Tag Archives: Music

Good soundtrack albums of 2010

I enjoyed a bunch of movie soundtracks last year:

That is all.

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Fifteen musical moments

Simon tagged me in a Facebook meme (by the way, I now have a Facebook username). I don’t generally participate in these things, and I’m not going to tag anyone else, but I found it sort of intriguing… so here are my results.

The idea is that you shuffle up your iPod and write down the first 15 songs that come up (no cheating, skipping, picking out songs that make you look good!).

Well I actually only have a tiny subsection of my iTunes library on my iPhone – of ~11000 tracks so far ripped, I’ve got 1449 on the iPhone at the moment, which I think is only about 5.5Gb of the 8Gb capacity, the rest taken up by photos, apps and video podcasts.

Here’s how it came out – without any cheating.

  1. The Butterfly Collector, Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller
  2. Loneliness, The Feeling
  3. A Life Less Ordinary, Ash
  4. The Ghost of an Unkissed Kiss, Trembling Blue Stars
  5. Not a Love Song, Uh Huh Her
  6. People Move On, Bernard Butler
  7. Swara Suling, The Schubert Club Gamelan Ensemble
  8. The Sad Day, Jody Talbot
  9. Once Around The Block, Badly Drawn Boy
  10. Deep Water, Jewel
  11. No More I Love Yous, Annie Lennox
  12. Be OK, Ingrid Michaelson
  13. Kung Fu, Ash
  14. Dreamer, Uh Huh Her
  15. This Corrosion, The Sisters of Mercy

If the list interests you, my “social music networks” are Last.FM and, to a lesser extent, MySpace (where I tend to find new and interesting artists, or connect with ones I already know).

Oh, and on a vaguely related note – anyone else massively underwhelmed by “shake to shuffle” on iPhone/iPod OS 3.0? It only appears to actually work if you have a playlist underway, or, say, shuffle all the tracks on the phone, in which case it’s the equivalent to hitting next anyway… what’s the point?

No tagging from me, but I’m assuming Simon will see this so he’ll know I lived up to my part in his meme. Looking down his news feed, I see a 25 albums meme in there too. I abstain 🙂

Vodpod+WordPress.com… blippity blip!

I’ve always known that the options for embedding scripts and things like Flash into WordPress.com blogs were a bit limited – well, at least I thought so. Yesterday I discovered that you can use Vodpod and a special WordPress.com shortcode to capture and then embed various flash objects from around the web… for instance, a Flickr slideshow, or even a blipped track on Blip.fm (not on blip.fm? it’s fun! social music sharing crossed with Twitter)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Alex Cornish with a string section

I went to a quite lovely gig last night – it was the third time I’ve seen my friend Alex Cornish playing live, but the first time I’ve seen him play with a string section, and in a church! The venue was St Giles-in-the-Fields church, which is just around the corner from Tottenham Court Road tube station in London – a cosy place for this kind of event.

There are a few short clips on my YouTube channel… not the best quality as it was dark, and only made with a digital compact camera (plus a few sound clips capture on the iPhone) rather than anything else, but a little iMovie 09 magic has helped here and there 🙂

It was all very civilised given the venue, and I was even able to get home at a reasonable hour. The new mix of Alex’s debut album Until the Traffic Stops is great, by the way – highly recommended. It is also worth checking his site for the downloads that he sometimes has available.

Harmonica Jazzed up

I’ve put a few photos up on Flickr as well, again bearing in mind the lighting conditions and my choice of camera for the evening… I noticed a couple of guys with DSLRs moving around the venue so hopefully there will be some much nicer shots available at some stage.
Update: here are some really good shots from the gig.

The great iTunes library migration of 2009

Last week, I finally got fed up with the constant pain of bumping up against the disk size of my MacBook Pro. The largest chunk of space on the 120Gb drive was the ~35Gb taken up by my iTunes library. It was time to move it.

Moving out, making space

I’d previously thought about moving all of my music to the network and serving it out of daap-server on Ubuntu. The issue is that I sync my iPhone with the MBP and therefore I want my music library available locally, rather than streamed. I have a smart playlist which randomly selects about 7Gb of stuff from my library, leaving room for my apps, podcasts, and photos in the rest of the 16Gb space on the iPhone.

The thought of moving my iTunes library has just been such a painful one that I’d been putting it off for ages. I finally found a really good guide to the subject that reassured me, though – I could move the bulk of the library to another drive, and iTunes would still “work” (in the sense of enabling me to rip more, or download new podcasts) even when it was disconnected. I’m not going to go into the steps in detail here, read the iLounge guide to Transferring your iTunes Library – but it was basically a case of attaching a big external disk, changing the location of the iTunes library in the preferences, and Consolidating it; then deleting the local files on the internal drive.

Once all ~35Gb of music, video and podcasts was safely relocated, I decided to try something else. I unplugged the external USB drive, and attached it to my Airport Extreme base station. It appeared as an Airport Disk (with the same name as it had as a local disk) on my desktop. I started iTunes, and… hey presto, It Just Worked. So I now have my main iTunes library on my home network, visible to the iTunes application when the MacBook is on the same network, and can sync my iPhone when I’m there.

Time to rip

Once I’d finally made space, and also got the library into a location with room to breathe, I decided to make a start on something I should have done a long time ago. Up until now, I’d ripped CDs randomly according to when I wanted to hear particular albums or tracks… now, it was time to systematically get the whole collection into digital format.  Plus, I don’t actually own a stereo / hifi with a CD player anymore, so the only way I’m consuming music is through the computer. There are about 500 CDs to rip, so this is an ongoing project.

A few people asked on Twitter what format I’m going for. Purely on the basis of convenience and accessibility of format, I’ve decided to go with high quality MP3 rather than OGG, AAC or FLAC. I know MP3s will pretty much play anywhere I might choose to put them. Sorry to the audio aficionados.

Bumps in the road

There are just a few things which continue to mildly bother me:

  • If I’m not on the home network, iTunes reverts to a temporary/default (local) library location. I tend to Sleep the Mac rather than shutting apps down, so if I go home and reconnect to the network, I have to remember to close and restart iTunes for it to pick up the “proper” library location… otherwise it continues to point itself at the internal location. Selecting “Consolidate Library” by accident when the library preference points to the local disk can have bad consequences (it tries to copy everything back from the external disk to the internal one!)
  • iTunes has a weird relationship with album art. It can find some, but not others… does it depend on what is in the iTunes store? I’m partway through the D section of my CD library right now, and in general the rippage has been fine, but none of the Beatles or (oddly) Def Leppard albums have album art that iTunes can find. AllCDCovers.com (and, sometimes, my scanner) to the rescue!
  • There’s another, smaller iTunes library on a Thinkpad that I’d like to be able to merge in. I’ve seen some third-party tools which can apparently do merges and retain play counts and ratings, and also do duplicate checking… I need to look into those.

Generally though – really happy with how this has worked out, and I wish that the solution to my full disk problem had been more obvious some time ago. Now I have some disk space to play around with iMovie 09 🙂