I’ve uploaded a ton more photos from Sydney, Melbourne, the Radio 1 Athlete gig and Dan’s Birthday to the Flikr page. The Thailand photos can wait til another time, as can a picture of me to add to my profile.

Apparently I have 168 photos up there now – not bad for a critic, eh? Either I’m going to have to upgrade soon or else progress on the new “regenero-wabson” is going to have to be speeded up…

Update: Did I mention I’m in London this weekend? Call me if you want to meet up! 🙂

Building Rhythmbox

If there’s one thing I’ve realised over the course of the last few weeks, it’s that I have a lot to learn about Linux. Although I’ve been hooked since I first installed a copy of Red Hat 9 on my old PC and have now been using Ubuntu as the OS on my main PC for some time now, I’ve mostly stayed clear of delving into the actual code and tinkering around with it. Until now, anyway. 🙂

One of the benefits of not having a full-time job is that it gives you time to do a few of those things that you’ve been meaning to do for a while but just never got round to. So this week I checked out the source code for one of my favourite Linux applications – the GNOME music player Rhythmbox – and tried my hand at building the application from there.

Needless to say, it wasn’t as easy as I first thought. I had to download a whole heap of development libraries, master the black art that is accessing a CVS repository on the command line and get the hang of using the various GNOME build tools needed to compile the code. I even had to correct a couple of errors in the C code that prevented the application from compiling at first.

But I did it. I now have a working version of the Rhythmbox development code built, installed, working and running on my PC. This is the code straight from CVS HEAD that people are adding to and improving on a daily basis. And I can download, build and use this on a day-by-day basis. I love open source software!

One of the best features that’s only in CVS at the moment is AudioScrobbler integration, which updates your last.fm music profile with the tunes you’re listening to at the moment. There’s no nasty plugins or anything: any time I listen to a piece of music in Rhythmbox it’s automatically added to my Recent Songs list, assuming I have a network connection at the time. And even if I don’t, Rhythmbox remembers which tracks I’ve listened to and submits the list to the server the next time it gets a chance.

Actually, that’s quite scary… Perhaps I should delete those S Club songs…


Last.fm profile page

Recovering from: Yet another job interview, but it went well!
Talking to: Naked people on the phone

The Disturbingly Flatulent

In a rather unsuccessful attempt to buy a ticket for Skool Dayz tomorrow (perhaps it’s just fate?) I visited the Union web site this evening, to discover they’ve made a few changes to the portal.

One of the main changes is the introduction of guest registration so that you can log in and buy tickets for events even if you’re not a “current student”.

Perhaps as a result of some bizzare equal opportunities policy or perhaps more likely due to a slightly over-rigorous testing procedure, they’ve provided a wide variety of titles to choose from on the registration form. So if you’re not happy with Mr, Miss or Ms you’ll be glad to hear that you can choose from a range of other titles such as ‘Brigadier General’, ‘Emperor’, ‘General of the Felix Legions’, ‘Overlord’ and ‘The Disturbingly Flatulent’.

I would have screencapped it, but for some reason GNOME won’t capture drop down boxes on web pages properly – bah. But you can always take a look for yourself. Trust me – it’s worth it :-).

Comments and spam

A little while ago, I changed the commenting policy on wabson to stop the spam that had started apprearing on the blog. I don’t think I ever mentioned this to anybody, however, so here’s the deal.

  1. Anybody who hasn’t commented on a previous blog entry needs to be approved by me and your comments will be held in moderation until I do this.
  2. If you have commented before then your comment should be approved automatically, so long as you put in the same email address each time.
  3. WordPress will never publish your email address on the public site, so don’t be afraid about typing it in.

I hate comment moderation, but something needed to be done to stop the spam and this is clearly less evil than filtering everything. As I say, just make sure you put the same email in each time, please :-).

Of course having said this, I haven’t had any spam comments in the last week or so. Is it spammer holiday season, perhaps?

Project X

Disclaimer: This is a medium-length entry about photo sharing on the web and the merits of one popular platform versus a more hetergenous and open approach. If you haven’t heard of Flikr and you don’t remember what wabson used to be like back in the good ol’ days, then the following probably won’t interest you. Otherwise, please read on.

