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Monday, 14 September 2009

What I've been listening to...

I listen as well as code, y'know. I've actually got a theory that programmers are generally music lovers. There's plenty of evidence of the connection between music and mathematics, and many of my previous colleagues have been avid music lovers with tastes spreading across many genres.

Anyway, what's been playing on the Squeezebox the past month or two?

I've enjoyed Metronomy's Nights Out. It's intelligent, adult pop music with some fantastic, catchy melodies. Particularly catchy are "My Heart Rate Rapid" and "On The Motorway".

After the Mercury Music Prize nominations were made I took a listen to a few nominees. I like Florence and the Machine's Lungs and The Horrors' Primary Colours. The latter is like My Bloody Valentine with a pop vocal laid over the top, a little like The Jesus and Mary Chain.

A bit old this one, but I've just caught up with MGMT's Oracular Spectacular. I love the laid back hedonistic message of Time to Pretend, sung through a pursed accent. Whenever I hear it I think of the cult movie The Warriors. I think the music shares a certain gritty yet stylised New York aesthetic.

Finally, on the classical front I've been listening to Ludovico Einaudi's Una Mattina. This is a minimal piano album, delicately phrased and perfect for background contemplation music... although to be fair it deserves a lot more concentration than that!

Thursday, 10 September 2009

New website, and the beta begins!

We have just uploaded a new version of the bliss website containing more information about bliss and, importantly, how to get involved in the beta programme -

The beta simply downloads cover art from the Internet. When you start bliss, and after you point it to your music library, it will look for all the cover art missing in your collection and attempt to download it.

I've already posted that bliss works differently to most music organisers. As well as being rule based (not letting you interact directly with your music, yet) bliss can also be placed wherever you like and accessed via its Web based user interface. It is also designed to be run and left alone; it is capable of noticing changes to your music library and firing the rules you have configured as a result. So, for instance, if you store your music on a separate server, you could install bliss there, leave it running and access it remotely. You could upload new music to the server safe in the knowledge that bliss will notice the new music and make sure your rules are adhered to.

We are looking for two main things from our beta testers:
  1. Feedback as to how well bliss is monitoring the music library and downloading cover art
  2. Ideas as to how to improve bliss and take it to the point that it is a releasable product
In return for your time we are offering full licenses to use bliss and, once the product is released, a one year subscription to get all the new features released in that time.

You may ask why we are releasing a rather cut down version of bliss. It's a fair question. I've already blogged about some of the many, many problems that exist in music library management, so why not wait until we've solved all of them? The reason is that the simpler that bliss is initially, the quicker we'll have something validated and therefore a base on which to build, and build quickly. We also need feedback from you, music lovers and music library owners, as to the most important problems to solve first. After the beta programme, and once we have released bliss fully, we will be releasing updates once per month with new features.

Would you like to beta test bliss? If so, pop along to the signup page and enter your email address. We'll get back to you shortly with how to begin.