Month: March 2008

Songbird 0.5

Songbird 0.5 was released last week, and, while not technically inconsistent with claims that its RSS parsing had been “improved,” I was disappointed to see that two of my three podcast subscriptions still aren’t coming through. The problem has been migrated to a new bug ticket.

There’s also a new “Media Views” feature, which looks promising. As of now the only add-on to take advantage of this is a simple tag-cloud library view, but I imagine things could get really elaborate there. Their line, “Tired of music players that look like spreadsheets?”, has me anticipating all kinds of innovative browsing environments; picture a navigable mood-cluster terrain, or a pannable, zoomable, clickable history wavegraph. I’m seriously considering teaching myself enough XUL to be able to write a hotness add-on.

Amazingly, 0.1 was first released over two years ago. And their releases have code-names like Bowie and Eno? Who knew.

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That Old MTV “Vertebrae” Commercial

Of which I completely expected to find a copy on YouTube, but about which I could find only a single internet reference at all.

Do you remember that?, where the kid is walking past the lockers in high school, and he has those big can headphones on, and all the jocks or whatever are sneering at him, and he just smiles contentedly and turns up his music?

I think it may have been an MTV2 campaign specifically. Anyway. I remember that.

Holy crap I can’t sleep.

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Crappy Leaks: WTF?

Portishead - ThirdPortishead’s new album Third leaked recently, and, like so many leaks before it, is pretty bad. I’ve only listened to a portion of it but the first track ends abruptly, and the whole thing is rumoured to be a transcode. Nevertheless it keeps getting posted to trackers.

I don’t get where these poor leaks come from in the first place. If someone has this CD at home you’d think they’d take care to rip it properly. Instead I imagine some guy in a back room at the label’s HQ, seated at a yellowed Pentium II with a CRT monitor, running Windows 98 and still used for mailing lists and spreadsheets, fluorescent-lit and surrounded by boxes and manila folders, ripping at 128kbps so that it can encode before he’s caught, then throwing the whole thing on a thumbdrive through the machine’s single USB 1.1 port. Still, why not rip straight to WAV and encode at home? Is it seriously the limitations of USB 1.1?, or is my imagination getting too specific? These are not rhetorical questions, and I’m not complaining, I’m just confused. That said, I want and expect to like this album, so I’m just gonna wait for the proper physical release date of April 29.

We’ve been using MP3s for like fifteen years now; shouldn’t this be foolproof?

Oh and in case you want it, it’s here.

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WordPress 2.5 – March 10

Wordpress 2.5 - Write Post

WordPress 2.5 comes out in less than two weeks! I read something about the “Media Uploader” on the development blog, and, curious, I searched for more details, and came across this WordPress 2.5 Beta demo site. The login name is admin and the password is demo.

Aside from the stunning visual overhaul, there are several immediately noticeable vast improvements in some of the features:

  • Customizable thumbnail (and medium) image sizes — this has been requested forever, and WordPress finally listened. Used to be that every image you uploaded was copied and resized to a width of 128 pixels for automated thumbnail creation, which made a potentially cool feature virtually useless. Now they just need to introduce cropping.
  • Better private post protection — keeping posts private is so unintuitive in WordPress 2.3. The post needs to be marked as “Private” using a radio button, but hitting the “Publish” button instead of the “Save” button after editing a private post stupidly disregards that preference. Now privacy is indicated by a checkbox that flips privacy on and off and keeps it that way.
  • Tag management — I guess we all knew this was coming. It seems like the developers were so eager to get tag support out the door that with 2.2 or whatever it was they didn’t mind that you couldn’t edit any of the tags you create when you publish. Tagging a post just threw tags into the dark recesses of the WordPress database, where they became inaccessible except as part of a tag cloud on your site. But now we have an interface to delete, add, and edit them just as we do categories.

WordPress 2.5 - Media Uploader

It’s pretty sweet. The media uploader is particularly awesome. I can’t wait to install it. The designers still assume all their users can’t read fonts smaller than 16pt. I guess they’re trying to ensure they look Web 2.0 enough. And it looks like the Shuttle Project isn’t going anywhere after all.

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