So you want to attend a rally in DC

Here’s some tips I learned, or at least things I was able to confirm first-hand, about rallies yesterday while I was in DC doing my part to restore sanity:

  • It’s impossible to arrive too early. I got to The Mall about two and a half hours before the scheduled start time and wandered directly as far to the front as I reasonably could. Although I could see the stage, I couldn’t really see anything going on on it. Good thing there were giant monitors and some pretty good camera-work.
  • Conversely, don’t think you’re going to be able to leave when it’s over. The Metro stations within walking distance were so full afterwards people were crowded outside, not even able to get onto the escalators at the entrances. I went ahead and visited the Jefferson Memorial and FDR Memorial out by the Tidal Basin where the crowds were much sparser. Two hours later, when I started my return trip, congestion on the Metro had dropped down to peak rush hour levels.
  • Use sunscreen. It doesn’t matter if it’s late October. If you’re standing outside for hours on end, you’ll get at least a minor sunburn.
  • Speaking of which, be prepared to stand for several hours.
  • Be careful with water consumption. Too little, and you’ll get dehydrated. Too much, and you’ll have to head to the restrooms, losing the spot you got there early for.
  • Take a camera, or you’ll be stuck wading through other people’s photo galleries to try to find that one awesome sign you saw.

Panflute 0.7.0 released

Panflute 0.7.0 has been released, with lots of improvements. Panflute 0.7.0 adds several new features, such as the ability to control the player’s volume, dealing sensibly with multiple players running simultaneously, better support for pausing and stopping playback, the ability to seek by using the mouse’s scroll wheel on the time display, and the ability to remove ratings from songs. It also adds support for four more players: Clementine, Decibel, Pithos, and Qmmp. And in case that’s not enough, there’s also lots of bug fixes, detailed in the release notes.