Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Hmm, how'd I miss this?

So I had to switch to Ubuntu Studio (Gnome) from Kubuntu (KDE) because Skype just won't work right under Kubuntu (gets into fights with the KDE audio daemon). My favorite music application from the KDE world wouldn't work with the ESD (Enlightenment Sound Daemon, GNOME's audio daemon). Yeah, this sucks, two incompatible audio systems, Linux isn't an OS, Linux is a freakin' mess pretending to be an OS. Anyhow, so I went out looking for a new audio player and found RhythmBox, a loose clone of the iTunes application.

So I installed it using Synaptic (the software package installer for Ubuntu), which entailed firing up Synaptic, putting a checkmark by RhythmBox, and pressing the "Go" button. Synaptic then went out and found it on the Internets, downloaded it, installed it, added it to the Multimedia menu in my Start menu, etc... lots easier than having to go find it on a web site and stuff. So I was playing my collection, when I hit the "Plugins" configuration and saw...

Hmm. So I enabled it, and a "LastFM" item appeared below the "Streams" on the left panel. I clicked on that, and.... "Listen to music like ______" (fill in the blank). I filled in "Townes Van Zandt", and started getting tasty (Patty Griffith, Steve Earle, etc.). I filled in "Nirvana", and started getting crunchy Seattle grunge (Soundgarden, Everclear, etc.). I filled in "Death Cab For Cutie" and started getting poppy ballads that might be the soundtrack to some teen show like "The O.C.". Wow!

Anyhow, there is a big problem with the RhythmBox plugin. It doesn't put up the name of the song and musician. I selected the "" and "last-exit" from Synaptic, but neither of them appeared to be compatible with ESD as compiled. I ended up downloading the source code to the latest "last-exit" and compiling it from scratch against ESD, but the result is quite good. Now I can play whatever kind of music I want, when I want, *plus* hear songs from other artists whose albums I might be interested in (e.g., by typing in "Lucinda Williams", I got songs from Gillian Welch and Neko Case amongst others - whoa!). PLUS, unlike real radio, I can hit "Next" if I don't like the song playing, or even "Ban" if I want to never hear that song again. Imagine what traditional radio would be like if we could hit "Ban" on every banal pop song that ever got payola'ed onto the airwaves? Why, there might even be room for good stuff on the airwaves! But until then, there's Enjoy.

-- Badtux the Music Penguin

Yeah, I know has gotten a fair amount of press over the past year or so, but I really don't pay attention to that kinda "trendy" stuff. My loss.


  1. I was introduced to by Wil Wheaton, from his blog. Great stuff there about his career(s), step-fatherhood, and life. He is also a geek (imagine that), so he does post about his adventures into 'nix land, D&D, etc.

  2. Now that I think about it, I read about it over at Wheaton's blog too, but it just seemed like the sort of trendy thing that I wasn't interested in. My loss.

    - Badtux the Un-trendy Penguin


Ground rules: Comments that consist solely of insults, fact-free talking points, are off-topic, or simply spam the same argument over and over will be deleted. The penguin is the only one allowed to be an ass here. All viewpoints, however, are welcomed, even if I disagree vehemently with you.

WARNING: You are entitled to create your own arguments, but you are NOT entitled to create your own facts. If you spew scientific denialism, or insist that the sky is purple, or otherwise insist that your made-up universe of pink unicorns and cotton candy trees is "real", well -- expect the banhammer.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.