I only implemented the query bits, though. I’m selfish.
(Oh, OK, the only reason I didn’t do the submission part, too, is that I can’t make up my mind whether cddb.el and musicbrainz.el should share the same editing mode or not. I think perhaps.)
[Update: That felt like a cop-out, so I’ve started implementing MusicBrainz submitting. I needed some way to get a MusicBrainz-compatible CD Table-Of-Contents listing, so I hacked up cd-discid to do that.]
|The new album New Album from the folk band Boris|
When ripping large quantities of CDs, you really have to have an efficient way to query and edit CDDB entries. So here’s an Emacs library for doing that. It includes a bunch of convenience functions for fixing up other people’s bad entries, and you also have all the standard Emacs editing commands at your, er, command, so it’s rather nice.
I also download the entire database from freedb now and then. It’s useful mainly when sampling (old) vinyl. By using an approximate match for the albums, I can usually find the album in question, which means less typing for me.
However, the DISCID collisions these days are just ridiculous. I’ve written about this before, but the situation is as ridiculous today as ever. I mean, even more so. It’s now impossible to submit any new album on the “rock” category, so everything I submit now is apparently “folk” or “data”.
|The music player|
The last hoard of Emacs-related code I’ve written over the years is part of my Emacs-based music player. It started off (in 1997) as a way to rip my CDs and play mp3s (as well as swap out the mp3s to CD since I didn’t have enough disc space to store all the mp3s).
It’s grown over the years and changed focus somewhat.
Most of the stuff has been written pretty monolithically, with all the code stashed in jukebox.el. So I’ll be attempting to disentangle parts that could have some reuse value over the next weeks, as time permits.
|last.fm web interface|
But if you want a system that you can use yourself, the EMMS system is probably a better bet.
The first result from the disentanglement process is scrobble.el. It’s a library for interfacing with the last.fm web site. I like last.fm. It’s the only “social networking” site I use — I find it genuinely useful for finding concerts and stuff.
Following will be a cddb library, a DAE (i.e. cd-ripping interface), a sampling-and-splitting interface, and probably other bits and bobs. As well as the jukebox itself.
|See Emacs. See Emacs play movie|
In the continuing story of Emacs@Home (don’t worry, I think there’s only one part left now), we’ve now come to the part where I watch TV. I know, it’s something most people manage quite perfectly without resorting to Emacs, but why would you?
Well, actually, I think that the interfaces I’ve seen have been somewhat lacking. Mostly mouse-based and not very practical. I just want to sort by name or by recording date, and I don’t want to use an HTPC pointer device. So:
User story: Keyboard-based and snappy.
|Emacs is ready for its close up|
I think this Emacs movie browsing interface demonstrates how little code you need to get a satisfactory result. Emacs does all the difficult stuff for you, and presto! You have the interface as shown at the top there, displayed in blurrovision. I just couldn’t get my camera to focus. What if I take a the picture closer? Yeah, that’s a bit better.
Anyway, I’ve got a little wireless keyboard next to me, and viewing a program just requires paging up and down a bit and hitting RET, which suits me fine.
Oh, and it just forks mplayer to actually play the movie. Sorry, I didn’t implement H.234 decoding in Emacs Lisp.
So, not much code this time… but it’s a bit interesting how writing about stuff like this changes the stuff itself. Before starting to write this, the interface was even more minimal. It didn’t have thumbnails and wasn’t in Futura.
The last picture there is how it used to look. Just as functional (if you squint), but I thought “hang on, an Emacs interface without any pictures would be just to stereotypical”, so I added the thumbnails.
When writing software that I’m just going to use myself, it gets a lot more basic. I get to embarrassed about the code quality, and I start cleaning it up, and before you know it, it has all these… frills. I’m not actually sure it’s a positive effect. It might be. Hm.
|Headphones cradled on the charging cradle|
Most hardware seems to have been created in a “will this do?” mind set. They have a bit of technology, and they have some economic restraints, and then they rush it to market. It makes perfect sense, and I can’t envision that it’ll ever change, but it’s somewhat depressing.
The hardware in question this week are the Sennheiser HDR 180 wireless headphones. They use Klear wireless technology, and they sound really good. There are no drop-outs, there is no buzzing — they just work, even if I walk to the far side of the apartment. They’re, technically speaking, what you would call “ace”.
|Cradle on/off button|
But then there’s the User Experience details.
The headphones usually rest on the charger thingie you see up there. It’s nice. So when I start watching something on the “TV” and I want to use the headphones, I pick up the headphones and put them on my head?
I pick up the headphones. Then I hit the “on” button on the base station. Then I hit the “on” button on the headphones themselves. Then I put them on my head.
Because, I mean, why would you assume that just because I’m picking them off the charging station, I want to use them? Perhaps I want to do something completely different. Perhaps I picked them off the charging station to hang them out to dry on the balcony? Or perhaps I wanted to dance around with them, fondling them inappropriately? I mean, that’s so much more likely than wanting to use them.
This is why I hate all hardware. Hardware never works the way it should.
And I didn’t even want to go into the UX of the headphones themselves. You see those five buttons on the headphones? Yes, there’s volume up, on/off, and volume down buttons. Fine. But then, next to them, there’s two balance buttons. So when I have the headphones on my head, which is usually where they are when I’m using them, I have to feel around, tentatively, for the volume buttons, because once you hit the balance buttons, you’ll never get the right balance back again. There’s no “return the balance to the, er, balanced position” button. It’s like FAIL!!!1! And who the fuck wants to change the balance, anyway?
Oh, by Emacs. I hate hardware.