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Tagged Music, Page 2

Now that I’m browsing without Adblock, I’ve noticed the ads that Last.fm sprinkles on its pages, and I thought of something:

What if the ads were targeted specifically for your music tastes?

It probably wouldn’t be too hard — Last.fm already taps into its database of your music taste to calibrate the “Taste-o-Meter” comparing your “musical compatibility” with your friends. So why wouldn’t it be a reasonably simple task to pick from different genres of ads and display “relevant” advertising?

While it might be a bit of extra work for Last.fm, it would be a step up for advertisers. Instead of advertising to me the latest albums by CSS or The Away Team, I’d rather see (and be more likely to be influenced) by an Angels & Airwaves ad for their new album, I-Empire1.

To recap, I don’t want to see ads for a heavy metal band. I would much rather see an ad for some other band.


  1. Which, as a sidenote, is damn good. 

I recently posted an AppleScript for X-Chat Aqua that displayed iTunes’ currently playing track. However, there were a few limitations and needed improvements, including:

  • Complicated installation — made more so by the fact that X-Chat’s user commands menu kinda sucks.
  • It’s not contained — you needed an AppleScript file lying around your system.
  • Limited functionality — it was impossible to output the information in an action, for example.

I finally got around to digging a bit further into X-Chat Aqua’s features, and I was advised by helpful souls in the X-Chat IRC channel to just write a Perl plugin. So this is what I did, and now it’s a “plugin” which you drop into X-Chat Aqua’s Plugins folder, and it’s completely self-contained.

To download it and for other documentation, please see the project page.

Update: This has been made obsolete by the much-improved plugin.

Courtesy of Joey Brooks, a.k.a. tunicwriter, here is an AppleScript script for X-Chat Aqua that you can use to show your currently playing iTunes song to the rest of the IRC chatroom. Of course, if iTunes isn’t running, a message is shown to that effect.

I want to make it clear that none of it is my code — all Joey’s. Direct all complaints to him2.

tell application "System Events"
    if exists process "iTunes" then
        tell application "iTunes"
            set theCurrentState to player state
            if theCurrentState is paused then
                "Now Playing: Nothing, iTunes is currently paused."
            else if theCurrentState is stopped then
                "Now Playing: Nothing, iTunes is currently stopped."
            else
                "Now Playing: " & artist of current track & " - " & name of current track & " (Album: " & album of current track & ")"
            end if
        end tell
    else
        "Now Playing: Nothing, iTunes is not open."
    end if
end tell

Here are some brief instructions:

  1. Open up Script Editor (Applications — AppleScript — Script Editor). Paste that code in there, and save it someplace safe.
  2. In X-Chat Aqua, open up the User Commands preference list (X-Chat Aqua — Preference Lists — User Commands…).
  3. Click the “+” button, and change the command name to NP and set the area for text on the right to something like exec -o osascript /Users/yourusername/path/to/xchat/script.scpt. Of course, change the path to where you saved the script file in step 1.
  4. Press Ok, go to a channel window, type /np and press enter. It should output something simliar to Now Playing: Hoobastank - The Reason (Album: The Reason).

Notes

An area where this script could be improved is to use an action (the /me command), which makes a lot more sense. Unfortunately neither Joey or I have been able to find a way to use AppleScript to get X-Chat Aqua to use the /me command, but if you do find a way, please do let me know as I’ve been searching for a while.

And, no, putting “/me” in the command itself doesn’t work. Already tried that. Would be nice if that worked, though.


  1. Sort of kidding… 

RIP OiNK

OiNK, the known yet unknown tracker that everyone wanted an invite to, has been shut down and the site replaced with a gray message from the authorities. Apparently the servers, which were in Amsterdam, were seized and the owner, a 24-year-old man from England, was arrested.

What I don’t get are both the charges being brought against him and the purpose of this. As far as I know, though IANAL, it’s not the trackers themselves that are liable, because technically they’re not sharing the files themselves. The users are the ones that upload the torrents, and the users are the ones that actually share the content.

Secondly, why OiNK? It’s a relatively small, and private, tracker — 180,000 “hard-core file sharers” by the IFPI’s own figures. The Pirate Bay has many times that, and they’re a public tracker, flaunting the law in the open. Yet they seem to be fine after their servers were seized recently. Even Demonoid would be a much juicier prize.

That said, R.I.P. OiNK, 2003/2004 — October 21, 2007. May you have a speedy recovery. Please?

(More information in the Ars Technica article.)

The time has come. Today, I had to delete the album art off my iPod to free up enough space to update it with my new music. Now, I have 591 MB free, but that won’t last me long, and on top of that I really liked having the album art there. Now, my Now Playing screen just looks lonely. Just text. I had been putting off buying a new iPod, waiting for the next generation, which was revealed at the “The Beat Goes On” event. Just a few things on my mind, however.

  • What’s with the new “split-screen” UI? While I guess the moving pictures can be considered “cool,” it makes me wonder how much of a toll that takes on processor usage. I’d rather have a fast, responsive device with the older iPod’s spartan menus than a sluggish one with the fancy effects.
  • The Ars Technica review that I read emphasized what they perceived as general sluggishness in the menus, and according to their makeshift timing (using a stopwatch and comparing it with a 5.5G iPod), this isn’t just imaginations at work. The iPod 6G is actually quite a bit slower, which makes me wonder… isn’t progress the other way?
  • Cover Flow. Why? Once again, this can be considered “cool,” but that same Ars Technica review mentioned that Apple, in a move to make it more responsive and usable, had cut out most or even all of the anti-aliasing that made it look so nice. I can understand putting this in the iPhone — its touchscreen makes that a very cool feature. But on an iPod with a clickwheel and a much smaller screen? It makes me wonder if Apple has a newfound obsession with putting Cover Flow in every product they make.

That said, I really have to figure out what I’m going to do before I run out of space. Also, on the Apple Store website, using the Education store doesn’t apply any discounts to the iPod products, and having that discount would be very nice. I got it on my 5G iPod, which makes me wonder if Apple has discontinued that.

The iPhone Price Reductions

The other hot news from the Beat Goes On event was that Apple slashed the prices of the 8 GB iPhone to $399, down $200, and is dropping the 4 GB iPhone. This price slash, of course, triggered a wave of anger directed at Apple, from customers who had purchased the iPhone in the first two months since its release, before the price drops. In what I must say is a surprising, yet ingenious move for PR, Steve Jobs addressed an open letter to those angry consumers, which compensated them with $100 Apple Store credit.

To be honest, I see no reason for the iPhone owners to be so mad. The extra $200 you paid ensured you got it within two months of its release — you had the “in” thing. Also, why would you be buying a $600 phone if $200 matters to you so much? You can get a decent phone from your service provider for, say, $100, then you would have $500 spare, not $200. It doesn’t seem like $200 would be worth that much to you, or be that much of a financial hit to you, if you could just drop $600 on a fancy cell phone.

Of course, it’s not really the price, is it? It’s your pride. Now you look like a bunch of suckers3, because you got ripped off $200, because Apple was most likely milking the hype to earn some extra cash. Well, that’s the price you pay for being the cool kid on your block with the really cool new phone. Stop complaining. I think you are extremely fortunate Steve Jobs even conceded, and gave you store credit on top of that.


  1. Of course, if you aren’t complaining and just taking it with a grain of salt, props to you.