Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Music Tagging App Search Update

Based on Rob's comments and the comments in the Lifehacker thread he pointed out, I'm going to try out SVanKruistum's iTunes Tagger (beta).


  • Does most of what I want out of the box, and is free.

  • Auto-tags selected songs in iTunes with top tags from last.fm, thereby taking advantage of that existing folksonomy (and its problems, too - see Disadvantages).

  • Allows me to create my own smart playlists based on the tags it populates into the comment field.

  • I don't use the Genre field very much, but this'll update that too

  • It's possible I will discover new/better ways of classifying or tagging tracks

  • Similar Songs playlist maker with slider bars! Initial tests look promising!

  • No tag-based navigation, such as a tag cloud, to help me discover subpopulations of my music. - nevermind, there is a tag cloud feature but it isn't fast across a large library (but that's no surprise, how could it be?)

  • Using the comments field means I can't select a bunch of songs in a playlist and just add a tag to them all without screwing up existing tags.

  • Grabbing the most-popular tags from last.fm means I'll end up with almost all songs containing at least one of the following tags: rock, alternative, indie, or pop. These are not useful tags from my perspective.

  • Automated tagging brings the disadvantages of folksonomy too, meaning I will get weird, non-useful tags on some songs (but that's still potentially better than having to do every song myself).

  • I would have preferred open-source, in case I felt the need to tinker.

  • Flow of tags is unidirectional; any custom tagging in the comments field I do won't automatically make the app better for everyone by uploading those tags to last.fm - I'd have to do that in a separate step, which means I almost never will. Update: this may not be true - He claims to have added a way of making doing what tweet does and allowing the tags to flow back to last.fm via a tagger in the system tray, but I haven't figured out yet how to access this feature.

  • I've already come across several states that will crash the app, but these are feasibly avoidable once known, like the dangers of the Fireswamp.

I may also try out Tweet, a tagger that will sit in the system tray and allow me to easily edit tags as I listen (not clear at this point if Tweet is comma or space separated, which may or may not matter for interconnectivity with SVanKruistum's stuff, which uses comma separation).

Now what I need is an army of outsourced workers in India or somewhere who understand my musical classification scheme (no small feat), and who can tag the untagged songs and prepare the library for me to sweep in and make excellent Smart Playlists! After they're done with all the other data-entry and classification work I have in mind for them.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Really, has nobody done this yet?

OK, internet people, here's a challenge.

I want a way to attach arbitrary text tags to songs in my music library, and then retrieve all songs with a particular tag. Either simple one-word/string tags in the way that del.icio.us and flickr work, or more complex name-value pairs, as long as the name-value pairs are not required to have a unique-key name. For example, instrument:trumpets and instrument:banjo.

Unfortunately "tagging" with respect to .mp3s has the common connotation of populating the ID3 tags such as Artist, Genre, etc., and that's not what I'm talking about (although I would also want a way to auto-tag songs in my tagging scheme based on the information held in ID3 tags). This makes searching the internet for this capability quite difficult.

Last.fm does part of this, and would theoretically allow me to arbitrarily tag songs, but that information isn't integrated back into a music player/playlist editor to allow me to quickly find or play songs by tag, unless I want to use last.fm's limited internet-based player, which I do not. On the other hand, they do have the capability to tell me how other people have tagged a song, making it potentially useful as a way of harnessing aggregate social data to make tagging easier.

The ideal software would be a plug-in to either iTunes or winamp, as those are my favored music players.

Suggestions? Ideas? Questions?

Saturday, February 14, 2009


What this blog really needs, though, is more sharks:


Maybe we need a few more. Push it a few more times. If your site needs sharks, too, go here

Theme change

Sunset in Koh Lanta, Uploaded by Sanako* on 20 May 06, 9.34PM PST.

For the first time in this blog's history, I've changed the theme. Probably, you read this in Google Reader or some other aggregator, so it won't make any difference to you. But on the off chance you read on-site, I hope you like our new brownishness. I may not be entirely through tweaking, as there are still some vestiges of the old colors here and there. The new colors are based on the All the Tea in China theme from the Adobe 'kuler' site (my favorite online palette picker). To get a new background pic for the title, I used the Multicolr Search Lab from Idée Inc. to find some Creative Commons flickr pics in several shades of brown. I settled on Sunset in Koh Lanta by Sanako*, which I excerpted to make the new title background. Anyway, I hope you like it.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Try the Veal: Bonus Tracks

Basking briefly in Kari's praise, I remembered that I had a few more such tracks squirreled away, and went looking for them - I'm glad I did. Here's three more tracks I would have included if I had found them a couple of days ago:

Okano Kaori - Town Called Malice (The Jam)

Pyeng Threadgill - Close to Me (The Cure) - at first I wasn't sure this one was "lounge" enough, but then I was like: "Oh wait! Xylophones! Oboe!"

Trash Pour 4 - Take on Me (Ah-ha)

Enjoy! (right-click & "Save Link As" to save)

Monday, February 02, 2009

DGY: the font

Although it's of dubious use to any of you, here's the download. (Install instructions). That weirdness with the lower-case 'h' taking up too much space is because I gave it that "hat", but when I write that goes out over other letters and here they took its furthest right point and then all the space below it. Otherwise, it looks pretty close.


Sunday, February 01, 2009

Try the Veal.

Lounge Party!

Richard Cheese tux
Originally uploaded by DiscourseMarker

As a birthday gift for Kari, a set of 60s Lounge/Swing/Bossa Nova covers:

01 - Richard Cheese - Fight for Your Right (Beastie Boys)
02 - Paul Anka - Eye of the Tiger (Survivor)
03 - Nouvelle Vague - Just Can't Get Enough (Depeche Mode)
04 - The Beautiful South - Dont Fear the Reaper (Blue Oyster Cult)
05 - Pastel Vespa - Living On A Prayer (Bon Jovi)
06 - Ragnar Bjarnason - Smells Like Teen Spirit (Nirvana)
07 - Richard Cheese - Bust a Move (Young MC)
08 - Prozak for Lovers - London Calling (The Clash)
09 - Nouvelle Vague - I'll Melt With You (Modern English)
10 - Eldissa - Gimme Gimme Gimme (Abba)
11 - Richard Cheese - Rock the Casbah (The Clash)
12 - Groove da Praia - Used to Love Her (GNR)
13 - Ben Folds Five - She Dont Use Jelly (The Flaming Lips)
14 - Nouvelle Vague - Making Plans for Nigel (XTC)
15 - Prozak for Lovers - Love Will Tear Us Apart (Joy Division)
16 - Divine Comedy - There is a light that never goes out (The Smiths)
17 - Richard Cheese - Come Out and Play (The Offspring)
18 - Pastel Vespa - White wedding (Billy Idol)
19 - Eldissa - Stayin' Alive (Bee-Gees)
20 - Quincy Jones and his Orchestra - Soul Bossa Nova

Lounge Party.zip