Fri 17 Dec 2004

The ten song meme

I could Google a reference, but I don't need to. Get the next 10 random songs out of your music player, without being embarrassed. Here are mine.
  1. Thea Gilmore — Saying Nothing+
  2. David Gray — Say Hello, Wave Goodbye*
  3. Bryan Ferry — One Way Love+
  4. Thea Gilmore — Benzedrine
  5. Buena Vista Social Club — Chan Chan
  6. Robert Palmer — Know By Now
  7. Emma Shapplin — Spente le Stelle (Yomanda Mix)*
  8. Led Zeppelin — Immigrant Song+
  9. The White Stripes — Hypnotise
  10. Pink Floyd — Sysyphys (Part 2)
  11. Fleetwood Mac — Dreams
  12. Elliot Smith — Waltz #1
Two Thea Gilmore songs; for the record, she occupies only 1.6% of my music library! Bizarrely, no Bowie (who alone is around 10% of my collection!). I have included 12 songs, because I would have skipped two.

* Songs marked like this are ones I would skip, but are recorded to avoid “cheating”.

+ … as opposed to these, which I particularly enjoyed coming up, though it was actually quite a good selection regardless! I would have substituted I Thought for One Way Love, but they're both six-star songs.

Posted at 2004-12-17 16:18:05 by RichardLink to The ten song meme

This one goes to 6

iTunes really needs something above 5 stars — there are some songs which merit 5 stars, for all sorts of reasons, but perhaps aren't suitable in some moods, and then there are songs which really merit 5 stars. These, I suggest (in an admittedly tongue-in-cheek manner), should get 6, or a gold star, or something.

Perhaps the problem is that if a song is “good”, it's hard to give it less than 5 stars; an average song gets 3, so anything much better must get 4 or 5 — and if you've given a song 4, a better one must get 5, yes? Because, presumably, most of the music that we keep is music we like, in principle most of our songs have to be classified as 4 or 5 — and they're the ones we want to distinguish. The ones that get 1 or 2 we don't care about!

The mood point raises another issue… it would be really good to have some semantic mapping between songs. Even Cymbaline, which intelligently scores music on your recommendation and based on play counts, has only one axis of quality, but I'm sure some emergent “if you felt like listening to Foetus by Goya Dress, you'll probably like something by Mandalay next” can come from our skip patterns. It'd be thrown out a bit by, e.g. car passengers, but I reckon it'd be OK…

Listen on random long enough, with the broad strokes of star ratings linked to skip patterns, and something could emerge… not to mention the low-hanging fruit of bringing in genre or shared playlists.

Of course, I don't think most people have the problem of their music library being too broad to listen to on random! As Stephen put it the other day, after listening to just such a shuffle*, “my, you do have an eclectic music selection!” I'm sure most have a few hundred songs, in related genres, that they particularly like.

My menu bar is looking a bit of a mess at the moment — I have two musical notes, one being RecentTunes (which supplies my sidebar), and now Audioscrobbler's plugin. I ought to sort that out.

* When you get The Crystal Method, Gillian Welch, Fillipa Giordano, Peter Gabriel, The Verve, Rodriguez, Freezepop, E.L.O., Led Zeppelin, Nick Drake, Bach, No Doubt, and Miles Davis in quick succession you are marked out as a musical schizophrenic almost immediately. It's a problem Anthony and I share. I really ought to do that 10-track random meme, oughtn't I?

Posted at 2004-12-17 15:57:57 by RichardLink to This one goes to 6

The consequences of drinking

From Small Values of Cool:

Then lager in the pub. I don't remember much about the pub, but I believe I danced. I don't dance.

I look like something washed from a flooded graveyard. Hopefully I don't smell that way too.

I will never enter licensed premises again.

I think we've all been there, haven't we?

Posted at 2004-12-17 10:24:30 by RichardLink to The consequences o…

Windows Mobile 2003

For a little while, I was considering getting a Smartphone (e.g. the C500). Now I'm reviewing O2's XphoneII, I'm remembering just how awful the OS really is. E.g. the 5 quick links on the Today screen (your recent apps) reorder themselves as they're used, and are replaced as you start other applications. The upshot: you can never rely on what to press to, say, write an SMS. Talk about usability! The whole OS is a nightmare. My ancient P800 puts it to shame, and it's no shining example, either.

Oh yes, and it looks like Windows 3.1. Fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down.

Pity, really.

Posted at 2004-12-17 09:54:27 by RichardLink to Windows Mobile 200…

Thank you, Law Lords

From the Guardian, discussing the indefinite detention without trial of terror suspects:

Lord Hoffmann, ruled that there is no "state of public emergency threatening the life of the nation"- the only basis on which Britain is entitled to exercise its opt-out from article five of the European convention, the right to liberty.

It was the anti-terror laws introduced by Mr Blunkett which posed a threat, he declared. "The real threat to the life of the nation, in the sense of a people living in accordance with its traditional laws and political values, comes not from terrorism but from laws such as these."

Lord Scott described the regime under which suspects can be detained indefinitely on the say-so of the home secretary with no right to know the grounds for detention as "the stuff of nightmares, associated with France before and during the revolution, with Soviet Russia in the Stalinist era, and now associated, as a result of section 23 of the 2001 Act, with the United Kingdom".

The judgment does not oblige the government to release the detainees immediately, but under the Human Rights Act the government must take steps soon to remedy the situation.

Of course, Parliament will go right ahead and ignore any complaints. Sweet democracy; makes them think they have the will of the people behind them.

Posted at 2004-12-17 04:24:46 by RichardLink to Thank you, Law Lor…