last.fm for vinyl?

Filed under: life,tinkering — jaydublu @ 6:03 pm

OK, long obscure post this one – this all got triggered because I’ve been evicted from the house and have been setting up all my ‘stuff’ in a portacabin in the garden.

Jim’s new den

I’m sure it will work out for the best in the end – I was a bit cramped in a spare room, and I’ve got a lot more space now. And the opportunity to get at things that have been in storage is great, including my record collection and turntable – hence the post.

In my rush to get things set up – computer’s hooked up (hence I can post) I thought ‘let’s have some tunes’ – iTunes would have been too easy given all this nostalgic music at hand. I’ve no ‘proper’ speakers over here yet so I figured out the easiest thing would be to get it playing through my PC speakers – a bit distasteful to a true audiophile, but I’m not so who cares?

Initially I had a bit of grief getting line-in passing through to the speakers, but with a bit of fiddling with XP’s mixer settings I finally got there. First album out while fiddling was ZZ Top’s Tres Hombres – an old faithful, but I’ve got that on MP3 somewhere – what have I got on vinyl but not on MP3? Robert Palmer Riptide was first to match my mood so that’s in the background now (and it’s just started skipping!).

When sorting all my junk out a few weeks back I thinned my vinyl collection in the theory that there was no chance I’d ever listen to it all again, so I kept only those albums I thought there was a chance I might listen to, given an opportunity.

At this point I would like to position myself relating to my listening habits – in my bachelor life (almost 15 years now!) I used to listen a lot, and I’m a strong believer in analogue formats for ‘serious’ listening – I never bought a standalone CD player, and given a choice (before I was given an iPod at any rate) I’d still buy vinyl not CD. I’m not a total hi-fi purist, but there is something about a really sorted system that makes your heart lift. I most often get it from old analogue rigs, and rarely modern clean digital sanitised systems. It’s got to be felt rather than heard, and who cares about the odd scratch?

Anway, proper listening opportunities are now few and far between – I’ve got 100 odd albums in my reduced collection – is there any chance I’ll ever listen to them all again?

When thinning them out I thought it would be great if you could keep track of how often you listen to an album, or when the last time you played it, or what albums you played in the same session – sort of like Last.fm but for vinyl. <sidenote> congrats to all at Last.fm on their buyout by CBS – I’m chuffed that true innovation and entrepreneurship can still happen, and in the UK – more power to them!</sidenote>

Back to the main post – TOO GEEKY! I reckon we all have a bit of trainspotter in all of us – I certainly recognise latent anorak in some of the things that go through my head. I could create a list of all the times I’ve thought about starting lists – chronologically organised, alphabetised and cross referenced. But I’m not that man – honestly.

(switch to The Cult Electric)

I succumbed on the wiki to list top 10 bourbons, films, sites – can I do something not too nerdy to satisfy the list maker in me? How about recording most recent albums played as they should be (on vinyl)?

I want to be Clarkson

Filed under: life,review — jaydublu @ 8:34 pm

I wouldn’t like to think I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or other form of mental divergence, but there are several ‘routines’ that keep me sane. One of them is a long hot bath, which I have on a Wednesday and a Sunday, accompanied with a good strong drink (preferably associated with a few slugs of Bourbon), and a good book.

It’s where I do most of my best thinking and strategising, and I probably should be able to blog from there biut that’s another story.

But given that I’ve been a bit lax in recent posting I thought I should share my thinking after a particluarly good hot soak this evening … I envy Jeremy Clarkson despite every instinct in my body.

I’m approaching 40 (fast!) which means I’ve probably spent a good portion of that time avoiding corniness and predictabilty. However I’ve been contemplating that position of recent times and come to the conclusion that I’m able to come out of the closet and embrace corniness – why fight it?

So here’s a start – Jeremy Clarkson is a lucky bastard and I wish I had his job!

What’s triggered this? I’ve just finished reading ‘The day after tomorrow‘ by Alan Folsom and started ‘The World According to Clarkson‘ and it’s killing me that I’m laughing out loud at (and incidentally agreeing with) most of what he’s saying, and wishing it was me saying it.

I’m sure he’s successful because there are many like me who can intimately relate to his views – it’s just the he has the bollocks and the verbosity to express them – that there’s someone out there experiencing and expressing this stuff is brilliant – even if I wish it could be me.

Open Source Software

Filed under: rants — jaydublu @ 7:55 pm

So while I’m waiting for my Gentoo kernel to compile, rather than drinking bourbon and folding paper (or browsing illicit web pages) let’s have a rant – after all, isn’t that what blogs are about?

I work for a fairly large ‘digital communications agency’ (new media in old-skool lingo) and we’re fortunate to have some fairly substantial budgets to work with, but that doesn’t mean life is easy.

My job, near the top of the food chain but in a technical capacity, is often to decide on a technical approach for particular projects. I hate re-inventing the wheel, and I’m lazy at heart, so if someone’s developed something that will do a job I’m more than happy to use or adapt it. (why do you think one of my categories is ‘tinkering’)

Today however, blessed with the fact that most of the Account Managers were out schmoozing clients and watching cricket test match, I spent most of the day perusing what’s available on the Open Source market for content management / blogs / community sites for a project with a ‘challenging’ budget.

My biggest challenge was figuring out what a particular package did, how it would make life easier, and what I’d have to do to demonstrate it to the decision makers. I had a fresh look at Joomla and WordPress which I’d played with before, and finally got round to finding out what Drupal and some of the wikis (MediaWiki in particular) offer.

The alternative is either to start from scratch with a bespoke application (possible, but have we the budget) or extend our own set of CMS tools that we’ve been developing in recent times.

Joomla! I know quite well because I use it to drive the Happisburgh Village Website and WordPress was considered to power this blog (still don’t know if I made the right call, but I do like this one so I’m sure I didn’t make the wrong one)

More later – I think I’m just getting warmed up…