need an example of usage.

Be EXCITED About Your Dreams

Today I learned that, being EXCITED about my goals and dreams is a vital ingredient in bringing my dreams to fruition.

All too often I hesitate about being excited about my dreams. What if I fail? What if my dreams do not come true? If I allow myself to get excited, if I allow myself to put my whole heart into my goals/dreams/relationships, I might fail and my heart may be decimated. Would it not be better to just put half of my heart into whatever I am trying to accomplish? That way, if the endeavor fails, I still have half my heart.

Brad Barton failed over and over again, but he kept getting back up, and finally reached his goal of breaking a world record in running.

I just listened to this episode of Live On Purpose radio: Getting Better at Getting Better. Dr. Paul? talks with Brad about the struggles he had while pursuing his dream.

Network Redirection: UDP/TCP to a File

I just learned a cool bash trick. Redirecting network traffic to a file.

Open two bash terminal windows.

t1$ nc -l 7777 >> TESTFILE
t2$ exec 3<>/dev/tcp/
t2$ echo 'Hello World!' >&3
t1$ cat TESTFILE

Your TESTFILE now has Hello World! in it.

There are quite a few ways to do this and similar operations, easy found on the Googles.

*Note: Other shells may work, I used bash. Your shell may or may not have redirection capabilities built into it.


As I have been developing and testing on Amazon Web Services (AWS) hosting I have made much use of the Identity and Access Management (IAM) feature. In particular, I have found the IAM Roles to be extremely helpful. I can assign a role to a specific instance or even a launch group of instances. When those instances are launched they have all the permissions of the role that I have specified for them. This means that if an instance needs to access files that are on S3, I just add that permission to the role and the instance is able to access S3 files. This is extremely useful for system admin scripts as well as other programming tasks.
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To be a Friend to my Children

Over the past little while I have taken up the practice of looking at my children and thinking of them as I would think of one of my very best friends.

I can tell you that it has been an eye opening experience for me.

For some reason that I have yet to comprehend, I am very selfish and prideful when it comes to interacting with my children.

Viewing my children as I view my best friends has helped me see them from a different perspective.
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The certified opinions of Jonathan