Year: 2006

Hotness 1.6.c.1

Totally warranted subversioning!

My foray into MP3Toys was ultimately short-lived, brought to a halt when I found what people were doing with Single Column Playlist for foobar, particularly the playlist-embedded album art. Back in the foobar saddle, I also gave in and tried out the “official” Play Count component, which I had avoided for so long because it didn’t support %FIRST_PLAYED%, and because I wasn’t sure I wanted my playback statistics only kept in the database — even though writing them to the files posed a lot of trouble as well. Turns out, playback statistics stored by the official component are less sensitive to changes to the files it’s keeping track of than the unofficial one, which means I only have to be a little careful to keep all my stats intact, while being able to play and track files that I’m still seeding.

This, along with the invaluable $cwb_datediff() function provided by Bowron’s new foo_cwb_hooks component, called for a rewrite to the hotness code, which had been stagnating in some marginally compatible 1.5 version since May. After severely trimming the code down and robusting things up, I thought of a new and totally non-arbitrary way to soften the blow hotness scores receive when songs are played. I hated seeing them leap to 100 every time, and this new softening method makes so much sense, utilizing existing baseline calibrations to keep things a lot more interesting. How anybody tolerated the old method is beyond me.

Anyway, here it is.

I also dug up a lot of old screenshots this week and I’m planning a nostalgia-fueled retrospective in the near future.

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Weekly Top Album Art

Wow, I can’t believe I was able to do this.

http://www.kilobitspersecond.com/topalbumart.php?user=

Just tack your last.fm username onto the end of that url to generate the cover art for your most listened-to album of last week. Pretty cool.

Bands and albums with ampersands don’t work at the moment. urlencode() doesn’t seem to do the trick. Any theories?

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MP3Toys

This will come as a shock to anybody who knows me, but I’ve all but stopped using foobar2000. A couple months ago on the indietorrents forums, somebody mentioned MP3Toys, and I’ve been using it almost exclusively since.

MP3ToysAs I mentioned in a previous post, all the chores I was made to do in foobar seemed to keep me from listening to music: I was working for my software, and not vice-versa. My collection of music felt cold and dead and fragile in the hands of foobar, and none of the features I had idealized in my mind were anywhere near fruition (true hotness, similarity-by-mood filters, etc.). I desperately wanted something to get me back in touch with my music, something that delivered music to me in a way that felt as natural as buying a CD and putting it in my stereo. I even considered switching to iTunes.

MP3Toys isn’t for every foobar user; I just got lucky enough that it emulates my ideal behavior in foobar. It’s a living, breathing program, and using it is a humanistic experience. It understands not just that you listen to music, but why you listen to music. Some of its intelligent features include:
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last.fm Weekly Album Chart Feeds

For a long time, last.fm has linked to a purported weekly album chart feed on their web services page. Because I find this much more interesting than the weekly artist and track charts, I was happy to find today that these feeds have finally become active. Just replace “topdownjimmy” with your username in this url:

http://ws.audioscrobbler.com/1.0/user/topdownjimmy/weeklyalbumchart.xml

Unfortunately, this won’t reflect your listening accurately if you’re in the habit of listening to leaked albums. For what are certainly legal issues, last.fm plays dumb that these albums even exist, failing to report them in charts even though the track and artist counts are updated accordingly.

My next step is to use the url embedded in the feed to scrape the Amazonian cover art from each album’s last.fm page. This would be cool to do even for the recent track feed, come to think of it.

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MST3K Torrents: Specimen Jackpot!

A couple years ago I toyed with eDonkey and the Digital Archive Project as a means to collecting MST3K episodes. Turns out eDonkey is widely and rightly regarded to be a terrible piece of software, and the episodes weren’t well-seeded, so that went nowhere, and I opted to rip a low-quality ShoutCast channel for a couple dozen episodes.

Today, reminded of DAP by this comment at Lifehacker, and aided by a search on Demonoid.com, I was led to this page at The Pirate Bay, with links to torrents for every known available episode, all high-quality and all fairly well-seeded.

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Firefox “Phrase Not Found” Noise

Praise Jesus.

One of the handiest features in Firefox, and one that I use frequently and absent-mindedly, is the “find as you type” shortcut. Press forward slash, and Firefox will jump to the next text that matches what you type; press single-quote, and Firefox will jump to the next link text that matches what you type. So fast and invaluable.

Unfortunately, if the string you type turns up no results, Firefox alerts you with what sounds like “a hoarse dog barking.” Not just once, but for every subsequent character that confirms your search failure: a curse for fast typists.

This annoyance was not even solved by FlashMute [via], a tiny and amazing program that mutes all sounds originating from your browser, or just those from embedded flash objects.

After not trying very hard to find a solution via Google, I thought “what the hell” and went to about:config. Searched for “sound,” and voilà. “accessibility.typeaheadfind.enablesound”. Double-click once, restart Firefox, and no longer will you be plagued by the hoarse dog.

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Boing Boing Sucks

I’m starting to really resent Boing Boing for taking up so much space in my aggregator. I kept it there begrudgingly, for the dwindling handful of interesting posts that I’d probably hear about elsewhere anyway. But for every interesting post, there are ten totally boring posts about DRM, ten totally boring posts about Disney, ten totally boring posts about a useless toy, and ten totally boring posts about how to turn your lawnmower into, I don’t know, a GPS lawnmower or something. Not to mention their smug self-absorption, and their inability to separate entertainment from politics. As an example of the latter, this recent post describes an anti-Bush Robin Williams movie as “look[ing] like a hell of a movie.” In fact, the movie looks shitty, but because it lambasts politics, it is heralded by Boing Boing.

And now I’m reminded of the time during the World Cup that they said this:

I don’t even know what the FIFA World Cup is. I’m guessing it’s soccer, which I hate just as much as any other pro sport. Every editor at Boing Boing detests professional sports, and we would sooner stream a video of a crumpled up paper napkin in the corner of a room than show some jackasses running after a ball. The only time we would ever post anything about pro-sports would be to make fun of them.

Are you so self-righteous that you think we care about how much you hate sports, while at the same time you worship all things Disney fer chrissake?

And why do you force your readers to use Google to search your site, yielding unorganized heaps of results? And why do you force your readers to blog about you in Technorati-registered blogs in order to “comment” on your posts?

I’ve had enough, I’ll just have to get by without that weekly interesting post about a glowing fish or something.

I should have known I’m not alone.

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