Lets crowdsource the music label quagmires

November 18, 2013

I am

tired of

music being unavailable

in my country

or at this time

or by this band

or just this album

and having no recourse but a lame help document that partially explains why its unavailable.

Hey @rdio- Please give us a button to click that petitions the label to make an album available. Also it would be great if you notified me that an article disappeared from my collection. You’re acting like eMusic over there! eMusic left all the metadata in my collection but no data. I discovered that one day clicking through to download a Cult album or something. I could click all the way through my past “orders” only to find an empty track list at the end. A few months ago all the Iron Maiden disappeared from Rdio. It was back a few weeks later, or maybe sooner, but the comments were gone. What gives with this? I understand its not really in your hands to make music available, but you may be able to expand your catalog if you let all the users do the demanding of content for you. And it would be acceptably courteous to notify us that items disappeared from our collection. Any such improvement to this feature would be strong.


Granted such a feature would help your competitors expand their catalog too. But I’m willing to bet everyone’s catalog is mostly the same? The differences between catalogs probably matter to some kind of long tail.

This goes for you too, Netflix. Eliminate your “2 weeks left to watch” feature because its too nebulous? Break me off a piece of that kit kat bar son. No one with sense about BI believes that.

Friends, the unavailability of music has gotten out of hand. Led Zeppelin *lyrics* disappeared from the web some time in 2012 I believe. Not the music, but the words! Ridiculous.

Led Zeppelin, Beatles, and Metallica: your copyright holders act like they dont want anybody to listen to you anymore. I keep a private reserve myself, but for the most part you are fading in to obsolescence by way of inconvenience.


music fan


One of Transmission.app’s greatest features runs a script when a torrent completes.

February 10, 2013

In the Preferences of Transmission, one navigates to the Transfers tab then to the Management sub tab to activate a great feature that runs a script when a download completes. Recently I wanted to be notified when a download completed so I could go and do some chores around the house. I didn’t want to be notified via Transmission’s beep because it would have awakened other people in the house, so I thought about a way to get a message from the computer running Transmission to my phone. SMS is a great way to receive a message on a phone but I dont know of a streamlined free way to send an SMS from my computer. I thought about Jabber too but I would need a chat client running on my phone. Then I realized “HEY! Why not use the most stable ubiquitous digital communication that exists- email?” So I did. My little solution turned out to be a combination of a shell script that calls an apple script that opens the Mail.app program to send an email. For this to work automatically Mail.app must be configured not to require a password to send an email. This setup is kind of the reverse of the typical script that has parameters at the top for the email, password, etc. The plus side to this lack of configurability is that it keeps the credentials from being spread throughout the system. Anyways, here it is:

Part one: The apple script that opens Mail.app, then tells it to send an email to some address with a body that contains a phrase passed as a command line argument to the script

##Usage: osascript this_script.scpt "Some words for the email"
#This script will fail if the executor does not provide an argument on the command line for the argv array
on run argv
set recipientName to "Your Name"
set recipientAddress to "youremail@gmail.com
set theSubject to "Download complete"
set theContent to item 1 of argv
tell application "Mail"
##Create the message
set theMessage to make new outgoing message with properties {subject:theSubject, content:theContent, visible:true}
##Set a recipient
tell theMessage
make new to recipient with properties {name:recipientName, address:recipientAddress}
##Send the Message, comment out "send" to troubleshoot
end tell
quit #quit Mail so it wont catch the email we just sent before the intended target device

end tell
end run

Part two: The shell script that transmission calls to send an email that contains the name of the torrent that completed. Create this script somewhere on your filesystem, set the executable bit, then point the aforementioned Transmission feature at the script.

#$TR_TORRENT_NAME is an environment variable that Transmission provides to the script just before the script runs.
osascript ~/Scripts/Download\ Complete\ Email.scpt $TR_TORRENT_NAME

References should you want to trace back etc.:
My apologies for the mixed font, case, etc. I care not to fix such things on my blog. I would never write code or documentation like this in a professional context :)

Netflix queue tool available!

August 16, 2011

It took me years to finish this project. It’s finally in a workable public form. Check it out.

