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)?

FOWA London 07

Filed under: review — jaydublu @ 7:02 pm

Yay, I’ve got something current to blog about!

I don’t live in Norfolk because I love crowds of people, so I’m not a big fan of being locked up in an auditorium with 850 geeks, wannabe dotcom entrepreneurs and a few who made it, but I thought I should be there so I’m at the Future of Web Apps London 2007 for three days of … various opinions.

So, after day one, what’s happened. Despite not being able to blog during the event (sorry Ryan I know it’s not your fault) and some wierdness about certain refreshment breaks being ‘sponsored’ (thanks Adobe for the beer!) and if not a cup of tea is £1.50.

Ryan “frickin’ cool” Carson is a dude I can relate to. I met hime when I went to one of his first seminars in London about devloping dynamic database driven websites. It was great to get confirmation that what we’d been doing by instinct was actually about right. Since then I’ve sent a few of my guys to hear Eric Meyer or other similar ‘names’, and they come back saying the same thing. We may be country hicks, but we’re up there with the best of them in terms of the work we do.More power to Ryan and team for taking the initiative and doing this sort of thing on this side of the ‘pond’, and I wish him all the success he can handle.

Ignoring the wifi, and the tea, what’s happened?

First – get all the freebies you can lay your hands on – the score currently stands at 2 t-shirts, several pens, a mouse mat, a pack of sweets, and something that twinkles when your phone rings. Oh and a copy of Microsoft Expression.

First speaker, Mike Arrington from TechCrunch and I thought I’d made a mistake. I work for an agency, not a dotcom, but I stick with it and there were some interesting views if not immediately relevant to me. But I thank him for the first hint of what I think could be massive – Adobe Apollo. More later when I investigate fully, but it sounds ‘frickin cool’.

Tara Hunt (aka missrogue) made me wish I was a proper geek and into blogging proper. I didn’t feel worthy, and resolved to make more of an effort. SO much enthusiasm for online communities … what more can I say? I must try harder. Twitter!

Enlightening stuff on Venture Capital, which makes me thankful I’ll never need to get involved with it. It was great having an insight into it, but … that’s not me. Hence I’m a wage slave not a millionaire.

Last.fm – now we’re getting somewhere – great stuff and great insight into measuring ‘attention’ and using it to profile your listening preference to dish up better music. Genius, and if someone pitched that one to me I’d buy it! That idea I’m going to have to make use of somehow. And a great bit on how to survive sucess I’ve got to take back – “people trump process” and “use simple tools”. We could use some of that.

Google APIs – yup, great, not much more to say. Other that I’ve got to have a fiddle with Sketchup to see if I can get some cool models of Happisburgh. I did that for Microsoft Flight Simulator once, but who cares?

Werner Vogels blew my mind with the Amazon S3 and EC2 distributed services. That’s going to take so much thinking about, but I’m open to it – I can see the sense I’ve just got to work through the implications in my head. Probably top of my ‘must investigate’ list. Which reminds me that I’ve skipped the nice people at Zimiki with their ‘pre-shaved yaks’. How could I forget that 10 minute presentation? Sheer genius, and hugely enjoyable. Almost trumped by chappie from soocial.com (forgot name, sorry) who has a seperate career waiting as a stand-up.

Bradley Horowitz from Yahoo! Didn’t get really inspired until he started talking about Pipes, which again made me feel inadequate for not being aware of it. Sounds hugely exciting, but I’ll have to suck and see. That’s what I’m here for isn’t it to find out what I’m missing?

Kevin Rose from Digg – I can see how he succeeded – he obviously loves his product and is ttally imersed in it. Once again great insights into what happens behind the scenes, but not really relevant to me.

So my favourite of day one – other than the entertainment of Ducks and Mum’s contact details (Zimki and Soocial respectively) top marks for me go to last.fm – totally captivating stuff from end to end.

Thanks all, looking forward to day 2.