Links and things

  • AS3 coding conventions
    Worth a read. Some stuff in there I haven’t been doing :/ [via BIT-101]
  • BBC Sound Index
    Marketed under the BBC Switch banner, Sound Index attempts to build charts of the most popular artists using social networking sites. The idea has been kicking around for a while and under the primary-coloured exterior there lies a lot of data which will hopefully be opened up. Its in beta at the moment so will be interesting to see how it develops.

Links and things

Scrobble your BBC Radio listening

Last year I wrote a Yahoo Widget which allows you to listen to BBC Radio and scrobble the tracks to your Last.fm profile.

BBC Radio Last.fm scrobbler

The Last.fm profiles for Radio 1, Radio 2, 6 Music and 1 Xtra are now public (they were originally created under pseudonyms), so I thought I should update my widget and also write a version for OS X Dashboard. So I did.

You can read more about them on the BBC Radio Labs blog which accompanies our new Radio Labs site.

Or you can download them here:

Download for OS X
Download for Yahoo! Widgets (version 4.5 or higher required)

These are still in beta (and may never be otherwise) so please let me know if/when you find any glaring bugs!

  • 2:40 pm, 14th December 2007
  • misc, music
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Radiohead on vinyl

As a fairly avid Radiohead fan, while most people were downloading In Rainbows for a few pence, I bought the £40 discbox release. After a month’s spent listening to the MP3s, I finally got my hands on the discbox this week which contains an additional CD, lyrics, artwork and the standard In Rainbows album on vinyl.

In Rainbows

In my teens and through university I went through a period of buying vinyl if I possibly could. My collection doesn’t extend far beyond a few DJ Krush and DJ Shadow albums and I haven’t bought anything new for several years, until the In Rainbows discbox arrived. I literally blew the dust off my Dual turntable (once I had moved our 3ft plastic Christmas tree which was sat on top), fiddled around with the phono and earth cables, found the power adapter, pulled out one of the Radiohead 45s and turned the volume up very high.

Dual turntable

My Dual is not great and could do with a new cartridge and Thom Yorke may have been sped up a little but the sound blew me away once again. Its incredible that a needle tracking the bumps in a piece of plastic can produce such a warm and accurate recreation of the original recording. The whole album sounded larger somehow with a much wider sound stage and the beautiful finale Videotape sounded especially rich and delicate.

I’m no purist but listening to vinyl does make you realise that the digital era comes with some very significant compromises. I’m not about to ditch my AAC collection and having my whole music collection in my pocket is quite incredible but I certainly won’t be letting the dust gather so much from now on.

Links and things

Paul Sandoz from Sun writes an interesting post about the RESTful-ness of our BBC Schedule API
I’ve never claimed to understand all the ins and outs of REST, perhaps now is the time to try..?

iTunes is offering Global Underground’s Afterhours Ibiza for £7.99
Not only is that a tenner cheaper than on the high street but you also get an extra 15 tracks… bargain. I’ve got about half way and its pretty awesome so far.

  • 7:48 am, 15th September 2006
  • music
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On the playlist

Following Scheer and Hinterland, I have found another female-fronted-rock-band to sit on top of my playlist. The band in question are Howling Bells and their debut CD shares their name.

Howling Bells

The record was produced by the man at the controls for Coldplay, Ken Nelson. I’m not the biggest Coldplay fan but he has certainly done a good job. There are a couple of songs which share noises with Thom Yorke‘s The Eraser and Radiohead‘s Kid A. The end of Howling Bell’s opening track The Bell Hit fades in much the same way Atoms For Peace fades into And It Rained All Night on Thom Yorke’s record while Setting Sun shares a guitar riff with Kid A’s How To Disappear Completely. This is as much as the artists have in common but its not a bad place from which to be taking influence.

Overall Howling Bells is a punchy record with catchy songs which I for one have found very difficult to take off my playlist.

  • 2:47 am, 13th September 2006
  • misc, music
  • No Comments

Its Showtime

At least to a point. Apple’s September 12th announcements did not include the highly anticipated widescreen-touchscreen video iPod but as an owner of a now antique 3rd generation iPod, I was happy with some of the updates to iTunes.

iTunes

First of all, Apple must have paid the rights holders (likely to be everyone’s friends: the record companies) a large sum of money to allow users to download album art for ripped CDs. This accounts for the majority of the music in my library so I’m pretty happy. The album view is something I thought iTunes should have included a long time ago and its better late than never.

Another long-time-coming feature is gapless-playback on the iPod, again somthing many people have been crying out for. Sadly as my iPod is oooooh, 3 years old, Apple have stopped supporting it with software updates so I don’t get this luxury. I listen to a lot of DJ mixes from Global Underground and gapless playback (without having to copy a single AAC of the mix to my iPod) is the feature which will probably make me upgrade – more so than a nice colour screen.

May be I’m behind the times but my iPod came with a remote control (back in the day when Apple were more generous) which I use daily (to the point that I had to get a replacement – thanks Duncan!) We are constantly reminded that the personal video player revolution is about to take place but I haven’t seen it yet. The technology is almost there (I’m sure Steve Jobs is playing with it right now) but perhaps watching movies and tv shows is something we enjoy doing with others and not on the train with fellow commuters peering over your shoulder? I don’t enjoy making phone calls on the train so perhaps its just me.

Radiohead

Having missed the opportunity to book tickets to see Radiohead at V Festival, I was happy for the span from Ticketmaster about Radiohead’s tour going on general sale this morning. I duly got up and started fighting for tickets at 9am. I wasn’t prepared for gigsandtours to ask for my credit card and address details before allocating my tickets. By the time I had filled in the form the Hammersmith Apollo was sold out. Ticketmaster wasn’t much better – I just kept getting ‘no tickets available…’. They still don’t say its sold out but I think they are just being vague.

In the end we decided to get tickets for their Edinburgh show in August (part of the Edinburgh International Festival Fringe). Thankfully it was available and we’ve wanted to visit Edinburgh so we can turn it into a short break. I have since found out Beck will be supporting so it should be a great show. If you managed to get tickets to see them, well done! If you’re going to the Edinburgh show, see you there.

Audio visualisation on the web

In a couple of weeks I will be returning to the development of the Annotatable Audio project at BBC Radio and Music. We spent a lot of time investigating how best to render audio for playback and editing. Today Tristan pointed me at Google’s share price graph widget, a Flash visualisation of recent stock activity. They have done much the same thing we have in using two views and I like how they update the HTML text view as you scroll around the graph – we could apply something similar for audio segments.

Odeo have also used Flash in building their audio player and editor. Here’s an interesting example about corporate blogging featuring the father of Annotatable Audio Tom Coates.

And there’s always the fridayforward radio :-)

  • 3:17 pm, 13th March 2006
  • music
  • No Comments

Having

…is a really great album by Trespassers William. Anna-Lynne Williams sang on The Chemical Brothers‘ track Hold Tight London on Push The Button. Her voice is beautiful and the music compliments her the perfectly.

Last.fm

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