Unlike many people I know, it’s only recently that I’ve started actively using Flickr to share my photos on the web. Before that most of you will remember that I used to blog the occasional photo by uploading JPEG files through WordPress, and that before that I had a cool home-grown PHP solution that got trashed when I decided it was all a bit too much effort to maintain after all.

I resisted using Flikr until now – even though it would have no doubt made my life much easier – for a few reasons.

  • You have to be a registered Flickr/Yahoo! member in order to comment on other people’s photos. I don’t like shutting people out from my work, simply because they choose not to use Yahoo’s services.
  • I don’t like the idea of my photos being owned (or at least appearing to be owned) by some third party. My blog is hosted on my own domain (and not, say, with Blogger) and I like the feeling of independence that gives me.
  • I find the Flikr interface sometimes difficult to navigate and inconsistent – why do I get a column of medium sized pictures in one page and a grid of small thumbnails with another, for instance?

Granted, Flickr is a great tool for sharing photos with others and has built a huge and enthusiastic community around that, but should that community be limited to signed up (and in a lot of cases paid up) members of Yahoo! Inc.?

Take blogs as a counter-example. We in the Planet Afterlife circle have our own blogs all hosted across different servers in different parts of the world and use different software to manage them, but it’s still a successful community, right? Afterlife continues to pull in these heterogeneous sources of literary profoundness thanks to Laurie and that works pretty well, doesn’t it?

I’ve started thinking again along the lines of “why can’t I have my photos hosted on my own domain?”. The previous incarnations of wabson with photo management functionality built in also worked pretty well for some time, so could I perhaps somehow ressurect that functionality?

The code would no doubt need some modification to get it working again, and there may be some issues with the new web host. It would also likely need some work to clean up the interface and separate it from the integrated blogging tools that never were quite up to scratch. But it could be done.

The only question is – is it really worth it? I might well do it anyway just to see if I can produce an open source web app that’s less annoying to use than Flickr, but I’d be interested to know how many of the people who used wabson so enthusiastically in the old days would use it again in whatever revamped form it takes? I’m not asking you dump Flikr, just perhaps for a bit of help in testing whatever I manage to produce.

And yes – I may even put the old photos back up 🙂

Posted in Web

The waiting game

Today I have been mostly…

  • Attending a job interview with a well-known Internet retailer – results tomorrow apparently
  • Talking to recruitment consultants on the phone to arrange the next round of interviews
  • Continuing to grapple with Flikr – more on that later
  • Ironing a shirt for tomorrow’s interview
  • Making cheese, ham and tomato toasties – perhaps I could get a job in a cafe instead?
  • Checking news and blog sites at regular intervals throughout the afternoon – you people need to blog more! 🙂
  • Reviewing my CV and spotting annoying mistakes that I can’t correct from here

So still I have no job and still I’m struggling to find things to do all day while other people around me busy themselves all day with paid employment. Tomorrow I’m buying the Guardian and scouring the jobs pages in there and by end of Friday I should hopefully have some feedback on most of the positions I’ve applied for.

If all this doesn’t work, then Plan B may need to be put into effect. But for now, we wait.

Flikr woes

After two hours of fiddling, I’ve finally managed to post about half of the decent Australia photos up on Flikr. I’ve given up trying to work out why it sometimes shows me my groups and doesn’t at other times, so I’m off to cook dinner, drink some wine and prepare for interview number three tomorrow morning.

Finding a job is hard work.

The day I met Jo Whiley

Radio 1 came to Northampton today, in the shape of Jo Whiley and her crew and staged an intimate gig at the Picturedrome just up the road from here, featuring Athlete. Me and Dave went along to get tickets from Market Square where they were giving them out beforehand and I ended up on the radio talking to Jo.

Me and Jo

Athlete’s performance was top-notch – possibly the best gig I’ve ever been to, in fact. Tomorrow I’m off to Virgin to buy a copy of Tourist. This is what music is all about!

Jo and Athlete on-stage