This tool, that I have yet to name, allows you to save, restore, and empty your Netflix streaming queue. An additional feature the tool provides is the conversion of a blockbuster queue to a netflix queue.

The greatest limitation of the tool is that it can only operate on the streaming queue. When I first began development Netflix allowed manipulation of a user’s disc queue but that is no longer the case.

You can read about their decision and .

Comcast surprise late fee

August 9, 2011

I just got off the phone with comcast because I when I checked my account I saw that my most recent bill from August 8 had an extra 8.00 fee tacked on. When I viewed the bill details I see that it’s a ‘Late Fee’ for a May 17th bill that went unpaid until July 7. I called Comcast about this because I enrolled in Comcast Automatic Payments on May 25th. It seems to me that an automatic payment should pay the current bill. Shouldn’t the May 17th charge have been paid for automatically on the June 17th bill? The automatic payment took more than a full billing cycle to take effect which doesn’t make sense. Now my account has a Late Fee attached to it which may be able to damage my credit rating? Crappy automation.

Realistic iOS 4.3.3 release notes

May 12, 2011

ellided feature of ios 4.3.3
Something was left out of the release notes. I added it back in :)

Safari 5.0.3 euphemestic release notes

November 29, 2010

“Fixes an issue that could cause content delivered with the Flash 10.1 plug-in to overlap webpage content”

Looks like a fix for clickjacking to me!

Code tip

September 30, 2010

“Whenever I get a white screen I check the apache log first.” @Pvulgaris

Visual voice

September 30, 2010

Ebooks might save trees, yet I feel that the power consumption our devices cause, especially if streaming video, may offset the resources saved.

This should be done to curtail the impact of live video on the Internet.

FaceTime type functionality would e nice for voice mail too. It must not be limited to apple users.

User A records a video message and leaves it for User B to retrieve later; at a time when user B is on a wifi network.

The weakness of Clear internet service and customer service

June 14, 2010

I signed up for clear a few weeks ago because AT&T DSL had not been working at my house for a week, and the AT&T technician who came literally told me that I was downloading too fast, causing strain on the line, and then a connection reset. Turns out I needed a new DSL modem.

Back to Clear:
I signed up for two clear accounts. One was on a Friday over the phone, and the next one was at a local Clear store (the midtown Atlanta location). Both associates assured me that I would have coverage at my house, despite the Clear coverage map showing my house to have 0 coverage. I should have backed away at that point it turns out. I took the modem bought from the store home and set it up. Acquired speeds of around 3mbps for about 20 minutes, and then total crap. Ping times over 200ms, download speeds of around 30kbps and upload speeds of around 40kpbs. Thats right, the upload was faster than the download- a singular occurrence. After three hours on the phone with Clear technical support, I was told that I must have a bad connection to the nearest tower. There is no way to connect to another tower, and that each tower in my area was scheduled for maintenance at an unknown date. During the maintenance period, I would experience ‘change of service’ which according to the tech meant slower speeds or no service at all. I canceled at that point. The RMA slips came via email from a 3rd party.

I received an email 4 days ago stating that my refund of 123.81 has been processed. My bank account shows three refunds from clear in the amounts of 6.92, 13.07, 86.39. Does this add up to 123.81? Never you mind that the initial amounts Clear charged me were for 136.39 and 161.39, plus a ding of 6.92.

At this point I’m sick of discussing the utterly lame service Clear provides, so I will summarize by quoting the inspiration for this post.

From my only Clear refund letter:
“…If you have questions about your refund, please contact us by Live Chat at http://www.clear.com/support/contact.”

from the chat session I had after clicking that link:
“Jason Jae: Hi David. Please contact us at 1-888-888-3113, for information on refunds.”

A total runaround operation.

*NIX and IP*

April 5, 2010

Iphone, ipod, ipad. Too bad there’s not a longer common prefix because they comprise their own web platform now. Pages should be IP* compatible, sort of like the *NIX designation. That the root is IP complicates things as well, because the word IP has its own important meaning in the web context. I wonder if the sound ‘ip’ has a psychological resonance with technology or maybe with the Self? Or both as an association with things cybernetic. See http://esciencecommons.blogspot.com/2010/03/how-we-learn-language.html