Louis Roy

Setting Fire to Sleeping Giants

Salut! I'm a twenty-something Web developer from ice cold Quebec City. I love music, comic books, hockey, 35mm films and India Pale Ales. Follow me if you wanna get in touch!

Breakfast Tour

Time flies. It’s already been two weeks since I came back from Albatros’ Canadian tour. Still can’t believe how lucky I was to play with such great bands every night and how awesome/helpful everyone has been to us during those two weeks. Some highlights, in no particular order :

  • did an epic 18 hour drive through the night from Kenora to Sudbury;
  • met the coolest dudes in the Premier Boating Destination, 1971;
  • broke my phone playing rip-someone’s-head-off-with-a-football;
  • totally unexpected, but Veneers blew my mind in Toronto, they sound really good;
  • started and ended the tour with our soul mates in Worst Gift;
  • had some fun with Johnny the Amish in Kelowna (not, what a dork);
  • did not abide to my self-imposed cigarette quota;
  • froze my fucking ass off camping in the Rockies;
  • had breakfast, like, all the time;
  • probably ate too much A&W;
  • saw a bandmate puke in a plastic cookie box while driving back to Quebec;
  • Winnipeg is fucking weird.

Will post some pics as soon as I get a hold of them.

My experience with DistroKid

Albatros’ music is now available on iTunes, Rdio, Spotify and much more. The decision came up after my girlfriend asked me why she couldn’t find us on Rdio (she’s been a subscriber for a couple of years now). We never really thought about this since most people just listen to our stuff on Bandcamp or buy our records. But we agreed it might be cool to see if we could reach new (or old) fans with these new services.

After comparing a couple of online music distributors, DistroKid really struck a chord with its low fees (20$ per year, unlimited songs) and the number of services covered.

The Musician plan sounded great at first but some things bothered me like :

  • You can’t enter on which label your album came out (which isn’t a big deal if you’re independent);
  • BUT : DistroKid puts their name as the label of the album, which kinda sucks, I’d rather have no label at all;
  • You can’t choose when your album came out (we currently have three over the past 6 years);

So that pushed me to remove all of our albums from the store (you can’t update anything you already pushed to the stores) and to re-upload them after upgrading to the Musician Plus plan (35$ per year) which gives us more flexibility over the label name and the release date.

You can then push it further and sign up for the Rdio Artist Program and Spotify VIP Account which allows you to customize your artist page on these services.

All of this is right on time for our next release, which should come out any day now, and our Canadian tour which starts in two weeks.

Package management for the Web

In these last couple of weeks, I’ve been experimenting with various package managers in an effort to really grasp how they work and assess if package management as a whole would be a productivity booster at my workplace. While this seems like a classic case of the D.U.H. for Ruby, Node.js or Python folks out there, as a PHP guy in an agency, this is rather new to me.

I’ve fiddled with RubyGems and NPM for the last couples of years now, but never in the context of building an app. For example, I’ve used SASS to build better stylesheets, I’ve used LocalTunnel to test websites on mobile devices, I have tested LiveReload to accelerate front-end development. But none of these packages made it in an actual app as a library; they were rather tools that helped me build and test my projects. So I started looking at how and why we should start doing this at work in a very PHP/CSS/JS driven environment.

With PHP having such a low-entry barrier, it usually gets bad rep for having a disorganized community and probably the most diverse types of users (absolute non-programmers that fiddle with HTML once in a while to veterans of the Web industry). Composer kinda proves, for me at least, that this language is still alive and stronger than ever. Most major frameworks are represented on Packagist and more packages are added every day. For us, it would make a lot of sense to keep our repositories to a minimum and download dependencies apart from the rest.

On the frontend side, Bower makes an excellent job at covering most libraries. NPM provides all the necessary Grunt plugins to optimize images, render screenshots, concatenate and minimize stylesheets and scripts and so much more.

I have yet to figure out how we will integrate all of these technologies in our day-to-day workflow but I strongly believe this year will be the year of package management for us.

To Hell and Back

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I’ve spent the last month on the road with 3 of my buddies driving from Quebec City to Santa Fe, New Mexico. And it’s been a hell of a ride.

Couple of highlights :

  • Shenandoah National Park, VA : amazing wildlife and sceneries;
  • Nashville, TN : truly is the “Music city”, lots of partying going around;
  • Austin, TX : young, vibrant, welcoming, I’d would live there any time;
  • Great Sand Dunes, CO : out of this world;
  • Rocky Mountains, CO : impressive and so much fun;
  • Badlands, SD : again, out of this world;
  • Chicago, IL : third time there, still found a way to have fun

Pictures of the trip over there : https://www.flickr.com/photos/louisroy/sets/72157646805727221/

Hyperlocal Mesh Networks

Great article by the NY Times about how communities organize themselves when no one seems to care about them. I expect to see more and more of these local networks over time.

This quote stood out for me :

Joshua Breitbart, a senior fellow at New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute, which created the software that helps the Red Hook mesh operate, said digital culture was too focused on the global, as opposed to the local. “The general narrative of Silicon Valley is, build an app and change the world,” Mr. Breitbart said. “There should be room to say, ‘Build an app and change my neighborhood.’ ”

Is this the dawn of hyperlocal software development?

My girlfriend and I went to see Under the Skin yesterday night at Le Clap. I went to bed completely puzzled by this visually striking and very creepy movie, as if there was something I missed in all this.

So this morning I’m looking for clues all over the Internet. I feel like there’s more to this movie than the simple “alien hottie abducts male all over Scotland” synopsis. And there most certainly is, I’m not just there yet.

But I’m not here to spoil anything. This is the kind of artsy flick I would have brushed aside rather quickly normally. But maybe I’m changing. Maybe this is a good movie.

Albatros’ website

So it’s been about two months now since I’ve started playing bass with Albatros. I figured it might be useful for the band to have a website. I feel most new bands are usually scattered all across the Web (Facebook, Bandcamp, MySpace, whatever) and sometimes forget it’s good to have a centralized presence somewhere. This was my goal with this website : minimalistic and straight to the point. 

What’s particular about this page? Really not that much except it was the first time I was trying Github Pages as a real hosting solution. Pretty easy to set up : I created a new organization for the band, created a new project following the naming scheme, pointed our domain to GitHub servers and added the CNAME file. Everything was up and running after a few hours and we’re now pushing and pulling our way through last minute tour dates changes!

Some studio time with Albatros at Le Pantoum.

Some studio time with Albatros at Le Pantoum.