All posts by Jeremy Fonte

Tortex Picks and Metronomes… Playing Faster!

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately working on clean, fast alternate picking on electric guitar. I’ve noticed I like a slightly thicker pick for this than general playing – so I’m back to using green Tortex picks, which are .88 size; I might try an even thicker pick at some point.

I also bought a mechanical metronome, which I thought was just cooler than a digital one or a phone app. It’s a cheap Chinese model but it works fine. It’s amazing how much more productive practice is with a strict time, like a drummer or metronome provides.

The work seems to be paying off as I’m playing fast lines much cleaner already.

Revisiting an Old Game

I recently got back into playing “Total Annihilation: Kingdoms”, one of my absolute favorite games of all time. I particularly like the sides “Veruna” (a force with excellent navy presence) and “Taros” (the “dark side”). Aramon is okay and Zhon and Creon, not so much…

The game has an excellent campaign with a great story, and came with a 40pg booklet full of lore and info (which, sadly, I discarded a few years ago). Ultimately, I spend most of my time playing the machine in free battles.

I also have the expansion pack, which comes with dozens of extra maps and a second campaign (and the side of “Creon”, a sort of steampunk force).

Schecter Guitars Introduces an Intriguing New 7-String Guitar

I don’t personally own any 7-string guitars, but Schecter recently introduced a 7-string electric guitar with fanned frets – what they call multiscale – where the lower strings (low B, low E, etc) are longer than the high strings. This makes all of the frets look crooked or “fanned”.

Very cool – though I would never want a guitar with fanned frets… I can’t imagine it does wonders for muscle memory and navigating a fretboard quickly.

Meditation Stool

Having meditated for over 15 years, I finally purchased a proper meditating stool… and it really is amazing how much easier it is to sit for an extended period as opposed to choosing a particular yoga pose to stay in. I got it for under $40, made of acacia wood and quality fabric online. There’s definitely less stress on my leg joints as well.

Java and Generics

I’ve been brushing up on Java a bit lately, and came across the topic of generics. While I’ve consumed generic classes, primary collections, I’ve only created a generic class a few times. It’s really quite fascinating, in particular when you get to the concept of upper and lower bounds for generic types.

Type erasure in Java is also quite intriguing… the end result being that the Java runtime knows nothing about generics.

I’m reading “Learning Java” 4th Edition, and while there might be a newer version, I still highly recommend it for reviewing generics.

The Wonderful PlayStation Vue

I dropped cable TV years ago and for some time survived on Netflix and/or Amazon Prime.
Maybe a year or two ago I tried out PlayStation Vue, a live channel streaming service. It’s just like cable TV without some of the local channels, all streamed over the internet with no connect/disconnect charges or contracts.

I love it, especially that I can keep it for 2-4 months then get rid of it if I become too busy, without having to return a cable box or pay fees.

Check it out at